Wis. marathon debate, Assange extradition, gay marriage shift

by Katherine Lymn

Your Daily Digest for Thursday, Feb. 24: 

An unprecedented 40-hour debate on a union vote led to a deal between Wisconsin democrats and republicans at about 6 a.m. today. The debate began Tuesday. Dems agreed to limit amendments on the bill to 38, with just 10-minute time limit to argue each one, the AP reported. Assuming they take the maximum time, the Assembly would vote on the bill that would limit collective bargaining rights at about noon.

A London judge ruled Thursday that the allegations made against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange warranted his extradition from London to Sweden to be prosecuted. Assange has denied the allegations of sexual assault, and referred to Sweden as the “Saudi Arabia of feminism,” the New York Times reports. WikiLeaks supporters protested outside the courthouse at each of six hearings, claiming the allegations are revenge for Assange’s releasing a quarter-million diplomatic cables late last year. Assange’s lawyers said they would definitely appeal the ruling, which they have seven days to do.

In other allegations against Assange, his former No. 2 at WikiLeaks bashed him repeatedly in a Sunday New York Times interview.  Daniel Domscheit-Berg said Assange threatened to hunt down and kill him if he ever endangered a source, and also to “dig up some dirt” on Domscheit-Berg’s girlfriend, who later became his wife.
President Barack Obama made a sudden policy shift to support gay marriage more than ever before, the New York Times reported Wednesday. Obama ordered the Dept. of Justice — which includes all courthouses in the United States — to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court, saying it’s unconstitutional.  Scholars say this move could have far-reaching effects, including reigniting the contentious culture clash over gay rights as the 2012 presidential campaigns are heating up. Conservatives accused Obama of making the move to distract Americans from the spending cuts he’s making. The Times reported the announcement and discussions that led to it were catalyzed by two lawsuits filed last year that challenged the Defense of Marriage Act.