Free at Last

You’ve heard of Miles Davis. You’ve heard of Billie Holiday. It’s time more people knew about pensive, voluminous jazz pianist Mal Waldron. He was Billie Holiday’s pianist up until her death, and contrary to Davis’ belief that expatriate jazz musicians lost “an energy, an edge,” Waldron wrote some of his most innovative music after he left the segregated United States. Waldron believed that if Holiday had moved to Europe like he had, she could have lived a longer life, too.

Author: Adam Shatz
Source: The Nation
Published: Jul 26, 2017
Length: 18 minutes (4,692 words)

Housekeepers Versus Harvard: Feminism for the Age of Trump

In 2013, the same year that Harvard Business School alum Sheryl Sandberg published Lean In, which encouraged women to tell their employers exactly what they needed in the workplace, the sixty housekeepers of the HBS-owned Boston-Cambridge DoubleTree Suites presented their unionization petition to their manager.

 

Source: The Nation
Published: Mar 8, 2017
Length: 23 minutes (5,900 words)

What Can Ivanka Trump Possibly Do for Women Who Work?

For insight into how the first daughter will manage her signature issue, look no further than her brand’s website.

Source: The Nation
Published: Feb 1, 2017
Length: 17 minutes (4,291 words)

Deep Stories

To understand why the same Middle Americans and white working class who would have voted Democratic in different decades now supported Trump and the Tea Party, a far-thinking sociologist looks beyond sociological studies and travels to Louisiana to speak to people directly. Her book is an astonishing portrait of paradox and what she calls the “deep stories” that involve more feelings than facts.

Source: The Nation
Published: Sep 28, 2016
Length: 12 minutes (3,196 words)

Will the Los Angeles River Become a Playground for the Rich?

The revitalization of LA’s neglected riverfront has gone from social-justice crusade to money-soaked land grab. Kreitner offers a nuanced account of the river’s history, and its place in the city.

Source: The Nation
Published: Mar 10, 2016
Length: 18 minutes (4,602 words)

The Strange, True Story of How a Chairman at McKinsey Made Millions of Dollars off His Maid

For a brief period of time, Manju Das was almost certainly the wealthiest domestic worker in the world. Unfortunately, she never knew or had access to the money; she was a pawn in an insider trading scheme, and her employer was using her name to collect millions.

Source: The Nation
Published: Nov 9, 2015
Length: 24 minutes (6,141 words)

Have We Seen the End of the 8-Hour Day?

Since the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 enshrined the 40-hour week, hours have tended to be taken for granted in the fight for employee rights. Unpredictable scheduling and “involuntary part time” have brought hours back to the forefront, putting them at the heart of a new national movement.

Source: The Nation
Published: Apr 22, 2015
Length: 14 minutes (3,540 words)

Lap Dogs of the Press

A 2006 essay by White House reporter Helen Thomas, who died Saturday at 92, on how the press failed to do its job in the run-up to the Iraq war. She recalls one exchange with former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan:

“‘Did we invade those countries?’

“At that point McClellan called on another reporter.

“Those were the days when I longed for ABC-TV’s great Sam Donaldson to back up my questions as he always did, and I did the same for him and other daring reporters. Then I realized that the old pros, reporters whom I had known in the past, many of them around during World War II and later the Vietnam War, reporters who had some historical perspective on government deception and folly, were not around anymore.”

Source: The Nation
Published: Mar 27, 2006
Length: 6 minutes (1,515 words)

Inside America’s Dirty Wars

An investigation of the drone strikes that killed Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old American-born son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki:

“One day in early September, Abdulrahman woke up before the rest of the house. He tiptoed into his mother’s bedroom, took 9,000 Yemeni rials—roughly $40—from her purse, and left a note outside her bedroom door. He then snuck out the kitchen window and into the courtyard. Shortly after 6 am, the family’s guard saw the boy leave but didn’t think anything of it. It was Sunday, September 4, 2011, a few days after the Eid al-Fitr holiday marked the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Nine days before, Abdulrahman had turned 16.

“A short while later, Abdulrahman’s mother woke up. She started to rouse his siblings for morning prayers and then went to wake him, but Abdulrahman was not in his bedroom. She called for him and, while searching the house, found his note. In it, he apologized for leaving without telling her and said that he missed his father and wanted to find him. He also said he was sorry for taking the money. ‘When his mother told me about the letter, it was just like a shock for me,’ Abdulrahman’s grandmother Saleha told me. ‘I said, “I think this will be just like bait for his father.”‘ The CIA, she feared, ‘might find his father through him.'”

Source: The Nation
Published: Apr 23, 2013
Length: 20 minutes (5,050 words)

My So-Called ‘Post-Feminist’ Life in Arts and Letters

Writer and photojournalist Deborah Copaken Kogan on her career and her experience with gender bias:

“It’s 1999. I sell my first book to Random House, a memoir of my years as a war photographer, for twice my NBC salary. I’m thrilled when I hear this: a new job; self-reliance; the gift of time to do the work I’ve been dreaming of since childhood. The book is sold on the basis of a proposal and a first chapter under the title Newswhore, which is the insult often lobbed at us both externally and from within our own ranks—a way of noting, with a combination of shame and black humor, the vulture-like nature of our livelihood, and a means of reclaiming, as I see it, the word ‘whore,’ since I want to write about sexual and gender politics as well. Random House changes the book’s title to Shutterbabe, which a friend came up with. I beg for Shuttergirl instead, to reclaim at least ‘girl,’ as Lena Dunham would so expertly do years later. Or what about Develop Stop Fix? Anything besides a title with the word ‘babe’ in it. I’m told I have no say in the matter.”

Source: The Nation
Published: Apr 9, 2013
Length: 10 minutes (2,515 words)