Most Congressional observers these days have been following bills related to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the DREAM Act, and the START Treaty. Lost in the lame duck shuffle is the apparent end to a promise President Obama made on his first day in office -- the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. As part of the defense authorization bill -- the one that did not include a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and was passed in the House on Friday -- was a ban, pushed by Republican members of the Illinois delegation, on the transfer of the detainees, which would last until the end of September, 2011.
Sen. Mark Kirk threatened to put a hold on the authorization bill unless it prohibited the transfer of the Gitmo detainees, and vowed to oppose repeal of DADT unless the ban was in place. (In the end, Kirk voted to put an end to DADT.) The reason for the outcry from Kirk is, at least in part, because it has long been the administration's plan to move the prisoners to the vacant Thomson Correction Center in the Northwest area of the state, a move that conservatives have claimed would bring "Jihadists" to the Prairie State.
The news, which seems to doom any chances of shifting the detainees to the mainland where they would receive due process, is coupled with the state's failed attempt to auction Thomson. That was supposed to happen this afternoon, but there was a bit of a problem -- no one showed up. It's looking like Thomson is going to remain vacant for a long time.