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Nation Now Alerts

Alerts, announcements and information from The Nation.

Nation Interns Choose the Week's Most Important (and Undercovered) Stories (1/18)

Our media coverage is often dominated by one big story that crowds out most 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

Laura focuses on human rights and revolution.

People vs. Putin Power: The Russian Spring Begins in Winter,” by Fred Weir. In These Times, January 13, 2012.

The voices of young protestors who felt the brunt of economic collapse and social control have dominated uprisings around the world over the past year. With Russia now in the spotlight, attention turns to a different kind of youth—professional, prosperous and ready to fight for a say in their country's political future.

Zoë Carpenter

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

Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist,” by Paul Kingsnorth. Orion, January/February 2012.

Paul Kingsnorth's essay on the hollowness of utilitarian environmentalism is eloquent and discomforting. He traces the ways in which environmentalism has been co-opted by other movements, both on the left and the right, and argues that we're completely missing the point as we scramble to find technological fixes for the crises caused by the human economy. Regardless of whether one ultimately agrees with Kingsnorth's ecocentric philosophy, the essays compel a reckoning with the flaws of a sustainability model.

— Umar Farooq

Umar focuses on the worldwide movement for democracy.

One Million Petition for the Recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker,” by Mary Bottari. PRWatch via Truthout, January 17, 2012.

When Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker tried to balance the state budget last year by cutting the wages of government workers and dismantling their labor unions, the people fought back. Hundreds of thousands marched in the streets of Madison, occupied the capitol building, and garnered support across the country and the world. Along with campaigns to unseat pro-Walker officials, the protesters set their sights on the governor himself, and set out to collect signatures to spark a recall. As the article chronicles, protesters needed 540,000 signatures, but have collected more than one million in sixty days, about half of the total votes in the 2010 gubernatorial election.

— Loren Fogel

Loren focuses on peace, power and political culture.

Occupy The Dream – MLK and the Power of Love,” by Velcrow Ripper. Occupy Love, January 12, 2012.

What would have been Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 83rd birthday was celebrated this week, and with it the heroic and timeless contributions he and his fellow champions of the Civil Rights Movement have given to American and worldwide struggles for peace, justice, freedom, equalityand universal human rights. Featuring Alice Walker and Congressman John Lewis in an excerpt from “Fierce Light,” which is part of the film project Occupy Love, “Occupy The Dream“ is an eloquent presentation of “soul-force” power: the power of love, the power of transcendence beyond hatred, the power of maladjustment to cruelty and the destructive forces of enmity.

— Connor Guy

Connor focuses on racism and race relations.

Racism 'Happens': Inexplicable Events Haunt GOP Primary,” by Paul Rosenberg. Al Jazeera, January 16, 2012.

In this op-ed, Paul Rosenberg efficiently picks apart (in technical and specific terms) the pillars of misinformation that support the GOP myth of a destructive, ineffective welfare state that pays out primarily to racial minorities. His deepest insight comes towards the end, where he analyzes how the skewed mainstream media in the US neglects international context when discussing these issues, allowing conservative opinion-shapers to make uninformed and blatantly racist statements without any kind of scrutiny from their base. He ends by briefly discussing the phenomenon of "racism without racists"—which is surely relevant in a political climate where politicians like Santorum and Gingrich can deny outright racism, even after their widely publicized remarks this past week

— Ebtihal Mubarak

Ebtihal focuses on human rights.

Latinos: Turn Off Your TV, Coño!” by Julia Ahumada Grob and Jazmin Chavez. Remezcla, January 13, 2012.

To break the state monopoly of media, young Arabs flocked to the internet and created numerous webcasts that played a crucial role in challenging dictators and fueling the youth of the Arab Spring. And here, when ABC’s sitcom thought that it was funny for a Puerto Rican actor to say, “I’m Puerto Rican, I’d be great at selling drugs,” young Latinos tired of stereotypes also decided to move to the web.

— Hannah Murphy

Hannah focuses on sex and gender.

Girl Scout Troops in Trans Panic Mode?” by Diane Anderson-Minshall. The Advocate, December 19, 2011.

The "T" in LGBT is one of the more difficult to issues broach in the media—it is both delicate and cumbersome because it has neither a common media vernacular, nor poplar familiarity. So when a traditional, familiar organization like the Girl Scouts chooses to support a young trans girl, and defend that choice, it's important to recognize, and engage in the discourse that it creates.

—James Murphy

James focuses on migration in the 21st century.

Migration Caps Aren't About Protecting British Workers,” by Zoe Williams. The Guardian, January 11, 2012.

With a slew of reports on migration and its impact on the British economy published recently, their press is awash with articles examining the subject. The Guardian's Zoe Williams offers, in my view, the finest opinions on the subtleties of an emotive subject.

— Erin Schikowski

Erin focuses on health and environmental politics.

Physicians See Chance for Riches in Concierge Medicine, But Few Follow Through,” by Victoria Stagg Elliot. American Medical News, January 2, 2012.

According to a recently released survey by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, over sixty percent of doctors polled believe that in the present age of healthcare reform, "concierge medicine" practices that do not accept insurance offer doctors the best chance of financial success. However, the author of this article from American Medical News explains that despite annual per-patient fees of about $1500, concierge medical physicians who stop accepting insurance may actually lose money. One must wonder, then, where these widely held beliefs about concierge-medicine practices are coming from.

— Elizabeth Whitman

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

After Monitor Quits, Arab League Defends Its Syrian Peace-Keeping Mission,” by Eyder Peralta. NPR, January 12, 2012.

Bickering rather than cooperating to find ways to end violence in Syria remains standard for two prominent organizations. After Anwar Malek, a former Arab League observer in Syria, quit his post, citing a "humanitarian disaster" where the regime was committing not just one war crime but a whole series of them, the head of the Arab League's mission responded by saying that Malek did not leave his hotel room in Syria for six days because of illness. Meanwhile, members of the UN Security Council have failed yet again to agree on a draft resolution.

Nation Interns Choose the Week's Most Important Stories (1/13)

Our media coverage is often dominated by one big story that crowds out most 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 please use the comments section below to alert us to any important articles you feel warrant broader attention.

—Laura Bolt

Laura focuses on human rights and revolution.

Cairo Dispatch,” by Max Strasser. n+1, December 23, 2011.

This is a piece about the philosophy and practicality of revolution in an increasingly connected world. While many articles have drawn connections between the participants and ideals of protestors in Tahrir Square and at Occupy Wall Street, Max Strasser examines the idea of what it means for foreigners abroad when borders are more than "occupied"—they are transcended.

Zoë Carpenter

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

Nigeria's Oil Disasters are Met by Silence,” by Michael Keating. The Guardian, January 9, 2012.

The media loves a story of violence and disaster, but only when it's sudden and close to home. In this opinion piece, Michael Keating draws attention to the slower-paced, geographically-distant disasters caused by the oil industry in West Africa, comparing media silence on the issue to the uproar that followed the 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

—Umar Farooq

Umar focuses on the worldwide movement for democracy.

How Bahrain Works Washington,” by Ken Silverstein. Salon, December 8, 2011.

This great investigative piece, written by a former Nation intern, actually covers several Arab countries, detailing how massive PR firms are being paid millions to employ former US officials to lobby for oil companies and repressive governments in covering up human rights violations abroad.

—Loren Fogel

Loren focuses on peace, power, and political culture.

Democracy, Democratisation and Peace: Lessons from Recent Experience,” by Dan Smith. Working Group on Peace and Development, via Human Security Report Project, November 28, 2011.

International Alert's Dan Smith draws important lessons from recent experience to inform our understanding of political culture. He argues that democratization and peacebuilding are not requirements of one another as means of approaching conflict, but that they do share a common principle: “What matters is the legitimacy of the process of self-transformation that a country goes through—legitimacy for its citizens.”

—Connor Guy

Connor focuses on racism and race relations.

Mrs Obama: Some Give Her 'Angry Black Woman' Image.” Associated Press, January 11, 2012.

It's appalling that simply because Michelle Obama is a woman, and black, whatever agency and self-advocacy she expresses can be cast in racist stereotypes. I haven't read the book to which this article refers, and therefore can't speak to its actual portrayal of Mrs. Obama, but the fact that whatever depictions it contains have shifted discussions to revolve around whether or not she is an "angry black woman" is disturbing, to say the least.

—Ebtihal Mubarak

Ebtihal focuses on human rights.

Saudi Arabia: Renewed Protests Defy Ban.” Human Rights Watch, December 30, 2011.

American mainstream media often fails to report on what's really happening in Saudi Arabia. The news of more than 100 women defying a government ban on peaceful protests, boldly demonstrating after Friday prayers demanding the release of long-term detainees, deserves more attention.

—Hannah Murphy

Hannah will focus on sex and gender.

Court Allows Texas Law on Ultrasound Before Abortion.” Global Post, January 11, 2012.

This article is particularly relevant right now because, while the GOP primaries take over the media, the broad arguments surrounding abortion and contraception policies are consistently reported, but the smaller, local steps toward reducing reproductive freedoms are easier to overlook—to our detriment. While the Texas decision certainly does not ban abortion, it is one, successful step toward the psychological attack on women seeking the procedure.

—James Murphy

James focuses on migration in the 21stcentury.

Role Reversal: An Ex-Colony May Be Getting the Better, in Economic Terms, of its Old Master.”The Economist, September 3, 2011.

This article  spans two of my interest areas: colonization and migration. It also has ironic qualities. In a throwback to the colonial era, the Portuguese are once again setting sail to Angola. This time, however, it is their home nation that has fallen upon hard times, while the African nation is a shining light on a continent threatening to rise. It highlights the upended nature of migration and world order in the early part of the 21st century.

—Erin Schikowski

Erin focuses on health and environmental politics.

Senate Holds First Hearing on Genetically Engineered Fish.” Center for Food Safety, December 15, 2011.

In the first hearing of its kind, experts testified before Congress about the environmental risks associated with genetically engineered fish. Should the FDA approve the proposal, salmon will be the first type of genetically engineered animal declared fit for human consumption in the United States. The only problem—and it isn't a small one, either—is that no one knows for certain what effects genetically engineered fish might have on wild fish stocks, aquatic ecosystems or the spread of parasites and disease.

—Elizabeth Whitman

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

Syria's Bashar al-Assad Chooses the Qaddafi Model,” by Max Fisher. The Atlantic, January 10, 2012.

This post by Max Fisher demonstrates the confusion of the MSM as it attempts to draw parallels and make sense of what has happened not only in Syria but also more broadly throughout the Middle East over the past year. Fisher argues that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is following the model of former Libyan dictator Qaddafi, but that very analysis underscores the tendency, for better or for worse, of the media to compare situations horizontally rather than delving vertically into a country's unique politics and history.

What Are You Missing?

On December 5 at its annual dinner, The Nation Institute awarded playwright and screenwriter (and Nation editorial board member) Tony Kushner its annual $100,000 Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship “for a lifetime of artistic work giving voice to the marginalized, and his outspoken criticism of social injustice.” Watch and read Kushner’s remarkable acceptance speech now.

The only way to keep up on all of The Nation's special content is by joining our free EmailNation list. Arriving three times each week, this timely alert provides breaking news, informed opinion, first looks at new Nation investigative reports, details on when Nation writers are on TV and info on critical activist initiatives. And we'll never share your name with anyone! Sign up now!

What Are You Missing?

"As we head into 2012, there are a lot of questions about where the Occupy energy will go from here" writes Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel.  "I’m confident it will move in powerful directions–fighting unjust foreclosures and evictions, exploring alternative banking, taking on outrageous student debt, countering the corrosive role of corporate money in politics, and allying in new ways with the growing ranks of poor Americans. But there are also tangible reforms that make a real difference in people’s lives and speak to OWS principles, and would benefit from its energy and activism."

The only way to keep up on all of The Nation's special content is by joining our free EmailNation list. Arriving three times each week, this timely alert provides breaking news, informed opinion, first looks at new Nation investigative reports, details on when Nation writers are on TV and info on critical activist initiatives. And we'll never share your name with anyone! Sign up now!

What Are You Missing?

With their emphasis on participatory direct democracy, the anarchists behind Occupy Wall Street have changed the very idea of what politics could be. Nathan Schneider explains.

The only way to keep up on all of The Nation's Occupy Wall Street coverage is by joining our free EmailNation list. Arriving three times each week, this timely alert provides breaking news, informed opinion, first looks at new Nation investigative reports, details on when Nation writers are on TV and info on critical activist initiatives. And we'll never share your name with anyone! Sign up now!

Occupy Harvard Moves to Next Phase of Action

On December 19, Occupy Harvard will launch the next phase of its occupation, with a focus on moving beyond physical occupation to occupying the hearts and minds of those beyond the university’s walls.

“Occupy Harvard 2.0 will focus on education, activism, and strengthening the connections between Harvard’s Occupy outpost and the world outside our university's gates,” said Maggie Gram, a doctoral student in English. “It is our hope that with this action, Harvard administration will respond by returning access to the Yard to the larger community it belongs to.”

In moving to this next phase, Occupy Harvard will consolidate the footprint of its original encampment to a winterized geodesic dome—provided by Occupy supporters at MIT—serving as a hub of activity and growth for the movement.

"Our second phase will consolidate the footprint of our original encampment while broadening our movement’s energy, spirit, and base," Gram continued. “We feel that Occupy Harvard has achieved what it set out to achieve with the original encampment by occupying the attention of students, faculty, staff, and administrators. The Harvard community is focused on issues of social justice in an entirely new way, and we hope to encourage that conversation even more with Occupy 2.0.”

In existence for just over a month, Occupy Harvard counts among its successes the negotiation of a better contract for custodial workers, increased attention on the social impact of the university’s multi-billion dollar endowment, and a teach-in where hundreds of participants heard faculty lectures on the economic, historical, and legal implications of the Occupy movement. With this next phase, Occupiers say they’re more committed than ever to making their movement impossible to ignore.

"Our visceral disruption of business as usual on campus would not have been possible without the physical presence of our encampment,” Gram concluded. “Our challenge now will be to find new ways to turn Harvard’s attention — and the world's — to the transformative questions the Occupy movement asks.”

Nation Interns Choose the Week's Most Important Stories (12/16)

Our media coverage is often dominated by one big story that crowds out most 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 please use the comments section below to alert us to any important articles you feel warrant broader attention.

 — Angela Aiuto:

Angela focuses on money in politics.

The Political One Percent of the One Percent,” by Lee Drutman. Sunlight Foundation, Dec. 13, 2011.

Forget the 1 percent—in an America that increasingly conflates money with speech, the 1 percent of the 1 percent matter most to candidates. According to a recent analysis by the Sunlight Foundation, this elite group of Americans—many of whom have ties to the corporate and lobbying worlds—was responsible for nearly a quarter of all itemized federal campaign contributions in 2010. And if not for the generosity of this 0.01%, a staggering 74 candidates would have seen their itemized contributions cut in half! And we're meant to believe that elected officials aren't beholden to their funders? Justice Kennedy might want to read this report.

—Cal Colgan:

Cal follows the drug war and human rights in Latin America.

Noriega jailed on return to Panama.” Al Jazeera, Dec. 12, 2011.

Manuel Noriega, the former military ruler of Panama, is now in jail in his home country after being extradited from France. Noriega was serving jail time in France for money laundering, but he has been convicted in Panama of murder, fraud and embezzlement. The former ruler, who previously served 17 years in American prisons for drug trafficking, will be serving time in Panama for the murder of two political opponents. This marks the first time Noriega has returned to his home country after the U.S. government ousted his military junta in 1989.

— Teresa Cotsirilos:

Teresa focuses on "Global South" politics, or sociopolitical developments in areas of the developing world.

Holding the Line: An extraordinary portrait of ordinary citizens at war.” Al Jazeera, Dec. 14, 2011.

In the summer of 2011, filmmaker Patrick Wells spent three weeks imbedded with a motley crew of civilian fighters on the frontlines of the Libyan civil war. His brief documentary of the conflict has only now been released, and it is definitely worth watching. The soldiers that Wells interviews are well-educated twenty-somethings, many of whom had less than a week of fighting experience at the time of filming; their daily lives are mostly tedious, always surreal, and punctuated by terror. Viewer discretion is advised.

— Paolo Cravero:

Paolo follows war, peace, and security.

Syria should be referred to ICC, UN's Navi Pillay says.” BBC, Dec. 13, 2011.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged the U.N. Security Council to take action against the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The allegation is that his crackdown against domestic protesters is constituting a crime against humanity and that Syria should be brought to the ICC. This statement was delivered as the U.N. estimates for the death toll during the Syrian uprising were revisited. More than 5,000 people are now believed to be killed, including 300 children. Another 14,000 are believed to have been arrested, and 12,400 people had fled to other countries increasing the refugee problem in the region. Ignoring the problem hasn't solved it. Maybe the time has come for effective actions to be taken.  

— Erika Eichelberger:

Erika follows the environmental beat.

The Bizarro World of Bjorn Lomborg and the NY Times’ “Post-Pollution” Solution to Climate Change,” by Joe Romm. Think Progress, Dec. 13, 2011.

In a recent post at ThinkProgress, Joe Romm slams the NY Times' Andy Revkin's support for the idea that the debate around climate change mitigation should shift from emissions reductions targets to R&D in renewables in order to bring down their cost. Romm calls this a "false dichotomy" and also points out that the best way to make renewables more cost-efficient is for governments to deploy them, since economies of scale would drive down their market price.

— Josh Eidelson:

Josh covers the labor beat.

West Coast Port Shutdown Sparks Heated Debate between Unions, Occupy,” by Evan Rohar. Labor Notes, Dec. 12, 2011.

The move by West Coast occupiers to use direct action to shut down unionized ports on Monday sparked heated debate within organized labor and between union and occupy activists.  At stake: What risks are worth taking?  How democratic is the longshore union, or the Occupy movement?  What kind of democratic claim do workers have over what happens where they work?

— Eli Epstein-Deutsch:

Eli looks at the intersection of politics, ideas and economics from a macro perspective.

Economic Conflicts with China and Class War in the United States,” by Dean Baker. Truthout via Center for Economic and Policy Research, Dec. 12, 2011.

In this article for Truthout, economist Dean Baker illuminates the class bias disguised behind the United States' disingenuous calls for China to address its currency manipulation.

— Collier Meyerson:

Collier’s beat is discrimination.

If I Were A Poor Black Kid,” by Gene Marks. Forbes, Dec. 12, 2011.

Forbes columnist Gene Marks took some time off from his "technology" beat to write a story on what he would do if  "[he] were a poor black kid." He suggests that he'd use Internet tools like Google, Google Scholar, Spark Notes and “Skype to study with other students who also want to do well in my school.” Marks certainly misses the mark with this one.  He fails to address the myriad of structural inequalities that prevent impoverished black youth from even having access to computers to Skype with.

— Allie Tempus:

Allie follows human rights.

Voter ID becomes law of unintended consequences,” by Robert Mentzer. Wausau Daily Herald, Dec. 4, 2011.

"Ruthelle Frank was born on Aug. 21, 1927, in her home in Brokaw. It was a hard birth; there were complications." So begins this local newspaper article about an 84-year-old Wisconsin woman who may be blocked from voting for the first time in her hardworking, hard-earned life. Since publication, Frank's story has rocketed to national outlets. As announcements are made that Wisconsin has gathered almost enough signatures to recall Gov. Scott Walker, here's hoping Frank (and the large chunk of the population like her) will have the option to influence the state's upcoming--and especially pivotal--elections.

— Jin Zhao:

Jin follows the US’s image in international media.

Occupy Wall Street resonates within Japan,” by Mark Schreiber. The Japan Times, Dec. 4, 2011.

The author recapitulates the coverage of Occupy Wall Street and commentaries in five Japanese magazines, comparing issues such as Japan's unemployment and increasing income disparity with those in the US. A magazine reminds the readers of the blessing of universal healthcare, another describes the US as "capitalist dictatorship, most of them depict a bleak outlook of Japan's working and middle class, and all are sympathetic with the Occupy movement.

What Are You Missing?

In this period of deepening deprivation, Republicans in Congress are not only obstructing an extension in federal unemployment benefits, at a time when 5.7 million people have been out of work six months or more, explains Betsy Reed writing in the new issue of The Nation. "They are quietly killing the range of safety net initiatives in the Recovery Act that have kept millions from poverty. The result is an unfolding catastrophe that is receiving almost no attention from the media or political establishment."

The only way to keep up on all of The Nation's special content is by joining our free EmailNation list. Arriving three times each week, this timely alert provides breaking news, informed opinion, first looks at new Nation investigative reports, details on when Nation writers are on TV and info on critical activist initiatives. And we'll never share your name with anyone! Sign up now!

Nation Interns Choose the Week's Most Important Stories (12/9)

Our media coverage is often dominated by one big story that crowds out most 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 please use the comments section below to alert us to any important articles you feel warrant broader attention.

— Angela Aiuto:

Angela focuses on money in politics.

Will Foreigners Decide the 2012 Election? The Extreme Unintended Consequences of Citizens United,” by Richard Hasen. The New Republic, December 6, 2011.

U.C. Irvine Professor of Law Richard Hasen has written a column for The New Republic highlighting Bluman v. FEC, a case before the Supreme Court that would determine the rights of foreign nationals living in the United States to spend in U.S. elections. While the Court is expected to uphold the ban on foreign spending whether it chooses to hears the case or not—and rightly so, Hasen argues—such a decision would underline the faulty logic underpinning the 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision.

—Cal Colgan:

Cal follows the drug war and human rights in Latin America.

Adventures in drug war logic,” by Alex Pareene. Salon, Dec. 5, 2011.

Alex Pareene's snarky blog post on Salon examines two recent New York Times articles. The first is about the DEA's several-year-long operation of laundering large sums of money to drug traffickers in the hopes of "following the money" to the major cartels, a practice the agency had been performing in several European and African countries but just started doing so in Mexico a few years ago. The other article details the various dismissals of law enforcement officers who speak out against drug prohibition. Pareene argues that it is a disturbing double-standard for government agencies to condone laundering money to criminal organizations while simultaneously firing officers who question the effectiveness of the drug war. 

— Teresa Cotsirilos:

Teresa focuses on "Global South" politics, or sociopolitical developments in areas of the developing world.

Vast and Fertile Ground in Africa for Science to Take Root,” by G. Pascal Zachary. The New York Times, Dec. 5, 2011.

Welcome to the computer science center at Makerere University, a gleaming new college in Kampala, Uganda that is rapidly pushing the boundaries of global research. Through their current experiments, professors hope to provide life saving services to Eastern Africa's rural populations by endowing their cellphones with the "intelligence" to identify diseases in crops or malaria in a person's bloodstream. The college has attracted so many undergraduates that faculty members hold lectures past midnight in order to accommodate them.

— Paolo Cravero:

Paolo follows war, peace, and security.

Northern Distribution Nightmare,” by David Trilling. Foreign Policy, Dec. 6, 2011.

This article indirectly highlights the crucial importance of Pakistan in the Afghanistan conflict. Differently than usual, Trilling's piece does not talk about the political and military role of Pakistan, but shows the difficulties that the US is going through in order to resupply its troops from the "Northern Route". An interesting take that reminds us that if the war in Afghanistan will ever find a peaceful solution, this will be through Pakistan.

— Erika Eichelberger:

Erika follows the environmental beat.

Africa: Women Impacted by Climate Change - But Not as Victims,” by Melissa Britz. AllAfrica.com, Dec. 6, 2011.

Women are disproportionately affected by climate change for many reasons. As the primary food providers in poor countries, women are hardest hit by the effects of changing weather patterns on agriculture. Disease and injury resulting from climate change present another burden, as women are the chief caregivers. As resources dwindle, the challenge of curbing an explosive population falls on women as well. Thus, as this article at All AFrica points out, it is encouraging that the importance of women's voices has been recognized at the current COP17 climate negotiations, otherwise widely expected to be a disappointment. "I'm glad this [conference]...is highlighting women's leadership at the different levels," said Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, and head of a foundation promoting the concept of "climate justice". The story highlights, in particular, the need for climate funding to include investments in reproductive health education and family planning for poor countries in order to address overpopulation. Clearly, Western consumption must be curbed, but both strategies--mitigation and adaptation--will need to be employed to address impending climate crises.

— Josh Eidelson:

Josh covers the labor beat.

NLRB Moving to Speed Union Elections,” by Michael Goldberg. Labor Notes, Dec. 6, 2011.

Last week the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) voted to move forward with writing a new rule that would take away some of the tools employers use to delay union elections and buy themselves more time to scare workers.  Hours before the vote, it was still unclear whether, in an unprecedented move, Republican NLRB member Brian Hayes would resign his position in order to sabotage the agency by denying it a quorum.  Hayes announced that he won't resign, clearing the way for passage of the new rule later this month.  But the Labor Board will be incapacitated anyway come January 1, when Obama's recess appointment of NLRB member Craig Becker expires.

— Eli Epstein-Deutsch:

Eli looks at the intersection of politics, ideas and economics from a macro perspective.

Does Inequality Matter?” by Robert Frank. Slate, Dec. 5, 2011.

This Slate piece discusses a hidden mechanism by which pervasive income inequality causes real damage to quality of life for the vast majority of people—without even improving things for those it supposedly favors.

— Collier Meyerson:

Collier’s beat is discrimination.

‘Opting Out,’” by Allie Grasgreen. Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 2, 2011.

In her new and controversial book entitled Losing The Potential Of America's Young Black Elite, Maya Beasley concludes that African-Americans graduating from America's elite Liberal Arts schools are gravitating toward lower paying and "less prestigious" nonprofit and community based professions. Beasley suggests: “Not everybody is going to make a great social worker…. some are going to be fantastic brain surgeons, and we’re really missing the potential of these students because they’re not getting the information they need." We are left asking ourselves: what is the most beneficial route for African-American economic advancement? Is it through vocational, or cerebral work? Here - as was the case during the famous W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington debates on the same subject - we cannot possibly deduce the correct answer, but only offer our opinions. 

— Allie Tempus:

Allie follows human rights.

Can Occupy and the Tea Party team up?” by Chris Dovi. Salon, Dec. 7, 2011.

In Richmond, Virginia the author sits in on what may be the first (though much-pondered and somewhat-anticipated) meeting of Occupiers and Tea Partiers. Their differences (historical influences, rallying tactics) and similarities (desire to return power to the people) are hashed out with optimistic conclusions. Whether one sees the Tea Party as an anti-intellectual threat to a progressive cause or a worthy partner in a "second American revolution," this small-scale local meeting may provide insight into bigger things to come. 

— Jin Zhao:

Jin follows the US’s image in international media.

China, USA: Comparing Poverty Lines,” by Oiwan Lam. Global Voices, Dec. 1, 2011.

China raised its poverty line from RMB 1,196 yuan in 2009 to RMB 2,300 yuan (USD $360) per capita annual income, or $0.99 a day, which is still below the extreme poverty line defined by the World Bank. On Chinese news and social network websites, many Chinese compare the poor in China to the poor in the US, questioning whether China's "socialism" is truly socialist.

 

What Are You Missing?

We're delighted to announce the winners of The Nation's sixth annual Student Writing Contest!  Congratulations to Bryce Wilson Stucki, an undergraduate at Virginia Tech, and Hannah Moon, a 2011 graduate of Brooklyn College Academy in Brooklyn, New York and to our ten finalists! The winners each receive a cash award of $1,000; the finalists receive $200 each. All receive Nation subscriptions. This year we asked students to send us an original, unpublished,  800-word essay detailing what they think is the most important issue facing their generation. We received hundreds of submissions from high school and college students in forty-one states. Read the winners now.

The only way to keep up on all of The Nation's student content is by joining our free EmailNation list. Arriving three times each week, this timely alert provides breaking news, informed opinion, first looks at new Nation investigative reports, details on when Nation writers are on TV and info on critical activist initiatives. And we'll never share your name with anyone! Sign up now!
 

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