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Nation in the News

Nation in the News

TV and radio appearances by Nation writers and editors, big Nation announcements.

Dave Zirin: Controversy Surrounds the 2014 Sochi Olympics

Samantha Retrosi

In the buildup to what are being described as the most corrupt Olympics in history, a broad spectrum of activists has raised issues with Sochi 2014. The list of concerns includes environmental degradation, rampant corruption, labor abuses, indigenous rights and animal mistreatment. Only two days before the opening ceremony, Nation contributor Samantha Retrosi and sports editor Dave Zirin appeared on Democracy Now! to discuss these pressing issues. Echoing sentiments shared in her recent article for The Nation, Retrosi commented on the “cruelty and exploitation” embedded within the Olympics, while Zirin claimed that “what’s happening in Russia is particularly bad, even by Olympic standards.”
Dustin Christensen

Would You Want Your 12-Year-Old Child Picking Tobacco?

Tobacco fields

While the legal age to purchase tobacco products may be 18, children as young as 10 are working in American tobacco fields. This dispatch by Fusion, reported in partnership with the Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund, provides an in-depth look at the hazards of tobacco farming, including nicotine poisoning and “green tobacco sickness.” As Rayner Ramirez reports, some 400,000 children work on US farms every year to help support their families, most of whom live below the poverty line. For more on the conditions faced by child farmworkers, see Gabe Thompson’s investigative piece for The Nation.
Allegra Kirkland

Dave Zirin: The NFL Treats Its Players As ‘Equipment’

Dave Zirin

Will the NFL’s recent $765 million settlement be enough to fully compensate all currently retired players with neurological conditions like dementia or Parkinson’s disease? According to Nation sports editor Dave Zirin, that concern isn’t at the top of the league owners’ minds. When he joined Animal New York contributing editor Amy K. Nelson and former NFL players Wade Davis and Roman Oben on Sunday’s Melissa Harris-Perry show, Zirin blasted the owners for treating their own players “as extensions of equipment, and when the equipment runs out, well, it’s on to the next one.”

Dustin Christensen

Sharif Abdel Kouddous: Egypt, Three Years Later

Sharif Abdel Kouddous

In an interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, Nation correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous provides an update on the crackdowns against dissent that have defined the three-year anniversary of the revolution. Thousands have been detained, including many prominent journalists and intellectuals, and street violence is rampant. At the same time, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who has ruled Egypt since the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi last July, appears to be setting the stage for his own presidential candidacy. According to Kouddous, “It’s a dark time for many of the young revolutionaries and activists who had very high hopes three years ago…many of whom are in prison now. It looks like the repressive security state is in ascendancy.”
Allegra Kirkland

Editor’s note: The interview with Kouddous starts at 14:00

Stephen F. Cohen: Right-wing Extremists Control the Kiev Protests

Stephen Cohen

Nation contributor and Russian studies scholar Stephen F. Cohen says the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government would be “a serious blow to democracy” in this conversation with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! and London-based researcher Anton Shekhovtsov. Arguing that Western media have misrepresented the protests, Cohen says Ukrainian moderates have lost control of the movement to right-wing extremists whose political activity “includes writing on buildings in western Ukraine, ‘Jews live here.’” He adds: “That’s exactly what the Nazis wrote on the homes of Jews when they occupied Ukraine.”
—Justine Drennan

Editor’s note: Cohen’s remarks begin at 43:03

Stephen Cohen: The Questionable Motives Behind Western Involvement in Ukraine

Kiev protest

Stephen Cohen, emeritus professor at Princeton University and NYU, appeared on the Pacifica Evening News for a discussion of the evolving situation in Ukraine. As protests spread from Kiev to other cities across the country, some of them turning violent, pressure for a Western response has escalated. Cohen believes that any action taken by the US and EU would be motivated by economic interest, not support for democratic dissent. “In this whole march towards the East, Ukraine is the prize. It’s the most European, it’s the largest, it’s in resource terms the richest…and the West wants to take that from Russia.”
Allegra Kirkland

Editorial note: Cohen’s remarks begin at 21:40

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Predictions for Obama’s State of the Union Address

Katrina vanden Heuvel on Up With Steve Kornacki

According to a recently released preview, President Obama’s State of the Union speech will focus on income inequality. Since this will be the cornerstone of his 2014 agenda, Obama has pledged to use executive orders to raise the minimum wage, pass immigration reform and extend unemployment benefits if Congress fails to take action. Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel appeared on MSNBC’s Up With Steve Kornacki, alongside Huffington Post editor Amandra Terkel, New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone and Chicago Sun-Times editor Lynn Sweet, to share her predictions for the address. For vanden Heuvel, Obama’s emphasis on the economy is part of a broader progressive resurgence nationally. “I think the president is being moved forward by a constituency that has waited too long.”
Allegra Kirkland

Stephen Cohen: The Unfolding Ukrainian Political Crisis

Kiev protest

In this wide-ranging interview, John Batchelor speaks with NYU Professor of Russian History Stephen F. Cohen about the violent turn of Kiev’s street protests and terrorist threats at the Sochi Olympics. According to Cohen, US officials maintain an overly simplified view of the Ukraine protests, failing to differentiate between the pro-EU and ultranationalist factions, and their interference is exacerbating tensions between Russia and the United States. Cohen said, “As this Western/Russian standoff grows into a full-scale confrontation, it spills over and spoils the opportunities for cooperation in Syria, on Iran and at the Sochi Olympics.” For more on the unfolding situation in Kiev, listen to Cohen’s interview on KPFA 94.1’s Letters and Politics.

—Allegra Kirkland

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Why de Blasio Needs the Grassroots

Katrina vanden Heuvel in conversation with Andrea Batista Schlesinger.

As part of the newly elected mayor’s Talking Transition initiative—a two-week project that allowed New Yorkers to offer their input on critical city reforms—Nation Editor Katrina vanden Heuvel participated in the “de Blasio and de Bagels” event. She argues that in order to carry out its ambitious progressive agenda, the de Blasio administration needs to focus on sustained citizen engagement. According to vanden Heuvel, “To be here is to see how participatory real democracy can be.” Visit the event page to learn more.

—Allegra Kirkland

Ari Berman: Can Moral Mondays Save North Carolina?

Ari Berman

North Carolina has traditionally been, politically speaking, the most moderate of the Southern states. In recent months, however, the state’s legislature has taken a sharp turn to the right as Republicans won both houses and began to enact a right-wing wish list, including tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy and scaling back access to unemployment benefits, Medicaid and even basic voting rights.

North Carolinians are fighting back—in April, the Moral Mondays movement began as a means to dramatize and publicize the drastic affects of decisions made in state politics. The Nation’s Ari Berman is featured in this short Bill Moyers documentary discussing the latest developments in North Carolina’s politics. Read his latest here.

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