LABOR V. WALMART. As Walmart workers participated in an unprecedented strike wave against the retail giant last week, Josh Eidelson has been the go-to reporter for the most up-to-the-minute, in-depth coverage. If you missed his blog on Black Friday, take a look—Eidelson blogged in near real-time for over twenty hours, covering strikes on the ground and providing updates from around the country. He also was the first to report that Walmart clothing was manufactured at the site of the tragic factory fire in Bangladesh that killed 112 workers. Visit his blog for more, and be sure to read his latest piece on Walmart warehouse workers—and why they say Walmart is directly responsible for rampant wage theft.
FRACKING & OUR FOOD. This week’s cover story is an in-depth investigation by Elizabeth Royte on the disturbing effects of hydraulic fracturing on our food supply. In northern Pennsylvania, half a herd of 140 cattle died when exposed to fracking wastewater. “Cattle that die on the farm don’t make it into the nation’s food system,” writes Royte. “But herd mates that appear healthy, despite being exposed to the same compounds, do.” Royte follows North Dakota rancher Jacki Schilke, whose cows stopped producing milk for their calves, lost from sixty to eighty pounds in a week and had their tails mysteriously drop off after fracking began near her land. Schilke herself is in poor health and has been diagnosed with neurotoxic damage and constricted airways. For more on this, please take a look at Elizabeth Royte’s investigation, “What the Frack Is in Our Food?,” produced in collaboration with the Food & Environment Reporting Network.
FALL BOOKS. Last week we were pleased to publish The Nation’s annual Fall Books special issue. On the fiftieth anniversary of William Faulkner’s death, novelist Joanna Scott writes about the Modern Library’s reissue of six volumes of his fiction. “Faulkner’s fiction contains, among its treasures, fury, laughter, tenderness, hatred, incongruity, ugliness and [beauty],” writes Scott. “Taken all together, it is a motley thing, ragged, unkempt and strange, and always stubbornly persistent in its artistry.” And Thomas Meaney considers the legacy of Lyndon Johnson in his essay on Robert Caro’s The Passage of Power—and how LBJ’s brilliance as a politician lay not in his idealism but in his opportunism. I hope you’ll take a look at our Fall Books issue for more from Robert Boyers on Louise Glück, Alexandra Schwartz on Zadie Smith, and Aaron Thier on Edward P. Jones.