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”.

Peter Van Buren: The Day ‘Due Process’ Died: Obama, Holder and the End of Rights

Historians of the future, if they are not imprisoned for saying so, will trace the end of America’s democratic experiment to the fearful days immediately after 9/11, what Bruce Springsteen called the days of the empty sky, when frightened, small men named Bush and Cheney made the first decisions to abandon the Constitution in the name of freedom and created a new version of the security state with the Patriot Act, Guantanamo, secret prisons and sanctioned torture by the U.S. government. They proceeded carefully, making sure that lawyers in their employ sanctioned each dark act, much as kings in old Europe used the church to justify their own actions.

Those same historians will remark from exile on the irony that such horrendous policies were not only upheld by Obama, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and professor of Constitutional law, but added to until we came to the place we sadly occupy today: the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder, publicly stating that the American Government may murder one of its own citizens when it wishes to do so, and that the requirements of due process enshrined in the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment, itself drawn from the Magna Carta that was the first reflowering of basic human rights since the Greeks, can be satisfied simply by a decision by that same president.

Glen Ford: New Data Show Black Students Have Been New Jim Crowed

Newly-released data on the nation’s public schools document what every Black school kid already knows: African American students are far more likely to be suspended or expelled than whites. Most striking, is how closely school discipline data tracks with racial incarceration numbers. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection statistics for the 2009-10 school year, more than 70 percent of students arrested or referred to law enforcement for school related incidents were Black or Hispanic – an approximate match to the ethnic composition of the nation’s prisons.

The school-to-prison pipeline is a much talked about phenomenon, although volume should never be mistaken for clarity. The apparent “tracking” of Blacks and, to a lesser degree, Hispanics, from classrooms to cellblocks, is the direct result of the behaviors of teachers and administrators who perceive and treat Black kids as if they are already criminals – just as cops act on the assumption that Black pedestrians and drivers are probably guilty of…something.

New York Times Editorial: How Good Is the Housing News?

The housing market has shown signs of life recently. Home sales have beat expectations and pending sales neared a two-year high. But prices – the crucial measure of housing-market health – are still falling, driven down by increasing levels of distressed sales of foreclosed properties. That means the market, and the broader economy, which derives much of its strength from housing, are not out of the woods – not by a long shot. [..]

Because the banks held off on foreclosure while the settlement was being negotiated, reclosure filings are set to rise in the coming year to more than two million. That means more pain for struggling homeowners – and the economy. By this point, homeowners should be inundated with relief, not still anxiously awaiting help.

John Nichols: What America Lost When Dennis Kucinich Lost

Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, a two-time presidential candidate who for the past decade has been the most consistent critic of war and militarism in the U.S. House of Representatives, was defeated Tuesday in a Democratic primary that pitted him against fellow progressive Marcy Kaptur. [..]

A Congress without Dennis Kucinich will be a lesser branch. It’s not just that the loss of the former leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus will rob the House of its most consistent critic of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, and one its steadiest critics of corporate power.

Nicholas D. Kristof: In Athens, Austerity’s Ugliness

Europe declared war on Keynes, and Keynes is winning.

In the United States, Republicans lambaste President Obama’s stimulus package as a failure and insist on bone-crunching budget-cutting. If you want to know how well that works, come visit Europe – especially Greece.

Yes, Greece needed a wake-up whack and economic reform, but Republican-style austerity knocked the patient unconscious. Contrast the still-shrinking economies of Europe with the stirrings of recovery in the United States, and you feel lucky to be an American and a beneficiary of President Obama’s stimulus.

Frances Beinecke: Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Won’t Ease Gas Prices; Senate Must Reject It

This week the Senate is likely to vote on an amendment that would force approval for the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama already rejected the dirty tar sands pipeline because it needed a more thorough safety and environmental review.

Yet instead of allowing engineers, public safety, and other experts to assess the pipeline’s sweeping impacts-on American communities, drinking water supplies, and the stability of our climate-this amendment would let the politicians in Congress decide what is safe.

It would bypass our nation’s long-standing environmental review process and give Congress the unprecedented authority to hand out permits on massive projects.