Thursday Reads

Good Morning!!

Some of us have been watching Al Jazeera live on-line a lot lately. Suddenly Comcast wants to get into the act, so they are holding talks with the Arab network about putting them on U.S. cable TV.

Al Jazeera confirmed in a press release earlier this week it was meeting with Comcast on Tuesday about adding the 24/7 Al Jazeera English news network to Comcast’s cable lineup.

In 2006, the English-language version of Al Jazeera pushed hard get on Comcast’s lineup up but lost that battle.

Al Jazeera says it can also be seen in local markets in Vermont, Ohio and Washington, D.C. A deal with Comcast would give it a huge national imprint, and force Comcast’s competitors to follow suit.

Al-Jazeera’s Washington bureau chief Abderrahim Foukara made his own plea on Tuesday in Time magazine.

“The hope is that after what people have been able to see on Al Jazeera in its coverage of Egypt, that cable companies may not just see the material benefits of having Al Jazeera available, but also the wisdom,” he told Time in an interview.

Wouldn’t it be great if the channel *replaced* Fox News? Anyway, that’s my good news story for today.

Yesterday, Dakinikat posted audio of a prank phone call made to Wisconsin’s wacky governor, Scott Walker by a gonzo blogger from upstate NY who pretended to be David Koch of the notorious Koch brothers.

Now Horrible John Hinderaker at Powerline is fighting back (warning: right wing blog). The left is waging “war” against the Koch Brothers and Hineraker has set himself up as their defender.

The most extraordinary story in the news these days is the all-out assault that the Left is mounting against Charles and David Koch and their company, Koch Enterprises. A day doesn’t go buy–hardly an hour goes by–without some new attack being launched against these two lonely libertarians.

Why? Simply because they are rich–their company is one of the best-run and most successful in the world–and conservative. The Left is trying to drive them out of politics and, more important, to deter any other people of means from daring to support conservative politicians or causes.

Awwwww….those poor, poor babies.

According to the Washington Post, Walker himself is “urging others to take stands against unions.” I guess he doesn’t want to be out on that limb by himself, and he doesn’t realize that the more governors are out there with him, the sooner the limb will break off and send them all crashing to the ground. Oh, by the way, he did the urging during the aforsaid prank phone call in which he believed he was speaking to David Koch. ROFLOL! From the WaPo:

He said he communicates regularly with Ohio Gov. John Kasich and has spoken with Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval. And Walker has suggested that his counterparts in Michigan and Florida seek to address their budget problems in part by demanding major concessions from public workers.

“There’s a lot of us new governors that got elected to do something big,” Walker said this week. “This is our moment.”

His comments about his GOP brethren came in an unusual forum: a recorded telephone conversation with a liberal blogger purporting to be conservative financier David Koch.

Oh man, Scott Walker will forever be a joke. And speaking of jokes, did you hear that Rick Santorum spoke out on the Wisconsin protests?

All-but-declared presidential candidate Rick Santorum is stirring the pot when it comes to government entitlements, comparing the pro-union protesters in Wisconsin to drug addicts in withdrawal.

“They are acting like their drug is being taken away from them,” Santorum told a small gathering of South Carolina Republicans Monday night, according to the Spartanburg Herald-Journal.

The comments came the same day thousands of protesters rallied outside the Wisconsin state capitol for the second week, upset with Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to limit collective bargaining rights for public-sector employees. Walker says the plan is necessary to stem the state’s budget crisis while pro-union groups say the governor is trying to curb long-held labor rights under a guise of fiscal responsibility.

Meanwhile, Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator who is widely expected to seek his party’s presidential nomination, added he thinks those who support government entitlements – including the recent health care law – are “no better than a drug dealer.”

“They give you a subtle narcotic to make you feel better as you do worse,” said Santorum.

Gee, why do I think Santorum’s White House bid is going nowhere fast?

Speaking of wingnuts (and we have been), Georgia legislator Bobby Franklin is waging an all-out war on women.

There’s a new bill on the block that may have reached the apex (I hope) of woman-hating craziness. Georgia State Rep. Bobby Franklin—who last year proposed making rape and domestic violence “victims” into “accusers”—has introduced a 10-page bill that would criminalize miscarriages and make abortion in Georgia completely illegal. Both miscarriages and abortions would be potentially punishable by death: any “prenatal murder” in the words of the bill, including “human involvement” in a miscarriage, would be a felony and carry a penalty of life in prison or death. Basically, it’s everything an “pro-life” activist could want aside from making all women who’ve had abortions wear big red “A”s on their chests.

Could that really pass–even in Georgia?

In more serious news, the carnage in Libya continues.

“It’s a massacre, you can never imagine what’s going on here,” says the man, who is in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

Protests in Libya have been met with violent and brutal opposition by supporters of leader Moamar Gaddafi….

‘Amairr’ says that Libya is not a state and that Gadafi’s regime is ‘not a government’.

“It’s a militia, it’s a gang,” he says.

He says Gaddafi has brought in militias from Africa who are ‘shooting anyone who stands’.

He says the Libyan nation says it feels betrayed by other countries who are concentrating on getting their citizens out rather than helping Libyans.

Some are even calling it a potential genocide.

ISLAMABAD: “We are in the midst of a massacre here” a witness told Reuters. According to Franco Frattini, Italy’s Foreign Minister, “as many as 1,000 people have likely been killed in Libya as leader Muammar Qaddafi cracks down on protests against his rule.”

The Libyan army, air force and navy have completely fractured and there has been a de facto secession of the eastern half of the country. Al-Jazeera is reporting that some air force fighters loyal to Gaddafi have “opened fire on crowds of protestors.”

The Libyan Navy is reportedly firing on residential targets onshore and senior army officers still loyal to Qaddafi have been ordered to execute soldiers refusing to fire on unarmed protestors.

Qaddafi, the longest serving dictator on the face of the planet, continues to hold fort in Tripoli scheming to kill a million if need be to save his crumbling dictatorship. Anti-Qaddafi elements have already taken over Benghazi, Sirte, Tobruk, Misurata, Khoms, Tarhunah, Zentan, al-Zawiya and Zouara but most of these elements are unarmed and thus at risk of being slaughtered by heavily armed pro-Qaddafi forces.

The response from the West has been anemic at best. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “condemned” Libyan dictator

Muammar Gaddafi for ignoring his call to stop violence against protestors, which the UN chief stressed to the Libyan leader during a 40 minute conversation this week. “What he (Gaddafi) has d one is totally unacceptable,” Ban told journalists on Wednesday.

“After such long and extensive discussions and my strong urging, and even appeal to him, he has not heeded,” he added. “This is not acceptable.”

Ban warned that the volatile situation in the North African nation could take several directions—many of them dangerous.

“The situation is developing rapidly towards a very dangerous situation,” he said. “Therefore we need to very carefully monitor the situation.”

Um…how about actually doing something? Like maybe enforcing a no-fly zone or sending in UN peacekeeping troops as the Libyan’s have been pleading for you to do?

Reuters informs us that “the world grapples for a response.”

Yet, there seemed little cohesion and urgency in a global response, even as Washington and Brussels spoke of possible sanctions against a man whose 41 years in power have been marked by idiosyncratic defiance of the West.

“It is imperative that the nations and peoples of the world speak with one voice,” Obama said. “The suffering and bloodshed is outrageous.”

The oil exports which Gaddafi used to help end his isolation in the past decade have given him means to resist the fate of his immediate neighbors, the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt, who were brought down by popular unrest in the past few weeks.

It’s always about oil, isn’t it? Talk about people acting like drug addicts….

Anyway, I’ll keep my eye out for updates on the rapidly changing situation in Libya.

What are you reading and blogging about today?

61 Comments on “Thursday Reads”

  1. paper doll says:

    Terrific round up!

    John Hinderaker : it’s inspirational to see him doing his courageous part to comfort the comfortable…. It seem everyone wants to be the Koch Brothers cabana boy

    Um…how about actually doing something? Like maybe enforcing a no-fly zone or sending in UN peacekeeping troops as the Libyan’s have been pleading for you to do?

    I’m waiting till we use the Walker WI line/upper crust mantra, “We’re broke!”

  2. paper doll says:

    The response from the West has been anemic at best. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “condemned” Libyan dictator

    Well we can’t expect him to go right away to the “shame, shame everybody knows your name ” level of response…a few more 1000’s have to be killed

    • cwaltz says:

      thousands? clearly you expect action waaaaay faster than I do. It’ll be in the millions before the UN decisively decides to do more than a sternly worded letter.

      The large deliberative body moves at a snail’s pace unfortnately.

      • It’ll be in the millions before the UN decisively decides to do more than a sternly worded letter.


        Yes, but let’s worry about lumps of red whatnots, STAT.

    • paper doll says:

      thousands? clearly you expect action waaaaay faster than I do.

      It’s not often I’m called an optimist. Thanks! But I fear you are correct

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        World leaders weigh Libya response – Africa – Al Jazeera English

        International pressure is mounting on Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, to stop the violent crackdown on anti-government demonstrators, which has killed hundreds of people.

        On Thursday, Britain urged the world to exert greater pressure on Gaddafi, while the European Union said it was considering sending a humanitarian intervention force to the country.

        William Hague, the UK foreign minister, called for an international investigation into Libyan state violence, while
        Gaddafi’s forces stepped up their struggle to crush protesters who have been calling for an end to his 41-year rule for the past 10 days.

        UN draft resolution

        A UN Human Rights Council draft resolution on Libya is due to be discussed on Friday in Geneva.

        The draft includes recommendations on sending an independent, international inquiry team to investigate alleged violations of international human rights law in the country.

        It also recommends for the UN general sssembly to remove Libya from the Human Rights Council “in view of gross and systematic violations of human rights by the Libyan authorities”.

      • Gaddafi is blaming Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden. Good gawd, he is pathetic.

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    What the Koch brothers want is anti-American. Their greed is unsurpassed. At least Madoff stole money from unsuspecting investers. These two want to take from the pockets of everybody.

    With enough willing and corrupt public officials, they may actually get what they wish for. Unfettered by regulations and the cessation of union bargaining, they are making a grab for it all.

    This is the result of an acquiescent SC who has allowed corporations to hold the same rights as the citizenry in deciding the outcome of elections.

    As long as there is enough cash to be spread around, democracy is in peril.

    • cwaltz says:

      and it appears the assembly in WI is complicit since they REJECTED an amendment that would have stripped the no bid public utilities from the bill.

  4. grayslady says:

    Regarding Al-Jazeera, when I was vacationing in Jefferson City, MO last fall, we were receiving AJ on the television in the hotel, so I don’t think distribution is limited to just VT, OH and D.C. My friend loved AJ (hadn’t even heard of it before) and is now watching their broadcasts on You Tube.

    • Sima says:

      My parents, in rural western WA, get Al Jazeera on their satellite, on the Free Speech network, along with Democracynow, Grit and Thom Hartmann at least.

      I watch it when I’m over their place.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Al Jazeera is available on Satellite networks, but if it could get onto Comcast cable, the other cable companies would probably have to follow suit. That would mean a much bigger “footprint” for the network than just satellite co’s.

        • Minkoff Minx says:

          Our satellite company, Dish, has Al Jazeera, but it is not Al Jazeera English. You can get Al Jazeera when you sign up for a foreign language package. Hopefully Comcast cable will go forward with the AJE channel, and set the bar for other satellite/cable companies.

  5. TheRock says:

    What a complete roundup! Nice job BB! Its shocking to hear republicans attacking the LOWER middle class, which is what most of these public employees are. To say that PUBLIC employees are holding this nation hostage is just shameful.

    In other news, look what the MSM WON’T talk about….

    The Ivory Coast has been pushed to the back page because of the unrest in North Africa, but all is not well still….

    Here in Texas, the feeling is that the solution too many guns on campus is MORE guns on campus. Really?!?!?!?

    Can anybody remember the name of that lady back in ’08 that suggested that we have a ‘Manhattan-style’ project on a new energy source so that fluctuations in oil prices wouldn’t affect us as much? I can’t seem to remember her name. Oh well…..

    Hillary 2012

  6. cwaltz says:

    If the law does pass in GA I’d give it less than a year for repeal. First off, many women lose a pregnancy without awareness they even are pregnant. God, is the world’s largest provider of abortions(and if you want to watch a fundies head explode tell him that). Alot of pregnancies simply weren’t meant to be. Second, alot of women who are aware of and lose their pregnancies are traumatized to begin with. Going in and dealing with the strile, clinical aspect and being made into some sort of perp is going to piss a whole lot of husbands who already have teary eyed spouses off. It’s going to give those women when they get to the anger aspect of the grieving process a very real target to place their anger.

    I’m going to laugh because the overreach on this issue is going to be problematic particularly if Georgia Dems take the time to point out the first state cuts offered were/are cuts on children’s benefits. So much for caring about kids! The GOP just has a fetus fetish.

    • Sima says:

      Every time I get an extra heavy ‘time of month’ I’m going to report myself to the Georgia government. No, I’m nowhere near Georgia, but surely they care about all lumps of red whatnot, even those produced in a liberal state like WA?

      We should all do this, flood their offices with reports on large lumps of red whatnot.

      • Branjor says:

        Flood their offices with the large lumps of red whatnot themselves. Send all used tampons and sanitary pads.

      • cwaltz says:

        I actually like the idea of sending the GA dude who decided to introduce this used sanitary pads with a note saying- just thought you might want to investigate. 😉

        It’s like very obvious dude who was like Rep Speier had a “miscarriage”- uh dude, the clinical term for a miscarriage is Spontaneous abortion- so yes she had an abortion- albeit an involuntary one.

  7. Sima says:

    This isn’t really that surprising. A judge in England ruled today that it’s ok to extradite Julian Assange to Sweden.

    I don’t know how to feel about this. He SHOULD stand trial, but fair trial, or the charges against him should be dismissed if there really is no evidence. But in order to determine that, he really SHOULD be deposed and he fled Sweden before that happened.

    And I do worry about him being extradited to the US. The judge said that the European Court of Human Rights would intervene then ‘if Mr Assange was to face the prospect of “inhuman or degrading treatment or an unfair trial” in the US’. I don’t think so. That’s the usual weasel words. Who determines inhuman or degrading treatment or unfair trial? The powers that be. And they will define those terms at their convenience, not ours.

    Weird to be arguing that my country wouldn’t offer this man a fair trail. But since the charges would be ginned up, obviously counter free speech and the first amendment, and spurious at best, I don’t think it could be a fair trail.

  8. madaha says:

    From the GOOD Scott Walker, haha.

  9. Beata says:

    Indiana Democratic State lawmakers remain in an Urbana, IL hotel, where they are caucusing. No indication that they plan to return any time soon to Indiana. Democratic State Rep. Terry Goodin, who is quoted in this article, is Superintendent of Schools in Crothersville, IN:

  10. Fannie says:

    I hope Santorum does a mass mailing to his constitutes in Penn., I hope he his current statement on drug users and drug pushers, and government entitlements.

    He’s pretty much an unsuccessful human being walking this planet. Don’t expect him to clean up our drug problems, he’s likely to put millions more people in prison, thereby creating more overcrowding, and more mental illnesses, and higher cost
    to the taxpayers.

    I bet his Dad, Dr. Aldo Santorum is rolling over in his grave. His Dad, who said because of veteran’s entitlements, were gifts that made it possible for him to become a psychologist in the Veteran hospitals. It also allowed him to live on the hospital grounds to receive “free public housing”.

    It was after all the military that were promoting killer drugs for our servicemen.
    You know the dark history of Tuskegee syphillis, LSD, herbicides, and other biochemicals that kill.

    I like to ask him about his daddy’s job as a coal miner in Penn. in 1930. And just how leaving that job and joining the Military made it possible to meet his wife, and produce one unsuccessful human being.

    Here we have been talking about how the BP
    spill, toxins in our water, toxins in our food chain, our environment doing more than just damage, but killing us.

    Any of you have that HELP clinic phone number we can send to Santorum?

  11. dakinikat says:

    If any one’s interested, I’ll be on John Smart’s blog talk radio show tonight:

    is the guest tonight on the radio show. Listen HERE! 6pm pacific….that’s 7 in Albuquerque, 8 in New Orleans, and 9 in Bangor…

  12. Miscarriage-as-Murder Bill Center of GOP War on Women

    Rep. Bobby Franklin may not be taken seriously by his colleagues but his proposal to criminalize miscarriage must be seen as relevant to the broader assault – not just on women and women’s bodies. This is an assault on freedom and justice. It’s an assault on all Americans who understand that there is a difference between making a personal decision not to do something with which you disagree and legislating inhumanity and injustice. The introduction of this bill must be viewed as the center of the current storm. When the GOP creates a climate of absolute antipathy for humankind, displayed in their assault particularly on women’s health and lives, bills like this are born.

    Uterus Police Officers:

    • gregoryp says:

      You’ve got to be kidding me. When did this come about? I’ve been working on writing my dissertation and haven’t been paying attention to the news. Is everyone in this country really this scientifically illiterate? Almost all miscarriages happen for a reason. GOP has got to go.

      • I first heard about it on Monday. See BB’s roundup up top, she has a Mother Jones link there too.

      • Well I first heard about Bobby Franklin’s proposal on Monday. But I actually heard about this type of “considers some miscarriages murder” legislation starting to sprout last August.

      • This was what I heard about–I heard about it in the summer of 2010, but it actually happened in March…

        Utah Abortion Bill: Punishing Miscarriages or Preventing Crime?

        I think there was the same sort of legislation proposed in Kentucky too, not sure if it passed. Ok, the KY law wasn’t miscarriage sorry (it was “substance endangerment of child prior to birth.” )

      • “When we were zygotes…” probably the last time we were considered persons in this country.

        • dakinikat says:

          What kind of idiot thinks a fertilized egg is a completely sentient, ensouled (assuming your religion buys into that idea),functioning human being? That’s just insane!

      • cwaltz says:

        Republicans are bonkers.

        I was telling someone I know that I have no political home.

        My reasoning was that Democrats have no spine or vision and the GOP has no heart or brains.

        GOP – The fetus party- everyone else be prepared for “shared sacrifice” so that the Koch brothers can have a tax cut and get fire sale prices on all the country’s past investments.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        I sent an email to my State Rep Steven Allison, asking him a few questions about this proposed bill. Since he wrote a opinion about the Human Life Amendment, that he is pro-life and that he supports amending the GA Constitution to state that life begins at fertilization. If he supports and believes life begins at “fertilization” then it follows he should support the Miscarriage is Murder bill…I do not expect a response. I also noted that I would be considered a felon with this bill, because…I had an ectopic pregnancy which had to be terminated after 4 months. (The egg crossed over my uterus and embedded close to the opening of the other fallopian tube. Hence why it was not “caught” until after 4 months. Yes, I was already showing and felt movement. The doctor who performed my surgery said that everything was developing fine, it was just in the wrong place.) So…that would make me a murderer right? I chose my own life over a precious fetus? (And a side note, I wanted that pregnancy to succeed.) I had a previous miscarriage, so what is that…2 strikes against me? I would be completely screwed and a felon…it is all surreal that this kind of legislation is even considered.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Oh, I posted a link to this Human Life amendment over on Dak’s thread, but here it is anyway: Georgia General Assembly – HR 536

      • I still get a kick watching these theocrats try to explain how the whole “soul” thing works in the case of a person (chimera) with two sets of DNA:

        • dakinikat says:

          It’s the same logic that puts neaderthals and dinosaurs happily with modern man and dodo birds in the creation museums’ Eden. I keep waiting for heads to explode from the crossed wires, but alas, they do not explode except with stupid words and thoughts.

      • Like Lewis Black said, some people watch Flinstones like it’s a documentary.

      • Branjor says:

        I still get a kick watching these theocrats try to explain how the whole “soul” thing works in the case of a person (chimera) with two sets of DNA:

        That’s funny. I wonder what they think happens when the fertilized egg divides as in identical twinning? Do you get two people with one soul, or does the original soul go to one of the halves while the other half grows a new one?
        Could have a lot of fun leading them around in circles with this.

  13. TheRock says:

    Just found this on BBC….

    Looks like the exodus has begun! lol

    I was thinking Canada myself….

    Hillary 2012

  14. gregoryp says:

    I seriously want to know just what is the malfunction of people like Santorum and Walker? Are they sociopaths? Or do they have some other mental illness?

    Hey Rick, people want access to quality health care so they don’t friggin’ die unnecessarily and prematurely. I know it is inconvenient for you that me and my wife are alive but deal with it and grow up.

    Every single person in this country deserves to live in a dignified and decent manner including having a roof over their head, have food, have quality medical care and have utilities. These are ALL public concerns.

  15. paper doll says:

    Democrats and Republicans
    target state employees

    ……The driving force behind the cuts is the mushrooming fiscal crisis of the states, which face a combined deficit this year estimated at $175 billion. This sum is minor compared to the vast sums provided in the Wall Street bailout—one firm, AIG, received that much in Treasury funds alone.

    But in state after state, the cost of the deficit is being imposed on the working class in the form of cuts in services and in the jobs and living standards of state employees.

    The newly elected governor of Connecticut, Democrat Daniel Malloy, is demanding by far the biggest cuts, proportionally, of any state. In his budget message issued February 15, he called for $1 billion in savings from state employees for each of the next two years.

    By comparison, in Wisconsin, a somewhat larger state, Republican Governor Scott Walker is demanding $300 million in savings from state workers……

  16. Peggy Sue says:

    Found this at Naked Capitalism this morning. I shared the link at John W. Smart and wanted to cross-link here because it’s the sort of essay that keeps me from spiralling into a black depression. There are people out there who ‘get it,’ see that the dismantling of American society is deliberate, not the coincidental merging of bad luck days, that the attempt to pit worker against worker is all part of a bigger plan and that we have more in common with the worldwide protests that anyone in power is likely to admit. As Matt Stoller says in his last line: ‘Sometimes it really is that simple.’

    Link here:

  17. Got a UT Austin e-mail yesterday about a $100 million budget cut next year. Geez.

  18. Peggy Sue says:

    Oops, my post didn’t make it. So, I’ll make it shorter. Good piece, heart-thumping and provocative. Did me a world of good to have someone state what I sense/feel/deep-in-my-belly know to be true. Link here:

  19. 2012 may be the end of the world after all…

    Mike Huckabee Expresses Deep Doubts About Afghan End Game, Karzai’s Corruption