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: Why This is Exactly the Time to Rebuild America’s Infrastructure

Seems like only yesterday conservative nabobs of negativity predicted America’s ballooning budget deficit would generate soaring inflation and crippling costs of additional federal borrowing.

Remember Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the United States? Recall the intense worry about investors’ confidence in government bonds – America’s IOUs?


Last week ten-year yields on U.S. Treasuries closed at 1.83 percent.

In other words, they were wrong.

In fact, it’s cheaper than ever for the United States to borrow. That’s because global investors desperately want the safety of dollars. Almost everywhere else on the globe is riskier. Europe is in a debt crisis, many developing nations are gripped by fears the contagion will spread to them, Japan remains in critical condition, China’s growth is slowing.

David Sirota: Why white liberals are (really) ditching Obama

Racism isn’t responsible for the president’s drop in popularity. His right-wing policies are

A few weeks ago, I wrote an essay that got me a much larger truckload of hate mail than usual. The piece concerned the persistent problem of denialism in parts of White America when it comes to race. I lamented how, despite media and political insinuations that whites have become an oppressed group, it is people of color — and in particular, African-Americans — who remain the real casualties of discrimination:

   You can see [this racism] in black unemployment rates, which are twice as high as white unemployment rates — a disparity that persists even when controlling for education levels. You can see it in a 2004 MIT study showing that job-seekers with “white names receive 50 percent more callbacks for interviews” than job seekers with comparable resumes and “African-American-sounding names.” And you can see it in a news media that looks like an all-white country club and a U.S. Senate that includes no black legislators.

I stand by my argument. It is a fact that the most problematic and widespread application of this denialism takes the form represented by white conservatives who angrily insist that racism against minorities is not only dead, but that African-Americans enjoy undue favoritism.

Eugene Robinson: Nothing but Dogs in This Hunt

Here’s my question for the Republican Party: How’s that Rick Perry stuff workin’ out for ya?

You’ll recall that Sarah Palin asked a similar question last year about President Obama’s “hopey-changey stuff.” Indeed, hopey-changey has been through a bad patch. But now the GOP is still desperately seeking a candidate it can love. Or even like.

That Perry was crushed by Herman Cain-yes, I said Herman Cain-in the Florida straw poll Saturday confirms that the tough-talking Texas governor’s campaign is in serious trouble. He’s the one who put it there with a performance in last week’s debate that was at times disjointed, at times disastrous.

Allison Kilkenny: Abysmal Occupy Wall Street Coverage: Rubbernecking At The New York Times

Over the weekend, my inbox exploded with angry messages from people who had just read this New York Times article (though it reads more like an op-ed) about the Occupy Wall Street protest. Ginia Bellafante gives a devastating account of the event’s attendees, depicting them as scatterbrained, sometimes borderline psychotic transients.

Bellafante, who is not a reporter but a critic for the Times, offered a representation of the protesters that is as muddled as the amalgam of activists’ motives she presents in the span of the article. She first claims a Joni Mitchell lookalike named Zuni Tikka is a “default ambassador” of the movement. In one of the following paragraphs, she then describes the protest as “leaderless.” Either the people at Zuccotti Park have official leadership or they don’t (they don’t, by the way). So either Tikka is an official spokesperson who warrants first-paragraph favorability, or Bellafante’s own biases persuaded her to put the kooky girl dancing around in her underwear in the spotlight.

The more serious aspect of the protest – the “scores of arrests” that occurred over the weekend including the arrests of more than 80 people, several of whom the police first penned and then maced- is offered as an aside in Bellafante’s article (she doesn’t mention the macing at all).

Stergios Skaperdas: Greece Needs to Default on Its Debt and Exit the Eurozone

If the current Greek government can’t take the necessary steps to do this, it should give way to other political forces than can

The demands of the EU, European Central Bank (ECB), IMF troika and the political climate in the northern parts of the eurozone have sent a clear message to the Greek people and the government of George Papandreou: “Do as we say, regardless of the consequences for you – or even for us.” The demands go well beyond those prescribed by conventional economics. They will deepen the depression and make full debt repayment even less likely than it now is. Therefore, the clear, strong nudge is for Greece to default as soon as practicable.

Michelle Chen What Do Students Learn When Cities Refuse to Fairly Treat Their Teachers?

Schools these days can be dangerous places: a volatile mix of fiscal crisis, ideological tension and impressionable young minds. But our troubled public schools can teach us a lot when they push struggling teachers from the classroom to the picket line.

On Friday, stalled contract talks at Cincinnati State Technical & Community College compelled nearly 200 teachers to go on strike. Basic labor rights are at stake, with the administration “claiming it needs financial flexibility and teachers claiming the right to negotiate critical working conditions,” according to the Enquirer. The standoff appears to be a proxy battle over Ohio Senate Bill 5, which aims to strip away collective bargaining rights. The measure mirrors the infamous anti-union bill that rocked Wisconsin earlier this year, and parallels a national debate over public sector labor in which many educators have taken the helm.

Jeff Biggers; Coalfield Activists Turn Tables at Mountaintop Removal Hearings

In gut-wrenching testimonies on the devastating economic costs and mounting humanitarian crisis related to reckless mountaintop removal operations, two courageous Appalachian coalfield leaders turned the tables on an EPA-bashing Republican-led Natural Resources House Committee hearing in Charleston, West Virginia today.

“The coal industry obviously wants to bury and pollute all of our water and all of who we are, for temporary jobs,” 2009 North American Goldman Prize winner Maria Gunnoe testified. “Jobs in surface mining are dependent on blowing up the next mountain and burying the next stream. When are we going to say enough is enough?

In holding the hearing in the Appalachian coalfields, Republican members — and their Big Coal bankrolled Democrat allies — had initially brought their thinly veiled political circus of coal industry wags under the banner of “”Jobs at Risk: Community Impacts of the Obama Administration’s Effort to Rewrite the Stream Buffer Zone Rule.” In a parting gift to the coal industry, George W. Bush altered the ineffective but longstanding rule that was supposed to prevent companies from dumping toxic coal waste within 100 feet of a stream. Under the Obama administration, the Interior Department has spent more than two years to study a reversal of the manipulation by the Bush administration.