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It’s Official

The “Recession of 2009” or whatever we’re calling it has hit home.  My boyfriend was let go from his job yesterday.  Yes, this is a setback and it’s a terrible situation to be in, but he will be fine and we’re are looking ahead to a better future.  It’s been a rough couple of days.  The feeling that one if us isn’t working is just starting to kick in.  It’s sad and frustrating, but he is incredibly talented and I know he will go on to do amazing things.  My thoughts go out to all of my co-workers who were unexpectedly let go.  And to everyone out there who has been hit with this recession in some form or another.  I hope for the best and I know we will all come out of this stronger.

Odd Couple

I’ve been meaning to post this.  I know, this video has been out there for a while, but this is such a cute story.

Polar bears had a good day.  President Obama announced today an override of a Bush Administration regulation to the Endangered Species Act.  The rule,  announced  just weeks before Bush left office, made it easier for federal agencies to launch projects that could affect endangered species without consulting with government scientists.  Obama said, the overturning of the regulation will restore “the scientific process to its rightful place at the heart of the Endangered Species Act, a process undermined by past administrations.”

“The work of scientists and experts in my administration, including right here in the Interior Department, will be respected…”For more than three decades, the Endangered Species Act has successfully protected our nation’s most threatened wildlife, and we should be looking for ways to improve it, not weaken it.”

Environmental groups have praised Obama’s actions and so have I.

Al-Marri Indictment

More on the al-Marri case from Jane Mayer.  A federal grand jury has indicted Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri for supporting Al Qaeda.  Attorney General, Eric Holder announced his position on handling this case.

“This indictment shows our resolve to protect the American people and prosecute alleged terrorists to the full extent of the law… In this administration, we will hold accountable anyone who attempts to do harm to Americans, and we will do so in a manner consistent with our values.”

Marri will be transferred from the military bring in South Carolina, as soon as Attorney General Holder directs the Secretary of Defense to move him.  Marri’s defense lawyers are concerned the brig has become more preferable to the conditions in an ordinary prison.  As Mayor reported, Marri has been isolated in a separate wing of the brig with access to exercise equipment, a 32-inch television, and a library.

The Obama Administration filed a motion to dismiss the Supreme Court’s hearing on whether the Bush Administration’s actions on Marri’s case was legal.  Marri’s lead defense counsel, Jonathan Hafetz, intends to argue in front of the Supreme Court anyway.

Oy vey!  The Obama Administration has some very complicated decisions to make.  Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri is the last “enemy combatant” being detained in America.  He is being held at the U.S. Navel Consolidated Brig in Charleston, South Carolina.   He has never stood trial and has been in isolation for more than five years.  In December of 2001, Marri was arrested in connection to the 9/11 attacks and was about to stand on trial, when President George W. Bush,  ordered the military to seize Marri and hold him until the “war on terror” was over.  Jane Mayer wrote, “The Bush Administration contended that America was in a full-fledged war against terrorists,  and the President could therefore invoke extraordinary executive powers to detain Marri until the end of hostilities, on the basis of still secret evidence.”

Jonathan Hafetz, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, challenged the constitutionality of Marri’s case.  A lower court ruled the government has the right to detain Marri indefinitely, yet after several appeals, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case in April. The Obama Administration is required to file a reply to the challenge by March 23rd.  Hafetz hopes “Obama will withdraw Bush’s executive order labelling Marri an enemy combatant, and issue a new one classifying him as a civilian.”  This allows Marri either to be charged with crimes or to be released.

Marri has spoken through his lawyers and said, “I am not asking to be taken at my word an to be released, although I very much want to go home to my family.  All I am asking for is to be treated like every other person in the United States who is accused of a crime, including terrorism, and to be given a fair trail in an American court.”

Attorney General Eric Holder is reviewing Marri’s case with an “eye toward finding alternative ways to deal with him.”  In the meantime  Marri is the sole prisoner in wing of the brig.  He has three cells, with a personal library, access to a treadmill, a computer, and watches his favorite programs, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, on a 32-inch flat screen television.  However, Marri was on the verge of insanity after he was initially confined in extreme conditions.

The Bush White House also agreed, when transferring Marri to the brig, he could not be charged again with the same crimes  under “double jeopardy.”  Therefore, the Obama Administration will have to use a different set of charges, if they decide to charge Marri in the criminal system.

What an interesting case.   We’ll see how the Obama Administration handles this case.  Much is at stake.  Read Jane Mayer’s article, The Hard Cases.

She Was Guaranteed To Win

Great scene from the sitcom ‘Extras’ by Ricky Gervais.
Funny, her plan worked.

I wonder if Sam Mendes will ‘polish’ her Oscar now…

Hooray! Sean Penn wins his second Oscar for his portrayal of gay rights activist, Harvey Milk.  A well-deserved award.  And a great speech.  He flat out cried for gay rights. Thank you, Mr. Penn.

“For those who saw the signs of hatred as our cars drove in tonight, I think it’s a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect on their great shame and their shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that support.  We’ve got to have equal rights for everyone.”

Well done, Penn.  And thanks for the support.

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