Economist Alan Budd, who served as an adviser to the Thatcher administration:
Despite recent setbacks, I’m so much better off than I was this time last year, I think. I have good friends and interesting things to do, so it’s not my personal life that makes me so happy to see 2011 go. I’ve been working hard to get mentally and physically healthy and making real progress. I’ve really gotten into forgiveness lately, too. It helps.
And this year, we also had thrill of watching the Occupy Movement begin and grow, offering us the first real hope in a long time. Inspiring!
With so many people everywhere who are out of work and hanging by a thread, it’s hard to feel really good for long. The planet seems to be angry at how much abuse we’ve heaped on it, while people in power ignore all the the signs. It’s so damned frustrating.
But we do still have each other. We gather in this place every day to read and converse with each other, and maybe we all feel less lonely and scared as a result. I hope so.
Anyway, I’m grateful for everyone’s support. Quite literally, I wouldn’t have made it this far without the help of my readers. (What always stands out is how – back in 2003, I think, when I had pneumonia, no health insurance and no sick days, you guys paid my bills and bought my food for that month so I could stay in bed for two weeks until I got better. Until then, I didn’t know I could be quite that sick and scared.)
So for all your help, emotional and otherwise, thank you for seeing me through another year. Here’s hoping for many more!
The best-ever New Year’s Eve movie ever is a fairly grim comedy, but Billy Wilder, the brilliant director/writer, knew exactly when to lighten it up. More here.
The new law now requires military custody for any suspect who is a member of al-Qaida or “associated forces” and involved in planning or attempting to carry out an attack on the United States or its coalition partners. The president or a designated subordinate may waive the military custody requirement by certifying to Congress that such a move is in the interest of national security.
The administration also pushed Congress to change a provision that would have denied U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism the right to trial and could have subjected them to indefinite detention. Lawmakers eventually dropped the military custody requirement for U.S. citizens or lawful U.S. residents.
“My administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens,” Obama said in the signing statement. “Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a nation.”
Despite the changes, officials cited serious concerns that the law will complicate and could harm the investigation of terrorism cases.
For example, FBI Director Robert Mueller has said the measure would inhibit his bureau’s ability to persuade suspected terrorists to cooperate immediately and provide critical intelligence. He told Congress it wasn’t clear how agents should operate if they arrest someone covered by the military custody requirement but the nearest military facility is hundreds of miles away.
Some good, lots more bad. Here’s hoping for a better year!