Mar 06 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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Katrina vanden Heuvel; It’s Time to Tax Financial Transactions

On Friday at midnight, the sequester kicked in, triggering $85 billion in deep, dumb budget cuts that sent “nonessential personnel”- such as air traffic controllers – packing.

Not to worry, though: Wall Street’s day was pretty much like any other. Billions of dollars in profits were made off of trillions of dollars in financial transactions. And the vast majority of those transactions were conducted tax-free.Moral of the story: What else is new?

Crash the economy? Free pass. Prevent planes from crashing? Pink slip.

We don’t need a team of policymakers to tell us this isn’t good policy, or that it needs changing. But on Thursday, we heard policymakers propose exactly that: a change.

Jessica Valente: Battling Feminist Burnout

Feminists got two great pieces of news on the violence against women front this week. First, the Violence Against Women Act was passed-and not the watered-down Republican one either! This version of VAWA contained protections for the LGBT community and allows Native American courts to prosecute non-Native perpetrators on tribal land. [..]

But in the same week we got this great news, a rape survivor at the University of North Carolina was threatened with expulsion for “intimidating” her rapist by becoming an anti-rape activist, there was another attack on Planned Parenthood, a Kansas bill moved forward that would allow doctors to lie to pregnant women in an effort to prevent them for getting abortions and a 9-year-old girl of color-a child-was called a “c*nt.” One step forward, twenty steps back.

It reminds me of a question I get asked a lot when I speak to younger feminists: How do you continue to do this work when it’s just so depressing?

Heidi Moore: Dow Jones high should not be mistaken for growth in the US economy

The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a new high today, but don’t trust the Dow – it doesn’t have your best interests at heart

There is only one thing you need to know about finance: the stock market is not the economy. [..]

Most Americans know that the Dow is composed of a basket of 30 industrial stocks that are largely impervious to the struggles of ordinary Americans. If you separated these stocks, their rise would not be exciting. It’s hard to picture a family driving back from the food bank – poverty is also at all-time highs in America, by the way – chanting “three cheers for Alcoa! Let’s hear it for Caterpillar!” Americans, no matter how patriotic, don’t pull out the pom-poms when it’s a good quarter for Cisco. We just wait quietly for the riches to trickle down, for the companies to start hiring and for the rest of us to feel rich.

Karen Finney: Expand Section 5

Across the country, newly gerrymandered districts and redistricting schemes – such as the Shelby County proposal that would have cut the proportion of African-American voters from more than two-thirds to just one-third – threaten to dilute the electoral impact of increases in minority voter registration and turnout. In 2012, the Voting Rights Act not only helped to protect the rights of minority voters from Texas to Pennsylvania, from Florida to Alabama, from Mississippi to Wisconsin, but also contributed to record minority turnout in the presidential election. All of which suggests that the question Roberts and others should be asking is: Why Section 5 shouldn’t be extended to all 50 states going forward?

Nan Hunter: Will the Supreme Court Be Left Behind on Gay Marriage?

In case you haven’t noticed, the biggest question facing the Supreme Court when it decides the gay marriage cases this spring has become whether it can rise to the level of LGBT rights ferocity already achieved by American business leaders, moderate Republicans and the Obama administration. By the end of last week, when all the amicus briefs in support of striking down California’s Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) had been filed, support for marriage equality seemed to have been transformed into the new normal-at least outside the confines of the Court.

In fact, judging from the press coverage of the briefs, if the justices don’t rule in favor of gay marriage, it is the Court that will look bad. This perception is an incredible achievement, a brilliant exercise in political framing by the lawyers and legal organizations behind the two cases, who mobilized the amicus show of force. The business brief and the Republican brief, especially, are clearly designed to provide political cover for the Court’s five conservative Justices.

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins: Clean Air, Safe Communities, and Good Jobs? It’s Ours If We Want It.

Throughout history, nearly all of the progress we’ve made toward a more just and peaceful world has started with seeds of discomfort with the status quo, and the growing sense that a better way is possible.  That feeling is what gave birth to bold, audacious visions that have fueled our greatest gains over the past century-from child labor laws to the Civil Rights Movement.

Today, there is a growing dissatisfaction in America-and concerns about our economy and our health and safety are among the biggest sources. More and more of us find ourselves sharing the same fears-even when our daily lives couldn’t be more different. The out-of-work veteran coal miner in Pennsylvania knows the anxiety of the 22-year-old debt-laden college grad who can’t find a decent job. Just as the Hurricane Katrina survivor knows the agony and loss of the super storm Sandy victim.