Rebel leaders in Libya trying to overthrow Col. Muammar Qaddafi’s government “are debating whether to ask for Western airstrikes under the United Nations banner.” The council of opposition leaders is trying to draw a distinction between such airstrikes and foreign military intervention. Qaddafi warned today that “thousands of Libyans” will die in the event of any Western military intervention.
General James Mattis, commander of U.S. Central Command, told a Senate panel that it would be “challenging” to set up a no-fly zone over Libya. “You would have to remove air defense capabilty in order to establish a no-fly zone, so no illusions here. It would be a military operation — it wouldn’t be just telling people not to fly airplanes,” he said.
A low-profile tax provision that was part of the Obama-McConnell tax cut deal late last year is now threatening states with deep revenue losses. A business tax cut that allowed deduction of the full value of new equipment through 2011 may blow a $5.3 billion hole in state budgets, the New York Times reports.
Today, the Ohio Senate will consider “98 pages of amendments” to the anti-union Senate Bill 5 before before a vote to send it to the Senate floor. Though some collective bargaining rights were restored, Republican state Sen. Bill Seitz says the new version includes only “a small fraction” of such changes which are “insufficient to earn my vote.”
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told a House of Representatives subcommittee that he is “not sure” when the Guantanamo Bay prison camp will be closed. “We will do all that we can,” he told Congress of closing the prison by 2013.
The House of Representatives “approved a two-week budget measure that cuts $4 billion in federal spending,” averting a government shutdown in the near future. Six Republicans voted against the measure complaining that it cut too little from the federal budget and 85 Democrats voted against saying that it cut too much in services for middle class Americans.
Relaying strong support for Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) in a radio interview yesterday, Tea Party leader Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) insisted that “collective bargaining has no place in representative democracy” and that public employee unions enjoy an “insidious relationship” with Democrats. “That is a sad statement from someone who has no respect for people who work for a living,” responded the AFL-CIO.
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (R) repeatedly claimed yesterday that President Obama grew up in Kenya. “One thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American,” he said. The BBC noted that Obama “has never lived in Kenya and he has visited the country just three times.” A spokesperson later said Huckabee “misspoke.”
Federal auditors have identified hundreds of overlapping offices and programs that could save taxpayers millions of dollars if they were eliminated. For example, there are more than 100 programs dealing with surface transportation issues, 82 that monitor teacher quality, and 80 for economic development.
And finally: Criticizing the White House for having foreign dignitaries dine in tents, real estate mogul Donald Trump, who is considering running for president in 2012, said yesterday that “he wants to donate a ballroom, worth up to $100 million, to the White House” for such occasions. “An old, rotten tent that frankly they probably rented, pay a guy millions of dollars for it, even though it’s worth about $2,” Trump complained.