Aug 13 2018

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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Bryce Covert: The Wrong Way to Do Paid Family Leave

Senator Marco Rubio just made a small bit of history: He became the first of his party to put forward a national paid family leave program. On Aug. 2, he introduced a bill that would allow any American to take paid time off to be with a new child.

It marks a surprising step forward: Paid family leave has become bipartisan. Unfortunately, smart policy design has not. Instead of creating a new, desperately needed benefit, Mr. Rubio’s bill would make parents cash in their retirement to take care of their children today. [..]

The plan backed by Mr. Rubio (and soon to be introduced in the House by Representative Ann Wagner, Republican of Missouri) is much more comprehensive. But it still makes parents trade one benefit for another.

It would allow a parent to draw from Social Security benefits to take at least two months of paid time off at around 40 to 70 percent of current pay. But those parents would then have to delay retirement or reduce their Social Security benefits to cover the cost of the parental leave.

Jennifer Rubin: Why we should take unserious presidential contenders seriously

On Sunday, Jonathan Karl interviewed Stormy Daniels’s lawyer Michael Avenatti on ABC’s “This Week” about the latter’s professed desire to run for president. Avenatti has never held office, has no foreign policy expertise and has had his share of financial controversies, but hey, he says only he can beat President Trump. (Compared with the third-tier Democratic candidates, he can give a good speech, apparently.)

We’ve seen this horror film before. In 2016, TV media treated Donald Trump like a celebrity, never really putting him through the policy paces like other candidates, and, moreover, turning over hours of free TV time to him. He called in to shows from the comfy environs of home rather than appear in person. He got live coverage of his rallies. That was a mistake that should not be repeated. Not only Avenatti but also a slew of other non-politicians and TV personalities may very well enter the presidential primary races. What coverage do they deserve, and how should they be treated?

Valerie Strauss: Arne Duncan Never Learns

Arne Duncan never seems to learn.

Duncan, who served as President Barack Obama’s education secretary for seven years and was more powerful than any of his predecessors, is hitting the interview and lecture circuit to promote his new book, “How Schools Work: An Inside Account of Failure and Success from One of the Nation’s Longest-Serving Secretaries of Education.” It starts with this sentence: “Education runs on lies.


Education doesn’t run on lies (the sentence begs the services of a good editor), and Duncan makes clear several pages later that he means the “education system” runs on lies, which isn’t accurate, either.

There is not a monolithic “education system” in the country that spews lies. There are, rather, more than 13,000 school districts in the United States, locally operated. Some of the people who run them may indeed tell lies about student achievement — though, to be fair to them, Duncan said a lot of things during his tenure that critics said were sheer fiction.

Mary Bottari: ALEC Is Pushing a New Slate of Viciously Anti-Worker, Pro-Corporate Laws

When the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) convened its 45th annual meeting of legislators and corporate lobbyists at the swank Hilton New Orleans Riverside hotel on August 8, it served up a veritable banquet of union-busting, gerrymandering, pro-fossil fuel, and school privatization proposals for lawmakers to take back home.

Welcoming the ALEC crowd was Jason Saine, a North Carolina Representative and ALEC’s National Chairman. Earlier this year, CMD reported that Saine used $19,000 from his campaign kitty to order custom-tailored suits.

Other keynote speakers included Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, and White House Special Assistant in the Office of American Innovation Brooke Rollins. Rollins was an aide to former governor Rick Perry, who is now Secretary of Energy.

Barrett Holmes Pitner: Millions of Felons Are Getting Their Votes Back. Now They’re Learning To Cast Them.

What may be the biggest political revolution in decades is happening right under our noses.

Enfranchisement (or re-enfranchisement) is on the march in America, as  politicians, activists, and non-profits have taken up the mantle of extending voting rights to the disenfranchised and ensuring Americans know their voting rights and how to obtain the necessary documentation to vote.

Roughly 23 million Americans have felony convictions, and over 6 million of them have had their voting rights taken away. That’s twice as many  disenfranchised Americans as there were in the 1990s and six times as many as in the 1970s.

Many of the remaining 17 million felons are unaware that they can vote, and many state legislatures have shows no interest in letting them know or have actively resisted efforts to do so.