Jun 16 2011

Punting the Pundits

“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”.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: Stop Oil Speculation Now

The increased cost of oil and gasoline is damaging the American economy and is causing severe economic pain to millions of people, especially in rural America, who often have to drive long distances to work. Many workers are already seeing stagnant or declining wages and high gas prices are just taking another bite out of their paychecks.

People in Vermont and across the country are also worried about the high price of heating oil for the coming winter.

The price of oil today, while declining somewhat in recent weeks, was still over $95 a barrel today. That’s about $30 higher than it was two years ago.

The theory behind the setting of oil prices is that price is determined by the fundamentals of supply and demand. The fact of the matter is that there is more supply and less demand today than there was two years ago when gas prices averaged about $2.44 a gallon.

Robert Reich: Why the Republican War on Workers’ Rights Undermines the American Economy

The battle has resumed in Wisconsin. The state supreme court has allowed Governor Scott Walker to strip bargaining rights from state workers.

Meanwhile, governors and legislators in New Hampshire and Missouri are attacking private unions, seeking to make the states so-called “open shop” where workers can get all the benefits of being union members without paying union dues. Needless to say this ploy undermines the capacity of unions to do much of anything. Other Republican governors and legislatures are following suit.

New York Times Editorial: Can Justice Be Bought?

Two years ago, the Supreme Court tried to bolster public trust in the nation’s justice system by disqualifying a state judge in West Virginia from a case that involved a coal company executive who had spent more than $3 million to help get the judge elected.

At a time when torrents of special interest campaign spending is threatening the appearance and reality of judicial impartiality, the ruling in Caperton v. Massey drove home the need for states to adopt more rigorous rules for recusal. The message has largely gone unheeded.

Richard Reeves: Here We Go Again: Reform in California

Forget the midnight ride of Paul Revere, Callista Gingrich’s jewelry collection and Anthony Weiner’s … well, you know. The most important political people right now are 14 Californians you don’t know. They are the members of the Citizens Redistricting Commission of this great state.

American elections are rarely decided by debates in New Hampshire or even hundreds of millions of dollars in television advertising. By and large, American elections are determined by who comes out to vote, the fine print of election laws and squiggly lines on state maps. Except for presidential elections, which can surprise you, more than 90 percent of congressional and legislative elections are decided before ballots are even printed.

Robert Scheer: Seven Republican Dwarfs

They assumed the stance of the Seven Dwarfs, not as a matter of physical but rather intellectual stature. Not one of the candidates for the GOP presidential nomination who debated Monday night rose to a point of seriousness in addressing the nation’s grievous problems. Instead, they ever so playfully thumbed their collective noses at any possible meaningful government reaction to the mess that we are in. It was Herbert Hoover warmed over, leaving Barack Obama secure in the mantle of FDR whether he deserves that tribute or not.

Obama, who has been inconsistent and weak in reining in the Wall Street greed that got us into this deep economic morass, is now under no pressure from the opposition to improve his performance. The Republican knee-jerk reaction-government bad, big business great, and don’t dare say that the Wall Street scoundrels who created this crisis need a timeout-gets Obama off the hook from legitimate criticism he needs to hear. As The Wall Street Journal headlined the non-debate: “Candidates Run Against Regulation.”

Glen Ford: How the Corporate Right Divided Blacks from Teachers Unions and Each Other

Back in the mid-Nineties, devious right-wing activists at the Bradley Foundation, in Milwaukee, hit upon a “wedge” issue designed to wreck the alliance at the core of the Democratic Party’s urban base. Blacks and public employee unions – particularly teachers – were the foundations of Democratic power in the cities. Aware that African Americans revered education but were often in conflict with largely white teachers unions over issues of racism and community control, the Bradley gang, under president Michael Joyce, created out of whole cloth a “movement” for publicly-funded vouchers for private schools. No such Black community “demand” had ever existed, but well-aimed infusions of millions of dollars among opportunistic politicians like Cory Booker, a first term city councilman who aspired to become mayor of Newark, New Jersey, grafted Black faces onto a Hard Right corporate scheme to divide key progressive constituencies: Blacks and unions.