“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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Ana Marie Cox: GOP DWI? Otherwise I can’t account for Republicans forcing a shutdown
With the ‘no compromise’ fringe at the wheel, this government shutdown can only be a political car crash for Republicans
It is difficult to write rationally about the shutdown of the US government, because it is not a rational act. [..]
The GOP’s intransigence over these political stands, whatever you think of them as ideological positions, stems from simple political debts and selfish political goals. Conversely, policy positions that stem mostly from ideology or even practical knowledge of the problem at hand have some inherent flexibility; you can reason with people who have arrived at their position through reason. If your main goal is to solve a real-world problem, you can make concessions based on new real-world data. When policy goals are held largely for political reasons, only political arguments can move you.
Zoë Carpenter : Government Shutdown Will Hit Federal Workers, Poor Americans
The economic impact of a shutdown depends on how long it lasts, but workers and the poor are likely to be hit the hardest. About 800,000 of 2.1 million federal employees will be furloughed, with no guarantee of retroactive pay. “Essential” employees like active-duty service members, scientists posted to the International Space Station, mine inspectors for the Department of Labor, and Secret Service agents will continue to work, many without pay. The members of Congress creating the mess are considered essential, and will receive their paychecks.
Low-income women and children, on the other hand, may not be able to access food and health care. That’s because federal funds will not be available for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which provides food benefits and clinical services. States may have enough cash to continue operations for a few days, but even federal contingency funds “would not fully mitigate a shortfall for the entire month of October,” according to the US Department of Agriculture, which administers the program. Food stamp recipients would still receive their benefits through the SNAP program, but other nutritional programs would shut down.
: Guys and guns, boys and toys
With America roamed by angry white dudes for whom firearms are a prop for lost power, what sort of message are kids getting?
America has a free-for-all gun culture, which, unsurprisingly, means that America also has a problem with children getting accidentally killed by guns. Specifically, America has a problem with boys in particular getting into accidents with guns, as reported by the New York Times. In its review of the data, the Times found that male shooters fired nearly all guns that were accidentally fired and killed a child. Boys made up 80% of the victims of accidental gun deaths of children. Reporters Michael Luo and Mike McIntire described boys as having a “magnetic attraction of firearms”, and added this:
Time and again, boys could not resist handling a gun, disregarding repeated warnings by adults and, sometimes, their own sense that they were doing something wrong.
So, what is it with boys and guns? Presumably, the same thing that defines the relationship of grown men and guns.
Maureen Dowd: That’s Not Amore
John Boehner wakes up in his English basement apartment on Capitol Hill, his head still in a merlot fog.
It’s a glorious autumn morning, but Boehner doesn’t want to open his baby blues. He lies there, in his “Man of the House” T-shirt and Augusta National gym shorts.
He wishes he didn’t have to go to work. He reaches for his Camel Ultra Lights in his supposedly smoke-free apartment.
“Oh, Lord,” he growls. “How did I become that idiot Newt?”
Sarah Jane Stratford: The latest message to women: ‘Lean In’ at work, but ‘get retro’ at home
For all the glass ceilings women are breaking, we can’t get away from antiquated notions of how to be perfect housewives
2013 started out with a lot of “you go, girl” news. The US elections sent a record number of women to Congress, including 20 in the senate – a whole fifth – a harbinger of change not experienced since the 1970s. Then Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In was published and despite some controversy, it brought modern women’s lives to the forefront of the national – and international – discussion. Women were encouraged to openly discuss their goals and ambitions and network with each other to achieve them.
But for all the “lean in” rallies and glass ceilings women are breaking, we can’t seem to get away from antiquated notions of how women must first and foremost be perfect wives. Women might be told to lean in at work, but the message is still, too often, “get retro” at home.
Robyn Greene: It’s Official: NSA Wants to Suck up All Americans’ Phone Records
The NSA has officially stopped sugar coating the fact that it wants to spy on every American.
At last Thursday’s Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on FISA legislation, Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) asked NSA director, Gen. Keith Alexander, whether his spy agency should be collecting all Americans’ phone records. Gen. Alexander, in a shockingly forthcoming response, admitted that he “believes] it is in the nation’s best interest to [put all the phone records into a lockbox that we can search when the nation needs it.” He also explained that “there is no upper limit” to the number of Americans’ phone records that the NSA can collect.
This admission is particularly unnerving in light of the last few months’ revelations of the NSA’s dragnet surveillance of Americans’ communications under programs authorized by Section 215 of the Patriot Act and Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. And Sens. Wyden (D-Ore.) and Udall made it crystal clear that in spite of all that we have learned about these programs since the NSA leaks began, there may still be a lot that we don’t know – and as they’ve been warning since 2011, they think we deserve to find out.