MotherJones JA93: Notes from the front

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Like father, like son. As noted in our recent story, “My three sons” (Nov./Dec. 1992), George Bush’s son Neil helped his two former business partners walk off with $132 million in loans from Silverado Banking in Denver, and then in 1991 he failed to repay a $2.35 million loan guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. Similarly, Lan Bentsen, son of Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen, borrowed $163 million from Texas S&Ls in the early 1980s. But when the longhorn economy went bust, rather than bankrupting his companies and ignoring his debts, Bentsen spent the next seven years liquidating his assets and repaying the entire amount. In March he settled with federal regulators: while he still owed $54 million in interest on the loans, he signed over to the government all his remaining real estate assets and cash, which totaled $28 million. The feds forgave him the rest.

During the same time period, the SBA announced that it had run out of money. Neil Bush, who’d stiffed the SBA $2.35 million, couldn’t be reached for comment. He was in Kuwait, enjoying the hospitality of the Emir, who was honoring Neil’s dad for Operation Desert Storm.

–Stephen Pizzo

MoJo’s memories online. Our investigation of the controversy over repressed memories (“Doors of Memory,” Jan./Feb. 1993) has sparked an electronic debate on bulletin board systems (BBS) nationwide. Participants include “adult survivors,” psychologists, counselors, Survivors of False Memories support group members, and curious onlookers, all heatedly discussing the claim that some shrinks may be inducing false memories of abuse in their patients. To join in, call your local BBS and hook up with the “psych” conference (available through the Ilink BBS network). Or start your own debate. For a back issue containing “Memory,” send $5 to Mother Jones, 1663 Mission St., Suite 200, San Francisco, CA 94103

Let’s see, should I accept this bribe or should I follow departmental procedure? Since we published evidence of Justice Department corruption (“Shredded Justice,” Jan./Feb. 1993; “Dirty Justice,” Mar./Apr. 1993), officials have agonized over how to infuse ethical sense into their ranks. The brilliant solution? An “ethics” computer game, designed to train staff in moral conduct. The department has signed a $248,000 contract with Legend Entertainment (a computer-games maker); the game debuts in November and will be used by up to 92,000 employees. Players advance from entry-level Justice jobs all the way to Assistant to the Attorney General, earning points for “correct” responses to ethical problems and being penalized for, say, shredding documents.

–Leta Hong Fincher

Lickety split. Last January, Mary Harris “Mother” Jones was inducted into the Labor Hall of Fame. Now the Friends of Mother Jones have a move afoot to place the lady’s likeness on a U.S. postage stamp. Readers are being asked to choose between our namesake as she was in her youth (top)–“with the look of an angel and the tongue of a mule skinner”–or in later years (bottom), after she helped swell the ranks of the United Mine Workers, exposed the shame of child labor, and founded the Wobblies. Okay, just kidding about the babe with the whip, but we like to think of her as being similar to that other Jones. Express your support for a stamp by writing to the Friends of Mother Jones, 3354 Edwardsville Rd., Edwardsville, IL 62025.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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