Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast and beyond, leaving millions, including some Nation interns (and the Nation office) without power. Yet, interns managed to plug-in and bring you stories you would have a very good reason for missing these last few days. This week: a move against unions in Michigan, the displacement of Brazil’s indigenous and several underreported perspectives on Hurricane Sandy.
Nader Atassi focuses on Middle Eastern politics and society.
“Our Storm, and Syria’s,” by Philip Gourevitch. The New Yorker, October 29, 2012.
Philip Gourevitch puts what happens in Hurricane Sandy in perspective when he compares it to Syria's "nineteen months of hell." Although I don't agree with all of his conclusions, he shows how no matter how much destruction is caused by Sandy, after it is over, things will go back to normal, with the state and communities helping each other recover. In Syria, there is no such expectation: the destruction and leveling of entire cities will not be over the next day, it will continue, and no one will help people recover, especially not the state, as it is the one causing much of the destruction in the first place. This is not to belittle the suffering of people caused by Sandy, but simply to point out that, as bad as Sandy was, in some ways, we are fortunate.
Jeff Ernsthausen focuses on domestic politics and the influence of money on public institutions.
“Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst Group Weighs In On Michigan's Proposal 2,” by Joy Resmovits. Huffington Post, October 25, 2012.
This month, StudentsFirst, the politically active non-profit run by former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, contributed half a million dollars to a conservative coalition opposed to Michigan's Proposal 2, a union-backed measure that would constitutionally protect collective bargaining rights in the state. StudentsFirst defended the move, saying the proposal would undermine many of the legislative changes to public education enacted by the Republican-controlled statehouse in the past two years, many of which the state's teachers' unions opposed. Last year, StudentsFirst also found itself spending opposite Michigan's teachers' unions when it contributed tens of thousands of dollars to defend Republican state representative Paul Scott from a successful union-supported recall effort.
Stefan Fergus focuses on US media, the Presidency, and China.
“Obama Defends His Finance Reform Record to Rolling Stone: A Response,” by Matt Taibbi. Rolling Stone, October 26, 2012.
I thought this was a great, detailed response to a short segment of President Obama’s interview with Douglas Brinkley. The president turns around a question about his handling of the economic situation into a criticism of Rolling Stone’s reporting on the issue. This meant Matt Taibbi’s reporting, which naturally generated this response. In this long post, Taibbi offers a calm, detailed explanation and defense of his reporting.