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Nation in the News | The Nation

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Nation in the News

Nation in the News

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

Wendell Berry on the Kentucky Statehouse Sit-in to Stop Mountaintop Mining

Yesterday afternoon, a group of protesters emerged from their four-day occupation of Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s office in opposition to mountaintop removal mining. The group, which included author and Nation contributor Wendell Berry, are part of a growing movement across the central Appalachian coalfields to abolish the devastating mining technique.

On Sunday, Berry spoke to Huffington Post blogger Jeff Biggers and Kentucky filmmaker Ben Evans about the reasons behind the group's protest. Coal extracted from mountaintops provides less than 8 percent of national production and has irreversible, harmful impacts on the environment and the health of the local community.

The governor, Berry says, admitted to believing the coal mining could take place without damage to the land or people. Measurable evidence shows its already impacted the region.

For more information and for more videos of Berry and other activists, see Jeff Bigger’s Huffington Post article.

Sara Jerving

Challenging the Idea That WikiLeaks Is No Big Deal

The Nation's Greg Mitchell has been covering the WikiLeaks cable dump for nearly eighty days now, and his MediaFix blog continues to be a first stop for readers looking for the latest on all things related to WikiLeaks. In a radio appearance on Antiwar Radio, Mitchell talks about some of the stories he has been highlighting, like the Julian Assange extradition hearing in the United Kingdom, cables on Egypt's Omar Suleiman and the detention of former Pfc. Bradley Manning.

During a discussion of how many of these stories should be bombshells that send shockwaves but remain overlooked, Mitchell explains part of what he has been doing has been an "answer to people who have said going back to the 'Collateral Murder' video, 'What's the big deal?'"

Mitchell, author of The Age of WikiLeaks, highlights how WikiLeaks likely fueled the Tunisia Revolution, which has inspired Egyptians and others in Middle Eastern and North African countries to protest state repression. He says if they had only done that they would be a big deal, but in reality they have done much more and, for key examples, here are thirty-two revelations that have come to light thanks to WikiLeaks.

—Kevin Gosztola

Remembering the Sports Heroes Who Fought for Change

“If you could have dinner with one person in the history of sports, particularly connected to the African American experience…who would it be?” The Nation’s Dave Zirin puts this question to an all-star panel as part of a larger discussion on the role sports have had in improving the lives African Americans. Author Michael Eric Dyson, FanHouse columnist Kevin Blackistone and former football player Bobby Mitchell join him on CSN in a four-part series to mark Black History Month.

For Dyson and Blackistone, it was Muhammad Ali and Paul Robeson, who at their time were controversial for their outspoken anger at systematic racism. But for Mitchell, who desegregated the Washington Redskins 50 years ago, its revisiting the summers of his youth where he had the opportunity to play with athletes like baseball players Roy Campanella and Monte Irvin.

“I’d like to sit with Roy…because I have a lot of questions for him now," Mitchell says. "And again, I want to thank him for buying my graduation suit my senior year in High School.”

Click here for the first, second and third videos in the series.

Sara Jerving

Sports and Empowerment

In his State of the Union Address, when Obama asked America’s youth to celebrate science fair winners, not just Super Bowl champions, he downplayed the fact that sports have historically been an important avenue toward empowerment for many African American youths, author Michael Eric Dyson says.

To mark Black History month, Dyson joined a panel conversation moderated The Nation's Dave Zirin including FanHouse columnist Kevin Blackistone and former football player Bobby Mitchell on CSN to explore the role sports has played for the African American community over the last century.

Mitchell, who 50 years ago integrated the Washington Redskins—the last whites-only football team in the NFL—said that even though his childhood dream was to become a dentist, when his football talents were noticed he had to seize the opportunity available to him.

Sports—and the high salaries the nation's top athletes make—can also help support communities in other ways, Blackistone says. The late DC sports magnate Abe Pollin, for example, built a $220 million sports venue in in downtown Washington, and athletes often give back to their communities in ways ranging from community service to investment to even coaching future generations of athletes and students.

This video is the third in a series of four. Click here for the first video, and here for the second. Check back tomorrow for the final clip.

Sara Jerving

What Does the AOL/HuffPo Deal Mean for Journalism?

On Pacifica's Uprising Radio, The Nation’s John Nichols says that the $315 million deal just reached between AOL and Huffington Post will not actually benefit readers or writers. The Huffington Post business model depends on aggregating content and not paying journalists. "Journalism cannot survive as a useful small d democratic force,” Nichols says, if people who call themselves citizen or professional journalists are not getting up in the morning and going out to investigate stories and “speak truth to power."

Read Nichols's latest blog post for more on the deal.

Kevin Gosztola

Was the DLC Good for Democrats?

The Nation’s Ari Berman appeared on MSNBC Live with Third Way's Matt Bennett to debate whether the soon-to-be-defunct Democratic Leadership Council brought “important strength and values to the Democratic Party.” Bennett claims that saying organizations such as the DLC or Third Way are just “corporate folks in the Democratic Party” is a “ridiculous” accusation often levied by those on the “internet left.” 

But Berman argues that though the DLC may have been helpful for Democrats during the Clinton years, more recently DLC leaders like Joe Lieberman and Evan Bayh supported the war in Iraq and did not contribute to the rise of politicians and groups like Howard Dean and MoveOn.org. It was Dean and MoveOn.org, Berman says, who ultimately brought new grassroots energy to the Party.

Read Berman's "The DLC Is Dead" for more on the demise of the Leadership Council.

—Kevin Gosztola

The Battle to Desegregate the Washington Redskins

In 1961, Bobby Mitchell successfully integrated the Washington Redskins, the last whites-only football team in the NFL. Fifty years later, Mitchell joined The Nation's Dave Zirin, author Michael Eric Dyson and FanHouse columnist Kevin Blackistone to explain how it felt to play in a stadium surrounded by the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party: "I think people might not realize how hard it was," Mitchell says. But throughout this dangerous period in his life, Mitchell never lost sight of the importance of his role in forging a place for the Black community in sports, and in the broader American society.

For his part, Dyson argues that we seldom hear about the struggle of African Americans in sports because the US has a long history of simply avoiding uncomfortable truths. “We try to avoid dealing with it because it implies that something was wrong with us. If something was wrong with us in America, then the argument that we’ve made about our superiority cannot stand.”

This is the second video in a series of four. Click here for the first video and check back tomorrow for the next one.

Sara Jerving

Does Russia Pose a Security Threat to America?

The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel and NYU's Stephen Cohen join MSNBC's Morning Joe to explore whether Russia and US foreign interests are at odds. Drawing on their knowledge of the country, vanden Heuvel and Cohen discuss whether Russia poses a security threat to the US.

With Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday in mind, both Cohen and vanden Heuvel say that many things have changed for the two countries since Reagan and Gorbachev were in power. Vladimir Putin, for one, has served as a "protector of stability, security and order in Russia," vanden Heuvel says, but Russia's ongoing war against terrorism has done little to quell real threats to the country.

Kevin Gosztola

Sports and the African American Experience

With an all-star panel on CSN featuring author Michael Eric Dyson, FanHouse columnist Kevin Blackistone and former football player Bobby Mitchell—who desegregated the Washington Redskins 50 years ago—The Nation's Dave Zirin leads a discussion to answer the question, "Why is the history of sports and the African American experience so deeply intertwined?"

For Dyson, the reason African Americans have been prominent in sports over the past century stretches back to the days of slavery, when physical qualities, including strength and speed, were valued based on the labor needs of the Southern Agrarian capitalist society. “The physical dimensions of blackness were always focused on, and so as a result of that we invested in a very profound way our physical expressions as the poetry of our spirits.”

But as Black athletes stood up to intolerance with discipline and intelligence, they became ambassadors for Black excellence, he says.

This video is the first in a series of four. Check back tomorrow for the second clip.

Sara Jerving

Greg Mitchell: WikiLeaks is Changing the Way We Get News

The Nation's Greg Mitchell has been covering the WikiLeaks cable dump for over seventy days now, and his MediaFix blog has become the first stop for readers from across the web looking for their diplomatic fallout update. In this interview with Business Insider, Mitchell explains how WikiLeaks is changing the way media outlets operate, and how we get our news.

Traditional media outlets can no longer operate as the "gatekeepers" they have been for generations, Mitchell says. "They want to print the leaks, they want to decide what is important, they want to be able to patrol the information, they want to be able to decide what the public needs to know," Mitchell says, "and then hide other things." That's not going to cut it with WikiLeaks' massive information clearinghouse model in the picture.

Mitchell, author of The Age of WikiLeaks, says that he wanted to write the book because "there was so much publicity for cablegate in the last few months that very few people really remember what happened earlier." For a sampling of the cables' revelations, check out Mitchell's run down of why WikiLeaks matters.

—Kevin Gosztola

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