the break-down of the votes. Maybe this isn't a shocker to anyone, but I found it interesting that the category of "Tea-Party endorsed" members voted for and against the attempted extension in virtually identical proportion as the Republican Party... about .11 of the members who voted voted against (R: 210/26, TP: 96/12).
This surprised me because my superficial assumption was "Tea Party is more extreme than the GOP mainstream/establishment, ergo Tea Party would be the reddest of the red". At the same time, though, I assume that there's plenty of statist government surveillance in the Patriot Act that a Tea Party member could reasonably object to on the basis of Tea Party ideals. I was also surprised to see how many Democrats were listed as Tea Party endorsed, although (as with the above observations) a lot of this stems as much from my ignorance and lack of any real interest in the Tea Party movement. Surely some of this won't come as a surprise to others.
What would be neat to see is a similar break down of Republican v. Tea Party endorsed votes across the board. If the voting patterns are so similar for this legislation, which I imagine is something of a bellweather for the culture wars today, I wonder what sort of distinctives the Tea Party really could claim. Based simply on this vote, they don't look like material for any sort of third party that would be at all interesting (and I'm not saying that any or all of them claim to be establishing a new party, but the idea suggests itself when Bachmann stands up to give her own Tea Party response to the State of the Union address)
Also... is it too much to ask that every journalistic account of these votes include reference to the official resolution number? The Washington Post had it, but a lot of other news sources didn't bother including the information. Is it really that difficult to fit "HR 514" in somewhere? Why send readers scouring the internet to find this sort of straightforward information so that they can look up further details on it?