TV and radio appearances by Nation writers and editors, big Nation announcements.
Tim Tebow’s openness about his Christianity has stirred up quite some controversy in the media and among sports fans. The Nation’s sports columnist Dave Zirin joined CNN to explain that the most disturbing thing about Tebow’s open exhibition of his religious belief is that it confirms the hypocrisy of the NFL’s right-wing politics.
“The more voters see of her, the more they like her,” Nation columnist Ari Berman said of Elizabeth Warren on Keith Olbermann’s Countdown yesterday. In a spirited discussion of the upcoming election, Ari analyzed the slanderous attack ads against Warren’s campaign—and argued that they indirectly endorse her own populist message. You can read more of Berman's coverage here.
With her recent Nation cover story “Capitalism vs. The Climate,” Naomi Klein came to the startling conclusion that climate change deniers may have gotten one fundamental aspect of our environmental predicament correct: seriously confronting the warming of our planet would essentially spell the end for free-market capitalism. With climate treaty talks now underway in Durban, South Africa, Klein spoke with Andrew Revkin about how she came to this realization, and their conversation, published today on the New York Times's Dot Earth blog, reveals the severity of the challenges we face:
Andrew Revkin: First, I was happy to see you dive into the belly of the many-headed beast challenging the need for greenhouse-gas cuts (as was clear from your piece, you recognize that there’s no single species called “deniers”). There are lots of slings and arrows awaiting anyone exploring this terrain, as was the case with the Heartland meeting in 2008. What prompted you to do an in-depth look at global warming stances and the issues underlying this “crisis”?
Naomi Klein: I got interested after attending the UN climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009. Like a lot of people who watched that train wreck up close, I came away wanting to understand the massive gap between the euphoric expectations of the environmental movement and the real political outcomes. When I got home, I was stunned by a new Harris poll that showed that the percentage of Americans who believed in anthropogenic climate change had plummeted from 71 per cent to 51 per cent in just two years. So here we were thinking that the world was on the verge of some kind of climate breakthrough while a large segment of the U.S. population was rejecting the science altogether. I wanted to understand how that could have happened.
I had a bit of an “a-ha” moment reading this paper by the excellent Australian political scientist Clive Hamilton, in which he argues that a great many American conservatives have come to see climate science as a threat to their core ideological identity. Then I read Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, which explains that many of the key scientists behind the denier movement hold a similar point of view – they are old-school Cold Warriors who came to see fighting environmentalism as a battle to protect “freedom” and the American way of life.
But as I read all this, I found myself thinking that from within the hard-right worldview, these responses were entirely rational. If you really do believe that freedom means governments getting out of the way of corporations and that any regulation leads us down Hayek’s road to serfdom, then climate science is going to be kryptonite to you. After all, the reality that humans are causing the climate to warm, with potentially catastrophic results, really does demand radical government intervention in the market, as well as collective action on an unprecedented scale. So you can understand why many conservatives see climate change as a threat to their identity. Too often the liberal climate movement runs away from the deep political and economic implications of climate science, which is why I wrote the piece. I think we need to admit that climate change really does demand a profound interrogation of the ideology that currently governs our economy. And that’s not bad news, since our current economic model is failing millions of people on multiple fronts.
Read the full interview on the New York Times's Dot Earth blog.
“I'm a vulture,” Nation contributor Maria Margaronis laments in her recent BBC radio feature on the Greek financial crisis. “I'm a vulture come to pick the bones of my poor miserable country.” In a devastating exploration of the day to day lives of Greek citizens, Maria visits the rapidly devolving streets of Athens, and explores the profound disconnection and rage that fuels its debilitating riots. You can listen to the full audio here. Read more of Maria’s coverage of the Greek crisis here.
The New York Public Library is planning on spending $250–350 million dollars on a colossal renovation of its main branch on 42nd Street. Seven levels of stacks of 3 million books will be moved to a storage space in Princeton, New Jersey, and a modern computer library will be built in the space.
The Nation's Scott Sherman talked on WNYC recently about this renovation and his article on this issue that appears in the December 19 issue of The Nation magazine. He raises the question of whether this planned makeover is necessary and hopes that his article will open up public discussion about this issue.
“There is a greater sense of urgency to move reform forward,” said Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo, in an interview with Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman in Durban, South Africa. A veteran of the anti-apartheid movement and a leading environmentalist, Naidoo urges activists to “name and shame” uncooperative corporations and governments into entering a dialogue on climate change—and argues that the US is neglecting to participate in talks “at a time when the world needs its leadership.” You can read more of Kumi Naidoo’s analyses of environmental issues here.
Within days of kicking off the drive to recall Governor Walker in Wisconsin, campaigners have collected more than 300,000 signatures. The recall drive will likely be able to collect significantly more signatures—200,000 to 300,000— than the minimum 540,208 needed for an election. The Nation’s John Nichols sat down with Mike Gousha on Up Front and talked about how this can affect the political climate in the state and the psychological impact on potential Democratic candidates.
Multiple accounts of alleged sexual harassment and an alleged thirteen-year extramarital relationship recently brought to the public’s attention have easily led many to wonder if GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain will drop out of the race, and if he does, when.
On today’s Sound-Off on MSNBC, The Nation’s Melissa Harris-Perry commented on Cain’s campaign after these allegations, saying that, despite the troubled situation Cain’s campaign is in, it is not likely that Cain will drop out before the first vote is cast in January.
“When you have people in leadership positions who are not exercising self-discipline and restraint, it's reasonable to expect their followers to do likewise,” said former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper on Monday’s Talk of the Nation, in an in-depth discussion of Occupy Wall Street and police brutality. Through the course of his conversation with sociologist Alex Vitale and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey—whose police force dismantled Occupy Philly early this morning—Stamper argued that police forces should work to cultivate stronger ties to their communities, rather than resort to violence. You can read more of Stamper’s criticisms of paramilitary policing here.
In a country with 40 million high school dropouts, most Americans agree that our public education system is in need of reform. In a recent appearance on The Leonard Lopate Show, however, investigative journalist Lee Fang argues that a network of conservative politicians and corporate interests are taking advantage of calls for change—and successfully lobbying for a privatization of public schooling through "virtual education." You can read Lee's expose of the right's effort to push "virtual schools" on the American public here.