February 3rd, 2011

Izzard - Do You Have a Flag?

Mexico Covers Texas' Ass During Rolling Blackouts

Mexico provides electricity to ice storm-hit Texas

MEXICO CITY — Mexico will provide electricity to Texas to help the U.S. state weather an ice storm that has forced rolling blackouts.

Mexico's Federal Electricity Commission says it has agreed to transmit 280 megawatts of electricity to Texas between Wednesday and Thursday night.

A commission statement says the electricity will be transmitted at interconnection points in Nuevo Laredo — across the border from Laredo, Texas — and Piedras Negras, which sits opposite of Eagle Pass, Texas.

Rolling blackouts have been implemented across Texas, including in Super Bowl host city Dallas, due to high demand during the rare ice storm.




Hope all our Texas peeps are doing okay during the storm.
once upon a time

The Daily whoa? Murdoch's iPad App

As Rupert Murdoch unleashes his digital, iPad-specific newspaper, he does so to a receptive peanut gallery. With the product selling for 99 cents per week, $39.99 a year, it has potential to economically alter our little industry's fate. And we, the media, love to navel-gaze our own future. Promise the moon and we'll all grab telescopes in a gunslinger's blur. The scribe's zeal to look forward is informed by an uncertain, desperate present.

(Will The Daily make me obsolete? Will The Daily pay my mortgage?)

(Who am I kidding, will The Daily pay my rent -- for the hole I'm renting from toothless glue addicts?)

The reviews -- as the cliché goes -- have been mixed:

(Naval-gazing Reviews @ the Source)

Murdoch's marketing includes a functional advertisement that leads newbies through The Daily confines. A narrator's singsong cadence evokes memories of grade school typing programs -- for me, it specifically brings back the cartoon iguana who cheered my ability to capitalize via ''shift'' keys. That which is displayed, amid the kindergarten-cadence, prompts recollections of, well, the Internet.

The instructional commercial is simplistic to the point of confusing. Who is this for? How is this the future?

And perhaps the most telling aspect of the ribbon-cutting: A next-gen iPad sighting generated considerable buzz at The Daily unveiling. The means of conveyance is what gets people giddy, these days.

My take? I don't yet own an iPad (remember the toothless addicts?). But, I wonder: Will The Daily become relevant enough for me to get one? Early indications say no, but Fox News wasn't built in a day.


once upon a time

GOP Loses Healthcare Vote

A Republican drive to repeal the year-old health care law ended in party-line defeat in the Senate on Wednesday, leaving the Supreme Court to render a final, unpredictable verdict on an issue steeped in political and constitutional controversy. The vote was 47-51. Moments earlier, the Senate agreed to make one relatively minor change in the law, voting to strip out a paperwork requirement for businesses.

President Barack Obama, who has vowed to veto any total repeal of his signature legislative accomplishment, has said he would accept the change. It does not directly affect health care.

Republicans conceded in advance their attempt at total repeal would fall short, but they accomplished an objective of forcing rank and file Democrats to take a position on an issue that reverberated in the 2010 campaign and may play a role in 2012.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said the vote marked an opportunity for Democrats who voted for the bill last year "to listen to those who have desperately been trying to get your attention."

"To say, yes, maybe my vote for this bill was a mistake, and that we can do better," McConnell said.

Democrats worked to minimize any political repercussions, a concern for a party already acutely aware it must defend 22 seats -- and its shrunken Senate majority -- in the 2012 elections.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the Republican repeal movement would "take away a child's right to get health insurance and instead give insurance companies the right to use asthma or diabetes as an excuse to take away that care."

"It would kick kids off their parents' health insurance," Reid said. "It would take away seniors' rights to a free wellness check."

Democrats also countered with the proposed repeal of the law's requirement that businesses, charities, and state and local governments file income tax forms every time they purchase $600 or more in goods.

It was approved 81-17, after Republicans said it had originally been their idea.


More @ the Source

School experiments with all-black homerooms

By BRIAN WALLACE, Staff Writer

Math teacher Michael Mitchell speaks to his homeroom class at McCaskey East. McCaskey East has a new homeroom program that involves students to inspire to do better in school and persue college and careers.

During a recent class period at McCaskey East High School, T'onna Johnson's class discussed a film, learned about a college-visit trip, talked about designing a class T-shirt and was encouraged to sign up for a seminar on the importance of a good education.

This all happened during homeroom — that fleeting period when teachers take attendance, principals make announcements and students, usually, don't do much of anything.
Not at McCaskey East.

Every junior at the school has been paired with an adult homeroom mentor who tries to squeeze as much information and activities as possible into six minutes each day and 20 minutes twice a month.

The intent of the program, implemented in mid-December, is simple, principal Bill Jimanez said: "Let's make these guys think for six minutes about their future."

Every junior — the class that will take PSSA tests this year — was matched with a teacher who already had a relationship with that pupil.

But in the case of T'onna's class, there are other ties that bind the homeroom.

Every pupil is a black female. And their mentors are both female African-Americans. Across the hall, two homerooms of black male students are led by black men.

The all-black homerooms are part of an experiment to determine if grouping students homogeneously for a brief period each day will help them socially and academically.

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Utah state representative introduces anti-gay ‘Family Policy’ bill

Extremist and anti-gay Utah state Representative LaVar Christensen (R) has introduced House Bill 270, called the “Family Policy” bill.

The language includes the State affirming marriage as “ordained by god” between a man and a woman:

“As the public policy of Utah, that a family, consisting of a legally and lawfully married man and woman and their children, is the fundamental unit of society; and requires that publicly funded social programs, government services, laws, and regulations designed to support families be carefully scrutinized to ensure that the promote the family.”

And as if we needed any more proof that Christensen and his Sutherland Institute cronies have never actually read the constitution, it also says;

“Marriage and family predate all governments and are supported by and consistent with the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God, the Creator and Supreme Judge of the World.”

Welcome back to the dark ages folks.

I’m still going through the details of the bill, but it appears that it doesn’t actually effect any actual policies, but rather is a typical Utah GOP ‘Message Bill’ designed to garner favor with the most extreme 1% of the population.

Utah already has a constitutional amendment (Amendment 3) which prohibits same sex marriage, civil unions or any governmental recognition similar to marriage in the state.

Last Week, Christensen reintroduced a bill he tried to pass in 2006 which prohibits same-sex couples from making contractual agreements, such as wills and financial arrangements.

donk... donk... donk...

S.Korea civil servants to don thermal underwear

South Korea's civil servants have been ordered to do their public duty by switching off the heating and donning long johns as the severe cold puts a strain on power resources, according to officials.

In an emergency energy savings plan, all ministries and state-run companies have been told to turn off the heating from 11:00 am to noon and 5:00-6:00 pm, the Knowledge Economy Ministry said.

Government buildings have to keep the office temperature below 18 degrees Celsius (64 degrees Fahrenheit) and state employees are encouraged to wear thermal underwear to battle the cold, it said.

"Offices will be quite cold under the required temperature, so state employees, whether encouraged or not, will end up wearing thermal underwear anyway," a ministry official, Roh Keon-Ki, told AFP.

Officials will patrol state buildings to check the temperature, he said.

"We're trying to set an example because the country may face a severe electricity shortage if the current pace (of heating consumption) continues."

Knowledge Economy Minister Choi Kyung-Hwan warned last week of possible blackouts after electricity demand soared to record highs this winter.

Sunday's temperature in Seoul fell to a 10-year record low of minus 17.8 degrees Celsius. Large parts of the Han river that bisects the capital are frozen over.

The temperature in the southeastern port of Busan sank to minus 12.8 degrees Sunday, the lowest level in 96 years, causing the death of a homeless man.

Water supplies in the southeastern city of Gimhae were cut off Sunday after pipes burst.

Associated Press

Trying to be a Feminist and a Football Fan by Katie Oldaker

I am a Pittsburgh native, which means I am obligated to spend every Sunday of the late summer into early fall watching the Steelers play (and this season, beat) various other teams in the NFL. This season, though, I've been finding it hard to push aside my ideals and totally support my team. As some of you may know, our star quarterback (and former golden boy) Ben Roethlisberger was accused of rape this past spring. Surprisingly, this was not the first time this happened: in 2008, a civil suit was brought against him after he allegedly assaulted a woman in a Las Vegas hotel room. Steeler Nation was ready to give him a pass: surely false accusations do happen. This could be one of those. But then he was accused again, this time in a club in a Georgia college town. It was March, the season was over, the magnifying glass was put to the allegation. The Rooneys were allegedly furious. The fate of Roethlisberger hung in the balance. Then charges were never filed. The victim sent a letter to the police saying she no longer wanted to press charges, but made it clear that she did not retract her accusation. Roethlisberger was suspended by the NFL for six games (later reduced to four) and people, slowly, seemed to forget.
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Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

The triviality of US Mideast policy

The triviality of US Mideast policy - US Mideast policy has been irrelevant and fails to accommodate the current movement that is sweeping across the region.

"Watching and responding."

That was the phrase used by PJ Crowley, the US state department spokesman, in his recent interview with Al Jazeera.

In the midst of the startling and compelling events taking place in the Middle East since the advent of Tunisia's ongoing "jasmine revolution", with people taking to the streets in Algeria, in Yemen, in Jordan, and, most importantly, shaking the foundations of the Mubarak regime in Egypt - the US, he said, is passively "watching and responding".

It all reminds me somehow of my poor old headmaster. A tall, unbending, flinty New Englander, he had presided over my boarding prep-school - what the British would call a "public school" - since 1949.

One sunny spring Sunday in 1970, while delivering a routine lecture at chapel services, he must have sensed something amiss. Pausing from his text to peer out over his spectacles, he was nonplussed to see that all the boys had stood up in unison, and were silently filing out.

Not sure what else to do, he meekly fell in behind, following as they marched up Main Street. The student ringleaders, seeing the angular, loping figure of the headmaster tagging along behind, sent word to ask if he would like to join them at the front.

He complied. The next day's headline in the local newspaper read: "Headmaster leads students in anti-Vietnam War protest." To my knowledge, it was the beginning and the end of Mr. Stevens' career as a political agitator.

This mildly humorous episode merely underscored what we had already known. It was not that the headmaster was a bad man, or uncaring, or hostile to student sentiments: Much the contrary.

It was simply that he had become irrelevant. His mental architecture was adjusted to a world which had long since faded.

He could hardly comprehend, much less constructively engage on the questions and challenges of a new time. And so it is with America.

Events in the Middle East have slipped away from us. Having long since opted in favour of political stability over the risks and uncertainties of democracy, having told ourselves that the people of the region are not ready to shoulder the burdens of freedom, having stressed that the necessary underpinnings of self-government go well beyond mere elections, suddenly the US has nothing it can credibly say as people take to the streets to try to seize control of their collective destiny.

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Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

The propagation of neo-Orientalism

The propagation of neo-Orientalism - The media continually builds an association of Islam with war,instability and repression, creating a false stereotype.
Soumaya Ghannoushi

It is hard to imagine amidst the omnipresence of discourse currently on Islam that a mere three decades ago, Islam had been a marginal concern situated on the periphery of western consciousness.

If ever encountered in press reports during the cold war, it would most likely have been in the figure of the "mujahideen" confronting the Empire of Evil in Afghanistan. Islam appeared as a benign ally of the forces of freedom camped in New York and London.

What finally brought it to the heart of Euro-American preoccupations were the events that occured on 9/11.

Islam became a local and globalised issue at once, transmitted in countless daily images across the globe.

Since then, rarely does a day go by without hearing, reading, or watching reports of a terrifying Muslim-related event.
The presence of Muslim minorities within western capitals has further complicated things, aggravating the intricate interplay of the local and the global.

Fears of a perpetual Muslim danger overlapped with deep-seated fears of immigrants, aliens, and strangers.

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Sorry to put in two posts one after the other, but this one seemed a really interesting take on how the media reports the middle east, and I didn't want to lose the link. I'd advise hitting up all the opinion pieces on Al Jazeera today; all of them are interesting (even if one is kind of lolworthy with how it's using Inception as a hook--I swear, I kept seeing that squinting Cobb macro every time the writer threw in an Inception reference.) There was another one I liked, Getting in line for a revolution, but I don't want to spam the comm too much, so here's just a link if you're interested. ^^;;

LIVE POST: Egyptian Protests Discussion Part 7



Previous Live Posts
Part 6
Part 5
Part 4
Part 3
Part 2
Part 1

Useful Links/Live Feeds
For the confused: Wikipedia Timeline of 2011 Egyptian Protests
BBC News feed
EA Worldview
Al Jazeera Blog
Al Jazeera on YouTube
Breaking News.com

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Tea Baggers and Fox News Declares George W. Bush to Be a Latte Drinking Elitist

Massive Snowstorms Reaches Hell. Satan Calls for a State of Emergency.

George Bush says Tea Party suffers from "Nativism"

George Bush has infuriated the Tea Party faction of the GOP when he spoke out January 24 at Southern Methodist University in Dallas against what he perceives is a historic shift back to the olden days of isolationism, protectionism and its demon-seed hellspawn, Nativism.
Laura Ingraham filled in for O'Reilly and was furious at the president she once held so dear to her heart.
Ingraham: Last November President Bush remarked that the Tea Party is good for the country. But why did he attack a key priority for many Tea Partiers, namely, getting our borders under control and preventing mass amnesty for illegal immigrants?
Bush: What's interesting about our country, if you study history, is that there are some 'isms' that occasionally pop up -- pop up. One is isolationism and its evil twin protectionism and its evil triplet nativism. So if you study the '20s, for example, there was -- there was an American first policy that said who cares what happens in Europe?...And there was an immigration policy that I think during this period argued we had too many Jews and too many Italians; therefore we should have no immigrants. And my point is that we've been through this kind of period of isolationism, protectionism and Nativism. I'm a little concerned that we may be going through the same period."
Ingraham: Now as someone who was at the forefront in opposing the 2006 Bush immigration reform effort, I was saddened, but not all that surprised by the President's insulting characterization.... To say that it's all about hostility to foreigners is ludicrous.
To back up her position she uses a Dallas Tea Party poll which showed over 95% in favor of Arizona's hateful SB1070 law. I guess that's irrefutable proof that Conservative opposition towards immigration reform is anything but Nativism, right? Ingraham uses the phony Conservative claim that this is all about "the rule of law" as a crutch to back up her Nativist position on immigration. Jeb Bush also got under her skin when he spoke out against Republicans and called their opposition "wrong and stupid." Laura wasn't happy being tag teamed by the Bush Brothers.
Ingraham: Now that's an interesting way to court future GOP voters given their overwhelming opposition to amnesty, Gov. Bush. maybe President Bush was right. We are suffering from an outbreak of ism's. Elitism comes to mind.
Calling George and Jeb Bush 'elitists' are fightin' words, young lady, since that's the exact opposite of how she viewed them when they were in office. Oh, how times have changed -- because here I am, writing about something that I agree with George Bush on, and here Laura Ingraham is, attacking the president she once defended to the hilt. That's how far right the GOP has moved.

Sex Scandals in Italy Fuel Discontent of Women

ROME — Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy has said he is laughing off his latest sex scandal, in which prosecutors are investigating whether he compensated a number of attractive young women, including a 17-year-old nicknamed “Ruby Heart-Stealer,” for sex.

But as this seemingly intractable scandal unfolds, filling media with images of scores of young women in his orbit, Mr. Berlusconi finds for the first time in his long career that a growing number of Italians are not laughing along: women.

Female discontent is increasingly pushing up against Italy’s traditionally byzantine, male-dominated politics.

About 73,500 people signed a petition on the Web site of the left-wing newspaper L’Unità asking Italian women to say “enough already” to Mr. Berlusconi. A demonstration in Milan on Saturday drew thousands of protesters, and a nationwide protest promoted by women is scheduled for Feb. 13.

“Another Italy exists,” proclaimed Emma Marcegaglia — the first woman to lead Confindustria, an association of major industries, and one of only a handful of Italian women with any significant political clout — in a widely noticed television interview last month.


The New York Times has the entire article.

I came across this today and thought it was interesting. The article has also information about women in Italy and how their experiences differ from other women elsewhere in the EU.
  • newantt

Arizona legislature still on the crazy train

Arizona to Secede? New Bill Makes it Seem that Way
by Wendy Rose Gould – Thu Feb 3, 12:56 pm ET

-- Arizona lawmakers have just released a new bill, referred to as SB1433, that would allow it to essentially secede from the country without officially doing so.

How? By creating a 12-person committee that allows its members to vote by majority for or against federal, or national, law. While not officially removed from the nation and any of its mandates, the freedom allowed with the bill will give the state more leeway in what rulings are actually accepted within its borders.

According to the bill itself, found here, the committee could "vote by simple majority to nullify in its entirety a specific federal law or regulation that is outside the scope of the powers delegated by the people to the federal government."

Once nullified by the committee members, the bill would be passed to the full legislature who could approve the committee's ruling. The bill states that Arizona and its residents "shall not recognize or be obligated to live under the statue, mandate, or executive order."

In addition to voting on upcoming legislation, the committee could vote retroactively on all previous federal laws and mandates.
The bill is sponsored by Klein, Allen, Burges, Harper, Pearce and Montenegro.

What do you think about the bill? In a democratic system like the American one, should states have the ability to make and follow their own rules and ignore government-issued laws if they deem them unfit? Or does that go against the idea of the United States of America?

PDF of SB1433
MLP Rainbow Dash nahnah

Pro-choice advocates somehow not thrilled that the GOP still hates women

Democratic Reps. Unimpressed With New House Abortion Bill
By Evan McMorris-Santoro

Pro-choice activists and politicians may have scored a victory with the news that the House abortion bill won't contain a redefinition of rape, but that hasn't made several prominent House Democrats any happier about the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.

"Look, my reaction is this is not really changing things that much," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) told TPM in an interview today. "This exposed them for what their true intentions are. Now that they're exposed they're trying to put the genie back in the bottle, and it's not going to work."

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) wasn't interested in giving the sponsors of H.R.3 much credit for altering their bill under pressure from pro-choice groups.

"It's still a totally flawed bill," Maloney told TPM. "I would call it the deepest attack on a woman's right to choose in my lifetime."

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We've actually talked a bit about this bill before here. Even without the particularly restrictive rape provisions, it's pretty horrendous.

ETA: To clarify, I'm unsure about the incest provision and whether that's still been narrowed just to minors. There are conflicting reports out there. I'll probably post something once I find more info though.
-nature's embrace

Cyclone Yasi: preparation saved thousands of lives.

A combination of luck and good planning has been credited with saving the lives of thousands of people in the path of Tropical Cyclone Yasi, which slammed into the Queensland coast early on Thursday morning whipping up winds of 180mph and waves of up to 30ft.

An estimated 400,000 people live in the region hit by the category five "monster" cyclone, but as day broke over a wet and battered 190-mile stretch of north Queensland, police said there had been no reports of deaths or serious injuries during the "terrifying" night.

The massive cyclone, which hit at midnight (2am GMT), missed major population centres of Cairns and Townsville, making landfall at the smaller coastal communities of Mission Beach, Cardwell and Tully.

Authorities said that the damage at the cyclone's "ground zero" was extensive, with hundreds of properties destroyed and hundreds more uninhabitable. The area was also under threat from inundation from large storm surges in the wake of the cyclone. But Neil Roberts, the Queensland emergency services minister, acknowledged that the outcome could have been much worse.

"People have listened to the advice and taken the appropriate actions to relocate." he said.

"The potential was there [for significant loss of life], this was the worst cyclone this country has experienced for 100 years .

However, Mr Roberts cautioned that police and emergency services were still searching the worst hit areas and could not rule out the possibility of finding casualties.

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Death toll: 0, Birth count: 3. Heck yeah. Still, the clean-up for this is going to be monumental.
king rad


Why wine drinking and monogamy go together

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Among the many jabs temperance advocates like to take at alcohol is that it promotes promiscuity. One glass over the line and we all know what comes next. Loveless sex, lecherous men and “fallen women.”

But what if I told you that wine-drinking cultures throughout history have tended to be more monogamous than their abstinent counterparts? What if polygyny – the social doctrine sanctioning multiple female partners for a man – tended to prevail in societies that did not imbibe?

That paradox was uncovered recently by two economists in Belgium who decided to pore over mountains of ethnographic data going back thousands of years. The more a society drank, they found, the more likely it was to endorse monogamy. (Believe it or not, “frequency of drunkenness” records have been kept for centuries.)

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Source here
Cardassian guuurl

G.O.P. Hopefuls Leave Egypt Crisis To the President

WASHINGTON — A parade of prospective Republican presidential candidates has been visiting the Middle East in recent months, making pilgrimages that are the first steps in a methodical process of building credibility in foreign policy.

But as the crisis in Egypt has intensified this week, elevating foreign affairs above domestic political skirmishes, the potential Republican candidates and the party’s leaders in Congress have, with only a few exceptions, had little to say.

As a result, President Obama has had the moment practically all to himself — for better or worse — as he gingerly proceeds without a sustained counterargument on a matter that could reshape United States foreign policy for years.

The lack of debate underscores the relative absence of muscular Republican voices on foreign affairs in general, a sharp contrast to the way things were four years ago, when President George W. Bush’s Iraq policy was a flashpoint between the two parties at this point in the election cycle.

To some degree, the silence from Republicans reflects a lack of substantive differences, especially on Egypt. House Speaker John A. Boehner set the tone on Sunday, saying, “Our administration so far has handled this tense situation pretty well.” And in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, said Tuesday, “America ought to speak with one voice, and we have one president.”

Party elders have largely agreed. On Wednesday, James A. Baker, the former secretary of state, said of the Obama administration, “They’ve been handling this Egyptian crisis quite well, frankly.”

The delicate nature of the situation in Egypt, where events have moved fast and turned violent in the past week, helps explain the measured Republican response.

But the crisis has illustrated a broader pattern in which Republicans have been strikingly unwilling or unable to draw sharp contrasts with the administration on foreign policy — including Iraq and Afghanistan — and have instead taken aim mainly at Mr. Obama’s domestic agenda.

While it is hardly rare for opposition candidates to have limited foreign policy experience — take, for example, Senator Barack Obama as he started his candidacy four years ago — the president’s Republican rivals so far do not even have a high-profile issue, as Mr. Obama did with Iraq, on which they can offer national security policies and values that contrast with those of the White House.

The escalating crisis in Egypt has attracted fresh attention to foreign policy at the very time that prospective Republican contenders are trying to establish their credentials as prospective commanders in chief. Gone are the days when the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire were the only obligatory stops on the campaign trail. Particularly for candidates who want to appeal to evangelical voters, Israel, Jordan and other points across the Middle East are now important stops as well.

Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, completed his 15th visit to Israel this week. Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi is set to leave on Saturday for a trip to Israel that is scheduled to include a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, made a similar visit last month, and Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota, has led a trade delegation to Israel.

While most of these potential Republican contenders have offered mild criticism of how the United States has handled the Egypt crisis, particularly Mr. Obama’s delay in distancing himself from President Hosni Mubarak, the tenor of the remarks has been muted in comparison with the Republican reaction to the administration’s health care law or economic policy.

In a policy sense, Republicans, like Democrats, are walking a fine line between support of a quick transition to a new government in Egypt and the concern, felt especially keenly in Israel, that the removal of Mr. Mubarak could lead to instability and the possible rise of an Islamist government.

Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska, who seldom goes more than a few days without criticizing the administration, has been silent about the turmoil in Egypt.

Nor have the sounds of disagreement been heard on Capitol Hill, where Republican advisers urge party members to keep dissent to a minimum and continue to focus on domestic issues like health care, government spending and jobs.

Instead, most of the alternative foreign policy views to those of the administration have come by way of the Fox News Channel, where several potential Republican contenders also serve as paid analysts. (Mr. Huckabee assumed the role of a roving pundit for Fox, filing on-the-scene dispatches from Israel, saying the credibility of the United States was quickly eroding.)

Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, who is considering a presidential bid, has been among the most critical voices.

“I don’t think they have a clue,” Mr. Gingrich said of the White House’s stance toward the Mubarak government in an interview on Fox News this week with Greta Van Susteren. “It’s very frightening to watch this administration.”

Bob Kasten, a former Republican senator from Wisconsin who has traveled extensively in Egypt and was scheduled to be there this week in his role as a trustee at American University in Cairo, said that strong Republican voices had been lacking in the Egypt discussion.

An effort to show unity, he said, may have sent the impression that Republicans think the president has handled the situation flawlessly.

“The major issues of the day among most Americans are the economic issues, and the Republican Congress wants to keep the focus on those issues, but foreign policy is so important,” said Mr. Kasten, who served on the Foreign Affairs Committee.

“The administration and the president are trying to be too cute and trying to have it all ways,” he said. “They are going to end up with all sides being disappointed with them.”

Source @NYTimes

Johann Hari: We all helped suppress the Egyptians. So how do we change?

Very few British people would beat up a poor person to get cheaper petrol. But our governments do it all the time. Why?

Friday, 4 February 2011

The old slogan from the 1960s has come true: the revolution has been televised. The world is watching the Bastille fall on 24/7 rolling news. An elderly thug is trying to buy and beat and tear-gas himself enough time to smuggle his family's estimated $25bn in loot out of the country, and to install a successor friendly to his interests. The Egyptian people – half of whom live on less than $2 a day – seem determined to prevent the pillage and not to wait until September to drive out a dictator dripping in blood and bad hair dye.

The great Czech dissident Vaclav Havel outlined the "as if" principle. He said people trapped under a dictatorship need to act "as if they are free". They need to act as if the dictator has no power over them. The Egyptians are trying – and however many of them Mubarak murders on his way out the door, the direction in which fear flows has been successfully reversed. The tyrant has become terrified of "his" people.
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