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Nation in the News

Nation in the News

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

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

America Plagued by Periodic Paranoia

Our country has a strong pattern of losing its mind over relatively silly things, says Nation Washington Editor Chris Hayes. Take, for instance, the most pressing issue of national importance at the moment -- the proposed construction of a mosque near the Ground Zero site in downtown New York City. Hayes, who is guest-hosting The Rachel Maddow Show this week, compared the climate of this controversy to a period in 2003 during which a national campaign was made to change the name of french fries to freedom fries.

"I want everyone watching this program to take a deep breath and really think what this is going to look like four years from now, or five years from now, or twenty years from now," Hayes says. "Which side of this debate will come out looking good when history renders its judgement? You don't want to be on the side of freedom fries." His Nation colleague Melissa Harris-Lacewell joined Hayes on the show to discuss the building of the mosque, emphasizing the controversy as an opportunity for America to prove itself as a defender of free speech and free worship. "As Americans, the thing that makes America unique and interesting and such a great project in history is that we meet vulnerability not with this kind of terrorized anxiety, but instead by actually opening ourselves up," she says.

--Carrie Battan

End of the Tea Party?

Multiple Tea Party candidates—even after receiving endorsements from Sarah Palin—have lost in primaries this week, leaving many to wonder whether or not the fringe party has a future in American politics. The Nation's Ari Melber joins Andrew Langer of the Institute for Liberty to discuss how this year's elections might play out for the Tea Party on MSNBC. 

Langer and Melber agree that the Tea Party is still a force to be reckoned with. "Folks are as fired up as ever," Langer said. In response to rumors that the Democratic Party is actually looking to support Tea Partiers in order to help weaken the right, Melber warned that meddling inside the opposition party is tricky business. "I think people would be making a profound mistake to cherry-pick a few races where [Tea Party] challengers aren't winning," he says. "I think the Tea Party remains very powerful."

—Carrie Battan

The Right's New Media Scare Tactics

“Scaring white people for fun and profit is not only politically expedient, it’s also increasingly easy to do," says Rachel Maddow on her show. Tea Party Nation created a new online forum where they are asking tea partiers to post stories about undocumented immigrants. In an email sent to supporters, they say: “If [sic] have been the victim of a crime by an illegal, or if your business has gone under because your competition uses illegals, or if you have lost your job to illegals, we want to know about it… We need to get the true story out about illegal immigration and we need your help to do it.” Also, if anyone sees undocumented immigrants acting out, like burning an American flag or hanging a Mexican flag above an American one, they also would like photos. “Acts of decency by people without papers are disqualified from this forum,” Maddow says. The right has used fear and loathing to political ends for a long time, Maddow says, the difference being that "now it’s user generated.”

Nation columnist Melissa Harris-Lacewell joins Maddow to tell her why there seems to have been a switch between the left and the right over who is using new media to their political advantage. In the 2008 campaign, Obama for America (OFA) figured out the most appropriate ways to use and develop new media, which ended up changing American elections. The question then became whether the Democratic party could take the lessons of the campaign and turn them into legislative and electoral power. But as Harris-Lacewell explains, “The Democratic Party has not been able to take on the capacity that the OFA had in 2008, but is certainly going to need to in order to be responsive."

—Melanie Breault

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