June 29, 2011 § 3 Comments
Every now and then, I peruse the front page of CNN.com. Mostly, I’m just looking for a general summary of the day’s news to see what’s happening. Mostly, I scan the headlines and go no further. Occasionally, I’ll look down and see what’s going on in the opinion and op-ed pieces. Lately, I’ve been particularly interested in guest columns by a host of different sanctimonious asses.
Yesterday, I found a column by Karen Spears Zacharias. She focused her venom at a book entitled “Go the Fuck to Sleep.” Of course, on the cover of the book and in her column the word fuck is tastefully censored. The book, in a highly satirical way, pokes fun at the frustrations of parents dealing with young children by imitating the structure of many popular children’s books. She finds no humor in it.
I had crafted a lengthy post in opposition of her views yesterday, but, by the end of the day, I realized that a throng of CNN readers had already done the job for me. I was going to talk about the role of satire. I was going to talk about the need to laugh at our many faults, as humans. I was going to talk about how the book might serve to cause parents to talk about some of their “impure” thoughts openly, and, therefore, be less likely to act upon the bottled anger and frustration that many parents feel.
I was going to talk about my love for Mel Brooks and his entire body of work.
No matter, plenty of other folks did that for me.
However, I have one more thing to say.
Just when I thought her article might be an isolated incident of sanctimonious behavior, I found this, which she wrote in response to some Twitter opposition that occurred as a result of her article. Evidently, she wanted to show everyone that she held unbelievably high moral ground by invoking the thought of deployed soldiers.
If you want to seem infinitely better than everyone else, a surefire tactic is to talk about how much you support soldiers and their families while your opposition goes about their (assumed) pathetic lives.
If you do great things, that’s wonderful. But, don’t do it just because you want moral high ground or a chance to beef-up your morality resume.
That Tweet is immature and sets the standard for sanctimony, and it validates all the criticisms of her original column.
That soldier is deployed to serve his country, defend freedom, and hopefully take a bite out of terrorism. He isn’t there for you to use as a morality shield during petty disagreements.
UPDATE: Nobody ever says it quite as well as Ken at Popehat. He is our poet laureate.
June 24, 2011 § 2 Comments
June 23, 2011 § 2 Comments
Here’s the Army, showing again why they are always lauded for their keen sense of prioritization. (An ALARACT is a message sent to the entire Army to clarify or publish policies. It is short for All Army Activities.)
ALARACT 239/2011 – REQUEST FOR EXCEPTION TO POLICY TO PUBLISH ALARACT MODIFYING WEAR OF IMPROVED PHYSICAL FITNESS UNIFORM (IPFU)
THE PURPOSE OF THIS MESSAGE IS TO MODIFY THE EXISTING WEAR POLICY FOR THE IPFU.
THERE ARE A VARIETY OF MINIMALIST RUNNING SHOES AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AND WEAR. EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, ONLY THOSE SHOES THAT ACCOMMODATE ALL FIVE TOES IN ONE COMPARTMENT ARE AUTHORIZED FOR WEAR. THOSE SHOES THAT FEATURE FIVE SEPARATE, INDIVIDUAL COMPARTMENTS FOR THE TOES, DETRACT FROM A PROFESSIONAL MILITARY IMAGE AND ARE PROHIBITED FOR WEAR WITH THE IPFU OR WHEN CONDUCTING PHYSICAL TRAINING IN MILITARY FORMATION.
One toe out of the correct compartment may mean the difference between life and death. Everyone knows us civilians are looking with a critical eye at the professional military appearance of soldiers during physical training.
Please, for god sake, don’t let the terrorists win by wearing some of those Vibram 5-toe jobbies.
June 23, 2011 § 2 Comments
I still giggle at the name of this case. I’m immature that way.
As soon as I compose myself, then I look at it with my serious face.
Today’s decision in Bullcoming v. New Mexico changes the way that forensic laboratory tests are entered in court and testified-to by experts. Essentially, it states that the actual scientists/technicians who performed forensic tests/analysis must be made available to the defense for cross examination, unless unavailable (in the legal sense). It’s a bit more complex than that, but you can always check out the synopsis here.
This is particularly important in the military where the vast majority of drug-related punishment originates with urine tested at one of the military drug laboratories.
Prior to Bullcoming, these tests and lab reports were always certified and explained at trial by a surrogate and not the actual technician who performed the test, maintained the equipment, and wrote the report. Because of this, most accused servicemembers choose to accept lesser punishment or guilty pleas knowing the ease by which the government could obtain a conviction using only a stack of lab reports and some random scientist witness from one of the laboratories.
Now, this recent decision may embolden those who would otherwise surrender. It may also give the government pause when considering alternatives for lesser drug-related misconduct.
It will be interesting to see what the government does in order to accommodate Bullcoming. I don’t mean to be cynical, but I’m fully prepared to be underwhelmed.
UPDATE: And, here comes buzzkill Army Scott to ruin my fun moment by pointing me to the Sotomayor concurrence (which I hadn’t read at the time of this posting). Nothing to see here in this post. Everybody return to what you were doing.
June 21, 2011 Comments Off on But Now He Can Empathize
The Army’s Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) is a command program within the Army to help soldiers suffering from drug and alcohol problems. Now, it appears its leader had genuine empathy for those who utilized the services he directed, or perhaps a bit more. Via the Army Times:
The director of the Army Substance Abuse Program at Carlisle Barracks is on leave pending further action after his arrest on cocaine distribution charges.
Daniel Hocker, 53, of Carlisle was among 20 people indicted on federal criminal charges earlier this month, The Sentinel of Carlisle reported. Hocker is charged with drug distribution, use of a communications facility and conspiracy.
From my perspective, it seems a sad trend that many folks who utilize this program never fully turn the corner on their addictions. Maybe now I know why.
June 21, 2011 § 1 Comment
For those of you who wonder if you’ll live through the workday without your morning cup of coffee, please start today by reading this article by Greg Zoroya at USA Today.
No, no. Go back. Read the whole thing.
Now, don’t you feel foolish? You should.
Remember this story about Sergeant First Class Joseph Kapacziewski . Not everyone is like him, but we can all aspire to have the same dedication and commitment toward our vocations and clients as he does.
He could be medically retired from the Army with 100% disability if he wanted, but he isn’t.
He could be sitting at home collecting enough money to be comfortable without lifting a finger, but he continues to work for every cent.
He could live in safety, security, and gain weight, but he hasn’t.
He could leave a dirty job to be accomplished by others. He could say “Let someone else get filthy for a change.” But, his values and his guts won’t let him.
You don’t have to be him to get my respect. A patriot isn’t just someone who serves in a polyester uniform. It isn’t just someone who faced bullets or earned Purple Hearts. To me, the ultimate patriot is someone who does a job and does it well–in a uniform, a crisp suit, or a tattered pair of overalls. For, without that, we’d have nothing to be proud of in these United States. And, most importantly, nothing to fight for.
June 16, 2011 Comments Off on Taking Defense Counsel to Task
The issue raised here should resonate with civilian and military practitioners alike. Here is an appellate court that refuses to mince words.
The Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces (CAAF) granted in U.S. v. Callwood, 11-0431/AR, on this issue (and one other):
WHETHER APPELLANT WAS DENIED HIS SIXTH AMENDMENT RIGHT TO EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL, WHERE HIS TRIAL DEFENSE COUNSEL’S ACTIONS DURING THE PRETRIAL HEARING LED DIRECTLY TO APPELLANT’S CONVICTION OF ADDITIONAL CHARGES AND SPECIFICATIONS, AND WHERE HIS TRIAL DEFENSE COUNSEL FAILED AT TRIAL TO CALL TWO WITNESSES WHO WOULD HAVE UNDERMINED THE CREDIBILITY OF THE GOVERNMENT’S KEY WITNESSES.
Additionally, the following was ordered:
The decision of the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals is set aside. The record of trial is returned to the Judge Advocate General of the Army for remand to that court for further appellate inquiry and consideration on the granted and specified issues. The Court of Criminal Appeals will obtain affidavits from the civilian and military trial defense counsel relating to the assigned issue. If the court, after reviewing the affidavits, determines that a fact-finding hearing is necessary, see United States v. Ginn, 47 M.J. 238 (C.A.A.F. 1997), that court shall order a hearing pursuant to United States v. DuBay, 17 C.M.A. 147, 37 C.M.R. 411 (1967). Once the necessary information is obtained, the court will conduct its Article 66(c), UCMJ, review. Thereafter, Article 67, UCMJ, shall apply.
Reading this is painful, and I have no idea who tried this case. From the wording, it appears that Callwood had both military and civilian representation at court-martial.
H/T to CAAFlog