Sep 09 2015

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”.

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Katrina vanden Heuvel: Why more debates are good for Clinton

Over the weekend, Hillary Clinton signaled that she’s willing to participate in more Democratic primary debates. “I am open to whatever the DNC decides to set up,” she said. “That’s their decision. . . . I debated a lot in 2008, and I certainly would be there with lots of enthusiasm and energy if they decide to add more debates, and I think that’s the message a lot of people are sending their way.” [..]

According to the conventional wisdom, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz designed the light debate schedule for Clinton’s protection. With fewer debates, the thinking went, other Democratic candidates would have a harder time gaining momentum in the polls, allowing Clinton to wrap up the nomination more quickly. And a shorter primary would mean fewer opportunities for Clinton to make unscripted blunders that Republicans could use against her in the general election.

But this logic is wrongheaded for several reasons, not least of which is Clinton’s well-deserved reputation as a skilled debater. Indeed, Clinton was the one calling for more debates in 2008, when many believed that she outperformed Obama. In reality, while it’s extremely unlikely that participating in additional debates would hurt Clinton’s chances, the lack of debates is already inflicting needless damage on both the party and Clinton.

Amy B. Dean: Made in Detroit, again?

The decline of factory jobs in the Motor City was a result of policy choices, not worker preferences

Over the past few months, I have been using a fine American-made bicycle to get around Chicago – a shiny new ride made in Detroit. The manufacturer, Detroit Bikes, has been producing vehicles for mass consumption for two years.

Last year, in its first full year of operation, its 50,000-square-foot factory manufactured 1,000 bikes. Its staff of about 20 is expected to grow this year amid expanding orders, including 2,415 bicycles for the New Belgium Brewing Co.

As with other artisanal manufacturers such as New York’s Re-Co Bklyn and San Francisco’s American Giant, Detroit Bikes largely produces the bikes for an upscale market. While their success is meaningful, these producers are not remotely comparable to the United States’ earlier manufacturing base in terms of job creation or economic impact.

U.S. manufacturing employment has declined significantly over the past several decades, but it is still an important part of the nation’s economy. The loss of manufacturing jobs was in large part a result of policy choices in Washington that favored Wall Street over industrial employees. This Labor Day, we should look critically at these choices and celebrate renewed efforts to create a robust, if transformed, manufacturing base in the United States.

Terry O’Neill: Before Looking at Developing World’s Gender-Equality Gap, U.S. Needs to Look at Own Backyard

End extreme poverty. Fight inequality and injustice. Fix climate change. That’s the vision behind the 17 global goals for sustainable development that world leaders will commit to later this month at the UN. The fifth of those 17 goals, to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls,” is absolutely essential. You cannot solve the world’s problems while keeping half the population out of leadership and subordinated to the other half.

There are many paths toward gender equality for all women and girls. But before we in the U.S. presume that’s only a problem in the developing world, let’s take a closer look at our own backyard. I want to focus on just two things we need to do to achieve equality for women here at home: Guarantee every woman affordable access to the full range of reproductive-health-care services; and increase the minimum wage to a livable wage, indexed to inflation.

There’s no doubt that these solutions work. But there’s plenty of opposition from Congressional Republicans and far-right extremists who consider “fair” a four-letter word.

Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite: The Arson Attack on Planned Parenthood and Political Violence Against Women

Well, what did you expect? After a summer of inflammatory (and inaccurate) politically motivated attacks against Planned Parenthood, one of their clinics has been heavily damaged by what is now determined to be arson.

Attacks on women’s self-determination in body, mind and spirit are a staple of our political life because they work. Unless and until we confront the root reasons why patterns of violence against women work, both overt and covert violence against women will continue to be a political mainstay.  [..]

The political attacks on Planned Parenthood, supported by conservative religious groups, do indeed fuel extremism, and are part of long-standing structural violence against women. Arson is physical violence and it is often and outcome of the structural violence of inflammatory political rhetoric. Structural violence as I have defined it, is a pattern of “constriction of opportunity” and “unjust exploitation” without overt physical violence, though most often backed up with the threat of physical violence.

Michelle Chen: The Unionization of Digital Media

A recent string of campaigns show that while unions at “legacy” newspapers are eroding, organizing still has a place in the digital space.

The digital news team at Al Jazeera America announced last week that it wants to go union, following a string of similar campaigns in recent weeks by web-based journalists who have moved toward or formally voted to establish unions at The Guardian US, Vice, Salon, and Gawker. The organizing bump suggests that, while journalism faces a troubled future, on the labor front, there’s good news to tell.

Though a few hundred workers unionizing isn’t a “game changer” exactly, the campaigns show that while unions at “legacy” newspapers are eroding, organizing still has a place in the digital space.

The announcement, issued on Thursday by New York NewsGuild (part of Communications Workers of America), stated that the workers had “petitioned for representation,” and were, as of Friday, awaiting a response. The main concerns of staff involve “a troubling lack of transparency, inconsistent management and lack of clear redress” for workers’ grievances, as well as what they see as discrepancies in pay and performance evaluation.

Naomi Dean: The Iran Deal and American Jews

Far too much of the analysis of the nuclear deal with Iran has focused on what the American Jewish community and Israeli leaders think, as if those opinions were more important than those of the other Americans, Iranians, and international community at large who are also affected by the deal.

Nevertheless, one of the few bright sides of the media spotlight on American Jewish opinion on the deal has been that the loud and highly publicized infighting has proven quite incontrovertibly that there is no such thing as a Jewish consensus, on anything. As the saying goes: two Jews, three opinions. Unfortunately, when it comes to Israel the institutional American Jewish community has long claimed to represent Jewish Opinion, enclosing the boundaries of debate within a very narrow frame. [..]

The schism in the Jewish community over the Iran deal has been making headlines all summer, but what has been missing from most of these stories is the fact that the debate isn’t solely about Iran or about faith in President Obama. Divergent worldviews-not differing understandings of Iran’s nuclear program and the nature of the deal-shape this divide.