Patterico's Pontifications


L.A. Times Confirms Details re Neda, the Iranian Martyr

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 7:22 pm

I had been wary of this story until it was confirmed, even after seeing (and posting) the heart-wrenching video of her just after she was shot. As Allahpundit said last night: “The rumor — and it’s all rumor until some newspaper tracks down her family — is that she was 27 years old and a philosophy student.” Close: she was 26 and used to study philosophy. And a paper did track down her family. And — I’ll be damned! — the paper that did it was the L.A. Times. Credit where credit is due:

Her parents and others told her it would be dangerous to go to Saturday’s march, said Golshad. On Friday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had warned in his weekly prayer sermon that demonstrators would be responsible for any violence that broke out. Even Golshad stayed away. At 3:30 the two friends spoke.

“I told her, ‘Neda, don’t go,’ ” she recalled, heaving with sobs.

But she was as stubborn as she was honest, Golshad said, and she ended up going anyway.

“She said, ‘Don’t worry. It’s just one bullet and its over.’ ”

“She couldn’t stand the injustice of it all,” Panahi said. “All she wanted was the proper vote of the people to be counted.”

Ice-cream-eatin’ Obama is so outraged he plans to meet with the leaders of Iran and shake their bloody hands. Not literally (yet), but that’s the basic message being sent here:

President Barack Obama’s administration said earlier this month it would invite Iran to US embassy barbecues for the national holiday for the first time since the two nations severed relations following the 1979 Islamic revolution.

“There’s no thought to rescinding the invitations to Iranian diplomats,” State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters.

Certainly not. Why on Earth would you?

Remember that disgusting picture of him shaking Hugo Chavez’s hand?

You thought that grated? Just wait until he shakes the bloody hand of that grinning idiot Dinnerjacket.



Beldar’s Father Dies

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:42 pm

Please convey your condolences.

The NYT/CBS Poll is Junk – and Bad News for Obamacare

Filed under: General — Karl @ 11:01 am

[Posted by Karl]

This is what propaganda looks like:

Americans overwhelmingly support substantial changes to the health care system and are strongly behind [72%] one of the most contentious proposals Congress is considering, a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Bruce Kesler points out that — in traditional NYT/CBS fashion — the sample is badly skewed:

According to the actual poll data, of the 73% of respondents who said they voted in 2008 only 34% voted for McCain and 66% for Obama. The actual vote was 48% McCain.

This is a good example of why reading a poll is as much art as science, because the first problem is the percentage who say they voted in the 2008 election. In reality, no more than 62% of eligible voters cast ballots last year. Accordingly, the poll has sampled a lot of adults who were ineligible to vote… or, as often happens, respondents lied about voting. In such cases, the lie tends to skew in favor of the winner.

Does that mean the sample might be more valid than Kesler suggests? Not in this case. In this poll, the sample identified as 27% liberal, 37% moderate, and 29% conservative. In contrast, last week’s Gallup Poll showed Americans identify as 21% liberal, 35% moderate, and 40% conservative.

But wait… there’s more. The same NYT/CBS poll previously published more information about this very sample, showing that 16% was temporarily out of work, and another 10% was not in the market for work. Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg tells us that those who have been unemployed within the past year (or have an immediate family member in that category) are the most supportive of a government takeover of the US healthcare system. So a sample with much higher unemployment than the national average tells us something about the skew here also.

While the NYT trumpets the supposed support for a public plan among its skewed sample (which was not asked about support in the event they were to be dumped into the public plan by their employers), the rest of the results are bad news for Obamacare. The number who say the system needs fundamental change is almost exactly what it was in 1993-94. The number who trust the president to make the right decisions on healthcare policy is almost exactly what it was in 1993 — the number who trust Congress has actually declined. Both are below 40% in trust.

The number who would be willing to pay higher taxes to fund Obamacare (57%) is lower than in 1993. Of those willing to pay higher taxes, only 43% would be willing to pay as much as $500 a year more in taxes. That means fewer than 25% of a sample largely skewed towards liberals are willing to pay an amount far less than what Obamacare may actually require.

In short, the skewed NYT/CBS poll is no better for the Democrats than any of the other recent polls. In some ways, it is worse.


Supreme Court Decides Voting Rights Act Case

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Judiciary — DRJ @ 9:48 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

With Justice Thomas dissenting, the Supreme Court decided today a Texas case that could have eliminated the preclearance requirement under the Voting Rights Act. Instead, the Court narrowly ruled that a Texas municipal water district may be eligible to avoid preclearance under a bailout provision:

“The court, with only one justice in dissent, avoided the major questions raised over the federal government’s most powerful tool to prevent discriminatory voting changes since the mid-1960s.

The law requires all or parts of 16 states, mainly in the South, with a history of discrimination in voting to get approval in advance of making changes in the way elections are conducted.

The court said that the Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 in Austin, Texas, can apply to opt out of the advance approval requirement, reversing a lower federal court that found it could not. The district would appear to meet the requirements to bail out, although the court did not pass judgment today on that point.”

I blogged on this case earlier here and (tangentially) here.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently described this case as “perhaps the most important case of the term,” while one of the NAACP lawyers who opposed eliminating the preclearance requirement said, “The fact is, the case was filed to tear the heart out of the preclearance provision of the Voting Rights Act and that effort failed today.”

Is it fair to say the residents of these 16 states remain second-class citizens? It feels like it.

UPDATE 6/24/2009: Here’s an excellent Texas Observer article written in May 2009 after oral arguments that provides an overview of this case and its issues. The author also foretold the eventual decision to let MUD use the bailout provision, describing that result as the “best-case scenario for supporters of the act.”


Iran’s Rafsanjani and Iraq’s al-Sistani

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 8:49 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Steve Schippert at ThreatsWatch.Org believes this al-Arabiya article is big news. Al-Arabiya reports that Iran’s Rafsanjani is working to replace Supreme Leader Khameini with a governing council, and Iraq’s Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is involved. From Schippert’s analysis:

“My ears first perked up when word made it through the grapevines over the weekend that Rafsanjani had been meeting with other Ayatollahs and clerics in Qom, and had among them a representative of Iraq’s Ayatollah Ali Sistani.

Why? Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in 2007 made two very critical statements: that “I am a servant of all Iraqis, there is no difference between a Sunni, a Shiite or a Kurd or a Christian,” and that Islam can exist within a democracy without theological conflict. You will never hear such words slip past the lips of Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei. Ever.”

Now we know why Rafsanjani’s relatives were detained for several hours around that time. And my ears picked up at these statements:

“But whatever the change, and the extent of the change – and it appears the intent is significant change and not simply a game of Shuffling Ayatollahs – it will be positive for Iranians, for the region, for Americans and for the entire world. I think it is nearly inevitable at his point, and time is not on the regime’s side.

I have been telling friends and peers for a week that we are witnessing the most significant – if relative slow motion – event since the attacks of 9/11. Most have shrugged that off. Well, when one considers the potential effects afoot, this may prove more significant than 9/11. (Think the possible implications for client terrorist organizations Hizballah and Hamas when the cash cow disappears.)”

A slow-motion regime change in Iran with input from a liberated Iraqi Ayatollah. I hope it’s true.


Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Threatens Protesters (Updated)

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 4:27 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has threatened to crush any protesters and warns there will be a “revolutionary confrontation” if they take to the streets again:

“The country’s most powerful military force ordered demonstrators to “end the sabotage and rioting activities” and said their resistance is a “conspiracy” against Iran.

A statement posted Monday on the Guard’s Web site warned protesters to “be prepared for a resolution and revolutionary confrontation with the Guards, Basij and other security forces and disciplinary forces.””

The opponents say they will persist:

“The country belongs to you … protesting lies and fraud is your right,” Mousavi, who claims hardline Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won re-election through fraud, said in a statement on his Web site.
Echoing Mousavi, former president Mohammad Khatami said in a statement that “protest in a civil manner and avoiding disturbances in the definite right of the people and all must respect that.”

The article notes both sides are courting the Iranian mullahs in an effort to garner support.

Finally, I think this is a photo of Neda, the martyr of Iran.

UPDATE: An early report indicates a massive police presence is dispersing all protesters in Tehran.

Meanwhile, the governing council acknowledged voting irregularities, including that over 100% voted in 50 cities.


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