This week, while the mainstream media shined the spotlight on a spacediver, Nation interns looked elsewhere. From shady billboards in Cleveland to a young hero in Pakistan, here's what you might've missed.
Nader Atassi focuses on Middle Eastern politics and society.
“Government releases ‘Red Lines’ document detailing Gaza food restrictions,” by Mya Guarnieri. +972, October 17, 2012.
An Israeli NGO has won a legal case that allowes it to obtain documents about Israel's blockade policy towards Gaza between 2007 and 2010. These documents show to what extent the Israeli government controlled Gaza, revealing that Israel calculated the minimum caloric needs of Palestinians before malnutrition would occur. Although Israel claims that it ceased to be an occupying power in Gaza after its withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, the control it has over residents in Gaza, including control over movement in and out of the strip and the amount of food they consume, suggests otherwise.
Jeff Ernsthausen focuses on domestic politics and the influence of money on public institutions.
“Washington group asks for Clear Channel to remove voter fraud billboards,” by Stan Donaldson. The Cleveland Plain Dealer, October 10, 2012.
Two weeks ago, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on billboards that had begun to appear in predominantly black neighborhoods in the Cleveland area declaring "VOTER FRAUD IS A FELONY: UP TO 3 1/2 YRS & $10,000 Fine." The sponsor of the ads, which reportedly have been spotted in similar neighborhoods in Cincinnati and Milwaukee, requested and received anonymity from Clear Channel Outdoor, the company that owns the billboards. Now civil rights advocates are demanding that the communications company remove the signs, which they say aim to intimidate black voters in a bid to influence the outcome of the 2012 elections in hotly contested battle ground states.
Stefan Fergus focuses on US media, the Presidency, and China.
“Abraham Lincoln: The Great Campaigner,” by Sidney Blumenthal. Newsweek, October 15, 2012.
This article takes a little too long to get going but Blumenthal marshals some nice, lesser-known examples of how Lincoln was "a master of political ruthlessness—for the sake of the highest ideals." The author shows the types of deals Lincoln was willing (not to mention able) to make in order to swing support for the proposed 13th Amendment, even from some of its staunchest opponents. Judgeships and ambassadorships were offered and given, sympathetic journalists were deployed as de facto spies and Lincoln was absolutely comfortable in utilizing the presidential bully pulpit. It’s a great look at the non-hagiographic histories of Abraham Lincoln, which all-too-often seem to take the approach of "Oh, and Lincoln did some politicking, too." I hope Blumenthal expands on this article and writes more on this.