The Hive – Please Talk Among Yourselves

Given all the news going on in the world right now, we thought this might be a good time to resurrect our weekly discussion thread.

So please feel free to post your general musings on the issues of the day here. But remember to post any specific news items in the ‘Selected News’ section.



HuffPo: Shutdown May Trigger Recession

Naturally we don’t normally post articles from Zsa Zsa’s AOL’s dream factory at the Huffington Post. But sometimes we just can’t resist highlighting the latest Democrat talking points, simply for their amusement factor:

Prolonged Government Shutdown Could Wither Confidence And Even Trigger Recession

William Alden

An extended federal government shutdown could devastate the U.S. economy by dealing a blow to Americans’ confidence, experts said Tuesday.

By the way, these "experts" are never named.

If lawmakers cannot reach agreement on a bill to fund the government by April 8, a broad array of federal programs will come to a halt. Although most shutdown plans remain classified, during the last major federal government shutdown in 1995, certain health services were shut down. Court cases were delayed.



Al Qaeda: Revolts = Great Leap Forward

From a cheering Reuters:

Qaeda: Arab revolts herald "great leap forward"

Wed Mar 30, 2011

LONDON (Reuters) – Al Qaeda’s most influential English-language preacher said revolts sweeping the Arab world would help rather than harm its cause by giving Islamists freed from tyranny greater scope to speak out.

The hell you say.

Western and Arab officials say the example set by young Arabs seeking peaceful political change is a counterweight to al-Qaeda’s push for violent militancy and weakens its argument that democracy and Islam are incompatible.

Yes, just look at all of the democracies springing up across the Middle East. There’s…

But al Qaeda preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, in an article published online on Tuesday, said the removal of anti-Islamist autocrats meant Islamic fighters and scholars were now freer to discuss and organize.



Obama Approval Rating Hits Lowest Level

From Bloomberg:

Obama’s Job Approval Rating Reaches Lowest Level, Poll Finds

By Jonathan D. Salant – Mar 30, 2011

President Barack Obama’s job approval reached its lowest level, and nearly half of Americans surveyed opposed the U.S. military intervention in Libya, a Quinnipiac University poll found.

Also, 50 percent of the registered voters surveyed by the Hamden, Connecticut-based university’s polling institute said Obama didn’t deserve re-election in 2012, according to results released today, compared with 41 percent who said he should receive a second four-year term.

Obama’s overall approval rating in late March was at 42 percent, down from 46 percent in a March 3 Quinnipiac survey and at its lowest level in all the university’s surveys on the president, said Peter Brown, the polling institute’s assistant director.



Hugo Chavez Wins A ‘Journalism’ Award

From a cheering Associated Press:

Hugo Chavez, journalism award-winner in Argentina

Tue Mar 29, 2011

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Hugo Chavez is getting a journalism award in Argentina.

The Venezuelan leader regularly threatens opposition media, but the University of La Plata is giving him an award for what it describes as his work giving people without a voice access to the airwaves and newspapers.

Of course the only surprise here is that he hasn’t yet won a Pulitzer. But that will come.

Chavez’s government has bankrolled the growth of the Telesur network, providing a state-funded alternative to privately financed broadcast stations across Latin America.

In other words, Mr. Chavez’s government has a directly funded propaganda arm just like we have PBS and NPR. (In addition to the freelance propagandists in the rest of our watchdog media.)

He met Tuesday with his ally President Cristina Fernandez.



Hillary Hopes UN Will Let US Arm Rebels

From the UK’s Guardian:

US paves way to arm Libyan rebels

Clinton tells London conference that UN security council resolution 1973 over-rode absolute prohibition of arms to Libya

Nicholas Watt , chief political correspondent
Tuesday 29 March 2011

Hillary Clinton has paved the way for the United States to arm the Libyan rebels by declaring that the recent UN security council resolution relaxed an arms embargo on the country.

As Libya’s opposition leaders called for the international community to arm them, the secretary of state indicated that the US was considering whether to meet their demands when she talked of a "work in progress".

The US indicated on Monday night that it had not ruled out arming the rebels, though it was assumed this would take some time because of a UN arms embargo which applies to all sides in Libya.



BHO To Blame US Oil Co’s For Gas Prices

From an unquestioning Reuters:

Obama to set ambitious goal to curb U.S. oil imports

By Alister Bull [sic]
March 30, 2011

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will set an ambitious goal on Wednesday to cut oil imports by a third over 10 years, focusing on energy security amid high gasoline prices that could stall the U.S. economic recovery.

And never mind that his policies – moratoriums on drilling, closing of Yucca Mountain – have made us more dependent upon foreign oil than ever.

By the way, how does this pledge comport with Mr. Obama’s remarks last week about wanting to import more Brazilian oil?

Obama will outline his strategy in a speech after spending days explaining U.S.-led military action in Libya, where fighting, accompanied by popular unrest elsewhere in the Arab world, has helped push gasoline prices toward $4 a gallon.



Rebels Only Show ‘Flickers’ Of Al Qaeda

From an unquestioning Reuters:

Intelligence on Libya rebels shows "flickers" of Qaeda

March 29, 2011

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Intelligence on the rebel forces battling Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has shown "flickers" of al Qaeda or Hezbollah presence, but there is still no detailed picture of the emerging Libyan opposition, NATO’s top operations commander said on Tuesday.

"We are examining very closely the content, composition, the personalities, who are the leaders of these opposition forces," Admiral James Stavridis, who is NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and also the commander of U.S. European Command, said during testimony at the U.S. Senate…

While the opposition’s leadership appeared to be "responsible men and women" fighting Gaddafi, Stavridis said, "we have seen flickers in the intelligence of potential al Qaeda, Hezbollah, we’ve seen different things."

"But at this point I don’t have detail sufficient to say there is a significant al Qaeda presence or any other terrorist presence," he said.



Syrian Cabinet Resigns, Assad Stays Put

From a conflicted Associated Press:

Syrian Cabinet resigns amid unrest

By Zeina Karam, Associated Press
March 29, 2011

DAMASCUS, Syria – Syria’s Cabinet resigned Tuesday to help quell a wave of popular fury that erupted more than a week ago and is now threatening President Bashar Assad’s 11-year rule in one of the most authoritarian and closed-off nations in the Middle East.

What? How can you have an "authoritarian and closed-off" nation under a man who Hillary Clinton considers to be a reformer?

Assad, whose family has controlled Syria for four decades, is trying to calm the growing dissent with a string of concessions. He is expected to address the nation in the next 24 hours to lift emergency laws in place since 1963 and moving to annul other harsh restrictions on civil liberties and political freedoms.



US Expanding Ties With Libyan ‘Rebels’

From a trusting Associated Press:

US looks to expand ties with Libyan opposition

By Bradley Klapper, Associated Press
March 29, 2011

LONDON – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met Tuesday with a representative of the Libyan opposition fighting Moammar Gadhafi’s regime as the Obama administration looked to expand ties with rebel leaders seeking an end to four decades of dictatorship.

Clinton’s meeting in London with Mahmoud Jibril came ahead of a conference on Libya’s future that will be attended by dozens of countries supplying air power or making other contributions to the international military action against Gadhafi’s forces.

For the record, Mrs. Clinton has met with Mr. Jibril before, back on March 14th, in Paris.

According to Al Jazeera, Mr. Jibril has been selected as the opposition’s interim leader.



Obama Didn’t Mention ‘Rebels’ – Or ‘War’

From a surprisingly critical Associated Press:

Analysis: Obama doesn’t mention Libyan rebels

By Anne Gearan, AP National Security Writer
March 29, 2011

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama wanted to tell a hesitant America why he launched a military assault in Libya, and he wanted to describe it on his terms — limited, sensible, moral and backed by international partners with the shared goal of protecting Libyans from a ruthless despot.

Trouble is, the war he described Monday doesn’t quite match the fight the United States is in.

It also doesn’t line up with the conflict Obama himself had seemed to presage, when he expressly called for Moammar Gadhafi’s overthrow or resignation. Obama’s stated goals stop well short of that. And although Obama talked of the risks of a long war, he did not say just when or on what terms the United States would leave Libya.



NY-ers On Welfare Might Clean Subways

From the New York Daily News:

Cash-poor MTA may put recipients of unemployment benefits to work again cleaning subways

BY Lisa Eadicicco and Pete Donohue   
Tuesday, March 29th 2011

The cash-strapped MTA may soon put welfare recipients to work scrubbing and cleaning the subways.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority wants to revive its participation in the city’s Work Experience Program – which makes the unemployed toil for their benefit checks.

"This is a program that has a proven track record of doing three things: providing low-cost cleaning help for the subway; providing job training to people who need it, and leading directly to full-time employment for many of the people who participate in the program," MTA spokesman Jeremy Soffin said.

Certainly work would be an exotic new experience for a number of these worthies.



Wisconsin Stops Collecting Union Dues

From an outraged Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

State stops collecting union dues, starts charging more for health care

Dispute still swirls around whether law is in force

By Patrick Marley of the Journal Sentinel
March 28, 2011

Madison — Gov. Scott Walker’s administration no longer is collecting dues on behalf of state unions and, as of Sunday, is charging employees more for their pensions and health care, even though nonpartisan legislative attorneys say the changes are not yet law.

What do these "nonpartisan legislative attorneys" say about Mr. Obama’s moratorium on oil drilling or on his implementation of ‘healthcare reform’?

Backing up the administration, the state Department of Justice argued that the new law – which eliminates most collective bargaining for public workers – is in effect and asked a judge to vacate a restraining order against the law.



MI Increases Jobless Benefits 14 Weeks

From an outraged Associated Press:

Mich. governor signs cut in unemployment benefits

By Kathy Barks Hoffman, Associated Press Mon Mar 28, 2011

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder on Monday made Michigan the first state in the country to lower the number of weeks jobless workers can get state benefits, a trend other cash-strapped states may follow as a way to avoid taxing businesses more for unemployment benefits.

The higher unemployment tax employers are going to have to pay to cover these extended benefits has been studiously ignored by our media. But it’s very simple: the longer the unemployment benefits, the higher the unemployment tax on employers.

Which eventually means the employers will hire fewer people. Which, of course, will lead to higher unemployment.


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Media Matters Goes Gestapo Against Fox

From an amused Politico:

Media Matters’ war against Fox

By: Ben Smith
March 26, 2011

The liberal group Media Matters has quietly transformed itself in preparation for what its founder, David Brock, described in an interview as an all-out campaign of “guerrilla warfare and sabotage” aimed at the Fox News Channel.

The group, launched as a more traditional media critic, has all but abandoned its monitoring of newspapers and other television networks and is narrowing its focus to Fox and a handful of conservative websites, which its leaders view as political organizations and the “nerve center” of the conservative movement.

Somehow we missed where they ever criticized anyone not on the ‘right.’ But they probably had to say that to get their 501c3 tax exempt status as a ‘charity.’

The shift reflects the centrality of the cable channel to the contemporary conservative movement, as well as the loathing it inspires among liberals — not least among the donors who fund Media Matters’ staff of about 90, who are arrayed in neat rows in a giant war room above Massachusetts Avenue.



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