Sep 04 2017

Pondering the Pundits

“Pondering 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 “Pondering the Pundits”.

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Paul Krugman: Why Can’t We Get Cities Right?

The waters are receding in Houston, and so, inevitably, is national interest. But Harvey will leave a huge amount of wreckage behind, some of it invisible. In particular, we don’t yet know just how much poison has been released by flooding of chemical plants, waste dumps, and more. But it’s a good bet that more people will eventually die from the toxins Harvey leaves behind than were killed during the storm itself.

Oh, and if you trust the current administration to handle Harvey’s aftermath right, I’ve got a degree from Trump University you might want to buy. There are already signs of dereliction: Many toxic waste sites are flooded, but the Environmental Protection Agency is conspicuously absent. [..]

So is Houston’s disaster a lesson in the importance of urban land-use regulation, of not letting developers build whatever they want, wherever they want? Yes, but.

William Rivers Pitt: If I Had a Hammer …

Probably it’s my age showing, but my taste in music is completely stuck in the mud. I see these new singers being promoted on TV, and I’ve never heard of a single one of them. Even my refuge radio station is getting weird on me. I was in the car the other day listening to WZLX, the classic rock station out of Boston, and they played “Jane Says” by Jane’s Addiction. I almost drove off the road. That’s not classic rock! That’s my music! I was annoyed, until I remembered that “Jane Says” came out 29 years ago, and then I was annoyed and a little sad.

Know what else is stuck in the mud, and has been for about the same amount of time? Wages. Your wages, mine, and just about everyone else’s — 70 percent of workers in the US — haven’t changed much at all for decades. Adjusted for inflation, your upward mobility and ability to save for the future are pretty much right where they were when Jane first said what she had to say.

They say time flies. When it comes to the so-called American Dream, however, time has been standing still.

Xavier Becerra: DACA Is Lawful And Making America Stronger

Over the last five years, Dreamers ― immigrants brought to the United States as young children by their parents without documents ― have paid fees, passed background checks and applied for work permits so they could step out of the shadows. They’ve earned a chance to fulfill their potential, contribute to our economy and enrich our communities.

The dreams of a brighter future that fuel these young people are made possible by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative, or DACA, which began accepting applications five years ago this month. Since then, nearly 800,000 young people nationwide have been granted the peace of mind to grow, work and study without fear. [..]

Yet, these are uncertain times for Dreamers across the nation. Many hardworking, patriotic people like William and Harbinger dread what could come next. The Trump administration has sent mixed messages about DACA. Some have taken this as a license to disparage Dreamers and scorned other hardworking immigrants who are simply labeled dangerous criminals. As the son of immigrants, I find such fearmongering repulsive. As the father of three daughters, I am heartbroken when I meet young people living in fear that their hopes and dreams will be dashed.

Charles M. Blow: In Defense of the Truth

Once again: Donald Trump is a liar.

The Department of Justice confirmed in a Friday court filing what we all knew to be true: that Trump’s slanderous assertion on Twitter in March that President Barack Obama had Trump’s “ ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower” just before the election was in fact a total fabrication.

According to the filing, both the F.B.I. and the Department of Justice’s National Security Division “confirm that they have no records related to wiretaps as described by the March 4, 2017 tweets.”

To some this lying may seem small, just another defect among many, but to me it is so much more. Honesty is the foundation of character. The truth is the common base from which all else is built.

And yet, this man feels completely unbound by it. He has no respect or reverence for it. For him, honesty is an option, one that he feels no compunction to choose.

Richard RJ Eskow: Grow Up And Apologize, Ted Cruz

People whose lives have been destroyed by floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters face a special kind of anguish. The things they trusted the most – the ground beneath their feet, and the sky above – have turned against them.

Their most personal spaces have turned to ruins, and their most precious belongings have been destroyed. Their private misery has become a public spectacle, as cameras in circling helicopters put them on display to the entire planet. Their world has betrayed them, and they feel they have nowhere left to turn.

That’s why millions of people have offered support and compassion to the people of Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

It’s also why politicians from areas hit by Hurricane Sandy five years ago have been right to point out the hypocrisy of Senator Ted Cruz and the other Texas Republicans who turned their backs on victims in their states.

All but one member of Cruz’s Texas GOP delegation voted against aid for Sandy’s victims. Now that their constituents are in need, they’re singing a different tune.

Ted Cruz was the loudest and most aggressive Texas Republican who voted to deny aid for Sandy’s victims. Now it’s time for Cruz to step up, grow up, and admit he was wrong.