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Nov 22 2012

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”.

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Robert Reich: Why You Shouldn’t Shop at Walmart on Friday

A half century ago America’s largest private-sector employer was General Motors, whose full-time workers earned an average hourly wage of around $50, in today’s dollars, including health and pension benefits.

Today, America’s largest employer is Walmart, whose average employee earns $8.81 an hour. A third of Walmart’s employees work less than 28 hours per week and don’t qualify for benefits.

There are many reasons for the difference — including globalization and technological changes that have shrunk employment in American manufacturing while enlarging it in sectors involving personal services, such as retail.

But one reason, closely related to this seismic shift, is the decline of labor unions in the United States. In the 1950s, over a third of private-sector workers belonged to a union. Today fewer than 7 percent do. As a result, the typical American worker no longer has the bargaining clout to get a sizable share of corporate profits.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Hot Air, Stuffed Turkeys, and the CEOs’ Hansel-and-Gretel Feast

Macy’s is sponsoring a big holiday-season event in which empty but glittery baubles are filled with hot air and sent heavenward, then dragged through the streets before cheering and unthinking crowds. You can’t miss it: Breathless reporters will devote massive amounts of air and print time to this trivial and meaningless Macy’s spectacle.

They sponsor a parade too.

The Thanksgiving Day Parade has been taking place for 86 years and is generally considered a harmless and fun (if increasingly materialistic) way to publicize the store. But this year Macy’s is putting its corporate resources behind another over-hyped and over-reported spectacle — one that’s not harmless at all. Under the leadership of Macy’s CEO Terry J. Lundgren, the retail chain is participating in a cynical and self-interest “Fix the Deficit” campaign promoted by Lundgren and roughly 80 of his fellow CEOs.

Gail Collins: The Turkey Chronicles

Thanksgiving used to be the signal for the start of holiday shopping, but that was long ago and, of course, now the signal is Arbor Day. But Thanksgiving still retains an important role as the real end to the election season. This is it. No more talking about what happened in Ohio. Time to move forward. And, as a public service, I am willing to take questions.

What about the fiscal cliff? How can anybody be happy when we’re falling off the fiscal cliff? We’re all going to die!!!!

Just stop that. Do you know where the members of Congress are now? Home having dinner with their families. Do you think they’re refusing to eat anything because they’re worried about the Bush tax cuts? No. Do you think they’re sitting in the basement muttering about sequestration? No. Get with the program. No talking about the fiscal cliff during Thanksgiving. [..]

Ralph Nader: Getting Active on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for family, food, and celebration. But it’s no secret that the holidays are also a source of stress for many people — there’s the planning, the shopping, and, of course, all the food preparation. Perhaps too many people, against their own better judgment, plop down on the couch to watch the football games while overindulging in Thanksgiving delicacies. Maybe this Thanksgiving consider starting a new family tradition, one of activity and engagement. [..]

There’s no easy answer to the issue of getting more Americans moving again, but consider this suggestion — this Thanksgiving, instead of sitting around the television, try stepping outside and engaging in some friendly competition. Consider a return to tradition, especially during the holiday season, to help build and foster relationships amongst family members and encourage interaction amongst neighbors. Whether it’s a game of touch football or merely shooting some hoops in front of the garage or playing catch, a little exercise with friends and family can go a long way toward a healthier life.

Bill Maher: Won Direction

New Rule: Now that he’s been reelected, President Obama must get back at all those right wing hacks who tried to paint him as an angry black man pushing a liberal agenda by becoming an angry black man who’s pushing a liberal agenda.

Now, I have been mostly holding my tongue about the president this past season, because I didn’t want to muddy the waters in a country where you only get two choices, but Mr. President, there are two ways to look at your 51 to 48 percent victory: One is, we love you. The other is, we like you three percent better than Mitt Romney. And by the way, let us never speak that name again… Mitt… let it be a dark and buried memory of a close call with a creature equal parts pure evil and excellent posture, like getting dry humped in a crowded subway by Roger Moore.

I like this president. In all those secret strategy meetings we had, with me and him and George Soros and The New Black Panthers, I found him to be very agreeable, Allah be praised. But it’s now the job of progressives to hold his feet to the fire for causes important to us. If not now, when?

Frances Moore Lappé: This Holiday, Give Thanks and Get Real (About Our Food!)

Fall is about food. Approaching Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, copious food-rich words are written before we all sit down with loved ones to celebrate food abundance. But in this fall food season, what do we most need to know about food for all seasons?

It is this: Our exceedingly bright species has ended up creating a “food” system so inefficient that much of it doesn’t really produce food at all!

Sound extreme? Here’s what I mean: First, there’s no inherent connection between what we grow on most of the world’s farmland and what human bodies need to thrive.

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