Cover of October 13, 2014 Issue

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October 13, 2014 Issue

Cover art by: design by Robert Best

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‘Nation’ Prizewinners

Nation editors and contributors have been sweeping up the awards lately. Editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel won the 2014 Norman Mailer Prize for Magazine Publishing. The Norman Mailer Center and Writers Colony, which sponsors the award, said, “Your work with The Nation has taken what was an important voice in the contemporary discourse and turned it into an indispensable one.” Vanden Heuvel also received an Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal Award, given to those who have made “a significant contribution to society in the arts, education, citizenship, philanthropy, community services, and other humanitarian concerns….” And vanden Heuvel and The Nation won the 2014 Champion in Activism Award from the Center for Community Change. Other winners include contributing writer Kai Wright, who received the 2014 Salute to Excellence award for investigative reporting from the National Association of Black Journalists for his November 2013 article “Boxed In: How a Criminal Record Keeps You Unemployed for Life”; as well as Gabriel Thompson and Mariya Strauss, who received the 2014 Clarion Award from the Association for Women in Communications for their 2013 articles on child labor in the tobacco fields, “Leaves of Poison” and “Dying on the Farm.” The Nation also won a feature-writing award from the Society of the Silurians for our May 2013 special issue, “Bloomberg’s New York: The Gilded City.” Please support our journalism. Get a digital subscription for just $9.50! We received two monthly awards this year from the Sidney Hillman Foundation: contributor Moshe Marvit won the March Sidney Award for “The Wages of Crowdwork,” his article on digital pieceworkers; and editor at large Christopher Hayes won the May Sidney Award for “The New Abolitionism,” on climate change. Nick Turse won an Izzy Award for “outstanding achievement in independent media” for his coverage of civilian deaths and injuries in Afghanistan, including this magazine’s October 2013 special report “America’s Afghan Victims,” which he co-edited with Robert Dreyfuss. Our art critic, Barry Schwabsky, won the 2013 Best Criticism award from the US chapter of the International Association of Art Critics for his book Words for Art: Criticism, History, Theory, Practice, a collection of essays that draws heavily from his Nation columns. And our blogger Mychal Denzel Smith was a finalist in the 2014 Salute to Excellence Awards for Digital Media from the National Association of Black Journalists. We’re also pleased to introduce the new feature “Five Books,” in which brilliant minds of the left recommend new or important books that have shaped their thinking. Read More

The Loneliest Pundits

The war whoops of the pundit class helped propel the nation into yet another doomed military adventure in the Middle East. Ghastly beheadings by a newly discovered enemy were the frightening flashpoint. The president ordered bombers aloft, and US munitions were once again pounding battlefields in Iraq—and, at the time of this writing, in Syria. The president promised to “degrade and destroy” ISIS. Here we go again, I thought. This is how modern America goes to war. When the superpower Goliath is challenged by sudden savagery, it has no choice but to respond with brute force. Or so we are told. Otherwise, America would no longer be a convincing Goliath. Citizens and members of the uniformed military are tired of war, but both in a sense are prisoners of the media-hyped hysteria that is the usual political reflex. Shoot first, ask questions later. While some commentators, like David Ignatius, have raised good questions about how this war will be fought, such questions do not address the larger question facing American warmaking. Please support our journalism. Get a digital subscription for just $9.50! Among leading columnists, I have seen only two who are framing the American dilemma in a more straightforward way. Columnist Eugene Robinson is a lonely voice at The Washington Post arguing for a fundamental shift. He has no touchy-feely illusions about holding hands with jihadists. But he knows repression by military force ensures the cultural collision will get worse. “Political Islam cannot be bombed away,” Robinson wrote. “If it is not somehow allowed constructive expression, it will make itself heard, and felt, in more tragic ways.” Robinson is a liberal. The other columnist exploring similar terrain is Ross Douthat of The New York Times, a conservative. Douthat suggested a hybrid strategy of containment and attrition that avoids a larger war in Syria and backs away from the illusion that ground war leads to nation-building. “It does not traffic, in other words, in the fond illusions that we took with us into Iraq in 2003, and that hard experience should have disabused us of by now,” he wrote. “But some illusions are apparently just too powerful for America to shake.” Read Next: Peter Van Buren on the impossibility of victory in Iraq Read More

Snapshot: Wall Street Bearish on Climate Crisis

Over 100 people were arrested at “Flood Wall Street,” a protest directed at New York City’s financial district that highlighted unfettered capitalism’s role in the climate crisis. Among those arrested was Frostpaw, the mascot for the Center for Biological Diversity, and underneath his fur, the center’s co-founder, Peter Galvin. Read More



Snail’s pace… when cops kill… the Teachout moment… idiocy, emptiness, hopelessness… New Left revitalized…

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