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This kid, who protested a school prayer at the graduation ceremony, finds himself ostracized, demeaned, and shunned by his own family.
Very sad story about a very brave young man.
Addendum: This blogger outlines why he or she thinks the young man is being a jerk. Maybe it’s hard to understand what it’s like to have to sit through an official prayer for a religion you don’t share. It’s oppressive actually, especially as a kid. You’re not even sure what you’re supposed to do, and you want to avoid doing anything to attract attention to yourself, so you do what those around you are doing. You put your head down and pretend like you’re praying, because you really don’t want to seem any more different than you already are. The blogger obviously hasn’t been through it. Not as a kid.
I’m not sure what’s going on here, but it does appear that a left solidarity group in Chicago is being targeted by the FBI. Following some raids and searches of homes in September, sans arrests or charges in the short term, several activists received subpoenas to appear before the Grand Jury last month. A few more just received similar subpoenas.
Apparently they’re being called to talk about foreign nationals in Colombia and the Middle East with whom they work, and they are concerned about providing information which could result in their friends’ imprisonment or worse. I don’t believe anything like this has happened since the 1980s when Sanctuary Movement members refused to provide information about Central American war refugees they had sheltered.
I’ve been looking for neutralish media coverage of the events, and they’re hard to find. Most of the organizational links suggest that some of them are fronts for the Freedom Road Socialist Organization – an organization I dealt with on occasion when I was active in SF. They’re a neo-Maoist dogmatic group, but hardly “radical” in the sense of advocating violent protests or anything of the like. I seriously doubt they are guilty of anything, and the failure of authorities to arrest or press charges would suggest as much. Is this harassment aimed at intimidating dissent, or are they conducting investigations to generate intelligence for “allies” such as the Colombian regime, Israel, or other Middle Eastern countries? Either way, they probably won’t get much cooperation from this group. They can be held in contempt, but not indefinitely.
In either case, this is a disturbing situation for anti-war activists all around the country as solidarity work generally involves contacts with people who may simply be on foreign government s— lists. It puts activists in a very tough spot, and whether it is government design, will discourage interaction between groups across national borders.
If anyone has any more information, please post it.
It might not have been a story, but when Justice Kennedy speaks, the world hears. It’s about the perennial overcrowding of our prisons which has been the subject of lawsuits for years. The State is appealing an order which would force the release or transfer of about 40,000 prisoners.
California’s bid to block a court order that would require the state to release or transfer more than 40,000 inmates from its prisons ran into sharp and skeptical questioning at the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
A majority of the justices said the state had failed to remedy the severe overcrowding problem, despite decades of lawsuits and promises from the governor’s office.
“How much longer do we have to wait — another 20 years?” asked Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was reacting to the state lawyer’s contention that it was “premature” for a three-judge panel to order the state to reduce its prison population by one-fourth in two years.
“At some point, the court [in California] has to say, ‘You have been given enough time…. It’s now time for a remedy,’ ” said Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who grew up in Sacramento. That “seems to me perfectly reasonable,” he said.
A note of local interest. A member of the team of attorneys in Washington right now representing the inmates in the suit is Rebbecca Evenson, daughter of Judy and Michael Evenson, who attended Skyfish and other local schools as a child.
That GPS thing which doesn’t violate reasonable expectations of privacy (according to current law) and has found its way into two local DA debates is in the headlines again. A student found one on his car and the FBI showed up afterward.
A Mississippi Judge held an ACLU attorney in contempt for failing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in court. The judge ordered that the attorney remain in prison until he agreed to recite the pledge. The attorney continued to refuse, and was released four hours later.
In yet another in a long string of rulings watering down Miranda and other search and seizure related rights, the conservative majority of SCOTUS has ruled that you have to speak up if you want to stay quiet.
SCOTUS had already ruled that you have to specifically request an attorney in order to invoke Sixth Amendment rights. If you invoke your Sixth Amendment rights, they can’t just leave you and come back to harass you later. Therefor, if you are arrested from here on out, to cover all bases, you should say something along these lines:
I hereby invoke my Fifth and Sixth Amendment Rights to silence and legal counsel. I will not speak to you until I have consulted an attorney.
After that, you only have to answer booking questions. But make sure you are clear.
A Maryland teenage student refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and the teacher had her basically arrested for it. On the first day she refused, the teacher sent her to the office (one wonders why the principal didn’t rectify the situation immediately). On the second day the teacher called the school police to have her removed from the classroom as the teacher insulted her and allowed other class members to taunt her.
The ACLU is involved and quite frankly I don’t think they should let the district off with just an apology. The district recognizes that she had the right, but there really should be zero tolerance for this. Give the girl credit for her courage, but this teacher’s actions have probably made the duration of the girl’s high school time a living hell. Quite frankly, having this teacher wag his/her finger at the kids he/she has already whipped up is a remedy which will do more to aggravate than mitigate. And personally I think the teacher should be required to attend a high school civics class and pass it.
PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Redwood ACLU announces Patriot Award nominees
The Redwood Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is pleased to announce the nominees for the 2009 Patriot Award. The chapter gives the Patriot Award annually to the member or members of the community who, in the opinion of the chapter, have demonstrated a patriotic commitment to defending and preserving the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in our country.
The 2009 nominees are:
Betty Chin and John Shelter for their work defending the rights of people who are houseless.
The Crisis Intervention Team of the Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services Mental Health Branch, which assists people who are experiencing a mental health crisis.
Eureka Councilman Larry Glass for working with the ACLU on items of common interest, including Eureka’s “True Ward” initiative.
County Supervisor Bonnie Neely for supporting the ongoing development of a framework for citizen police review.
Tad Robinson for defending freedom of speech and the right of the people peaceably to petition the government for redress of grievances.
“It is inspiring to see so many local citizens committed to enhancing our civil liberties,” said chapter Vice-Chair Christina Allbright.
The winner will be announced and honored at the Redwood Chapter’s annual membership meeting. The meeting will be held on Monday January 25th at 6pm at the Humboldt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall in Bayside. The keynote speaker will be Northern California ACLU Executive Director Abdi Soltani. Soltani’s speech will be on the topic “Civil Liberties in the Age of Obama.” The meeting will be a pot-luck style dinner and the public is invited to attend. Also at the meeting, the over 870 members of the Redwood ACLU will elect the chapter’s Board of Directors for 2010.
“I encourage all ACLU members, and any interested members of the public to attend our annual meeting on the 25th,” said Redwood ACLU Chair Greg Allen. ”With the Patriot Award ceremony and a keynote speech by our new regional executive director, it should certainly be a worthwhile evening.”
The Redwood Chapter of the ACLU is the local, all-volunteer presence of the ACLU. The ACLU is our nation’s guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.
Lots of articles on a raid on a gay bar in Ft. Worth, Texas on Sunday – ironically the 40th anniversary of Stonewall itself. The police claim people were being arrested for public intoxication (as strange as it seems, it is actually illegal to get drunk in a bar) and blame the incident on unruly patrons. The patrons attribute the incidents to gay panic.
According to one of the sources, there will be an investigation of the incident. This article has photos and a video.
Meanwhile, San Diego has its own pepper spray incident.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that a fundraiser for Francine Busby, who previously ran for the deeply-Republican Fiftieth District and came close to winning in the 2006 special election and subsequent regular election, was raided by sheriffs after an unnamed neighbor made a noise complaint. Busby now calls it a “phony” noise complaint, and the article says that multiple neighbors said there was no great noise at all.
The fundraiser was hosted by a lesbian couple, and by some account one of the neighbors was shouting anti-gay slurs prior to the raid. The raid involved several vehicles and a helicopter. What happened next is disputed, and one of the hostesses was arrested with a number of guests being pepper sprayed.
Oh, and there will be an investigation of the incident.
The photo comes from Talking Points Memo.