TV and radio appearances by Nation writers and editors, big Nation announcements.
The rapid and misguided condemnation—and subsequent resignation—of Shirley Sherrod has reignited a lot of questions about the role of race in America's political landscape. As Nation columnist Melissa Harris-Lacewell explained last night on Countdown, American politicians have long been assigning blame to black women—and "the mythical welfare queen" in particular—for a whole host of problems.
"The villification of black women for sport and political gain has been sort of a basic part of the American political strategy for both the Republican and Democratic parties for a couple of decades now," Harris-Lacewell says. And the fact that the NAACP, the organization that should have come to Sherrod's defense, lacked the basic understanding of her background that would have helped them correct the problem is the worst of it. "To say her last name alone should have prompted, for the head of the NAACP, an immediate moment of pausing," Harris-Lacewell says.
The Nation magazine tonight won an unprecedented come-from-behind victory, rallying from two runs down in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat D.C Comics, 12-11. The thrilling victory came after ten-plus years of twice-a-season, often brutal defeats at the hands of D.C. Comics, a publishing league juggernaut known for their offense. The Nationistas are now 4-2 on the season.
Playing before a crowd of dozens at Lower Manhattan's Murry Bergtraum Field, The Nation jumped out to an early 9-4 lead. Circulation Fulfillment Manager/left-center fielder Katelyn Belyus had three hits for The Nation, who went ahead early with a 4-run fourth keyed by leadoff hitter and Intern Director Max Fraser. The Nation took a four-run lead into the top of the seventh, when four two-out runs by D.C. Comics sent the game into extra innings.
In extra innings The Nation's defense kept it close: a dramatic diving catch by Left Fielder and Nation Contributor Ari Berman (author of the forthcoming book Herding Donkeys) helped keep the game tied in the eighth. Pitcher and and Vice-President of Advertising Ellen Bollinger pitched a complete game for The Nation on a humid summer night, holding D.C. Comics to five earned runs and baffling the Comics squad. Shortstop and Lapham's Quarterly contributor Elias Altman added two sac flies for The Nationistas.
Trailing 11-9 in the bottom of the ninth, The Nation stormed back with a series of singles until a dramatic one-out, two-run double from Nationistas Coach John Bollinger sent America's oldest news weekly to their first walk-off victory since the Clinton administration.
"We left blood on the field tonight" said Bollinger, in a post-game speech to the team. The Nation now has wins over The New Yorker, Pro Publica and The Scientific American. The Nation plays The Paris Review on Friday, in a rematch of last summer's heated two-run Paris Review victory. New York–based Nation fans can come out for Friday's game, or for The Nation's remaining grudge matches against The New Yorker and Harper's—follow @thenation on twitter for details.
Sarah Palin's social media presence was thrust back into the spotlight yesterday when she compared herself to Shakespeare on Twitter after coining the nonexistent word "refudiate." The Nation's Ari Melber, who wrote a widely discussed piece last week on the realities of Palin's "Mama Grizzlies" video viewership, appeared on MSNBC today to discuss the former Alaska governor's over-hyped Web presence.
"When it comes to the idea that every tweet or every Facebook status update is actually reaching her people," Melber says, "It seems like it's [only] reaching those of us in the media." Palin's political effectiveness lies not in her social media networks, but in her support of candidates—particularly those in the Tea Party. "Especially in small races, where a dose of media coverage is all somebody needs to clear out of a pack of say, three or four primary candidates."
When Sarah Palin's new video was viewed 368,000 times, was anyone thinking, "That’s the woman I want for president"? Sara Terry, host of PRI's To The Point, puts that question to Nation correspondent Ari Melber, who answers, not likely. Only two percent of Palin's Facebook following even "bothered to check in with the video at all." And as Melber points out, "Most of the viewers actually came from traditional news sites, the lamestream media that she likes to critique."
Since most of the people watching the video are people who won't be ponying up contributions, was the $200,000 she reportedly spent on political and image consultants worth it? Melber says yes, if her goal is just to stay in the media spotlight. But the money was not well spent for political organizing. Her video is no Obama "Yes We Can" campaign video, which generated 5 million views to her mere 300,000. If Palin wants to continue to be a television figure, she's all set, but "as a candidate," Melber says, "she hasn’t crossed over yet."
Even Louisiana's greenest are against a moratorium on offshore drilling. This may seem absurd considering the seemingly irreversible devastation that BP's carelessness has inflicted on the state's environment and economy, but The Nation's Environmental Correspondent Mark Hertsgaard claims that oil to Louisiana is like heroin to an addict. It would be catastrophic to go cold-turkey but it's high time we started the weaning process.
Well, what is Louisiana's—and our nation's—methadone? Media Consortium Environmental Blogger, Sarah Laskow joins Hertsgaard to discuss Louisiana's green energy potential and whether or not we can hope for any progress on energy policy on the Hill.
The Nation on GRIT TV is a weekly video collaboration between The Nation and GRIT TV with Laura Flanders. Watch for Monday briefings, Wednesday commentaries, weekend conversations and more at TheNation.com. For full half-hour episodes of The Nation on GRIT TV, or local television air times visit www.grittv.org.
The Democrats are finally admitting that their control of the White House is hanging in the balance and that this summer is the time for tough political warfare. The Today Show's Chuck Todd says the GOP needs thirty-nine seats in the House and ten seats in the Senate to gain control. Senate majority leader Harry Reid thinks that could be a possibility if the president doesn't get his passion back. “He’s a peacemaker. Sometimes I think you have to be a little more forceful and I don’t think he is," Reid says.
Joining The Today Show, Nation editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel says that Obama's problems with his own base go far beyond a lack of passion. “Obama and his team made a mistake when it came to the White House in demobilizing a base that was ready to work for bolder reforms," she says. This could be especially dangerous for Democrats as Republicans like Sarah Palin seem to be using the mid-term elections as a chance to rebrand themselves for a presidential bid in 2012.
"You made a lot of noise with your article, Eric," Chris Matthews told Nation columnist Eric Alterman last night on Hardball, referencing "Kabuki Democracy," Alterman's investigation of why and how President Obama's campaign promises have largely fallen by the wayside.
Alterman appeared on the show alongside Neera Tanden of the Center for American Progress to discuss how Obama's performance on key campaign issues like health care reform, financial regulation and climate change has panned out. While Alterman has, from the beginning, been an enthusiastic supporter of Obama, he says that the president's delivery thus far has been disappointing, particularly on financial regulation. "We're 95 percent there on health care," he says, "but on this [financial regulation] bill, I'm much more critical, because he had the country behind him on this one."
Following a close 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in Chicago that expanded an individual's Second Amendment right to own a gun, Nation editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel guest-hosts Both Sides Now radio show with former Bush White House aide Mary Matalin and former New York City Public Advocate Mark Green. While Matalin feels the decision encourages citizens to defend themselves, vanden Heuvel says there's a lot of discretionary judging going on. She says that in this court session, "the losers were judicial restraint and the winners were corporate campaign handlers and gun dealers and owners."
On the economy and jobs, Matalin says that Obama's stimulus efforts are not so stimulating and that all his policies—including health care and energy reform—are “porno economics, actually, or artificial stimulation." Vanden Heuvel laughs and says, "if that is porno recovery or economics, let me have at it." She continues, "Obama’s recovery helped keep this country from going into free fall... We're not growing fast enough because business ain’t spending. Consumers don’t have the money to buy and government is the last resort."
In a highly anticipated discussion with ESPN last night, NBA star LeBron James rejected New York and a host of other cities in favor of signing with the Miami Heat. The decision has cultivated so much hype that it warranted a discussion last night on The Rachel Maddow Show between guest-host Christopher Hayes, The Nation's Washington editor, and Nation sports writer Dave Zirin.
"Happy LeBronnukah, Chris" Zirin jokes, going on to discuss the varying levels of doom—both athletic and economic—implied by James's impending relocation. "It's bad for the NBA, it's bad for the [players'] union. You know what? It's bad for everyone, except for ESPN." And it's especially bad for the city of Cleveland. "I mean, people joke that Cleveland has a LeBron-based economy, but there's actually some truth to that," Zirin says.
Across the United States, a brutal and dysfunctional juvenile justice system sends queer youth to prison in disproportionate numbers, fails to protect them from violence and discrimination while they're inside and to this day condones attempts to turn them straight.
In his recent Nation article, Daniel Redman investigated the terrifying treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in the juvenile justice system. Redman joins The Nation on Grit TV along with Gabrielle Prisco of the Juvenile Justice Project at the Correctional Association of New York to talk about the way the justice system fails all youth—and the reasons LGBT youth wind up in the system more often than straight teens.