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 “Editor’s Cut” 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.
While the Administration denies media reports that it has given US forces in Iraq the go-ahead to shoot looters on sight, Donald Rumsfeld, testifying last week before the Senate Appropriations Committee, promised that US forces will be "using muscle" to contain the looting. Rumsfeld also called for patience, saying of Iraq: "We can't make it like the United States in five minutes, and we know that."
Some good Senator should have asked Rumsfeld about the looting going on in Washington, DC. Politically-connected corporations with close ties to the Bush Administration are arranging lucrative contracts to rebuild Iraq. (Bechtel has a contract worth up to $700 million and the Halliburton subsidiary has been authorized to take profits of up to $490 million.) And where was the Senator to point out how singularly ill-suited the Bush Administration is to the task of rebuilding Iraq?
Bush Inc.--the most resolutely anti-government Administration since before the New Deal--is brazenly indifferent to the rebuilding--or even the maintaining--of the United States. So Rumsfeld & Co's idea of making Iraq like the US may not take as much time as they think--if it means gutting the infrastructure of a country, while looting its treasury (and oil wealth) to line the pockets of war-profiteering corporations.
Sociologist Herbert Gans has a good idea. "What if the news media reported the best of the monologue material as well as the currently circulating political jokes and connected them with the news stories that inspired them?"
After all, as Gans reminds us in his new book Democracy and the News, many people, particularly those between eighteen and thiry-five, get much of their news from late-night comedy hosts like Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien and Jon Stewart, of Comedy Central's The Daily Show (recently described by Susan Douglas in The Nation as "the medically prescribed antidote to CNN and Fox.")
Here's a joke I'd like to see connected to the news stories that inspired it. It's from one of my favorite comedians--Chris Rock:
What is it with neocon women? They'll find any opportunity to bash the upper west side. In last Friday's Wall Street Journal, former Dan Quayle speech-writer and charter member of the rightwing, antifeminist Independent Women's Forum Lisa Schiffren shared her sex fantasies:
"I had the most astonishing thought last Thursday. After a long day of hauling the kids to playdates and ballet, I turned on the news. And there was the president, landing on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, stepping out of a fighter jet in that amazing uniform, looking--how to put it?--really hot. Also, presidential, of course. Not to mention credible as a commander in chief. But mostly 'hot' as in virile, sexy and powerful. You don't see that a lot in my neighborhood, the Upper West Side of Manhattan. (I'm told there's more of it in the 'red' states.)"
Lisa, Lisa, Lisa, where are you hanging out? Not in my neighborhood, my upper west side. Haven't you walked through Riverside Park this spring? Checked out the running paths and soccer fields? What about the basketball courts at 92nd and Amsterdam?
I was surprised when the producer from Chris Matthews' MSNBC show Hardball said they wanted me to talk about the controversy surrounding sportswriter Bob Ryan. Maybe I shouldn't have been, what with Michael Jordan as front page news in the Washington Post, and the increased politicization of sports generally--remember Manhattanville College basketball player Toni Smith's now-famous antiwar protest? And, more recently, there was the delicious controversy over the banning of a showing of "Bull Durham" by the Baseball Hall of Fame because of Tim Robbins' antiwar statements. Plus, the NBA playoffs are currently in full-swing, as I know from my basketball-obsessed family. (My twelve year old daughter begins every morning by reading the sports pages.)
It seems Ryan, a venerable Boston Globe sports columnist, set off a firestorm when he said on a local sports TV show that he'd like to "smack" Joumana Kidd, wife of New Jersey Nets star point guard Jason Kidd, whose team, is currently locked in a bitter playoff battle with the Boston Celtics. The comment was particularly insensitive because two years ago Kidd was arrested for striking his wife in a widely-publicized domestic violence incident. After criticism mounted, the Globe quickly suspended Ryan for one month without pay. "Bob Ryan's comments were "offensive and unacceptable," said Martin Baron, the editor of the Globe.
Speaking as a woman, I do find Ryan's comment offensive, cruel and insensitive to the issue of domestic abuse. But, as an editor, I am troubled by suspending a columnist for mean and offensive language. It seems to me that columnists have a certain license, and nothing Ryan said made it impossible for him to continue his work. And while his comments--made on talk radio, not in his column--made the Boston Globe look bad that's not a reason, to me, to suspend him.
There's no denying that George Bush knows how to stage patriotic spectacles at sea, but the reality back on shore is not so technicolor pretty. Did you know that Top Gun Bush is poised to become the first President since Herbert Hoover to preside over job destruction rather than job creation? Thanks to Daniel Gross's article, recently posted on Slate, we also know that Bush's last tax cut, the largest cut in American history, has so far "cost" America 1.7 million jobs and counting.
For a good comparison of how Bush's record of job destruction compares to previous presidencies since World War II, check out the following compilation by the International Association of Machinists, which looked at the average growth in monthly employment during the terms of the last fifteen presidential administrations.
Truman First Term: 60,000 jobs gained per month
Truman Second Term: 113,000 jobs gained per month
Eisenhower First Term: 58,000 jobs gained per month
Eisenhower Second Term: 15,000 jobs gained per month
Kennedy: 122,000 jobs gained per month
Johnson: 206,000 jobs gained per month
Nixon First Term: 129,000 jobs gained per month
Nixon/Ford : 105,000 jobs gained per month
Carter: 218,000 jobs gained per month
Reagan First Term: 109,000 jobs gained per month
Reagan Second Term: 224,000 jobs gained per month
G. Bush: 52,000 jobs gained per month
Clinton First Term: 242,000 jobs gained per month
Clinton Second Term: 235,000 jobs gained per month
G.W. Bush : 69,000 jobs LOST per month
Conservative talking head and former Bush speechwriter David Frum was quoted yesterday by Howard Kurtz in his online Washington Post media column criticizing my "amazing breath control" and "dazzling long-windedness" during a recent TV program on which the two of us appeared.
I must apologize if Frum felt deprived of his fair share of air time. As we all know, conservative pundits tend to be shy and reserved. Pity Frum and his comrades--Newt Gingrich, Richard Perle, Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, Fred Barnes--for not being able to express themselves fully in the face of the widespread "microphone-hugging stunts" of the "hard left." Next time, I am on-air with Frum, I promise--really, I do--to throttle back so that his side finally has a chance to reach the public. And perhaps he will take that opportunity to engage the arguments at hand and not worry so much my breathing. Though if he is really interested, I can send him the name of a good yoga instructor.
About a month ago, George Soros sent me a letter along with a copy of a recent speech he'd delivered offering his views on "America's Role in the World." (I'm sure I was one of thousands to get the mailing.) Soros wrote that he was looking for a presidential candidate "who could articulate an alternative vision for America's role in the world and so far I have found two, Governor Howard Dean of Vermont and Senator John Kerry."
I thought of Soros' letter after reading that Kerry's campaign had blasted Dean's credentials as potential commander in chief. As Kerry's communications director, Chris Lehane, put it in attacking the former Vermont Governor's comment: "No serious candidate for the presidency has ever before suggested that he would compromise or tolerate an erosion of America's military supremacy." But who's talking about eroding US military supremacy? (Maybe Kerry went on the attack because he is stung from being derided for "looking French," by an unidentified White House official.)
It turns out that the former Vermont governor was quoted on Time.com as saying something eminently reasonable: "We have to take a different approach [to diplomacy]. We won't always have the strongest military." Some might consider this an alternative vision. I think it's just common sense. Dean's campaign manager, Joe Trippi, said all his candidate was saying was that Bush's foreign policy will ultimately leave the nation less safe in the war against terrorism by relying too heavily on military force at the expense of diplomacy.
Is Bush taking lessons from Julius Caesar? Apparently so. When Caesar's short but bloody conquest of the Celtic tribes led to the founding of the Roman province of Gaul (modern France) in 52 B.C. he divided the country into three parts. Well-connected sources tell us that Bush plans to divide Iraq into three parts as well: Premium, regular and unleaded.
Skip the stories about pro-consul Jay Garner, Bechtel's war profiteering and the Bush Administration's professed commitment to building democracy in Iraq. For a clear-eyed view of democracy-building according to Bush, see today's edition of Aaron McGruder's celebrated comic-strip Boondocks.
Chief protagonist and avid news junky Huey Freeman sits in front of his TV, listening to the latest news report:
"To guarantee free and fair elections in Iraq as soon as possible, President Bush announced he would be sending Katherine Harris to Baghdad next week."