If you follow me on Twitter you probably know that I have a special passion for basketball. Many of us followed the Lebron James spectacle as fans, but also as media critics: At TheNation.com this week, our Sports Editor Dave Zirin argued that with his drawn out announcement, James "lost his cool," tarnishing his brand and the game. You can read his piece here, and watch Dave’s interview on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show (guest-hosted by our DC Editor Christopher Hayes) here. "Happy LeBronnukkah Chris," Dave joked, in a wide-ranging segment about the impact a sports star can have on a town, the announcement spectacle and the questionable business ties of the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

Also this week … 

Essay: Why A Progressive Presidency is Impossible 

The must-read web piece at TheNation.com this week is Eric Alterman’s "Kabuki Democracy," which sparked strong reactions and discussion across the blogosphere – from TheAtlantic.com and Politico to Time’s Swampland blog. Alterman argues that a progressive presidency is impossible, for now. The systemic barriers to change are too great – and President Obama’s pragmatism runs too deep – for him to possibly deliver on the kind of transformational progressive legislation that he promised in his 2008 campaign. We’ll be surfacing excerpts of the essay on Twitter and Facebook all next week, and inviting reactions from readers. Start here by reading this important piece

Video: Facing The Jobs Crisis 

If you missed my commentary on this week’s The Nation on GRIT TVhere’s the link. In the comment, I argue that we need to fix the jobs crisis first, then the deficit. The answer to the crisis may lie in a proposal floated by the AFL-CIO, a detailed jobs plan that Congress and the Democrats could move forward today. Watch here

Podcast: The Breakdown with Chris Hayes 

On this week’s Breakdown podcast, Chris asks a simple but compelling question: Do Presidential speeches really matter? He talks with political scientist George C. Edwards about what impact, if any, presidential rhetoric has on public opinion and political change. Listen or download the MP3 here. 

Special Issue: Where Now on Energy?  

As Congress debates an energy policy in the wake of the BP spill, we’re weighing in with a special issue that posts this Thursday on our energy future: Michael Klare poses a tangible, yet visionary energy policy for the next decade; Christian Parenti discusses scalable green technologies that could make a dramatic impact on our economy and the environment; Mark Hertsgaard looks at clean energy in Louisiana, after BP; and we look at what this moment means for the mainstream environmental movement. For a preview, here is an interview with Christian Parenti from The Nation on GRIT TV about his piece. If the United States government is the largest energy consumer in the world, he argues, why doesn’t it use its massive buying power to support clean energy?Watch the segment here

Coming up on The Nation on GRIT TV … 

Kicking off our "energy week" is an video conversation with Mark Hertsgaard and The Media Consortium’s Sarah Laskow about the spill and the bill: is it really possible that the worst environmental catastrophe in American history makes passing an energy bill harder? We’ll post that segment Monday. On Wednesday we’ll post a commentary from Colin Robinson of OR Books about the outsized role of Amazon.com. On Friday we’ll post an extended conversation with The Nation’s "Carnal Knowledge" columnist JoAnn Wypijewski. You can watch the full episode Monday night at GRITTV.org

– – – – – 

A programming note: I’ll be on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show on Tuesday morning from 10-11AM EST talking politics with Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter. One twist on the program: if you’re in New York you can come to the show. It’s part of a series of live broadcasts from WNYC’s Greene Space in lower Manhattan. You can get tickets here, or listen online at WNYC.org.