«

»

Sep 17 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”.

Joe Conason: Preserving Life (Unless It’s Uninsured)

Watching the Republican presidential candidates and their agitated tea party supporters at the CNN/Tea Party Debate, an ordinary citizen might feel confused. Those people sound angry, but exactly what do they believe our government should (and shouldn’t) do on behalf of its citizens?

Ensuring affordable health care for everyone seemed to be on the forbidden list, even for Mitt Romney, who had tried to do exactly that as governor of Massachusetts. Every one of the candidates vehemently insisted, to predictably enthusiastic applause, that President Obama’s health care reform must go, immediately, if not sooner. And just as predictably, none of them suggested how to provide affordable health care to the roughly 50 million Americans who lack coverage-a number that reached a new record last month.

Indeed, when CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer asked whether a young man lacking private health insurance should simply be allowed to die if he suddenly suffered an accident or illness, some audience members screamed “Yes!” Many of the rest cheered, while the would-be presidents stood by woodenly, without the dignity of a demurral.

Glen Ford: High Stakes Testing in Schools: Who’s Cheating Whom?

Corporate school privatizers feign disgust with teachers that cheat the standardized tests. But big business theft of public education is by far the greater sin.

The school privatizers now headquartered in the Obama administration are all pitching a morality fit over teachers that cheat by altering answers on standardized tests. Corporate privatizers, of course, have no real sense of morality beyond profit and loss: their own profit, and to hell with those that lose. But, when attacking institutions so historically revered as public education and the teaching profession, one must play dirty. You’ve got to get them on a morals charge.

The assault on public schools began with the blanket assertion that teachers – or, more precisely, teachers unions – are out for themselves; that they are sinfully selfish. Strange words, from the lips of corporate executives and free marketeers who preach that the highest virtues are revealed in the cutthroat corridors of commerce. Then again, pots and kettles are always calling everybody else black.

New York Times Editorial: Borderline Ridiculous

The United States is home to 11 million illegal immigrants. The undocumented hold jobs, have children, pay taxes, use government services – and too often live in fear. What is to be done about them? It’s a difficult question, and one the Republican presidential candidates in the last two debates spent a great deal of effort avoiding.

Unlike Ronald Reagan, none of these Republicans favor “amnesty,” and President George W. Bush’s comprehensive solution – tougher enforcement and legalization, with penalties – has gone nowhere. Comprehensive reform is President Obama’s answer, too, which means no Republican today dares support it.

John Nichols: US Supreme Court Blocks Rick Perry From Executing Man ‘Based on the Color of His Skin’

Texas Governor Rick Perry uses his state’s reputation for killing without question to gain applause for his presidential bid from Tea Party audiences that cannot contain their bloodlust. Perry, the frontrunner for the Republican party’s 2012 nomination claims he “never struggled” with questions of justice and injustice, right and wrong, when it comes to approving the executions of Texans.

That’s because, Perry says, “the state of Texas has a very thoughtful, very clear process in place.”

On Thursday night, that “very thoughtful, very clear process” was due to execute the 236th inmate to die on Perry’s watch.

But the latest victim, Duane Edward Buck, had been sentenced to death after an “expert witness” told jurors in Houston that Buck posed a greater threat to public safety because he was African-American.”

David Sirota: University of Hypocrisy

In the firmament of celebrated Americana, there is Mom, apple pie, football and beer-but there most certainly is not marijuana. As it relates to drugs, this bizarre culture has us implicitly accepting that people will inevitably use mind-altering substances. But through our statutes, we allow law-abiding citizens to use only one recreational substance-alcohol-that just happens to be way more hazardous than pot.

Such idiocy is the product of many variables. There’s been interest-group maneuvering and temperance-movement hypocrisy. There’s been hippie-hating rage and reefer-madness paranoia. And, most invisibly, there’s been college.

Though little noticed for its role in America’s selective War on Drugs, the university system has now become a key player shotgunning the oxymoronic “alcohol is acceptable but pot is evil” mentality down the beer-bong-primed throats of America’s youth. To see how it all works, consider the University of Colorado (CU).

Eugene Robinson: Where Are the Compassionate Conservatives?

We heard plenty of contradictions, distortions and untruths at the Republican candidates’ tea party debate, but we heard shockingly little compassion-and almost no acknowledgment that political and economic policy choices have a moral dimension.

The lowest point of the evening-and perhaps of the political season-came when moderator Wolf Blitzer asked Ron Paul a hypothetical question about a young man who elects not to purchase health insurance. The man has a medical crisis, goes into a coma and needs expensive care. “Who pays?” Blitzer asked.

“That’s what freedom is all about, taking your own risks,” Paul answered. “This whole idea that you have to prepare and take care of everybody … ”

Blitzer interrupted: “But Congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?”

There were enthusiastic shouts of “Yeah!” from the crowd. You’d think one of the other candidates might jump in with a word about Christian kindness. Not a peep.