“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.
Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.
Gail Collins: The End-of-the-Year Quiz
Let’s see how well you followed the news in 2010. No cheating
I. Happy New Year! Besides the Times Square ball, the glorious American mosaic of things scheduled to be dropped around the nation on New Year’s Eve also included all but which one of the following:
A) The Brasstown, N.C., Possum Drop
B) Dillsburg, Pa.’s giant pickle
C) The Elmore, Ohio, Sausage Drop
D) Seaside Heights, N.J., first annual dropping of Nicole (Snooki) Polizz
Bob Herbert: For Two Sisters, the End of an Ordeal
I got a call on New Year’s Eve from Gladys Scott, which was a terrific way for 2010 to end.
As insane as it may seem, Gladys and her sister, Jamie, are each serving consecutive life sentences in a state prison in Mississippi for their alleged role in a robbery in 1993 in which no one was hurt and $11 supposedly was taken.
Gladys was on the phone, excited and relieved, because Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi had agreed to suspend the prison terms.
“I’ve waited so long for this day to come,” she said.
I was happy for the Scott sisters and deeply moved as Gladys spoke of how desperately she wanted to “just hold” her two children and her mother, who live in Florida. But I couldn’t help thinking that right up until the present moment she and Jamie have been treated coldly and disrespectfully by the governor and other state officials. It’s as if the authorities have found it impossible to hide their disdain, their contempt, for the two women.
The prison terms were suspended – not commuted – on the condition that Gladys donate a kidney to Jamie, who is seriously ill with diabetes and high blood pressure and receives dialysis at least three times a week. Gladys had long expressed a desire to donate a kidney to her sister, but to make that a condition of her release was unnecessary, mean-spirited, inhumane and potentially coercive. It was a low thing to do.
Your freedom for a kidney??
“Jamie Scott’s medical condition creates a substantial cost to the state of Mississippi.”
There are no words to express my contempt for this racist, heartless, inhumane excuse for a human being, Haley Barbour
Bob Burnett: 2010 “Person” of the Year: The US Supreme Court
It’s difficult to look beyond the tumult of current events and ask, “what happened this year that will be remembered ten, twenty, or fifty years from now?” However, there was one 2010 event that, in terms of its long-term impact, loomed above the others, the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court Decision.
Writing in the NEW YORK REVIEW, law professor Ronald Dworkin explained Citizens United v. FEC: “In the 2008 presidential primary season a small corporation, Citizens United, financed to a minor extent by corporate contributions, tried to broadcast a derogatory movie about Hillary Clinton. The FEC declared the broadcast illegal under the BCRA [Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act]. Citizens United then asked the Supreme Court to declare it exempt from that statute on the ground, among others, that it proposed to broadcast its movie only on a pay-per-view channel.” In an extraordinary example of judicial activism, the Supreme Court conservative majority, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, declared the entire BCRA act unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court hadn’t been the story of the year since the December 12, 2000, Bush v. Gore decision. This paved the way for Bush’s installation as President and his nomination of John Roberts as Chief Justice in September of 2005. Many Supreme Court observers regard Roberts as the judicial equivalent of the “Manchurian Candidate.” NEW YORKER legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin noted Roberts dogmatic conservatism: “In every major case since he became the nation’s seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts [and his conservative allies] has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff.”