Jan 12 2013

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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Jonathan Alter: The Platinum Coin Wouldn’t Have Been Goofy to FDR

I love the trillion-dollar platinum coin solution to the debt-ceiling blackmail threat, though lots of people find it too gimmicky. They say that a serious government can’t pull stunts like that to bolster the financial system.

Oh, really? Ask Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Roosevelt took the oath of office on March 4, 1933, at the bottom of the Great Depression. The nation was in the fetal position. Almost three-quarters of the states had already closed their banks. As president-elect, Roosevelt wanted his predecessor, Herbert Hoover, to close the rest. Hoover refused, and Roosevelt signed an executive order to do so on his first day in office.

Rev. Richard L. Kilmer: President Obama, Do Not Let Your First Promise Be Your Last Deed

As President Barack Obama prepares to be inaugurated for his second term, he re-enters the Oval Office with several challenging tasks in front of him. One of the most challenging, and most important, is his unfulfilled commitment to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.

Today marks the 11th anniversary of the first detainees being taken to Guantanamo Bay. [..]

President Obama, I urge you: Do not let your first promise be your last deed. Use your executive power to close Guantanamo Bay and once and for all, lead us out of the dark shadow of September 11th and restore our moral standing as a nation that can be a light unto others.

Charles M. Blow: [Revolutionary Language Listen closely.

That sound you hear is the sound of a cultural paranoia by people who have lost their grip on the reins of power, and on reality, and who fear the worst is coming.

And they are preparing for it, whatever it may be – a war, a revolution, an apocalypse.

These extremists make sensible, reasonable gun control hard to discuss, let alone achieve in this country, because they skew the conversations away from common-sense solutions on which both rational gun owners and non-gun owners can agree.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Is the US Budget ‘Wanton’ and ‘Wild?’ The IMF Says Yes, These Charts Say No

Well, there they go again. Less than a week after its chief economist apologized for wrongly imposing austerity on European nations — hey, sorry about that, unemployed millions! — the International Monetary Fund is misleading another country into the miasma of austerity economics: ours.[..]

The IMF report calls us “profligate” because we’re imbalanced between the amount of money our government collects and the amount it spends. But, as Howard Schneider notes in the Washington Post, Denmark offers much better social benefits than the U.S. and isn’t called “profligate” because it collects the revenues to pay for it.

At this rate, only concerted action can stop the trend toward more of the same austerity madness that has wounded Europe — and us — thanks to the misguided guidance we keep receiving from institutions like the IMF — which will no doubt ‘apologize’ for this absurd report someday too — long after the damage has been done.

New York Times Editorial: Senator Reid Takes Fresh Aim

During a tight re-election campaign in 2010, when the vote of gun owners was crucial, Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader of the Senate, not only showed his prowess with a 12-gauge shotgun – hitting two clay pigeons from the air – but also invited Wayne LaPierre, chief executive officer of the National Rifle Association, as his guest for the opening of a new shooting range in Searchlight, Nev. Mr. Reid, a former policeman, eagerly displayed his sportsman’s enthusiasm to the voters. [..]

Mr. Reid must be held to nothing less as his friends in the N.R.A. mount their ferocious campaign against effective reform. A significant part of the gun lobby’s supporters on Capitol Hill are Democrats. As their leader, Harry Reid will be crucial in making genuine change happen, and he will share the blame if it does not.

Gail Collins: The Flu. Who Knew?

Everybody is talking about the flu. Never have I seen so many people trying to open doorknobs with their elbows. “Epidemic spurs rush to hospitals,” announced The New York Post under a “Flu York” front-page headline. A financial Web site offered a list of undervalued stocks in the funeral service industry. The mayor of Boston declared a public health emergency. Google Flu Trends painted a map of the country in deep red and inspired a raft of terrifying predictions. (“Outbreak could be the worst on record.”)

It’s hard to tell the extent of a flu outbreak because most of the victims just snivel away unhappily in the privacy of their own homes. The Google site solves this problem by tracking the number of times people search for flu-related terms online. Does this make sense to you, people? If we could determine what was going on in the world by the most popular searches, wouldn’t the universe be run by mischievous kittens and Kate Middleton?