February 2, 2009 | The Nation

In the Magazine

February 2, 2009

Cover: Cover illustration by John Mavroudis (key to names); design by Gene Case & Stephen Kling/Avenging Angels

Browse Selections From Recent Years













Obama: Flexible, Intelligent, Pragmatic

Trenton, N.J.


The pundits insist Obama will govern from the center, but to me it seems he's dedicated to redefining where the center is.

Traveling by train to Washington today, to witness an historic inauguration, summons memories of a very different inauguration, fifty-five years ago.

A modest proposal of words Barack Obama might say when he takes the oath of office in Washington on Tuesday.

In the end, it wasn't shoddy products or high wages that put the US auto industry on the ropes. It was a failure to innovate for global markets.

How powerful is he? Take a look at his tax breaks.

Ari Melber on Change.gov and torture, Esther Kaplan on an SEIU blunder, John Nichols on Obama's technology guru.

Six months from now, if the Obama recovery does not materialize, the president may discover he has to reinvent himself.

What you can do about the war in the Congo.

Love of country is expressed not just by civic virtue, but economic rights, rule of law and fair distribution of the nation's resources.

The spirits of the civil rights movement--and movements for social justice everywhere--were with Obama on this historic Inauguration Day. Artist John Mavroudis imagines the occasion.



As Obama gets down to work, what assurances do we have that he will break with the past--on an unfair and opaque bailout and the war in Afghanistan?


Many comparisons have been made between Obama and FDR. But the forty-fourth president will have a very different first 100 days.

A sobering toast to the dubious achievements of the worst president in American history.

There's panic in the neocon playground as young liberal Jewish bloggers refuse to be silenced.

He knows he's the right man for the job.


On a cool and bright Inaugural Day in Washington, the change an extraordinary leader has promised is beginning to be felt.

A concert unlike any Washington has seen unfolded Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial, expressing the hopes and dreams of a nation on the cusp of enormous change.

A mix of patriotism and Obamamania permeate the frigid air, as young Obama supporters stream into the Capital.

Israel's assault on Gaza is radicalizing mainstream Muslim opinion. And regardless how this war ends, Hamas will likely emerge a more powerful force than before.

Your submissions to the Name Our Epoch contest were awesome: The Age of Avarice, The Crassical Period, The Bling Bang, The New Steal. And the winner is....

The tension around the pros and cons of online organizing has spurred a healthy debate in the social movement community.

Obama cannot let former Bush administration officials get away with breaking the law without violating his own oath of office.

Many Indians believe Obama's victory makes all things possible for people of color--but for all the good will, there is little mention of India's ever-present racism.

Might a Deutschturke one day become chancellor of Germany? The prospect lies in the distant future.

Once upon a time, this Catholic country prided itself that Italians were brava gente, good people and tolerant. No more.

If the last great redemptive moment in global politics was Nelson Mandela's liberation and ascent to power, Barack Obama's presidency will be the next.

Coming to terms with a black American not as a symbol of protest, but as a symbol of power.

Books & the Arts

Nimrod Workman's craggy ballads of Mingo County coal country.


A new book on the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians looks at jazz as a power stronger than itself.

Jill Lepore and Jane Kamensky talk about how they wrote the occasionally racy historical novel Blindspot.


An affectionate and absorbing oral history raises questions of whether George Plimpton's amiable exterior concealed a man without qualities.



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