A first-person report from Iran about the election

My friend Wilfried has a lot of family in Iran and is understandably worried about them right now. He recently called his uncle there and transcribed the conversation he had describing the situation in Iran, the elections, the protests, the violence, and his thoughts on the future of the country. He originally posted this on his site, but it's collapsed under the load so I am mirroring it here. p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 16.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 16.0px Helvetica; min-height: 19.0px} p.p3 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p4 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; min-height: 14.0px} p.p5 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Helvetica} p.p6 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Helvetica; min-height: 16.0px} The following is a rough conversation outline I just had with my uncle, who lives in Tehran. Sorry for the readability and grammar, I haven't had time to...
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On oil reserves

So today @rands linked to the world clock, a cute little thing that counts various numbers up and down, like food production, population, illnesses, pollution, and energy. One of the numbers Michael pointed to in particular was the "oil depletion timer": 14,776 days of oil left. Only 40 years! Far off -- but not that far off! Scary! Ooo! Peak oil! I call bullshit. So here's the thing: I come from an oil producing nation. And for as long as I can remember, we've always had "only 30 years of oil left". Here's a graph of Trinidad's oil production since 1980 (source): What would you expect the graph to look like over two decades for a country that only had 30 years of oil left? A steady decline? A ramping up and then a sudden fall? Some sort of bell curve? Instead, this graph actually looks very like another graph (source): In other words, we produce more oil when it is more profitable to do so. That's not a government decision, that's an oil company decision. And its those same oil companies who decide...
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Obama on gay rights, so far

There has been something of a backlash from the gay community recently to the Obama administration. Like many other groups of Americans who supported Obama for their own reasons, they have been disappointed at his inability to do everything they wanted in the first six months of his presidency. First came complaints that Obama was doing nothing about Don't Ask, Don't Tell while good soldiers had their careers destroyed. There's no denying that further delay of changing DADT will result in more injustice, but we are five months into a four-year term and there has been a global financial meltdown to take care of. I'm not saying I wouldn't be happier if he hadn't taken care of it already, but nor was I expecting him to. Then, much more seriously, came a brief from the Justice Department that defended the loathsome Defence of Marriage Act. This is a much more serious transgression, as although the Justice Department is technically obligated to defend all existing law, in reality that defence can be flexibly...
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