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Nation in the News

Nation in the News

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

Video: BP's Oil Crisis Is Obama's Leadership Crisis

On The Ed Show, Nation editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel lays out exactly what President Obama needs to do both for the future of the nation and for his political legacy. According to vanden Heuvel, the president needs to level with the American people, hold BP accountable and formulate "a new plan to wean us off our addiction to oil." She emphasizes that this is not a left or right wing concept, but what most industrialized nations are doing: investing in new technologies.

As for BP, vanden Heuvel tells host Ed Schultz that the administration should not bargain with the corporation but rather should push for a strong and effective Gulf recovery program and for much-needed reimbursements for lost wages. When Schultz says that BP was operating in a free market, vanden Heuvel responds, "This is not a free market that we’ve seen. What we’ve seen is greed and corruption."

—Melanie Breault

Jeremy Scahill Talks Minerals, Wikileaks and Blackwater with Laura Flanders

In the wake of a rumor that Wikileaks may soon publish a number of secret State Department cables, some are saying that the Pentagon is on the hunt for the whistleblowing organization's founder Julian Assange. On GRITtv with Laura Flanders, Nation writer and blogger Jeremy Scahill says that while Assange may not exactly be on the run to the extent that is being portrayed, diplomats have reason to be concerned about what Wikileaks may have in its possession. “I think a lot of diplomats around the world are very, very nervous. At a minimum, they’re going to want to talk to Julian Assange,” Scahill says. “He denies that he has them [the cables], by the way.”

In addition to discussions of a potential secret prison and interrogation facility within the Bagram Air Base and the New York Times’s coverage of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, Scahill and Flanders talk about Erik Prince and rumors that Blackwater, his controversial private military company, is for sale. “There are rumors that he [Prince] may be the target of an investigation,” Scahill says. “If you’re on the market for a private army, you could probably buy cheap and buy fast if you’re interested."

—Carrie Battan

Far-Right Angle?

The transformation of the Republican Party since Obama’s election has been a series of confusing spectacles, the most recent of which is Sharron Angle’s nomination to run against Harry Reid in Nevada for a spot in the Senate. The Nation’s Washington editor Christopher Hayes appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show to discuss the GOP’s zany campaign tactics and attempts to mask Angle’s absurdly far-right stances, something Maddow dubs a “political science work of art.” Whereas Angle formerly supported the privatization of Social Security, for example, she now claims she’s hoping for personalization.

How does wonky backpedaling like this fly in a Senate race? “The conservative media machine is so massive,” Hayes says, “it’s almost possible to run a whole campaign in which you more or less just operate in that bubble and relegate the rest of the press to sort of second-order reporting of what you said.” And because the Republican establishment isn’t going to back off, it’s the job of the voters and the rest of the press to second guess Angle. “She should be asked, in debates, to explain why she thinks fluoride is international conspiracy. She should be able to explain her views on the US withdrawing from the UN," Hayes says. "She should have to defend all of these sort of black helicopter views in front of the populous and to skeptical reporters."

—Carrie Battan


Katrina vanden Heuvel and Melissa Harris-Lacewell: The Year of the Woman?

The victories of Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman in California, Sharron Angle in Nevada, and Nikki Haley in South Carolina in last week's primaries are being hailed as a victory for women. Yet do conservative, anti-government women's candidacies spell gains for women nationwide? Or will the cuts they threaten to make to government programs hurt more women than their candidacies help?

To kick off our new Monday collaboration with The Nation magazine, host Laura Flanders is joined in studio by editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel and columnist Melissa Harris-Lacewell, who break down the election results, the real history of these faux populists, and also report back on a Nation investigation in New Orleans that has led to indictments.

How Archaic Is US Education?

On the radio program Sound Off With Sasha, Nation writer and Stanford University professor Linda Darling-Hammond diagnoses the ills of the US education system and its possible solutions. Darling-Hammond discusses her founding role in the School Redesign Network, a nationwide program that works to teach schools twenty-first-century skills and supports students through curriculum redesign and assessment. Channeling her article, "Restoring Our Schools," which appeared in the June 14, 2010, edition of The Nation, Darling-Hammond describes how the United States ranks fairly low in international assessments, due to its unequal structure and outdated philosophies. She says that the US needs to take a lesson from other countries and adopt more open-ended ways of testing students. "We are very stuck in this country on the 1950s multiple choice test. It’s not a multiple choice world out there."

Later in the program, Philissa Cramer, assistant editor of GothamSchools, a new independent news source for New York City public schools, talks about what skills are important for students in this new technological world. Drawing from her Nation article "Bright Ideas," Cramer says, "students know how to learn facts," and that educators should teach students how to use new technologies to learn what they don't know.

Go here to listen to the show.

—Melanie Breault

What Progressives Can Learn from Arkansas

Senator Blanche Lincoln’s narrow victory over Lt. Gov. Bill Halter in the Arkansas primaries has raised questions about the political fallout facing Democrats come November—most notably, a growing tension between labor unions and the White House. On The Ed Show, host Ed Schultz remarks there is “an appearance the White House doesn’t even respect labor." As Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel, says, “no question the White House is divided.” But the Arkansas primary revealed a growing progressive movement and the need for progressives to continue building power.

“I think whoever said something about how labor lost—flushed money down the toilet in Arkansas drew all the wrong lessons,” says vanden Heuvel. “I think we saw in a very tight race a pro-corporate incumbent nearly got beat. And she became a kind of born-again populist as part of a movement of labor, of net roots activists, of community groups, of faith groups, of environmental groups.  And that is what we need to focus on.”

—Clarissa León

Memo to President: Do Not Trust BP

Nation Editor Katrina vanden Heuvel appears on Real Time with Bill Maher with Andrew Sullivan, Van Jones, Judd Apatow and Paul Begala to discuss BP's latest talking points.

When Andrew Sullivan points out BP’s 760 OSHA violations (about 38 times that of other oil companies combined) vanden Heuvel agrees BP’s numerous violations puts the corporation in a class of its own. It’s clear that the government must be the ones to regulate the oil corporations and not vice versa.

“I hope the president understands you cannot trust an oil operation to run this operation,” she says.  “It’s like putting Dick Cheney in charge of human rights.”

—Clarissa León

Katrina vanden Heuvel on Real Time with Bill Maher

The Nation's Editor Katrina vanden Heuvel will be on the media roundtable on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday night. The program airs on HBO live on Friday at 10PM ET, and re-runs on HBO throughout the next week. Katrina will be joined on the panel by filmmaker Judd Apatow, Green Jobs advocate Van Jones and The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan. This week's topics: the spill in the Gulf, the Flotilla to Gaza, John McCain's primary, Sarah Palin's neighbor and the Gores. This is vanden Heuvel's first appearance on the program - we'll have video highlights next week. 

BP's Last Days?

As the BP oil spill marks its 44th day, the likelihood that BP could rebound from the disaster lessens with every passing day.  When BP admitted that their “Top Kill” solution failed, BP’s stock price in Britain plummeted, taking the biggest one-day drop in 18 years. In the U.S., BP stock fell 15 percent. Along with BP’s abysmal stock prices, the company could be fined for gross negligence from the EPA, and at $4,300 a barrel, that could cost the company nearly $10.7 billion.

Nation Washington Editor Christopher Hayes appears on The Rachel Maddow Show to discuss BP’s future. Hayes argues that the total fine BP faces could be even larger, as “everyone who has an injury that can plausibly be connected to what [BP] did” could file tort common law claims against the company.

But much like in the wake of the Exxon Valdez spill, ongoing litigation—and the nature of the EPA and the government—may delay payments for years. “[The next] administration might choose not to pursue the maximum amount of fines,” says Hayes. “So, nothing is guaranteed about what they‘ll end up having to pay.”

—Clarissa León

Ayn Rand: I Am the Greatest

Corey Robin, author of the recent Nation article “Garbage and Gravitas,” discusses Ayn Rand’s philosophy and compares her writing to “kitsch”—a second rate product that tries to pass itself off as high culture. Unlike other noted philosophers, Rand was “ultimately interested in selling herself” and often touted herself as the most brilliant thinker since Aristotle.

—Clarissa León

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