The Nation is a finalist in the single-topic-issue category of the National Magazine Awards for “Death Trip: The American Way of Execution” (Jan. 8/15, 2001). This featured a long article by Robert Sherrill evoking the cruel anomalies of capital punishment, with companion pieces by Bruce Shapiro and Marion Gross. Salih Booker and William Minter’s article “Global Apartheid” (July 9, 2001) is a finalist in the magazine category of the World Hunger Year’s Harry Chapin Media Awards, which honor writing on hunger and poverty issues.
ROLLING THUNDER DOES AUSTIN
The Rolling Thunder Down-Home Democracy Tour made its debut in Austin, Texas, on March 23, and by all accounts it lived up to progenitor Jim Hightower’s vision of “a country fair with guts, a revival with a reason, a concert with consciousness and a festival with funk.” It was conceived as a latter-day chautauqua, devoted to bringing people together for education, speeches, organizing, coalition-building, socializing, entertainment and fun. “Let’s put the party back in politics,” says Hightower. In Austin, a crowd of 6,000 turned up at the Travis County Expo Center to attend workshops, listen to rousing speeches by Molly Ivins, Michael Moore, Granny D. and Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. and to shimmy and shake to the music of MC Overlord, Ruben Ramos, Marcia Ball and Michelle Shocked. Moore described his fight with his publisher, Rupert Murdoch-owned HarperCollins, which pressed him to tone down his new book, Stupid White Men, after September 11. Moore refused to change it, and the book is now–irony of ironies–sitting atop the New York Times bestseller list. Jackson condemned spending $95 billion to hunt down Osama bin Laden–including a $15 billion bailout for the airlines–while stiffing public education and healthcare. With Rolling Thunder duly launched, Hightower urges progressives to make it happen in your city. For information on how, and a schedule, see www.rollingthundertour.org.
HARD MONEY = EASY MONEY
Re the new $2,000 limit on hard-money donations, Hotline, the newsletter for political insiders, points out that George W. Bush had 61,972 people max out (i.e., give $1,000) to his 2000 primary campaign. If that number contributes $2,000 each just for the 2004 primaries, Bush will start his re-election campaign with a financial base of nearly $124 million.
HARD TIMES FOR THE SUPER RICH
As a result of the recession, the number of billionaires declined from 551 to 497 in 2001, according to Forbes. Still, their combined wealth added up to $1.54 trillion. The total GNP of all the nations of sub-Saharan Africa was $929.3 billion.
NEWS OF THE WEAK IN REVIEW
Our President sheds light on the question of poverty as a source of terrorism. In Monterrey, Mexico: “We fight against poverty because hope is an answer to terror.” In Lima, Peru: “You can’t alleviate poverty if there’s terror in your neighborhood. It’s impossible to achieve what we want if terrorists run free.”