Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery


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.


Lieberman "Energized," Clinton Triangulating...

| Wed Aug. 16, 2006 4:25 AM EDT

So Patrick Healy and Nick Confessore report in the New York Times that Joe Lieberman is "energized" and "emboldened" and that, already, there's a "full-throated" re-enactment of the "blistering" primary taking place.

We'll leave the jokes to Wonkette, but the spiciest part of this piece comes a few paragaraphs down:

The senator appears so emboldened that in spite of the Democratic unity around Mr. Lamont, some Washington Democrats are now acknowledging that a Lieberman victory in November is a distinct possibility. According to guests at a fund-raiser for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Hamptons on Saturday, Mrs. Clinton — who is supporting Mr. Lamont — said that Mr. Lieberman had more than a 50-50 chance of winning re-election. (Clinton aides said they could not confirm or deny the remark; one of the aides said that if Mrs. Clinton had discussed the race, she might have been referring to a new poll that had Mr. Lieberman slightly ahead.)
It depends on what the definition of "chance" is?

The way you know the 2008 race has begun in earnest is how the Clintons have ramped up the triangulation. (And with both of them triangulating, it's more like hexagonation.) I don't get as white hot angry on this subject as many on the left; to my mind there's a certain tactical dexterity you just have to admire. That dexterity was the real core of the Clinton/Morris doctrine; running to the middle was only a method to reach a goal. (On this point, I disagree somewhat with MoveOn's Eli Pariser). The real goal was to give Bill as much maneuvering room as possible.

So now it is Hillary who needs the room to maneuver, and never more than now, when she's trapped between the "always anti-war" left and the (far more electorally important) "fairly recently disenchanted." Her gender makes her, more than any male candidate, vulnerable if the Republicans' "cut-and-run Defeatocrats" line gains traction. (I don't like that this is so, but it is the truth.)

Enter Bill. By pivoting around her, he can fake a play in one direction, while she moves to the other, or throw her a pass downfield. Ignoring the Dubai ports debacle, which was failed triangulation (or was it?), the Clinton's have been running these plays beautifully. There's been all the mixed messages over Lieberman and Lamont, of course, but let's also not forget that at the height of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth"/"candidate again?" hoopla, the Clinton Foundation launched an anti-global warming initiative. Which is great, but also conveniently timed.

Also in the NYT piece, this little tidbit.

Yet Mr. Lamont's staffing needs are also one of several signs that his rookie bid for statewide election is still evolving: He lacks such basic political tools as an opposition research effort to ferret out the sources of Mr. Lieberman's campaign contributions and other tidbits that might embarrass the senator. Mr. Lamont's communications and advance operations also need to be expanded, said Tom Swan, the campaign manager.
"There is a need for us to adjust a lot, to adjust significant pieces of the campaign and tap our thousands of volunteers," Mr. Swan said. "Having said that, I believe we have a lot to build off of to make that easier."
Code for bloggers=oppo research?

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Tucker Carlson On Dancing With the Stars

| Tue Aug. 15, 2006 11:49 AM EDT

Define "stars."

Can you do a grand jeté over a shark? Because I'd sure like to see Jerry Springer (who's also signed up for a turn on DWTS) try. (Though, in fairness, Springer is shelling out to defeat Ohio's Kenneth Blackwell, a cause for which we are perhaps willing to forgive all past and present assaults against taste.)

Terror Arrest Timing: White House Spins Lamont Victory at Expense of Our Safety

| Sun Aug. 13, 2006 9:36 PM EDT

The Tattered Coat has a great post on how the Bush administration forced the timing of the recent London terror plot arrests. Analyzing reporting done by NBC and others, TTC's Matt notes:

This goes way beyond what we understood previously — that the Bush Administration knew about the arrests ahead of time, and timed a PR offensive against the Democrats around it.
It turns out that it was the other way around: the Bush Administration orchestrated the timing of the arrests to coordinate them with the PR offensive, which attacked Democrats after Ned Lamont's victory in the Connecticut primary.
For the GOP, the short-term political importance of getting the Lamont victory, and the developing sense that America had fully turned against the Iraq War, off the news was reason enough to disrupt an active terror investigation. The disruption hurt the legal case against the terrorists — it will be much harder to convict them without passports or airline tickets. The GOP was so insistent on the timing that they threatened to "render" the lead suspect if the British did not comply with their wishes.
The Republicans, in other words, once again played politics with national security, and hurt anti-terrorism efforts as they did so.
They cannot be trusted to protect us from the threat of terrorism because — to paraphrase The Downing Street Memo — they fix terror investigations around smear campaigns.

And it's not just liberal bloggers who won't be fooled again. This morning I heard a commentator on the (delightfully) sleepy show CBS Sunday Morning (the one with all the suns) say pretty much the same thing. Lyndon Johnson once said he'd knew he'd lost the country when he lost Walter Cronkite. Watch any show where reporters or anchors or pundits are allowed to deviate from the teleprompter, and it's becoming increasingly clear Bush has lost us all. Well, except for Charles Krauthammer. But then he yells at rabbis.

Memo to Lieberman: It's the Sanctimony, Stupid

| Sun Aug. 13, 2006 2:23 PM EDT

Lost in all the discussion over to what degree Ned Lamont's victory in the Connecticut Democratic primary does or does not indicate regarding

1) public opinion on the war
2) potential for a reprise of the Eugene McCarthy split in the Democratic Party
3) anti-incumbent fervor
4) Joementum

is perhaps the real reason Lieberman lost. He's sanctimonious. And he's opportunistic about his sanctimony.

Now I have no doubt that Lieberman is a religious man, who takes his faith seriously, and that his faith does inform his politics, making him more conservative than some in the DNC on some issues. But there's a difference between piety and sanctimony. As the editorial page of the New Hampshire Concord Monitor put it:

To say that Lieberman lost merely because of his steadfast support for the war oversimplifies the case. Lieberman has a strong sense of morality that unfortunately can spill over into righteousness and sanctimony. That side came out when he harshly chastised President Clinton over his affair with an intern. It came out again in December when he issued this warning: "It is time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be commander-in-chief for three more critical years, and in matters of war, we undermine presidential credibility at our nation's peril."
Of late, Lieberman's sanctimony has reared its ugly head in his statements that Lamont voters had handed a victory to terrorists, and his self-righteous persistence in staying in the race over the wishes of his constituents and his party. Lieberman may keep his political career alive by going further down the path of sanctimony. Indeed, pundits are already speculating that if he wins as an independent and keeps his committee seats he could find himself as a key Senate tiebreaker, forcing both parties to kiss his ring.

Such an outcome would, no doubt, reinforce Lieberman's high opinion of himself. But I would argue that what Lieberman's primary loss might really augur is voter rejection of politicians who lecture us from on high, who wrap themselves in the flag and twist scripture, who are patronizing in their "trust us" statements, who offer no solutions other than their continued "leadership."

That would be a Joementum we could all get behind.

Feds Say: California and Oregon Salmon Fisheries a "Failure"

| Fri Aug. 11, 2006 12:18 PM EDT

AP's Jeff Barnard reports: "Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez on Thursday declared commercial salmon fishing a failure off Oregon and California this year, based on sharp harvest cutbacks imposed to protect struggling returns to the Klamath River."

This is, on the one hand, good news for fisherman, in that it frees up $80 million in federal aid. But it's bad news for them, as well as all the other people concerned with the plight of fisheries and the ocean (and no one more than us), because it is yet another sign marine ecosystems are crashing.

What, in this case, is to blame? Via the AP:

Gutierrez blamed five years of drought in the Klamath Basin for low water and growing infestations of parasites that are diminishing salmon returns there.
Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and salmon fisherman Mike Newell of Newport, a member of the Oregon Salmon Commission, blamed the problems on the failure of the Bush administration to deal with long-standing problems of poor water quality and loss of habitat in the Klamath Basin. "It's a long overdue recognition our fisheries are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy because of the lack of a viable season," DeFazio said. "We have a very sick river system that needs a significant amount of investment, or this will just happen again and again."

Both are right. As the AP's Barnard notes, "the Klamath River has been a flashpoint for conflicts between the Bush administration and farmers on one side and fishermen, Indian tribes and conservation groups on the other over allocations of scarce water between farms and fish."

In 2003, Bruce Barcott wrote a nice piece for us on the Klamath called "What's a River For?"

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