Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Matthew Schauenburg - Prepared to Die For Democracy

Matthew Schauenburg is conducting a hunger strike for democracy
Bruce Fealk
• Sun, Mar 13, 2011
Matthew Schauenburg is propped against a pillar inside the Capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin with a sign alerting passersby that he is conducting a hunger strike for democracy. On Saturday, March 12, Matt was in day 8 of his hunger strike.

Matt lives on the east side of Madison in the Hawthorne neighborhood. Matt is conducting a hunger strike in opposition to Governor Scott Walker's budget reform bill and in solidarity with Wisconsin's state and union employees. Matt is a former union member and worked as a steel climber and rigger for the IATSE, a division of the Teamsters.

Matt is going to continue his hunger strike until Governor Walker decides to change his mind on collective bargaining. Matt's second demand to end his hunger strike is for Governor Walker to have a dialog with independents and Democrats regarding the budget. Matt said that he is prepared to deal whatever he has to during his hunger strike, up to and including dying for the cause of democracy.

You can follow Matt at and on Facebook, search for Matthew Schauenburg.

Thom Hartmann: One-party Republican rule in America

Randi Rhodes: Recall

Randi’s out this week, relocating to Florida/escaping from DC. Nicole Sandler will be filling in, her guests today include:

Joshua Holland, senior writer/editor at AlterNet and author of The 15 Biggest Lies About the Economy: and Everything else the Right Doesn't Want You to Know About Taxes, Jobs and Corporate America. Joshua has been covering the right's war on labor and the resurgence of the labor movement, and will provide the latest from Wisconsin and the other states fighting the battle.

Gotta Laff from The Political Carnival will cover the following stories and then some:

Palin: Libya costs vs. Iraq and Afghanistan

Donald Trump didn’t produce a real birth certificate of his own

Radio Shack sign: “Protect yourself with Dish Network. Sign up now, get free gun.”

Fox watchers don’t have a clue that they are being used by the Koch Brothers & their ilk

Dueling Videos: Why Republicans should lose in 2012

Video: Oops! Michele Bachmann demands freedom of speech… except for the L.A. Times plus: Michele Bachmann files for re-election

John Boehner spokesman: “Sen. Chuck ‘Aesop’ Schumer and His Fables”

Audio: Top Fox News Executive Admits Lying On-Air About Obama

And John Amato, founder/publisher of Crooks and Liars, who was on a bloggers conference call with the White House yesterday regarding Libya.

Call Nicole at 866-87-RANDI (866-877-2634)

Nicole’s blog

Today’s Randi Rhodes homework

Randi’s message board

Randi’s comedy bit archive

Randi on Facebook & Twitter

President Obama unveiled his goal to cut US dependence on foreign oil today at Georgetown University…

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Thom Hartmann: Are the Koch Bros and their Tea Party followers shutting down the Government now?

Negotiations in Congress to prevent a government shut down have reportedly fallen through. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid placed the blame on Tea Party Republicans who are refusing to compromise in budget negotiations saying, “The infighting between the tea party and the rest of the Republican Party…is keeping our negotiating partner from the negotiating table."

One of the main obstacles in the budget negotiations are demands by Republicans to defund Planned Parenthood and “Obamacare”. In other words – Republicans are arguing that if disadvantaged women and more than 52 million people nationwide are allowed to have access to critical healthcare services – then they’ll shut down the government!

You can’t make this stuff up. Are Koch Bros and their followers shutting down the Government now?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Where is Eman al-Obeidy?

Outspoken Libyan Rape Survivor Eman Al-Obeidy Reportedly Still In Custody

Last week, a Libyan woman named Eman Al-Obeidy burst into a hotel housing various journalists (other reports call it a “foreign press dining room,” specifically), exhibiting various wounds and telling witnesses that she’d been raped. Al-Obeidy expressed fear that, if she left the hotel, she’d be immediately apprehended by Gaddafi’s forces once again – the same forces who allegedly gang raped her. Despite efforts by journalists to protect Al-Obeidy, she was eventually led away by “security” forces expressing concern over the fact that she may have been “drunk” or “mentally ill.”

According to her mother, Aisha Ahmed – and in stark contrast to reports from officials in Tripoli – Al-Obeidy remains in custody:

Reports are coming in that Iman al-Obeidi, the woman who claimed she was detained and raped by pro-Gaddafi troops, has not been freed from custody. Her mother, Aisha Ahmed, say in an interview with Al-Jazeera that her daughter was being held at Gaddafi’s Bab Al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli.

Her claims contradict the official line from Tripoli which says she was released and five people arrested over her rape accusations. al-Obeidi was dragged away by security officials after rushing into a hotel full of foreign reporters on Saturday.

“I don’t feel ashamed, instead my head is up high,” she says in the interview and says her daughter “broke the barrier that no other man could break”.

Andrew Sullivan adds that, according to a recent report by a physician in Ajdabiya, Viagra and condoms have been found on pro-Qaddafi forces, bolstering the doctor’s fear that they are “systematically using rape as an instrument of war.”

Here is a video report on Al-Obeidy:

Maher’s Anti-Obama GOP Candidate: “Fat, White, Small-Eared Idiot” Karab Amabo

Bill Maher doesn’t think Republicans are interested in doing much but opposing President Barack Obama at every turn, and with that in mind, on Real Time he devised a 2012 presidential candidate he said would be a perfect fit for the party in its current state. Why? The candidate is the exact opposite of Obama in every way but gender, right down to his name…Karab Amabo.

One complaint we often have about Real Time is that even though Maher’s a comedian, it’s not uncommon for us not to find the show that funny. The segment you’ll see below, however, is a different story, with Maher struggling to get through many of the absurd differences between Obama and Amabo without laughing. Amabo, you see, is a “fat, white, small-eared idiot” who “carries only one form of ID: his original birth certificate.” Another Amabo staple: doing away with Obama’s stoicism.

“At the first sign of crisis, Amabo will pray, scream, shit his pants, and fly Air Force One into a mountain.”

Amabo is really into praying, considering another defining trait is that he and his family “go to church every four hours.” We also enjoyed the Idiocracy-like touch of “a meth lab where the White House garden used to be”…oh, and get ready for Susan Boyle to factor into this somehow, too. Video, via HBO, below.

Bill Maher: Only Race Could Explain 51% Of Republican Voters Being Birthers

Bill Maher was startled by the results of some polls on Republicans’ beliefs he read recently, and devoted a segment on tonight’s Real Time to analyzing them. And while any segment where Maher discusses Republicans is in danger of turning into a bash-fest filled with accusations of racism, this one stayed calmer…and produced a pretty good segment of television.

First, Maher cited poll numbers that said 46 percent of Republicans think Obama Muslim, while just 24 percent believe he’s a Christian. (We’re not sure why Maher would be particularly alarmed by the latter statistic, since he doesn’t really think Obama’s a Christian, either.) Maher seemed more troubled by a different number: that supposedly, 51 percent of Republican primary voters think Obama wasn’t born in America. Hearing that figure, Maher could only ask his panel’s conservative, David Brooks: “Is there a number where you just go, ‘I can’t be associated with these people’?”

Brooks (a conservative, not a Republican, as he noted) said that saying that you believe Obama was born in U.S. while also saying you’ll let others believe what they want is “a cowardly way out of this thing.” And Maher had his own viewpoint, which (surprise) involved race:

“If 51 percent think he was not born in America, I don’t know where that else is coming from except race. What more could [Obama] do to be the perfect family man?…There is nothing about this man that is un-American, except, to them, his color. I gotta think it’s coming from that place.”

Meanwhile, Daily Beast/Newsweek editor Tina Brown thought Tea Partiers were “being exploited by political charlatans,” while Brooks said he thinks “every Republican in Congress” actually believes Obama’s American, but is afraid to say so out loud. Ed Rendell, former governor of Pennsylvania, concurred, saying it’s all symptomatic of being “afraid to do anything” – and for the record, he said it affects both parties. A nation of wusses, indeed.

The segment was all over the place – there was also a conversation about the Paul LePage mural mess, Rendell brought up gun control, Brown brought up Lady Gaga – but an entertaining (and level-headed, as far as these things go) conversation all the same. Video, via HBO, below.

Randi Rhodes: Goodbye Simon oxox

Randi’s out this week, relocating to Florida/escaping from DC. Nicole Sandler will be filling in, her guests today include:

Comedian/actor John Fugelsang on all things fit to mock.

Nicole Belle of Crooks and Liars will join Nicole for her ‘Fools on the Hill’ segment. On today’s agenda:

Brit Hume: If the Health Care Law Had Incorporated Some Republican Ideas, They'd Have Voted for It

Chris Matthews’ Panel Thinks Haley Barbour Can Overcome His Racist Past

Newt Gingrich says he's not a hypocrite because his own marital indiscretions instructed him on impeaching Bill Clinton

Gingrich admits to a double flip-flop on Libya intervention

Ted Koppel Bemoans The Death Of Real News, But All Howie Kurtz Wants To Focus On Is Liberal Bias

Meet The Press Panel Asks The $64,000 Question: Why Libya?

Chris Wallace Whines About White House Refusing to Put Anyone on His Show

And Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson, will have an update on the ongoing battle for workers in the Badger State.

Call Nicole at 866-87-RANDI (866-877-2634)

Nicole’s blog

Today’s Randi Rhodes homework

Randi’s message board

Randi’s comedy bit archive

Randi on Facebook & Twitter

And sadly, Randi lost Simon Big Head over the weekend. Simon’s final journey is back to Iowa State University to aid researchers combating canine blindness and its underlying causes.

Thom Hartmann: 500,000 were in the streets of London to protest $130 billion cuts in spending and 500,000 public workers - did you hear it in the US n

More than 500,000 people took to the streets of London over the weekend to protest the British Government’s proposed austerity program that will cut $130 billion in spending and lay off nearly 500,000 public workers. All walks of British life are expected to be affected by the cuts to childcare services, retirees, public safety programs and sets the nation’s single payer healthcare system on the road to privatization. London hasn’t seen a protest this big since the 2003 demonstration again the Iraq war.

Front and center in the protests was the UK Uncut movement - that targets corporate tax dodgers. The organization's counterpart in the United States – US Uncut – also held demonstrations across our country at more than 40 Bank of American branches on Saturday. The entire world is rejecting corporate tax cuts paid for by spending cuts that screw working families.

And here in the US – while we may be getting a late start – more and more people are standing up against John Boehner and the Republicans radical agenda to devastate the middle class – and sell our nation out to transnational corporations.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Thom Hartmann: Have we officially returned to when the Robber Barons ruled?

VoteWe know that millions around the nation have been screwed over by predatory lenders and fine print credit card contracts - and now are swimming in debt. But can you believe that some of these people are actually being thrown in prison for going into debt? That's right - American in the 21st century is bringing back debtors' prisons. People who can't pay off their credit cards can be thrown in jail in a third of the states in our nation - and since the start of 2010 - over 5,000 arrest warrants have been issued against people who owe as little as $1,000 to massively profitable corporations like Capital One.

Here you go Donald....Barack Obama pictures: The early years

Hey Donald Trump, here are those photos you claim don't exist: of a Young American Barack Obama Growing up.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Randi Rhodes: Hypocrites & Amazons

Newt Gingrich really stands out among the rightwingers for his hypocrisy on Libya. Do you know how hard that is to do? That’s like standing out as “the sleazy one” on one of the “Real Housewives” shows. Two weeks ago, Gingrich was demanding that Obama should “Exercise a no-fly zone this evening.” Yesterday he claimed “I would not have intervened.” Yeesh, Newt, if you turn around any harder and faster, you’re going to rupture a disc. Newt Gingrich has flip-flopped so hard on Libya that it would make John McCain’s head spin!

Meanwhile, John Boehner is being just as two-faced as Newt Gingrich. The only difference is that both of John Boehner’s faces are orange. Boehner sent a letter to President Obama complaining about how Obama was handling the situation in Libya. You’ve heard of drunk dialing? Drunk texting? I hope John Boehner wasn’t drunk mailing. Boehner’s letter criticized the President for what Boehner said was the lack of a clearly defined mission in Libya. Wait, I thought that John Boehner’s mission for this Congress was “jobs, jobs, jobs.” What’s worse—lacking a clearly defined mission, or having a clearly defined mission, and clearly ignoring it?

It seems Muammar Gadhafi has a special all-female bodyguard corps of 40 gun-toting, lipstick wearing, bejeweled trained killers (pictured below). Hmmm… sounds like somebody has been watching too many Russ Meyer movies. I think Colonel Gadhafi needs to keep his sexual fantasies and his security needs separate. The women wear heavy makeup and jewelry with their military uniforms. They’re the only military force in the world with combat medals made by Tiffany. The bodyguards are graduates of an elite military academy in Tripoli for women. Anyone who thinks that women need to be trained to kill never saw JWow and Sammi go at it on “The Jersey Shore.” In 1998, a bodyguard named Aisha threw herself on top of Gadhafi when Islamic militants ambushed his motorcade. She was killed in a barrage of bullets. Well girls, after hearing that, I’m sure you don’t feel quite as foolish about doing something like getting a perm for a guy who didn’t really appreciate it. That poor bodyguard never even had the chance to have her girlfriends take her out and spend the evening telling her “Aisha, he’s not worth it.”

Today’s Homework | Discuss

A line of Gadhafi’s bodyguards, often referred to as his “Amazons”. See more

Thom Hartmann: Have we officially returned to when the Robber Barons ruled?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thom Hartmann: They're all like Robin Hoods for the super rich - steal from the poor - give to millionaires and billionaires!!

Randi Rhodes: McFlip-Flop's Gadhafi Problem

Colonel Gadhafi has made another TV appearance. Evidently his advisors told him to ditch the umbrella and the sunglasses. This time he was dressed in a simple black ensemble. I’ll give him this—he pulls the all-black outfit off a lot better than Rush Limbaugh. But he’s still nowhere near Johnny Cash. Gadhafi made a statement of less than five minutes from a balcony in Tripoli. Evidently he has a good idea how long it would take US warplanes to zero in on a balcony in Tripoli. Later, Libyan state TV showed footage of a wrecked and burning house with a caption saying “the crusader imperialism bombs civilians.” Very colorful. I think somebody at Libyan state TV could get a job with Frank Luntz.

The record shows that John McCain was very much for Gadhafi before he was against him. Is that any surprise? If you want to get good quotes on both sides of any issue, all you have to do is google “John McCain views.” These days McCain is calling for Gadhafi’s ouster because Gadhafi “has American blood on his hands.” But a year and a half ago, McCain went to Libya to meet with Gadhafi. And I doubt that when they shook hands, McCain pointed out the blood on Gadhafi’s hands.

President Obama is getting rave reviews for his trip to South America. Well, at Fox News, they just rave. Obama signed trade and Open Skies agreements in Brazil, education and nuclear-cooperation agreements in Chile, and security agreements in El Salvador. Not bad for a “vacation.” Obama had his hands full in South America. Not as full as Mark Sanford’s hands when he was in South America, but full nonetheless.

Finally, we’d like to note the sad passing of Elizabeth Taylor, not only an iconic actress, but someone who raised over $100 million for AIDS. Ms. Taylor had a career that spanned over 70 years. Incidentally, after he’s done revamping Social Security, a career of 70 years is exactly what Alan Simpson has in mind for all of us.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Lewis Black makes the case for President Trump on last night’s Daily Show…

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Randi Rhodes: Flak from Both Sides

An American fighter plane crashed in Libya overnight (left), with both crew members being safely rescued. The cause of the crash is believed to be mechanical failure, which makes more sense than the conservative theory that President Obama ordered the pilots to ditch the plane because he does not believe in American exceptionalism.

Incidentally, the military name for the operation in Libya is “Odyssey Dawn.” I don’t know if that’s the best choice. Wasn’t the Odyssey about an endeavor that ended up taking ten years longer than the participants thought it would?

There are complaints from both the far left and the far right about the constitutionality of the operation in Libya. Of course, the far right doesn’t think it’s constitutional for President Obama to do anything… including to be President. President Obama sent a letter to Congress saying that he does have the power to authorize the strikes. But then if Fox News is right, and the president is on vacation, maybe he didn’t send a letter. Maybe he sent a postcard from Rio: “I do have the right to authorize military strikes of limited duration and scope in the national interest. Wish you were here! Love, Barack.”

In the War At Home, people need to wake up to the implications of Michigan’s martial law bill for financial emergencies. The thing about “financial emergencies” is that they can be easily created, should anybody actually want one. And this bill gives the governor a reason to want one. Besides, it’s never really a financial “emergency,” unless there’s a guy at your door ready to break your kneecap. The recall drive in Wisconsin is ahead of schedule. The recall for the Republican Senators, that is. Governor Scott Walker can’t be recalled for a year. But then by the time he is eligible for recall, they’ll have everything ready for him, right down to a packing box for his personal effects. Michigan is the Wolverine State. Wisconsin is the Badger State. And right now they’ve both got weasels in charge.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Flashback 1986: President Reagan announces strikes against Libya. You’ll note that he cites the UN Charter, but not a Congressional resolution… because he didn’t have one.

Chernobyl Cleanup Survivor's Message for Japan: 'Run Away as Quickly as Possible'

Dana Kennedy

Dana Kennedy Contributor

Natalia Manzurova, one of the few survivors among those directly involved in the long cleanup of Chernobyl, was a 35-year-old engineer at a nuclear plant in Ozersk, Russia, in April 1986 when she and 13 other scientists were told to report to the wrecked, burning plant in the northern Ukraine.

It was just four days after the world's biggest nuclear disaster spewed enormous amounts of radiation into the atmosphere and forced the evacuation of 100,000 people.

Manzurova and her colleagues were among the roughly 800,000 "cleaners" or "liquidators" in charge of the removal and burial of all the contamination in what's still called the dead zone.

Natalia Manzurova
Courtesy of Natalia Manzurova
Natalia Manzurova, shown here in 1988 in the "dead zone" of the Pripyat, is one of the relatively few survivors among those directly involved in the cleanup of Chernobyl.
She spent 4 1/2 years helping clean the abandoned town of Pripyat, which was less than two miles from the Chernobyl reactors. The plant workers lived there before they were abruptly evacuated.

Manzurova, now 59 and an advocate for radiation victims worldwide, has the "Chernobyl necklace" -- a scar on her throat from the removal of her thyroid -- and myriad health problems. But unlike the rest of her team members, who she said have all died from the results of radiation poisoning, and many other liquidators, she's alive.

AOL News spoke with Manzurova about the nuclear disaster in Japan with the help of a translator on the telephone Monday from Vermont. Manzurova, who still lives in Ozersk, was beginning a one-week informational tour of the U.S. organized by the Beyond Nuclear watchdog group.

AOL News: What was your first reaction when you heard about Fukushima?
Manzurova: It felt like déjà vu. I felt so worried for the people of Japan and the children especially. I know the experience that awaits them.

But experts say Fukushima is not as bad as Chernobyl.
Every nuclear accident is different, and the impact cannot be truly measured for years. The government does not always tell the truth. Many will never return to their homes. Their lives will be divided into two parts: before and after Fukushima. They'll worry about their health and their children's health. The government will probably say there was not that much radiation and that it didn't harm them. And the government will probably not compensate them for all that they've lost. What they lost can't be calculated.

What message do you have for Japan?
Run away as quickly as possible. Don't wait. Save yourself and don't rely on the government because the government lies. They don't want you to know the truth because the nuclear industry is so powerful.

Natalia Manzurova
Courtesy of Natalia Manzurova
Natalia Manzurova, now 59, has suffered a variety of ailments since she worked at Chernobyl, but she says she is the only member of her team still alive.
When you were called to go to Chernobyl, did you know how bad it was there?
I had no idea and never knew the true scope until much later. It was all covered in secrecy. I went there as a professional because I was told to -- but if I was asked to liquidate such an accident today, I'd never agree. The sacrifices the Fukushima workers are making are too high because the nuclear industry was developed in such a way that the executives don't hold themselves accountable to the human beings who have to clean up a disaster. It's like nuclear slavery.

What was your first impression of Chernobyl?
It was like a war zone where a neutron bomb had gone off. I always felt I was in the middle of a war where the enemy was invisible. All the houses and buildings were intact with all the furniture, but there wasn't a single person left. Just deep silence everywhere. Sometimes I felt I was the only person alive on a strange planet. There are really no words to describe it.

What did your work as a liquidator entail?
First, we measured radiation levels and got vegetation samples to see how high the contamination was. Then bulldozers dug holes in the ground and we buried everything -- houses, animals, everything. There were some wild animals that were still alive, and we had to kill them and put them in the holes.

Were any pets left in the houses?
The people had only a few hours to leave, and they weren't allowed to take their dogs or cats with them. The radiation stays in animals' fur and they can't be cleaned, so they had to be abandoned. That's why people were crying when they left. All the animals left behind in the houses were like dried-out mummies. But we found one dog that was still alive.

Where did you find the dog and how did he survive?
We moved into a former kindergarten to use as a laboratory and we found her lying in one of the children's cots there. Her legs were all burned from the radiation and she was half blind. Her eyes were all clouded from the radiation. She was slowly dying.

Were you able to rescue her?
No. Right after we moved in, she disappeared. And this is the amazing part. A month later we found her in the children's ward of the (abandoned) hospital. She was dead. She was lying in a child's bed, the same size bed we found her in the kindergarten. Later we found out that she loved children very much and was always around them.

How did working in the dead zone begin to affect your health?
I started to feel as if I had the flu. I would get a high temperature and start to shiver. What happens during first contact with radiation is that your good flora is depleted and the bad flora starts to flourish. I suddenly wanted to sleep all the time and eat a lot. It was the organism getting all the energy out.

How much radiation were you subjected to?
We were never told. We wore dosimeters which measured radiation and we submitted them to the bosses, but they never gave us the results.

But didn't you realize the danger and want to leave?
Yes, I knew the danger. All sorts of things happened. One colleague stepped into a rainwater pool and the soles of his feet burned off inside his boots. But I felt it was my duty to stay. I was like a firefighter. Imagine if your house was burning and the firemen came and then left because they thought it was too dangerous.

When did you discover the thyroid tumor?
They found it during a routine medical inspection after I had worked there several years. It turned out to be benign. I don't know when it started to develop. I had an operation to remove half the thyroid gland. The tumor grew back, and last year I had the other half removed. I live on (thyroid) hormones now.

Sponsored Links
Why did you go back to Chernobyl after getting a thyroid tumor?
Right around the time of my operation, the government passed a law saying the liquidators had to work for exactly 4 1/2 years to get our pension and retire. If you left even one day early, you would not get any benefits.

Really? That seems beyond cruel.
It's why the nuclear industry is dangerous. They want to deny the dangers. They kept changing the law about what benefits we'd get because if they admitted how much we were affected, it would look bad for the industry. Now we hardly get any benefits.

Did your health worsen after you finally finished work at Chernobyl?
I was basically disabled at 43. I was having fits similar to epileptic fits. My blood pressure was sky high. It was hard to work for more than six months a year. The doctors didn't know what to do with me. They wanted to put me in a psychiatric ward and call me crazy. Finally they admitted it was because of the radiation.

Thom Hartmann: 100 cruise missiles were dropped on Libya at $1 million each in one day - Can we fire cruise missiles and teachers and survive?

A US fighter jet crashed in Libya this morning. Military officials claim that the crash was caused by mechanical failure and not by anti-aircraft fire - and both pilots have been rescued with only minor injuries. Meanwhile - US led airstrikes continued in Libya for the third day in a row - but may be winding down as the New York Times reports that all the initial objectives of the campaign have been met - and command of the operation will soon be handed over to European allies.

But hopes of a quick resolution in Libya are fading - as Gadhafi's forces and rebel forces are in a stalemate - and a long civil war now seems likely. World leaders are speaking out against the operation in Libya. The Chief of the Arab League questioned that tactics used in the bombing campaign - and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin argued that the bombings were "medieval crusades". But at least the British have received the consent of their people for military action. The British Parliament voted overwhelmingly in support of the mission in Libya - yet here in the US - John Boehner has Congress working a short week - and there has been no debate over this new war. In one day over the weekend - the US government dropped more than 100 Tomahawk cruise missiles on Libya at about $1 million each - that's $100 million down the one day!

On the other hand - NPR receives about $5 million annually from the federal government through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. So Republicans are more than willing to debate defunding NPR for a week - but when it comes to a war that costs the taxpayers 20 times more in one day that NPR costs all year - let's take the day off!

President Obama has overstepped his command - our elected representatives have neglected their duties - and America has flung itself into a third war with no clear objective or exit strategy. We're starting to look more like the militaristic empire - than a beacon of freedom and democracy around the world.


(Who or what would you rather fire? Tell us here.)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Randi Rhodes: Target: Libya

Over this weekend, President Obama had to oversee military actions against Libya while on a diplomatic and trade mission to South America. It’s times like this when you’re glad we have a president who can multi-task. Imagine if John McCain was president? John McCain can’t even uni-task. If John McCain were president, we would have accidentally bombed Brazil and signed a trade agreement for Brazil nuts with Gadhafi.

Speaker John Boehner warned that “the Administration must do a better job of communicating to the American people and to Congress about our mission.” Oh, you mean the way George Bush communicated about our mission in Iraq? If President Obama was communicating with the American people about this action the way Bush communicated about his war in Iraq, Obama would have spent the last few months trying to connect Gadhafi to the attacks on 9/11 and insinuating that Libya had nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, the talking point at Fox News is that, on his visit to Brazil, President Obama has “gone to Rio.” Over the past few days the commentators at Fox News have used the phrase “go to Rio” more times than Peter Allen did during his entire career. On Fox News, Washington Times columnist Charles Hurt said “President Obama has absolutely abdicated his role as leader of the free world.” Hello. He’s in trade talks. He’s not dancing on a carnival float with a bunch of women wearing nothing but several strings of beads. Video below.

What’s Fox’s idea of how a president should act? Donald Trump has been bragging to Fox News that he screwed Muammar Gadhafi in a business deal. Really! Donald Trump thinks we should be impressed that he ripped Gadhafi off. If that’s all we’re looking for, maybe we should make Bernie Madoff president. Trump said he swindled Gadhafi in a deal to rent some land. Of course, he didn’t do that because Gadhafi is a bad guy. I’m sure Donald Trump would have made the same deal with Nelson Mandela. Donald, you’re not a hero because you screwed Gadhafi in a business deal, any more than the person who sold Muammar Gadhafi those outfits he wears is a hero. What are you going to do next? Go to North Korea and get Kim Jong Il to invest in some Florida swampland?

Today’s Homework | Discuss

112th Congress, 1st Session - 2011 Published Schedules

2011 published schedule

2011 Holidays &
Special Events

2011 published schedule
January 1
New Year's Day
January 5

January 12-15

Senate Convenes

Senate Democratic Retreat

January 5
112th Congress, First Session, convenes (pro-forma)
January 5

January 13-15

House Convenes

House Republican Retreat

January 17 - 23 Senate Recess January 17
Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 25
State of the Union (tentative)
February 7
President's Budget submission*

February 12 Lincoln's Birthday

January 31 - February 6 House Recess
February 21 - 27 President's Day Senate Recess February 21 Presidents' Day February 21 - 27 House Recess
March 21 - 27 Senate Recess March 13 Daylight Savings Time begins (spring forward) March 21 - 27 House Recess
April 18- May 1 Senate Recess April 18 Passover begins at sundown

April 22 Good Friday

April 24 Easter

April 18- May 1

May 16 - 22

House Recess

House Recess

May 30 - June 5 Senate Recess May 30 Memorial Day

June 6 - 12

House Recess

June 14 Flag Day
July 4 - 10 Senate Recess July 4 Independence Day June 27 - July 5

July 18 - 24

House Recess

House Recess

August 8 - September 5

September 26 - October 2

Senate Recess

Senate Recess

September 5 Labor Day

September 28 Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown

October 1 FY 2012 begins

August 8 - September 5

September 26 - October 2

House Recess

House Recess

October 7 - 10

October 24 - 30

Senate Recess

Senate Recess

October 7 Yom Kippur

October 10 Columbus

November 6 Daylight Savings Time ends (fall back)

November 8 Election Day

November 11 Veteran's Day observed

November 24 Thanksgiving Day

October 17- 23

November 7- 13

November 21- 27

House Recess

House Recess

House Recess

TBD Target Senate Adjournment

December 20 Hanukkah begins at sundown

December 25 Christmas Day

December 8 Target House Adjournment

* The president is required by law (31 USC 1105) to submit his annual budget proposal to Congress by the first Monday in February. In a new administration, the president typically submits a placeholder document and fills in the details some weeks later. See "Submission of the President's Budget in Transition Years," by Robert Keith, CRS Report for Congress RS20752, September 15, 2008 (6-page PDF ). Also see our course, The President's Budget.

Sources: US Senate, US House of Representatives, CQ Today, December 9, 2008. 2010 Federal Holidays from OPM

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URL: TheCapitol.Net/FAQ/cong_schedule.htm

Thom Hartmann: Our nation is at war today, once again without the Constitutionally-mandated debate in Congress leading to a declaration of war

Our nation is at war today, once again without the Constitutionally-mandated debate in Congress leading to a declaration of war, because John Boehner instead chose to debate defunding NPR and Planned Parenthood, leaving the decision to President Obama. Over the weekend - more than 100 cruise missiles were launched by British and American forces into the nation of Libya - taking out crucial air defenses to pave the way for enforcement of a no-fly zone above the nation.

The military action comes just hours before Moammar Gadhafi's military was about to move into the city of Benghazi - the last remaining stronghold of rebel forces - and put an end to the uprising that's split his nation in two over the last month. In response to the airstrikes - Gadhafi opened up weapons depots around the nation to arm Libyans with machine guns and mortars and vowed to give coalition forces a, "long war." There are reports that nearly 50 people have died in the airstrikes and 150 others injured. President Obama justified the military action saying, "We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy."

While the causes for our military intervention in Libya today may be noble - it must be pointed out that this is the third military engagement with a Muslim nation in the last decade. And all it takes is one stray missile to further set back our causes to wins hearts and minds in the region.

As long as the United States is viewed as a habitual bomb dropper - then it will be very difficult to prevent another generation of radical Muslims


(Should America be in Libya? Tell us here.)

Bill Maher: Comparing Republicans to Meth Addicts - Classic!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Republican lawmaker blames 11-year-old victim of alleged gang rape

By David Edwards
Wednesday, March 16th, 2011 -- 4:19 pm

Elected officials should know better than to blame the victim of a sex crime.

While it's a common tactic of abusers, it's something no one expected of Republican Florida state Rep. Kathleen Passidomo.

During debate over a bill that would legislate a dress code for Florida students, Passidomo blamed the alleged gang raping of an 11-year-old in Cleveland, Texas on the way the young girl was dressed.

"There was an article about an 11 year old girl who was gangraped in Texas by 18 young men because she was dressed like a 21-year-old prostitute," Passidomo declared.

"And her parents let her attend school like that. And I think it’s incumbent upon us to create some areas where students can be safe in school and show up in proper attire so what happened in Texas doesn’t happen to our students," she added.

Broward/Palm Beach New Times' Brandon Thorp was shocked.

"Whoa!" he wrote. "As a genus, politicians aren't the brightest wicks in the candelabra, but they usually possess sufficient self-awareness to shield the public from the horrorshows of their minds. Blaming the rape of an 11-year-old girl on her parents' sense of fashion -- and to do so out loud -- smacks of rank amateurism."

At a civc meeting in Cleveland following the crime, local residents there had also placed blame on the girl.

"Many who attended the meeting said they supported the group of men and boys who have been charged in the case," The Associated Press reported. "Supporters didn't claim that the men and boys did not have sex with the young girl; instead they blamed the girl for the way she dressed or claimed she must have lied about her age — accusations that have drawn strong responses from those who note an 11-year-old cannot consent to sex and that it doesn't matter how she was dressed."

Even a New York Times article on the alleged rape was widely criticized for lack of balance.

"[Residents] said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s," the Times reported.

"These elements, creating an impression of concern for the perpetrators and an impression of a provocative victim, led many readers to interpret the subtext of the story to be: she had it coming," Times public editor Arthur Brisbane noted several days later.

"We live in a society that continues to blame and shame victims of sexual assault," Kelly Boros, communications manager of the Houston Area Women’s Center, told El Gato Media Network.

"It is disheartening but not surprising to see rape myths perpetuated in the news; sometimes subtly and sometimes blatantly."

Friday, March 18, 2011

Randi Rhodes: Nuclear Physicist Ann Coulter

It’s Friday, ya bastids!

Japan’s nuclear safety agency raised the severity of the situation from a 4 to a 5 on an international scale with 7 levels. I’m glad that they have a numeric scale. It saves me the trouble of trying to spell “Chernobyl” correctly. Radiation has now reached Southern California, but in levels so miniscule that they pose no threat. On the West Coast, there’s a run at health stores on kelp products that supposedly protect from certain types of radiation. I’m pretty sure it’s liberals buying most of the kelp products at the health stores. The conservatives are buying bullets. Kelp and bullets… wow. If the crap ever really hits the fan, I guess liberals will just have to hope the conservative nutcases succumb to thyroid cancer before they start shooting everyone.

Ann Coulter is now arguing that radiation is good for you. Really. I wouldn’t even think to make up something like this to smear Ann Coulter with. Give the woman credit for originality. Ann says “anyone exposed to excess radiation from the nuclear power plants is now probably much less likely to get cancer.” Radiation is healthy! I had no idea. Here all those hippies are putting herbal concoctions in their baths, when they should have been using nuclear fuel rods. Ann, if you’re so convinced of the healing properties of a big dose of radiation, you might want to volunteer to help cool the reactors at the plant in Japan. Coulter even claims that the animals around the Chernobyl reactor are “thriving.” Sure, especially if you consider an extra leg or eye or face to be part of a thriving lifestyle.

Really, Ann, why stop at saying that radiation is merely healthy? Go all the way. I think you’ll find a lot of people who think that radiation gives you superpowers. Why, if you can just get bitten by a radioactive spider, you’ll be able to “do whatever a spider can!” “Is he strong? Listen bud, He’s got radioactive blood.” Thanks, radiation! Now I’m going out and fighting crime!

Is it really surprising that Ann Coulter thinks radiation is good for you? Look at her. This is a woman who isn’t even aware of the health benefits of eating food.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) mocks the GOP yesterday on the House floor over voting to defund NPR…

Thom Hartmann: The fate of the nuclear plant – the nation of Japan – and the world

Japanese officials are hoping to have electricity reconnected to at least two of the crippled nuclear reactors at the Daiichi plant today. In the meantime – efforts are still underway to douse reactor 3 with water to prevent both a meltdown and radioactive waste containing plutonium from escaping into the atmosphere.

Even if electricity is successfully restored – it’s not certain that the crucial cooling pumps that funnel water into each reactor will still work. More smoke was seen billowing out of reactor 2 today – and no one is exactly sure why – and elevated levels of radiation have been detected throughout Japan – including beyond Tokyo – about 150 miles South of the doomsday nuclear plant.

Reactors 1, 2, and 3 are believed to have all experienced partial meltdowns – basically – 3 Three Mile Islands have already taken place at the Daiichi plant. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency is describing the events as “grave and serious.” And Gregory Jaczko – the chief of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission warned that it could take weeks to get the plant under control. There are reports that Japan is contemplating a “Chernobyl solution” of burying the entire facility in concrete – which could prevent more radiation from leaking – but would leave a large area of Japan uninhabitable for decades.

These next few days will be crucial in determining the fate of the nuclear plant – the nation of Japan – and the world.


(What do you think will happen to the Fukushima plant? Tell us here.)

Randi Rhodes: Flag this message Japan's Tragedy & Michigan's Martial Law

Well, it’s Saint Patrick’s Day, but the world’s attention is still riveted on the crisis in Japan. Does anybody have any green radiation suits we could wear? It’s very difficult for non-experts to understand what’s going on at the crippled reactor. The scary part is that it’s becoming clear that it’s just as difficult for the experts to understand.

In Japan they’ve been trying to cool the nuclear fuel rods by dropping water from helicopters and spraying water cannons from trucks. I don’t know the Japanese alphabet, but I’m pretty sure that’s not “Plan A.” We’re looking at least at “Plan D” here. I have a bad feeling that dropping water from helicopters is only a couple of steps above “praying for a very heavy rain.”

Hour One Guest: Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) on the safety of US nuclear power plants

Japanese officials have evacuated everyone within 12 miles of the stricken reactor. Meanwhile, US officials are telling Americans in Japan to stay at least 50 miles away. To give you an idea how big a 50-mile radius is, that’s closer than the San Onofre nuclear plant is to Los Angeles, or the Indian Point nuclear plant is to New York City. In other words, the US government is telling Americans to stay farther away from the Japanese nuclear plant than the distance they allow nuclear plants to be built from America’s largest cities.

How bad is the situation in Japan? An American official said that we could be headed toward a situation that would be “deadly for decades.” Deadly for decades? Wow. You know it’s bad when the situation is being described in terms that sound like the title of an old Jean Claude Van Damme movie. The European Union’s energy commissioner said “Practically everything is out of control. I cannot exclude the worst in the hours and days to come.” Wow. It almost makes you want to turn on Fox News just to hear some comforting lies.

In Michigan, thousands of people gathered to protest the Governor Rick Snyder’s new “financial martial law” bill. You know, this would have been a lot easier if liberals had gathered in large numbers before the elections.

Hour Two Guest: Mark Gaffney, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO on Michigan’s new “financial martial law” law and the Michigan governor’s union-busting plans

The new law in Michigan allows the governor to take over democratically elected local governments and replace them with “corporate managers” of his own choosing. These “corporate managers” can eliminate a city’s government entirely if they decide to. They’re more like some sort of administrators put in charge by an occupying force than the instruments of an elected official. I guess that’s the point.

Today’s Homework | Discuss