Meanwhile, Obama is taking necessary damage control steps by distancing US policy from Mubarak. Obviously, Egypt is a key ally and should Mubarak fall, retaining relations with whoever rises to power will be critical.
In the event your government goes the Egypt route and shuts down the internet, here are ways you can maintain the lines of communication.
Megan McArdle by the way, has taken a break from business writing to offer an analysis of when rioting does and does not work. The role of the military will be key.
Two cases have arisen that will probably force the administration to take a stand on the Defense of Marriage Act. It's a pretty interesting article breaking down the legal challenges the administration will face in justifying federal discrimination. If they can successfully argue that homosexuality is a choice (and in doing so, probably sacrifice the gay vote for 2012), then they'll only have to show that the law advances a "conceivable rational state interest". In that case, they have argued that the federal government should allow the states to experiment with the issue. If they fail to convince a judge that gay people have a choice about their orientations (I have a hard time seeing the administration really pursuing that argument to be honest), they'll have to prove that the law in fact advances a compelling rather than merely conceivable interest of the state.
In other gay rights news: homosexuals seeking refugee status may be deported to their home countries if they don't act gay enough. A spokeswoman for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services says that dismissing an asylum request for not being sufficiently flaming would not be condoned. In light of the DOMA cases above, I would like to quote this statement from a FEDERAL OFFICIAL:
“We don’t say that someone is insufficiently gay or homosexual, whatever that would mean, or that he or she could be saved by hiding his or her homosexuality,” Ms. Rhatigan said. “Sexual preference is an immutable characteristic. It is something an individual can’t or shouldn’t change.”
Finally on this topic: The Christianists always keep it classy. Have these people no shame?
Tracking Freedom of Information requests? Sounds...shady. Congressman Issa has requested the names of people asking for information from the government. The stated purpose is that it will help verify that requests are being handled expediently and legitimately, hopefully encouraging greater transparency. But still...They're still talking about centralizing and tracking the names of people that look into what the federal government is doing. There's something creepy about that.
From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
This is interesting: Video diaries of the criminally insane.
Oh my, oh my. Very, very troubling. You know the economy is in trouble when due to collapsed housing prices the next big retirement spot might be Detroit. I would prefer to not spend my golden years in the rust belt if I could help it.
My dad is bigger than your dad.
Thanks NPR!: Song of the Day. Brought to you by "Yuck".
Ronald Reagan quite infamously spent some time with astrologers. Meanwhile in Britain...