Speedy Access to Justice at Guantanamo Bay! Wahoo!

December 19, 2008

So I was watching the Rachel Maddow show last week (something you all should do, by the way, on MSNBC at 9PM EST) and this interview really intrigued me.

After six years of dragging its feet on allowing the Guantanamo Bay detainees to access the military justice system, the Bush administration has suddenly clogged the docket with dozens of new, highly-complicated cases.  This all comes right on the heels of Obama’s bold plans to close the prison.  Now that promise could be complicated by years of protracted military tribunals with charges that can’t be transferred to civilian courts as Obama would like.

Happy Anniversary!!

December 19, 2008

Old Retired Guy and LB’s mom!! (No law here — just a Happy 44th Anniversary greeting from LB!)

koolaid update

December 12, 2008

Scott and Gulnazim

Koolaid called and we were able to talk for about 30 minutes. That was surprising — our other calls (only a couple) have been very short. They can’t go to the hospital for a couple of weeks and that makes him very sad; violence seems to be on the rise around him. The newspapers tell us as much and he cannot really talk about it much, but I don’t think Afghanistan is getting MORE stable.

Here he is with Gulnazim, a boy he has really enjoyed geting to know. He says they have no common words aside fromeach other’s names, but they play well together!

Toys, blankets, coats, kites, and other humanitarian aid sent to him will be distributed to these kids from the hospital. Email me if you want the address to send a box. Or even just a note to Scott. He could use some cheer.


December 10, 2008

The Berkeley City Council hotly debated academic freedom and torture this week and passed a measure urging the US to prosecute John Yoo for war crimes.  He is a  Boalt Law School professor & was Deputy Assistant Attorney General in 2001-2003, when he wrote the memos justifying torture.  The Council also asked the university to provide alternate classes for students who do not want to attend Yoo’s.


December 9, 2008

Alternate title for this post: US SENATE SEAT FOR SALE!


So he was arrested for corruption in association with naming Obama’s succesor. Is this bad for Obama? I guess a little but not much. But we have all known Blago is doing this for a long time. We have all been waiting for a corruption indictment for weeks, months, years. SO here it is. This will mess up the state. Yikes. I voted for this yahoo. Sorry. But he really was the better one at the time. He has been ineffective, corrupt, and silly. Hopefully he will go away now and we can get along with running our state.

And wow — threatening to withold state support unless the Tribune fired reporters who were critical of him? Wow. That’s crazy. They are REPORTERS – you don’t think this is going to leak out? Corrupt and stupid.

EDITED TO ADD: Every time I refresh the NYTimes there is more detail including allegations that he told an adviser he was going to get cash up front from “candidate #5” in exchange for the seat. There is a taped conversation of him with a representative of “candidate #5” offering $500k. It was just for f%#@*&g sale. I am disgusted. DISGUSTED.

My first reaction was happiness that he seems caught — this has been a problem for a long time. Then, I thought he was just stupid. Now I am disgusted and angry. I am hitting the highlights on the grief cycle pretty rapidly.

You can read the indictment here.

TO BARACK FROM GEORGE, with love, sort of

December 5, 2008

There’s little doubt that Barack has already uttered the same words that Ollie said many times to Stan (that’s Laurel & Hardy to youngsters):  “Here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten us into.”

The opening lines of an AP article today are:The Supreme Court agreed Friday to decide whether the president may order that people picked up in the United States be detained indefinitely and without criminal charges.”

Al Marri photo most frequently shown since his arrest


Private property, religion, and (good) neighbors–next to my kid’s school

December 5, 2008


Ok, lawyers among us, I am asking for your advice:

Across the street from my daughter’s high school, a woman who lives in my neighborhood bought a second house.  Every Thursday, she buys food and serves free lunch to any junior or senior high school student who wants to come over to this house, whether or not they have permission to go to this house and eat this free lunch.  (These students presumably have permission to leave the building at lunch.)  The purpose of these free lunches is to–wait for it–proselytize for her church.  I don’t know much about what church she belongs to, but I think it may be the Calvary Baptist Church just across the road from our subdivision.  I don’t know this woman personally, so I can’t vouch for the degree of zaniness in operation here.  Let’s assume it’s past 10 on the crazy-meter scale.

The principal of the school just wrote the parents a note explaining that the school is aware of this free lunch and unable to stop it from taking place; instead, he is alerting parents to the option of instructing their children not to go if they do not want them to.  He notes that the County Health Board has not apparently approved the group as a food vendor (even free soup kitchens have to be publicly approved).

My question is, is there some way to argue that the church nut is taking advantage of the presence of the school (which, as a public entitity, is an extension of the state) to expand her church business?  If she was handing out condoms or giving free showings of pornography, presumably, we could demand that the police issue a cease-and-desist order.  But here we are in a grey area because she is not doing anything unsafe, other than giving out food that hasn’t been specifically approved for this purpose, and other than not obtaining permission from parents to gather students at this private home.

Can anyone help me put together a good legal argument against what this woman is doing? (Sorry, I can’t find a picture of the house, but it sits south of the school, on the other side of the football field from the building.)

And no, my daughter doesn’t go to the Thursday lunches.  She has much too much sense for that.