TV and radio appearances by Nation writers and editors, big Nation announcements.
"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.
Some believe that a willingness to impose suffering on working people and the most vulnerable among us is a sign of true leadership in tough times. Nation Editor and Publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel says, those who say so “are cowards, not leaders.” While Republicans have blocked aid that would spare pink slips for 300,000 school teachers, progressive groups like AFL-CIO have detailed a $400 billion plan that would put people back to work with a negligible effect on the deficit. Vanden Heuvel says it's President Obama's responsiblity to convince the American people that he is on their side to deal with “pocket book issues” such as job creation. If he does, then the people won’t focus so much on the deficit.
“We can no longer afford to take half steps. It is bad economics and suicidal politics not to address the job crisis now.” Vanden Heuvel also thinks that voters won’t believe that the economy is on the mend until more people are back at work. “A nation that ignores the calamity of joblessness is a nation at risk.” Every Monday on GRIT TV is The Nation on GRIT TV, so tune in for more commentary and media analysis from vanden Heuvel and other Nation writers!
Amidst buzz that Sarah Palin could replace Michael Steele as RNC chairman, The Nation's Ari Melber joins The Dylan Ratigan Show to weigh in on who's more dangerous. "Would they be just trading in one clown for another?" guest-host Cenk Uygur (host of The Young Turks) asks. Both are incredibly gaffe-prone, but Palin possesses a power to mobilize that would be far more worrisome for liberals, Melber says. "Michael Steele never gets anything for his gaffes. He upsets his base and has everyone else shaking their head... while [Palin] is polarizing, she does it in a way that's mobilizing. I think she could be powerful in the midterms."
But the argument is probably a moot point, as it's unlikely that Palin will trade her current money-making post for a chance at heading the RNC. "Obviously, she's unlikely to do this because it would cut into her income, and that, we've seen, has been her core priority," Melber says.
If the United States government is the largest energy consumer in the world, asks Nation contributing editor Christian Parenti, why doesn't it use its massive buying power to support real green, clean energy technologies—instead of subsidizing the catastrophic failures of oil giants like BP?
Parenti joins The Nation on Grit TV in studio to point out that if the US post office switched to electric cars, that subsidy alone would bring down the price of sustainable transportation and create infrastructure for the rest of the country. He also talks Bill Gates, more green technologies and the war in Afghanistan.
“Optimism is back,” proclaimed William Greider at the recent gathering of the Democratic Socialists of America in Chicago. Greider, National Affairs Correspondent for The Nation, spoke before the crowd to explain how to better understand today's government by examining our political history.
Looking back one hundred years, Greider draws parallels between the political realities of today and the challenges labor activists, socialists and civic reformers mounted against US capitalism in the Populist-Progressive.
Greider notes that given the current reality of inequality and repression, US capitalism is at a critical point in history: the system will either have to change or fall apart. “The catastrophes are liberating the mind,” he told the audience. Greider stressed the need to go back to the voices of Debs, Gompers, Thomas and Harrington because “Those messages, with a little dusting up and revision, fit our situation today.”
Watch the full 35-minute talk on CAN TV (Chicago’s Public Access Television).
"Imagine for a moment our country elected a bunch of people who thought rape should be legal…" This is what Nation Washington editor Christopher Hayes asks us as guest host of The Ed Show. He says that the pro-rape people know that just coming out and promoting rape would not be accepted by the general populous. So instead, they get everyone to call it "unilateral, physical intimacy." But Hayes knows, "this is not a neutral phrase, this is propaganda."
Hayes uses the same argument for the pro-torture euphemism, "enhanced interrogation techniques." He refers to a Harvard University study that compares how the media described the practice of waterboarding before the Bush administration and after. From the 1930s to the early 2000s, the New York Times called or characterized waterboarding as torture, 82 percent of the time. From 2002 to 2008, it was only 1 percent of the time. As thing for the Los Angeles Times: from the 1930s to the early 2000s waterboarding was called or characterized as torture 96 percent of the time and only 5 percent of the time from 2002 to 2008. During that later period, USA Today never referred to it as torture. "The term enhanced interrogation technique from the beginning was designed to fuse our moral circuitry," Hayes says. "It’s the job of the independent press to trigger our moral alarms. The New York Times and the LA Times failed this basic duty."
The Nation's Washington Editor Chris Hayes continued his week of guest-hosting The Ed Show last night, bringing on GritTV's Laura Flanders and Obamanomics author Tim Carney to discuss the GOP's continued reluctance to extend unemployment benefits. "Even from a very kind of bedrock libertarian perspective," Hayes asks, "do you really think the people who have exceeded the 99 weeks are doing it because of misaligned incentives as opposed to an economy that‘s just thrown fallen through the floor?"
It's not just the GOP, Flanders and Carney say. It's also Nancy Pelosi and the democratic Congress who overpromised funding. "Nancy Pelosi kind of backed herself into a corner," Flanders says. "What we really need is a government job creation scheme. Government jobs. Rooseveltian kind of plan. With that off the table, they‘re in the situation of hoping that some GOPer will wise up."