TV and radio appearances by Nation writers and editors, big Nation announcements.
The execution of Troy Davis in Georgia on the night of September 21 made him the 1,269th person executed in the US since the Supreme Court lifted its ban on the death penalty in 1976. Though Davis's case may be unique, it forces us to reexamine the cruelty and injustice that haunts our legal system.
The Nation's associate editor Liliana Segura joined Countdown with Keith Olbermann on Current TV last night to explain why Davis's execution should change the way we conceptualize the death penalty, law and justice. Davis put a human face on the cruelty of the death penalty, reminding us that we are not far removed from the times of lynching, Segura argues. In addition, she points out the racial bias and financial injustice that can affect death penalty sentencing. "Capital punishment... the person who doesn't have the capital gets the punishment," as Segura paraphrases some of her activist friends. "That pretty much sums it up."
Looks like Warren Buffet isn't the only billionaire with a social conscience. Yesterday, entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban called on America's richest citizens to pay their taxes, stating on his blog that contributing to the social fund is "the most patriotic thing you can do." Cuban's post comes on the heels of Obama's "combative" deficit reduction speech, which includes a "Buffett Rule" tax on American millionaires and billionaires.
The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel praised Obama's shift in strategy on The Ed Show last night, adding that "the majority of Americans are on his side."
Troy Davis was denied clemency this morning by the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles and is set to be executed by lethal injection at 7pm ET tomorrow night. The Nation's Melissa Harris-Perry says on her Sound Off segment on MSNBC today that "although closure is important, it is insufficient as a basis for taking the life of someone when there's simply too much doubt."
Representative and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Nation Editor at Large Chris Hayes's debut of his new political commentary show, Up with Chris Hayes on MSNBC this Saturday, September 17. During one part in last week's GOP Tea Party debate, the crowd went wild when moderator Wolf Blitzer asked whether an uninsured man in dire need of medical care should be left to die. For Pelosi, "That demonstration was heart-breaking."
The national average for SAT math scores fell one point and reading fell two points this year. In her Sound Off segment on MSNBC, The Nation's Melissa Harris-Perry says these new low in US SAT scores tells us a lot about the state of our education and society at large. SAT scores correlate with parental income or wealth more closely than with students' achievement in college. The lower SAT scores reflect the economic downturn and a more diverse student pool that consists of more minority students, first generation college-goers and non-English speaking students. Seeing this diversity as a positive sign, Harris-Perry points out a problem: because universities and colleges select students based on SAT scores which track students' family background rather than their capacity to perform academically, students admitted may not be as diverse a group as the general student pool.
President Obama brought his American Jobs Act to Columbus, Ohio, yesterday to gain support for a fight against the Republicans' attempt to kill the bill. Nation editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel spoke on MSNBC's The Ed Show yesterday about the GOP's exceptional obstructionism—especially when compared to other eras in the party's history, such as the productive administrations of Republican presidents Eisenhower and Nixon. The GOP's power-play in blocking the bill and other efforts by Obama has had a toxic impact on the Democrats' effort to jump-start the economy. Vanden Heuvel argues that a progressive movement from below is now growing in this country, and people have the power to retake the government from those who are attempting to dismantle it.
Democrats may have expected former Representative Anthony Weiner's New York seat to be a slam dunk for their party, but in today's special election to replace Weiner, the Democrats stand a very real chance of losing it to the Republicans.
On MSNBC today, Mellisa Harris-Perry says the political outlook for President Barack Obama and the Democrats will be dismal if the GOP takes the seat. The seat for the 9th District in New York may by itself be a relatively insignificant foothold for the Democrats, the party losing another seat in the House as President Obama is working hard to pass his jobs bill would be "demoralizing" to an already pretty demoralized party, says Harris-Perry.
The post office has come under fire from fiscal hawks for running a $9 billion deficit, and the threats have now reached the point where the service could be closed in a matter of weeks. What can be done to keep it in business?
Speaking on Current TV's Countdown, The Nation's Allison Kilkenny points out that the post office's staggering deficit is a result of its unreasonable healthcare burden and pension-fund contributions. Instead of privatization, the solution being pushed by the GOP, Kilkenny proposes "minor accounting tweaks" that could easily turn the post office around.
In the hours and days after 9/11, there was a sudden respect and solidarity with the government workers—firefighters, police and other rescue workers—who risked their lives to reduce the devastating losses of the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. This respect quickly dissipated once there were no more lives that needed to be saved, and the World Trade Center became a site for clean-up, rather than tragedy. Ten years later, government workers are actively bashed, rather than celebrated.
The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel explains on Morning Joe that currently, the government is stacked against the people. As Americans, vanden Heuvel argues, we need to not only recapture our government to once again make it of, by and for the people, but also respect government workers' vital service as separate from the corruption and bureaucracy inside of Washington. Read her column on the topic here.
—Anna Lekas Miller
According to a new Pew Research poll, a larger percentage of women and minorities use social media sites than their white and male counterparts—for instance, 69 percent of African-Americans aged 18 to 29 use social media, whereas only 63 percent of white Americans do. On MSNBC today, Nation columnist Melissa Harris-Perry argues that social media platforms offer a voice to segments of the American population that might not have had one before.
“These voices that haven’t had the traditional routes into cable television news or radio, they use social media as a way to be entrepreneurial in news discussions, in arts and culture discussions,” she said. “It’s a way of being in control of one’s own media sources.” And as for the women, who use social media at a rate of 48 percent, as opposed to men at 38 percent? Social media can help connect women whose hands are full as working mothers, a position Harris-Perry describes as sometimes socially isolating. “Just that ability to have a voice,” she added, “In the corporate boardroom you might be getting hushed and shushed, but you can say what you want on Twitter.”