Working from the province by province breakdowns of the 2009 and 2005 results, released by the Iranian Ministry of Interior, and from the 2006 census as published by the official Statistical Centre of Iran, the following observations about the official data and the debates surrounding it can be made.
- In two Conservative provinces, Mazandaran and Yazd, a turnout of more than 100% was recorded.
- At a provincial level, there is no correlation between the increased turnout, and the swing to Ahmadinejad. This challenges the notion that his victory was due to the massive participation of a previously silent Conservative majority.
- In a third of all provinces, the official results would require that Ahmadinejad took not only all former conservative voters, and all former centrist voters, and all new voters, but also up to 44% of former Reformist voters, despite a decade of conflict between these two groups.
- In 2005, as in 2001 and 1997, conservative candidates, and Ahmadinejad in particular, were markedly unpopular in rural areas. That the countryside always votes conservative is a myth. The claim that this year Ahmadinejad swept the board in more rural provinces flies in the face of these trends.
"Just from what little I’ve seen of [Michelle Obama] and Mr. Obama, Sen. Obama, they're a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they're uppity," [Georgia Republican Rep. Lynn] Westmoreland said.
Asked to clarify that he used the word “uppity,” Westmoreland said, “Uppity, yeah.”
That took longer than I expected, honestly. I was sure someone was gonna go there long before now, like the Kentucky representative who called Obama "that boy".
( quizzy thing, Your Issue Profile: Obama vs. McCain )
Court gives detainees habeas rights
In a stunning blow to the Bush Administration in its war-on-terrorism policies, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that foreign nationals held at Guantanamo Bay have a right to pursue habeas challenges to their detention. The Court, dividing 5-4, ruled that Congress had not validly taken away habeas rights. If Congress wishes to suspend habeas, it must do so only as the Constitution allows — when the country faces rebellion or invasion.
The Court stressed that it was not ruling that the detainees are entitled to be released — that is, entitled to have writs issued to end their confinement. That issue, it said, is left to the District Court judges who will be hearing the challenges. The Court also said that “we do not address whether the President has authority to detain” individuals during the war on terrorism, and hold them at the U.S. Naval base in Cuba; that, too, it said, is to be considered first by the District judges.
The Court also declared that detainees do not have to go through the special civilian court review process that Congress created in 2005, since that is not an adequate substitute for habeas rights. The Court refused to interpret the Detainee Treatment Act — as the Bush Administration had suggested — to include enough legal protection to make it an adequate replacement for habeas. Congress, it concluded, unconstitutionally suspended the writ in enacting that Act.
Barack Obama rally at Nissan Pavilion, Thursday, June 5. Doors open 3:00 PM, program starts 6:00 PM.
[...]Hillary Clinton compared the plight of Zimbabweans in their recent fraudulent election to the uncounted votes of Michigan and Florida voters saying it is wrong when “people go through the motions of an election only to have them discarded and disregarded.”
“We’re seeing that right now in Zimbabwe," Clinton explained. "Tragically, an election was held, the president lost, they refused to abide by the will of the people,” Clinton told the crowd of senior citizens at a retirement community in south Florida.
Yes, indeed. The situation with Michigan and Florida's primary shenanigans is JUST LIKE what's going on in Zimbabwe.
What's Your Political Philosophy?
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|You scored as Old School Democrat
Old school Democrats emphasize economic justice and opportunity. The Democratic ideal is best summarized by the Four Freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.
I'll vote for Hillary if she ends up being the candidate (because I trust her marginally more than McCain, much less any of the other remaining wingnuts still in the Republican race), but as Patrick says:
I’m for Obama knowing perfectly well that, as Bill Clinton suggested, it’s a “roll of the dice”. A roll of the dice for Democrats, for progressives, for those of us who’ve fought so hard against the right-wing frames that Obama sometimes (sometimes craftily, sometimes naively) deploys. Because I think a Hillary Clinton candidacy will be another game of inches, yielding—at best—another four or eight years of knifework in the dark. Because I think an Obama candidacy might actually shake up the whole gameboard, energize good people, create room and space for real change.
Because he seems to know something extraordinarily important, something so frequently missing from progressive politics in this country, in this time: how to hearten people. Because when I watch him speak, I see fearful people becoming brave.
That’s not enough. But it’s something. It’s a real something. It’s a start.
Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts. Develop the mind of equilibrium. You will always be getting praise and blame, but do not let either affect the poise of the mind: follow the calmness, the absence of pride. - Sutta Nipata
( One presidential candidate matching meme )
( and another, which gives me different results )
Interesting to see the differences in rankings. Glassbooth selects the questions it asks you based on your indication of which issues are most important to you; I notice that in this one, Gravel and Kucinich basically get flipped from the bottom of the list of candidates I'd be willing to vote for to the top.
Biloxi's Recovery Shows Divide
While Gov. Haley Barbour (R) has hailed the casino openings as a harbinger of Mississippi's resurgence and developers have proposed more than $1 billion in beachfront condos and hotels for tourists, fewer than one in 10 of the thousands of single-family houses destroyed in Biloxi are being rebuilt, according to city permit records. More than 10,000 displaced families still live in trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
While getting money for lower-income residents to rebuild or for the construction of affordable rental units is like pulling teeth (if you can manage it at all -- according to this article, the state argued at first that bailing out homeowners without flood insurance would just encourage them to forgo it in the future), Haley Barbour wants to divert $600 million in federal housing aid to fund an expansion of the Port of Gulfport, including creating an "upscale tourist village" with hotels, condos, restaurants and casinos. Because they claim that the already-funded programs are adequate to meet the housing needs of their displaced residents. Clearly.
Johann Hari spends a week on a cruise with readers of the National Review.
I am getting used to these moments - when gentle holiday geniality bleeds into… what? I lie on the beach with Hillary-Ann, a chatty, scatty 35-year-old Californian designer. As she explains the perils of Republican dating, my mind drifts, watching the gentle tide. When I hear her say, " Of course, we need to execute some of these people," I wake up. Who do we need to execute? She runs her fingers through the sand lazily. "A few of these prominent liberals who are trying to demoralise the country," she says. "Just take a couple of these anti-war people off to the gas chamber for treason to show, if you try to bring down America at a time of war, that's what you'll get." She squints at the sun and smiles. " Then things'll change."
Now to be fair, I have some conservative friends and I've never heard any of them call for the execution of us "traitorous anti-war liberals". Of course, I try not to spend much time with people in whom the Batshit Crazy is strong and that may have something to do with it.
I do want to know how Johann apparently kept a straight face during this exchange:
They rush through the Rush-list of liberals who hate America, who want her to fail, and I ask them - why are liberals like this? What's their motivation? They stutter to a halt and there is a long, puzzled silence. " It's a good question," one of them, Martha, says finally. I have asked them to peer into the minds of cartoons and they are suddenly, reluctantly confronted with the hollowness of their creation. "There have always been intellectuals who want to tell people how to live," Martha adds, to an almost visible sense of relief.
I don't believe my role is to replace the verdict of a jury with my own, unless there are new facts or evidence of which a jury was unaware, or evidence that the trial was somehow unfair. [from A Charge to Keep: My Journey to the White House]
and George Bush now:
I respect the jury's verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby's sentence that required him to spend 30 months in prison. [Statement by the President On Executive Clemency for Lewis Libby]
I am Jack's complete lack of surprise. Or something.
[Edit:] The New York Times July 3 editorial piece ("Soft on Crime") concludes with this bit, which I think was probably the first thing lots of us thought:
Presidents have the power to grant clemency and pardons. But in this case, Mr. Bush did not sound like a leader making tough decisions about justice. He sounded like a man worried about what a former loyalist might say when actually staring into a prison cell.
Here is the call that an Arlington man got this morning threatening him with arrest if he voted. (Unlike these folks, I'm not going so far as to say it was definitely Allen's campaign responsible. I'm also not going to say that it definitely wasn't.) Voters in Covington, Hampton and Colonial Heights, and Accomack, Northampton and Fairfax counties reported receiving calls in the past few days telling them their voting locations had changed (they hadn't). In at least one of those alleged incidents, the caller claimed to be with Jim Webb's campaign and directed the voter to a non-existent polling location after he assured her he was planning on voting for Webb.
Elsewhere: D'oh! South Carolina governor turned away because he forgot his voter registration card..
Ballot Question Three
Shall Section 6 of Article X of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to authorize legislation to permit localities to provide a partial exemption from real property taxes for real estate with new structures and improvements in conservation, redevelopment, or rehabilitation areas?
The "conservation [...] areas" made me wonder why the Democrats were in favor of this, because the first thing that comes to mind is "new townhouses built on wetlands with a partial tax credit for the developers". In context though, that just didn't seem to make sense. A bit of poking around in the VA Code leads to this:
§ 36-3. Definitions.
"Conservation area" means an area, designated by an authority that is in a state of deterioration and in the early stages of becoming a blighted area, as defined in this section, or any area previously designated as a conservation area pursuant to this chapter.
§ 36-49.1. Adoption of Conservation Plans.
A. An authority may adopt a conservation plan for a designated conservation area to address blight and blighting conditions, to conserve such area, prevent further deterioration and prevent such area from becoming blighted, and in particular is specifically empowered to carry out any work or undertaking in the conservation area, including any or all of the following:
That makes much more sense. I do wish I hadn't had to go combing through the state code to find out that "conservation area" has a specific meaning that isn't likely the first one that comes to mind for people who aren't real estate developers.
Second, and rather more importantly, voting Democrat in this case doesn't make you a Democrat. Far from it -- it makes you a better Republican, one who recognizes that the likelihood of Republican party reforming itself and re-embracing genuine Republican principles without being booted on its ass is roughly the same as, say, Al Gore waxing poetic about the health advantages of breathing coal dust. By voting Democratic, you're letting the GOP know that you think it would be nice if it stopped being the party of swelling deficits and shrinking individual rights and got back to what it says it believes in.
(Found in comments to also_huey's post)
HELD: Denying committed same-sex couples the financial and social benefits and privileges given to their married heterosexual counterparts bears no substantial relationship to a legitimate governmental purpose. The Court holds that under the equal protection guarantee of Article I, Paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution, committed samesex couples must be afforded on equal terms the same rights and benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex couples under the civil marriage statutes. The name to be given to the statutory scheme that provides full rights and benefits to samesex couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter left to the democratic process.
(Link via agnosticoracle)
[Edit, commentary at the end taken from an earlier comment:]
To comply with the equal protection guarantee of Article I, Paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution, the State must provide to committed same-sex couples, on equal terms, the full rights and benefits enjoyed by heterosexual married couples. The State can fulfill that constitutional requirement in one of two ways. It can either amend the marriage statutes to include same-sex couples or enact a parallel statutory structure by another name, in which same-sex couples would not only enjoy the rights and benefits, but also bear the burdens and obligations of civil marriage. If the State proceeds with a parallel scheme, it cannot make entry into a same-sex civil union any more difficult than it is for heterosexual couples to enter the state of marriage. It may, however, regulate that scheme similarly to marriage and, for instance, restrict civil unions based on age and consanguinity and prohibit polygamous relationships.
The constitutional relief that we give to plaintiffs cannot be effectuated immediately or by this Court alone. The implementation of this constitutional mandate will require the cooperation of the Legislature. To bring the State into compliance with Article I, Paragraph 1 so that plaintiffs can exercise their full constitutional rights, the Legislature must either amend the marriage statutes or enact an appropriate statutory structure within 180 days of the date of this decision.
For the reasons explained, we affirm in part and modify in part the judgment of the Appellate Division.
JUSTICES LaVECCHIA, WALLACE, and RIVERA-SOTO join in JUSTICE ALBIN’s opinion. CHIEF JUSTICE PORITZ filed a separate opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part in which JUSTICES LONG and ZAZZALI join.
Interestingly, the dissenting opinion appears to not be arguing that same-sex couples shouldn't be allowed to marry, but instead saying that the majority opinion didn't go far enough and insist that it be specifically "marriage". I'm looking at this ruling enviously, from the perspective of someone whose beloved home state is taking the approach of amending the state constitution to deny rights to all unmarried couples in order to prevent anyone from successfully challenging the existing laws prohibiting same-sex marriage or creating a civil union. I love Virginia, but a lot of the time I'm not too impressed by a lot of the residents.