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Apr 11 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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New York Times Editorial Board: Mr. Cuomo’s Gift to the Cynics

Nine months ago, Gov. Andrew Cuomo looked New Yorkers in the eye and said, “Trust is everything to me.” Don’t believe it.

Mr. Cuomo uttered those words in a campaign-style TV ad announcing that he was creating an independent Moreland commission of “top law enforcement officials” to “investigate and prosecute wrongdoing” in New York State politics. “The politicians in Albany won’t like it,” Mr. Cuomo said, “but I work for the people, and I won’t stop fighting until we all have a government that we can trust.”

Well, Mr. Cuomo stopped fighting. He has pulled the plug on the commission. Its website still promises the delivery of a report or reports by next January, but that’s not going to happen. Whatever records, files and leads it has accumulated over nine months have been taken away in trucks sent by the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara. [..]

Mr. Cuomo calls this a victory, but it only proves cynics right: Albany will never clean itself up. The commission should have been given the time it needed to complete its daunting task, wherever it led. It should have been allowed to put cases before prosecutors and a spotlight on the many rotten and entirely legal practices used by Albany politicians and lobbyists for their own gain.

That job was abandoned. We’re still waiting for a government we can trust, but Mr. Cuomo has moved on.

Paul Krugman: Health Care Nightmares

When it comes to health reform, Republicans suffer from delusions of disaster. They know, just know, that the Affordable Care Act is doomed to utter failure, so failure is what they see, never mind the facts on the ground.

Thus, on Tuesday, Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, dismissed the push for pay equity as an attempt to “change the subject from the nightmare of Obamacare”; on the same day, the nonpartisan RAND Corporation released a study estimating “a net gain of 9.3 million in the number of American adults with health insurance coverage from September 2013 to mid-March 2014.” Some nightmare. And the overall gain, including children and those who signed up during the late-March enrollment surge, must be considerably larger.

But while Obamacare is looking like anything but a nightmare, there are indeed some nightmarish things happening on the health care front. For it turns out that there’s a startling ugliness of spirit abroad in modern America – and health reform has brought that ugliness out into the open.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Citi to Help Unemployed Youth? Oh, the Irony!

Here’s a story that resonates with so many layers of bitter irony that it’s hard to know where to begin. So we’ll start with the headline: “Citi Foundation to Help Teens Find ‘Pathways to Progress.’

Two other recent stories at a certain piquancy to this noble-sounding venture. One involved a settlement in which Citi agreed to pay more than $1 billion for charges that it defrauded investors in its mortgage-backed securities. In the other, Citi was the only one of 25 banks to fail a “stress test” for sound fiscal planning and capital management. (The test has been criticized by independent observers — for being too easy.)

Incompetent and morally compromised: who better to help our young people build their future careers?

Bob Burnett: The War on Democracy: SCOTUS Weighs In

Americans are worried about the economy and economic inequality. Most of us feel the government should do something to reduce inequality. Now the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has weighed in with its April 2 decision in McCutcheon v. FEC making it more difficult for the 99 percent to influence government to remedy inequality.

The most recent Gallup Poll found that economic concerns continue to dominate American consciousness. A key element is economic inequality, now at its highest point since 1928. [..]

Because a strong majority of potential voters are now either Democrat or Independent, one would think the 99 percent should be able to get their government to take action to reduce inequality. After all, Republicans are experiencing a historic low in party identification; the latest Gallup Poll showed that only 25 percent of respondents declared as Republican. [..]

So the minority U.S. political party, whose policies are rejected by most Americans, is poised to take control of Congress. Blame big money and the Supreme Court.

Ophira Eisenberg: Stephen Colbert is another middle-aged man on late night. Wait – Stephen who?

CBS never considered a woman to replace Letterman. Hell, even CBS doesn’t even know which Colbert we’re getting. And that’s exciting!

As a child, I would have told you that by 2014 we’d definitely have jet boots, pills for food and a woman hosting a late-night talk show. Instead we have selfies, Xanax and a bunch of white guys.

When it was announced Thursday that Stephen Colbert was set to replace David Letterman, my first reaction was, well, that’s a safe choice. I would have thrown a parade if CBS had cast – or even considered – a woman.

I read so many articles and lists all about different hilarious woman who should be up for a late-night TV job – myself being on one of them, I’m happy to say, in a story that I posted to Twitter, of course, to which a follower responded, “Not gonna happen“. Can you please unfollow me? I don’t need that kind of reality check from someone who volunteered to be my fan. [..]

Why, exactly, is all of late night still geared only to satisfy the tastes of my Uncle Jack?

Peter Dreier: Why Is Public Television Against Public Schools?

You’d think that that public television would support public education, but you’d be wrong. The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) has gotten in bed with the billionaires and conservatives who want to privatize our public schools. PBS has nary a word to say about the big money — from folks like the Walton family (Walmart), Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Eli Broad, business titan and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, media mogul Rupert Murdoch, Joel Klein (former NYC schools chancellor and now a Murdoch employee), and their ilk — that has been funding the attack on public schools and teachers unions. They’ve donated big bucks to advocacy groups, think tanks, and candidates for school boards who echo the their party line.

PBS and its local stations have fallen all over themselves to promote “Waiting for Superman,” a documentary film that could easily been mistaken for a commercial on behalf of charter schools. In contrast, missing from the lineups on most PBS affiliates is a remarkable new documentary film, “Go Public,” about the day in the life of a public school system in California. The film celebrates public schools without ignoring their troubles. Americans who care about public schools should contact their local PBS affiliates and urge them to broadcast “Go Public.”

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