TV and radio appearances by Nation writers and editors, big Nation announcements.
With Rahm Emanuel back in Chicago running for Mayor, President Obama this week appointed financial executive and former Clinton administration official William Daley as his new White House chief of staff. Daley, the Midwest chair of JPMorgan Chase, a board member of Merck and former head of SBC, also served as Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign, and will likely lead Obama's 2012 re-election drive.
The problem with Daley? As The Nation's Ari Berman writes, "He shares the corporate centrism of Emanuel and, when it comes to economic issues, may be worse." In another move sure to please Wall Street, Obama plans today to name former Goldman Sachs consultant Gene Sperling to lead the White House National Economic Council, the post recently vacated by Lawrence Summers. Berman joined Democracy Now! this morning to explain what these appointments mean for Obama's presidency and the future of our economy.
Yesterday marked the beginning of the 112th Congress and the beginning of John Boehner's (R-OH) reign as Speaker of the House. What can we expect from "the man behind the tan?" Nation Editor and Publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel joined Ed Schultz on The Ed Show last night to talk about Boehner's corporate and banking ties and what that will mean as he takes control of the House gavel.
"Boehner is very much in the Tom DeLay mold," she explained. "John Boehner is notorious for having a very close circle of corporate titans. He's flown on their corporate jets, he goes golfing with them." Vanden Heuvel also emphasized the role the media is designated to play in getting to the nitty-gritty of his political modus operandi and "beyond his tan, beyond those tears and looks at the policies which are going to make millions of Americans cry." Sense of humor in hand, she reminded viewers that Boehner had voted against a food safety bill in the recent lame-duck session. "What is he, for salmonella vs. the people?"
Why do Americans worship athletes, and why do we continue to view sports as a near-holy sanctuary into which things such as politics should never enter? "We love sports because it provides escape and the promise of magic," says The Nation's Dave Zirin, "But beneath the pyro, it's a fun-house mirror of who we are as a country."
Zirin recently sat down with ESPN's Scoop Jackson to explain why politics have always been an inextricable part of sports. In fact, Zirin made his new movie, Not Just A Game: Power, Politics & American Sports, to examine this long and fruitful history of politics in sports. From Billie Jean King to Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown to Pat Tillman, "no matter the 'ism' we're talking about," Zirin says, "racism, militarism, sexism, commercialism—the point of the film is that there is politics and promise woven throughout."
It says something about the 111th Congress that there was so much resistance to a bill giving health benefits to 9/11 emergency responders—one that was fully paid for and had widespread public support.
Now that the bill has passed, The Nation's Chris Hayes speaks with one of its most vocal advocates, House Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-New York), about how progressive legislation ever makes it through Congress. The answer? Often it's because of "unstoppable pressure" from outside the Beltway, and the amount of media attention being brought to bear on an issue.
Read Chris Hayes's latest column on how the Senate sorely needs filibuster reform here.
As Barack Obama signed the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, it was almost like he was on the campaign trail again, talking about the values of pluralism that this country is built on. Rachel Maddow speaks with Princeton professor and Nation columnist Melissa Harris-Perry about how central civil rights and social justice issues will be to the success or failure of the Obama presidency, and the fight for equal rights that faces queer people in the US beyond the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.
Watch the clip, then read Melissa Harris-Perry's new article, "Obama in the Age of Accommodation."
"Man, it's fun to cover Julian Assange! He's got a mansion, he's got a bracelet, he's got a website," Dylan Ratigan jokes to open up a mega panel discussion featuring The Nation's Ari Berman, Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney and radio host Sam Seder.
Why is the media going crazy over Assange while no one's paying attention to Bradley Manning, who's actually doing serious time and facing rough conditions in prison for allegedly leaking classified information? And how much does the content of Bernie Sanders' 8 1/2 hour filibuster rant match up with Obama's beliefs?
In a recent interview, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour defended the white segregationist Citizens Councils while looking back on the South of his youth, saying they opposed the KKK. Though he quickly apologized for his remarks, the whole thing smacks a little too much of historical revisionism.
Nation columnist and Princeton Professor Melissa Harris-Perry appeared on MSNBC's Hardball with Mississippi's Rep. Bennie Thompson (D) to discuss Barbour's comments and their deeper implications. Both argue that painting a rosier picture of the Citizens Councils in the present blocks America from learning anything productive from a dark time in its history. "The history of America tells you that when you start hearing people talk about this kind of separation, secession, nullification, states rights, you are aiding and abetting a history of the most ugly kind of violence," Harris-Perry says.
You can read Melissa Harris Perry's Nation columns here.
By a vote of 71-26 this afternoon, the Senate passed the nuclear arms control agreement between the US and Russia, securing another major victory for Democrats in the lame duck session of Congress. The treaty also awaits Russian approval.
NYU Russian Studies professor and longtime Nation contributor Stephen F. Cohen spoke with CNN's Parker-Spitzer team about the relevance of the START treaty today, and why the US shouldn't underestimate the importance of good relations with Russia just because we're out of the Cold War. According to Cohen, "the stability of the world depends on the stability of Russia."
Listen for more about the implications of START for Russian-American relations, why Russia matters on the world stage today, and what kind of message Obama is sending to leaders abroad with his failure to take strong stances against his opposition at home.
With a bipartisan 67 to 28 vote in favor of the US-Russia nuclear arms agreement, the New START treaty now moves on to a final vote tomorrow. The treaty mandates the US and Russia to cut their stock of nuclear weapons. This morning Jonathan Schell, The Nation's Peace and Disarmament Correspondent, talked with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! about the foreign policy implications of the treaty, and the serious consequences of not passing it.
"It [would send] a signal out to the rest of the world that we're going to be living in a nuclear armed world, and proliferation begins to step up," Schell explains. Still, the majority of Republicans opposed the bill. According to Schell, they're trying to make the Democrats look weak by associating them with demilitarization.
Jonathan Schell is the author of The Seventh Decade: The New Shape of Nuclear Danger. You can read more of his thoughts on nuclear disarmament in the Obama era here.
Historian and Nation contributor Eric Foner appeared on CNN's Parker/Spitzer to compare and contrast Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama, and map out the ways that Obama's presidency could be redeemed if he pays closer attention to Lincoln's example.
Lincoln also suffered heavy losses during a midterm election, and came under pressure from voters afraid of losing their jobs. Yet he still found a way to play to his values, and grew during his time in office. In short, he learned when not to compromise.
Eric Foner is the author of The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln And American Slavery. You can read his contributions to The Nation here.