Tuesday Reads

Good morning, political junkies!! Let’s get right to the news.

President Obama gave a speech last night in which he made a pretty good case (IMO) for U.S. limited intervention in Libya. He stated that there were not going to be American boots on the ground and that the U.S. is essentially finished with its part of the operation–it will be up to the UK, France, and Italy to police the no-fly zone and to the Libyan people to depose Gaddafi and decide what comes next.

Surprisingly, Obama was a bit more animated than usual–actually emphasizing points with his voice and at times appearing almost passionate. At least the speech didn’t start to put me to sleep until the last several minutes.

Obama indicated that the U.S. will continue to support efforts to set up a functioning government in Libya, but that will be a non-military effort. If he stands strong with that, I think he’s finally done something I agree with and can support.

Obama also argued that just because we can’t intervene in every conflict doesn’t mean that we should never intervene at all. We have to choose our battles, and in the case of Libya we had a dictator who was using his military–and his air power to kill his own citizens indiscriminately. If he had managed to attack Benghazi he might have murdered hundreds of thousands of people.

Furthermore, Libyans had asked for our help, and our action was supported by other Arab countries and by the Arab League. For once the U.S. was doing something that most Arabs wanted us to do. If we had not acted, we would have seen an atrocity take place, and that would have encouraged dictators in other Arab countries to crack down violently on protesters.

Here is the full text of the speech, if you are interested. I do think Obama went on too long after making the case for Libya. The speech would have been much better if he had done that and then wrapped it up.

I must say, I do not understand the criticisms of this Libya policy that I’m seeing in the progosphere, and from some people here at Sky Dancing. Maybe I’m nuts, but I think the U.S. finally had a chance to do something good with its massive military power and at the same time we get some good PR in a part of the world that has long hated us–with justification because we have enabled most of the tyrants in the region. I’m glad Hillary was able to convince her boss to do the right thing.

I want to call attention to some very knowledgeable people who agree with my assessment–and we do appear to be in the minority.

Thomas Ricks was on Monday’s edition of NPR’s Talk of the Nation. He said that he was struck by how many people either aren’t listening to what Obama, Clinton, and Gates are saying or they are discounting it out of hand.

Ricks said that these three are saying that the U.S. goals in Libya have already been achieved. The rebel forces are knocking on the door of Tripoli, thanks to the no-fly zone and some strategic bombing by the coalition countries. As Obama said last night, it is now up to Libyans to decide what to do with Gaddafi. We aren’t going to try to take him out.

Here’s what Ricks wrote on his blog after his appearance on Meet the Press with Gates and Clinton:

I was on Meet the Press yesterday, following Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates. I was struck at how frequently they emphasized the short-term, limited nature of the U.S. action in Libya, and how they used the past tense to discuss it:

Gates: “I think that the no fly zone aspect of the mission has been accomplished.”

Clinton: “I think we’ve prevented a great humanitarian disaster.”

Gates: “we see our commitment of resources actually beginning to — to decline.”

Gates: “in terms of the military commitment, the president has put some very strict limitations in terms of what we are prepared to do.”

Gates: “I don’t think it’s [Libya] a vital interest for the United States. But we clearly have interests there. And it’s a part of the region, which is a vital interest for the United States.”

I also was struck at how much more assertive Clinton seemed than Gates. A friend of mine calls this “State’s War.”

Ricks also blogged about his take on Obama’s speech: Obama on Libya: Watch out, Saudi Arabia

What we saw in the NDU speech was a logical defense of what the president has ordered the military to do and an exposition of what the limits of the action will be. The cost of inaction threatened to be greater than the cost of action, but now we have done our part. Next role for the U.S. military is best supporting actor, providing electronic jammers, combat search and rescue, logistics and intelligence. That was all necessary, and pretty much as expected.

But I was most struck by the last few minutes of the speech, when Obama sought to put the Libyan intervention in the context of the regional Arab uprising. He firmly embraced the forces of change, saying that history is on their side, not on the side of the oppressors. In doing so he deftly evoked two moments in our own history-first, explicitly, the American Revolution, and second, more slyly, abolitionism, with a reference to “the North Star,” which happened to be the name of Frederick Douglass’s newspaper. If you think that was unintentional, read this.

Hmmm…I totally missed that. Follow me below the fold…

Fareed Zakaria (video) basically liked the speech, but said that Obama needs to further define what he means by “success” in Libya. I thought Obama did that: to him success was stopping the massacre in Benghazi and giving the “rebels” a chance to succeed.

Juan Cole doesn’t have a reaction on his blog yet, but here is his “Open Letter to the Left on Libya,” in case you haven’t read it yet.

At TNR, Tom Malinowsky asks, “Why isn’t Obama getting credit for stopping an atrocity?”

Here is one lesson we can draw from the mostly negative media commentary about the Obama administration’s actions in Libya: Presidents get more credit for stopping atrocities after they begin than for preventing them before they get out of hand.

The U.S.-led NATO intervention that stopped mass killing in Bosnia in 1995, for example, came only after 200,000 people had already been killed. But because we had witnessed massacre after massacre after massacre over three years of fighting in Bosnia, the difference NATO made when it ended the carnage was palpable, and Bill Clinton’s achievement in mobilizing the intervention and then negotiating a peace accord was broadly recognized.

Four years later, NATO acted more quickly to stop atrocities in Kosovo, but still not fast enough to prevent Serbian troops from driving nearly a million Kosovar civilians from their homes. When NATO’s military intervention eventually allowed those people to return to their homes, most deemed it a success. We had seen horrifying crimes unfold before our eyes, and then those crimes ceased; again we could see and feel the difference Clinton and NATO had made.

In Libya, many people (we don’t yet know how many) were arrested, forcibly disappeared and possibly executed as the Qaddafi government consolidated its control over Tripoli and rebel-held enclaves, like Zawiyah, in the country’s west. But the Obama administration and its international allies did act soon enough to prevent the much larger-scale atrocities that would likely have followed Qaddafi’s reconquest of eastern Libya and especially the city of Benghazi….

But precisely because the international community acted in time—before Qaddafi retook Benghazi—we never saw what might have happened had they not acted. Today in eastern Libya, there are no columns of refugees marching home to reclaim their lives; no mass graves testifying to the gravity of the crisis; no moment that symbolizes a passing from horror to hope. The sacking of Benghazi was the proverbial dog that didn’t bark.

In other news–stupid, ridiculous, nutty Republican news–Donald Trump is very concerned about President Obama’s birth certificate.

“I am really concerned,” Trump said during an appearance on Fox News. “You have no doctors, you have no nurses … that remember.”

“I brought it up just routinely, and all of the sudden a lot of facts are emerging, and I am starting to wonder myself whether he was born in this country,” he exclaimed.

In an interview with ABC last week, Trump claimed that nobody remembered Obama as a child in Hawaii – a statement that was categorically false. His kindergarten teachers and others have previously given interviews with local Hawaii papers detailing their memory of Obama at that time.

Trump did not repeat that claim Monday, but brushed off past statements from current Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie that he remembers Obama being born.

“I doubt it,” Trump said of Abercrombie’s contentions. “I think this guy should be investigated. He remembers when Obama was born? Give me a break. He’s just trying to do something for his party.”

So he doesn’t understand why no one remembers Obama (not true), but when someone does say he remembers Obama’s birth, Trump says he’s lying. We need this guy as president like we need a hole in the head. On top of that, Trump promised to produce his own birth certificate, and then failed to do it!

Donald Trump made headlines earlier today when he provided what he said was a copy of his birth certificate — but a quick check reveals it’s actually not an official document.

The paper that Trump released says “Jamaica Hospital” on top and lists the date and time of what he says was his birth to “Mr. and Mrs. Fred C. Trump.” The piece of paper has a seal at the bottom.

But after several New York City-based readers contacted POLITICO’s Maggie Haberman, her call to city officials revealed that an actual birth certificate, which is issued by the Department of Health, would have the agency’s seal and also a signature of the city registrar – neither of which the Trump document has. Officials said the city Health Department is the “sole issuing authority” of official birth certificates in New York, and that the document would clearly say so, and “city officials said it’s not an official document.”

I mentioned this morning that radioactive iodine from the Fukushima plant in Japan has been found in rainwater in Boston, and officials are testing all the reservoirs in the state to make sure drinking water isn’t radioactive. No one seemed too worked up about that. I thought it was kind of disturbing, even if the levels of radiation are very low for now. USA Today has a map up that shows all the states where Fukushima radiation has been detected so far. If you’re like me and you tend to question authority, you might want to see if your state is one of them.

CNN reports: Damaged reactor may be leaking radioactive water, Japan says

The plant’s owner disclosed that small amounts of plutonium had been found among contaminants around the facility late Monday as Japanese authorities struggled to explain how radioactive water was leaking into maintenance tunnels and possibly, into the Pacific Ocean.

Edano told reporters Monday afternoon that “there may be a leak” from the containment vessel surrounding the No. 2 reactor. He said experts were still trying to determine the condition of the reactor’s pressure vessel, which sits inside the containment vessel and immediately surrounds the radioactive fuel rods at the reactor’s core.

[….]

Tokyo Electric announced late Monday that plutonium — a reactor byproduct that is also part of the fuel mix in the No. 3 reactor — had turned up in soil on the plant grounds in tests taken last week. However, the company said it was equivalent to the amounts that fell on Japan following above-ground nuclear weapons tests by other countries in past decades, and posed no health risk to humans.

[….]

Three plutonium isotopes — Pu-238, -239 and -240 — were found in soil at five different points inside the plant grounds, Tokyo Electric reported. The element can be a serious health hazard if inhaled or ingested, but external exposure poses little health risk, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Pu-238 has a half-life of 87.7 years. Pu-239 has a half-life of 24,200 years. Pu-240’s half-life is 6,563 years. I really don’t want this stuff in my backyard or my drinking water–even if the “experts” say is isn’t harmful to humans. Call me crazy, but I just don’t trust these “experts.”

Ex-Obama press secretary, the very obnoxious Robert Gibbs might go to work for Facebook instead of working in the 2012 Obama campaign.

Mark Zuckerberg’s next friend request may be to someone with deep Washington connections. Facebook, of which Zuckerberg is the founder and CEO, is talking to former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs about joining its communications team, The New York Times reported, citing unnamed sources.

Gibbs, who left the White House last month, could help communicate the company’s messages about its products and policies ahead of a planned public offering, the Times’ report said. Some valuations have pegged Facebook’s worth at more than $50 billion amid Securities and Exchange Commission concerns, complaints about user privacy and the scathing portrayal of Zuckerberg in last year’s film “The Social Network.”

Finally, here’s a good news story: Indiana House Democrats halt GOP anti-union agenda

Indiana House Democrats who fled to Urbana, Illinois nearly six weeks ago in protest of Republican anti-union legislation will be returning to their state after successfully winning concessions.

“Today we can announce compromises that are great steps forward for working Hoosiers,” Indiana House Democratic Leader B. Patrick Bauer said Monday in a statement. “The principled stand by House Democrats forced concessions by the House Republicans that reflected the concerns expressed by so many people who came to the Statehouse in recent weeks.”

Republicans have agreed to take “right-to-work” legislation that would prohibit union-representation fees from being a condition of employment and a permanent ban on public employee bargaining off the table in the Indiana House. GOP state lawmakers also killed legislation for a private takeover of public schools and an outright ban of Project Labor Agreements.

“The compromise reached by the Party leaders in the House is a significant retreat from the radical right-wing agenda the Republicans sought to advance a month ago,” Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Executive Director Michael Sargeant said. “House Democrats secured an important victory in their efforts to protect public education and workers’ rights.”

I’m very proud to call myself a Hoosier today. (Of course I also grew up in North Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, and Ohio, but I spend the longest time in Indiana).


That’s about it for me. What are you reading and blogging about today?


92 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. dakinikat says:

    It’s sad to see how many US legislators want to spend the 21st century taking back the 20th century. None of us should want to go back to the gilded age when workers were treated like machinery and women like chattel property. Then, of course, we know how minorities were treated too. It’s exciting to see that so many former colonies are trying to move into the future. Again, it’s sad to see how many American’s want to force us into some of the worst abuses of our past.

    Great rant on Libya too! This isn’t a war and I’m glad the President made that clear. My guess is that State wrote a lot of that speech.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I know. The people of the Middle East and North Africa are moving into the future, while Republicans and Tea Party denizens want to go backward. It is very sad.

      • Woman Voter says:

        Yup, they want us groped, naked and kneeling in submission to the Patriot Act without even questioning why.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Check this link out:

        The Maddow Blog – “We have seven children, so we’re doing our part to fund the Social Security system.”

        In the long-running Republican effort to somehow bridge their stated agenda of economic priorities and their actual agenda of culture war, presidential hopeful Rick Santorum took a running leap today. Mr. Santorum told a local radio station in New Hampshire that abortion is part of what’s wrong with Social Security. The Hill runs the transcript:

        “The Social Security system, in my opinion, is a flawed design, period,” Santorum said in a Tuesday morning interview with WEZS Radio in Laconia, N.H. “But having said that, the design would work a lot better if we had stable demographic trends.

        Santorum said the reason for the trouble is that “we don’t have enough workers to support the retirees. Well, a third of all the young people in America are not in America today because of abortion.”

      • Jadzia says:

        Well, I am CLEARLY doing my part, but still pretty much agree with Bob Kerry: “Santorum is Latin for asshole.”

    • bostonboomer says:

      How are you feeling this morning, Dak?

      • dakinikat says:

        Better. The swelling is shrinking and I’m not in pain any more. Funny thing. My nurses just found out I was diagnosed with a MRSA and I’m supposed to be in a private room. What we have here is a failure to communicate. I could’ve been spared all the cellmate drama.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Oh no! I was wondering about that. You’d think they would have worried about your roomate picking up such a dangerous infection.

        Are they going to let you out, do you think?

      • paper doll says:

        Glad the swelling is going down! Don’t get me started on the failure to communicate in the modern medical complex. One cannot rely on the system informing any other part of the system about anything at any time . Sadly the words “we never got that”
        are heard as much or more than” How are you? ” It’s convenient they acknowledge you needed your own room just as they are thinking of sending you home…..just make sure you are not charged with a private room in the bill,given with the argument, ” well of course such a case would have a private room!” The fact you didn’t have the private room could easily go unnoticed in the chopped up system.

      • Branjor says:

        Glad you’re feeling better, Dak.

        That’s appalling. You should have been under universal precautions all the time. If I was your cellmate and I contracted MRSA from you, I would so SUE that medical complex. When I read you had a cellmate I just assumed that she also had MRSA.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        I am glad you are feeling better. I thought the roommate had MRSA too…

      • Fannie says:

        Dak, just heard on CNN that 9 patients in Ala. died because of Contaiminated IV Solution………you might suggest the hospital read up on this case.

      • Fannie says:

        Dak, make sure this test you again for MRSA, if not get a test next week.

      • Jadzia says:

        What happened? Did you just find out you had MRSA? I am so sorry. My mom and sister both have it (mom from one of her dozens of post-cancer hospitalizations, sis picked it up during a very short stint as a health care worker) — it’s not a good thing.

  2. Minkoff Minx says:

    Great post BB, especially your comments on Libya.

  3. Minkoff Minx says:

    Libya: Campaign of enforced disappearances must end | Amnesty International

    Amnesty International called on Colonel al-Gaddafi and those around him to allow immediate independent access to those detained in order to check on their safety and help protect them from torture, and to urgently inform their families of their whereabouts.
    The organization also urged those holding detainees to ensure that all alleged or known fighters who are captured are treated humanely in line with international law, and to give them immediate access to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

    “Colonel al-Gaddafi could be held responsible in an international court for any crimes committed by his forces during this conflict” said Malcolm Smart.

  4. Minkoff Minx says:

    Here is Juan Coles response to the speech:

    Obama on Libya vs. Trump, Palin, Bachmann, Romney, Gingrich and Carrot Top | Informed Comment

    Despite the close and elegant moral reasoning tempered by a steady pragmatism, the speech was full of genuine feeling, including empathy and outrage. It strikes me as among the better speeches President Obama has given since taking office.

    And this over at Historiann:

    “When our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act.” : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present

    • votermom says:

      It would be nice if John Cole could give Hillary some credit then, but he only seems willing to blame her for anything bad, and heap praises on BO whenever possible.

  5. Pat Johnson says:

    I don’t believe we can just sit back and do nothing when Libya continues to murder its own people just for the sake of some insane leader who has lost all reasoning. It is a “humanitarian effort” on the part of those who have allied in this action to prevent as much of these atrocities as possible.

    As for Trump, he must be getting bored with Wife #3 which is why he is seeking some form of attention by questioning the birth certificate of the president. Stupidity abounds this election season when every moron who has been afforded a platform has essentially sought to make us take notice that making a fool of oneself in public is not to be ignored. There seems to be a glut of these clowns anxious to outdo one another in this arena.

    And though President Indifferent may not be up to the job, he at least appears “sane” by comparison. At least up until now he has yet to be seen talking to the drapes in the Green Room.

  6. fiscalliberal says:

    I watched Obama for about 5 minutes and turned him off. So – now we are justifying all of this stuff and shortly we will have the special appropriation to pay for these save the world idea’s. Seems to me that a lot of people are willing to step up to pay a “save the world” tax. Fat chance.

    So the question continues, how long can we continue this deficit spending. Are we desined to collaps like Greece or Portugal?

    Nobody in the Democratic or Republican parties want to address this.

    • dakinikat says:

      Seems to me like certain oil rich countries could pony up something.

      • fiscalliberal says:

        We agree on your proposed solution. However what is the probability that will happen? We should remember that first Bush got them to do that for getting out of Kuwait. Note that not a word was said by Obama on that tack.

        Much easier to tap the US for it with a compliant congress. They all talk big, but fold immediately. Seems like they all agree that the Deficit is not to large

    • mjames says:

      I agree. Much as I agree with this site on most other issues, I find this “non-war” appalling. Talk about splitting hairs. Our government is not humanitarian. This is most probably about oil and Quaddafi causing the US grief somehow. We need our corrupt dictator, not an independent one. So we bomb people to “save” them. Same old, same old.

      Nor do we have the resources. We are out of money, remember? Flat broke. This is irresponsibility to the nth degree. This money is coming straight out of domestic programs and our kids’ education and our health, food, and retirement. Where was Obama on the union crisis? And where is he now? Still sucking up to the Repubs, that’s where.

      If the US truly cared, we’d have universal health care. We’d have responsibility for the Gulf Coast. We’d have the truth on the Japan nuclear reactors. Of course, I feel for the Libyan people, but please, what about US citizens who have no work, no prospects, and no health care? Well, all our prospects just got a whole lot worse. Now O has an excuse to gut social programs further.

      We need some decent investigative reporting. Why Libya? (Because Q is not our guy?) Why now? (O’s reelection and weakness in foreign policy?)

      I smell a rat.

      • paper doll says:

        I agree: our government is not humanitarian, and it is about oil…but the hope is some humanitarian effects will happen along the way i.e. less civilians are killed. Whatever we do , stay out or going in, the Libyan people will suffer …it’s hope this way ultimately fewer will die. Gaddafi was aiming to make the blood run in the streets even more when we did step in. Have we cause bloodshed? Yes…But will be less because of this? That is the hope.

        Sadly they need no excuses to gut social programs…they make stuff up to suit them and the media sells it…I find it partially awful Jerry Brown wants CA state employees to double their pension contributions because down the line, they will lose those pensions anyway and he has tomknow that …it would be better for them to keep the money and use it now than lose it later. But the powers that be want that extra money in the market now in order to steal it later

      • Beata says:

        Very well said, mjames. I smell that rat, too. We have money for endless wars ( how many are we in now, anyway? ) but no money for social programs. Where’s the “shared sacrifice” in all of this?

      • Peggy Sue says:

        I too have reservations about this Libyan operation. Now that we’re in I hope it goes well for everyone’s sake. But this idea that we always have the funds for war but recoil at the idea of funding programs supporting the general welfare at home is more than a little disturbing. As is our ‘choice’ of humanitarian intervention. There’s plenty of horror going on in the world. The genocide in Darfur, for instance.

        As for Obama’s speech? What I heard was a lot of self-congratulation over a decision he was dragged to kicking and screaming. Rightly or wrongly, our involvement was pushed by Clinton, Powers and Rice. The French and Brits were ready to circumvent the O-man’s inability to decide anything. The whole thing would have been a done deal had they waited for Obama to come to the table willingly. I worry about unintended consequences. Even best intentions can go hideously bad.

        Btw, Dak, hope you’re feeling better. I just got out of the hospital myself and can now be referred to as Zipper Woman because my belly is a mass of staples. I hate hospitals. Fortunately, I was only there for four days. Take care of yourself!

    • dakinikat says:

      I’m pretty sure oil wasn’t the issue because we don’t get any oil from Libya. The Europeans do plus they have tons of illegal immigrants flooding into their countries from issues stemming from these places. That’s why they’ve been pushing for this more than anything.

      My big concern was the humanitarian effects and the message it sent to the various governments that are experiencing the same uprisings in the area. Once Gadhafi started freely bombing hospitals and ambulances, the Yemen and Bahrain dictators got more bold in their responses to their protesters because they thought it looked like there would be more blowback. Gadhafi wouldn’t be motivated by sanctions but many of the other Gulf States–like Yemen–would be. It’s my hope that they got the message that attacking your citizens isn’t going to go unmet. If this turns out to be not a limited tour of duty in Libya, I’ll be the first to say I was wrong. I think the concerns for us was not Libya per se which is why we’re taking a more restrained approach. The Saudi King came back from his hospital stay here and distributed like $36 billion dollars to its citizens to make them happy. That sure beats blowing them up.

      • votermom says:

        Exactly. The Libya situation exists in a context. We were really limited by past ties to Mubarak in Egypt, but ignoring Qaddafi does have consequences in the current regional unrest.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’m not sure what you mean. In this instance the money has already been spent. The Pentagon has all these gadgets and weapons on hand. We’re just using them to avert an atrocity.

  7. lowdowndog says:

    So who are the “rebels?” Obama didn’t say. If the rebels depose Q-daffy, I’d like to know if they’re the same kind of crazies they have in Egypt asking women to take virginity tests.

  8. paper doll says:

    excellent post BB…it’s interesting how Iraq and Afghanistan get little, if any, protests , but a limited action in Libya
    is a bridge too far! From perforce viewing of CNN yesterday I believe the powers that be don’t want Obama to get war time kudos from this if it goes well…but full credit of course if it goes South …also the humanitarian aspect with which it was sold makes them uncomfortable. They are done with all that humanity stuff. They can hardly talk up something which stated on that basis . But alot of the same stuff went on when Bill stepped into Bosnia (Bush sr. and Europe stood by for years) The usual GOP war hawks got all peacenik, the press was dubious etc.

    • mjames says:

      I appreciate your response to my earlier comment. However, I don’t do hope. The gov’t should first prove to us how it intends to pay for this sudden outburst of “humanitarianism” (since it supposedly can’t afford to pay for humanitarianism for its own people).

      All I see, realistically, is more stealing from our citizens, an increase in military spending (who profits from that, pray tell?), and a further (and totally destructive) class division.

      This is O in campaign mode.

      • paper doll says:

        All I see, realistically, is more stealing from our citizens, an increase in military spending (who profits from that, pray tell?), and a further (and totally destructive) class division.

        As any reader of this blog can atest, I totally agree with you. But the Overlords will go after the oil and do all you say here regardless…I’m just hoping less people are killed because of our limited intervention in Libya. If there was no chance of that, and it was 100% no bid contracts, I feel the US press would be rooting for it a good deal more. My other hope is the protesting over this will go on to our other wars….which haven’t produced a peep in some time

      • bostonboomer says:

        As I wrote above, the money for planes, weapons, and other gadgets has already been spent in the Defense budget. We’re just using the weapons for what many of us see as a positive goal–stopping an all-out massacre of hundreds of thousands of people.

        Sure, I’d love to see the government divert money from the Pentagon to help U.S. citizens (sell the weapons off to other countries? Not sure how that would work). Do you honestly believe that if we didn’t do this, suddenly Congress would alot money for social programs or jobs? In this case, the money has already been allocated, but instead of massacreing people in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are using it to prevent a massacre.

  9. dakinikat says:

    Koch brothers Stinktank goes after more academics’ emails. This time they’re after labor economists and research centers focusing on labor issues.

    The Mackinac Center For Public Policy, based in Midland, Mich., submitted the FOIA requests last Friday and Monday to the Labor Studies Center at the University of Michigan and the Douglas A. Fraser Center for Workplace Issues at Wayne State University. A third FOIA was directed to Michigan State University, which has a School of Human Resources & Labor Relations.

    The requests specifically seek emails from all labor studies faculty at each school.

    The Mackinac Center For Public Policy describes itself as a “nonpartisan research and educational institute” focused on providing free market “solutions to state and local policy questions” in Michigan. The center does not disclose its donors but
    according to recent reporting by Mother Jones, Mackinac “is part of a network of state-based groups associated with the Heritage Foundation.”

    Past major donors to Mackinac Center, according to Mother Jones, have included the Charles G. Koch Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation (the Wal-Mart Waltons), and foundations tied to two of Michigan’s best-known and wealthiest conservative political families: the DeVos family of Amway fame and the Prince family of Blackwater fame.

    The Mackinac Center has long pushed for several of the controversial proposals put forward by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R), including one which would allow state government to step in when local municipalities face financial crises and declare, as one supportive legislator put it, “financial martial law,” including abrogating union contracts.

    • paper doll says:

      ..which would allow state government to step in when local municipalities face financial crises and declare, as one supportive legislator put it, “financial martial law,” including abrogating union contracts.

      well that makes sense.( for them) They bankrupt states, declare a financial crises , steal the work from the local governments, then give no bids contracts to their pal’s private companies . They are fazing out representational government altogether

      My civil servant husband has been without a contract for two years…I told him ” Honey, you have to submit a no bid contract to get one!”

      Much like Baseball players are made to take an oath before testifying to Congress, but Oil executives are not…

      • dakinikat says:

        I’m trying to get the brain in gear long enough to write about a study that shows a good portion of the state’s financial problems come from expensive tax cuts to businesses they gave prior to the financial crisis that didn’t pay for themselves and haven’t produced the desired results. Look for it if my drug addled brain is up to it today.

      • Peggy Sue says:

        paperdoll said:

        “They bankrupt states, declare a financial crises , steal the work from the local governments, then give no bids contracts to their pal’s private companies. They are fazing out representational government altogether.”

        Brava! That is ‘exactly’ what they’re doing as Tea Party supporters naively cheer these same lawless efforts and blindly wave the Constitution around. Talk about dancing on your own grave.

        The money-hounds can’t wait to get their grimy hands on all public assets and services. This is nothing short of economic terrorism being waged from within as the public’s attention is distracted by the ME monster in the closet. We’re being led to our own demise by people who don’t give a rat’s ass about anything but the bottom line.

        Just wait until all our water is owned privately [and the corporations are in the background now buying up the world’s water resources]. Life is going to get very ragged for ordinary citizen/serfs. There’s clear evidence of how this plays out. Just check out Bechtel’s history in Bolivia.

        People need to wake up.

  10. dakinikat says:

    This is an incredible video of the Tsunami

    • gregoryp says:

      I’ve got to tell you that I was very hopeful about the low numbers of people that were reportedly dead or missing when this first came out. Read on CNN last night where the expected number of dead is expected to rise sharply and the number of missing or dead stands at 28,000. I am completely dismayed by this and watching videos like this think that the numbers could be much more horrific than being presently reported.

      That tsunami didn’t just flood buildings it completely washed everything in its path away. How many port towns and cities are completely gone? Some of the videos I have seen show young to middle aged people not fleeing and they show total devastation. How many people holed up in buildings or didn’t have time to get to higher ground? We know for sure the elderly and the infirm had no chance but this happened very quickly. While this may not turn out as badly as it did in Indonesia it is most certainly one of the worst tragedies in our lifetimes.

  11. WomanVoter says:

    anjucomet Anjali Kamat
    to everyone with Qs about what #Libya rebels want, read this: opp. council vision for post-Gaddafi system
    http://aje.me/gWs5ie

    Most insightful as was the PDF on Libya and women of the revolution. I do think it is good to support people struggling to find Freedom and Democracy. For to long the only choices that were available were the nutters of Al Qaeda or the brutal Dictators/Regimes, but today the youth have taken the information via the web and are finding that they will struggle for their freedom.

    It should be said, that the Libyan people have from the start said they didn’t want any ground troops and that they simply wanted a No Fly Zone, even if initially they thought it meant no one was allowed to fly…and gradually they understood what it meant and asked for it, still once they understood.

    I have seen what Gaddafi did to the Libyan people, using weapons that merely left a head, part of spinal column, maybe an arm or a leg, on unarmed protesters and the collecting of males, some young children (still no word of where they are) because he feared the ‘youth’. The youth, hearing of what was to come, began to fight back and over took tanks, and some jeeps with guns and began to take the fight to Gaddafi to everyone’s surprise, this was what we saw next:

    BREAKING: Video Al Bayda Youth Heading To Attack Army Forces In Shahat

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Libya woman being sued by her alleged attackers | Reuters

      Government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said the woman, Eman al-Obaidi, faced court action because she had publicly named the men she accused of raping her.

      “In Islam this is very serious when you accuse someone of a sexual crime,” said Ibrahim. “She named the accused publicly and they are suing her.”

      Obaidi burst into a hotel full of foreign journalists in Tripoli Saturday and told them, weeping, that she had been held for two days and raped by 15 militiamen loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

      After being intimidated and subdued by security men and hotel staff, who also beat journalists trying to interview her in the hotel restaurant, Obaidi was bundled into a car and driven away.

      Her allegations have not been independently verified. The government said Sunday that Obaidi had been released and she was with her family.

      Obaidi’s mother said she had been asked to convince her daughter to retract the allegations in return for her freedom and cash or a new home.

      Her mother, Aisha Ahmad, told journalists she had been contacted by the authorities about her daughter and how she could be freed.

      “Last night at 3, they called from Gaddafi’s compound and asked me to convince my daughter Eman to change what she said, and we will set her free immediately and you can take anything you and your children would ask for,” she said, according to Britain’s Sky News, which broadcast her interview with an English translation late Monday.

      I can’t remember if you posted a link to this already WV…

  12. Sweet Sue says:

    dakinikat, so glad that you are on the mend.
    Best to you.

  13. gregoryp says:

    I totally support any military action being taken in Libya. This should have been done back in the 1980’s when everyone knew that Qaddafi ordered the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 and other terrorist actions. If the international community had the right to remove General Noriega because he was committing illegal acts, selling drugs, then they certainly had the right to remove Qaddafi. Oh, and wasn’t he also responsible for killing our marines as they slept in their barracks?

  14. Beata says:

    BTW, I am proud to be from Indiana today, too. I can trace my family roots here back to the 1700’s when my French-Canadian ancestors traded with the native Americans along Sugar Creek. I guess I am as Hoosier as a person can be.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Hey I’m French-Canadian too, but that’s from my New England ancestors. My grandmother’s family (my mother’s side) came to Indiana in a covered wagon, long before the Civil War–so I think I can easily say I’m a Hoosier too.

  15. Minkoff Minx says:

    It looks like the Fukushima plant has gone into meltdown. Japan may have lost race to save nuclear reactor | World news | guardian.co.uk

    The radioactive core in a reactor at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant appears to have melted through the bottom of its containment vessel and on to a concrete floor, experts say, raising fears of a major release of radiation at the site.

    The warning follows an analysis by a leading US expert of radiation levels at the plant. Readings from reactor two at the site have been made public by the Japanese authorities and Tepco, the utility that operates it.

    Richard Lahey, who was head of safety research for boiling-water reactors at General Electric when the company installed the units at Fukushima, told the Guardian workers at the site appeared to have “lost the race” to save the reactor, but said there was no danger of a Chernobyl-style catastrophe.

    Workers have been pumping water into three reactors at the stricken plant in a desperate bid to keep the fuel rods from melting down, but the fuel is at least partially exposed in all the reactors.

    At least part of the molten core, which includes melted fuel rods and zirconium alloy cladding, seemed to have sunk through the steel “lower head” of the pressure vessel around reactor two, Lahey said.

    “The indications we have, from the reactor to radiation readings and the materials they are seeing, suggest that the core has melted through the bottom of the pressure vessel in unit two, and at least some of it is down on the floor of the drywell,” Lahey said. “I hope I am wrong, but that is certainly what the evidence is pointing towards.”

    • bostonboomer says:

      OMG. It’s the China Syndrome. That’s what I’ve been afraid of. It’s in the air and in the ground. What a nightmare! Now maybe they’ll bury it like Chernobyl.

      • WomanVoter says:

        The truth is I really don’t think people, scientists included know exactly what to expect and I have been very concerned from the onset of the problems. What will clouds of this concentrated release do and what are the projections of the damage withing Japan, what are the projections for those down wind?

        Interesting, I had a gov person contact to see what I see on a social media, I looked ’em up and they were who they said they were. I wondered why they wanted to see what I was receiving and read up on them and they are close to Japan and are in the disaster committee for their respective country. I guess they are wondering if they are getting all the information.

        I am praying for Japan, I really am.

        Remembering the Victims of Japan’s 8.9M Earthquake

    • bostonboomer says:

      Crowley was on CNN last night. He’s obviously a very intelligent man. It’s a big loss for the State Dept.

  16. cwaltz says:

    For what it’s worth I agree with you bb. The action was done with multilateral discussion and it’s alternative would have involved continuing to allow Gaddafi to mow down Libyan citizens. While I am not a huge fan of military actions when it comes to it being of a non defensive behavior this comes as close to humanitarian as one can get.

    Oh and dak if you’re peeking, get well.

  17. Minkoff Minx says:

    New article on NYT about the Gang Rape of Girl in Texas.

    Texas Rape Inquiry Shows a 3-Month Ordeal – NYTimes.com

    CLEVELAND, Tex. — A year ago, the 11-year-old girl who the police say was the victim of repeated gang rapes in this East Texas town was an outgoing honor roll student, brimming with enthusiasm, who went on hikes and planted trees with a youth group here.

    “She has always been a really bubbly child,” said Brenda Myers, director of the Community and Children’s Impact Center, who worked with her. “She always had a smile on her face.”

    But in October, just after starting sixth grade, the girl became withdrawn, Ms. Myers said, and in November, she stopped attending the center’s meetings.

    What happened during those months is the subject of a criminal investigation that has sent waves of shock and sorrow through this impoverished town and has provoked anger across the nation.

    The police say the girl was raped on at least six occasions, from Sept. 15 to Dec. 3. Nineteen boys and men, ages 14 to 27, have been charged in connection with the rapes, the most recent arrest last Wednesday.

    Court documents and dozens of interviews over several weeks with the girl’s family, her friends and neighbors, as well as those who know the defendants, provide a more complete picture of what occurred as well as a deeper portrait of the victim. What begins to emerge is the nightmarish ordeal of a young girl over two and a half months involving an eclectic group of young men, some with criminal records, who shared a powerful neighborhood bond.

    • paper doll says:

      What begins to emerge is the nightmarish ordeal of a young girl over two and a half months involving an eclectic group of young men, some with criminal records, who shared a powerful neighborhood bond.

      So it’s saying many knew this was happening over the months and were just fine with that…but it’s the girl’s way of dressing that made them repeatedly rape her…right? Or maybe others said nothing because they were afraid of these criminals …however it puts a new spin on the statement that this was going to say with these men for the rest of their lives…it seems they thought so. Then one of their eclectic number had to ruin the party with cell phone photos

  18. Dario says:

    Furthermore, Libyans had asked for our help, and our action was supported by other Arab countries and by the Arab League. For once the U.S. was doing something that most Arabs wanted us to do

    I don’t believe the Arab people wanted the U.S. to start bombing Libya. When we hear that the Arabs wanted intervention, that means the government of Arab countries. But the gap between the Arab population and their government is wide.

    The view of the U.S. from most Arab people is dismal and distrustful.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Sorry, Dario, but that just isn’t true. You really should read more about this before you make these blanket statements. This is only about the second time in know history that the U.S. did something that the majority of Arabs agree with.

  19. TheRock says:

    Great roundup, BB. I really can’t watch Obumbles speak. After the Sunday news shows, you could tell who took the lead in the Libyan conflict.

    Hillary 2012

    Keep getting better Dak!

  20. Joanelle says:

    Terrific post BB – I agree that we’ve invested so much money in our arsenal of weapons that to finally see it used for humanitarian purposes is good news. But I do agree that we are spending too much money on Afganistan and Iraq and not enough on our people here at home.
    Glad you’re on the mend Dak – my husband had brain surgery a few weeks ago and never did get a room – he ended up staying in post op because there just weren’t any beds in normal hospital rooms – Mt. Sinai Med Center in NYC – they’ve closed so many smaller hospitals in the area that everyone now has to go to the larger hospitals – one of the nurses told us that they don’t even have room in the ER so many ER patients end up in post op or intensive care – its crazy-making

  21. jillforhill says:

    I don’t think it matters if Hillary gets credit. Let Obama take all the credit and claim it. Hillary did the work for this and those who were with her know it like France,the Arab league and UK. Just watch when she is greeted by them,they show respect for her work. Obama is greeted just because his title and not his work.

    His speech was how great he was in just saying yes to Hillary,Rice and Powers. If Cole does not want to give her credit,who cares because those that work with her know what she has done and how good. The only reason Obama showed emotion was because his bracket got busted and showed he does not know anything about college basketball.

    • paper doll says:

      Indeed. The people in the know, know and that’s enough for Hill. So he knows nothing about collage basketball either huh? figures.

  22. Minkoff Minx says:

    I tried to post this earlier but WordPress.com had some hiccups…

    Alan Singer: Politicians Feel the Love, But Not the Kids and Teachers

    At a press conference celebrating drastic cuts to state funding for education and health care for the poor, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, both Democrats, and Senate Majority Leader, Dean Skelos, a Republican, had an old sixties style love-in. As Silver and Skelos smiled, Cuomo kept on asking, can you feel the love. Unfortunately, it was love for fellow politicians, not for kids, the poor, and for much maligned teachers. At least one politician, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City, who I have often castigated, termed the budget deal an “outrage” that would lead to massive lay-offs in education and health.

    With Democrats like this, who needs Republicans?

    • paper doll says:

      Shit, when NYC mayor for Life and social program slash King ,Mike Bloomberg, says your budgest is an outrage… baby, it’s bad.

  23. dakinikat says:

    OT: I’m out of hospital and home now. Tons of meds to take still but at least I’m in clean pjs with freshly washed hair and a cat to cuddle and snoring dog to listen too. Beats a snoring cellmate any day. Plus, NO TV noise or endless beeping of monitor stuff. I may actually sleep tonight.

  24. Heather says:

    I’m against the Libyan War. I’m also confused as to why we believe a word Thomas E. Ricks says. He is no longer a journalist. He works for a war think tank. He is a self-described fan boy of Barack Obama who has repeatedly slimed Hillary Clinton. He counts Nir Rosen (who mocked Lara Logan’s sexual assault) as a friend. And he defended Rosen after Rosen’s smear of ‘Logan had it coming.’ He has posted nude photos (women, naturally) to his Foreign Policy blog because, hey, it’s a man’s world. As I stated up front, I am against the Libyan War. But my puzzlement over Thomas E. Ricks being quoted goes far beyond that. He stopped working for The Washington Post long ago and is now funded by the war machine — his foundation is the same one the current under secretary of defense (Flournoy) comes from — of course he’s going to love any war action. But he’s a voice that women really shouldn’t quote but we should be asking why Foreign Policy has allowed him to post nude photos of women. We might also want to wonder why he promotes every book on the Iraq War except when a woman writes it? Deborah Amos (NPR) wrote an incredible book about Iraqi refugees last year that received universally favorable reviews and was never mentioned by Ricks and she’s far from the only one. Women only exist at his blog if they (a) belong to his think tank, (b) write about “war dogs” and (c)take off their clothes.
    I really think, as women, we need to do our part not to promote Thomas E. Ricks as anything but a sexist and a danger to women. My opinion only.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Hi Heather,

      It would really help if you could provide some to some of this information you refer to.

      I don’t consider the Foreign Policy blog to be a “war blog.” Why do you say that? In his writing about Libya, he has praised Hillary.

      Hillary is the one who has argued for the intervention in Libya and has negotiated the U.N. resolution. She felt strongly about this because of her past experience with times that the U.S. didn’t try to prevent massacres in Somalia, etc.

      My support of the intervention so far has nothing to do with Ricks, and everything to do with my own observations of the uprisings in the MENA and with hearing what Hillary has had to say about them.