“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
Gail Collins: Waiting for Somebody
Let’s talk for a minute about education.
Already, I can see readers racing for the doors. This is one of the hardest subjects in the world to write about. Many, many people would rather discuss … anything else. Sports. Crazy Tea Party candidates. Crop reports.
So kudos to the new documentary “Waiting for Superman” for ratcheting up the interest level. It follows the fortunes of five achingly adorable children and their hopeful, dedicated, worried parents in Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C., as they try to gain entrance to high-performing charter schools. Not everybody gets in, and by the time you leave the theater you are so sad and angry you just want to find something to burn down.
Robert Scheer The Big Guy’s on Our Side
Paul Volcker, or the “big guy,” as President Barack Obama refers to the former Federal Reserve chair who heads his Economic Recovery Advisory Board, nailed it in a series of blistering remarks on the sorry state of our economy. But what he said was even tougher than was indicated by the media’s scattergun reporting on his speech last Thursday to the Chicago Fed. Thanks to Reuters, which posted the video coverage online, it is possible to take the full measure of his concern over where we are and how we got here.
Volcker warned that “the financial system is broken. … We know that parts of it are absolutely broken, like the mortgage market, which only happens to be the most important part of our capital markets [and has] become a subsidiary of the U.S. government.” That sentence was quoted in brief mentions of the speech in The New York Times and other leading news outlets but not so his explanation of how this was allowed to happen: “I don’t think anybody doubts that the underlying problem in the markets is this too-big-to-fail syndrome, bailout and all the rest.”
Michael Moore: Dwight Was Right
So…it turns out President Eisenhower wasn’t making up all that stuff about the military-industrial complex.
That’s what you’ll conclude if you read Bob Woodward’s new book, Obama’s War. (You can read excerpts of it here, here and here.) You thought you voted for change when you cast a ballot for Barack Obama? Um, not when it comes to America occupying countries that don’t begin with a “U” and an “S.”
In fact, after you read Woodward’s book, you’ll split a gut every time you hear a politician or a government teacher talk about “civilian control over the military.” The only people really making the decisions about America’s wars are across the river from Washington in the Pentagon. They wear uniforms. They have lots of weapons they bought from the corporations they will work for when they retire.
For everyone who supported Obama in 2008, it’s reassuring to find out he understands we have to get out of Afghanistan. But for everyone who’s worried about Obama in 2010, it’s scary to find out that what he thinks should be done may not actually matter. And that’s because he’s not willing to stand up to the people who actually run this country.
And here’s the part I don’t even want to write — and none of you really want to consider:
It matters not whom we elect. The Pentagon and the military contractors call the shots. The title “Commander in Chief” is ceremonial, like “Employee of the Month” at your local Burger King.