News, thoughts and comments on civil rights and related issues.
Friday, February 27, 2004
Women of color found gay blog
Director, writer, filmmaker and all-around gadfly Brian Flemming brought my attention to a new weblog founded by lesbians of color. Sisters Talk focuses on news and politics. Current topics include the contretemps over gay marriage, the presidential race and the sex abuse cases payout made by the Roman Catholic Church. The blog's participants are not named. The tone is sardonic. Its politics appears to be leftist/progressive.
Wisconsin is among states that are pushing their own constitutional amendments to prevent homosexuals from marrying. Sisters Talk wonders if one of the bill's supporters is really, really, really concerned about the sanctity of marriage.
The bloggers were supporters of Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, based on prominent links to material about him on their blog. With Kucinich history, they've turned their attention to contenders John Kerry and John Edwards. They say they see few characteristics to help one distinguish between the two Johns.
In a recent entry, I said I'm heartened by Edwards' campaign. He strikes me as sincere, dedicated to civil rights and savvy about that for sell to the highest bidder domain known as America. However, the candidate has not broken with the status quo in regard to gay marriage. We'll see what happens down the road.
Sisters Talk also reminded of an issue I had hoped to blog, but did not find time to.
One of the largest of those settlements occurred here in Portland, Oregon. Friends who represent the plaintiffs emphasize the awards are for only for abuse victims who filed claims. They say they know of many more who have not -- yet. Extrapolate the potential number of plaintiffs and the proportion of abusive priests the Church is acknowledging, seven percent, must be significantly larger.
Sisters Talk is a promising new blog. I encourage you to drop by, read some and perhaps say 'Hi.' And, while you're out visiting, drop in at Brian Flemming's weblog, too. He is one of the most dynamic of newer bloggers and the kind of clever and cute fellow this 'breeder' likes.posted by J. | 9:30 PM
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Law: Kirk Lyons meets his match
There's a saying that a sucker is born every minute. So, a con man like neo-Nazi sympathizer, Aryan Nations defender and neo-Confederate leader Kurt Lyons should be able to continue making a living by fleecing his supporters. However, recently, cracks in his facade that could cause some of his followers to get a clue have become more obvious.
Lyons has supported himself by filing frivolous lawsuits for years. During the last decade, after a relocation to a far Right Wing redoubt in North Carolina, he has clothed those suits in the rubric of defending 'Confederate Americans,' a group he says is an oppressed minority. He and his organization, the Southern Legal Resource Center often set up the situations they then represent plaintiffs in. For example, parents in the neo-Confederate movement will be told to send their children to school wearing tee shirts from Dixie Outfitters that depict black people picking cotton in front of a big Confederate flag. When, as foreseen, the students are disciplined, Lyons shows up to file a lawsuit claiming they have been discriminated against. He then uses the 'oppression' of those 'Confederate Americans' to raise funds online and from far Right groups. What he 'forgets' to tell people is it is settled law that public schools can discipline students who engage in disruptive behavior, including those who wear clothes that might incite conflict. Despite the scores of these cases Lyons has filed, he has never won one. Most fail to make it pass the initial motion to dismiss.
Lyons has been getting away with his shenanigans for so long he likely thought no judge would hand him the setback he so clearly deserves. His carte blanche to waste courts' time expired recently.
Back in 2000, Neo-Confederate leaders urged employees at DuPont's Spruance plant in Richmond to wear clothing depicting the Confederate flag to work and place such emblems in their work areas and on their vehicles. Several, longterm members of the movement, responded accordingly. Unaware of their limited rights as employees at will, they apparently thought they could spit in the eye of a behemoth and escape untouched. Their supervisors at DuPont told to stop bringing disruptive imagery to the workplace. When they refused, some were suspended and threatened with dismissal. Lyons, as planned, filed a frivolous lawsuit against DuPont, claiming a non-existent right to behave as one's pleases in a workplace had been breached. He was probably hoping DuPont would consider the case just another nuisance claim and settle it, putting a few easily earned dollars in his pockets. The company did not balk. The judge presiding over the lawsuit is equally unimpressed. Judge Henry Hudson dismissed the case and sanctioned the plaintiffs more than $60,000. Lyons himself was subjected to a $10,000 fine and a share of DuPont's legal fees.
But don't count Lyons out yet. He is using the sanctions, combined with a claim his son is seriously ill, in an effort to raise more funds from the far Right than ever before. Neo-Confederate leader Ron Holland is among fellow travelers passing the platter.
Ironically, this raid on their followers' pockets comes only a few weeks after a previous one from Lyons' SLRC. I am curious to see if there are any limits to how far a confidence man can go before the neo-Confederate rank and file realizes it is being played for a collective fool. If Lyons' latest appeal fails, he may finally have to face up to actually having to earn a living.posted by J. | 9:00 PM