“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”.
Joseph Stiglitz: The Globalization of Protest
NEW YORK – The protest movement that began in Tunisia in January, subsequently spreading to Egypt, and then to Spain, has now become global, with the protests engulfing Wall Street and cities across America. Globalization and modern technology now enables social movements to transcend borders as rapidly as ideas can. And social protest has found fertile ground everywhere: a sense that the “system” has failed, and the conviction that even in a democracy, the electoral process will not set things right – at least not without strong pressure from the street.
In May, I went to the site of the Tunisian protests; in July, I talked to Spain’s indignados; from there, I went to meet the young Egyptian revolutionaries in Cairo’s Tahrir Square; and, a few weeks ago, I talked with Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York. There is a common theme, expressed by the OWS movement in a simple phrase: “We are the 99%.”
Desmond Tutu and Jody Williams: The Devil in the Tar Sands
CAPE TOWN – On Sunday, November 6, thousands of people encircled the White House as part of the ongoing effort to press US President Barack Obama to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. If the nearly 1,700-mile pipeline were to be built, it would run from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, through the heartland of the US, all the way to the Texas coast on the Gulf of Mexico. Should the project go ahead, Obama will have made one of the single most disastrous decisions of his presidency concerning climate change and the very future of our planet.
In August, some 1,250 people were arrested in front of the White House while protesting against Keystone. One of them was James Hanson, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who has been studying for decades the impact of fossil fuels on the environment. Hanson argues that the pipeline would sound the death knell for the world’s climate. Oil from the tar sands of Alberta is the dirtiest in the world, and its extraction is already causing problems. If Keystone is built, there will be increased efforts to expand oil production there, making a bad situation much worse.
Conventional journalism is increasingly irrelevant in a time of crisis. We find abundant proof in a recent column from the New York Times’ so-called “Public Editor,” who is supposed to somehow magically represent the public interest and rarefied ethical values to the rest of the paper.
In this column, he says the media is having difficulty figuring out how to cover Occupy Wall Street and its offshoots.
What are the themes? How should The New York Times cover this movement that resembles no other in memory?
Certainly, media organizations are intrinsically better able to cover snapshot moments like official actions and pronouncements than movements or complex and subtly if rapidly evolving situations-like climate change, or Occupy.
TOLEDO – When Mitt Romney’s dad was a candidate for president back in the 1960s, Republicans competed on the strength of their personalities and ideas.
It was the same when Newt Gingrich was an up-and-coming Republican leader in the 1980s and the early 1990s.
But no more?
Republicans have a new strategy for competing in tight elections.
In Ohio this fall, the party faces a serious challenge. Republican Governor John Kasich, a GOP “star” for the better part of three decades, has staked his political fortunes on an attempt to eliminate collective bargaining rights for public employees while undermining the ability of their unions to function.
The move has proven to be massively unpopular. More than 1.3 million Ohioans signed petitions that forced a referendum on whether to implement the anti-labor law. Polls show that Ohioans are ready to do just that when they weigh in on referendum Issue 2.
But Ohio’s Republican secretary of state is trying to make it a whole lot harder for Ohioans to cast those votes.
Jim Hightower: Shouldn’t Americans Repair American Infrastructure?
Listening at last to his inner FDR, President Barack Obama is going straight at the Know-Nothing/Do-Nothing Republicans in Congress.
At a rally in September on a bridge connecting Rep. John Boehner’s state of Ohio to Sen. Mitch McConnell’s state of Kentucky, Obama challenged the two GOP leaders to back his plan for repairing and improving our country’s deteriorating infrastructure.
“Help us rebuild this bridge,” he shouted out to Boehner and McConnell. “Help us rebuild America. Help us put this country back to work.”
Yes, let’s do it!
However, in addition to the usual recalcitrance of reactionary Republican leaders, another impediment stands in the way of success: many of the infrastructure jobs that would be created could end up in China.
Holy Uncle Sam! How is this possible?
Eugene Robinson: The Shame in Happy Valley
Legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno said, “I did what I was supposed to.” In fact, nobody at Penn State did what basic human decency requires-and as a result, according to prosecutors, an alleged sexual predator who could have been stopped years ago was allowed to continue molesting young boys.
The arrest Saturday of former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky on felony child sex abuse charges, involving at least eight victims, has sent university officials scrambling to justify a pattern of self-serving inattention and inaction.