Thursday Open Thread

Black Uhuru are a Jamaican reggae group formed in 1972, initially as Uhuru (Swahili for ‘freedom’). The group has undergone several line-up changes over the years, and had their most successful period in the 1980s, with their album Anthem winning the first ever Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album in 1985.

The group formed in the Waterhouse district of Kingston in 1972, initially called simply “Uhuru” (the Swahili word for freedom), with a line-up of Garth Dennis, Don Carlos, and Derrick “Duckie” Simpson.[1] Their first release was a cover version of Curtis Mayfield‘s “Romancing to the Folk Song”, which was followed by “Time is on Our Side”; Neither was a success and they split up, with Carlos pursuing a solo career, as did Dennis, before joining The Wailing Souls.[1] Simpson also briefly worked with the Wailing Souls, before forming a new version of Uhuru with Errol Nelson (of The Jayes) and Michael Rose, the group now taking the name Black Sounds Uhuru.[2] Their Prince Jammy-produced debut album, Love Crisis, was released in 1977.

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
This entry was posted in Current Events, Music, Open Thread, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

66 Responses to Thursday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    This hillbilly cracka right chere:

  2. Ametia says:

    Whose the BOSS?

    Mar 31, 2011
    Bruce Springsteen at odds with N.J. Gov. Christie’s budget
    By Catalina Camia, USA TODAY

    Bruce Springsteen has weighed in again on politics, this time in a slap to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s budget plans and their impact on state services to help poor people.

    In a letter published in his hometown newspaper, The Boss thanks the Asbury Park Press for a March 27 front-page story entitled,
    “As poverty rises, cuts target aid.”

    “The article is one of the few that highlights the contradictions between a policy of large tax cuts, on the one hand, and cuts in services to those in the most dire conditions, on the other.

    Springsteen’s letter never mentions the GOP governor by name. Christie, who has gained attention in the Republican Party for his handling of the state’s budget woes, is a Springsteen fan and has attended more than 100 of the rock ‘n’ roll icon’s shows.

    Springsteen often sings of the plight of the downtrodden, in songs such as Badlands and The Ghost of Tom Joad. He’s a familiar sight during presidential elections, performing at rallies for Democratic presidential candidates John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008.

    Read Springsteen’s letter here and the story by Michael Symons that prompted the singer to reach out to the newspaper. USA TODAY and the Asbury Park Press are both owned by Gannett.

    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/onpolitics/post/2011/03/bruce-springsteen-chris-christie-budget-cuts-poverty/1

  3. Ametia says:

    CIA sends teams to Libya; US considers rebel aid
    The Daily Caller / 13hrs 42mins ago

    Press Secretary WASHINGTON (AP) — While the White House debates whether to arm rebels battling Moammar Gadhafis Troops, U.S. officials have acknowledged that the CIA has sent small teams of operatives into Libya and helped rescue a crew member of a U.S. fighter jet that crashed.

    http://politifi.com/news/CIA-sends-teams-to-Libya-US-considers-rebel-aid-1834726.html

  4. Ametia says:

    March 31, 2011
    By Steve Benen

    SO MUCH FOR THE ‘COME TO JESUS’ MOMENT…. This morning, National Journal reported on the high expectations for this afternoon’s Tea Party rally on Capitol Hill in D.C. Far-right organizers hoped this one event, put together by one of the nation’s largest Tea Party organizations, could have an enormous influence on the larger budget debate.

    If organizers have their way, the event featuring Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., and Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tex., will be a watershed “Come to Jesus” moment, influencing GOP lawmakers to hold fast to the full $100 billion in spending cuts they promised while campaigning in 2010.

    So much for that idea.

    Tea party organizers had high hopes for their rally today in Washington, DC — high enough hopes that they arranged for Fox to give it live coverage.

    Then something sad happened. Just a few dozen people showed up. And Fox, naturally, blamed the weather.

    I wasn’t there, so I can’t speak to turn out with any confidence, but I’ve seen some of the pictures, and the event appears to have been a bust. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a Tea Party favorite who has an incentive to exaggerate the crowd size, said 200 people showed up, but if the media footage is at all accurate, even that pathetic number is inflated.

    Put in this way: the number of reporters and Republican lawmakers, when combined, rivaled the size of the attendees. That’s not good.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2011_03/028725.php

  5. Ametia says:

    Reid on Boehner: Tea Party screaming in his ear

    On the Senate Floor Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) lambasted House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) over the Continuing Resolution stalemate, noting the fraction between the GOP and Tea Party. (March 31) (/CBS News)
    VIDEO
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/reid-on-boehner-tea-party-screaming-in-his-ear/2011/03/31/AFTTrrAC_video.html

  6. Ametia says:

    In its 40 years, Congressional Black Caucus has seen mission, challenges evolve
    By Krissah Thompson, Thursday, March 31, 9:39 AM

    Forty years ago, the purpose of a caucus to represent African Americans in Congress seemed clear to its founders: to eradicate racism.

    The 13 legislators who formed the Congressional Black Caucus in March 1971 saw themselves as representatives of black people all over the country. Theirs was a role akin to civil rights activists. Only they had the bully pulpit of the country’s most powerful legislative body.

    The current caucus members , who are marking the anniversary of its founding this week, have a mission that is more diffuse, a role that is harder to define and power that has been fully absorbed into the nation’s political system.

    For one, the caucus has 43 members from urban and rural districts. It includes one Republican. A handful of its members have been elected from majority-white districts. Eight have faced ethics investigations in the past three years. One of its members is the third-most powerful House Democrat, and a former caucus member sits in the White House.

    “There are challenges today that we did not have then,” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), who chairs the caucus and represents a district that is majority white. “We cannot at all times have all of the members in sync because of the differences we have in our constituencies. But most of the time when we vote our conscience, we end up voting in a block.”

    The challenges faced by the modern CBC include forging a relationship with the White House. President Obama met Wednesday with its leadership team. The conversation was wide-ranging, according to a CBC spokeswoman, and focused on federal budget issues and the country’s long-term investment in poor communities.

    In the past, CBC members — five of whom sat down for a roundtable interview with The Washington Post this week — have complained of a distant relationship, while also reinforcing their support for Obama.

    “There is a strong pressure in the system of government that we have to make it difficult for a progressive to stay progressive in the system. That goes all the way up to the White House,” said Rep. John Conyers, (D-Mich.) who said it will be harder to get Obama reelected than it was to get him elected. “We have a database on candidate Barack Obama and we have a database on President Barack Obama. … They don’t comport.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/in-its-40-years-congressional-black-caucus-has-seen-mission-challenges-evolve/2011/03/30/AFWkOI9B_story.html?wpisrc=nl_pmpolitics

  7. rikyrah says:

    March 31, 2011
    WE’RE ‘BROKE,’ BUT CAN APPARENTLY AFFORD SCHOOL VOUCHERS…. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) doesn’t participate in a lot of floor debates, but he spoke yesterday in support of H.R. 471 — the bill he’s sponsoring to use federal tax dollars to finance private school tuition in the District of Columbia.

    Indeed, choking back tears as he touted vouchers, the Speaker implored his colleagues to subsidize private schools, giving their students “a chance.”

    As expected, the House GOP was only too pleased to spend the money.

    House Republicans voted overwhelmingly Wednesday for the only bill that the Speaker is expected to offer this year, a voucher measure that would provide $20 million annually for five years for scholarships for public school children attending poorly performing schools in the District of Columbia, and $20 million each for charter and traditional public schools in the district.

    The bill, known as the SOAR act, would reprise a 2004 program that Speaker John A. Boehner helped devise in which over 1,000 low-income students in the District students were given $7,500 annually in federal money to help pay for private schools, the only program of its type in the nation in which children received federal dollars for vouchers.

    The 225-to-195 vote wasn’t close — though it was interesting to see nine House Republicans break ranks and vote with Democrats against the voucher scheme.

    There are a few interesting angles to this. For one thing, the D.C. voucher program didn’t work, and Republican assurances about higher test scores proved to be wrong.

    For another, it’s fascinating to see House Republicans insist that sweeping budget cuts are a moral imperative … just as soon as they finish spending $20 million on private school tuition.

    But I’m most struck by Boehner’s tearful, emotional appeal. Watching him yesterday, one might be tempted to think he genuinely cares about children and quality education.

    I obviously can’t read the Speaker’s mind, but there’s reason for skepticism — while Boehner wants to spend $20 million of our money on private school tuition, he also supports brutal cuts to Head Start, Pell grants, Title I grants (which help schools with kids who live in poverty), and nutritional aid for pregnant women and women with young children, among other things.

    If Boehner were motivated solely by a desire to help children and students, these cuts would be off the table. Instead, they remain near the top of the GOP to-do list.

    —Steve Benen 10:10 AM

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2011_03/028715.php

    fake ass tears

  8. rikyrah says:

    March 31, 2011
    ROVE TO GOP: IT’S A TRAP!…. Bill O’Reilly asked Karl Rove last night if Donald Trump might boost his political career by being an unrestrained birther. After all, O’Reilly said, Trump’s support for the ridiculous conspiracy theory is getting him “a hell of a lot of attention” and helps him curry favor with “the right-wing base of the Republican Party.”

    Rove didn’t see it that way.

    Well, A, first of all, I disagree with your assumption. The right- wing base of the Republican Party — I’m part of that right-wing base — is not in love with the issue of birthers. I mean, there is an element inside the Republican Party and outside the Republican Party that’s fallen in love with this. But the vast majority of Republicans and the vast majority of Americans accept that he’s a U.S. citizen and capable of being president. And this is a distraction. […]

    “This is a mistake. It will marginalize [Trump]. And he’s falling for Barack Obama’s trap. Barack Obama wants Republicans to fall into this trap, because he knows it discredits us with the vast majority of American people when they do.”

    If this seems familiar, it’s because we’ve heard it from Rove before. About six weeks ago, he pushed the same line, insisting that this far-right nonsense is “the trap of the White House.”

    Even by Rove standards, this is just odd. He really seems to believe that an unhinged, right-wing conspiracy theory, debunked several years ago and rejected by sane people everywhere, is an elaborate “trap” set by nefarious White House officials, including the president.

    In some ways this is nearly as twisted as the nonsensical theory itself. Indeed, Rove seems to envision a scheme with layers — the White House has conspired to convince Republicans to see a conspiracy that doesn’t exist. It looks like right-wing activists have been pushing this garbage for years, but apparently this is all part of the Obama team’s fiendish plan.

    Remember, Karl Rove, who’s now shared this idea on national television more than once, is considered one of the Republican Party’s most credible, strategic minds.

    —Steve Benen 2:20 PM

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2011_03/028724.php

    • Ametia says:

      I’m banking on the fact taht the closest the Obama’s have gotten to anything resembling tea is the tea they drink.

      Y’all can do crazy all by yourselves, white folks.

  9. rikyrah says:

    March 31, 2011
    TEA PARTIERS DEMAND MORE FEDERAL CONTROL OVER HEALTH CARE…. Jonathan Cohn has a great item this morning, highlighting a baffling health-care effort from Tea Party activists, who don’t seem to understand what they’re doing.

    The idea is to oppose the Affordable Care Act not in the Congress or the courts, where they’ve been fighting so far, but in the state legislatures. As you may recall, the Act calls upon states to create the new “exchanges,” through which individuals and small businesses will be able to buy regulated insurance policies at affordable prices. The simplest way to do that is for state legislatures to pass laws creating exchanges that conform to the Act’s standards. Several states have started that process already — and a few, like California, are well along in their efforts.

    But Tea Party activists have been lobbying state lawmakers to vote against such measures and, in a few states, it looks like they’re succeeding. […]

    It’s a great idea for blocking the law, except for one small problem: The Affordable Care Act anticipates that some states might not create adequate exchanges. And the law is quite clear about what happens in those cases. The federal government takes over, creating and then, as necessary, managing the exchanges itself.

    Exactly. In states like Georgia, Montana, and South Carolina, right-wing activists have rallied to undermine, and even kill, proposals to establish state-based exchanges. Apparently, as conservatives see it, if they can defeat exchanges in state capitols, they can undermine the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in their area.

    But as is too often the case, the Tea Party crowd doesn’t know quite enough about the policy to understand what they’re doing. If policymakers in Atlanta don’t create an exchange, for example, Georgians will simply join an exchange created in Washington.

    In other words, Tea Partiers are unwittingly fighting aggressively to expand federal control over health care.

    For the record, I’m fine with that. If it were up to me, the Affordable Care Act would have created federal exchanges anyway, since it seems likely that some states might screw it up.

    It just never occurred to me that Tea Partiers might agree.

    Jonathan’s headline asks whether the Tea Party crowd is “really clever” or “really dumb.” I’ll assume that’s a rhetorical question.

    —Steve Benen 11:25 AM

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2011_03/028718.php

    BWA HA HA HA HA HAH A HA HAH A HA

  10. rikyrah says:

    March 31, 2011
    IT SHOULDN’T HAVE TAKEN THREE TRIES…. Twice in two weeks, a Wisconsin judge issued a temporary restraining order, blocking implementation of Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) anti-union measure. And twice, the Walker administration came up with creative ways to ignore the court order and start enforcing the measure anyway.

    Apparently, the third time was the charm.

    A state law to sharply curb union bargaining by public employees is not in effect, a Dane County judge ruled Thursday, continuing the turmoil over a measure that sparked massive protests and prompted Democrats to boycott the Senate for three weeks.

    Gov. Scott Walker’s administration said it would comply and discontinue the implementation of the law.

    “Based on the briefs of counsel, the uncontroverted testimony, and the evidence received at the March 29, 2011, evidentiary hearing, it is hereby DECLARED that 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 has not been published within the meaning of (state statutes), and is therefore not in effect,” Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi ruled in a two-paragraph order.

    While I’m glad Walker will honor the court order, it’s somehow unnerving that news accounts have to let the public know that the governor’s administration will “comply” with the judge’s instructions — because that part is no longer assumed.

    “While I believe the budget-repair bill was legally published and is indeed law, given the most recent court action we will suspend the implementation of it at this time,” said a statement from Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch.

    How gracious of Walker’s team.

    I’m not inclined to give Wisconsin Republicans advice, but it still seems to me the smartest move, under the circumstances, is to simply pass the measure again, properly this time. GOP officials seem to have ignored the state’s open-meeting law, which is why Judge Sumi has blocked the bill from becoming law. If Republicans jumped through the appropriate procedural hoops, they could conceivably wrap this up in a few days.

    But for now, GOP leaders don’t want to do that, perhaps fearing a reprise of the massive demonstrations, and perhaps unsure whether they might lose more Republican votes in the second go-around.

    Regardless, as of this afternoon, the union-busting measure is not enforced law in Wisconsin. For more background on how we got from there to here, check out our previous coverage.

    —Steve Benen 1:15 PM

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2011_03/028721.php

  11. rikyrah says:

    GMA Takes On ‘Tea Party Darlings On The Dole’ (VIDEO)
    Thursday morning, ABC’s Good Morning America suggested some of the Tea Party’s leaders have a case of “Hill Hypocrisy” for attacking government spending while taking millions in government money. ABC’s senior political correspondent Jonathan Karl reported “the Tea Party movement is all about slashing federal spending, but at least five House members with Tea Party connections have themselves collected more than $100,000 each in federal farm subsidies, totalling more than $8 million since 1995.”

    The subsidies are included in a report out Thursday by the Environmental Working Group. “We need a better system,” said Rep. Stephen Fincher, a Tennessee Republican whose family farm has received more than $3 million in subsidies, with more than $100,000 going directly to the Congressman himself. Asked directly if he’d refuse to take any further subsidies, he dodged the question. Others said the farm subsidies-totalling $16 billion-need to cut if not eliminated.

    Watch the story here, from ABC News:

    http://tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/03/gma-takes-on-tea-party-darlings-on-the-dole-video.php?ref=fpb

  12. rikyrah says:

    but, yesterday, he was talking about kicking butt…

    oh Orange Julius…

    puleeze

    …………….

    Boehner To Tea Partiers: ‘We Can’t Impose Our Will’ On Democrats
    At his weekly Capitol press conference Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said he’s still pushing to maximize spending cuts and limitations. But he hopes to reach agreement with Senate Democrats and the White House before funding runs out on April 8 and the government shuts down.

    That isn’t sitting well with conservative members and Tea Party activists. Now his message to them is mellowing a bit.

    “We can’t impose our will on another body,” Boehner said. “We can’t impose our will on the Senate. All we can do is to fight for all of the spending cuts that we can get an agreement to and the spending limitations as well.”

    That’s not to say he’s happy about having to cut a deal. Asked how willing he is to cut a middle path and pass a spending bill with a coalition of Democrats and Republicans, a resigned Boehner said simply, “not very interested.”

    Boehner used similar rhetoric when he first realized he’d need Democratic votes to fund the government. When negotiations with Democrats broke down last week, he ditched the palliative tone. Now that they’ve resumed in earnest, he’s again acknowledging the need to compromise.

    Sources close to the negotiations say that appropriations staffers in the Republican-controlled House and Democrat-controlled Senate are putting together separate spending packages that cut in the realm of $33 billion from current spending levels, and will merge them into a final budget. The final number may be a bit higher or lower, but will be significantly below the $61 billion in cuts conservative House Republicans want.

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/03/boehner-to-conservatives-tea-party-we-cant-impose-our-will-on-democrats.php

    • Ametia says:

      Boehner, what a WUSSY. So much for kicking ass… Let those baggers sink the ship. Everybody’s already looking to Captain Obama to drop anchor and get this country back on course.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Moon angry over perceived racial bias toward Newton

    The words of Warren Moon carry tremendous weight. He’s one of professional football’s historic figures, both for his tremendous skill and his relevance as an African-American thrower.

    So when Moon speaks about quarterback Cam Newton people should listen. When Moon says what he did during an extensive conversation with CBSSports.com about Newton and race, more than a few will.

    Moon is Newton’s adviser and prepared Newton for his combine workout in February. Since then, Moon has stayed in constant contact with Newton via text message and telephone conversations.

    Moon was extremely angry over what he perceives as racially biased treatment of Newton by media and fans and was impassioned in his defense of Newton.

    “A lot of the criticism he’s receiving is unfortunate and racially based,” Moon said. “I thought we were all past this. I don’t see other quarterbacks in the draft being criticized by the media or fans about their smile or called a phony. He’s being held to different standards from white quarterbacks. I thought we were past all this stuff about African-American quarterbacks, but I guess we’re not.

    “Of course there is racism in every walk of society. We’ve made a lot of progress in this country. But racism is still there. I just thought in the sports arena we were beyond it. I think the way Cam is being treated shows we’re not.”

    Moon added: “The thing that makes me laugh is the question of can he [Newton] come out of the spread offense? Can he run a pro offense? Colt McCoy came out of the spread offense and very few people raised that issue about him. So did Sam Bradford. Same thing. Very few questions asking if Bradford could run a pro offense. Some of these questions about Cam are more about his intellect. It’s blatant racism, some of it.

    “When I played I fought some of this. Guys like myself and Randall Cunningham, we were playing for a bigger calling. We were playing for guys like Cam and others. It’s disappointing to see some of this stuff still exists.

    “There is no question,” Moon added, “that African-American quarterbacks are in a better place. We’ve had black quarterbacks taken first overall recently like JaMarcus Russell … Unfortunately, those players didn’t have success.

    “One of the things that’s happening with Cam is that he’s being lumped in with them. It’s not fair. They’re all different guys.” Moon explained he doesn’t think NFL teams are discriminating against Newton.

    Moon is most troubled by the notion — a notion that continues to grow — that Newton is something he’s not. To Moon, it’s contrary to the Newton he knows.

    “You can’t be fake and win a national championship,” Moon said. “The players will see through it. He’s won at every level. He took that Auburn team to the national title and that team wasn’t as talented as some other teams in the SEC.

    “Just turn on the film and watch what he does on game day. Then if you have concerns just spend time with him. Go around the kid himself. Spend as much time as you need around him. You can only fake so much.”

    Some of you will hate what Moon says. Some will nod their head in agreement. What’s clear is that Moon has the courage to discuss Newton in such honest terms.

    Moon’s words carry weight and they just started an interesting conversation.

    http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/14879833/moon-angry-over-perceived-racial-bias-toward-newton

  14. Mitch McConnell: The Democrats Are ‘Extreme,’ Not The Tea Party

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/31/mitch-mcconnell-chuck-sch_n_843034.html#comments

    WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) may have been frosty to the Tea Party before, but he’s offering the irate anti-tax crowd a warm welcome today as they descend on the Capitol to demand steep budget cuts.

    McConnell angered the anti-government movement last fall when he balked, initially, at Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) push to ban earmarks. He eventually relented, but not before taking a beating from many in the Tea Party.

    On Thursday, McConnell didn’t make that mistake again. And for good measure, he tossed a few jabs at Democratic message maven Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who’s been advising his colleagues to brand the GOP and Tea Party as “extreme” on the budget.

    Mitch McConnell, you’re a blatant liar. Have you no shame in all that pandering?

  15. rikyrah says:

    Newt Tells Freshman To Make Democrats Own Compromise

    Newt Gingrich met with Republican freshmen Thursday morning, imparting his advice to a group that Speaker Boehner has struggled at times to hold onto during negotiations over funding the government.

    Gingrich told reporters afterwards that news reported in TPM and other outlets of a breakthrough in negotiations was premature based on his own discussions with Republican leaders. Nonetheless, much of his advice for freshmen appeared to be on how to spin such a deal after it’s announced.

    “We talked about how really important it was to communicate to our activists and our base that the primary problem is the 23 Democratic Senators who are up for re-election and the Democratic President in the White House,” he told reporters after the meeting. “We need to make sure people understand that the House Republicans are really committed to very dramatic changes, but are limited by the reality and the Constitution.”

    While not calling for a shutdown, Gingrich urged Republicans not to be intimidated by the idea.

    “They can’t walk into a room and have President Obama think that they can be blackmailed by yelling the word ‘shutdown,'” he said. “I think they should seek to keep the government open, I think that they should try to find ways to pass continuing resolutions hat can be signed, but I don’t think they can allow President Obama to reject the outcome of the 2010 election and dictate the terms of what they should do.”

    But asked whether they should back down from their $61 billion dollar demand, he again suggested that the optics of the final deal are crucial.

    “It would be a profound mistake to go for a compromise without forcing the Senate Democrats to prove how liberal they are,” he said. “To whatever degree you get to a negotiated number later it ought to be done in a manner that’s very clear to the country that this is because Obama’s still President and because Harry Reid’s still majority leader, not because the House Republicans are in any way backing off.”

    Gingrich denied reports that Democratic and Republican leaders were close to a breakthrough compromise

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/03/newt-tells-freshman-to-make-democrats-own-compromise.php

  16. Obama Moved at Warp Speed on Libya

    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2011/03/obama_moved_at/

    Recently at a dinner hosted by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, former National Security Adviser to two US Presidents Brent Scowcroft stated in response to a question about what Barack Obama should do given the tumult in the Middle East, “President Obama should slow things down, move slowly, cautiously and not get swept into the emotional currents we see rising up in Egypt and throughout the Middle East.” (picture to right depicts skulls from the Rwanda genocide)

    President Obama has been criticized by many on the political left and right for moving too slowly in reacting to Libya — and while I have been one constantly urging caution — there is simply no truth to the notion that Obama dragged his heels in orchestrating action there.

    Obama and his team — everyone from Tom Donilon and Denis McDonough who ran a rigorous decisionmaking shop comprised of dozens of deputies and principals level meetings; to the team of Samantha Power, Ben Rhodes, Tommy Vietor, Gail Smith, Dan Shapiro, Michael McFaul, Dennis Ross, Jake Sullivan at State, and others from Treasury and DoD did a commendable job of outreach respectively to policy wonks, to national security journalists, and to Members of the Legislative Branch and their staffs; to the Diplomatic heavy lifting done by Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice; to the heavy internal molding of options and consideration of downside risk by Vice President Biden and Defense Secretary Gates — everyone moved at warp speed compared to other potential and real humanitarian disasters to with the US and international community needed to respond.

    Consider these cases:

    1. It took three years for the UN Security Council to pass a resolution establishing the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia — while it took nine days after the outbreak of fighting for the UN Security Council to create a committee monitoring violations in Libya

    2. Also in the case of the former Yugoslavia, it took more than one year to get an asset freeze on Bosnia and two years to get a travel ban. Again, it took just nine days to secure an asset freeze and travel ban with regard to Libya.

    3. In the case of the former Yugoslavia, it took more than one year after the first bombing of civilians by the Yugoslav Air Force to impose a no fly zone — and just thirty-one days after the Libyan protests began.

    4. In the case of Rwanda, an International Criminal Tribunal took seven months to establish vs. nine days in the case of Libya.

    5. In Rwanda, no air strikes were ever authorized to protect civilians vs. the 31 days it took to get a UN Security Council Resolution imposing a no-fly zone including civilian protection.

    6. In the case of Darfur, travel bans and asset freezes took two years to put in place vs. nine days for Libya.

    7. Again with regard to Darfur, a referral to the International Criminal Court took two years while just nine days with Libya.

    8. Finally, while Libyan opposition and civilians got protection within thirty-one days from when protests started, Sudan never received civilian protection support.

    Thus, by any standard given the long time that transpired before an international consensus took shape and before the President of the United States began to invest his time, Libya and the decisions made by the Obama White House — whether one liked or disliked those decisions — happened at an incredible rate.

    I’m with Scowcroft and think that there is a tsunami of change happening now and that the US needs to be careful about getting drawn in too deeply into any particular part of this transition. We need to weigh our actions carefully and not make the change happening about us. The lens needs to remain on the people fighting for a different future.

    All that said, Obama and his team are moving at a comparatively lightning rate of speed on Libya — and simultaneously managing many other issues and crises at the same time ranging from ongoing concerns about Egypt, new problems in Syria and Yemen, and of course there is the triple nightmare disaster in Japan. And did I mention that the North Koreans have been sending signals that they may start misbehaving again if we don’t help them with their fuel, energy, and cash needs?

    I don’t agree with everything this White House does — but I have tremendous respect for the fact that Obama and his team have changed the dynamics of response to potential and real mass human tragedy.

  17. rikyrah says:

    somebody needs to give this fool a map…

    clear as day….

    the northernmost countries on the continent of Africa –

    MOROCCO, ALGERIA, LIBYA, EGYPT

    I learned that in 7th grade geography

    ………………………………

    Frosh GOPer On Foreign Affairs Committee Wonders If Obama Will Attack ‘Africa’ After Libya

    The old joke goes that most people can’t find whatever country the United States is at war with on a map.

    Same seems to be true for Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA), a freshman congressman who also sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He’s quoted in the Times-Tribune questioning President Obama’s Libya strategy, and lack of deference to Congress.

    “The bottom line is I wish the president would have told us, talked to Congress about what is the plan. Is there a plan? Is the mission to take Gadhafi out?” Mr. Marino asked…. “Where does it stop?” he said. “Do we go into Africa next? I don’t want to sound callous or cold, but this could go on indefinitely around the world.”

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/03/frosh-goper-on-foreign-affairs-committee-wonders-if-obama-will-attack-africa-after-libya.php

  18. Ametia says:

    New Approval Ratings Prove Obama Is The GOP’s Worst Nightmare
    March 30, 2011
    By Jason Easley

    Republicans know that they have a lackluster field of presidential candidates as they inch toward the 2012 primary season. Their only hope for defeating President Obama short of an act of God is to drive up his negatives, but a new AP/GfK poll shows that not only are Obama’s approval ratings remaining steady at 53%, but an incredible 84% said that the president is a very likable person.

    The numbers in the AP/GfK poll show an electorate that is still not happy with the direction that country is going in. 62% of those surveyed said that the country is going in the wrong direction, which is a five point increase since the last poll was taken. 90% of respondents said that the economy is very important to them.

    This would appear to set up a good environment for Republicans to saddle Obama with the economy and drive his approval ratings down, but something very interesting happens when you look at Obama’s approval numbers. They aren’t going down. Obama’s job approval rating is still at 53% which is where it has been since January. Obama’s personal approval rating was 59%, which is a four point increase since November. A majority of Americans (50%) believe that Obama should be reelected.

    On the question of the economy, respondents were split within the margin of error about Obama’s job performance on the issue. 47% of Americans favored Obama’s handling of the economy and 52% and did not. (The poll’s margin of error was 4.2%). When Americans were asked if they were happy with their lives, 80% said yes. Of course this is the Queen Mother of loaded poll questions, as very people are going to admit that they are miserable sad sacks just trying get through another pointless day of earth bound existence.

    http://www.politicususa.com/en/obama-2012-approval-rating-2

  19. Ametia says:

    BRING IT, MOFOs!

    Obama threatens veto of FAA bill over labor provision
    By John Crawley John Crawley – Wed Mar 30, 9:04 pm ET

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama would veto sweeping aviation legislation if Republicans in Congress succeed in gutting a rule favorable to airline and railroad union organizing, the White House said on Wednesday.

    “The administration is committed to help working Americans exercise their right to organize under a fair and free process,” the White House said in a statement on the multi-billion-dollar bill that lays out long term U.S. aviation priorities.

    The centerpiece of the legislation would authorize funding of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic control operations and modernization of that system.

    It is under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives.

    The chamber is expected to vote this week on an amendment to remove a provision in the bill eliminating an existing rule that makes it easier for unions in the airline and railroad industries to organize.

    [ For complete coverage of politics and policy, go to Yahoo! Politics ]

    The National Mediation Board (NMB) last year upended long-standing policy that treated non-votes in union organizing elections as ‘no’ votes. Victory is now awarded to a majority of only those voting.

    The change aligned representation elections at freight railroads and airlines — covered under the same federal labor law — with balloting guidelines in most other industries.

    Labor and airlines have been lobbying hard for their respective positions ahead of the vote in the Republican-led House, which is expected to be very close.

    Hoping to influence the outcome, Obama’s aides said they would recommended a veto if the chamber votes to change the rule.

    “The fairest and most effective way to determine the outcome of a union representation election is by the majority of votes cast,” the White House statement said.

    Major U.S. airlines are heavily unionized. But unions have failed in recent months to organize thousands of flight attendants and other workers at mainly non-union Delta Air Lines. New attempts are anticipated.

    Labor would also like to organize workers at JetBlue Airways.

    FAA legislation already approved in the Senate did not include the contentious labor provision. If it passes the House, the outcome would be determined by congressional negotiators from both chambers who would craft a final bill.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110331/pl_nm/us_obama_faa

  20. Ametia says:

    Fewer people sought unemployment aid last week
    By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER
    AP Economics Writer

    Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week, a sign that layoffs are dropping and companies may be stepping up hiring.

    The Labor Department said Thursday that the number of people seeking benefits dipped by 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 388,000 for the week that ended March 26. That’s the second decline in three weeks.

    Applications near 375,000 or below are consistent with a sustained increase in hiring. Applications peaked during the recession at 659,000.

    The four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, rose to 394,250. Still, that figure has dropped by 35,500, or 8 percent, in the past eight weeks.

    “The downtrend … is undeniable,” Joshua Shapiro, chief economist at MFR Financial Inc., said. “We believe that this improvement will continue in the weeks and months ahead.”

    The department also revised the previous five years of data. The changes showed that applications in recent weeks were moderately higher than previously reported.

    As applications have fallen, hiring has started to pick up. Economists forecast that employers added a net total of 185,000 jobs in March. That would be just below February’s gain of 192,000 – the most jobs added in nearly a year. The unemployment rate is expected to remain unchanged at 8.9 percent.

    The March data will be released Friday.

    Still, hiring must rise by about 300,000 per month to rapidly bring down the unemployment rate, economists say. The economy has gained more than a million jobs in the past year but still has 7.5 million fewer jobs than before the recession.

    The number of people collecting benefits also dropped. It fell by 51,000 to 3.7 million in the week ending March 19, the latest data available. That’s the lowest figure since October 2008. But that doesn’t include millions of people receiving aid under the emergency unemployment benefit programs put in place during the recession.

    All told, 8.8 million people received unemployment benefits in the week ending March 12, the latest data available. That’s slightly higher than the previous week.

    There have been other positive reports about jobs and hiring this week

    Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/03/31/2765383/fewer-people-sought-unemployment.html#ixzz1IBhMSb5E

  21. Ametia says:

    Supreme Court Judge Scalia ticketed in traffic accident
    By Michael A. Memoli, Washington Bureau
    March 30, 2011

    Judge Antonin Scalia reportedly rear-ended another driver during his commute Tuesday, resulting in a four-car pile-up. No one was injured.

    Reporting from Washington— The justice was served.

    Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was ticketed by U.S. Park Police after being found responsible for a four-car traffic accident on his way to the high court Tuesday morning.

    The incident occurred just before 9 a.m. on the southbound George Washington Parkway across the Potomac River from Washington in Virginia. Scalia reportedly rear-ended another driver who had stopped in traffic, and two other vehicles followed behind. No one was injured.

    Scalia was handed a $70 fine for the infraction of following too closely. The justice, in his 25th year on the nation’s highest court, can appeal the fine to a U.S. magistrate if he chooses, according to a Park Police spokesman, while acknowledging that was unlikely.

    “He probably hasn’t a clue how to contest a traffic ticket,” David Schlosser, the spokesman, joked.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-scalia-traffic-ticket-20110330,0,7499934.story

  22. rikyrah says:

    Legislative LARPing
    by Anne Laurie

    …. With a side of poorly-thought-out BDSM. Dana Milbank brings news of how “Republican freshmen in House shut down compromise, and possibly the government“:

    A band of the first-term members of Congress demonstrated their legislative maturity Wednesday by announcing, in a news conference outside the Capitol, that they wished to deliver a message to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. But rather than merely send him an e-mail or hire a courier, the lawmakers instead marched up the East Front steps and presented themselves at a seldom-used ceremonial door.

    Being a ceremonial door, it was locked and alarmed — and so the freshmen used two strips of their blue tape to affix the letter, enclosed in a large manila envelope with the words “MR. REID” handwritten in four-inch letters.

    “We’re doing our job in the House of Representatives,” announced Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), a member of the blue-tape brigade. “We put forth a proposal that would cut $61 billion . . . and yet Senator Reid won’t even, uh, consider that. That is dereliction of duty.”

    Actually, Congresswoman, the derelict Reid did bring that proposal to a vote in the Senate — and it failed, 56 to 44.

    The only difference between these jenkem-huffing Rethugs and the sweaty data analysts in elf-garb carpooling to the state park for a weekend of chasing each other around with sticks is that most Live-Action-Role-Players have a sense of humor about their hobby. Oh, yeah, and the LARPers aren’t getting paid by the taxpayers to strut a series of complicated imaginary personas.

    Reid can afford to be serene. The March Washington Post-ABC News poll finds the public would blame Republicans over President Obama for a shutdown, 45 percent to 31 percent. Just a couple of weeks earlier, they were even.

    To overcome this, House Republican leaders announced a novel solution: They would suspend the Constitution to have the House enact a law without the agreement of the Senate. They will pursue this exotic maneuver on Friday — April Fool’s Day.

    Majority Leader Eric Cantor, announcing this “Prevention of Government Shutdown Act,” told reporters that if the Senate “does not act, H.R. 1” — that’s the $61 billion of cuts favored by Republican freshmen — “becomes the law of the land.” Just like that!

    After several questions about this proposal, Cantor admitted that for his scheme to work, the Senate would first have to agree to surrender its constitutional authority.

    There was also something about “winged monkeys flying out of the questioner’s posterior”, but that doesn’t seem to have been captured on the video.

    I don’t think Roy Edroso’s seminal “Evil vs. Stupid Axis” is adequate to fully describe the new balls-to-the-wall FAILPARADE that is modern Republicanism. I propose a new Golden Triangle: Mean, Dumb, and Crazy. Start drawing those diagrams now… or, if you’re a federal employee, wait until April 8, ‘cause you may have some extra time on your hands then.

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2011/03/31/legislative-larping/#comment-2505279

  23. rikyrah says:

    Kids’ stuff
    So a budget deal is back on — “negotiations … appeared to make headway” yesterday, reports the NY Times — whose endgame entails a number that “would fall well short of the $61 billion House Republicans have endorsed” and, according to Politico, sedates the ideological mania of a House Republican caucus now “described as subdued.”

    The Times, in its reporting, is fiercely lucid about Democratic traction regained: “Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. … said negotiators had effectively settled on $33 billion in reductions from current spending, a substantial difference from the $61 billion endorsed by the House in February.”

    Now, any “substantial difference” achieved — if achieved it is — over opponents’ demands is a victory for the achiever, is it not?

    After all, an aggressively reactionary Republican majority swept into the House only three months ago, eager not to create but destroy. And like a metronome on speed, that majority has been escalating its destructive demands like clockwork, since January, its momentum seemingly inexorable, its determination unstoppable.

    So, again, if its plenary demands are checked, its momentum punctured and its determination barricaded for now, this, for its opponents, would be a good thing, would it not? The public relations value alone would be cork-popping: Hey, look at us, we outflanked their extremist pillaging and averted a shutdown of vital government services that you depend on; you wanted moderation — we delivered just that, and they didn’t.

    This of course is what the progressive victors would chant, arm in arm with their progressive allies and cheerleaders in the media. No?

    No.

    Instead, all along, we’ve been smothered by progressives with dark messages of ubiquitous doom, with distinct emphasis on the rather ancient fact that roughly $30 billion in spending impalements was where the wicked Count Paul Ryan began his intended mass slaughter. Adept propagandists know that message-repetition is the indispensable foundation for any message-success, and sure enough, there they are, progressives, pounding the airwaves and print and blogosphere with ceaseless reminders that Budget Chairman Vlad I will, no matter what transpires next, have his embryonic and evil way. For the reactionaries it’s message-mission accomplished, courtesy the left.

    Is it important to note — to stress, to hammer, to accentuate with Chesire-like grins — that the GOP’s once-insurmountable fiscal apotheosis has been sliced in half and essentially gutted? Is it perhaps noteworthy that the Democratic Senate dismissed the egregious House-passed bill merely as … well, a bad joke? Is there cause to rally the progressive base by simply declaring a substantial victory?

    Sure, but if a budget deal materializes along the abovementioned lines, you’re not likely to hear those pronouncements — not from the victors. Why? Because in truth “the victors” enjoy wallowing in perpetual doom; it rewards their paranoid sense of unjust persecution and validates the impossible struggle — which only they are plucky enough to nonetheless undertake — of their utopian superiority.

    In short, it’s kids’ stuff.

    http://pmcarpenter.blogs.com/p_m_carpenters_commentary/2011/03/kids-stuff.html

    • Ametia says:

      THIS: ” Because in truth “the victors” enjoy wallowing in perpetual doom; it rewards their paranoid sense of unjust persecution and validates the impossible struggle — which only they are plucky enough to nonetheless undertake — of their utopian superiority.”

  24. rikyrah says:

    Wisconsin Professors Unionize, Defy Walker’s Law on Collective Bargaining
    Lisa Theo cast her vote yesterday to join a union that may not be able to negotiate a contract for her and said, “That felt good.”

    Theo, a geography instructor, and her University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point colleagues were voting in a two-day election to be represented by AFT-Wisconsin after the passage of a law championed by Republican Governor Scott Walker that would eliminate collective bargaining for faculty members.

    It would be the fourth state campus to vote in favor of representation since Walker introduced the bill Feb. 11, saying it is necessary to mend the recession-battered budget. The measure, which has been challenged in court, touched off weeks of protests. Professors say Republicans are using the budget crisis to attack education with the union bill, by proposing funding cuts and by seeking e-mails sent by a UW-Madison professor who wrote a blog posting and a New York Times opinion piece opposing Walker.

    “We’re going to stand up for our rights, and we’re going to keep fighting until we get them,” Theo said in an interview.

    The Stevens Point vote, run by the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission, began yesterday and ends at 1 p.m. today, the union said.

    The previous decisions in favor of union representation were Feb. 24 at UW-La Crosse, March 9 at UW-Stout and March 24 at UW-River Falls, AFT-Wisconsin said in press releases. The winning margins ranged from 86 percent to 90 percent, according to the union, which is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers. The federation has 17,000 members statewide.

    Picking Up Speed
    Faculty at UW campuses in Eau Claire and Superior also voted to join AFT-Wisconsin last year after the Legislature extended collective bargaining to faculty and academic staff in June 2009, the union said.

    The new law, which limits collective bargaining for most government workers, ends it completely for university faculty.

    In Stevens Point, which is 110 miles (177 kilometers) north of state capital Madison, work toward unionization began almost a year ago. It gained momentum after Walker signed the law this month, said Eric Yonke, 48, a history professor and organizing committee member.

    The law limits most public employees to bargaining for wages alone; raises can’t exceed inflation unless voters agree. The measure requires increased contributions for health-care coverage and pensions.

    Standing Ready
    Some faculty see their votes as symbolic support for collective bargaining, Yonke, a professor for 20 years, said in an interview. Others want the union in place if the law is overturned, he said. A Dane County judge has issued a temporary order blocking implementation of the law, and Wisconsin Democrats are seeking to recall eight Republican senators.

    The union would give the faculty “a unified voice” on issues including tenure, Todd Huspeni, an assistant professor of zoology, said in an interview.

    Walker’s office issued a statement in response to the union vote saying the governor “is focused on balancing Wisconsin’s multibillion budget deficit and ensuring our state has a business climate that allows the private sector to create 250,000 new jobs by 2015.”

    Jennifer Collins, an assistant professor of political science and member of the committee advocating the federation, said Walker “has been a tremendous union organizer.”

    “People feel like this is one way we can stand up and express our opposition to the direction the governor is taking in the state,” she said in an interview.

    Demand for Mail
    That opposition includes a public-records request by the Wisconsin Republican Party for e-mails sent by William Cronon, a history professor at UW-Madison, she said. The party wants messages that mention Walker and a variety of other Republican politicians, as well as state employee unions. Cronon has been critical of Walker and Republicans on his blog and in a March 21 opinion article in the New York Times, saying Walker “has provoked a level of divisiveness and bitter partisan hostility the likes of which have not been seen in this state since at least the Vietnam War.”

    Cronon did not respond to two telephone messages and an e- mail seeking comment.

    William P. Jones, an associate professor at UW-Madison who studies labor history and government unions, said the request “was pretty clearly a response to things that Bill had written” in an effort to intimidate him.

    “It can have a chilling effect on other faculty members,” Jones said in a telephone interview.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-31/wisconsin-professors-unionize-defy-walker-s-law-on-collective-bargaining.html

  25. rikyrah says:

    Ryan Struggles to Match ‘Hot Rhetoric’ With Entitlement Cuts
    Weeks after Republicans assailed President Barack Obama for not taking the lead on overhauling entitlement programs, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan is likely to avoid laying out detailed cuts to Social Security in preparing his first budget plan.

    Ryan’s draft budget, expected next week, is focused instead on specific spending cuts in areas such as education, agriculture and Medicaid, according to two people who said they were briefed on the Wisconsin Republican’s plan by committee staff. The panel is still debating what to do about Medicare.

    The reluctance to specify reductions to Social Security and Medicare, primary drivers of the U.S. debt, reflects growing anxiety among Republicans as party leaders try to square their criticism of Obama with polls showing public opposition to taking benefits away from future retirees.

    “Politics plays into this,” said Representative Scott Garrett, a New Jersey Republican and vice chairman of Ryan’s Budget Committee. “Is he going to come out with a plan where he wants to go, or is he coming out with a plan of where he is being allowed to go” by the party leadership. “We need to start taking some of these tough calls now.”

    Republican aides stress the debate within the party over entitlements isn’t finished and is likely to continue through this week. Ryan spokesman Conor Sweeney declined to comment, saying it’s premature to confirm the contents of the budget.

    Social Security and the Medicare insurance program for the elderly will account for 36 percent of federal spending in 2020, the White House budget office says. Medicaid, which is jointly funded with the states, will make up 10 percent.

    Satisfying the Freshmen
    To be sure, trimming Medicaid, an insurance plan for lower- income people, could produce the immediate results that many House freshmen and Tea Party conservatives are demanding.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-31/ryan-struggles-to-match-hot-rhetoric-against-obama-with-entitlement-cuts.html

  26. rikyrah says:

    Ivory Coast Troops Loyal to Ouattara Seize Cocoa Port as Army Chief Flees
    Ivory Coast fighters loyal to President-elect Alassane Ouattara are closing in on Abidjan, the commercial capital, where the head of the incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo’s army sought refuge at the residence of the South African ambassador.

    Republican Forces have captured at least eight towns in the past week, including San Pedro, one of two major cocoa-exporting ports in the world’s top producer of the chocolate ingredient, and Yamoussoukro, the political capital. Gbagbo’s troops have offered little resistance, falling back to Abidjan where gunfire and explosions were heard today.

    “It could be the end game,” Henri Boshoff, a military analyst for the South Africa-based Institute for Security Studies, said by phone today from Stockholm. “The decisive battle will be Abidjan, and if the rebels take Abidjan then it’s over.”

    Gbagbo’s army chief, General Phillipe Mangou, sought refuge with South Africa late yesterday, along with his wife and five children, South Africa’s Foreign Ministry said in an e-mailed statement. The loyalty of the armed forces had enabled Gbagbo to defy international opinion and hold onto power for the past four months.

    The rapid advance of the Republican Forces raised hopes the four-month political crisis will soon be over. Cocoa for May delivery slumped to a 11-week low on hopes for a quick resumption in exports. The price dropped $23, or 0.8 percent, to $2,964 per metric ton by 1:17 p.m. in London.

    Cocoa and Bonds
    “The rapid rebel advance has brought cocoa prices down, because the market thinks that the current shortages of the beans brought on by sanctions and the conflict might come to an end,” Carsten Fritsch, a commodity analyst with Commerzbank AG (CBK) in Frankfurt, said in a phone interview.

    Cocoa prices may sink to as low as $2,700 per ton if Gbagbo leaves power, or rebound to as much as $3,500 per ton if there is no quick end to the conflict, Fritsch said.

    Ivory Coast’s defaulted dollar-denominated bond rallied 8.2 percent to 46.6 cents on the dollar as of 12:21 p.m. in Abidjan, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It has gained 19.9 percent since March 22.

    The San Pedro port, 310 kilometers (193 miles) west of Abidjan, is the second-biggest in Ivory Coast. The facility handles 1 million metric tons of cargo annually, including cocoa, coffee and timber, according to Bloomberg data.

    Hours to Go
    Ouattara’s prime minister, Guillaume Soro, said Gbagbo had “hours to leave power peacefully” and ruled out the possibility of negotiations. “If he doesn’t cede power now the forces will march on Abidjan and obviously it’ll be victor’s law then,” Soro said in an interview with Paris-based Radio France Internationale this morning.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-31/ivory-coast-fighters-loyal-to-ouattara-capture-port-un-imposes-sanctions.html

  27. Ametia says:

    Retreat for Rebels; Libyan Foreign Minister Quits
    By C. J. CHIVERS and DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
    Published: March 30, 2011

    BREGA, Libya — Libya’s foreign minister defected to Britain on Wednesday, dealing a blow to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s government even as his forces pushed rebels into a panicked retreat and seized valuable towns they ceded just days ago under allied airstrikes.

    The government advance appeared to return control of eastern Libya’s most important oil regions to Colonel Qaddafi’s forces, giving the isolated government, at least for the day, the east’s most valuable economic prize. The rout also put into sharp relief the rebels’ absence of discipline and tactical sense, confronting the United States with a conundrum: how to persuade Colonel Qaddafi to step down while supporting a rebel force that has been unable to hold on to military gains.

    But the defection of Moussa Koussa, the foreign minister, showed that at least one longtime confidant seemed to be calculating that Colonel Qaddafi could not last. The news of Mr. Koussa’s defection sent shockwaves through Tripoli on Wednesday night after it was announced by the British government. Mr. Koussa had been a pillar of his government since the early days of the revolution, and previously led the fearsome intelligence unit.

    Although American officials suspected him of responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, Mr. Koussa also played a major role in turning over nuclear equipment and designs to the United States and in negotiating Libya back into the good graces of Western governments.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/31/world/africa/31libya.html?_r=1

  28. Ametia says:

    Budget Negotiators Reach Tentative Deal To Avert Government Shutdown
    March 30, 2011 6:00 PM

    Sources tell me that budget negotiators on Capitol Hill have tentatively agreed on a deal that would involve at least $33 billion in spending cuts from this year’s budget. That’s $23 billion dollars more than Democrats have previously agreed to in short-term continuing resolutions, and $28 billion less than Republicans previously passed in the House.

    Members of the House Appropriations Committee will begin discussing how to hit that number with their Senate counterparts as soon as tonight, and Vice President Biden is heading to Capitol Hill for a 6pm meeting with the Senate Democratic leadership.

    The deal could still fall apart over the composition of the cuts, or policy “riders” previously passed by the House. These include issues like de-funding Planned Parenthood and President Obama’s health care legislation. It’s also not clear that this compromise will fly with rank-and-file House Republicans, which means that the $33 billion goal could still climb by a few billion. But this is most significant progress since the beginning of negotiations.

    Update: Kevin Smith, a spokesman for the Speaker of the House, tells me ““There is no agreement on a number for the spending cuts. Nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to.”

    CLICK HERE to read what Vice President Biden said about the budget negotiations on Capitol Hill.

    http://blogs.abcnews.com/george/2011/03/budget-negotiators-reach-tentative-deal-to-avert-government-shutdown.html?om_rid=DRaeQf&om_mid=_BNlHLyB8Z$yHE9

  29. Ametia says:

    March 30, 2011, 2:47 pm
    Chris Brown Tops the Pop Chart
    By BEN SISARIO

    Did Chris Brown’s outburst on “Good Morning America” last week cost him album sales?

    Maybe not. Mr. Brown’s new album, “F.A.M.E.” (Jive), sold 270,000 copies last week, according to Nielsen SoundScan, becoming his first No. 1 on the Billboard album chart. It’s also his best sales week in more than three years, since his album “Exclusive” sold 294,000 in its first week in 2007, Billboard said.

    It was also a historic week on Billboard’s singles chart. Katy Perry’s “E.T.” is No. 1, selling 254,000 downloads. The song, which features a guest spot by Kanye West, is the fourth single from Ms. Perry’s latest album, “Teenage Dream,” to reach the top, the first time an artist has had that many No. 1’s from a single album since Usher did it with “Confessions,” which was released in 2004.

    http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/30/chris-brown-tops-the-pop-chart/?ref=todayspaper

  30. Ametia says:

    Radiation level in seawater hits new high near Fukushima plant
    TOKYO, March 31, Kyodo

    In a sign that radiation is continuing to leak from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, radioactive iodine-131 at a concentration of 4,385 times the maximum level permitted under law has been detected in seawater near the plant, according to the latest data made available Thursday morning.

    Japanese authorities were also urged to consider taking action over radioactive contamination outside the 20-kilometer evacuation zone around the plant, as the International Atomic Energy Agency said readings from soil samples collected in the village of Iitate, about 40 km from the plant, exceeded its criteria for evacuation.

    The authorities denied that either situation posed an immediate threat to human health, but the government said it plans to enhance radiation data monitoring around the plant on the Pacific coast, about 220 kilometers northeast of Tokyo.

    According to the government’s nuclear safety agency, the concentration level of radioactive iodine-131 in a seawater sample collected Wednesday afternoon around 330 meters south of the plant exceeded the previous high recorded the day before. In Tuesday’s sample, the concentration level was 3,355 times the maximum legal limit.

    Hidehiko Nishiyama, a spokesman for the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, acknowledged there is a possibility that radiation is continuing to leak into the sea, adding, ”We must check that (possibility) well.”

    He reiterated that there are no immediate health concerns as fishing is not being conducted in the designated evacuation zone stretching 20 kilometers from the plant and radioactive materials will be diluted by the time seafood is consumed by people.

    Still, the nuclear regulatory body said it has decided to add another three areas located 15 kilometers offshore for monitoring.

    An official of plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it is likely that the high level of contamination in seawater has been caused by water that has been in contact with nuclear fuels or reactors, but how it flowed to the sea remains unknown.

    The No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 reactors at the plant are believed to have suffered damage to their cores, possibly releasing radioactive substances, while the fuel rods of the No. 4 reactor kept in a spent fuel pool are also believed to have been exposed at one point, as the reactors lost cooling functions after the March 11 quake and tsunami.

    In Vienna on Wednesday, Denis Flory, IAEA deputy director general and head of the agency’s nuclear safety and security department, said readings from soil samples collected in Iitate ”indicate that one of the IAEA operational criteria for evacuation is exceeded” there.

    In response to the IAEA, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Thursday the government may implement measures, if necessary, such as urging people living in the area to evacuate, if it is found that the contaminated soil will have a long-term effect on human health.

    In another effort to prevent radioactive dust from being dispersed from the plant, where masses of debris are strewn as a result of explosions, Tokyo Electric initially planned to conduct a test spraying of a water-soluble resin on Thursday, but postponed the plan due to rain.

    An official said that rain would have slowed down the work and made it difficult to gauge the effects of the resin spraying.

    The utility firm is considering when to conduct the work, at the south and west sides of the No. 4 reactor. It is planned that a total of 60,000 liters will be spayed over a period of two weeks.

    Tokyo Electric also engaged in efforts to remove contaminated water filling up some of the reactors’ turbine buildings and tunnel-like trenches connected to them.

    Removal of the water is believed to be essential to restoring the vital cooling functions of the reactors and the spent nuclear fuel pools. Electrical pumps or trucks capable of shooting water from outside the damaged reactor buildings are currently being used to cool down the fuel.

    ==Kyodo

    http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2011/03/82240.html?om_rid=DRaeQf&om_mid=_BNlHLyB8Z$yHE9

Leave a Reply