Recent Posts

College Admissions Scams, from Jared Kushner to the Present: Amy Wilentz, plus Medicaid in Arkansas and Abortion in Mississippi

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50 people in six states were accused by the Justice Department last week of taking part in a major college admission scandal. They include Hollywood stars and business leaders, who paid bribes to elite college coaches. But that’s not the way Jared Kushner got in to Harvard—his father paid the university directly. Amy Wilentz comments on the legal, and the illegal, ways wealthy people get their unqualified children into elite schools.
Also: In 2017, the Trump administration announced that, for the first time in history, states could impose a work requirement on the low-income people who rely on Medicaid for health nsurance. Arkansas was the first state to implement one, staring last June. A number of other states, including Arizona, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin, are chomping at the bit to follow suit. Bryce Covert reports on the impact of the work requirement in Arkansas.
Plus: Mississippi has only one place you can get an abortion–it’s in Jackson, and the state also has a wonderful organization based there called the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund. Rebecca Grant reports on the remarkable woman who founded and leads that organization.  3/20/19

Trump Watch

How to Beat Trump in 2020: John Nichols on Strategy, Michael Kazin on Southern Democrats, and Katha Pollitt on Women

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The Democrats’ picking Milwaukee for their convention in 2020 indicates how that Wisconsin is a key battleground the party must win in order to recapture the White House.  John Nichols talks about what it going to take for the Democrats to carry Wisconsin—and Michigan and Pennsylvania—and about the far-reaching tasks that face the party after four years of Trump.
Also: southern Democrats were an all-white party before the voting rights act of 1965; and then, as LBJ predicted, its members all became Republicans.  And yet throughout the 20th century Southern Democrats in Congress supported Progressive legislation—as long as it didn’t help black people.  Historian Michael Kazin comments—and talks about the party in the South now, where Stacey Abrams and Betto O’Rourke are building something new.
Plus: Halfway through Trump’s term, and the week after International Women’s Day, it’s a good time to look at the big picture of where women stand in the US and in the world—where the US ranks in terms of women’s political representation, legal equality, and recent reports of discrimination and violence.  Katha Pollitt surveys the good news, and the bad news. 3/14/19

Start Making Sense

Bill McKibben: Climate Victories–and Setbacks; plus Harm Reduction and the Opiate Epidemic

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What lessons can we draw from the recent victories—and setbacks–for the climate movement in California?  To replace coal and oil, do we need nuclear power? Is switching from coal powered electric plants to natural gas a step in the right direction? Bill McKibben comments–and talks how to get to a Green New Deal. Bill’s new book, “Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?” will be published on April 16.
Also: what can we do to reduce the death toll in the current epidemic of opioid overdoses? Maia Szalavitz suggests our focus should be on harm reduction, and especially on the creation of safe injection sites—Philadelphia may be the first US city to follow the example of Vancouver and many West European cities.  3/14/19

Trump Watch

Bill McKibben: From Coal and Gas to Wind and Sun; plus Maia Szalavitz on the Opioid Epidemic and Sean Wilentz on Impeachment

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To replace coal and oil, do we need nuclear power?  Is switching from coal powered electric plants to natural gas a step in the right direction?  And what lessons can we draw from the recent victories—and setbacks–for the climate movement in California?  Bill McKibben has some answers–and some ideas about how to get to a Green New Deal.  Bill’s new book, “Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?”, will be published on April 16.
Plus: The House Judiciary Committee is moving toward impeachment proceedings, and asking what kind of precedents—and what kind of lessons–can be found in the Republican effort to impeach Bill Clinton 20 years ago.  Sean Wilentz comments–he’s an award-winning historian who teaches at Princeton.  He writes for the New York Times, the New Republic, Rolling Stone, and the New York Review, where he wrote recently about the Clinton impeachment.
Also: what can we do to reduce the death toll in the current epidemic of opioid overdoses?  Maia Szalavitz suggests our focus should be on harm reduction, and especially on the creation of safe injection sites—Philadelphia may be the first US city to follow the example of Vancouver and many West European cities.  3/7/19

Start Making Sense

Michelle Goldberg: Trump marks the end of the Reagan era; plus George Zornick on Elizabeth Warren & Michael Walzer on Movement Organizing

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The time is right for a Green New Deal, . Trump’s presidency is not the end of Democracy, says New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg.  Despite what some of our friends have suggested, what we are seeing the end of a political cycle, the one that began in 1980 with Reagan. And now, it’s time for something new.  that means the time is right for a Green New Deal.
Also: For years Elizabeth Warren has been talking about how the political system is rigged by the rich and powerful. But suddenly her position seems almost mainstream among Democrats–almost every contender for the Democratic nomination is rejecting corporate PAC money. George Zornick has our report.
And we’ll talk about movement politics with Michael Walzer–about strategies and tactics and issues and candidates. His new book is “Political Action: A Practical Guide to Movement Politics.”  3-7-19

Start Making Sense

Michelle Goldberg: The Time is Right for a Green New Deal; plus George Zornick on Elizabeth Warren and Michael Walzer on Movement Politics

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Trump’s presidency is not the end of Democracy, as some of our friends have suggested.  Instead we are seeing the end of a political cycle, the one that began in 1980 with Reagan.  And now, it’s time for something new—and that could be a Green New Deal.  New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg comments.
Also: For years Elizabeth Warren has been talking about how the political system is rigged by the rich and powerful.  But suddenly her position seems almost mainstream among Democrats–almost every contender for the Democratic nomination is rejecting corporate PAC money.  George Zornick has our report.
And we’ll talk about movement politics with Michael Walzer–about strategies and tactics and issues and candidates.  His new book is “Political Action: A Practical Guide to Movement Politics.” 2/28/19

Start Making Sense

Naomi Klein: The Politics of the Green New Deal; plus Dahlia Lithwick on Trump’s ‘Emergency’

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Naomi Klein says the Green New Deal needs to follow the example of the New Deal of the 1930s, when nothing would have happened without “massive pressure from social movements” that “changed the calculus of what was possible.” Naomi is a contributing editor at The Nation and author of several number one bestsellers, including “This Changes Everything.”
Plus Dahlia Lithwick talks about the national challenge to Trump’s “national emergency”—the constitutional issues, the political issues, and the dangers of treating as normal his rambling, fact-free, egomaniacal performance in the Rose Garden announcing his “emergency.” Dahlia writes about the courts and the law for Slate and hosts the podcast ‘Amicus.’
2/28/19

Trump Watch

Political Action: A Practical Guide to Movement Politics, by Michael Walzer

Introduction by Jon Wiener.  A how-to book for activists written at one of the darkest moments of the Nixon years, it remains relevant and useful today.  The book takes up the question of what we can do, what we should do, about a president who fills us with dread and rage.  “What is to be done?” is of course the classic question for leftists facing oppressive regimes and long odds.  Walzer’s book is “an invitation to commitment and participation,” to get together in groups, to argue at meetings, and then to go out and talk to people.  The book has been republished in 2019 by New York Review Books at the suggestion of some high school students in Los Angeles.

Journalism

Naomi Klein: The Green New Deal Is Changing the Calculus of the Possible

JW: How would you describe the Green New Deal resolution introduced by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ed Markey?
Naomi Klein: It’s a sweeping plan to radically transform how we get energy, move ourselves around, live in cities, and grow our food; and it puts justice at the center—justice broadly defined, from racial and gender justice to making sure no worker is left behind, battling inequality at every level. It’s really about multitasking. It’s about understanding that we are in a time of multiple overlapping crises, and that we are on an incredibly tight deadline . . .
continued at TheNation.com, HERE

Journalism

The Case for Universal Child Care: Katha Pollitt; plus David Klion on Bernie’s New Foreign Policy

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Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, free college tuition, a $15 minimum wage – and now it’s time to add Child care for all to the Progressive agenda. That’s Katha Pollitt’s proposal—she argues it will help huge numbers of people. (And Elizabeth Warren just made it a campaign issue of hers.)
Also: Bernie’s foreign policy: in 2016 he ran on domestic issues almost exclusively. This time around, he’s going to say more about foreign policy—a lot more. David Klion explains; he’s profiled Bernie’s foreign policy advisor, Matt Duss, for The Nation.  2/21/19

Trump Watch