Libya · Libya Unrest · Obama's Brazil Trip · President Barack Obama

Obama’s Smart Crisis Management

It’s doubtful that a single voter will be swayed by whether he took the time to work on his Final Four picks.

The Daily Beast

Speaking from Brazil on Saturday, President Obama confirmed America’s military intervention in Libya and said that the U.S. is working with a “broad coalition” in its fight against Libya’s leader. “We will not deploy any U.S. troops on the ground,” the president emphasized, calling the strikes “limited military” intervention.

Critics have slammed Obama for visiting Brazil while the U.S. strikes Libya—not to mention discussing basketball during Japan’s tragedybut Howard Kurtz says he’s juggling it all with skill.

With key parts of the world in turmoil, the criticism of President Obama is growing louder: Why doesn’t he do something?

Shouldn’t he have sent American fighter jets to Libya right away, rather than waiting for the Europeans to join in the bombing this weekend? And what about the Japanese nuclear catastrophe? What if a dangerous amount of radiation reaches our shores? Can’t we take matters into our own hands?

Audio: Obama Addresses Air Strikes from Brazil

The conservative critique was captured by Sean Hannity: “The president received that dreaded 3 a.m. phone call this weekend when the quake struck. How did he respond? He went golfing.”

The nerve of that guy, indulging in recreation on a Saturday when he could be saving the world.

Let’s get this straight: Obama is not Superman. He can’t solve every global crisis. It is a conceit of our media-political culture to believe that the Oval Office occupant must always be ready to put on a cape and swoop in to save the day.     Read more…

Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi Briefly Hospitalized In Rome

Nancy Pelosi photo portrait as Speaker of the ...
Image via Wikipedia

Huffington Post

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was hospitalized during a trip to Rome, Italy on Monday, AFP reports.

According to Italian news outlets, the ranking Democrat was reportedly admitted to Umberto I hospital after feeling “slightly unwell” and is undergoing tests.

ABC News reports that the United States Embassy in Rome is aware of reports on Pelosi’s condition, but did not comment further. According to the AP, the congresswoman’s office in Washington, D.C. repeatedly declined requests to disclose more information on the situation.

NBC News’ Luke Russert relayed word on Twitter from Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), who’s traveling with the Democratic leader, that she’s now back at her hotel and “in good shape.”

Pelosi and a small group of House members arrived in Italy on Friday to meet with Italian president Giorgio Napolitano as well as U.S. troops stationed in the country.

UPDATE: Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami released the following statement on the ranking Democrat’s condition:

“After several flights yesterday in Afghanistan, and a long flight back to Italy that arrived early this morning, Leader Pelosi was not feeling well. This morning in Rome, the Leader was advised to visit a clinic, and the closest medical facility was a hospital. The Leader is now resuming her schedule in Italy.”

Gov. Rick Scott

Rick Scott Booed At Yankees Training Camp Game (VIDEO)

Some people don’t appreciate FL. Gov. Rick Scott’s games

Huffington Post

When Florida Governor Rick Scott took to the mound on Saturday at a pre-season game between the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays, some in the crowd made clear they were no fans of the Republican lawmaker.

Scott, who was elected into office in the midterm elections last year, was on hand to deliver the opening pitch at the spring training camp match-up in Tampa. According to the AP:

Scott was greeted by boos, mixed with modest applause, at Saturday’s game in Tampa. The governor was wearing Yankee’s garb when he delivered a straight fastball.

The good news for the Florida governor is that he seemed to deliver a much stronger pitching performance than his predecessor, Republican-turned-independent Charlie Crist. Crist lofted a pitch way outside when he took to the mound at a Tampa Bay Rays game last year.

Scott reportedly didn’t comment after he threw the ball across the plate.

Via local station WTSP 10 comes video of Scott’s ballpark appearance.


N.Y. Times Journalists in Libya

Captured NY Times Journalists Released From Libya

I wondered what the status of the NY Times journalists was after the start of the coalition offensive.  I’m glad to hear that  they were released.

ABC News

Captured NY Times journalists released from Libya, cross into Tunisia 6 days after capture

“The whole family is overjoyed and thrilled and appreciate all the support and love that the whole country has shown,” Shadid father said, adding that his son would fly to Beirut to be reunited with his wife, also a New York Times journalist.

He said his son was not at liberty to discuss details of his capture.

Hicks’ father, Portis Hicks of Manhattan, said he, too, was “delighted.”

“The story is Tyler’s to tell and the others to tell. I don’t know all about what they went through during the period they were in custody. The best part of the story is that they’re free,” he said by telephone.

Portis Hicks said he had spoken to his son around 6 a.m. and “he sounded fine. He said he was OK.” Hicks said he was grateful to the Turkish government.

Keller urged New York Times journalists to exercise caution: “This is a reminder that real, boots-on-the-ground journalism is hard and sometimes dangerous work.”

It was the second time that Farrell had been held captive. In 2009, he was captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan and was rescued by British commandos.

Shadid worked previously for The Associated Press, Washington Post and Boston Globe. He won the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting in 2004 and 2010 for his coverage of Iraq.

Hicks, a former photographer for The Wilmington Star-News in North Carolina and the Troy Daily News in Ohio, was named Newspaper Photographer of the Year in 2007 by Pictures of the Year International and won an Infinity award from the International Center of Photography in 2001.      More…


Libya · Libya Unrest

The Latest News from Libya


Barely two days after U.N. authorization, the vaunted no-fly zone over Libya has been been “officially enforced” by a coalition of U.S., French and British forces. Here’s the latest from the ongoing conflict in Libya:

Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s compound was reportedly struck by U.K. forces on Sunday night, though American officials insisted the dictator wasn’t a target. Nevertheless, the mission of the coalition forces “moved beyond taking away his ability to use Libyan airspace, to obliterating his hold on the ground as well,”The New York Times reports. [NYT]

The U.S. is hoping to pass the metaphorical war-baton to either a combined French-British or a NATO command, possibly “in a matter of days.” Italy says it is contributing eight of its jets to coalition forces, and Qatar is expected to join coalition forces in some unspecified capacity on Monday. [AP; The Guardian]

The Arab League, which had initially supported the no-fly zone and theoretically lent military action some degree of legitimacy in the Arab world, appeared to waver on Sunday as strikes went on. Secretary General Amr Moussa released a statement saying “What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone” and specifically condemning reports of civilian casualties. [WaPo]

Also not on board: Russia, India and China, all of which abstained from the U.N. Security Council vote and all of which cited reports of civilian casualties in condemning the airstrikes. [Telegraph]


GOP · GOP Agenda · GOP Cluelessness · Internal Revenue Service

GOP Bill Would Force IRS to Conduct Abortion Audits

The entire concept is absurd.  What happened to the GOP’s promise of “smaller” government?

Mother Jones

Were you raped? Was it incest? And other questions the government’s tax cops would have to ask women who’ve terminated pregnancies.

Under a GOP-backed bill expected to sail through the House of Representatives, the Internal Revenue Service would be forced to police how Americans have paid for their abortions. To ensure that taxpayers complied with the law, IRS agents would have to investigate whether certain terminated pregnancies were the result of rape or incest. And one tax expert says that the measure could even lead to questions on tax forms: Have you had an abortion? Did you keep your receipt?

In testimony to a House taxation subcommittee on Wednesday, Thomas Barthold, the chief of staff of the nonpartisan Joint Tax Committee, confirmed that one consequence of the Republicans’ “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” would be to turn IRS agents into abortion cops—that is, during an audit, they’d have to detemine, from evidence provided by the taxpayer, whether any tax benefit had been inappropriately used to pay for an abortion.

The proposed law, also known as H.R. 3, extends the reach of the Hyde Amendment—which bans federal funding for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at stake—into many parts of the federal tax code. In some cases, the law would forbid using tax benefits—like credits or deductions—to pay for abortions or health insurance that covers abortion. If an American who used such a benefit were to be audited, Barthold said, the burden of proof would lie with the taxpayer to provide documentation, for example, that her abortion fell under the rape/incest/life-of-the-mother exception, or that the health insurance she had purchased did not cover abortions.   More…


GOP · GOP Agenda · GOP Hubris · Tea Party Agenda · Tea Party Hypocrisy

Poll: Public already losing patience with new Congress

So much for the Republicans in both houses of Congress telling us what the American people want or think.   Where are the jobs?


Once again, the public is getting increasingly disgusted with Washington.

It sees a failure to adopt remedies for even the most basic, pressing issues of the day, as Congress struggles to craft a federal budget. And incumbents are getting worried about the political implications.

“It’s hurting some of us,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who’s up for re-election next year. “They blame everybody.”

A new Pew Research Center poll shows that about half of Americans think the debate over spending and deficits has been “generally rude and disrespectful.”

There’s even bipartisan agreement — 48 percent of Republicans and Democrats have that view, as well as 57 percent of independents. President Barack Obama signed legislation Friday to provide funding to keep the government open until April 8, the sixth such temporary extension in the 6-month-old fiscal year.

Pew surveyed 1,525 adults from March 8-14. The poll’s findings suggest the political losers so far have been Republicans, who rode a wave of voter irritation to win control of the House of Representatives last fall.   Read more…

U.S. Politics

Monday Morning Blog Round Up

UK missiles bombard Libya again

Missile destroys Gaddafi building

Poll: Public Losing Patience With New Congress

Extraordinary ordinary people: Rosie the Riveter, Wisconsinites & Tokyo firefighters

Limbaugh and I talk about his unrelenting racism

Sarah Palin Travels To Israel

If DC Democrats want to fire up the base, they have to pick a fight

Warren Christopher 1925-2011

AT&T to purchase T-Mobile

In Brazil, Racial Symbolism is Unmistakable