Monday, March 30, 2009
Contrary to our earlier report, the provision for a commission to study the creation of a national draft was dropped from legislation providing for an expanded Americorps and Peace Corps. The provision has been reintroduced as HR1444.
Boston Globe - President Barack Obama's aunt, a Kenyan immigrant who ignited controversy last year for living in the United States illegally, has returned to her quiet apartment in a Boston public housing project to prepare for an April 1 deportation hearing that will be closed to the public.
Zeituni Onyango, a tall, frail-looking woman in her late 50s who walks with a cane, had fled Boston to stay with relatives in Cleveland last fall after media attention erupted over her case. She was spotted at Obama's inaugural festivities in January and, according to neighbors, returned to Boston a few weeks ago for her third attempt to fight removal from the United States. She had been living in the country illegally since she was ordered deported in 2004. Now the woman Obama called "Auntie Zeituni" and described as a kindly woman who kissed him on both cheeks and guided him during his trip to Kenya 20 years ago, is in a national spotlight, where her case is seen as a test of the Obama administration's commitment to enforcing immigration laws. Critics, outraged that she is living in taxpayer-funded public housing while thousands of citizens and legal immigrants are on waiting lists, are scrutinizing the case for political favoritism. Others caution that she may have legitimate grounds to stay in the United States.
THE NEW BLACK POWER
Washington Post - Under Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's proposed fiscal 2010 spending plan, the April 16 holiday, which commemorates the day President Abraham Lincoln freed the District's 3,000 slaves in 1862, would be discontinued next year. This would avoid paying holiday rates to critical personnel, saving $1.3 million -- enough to pay for 23 full-time employees, the mayor's office said. . .
Memphis Commercial Appeal - A pair of Memphis legislators argued over whether a bill to fine people who wear their pants so low they expose their underwear amounts to "legislating fashion" or "legislating decency and hygiene." The "Saggy Pants Bill" makes it a misdemeanor to "knowingly wear pants below the waistline, in a public place, in a manner that exposes the person's underwear or bare buttocks." It defines underwear as "clothing worn between the skin and outer layer of clothing, including but not limited to boxer shorts and thongs."
CBS 5, San Francisco - One week after President Barack Obama's top law enforcement official seemed to indicate the feds would no longer raid pot clubs, DEA agents busted a medical marijuana facility in San Francisco.As agents carried large plastic containers of marijuana plants out of Emmalyn's California Cannabis Clinic at 1597 Howard Street, a small crowd of protesters formed a gauntlet outside the door, booing the agents and chanting, "our medicine is marijuana â€¦ listen to Obama!" DEA spokeswoman Casey McEnry told CBS 5 the documents regarding the raid are sealed, so the DEA was not able to give any details. "Based on our investigation we believe there are not only violations of federal law, but state law as well," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams in a written statement.
Boston Globe - Dozens of Massachusetts cities and towns are taking steps to impose stiff new fines for smoking marijuana in public and even to charge some violators with misdemeanors, a trend that critics say subverts the state ballot question passed overwhelmingly last fall to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. In recent weeks, at least seven communities - Duxbury, Lynn, Methuen, Medway, Milford, Salem, and Springfield - have passed bylaws that target people who light up in public. And two dozen cities and towns expect to vote this spring on similar measures, which proponents liken to local open container laws that ban drinking alcohol in public. . . Question 2 passed by a vote of 65 to 35 percent, making Massachusetts one of a dozen states to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, Bernath said. Proponents of the change, including billionaire financier George Soros, who spent more than $400,000 in favor of decriminalization, said that it would ensure that those caught with small quantities would avoid the taint of a criminal record.
The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that an intoxicated man who started his car remotely and then sat behind the wheel without ever driving the vehicle can still be prosecuted from driving under the influence. The chief justice wrote, "The defendant clearly undertook the first act in a sequence of steps necessary to set in motion the motive power of a vehicle," The man, who could got to prison for a year, has a wife and two children. Said Jessica Cyr, "I don't know what I'm going to do. I've got no job. My husband won't be able to work. If I turn my heat on, the boiler leaks. . . . I can't believe it."
Reuters - Turkish police providing security for a water crisis forum in Istanbul say the cheapest way to keep protesters at bay is to use water cannons. . . Turkish police, who on Monday fired water canons and tear gas to disperse protesters gathered at the start of the forum, told state-run Anatolian they prefer to use water because it is cheaper than tear gas.
JUSTICE & FREEDOM
Slashdot - After receiving a Rule 11 Sanctions Motion in a Houston, Texas, case, UMG Recordings v. Lanzoni, the RIAA lawyers thought better of proceeding, and agreed to voluntarily dismiss the case 'with prejudice', which means it is over and cannot be brought again. The defendant's motion papers detailed some of the RIAA's litigation history against innocent individuals, such as Capitol Records v. Foster and Atlantic Recording v. Andersen, and argued that the awarding of attorneys fees in those cases has not sufficiently deterred repetition of the misconduct, so that a stronger remedy - Rule 11 sanctions - is now called for."
The Chinese, according to Xinhua News Agency, are using 'tailor made' abortion pills to reduce the number of gerbils in the western part of the country. The pills allegedly don't affect other animals. Gerbils are being blamed for the desertification of the area being they use up too much grass.
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