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Nation Now Alerts

Alerts, announcements and information from The Nation.

The Ivy League Hustle (I Went to Princeton, Bitch)

This video, created by twenty-something Princeton graduate Nikki Muller, is attracting international attention as a critique of over-education and underemployment, and has already garnered nearly 300,000 views on YouTube.

The video also amusingly mocks the way many men are fearful of strong, smart women, a message that has been neglected by the attention, argues Princeton professor Amada Sandoval in a smart analysis of the video at Alternet.

Watch the video and use the comments section below to let us know what you think of Muller's parody.

Howard Graduate Caps a Four-Year Fight for Access

Major kudos to former Nation intern Britney Wilson who graduated this past May from Howard University with a flourish of collegiate honors: Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude, and a laudatory profile in the Washington Post, detailing her four-year struggle to make Howard more accessible for handicapped students like herself.

A Nation intern over the summer of 2011, Wilson wrote an important piece for thenation.com decrying the dangers of classifying students according to their intellectual ability.

At Howard, the Brooklyn-born Wilson was both an advocate and critic. She penned a column for the Hilltop campus newspaper: Mut(e)iny: The Silent Rebellion in which she railed against Howard’s social cliques, lamented the scarcity of student-scholars and celebrated the propensity for a math class to suddenly veer into a discussion of black history.

We look forward with great anticipation to Wilson's next move, which will involve law school and a possible career as a litigator attacking the remaining legal foundations of social discrimination.

We Are All Québécois!


Demonstrators protest against student tuition hikes in downtown Montreal, Quebec, May 22, 2012. Tens of thousands marched on Tuesday in a rally marking 100 days of student protests. The banner reads, "towards social strike". REUTERS/Christinne Muschi 

This is what international solidarity looks like.

Below is a statement of solidarity from Chilean academics and student leaders with the ongoing student protests in Montréal, Québéc, Canada. (English translation via Translating The Revolution.)

We Are All Québécois!

We the undersigned, Chilean academics and student leaders, denounce to national and international public opinion the persecution of the student movement in Québéc, Canada, expressed in Act 78, which was enacted on Thursday, May 19 by the government of Prime Minister Jean Charest.

Act 78—or the “Loi Matraque” (Rattle Law)—is the harshest since the War Measures Act in October 1970. It has been denounced by the President of the Bar of that province, as well as by Amnesty International, the Human Rights League, the four main trade unions, and various academic bodies.

It co-opts the fundamental freedoms of the citizens of Québéc by fundamentally restricting freedom of expression, freedom to demonstrate, and freedom of assembly, which are enshrined in both the Constitution and Québéc’s Charter of Rights. This law affects not only the students who have been on strike for fifteen weeks against higher tuition, but also all citizens—particularly teachers, academics, and workers, whose rights of expression and assembly are being affected.

Amongst these measures we denounce those that prevent spontaneous demonstrations of any group of more than fifty persons; the prohibition on protesting within fifty meters of a school; and the strengthening of police power by allowing police to decide at any time if a demonstration is legal or illegal, or if someone is an agitator.

By the same token, this law punishes any public expression of support for the demonstrations. For example, nobody in Québéc during a conflict may prevent the entry of students to colleges and universities, on pain of individual fines, fines to the student association or unions they belong to, as well as fines to union and student leaders. These penalties range from CA$1,000 to CA$125,000. Student leadership have announced they will challenge this law in court for being unconstitutional, and they have called for solidarity from all citizens.

The people of Québéc have for years stood by the Chilean people with their active solidarity. That’s why today we feel called to express and demonstrate our fullest solidarity with their student organizations and their leaders, with their labor unions, and with all citizen activists.

We do this for solidarity, but also because we understand that any attack against the freedoms of any place in the globalized world is an attack on our freedoms.

The so-called “Ley Hinzpeter” (Hinzpeter Law) driven by the Chilean government is part of the same repressive and undemocratic perspective.

The struggle of students, academics, and workers in Québéc is also our struggle.

Santiago de Chile, May 24, 2012.

Pots and Pans Protest Goes Viral

Posted on May 23, this powerful black and white film shows protesters of all ages, races and hues taking to the streets to protest Canada's emergency law Bill 78, a draconian attempt to quell massive student protests over tuition hikes that have taken over Quebec for more than 100 days.

The nightly “casseroles” march began with a Facebook callout on May 19 from a politics professor outside Montreal, the Guardian reported. People were told to meet on the street at 8 pm with pots and pans and make as much noise as they could. The pots-and-pans protest has its roots in Chile, where people have used it for years as an effective, peaceful tool to express popular defiance.

It appears to be taking off as a new symbol of resistance and solidarity and it’s reinvigorated the Montreal student movement.

The State of the Obama Coalition in 2012: Live Chat with Van Jones and Ari Berman

Note: To read a replay of the chat, click the CoveritLive box below. You can also access an edited transcript here.

After a campaign that saw an unprecedented level of grassroots activism and young voter engagement, Barack Obama’s supporters have struggled to reconcile the idealism that swept him into the presidency with the more centrist and cautious approach he has taken once in office. As the 2012 election approaches, what role will grassroots activists play in Obama's re-election campaign and in pushing him to stand up for more progressive governance? 

On Friday, June 1st at 2 PM EST, Nation readers are invited to join us for a discussion with Nation writer Ari Berman and Rebuild the Dream president and co-founder Van Jones on the state of the Obama coalition in 2012.

Ari Berman, a contributing writer for The Nation and Investigative Journalism Fellow at the Nation Institute, has reported extensively on American politics, foreign policy and the intersection of money and politics. His first book, Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics, looks at the grassroots organizing that sought to expand the Democratic coalition beginning with the Howard Dean campaign and culminating in the Democratic victories of 2008.

 

Van Jones is the president and co-founder of Rebuild the Dream, an organization that seeks to implement bottom-up solutions to fix the United States economy. In his new book of the same name, he details his experience in the Obama White House and proposes strategies to build movements for progressive change.

 

 

Please join us on Friday, June 1st for a lively discussion!

BU Speaker's Plea: Vote, Speak Out, Organize

This article was originally published by the alumni publication BU Today.


Watch this video on YouTube

People in other countries have risked their lives to achieve the freedoms Americans take for granted, and sometimes ignore. Can you handle something as simple as voting and speaking your mind to make your country better?

Sandra L. Lynch (LAW’71) laid that challenge before graduating seniors in her Baccalaureate address at Marsh Chapel Sunday, exhorting them to reject what she called the era’s prevalent cynicism. Lynch, chief judge for the U.S Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, spoke as someone who has extended her gender’s freedoms: she was the first woman jurist on her court and in several legal posts before that. She also spoke as someone who has practiced what she preached, describing how she was teargassed and cursed during protest marches for civil rights and against the Vietnam War.

“Some say they have no faith in government to address problems,” Lynch told the near-capacity crowd, which was sprinkled with scarlet-robed graduating students. “It would be reasonable for you to ask whether the fact that our democracy has not failed us in the past is any assurance at all that it will lead you to solve the problems that we face. My response is that our democratic form of government and the tools the Constitution gives you provide some of the best ways you have of addressing those problems.

“If you do not use those tools, including your right to vote, to speak, to organize in order to assure government will be honest, responsive, and relevant, the chances of your coming to solutions are considerably less,” she continued. “We give into your hands the safekeeping of our Constitution and our democracy. Please, we ask you, keep them safe and flourishing.”

Lynch fortified her call to civic participation by quoting one of BU’s most famous graduates—“There is nothing in the world greater than freedom,” said Martin Luther King, Jr. (GRS’55, Hon.’59)—and by citing a chapter from BU’s history. In 1967, she recalled, activist Bill Baird gave a lecture on birth control before 2,500 BU students. He had arranged beforehand to give contraceptive foam to an unwed 19-year-old student. That act violated a Massachusetts law against giving contraception to unmarried people, which Baird and the young woman wanted to challenge. Following his arrest, the court on which Lynch would later serve ruled the law unconstitutional, and the US Supreme Court followed suit in 1972.

Baird’s student partner and her peers attending the lecture “wanted to change an unjust law and to expand the protection of individual freedoms,” Lynch said.

Lynch’s career includes numerous examples of her work for the responsive government she exhorted graduates to bring about. For example, her dissent from a court ruling that rape didn’t meet the legal definition of serious bodily harm prodded Congress to amend the law in 1996.

Interns’ Favorite Pieces of the Week (5/16/12)

Our media coverage is often dominated by one big story that crowds out nearly everything else. As an antidote, every week, Nation interns try to cut through the echo chamber and choose one good article in their area of interest that they feel should receive more attention. Please check out their favorite stories below, watch for this feature each week and use the comments section below to alert us to any important articles you feel warrant broader attention.

 

Laura Bolt focuses on human rights and revolution.

Russia's Protest Movement Shows Staying Power, Despite Today's Dispersal,” by Fred Weir. The Christian Science Monitor, May 16, 2012. 

Russia's protest movement is alive and well in Moscow, where a group of dissenters relocated their "democracy preserve" after police broke up their ten-day encampment this week. While anti-Putin activists have been clashing with police and local residents, as this article shows, they remain committed to their Occupy-style tactics. Russia's young protestors have proven to be adept at using social media to further their cause, which is how this camp was able to reorganize so quickly. In the words of one protestor: "Resistance can take a lot of forms."

 

Zoë Carpenter focuses on the intersection of economics, health and the environment.

How Your College Is Selling Out to Big Ag,” by Tim Philpott. Mother Jones, May 9, 2012.

Corporations increasingly co-opt national scientific research infrastructure to their own ends, notably in the pharmaceutical, medical and environmental fields. Tom Philpott turns his attention to agrichemical giant Monsanto's takeover of America's agricultural research universities, which effectively allows the company to set the national agenda when it comes to agriculture policy. Money in science is like money in politics: it corrupts, and in the case of agriculture, it is small-scale farmers and consumers around the world who pay the price.

 

Umar Farooq focuses on the worldwide movement for democracy.

National and International Campign for the Freedom of Political Prisoners in Chiapas Presses On,” by Jessica Davies. Upside Down World, May 11, 2012.

More than a decade after the EZLN uprising in Chiapas, activists associated with the rebellion continue to be falsely imprisoned. Two cases of prominent activists being jailed on what are likely trumped up charges are highlighted here.

 

Loren focuses on peace, power and political culture. 

Committee Overwhelmingly Passes the FY13 National Defense Authorization Act.” House Armed Services Committee, May 10, 2012.

Last week, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) passed the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and approved $554 billion in specific expenditures for next year’s Department of Defense base budget and $88.5 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations—i.e. war-fighting. The bill is now being considered and debated by the full House of Representatives and is chock full of spending on defense programs and projects that scarcely endorse the notion of a constrained budgetary environment. One provision, offered by Representative Michael Turner, who is the Chairman of the HASC's Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, would spend $100 million on a study of possible locations for East Coast missile defense interceptors that don’t work and that the US Missile Defense Agency hasn’t requested. Representative Buck McKeon, the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, called the NDAA “the gold standard for Congressional bipartisanship.”

 

Connor Guy focuses on racism and race relations.

WATCH: Strategist Behind Proposed Reverend Wright Attack Ad Has Long History Of Race-Baiting,” by Annie-Rose Strasser. ThinkProgress, May 17, 2012.

With this, Think Progress provides the necessary back story to the New York Times story out today about the race-baiting GOP media consultant Fred Davis's plan to exploit an angle that even McCain wouldn't touch in 2008—President Obama's supposed "connection" to Reverend Jeremiah Wright. (Yes, this is the proposal that calls Obama "a metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln.") Davis has a long history of making race-baiting that speak to conservative fears, and his distorted messaging should be followed closely.


Ebtihal Mubarak focuses on human rights.

Saudi Feminism: Between Mama Amreeka and Baba Abdullah,” by Nora Abdulkarim. Jadaliyya, May 14, 2012.

Women's rights activists in Saudi should listen carefully to this sincere advice from Saudi blogger Nora Abdulkarim: “Saudi feminism does not have to be a story of ‘Mama Amreeka’ coming to the rescue, or ‘Baba Abdullah’ choosing to ‘grant’ her rights. Feminism based on pride in its demand for civil rights, not pity, is worthy of praise. Feminism based on Power in the face of an oppressive state, not timidness, is the aim.”

 

Hannah Murphy focuses on sex and gender.

4 Worst Media Misrepresentations of North Carolina's Anti-Gay Amendment One,” by Kristin Rawls. AlterNet, May 13, 2012.

In the wake of Obama's announcement in support of gay marriage, the passage of North Carolina's Amendment One was construed in the media as a decision made by “poor inbred” southerners. AlterNet deconstructed the coverage, showing how it was misrepresented, and what, in fact, led to the passage of Amendment One—reflecting on what it could mean for similar amendments to come.

 

James Murphy focuses on migration in the 21st century.

The Lovable Ms Lee.” The Economist, May 12, 2012.

“And now, the end is near. And so I face, the final curtain.” Somewhere new for the last edition of my immigration series—South Korea, the “world's most rapidly aging country.” The subject of this Economist article is Ms. Jasmine Lee, the first foreign-born South Korean to win a seat in the National Assembly. Her story is an important first chapter in that country's demographically-forced acceptance of immigration. 


Erin Schikowski focuses on the politics and business of healthcare.

Bridge to Health Reform 'Undoable' in San Luis Obispo,” by John Gonzales. California HealthCare Foundation, May 16, 2012.

In San Luis Obispo, California, Health Agency Director Jeff Hamm reluctantly chose not to participate in the Bridge to Reform (or Low Income Health) program, which would have provided free health coverage for the poor. In this piece, John Gonzales looks to San Luis Obispo as a case study and raises questions about why the county opted out of the program.

 

Elizabeth Whitman focuses on the Syrian uprising, its implications and the wildly varied domestic and international reactions.

Jordan struggling as Syrian refugees stream across the border.” Public Radio International, May 16, 2012. 

Jordan has always been a refugee destination, beginning with Palestinians decades ago and continuing with Libyans, especially those seeking medical treatment, and now Syrians. But Jordan's hospitality and resources are inevitably being strained as it struggles to provide housing, health care and education for Syrian refugees, whose stays are open-ended, while continuing to ensure that its own citizens have the same basic necessities. Meanwhile, international funds to help Jordan host these refugees have yet to materialize.

Interns’ Favorite Pieces of the Week (5/9/12)

Our media coverage is often dominated by one big story that crowds out nearly everything else. As an antidote, every week, Nation interns try to cut through the echo chamber and choose one good article in their area of interest that they feel should receive more attention. Please check out their favorite stories below, watch for this feature each week and use the comments section below to alert us to any important articles you feel warrant broader attention.

 

Laura Bolt focuses on human rights and revolution.

Russia: Investigate Police Use of Force Against Peaceful Protesters,” Human Rights Watch, May 8, 2012.

This letter, in which Human Rights Watch urges Russia to investigate abuses against protestors by police, details police misconduct during the protests of May 6th and 7th. The letter alleges that the actions of some violent protestors became a blanket excuse for police to engage in "excessive use of force against protesters and arbitrary detentions" against those participating peacefully in actions. Though protests have been occurring intermittently since December, this is the first violent action recorded by HRW.

 

Zoë Carpenter focuses on the intersection of economics, health and the environment. 

Diary: In Fukushima,” by Rebecca Solnit. London Review of Books, May 10, 2012.

Rebecca Solnit has a track record for shining new light on high-profile disasters, and this time she turns her attention to last year's tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Japan. In her lyrical narrative, Solnit probes the disasters' impact on the relationship between citizens and the Japanese government, focusing on the alienation and distrust that many Japanese felt after the coupled disasters.

 

Umar Farooq focuses on the world-wide movement for democracy.

For Israel, Punishing Palestinians Is Not Enough,” by Amira Hass. Haaretz, May 2, 2012.

Nearly 2,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israel have been on hunger strike for weeks now, demanding improvements in prison conditions and the lifting of restrictions like the one on family visits. Israel's open-ended detention policy has touched the lives of many Palestinians; almost all males have been to prison or have family members who have. Since this piece by Amira Hass, Israel's highest court has refused the appeal of two hunger strikers that were challenging their detention. With international pressure from the UN and human rights groups mounting, it is unclear if Israeli authorities will make concessions.

 

Loren Fogel focuses on peace, power, and political culture. 

Military-Crippling Sequester Must Be Stopped,” by Reps. Buck McKeon and Paul Ryan. Real Clear Politics, May 9, 2012.

As Chairmen of the House Armed Services and Budget Committees, Representatives Buck McKeon and Paul Ryan wrote today of the need to “spare our troops from the consequences of Washington's failures.” With the prospect of sequestration or across the board budget cuts still looming over the inability of Congress and the White House to come to consensus on federal budgetary priorities, the Chairmen, along with an overwhelming majority of their Republican colleagues in Congress, are choosing to protect the bloated defense budget over food stamp programs and federal employee pensions. Notice how their article is wrapped around a large ad for Lockheed Martin, which is one of the largest defense contractors in the world and a company that has secured the most expensive defense project of all time. It is estimated that the F-35 fighter jet program will cost $1.51 trillion over its life cycle.

 

Connor Guy focuses on racism and race relations. 

Elizabeth Warren’s Native American Question,” by Amy Davidson. The New Yorker, May 8, 2012.

Elizabeth Warren's recent remarks about her race, are, at worst, not very politically calculated. But Scott Brown and conservative pundits, predictably, used them as a jumping off point to spout more of the same, tired lines about ending or curbing affirmative action. Amy Davidson gives us, with this article, a fair, balanced account of the scuffle.

 

Ebtihal Mubarak focuses on human rights.

Ezzedine Errousi, a Moroccan Prisoner of Conscience, Released: 134 Days on Hunger Strike.” Jadaliyya, May 2, 2012.

The Arab Spring is not over yet. It's long journey to achieve liberty and equality will most likely occupy the coming years. From the Bahrain, Saudi, Palestine to Morocco many activists, following the steps of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., are advocating for nonviolent struggle and defying dictatorships with hunger strikes, and they shall conquer.


Hannah Murphy focuses on sex and gender. 

Why Conservatives Believe in Anti-Gay Pseudo-Science,” by Chris Mooney. AlterNet, May 3, 2012.

Now in the wake of the passage of North Carolina's Amendment One, Chris Mooney addresses the common reasons that voters oppose gay marriage—debunking the folklore and pseudo-science that has long supported the anti-gay marriage vote.

 

James Murphy focuses on migration in the 21st century. 

What Football Teaches Us About Creating a Thriving Jobs Market,” by Boris Johnson. The Telegraph, May 7, 2012.

Boris Johnson, the recently reelected Mayor of London, is the Conservative Party's shining star, his popularity eclipsing that of party leader, Prime Minister David Cameron. The key to the tow-headed, nimble-tongued politician's success is his unique brand of Tory populism, illustrated perfectly in a recent Telegraph op-ed in which he uses the English football team to get to the heart of the subject of immigration.

 

Erin Schikowski focuses on the politics and business of healthcare.

Study: Many Clinical Trials Small, of Poor Quality,” by Alexander Gaffney. Regulatory Focus, May 2, 2012.

A study published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that most clinical trials performed in the United States are small and of inconsistent, often poor quality. I was surprised that it did not receive more mainstream media attention because the number of registered clinical trials has increased sharply in recent years, from 28,900 between 2004 and 2007 to 41,000 between 2007 and 2010.

 

Elizabeth Whitman focuses on the Syrian uprising, its implications and the wildly varied domestic and international reactions.

Syria Uprising Creates Fear of Chemical Weapons Spread,” by Anthony Deutsch. Reuters, May 3, 2012.

Reporting on the issue of chemical weapons, of which Western countries believe Syria possesses an arsenal including mustard gas and VX nerve agent, has been surprisingly sparse since the beginning of this year. Even with coverage from Reuters, the Wall Street JournalWired, and antiwar.com on US concern about the possibility that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would use these weapons against opponents of his regime as he grows more desperate or that the weapons could fall into the wrong hands, the issue does not figure prominently in international discussion about the Syrian crisis. Whether or not the administration is cultivating, through occasional public speculation about Syria's chemical weapons and even draft plans to seize them, the justification for intervention (multilateral or not) in Syria when the situation becomes more convenient is an interesting and disturbing question to consider, particularly when this article calls attention to the obvious: the similar concerns that led to the invasion of Iraq.

Join Our Live Chat on Testing and Education Reform!

Note: To read a "replay" of the chat, click the CoveritLive box above. You can also access an edited transcript here.

With the the rise of the standards-and-accountability education reform movement, schools and teachers have found their fate increasingly tied to students’ scores on standardized tests. The practice has sparked debate on issues from the effects of “teaching to the test” on students' education to the fairness of judging teachers by their students' test scores.

On May 17th at 5 PM, Nation readers are invited to participate in a live chat with our education reporter Dana Goldstein on the role of testing in education reform. Dana will be joined by Mark Anderson, a New York City public school special-education teacher and contributor to the blog Schools as Ecosystems, and by Tara Brancato, a member of Educators 4 Excellence and a New York City public school International Baccaluareate teacher at X374—Knowledge and Power Preparatory Academy (KAPPA) International.

Readers are welcome to post questions prior to the chat using the comment section below. Educators, parents and students are warmly invited to participate.

Share Your #DontDoubleMyRate Story

On July 1, the interest rate on federal Stafford loans, which help millions of students pay for college, are set to double. If Congress doesn’t act, Stafford loans will increase to a 6.8 percent interest rate—up from 3.4 percent.

This seems obviously wrong but some recalcitrant elected officials, like Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), don’t believe that student debt is a problem. In response, our friends at Campus Progress have embarked on a campaign to demonstrate how profound an issue student is in this country today by sharing personal stories of debt.

Please share your story and tell our elected reps what impact student debt has on your ability to study, learn and enter a profession of your choice and how would your life change if the burden of debt was lifted.

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