Monika Bauerlein

Editor in Chief

Since taking the helm at Mother Jones in 2006, Monika and her co-editor, Clara Jeffery, have won two National Magazine Awards, launched a nine-person Washington bureau, relaunched the website, given birth, and forgotten what it’s like to sleep.

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Monika Bauerlein is co-editor of Mother Jones, where, together with Clara Jeffery, she spearheaded an era of editorial growth and innovation, marked by two National Magazine Awards for general excellence, the addition of a seven-person Washington Bureau, and an overhaul of the organization’s digital strategy that tripled MotherJones.com's traffic. Previously she was Mother Jones' investigative editor, focusing on long-form projects marrying in-depth reportage, document sleuthing, and narrative appeal. She has also worked as an alternative-weekly editor (at Minneapolis/St. Paul’s City Pages), a correspondent for US and European publications in Washington, D.C. and at the United Nations, an AP stringer, corporate trainer, translator, sausage slinger and fishing-line packager. She lives in Oakland.

The Day Senator Bunning Read the Newspaper

| Thu Jun. 29, 2006 12:40 AM EDT

So Kentucky's Sen. Jim Bunning says he doesn't read newspapers, but he did pick up a copy of the Times long enough to read the financial-surveillance story, and he knows treason when he sees it.

Bunning equated the Times' story last week on the bank records to publishing the phone number of Osama bin Laden, saying the al-Qaida leader would be tipped and change his number immediately.

"In my opinion, that is giving aid and comfort to the enemy, therefore it is an act of treason," Bunning said of the story, which detailed how the government is analyzing a massive database on international money transfers.

Let the record reflect that to suggest that terrorists would have had no way to suspect that their records might be surveiled--through an agency that out and out advertises its cooperation with law enforcement), you have to assume that they're pretty damn obtuse. But no matter: Bunning's point really is that, as Ari Fleischer would have it, "people need to watch what they say, watch what they do."

"What you write in a war and what is legal to do for the federal government, or state government, whoever it is, is very important in the winning of the war on terror."

Asked if that could be a recipe for government abuse of civil liberties, Bunning responded: "It could be."

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And Spitup is the New Black

| Mon Jun. 26, 2006 2:02 AM EDT

"I do think that children are becoming the new designer handbags," a baby-bling retailer tells the L.A. Times, a propos the run on the shirt that Shiloh J-P wore in her first public appearance. But then, what would you expect in a country where more than 500 people named their newborns Armani ? Then again, it beats Espn (pronounced Espin), yes, as in the channel.

"A broader surge in populist organizing"

| Mon Jun. 26, 2006 1:51 AM EDT

Did the Times just happen to discover ACORN, and find someone to tell them that there's a trend here? Or is there, in fact, a "broader surge in populist organizing around the country centered on issues like wages, gentrification, environmental disputes and immigrant rights"?

"Over the last 10 years we've seen pretty explosive growth in the number and scale of community groups working in poor communities and with people of color," said Deepak Bhargava, of the Center for Community Change, a Washington-based support center for local organizers. Mr. Bhargava said the activism was "approaching a scale that could have a transforming effect on American politics and society."

Sure would be interesting (and encouraging) to see the numbers behind this.

The Haditha Soundtrack

| Sat Jun. 24, 2006 2:40 AM EDT

A lot of ink can, and will, be spilled on what makes young men blow childrens' brains out in a war that doesn't make sense. But a song is worth a thousand words, and there's no more chilling (if unintentional) soundtrack to the news from Iraq these days than a song by a Marine that has lots of defenders on conservative websites.

Now it's worth remembering that there's a long tradition of this kind of thing-there was a song in Vietnam called Napalm Sticks to Kids--and of course it's more metaphor than description; horror breeds its own kind of self-caricature. But what makes it work, what makes the Hadji Girl audience chuckle and guffaw, is how close the horror of caricature is to the horror of reality.

As the bullets began to fly
The blood sprayed from between her eyes
And then I laughed maniacally

Will the real 20th hijacker...

| Thu Jun. 22, 2006 5:06 PM EDT

If, as AlQaeda claims, Fawaz al-Nashmi, a Qaeda operative killed in 2004 in Saudi Arabia was the 20th 9/11 hijacker, slated to join the team that took over Flight 93, what happens to Mohammad al-Kahtani, the prisoner at Guantanamo who the Bush administration has been insisting is the 20th hijacker (whenever it's not insisting that Zacharias Moussaoui was the 20th hijacker)? Al-Khatani was the subject of a March 3 Time expose, and the log of his interrogation, if you haven't seen it yet, is an absolute must-read.

Gitanjali S. Gutierrez, a staff attorney at CCR, met with the prisoner in December 2005 and in January of this year. She tells Time that in her meetings with him, Khatani "painfully described how he could not endure the months of isolation, torture, and abuse, during which he was nearly killed, before making false statements to please his interrogators." Al-Khatani, who has not been charged with anything, has withdrawn his statements, and Gutierrez has gone to federal court in the District of Columbia to demand that the government either release or charge him.

The interrogation transcript details conditions so severe, al-Khatani at one point had to be rushed to the hospital, according to CCR, which adds that "the Deputy Assistant F.B.I Director for Counterterrorism described Mr. al-Qahtani's state as `evidencing behavior consistent with extreme psychological trauma.'"

Here is a brief excerpt from an interrogation on December 16, 2002:


0315: White noise. He was offered a drink of water and he refused.
0400: P/E down. Showed detainee banana rats [sic] standard of life vs his standard of life in his wooden booth. Compared his life in a wooden booth to the life he could have with his brothers in Cuba .
0430: Detainee was walked for 10 minutes. Detainee refused water. 0450: Detainee listened to white noise.
0530: Detainee required to sit and watch as interrogator and linguist played checkers. Laughed and mocked detainee throughout game. White noise present in background.

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