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Republican Congressman Dan Burton finished his prepared remarks on the floor of the House of Representatives and was ready to yield to the next speaker, but there was only one problem: Congressman Louie Gohmert was scheduled next and was nowhere to be found.  Burton was then forced to engage in a ten minute monologue as he was advised to "keep talking."

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Six Ways Fukushima is Not Chernobyl

by Lois Beckett, Special to ProPublica

The crisis at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi has already been dubbed the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl, and the situation there continues to worsen.

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The Libyan Ambassador to the United States, who has broken with the ruling regime, is urging the U.S., Britain and France to employ the full extent of a U.N. resolution passed Thursday and use military airstrikes to contain Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi as soon as possible.

A cease-fire in Libya does not go far enough to quell the humanitarian crisis in the country and the brutal policies of the Muammar Qaddafi's regime, Ambassador Ali Aujali, who joined the opposition in the early days of the crisis, told reporters Friday morning at the National Press Club.

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A state judge in Wisconsin has just issued a temporary restraining order blocking Gov. Scott Walker's (R-WI) newly-passed law curtailing public employee unions, on the grounds that the GOP-controlled legislature appeared to have violated state public notice requirements when quickly passing the bill last week.

"It seems to me the public policy behind effective enforcement of the open meeting law is so strong that it does outweigh the interest, at least at this time, which may exist in favor of sustaining the validity of the (law)," wrote Judge Maryann Sumi, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.



A key thing to note here is that this is a procedural objection, and not a constitutional finding based on the content of the law itself. As such, even if the bill's opponents secure a permanent injunction in further litigation -- and then prevail in any appeals to higher courts -- the Republican-controlled legislature could still theoretically get together and pass the bill again.

But of course, that would involve having the legislature convene again, protesters swarming the Capitol again, and a very tough vote occurring in a rerun. Even if the Republicans were willing to do that, it would only give further political fuel to the Dems.

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Newt Gingrich told reporters today that the Libyan rebels have France's lack of bracket fever to thank for the no-fly zone that will soon protect them from aerial attacks by embattled dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

Asked about the U.N. Resolution authorizing military intervention in Libya -- something Gingrich has been pushing for a while now -- Gingrich ripped President Obama for not acting sooner, and again mocked him for his March Madness bracket.



"I was, frankly, very disappointed that [Nicolas] Sarkozy did not share with us his Final Four picks," Gingrich said, referring to the French president, who's nation has led the push for military intervention in Libya. "And i think it's his failure to understand the Final Four that allowed him to focus on Libya on a way tha. Clearly, if he had understood the American system he would have understood that his is not a good week to deal with Libya because this is the week to deal with Kansas, Ohio State, and you know things that were really important."

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Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), who is exploring a run for president, joined Sean Hannity on TV Thursday night to join the line of Republicans blasting President Obama for his appearance filling out an NCAA bracket on ESPN, saying that Obama has a "fixation" with sports over the issues facing the world right now.

Hannity referred to Obama's upcoming trip to Brazil -- to meet the country's new president -- as "another vacation to Rio," attacked Obama for playing golf, and of course, for filling out a bracket, rather than dealing with the crisis in Japan.

Gingrich also accused Obama of insufficiently addressing the crises in Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia and Israel, in addition to Japan. "Yes, the administration has just sort of checked out. You know, the president has this fixation with the Final Four -- spent time on ESPN giving us his version of what really mattered to him, which was the Final Four," said Gingrich.

"I like basketball -- I think the president knows more about it than I do. He may well be right about Kansas. Although I must say, I have a personal affection for Duke. One of my best friends from high school, went to school, and where they have a great coach. I kind of have a soft spot in my heart for Duke winning. But Kansas is a great school. So, maybe the president is right. But what's strange is, with all of these crises, how could you focus that kind of time and attention as president of the United States -- not as a private citizen, not as a spectator, not as a hobby?"

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A federal judge this week stepped in to prevent the Pima County Sheriff's Office from disclosing a boatload of investigative documents in the Jared Loughner case to the Pulizer Prize winning Washington Post reporter who had been suspended by the newspaper after admitting to plagiarizing several graphs of an Arizona Republic story.

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