AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME. President Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage last week was a historic marker of progress in the ongoing fight for marriage equality, but also a signal of the power of LGBT activism and movements in general. No sitting president has explicitly supported marriage for same-sex couples, and, at a time of increasingly popular support for marriage-equality, President Obama’s “evolution” is a testament to an idea whose time has come. TheNation.com executive editor Richard Kim joined MSNBC’s Up with Chris Hayes on Saturday to discuss the ways in which the LGBT movement has helped propel marriage equality to a decisive issue now at the forefront of public debate. On both Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer and on NPR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook, Kim looks at whether Obama’s endorsement will lead to substantive policy change as well as the political ramifications as the November election approaches.
A SECOND CHANCE FOR TEENS SENT TO DIE IN PRISON? This week’s deeply reported and compelling cover story, “Throwaway People: Will Teens Sent to Die in Prison Get a Second Chance,” by Nation editor Liliana Segura, introduces us to Philadelphia resident Trina Garnett, who in 1976 accidentally set a fatal fire when she was only 14 years old. Bound by Pennsylvania’s mandatory sentencing laws, Garnett was convicted and sentenced to two life terms plus forty years in prison. Garnett, reports Segura, is approximately one of 2,589 prisoners nationwide serving life without parole for crimes they committed as teenagers. Garnett’s story, like many others, offers a window into the moral and legal limitations of mandatory juvenile sentencing laws. But an upcoming Supreme Court decision, involving two cases in which “lifers” who were 14 when they committed murder, offers these prisoners a second chance. Read the piece here, and be sure to watch the latest edition of VideoNation for a short preview of Trina Garnett’s story.
LIVE CHAT WITH DANA GOLDSTEIN. Join us this Thursday, May 17, at TheNation.com for a live chat on the role of testing in education reform featuring Nation education reporter Dana Goldstein. She’ll be joined by New York City public school education teacher and blogger Mark Anderson and a representative from the Educators for Excellence network to address reader comments and questions on the controversial growth of standardized testing and its effect on educators and students. Nation comments editor Sarah Arnold will moderate. Participants are encouraged to visit Dana’s blog prior to the chat to submit preliminary questions or to sign up for an e-mail reminder. Dana, a Puffin Foundation writing fellow at The Nation Institute and a Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation, is one of America’s foremost writers on education. She has reported on education policy, politics, women’s issues and public health for The Nation, The American Prospect, The Washington Post, the Daily Beast and Slate, among other publications. She is currently working on a book on the political history of American public school teaching. You can follow her work at www.danagoldstein.net and on Twitter (@DanaGoldstein).