TV and radio appearances by Nation writers and editors, big Nation announcements.
With President Obama's approval ratings down and the administration taking fire from both the left and the right, CNN's Fareed Zakaria invited what he called a "star-studded" panel of experts to chat on GPS about the president's strengths and shortcomings in dealing with the blows that the country's been dealt in recent weeks.
Nation Editor and Publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel joined Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and New York Times columnist Ross Douthat to dissect Obama's failure to firmly establish the role of government and the country's palpable shift towards the right. "He trusts people too much," Spitzer says. Vanden Heuvel chimes in to agree with Huffington and Spitzer, explaining that the massive bank bailout should have been a trade-off in which the banks were forced to commit to real reform. But the biggest problem right now? Winning the deficit vs. investment debate, vanden Heuvel says. "Unless we win that, we are going to see long-term unemployment in this country—joblessness that I think will scar this country even worse than the Great Depression."
The Nation's Washington D.C. Editor Chris Hayes will be guest-hosting MSNBC's The Ed Show all week. The show airs 6-7ET. Topics Monday: The Kagan hearings; Senator Byrd's passing and the continuing crisis in the Gulf of Mexico. Hayes will be joined later in the week by The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel, GRIT TV's Laura Flanders and others. You can see videos here; we'll be posting highlights at TheNation.com all week.
In her latest Nation column, Melissa Harris-Lacewell quotes South Pacific, a progressive musical of its time, saying, "You have to be taught to hate and fear, you have to be taught from year to year, it has to be drummed in your dear little ear." Alarmingly, schools in Arizona and Texas have begun to incorporate Rodgers and Hammerstein's ideas into their educational policies. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer recently signed a bill cutting state funding to schools offering ethnic studies classes and Texas has revised its history books in a way that lionizes segregationists and questions the need for the separation of church and state.
Harris-Lacewell wonders, Are young people inherently progressive enough to disregard these official policies, or do those on the left need to realize the importance of being carefully taught?
This week, the Obama administration decided that the private military contractor formerly known as Blackwater—now Xe—is the most qualified organization to guard US consulates in Afghanistan, and has been awarded a $120 million contract to do so. This comes as the CIA this week awarded Blackwater a new $100 million contract to operate globally for the Agency. Xe officials swear up and down that they've cleaned up their act and departed from the ways that made the Blackwater name infamous, but Jeremy Scahill, author of the book Blackwater, tells Keith Olbermann otherwise during his appearance on Countdown.
"They've cleaned up their act about as much as BP has cleaned up the Gulf," Scahill says. "Who knows what they're doing around the world right now on behalf of the US government?" What's almost more frightening is America's dependence on private defense operations and the fact that among them, Xe is the leader. "If you review all of the companies and you determine that Blackwater is your best company, then you know that this country is in serious, serious trouble with its national security policy."
The Nation's Editor and Publisher, Katrina vanden Heuvel, will be on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS this Sunday at 10 AM & 1PM ET. (Check listings here.) The topic is the news of the week, and President Obama's relationship with progressives and the left. Are liberal supporters energized? The eclectic panel includes Arianna Huffington, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and Ross Douthat of The New York Times. Tune in - we'll have video Monday.
"Do you craft family policy to fit the policies that already exist or do you try to give an ideal outcome? And if so, what is that ideal outcome?" asks Nation Senior Editor Richard Kim. "You’re not going to get a majority for these policies, so then what is your second best strategy?" answers writer Reihan Salam, co-author of Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream.
Salam thinks that one way to help American families is to structure our tax code "in a way that provides more assistance for parents with children." Kim also adds that much of the gay marriage debate is backed by concerns for household security. He argues that we need to take a closer look at civil unions "to reflect the diversity of families that exist in America." The debate needs to be focused less on the "what is marriage, what is not marriage; what is love, what is not love" part of the argument and more on what Salam calls the "economic anxiety" aspect.
In the wake of President Obama's acceptance of General McChrystal's resignation and the subsequent appointment of General Petraeus, The Ed Show hosts an eight-guest panel to discuss the future of the war in Afghanistan. Nation Editor and Publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel chimes in, expressing a rare dissent from host Ed Schultz, who said that Obama had made it "very clear that we're not backing out."
"Ed, you know we usually agree," vanden Heuvel said. "I have to disagree with you tonight.... I would argue that General Petraeus coming in, there's an opening that President Obama can seize, because it is good to know that there is a debate among his advisers." She also spoke of the recent Nation-inspired congressional report on the US taxpayer-funding of Afghan warlords, which has been overlooked in discussions of McChrystal's departure and what it signifies for the war.
None of the workers cleaning up the Gulf Coast are even under a union contract, and despite the SEIU's enormous growth under Andy Stern's leadership, current president Mary Kay Henry says that the union is still fighting for paid sick days. After the labor movement poured millions into a battle they ultimately lost in Arkansas trying to remove Blanche Lincoln—one of the senators who helped kill the Employee Free Choice Act—is labor's long-term alliance with the Democratic party in trouble?
The Nation's Max Fraser and Michael Whitney of Firedoglake join Laura Flanders to deconstruct these present and potential future dilemmas of the labor movement.
After five months of investigation, The Nation broke an exclusive story this week revealing that, according to two eye-witnesses, three American hikers arrested on charges of espionage by Iranian authorities nearly a year ago were in fact unlawfully apprehended on Iraqi soil. The witnesses watched as uniformed Iranian guards tried to wave the hikers toward the Iranian side of the border, and when the hikers did not comply, proceeded to arrest them on the Iraqi side, where the guards have no jurisdiction.
Another aspect of the case revealed in The Nation's story is that the Revolutionary Guards officer suspected of having ordered the hikers' detention has since been arrested on charges of smuggling, kidnapping and murder. Nation Senior Editor Richard Kim appears on CNN explaining these breaking developments.
Three of The Nation's leading writers are also making an impact on Twitter. A feature today from AOL/Politics Daily's Matt Lewis, The Top 25 Progressive Twitterers, featured DC Editor Christopher Hayes, Net Movement Correspondent Ari Melber and Editor & Publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel. "If you're a political junkie," Lewis writes, "keep reading."
The list had vanden Heuvel (@KatrinaNation) at #25, Melber (@AriMelber) at #14 and Hayes (@chrislhayes) at #5. Former Nation DC Editor David Corn was #2, just behind Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos. While "top twenty-five" type lists may be part vanity, the piece speaks to the increasing role of Twitter in the political debate, and to the efforts that established print media like The Nation are taking to embrace new platforms.
Last Fall, Melber wrote about the democratizing impact that Twitters "lists" feature could have on the platform. He recommends several lists that, like the top 25 at AOL/Politics Daily, are good tip sheets if you're looking for essential progressive voices to follow on Twitter. If you just want to start with one, you could always follow the mothership: The Nation's own Twitter feed, @thenation, now has almost 50,000 followers, and provides breaking news and analysis 24-7.