Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery

Editor in Chief

Since taking the editorial helm at Mother Jones in late 2006, Clara and her co-editor, Monika Bauerlein, have won two National Magazine Awards for general excellence, relaunched MotherJones.com, founded a now 13-person Washington bureau, won a PEN award for editing, given birth, and forgotten what it's like to sleep. It probably doesn't help she's on Twitter so much.

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Clara Jeffery is co-editor of Mother Jones, where, together with Monika Bauerlein, she has spearheaded an era of editorial growth and innovation, marked by the addition of now 13-person Washington bureau, an overhaul of the organization's digital strategy and a corresponding 15-fold growth in traffic, and the winning of two National Magazine Awards for general excellence. When Jeffery and Bauerlein received a PEN award for editing in 2012, the judges noted: “With its sharp, compelling blend of investigative long-form journalism, eye-catching infographics and unapologetically confident voice, Mother Jones under Jeffery and Bauerlein has been transformed from what was a respected—if under-the-radar—indie publication to an internationally recognized, powerhouse general-interest periodical influencing everything from the gun-control debate to presidential campaigns. In addition to their success on the print side, Jeffery and Bauerlein’s relentless attention to detail, boundless curiosity and embrace of complex subjects are also reflected on the magazine’s increasingly influential website, whose writers and reporters often put more well-known and deep-pocketed news divisions to shame. Before joining the staff of Mother Jones, Jeffery was a senior editor of Harper's magazine. Fourteen pieces that she personally edited have been finalists for National Magazine Awards, in the categories of essay, profile, reporting, public interest, feature, and fiction. Works she edited have also been selected to appear in various editions of Best American Essays, Best American Travel Writing, Best American Sports Writing, and Best American Science Writing. Clara cut her journalistic teeth at Washington City Paper, where she wrote and edited political, investigative, and narrative features, and was a columnist. Jeffery is a graduate of Carleton College and Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism. She resides in the Mission District of San Francisco with her partner Chris Baum and their son, Milo. Their burrito joint of choice is El Metate.

 

What Does 60 Minutes Tell Us About "Curve Ball" We Didn't Already Know?

| Thu Nov. 1, 2007 11:20 PM EDT

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From the looks of this press release not much. Here's the news they're claiming to break:

Curve Ball is an Iraqi defector named Rafid Ahmed Alwan, who arrived at a German refugee center in 1999. To bolster his asylum case and increase his importance, he told officials he was a star chemical engineer who had been in charge of a facility at Djerf al Nadaf that was making mobile biological weapons. 60 Minutes has learned that Alwan's university records indicate he did study chemical engineering but earned nearly all low marks, mostly 50s. Simon's investigation also uncovered an arrest warrant for theft from the Babel television production company in Baghdad where he once worked.

Ok, his name is new. And that's big. But him being a liar, and a thief (and also, a sex offender) and a whole bunch of other things 60 Minutes is claiming to have uncovered have in actuality been known for years. You can read all about the Curve Ball saga in our Iraq War Timeline. And much of the original reporting on Curve Ball was done by the LA Times. And former CIA official Tyler Drumheller, the apparent big source for 60 Minutes, has been speaking out for years.

Which is not to say that Bob Simon's two year investigation won't yield some great new stuff. I'm sure it will. But I just wish they'd give credit to the LAT and others who broke or championed the Curve Ball story back before it was fashionable to call out the Bush administration.


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Hillary: "Pay Attention To Your Hair"

| Tue Oct. 23, 2007 6:23 PM EDT

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So I was walking past "Blow," a new salon in the MoJo hood, when I spotted this quote, attributed to Hillary Clinton, taped on the door:

I have to say that in all the years since I've been at Yale, the most important thing that I have to say today-is that hair matters. This is a life lesson my family did not teach me, Wellesley and Yale failed to instill on me: the importance of your hair. Your hair will send very important messages to those around you. It will tell people who you are and what you stand for. What hopes and dreams you have for the world…and especially what hopes and dreams you have for your hair. Likewise, your shoes. But really, more your hair. So, to sum up. Pay attention to your hair. Because everyone else will.

And I thought: That can't be real. But it is.

This isn't meant to be a slight on Hillary, btw. More just a sad commentary on the state of politics in America. More on how Hillary is judged on her looks here.

More On How The Weak Dollar Jacks Up the Price of Oil

| Fri Oct. 19, 2007 12:40 PM EDT

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Yesterday I blogged on how the weak dollar is responsible for roughly $30 of the $90 a barrel of crude has (so far) topped out at. And I'm being doubted by some in our comment section and on Digg. Today, more confirmation from the folks at Bloomberg:

Crude oil breached $90 a barrel in New York for the first time as the dollar traded near a record low against the euro, enhancing the appeal of commodities as an investment....
"The weak dollar is pushing the price higher,'' said Simon Wardell, energy research manager with Global Insight Inc. in London. ``It's hard to see how this is going to turn around quickly.''...
The U.S. currency fell to $1.4302, from $1.4279 yesterday, and traded at a record low of $1.4319 earlier in the day.
A lower dollar makes oil cheaper in countries that use other currencies. In U.S. dollars, West Texas Intermediate, the New York-traded crude-oil benchmark, is up 46 percent so far this year. Oil is up 35 percent in euros, 40 percent in British pounds and 42 percent in yen.

I rest my case.

And for you yahoos who can't understand how this can be possible when they've always heard that the price of gasoline is so much higher in Europe...We're talking about CRUDE OIL, people. A raw commodity. Refined gasoline is indeed more expensive in Europe, because, largely, European governments choose to tax it to pay for roads and schools and health care and to discourage people from buying ridiculously big cars. Now you can argue about whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, but at least argue over the same issue.

Senator Chris Dodd Takes Stand on FISA, Takes On TeleComs

| Fri Oct. 19, 2007 2:50 AM EDT

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From Senator Chris Dodd's site (via Wired News, Via Digg, courtesy of Paul Ward, aka dssstrkl—how hip am I?):

The Military Commissions Act. Warrantless wiretapping. Shredding of Habeas Corpus. Torture. Extraordinary Rendition. Secret Prisons.
No more.
I have decided to place a "hold" on the latest FISA bill that would have included amnesty for telecommunications companies that enabled the President's assault on the Constitution by illegally providing personal information on their customers without judicial authorization.
I said that I would do everything I could to stop this bill from passing, and I have.
It's about delivering results -- and as I've said before, the FIRST thing I will do after being sworn into office is restore the Constitution. But we shouldn't have to wait until then to prevent the further erosion of our country's most treasured document. That's why I am stopping this bill today.
Indicate your support for my hold as well as your thoughts on this issue in the comment section below.

Now unfortunately, it seems as though the "comments" section is really just a way for Dodd's campaign to capture email addresses. And this hold is surely a good way to get publicity when you're stuck in the second or third tier. But let's put cynicism aside for the moment. Well done, Senator!

Update: Correntewire suggests a plan of action for Senator Rockefeller, who authored the bill to give them amnesty...

Stephen Colbert For President (Really! Maybe? Sorta?)

| Wed Oct. 17, 2007 11:15 PM EDT

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Good lord, this just may be the best thing that ever (maybe, sorta) happened to presidential politics. Last night Colbert announced he planned to run for president ( full details after the jump) and while nobody knows whether or not to take him seriously, he's got both parties worried. Particularly in South Carolina, where he aims to get his name on the ballot for both the Democratic and Republican primaries (he explained the strategy by saying "I can't lose twice") as the state's 'favorite son.'"

"I am from South Carolina and I am for South Carolina and I defy any other candidate to pander more to the people of South Carolina, those beautiful, beautiful people," he said on "The Colbert Report." Colbert listed several different potential presidential tickets including Colbert-Huckabee, Colbert-Putin, or Colbert-Colbert.

And what do party elders have to say to that?

"If Stephen fulfills the requirements met in our delegates' election plan and he actively campaigns in South Carolina, we welcome him to compete," said Joe Werner, executive director of the South Carolina Democratic Party, in an interview with CNET News.com. Werner added that representatives from "The Colbert Report" had placed calls to the state party's headquarters several weeks ago but that the party thought it was all a joke at the time.
Fulfilling the requirements, however, will be the tough part. Party regulations, Werner said, prevent Colbert from attempting to run on both the Democratic and Republican tickets. "It's in our rules somewhere that you can't be on two ballots," he explained. "He'd have to pick one party."
Representatives from the South Carolina Republican Party were not readily available for comment.

I don't even know which alternative would be funnier. Is it possible? Ballot Access News reports that the "filing deadline for those primaries in November 1. He must pay $25,000 to run in the Republican primary, and $2,500 to run in the Democratic primary." For the kind of publicity he's getting (btw: he has a new book), that's a pretty cheap date either way. Awesome. And If you think this doesn't have potential, just remember Jesse Ventura...

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