“The people that are sitting around saying, ‘[Obama]’s definitely going to be a one-term president. It’s going to be easy to take him out,’ they’re obviously political illiterates – political idiots, let me be blunt.”—Mike Huckabee • On President Obama’s re-election prospects. source (via • follow)
Walker's support dwindling amongst Democrats, Republicans
NOScott Walker wouldn’t win if a re-election were held today source
» Seven percent. That’s how much Scott Walker would lose by if the Wisconsin gubernatorial election were held today, according to a new Public Policy Poll. What’s surprising is that Walker is losing favor from Republicans as well as Democrats: 10% of Republicans surveyed say they would now vote for Walker’s Democratic opponent, up from 3% last fall. However, though Wisconsin Dems might like to make Walker this year’s Gray Davis, the embattled Governor is immune to a recall until his first year of office is up. And there’s plenty of havoc a Governor can wreak in a year.
“I’m super-bitchin’ [and] I don’t believe myself to be an addict.”—Charlie Sheen • In the key quote in his whole rant with Piers Morgan, which was a big score for him because, well, he was sort of a surprise guest. This certainly is going to be a punch-up for Piers’ ratings, and of course, because the CNN host delves in the soft stuff like his predecessor Larry King did, he used the phrase “the Che Guevera of television” to describe Charlie. We want this on a T-Shirt, stat. source (via • follow)
Haley Barbour remembered stuff that actually didn't happen
memory Attempting to burnish his non-racist credentials, Haley Barbour recalled a 1962 Martin Luther King speech in his hometown of Yazoo. “He spoke out at the old fairground and it was full of people, black and white,” he said in December.
reality A heartening tale, but according to Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Garrow, there’s no record of it actually happening. MLK only came to Yazoo once, in 1966, and didn’t hold a rally when he was there. Whoops!
candid According to Barbour’s comments, he “paid more attention to the girls than to [Martin Luther] King.” We don’t doubt that, if the speech had happened, this would have been the case, so at least he isn’t being 100% disingenuous. source
“Gaddafi will either commit suicide, which is unlikely as suicide is a sin in Islam; or he may go out for others to kill him - he and his rifle in a bloody and fatal confrontation against a huge force. However under such difficult situations, human behaviour cannot be predicted. The second scenario is 90% likely to happen.”—Former Libyan official (and current opposition supporter) Abdel Fattah Younes • Explaining, in an article for Al Jazeera English, what he thinks will happen to his former boss, Muammar Gaddafi. Younes, the former interior minister and head of Special Forces, says he quit partly because the “victims were too many for no justification.” Read everything he wrote. It’s really good. source (via • follow)
WI Gov. Scott Walker tries to exert political pressure on state Democrats
24hour ultimatum from Gov. Scott Walker to MIA WI Democrats source
» He will not be swayed: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s attempt to strip the public employee union’s collective bargaining rights got much rougher after he was hung out to dry by Ian Murphy, a blogger who prank called him pretending to be billionaire conservative contributor David Koch. In that call, Walker explained his scheme to get the vote through; to lure Democrats back with a promise of negotiation, only to use procedural rules to then force a vote regardless of whether they participated. Having thus illustrated he has no interest in good faith negotiation, Walker has moved to plan B, political pressure. Walker announced that if the Democrats don’t return to the State Capitol, Wisconsin will miss its chance to refinance it’s debt, which would cost taxpayers $160 million. As it always bears mentioning, the public employee unions have broadly agreed to compromise on Walker’s proposed changes, if he only won’t strip their very right to collective bargaining. Walker says no dice.
“The genius behind @MayorEmanuel is Dan Sinker, who has a heart made out of Chicago and balls of punk rock.”—Alexis Madrigal reveals the man behind the the notorious, lovable, f-bomb spewing @MayorEmanuel. (via theatlantic)
Frank Buckles, last living American to serve in WWI, has died
Here’s to you, sir: America’s last living man to have served in World War I has died. Frank Buckles, born February 1st, 1901, not only served in the first World War (where he fervently wanted to be on the front lines, but never made it), but also survived three years of imprisonment in a Japanese camp, captured while working for a U.S. shipping company just weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor. What benefits did he receive for his service to his country? According to him, he received free membership at the YMCA. That’s all. Frank Buckles was 110 years old. source
“All my people love me. They would die to protect me.”—Muammar Gaddafi • Speaking to veteran journalist Christiane Amanpour, who sent this quote out on her Twitter account. Big credit to Amanpour, who’s previously obtained surprising access to Gaddafi, and has helped the international community to learn what the besieged in Libya already know so well — the man is insane. source (via • follow)
President Obama hedges on health insurance mandate
old The Affordable Care Act became law, hinged on the concept of an individual mandate. Basically, everybody must buy health insurance, thus lowering the liability costs that the insured must cover for the uninsured. This prompted a slew of legal challenges from the states — mostly ones with Republican governors.
new President Obama has announced that he supports legislation allowing states to opt out of the individual mandate by 2014, if they can reasonably illustrate that they can keep the same coverage rates. Is a modest dose of health care reform — in truth, more health insurance reform than anything else — being watered down? source
“In terms of reviving tourism, the problem is currently Libya, not us. The whole region is very hot right now.”—Sylvia Tours Egypt managing director Karim Mohsen • Making a pitch that people should consider having their next trip in Egypt, which has calmed down a tad since Hosni Mubarak left office a couple of weeks ago. To drive the point home, many young Egyptians are pushing an “Egypt is Safe” campaign, cleaning monuments and taking people to Tahrir Sqare as a tourist attraction. ”Please tell your friends not to fear the revolution. This is the new Egypt and it welcomes you,” said one young student about the country. And really, the revolution is just another reason to check out a piece of Egyptian history! Right? Right?!? source (via • follow)
Oman's leader trying to appease protesters very generously
50,000the number of government jobs Sultan Qaboos has promised will be installed in the country
$390the amount Oman’s unemployment program would pay job-seekers each month until they find work source
» But it’s not working: While Sultan Qaboos doesn’t appear to be in danger of losing his leadership role, protesters are still unhappy and are pushing for political reforms in the country. “We want new faces in the government and we have a long list of social reforms,” said civil servant Habiba al-Hanay. “We just hope he will hear us and make changes.”
Bailouts: Remember TARP? It's almost entirely recouped, kids.
$700Bthe amount the U.S. spent on the Troubled Asset Relief Program back in 2008
$341Bthe amount it looked like taxpayers were going to lose on the bailout deal back in mid-2009
$25Bthe amount it looks like we’ll lose on TARP; this is because we gave the money to banks source
» Not all is rosy in Bailoutville: One of the biggest issues we still face are the dual sinkholes of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have reportedly cost taxpayers $150 billion and we like to think of as dual sinkholes. And some legislators feel that the effect has set us up for having to bail out unsuccessful companies in the future.
“There is no doubt he does not remember the critical events. He is not feigning it. It’s not an act. He does not remember it.”—SIrhan Sirhan’s attorney William F. Pepper • Explaining that his client, who is up for parole Wednesday, does not remember shooting Robert Kennedy back in the ’60s. Pepper claims Sirhan (not telling you if that’s his first or last name) was ”hypno-programmed” when he fired at the presidential candidate. All of this actually hurts Sirhan’s chances at parole, which require him to be able to show remorse for the crime … uh, that’s kinda tough when he claims he can’t even remember what he did. source (via • follow)
“Thank you to my parents, my mom and dad who are in the audience tonight. And I know there’s been a lot of thanking of mums, but this is slightly different, because my mum in 2007 was invited by some Australian friends in London to a fringe theatre play reading of an unproduced, unrehearsed play called The King’s Speech. Now she’s never been invited to a play reading in her entire life before. She almost didn’t go, because it didn’t sound exactly promising, but thank God she did, because she came home, rang me up and said ‘Tom, I think I found your next film.’ So with this tonight, I honor you, and the moral of the story is ‘Listen to your mother.’”—Best Director Oscar winner TOM HOOPER, recounting the amazing story of how The King’s Speech came to the big screen. Fucking awesome. LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER. (via inothernews)
“So the message from CBS and Warner Brothers seems clear: abuse yourself and the women around you to your heart’s content, but do not attack the golden goose.”—New York Times columnist David Carr • Pointing out the elephant in the room with the Charlie Sheen/”Two and a Half Men” situation, which is that Sheen did a number of things arguably worse than any of his current drama – and to women, even – but insulting his boss ended up being the thing that got him fired. It’s a good point, and one that shouldn’t get overlooked as CBS attempts to figure out what happens next. source (via • follow)
I really, really loved the original shortformblog. I loved the concise, to-the-point summaries of the news, and it has been (for some time) my primary source of national news. My only complaint was that I wanted you to update more. Now, it seems you've granted my wish! However, the formatting is much dirtier (I miss the old whitespace something fierce, and the new site looks terrible on my Android). That's all immaterial, however; what I really miss is the news put together in an interesting manner that used space, color, and shading to communicate ideas as much as the words themselves. Like you have it in the FAQ below, basically. I understand this all takes work, but to be honest, could you maybe handle doing that instead of posting videos of people cross-dressing at the Oscars?
tl;dr: Love the increased updating, but miss the graphic style.
» We say: We still do that – and lots of it! It’d be a shame if you thought we didn’t based on our posts tonight. (It’s the Oscars!) Most of our non-reblogging stuff is still done that way. In fact, this is one of the benefits of moving to Tumblr … Tumblr is set up in a way that encourages more immediacy, which we were definitely missing from the old site. But that said, we appreciate the feedback.