DRAWDOWN IN AFGHANISTAN. On Wednesday, President Obama announced a token withdrawal of 10,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2011, with another 23,000 promised by the end of next summer. Contributing Editor Robert Dreyfuss points out that such positioning is a clear sign that President Obama is trying to take Afghanistan off the table as an election issue in 2012 – a strategy that will likely work. John Nichols is less optimistic. Nearly 70,000 troops will remain in Afghanistan beyond 2012, and as Nichols argues, such a tepid troop drawdown will neither satisfy nor energize the base that nominated and elected him in 2008. President Obama needs to do more. Contributor Tom Hayden, however, sees this de-escalation as a sign of progress for the anti-war movement: waning support in Congress and public opinion coupled with mounting anti-war activism. I joined MSNBC’s Morning Joe this week to argue that our country needs to abandon the "war-footing” economy that’s draining our coffers and transition to an economy that invests in education, jobs and infrastructure.
DUKES V. WAL-MART. Monday’s Supreme Court decision to de-certify the gender discrimination class action lawsuit—the largest in history–against Wal-Mart was a loss for workers and women everywhere—and a major victory for large corporations afraid of being sued. But as Contributing Editor Liza Featherstone points out in “’Dukes v. Wal-Mart’ and the Limits of Legal Change,” the fight is far from over. The defeat stood on a legal technicality– the lower courts had not followed proper procedure in certifying it. On Democracy Now!, Featherstone explains how Wal-Mart systematically discriminates against women, resists unionization and underpays its workers. While Wal-Mart won the day in court, Featherstone says the company is facing increasing pressure to change from organized labor, community activists and a weak economy.
FCC COMMISSONER MICHAEL COPPS: VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS. As I wrote this week in my Washington Post column, in a time of increasing challenges to press freedoms and in the face of Republican obstructionism, Michael Copps—an unfamiliar name to many—heads the FCC with integrity and tenacity, speaking up for those whose voices are rarely heard. We’re proud to have had Copps as a longtime contributor to the magazine. Be sure to read some his articles, available here.
WECLOME BEN ADLER. We’re pleased to welcome Contributing Writer Ben Adler, who’ll be covering the Republican primaries, politics and media. He previously covered national politics and policy as a staffer at Newsweek, Politico and the Center for American Progress. His freelance writing has appeared in The American Prospect, The Atlantic, Columbia Journalism Review, The Guardian, The New Republic, The Progressive, Reuters, Salon and The Washington Monthly. His first post, “He Likes Reagan, Also Street Tacos—But Who Is Jon Huntsman?” looks at the lackluster presidential kickoff in Jersey City by former Utah governor Jon Huntsman. Read that here.