The media have been grappling with some big questions this week: Is it a cliff or an obstacle course? Is she or isn’t she? She is? Will it be a boy or a girl? Meanwhile, violence continues in Syria and Pakistan, and Republican lawmakers in Michigan pushed through lame-duck anti-labor legislation. Check out the Nation intern roundup of the most important news below the fold.
Nader Atassi focuses on Middle Eastern politics and society.
“As Rebels close in on Damascus, Obama warns he’ll Intervene if Chemicals are Used,” by Juan Cole. JuanCole.com, December 5, 2012.
A short, but comprehensive blog post by Juan Cole sums up the situation in Syria at the moment. Two things are happening simultaneously: the revolutionaries are closing in on Damascus, while Obama ups his rhetoric by threatening intervention if chemical weapons are used in Syria, after an intelligence report claimed that the Assad regime was preparing its chemical weapons stockpiles for use. Given these events, it is clear that we are now reaching a critical and decisive stage in the Syrian crisis, and we may be nearing the Syrian endgame.
Jeff Ernsthausen focuses on domestic politics and the influence of money on public institutions.
“Michigan right-to-work bill expected Thursday; Dems promise fierce fight against it,” by Paul Egan. Detroit Free Press, December 5, 2012.
As early as December 6, GOP lawmakers in Lansing are expected to submit a bill that would make Michigan the twenty-fourth right-to-work state in the country, and the second in the industrial Midwest. Labor groups protested the action, with hundreds gathering in the Capitol rotunda Wednesday to voice their opposition. Republican governor Rick Snyder, who has previously said that right-to-work was not on his agenda, signaled earlier this week that he was open to considering such legislation during the lame duck session, which ends on December 20.
Stefan Fergus focuses on US media, the presidency and China.
“Mr. China Comes to America,” by James Fallows. The Atlantic, December 2012.
Fallows is one of the best journalists writing about China these days. In his latest long piece for The Atlantic, he presents a picture of the changing manufacturing environment in China, and offers a surprising argument: that as China’s workforce becomes more demanding, some manufacturing jobs could come back to the US. I’m a little skeptical, but it’s a well-written, interesting piece filled with insight and plenty of context, from a reporter who spent a couple of years living in and travelling around China. The same issue also has a companion piece, “The Insourcing Boom,” by Charles Fishman, that also argues for the return of manufacturing to the United States.