Tag Archives: Politics

What Next for the African Union in 2012?


As we come ever closer to 2012, I thought I would examine Africa’s recent struggles on its path to unity and a more prosperous region.

Certainly, with 2011′s cataclysmic changes taking place in North Africa, most of the African Union’s attention has been heavily turned towards the Arab Spring and its aftermath. Nevertheless, the organisation has not been without its own crises to manage in the sub-Saharan region.

The Western-backed referendum for self-determination in the South Sudan, finding its roots in the comprehensive peace deal of 2005, put an end to the decades-long civil war between Omar el Bachir’s north and the late John Garang’s (now ruled by Salve Kir) South. Underlying this conflict is a dispute over borders, respect for human rights and, more importantly, the re-partition of Sudan’s petroleum wealth, located primarily in the South but thoroughly sapped by the North. Continue reading

Why Stevens’ Anti-Death-Penalty Argument Is Powerful


By Adam Cohen Wednesday, Dec. 01, 2010

Former Justice John Paul Stevens, who retired from the Supreme Court in June after turning 90, has come out swinging in the past few days against the death penalty. In an appearance on 60 Minutes this past Sunday and a New York Review of Books essay that is now online, Justice Stevens makes the case that capital punishment as it is now administered in the U.S. is hopelessly flawed — and unconstitutional.

In so doing, he is pushing the death-penalty debate just where it needs to go. Continue reading

California Election: Environmentalists Get Green


Environmentalists are great at visualizing catastrophe — just see An Inconvenient Truth — but even the most doom-filled green would have had a difficult time imagining the past 12 months. From the debacle of the hacked Climategate e-mails to the bitter disappointment of Copenhagen to the slow death of carbon cap and trade in the Senate, the past year has mostly been one of reversals for the U.S. environmental movement.

The midterm elections aren’t looking any better. Tea Party-backed candidates not only oppose cap and trade, they question the reality of climate change. (Ron Johnson, the Republican candidate who may unseat Senator Russ Feingold in Wisconsin, chalks up any climate change to “sunspots.”) Even many Democrats are running away from climate and energy legislation — Joe Manchin, the Democratic candidate for Senate in West Virginia, filmed an ad that shows him actually shooting a bullet into a cap-and-trade bill. (That’s pandering to two constituencies with one bullet!) And fossil-fuel companies are flexing their political muscle, flooding conservative candidates with quantities of cash that environmental groups can’t possibly match.
(Read about the greenhouse-gas battle between Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman.)

But it’s a different story in California, where a coalition of Hollywood celebrities, philanthropists and tech billionaires is fighting to save a favorite piece of climate policy and backing its efforts with millions of dollars in campaign donations. The battle is over Proposition 23, a ballot initiative that would all but repeal California’s landmark climate-change law. And unlike in much of the rest of the country, in the Golden State, the greens look to be winning — in campaign cash and at the polls. “The coalition we’ve put together to fight Prop 23 is the new face of the environmental movement,” says Annie Notthoff, California advocacy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “This is enough to actually make a difference in the political process.”

Read more at Time.com

Obama in Command: The Rolling Stone Interview


            

We arrived at the southwest gate of the white house a little after one o’clock on the afternoon of September 17th. It was a warm fall day, but the capital felt quiet and half-empty, as it does on Fridays at the end of summer, with Congress still in recess. Rolling Stone had interviewed Barack Obama twice before, both times aboard his campaign plane — first in June 2008, a few days after he won the Democratic nomination, and again that October, a month before his election. This time executive editor Eric Bates and I sat down with the president in the Oval Office, flanked by busts of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. The conversation stretched on for nearly an hour and a quarter. The president began by complimenting my multi-colored striped socks. “If I wasn’t president,” he laughed, “I could wear socks like that.”

Read the full interview here!