December 21, 2009 | The Nation

In the Magazine

December 21, 2009

Cover: Cover design by Gene Case & Stephen Kling/Avenging Angels

Browse Selections From Recent Years













Deficit Hawks Come Home to Roost

Arcata, Calif.


In search of the elusive, filibuster-proof sixtieth vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has eviscerated the Senate's healthcare reform bill.

If ten percent is good enough for God, it should be enough for the bankers.

Lenders claim that cutting their federal subsidies in order to give grants to students would put tens of thousands out of work--but the numbers just don't add up.

Can a tax on breast enhancements and liposuction be channeled to benefit the public good?

A permanent security blanket for big boys of finance will further inflame public opinion. Only the public isn't likely to know.

The Swiss ban on minarets may seem insignificant, but it is hitched to bigger stories about mass immigration, economic depression and the rebirth of fascism in Europe.

Today, fifty-six newspapers from around the world took the unusual step of publishing the very same thing--an editorial
below, which calls for a "fair and effective deal" from the Copenhagen summit on climate change.

The real purpose of sending 30,000 soldiers to Afghanistan is to make Obama look tough as he heads toward the next US presidential election.

Why all the normal political calculations are likely to prove disastrous in Copenhagen.

How Obama's Afghan speech turned the Commander-in-Chief into the Commanded-and-Chief.

Rick Warren's homosexuality double standard; UCLA students versus tuition hikes; a preview of upcoming Copenhagen coverage.

Globalization advocates must realize that they're dealing with a new world.

Congress is finally ready to address climate change--but the American public seems headed in the opposite direction.

In making Afghanistan the key to America's national security strategy against terrorism, Obama has chosen to perpetuate some damaging myths.


The teachable moment of the Tiger Woods circus: if you front for the worst of the worst, don't expect anyone to have your back.


It is one thing to rob us blind by rewarding the power elite that created our problems but quite another to sugarcoat it in the rhetoric of a David taking on those Goliaths.

Are universities the last hope for a home for quality journalism?


In an exclusive interview with The Nation, David Plouffe, former campaign manager of Obama for America, talks healthcare, messaging, and organizing after election day.

Gianfranco Fini rose to prominence as a champion of Mussolini. Now he's moved to the center, and in so doing has become the country's most responsible right-wing politician.

Following an overwhelming re-election victory, President Evo Morales intends to "accelerate the process of change."

Over the past few months, Australia has shown the world how not to manage asylum seekers.

The Honduran elections were far from free, fair or peaceful, and the country now faces a deeper political crisis than before voters went to the polls.

Despite the seeming specificity of the president's West Point speech on the Afghan War--30,000 new troops at a cost of $30 billion--Americans got little sense of just how big and how expensive this surge is likely to be.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan has hired a firm with ties to a powerful ex-Republican congressman to help prepare oversight reports on other corporations.

Government regulators could insist that mortgage lenders take significant steps to stem the foreclosure crisis--but so far they've refused to.

Incarcerated women have achieved a string of victories against inhumane treatment in childbirth. But what about access to healthcare for all pregnant women in prison, not just those in labor?

After weeks of protests alleging judicial bias, the gang conspiracy case against Alex Sanchez was transferred to the jurisdiction of a new federal judge.

As Copenhagen kicks off, pressing questions about emissions cuts and financing for poor countries to deal with climate change are already on the table.

The most important international summit in history? Given what latest scientific reports tell us about the quickening pace of global warming, the sense of urgency driving attention to the Copenhagen summit is warranted.

Did Blackwater's owner speak to Vanity Fair to send a message to the Justice Department about the government secrets he could reveal?

A trip to Afghanistan reveals the extent of Washington's disconnect from the reality on the ground.

Inside sources reveal that the firm works with the US military in Karachi to plan targeted assassinations and drone bombings, among other sensitive counterterrorism operations.

The "Seattle coalition" for fair trade has suffered some setbacks, but on the whole we have filled the political space we created in the tear gas and drizzle a decade ago.

A decade after Seattle, there is no WTO expansion. But there is also no WTO turnaround.

In dozens of recent Congressional contests, fair traders have replaced free traders.

Books & the Arts


Richard Linklater's Me and Orson Welles, Jason Reitman's Up in the Air and Pedro Almodovar's Broken Embraces.


For Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, the fantastical is always found in the startling, dark and unfathomable episodes of daily life.


A 9/11 story modeled on Jane Eyre, A Gate at the Stairs is Lorrie Moore's most ambitious novel, and her slipperiest work to date.



 1 Could be either I or Adam! (5,6)