Obama plans Excuse tour to “explain” high gas prices

White House officials are scheduling two more out-of-town trips this week to showcase the President’s energy strategy, possibly marking an uptick in concern about the political impact of rising gas prices.

The Wednesday trip to Philadelphia and the Friday trip to Indianapolis will allow President Obama to continue “speaking directly with Americans about his long-term plan to protect consumers against rising oil prices and decrease oil imports,” said press secretary Jay Carney.

The events and focus are needed because “when gas hits the $4 a gallon mark, voters get

really upset [even though] they don’t understand that the President can’t change gas prices,” said Kenneth Green, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a free-market think-tank in D.C. Also, he added, officials are using the “the high price of gasoline to advance a anti-fossil fuel agenda.”

In recent weeks, the President has sharply increased promotion of his energy policy, using a P.R. blueprint that is now standard in the White House. For example, on March 30, the president delivered an address at Georgetown University where he redefined the political problem of high-gas prices as a history of unstable oil-prices. He then offered a compromise policy that would set prices between too-cheap and too-expensive, cut oil-imports by one-third, and emphasized that government experts – including Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who has a Nobel science prize – are already working hand-in-hand with high-tech companies

There was nothing new in the address, because the president had already explained his energy strategy back on March 11. However, his Mar. 11 pitch had minimal impact because the television-worthy Japanese earthquake and Libyan war sucked up all the media’s attention.

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March Madness: U.S. Gov’t Spent More Than Eight Times Its Monthly Revenue

Monday, April 04, 2011

Erskine Bowles

Erskine Bowles, co-chairman of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsbility with his co-chair former Sen. Alan Simpson (R.-Wyo.) (AP photo/Alex Brandon)

(CNSNews.com) – The U.S. Treasury has released a final statement for the month of March that demonstrates that financial madness has gripped the federal government.

During the month, according to the Treasury, the federal government grossed $194 billion in tax revenue and paid out $65.898 billion in tax refunds (including $62.011 to individuals and $3.887 to businesses) thus netting $128.179 billion in tax revenue for March.

At the same, the Treasury paid out a total of $1.1187 trillion. When the $65.898 billion in tax refunds is deducted from that, the Treasury paid a net of $1.0528 trillion in federal expenses for March.

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Al-Qaeda exploits Libya situation to get arms: official

Al-Qaeda has allegedly acquired surface-to-air missiles in Libya (File)

Al-Qaeda has allegedly acquired surface-to-air missiles in Libya

That small, shoulder-fire launcher will take out any commercial airliner

This is not good for domestic airline travel

ALGIERS (Reuters) 

Al-Qaeda is exploiting the conflict in Libya to acquire weapons, including surface-to-air missiles, and smuggle them to a stronghold in northern Mali, a senior security official in neighboring Algeria told Reuters.

Western governments have demanded that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi step down after his forces cracked down on a revolt against his rule, but some governments in the region are nervous that al-Qaeda could step into a power vacuum.

Algeria, which has been fighting al-Qaeda’s north African wing for

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Fed’s Low Interest Rates Crack Retirees’ Nest Eggs

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla.—Forrest Yeager, a 91-year-old resident of this seaside community, had been counting on his retirement savings to last until he died. The odds are moving against him.



Jason Henry for The Wall Street Journal

Jim and Eileen Keller have $200,000 remaining and fear they will eventually have to rely solely on Social Security.

gold nest egg

With short-term bank CDs paying less than 1%, the World War II veteran expects his remaining $45,000 stash to yield just a few hundred dollars this year. So, he’s digging deeper into his principal to supplement his $1,500 monthly income from Social Security and a small pension.

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2011 Budget Battle in Perspective

2011 Budget Battle in Perspective


Today the Cato Institute placed an ad in major newspapers highlighting specific spending cuts that policymakers should make to restore our country’s fiscal sanity and economic stability. Our public call for policymakers to demonstrate leadership on spending cuts comes in the midst of the on-going battle on Capitol Hill over funding the government for the remainder of fiscal 2011.

A graphic at the top of the ad measures the $61 billion in cuts that Republicans have proposed against fiscal 2011 estimates for total spending, the deficit, and interest on the debt. As the graphic shows and the ad notes, it is clear that “leaders and members of both parties are in deep denial about the fiscal emergency we face.”

There are news reports that Republican and Democrat negotiators are heading toward a compromise figure of $33 billion in spending cuts. Let’s put that figure in perspective alongside the GOP’s original proposal to cut a whopping $61 billion:

Record spending levels…trillion dollar plus deficits…mountainous debt…a weak economy…

What, Congress worry?

San Diego Tea Party

EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS: Latest Satellite Imagery From Fukushima Tells Sobering Tale

Noting that the press has largely turned its resources off of the Fukushima complex, and needing up-to-date information on the status of the damage control efforts there, we secured the most up-to-date satellite photo from DigitalGlobe (dated March 31st), which we analyze below. This is the first photo of the damaged reactor site at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility made available to the public in over a week. That means you, our readers, are the first public eyes anywhere to see this photo.

Drawing upon the expertise of our resident nuclear engineer and Ann Stringer, imaging expert, we conclude that the situation at Fukushima is not stabilized: things are not yet at a place of steady progress in the containment and clean-up efforts. It’s still a dance, forwards and backwards, with the workers making gains here and there but the situation forcing them to react defensively all too often.

In this report, we will tell you what we know for sure, what we are nearly certain of, and what we remain forced to speculate about.

Here is a portion of a much larger image (covering 25 square kilometers in total) showing the reactor complex as of March 31, at roughly mid-day:

Photo Credit, 2011, DigitalGlobe

What We Can See

Here’s what we can directly observe in the

Five more photos

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Duncan Hunter rips CIA on Libya intelligence


The Central Intelligence Agency should have more intelligence on rebels in Libya by now, a member of the House Armed Services Committee said Friday.

In an interview with MSNBC, Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr. (R-Calif.) criticized the CIA for not being able to provide a sufficient amount of intelligence to American lawmakers to decide whether arming Libyan rebels to help battle dictator Col. Moammar Gadhafi is a good idea or not.

"You could say that the CIA kind of failed us in Libya. They were there until about a month ago in Tripoli, they didn't see any of this coming," Hunter said.  "They didn't pick out the bad actors and good actors prior to this. “

Hunter's criticism comes after media reports earlier this week that President Obama had secretly authorized providing aid to the rebels. Administration officials denied the reports and reiterated that the U.S. presence in Libya is to help enforce a United Nations Security Council no-fly zone resolution to protect Libyan civilians and allow Libyan rebels the opportunity to strengthen themselves enough to oust Gadhafi.

Obama and other administration officials have left open the possibility of arming the rebels despite criticism from lawmakers that the U.S. doesn't really know who the rebels are or what the end result could be of arming them.

"I'm not ruling [arming them] out. But I'm also not ruling it in," Obama said in an interview with NBC News on Tuesday.

Watch the video below:


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


By Daniel Strauss


04/01/11 02:52 PM ET

San Diego Tea Party

Stalemate in Libya increasingly viewed as a likely outcome

By Joby Warrick and Liz Sly, Friday, April , 9:07 PM

U.S. officials are becoming increasingly resigned to the possibility of a protracted stalemate in Libya, with rebels retaining control of the eastern half of the divided country but lacking the muscle to drive Moammar Gaddafi from power.

Such a deadlock — perhaps backed by a formal cease-fire agreement — could help ensure the safety of Libyan civilians caught in the crossfire between the warring sides. But it could also dramatically expand the financial and military commitments by the United States and allied countries that have intervened in the six-week-old conflict, according to U.S. officials familiar with planning for the Libyan operation.

New evidence of a possible impasse emerged Friday as an opposition spokesman called publicly for a cease-fire that would halt the fighting and essentially freeze the battle lines. The Libyan government rejected the proposal, saying it would not “withdraw from our own cities.”

At the same time, British officials privately disclosed a recent visit to London by a senior aide to one of Gaddafi’s sons, prompting new speculation that those close to the Libyan leader were exploring ways to end the fighting.

Gaddafi loyalists continued to pound rebel fighters in the key oil hub of Brega, a town that had been claimed by anti-government forces less than a week ago. Yet, despite repeated setbacks in recent days, intelligence assessments suggest that the rebels, with continuing NATO air support, are capable now of maintaining control of strongholds such as Benghazi as well as key oil fields in eastern Libya, according to two U.S. officials privy to classified reports from the region who agreed to discuss them only on the condition of anonymity.

U.S. analysts have concluded that Gaddafi will likely not step aside voluntarily, despite recent

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Coalition Air Strikes: Body Bags Begin Piling Up

Patrick Henningsen


April 1, 2011

Warning: Very graphic

It was only a matter of time before gungho western audiences and pundits would have to face the harsh reality that overwhelming military power produces: 1,400 air sorties and 700 Tomahawk cruise missiles later, the civilian body bags are beginning to mount up. And the political ramifications for the acting war parties in Washington, Britain and Paris are inescapable.

Dead Libyans: Not ready for corporate media primetime.

According to yesterday’s report from Reuters, at least 40 civilians were killed in air strikes by Western forces on Tripoli, a top Vatican official in the Libyan capital told a Catholic news agency on Thursday, quoting witnesses. “The so-called humanitarian raids have killed dozens of civilian victims in some neighborhoods of Tripoli,” said Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, the Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli. Martinelli goes on to add, “I have collected several witness accounts from reliable people. In particular, in the Buslim neighborhood, due to the bombardments, a civilian building collapsed, causing the death of 40 people”.

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