—Sam Adler-Bell focuses on labor and mass incarceration.
“In defense of Pete Seeger, American Communist,” by Bhaskar Sunkara. Al Jazeera America, January 29, 2014
Pete Seeger, who died this week at 94, is one of the rare American left-wing figures who managed, within his lifetime, to attain something approaching universal admiration (or at least acceptance) while refusing to shed or apologize for his radicalism. Here, Bhaskar Sunkara responds to those commentators who would seek to neutralize Seeger’s legacy—in death—from the “taint” of his communist affiliations.
—Dustin Christensen focuses on Latin American politics and sports.
“For a Cowboys Star With Dementia, Time Is Running Out,” by Juliet Macur. The New York Times, January 27, 2014
“These young players, they have no idea what’s in store for them,” said Rayfield Wright in Juliet Macur’s haunting profile of the retired NFL player affected by dementia after the myriad head injuries he sustained while playing professional football. While his comments were sincere and on point, players at Northwestern might be proving him wrong. Team quarterback Kain Colter held a press conference yesterday to announce that he and his teammates are the first college athletes to attempt to join a labor union. Comparing the NCAA to a “dictatorship,” Coulter claimed, “The same medical issues that professional athletes face are the same medical issues collegiate athletes face, except we’re left unprotected.” Viewed in this context, Wright’s story of quiet suffering is even more germane than when it was published this past weekend. College football players are left to deal with medical problems on their own after their four years of eligibility, and very few make it to the professional level.