Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery

Editor-in-Chief

Clara is the Editor-in-Chief of Mother Jones. During her tenure, Mother Jones has won National Magazine Awards for general excellence, relaunched its website, and established bureaus in Washington and New York. Along the way Clara won a PEN award for editing, gave birth, and forgot what it's like to sleep. It probably doesn't help she's on Twitter so much.

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Clara Jeffery is Editor-in-Chief 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.

 

Joe Scarborough Asks: Is Bush An Idiot?

Last week, I commented that Bush has lost the punditocracy. On Sunday, the Washington Post makes the point that even Bush's most ardent supporters in the media are jumping ship. Exhibit A is from Scarborough Country:

For 10 minutes, the talk show host grilled his guests about whether "George Bush's mental weakness is damaging America's credibility at home and abroad." For 10 minutes, the caption across the bottom of the television screen read, "IS BUSH AN 'IDIOT'?"

But the host was no liberal media elitist. It was Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman turned MSNBC political pundit. And his answer to the captioned question was hardly "no." While other presidents have been called stupid, Scarborough said: "I think George Bush is in a league by himself. I don't think he has the intellectual depth as these other people."

He showed a montage of clips of Bush's famously inarticulate verbal miscues and then explored with guests John Fund and Lawrence O'Donnell Jr. whether Bush is smart enough to be president.

While the country does not want a leader wallowing in the weeds, Scarborough concluded on the segment, "we do need a president who, I think, is intellectually curious."

"And that is a big question," Scarborough said, "whether George W. Bush has the intellectual curiousness -- if that's a word -- to continue leading this country over the next couple of years."

Actually, "curiousness" seems most apt.

Turn Left or Triangulate?

Matt Bai's analysis of what the Lieberman/Lamont situation really means is being bandied about around our virtual offices:

In the aftermath of the primary, Democrats settled on the idea that Lieberman fell because of his support for the Iraq war. This was technically true, in the same way that a 95-year-old man might technically be said to die from pneumonia; there were, to say the least, underlying causes. The war was a galvanizing issue, but Lieberman's loss was just the first major victory for a larger grass-roots movement. While that movement is identified with young, online activists, it is populated largely by exasperated and ideologically disappointed baby boomers. These are the liberals who quietly seethed as Bill Clinton worked with Republicans to reform welfare and pass free-trade agreements. After the ''stolen'' election of 2000 and the subsequent loss of House and Senate seats in 2004, these Democrats felt duped. If triangulation wasn't a winning strategy, they asked, why were they ever asked to tolerate it in the first place? The Web gave them a place to share their frustrations, and Howard Dean gave them an icon.
Iraq has energized these older lapsed liberals; for a generation that got into politics marching against Vietnam, an antiwar movement is comfortable space. But it was the yearning for a more confrontational brand of opposition on all fronts, for something resembling the black-and-white moral choices of the 1960's, that more broadly animated Lamont's insurgency. Connecticut's primary showdown (which now appears to be headed for a sequel in November) marked an emphatic repudiation not just of the war but also of Clinton's ''third way'' governing philosophy - a philosophy not unlike the Republican ethos of ''compromise'' and ''pragmatism'' that so infuriated Reagan conservatives.

The whole tamale after the jump.

Dave Passaro was found guilty today of beating Afghan detainee Abdul Wali to death, based in large part on the testimony of Hyder Akbar. Hyder is the young Afghan American whose memoir Come Back to Afghanistan recounts the first few years of the Karzai administration—in which Hyder's dad served as spokesperson and then governor of the Kunar province. Pitching in as translator to U.S. troops, Hyder accompanied Wali to a U.S. Army base to undergo questioning. Hyder assured the terrified Ali the Americans would treat him fairly. Three days later, Akbar returned to collect Wali's corpse.

You can read some background of Hyder's testimony here. Hyder's amazing series of "This American Life" episodes (produced by Susan Burton) can be found here. And you can read my interview with Hyder, in which he talks about the Wali episode, here.

Sign of the Apocalypse (Or: Kerry's Running Again)

Always ahead of the pack, John Kerry is trying to regain some political traction by sending out letters attacking Joe Lieberman.

So he's running. Need more evidence? Follow the money.

Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) is willing to use nearly $14 million left over from his 2004 presidential bid to narrow the fundraising lead of his chief rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.).His 2004 nest egg has given Kerry the luxury of focusing his efforts on raising money for Democratic candidates rather than worrying about money for his own 2008 Senate reelection race or about courting donors for another presidential run....

But using 2004 funds in a Democratic primary is certain to spark criticism from Democrats still angry that Kerry didn't spend all of his available resources to defeat Bush.
"The money is available. It's a loaded gun, whether he runs for president or Senate reelection," a Kerry aide said. "But Kerry's focus in 2006 is delivering for the party and getting Democrats elected, as evidenced by his aggressive fundraising for critical House and Senate seats and local races across the country."
Kerry's aides are highlighting the funds to dull the glitter of Monday's news that Clinton has raised $44 million for her reelection race against weak Republican competition and has $22 million in her Senate campaign's bank account.
Make it stop.

"There are No Hereditary Kings in America"

The legal logic in U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor's opinion that the NSA wiretapping program is unconstitutional may be weak, as some con-law scholars are claiming, but you gotta admire her flair for rhetoric:

"It was never the intent of the framers to give the president such unfettered control, particularly where his actions blatantly disregard the parameters clearly enumerated in the Bill of Rights…. There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution. So all 'inherent powers' must derive from that Constitution."

And even if her argument were airtight, would the GOP spin be any different?

Congressional Republicans quickly condemned Taylor's ruling, and the Republican National Committee issued a news release titled, "Liberal Judge Backs Dem Agenda To Weaken National Security."

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