Monday, June 23, 2008

D.C. Court of Appeals Invalidates "Enemy Combatant" Designation of Gitmo detainee

In an (as of yet unpublished due to confidential information) order, the D.C. Circuit invalidated the decision of a Combatant Status Review Tribunal finding that a detainee, one Huzaifa Parhat , is an "enemy combatant," and "directed the government to release or to transfer Parhat, or to expeditiously hold a new Tribunal consistent with the court's opinion."

Now, this is not a direct result of the Supreme Court's decision in Boumediene. Rather, this was a result of the very limited review of CSRT final judgments that was already in the Military Commissions Act. The order does specifically mention Boumediene though and states that the Friday's order does nothing to prevent Parhat from filing a petition for habeas corpus.

Interestingly, Parhat is a Muslim Uighur from Xinjiang in far western China; a group who seeks greater autonomy from China. If it was hard to trace any link between September 11 and Iraq, I don't expect to find one here. Doesn't sound like the court was very convinced either.

Before you get too excited, the same Court also denied another detainee's challenge of a procedural decision due to lack of jurisdiction under the Military Commissions Act.
You might remember this guy, Omar Khadr, because of an earlier military commission decision dismissing the charges against him because he was found to be an "enemy combatant," and not an "unlawful enemy combatant." A decision that has since been reversed. There are also some other ongoing challenges because Khadr was 15 when the alleged crimes were committed. It has become a very very complex case.

R.I.P. George

My parents actually let me watch George Carlin when I was a kid. It was my first exposure to someone who was smart, funny, and frighteningly observant. He will be missed.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Marriage Is So Gay

sf city hall gay marriage equality 6.16 (24)

I haven't really commented much on this, mostly because I was out of town when the California Supreme Court decision was handed down, but I have to say something, and that something is this: Awesome.

I remember the day when I became a 100% supporter of same sex marriage (rather than just my previous 80%). I was riding the J-Church from Noe Valley to civic center in 2004, right after Mayor Gavin Newsom had just authorized the city clerk to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. Sitting in the seats in front of me were two men dressed in tuxes on their way to city hall. They were fiddling with the rings they had purchased for each other, and checking their pockets to make sure they didn't forget anything. They were obviously very nervous.

And very very much in love.

It was painfully obvious to me at that point what a travesty it was for the state to recognize some, but not all of the marriages of those who are lucky enough to find their match.

And for all of the protesters and county officials who don't want to officiate the weddings, I hope you know that in 20 years, you will be seen as the Oral Faubus of this chapter in equal protection.

The fact that this will provide a nice economic boost isn't so bad either. I am incredibly jealous of this guy, who converted (is converting) an old Victorian in the Castro into a wedding chapel. Brilliant. That is the american entreprenuial spirit at work my friends.

Here's another (topical) MUNI ad.


Unfortunately, the fight isn't over. This November, there will be a ballot measure to amend the California Constitution to restrict marriages to hetero sexual couples. It is the opponents' last stand.

Do not be fooled by their calls that the California Supreme Court decision is "judicial activism." The truth is that the state legislature twice tried to pass laws recognizing same sex marriage, but they were vetoed both times by the Governator. He said, (the republican governor) that it should be left to the courts. Well, the courts have had their say.

Now all same sex marriage opponents have to hope for is to play off on is the electorate's irrational fear. Don't let them scare you. Help oppose the initiative here.

From a legal standpoint, even if this amendment passes, I'm still not sure it would be constitutional. From a practical standpoint, I don't think the court's would strike down a constitutional amendment (by the people) based on the equal protection clause, but from a purely legal (and therefore useless) standpoint, couldn't a later amendment be "unconstitutional," if it runs afoul of an earlier and more fundamental right? And if it passed only to the detriment of same sex couples, might that run afoul of the US constitution, as in Romer v. Evans? Just thoughts.

Monday, June 16, 2008

San Jose Earthquakes v. David Beckham

I went over to Oakland and watched the LA Galaxy (Beckham's teammates apparently) play the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night. This was the first professional "soccer" game I've ever been too, and I have to say, I'm a fan. I think geography dictates that I have to be a fan of the San Jose Earthquakes, but I don't know. I don't really want to buy a jersey that says San Jose on it. No offense. I've just never really spent much time there.

The result was a 3-0 result for the Galaxy, although it was a well-played match all the way through. San Jose had some good looks, but just couldn't get a last good touch/shot. The LA Galaxy fans are kind of obnoxious, but I have to say, not too far off from their English counterparts; making noise the ENTIRE 90 minutes. Although I must point out, every Galazy (I know I misspelled it. But I think I'll leave it) fan was wearing a "Beckham" jersey. I doubt they know the rest of the team or were fans before his arrival.

But I guess that was the point of signing him and his fine fine tuckus.

Speaking of Galazy, I think I now know why they call playing for the MLS Beckham's "retirement." He really doesn't play all that hard. He hits their set pieces and corners, but he doesn't really run around that much. I got a few pics of the match which I might put up, but here's a shot of what BART looked like afterwards.

Friday, June 13, 2008

By Popular Demand: Voyeurism

I really hope this doesn't encourage any (more) public nudity/indecent exposure/touching of oneself on MUNI.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Justices Rule Guantanamo Detainees Have Right To Pursue Habeas

Great news for the great writ.

In a (very very sadly predictable) 5-4 opinion written by Justice Kennedy, the Supreme Court in Boumediene v. Bush, No. 06-1195 held that Guantanamo detainees can pursue habeas petitions in federal district court. This is the same set of cases that the Court originally refused to hear and then later changed their mind.

As far as my 3 30 minute skimming of the opinion has alerted me, the opinion doesn't hold that the constitution applies to Gitmo detainees, but rather than Congress' attempt to suspend the writ ran afoul of the constitution holds that the constitution does apply to the detainees at Gitmo. This opinion won't change any of the on-going military commission trials. Rather, detainees will have the ability to challenge any determinations made in those trials by petition for writ of habeas corpus. As the opinion does conclude that the constitution applies at Guantanamo, detainees are also likely to use other parts of the constitution (ex post facto?) during their trials or in the petition for writ of habeas corpus.

Go civil liberties!!! I'll update (probably likely) as I actually read the thing. But very big news in the ongoing civil liberties v. national security debate.

NYT article
Scotusblog preliminary analysis

Friday, June 06, 2008

Absolut(ely) Awesome Part II: Absolut(ely) Fabulous

Well, it looks like Absolut is going after bigotry one SoCo drinker at a time. You might remember their last ad depicting the western united states as being part of Mexico, as not having received a warm "bienvenido" amongst the self-appointed GETERDONE minutemen legal immigration advocates.

Now, to commemorate the rainbow flag's 30 year history (as being a symbol of LGBT pride), Absolut is issuing the limited edition "Absolut Rainbow."

Image from Selectism.

I think it's just the bottle and not some crazy combo of all the different flavors (hopefully). The July 1 release date will be a little late for our local pride parade, but I'm sure demand will be nevertheless be high in the bay area.

I gotta tell you, I think I might start specifically asking for absolut just because of their ad campaigns.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

New Muni Ad Comforts Gentiles, Film Students

I have no idea what service or product they are advertising, but the ads definitely catch the attention.

Monday, June 02, 2008

I Think My Gym Is Trying To Tell Me Something Part II

My gym is very happy place. Or what a person a few decades ago might have called "gay." Or maybe what a person yesterday might have called "gay."

Here is a missed connection from Craigslist that takes place in my gym. It is not by me, nor for me, but my normal locker is #99 so I feel kind of close to these guys. Really, disturbingly, like "where did my towel go?" kind of close.

SCLA - m4m - 35 (downtown / civic / van ness)


Reply to: pers-703988102@craigslist.org
Date: 2008-06-01, 5:05PM PDT


you were using locker 93 or another close by. You're really hot, muscular, hairy guy. I think you're often there weekdays with ur boyfriend. The two of you are incredible. I was nearby but not the guy across the aisle who was putting on a show for your benefit. Seeing you there is a nice finish to my workout. Hot!
I also don't think I"m the one putting on the "show" as my...uh..."lead actor"isn't really a "big name" or what one would call a"headliner" blah blah blah, etc., something about the "grip" and "best boy."

You should see the ones about the steam room. My gym was mysteriously empty last Thursday night. Then I realized it was premiere night for SATC.

Honestly though, being in a locker room with a bunch of gay men has kind of made me body conscious. Is this what girls feel like when they go to the beach? CONSTANTLY JUDGED?!?!!?