I give up
If you decide to use this as an open thread, feel free. I love to read what you have to say.
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Rojak posts, mostly political.
"A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." -- Thomas Mann
If so, I must be a writer.
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Labels: Monica Goodling
The presiding judge in the José Padilla case has held that the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of a speedy trial does not protect American citizens from being indefinitely incarcerated by the Pentagon.
Padilla had filed a motion to dismiss the case on the ground that the federal government had denied him his right to a speedy trial. Padilla has been in custody since May 2002 and his trial, which is scheduled to begin in April, is not being held until some five years later.
From May 2002 until January 2006, Padilla was held in U.S. military custody as an “enemy combatant” in the “war on terror.” In January 2006, the Pentagon chose to transfer custody of Padilla to the U.S. Justice Department, which had indicted Padilla on terrorism charges in U.S. District Court. (Ever since 9/11, U.S. officials have had the option of treating people suspected of terrorism either as “enemy combatants” or as federal-court defendants.)
Last Friday, the presiding judge in the case, Marcia Cooke, denied Padilla’s motion to dismiss. The judge held that when a person, including an American citizen, is held in custody by the Pentagon as an “enemy combatant,” the time doesn’t start running with respect to his right to a speedy trial. It begins running, she held, only when he becomes part of the federal criminal-justice system.
Gee, I wonder if the judge’s reasoning applies to the rest of the Bill of Rights as well. Maybe the First Amendment doesn’t apply if it’s the Pentagon that is suppressing speech and assembly as part of its perpetual “war on terror.” Or maybe the Second Amendment prohibits only the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), not the Pentagon, from seizing guns from the American people, as it is doing as part of the “war on terror” in Iraq.
Our 18th-century American ancestors would have found Judge Cooke’s ruling to be ludicrous. If a military department of government is exempt from the restrictions of the Bill of Rights, then the entire executive branch is exempt for the obvious reason: Whenever the government wants to exempt itself from the Bill of Rights, all it has to do is employ the military to do the dirty deed. The purpose of the Bill of Rights was to protect the American people from the federal government, not a particular department of the federal government.
The U.S. Interior Department is preparing a wide-ranging set of regulations which substantially weaken the federal Endangered Species Act, according to internal documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and the Center for Biological Diversity.
"These draft regulations slash the Endangered Species Act from head to toe," said Kieran Suckling, policy director of the Center for Biological Diversity. "They undermine every aspect of law - recovery, listing, preventing extinction, critical habitat, federal oversight and habitat conservation plans - all of it is gutted."
The draft regulations would:
* Remove recovery of a species or population as a protection standard;
* Allow projects to proceed that have been determined to threaten species with extinction;
* Permit destruction of all restored habitat within critical habitat areas;
* Prevent critical habitat areas from being used to protect against disturbance, pesticides, exotic species, and disease;
* Severely limit the listing of new endangered species; and
* Empower states to veto endangered species introductions as well as administer virtually all aspects of the Endangered Species Act within their borders.
"Kicking responsibility for endangered species protection to the states will make it nearly impossible to restore national oversight when states fail to protect endangered species," stated Southwest PEER Director Daniel R. Patterson. "State biologists will be under enormous political pressure to accommodate development interests while lacking, in many cases, even rudimentary legal protection to defend scientific concerns about species survival."
This environmentally friendly city put a green spin Tuesday on the checkout question "Paper or plastic?," becoming the first in the nation to outlaw non-recyclable plastic bags from use in supermarkets, drugstores and other large retailers.
By a 10-1 vote, the Board of Supervisors required the use of compostable or recyclable bags — a move officials predicted could soon be imitated by other cities nationwide. One supervisor voted against the ban, saying the issue needed more study.
Each year businesses here dispense an estimated 180 million plastic bags, killing marine life and clogging landfills, said Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi.
The Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance, written by Mirkarimi and co-sponsored by six other supervisors, gives major supermarket chains with more than $2 million in annual sales six months to make the switch to biodegradable bags. Pharmacies and retailers with at least five locations have one year. Violators face fines of up to $500.
A little under one-third of U.S. households have no Internet access and do not plan to get it, with most of the holdouts seeing little use for it in their lives, according to a survey released Friday.
Park Associates, a Dallas-based technology market research firm, said 29 percent of U.S. households, or 31 million homes, do not have Internet access and do not intend to subscribe to an Internet service over the next 12 months.
Two armed men took over a school bus in the Philippine capital Manila on Wednesday and were holding 32 children and two teachers hostage, police and television reports said.
It appeared they wanted to highlight the lack of educational opportunities for children from a local slum community. A local politician, Senator Ramon Revilla, entered the bus to talk to the gunmen and try to persuade them to surrender.
One of the hostage-takers told television he would surrender if he was promised that 145 children at a day care center in the Tondo suburb were provided with education.
White House press secretary Tony Snow, who has become the face of the Bush presidency over the last year, has cancer again.
Snow's deputy, Dana M. Perino, broke into tears at an off-camera briefing this morning as she announced that the cancer has spread to his liver. Doctors discovered it when they operated on Snow on Monday to remove a small growth that had developed in his lower abdomen.
President Bush, in brief remarks to reporters later in the White House Rose Garden, asked Americans to pray for his ailing spokesman, who he said called him this morning from the hospital to pass on the information that his cancer had returned. [emphasis mine]
Things aren't going well back in Washington. It's all Alberto Gonzales and the fired US attorneys, 24/7 on the cable news channel. What can the administration do to change the conversation? How about sending the US Navy to engage in a few maneuvers off the coast of Iran.
Maukie is a neat black cat with green eyes. If you tease her with your mouse, you can make her purr and meow. You can also make her paw go up - see if you can figure out the trick …
Although she didn’t make Mauke, Anneke Hut has got it on her website: Link
Labels: cat blogging
Jane’s reveals that China’s Xinshidai Company is churning out thermobaric warheads for the venerable RPG-7. Thermobaric explosives are ‘volumetric’ – the explosion comes from a cloud rather than a point source, and produces a blast that lasts longer. Even though this increase in duration is measured in milliseconds, it makes thermobarics far more destructive than condensed explosives, against both buildings and people.
Henry Waxman, Chairman, California
Tom Lantos, California
Ed Towns, New York
Paul E. Kanjorski, Pennsylvania
Carolyn B. Maloney, New York
Elijah Cummings, Maryland
Dennis J. Kucinich, Ohio
Danny K. Davis, Illinois
John F. Tierney, Massachusetts
William Clay, Missouri
Diane Watson, California
Stephen Lynch, Massachusetts
Brian Higgins, New York
Eleanor Holmes Norton, District of Columbia
Betty McCollum, Minnesota
Jim Cooper, Tennessee
Chris Van Hollen, Maryland
John Yarmuth, Kentucky
Bruce Braley, Iowa
Paul Hodes, New Hampshire
Chris Murphy, Connecticut
John Sarbanes, Maryland
Peter Welch, Vermont
Tom Davis, Ranking Member, Virginia
Dan Burton, Indiana
Christopher Shays, Connecticut
John M. McHugh, New York
John Mica, Florida
Mark Souder, Indiana
Todd Russell Platts, Pennsylvania
Chris Cannon, Utah
John James Duncan, Jr., Tennessee
Michael R. Turner, Ohio
Darrell Issa, California
Kenny Marchant, Texas
Lynn Westmoreland, Georgia
Patrick McHenry, North Carolina
Virginia Foxx, North Carolina
Brian Bilbray, California
Bill Sali, Idaho
Blond in scrubs: When people around me are sick and won't stay home I'm not coming to work.
Redhead in scrubs: You are a nurse.
Blond in scrubs: I hate having sick people around me.
Redhead in scrubs: You are a nurse.
Blond in scrubs: If a person is sick they should stay at home.
Redhead in scrubs: This is a hospital.
1100 Marshall Street
Little Rock, Arkansas
Even non-Bush-related issues, such as the number of people who expressed support for “old fashioned values about family and marriage” or who support allowing school boards to fire homosexual teachers, have moved left by about ten percentage points. If you haven’t seen the graphs, I recommend them, they’ll give your spirits a lift. From more support for government programs to less social conservatism to less religious intensity, the country is moving in a consistent direction, and it’s not one the Republicans would choose, at least not the Republicans of the recent past.