Quick Takes: Black Friday Edition

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* It was a dark day in Egypt.

The Egyptian military kicked off a hunt for the attackers of a Sufi mosque in the northern Sinai, a military source said, combing the area of Friday’s assault that killed at least 235 people — thought to be the deadliest terror attack on the country’s soil.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi vowed to respond to the attack on al Rawdah mosque with “brute force.” Some 109 others were injured, Egyptian state media reported.

No one has claimed responsibility, but the strike bears the hallmarks of an attack by ISIS.

The mosque is known as the birthplace of an important Sufi cleric. Sufism is a mystical branch of Islam that some ultra-orthodox Muslims consider heretical.

Of course, our Idiot-in-Chief immediately took to twitter to politicize the event.

* A health care crisis is looming in the states, thanks to Congressional Republicans.

Officials in nearly a dozen states are preparing to notify families that a crucial health insurance program for low-income children is running out of money for the first time since its creation two decades ago, putting coverage for many at risk by the end of the year.

Congress missed a Sept. 30 deadline to extend funding for CHIP, as the Children’s Health Insurance Program is known. Nearly 9 million youngsters and 370,000 pregnant women nationwide receive care because of it.

Many states have enough money to keep their individual programs afloat for at least a few months, but five could run out in late December if lawmakers do not act. Others will start to exhaust resources the following month.

* As has been previously reported, Richard Cordray is resigning as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But he’s not leaving quietly.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray on Friday appointed the agency’s chief of staff, Leandra English, as the CFPB’s deputy director, establishing her as his successor when he steps down at the end of the day.

The move appears designed to thwart any move by President Donald Trump to name another temporary official to head the controversial agency. Trump has been reported to be considering White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney for the role.

The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which created the CFPB, explicitly says the consumer bureau’s deputy director shall “serve as acting Director in the absence or unavailability of the Director.”

Trump will likely now have to nominate someone who must be confirmed by the Senate before he can oust English.

* A federal judge struck down one of the anti-abortion movement’s most draconian laws.

This week, U.S. District Court Judge Lee Yeakel ruled that Senate Bill 8, a Texas law which restricted a common second-trimester abortion procedure, was unconstitutional.

In a pointed decision on November 22, Yeakel said that the bill “does not further the health of the woman before the fetus is viable.”

“That a woman may make the decision to have an abortion before a fetus may survive outside her womb is solely and exclusively the woman’s decision. The power to make this decision is her right,” Yeakel wrote. “Once the Supreme Court has defined the boundaries of a constitutional right, a district court may not redefine those boundaries. Further, the role of this district court is to preserve a right, not to search for a way to evade or lessen the right.”

* In a fascinating article, Sally Roesch Wagner documents the source of inspiration for this country’s earliest suffragettes. Here’s a taste, but I recommend that you click on the link and read the whole thing.

Two of the earliest founders of the U.S. women’s movement, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage, saw the egalitarian Native model first-hand while growing up in New York, the land base of the Haudenosaunee—a label denoting the five nations of the Iroquois confederacy: the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca—later joined by the Tuscarora. Native women were the agriculturalists of their tribes, and from North to South America they collectively raised corn, beans, and squash. Their responsibility for the survival of the Nation, through the creation of life and the food that sustained life, gave women a position of equality in their society that white women could only dream of.

“In the councils of the Iroquois every adult male or female had a voice upon all questions brought before it,” Stanton reported in The National Bulletin in 1891. “The American aborigines were essentially democratic in their government….The women were the great power among the clan.” Stanton went on to describe how clan mothers had the responsibility for nominating a chief, and could remove that chief if he did not make good decisions. “They did not hesitate, when occasion required,” Stanton recalled, “‘to knock off the horns,’ as it was technically called, from the head of a chief and send him back to the ranks of the warriors.”

* David Leonhardt writes, “What to Read Now.”

As you read this, people are jostling each other in stores across the land. I have a different suggestion for holiday shopping: Buy a subscription — for yourself or as a gift — to a publication that does great work and that needs more help than, say, The New York Times.

The Times is thriving, as I explained yesterday, but not all publications have the financial advantages we do. And some of these publications do vital work that a democracy needs. They provide local and regional coverage. Or they focus on a specific subject. Or they write about the world from a particular perspective.

Below is a list of publications I recommend that you consider.

We are all very proud that his number one recommendation for policy issues is the Washington Monthly. You can subscribe to the magazine or simply make a donation here. Thanks to our foundation supporters, your contribution will be matched dollar for dollar.

* Finally, on this Black Friday, perhaps my musical selection will give you some idea how I feel about the holiday shopping craze.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.