“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.
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In the 2012 elections, the American people voted for strengthening our economy and putting people back to work. “We’re all in this together” defeated “You’re on your own.” Or so we thought.
It seems that since Nov. 6, many politicians forgot that the people they represent used their voice at the polls to stand up for working families and the programs they rely on. Democratic lawmakers should resist any “grand bargain” on the budget that protects the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us. [..]
We can’t let corporate America undo the results of the election. Working people won’t take that lying down. And Democrats should hold their ground.
The grand bargain is a grand swindle.
Katrina vanden Heuvel: What to ask a secretary of state nominee
The nomination of a secretary of state gives the Senate the opportunity to probe the administration’s foreign policy priorities – and many of President Obama’s policies demand inquiry. Republicans like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who have disgracefully sniped at U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, have expressed few coherent reservations about our current course. Instead, it will be incumbent on Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – particularly Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Bob Casey (Pa.) and Tom Udall (N.M.) – to lead a responsible review.
Here are only a few of the questions that senators could ask the nominee. [..]
This is far from the comprehensive set of questions that any nominee should face. This country faces monumental challenges that need to be addressed. It’s time for the Senate to get beyond partisan cheap shots and exercise its constitutional responsibility to probe the president’s nominee on whether and how the administration plans to move forward in an increasingly complex world.
In June 1944, around 150,000 brave men were asked to storm the beaches of Normandy. At risk to themselves, they accepted the challenge on behalf of their nation and the world. They were heroes. They were leaders.
Imagine if we had leaders today with as much courage as each of those soldiers had in just one of their fingers.
This gun debate, the fiscal cliff, and frankly all important and difficult issues demand leaders willing to be uncomfortable. Willing to lean into an oncoming storm rather than be blown along with it. The men at Normandy risked their lives for what was right. Our politicians could at least risk their campaign donations.
Deborah Burger: Time to Act Now To Restore Our Ravaged Mental Healthcare System
Registered nurses across the country mourn the loss of life marked by the shooting of innocents in Connecticut. This should be a clear wake up call for the White House, Congress, and state and local legislators to take action to address causes of the violence, including restoring the devastating cuts that have occurred to mental health services across the U.S.
Every day a massive tragedy is being played out on a smaller scale everyday in emergency rooms, in mental health facilities, and on the streets across our country, where, with sometimes devastating consequences, mental health is underfunded to a shocking, and sometimes deadly degree.
Members of National Nurses United, the nation’s largest organization of nurses, say it is time to act with both short term and long term responses.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, calls for restrictions on the manufacture and sale of a variety of guns, especially assault rifles such as the Bushmaster .223 used by the shooter in his rampage against women and children, have grown stronger. Of course, this creates a strange situation for pro-choicers, who are usually on the end of arguing that restrictions on abortion don’t do much to reduce abortion rates, allowing gun nut anti-choicers (the two tend to go together because gun nuttery, like anti-choice nuttery, is based in a weird mix of misogyny and psychosexual issues) to squee “gotchas” at us. So, I figured I’d go ahead and shoot that nonsense down and explain here why restrictions on the sales of guns and restrictions on access to abortion are very, very different things. [..]
When crafting legislation, it’s important to avoid being simple-minded and assume that a ban is a ban is a ban. The evidence is clear that abortion restrictions and gun restrictions couldn’t be more different in how they play out in the real world. It’s time to stop restricting abortion and turn our attention to guns.
In late November, while other parts of New Jersey were recovering from the superstorm, the quiet town of Paulsboro was blindsided by a very unnatural disaster. A train derailed while crossing a local bridge, sending freight cars tumbling into the water below and releasing a toxic swirl of the flammable gas known as vinyl chloride, used to make PVC plastics. In the following days, chaos ensued as residents hurriedly evacuated. Authorities struggled to manage the emergency response, leaving people confused and frustrated by a lack of official communication about hazards.
Though the derailment came as a shock to residents, this was an accident waiting to happen, environmental advocates say. Paulsboro is just one of the latest in a spate of recent disasters (including others involving vinyl chloride) in industries that handle massive amounts of toxins with minimal oversight.