Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis 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.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with Christiane Amanpour: Berkshire-Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett, Microsoft founder and Chairman Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates, of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, CNN founder Ted Turner and hedge fund manager Tom Steyer sit down with Christiane Amanpour in a “This Week” exclusive and explain their reasons for making the Giving Pledge – a commitment by some of America’s wealthiest individuals to give the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. Joined by 40 billionaires, boosting diverse causes such as education, the environment, AIDS, human rights and nuclear arms reduction these visionaries offer their insights on changing the world.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer:] Roundtable: Edmund Morris, Ron Chernow, Arianna Huffington and Bob Woodward.


The Chris Matthews Show: This Week’s Guests John Heilemann, New York Magazine, National Political Correspondent, Norah O’Donnell MSNBC Chief Washington Correspondent, Anne Kornblut, The Washington Post White House Correspondent and Reihan Salam, National Review.

They will discuss along with Mr. Matthews these questions:

Can Sarah Palin Remake Herself Into a Serious Presidential Candidate?

Will the U.S. Turn the Airport Security Focus to the Bomber Instead of The Bomb?

Meet the Press with David Gregory: This Sunday Mr. Gregory will be joined by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Assistant Majority Leader and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Assistant Minority Leader.

The Round Table pudits, Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne, Republican Strategist Ed Gillespie, The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan, and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Arizona Sen. John McCain, who just won his fifth term in the Senate, will join Candy to discuss the lame duck Congress and the conflicting priorities of a Democratic White House and a more powerful Republican Party in Congress.

Then, Sen. Byron Dorgan and Rep. David Obey will tell us why they’re thankful to be leaving Washington. Both of them announced their retirements earlier this year and have just over one month left in the nation’s capital.

We’ll also share the final segment from our interview with former President George W. Bush and his brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Jeb will tell us how many copies of his brother’s book he purchased and whether or not he’s actually read it.

And finally, a fascinating interview with White House photographer Pete Souza who captures history 1/500th of a second at a time.

Fareed Zakaris: GPS: This week on GPS: It’s that time of year when American’s gather together with their loved ones to give thanks for all that they have. But Fareed says the puritanical roots of that tradition are hard to find in America these days…and you’ll be surprised where you need to look to find them today.

Then, the nation’s top military man, Admiral Mike Mullen the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff sits down with Fareed. On the agenda with the President’s top military adviser: the world’s trouble hot spots from Afghanistan to North Korea and beyond.

Next up, has somebody in China know what web sites your visited? Have they read your email? Maybe.

After that we have a fascinating discussion with the man who helped engineer the largest tax cuts in American history. Fareed sits down with President Reagan’s budget director, David Stockman, to talk about how to fix the economy. Stockman says his own party – the GOP – has all the wrong ideas…and has abandoned its core economic principles.

Finally, a last look at Afghanistan’s brutal national sport and what the US military just might learn from it.

Frank Rich: Still the Best Congress Money Can Buy

SO America’s latest crisis – until it wasn’t – was airport screeners touching our junk. As this long year lurches toward its end, we all agree that something has gone wrong in America, and we’re desperately casting about for a coherent explanation for our discontent, if not a scapegoat. Alas, the national consensus that the T.S.A. and full-body scans might be the source of all evil fizzled in less than a week. Most everyone got to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving without genital distress.

The previous transient scapegoat was the Democrats. They were punished in yet another “wave” election – our third in a row – where voters threw Washington’s bums out. But most of the public remains bummed out nonetheless. In late October, the NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll found that only 31 percent of respondents believed that America was on the right track. When the survey asked the same question after the shellacking, the percent of optimists jumped to … 32. Regardless of party or politics, there’s a sense a broken country can’t be fixed. Few have faith that even “wave” elections are game-changers anymore.

John Nichols: Official Washington Worries WikiLeak Will Reveal Inconsistent Approach to Terror

Usually, when a WikiLeaks document dump is in the offering, US officials play like it could not possibly matter.

“More of the same,” “nothing new,” “just a repeat of what everyone was already aware of”: these have been the standard lines.

But not this time. Washington is abuzz with Holiday weekend talk about how officials at the White House, the Department of Defense and the State Department are “holding their breath” in troubled anticipation of an imminent release of thousands of classified documents by the controversial website.

WikiLeaks is tweeting that officials in Washington are “hyperventilating again over fears of being held to account.”

That’s not hype. They really are worried this time.

Why so? Because this release of documents could pull back the curtain on how the United States practices international diplomacy.

Nicholas D. Kristof A Woman. A Prostitute. A Slave.

Americans tend to associate “modern slavery” with illiterate girls in India or Cambodia. Yet there I was the other day, interviewing a college graduate who says she spent three years terrorized by pimps in a brothel in Midtown Manhattan.

Those who think that commercial sex in this country is invariably voluntary – and especially men who pay for sex – should listen to her story. The men buying her services all mistakenly assumed that she was working of her own volition, she says.

Yumi Li (a nickname) grew up in a Korean area of northeastern China. After university, she became an accountant, but, restless and ambitious, she yearned to go abroad.

Jeffrey Rosen: Why the TSA pat-downs and body scans are unconstitutional

Courts evaluating airport-screening technology tend to give great deference to the government’s national security interest in preventing terrorist attacks. But in this case, there’s a strong argument that the TSA’s measures violate the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.

Although the Supreme Court hasn’t evaluated airport screening technology, lower courts have emphasized, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled in 2007, that “a particular airport security screening search is constitutionally reasonable provided that it ‘is no more extensive nor intensive than necessary, in the light of current technology, to detect the presence of weapons or explosives.’ ”

In a 2006 opinion for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, then-Judge Samuel Alito stressed that screening procedures must be both “minimally intrusive” and “effective” – in other words, they must be “well-tailored to protect personal privacy,” and they must deliver on their promise of discovering serious threats. Alito upheld the practices at an airport checkpoint where passengers were first screened with walk-through magnetometers and then, if they set off an alarm, with hand-held wands. He wrote that airport searches are reasonable if they escalate “in invasiveness only after a lower level of screening disclose[s] a reason to conduct a more probing search.”

William Rivers Pitt: The TSA, the Right, and My Busted Watch

or the last several days, I have been trying to locate what would appear to be the appropriate and necessary level of angst and fury over the issue of heavy-handed TSA searches at American airports. I say “appropriate and necessary” because, well, all the noise surrounding the matter seems to suggest I have no alternative other than outrage, and if I fail to react that way, I am some sort of dupe, a fool who doesn’t understand the Constitutional issues at hand or the dangers represented by what has been described as a glaring governmental over-reach. . . .

What I do know is that the leading voices of outrage over this issue are the likes of Charles Krauthammer of the Post, Glenn Beck, Mike Huckabee, incoming House Transportation Committee chairman John Mica (R-FL), a bunch of rabid right-wing websites which are also leading the “Obama is not a citizen” birther charge, and a “mainstream” media that continues to push messages that auger inexorably toward the claim that the “Tea Party” is right about everything even remotely related to government.

That is not the kind of company I like to keep, and it gives me great pause about jumping on the TSA-outrage bandwagon. I mean, sure, I have a busted watch at home that’s right twice a day, so it’s possible these far-right mouthpieces may have stumbled onto some truth for a change. But the fact that the attacks against Obama and the TSA happen to be coming from the same people who have made a cottage industry out of claiming Obama is a secret terrorist who wants to bring Sharia law to America, yet who are now saying he has gone too far in defending the nation from terrorism, even in the face of credible threats to the airline industry, leads me to suspect there is a different game afoot.


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  1. Has an awesome piece detailing who the 50 biggest hack pundits are. Each nominee has a short blurb. Not sure I agree witht he rankings and they left a few out but the critiques they applied pretty much hit to the heart of what is wrong with punditry.

  2. Dick Durbin is from Illinois. Jan Schakowsky is from Illinois. The cat food commission is due on December 1. Do you suppose Dick Durbin will work in Jan Schakowsky’s deficit plan today with David Gregory?

    Let’s go to Dick’s web page on deficit reduction, vague sentiment that could possibly agree with Jan Schakowsky but no mention of her. I get the feeling that Jan Schakowsky is being hung out to dry.

    And it’s the MSM’s fault how?

    So when someone says that “neither party has any answers,” that someone has a point.  

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