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Sunday Reads

Morning everyone, it is Sunday yet again. It’s been a strange fantastic week, full of joy in seeing the Egyptian people’s voices finally being heard, and their boots kicking out a dictator. Something must have inspired me cause I rearranged the furniture in my apartment. (I guess you can call it a wild hare up my…well you know the saying.) Moving all that heavy stuff without any idea where I was putting it, I realized that most of the day had passed…and all I had since morning was a cup of coffee. So that just made me want another cup.

Okay, let’s get on with it!

Could Algeria be next? Dak brought this up in last nights open thread. The powers that be over there have shut down the internet and blocked Facebook. Sound familiar? It looks like it is possible that the next domino to fall is indeed Algeria’s. Thousands Defy Ban To Protest In Algeria : NPR

Heavily armed police tried to seal off the city of Algiers, blocking streets, lining up along the march route and setting up barricades outside the city to try to stop busloads of demonstrators from reaching the capital.

But despite the heavy security, thousands flooded into downtown Algiers, clashing with police who reportedly outnumbered them at least 3 to 1. A human rights activist said more than 400 people were arrested.

Just catching up on the transitions in Egypt, and the post game show, complete with the armchair quarterback analysis of The One’s performance in this international game of diplomacy.

Egypt’s army vows smooth transition – Middle East – Al Jazeera English

Egypt’s new military rulers have pledged to enact a smooth transition to civilian rule, amid celebrations marking the country’s first day in almost 30 years without Hosni Mubarak as president.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces vowed on Saturday to hand power to an elected, civilian government in a statement that came a day after Mubarak was swept from power following an 18-day public uprising.

The military will “guarantee the peaceful transition of power in the framework of a free, democratic system which allows an elected, civilian power to govern the country to build a democratic, free state”, a senior army officer announced on state television.

The council also pledged to honour its international treaties – in an apparent nod to the country’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel.

“The Arab Republic of Egypt is committed to all regional and international obligations and treaties,” the military statement read.

Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, welcomed the assurance, saying the “longstanding peace treaty between Israel and Egypt … is the cornerstone for peace and stability in the entire Middle East”.

Egyptian minds are opened – Middle East – Al Jazeera English

As dawn broke, all-volunteer teams of street sweepers wearing rubber gloves and cotton masks struck out along Cairo’s decrepit boulevards, sweeping dust and debris into trash bags.


In Abdel Moneim Riad Square, near the Egyptian museum, where pro- and anti-government crowds had hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at each other in deadly combat on February 2, men and women now formed human chains to prevent passersby from smudging the curbs they had just painted in thick black-and-white stripes.


What is being suggested in Cairo now is nothing short of a mental house-clearing – a complete overhaul in the way the average Egyptian has learned to do business in a society that has been smothered beneath nepotism and emergency law for decades.

One flyer being distributed on Saturday put it this way:

“Today this country is your country. Do not litter. Don’t drive through traffic lights. Don’t bribe. Don’t forge paperwork. Don’t drive the wrong way. Don’t drive quickly to be cool while putting lives at risk. Don’t enter through the exit door at the metro. Don’t harass women. Don’t say, ‘It’s not my problem.’ Consider God in your work. We have no excuse anymore.”

I really hope for all Egyptians, that eventually they have a true democracy and a government that they have chosen. Some of our readers and front pagers have lived as long as Mubarak was in power. Perhaps that creates a connection to those Egyptians that have lived under a dictatorial regime for as long as they have been alive.

Bolton: Obama administration ‘plain wrong’ on Egypt – CNN Political Ticker – Blogs

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton condemned President Obama as “weak” and “indecisive” on foreign affairs while speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference Saturday.

And specifically on the topic of the revolution in Egypt, Bolton stated “We don’t have the leadership in the White House that can deal with it.”

Okay, first let me say that hell must be frozen over, cause I actually agree with something this man says. Bolton is right, we don’t have a leader in the White House. Ack! You have to understand, I really dislike this man…I actually cringe when I see him on T.V.

Obama’s Egypt strategy: U.S. tried to pressure President Hosni Mubarak without intruding –

I won’t quote from this link, it pretty much is the same news we have already discussed. Remember that post by Boston Boomer, she mentioned the various news outlets that are in Obama’s back pocket? Add LA Times to that list…

And on to another organization which Obama has courted of late, The Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has hired HBGary Federal to do it’s dirty work.  Seems that social media trolls are being paid to perform a special service. The get to impersonate real people and create havoc on various blogs and Facebook. Damn, HBGary is no gangsta, sounds more like a pimp to me.  Hey, we all know that Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy.  (On Friday, I linked to an article from Greenwald about the Wikileak attack by HBGary Federal, there is an update here.) Anyway, take a look at the post below and if you want to read more about HBGary, look here.

HBGary Fees: “Dam It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta” | Emptywheel

One of the more interesting documents on HBGary et al’s partnership with the Chamber of Commerce details the prices they wanted to charge. Now, other emails make it clear that the Chamber balked at what the team originally proposed would be $2 million of work–the Chamber didn’t pay these rates (indeed, they probably haven’t paid for any of this).

But I was particularly interested in what HBGary’s Aaron Barr proposed charging for the work of what they called a “Social Media SME.”

Social media sme ($250 per hour) – experienced in social media link analysis. Personna development. Content management. Social media exploitation techniques.

This is a social media consultant, someone we know from the team’s plans they intended to deploy on Facebook and Twitter in false personas ultimately aiming to destroy the credibility of anti-Chamber activists.

Wouldn’t this be a hell of a job? Wonder if any Obots got paid to troll the Hillary blogs in 2008? Nah, Obama got his trolls for free. (Some may say that we all are paying for it now.)

From the Minx Missing Link File: Many of you may have missed this post by Chatblu over at The Widdershins: MW: Conservative Fatigue Syndrome « The Widdershins I wanted to link to it here because it was damn good.

Allright. I’ve officially had it. In between the events in Egypt over the past two weeks, conservatives have busied themselves meddling into the business of every day Americans under the aegis of Conservative Family Values and Fiscal Responsibility. The House of Representatives has been laughable. First of all, Boehner fast-tracked extension of the Patriot Act without actually ascertaining that he had the votes. After an epic failure, he attempted to – wait for it – blame the Democrats. He’s reintroducing the bill and it most likely will pass, but that had to be an embarrassment. Next, he pulled a bill that would offer assistance to workers who had lost jobs due to unfair overseas competition, as conservatives felt that this would be government meddling in the private sector, Flushed with that success, he capered off and fast tracked yet another bill. This particular bill was sponsored by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (of assassinate Castro fame) and would pull back money paid to the United Nations. Failed again to reach the necessary supermajority. He either lacks the chops to get things done, or neither he nor Eric Cantor can count.

In the meantime, the House floor is flooded with bills to make absolutely, positively certain that abortion is out of reach for the average person. Mr. Pitts is at it again. There are a number of bills extant, and they each have some cringeworthy stipulations. One goes so far as to say that a hospital is under no obligation to either treat or stabilize and transfer a pregnant woman who requires abortion to save her life. Yet another states that you cannot tax deduct money that you spend for your private policy if it were to cover abortion. ( H/T to Rachel Maddow who referred to this type of activity as “running for President of Anti-Abortistan”.) All I know is that the House of Representatives is obsessing over the uterus, and there are many more important issues out there.[Link]

Bare mountain … Tibetan pilgrims on Mount Kailas. Photograph: Getty Images

Please give it a read, I thought it was a great post. Gotta love and support our fellow left leaning  blogs across this minefield of right-wing crap that spews from those “Rush to make an ass of yourself” radio shows, Fox News and other hot air blogs.

Easy Like Sunday Morning Link: This next link is an excerpt from a travel book by Colin Thubron. I would love to visit Tibet and Nepal one day, they have some amazing weavers who produce beautiful cloth and rugs on primitive looms.  Just look at these lovely designs, and what a cultural treasure these woven Tibetan Rugs are.  Anyway, on with the travel book link: Colin Thubron on the pilgrims’ trail in Tibet | Travel | The Guardian

The great rivers of the Indian sub-continent descend through clefts in the Himalaya to arrive at the ocean, thinned by irrigation channels but still huge. The Indus and the Brahmaputra, curling west and east for almost 2,000 miles each, hold the whole land in giant pincers, while the tributaries of the Ganges flood into India’s plains. Anyone seeking to follow these stupendous arteries to their origins, labouring northwards through some of the deepest gorges on earth, would arrive in astonishment at a lonely mountain in Tibet. It rises beyond the Great Himalaya on a plateau of lunar emptiness, and its isolation above two brilliant blue lakes lends it an eerie beauty. This is Mount Kailas, holy to one-fifth of humankind.

Here are a few images of rugs to really get you going:

A Tibetan Wangden sitting rug from the late 19th or early part of the 20th century. The red coloring and red fringe indicate that this rug was used in a monastic setting, probably by a senior lama since junior monks rarely owned such pieces.


Tibetan khaden with designs from the early part of the 20th century showing the greater elaboration and wider color range from this period.


So what are you finding interesting today? Comment section is below, hop to it!


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