NATO stepped up its attacks on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces this week, with intensified airstrikes on ammunition, supply and command sites in several cities, including the capital, Tripoli.
But one of the pillars of NATO — Germany — was not involved. Germany is not participating in the U.N.-backed effort to protect Libyan civilians.
Germany's decision not to take part in the NATO air war has come in for withering criticism at home and abroad. And it may have dealt a blow to the country's efforts to win a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.
The Mountain Goats are John Darnielle, Peter Hughes and Jon Wurster, and the band's been around, in one form or another, since 1991. Darnielle's lo-fi beginnings involved just his poetry, his guitar and a dual-cassette recorder, but resulted in some of the finer albums of the '90s (Zopilote Machine, Nine Black Poppies, Full Force Galesburg).
But in other big health news, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered the Department of Veteran Affairs to overhaul how it handles mental health care for vets suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other serious conditions.
In a fascinating attempt to gain the political high ground, freshmen House Republicans have asked President Obama, and by extension, his fellow Democrats, to stop using what the GOP members call Medicare scare tactics to try and gain political advantage.
The plea for civility comes after Obama and other Democrats have pounded House Republicans for supporting a GOP 2012 budget proposal that would privatize the Medicare program for future seniors, forcing anyone under 55 to buy health coverage from private insurers when they become eligible for the benefit.