Three GOP Votes Needed to End Wisconsin Stalemate
According to The Associated Press, reaching a compromise between Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and state unions would take votes from three Republicans who believe Walker’s proposal is excessively austere. As public sector employees protest for the sixth day inside the Capitol building in Wisconsin against Walker’s proposal, which would end unions’ rights to bargain for benefits and working conditions, GOP Sen. Dale Schultz suggested a compromise that would temporarily enact those restrictions, but immediately restore them after the state’s two-year budget ended. Democratic Sen. Jon Erpenbach said Schultz was brave for making the proposal, though he did not specify whether it would be enough to satisfy the unions.
Protests in Libya Spread
Al Jazeera reports that more than 60 people have been reported dead in Libya’s capital as clashes between state police and antigovernment protestors intensify. Demonstrators are calling for the resignation of their leader Muammar Gaddafi, who has been in power for 40 years, and have taken control of several major cities, including Tripoli, Libya’s capital. One of Gaddafi’s sons, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, appeared on state television the morning of Monday, February 21 to warn against a potential civil war or Western invasion. “You can say we want democracy and rights. We can talk about it. We should have talked about it before war,” Gaddafi’s son said. “Instead of crying over 200 deaths, we will cry over hundreds of thousands of deaths.” Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst Marwan Bishara said the warning sounded like “a desperate speech by a desperate son of a dictator who’s trying to use blackmail on the Libyan people by threatening that he could turn the country into a bloodbath.”
China Warns Citizens Not to Protest
Senior Chinese officials continued this week to use state media to warn citizens against protesting, McClatchy Newspapers reports. Public meetings began taking place Sunday in Beijing and Shanghai after Chinese activists became inspired by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, but police crackdowns quickly broke up the gatherings. Government officials also warned that political dissent could lead to even stronger Internet controls.
University of Arizona To Create “Civility Institute”
The University of Arizona plans to establish an institute on its campus to promote compromise and civility among political parties, The New York Times said. Former presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush will be the honorary chairmen of the foundation, which is set to be named the National Institute for Civil Discourse. Its director Brint Milward said the institute would focus on political discourse “from the grass roots all the way to the top.” The idea for the center developed in the aftermath of the January shootings in Tucson that killed six people and injured 13, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat. President Obama used the University of Arizona campus to deliver a national address on civility following the shootings.