Go tell that to the Indians
August 14, 2009

I was planning on letting this sudden outbreak of national health care madness pass by without commenting, but now I have given in to the temptation to say something. I want to highlight a point that might be obvious to most people, but it wasn’t obvious to me for a while and I don’t hear it discussed very often and I think it explains a lot of the current political environment. My first of three sources for this point is pretty unusual. It’s from the following digression on health care in the middle of an awesome 8000-word essay on last week’s awesome episode of HBO’s True Blood:

Iran’s “Green Revolution”?
June 14, 2009


On Thursday, in the wake of a huge Mousavi rally in Tehran, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard issued an ominous but cryptic warning that “any attempt for velvet revolution will be nipped in the bud”. This warning didn’t make sense to me on Thursday, since all the energy seemed nonviolent and directed towards the democratic election on Friday, not towards revolution. Today (Sunday), the warning makes a lot more sense to me.

For some reason, mainstream news sources have been equivocating on whether the election was rigged or not. On Friday evening, I was pretty dubious that it was rigged, but by now the evidence seems incontrovertible. Juan Cole makes a very convincing case here, and rebuts several counterargumets here. Here’s a nice timeline of events that seems pretty reasonable at the moment, although information is currently very scarce.

The events in Iran right now are truly historic. I don’t have enough information to predict how things will turn out, but all the potential outcomes look like a fundamentally changed Middle East. If you want to read more about the situation in Iran and want some useful links, I’d recommend Juan Cole, Andrew Sullivan, and the gimmicky #iranelection Twitter feed.

EDIT 6/15 1:20 PM EST: Turning this post into a stream-of-consciousness feed. That #iranelection feed is no longer gimmicky, it’s better to think of it as SIGINT, as Marc Ambinder explains. Two more good sources to add are @persianwiki and Nico Pitney. Also Andrew Sullivan claims to be under cyber attack.
6/17 10:30 AM EST: Here’s a good summary (video) of the power struggle behind the protests.

Civil Disobedience
January 18, 2009

I saw this story about a month ago, but I still think it’s cool and worth a comment. The story is about Tim Dechristopher, a 27-year old college student in Utah who performed a pretty awesome act of civil disobedience. This six-minute Rachel Maddow video provides a good summary of the case (I’m still figuring out how to embed videos in WordPress, sorry). I see the issue of environmental sustainability as an analogue to slavery in 19th century America, so I’m in pretty strong support of this kind of civil disobedience.