Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday Morning Quick Hits

Leave it to the bu$h administration to punish the wrong people For once and for all, can we get this straight? Our "illegal immigration problem" is actually an illegal employer problem. If employers didn't hire workers who do not have the legal right to work in the U.S., the problem of illegal immigration would diminish to manageable. Especially if we helped Mexico out with some economic development aid and got over the futility and stupidity of our "war on drugs."

So this just makes me shake my head in disbelief. Less than two weeks ago, Immigration launched a massive raid on a kosher meatpacking plant in northern Iowa, and signaling aWols new tough-guy stance, 270 of the workers arrested have already been tried and sentenced to five months in federal prison in makeshift courtrooms set up in trailers next to cattle pens. How fucking appropriate. No charges have been brought against the operators of the plant, Agriprocessors Inc., but there have been some indications that prosecutors might be preparing a case against the company. Immigrants who pled guilty agreed, as part of the condition of their pleas, to cooperate with any further investigation. They have five months. They need to get crackin.'

$4.00 per gallon Wow, am I ever glad I stopped driving unless I am going out of town almost three years ago, when gas hit three bucks a gallon. (As long time readers know, circumstance precipitated and reinforced that commitment. A car accident coupled with an almost-four-month wait for a hybrid converged, and I simultaneously developed the public transit habit while losing the patience to drive a manual transmission in heavy, congested, surface-street trafic.) For months now I have been noticing a sea change from my perch above an arterial street in a major city. I am seeing a lot more Prius Hybrids - a few days ago at Main and Linwood, I saw five of them sitting at the intersection, waiting for the light to change. I am also noticing a lot more Smart Cars and Mini Coopers and Scion subcompacts, and now that spring has sprung, I am also seeing a lot more scooters and motorcycles, and for the first time ever, last week I had to wait for the next bus because the bike rack on the front was full. I did not get pissed off at this. Instead, I rejoiced.

This is a first Shortly after a judges order was entered last week, a Sudanese detainee and accused al Qaeda conspirator who has been confined at Guantanamo for six years called home to consult with his family about retaining private legal counsel at their expense. Ibrahim al Qosi, 47, had earlier fired his U.S. military lawyer and threatened to boycott his war crimes trial. He said he wanted to talk by telephone with his brother, presumably in Khartoum, to get the Sudanese Bar Association to line him up a defense lawyer instead...In response, Air Force Lt. Col. Nancy Paul, a military judge, ordered lawyers to arrange the call through the International Committee of the Red Cross. She gave them until July 1...But commanders at the prison camp, ringed by barbed wire and overlooking the Caribbean, accomplished the assignment soon after the judge gaveled the court to a closure. I want to say once more that I feel deeply indebted to the JAG officers who have draw a line and held it, serving Justice first. And major props to McClatchy in general and the Miami Herald in particular. They are filling a vital need in reporting on the tropical gulag, appropriately situated on the island with the only communist government ever to be established in the western hemisphere.

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