E.J. Dionne at the Washington Post offers some advice to the president in Obama needs to ask himself why even his supporters are growing impatient:
Well, sure. To pretend that the president can magically get an increasingly right-wing Republican House and Senate contingent to do his bidding is either naive or willfully misleading. The GOP really does hope that blocking whatever Obama wants will steadily weaken him.Doyle MacManus at the Los Angeles Times writes Obama's Gitmo woes—There are steps the president can take to improve a Kafkaesque situation:
But the president also needs to ask himself why even his supporters are growing impatient. His whole budget strategy, after all, is directed almost entirely toward gently coaxing Republicans his way, without any concern as to whether what he is doing is demobilizing the very people he needs on his side now.
President Obama sounded genuinely outraged last week when he talked about the Kafkaesque situation at the Guantanamo prison camp, where the United States has been holding 166 men without trial for terms that are, at this point, officially endless.Robert Parry at Consortium News writes about Howard Kurtz’s Belated Comeuppance: The Media Critic's Firing Comes After a Long History of Journalistic Abuses:
"It's not sustainable," the president thundered. "I mean, the notion that we're going to continue to keep over 100 individuals in a no man's land in perpetuity?"
But at least some of Obama's anger should be directed at himself, because his own silence and passivity on Guantanamo are part of the problem.
For nearly a quarter century, Howard Kurtz has served as hall monitor for Washington’s conventional wisdom, handing out demerits to independent-minded journalists who don’t abide by the mainstream rules. So, there is some understandable pleasure seeing Kurtz face some accountability in his ouster as bureau chief for Newsweek and The Daily Beast.You can read about what other pundits say below the fold.
However, the more salient point is that Kurtz, who continues to host CNN’s “Reliable Sources” show, should never have achieved the level of influence in journalism that he did. Throughout his career, he has consistently—and unfairly—punished journalists who had the courage to ask tough questions and pursue truly important stories.
Colin Gordon at Dissent writes From Bad Jobs to Good Jobs:
What happened to the good jobs? This is the question posed by fast-food workers who walked out in New York and Chicago in recent weeks. It is the question posed by activists in those corners of the economy—including restaurants and domestic work and guest work—where the light of state and federal labor standards barely penetrates. And it is the question posed (albeit from a different set of expectations) by recent college graduates for whom low wages and dim prospects are the dreary norm.Dean Baker at Beat the Press writes College Grads Have Been Hard Hit by the Recession Also:
There is no shortage of suspects for this sorry state of affairs. The stark decline of organized labor, now reaching less than 7 percent of private-sector workers, has dramatically undermined the bargaining power and real wages of workers. The erosion of the minimum wage, with meager increases overmatched by inflationary losses, has left the labor market without a stable floor. And an increasingly expansive financial sector has displaced real wages and salaries with speculative rent-seeking.
A NYT piece headlined, "college grads fare well in job market even through recession," painted a misleading picture of the job market facing college grads in the downturn. First, the claim at the center of the piece, that college grads have gotten the bulk of the jobs in this recovery, is badly distorted by the pattern of retirements. The aging baby boomers who are leaving the labor force are much less likely to be college grads than the young people just entering, so even if there were no change in labor market conditions we would expect to see the share of college educated people increase among the employed. This effect is increased further as a result of the fact that less educated workers are likely to leave the work force at an earlier age because more of them work at physically demanding jobs.The Miami Herald Editorial Board urges a rethink in Stop death penalty bill, Gov. Scott:
In its rush to secure “justice,” the Florida Legislature has fast-tracked death-penalty legislation at the peril of the innocent.Nora Caplan-Bricker at The New Republic looks at Plan B: The Political Football Obama Keeps Punting:
House Bill 7083, the “Timely Justice Act,” is an attempt to stop frivolous appeals, something everyone can agree on. Sponsored by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar, and Sen. Joe Negron, R-Palm City, the legislation requires the governor to sign a death warrant within 30 days after a state Supreme Court review, with the execution taking place within 180 days after that. It does away with certain types of defenses in death penalty cases.
The administration's Plan B actions epitomize the unfair double standards that govern women's health: They face barriers to reproductive care that aren’t imposed elsewhere in medicine. This is true in the case of abortion clinics, which must work under strict regulations unheard of at other low-risk outpatient centers. And true, to a much lesser extent, of Obamacare, which has been forced to provide a workaround for birth control coverage to avoid the ire of religious groups. And it's true of the gross disparity between the laws surrounding Plan B and those that govern any other drug in the country. Sebelius' 2011 imposition is a perfect example of the procedural inconsistency that plagues women’s health, since it was the first time in history that a secretary had ever interfered with the FDA’s decision-making process.The New York Daily News Editorial Board says in Admission fee for World Trade Center museum would be a shame of the city:
A project intended to memorialize a national tragedy is on the cusp itself of representing a national disgrace. The official museum at Ground Zero — built with private donations to tell the story of the 1993 and 2001 attacks, rescue and recovery — is so broke that, when it finally opens its doors next spring after an arduous and costly construction, it will be forced to charge admission.Michael Shank and Matt Southworth at The Guardian write that For both fiscal and ethical reasons, it is time Congress cancelled AUMF and reclaimed oversight of US military engagements:
Yes: Unless leaders step up, and soon, everyone from New Yorkers to tourists — anyone hungry to absorb the story and lessons of 9/11 — will have to pony up cold, hard cash.
This is the new normal. Statistics provided by Special Operations Command (pdf) indicate that special forces groups were operating in 92 different countries in March 2013. The AUMF premise, no matter how it gets tweaked, is enabling a system of eternal warfare, a reality that is not only financially untenable for a nation in deep debt, but also ethically indefensible.Steve Yoder at Salon writes It’s time for Democrats to ditch Andrew Jackson:
Second, the AUMF continues to undermine rule of law. There are clear laws that apply to wartime situations or imminent threats, and a broadened AUMF could undermine these further. That the US already broadly categorizes individuals and groups that are loosely or tacitly associated with extremists—in secret and sometimes without evidence—is already setting a dangerous precedent. [...]
Third, given the lack of campaign finance reform, too often defense policy is driven not by military strategy or legitimate threats, but by the defense contractor's bottom line. This is the case with the AUMF and the defense industry.
Today, Democrats sound open to reconsidering whether honoring Jackson still makes sense. In Jackson’s home state of Tennessee, party spokesman Brandon Puttbrese says, “I think we welcome these kinds of conversations about our history. What he did in office … these are not things we should be proud of, but they’re definitely things we must learn from.” But if so, why keep Jackson as the party’s brand? “One explanation might just be inertia — it’s been that way forever, so it’s still that way,” says Puttbrese.Matthew Rothschild at The Progressive writes on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq war in Rearview Mirror:
It has become fashionable for the corporate media and liberal politicians alike to comfort themselves with the claim that “everybody” was snookered. Sorry, not true. Everybody wasn’t snookered. We here, way out in Madison, Wisconsin, could figure things out. So could our colleagues in the leftwing media across the country. But those in the power centers somehow could not. They were blinded by their proximity to the decision makers. They were embedded with their sources. They were cowed by the fear of being called “liberal” or “anti-American” or “soft on defense” or “unpatriotic.”