Daily Archives: 2009 August 2

Iran moves toward outlawing opposition

In today’s edition: What might be the beginning of the end of the Iranian opposition, success is apparently a warning of disaster, and a college graduate displays they slept through any and all legal classes they may have taken.

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The show trials in Iran have begun.  Over the next few days, perhaps weeks, hundreds of people will be publicized on state media – accused of inciting riots that were actually massive protests in the days that followed that country’s historic election.  The leaders of the reform movement – so far not including main opposition candidate Mousavi – will be tried, found guilty, paraded in front of the public, and either locked up for the rest of their lives or put to death.  That seems to be exactly where all this is heading, indicating that the hard line regime looks to remain just that and to not give into the public’s demand for modest reform.

The mass trial of Iran’s top reformist leaders over the weekend on charges that include conspiring to overthrow the regime signals that a process is under way to eventually outlaw the reformist party and ban its members and supporters from political activity, Iran analysts say.

On Sunday, reaction by Iranian newspapers and Web sites to the trials of some 100 detained opposition members, including a former vice president, was polarized as some raised questions about whether their confessions were coerced.

Those who disagree may eventually be forced to fall in line, and opinions like this might become more common and more… official from the government toward the west:

The Kayhan newspaper, which acts as a mouthpiece for Iran’s government, hailed the testimonies as proof that Western powers were plotting a “velvet revolution” in Iran and called for the execution of top reform leaders. It also encouraged the government to jail Mr. Khatami and opposition leader and presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi.

If this all goes according to plan, Iran will become a one-party dictatorship:

The outlawing of the Islamic Participation Front, the reform party that vehemently opposes Mr. Ahmadinejad, would immediately purge the parliament of reformist lawmakers. It would also ensure that no reformist candidate could run for office.

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The so-called “Cash for Clunkers” program, a program that is offering up to $4,500 for an individual to trade in their old, gas guzzling car for a new, more energy efficient one has been a smashing success – going through its allotted billion dollars in funding in just one week, which potentially translates into a quarter million new car sales.  Upon hearing that the funds were running out the House hurriedly passed a measure that would allocate another $2 billion for the successful program.  If it is approved by the Senate this week, then it’s full steam ahead for the program at least through the rest of this month.  This new source of economic activity and overall successful part of the $700+ billion bailout effort of this government is exactly why the Democrats and Obama can’t be trusted with anything!  What?  Oh, it must be the newest Republican talking point:

Republicans say the problems with the program are another strike against the Obama administration as it pushes for a speedy overhaul of the health care system that would involve a government-run insurance program. They argue that government involvement in any industry is a recipe for disaster.

Senator Jim DeMint, Republican of South Carolina, said the “cash for clunkers” program was an example of the “stupidity coming out of Washington right now.”

“The federal government went bankrupt in one week in the used-car business, and now they want to run our health care system,” Mr. DeMint said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” “This is crazy to try to rush this thing through again while they’re trying to rush through health care, and they want to get on to cap-and-trade electricity tax. We’ve got to slow this thing down.”

Let’s play that game where we parse language.  The “problems” described by Senator DeMint, and others like him, say that because the program was such an overwhelming and popular success, it was an utter failure.  It would have apparently been better if nobody bought anything and the program… failed.  The “government went bankrupt in one week” line is a cute touch but is, in fact, just another distortion of the truth.  The government allocated x-dollars for the program, which were subsequently spent.  The government is now looking to re-allocate an additional x-dollars for the program, so it may continue.  This happens on an annual basis in Washington, it’s called the budget.  Under Senator DeMint’s argument, every program and the federal government itself goes bankrupt every year because money that is allocated is eventually spent.  That’s over 233 years of continuous bankruptcies.  How will we ever survive?

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Here’s an entry for “legal case that doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell“:

A 27-year-old Monroe College graduate is suing the New York school, contending it has done little to help her find a job.Trina Thompson, who graduated in April with a bachelor’s degree, alleges in a Bronx Supreme Court lawsuit that she did not receive adequate employment leads and advice from the school’s office of career advancement, the New York Post reported Sunday.

“They have not tried hard enough to help me,” the information technology degree graduate alleges in the July 24 suit.

Ms. Thompson has apparently yet to learn that college is not a service that is guaranteed to do things for you.  Just because you get a degree in anything doesn’t mean you’re going to the Forbes 500 list, and just because your school has job seeking help doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed to get a job.  Ms. Thompson is a bit miffed that she spent $70,000 on schooling and was not greeted with a job upon leaving the campus for the final time, but she’s in a very large boat with a vast number of graduated students all across the country.  The jobs just aren’t there right now, at least not in the fields that were studied during school.  Most people set out to make do with what they can, hoping that when the economy finally does turn, there will be some sort of employment award for that piece of paper that is worth so many thousands of dollars.  In the meantime the answer is not to sue everyone else for your problems.  Anyone who honestly thinks college = automatic employment is perhaps not smart enough for the real world just yet, and may consider additional schooling.

All of this coming from a college student who has been there, done that.

Photo Set: Exit 392 & Back I

There is a place I used to live called Sault Ste. Marie.  That place is, was, and probably always will be one of the nicest places that I’ve lived.  Back when I did live up there though I missed out on the picture taking opportunities.  I fixed this in an early-July road trip.  Here are the first of the results…

These are from a park in Sault Ste. Marie, looking out across the river toward Canada. The weather gods were not with me at all on this one, but oh well. Some of the pictures might look cold, and they were. It was 45 outside with a wind that made it feel like 35 – 40. This wouldn’t have been as big of a deal if I had, say, packed a hat. I figured it’d be chilly enough to warrant a jacket. Not a hat. Looks like I really hadn’t been there in a while, as I should have known better. Anyhow…


( 40 pictures in all )

Bill Maher with some brutal truth about America

This will quickly devlove into a couple of camps:

- Yes, he’s right!
- How can he talk about America like that?!

Bill Maher, a comedian with some guts, channels the side of him that made the movie Religious and got him kicked off his late-night ABC show and goes on CNN – suggesting that if Sarah Palin could actually run a candidacy for President in 2012 then this country is quite stupid.

Spoiler: he’s absolutely correct.

Who else out there can hear the legions of reactionary youtube commentators already warming up?  Think about it, this is the same country who’s idea of a multiparty system is to have all or nothing of one side of the isle.  The same country that is just now figuring out that gays are people, too – and not at all that quick.  The same country where school boards are figuring out whether they should kick evolution out of the courses offered, and then wonder why universities basically laugh at their students when they apply with their science grades.  This is the same country where a sizable portion of the population can be made to believe that their own President is an agent of a foreign country, brought here and elected in a grand conspiracy.  This is the same country where one of the contestants for President in 2008 saw a boost in the polls when he nominated an attractive middle-aged woman to the ticket, had an amount of inexperience, but then tried to sell the country on the idea that this woman would be ready to lead the country through crisis should anything bad ever happen to him.

Bill Maher is absolutely 100% correct, and he will be crucified in some circles for it.  Par for the course, after all…