Wednesday Reads

Coffee Cup (photo by I New Idea)

Morning everyone, it’s Wednesday…only three more days to go till the weekend. So lets dig into this morning’s reads!

Patriot Act extension fails in the House by seven votes

House Republicans suffered an embarrassing setback Tuesday when they fell seven votes short of extending provisions of the Patriot Act, a vote that served as the first small uprising of the party’s tea-party bloc.

The bill to reauthorize key parts of the counter-terrorism surveillance law, which expire at the end of the month, required a super-majority to pass under special rules reserved for non-controversial measures.

It appears that 26 Republicans voted against the extension, 8 of them freshman. The White House put out a statement.

From The Hill:

The Obama administration said Tuesday it wants a three-year extension of Patriot Act surveillance authorities, far longer than the timeline proposed by House Republicans.The White House released a Statement of Administration Policy that says it “would strongly prefer enactment of reauthorizing legislation that would extend these authorities until December 2013.”


A longer extension, the administration’s statement said, “would ensure appropriate congressional oversight by maintaining a sunset, but the longer duration provides the necessary certainty and predictability that our Nation’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies require as they continue to protect our national security.”

At the same time, the statement said the White House does not object to the Republican proposal.

The Republican proposal will be taken up Tuesday under a suspension of House rules, and would extend the authority that allows U.S. agents to conduct “roving surveillance” of targets, collect business records and other tangible intelligence records, and surveil solo operators who are not tied to a specific terrorist group but may pose a threat to the United States.

For more analysis I will turn to FDL, which brings the irony of the days vote into the big picture.

Sometimes the irony of two news events that happen on the same day is almost surreal. Today, we have news that the Obama administration is pushing the Mubarak government to immediately end the Egypt’s “Emergency Law,” which gives the President sweeping powers to violate the rights of the country’s citizens.

On to other ironies, the recent purchase of Arianna’s Huffpo by AOL is causing a stir among other left-leaning political blogs. / Media – Huffington deal fires rivals’ hopes

This week’s $315m acquisition by AOL of the Huffington Post has set the blogs chattering not only because a notable peer is changing hands, but because it could also reflect a higher value on them.

There is scepticism the purchase by AOL of the left-leaning blog site will revive the media group’s fortunes, but some analysts think it could have opened the door to a wave of deals. Jeff Zucker, former chief executive of NBC Universal, said on Tuesday that he had tried to acquire the Huffington Post but could not settle on a price.


Blog networks including Gawker Media, Glam Media and the Business Insider sites are being discussed as potential targets. But it is unclear who might spend so richly on other blogs.

“I don’t know if there is going to be a buying spree,” John Blackledge, of Credit Suisse, said. “AOL has cash and they are trying to transform their business.”

The reason I mention the ironies is this tweet that Dakinikat posted in the comments on Monday:

@keachhagey: Talked to @AriannaHuff about what AOL deal means for ideology: “We don’t think of ourselves as left.”

So as I read about other “left leaning blogs” becoming the target of some larger news/network buying them out, I think…but wait,  Arianna says they don’t think of Huffpo as “left.”

Speaking of the left, this article in Nate Silver’s blog Five Thirty Eight: Are Democrats Better Off Than They Were 25 Years Ago? –

The Democratic Leadership Council, a proud and sometimes belligerent group that sought to steer Democratic policy toward the right, will reportedly cease its operations.


The D.L.C.’s influence waned some after Mr. Clinton’s vice president, Al Gore — who was then perceived as more moderate than he is now — failed to win the election of 2000, and then further after the group strongly supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003. In more recent years, the D.L.C. has teetered on the brink of irrelevancy, eclipsed on the one hand by other moderate groups like Third Way and the Blue Dog Democrats, and on the other by the Democratic blogosphere, which has provided an alternative infrastructure by which candidates, especially liberals, can gain money and support. In 2007, all major Democratic presidential candidates — including Mr. Clinton’s spouse, Hillary Rodham Clinton — skipped the D.L.C.’s convention, but participated in a debate sponsored by the blog Daily Kos.

Some very nifty graphs assist those of us who respond to visual aids.

The D.L.C., for instance, often cultivated wealthy and corporate donors, and from 1985 to 2008, the share of income earned by the wealthiest 1 percent of taxpayers increased to 20 percent from 10 percent at the same time their effective tax rates declined.

Read the entire article, I would like to hear what you think about it. Silver makes some comments about Obama’s liberal voting record while he was in the Senate…

Obama…generally did not run away from that record as a candidate in 2008, although one can debate the extent to which he has done so since.

Silver goes on to question if the D.L.C. in some way cause the rise in Conservative Republicans. Since it seems that since the Republican’s of today have gone way further to the Right then they were previously. He questions whether it was the D.L.C. that got the Big Dawg elected in 1992. His take is that the D.L.C. really was not all that important…that Democrats would have won in 1992 anyway.  I’m not sure, but I think that statement about exactly where the D.L.C. was drumming up support tells part of the tale as to why we are stuck with a Republican in a Democrat suit.

So put some of the pieces together. You got most of the support coming from wealthier contributors, a left blogosphere that did some real work during the 2008 election (as that link to FT discussed) and a President that reads Reagan biographies to gain wisdom, and move more to center. (Cough) What all this says to me, some 40 year old woman living in the center of the Religious Right, is that the Democratic Party has been replaced by what used to be Republicans…and the Republicans have gone way off the deep end toward a more radical religious right. Ugh…I realize this is nothing new to y’all…but those nifty graphs really do paint a sad picture of a declining party that once stood for something real.

Wonk the Vote had a post on Saturday about the a time for prayers. Within this post was a picture of a group of women outside of Tehran University participating in Friday prayer. What came to my mind almost immediately was just how much that picture of women grouped together looked like a weave structure that is very prevalent in the Middle East.

Photo: Iranian women participated in Friday prayer outside Tehran University (Behrouz Mehri/AFP-Getty)… [Link]

Photo: Encyclopædia Iranica


Above is an image of the weave structure, called a Warp Faced Weave. Below is a close up of the weave, woven by Bedouin women on ground looms, to make lengths of cloth to sew together for their tents. I am not going to go into the theory of weave structure, or discuss the historic and cultural significance of the amazing weavers that live their lives in the sandy desert, or in small groups of tribal homes where the women weave on the rooftops.

Photo by Picture Journey's

What I wanted to stress was the analogy of the women coming together for prayer, the image of the photograph, the connection to the people in Egypt…as they come together to weave a new government that represents the people.

When you start weaving something, you take an extremely strong yarn, which is made from many single yarns that are plyed together…and proceed to wind your warp, this is the backbone of the woven cloth. It must be able to withstand high tension. It must also be strong enough to bear the weight of the beater as you weave the weft thread between those stretched warp threads. In a warp face weave, those strong warp threads are the main visual representation of that particular weave structure. The weft threads are what give the warp support, so that warp can come forward in the cloth. These weft threads are not necessarily strong, they are mostly individual single threads that are spun rather loose and lofty.

Looking at that picture of those Iranian women at prayer, and watching the last two weeks of protest in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt…makes me think of a woven cloth in the making. The people of Egypt (the weft) are supporting the anti-government protesters in the Square  (the warp) and trying desperately to overcome the regime of Mubarak. They are coming together to try and create a government that represents them as a whole cloth…I know it is a bit of a stretch, and I guess the situation is much more than that. But to make that cloth takes a hell of a lot of work. It is not done alone, it is something  that involves the entire tribe from raising the goats they use as fiber for the yarn, to the time it takes to spin and ready the yarn for weaving, to the hard part of warping the loom, making sure the structure is sound and the warp is consistent…to weaving the soft threads into that warp with care and experience. And then, when all is said and done, the work of all those people create a shelter…a tent to protect them from the elements. A government to represent the people as a Democracy….it all is connected.

So what are you reading today?

31 Comments on “Wednesday Reads”

  1. Sima says:

    The section about weaving was beautiful, Minx. Just beautiful.

    I am learning to card weave! Someday, maybe I’ll graduate to the big time stuff.

  2. Sima says:

    My partner sent me this link. It takes the piss out of Faux News, and is pretty funny…

    So I thought I’d share.

  3. Sima says:

    And one more. This article at Alternet was pretty interesting. It’s about how small towns are learning to combat corporate takeovers of things like their water supplies. I think I need to learn how to do this myself, got a postcard in the mail about a meeting about ‘runoff’ that, of course, came too late for me to attend.

  4. janicen says:

    Very interesting information and analysis, MM. Thank you.

    The DLC didn’t get Bill Clinton elected, the voters did. Just as the voters elected Hillary Clinton, but the Democrats stole our votes.

    MM, your weaving metaphor is inspiring and thought provoking. It really made my day.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Love the irony of Republicans trying to get rid of the Patriot act while Obama tries to extend it long-term–then turns around and tells Mubarak’s government, “do as I say, not as I do.”


  6. dakinikat says:

    GOP finds tax it can love — one that phases out abortion coverage.

  7. cwaltz says:

    Can I mention how much I hate the for profit health care model today? My third child spiked a 103.7 fever on Friday. I take him to the ER concerned. An hour and a half after motrin his fever is still at 101.5. I tell them that this is the second incidence of a fever in 2 weeks and I’m worried that some germs piggybacked on a virus. The extent of his care? They swabbed his throat for strep. They didn’t palpate his sinuses or listen to his lungs (I guess they figure pulse oximeters are perfect). 5 days later where I’ve had to alternate giving tylenol and motrin every flippin 3 hours to keep his fever down the kid is spitting up blood in his sputum when he coughs and is still running a 100.5 fever(albeit I’m no longer giving motrin or tylenol at this point since I’m not anxious to stress his liver or kidneys).He’s physically exhausted and not anxious to eat the ice pops and take the tepid baths or drink the fluids he needs to. So now I get to drag the kid to a doctor where he’ll wait in a waiting room full of sick people….again.

    The insurance industry would have you believe people are frivolously heading to the doctor but seriously the reason I have to make a second visit is because they didn’t even bother to do adequate diagnostic testing to begin with. They did just enough to ensure he wasn’t going to die that evening and that was it. I’ll be lucky if he doesn’t have the beginning of pneumonnia ….again(with the potential of lung scarring.)


    • zaladonis says:

      People are frivolously heading to the doctor, and that’s one of the reasons your son doesn’t get the attention he needs. The health care professionals and resources he needs are somewhere else.

      Our health care system is broken in so many places and so many ways.

      Recently, Oprah looked at a gorgeous Christie Brinkley and said how do you look so good at your age. Brinkley replied a good dermatologist. Now, I’m glad Christie looks pretty in her 50s but there are Americans with serious skin diseases who don’t have access to a decent dermatologist and the tragedy in that is lost on our elected representatives and others in power.

      I’m glad you’re taking your son to the doctor. He’s lucky to have such a pro-active mother. Good luck, and keep us posted, okay?

    • dakinikat says:

      Hope things go well. Sending my best wishes and energy your way!

    • paper doll says:

      Really sorry and your first sentence says it all

      for profit health care model

      to them your son’s a part they throw back until it breaks…This isn’t health care.
      It’s factory floor practices from 100 years ago.

      300 mill CEO salaries and making shit loads of money off the ill and elderly is sick.

      Hope your son is better soon!

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      cwaltz, didn’t you have some problems with your son and a tooth infection last year? Hope he starts to feel better soon.

      • cwaltz says:

        I have 4 kiddos. My oldest had the tooth infection. This is my third kiddo. Appendectomy boy! Well, I hit the ER and this trip went much, much better.

        He has influenza type b and bronchitis. Because they did not give him the medication (tamiflu)when I went down there the first time he’s going to have to muddle through. The good news is his lungs were clear so no secondary infection in his lungs. They gave him a breathing treatment and some more motrin and told me that it should start to be getting better soon since he’s on day number 5. Next year we will definitely get him the flu vaccine. They also gave him some medication since he busted a vessel in his throat(thus the blood in the sputum).

        We aren’t completely out of the woods but it makes me happy that it hasn’t spread to his lungs as I had worried. I will have to follow up in another 2-3 days. So apparently they’re taking the fact that he hasn’t managed to shake it off a little more seriously.

  8. dakinikat says:

    Here’s something from Marcy:

    Security Firms Pitching Bank of America on WikiLeaks Response Proposed Targeting Glenn Greenwald

    Really odd and outrageous.

  9. dakinikat says:

    Breaking news:

    GStephanopoulos GeorgeStephanopoulos
    Sen. Webb not running for re-election, @amyewalter and @JaffeMatt report:

  10. dakinikat says:

    CommonCause CommonCause
    74 House Dems ask Justice Thomas to recuse himself from #hcr cases, as reported by @Politico

  11. dakinikat says:

    Alternative reality dwelling Ron Paul holds monetary Policy hearings today… interesting item on libertarian v libertarian action.

    Monetary Policy Hearing Today, or: Ron Paul Versus the Kochtopus.

    Ron Paul is holding one of his first monetary policy hearings today, and he hasn’t sold out. Ron Paul is from the school of libertarians that hates D.C. libertarians, which is weird since Ron Paul is one of the most well-known libertarians in D.C. How does that work?

  12. zaladonis says:

    Since you’re posting links, here’s something relevant to other items in the post.

    Not normally a Dana Milbank fan these days but his take on Arianna and HuffPost is pretty good.

    As side comment I would only repeat what I’ve said for a long time, that Arianna has no core principles, which makes her very much a person well suited to this time when people masquerade greed and opportunism as a principled position.

    • dakinikat says:

      I strongly agree with your last statement. Just about the time I think I can’t get any more cynical about these kinds of opportunist, another one does something that takes me to a higher threat level of jade.

  13. dakinikat says:

    Some really good news on days when we need it:

    Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, recovering from shooting, regains ability to speak — asks for toast, aide says.

    That was from CNN.

  14. Minkoff Minx says:

    Just saw this on Google News, not sure if it has been posted yet:
    Wael Ghonim: Negotiation days with Mubarak are over –

  15. dakinikat says:

    Here’s another example of our ‘socialist’, ‘left-leaning’ president:

    White House to Cut Energy Assistance for the Poor – –