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I was in the courtroom tonight at the Federal Court of Brooklyn. I am not a lawyer or anything, but I took notes, and here’s what it was like.

We happened to see the call on twitter asking for people to arrive at the Cadman Plaza out front of the courthouse by 7:30 pm. We were near enough to make it, so we hopped on a subway and rode a few stops to arrive by 7:20 or so. There were about 100 people already in the plaza, chanting, making signs, and singing. Around 8 they started to let people into the building in small groups of 10 to go through security and make sure they didn’t overflow the courtroom. I didn’t think we’d make it in, but after the first few groups of ten they opened a second door right next to us. I’d estimate 60-70 people actually got into the audience of the courtroom, which was as much as it could hold. We were pretty squished on the bench trying to make more room.

In the courtroom itself, there was one lawyer for the ACLU and two present for the government: a black woman from the Attorney General and a Jewish man from the Department of Immigration (I have no idea what their personal views were on the situation). There was an additional government lawyer on the phone.

The ACLU had filed on behalf of two named people, both of whom had arrived in JFK and been detained, and the larger class of all people affected by the Executive Order. The government pointed out that both of the named people had in fact already been released and so the case was moot, but the ACLU insisted that they had only named two people because the government was refusing to release the names of any others. The ACLU and the judge (Ann M. Donnelly) insisted that they needed to deal with the larger class, even if these two specific people were no longer being detained.

The ACLU asked for an assurance that “future plaintives” wouldn’t be removed from the country. The government said they couldn’t make those assurances without knowing specifics about the “arriving aliens”.

The judge said that she was following Supreme Court precedent, which depended on the “four factor test”, the most important of which in this situation was the potential for irreparable harm to the people being detained. (The others were the likelihood of injury to the petitioner, the public good, and a fourth I didn’t catch.) She asked the government specifically, “What is your argument that there won’t be irreparable injury?”

The government replied that they couldn’t say without named petitioners.

The judge pointed out that all the people being detained have been through an extensive vetting process already, some for years. Again she said, “Explain to me how it is that members of this class will not suffer irreparable injury.”

The government lawyers said that was an “overly broad request”.

The judge said that she saw no likelihood of injury to the opposing party (ie, the government), because all of these people would have been allowed in the country two days ago without problem. She said given that, and the “likelihood of success on the merits of the case” that she granted the stay (that is, no people currently being detained under the executive order could be sent out of the US). She also said, “I think the government hasn’t had a full chance to think about this.” And that was very obviously true, as the government’s lawyers repeatedly weren’t able to answer questions or predict what would happen next.

They began to set a date for the next hearing, and the government lawyers said they would need at least two weeks to prepare. The ACLU lawyer said that two weeks was a long time to keep people in detention without knowing what would happen to them. The government lawyers agreed, but couldn’t say if it was likely they would continue to keep people in detention or not.

The ACLU lawyer asked for a list of everyone currently being detained, since they didn’t even have accurate numbers of how many people it was (though he guessed 100-200 people).

The government lawyers replied that was “more difficult that it sounds”. !!!!

The judge said, “Why don’t you work it out.” You could hear her trying hard to suppress her eye roll. She then said that the whole point of this stay was to maintain the status quo, and that “it was not unduly burdensome to identify the people in the stated class”.

The eventual dates they settled on for the future was: Feb 10 for the government to file papers. The ACLU said they could respond within 48 hours. The government asked for a further seven days to prepare a respond to that, with the next hearing to take place on Feb 21.

(And what we saw when we came out of the courthouse)

TL;DR – the stay was granted! No one is being kicked out of the US right now! It applies nationwide! :D

Unfortunately only temporary and the ultimate fate of this people is yet to be decided. It also only covers people already in the US or who were in transit at the time of the ruling. :(

(This is reposted from tumblr, just fyi, but indeed written by me.)
brigdh: (Default)
1. Multiculturalism in Steampunk - Really, really excellent article, covering everything from Victorian education reform to Etsy. I have to say that I'm not that into steampunk myself (I still miss cyberpunk, y'all!), but I do read steampunk books and go to steampunk parties, simply because that's what's out there right now. But I do love the recent push I've seen to take the focus of steampunk off of Victorian London. Anyway, great article, go read it!

2. White America Has Lost Its Mind - from the Village Voice. There's no new stuff in this article, but it's an interesting take on recent events, and a theory on the causes. Speaking off related issues, the house I am staying at often has the radio in the kitchen left on all day. And yesterday, I was making dinner during a report on the "Ground Zero Mosque" issue. Can I just say: PLEASE STOP EMBARRASSING ME, AMERICA. YOU ARE MAKING ME LOOK BAD.

3. The Simpsons on Grad Students (youtube video) - OMG IT IS SO TRUE AND FUNNY.

4. The Sex Scholar - Really interesting article on Clelia Mosher, a woman who studied people's sex lives in the Victoria Era.

5. Makeup Girl (image) - Not photoshopped! THIS PICTURE IS AMAZING.

6. I've mentioned my other secret identity (an archaeology blogger!) before, but we have a bunch of new posts up right now, so you should check that out: Mud-brick.com. And for October, we are doing a series on 'The Archaeology of Death"! Yay, creepy photos of skulls. I myself have a recent post on books about archaeology. Go boost our page-views!
brigdh: (She scythes names like herbs)
I'm sure you all have heard about the floods in Pakistan. They are by far the worst humanitarian crisis in the country's history. Floods have affected 5% of its land mass and 4 million people are homeless, with more flooding expected. I've never been to Pakistan, but I hope to go someday, and have many friends who have. In fact, the archaeological culture I study is named the Indus Civilization after the Indus River- the river which is currently flooding. So, I feel that I should help.

Here are a list of charities if you'd like to donate.

I've also decided to participate in [livejournal.com profile] help_pakistan, a fandom charity raising money to donate. I've made two offers:

Go here if you'd like me to write a story for you.
Go here for postcards from me: I'll send 12 postcards, one a month, from wherever I am. My next year will include New York City, London, Wales, Switzerland, and probably various cities in India.

Bidding is going until tomorrow, Saturday the 28th, at 11:59 PM EST. Also, lots of other people are offering things! So if you don't want to bid on me, you should still look around. Also also, [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija is doing a read-a-thon to raise money, and I can tell you that she writes awesome reviews.
brigdh: (slattern.)
Health Care Spending - okay, this one, not so funny. But a really remarkable graph comparing spending on health care to average life expectancy.

The True Odds of Airborne Terror - Another chart, but this one's funnier.

Fun download-able calendars! These are linked to the seasons (and thus what local food is available) in South Carolina. I have not been able to find ones for the NYC area, although there are a ton for California, but that's even less helpful than the SC ones. This seem to match fairly well, at least. I've been using them for my desktop background.

Remember than super-awesome drawing of Velma and Scooby as post-apocolyptic zombie fighters that went around the internet several months ago? Well, now it's a t-shirt! I am totally getting one.

Runs in the Family by [livejournal.com profile] mresundance. A True Blood vid, focusing on Jessica. This is really, really well-done, just amazing to watch.

Hats for Cats - it's an etsy store. It's hilarious.

Also: I am getting a new cat today! It's exciting.


Jun. 18th, 2009 08:14 pm
brigdh: (Peace in Iran)
There's a push to get google to change their logo to draw more attention to the situation in Iran. This page seems to be the center for that.

A very good summary of current events in the rallies, while CNN has a good page up with basic information about Iran.

Tomorrow, Friday, is likely to be huge moment in this movement, as people have to choose between continuing to go out on the streets and protest, or go to mosque. The next day, Saturday, is apparently Global Day of Protest, with people trying to organize protests in as many cities as possible. A central page for that effort, though people not on Facebook can look here. In NYC, the plan is for the protest to be in front of the UN, 2-5. Currently the consensus is to wear black (in mourning for those who have died in the protests) and green (the color of Mousavi's campaign, it's also the color of Islam, symbolizing nature and life).

This site has a great flyer. It summarizes a lot of the basic information about the protests, as well as providing URLs to websites with more information. If possible, I recommend printing this off and handing them out. They're a great thing to give to passers-by at a protest.

Some of my favorite photos from the Union Square protest last night )

Iran Links

Jun. 17th, 2009 02:07 pm
brigdh: (Peace in Iran)
There have been 32 confirmed deaths in the Iran protests already.

For NYC people: there is a rally tonight in response to the situation in Iran at Union Square, 7-9 pm. Similar rallies are also on in DC, Philadelphia, Portland, Iowa City, and Irvine CA. Details here.

Things you can do if you have a twitter account.

Why We Protest - an anonymous board supporting the protests.

Andrew Sullivan and The Huffington Post have been keeping up liveblogs of coverage of the situation in Iran. ProtesterHelp, a twitter user inside the US, has also been updating with lots of information. StopAhmadi is another important Twitter source. [livejournal.com profile] bellacrow also is updating with news frequently.

Other news sources:
Tehran Live
Tehran Bureau
iran.twazzup twitter community

[livejournal.com profile] meganbmoore made icons from photographs of the protests.

Flickr sets of the protests.
brigdh: (Obama)
Obama keeps texting me. He didn't used to, you know; after the election I don't think we talked for months. Though, on second thought, that may be because I was in a different country and so was not using my US cellphone.

But he's getting really desperate! Two texts so far today. And one of them was asking me to sign Sotomayor's "virtual cast". Obama! I am not 12. My cellphone is not MySpace. Please to be keeping these facts in mind.
brigdh: (collect the shine of anything beautiful)
While I was living in Syria this summer, we tended to take off one day a week and go to the nearby big city, Aleppo. One day a group of us had gone to a liquor store, one which we would visit several times over the summer. The guy running it would explain to me the difference between good arak and bad arak.

But this was the first time we'd been there. It was a little store, barely bigger than a closet, located just off a plaza surrounded mostly by cheap jewelry stores, cafes, clothing stores- all things aimed at tourists. And we too were recognizable as- if not exactly tourists, than certainly not local. So the man in charge asked us where we were from. Adam, one of the people I was working with, told him America.

Ah, the man said. What about George Bush?

No, we said. All of this conversation was going on in our broken Arabic, so it was hard to convey subtleties. We don't like him.

The man nodded. Obama? he asked.

Inshallah, we said, the best word to pick up from Arabic; literally it means "if God wills", but people use it as something halfway between 'I hope' and 'please let it be'.

Inshallah, the man said, and he was echoed by the other Syrian men standing around the store, Inshallah.

This election has been making me nervous, keeping me checking political blogs and polls nonstop. I want a president who appeals to the better, bigger things in people, and not to their fear. If Obama talks about Hope and Change, is that such a bad thing? Why shouldn't presidents aim to be inspirational, to make the kind of speeches that live on as a sort of poetry? Aren't those the ones we remember: FDR's "we have nothing to fear but fear itself" speech, Lincoln's "a house divided cannot stand", Kennedy's "ask what you have to give for your country". I want a President who doesn't make the rest of the world look on America as a place of aggression and hate. If McCain is elected, I'm afraid that the rest of the world will see that as a confirmation of the policies of invasions, torture, prisoners held without trial. But we have a choice. People around the world like Obama. The news shows the pictures of crowds in Berlin and Japan, I hear the stories from my friends who work in Turkey and Oman and Ireland and Cyprus: they have heard of Obama. They see this as a change in America. And it can be. Please vote. Please convince your friends and family to vote. Volunteer.
brigdh: (Obama)
Barack Obama dances, dresses up as a pirate for Halloween.

He's so bad at dancing! And yet somehow that makes it even more cute. It's a paradox.

In similar news, I mailed off my election ballot yesterday. That was deeply satisfying.

ETA: Did you know there's a Steampunks for Obama button? Awesome.


Oct. 7th, 2008 08:23 pm
brigdh: (Obama)
I'm registered, still, to vote in Ohio. I sent off my application for an absentee ballot about two weeks ago; I haven't gotten it yet, but am unworried, since this doesn't seem like an unreasonable processing time.

However, today I did get election materials in the mail! I received the Ohio GOP leadership team, Republican Slate (they are ready to fight for me), as well as Steve Stivers's campaign flyer, which informs me, among other things, that he is interested in keeping America's borders strong ("those seeking citizenship must learn the English language"). Please remember that this is Ohio. We do not really share a border with Mexico, but perhaps Steve is really concerned about those illegal immigrants from Canada (who would still have to swim across a Great Lake to get to Ohio).

...I have nothing to add.
brigdh: (Obama)
Obama: *calls McCain* Things look bad, the economy is going down... we should make a joint statement about our plan.
McCain: Sure! Sounds awesome.
*5 seconds later*
McCain: *calls the press* The economy! I care about it! Obama doesn't! To prove this I am canceling the debate where I might have to talk about my economic plan and have a helpful plan!
Debate Organizers: ...it's not canceled.
Obama: *calls press conference* Presidents can debate and care at the same time. Multitask, bitch.
McCain: Well, see, I only meant I'd cancel the debate if the bailout bill doesn't pass before then.
Congress: Uh, it's already 98% done. Is this some attempt to be a 'maverick'?

*meanwhile, in New York*
Katie Couric: Polls show Obama ahead of McCain in economic issues.
Sarah Palin: I don't know poll numbers. I know Americans.


Jan. 23rd, 2008 11:16 pm
brigdh: (f/f)
Al Gore comes out in favor of gay marriage.

But don't read too many of the comments: they will make your brain hurt.


brigdh: (Default)

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