Sandy is short for Cassandra, the Greek mythological figure who epitomizes tragedy. The gods gave Cassandra the gift of prophecy; depending on which version of the story one prefers, she could either see or smell the future. But with this gift also came a curse: Cassandra’s warnings about future disasters were fated to be ignored. That is the essence of this tragedy: to know that a given course of action will lead to disaster but to pursue it nevertheless.
And so it has been with America’s response to climate change.

-Mark Hertsgaard (read more)

Sandy is short for Cassandra, the Greek mythological figure who epitomizes tragedy. The gods gave Cassandra the gift of prophecy; depending on which version of the story one prefers, she could either see or smell the future. But with this gift also came a curse: Cassandra’s warnings about future disasters were fated to be ignored. That is the essence of this tragedy: to know that a given course of action will lead to disaster but to pursue it nevertheless.

And so it has been with America’s response to climate change.

-Mark Hertsgaard (read more)

Today would have been Howard Zinn’s 90th birthday. In his honor, we’ve republished this groundbreaking piece he wrote for the August 6, 1960 issue of The Nation.  
One quiet afternoon some weeks ago, with the dogwood on the Spelman College campus newly bloomed and the grass close-cropped and fragrant, an attractive, tawny-skinned girl crossed the lawn to her dormitory to put a notice on the bulletin board. It read: Young Ladies Who Can Picket Please Sign Below. The notice revealed, in its own quaint language, that within the dramatic revolt of Negro college students in the South today another phenomenon has been developing. This is the upsurge of the young, educated Negro woman against the generations-old advice of her elders: be nice, be well-mannered and ladylike, don’t speak loudly, and don’t get into trouble. On the campus of the nation’s leading college for Negro young women—pious, sedate, encrusted with the traditions of gentility and moderation—these exhortations, for the first time, are being firmly rejected.
Read the full piece, “Finishing School for Pickets,” here.

Today would have been Howard Zinn’s 90th birthday. In his honor, we’ve republished this groundbreaking piece he wrote for the August 6, 1960 issue of The Nation.  

One quiet afternoon some weeks ago, with the dogwood on the Spelman College campus newly bloomed and the grass close-cropped and fragrant, an attractive, tawny-skinned girl crossed the lawn to her dormitory to put a notice on the bulletin board. It read: Young Ladies Who Can Picket Please Sign Below.

The notice revealed, in its own quaint language, that within the dramatic revolt of Negro college students in the South today another phenomenon has been developing. This is the upsurge of the young, educated Negro woman against the generations-old advice of her elders: be nice, be well-mannered and ladylike, don’t speak loudly, and don’t get into trouble. On the campus of the nation’s leading college for Negro young women—pious, sedate, encrusted with the traditions of gentility and moderation—these exhortations, for the first time, are being firmly rejected.
Read the full piece, “Finishing School for Pickets,” here.

When Gore Vidal turned down $50,000 to write an article for Penthouse

From Jon Wiener:

Victor Navasky tells one of the most revealing stories about Gore Vidal, who died July 31 in Los Angeles at age 86. In 1986, Gore wrote an essay for the magazine’s 120th anniversary issue.  Shortly after it was published, Victor was invited to lunch by the publisher of Penthousemagazine, Bob Guccione, at his East Side townhouse famous for its $200 million art collection. “We had barely consumed the amuse gueuleswhen Bob asked me how much it cost to get Gore Vidal to write his essay,” Victor recalled. “When I told him we had paid each contributor to that issue $25 and Gore got the same $25 that everyone else got, he almost choked on his Chateau Margaux and told me he had offered Vidal $50,000 to write an article for Penthouse and Vidal declined.”

Inside this week’s Nation:
Throwaway People: Will Teens Sent to Die in Prison Get a Second Chance? Trina Garnett accidentally set a fatal fire when she was 14. That was in 1976. Could a Supreme Court ruling on juvenile life without parole finally bring her home?
Why Is NATO Necessary? We should shrink the alliance’s budget and ambitions and focus on the greatest threat to the West: economic crisis.
Can the Euro Avert Collapse? As politicians dither, the threat of default spreads from Greece to Spain and Italy.
How to Revive the Postal Service: It’s smart politics—the PO is popular, and could be a great community aid in the digital era.
& more

Inside this week’s Nation:

Organizing in Troy Davis’s Name

It’s hard not to mourn, but when you’re ready to start organizing, here are four groups redoubling their efforts to abolish capital punishment in the US in Troy Davis’s name. Each organization was deeply involved in the fight to save Davis, and each group requires volunteers and financial support to survive.

Click here to find out about organizations working, now in Troy Davis’s name, to abolish the death penalty.