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This Week: Tragedy in Connecticut. Plus: Michigan's Labor Battle | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Politics, current affairs and riffs and reflections on the news.

This Week: Tragedy in Connecticut. Plus: Michigan's Labor Battle

TRAGEDY IN CONNECTICUT. Yesterday’s horrifying school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut should lead us to seek serious and honest solutions to the raging epidemic of gun violence in this country. George Zornick writes how there have been sixteen mass shooting in the US in 2012, leaving eighty-eight people dead. The violence happened at a wide variety of different places—but what remains predictable is the frequency with which they happen. Find out more on three common sense gun laws that can’t pass Congress. And Lee Fang writes about the NRA and whether the gun lobby represents gun manufacturers or gun owners. “As we consider the potential for reform,” writes Fang, “one of the first questions we should ask this time is who does the gun lobby really represent?”

MICHIGAN’S LABOR FIGHT. Thousands protested this week after Michigan legislators passed the so-called “right-to-work” bill for public employees—anti-worker legislation that was funded by the same conservative lobbyists responsible for attempts to curtail labor rights in Wisconsin. Lee Fang reports how pro-“right-to-work” groups in Michigan—like the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity and the right-wing think tank The Mackinac Center—were behind the efforts, greatly outspending their union counterparts. As John Nichols observed in his blog, an attack on unions is an attack on democracy itself. “By making it harder for unions to organize and to represent workers, ‘right to work’ laws make it easier for corporations to get their political allies elected,” he writes. Find out how you can take action to fight back against the bill, which —according to the Economic Policy Institute—would not create jobs but reduce wages and benefits for all workers.

JOSH EIDELSON WINS SIDNEY AWARD. We were very pleased at Wednesday’s announcement from the Sidney Hillman Foundation that Josh Eidelson is this month’s Sidney Award Winner for his Nation reporting on the historic Walmart strikes. The Sidney recognizes outstanding pieces of investigative journalism that promote social and economic justice. Over the Black Friday weekend, Eidelson—a former Nation intern—liveblogged the demonstrations for over twenty hours, providing historical perspective and deep insight on the significance of the action on the ground. “Eidelson owned the Black Friday beat,” said Sidney judge Lindsay Beyerstein. “No one could match the depth, breadth and timeliness of his reporting.” Read an interview with him here, and take a look at his award-winning blog. And check back for more as he continues to cover Labor v. Walmart for The Nation.

ENDING THE WAR ON DRUGS. I hope you’ll take a look at this Video Nation interview featuring Eugene Jarecki, director of The House I Live In. “I can’t underscore just how disastrous this drug war has been,” says Jarecki. After forty years, a trillion dollars, and 45 million drug arrests, it’s time for a change. Watch Jarecki explain how to end the war on drugs—and how we need to start talking about drugs and addiction as a public health matter and not a criminal justice issue. For more, take a look at Jarecki’s Nation article, “Voting Out the Drug War.

NATION INTERNS. On Tuesday Nation Research Director Kate Murphy took our 2012 Fall interns to an early-morning Democracy Now! taping. “It was a great glimpse at how an independent television news program operates,” said intern Stefan Fergus. “After the show, Amy Goodman came out to speak with us, and we discussed our impressions of the media and the mission of DN!.” And they even got a shout-out on the air. After panning to our interns in the green room, Goodman remarked, “Speaking of Nation interns, last night on the plane back from Oslo, Norway, covering the Nobel Peace Prize, I was on the plane with the British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who was representing Britain at the Nobel Peace Prize. I asked him ‘How does being an intern at The Nation‘—which he was—‘prepare you for being the deputy prime minister of Britain?’ ” Watch that episode for more. For information on The Nation’s internship program click here—and take a look at the some of the great work of former Nation interns.

SCOTT SHERMAN & THE NYPL. Scott Sherman’s reporting on the New York Public Library and its Central Library Plan had a huge impact this year as opposition to the controversial plan intensified. This week the Design Observer Group’s “Lunch With the Critics” bestowed upon Sherman the Blue Ribbon for Public Advocacy for “leading the charge to hold the New York Public Library accountable for its renovation plans.” Read Scott Sherman’s investigation here.

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