Friday, January 13, 2006

Lonestar Rollergirls Season Opener

Lonestar Rollergirls 2006 Season Opening Bout

The banked track Lonestar Rollergirls kick off their 2006 season this Sunday, January 15th.

The Cherry Bombs take on the Hellcats.

Sunday, January, 15, 2006.

At the new Thunderdome (map)

Tickets are $15.

Doors open at 6pm.

Please visit the Lonestar Rollergirls website for more info.

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friday random ten

Photo by Ryan McManus

friday random ten: Lucky Edition

"Big Party" - Barbara and the Browns
"The Party Line" - This Microwave World
"I Believe" - The Buzzcocks
"I Know This Bar" - Ani DiFranco
"Are You Sure Love Is the Name of This Game" - The Supremes
"Cry Cry Cry" - Johnny Cash
"Mechanical Chihuahua" - Glass Eye
"Lovers of Today" - The Only Ones
"Fight" - Art Brut
"Burning Hell" - John Lee Hooker

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Bush to criminalize protesters under Patriot Act as "disruptors"

Bush wants to create the new criminal of "disruptor" who can be jailed for the crime of "disruptive behavior." A "little-noticed provision" in the latest version of the Patriot Act will empower Secret Service to charge protesters with a new crime of "disrupting major events including political conventions and the Olympics." Secret Service would also be empowered to charge persons with "breaching security" and to charge for "entering a restricted area" which is "where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting." In short, be sure to stay in those wired, fenced containments or free speech zones.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A Dream Denied

The Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities

The housing and homelessness crisis in the United States has worsened in 2005, with many cities reporting an increase in demands for emergency shelter. In 2005, 71 percent of the 24 cities surveyed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors reported a 6 percent increase in requests for emergency shelter. Even while the requests for emergency shelter have increased, cities do not have adequate shelter space to meet the need. In the 24 cities surveyed in the U.S. Conference of Mayors Hunger and Homelessness Homelessness Survey for 2005 (pdf), an average of 14 percent of overall emergency shelter requests went unmet, with 32 percent of shelter requests by homeless families unmet. The lack of available shelter space – a situation made worse by the Gulf Coast hurricanes - leaves many homeless persons with no choice but to struggle to survive on the streets of our cities.

Over the course of the year, 3.5 million Americans experience homelessness. The number of people living on the streets threatens to grow as thousands of people are now homeless as a result of Hurricane Katrina. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as of late November, approximately 50,000 hurricane evacuees remained in hotels and motels awaiting alternative housing options.

An unfortunate trend in cities around the country over the past 25 years has been to turn to the criminal justice system to respond to people living in public spaces. This trend includes measures that target homeless persons by making it illegal to perform life-sustaining activities in public. These measures prohibit activities such as sleeping/camping, eating, sitting, and begging in public spaces, usually including criminal penalties for violation of these laws.

This report is the National Coalition for the Homeless’ (NCH) fourth report on the criminalization of homelessness and the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty’s (NLCHP) eighth report on the topic. The report documents the top 20 worst offenders of 2005, as well as initiatives in some cities that are more constructive approaches to the issue of people living in public spaces. The report includes the results of a survey of laws and practices in 224 cities around the country, as well as a survey of lawsuits from various jurisdictions in which those measures have been challenged.

Full report (pdf)
20 Meanest Cities
1. Sarasota, FL
2. Lawrence, KS
3. Little Rock, AR
4. Atlanta, GA
5. Las Vegas, NV
6. Dallas, TX
7. Houston, TX
8. San Juan, PR
9. Santa Monica, CA
10. Flagstaff, AZ
11. San Francisco, CA
12. Chicago, IL
13. San Antonio, TX
14. New York City, NY
15. Austin, TX
16. Anchorage, AK
17. Phoenix, AZ
18. Los Angeles, CA
19. St. Louis, MO
20. Pittsburgh, PA

The KKK Took the Boy Scouts Away

Boy Scouts = KKK Youth

The California Supreme Court grappled Tuesday with whether the city of Berkeley violated the First Amendment rights of a group of young sailors connected to the Boy Scouts of America.

Berkeley, celebrated in the 1960s as the home of the Free Speech Movement, revoked free berthing that the Berkeley Sea Scouts received for five decades at the Berkeley Marina. The city targeted the group in 1998 because the Boy Scouts bar atheist and gay members, and such conduct ran contrary to the city's 1997 policy of providing free berthing only to nonprofits without policies of membership discrimination.

The case challenges the legality of removing or withholding public subsidies from groups whose ideals run counter to the government's. During an hour of oral arguments, some of the justices thought out loud about the case's implications.

Justice Marvin Baxter wondered who else could get free subsidies at the marina if the scouts were correct.

"What you're saying is the youth KKK group ... is under equal footing?" Baxter asked Sea Scouts attorney Jonathan Gordon while referring to the Ku Klux Klan.

"Yes. That's correct," Gordon responded.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Mad Rollin' Dolls Season Opening Bout

Mad Rollin' Dolls second season flyer

The flat track Mad Rollin' Dolls will skate their season opening bout this Saturday, January 14th.

The Reservoir Dolls take on the Vaudeville Vixens in the first match.

The second match features the Unholy Rollers against the Quad Squad.

Saturday, January 14, 2006.

Fast Forward Skate Center, 4649 Verona Rd, Madison, WI.

Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door.

Doors open at 6:30pm.

Please visit the Mad Rollin' Dolls website for more info.

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Surly Gurlies vs. Bruisers

Surly Gurlies vs. Bruisers

The flat track Arizona Roller Derby will skate this Saturday, January 14th.

The Surly Gurlies take on The Bruisers.

Saturday, January 14, 2006.

Castle Sports Club

Tickets $10 in advance.

Doors open at 7pm, bout at 8pm.

Please visit the Arizona Roller Derby website for more info.

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Guantanamo Bay Military Commission Hearing

Ari Cover, a senior associate at Human Rights First is covering the Guantanamo Military Tribunal of detainees Omar Khadr and Ali Hamza Ahmed Sulayman al Bahlul.

Normally a pretrial hearing is a fairly mundane and not all that interesting proceeding to watch. But given the novelty of these commissions, with the rules hardly tested, if at all, it's hard to predict what may occur.

The government alleges that Yemeni citizen al Bahlul is a member of al Qaeda who worked as a media specialist for the terrorist group from 1999 to 2001, creating recruitment and instructional videos, including one glorifying the bombing of the USS Cole. Al Bahlul has been charged with to conspiracy to commit acts triable by a military commission, namely "attacking civilians; attacking civilian objects; murder by an unprivileged belligerent; destruction of property by an unprivileged belligerent; and terrorism." But the President military order creating the tribunals only authorizes prosecution of war crimes. Whether conspiracy is recognized as a war crime under the laws of war, however, is a complicated question that remains unsettled.

Al Bahlul already had one rather eventful go round of preliminary hearings back in August of 2004, when inaccurate language translation plagued the day and he expressed the desire to represent himself and made an unclear or unclearly translated reference to his affiliation with al Qaeda and September 11. Al Bahlul apparently still wishes not to be represented by a lawyer. Army reservist Maj. Tom Fleener was recently appointed as al Bahlul's military commission defense lawyer and is in a tricky predicament that many public defense lawyers have found themselves in when their clients decline counsel. Fleener believes it is his ethical obligation to fight for his client's right to self-representation and not go further on any other issues. Military commission rules do not allow for self-representation and the presiding officer in the case, who will decide issues of law, appears disinclined to honor al Bahlul's request. As a second choice, al Bahlul has previously expressed preference for a Yemeni lawyer, a selection that makes perfect sense to Fleener, who told me: "If I was captured by al Qaeda I wouldn't want an al Qaeda lawyer." But military commission rules do not allow for non-American legal representation. These issues will almost certainly have to be confronted on Wednesday.

Canadian citizen Omar Khadr was fifteen years old when he was captured by U.S. military forces in Afghanistan in 2002. He is accused of having thrown a hand grenade that caused the death of an American soldier, Sergeant First Class Christopher Speer of the U.S. Army. Khadr is officially charged with murder by an unprivileged belligerent; attempted murder by an unprivileged belligerent; aiding the enemy; and conspiracy. The charge sheet provides a background describing the immersion of Khadr in the al Qaeda world as a nine- or ten-year-old in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Trying a person for alleged war crimes committed as a child is unprecedented and disturbing. Khadr's civilian lawyers, Richard Wilson and Muneer Ahmad, say that "there is no record of trial of a juvenile under the age of 18 for war crimes in any tribunal" from Nuremberg until the international tribunals of recent time in Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone or East Timor. The lawyers also pointed out in a letter to the United Nations' Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict that the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (to which the U.S. is a party) requires that states seek to provide for captured juveniles' physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration. It is galling that the United States has instead chosen to charge this now young man as a war criminal.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Skating Toward Something Big

Lisa Crystal Carver

The New York Times made fun of this reality show -- A&E's new "Rollergirls," with its second episode airing tonight at 10 -- because it's just girls doing roller derby, a ridiculous sport with made-up names and crack whore outfits, and then bonding by drinking or TP-ing the other team's houses.

Don't be a hater, NYT. There are so many male rites of passage: fishing, hunting, fighting, football, drinking to the point of stomach-pumping, joining the army, getting taken to a hooker; all activities physical, frequently dangerous, and introduced by an older male relative (or a whole pack of male peers).

Girls, on the other hand, get shopping -- and learning how to take other people's crap (under the guise of "being nice"). Roller derby is a rare opportunity for girls to show that they can give it as well.


If I sound bitter, it's not about my vagina. It's because I want the world to look like "Rollergirls," not like The New York Times.