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“Neda” Was Buried Today, Her Memorial Cancelled by “Authorities”

Neda Agha Soltan, 1982-2009

Neda Agha Soltan, 1982-2009

Via Hot Air, it appears that “Neda,” the young woman who was shot at a rally and has become a symbol of the Iranian protests, has been identified. Her name was Neda Agha Soltan. She was not 16 years old after all, but 27. She reportedly was a philosophy student who attended the rally at which she was shot with a professor, not her father. Reportedly, she was shot by a Basiji passing on a motorcycle.

According to ABC news Middle East reporter Lara Setrakian, Neda’s memorial service, which was to have been held tomorrow, has been cancelled on orders from the government. She was buried today in Behesht Zahra cemetary.

Here is the wiki page that has been created for her and a memorial page that someone built in her honor. Huffpo has this information on their liveblog:

6:55 PM ET — A bit more on Neda. A blogger apparently in touch with Neda’s family members offers some new details (translated by reader Nima): she was born in 1982, apparently her full name was Neda Agha-Soltan, and she was at the protest with one her professors and several other students. She was, they said, shot by a basiji riding by on a motorcycle. Also, she was apparently buried today at a large cemetery in the south of Tehran. ABC News’ Lara Setrakian writes, “Hearing reports Neda was buried in Behesht Zahra cemetery earlier today, memorial service cancelled on orders from authorities.”

Huffpo also posted this video from “a reader”:

2:23 PM ET — Neda before she was shot. A reader forwards this video showing Neda (in the black shirt and blue jeans) and a companion (blue striped shirt) during the rally. Another reader sends an unconfirmed report of a memorial service for Neda planned for tomorrow at 5PM at Niloufar mosque at Abas Abad, Tehran.

And here is the video of Neda after being shot. Warning: It’s disturbing. Most people have probably seen it already though.

May she rest in peace, and may her death not be in vain.

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Iranian Government and State-Run Media Escalate Conflict

Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of Ali Rafsanjani

Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of Ali Rafsanjani

It appears that the Iranian government is getting increasingly desperate. Earlier today several relatives of former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashimi Rafsanjani, including his daughter, were arrested and detained for a time. According to The New York Times,

Mr. Rafsanjani, one of the fathers of the Iranian revolution, has been locked in a power struggle with Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and worked closely with the reform movement during the disputed presidential election. Sunday morning, state television said five members of his family had been detained, including Mr. Rafsanjani’s daughter, Faezeh Hashemi. Later, family members said all had been released.

The detentions suggested that Mr. Khamenei was facing entrenched resistance among some members of the elite. Though rivalries among top clerics in Iran have been a feature of Iranian politics since the 1979 revolution, analysts said that open factional competition amid a major political crisis could hinder Mr. Khamenei’s ability to restore order.

Now the Washington Post is reporting that the Iranian state-controlled media is calling losing presidential candidate Mir Hussein Mousavi a “criminal” and claiming that protesters are members of a terrorist group based in France, Mudjehadin-e khalq.

Authorities appeared to be seeking to blame the violence on radicals. State television charged that “the presence of terrorists . . . was tangible” in Saturday’s events. It asked viewers to send videoclips of protestors in order to help authorities to arrest them.

Scenes of the violent protest were shown frequently on Iranian state television and in a special broadcast the rioters were said to be members of the Paris based Mudjehadin-e khalq organization, an Islamist Marxist group that is labeled by the United States as a terrorist organization. After siding with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war and a series of terrorists attacks, the group has little support among most Iranians.

Audio clips were played of alleged telephone recordings in which people said to be members of the organization urge others to get information about the protests to Western news organizations. Despite the media claims, involvement of the group seems highly unlikely since supporters are rare in Iran.

In addition, the Post reports that Mousavi has not made any public appearances today, and his followers are very worried that he may be arrested. The Post says that it is becoming clear that there is power struggle going on in the Iranian government between Rafsanjani and Ayatolla Khamenei. Continue reading

Feathers from My Father


There are many people who consider their fathers to be exceptional human beings.  I happen to be one of them.  When my father passed away almost a decade ago, it left a void that has never been filled but he found a way to let me know he would always be with me.

My father had a tough life, as did many people who lived through the depression and the two major wars of the early 20th century.  His mother and father arrived here from Italy in the early 1900s with all of the hopes and dreams that immigrants of that time brought with them to this country.  As a young man he joined the Navy and was soon off to sea to serve his country during WWII.  After the war, he returned home to live with his parents.  It was soon after that his father died, and a few years later his mother also passed.  He remained a bachelor for quite some time but when he met my mother he was smitten and they married soon thereafter.  They had three children, with me being the last.  Our life was idyllic, until my younger brother died at the age of six.  Devastated and overcome with grief, my parents’ marriage fell apart and they separated less than a year after my brother’s death.  These major traumas also took a toll on my mother and she too was taken from us a year and a half later.  Needless to say, my world fell apart.  I was shipped off to live with my aunt and my other brother moved in with another relative.  My father felt that he couldn’t take care of us and work all of the jobs he needed to pay off the two funerals; but less than five years later my father came to reclaim me.  Life was good.  I was back with my dad.

When I told him I was getting married at the age of 18, he was skeptical, but gave us his blessing because he knew I had found, as he put it, “a good man.”  Then, in year I got married, my older brother was killed in a motorcycle accident and my uncle (my dad’s younger brother) also died.  I wondered how my father could withstand all of this loss; but he lived for me and gave me all of his love.  I can only imagine the pain he endured.  He lost his father, his mother, his younger brother, his wife, and both of his sons.  I was all he had and he loved me more than anything.  I was daddy’s little girl.  All of this loss was the foundation for a strong bond between us and I couldn’t imagine life without him.

Every Christmas, as we sat down for our holiday dinner, I would say a little prayer of thanks that my dad was still with me.  I worried as the years passed that each Christmas would be my last one with him.  When his health began to fail and constant trips to the cardiologist signaled to me that our time together was coming to a close, I feared the moment I knew was coming; and before I knew it, the ambulance was there and he was being taken to the hospital for the last time.  It was a week before Christmas.

As my father lay dying, my friend who used to be a hospital chaplain, stopped by to give me comfort.  He told me that I would have to let my father go.  My dad, who had lived his life for me, was now holding on for me and it was up to me to free him from this earth.  I cried as the carolers moved from room to room singing to cheer the patients and their families.  It did not bring me any joy however, because my daddy would no longer be there for Christmas dinner.

On the day he passed, I remember feeling utterly devastated.  My daddy was gone.  I wondered, “Dad…what am I going to do without you?  I talked to you every day.  How will I know you are there?” It was at that moment that I heard the words, “You’ll know when you see the white feathers.”  Puzzled, I didn’t know if it was just my inner voice attempting to bring solace or a real message from my dad wherever he was.  Time would tell.

Soon white feathers began turning up everywhere. On one particularly difficult day, I yearned to hear his voice so my husband pulled out a video from a prior Christmas and we all sat down to watch it.  As we sat there together, I look down at my side and there was a big, beautiful white feather.  There was also feather under the Christmas tree the following year and a feather on the stairs on my birthday.  Throughout the years here have been multiple times when I’m feeling down or missing my dad when I look down and there’s a feather.  I sometimes wondered if it might have been my husband or daughter planting the feathers but that explanation did not fit.  Almost every time one appears, there is no one else around and the feathers are so large and unusual that it would be virtually impossible to find them and stage them at just the right moments.   Each one is unique and I keep those feathers in a beautiful wooden box on my dresser.  As new ones arrive, I add them to my collection.  They are truly gifts from heaven and I have no doubt that these feathers from my father are his way of letting me know he’s still there.

Happy Father’s Day Daddy.

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It’s about who decides

This has been brought on by a comment thread at Reclusive Leftist. The post was about feminism, but the thread kept veering off into abortion. Could you be a feminist and be antiabortion?

Folks, that is the wrong question. And asking the wrong question can never lead to the right answer, any more than looking for your socks in the bedroom when you lost them in the dryer is going to help you find the things.

So let’s start by asking the right question.

Maybe the first thing to do is figure out whether abortion really does kill babies. (I’m using “babies” as shorthand for “legal person with the same right not to be murdered as everyone else.”) If it does, even that’s not the end of the matter, as we’ll see in a bit, but first let’s figure that out. It’s a sticking point for many people.
Continue reading

Sunday: Happy Father’s Day!

Round up your dad, or a reasonable facsimile, and treat him nicely today.  If my dad were still around, I’d take him to a baseball game.  I love to go to the local minor league team games and swill beer all afternoon.  At the Somerset Patriots park in Bound Brook, NJ, you can get Sam Adams or Bass Ale and kick back with a bag of peanuts to watch tubby suburbanites make complete fools of themselves between innings.  Loads of fun.

If I were in Pittsburgh, I’d be mourning the last day that Iron City Beer was produced in the city.  Iron City, pronounced Arn City, is moving to Latrobe, PA.  The company owes the water company some ridiculous amount of money and sold the facility to pay it off.  (So, THAT’S what explains its unique “flavor”.)  You’ll still be able to get Iron City during a Pirates game, if you really want to, (it’s like lutefisk.  Tradition)  but it won’t be authentic somehow.  But who knows, maybe Latrobe water will make it taste better.

Anyway, if baseball and beer are not your dad’s cup of tea and you don’t do ice-cream, maybe you’d rather spend some money on the world in your dad’s name.  We have two suggestions for you.

First up, you can check out the Clinton Foundation.   It’s doing work all over the world to address climate change, HIV/AIDS and sustainable development.  In the present financial environment, big donors are cutting back on their charitable giving (thank you Bernie Madoff).  The Clinton Foundation has done some really wonderful work and it would be a shame if money became the limiting reagent.  Maybe some of us small donors can step up and make up the difference.  If you donate today, you can send your dad an e-card to show him what a good thing you did with your allowance.

Second, check out The Confluence’s team page on Kiva.  Kiva is a microlending organization that assists small entreprenuers internationally and in the US.  You can lend in increments of $25.00.  That’s little more than a yuppie food stamp.  And your donations combined with others will add up very quickly.  When the loan is paid off, you can turn that money around and lend it out again.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Money’s tight during the summer, what with camps and stuff.  But I can cough up a few bucks for these organizations and feel pretty good about my Father’s Day.  If Daddy were still here, he’d say, “You’re alright, kid, I don’t care what they say.”

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Terry O’Neill Elected NOW President

Terry O'Neill

Terry O'Neill

From the National Organization for Women website:

This weekend members of the National Organization for Women (NOW) cast their votes for a new team of leaders to direct the largest grassroots feminist organization in the country over the next four years. NOW delegates elected Terry O’Neill, who served as the group’s membership vice president from 2001 to 2005, to succeed President Kim Gandy.


“NOW is the organization that fights for the rights of all women no matter the circumstances of their birth, their race or sexual orientation, no matter if they live in poverty or are trying to escape violence,” said NOW President-Elect Terry O’Neill. “My experience with domestic violence, as an abused wife left me humiliated and embarrassed. I only began to talk about this publically five years ago as I realized that to keep quiet was to continue the abuse. I want to empower women and telling my story does just that. Women are fed up with persistent inequality and are ready for change. I am honored and eager to lead NOW in making that change.”

O’Neill cut her political teeth working to defeat David Duke’s gubernatorial campaign in Louisiana. She went on to serve NOW at the local, state and national levels. As an attorney, she served a clerkship at the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago before practicing law in New Orleans. She taught at the University of California Davis Law School and Tulane Law School. Currently, she is chief of staff to a Montgomery County (Md.) councilmember whose successes include a transgender equality law and Maryland’s first Family Justice Center for survivors of domestic violence. O’Neill’s national positions also include executive director of the National Council of Women’s Organizations.

The other members of O’Neill’s team are Bonnie Grabenhofer of IL, taking on the position of executive vice president; Erin Matson of MN, serving as action vice president; and Allendra Letsome of MD, incoming membership vice president.

Dr. Violet Socks reacts:

We won! We won! We won!

For an explanation of why Violet is elated:

NOW used to be an honorable and effective organization, and it can be again. I know some of you are too fed up to care anymore, but here’s the thing: NOW is still the biggest feminist group in the country. More to the point, it’s still the number one go-to joint when the media wants to know whether something or somebody (hint hint) is doing right by the women of America. So it would be really good to have someone other than Kim Gandy or her cohorts on the horn.

Which brings me to the subject of this post. Kim Gandy’s tenure as president of NOW is up, and the election for her replacement is in June. Kim’s hand-picked successor is Latifa Lyles, NOW’s current Vice President for Membership. I’ve got nothing against Latifa personally, though I do note that membership has dropped during her tenure as the membership director, which is possibly not an encouraging sign. But the main problem with Latifa is that she’s the choice of Kim Gandy and Ellie Smeal (they’re a team, you unnerstan). She’s their candidate. With Latifa we will get more of the same, only samer.

Score one for the good guys gals.



Violet reports that O’Neill’s winning margin was 8 votes.

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