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Sep 01 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”.

Robert Reich: Obama’s Jobs Plan: Will He Offer Policy Miniatures or Give ’em Hell?

Next Thursday President Obama will unveil his jobs plan.

He’ll choose either Plan A or Plan B.

Plan A would be big enough to restart the economy (now barely growing) and reduce unemployment (which continues to grow). That means spending another trillion dollars over the next two years – rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, creating a new WPA and Civilian Conservation Corps, and lending money to cash-starved states and cities.

snip

Plan B would be a bunch of policy miniatures that would have almost no effect on the economy or employment but would nonetheless be good things to do (extending the Social Security tax cut, extending unemployment benefits, reauthorizing the highway building trust fund, giving employers a tax incentive to hire the long-term unemployed, ratifying trade agreements).

David Kaye: What to Do With Qaddafi

LIBYA’S rebel leaders say they want to try Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, if and when he is captured, in Libyan courts. In principle, Libyans deserve the satisfaction that only domestic justice can bring. National trials would advance the rule of law and allow Libyans to fully own their political transition.

One problem: the International Criminal Court, based 1,400 miles away in The Hague, has already issued arrest warrants for Colonel Qaddafi, his son and second-in-command Seif al-Islam, and his intelligence chief, Abdullah Senussi. The United Nations Security Council, recognizing that Colonel Qaddafi’s alleged crimes were not just against Libyans but against humanity, asked the I.C.C. in February to investigate the situation in Libya. Now the I.C.C. legitimately wants to try the three for atrocities committed since the uprising in Libya began last winter.

New York Times Editorial: The Military and the Death Penalty

Racism in the application of capital punishment has been well documented in the civilian justice system since the Supreme Court reinstated the penalty in 1976. Now comes evidence that racial disparity is even greater in death penalty cases in the military system.

Minority service members are more than twice as likely as whites – after accounting for the crimes’ circumstances and the victims’ race – to be sentenced to death, according to a forthcoming study co-written by David Baldus, an eminent death-penalty scholar, who died in June.

The analysis is so disturbing because the military has made sustained, often successful efforts to rid its ranks of discrimination. But even with this record, its failure to apply the death penalty fairly is more proof that capital punishment cannot be free of racism’s taint. It is capricious, barbaric and discriminatory, and should be abolished.

Glenn Greenwald: A Tweet That Explains Everything

In connection with this matter, I was literally awake all night overseeing (with complete uselessness) the successful birth of six puppies — an amazing and moving experience that I hope never to repeat again for as long as I live — and was therefore not planning on writing today as a result of the ensuing exhaustion.  But then I saw the Tweet That Explains Everything.  A momentous controversy erupted earlier this afternoon when President Obama announced that he wanted to deliver a speech about jobs to a joint session of Congress next Thursday at 9:00 p.m., which happens to be the same date and time of a planned GOP presidential debate, prompting House Speaker John Boehner to respond that he would convene a joint session on Wednesday — the day before — but not on Thursday.

The profound issues raised by this conflict prompted an orgy of probing analysis and vibrant debate among political journalists, party spokespeople and various partisan loyalists over who was being dishonest and Outrageous (indeed, so weighty and consequential is this showdown that it even subordinated the day’s prior top news story involving the scheduling snafus of Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann in Iowa).  Thankfully, we have a free and adversarial watchdog media in this nation to sort out the competing claims and to keep the citizenry informed and focused with respect to the Wednesday/Thursday conflict, which is what produced this aforementioned Tweet:

@ChuckTodd

Going on #hardball now to talk about the day of Washington gamesmanship re: speech to Congress

Ari Berman: The GOP War on Voting

In a campaign supported by the Koch brothers, Republicans are working to prevent millions of Democrats from voting next year

As the nation gears up for the 2012 presidential election, Republican officials have launched an unprecedented, centrally coordinated campaign to suppress the elements of the Democratic vote that elected Barack Obama in 2008. Just as Dixiecrats once used poll taxes and literacy tests to bar black Southerners from voting, a new crop of GOP governors and state legislators has passed a series of seemingly disconnected measures that could prevent millions of students, minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts and the elderly from casting ballots. “What has happened this year is the most significant setback to voting rights in this country in a century,” says Judith Browne-Dianis, who monitors barriers to voting as co-director of the Advancement Project, a civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C.

Amanda Marcotte: Rick Perry’s Demeaning Abortion Doctrine

The Texas governor’s real anti-abortion agenda – enforcing sexual abstinence – not only insults women; it doesn’t work

Rick Perry’s chances at passing himself off as a reasonable Republican were diminished considerably yet again this week, when the Centre for Reproductive Rights secured a victory against a draconian anti-abortion regulation Perry rushed through the legislature in May, claiming while doing so that it was an emergency measure. When US district judge Sam Sparks rejected the law and blocked enforcement, he created an occasion for the national media to look more closely at Perry’s record on women’s rights. What they’ll find is that Perry goes far beyond the usual anti-abortion platitudes: he not only bears a zealous hatred of abortion rights, but also a hostility to contraception and sex education.

E. J. Dionne, Jr. Obama’s Paradox Problem

Call it the Party-of-Government Paradox: If the nation’s capital looks dysfunctional, it will come back to hurt President Obama and the Democrats, even if the Republicans are primarily responsible for the dysfunction.

Then there is the Bipartisanship Paradox: No matter how far the president bends over backward to appeal to or appease the Republicans-no matter how nice, conciliatory, friendly or reasonable he tries to be-voters will judge him according to the results. And the evidence since 2009 is that accommodation won’t get Obama much anyway.

This creates the Election Paradox: Up to a point, Republicans in Congress can afford to let their own ratings fall well below the president’s, as long as they drag him further into negative territory. If the president’s ratings are poor next year, Democrats won’t be able to defeat enough Republicans to take back the House and hold the Senate. The GOP can win if the mood is terribly negative toward Washington because voters see Obama as the man in charge.

Michael Deibert: The U.N. in Haiti: Time to Adapt or Time to Go

In the summer of 2009, visiting Haiti for the first time after an absence of three years, I found the country in better shape than at any time since I started visiting there in 1997.

Three years after the inauguration of René Préval as Haiti’s president (after the two-year tenure of an unelected interim government), the population of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, again felt safe enough to patronize downtown bars and kerosene-lit roadside stands late into the evening, where once armed gangs controlled entire neighborhoods. Billboards that once praised the infallibility of a succession of maximum leaders instead carried messages about the importance of respect between the population and the police, or decrying discrimination against the disabled.

1 comment

  1. TMC

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