TV and radio appearances by Nation writers and editors, big Nation announcements.
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.”
Dick Cheney’s new memoir, In My Time, and the accompanying promotional tour, have cause a good deal of eyebrow-raising at his tendency to retrospectively alter the reality of his vice presidency. On MSNBC’s The Ed Show, Nation correspondent John Nichols discussed whether or not Cheney’s revisionist writing habits are part of an effort to merely sell books, or to push a political agenda. According to Nichols, Cheney is wealthy enough that the money made from book sales is inconsequential—instead, Cheney is trying to cement his importance in the Republican party.
“He’s selling a story line that he thinks will keep him as an elder statesman of the Republican party,” Nichols told Schultz. “He never sees himself as being finished politically.” If a GOP candidate is elected president in 2012, Nichols said, Cheney hopes to use this book to leverage himself into a counselor’s role to the new administration. For more, read Nichols’s latest post on Cheney’s memoir.
Dick Cheney’s new memoir, In My Time, leaves a lot to be criticized, and as a result, he’s using his promotional book tour as an opportunity to defend it—the former vice president even told Matt Lauer on The Today Show that the Iraq War hasn’t damaged America’s global reputation. Nation columnist Melissa Harris-Perry appeared on MSNBC to share her thoughts on Cheney’s somewhat-deluded sense of recent history.
“Certainly there’s an unwillingness to take responsibility for the problems that occurred,” Harris-Perry said. “Those things somehow get written off of the Bush-Cheney legacy. But now things that have occurred three year’s into President Obama’s administration, he’s now taking credit for.” In the book, Cheney also takes shots at Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, misrepresenting the circumstances surrounding Powell’s resignation. “I do find it appalling, and obviously revisionist,” Harris-Perry said.
In battleground states—states where there have been special elections, and in the case of Wisconsin, recall elections—Democrats who run on a clear platform of standing with the workers, defending public education and taxing corporations and the wealthy have been doing as much as twenty percent better than Democrats who ran on more moderate platforms in the 2000 elections.
John Nichols joins Keith Olbermann on Countdown to discuss how Barack Obama needs to wake up and notice just how concretely these numbers reflect the progressive needs of the swing states. Read John Nichols’s recent article on former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold’s decision to leave politics for progressive campaigning here.
—Anna Lekas Miller
As the US edges closer to making a decision on the proposed pipeline that would bring unconventional—and very unclean—petroleum fuels across the Canadian border, protesters from across the country continue to gather in front of the White House. Among the protesters hoping to convince President Obama to block the construction of the pipeline has been leading environmentalist and Nation contributor Bill McKibben, who, after two days in a DC jail, joined Nation contributing editor Chris Hayes to discuss the protests and the pipeline.
McKibben, who wrote about his jail experience for TomDispatch, cited a NASA official and said that if the US taps the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, as planned, "it's essentially game over for our planet.... That's why this is the largest civil disobedience protest in a generation." He also explained that this is a perfect opportunity for Obama to make good on the promise he made that, during his presidency, "the rise of the oceans will begin to slow and the planet begin to heal."
The magnitude 5.8 earthquake felt up and down the East Coast certainly generated some overreactions and more than enough jokes—but it also raised serious questions as to whether infrastructure on this side of the country could survive a large earthquake in the future.
According to Nation contributing editor and Tropic of Chaos author Christian Parenti, it can't. The nuclear facilities are especially problematic, as many of them haven't been updated with the necessary safety precautions due to cost. "We have to remember, the fleet of atomic reactors in this country are privately owned money-making ventures," he told MSNBC's Martin Bashir. "And the owners don't really want to invest more money in safety."
Following the liberation of Libya from the reign of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi, how does the future look for the country, and how does the fall of Qaddafi reflect on President Obama’s foreign policy in the region? On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Jeremy Scahill argues that those who’ve criticized the president for not acting quickly or strongly enough in Libya are mistaken.
“He’s sort of implementing the Bush Domino agenda in the Middle East,” Scahill said. “We’ve got six, seven wars going at the same time, so that criticism is ill-founded. If anything, I think we should be questioning if this is the sort of policy the US wants to move forward with—forced regime change.”