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Nation in the News

Nation in the News

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

Why Does Obama Keep Siding With Wall Street?

Why did Obama keep Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers on staff when they helped lay the groundwork for the financial crisis? Robert Scheer argues that it wasn't out of ignorance, but out of convenience—both in terms of avoiding controversy and continuing to receive Wall Street's financial support. 

"I think Obama betrayed us," Scheer says as a guest on The Dylan Ratigan Show. According to Scheer, similar motivations are behind Obama's hesitation to appoint Elizabeth Warren to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 

Robert Scheer is the author of The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street (Nation Books).

—Braden Goyette

Melissa Harris-Lacewell on the GOP's War Against Women's Rights

Five Republican Senate nominees recently announced that they do not support a woman's right to an abortion even in the case of rape or incest. When asked what women should do if they become pregnant with their rapists' children, Nevada's GOP nominee for Senate, Sharron Angle, said, "I believe that God has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives and that he can intercede in all kinds of situations."

The problem for Republicans is that women voters may not vote for female Republicans solely on the basis of their gender, says Rachel Maddow. "The point of government," says The Nation's Melissa Harris-Lacewell, "is not to make life so hard for half our citizens that the only force there to help them is God." According to Lacewell, these candidate's "extreme positions on abortion are without any question a war on American girls and women."

 —Joanna Chiu

Congress to Hold Hearings on Nation Investigation Into Discharges of Veterans

The House Veterans Affairs Committee will hold hearings Wednesday morning into the impact of "personality disorder discharges," and allegations raised in The Nation in April that the Department of Defense is cheating veterans of health benefits through faulty "personality disorder" diagnoses. The Committee, chaired by Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) will call both reporter Joshua Kors and the subject of his investigation, former Army Sgt. Chuck Luther, as witnesses. 

 

Information about the hearing is here. You can read Joshua Kors's "Disposable Soldiers" here. For media inquiries, contact ben [at] thenation [dot] com. In "Disposable Soldiers," Kors provides an overview of the investigation and the issue at stake: 

 

For three years The Nation has been reporting on military doctors' fraudulent use of personality disorder to discharge wounded soldiers [see Kors, "How Specialist Town Lost His Benefits," April 9, 2007]. PD is a severe mental illness that emerges during childhood and is listed in military regulations as a pre-existing condition, not a result of combat. Thus those who are discharged with PD are denied a lifetime of disability benefits, which the military is required to provide to soldiers wounded during service. Soldiers discharged with PD are also denied long-term medical care. And they have to give back a slice of their re-enlistment bonus. That amount is often larger than the soldier's final paycheck. As a result, on the day of their discharge, many injured vets learn that they owe the Army several thousand dollars.

 

 

 

According to figures from the Pentagon and a Harvard University study, the military is saving billions by discharging soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan with personality disorder.

 

 

GOP Angry Obama Didn't Praise Bush in Speech

During his Oval Office Address on Tuesday night, President Obama gave a nod to former President George W. Bush in saying that, "No one could doubt President Bush's support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security." But apparently that wasn't enough for the GOP, who are now complaining that Obama didn't praise Bush heartily enough. Jeremy Scahill joined Keith Olbermann on Countdown last night to talk about the GOP's reaction to Obama's speech.

Bush is one of the last people who deserve thanks for his war efforts in Iraq, Scahill says. "The blame should be shared across the board, but George Bush is number one responsible for this and deserves no thanks from anyone," he explains, "except people that can be described as enemies of this country and of security in the world."

—Carrie Battan

Melber on Why the Majority Should Rule

Our government was established in a way that allows for the protection of minority opinion—but Ari Melber has a slightly different plan. "Here's the idea: majority rules," he said last night during The Daily Rant on The Dylan Ratigan Show. Because most bills must achieve a supermajority in order to pass, and many are threatened by the possibility of a filibuster on behalf of the minority party, a staggering number of them fail in today's Congress. And the lengthy filibusters waste huge amounts of time while halting progress.

"This is one of those total absurdities in American politics that's become the norm," Melber says. The key is filibuster reform—limiting the length of time that minority filibusters last. "When the Senate convenes in a new session, it can, completely legally, change the rules to limit how long the minority filibusters last," Melber says. "And the Senate's changed these filibuster rules before."

—Carrie Battan

Frontline on PBS Investigates Post-Katrina Police Shootings

Five years ago next week, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the body of Henry Glover was found burned in a charred sedan overlooking the Mississippi River in New Orleans. The case was mysterious from the start, but it wasn't until A.C. Thompson's 2009 article for The Nation, "Body of Evidence," that a real investigation began. Under pressure from The Nation, from advocacy groups like ColorofChange.org and from extensive, ground-breaking reporting by investigative journalism non-profit Pro Publica & the New Orleans Times-Picayune, a formal investigation was launched. Earlier this year an indictment was handed down in the case. 

PBS's FRONTLINE profiles the Glover case—along with five other stories about post-Katrina police shootings—in the hour-long documentary "Law & Disorder." A collaborative effort between FRONTLINE, Pro Publica and the Times-Picayune, "Law & Disorder" expands the Glover investigation into a multi-year inquiry into the NOPD and post-Katrina violence. You can watch the full episode online here.

You can also watch a Nation on Grit TV interview with A.C. Thompson, now a staff reporter with Pro Publica, here.

Katha Pollitt Wins 'Lifetime Achievement' American Book Award

The Nation's Katha Pollitt has been awarded the thirty-first annual American Book Award's prestigious "Lifetime Achievement" prize, celebrating her contributions both as an essayist and a poet. This is Pollitt's first American Book Award; she will be honored on September 19 at the awards ceremony in San Francisco. Pollitt is the author of several collections of essays; her most recent books include Learning to Drive and Other Life Stories(2007) and her second collection of poetry, The Mind-Body Problem (2009). Other ABA winners this year include Amiri Baraka, Dave Eggers and Pamela Ushuk. 

Pollitt has written for The Nation since 1980, and her regular column, "Subject to Debate" has run since 1995. You can read more about the awards here. The ceremony is open to the public. Pollitt's recent columns can be found here, and information and links for all of Pollitt's books can be found on her website

Wednesday's Frontline on PBS Investigates Post-Katrina Police Shootings

Five years ago next week, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the body of Henry Glover was found burned to death in a charred sedan overlooking the Mississippi River in New Orleans. The case was mysterious from the start, but it wasn't until A.C. Thompson's 2009 article for The Nation, "Body of Evidence," that a real investigation began. Under pressure from The Nation, from advocacy groups like ColorofChange.org and from extensive, ground-breaking collaborative reporting by investigative-journalism non-profit Pro Publica & the New Orleans Times-Picayune, a formal investigation was launched. Earlier this year an indictment was handed down in the case. 

On Wednesday night PBS's FRONTLINE profiles the Glover case—along with five other stories about post-Katrina police shootings—in the hour-long documentary "Law & Disorder." A collaborative effort between FRONTLINE, Pro Publica and the Times-Picayune, "Law & Disorder" expanded the Glover investigation into a multi-year inquiry into the NOPD and post-Katrina violence. You can watch a preview here, and check the FRONTLINE website for air-times and the full episode. The show premieres Wednesday night at 9PM. 

You can watch an interview with A.C. Thompson, now a staff reporter with Pro Publica, here.

Socializing Debt in Sports, While Privatizing Profit

"In England, and Europe as a whole, they view owners as caretakers of their team," Nation editor Dave Zirin tells Morning Joe. "Here in this country—far to often—fans view it as, well it’s the owner’s team and they give us the privilege of going to watch." Zirin's new book, Bad Sports, challenges this power relationship. Zirin says it's not about the $6 hot dogs, the $9 beers, or the tickets you have to get a loan to afford. "It’s about the insane amount of tax dollars and corporate welfare that goes into American sports right now," he says. As Art Modell said while he was the owner of the Baltimore Ravens, “When you have a room of NFL owners, it’s 32 capitalists who act like they’re socialists.”

Zirin explains that America is socializing the debt of sports, while privatizing the profits. “If public money goes into a team, I think the public should, at the very least, afford tickets, but at the very most have a piece of the team as well," he says. A year ago in DC, the metro went off the tracks killing nine people. Later, people found out that some of those trains hadn’t been refurbished since the Carter administration. Zirin says, that same year, a billion dollar publicly funded stadium was built in the city. The same thing occured in Minnesota in 2008, when the same week the Interstate 35W bridge collapsed (killing 13 people), they were going to break ground on the new $300 million publicly funded twin stadium that the people had rejected in 6 separate referendums. Zirin cites that "mister fiscal responsibility himself, Tim Pawlenty" signed off on it. “The amount of political hypocrisy here is unbelievable.”

-Melanie Breault
 

Rod Blagojevich, 'Bumbling Crook,' Gets Off With Only One Conviction

After 14 days of deliberation, a jury of 6 men and 6 women found Rod Blagojevich guilty Tuesday night on only one count out of the 24 counts brought against the former governor. Blagojevich was found guilty of lying to federal agents and the judge has declared a mistrial in the other 23 charges. Prosecutors say they will retry Blagojevich for the more serious charges, including the charge that he tried to sell President Obama’s old Senate seat for a new job or campaign money.

While guest hosting The Rachel Maddow Show, Nation Washington editor, Chris Hayes, says “This is a shocking conclusion for a case that everybody seemed to believe, back in the day, was cut and dry,” Hayes says. “Everybody just knew he was guilty.” Blagojevich never took the stand in his own defense because “he was the person most roundly convicted in court of public opinion before his trial since O.J. Simpson," Hayes says. He wasn’t just presumed guilty, “he was a laughing stock, a symbol of everything that is wrong in American politics.”

Andy Shaw, executive director of the Better Government Association (and Hayes’s father-in-law) explains that there was a disconnect in this trial, which accounts for its result. “There was no smoking gun,” Shaw says. “He did not make the final calls for the quid pro quo. None of his transgressions actually resulted in a favorable outcome…He was essentially a bumbling crook.”

-Melanie Breault

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