Feb 01 2014

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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Michael Mann: Approving Keystone XL Could Be the Biggest Mistake of Obama’s Presidency

A State Department report fails to take into account the full climate impacts of Keystone XL. Who is Obama protecting?

I have made my position on the Keystone XL pipeline quite clear. Approving this hotly debated pipeline would send America down the wrong path. The science tells us now is the time that we should be throwing everything we have into creating a clean 21st century energy economy, not doubling down on the dirty energy that is imperiling our planet. [..]

The only truly accurate examination of the pipeline would include a full cost accounting its environmental footprint. It needs to take into account how much energy is consumed in refining and transporting the crude from oil sands. It must acknowledge that the pipeline would lower the cost and raise the convenience of extracting and exporting the incredibly carbon-intensive deposits of gas. [..]

Most importantly, protecting us from Keystone XL would protect our atmosphere from one of the most carbon-intensive fuels ever discovered.

If the president won’t protect us, who is he protecting?

New York Times Editorial Board: The Economic Road Ahead

Economists, politicians and investors gave the latest economic growth report, released on Thursday, a generally warm reception: The estimated annual growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2013, a decent 3.2 percent, could bode well for further growth this year. But there are, on balance, more reasons for caution than for optimism.

Republican intransigence on spending will continue to impede growth. It will not do as much damage as last year, when budget cuts and the government shutdown trimmed nearly a percentage point from growth in the fourth quarter alone. But Republicans’ refusal to renew expired federal unemployment benefits will hurt, as will their expected opposition to a higher minimum wage and other policies.

Gail Collins: Christie Plays Defense

Do you think Chris Christie will be able to enjoy the Super Bowl?

Everything looked so promising. The whole sports-loving world’s fixated stare upon New Jersey. Plus, not insanely cold.

And then a lawyer for one of the key players in the great bridge-lane-closing scandal drops a letter suggesting there’s evidence the governor knew about what happened before he said he knew about what happened. [..]

One thing’s for sure – this comes at a really good time for those of us who know nothing about football. We’ve been at a terrible disadvantage over the past few weeks as the national conversation has been all about the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks. We do not care about the medical history of the wide receiver’s hip. We have never heard of Knowshon Moreno. We don’t even have an opinion about who wants it more

Charles M. Blow: The Masculine Mistake

If one of the overt Democratic lines of attack against Republicans is that Republicans are conducting a war on women, one of the low-simmering, implicit lines of attack from Republicans is that Democrats are conducting a war on men, or at least traditional views of masculinity.

The idea of the effete, feminized liberals threatening to suffocate the last remaining expression of true manliness is rife in Republican rhetoric. They are selling the right wing as the last refuge of real men. [..]

The problem with having your message powered by machismo is that it reveals what undergirds such a stance: misogyny and chauvinism. The masculinity for which they yearn draws its meaning and its value from juxtaposition with a lesser, vulnerable, narrowly drawn femininity.

Ralph Nader: Pete Seeger — Character, Personality, Intuition and Focus

After 94 years, on January 27, 2014, the world lost Pete Seeger. The world is the lesser for that loss. The accolades for this giant of folk songs and herald of all causes just, are pouring in from around the world. He is celebrated for regularly showing up at mass protests, for singing songs so transcendent (“This Land is Your Land,” “We Shall Overcome,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone”) they are sung in many foreign languages all over the earth and for his mentoring and motivating of millions of people and children.

Pete Seeger overcame most of his doubters and adversaries. On his famous five-string banjo, he inscribed the slogan, “This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.” [..]Musselman related a powerful example of how Pete Seeger communicated at gatherings. He quoted Seeger as saying, “Nelson Mandela went from prison to the presidency of his country without a shot being fired. The Berlin Wall came down without a shot being fired. And did anybody think there would be peace in Northern Ireland? There is always hope when it comes to unlikely social change.”

“Pete planted many seeds all over the world,” Musselman concluded. That is why Pete Seeger lives on.

Eugene Robinson: The Richest ‘Victims’ in America

An ugly outbreak of whiny victimhood is ravaging some of America’s most exclusive ZIP codes. It’s as if some 1 percenters suddenly fear that old warning: “When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich.”

Not to worry. The hoi polloi would much rather have a Big Mac-and also a job that pays a living wage, with sick leave, health insurance, vacation time and retirement. There was a time when even rich people agreed that these were laudable ambitions. Now, working to put these goals within the reach of more Americans amounts to persecution of the wealthy, according to besieged 1 percenters and their defenders.

Last week, in a now-infamous letter to The Wall Street Journal, legendary San Francisco venture capitalist Tom Perkins compared “the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the ‘rich'” to the persecution of the Jews in Nazi Germany. [..]

The fabulously wealthy need love too. But they’ll get more of it if they stop congratulating themselves for all their hard work and realize that poor people work hard, too, sometimes at two or three jobs, and struggle to put food on the table.

Relax, Mr. Perkins, they’re not coming for you. They’re waiting for non-special buses to take them to the grocery store.