Katrina vanden Heuvel is Editor and Publisher of The Nation.
She is a frequent commentator on American and international politics for ABC, MSNBC, CNN and PBS. Her articles have appeared in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Foreign Policy magazine, and The Boston Globe.
She writes a weekly web column for The Washington Post. Her blog appears at TheNation.com.
She is the author of The Change I Believe In: Fighting for Progress in The Age of Obama; Meltdown: How Greed and Corruption Shattered Our Financial System and How We Can Recover; and co-editor of Taking Back America—And Taking Down The Radical Right.
She is also co-editor (with Stephen F. Cohen) of Voices of Glasnost: Interviews with Gorbachev’s Reformers; editor of The Nation: 1865-1990; and of the collection A Just Response: The Nation on Terrorism, Democracy and September 11, 2001.
She is a recipient of Planned Parenthood’s Maggie Award for her article, “Right-to-Lifers Hit Russia,” and the National Women’s Political Caucus 2013 EMMA (Exceptional Merit in Media Award) for her piece “Women for Paid Sick Days.” The special issue of The Nation that she conceived and edited, “Gorbachev’s Soviet Union,” was awarded New York University’s 1988 Olive Branch Award. Vanden Heuvel was also co-editor of “You and We,” a Russian-language feminist newsletter.
She has received awards for public service from numerous groups, including The Liberty Hill Foundation, The Correctional Association, and The Association for American-Russian Women.
In 2003, she received the New York Civil Liberties Union’s Callaway Prize for the Defense of the Right of Privacy. She is also the recipient of The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s 2003 “Voices of Peace” award and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s 2006 “Justice in Action” award. In 2010, she received the Exceptional Woman in Publishing Award honoring women who have made extraordinary contributions to the publishing industry. In 2013, she received American Rights at Work’s Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award.
In 2014, vanden Heuvel received the Norman Mailer Center Award for Distinguished Magazine Publishing; the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal; the Center for Community Change’s Champion in Activism Award; and New York’s Young Democrats’ Engendering Progress Award. In 2015, she received the Progressive Congress Leadership Award on behalf of her work “creating pathways of success on behalf of progressive causes.”
Vanden Heuvel serves on the boards of The Institute for Policy Studies, The Campaign for America’s Future, The Correctional Association of New York, The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, Research to Prevent Blindness, The Jules Stein Eye Institute, The Nation Institute, The Four Freedoms Park Conservancy, and The Sidney Hillman Media Foundation.
She is a summa cum laude graduate of Princeton University, and she lives in New York City with her husband.
General Wesley Clark's candidacy is still a work in progress. In his debut debate on September 25th, the Man from NATO said he needed more time to hammer out policies on healthcare, trade and social security. But what if he had been asked about his favorite song? (When journalist Farai Chideya posed that seemingly trivial question in the previous debate, the replies turned out to be far more interesting than expected.)
Would Clark have had a clear and resolute answer? Maybe. After all, he quotes Bob Dylan's Blowin' In the Wind toward the end of his memoir, Waging Modern War, and writes affectionately about the protest music (Peter, Paul and Mary, Trini Lopez and Dylan) that he used to love to listen to as a young man. Of course, Clark could play it safe and select a traditional military fave: Garryowen (the song of the seventh cavalry and the most famous fighting song in the US Army), or the Theme from Superman or Off We Go Into The Wild Blue Wonder.
But, it's much better to answer from the heart than to have your expert advisers focus group the question to death before coming up with the politically correct answer. So I hope the general will stick with Dylan, although he may want to opt for Don't Think Twice, It's All Right over Desolation Row, Sitting On A Barbed Wire Fence or You Ain't Goin' Nowhere.
The Dalai Lama recently ended a twenty-day trip to the United States that at times resembled a rock tour more than the series of scientific, spiritual and political meetings which took up much of the Tibetan leader's time in this country.
And whether he was talking to scientists at M.I.T. studying the impact of meditation on human happiness, delivering a sermon on nonviolence and compassion to tens of thousands in New York City's Central Park or conducting an all-day series of discussions about the "ethical revolution and the world crisis," with politicians, activists and media figures at Manhattan's Town Hall, the Dalai Lama drew tremendous (and mostly reverential) attention wherever he went.
The Town Hall event, held on a torrential Tuesday, was organized by Tibet House and its founder Robert Thurman and featured a four-part series of conversations on environmentalism, the media, the politics of war and the ethics of business. The invitees might be best be described as eclectic: Presidential candidates Al Sharpton, and Dennis Kucinich, Co-founder of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Ben Cohen, environmentalists Randall Hayes, David Crow and Paul Hawken, Nobel Peace Prize nominee Helen Caldicott, hip hop mogul and entrepreneur Russell Simmons and socially responsible investor Amy Domini. I joined Democracy Now's Amy Goodman and actress Susan Sarandon on the media panel.
"Is California Crazy?" was how The Week magazine billed its political discussion yesterday. Journalists (and gossip columnists, politicos, NYC fixtures and one of California's 135 gubernatorial candidates--porn star Mary Carey) filled Michael Jordan's Steakhouse in Grand Central Station for an afternoon panel on the California recall.
Harold Evans moderated a spirited, serious, chaotic, sometimes comical debate between the scions of two political families (Barry Goldwater, Jr and Ron Reagan, now a fighting independent liberal sort), longtime California state legislator and activist Tom Hayden and profiler of the Kennedy family Ed Klein.
I still don't know if California is crazy, but there were moments when California's carnivalesque politics seemed to fill the room, and it was certainly a lively and fairly enlightening discussion among an eclectic group of panelists.
Has the Washington Post op-ed page gone into the "Op-Ad" business? In early September, the paper published an op-ed piece by Mark Penn, a paid political adviser to Democratic Presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman. The piece was a big wet kiss for Lieberman's candidacy, a lecture to wayward party activists and another warmed over Democratic Leadership Council sermon. You know the drill:
"...People are seeking a progressive moderate -- someone who is strong on defense and earns high marks on personal values..."
Penn's "Op-Ad" bashed Howard Dean for making the party look weak on defense, criticized Gephardt's healthcare plan for its price tag, and attacked Kerry for abandoning Clinton's trade policy. "Most Democrats," he insisted, "want to see a moderate candidate for President." What Penn doesn't say is that Lieberman continues to preach a Republican-lite line that is so out of touch with political realities on the ground that it sometimes inspires laughter at Democratic Party gatherings.
One good measure of this Administration's extremism is the steady drumbeat of criticism being leveled against it by leading establishment figures--many not known for being politically outspoken.
Just the other day, Pulitzer-prize winner James McPherson, one of America's preeminent Civil War historians and the current President of the prestigious American Historical Association (AHA) published a blistering critique of President Bush and his national security adviser Condoleezza Rice in the September AHA newsletter.
Among other charges, he accuses them of mis-using the term "revisionist historians" to derisively deflect criticism and denigrate a legitimate and essential activity of his profession.
Maybe it's a drug problem? Comedian D.L. Hughley may just be on to something. Take Hughley's recent exchange with neocon Bill Kristol, editor of Rupert Murdoch's Weekly Standard, on Bill Maher's "Real Time" on HBO.
Kristol: "We're not failing in Iraq. In fact, we've done an amazing job. If you had said six months ago that we would have a total of 300 American casualties, and rather few Iraqi casualties--I mean under 10,000 probably--no ethnic warfare, no religious warfare, huge parts of the country pretty peaceful, the American military doing really a fantastic job of running the country, parts of the country, that was all good news. Now the bad news is there's a nasty counter--there's a nasty insurgency that we need to crush, because there are Baathist remnants, and there are terrorists there."
Hughley: "You're high, aren't you? You're high! [laughter] [applause] I have a cousin in rehab and he says a lot of the same things, let me tell you. [laughter] [applause]
"I want to do everything," Madonna said recently. I thought she was talking about positions. (I was a keen reader of her X-rated 1992 book of photography, Sex.) My twelve year old daughter thought she was talking about her MTV Video Music Awards' open-mouth pump and grind kissing routine with Britney Spears and Cristina Aguilera.
Turns out that we were clueless. Madonna has found another way to have it all. On September 15th, this kinder and gentler forty-four year old mother of two, America's premier mistress of reinvention (once married to bad boy Sean Penn and involved romantically with, among others, Warren Beatty and Dennis Rodman), tackled J.K. Rowling's empire.
Madonna's first children's book, English Roses, was simultaneously released in more than one hundred countries in forty two languages with all the hoopla and publicity that normally surrounds Rowling's Harry Potter. The plot is based on Madonna's spiritual lodestar Kabbalah--the mystical Jewish guide to the universe. ("Yikes, I for one never knew Madonna was Jewish," writes some strange columnist called Mr. Joel of Hollywood, an independent blogger.)
It was reported today that retired four-star General, ardent critic of Bush's national security policies, telegenic TV commentator, and recently declared Democrat Wesley Clark will enter the crowded presidential race.
Democrats believe that Clark, as a former military officer, could make the party more viable on foreign affairs than it's been since a general named George Marshall was containing Communism under the command of a president named Harry Truman. (That's the conventional wisdom, though the staggering cost of the badly bungled Iraqi occupation has diminished the Republican advantage on defense no matter who runs against Bush.)
While media commentary on Clark's prospective candidacy has been almost entirely favorable--even adulatory--it's worth looking back at a forgotten chapter in his military biography that occurred when Clark was Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and Commander In Chief for the US European Command. Call it Clark's "High Noon" showdown. It's an incident that deserves scrutiny because Clark's claim to be an experienced leader in national security matters is tied, in significant part, to his record in the Balkans.
So, Richard Perle--a man whose arrogance knows no limits, whose countless op-eds and television appearances about the imminent threat Iraq posed to the US deceived the American people---has now admitted that he and his neocon cabal underestimated the disastrous consequences of poor postwar planning.
In a recent interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro, the NeoCon Prince of Darkness acknowledges, "Our main mistake, in my opinion, is that we haven't succeeded in working closely with Iraqis before the war so that an Iraqi opposition could have been able to immediately take the matter in hand."
But wasn't it the Bush Administration's over-reliance on the claims of the self-interested exiled Iraqi opposition (and its handmaidens on the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board), that was one of the main reasons for the US failure to anticipate the postwar crisis? As the costs of occupation soar--in both lives and dollars--shouldn't chickenhawks like Perle be held accountable for their failures and fabrications?
(Update on "Sally Baron RIP")
The AP reports explaining that Wisconsite Baron's family had asked that memorials in her honor be made to any organization working for the removal of President Bush from office caught the attention of American citizens far from the verdant scenery of Wisconsin.
The Madison Capital Times reports that already "dozens of people from around the United States have written to the [paper] saying they will make donations." (People have even printed shirts featuring a photo of Baron.) And Keith Olberman's national coverage of the Baron family's request on MSNBC recently is sure to increase this number.