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MONDAY, JANUARY 31, 2011
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Monday, January 31, 2011
Shades Of Islamism
31 JAN 2011 08:38 PM
by Patrick Appel
Michael Downey has an interview with Khaled Hamza, "editor of the Muslim Brotherhood’s official website." According to Downey "Hamza is considered a leading voice of moderation within the party, and is central to its youth-outreach efforts." One section of interest:
The Iranians follow the Ayatollah; we do not believe Islam requires a theocracy. In our view, the ulema (clergy) are only for teaching and education—they are out of the political sphere. Iran has some good things, such as elections, but we disagree with all the aggression. We disagree also with the human rights abuses from the government and attacks on the population.
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Guarding Their Heritage
31 JAN 2011 08:12 PM


by Zoe Pollock
Egypt's students are protecting artifacts and libraries, according to Bibliotecha Alexindrina's director, Ismael Serageldin:
The young people organized themselves into groups that directed traffic, protected neighborhoods and guarded public buildings of value such as the Egyptian Museum and the Library of Alexandria. They are collaborating with the army.  This makeshift arrangement is in place until full public order returns. The library is safe thanks to Egypt’s youth, whether they be the staff of the Library or the representatives of the demonstrators, who are joining us in guarding the building from potential vandals and looters.
Cord Jefferson applauds:
This is how you protest.
(Photo: An Egyptian man holds a chain as part of a ad-hoc neighborhood security militia in residential neighborhood in central Cairo the afternoon of January 30, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt.)
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Why This Street Protest?
31 JAN 2011 07:52 PM
by Conor Friedersdorf
This is the sort of event that confuses me:
An invitation-only political retreat for rich conservatives, run out of the spotlight for years by a pair of Kansas billionaires, became a public rallying point for liberal outrage on Sunday, as 11 busloads of protesters converged on a resort in the Southern California desert.
An estimated 800 to 1,000 protesters from a spectrum of liberal groups vented their anger chiefly at Charles and David Koch, brothers who have used many millions of dollars from the energy conglomerate they run in Wichita to finance conservative causes. More than two dozen protesters, camera crews swarming around them, were arrested on trespassing charges when they went onto the resort grounds.
Does standing across the street shouting at the luxury resort where the Kochs are staying help change the laws that govern campaign finance and political donations? Does it accomplish anything?
Read On
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Egypt's Darkside, Ctd
31 JAN 2011 07:26 PM
by Patrick Appel
An example of Egyptian torture from an infamous 2007 incident (NSFW): 
This forced sodomy with a stick is not related to the war on terror, but it illustrates the brutality of Egypt's forces. Building off Jane Mayer's report on America outsourcing its torture to Egypt, Adam Serwer asks:
While the Obama administration has been quietly pressuring Egypt on human rights issues behind the scenes, it's not hard to understand why neither Mubarak nor the leadership of Egyptian security forces would take this too seriously. For years the United States has implicitly asked Egypt to violate human rights laws on our behalf. Why would they take U.S. calls to respect them seriously now?
Joe Stork of HRW has more on Egypt's record on torture:
Read On
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Why Marriage Equality Matters
31 JAN 2011 07:06 PM
by Zoe Pollock
Mark Ketterson is allowed to bury his husband, a Marine, in a standard military funeral:
“They were always polite, but there was this moment of hesitation,” Ketterson recalled. “They said they’re going to need something in writing from a blood relative. They asked, ‘Are you listed on the death certificate?’ ‘Do you have a marriage license?’ ”
He was and they did, the couple having been married in Des Moines when gay marriage became legal in Iowa two years ago.
Ketterson sent a copy of the marriage license. That changed everything. “I was respected,” he said. “From that moment on, I was next of kin. They were amazing.”
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Egypt, Day Seven
31 JAN 2011 06:55 PM
by Patrick Appel
The latest from Channel 4 News:
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Quote For The Day, Ctd
31 JAN 2011 06:46 PM
by Zoe Pollock
Freddie DeBoer responds to Will Wilkinson on nuclear annihilation:
There are still enough active nuclear weapons in the world to render much of it an apocalyptic wasteland. I'm glad that scenario feels farther off then it did when I was a child, but please. As long as the impediment to such a scenario is human discretion and human virtue, our ticket is close to being punched.
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Graffiti As Protest
31 JAN 2011 06:21 PM
by Chris Bodenner
Danny Ramadan is in Cairo:
Egyptians might be some of the first graffiti artists in history with their famous hieroglyphics and carvings found everywhere on ancient Egyptian tombs, but this new wave of art is different. Graffiti in Cairo today is dominated by anti-Mubarak messages on city walls, military tanks, and smartly-written signs carried by frustrated people, and it is taking over the streets and being used to protest against the current government. ...
Read On
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Vocal Tweets
31 JAN 2011 05:59 PM
by Chris Bodenner
Google's response to the new Internet blackout in Egypt:
Over the weekend we came up with the idea of a speak-to-tweet service—the ability for anyone to tweet using just a voice connection.
Read On
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Total Internet Blackout
31 JAN 2011 05:41 PM
by Chris Bodenner
An ominous sign from the Mubarak regime:
12:15am Al Jazeera correspondents have been tweeting about the near-total media crackdown in Egypy:
"There is no internet in Egypt, none at all. Noor was last standing internet provider but it was shut down as well."
"Rumors of a coming mobile phone crackdown, which would make sense given tmrw is supposed to be a big march & police are back."
Scott Lucas claims:
With Noor's disconnection which follows the disconnection of all the other ISPs in the country, Egypt becomes the first country to be completely shut off from the rest the web by its regime in the history of internet.
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Chart Of The Day, Ctd
31 JAN 2011 05:39 PM
by Patrick Appel
Blumenthal corrects Nate Silver, who wrote that "Egyptian popular opinion toward the United States has substantially improved over the course of the past 2 to 3 years":
Silver may have overlooked a footnote in the report he linked to explaining that the BBC sampled only urban areas of Egypt -- specifically Alexandria, Cairo, Giza and Shoubra al-Khaima -- that represent only 22 percent of the total national adult population.
More importantly, a more comprehensive survey of Egypt last year produced a very different result. The Global Attitudes Project conducted by the Pew Research Center conducts an annual, in-person survey that samples all but 2 percent of the population (it excluded smaller "Frontier governorates for security reasons"). That survey finds a very different pattern: The favorability rating of the United States among Egyptians has fallen sharply, from 30 percent in 2006 to 17 percent last last year. 
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Will The Army Fire? Ctd
31 JAN 2011 05:02 PM
by Patrick Appel
Kristof is in Cairo. He reads the mood:
The people I talked to mostly insisted that the army would never open fire on civilians. I hope they're right. To me, the scene here is eerily like that of Tiananmen Square in the first week or so after martial law was declared on May 20, 1989, when soldiers and citizens cooperated closely. But then the Chinese government issued live ammunition and ordered troops to open fire, and on the night of June 3 to 4, they did - and the result was a massacre.
In the past, the army famously refused President Sadat’s order to crack down on bread riots, and maybe they won’t crack down this time.
Read On
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Women Out Front
31 JAN 2011 04:44 PM
by Chris Bodenner
A Facebook photo gallery of women of all ages on the front lines of the Egyptian protests, as was the case during the Iranian uprising.
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Talks Imminent?
31 JAN 2011 04:34 PM
by Chris Bodenner
EA:
2048 GMT: The Obama Administration has reportedly despatched Frank G. Wisner a former Ambassador to Egypt, to Cairo for talks with the regime.
2045 GMT: Vice President Omar Suleiman has said that President Hosni Mubarak entrusted him to begin talks with all political factions. Suleiman also said the government will announce several political reforms within days, with the priorities of fighting unemployment and abolishing corruption.
Richard Adams cautions:
Omar Suleiman's offer of dialogue with other political parties is being dismissed as window dressing .... The consensus seems to be that Suleiman's appearance was intended for US consumption.
(Photo: From left, Hosni Mubarak, Omar Suleiman and Sami Enan at Egypt's military HQ in Cairo. AFP/Getty Images)
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Mental Health Break
31 JAN 2011 04:20 PM
by Patrick Appel
A puppy takes a bath:
(Hat tip: TDW)
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A Tunisian Tsunami? Ctd
31 JAN 2011 04:07 PM
by Zoe Pollock
Robert P. Baird looks into talks of an uprising in Uganda:
If the cases of Tunisia and Egypt prove any general rule, it may be that the U.S. is no longer interested or able to protect its autocratic client states at any cost. The Ugandans I’ve spoken to have confessed themselves more resigned than angry at the thought of Museveni’s inevitable reelection, and the prospect of a country-wide popular uprising seems, for the moment, very unlikely. But as Steve Randy Waldman wrote on Twitter yesterday, “Egypt is eroding the inevitability of the status quo, there and everywhere.”
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Al-Jazeera's Revolution? Ctd
31 JAN 2011 04:00 PM
by Chris Bodenner
The revolutionaries seem to think so:
2010 GMT: Protesters in Tahrir Square in Cairo have reportedly set up four large screens showing broadcasts of Al Jazeera and Al Jazeera Live, apparently bypassing the Egyptian Government's attempt to block the services.
AJE:
10:57pm One of our web producers on the ground in Cairo heard a protester named Hamza speaking to the crowd gathered at Tahrir Square say, "Long live Al Jazeera ... the Arab world is watching Egypt".
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Rand Paul's Plan To Save $500 Billion, Ctd
31 JAN 2011 03:45 PM
By Patrick Appel
Last week Conor asked for your thoughts on Rand Paul's proposed budget cuts. The most common criticism:
Defense gets a 6.5% cut, and education 83%? Can I be reading this right? Education gets the largest single cut? (other than Energy, which goes to Defense, for some reason). How can this be justified? We'll have a balanced budget on the backs of our uneducated children?
Another reader goes into more detail:
Read On
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Will The Army Fire? Ctd
31 JAN 2011 03:44 PM
by Patrick Appel
Reuters has a fuller version of the Army's statement:
Read On
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Egypt Is Not Iran
31 JAN 2011 03:16 PM

by Patrick Appel
Matt Steinglass compares America's relationship with Egypt to its relationship with Iran:
Our position today is in some ways less like our position during the Green Revolution in Iran than it is like Mikhail Gorbachev's position during the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, or perhaps like John F. Kennedy's position in South Vietnam in 1963, when a signal that America would be receptive to a change of leadership quickly led to the coup that ousted Ngo Dinh Diem.
That's not to say that Mr Obama should openly demand that Mr Mubarak step down.
Read On
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Against Subsidies Or Science?
31 JAN 2011 03:13 PM
by Zoe Pollock
Jonathan Chait skewers George Will's latest column bashing electric car subsidies:
There is, on the surface, a basic economic logic here. In general, the government should not rig the market to subsidize product A over product B. However, if product B creates the  negative externality of emitting massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, then you have a compelling reason to rig that market, one that any economist would grasp. ...
The problem is that Will thinks climate science is a giant hoax. And obviously if you think carbon emissions are harmless, then you won't support any program to mitigate them, because even a dollar spent to reduce climate change is a dollar wasted. So, when Will is instructing his readers to oppose this or that carbon-reduction program, perhaps he should note his scientific premises.
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"Truly One Of Us"
31 JAN 2011 02:57 PM
by Zoe Pollock
Andrew Romano rehashes all the money lines from Palin's speech on Saturday night to the Safari Club International:
She mentions how some media figures have pledged not cover her at all in February, and says the boycott "sounds good" to her: "because there's a lot of chaos in Cairo, and I can't wait to not get blamed for it--at least for a month."
She even cites her children's Christian names as evidence of her outdoorswoman cred. "Piper was named after Todd's airplane, the Piper cub, which gets us to the hunting grounds," she explains. "Bristol, Bristol Bay fishing grounds. Willow, a local sport-fishing stream. Trig, I pull the TRIG-ger. Track... I remember when we told my dad that his grandson was named Track, he said, 'Like TRACKing an elephant?'"
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What Caused The Financial Crisis?
31 JAN 2011 02:55 PM
by Conor Friedersdorf
David Frum is reading the Inquiry Commission's report:
Read On
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Middle Eastern Democracy vs American Control
31 JAN 2011 02:35 PM

by Patrick Appel
Beinart asks for Obama "to stop insulating Mubarak and Mahmoud Abbas from a reckoning with their own people":
 Middle Eastern tyrannies aren’t falling the way George W. Bush predicted. America isn’t the hammer; if anything, we’re the anvil. But Bush’s argument that Middle Eastern democracy could help drain the ideological swamp in which al Qaeda grew may yet be proved true. Osama bin Laden has never looked more irrelevant than he does this week, as tens of thousands march across the Middle East not for jihad, but for democracy, electricity, and a decent job. It’s a time for hope, not fear. America can survive having less control, as long as the Arab people have more.
(Photo:  An Egyptian army Captain identified as Ihab Fathi holds the national flag while being carried by demonstrators during a protest in Tahrir Square in Cairo on January 31, 2011, on the seventh day of mass protests calling for the removal of President Hosni Mubarak. By Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images)  
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What We Spend On Other Countries
31 JAN 2011 02:27 PM
by Conor Friedersdorf
Given calls to end US foreign aid to Egypt, Philip Giraldi suggests taking a closer look at all our spending abroad:
There has been curiously little coverage of Senator Rand Paul’s recent comments regarding foreign aid.  Appearing with Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday night, he called for an end to foreign aid and, when challenged by Blitzer, twice confirmed that he would include Israel.  That a United States Senator would call for eliminating aid to Israel is astonishing given the general consensus prevailing in Congress that the assistance is sacrosanct.
Read On
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Huntsman 2012?
31 JAN 2011 02:22 PM
by Patrick Appel
Politico is reporting that Jon Huntsman, the U.S. Ambassador to China, will run for the GOP nomination. Larison - along with the rest of the internet - is befuddled:
What intrigues me about Huntsman’s campaign is that it seems to make no sense at all.
Read On
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Egypt's Economy Teeters
31 JAN 2011 02:16 PM

by Patrick Appel
Moody's has downgraded Egypt's debt. Douglas McIntyre watches the markets:
The situation in Egypt is not like those of Greece or Ireland, but the outcome for investors could be similar. Greece's problem was a balance sheet issue. Egypt's is one of political stability. Either way, large international investors make similar calculations. Interest rates on Egypt's debt may swing wildly, which gives money managers plenty of volatility to make profits.
Money does not care about distress no matter who the victims or winners may be. Business is business, not personal, even if "personal" is the fate of an entire country.
(Photo: Emirati men sit under a stock market screen at Dubai Financial Market, on January 30, 2011 as stock markets in several Gulf countries, where many leading firms have interests in Egypt, dropped on mounting concerns. By Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images)
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Innocent Men
31 JAN 2011 02:10 PM
by Patrick Appel
Balko flags a trailer for a documentary on wrongful imprisonment:
MISSISSIPPI INNOCENCE - Trailer from Joe York on Vimeo.
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Devils We Don't Know
31 JAN 2011 01:53 PM
by Patrick Appel
Leslie Gelb fears the Muslim Brotherhood:
The [Muslim Brotherhood (MB)] supports Hamas and other terrorist groups, makes friendly noises to Iranian dictators and torturers, would be uncertain landlords of the critical Suez Canal, and opposes the Egyptian-Israeli agreement of 1979, widely regarded as the foundation of peace in the Mideast. Above all, the MB would endanger counterterrorism efforts in the region and worldwide. That is a very big deal.
Goldblog, as Chris noted earlier, is less skittish
Read On
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Will The Army Fire? Ctd
31 JAN 2011 01:42 PM
by Patrick Appel
Contrary to persistent rumors, a new statement:
Claims are circulating, citing Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, that the Egyptian military has issued a statement saying it recognises protesters' demands as "legitimate" and it will not shoot upon protesters.
The Guardian warns:
As always it's worth taking this sort of news with a large pinch of salt. And wait and see what actually happens.
Along the same lines, Max Fisher relays Ashraf Khalil's worries:
Even on Friday evening, when army tanks first deployed in the streets of Cairo, there were already scattered signs of friction. That night, I witnessed protesters openly berating and shoving soldiers -- who once again showed impressive patience. A few protesters behaved so aggressively toward the soldiers, without achieving a reaction, that I could only conclude the soldiers were under direct orders not to retaliate. But the longer the military is deployed in the streets, surrounded by hothead protesters, the greater the chances of the situation spiraling out of control. 
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Chart Of The Day
31 JAN 2011 01:27 PM


by Patrick Appel
From Nate Silver:
Egyptian popular opinion toward the United States has substantially improved over the course of the past 2 to 3 years, to the point that a new leader would probably not gain any points by expressing anti-American sentiment.
Also of note:
Who doesn’t the Egyptian public like? Israel. In the 2010 poll, just 3 percent of Egyptians had a positive opinion about it versus 92 percent unfavorable; these were the worst grades for Israel of any country included in the survey.
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Was Spying On Us In The Pledge?
31 JAN 2011 01:14 PM
by Conor Friedersdorf
Earnest as many Tea Partiers are in wanting a smaller, less intrusive government, it's going to be difficult to take their movement seriously if they keep insisting that the Republican Party is the only choice for liberty-minded individuals, as this CNET story shows:
The House Republicans’ first major technology initiative is about to be unveiled: a push to force Internet companies to keep track of what their users are doing. A House panel chaired by Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin is scheduled to hold a hearing tomorrow morning to discuss forcing Internet providers, and perhaps Web companies as well, to store records of their users’ activities for later review by police.
Read On
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The View From Your Window
31 JAN 2011 12:51 PM
Damascus, Syria, 7 am
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Elsewhere, In The Annals Of Corruption
31 JAN 2011 12:43 PM
by Zoe Pollock
Joe Klein argues if not for Egypt this story would be front-page news. He summarizes:
The losses at Kabul Bank, first reported to be several hundred million in the Times last summer, are actually in the neighborhood of $900 million. Apparently, the bank directors--perhaps including Hamid Karzai's brother Mahmoud--took a substantial portion of the assets, leveraged them and invested in Dubai real estate, which promptly crashed. The Afghan government does most of its business through Kabul Bank; if it fails, the government won't be able to pay its civil servants--and a fair amount of international aid, deposited in the bank, may be washed out as well.
The question now is: bail out Kabul Bank or let the Karzai government collapse? The answer, I think, is bail out Kabul Bank, but only if Karzai steps aside in favor of Abdullah Abdullah, who finished second in the rigged presidential election--or a respected technocrat like Ashraf Ghani, who could lead a caretaker government until new elections are held.
Dexter Filkins has the full story:
Read On
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Dental Woes, Ctd
31 JAN 2011 12:34 PM
by Chris Bodenner
A reader writes:
I was in a bike crash last summer that put me face-first into the pavement at 20 mph. I lost four teeth, broke my neck and that little bone in my throat (the hyoid), and nearly had my lower lip ripped off. I could have been killed or paralyzed, but wasn't, and recovered well. The hospital bill was in excess of $35k and included emergency facial surgery, where my lip was sewn back onto the base of my gums and asphalt fragments were scraped out of my lower jaw (yikes, that was the worst!). My insurance paid 90% of it, since I have a solid benefits plan through my well-funded startup company.
Now there was the matter of those four teeth.
Read On
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How's Andrew Doing?
31 JAN 2011 12:25 PM
by Chris Bodenner
He updated us last night.
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Face Of The Day
31 JAN 2011 12:14 PM
A protestor with an eye bandage saying 'Go Mubarak' in Arabic stands in Tahrir Square on January 31, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. By Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images.
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The Other Abuse
31 JAN 2011 12:04 PM
by Zoe Pollock
Kathryn Joyce reminds us it happens to adults too:
Adult victims could comprise up to 25% of all clergy abuse cases, estimates David Clohessy, National Director of [the Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests], but often face considerable skepticism about their stories. “In the eyes of the law, victims like [Katia] Birge are adults. But that doesn’t mean that emotionally, psychologically, in the presence of a trusted, powerful, charismatic clergy person, that in fact they can function like adults.” Considering the abundant ethical and legal prohibitions against doctors or therapists having even consensual sex with patients, in recognition of coercive power imbalances in play, Clohessy notes, “none of us have been raised from birth to think that a therapist is God’s representative or that a doctor can get me into heaven.”
Joyce connects Birge's case to a larger issue:
Read On
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Censoring The Egyptian Upheaval
31 JAN 2011 11:42 AM
by Conor Friedersdorf
...in China.
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Army As Kingmaker, Ctd
31 JAN 2011 11:34 AM

by Chris Bodenner
Brian Ulrich tries to gauge the motives of military leaders, who met with Mubarak yesterday:
Opposition leaders led by Muhammad el-Baradei have also expressed a desire to negotiate with the military. What is happening within it? Publicly they have sided with the demonstrators, using force mainly to try and bring order by rounding up looters, as just reported a few seconds ago by al-Jazeera English from Alexandria. They may be hoping that if their credibility increases, they can work a transition to the military-friendly Omar Suleiman rather than risk the unknowns of a non-NDP government following a successful revolution.
He later adds, "the more I think about this, the more I suspect the military leadership is seizing the opportunity to install Omar Suleiman now and forestall the possibility of a Gamal Mubarak presidency." Earlier thoughts by Noah Millman here.
(Photo: Egyptian army soldiers take position in front of the Giza pyramids in Cairo on January 31, 2011 as protesters called for an indefinite strike in Egypt upping the stakes in their bid to topple President Hosni Mubarak's regime. By Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images)
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The Scene At The Square
31 JAN 2011 11:29 AM

by Patrick Appel
Heba Morayef of HRW updates:
Thousands are still gathered in TSq, reiterating their demands for the departure of Mubarak. There's widespread dissatisfaction with the annucment of the cabinet and the proposed interior minister. Army is controlling the square and checking people's IDs at all entry points. When I asked why a soldier replied: "it's to keep the police out and make sure none of the escaped criminals get in." There are some police elsewhere jn Cairo, some traffic cops, but no state security police anywhere downtown that I can see. 
(Photo:  Protestors defy the curfew in Tahrir Square on January 31, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. By Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images.)
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Alleged Plot To Blow Up American Mosque
31 JAN 2011 11:13 AM
by Conor Friedersdorf
The Detroit Free Press reports:
A California man is in jail on a terrorism charge after he was arrested in Dearborn for allegedly trying to blow up the biggest mosque in metro Detroit, Dearborn officials said today.The suspect was arrested in the parking lot of the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn on Monday, while hundreds were inside the mosque that sits along Ford Road, police said. He came to the city because of its large Arab-American and Muslim population, police said.
The suspect, Robert Stockham, is 63-years-old, and since he is a white American citizen, this is inevitably going to serve as a point of comparison: are there going to be calls from the usual suspects to deny him a trial in civilian courts?
Read On
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Big Lunacy
31 JAN 2011 10:52 AM
by Conor Friedersdorf
As journalists everywhere do their best to bone up on Egypt and cover a complicated story as it unfolds, writers at Andrew Breitbart's Web site Big Peace are publishing all kinds of irresponsible crazy:
We know that the Muslim Brotherhood supports the uprising in Egypt. The Obama administration does as well. Based on the release of a secret document, it’s been learned that the United States government supported the April 6 Youth Movement – a group that played a key role in the uprising – in the form of a summit in Washington, D.C. That summit took place from December 3-5, 2008. We also know that Bill Ayers and Bernandine Dohrn were in Cairo a little more than one year later, engaging in protests while attempting to show solidarity with Hamas by entering Gaza with Egyptian protesters.
...Conveniently or coincidentally, the actions – and now words courtesy of the once secret document – of the Obama administration, coupled with the actions and words of Bill Ayers indicate a desire on the part of both to usher in a new Islamic caliphate in the Middle East, assuming they’re not ignorant of the Brotherhood’s goal. What more evidence is needed to demonstrate that Islamism and Marxism are not strange bedfellows? They’re hand-in-glove bedfellows.
This is from a different author:
Read On
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Army Nabs Al Jazeera, Ctd
31 JAN 2011 10:46 AM
by Chris Bodenner
The State Department, through Secretary Clinton's Senior Advisor for Innovation, is claiming credit for the release of the six reporters:
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Dumb Luck
31 JAN 2011 10:34 AM
Ryan Singel explains how Russians avoided being killed by a suicide bomber:
An unexpected and unwanted text message from a wireless company prematurely exploded a would-be suicide bomber’s vest bomb in Russia New Year’s Eve, inadvertently thwarting a planned attack on revelers in Moscow, according to The Daily Telegraph.
The would-be suicide bomber was planning to detonate a suicide belt bomb near Red Square, a plan that was foiled when her wireless carrier sent her an SMS while she was still at a safe house, setting off the bomb and killing her. The message reportedly wished her a Happy New Years, according to the report, which sourced the info from security forces in Russia. Cell phones are often used as makeshift detonators by terrorist and insurgent groups.
Life imitates Four Lions.
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"I Wanted To Make The Magazine"
31 JAN 2011 10:08 AM
by Zoe Pollock
It's been hard to see one of my favorites, Harper's Magazine, weathering rough waters as of late, in a standoff between the staff (now unionized) and publisher John "Rick" MacArthur. Megan's written about the saga, and I too hope they can pull through since their Readings (and Index and book reviews) are an indispensable part of my life. This farewell post by Ted Ross, the recently let-go editor, strikes a more personal chord about what it means to be out of work today:
I knew my father as the sort of person who put on a suit and disappeared to work every day. Work was a place where, when I visited him, people spoke to him with some modicum of respect. His job represented certainly not all but a fair amount of who he was. I knew him (and I still do) as a man who worked. Without thinking about it too much, I’ve always wanted my children to see me in the same way—presentable, respectable, necessary.
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To Keep Egypt Clean
31 JAN 2011 10:07 AM
by Patrick Appel
An amazing story from Daily News Egypt:
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Assad Frightened Into Reform
31 JAN 2011 09:55 AM
by Chris Bodenner
The WSJ gets a rare interview with the Syrian strongman:
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who inherited a regime that has held power for four decades, said he will push for more political reforms in his country, in a sign of how Egypt's violent revolt is forcing leaders across the region to rethink their approaches.
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Turnabout Is A Terrible Idea
31 JAN 2011 09:45 AM
by Conor Friedersdorf
Would the left benefit if it had its own Fox News, its own talk radio, and more of its own bazooka-wielding talking heads inveighing on behalf of progressivism? Many Dish readers think so, including a lot of Keith Olbermann fans who are upset by his departure. It's a useful reminder that there are a lot of thoughtful people who don't share my taste in political discourse. I stand by my comments about the utility of angry rhetoric. But I want to acknowledge some sound points made by readers. It's true that segments on Fox News sometimes influence public discourse beyond that network's audience by influencing other media outlets and driving or influencing certain stories. The high volume of RINO hunters makes it seem as if the GOP has more folks on its right-wing than its center. And I've long thought that the conservative movement succeeds in spreading information that misleads the public – to cite one example, it scared the country into thinking it would be dangerous to house Gitmo detainees in a supermax prison. Some short term political victories are won that way.
The right and the left aren't mirrors of one another. The strengths and flaws of both sides are different, as are the people who make up the ideological coalitions. For this reason, I very much doubt that the left is capable of building its own talk radio empire or Fox style news channel even if it wanted to do so. But I want to explain at greater length why liberals shouldn't envy the right for its blowhards.
Alongside their benefits, let's examine the costs.
Read On
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The Friday Of Departure
31 JAN 2011 09:32 AM

by Patrick Appel
Mackey flags a statement from protesters in Al-Masry Al-Youm, an Egyptian newspaper: 
Tahrir Square protesters say they plan to march Friday to the presidential palace in Heliopolis unless the army makes its stance clear. Youth-led groups issued a statement calling for all Egyptians to march on the palace, the People's Assembly and the television building, in what they are calling the "Friday of Departure."
They say the army must choose which side they are on: That of the people, or the regime.
(Image: An Egyptian demonstrator takes part in a protest against President Hosni Mubarak's regime at Tahrir Square in Cairo on January 30, 2011. By Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)
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SULLY'S RECENT KEEPERS
A Palin-Free February?
That's the Washington Village's devout wish.
Marriage: Past And Present
Civil equality does not erase cultural or religious difference.
"Generously Angry"
A term from Orwell useful in the debate over civility.
Palin's Test
There is something menacing about her response.
The "Politicized Mind" Of Gabrielle Giffords
Brooks' response presents a dangerous piety.
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