Jenna McLaughlin

Jenna McLaughlin

DC Editorial Fellow

Jenna McLaughlin is an Editorial Fellow in Mother Jones' Washington Bureau. She has previously written and worked for DC Magazine and Baltimore City Paper. She recently graduated from the Johns Hopkins University's Writing Seminars Department. E-mail her at jmclaughlin@motherjones.com.

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Jenna McLaughlin is an Editorial Fellow at Mother Jones' Washington Bureau. She has previously written and worked for DC Magazine and Baltimore City Paper, and her work appears online at Elite Daily, Untapped Cities, and more. She enjoys running half marathons, sea kayaking, and trying new craft beers. She often covers matters of culture and the environment. She is a recent graduate of the Johns Hopkins University's Writing Seminars department, and you can reach her at jmclaughlin@motherjones.com.

Book Review: The Secret History of Wonder Woman

| Wed Oct. 29, 2014 6:24 PM EDT

The Secret History of Wonder Woman

By Jill Lepore

Alfred A. Knopf

If Wonder Woman's status as a feminist icon was ever in question, Jill Lepore's deeply researched tribute puts that to rest. Lepore, a New Yorker staffer and Harvard historian, delivers a trove of private documents belonging to the character's creator, William Moulton Marston. Her discoveries shed light not just on Marston's notable life—Harvard scholar, failed lawyer, co-inventor of the polygraph—but on the rich history of women's rights and how it plays out in his colorful panels.

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We Spent Millions so Afghans Could Film Live Sports With Headless Goat Carcasses—And Screwed It Up

| Fri Oct. 24, 2014 4:25 PM EDT
One of the TV trucks under tarps in Kabul, Afghanistan

In August 2011, the State Department purchased broadcast trucks for Afghan TV stations, for $3.6 million (206 million Afghanis), to help them tape live sporting events, like "buzkashi, soccer, cricket, and other sports." (Buzkashi, Afghanistan’s national sport, translates to "goat grabbing" where horse-mounted players drag a headless goat carcass towards opposing goals.)

But no one has been able to watch any goat carcasses filmed by those trucks in the past two years, because those trucks didn't show up until late July. And now, they're sitting around under tarps, unused—because the State Department could cancel the contract whenever it wants.

A scene from Buzkashi Boys depicting men playing buzkashi. Buzkashi Boys

John Spoko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), sent Secretary of State John Kerry a letter demanding an explanation for the delayed TV trucks on Friday.

According to the letter, in addition to the late delivery, the price of the television trucks "more than tripled" since the original order date. And, one of the trucks "was damaged in transit." As of September, the trucks are still sitting under tarps as the SIGAR staff waits for the State Department to accept delivery.

Spoko claims that, because the trucks were delivered so late, the State Department may elect to end the contract and take the trucks back. After the late delivery, the tripled unit cost and several contract modifications, Spoko is wary of how aboveboard this deal really is: "If this information is accurate, it suggests that something is seriously wrong with the way this contract was managed."

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that SIGAR had "teamed up" with State to purchase the trucks. SIGAR is investigating the arrangement. It was not involved in it.

Wed Oct. 29, 2014 6:24 PM EDT
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