«

»

Apr 09 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.

Wednesday is Ladies’ Day.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Katrina vanden Heuvel: It’s Time the CIA Gets Some Serious Oversight

Every once in a while, the CIA’s “Because I said so” club lets loose with a bit of preposterous condescension that reminds us why, along with extraordinary rendition and drone strikes, we’re also a nation of transparency and checks and balances. In this case, the crowing comes from Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., former head of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service and the administrator of that agency’s post-9/11 enhanced interrogation (i.e., torture) program. We shouldn’t believe the “shocking” results of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation, Rodriguez says, especially those that lay bare the lies and exaggerations promulgated by the CIA and the ineffectiveness of the program itself. [..]

If we ever want to know the truth about what atrocities were committed by our government in our name under the umbrella of the “Global War on Terror,” then we need to not only conduct investigations into them but also release the results-however sickening they might be-with as little redaction as possible. We need to re-establish the precedent (exemplified by the Church Committee of the 1970s) that accountability matters. Not only will we as a nation not abide torture, but we won’t stomach erstwhile torturers, either.

Zoë Carpenter : What’s the GOP’s Excuse for Opposing Equal Pay This Time?

When Congress considered the Equal Pay Act in the spring of 1963, few objected to the values motivating the legislation. “The principle of equal pay for equal work is one which almost any citizen would strongly support,” wrote the National Retail Merchant Association in prepared testimony for the US Senate that April. Nevertheless, the NRMA opposed the bill “on the grounds that Federal legislation is not needed, that the added cost to administer such a law is unnecessary, and that an equitable law would be complex, confusing and difficult to enforce.”

Fifty-one years later, the conservative, anti-feminist Independent Women’s Forum has this to say about the Paycheck Fairness Act, which expands on the 1963 legislation and will likely succumb this week to a Republican filibuster in the Senate: “Clearly, sex-based wage discrimination is wrong. Furthermore, it’s already illegal…This latest legislation-the Paycheck Fairness Act-won’t lead to more fairness or better pay. It will lead to more lawsuits, more red tape and fewer job opportunities for women and men.”

Nancy Goldstein: Obama’s epic fail on equal pay: LGBT need not apply?

Executive actions are great. But not when they exclude millions. And especially when they don’t live up to promises

President Obama just announced a couple executive actions intended to close the wage gap between men and women. “Our job’s not finished yet,” he said at the White House, before signing into law new measures that will make federal contractors enforce limited pay equity rules and that will end certain differences in compensation based on race and gender.

That’s good news. The president should sign orders like these, especially on Equal Pay Day – especially in a country where women working full-time make 77 cents for every dollar men do. “In 2014, that’s an embarrassment,” Obama said. “It’s wrong.”

You know what else is wrong? That it’s not Equal Pay Day for a lot of us, no matter what the White House hype machine says about these measures “expanding opportunity for all” or “ensuring equal pay for women“. Not unless you’re comfortable with a definition of “all” that means “LGBT need not apply”.

Rebecca Solnit: Call climate change what it is: violence

Social unrest and famine, superstorms and droughts. Places, species and human beings – none will be spared. Welcome to Occupy Earth

If you’re poor, the only way you’re likely to injure someone is the old traditional way: artisanal violence, we could call it – by hands, by knife, by club, or maybe modern hands-on violence, by gun or by car.

But if you’re tremendously wealthy, you can practice industrial-scale violence without any manual labor on your own part. You can, say, build a sweatshop factory that will collapse in Bangladesh and kill more people than any hands-on mass murderer ever did, or you can calculate risk and benefit about putting poisons or unsafe machines into the world, as manufacturers do every day. If you’re the leader of a country, you can declare war and kill by the hundreds of thousands or millions. And the nuclear superpowers – the US and Russia – still hold the option of destroying quite a lot of life on Earth.

So do the carbon barons. But when we talk about violence, we almost always talk about violence from below, not above.

Ana Marie Cox: The Pelosi porn, the panel & Ted Cruz’s tattoo: this is the GOP women problem

Republicans sifting through their ideological wreckage for a demographic advantage have aligned themseves with a new favorite artist – and it’s not Miley Cyrus

Republicans have finally found an edgy and provocative voice in an outsider artist who goes by the name Sabo. His art is also unrepentantly racist, misogynistic and homophobic. On Monday, the hugely influential Breitbart.com smugly promoted Sabo’s freelance advertising campaign for its site. It included, among other startling images, Nancy Pelosi in this explicitly pornographic pose of Miley Cyrus, complete with lascivious action and prominent ass:

We talk about a Republican “war on women”, and the GOP has floundered in its response.

Michelle Chen: Why Are Teachers and Students Opting Out of Standardized Testing?

After years of drilling, assessing and scoring youth to exhaustion, more than 25,000 kids in New York have defied the educational establishment in a test of wills. The “opt out” movement has exploded in schools across the state and other regions of the country, as students, parents and teachers resist the standardized testing regime that has fueled a free-market assault on public education.

Some New York teachers have placed themselves at the vanguard of test resisters, alongside student and parent activists, and are now using their professional leverage to deepen the battle lines in the ideological conflict over education reform.

The rebellion stirring in city classrooms was presented recently to New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña in an open letter from a group of “Teachers of Conscience” at the Earth School, an elementary school in Manhattan. Accompanied by a philosophical position paper detailing principles of a progressive education, the teachers declared their opposition to English language exams for third-to-eight graders