4th Amendment Wear, Available Now!

A few days ago, my friend JMo suggested using metallic ink on clothing in a comment to one of my posts regarding TSA body scanners.

Well, now it’s reality. 4th Amendment Wear has made our wishes come true.

H/T to JMo, Scott Greenfield, and Eric Turkewitz.


MU Xmas Shopping Guide, November 30, 2010

For your shopping pleasure, we at Military Underdog present Survival Cord Bracelets. Made with high strength, military “550 cord,” these bracelets will last you a lifetime and enhance your military chic.

Additionally, if you find yourself stranded in the wilderness with Bear Grylls, you’ll provide the means to erect shelters, catch fish, and rappel cliffs. Bear, as usual, will teach you to drink urine and jump into freezing water naked.

They are available at your local Military Clothing Sales store for a low $9.95.

Problems with TSA? My solution…

He gets the shotgun, no questions asked. Via LoHud.com.

For weeks, the gnashing of teeth could be heard worldwide regarding the TSA’s new way to create porn images or get a happy ending (depending on your preference upon screening).  Many folks suggested solutions to the problem, and those ideas generally revolve around abolishing the current system for screening. Obviously, the TSA is not wild about the alternatives, and they remain committed to their course of action.

Well, it’s time we started thinking outside the box.

As before, I’m just full of ideas.

This time, we should go against our gut. Most folks want to keep dangerous things away from aircraft. Perhaps, however, the best answer is to put more dangerous items onto our aircraft.

Let me explain.

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What do you remember about Basic Training?

During Basic Training, some soldiers write home about firing rifles and machine guns.

Some soldiers write home about their new, snazzy uniforms.

Some write about how good it feels to be a member of the Armed Forces, prepared to fight and win our nations wars.

Yet, others write home about raking leaves in the middle of the woods.

All in a day’s work.



Who are these people, and why are they giving legal advice?

WWE Champion John Cena poses with Marines at C...

I bet John Cena has as much legal training as one of the Marine Corps' "non-lawyer counsel." Image via Wikipedia

OK, Marines, something fishy is going-on (I’ll avoid, for the moment, any double entendres on the word “fishy”).

When one client tells me something strange, I consider it akin to a lightning strike.

When two tell me something strange, I consider it a mild aberration.

When three tell me something strange, I consider it a possible systemic problem.

Then, when I hear it consistently and repeatedly, I consider it a serious flaw in the system.

This flaw, as I see it, is the use of untrained, unlicensed “non-lawyer counsel” by the United States Marine Corps.

First, let’s start with a bit of background.

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A Thought on Civil Rights and the Abilene Paradox

Eisenhower Center grounds, Abilene, Kansas, USA

Welcome to Abilene (the Kansas version). Don't complain about the town, it's your own damn fault you're here. Image via Wikipedia

The easiest way to lose your rights is to voluntarily give them up.

Lately, a lot of folks are screaming about the TSA’s enhanced security measures—from naked pictures of children to a happy ending patdown.

Many of them (most, I suspect) said nothing during the Great Government Power Grab of 2001-02. Why? At the time, they didn’t feel it. No tactile touching occurred. All they felt was fear of what might happen. Taking advantage of this fear by passing new legislation, Congress didn’t put their hands in any crotches, but they provided earmarks for groin grabs in the future. It is a reminder that we should all read the fine print and keep one eye open for slippery slopes.

Brian Tannebaum gets it, as do the fine folks at Simple Justice, Defending People, and Popehat, and I suspect they understood from the beginning. Most others detoured around the dissenters (and those with a critical and free perspective) and drove the long road to Abilene. Whole clans boarded busses to the small town, and none chose to speak-up. That would be inconvenient and uncomfortable. They wanted the fear to go away. They wanted to go with the flow. They wanted safe anonymity……..and smartphones.

You see, whether you like it or not, we are all connected. An injustice to one will always manifest into an injustice upon us all. Taking a stand and, at the least, making one’s views and determination known demands a healthy backbone. Turning away and hoping that everything works itself out requires no calcium at all.

So, when you board that bus down I-20 to Abilene, don’t complain about the boring Texas prairie. Don’t lament the isolation of a small, flat town. Don’t grouse about the heat or the cold or the wind. It’s your own damn fault you’re there.

MU Xmas Shopping Guide, November 21, 2010

We at Military Underdog truly enjoy helping our valued readers with their Xmas shopping experience. With all the positive feedback we’ve received for our previous offering, we now turn our attention to the little ones.

Today, we present the Dora the Explorer: Paramour of Chucky Edition (AKA Bedtime Dora). Available for around $15 at your local Post Exchange.

In addition, we offer to you a set of Henckels steak knives (sold separately from the creepy Dora doll). This set of quality blades can be found at your Exchange’s cutlery section for around $40.

A creepy doll and a set of good, German steak knives means hours of excitement (and horror) in your household this holiday season. Enjoy.

MU Xmas Shopping Guide: November 20, 2010

We at Military Underdog want each of our 5 loyal readers to enjoy this holiday season. So, we give back to each of you by assisting in your holiday shopping endeavors. To do this, we want to highlight some of the fantastic deals available on or near military installations. Whether it is the Post Exchange (PX), Base Exchange (BX), or local merchants, our team is looking for great deals.

To begin, we present to you this fantastic figurine available at the Fort Leonard Wood PX. I think you’ll agree, it is a fantastic piece of Americana. Notice the detail shown with the placing of a bandage on the right arm. It’s not everyday that you find a figurine with a bandage on one of its arms, and that is what sets this art apart from the rest. Evoking a collage of thoughts from “Rambo” to “Tropic Lightning” to The Village People, you can’t help but feel a tinge of patriotism. It can be yours for a mere $148. This is a bargain compared to the $250 Barack Obama figurine found in the same display case. Enjoy.


New Blog URL

Michael R. Lehnert

If you don't remember the URL change, this guy will get angry. You don't want to see him angry. He's actually happy in this picture. Grrrrr. Image via Wikipedia

Mark your calendars. On December 1, 2010, the URL for this site will change from emayerlaw.com to MilitaryUnderdog.com. This is important for the three people who read the blog regularly.

MilitaryUnderdog.com currently redirects to the site, but it is not the default URL until December 1.

Azimuth Check: Marketing Extravaganza!

Here we go again with another round of brain droppings from the voices in my head.

ABA to Regulate Online Marketing? Don’t worry, just stay one step ahead.

As I discussed in a previous post, the ABA is looking to regulate the current wild west–online marketing for attorneys. I also noted that it’s not the attorneys who require regulation and admonishment, it is the “gurus” and “experts” who specialize in selling fear of failure.

Now that we know of the impending doom to online free-for-all, we must become more creative than just trying to sell the creation of a Twitter-based law practice.

Naturally, I’m just full of ideas.

I had the thought of the picture shown here when I visited my favorite coffee shop and cashed-in my frequent caffeine addict card. I thought “If it works for coffee, why couldn’t it also work for a law practice?” I’m savvy that way.

Then, while washing my truck at the local Exxon station, I notice the menu of car cleanliness services offered by the automatic system. They ranged from 2 minutes of gentle spittle to 10 minutes of hurricane-force sandblasting with a final coating of wonderful Rain-X chemicals. We can tier our services similarly. Here is an example, listing the services from best to “value”:

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DOJ In Need of Pro Bono Representation

56622363 BONO

No, no, no. Wrong Bono. Image via Wikipedia

Has it really gotten this bad? I’m accustomed to potential clients calling on occasion and requesting pro bono (free) representation because of their dire financial circumstances or family needs. Occasionally, I will accept one of these cases, and they are often some of my most rewarding experiences.

Now, it seems that the Department of Justice’s baby needs a new pair of shoes. Via two Scotts I know, it seems that the DOJ in Western Missouri needs some pro bono representation. Benefits, you ask? Well, they will call you a Special Assistant US Attorney (SAUSA) rather than “the dude they got to take cases for free.” Plus, you are able to call yourself “Special,” and that’s……..well……..special.

One Scott (the Greenfield variety) addresses the SAUSA carrot and the perception (or reality, depending on your perspective) of the experience as a resume’ builder. You see, that’s how they are able to recruit free labor with a straight face.

The other Scott (a military version) was kind enough to highlight for me an additional caveat to the lack of monetary compensation.

Salary Information: Positions are without compensation. Note that employees of the Department of Justice, including uncompensated SAUSAs, may not engage in the compensated practice of law outside of the office.

Not only would you be working for nothing, but you’d also be precluded from taking paying clients on your own time. That’s just peachy.

Look on the bright side. You can always consider yourself akin to Tom Hagen in “The Godfather.” You’d have an exclusive practice for one very special client, Consigliere.

Gaming Systems – Below the Poverty Level

School Choir of an Elementary School in the Un...

What's with the singing? These kids should be at home choosing whether to play their WII, XBox 360, or PS3. Image via Wikipedia

This post may be the one that finally pushes me into the bowels of hell (if you believe in such a place).

Today, I became aware of a holiday project undertaken by several classes at a Fort Leonard Wood elementary school. Rather than the typical gift exchange prior to the holiday season, each class adopts a family (mainly children) that is presumably living in a state of poverty. The idea is that the school’s children and their families pool resources and gifts in order for this family’s youngsters to have a truly merry holiday season. In most circles, this is called Adopt-a-Family.

I’ve seen several of these programs, and often the family is lavished with an amazing amount of gifts, from toys to clothing. It benefits the designated family, but it also shows you that generosity is not dead. In the end, it is usually a win-win situation for everyone involved. It is nice to see this particular elementary school teaching its students how good it feels to give.

But, lets face it, I’m not writing this as a touchy-feely post that will make you feel all fuzzy and full of holiday cheer. Nope, I’ve got a gripe.

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Thanks to All Our Veterans

Veterans Day

Image via Wikipedia

Veterans Day truly is a special day for me.

I think of my father and uncles who served in WWII.

I think of my great uncles who fought in WWI.

I think of my uncle and cousins who fought in Vietnam.

I think of those in our nation, past and present, who volunteered to protect our freedom.

Most of all, I think of my friends who have served and are serving.

You guys are the cream of the crop, and I am fortunate to know you.

Picking on the New Guy

Backup Backup Backup - And Test Restores

One more call from a Social Media "Guru" or Search Engine Optimization "Expert," and the computer gets it. Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday, I received a call on my private phone number. I said my usual “This is Eric” as an opening salutation, and the female caller responded with “Hey, are you taking any new clients?”

Although I’m pretty selective about my cases, I’m still open to new clients. I figured the call came from the office of a buddy who occasionally refers cases to me. After all, the call was on my private number, and her opening reply certainly suggested some familiarity. I replied, “Sure.”

This began the sales pitch, not from my buddy’s office, but from a Search Engine Optimization firm seeking to sell me their amazing services. Obviously, they had retrieved my number because of some registration I made prior to establishing my business line. Immediately, I moved to quickly and expeditiously terminate the conversation. It still cost me a few minutes on my precious family cell plan. Damn them.

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Next Time, Lunch Is On Me

US Disciplinary barracks, Fort Leavenworth, Ka...

The US Disciplinary Barracks (the military's bighouse) at its remote location on Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. It has nothing to do with this article, but I thought I'd include it for your viewing pleasure. Image via Wikipedia

During one of my last acts as a servicemember, I found myself in Kansas City representing a military recruiter in danger of losing his career in the Army. The board hearing the matter allowed us an extended lunch, and my boss (stationed conveniently at Ft. Leavenworth) and I left for a nearby Ruby Tuesday.

Our lunch was an ordinary one, filled with the usual conversations about current cases, personnel issues, families, and career plans. At the time, he was a newly promoted Colonel (pay grade O-6), and I was a senior Captain (pay grade O-3) waiting to be promoted to Major that summer. I say this because you must understand that our combined annual income and benefits likely equaled close to $200,000–a tidy sum considering the low cost of living in the midwest.

The meal drew to a close, and we asked for the check. The waitress returned after a minute and told us that the check was “taken care of.”

My boss, a very direct individual, responded “By whom?”

“He wants to be anonymous,” she replied.

A period of silence followed.

Then, my boss inquired “Well, could we at least know so we can thank him?”

“He is no longer here, sir,” she responded.

He found himself , uncharacteristically, able to reply with only a weak “OK.”

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Azimuth Check, November 8, 2010

Billboard for handsfree mobile phone equipment...

Well, Motorola isn't doing us CDLs any favors. Image via Wikipedia

Yet again, a smattering of different ideas forced into this blog by the voices inside my head.

Yep, these are not our clients.

We criminal defense lawyers live a unique existence. Most of our days are fairly lonely, and our usual human interaction comes with individuals from whom we maintain a fair amount of distance personally and emotionally. Occasionally, however, we gather in small groups or call each other on the phone and share a moment. We utilize a flavor of humor that is unique to us. I suppose it strengthens our solidarity.

Many of our anecdotes revolve around the potential client. These are individuals with whom we have not formed a relationship. After all, most of us avoid talking specifically about actual clients. The potential clients call on the phone, and most want to pump us for information, free advice, and/or baseless guarantees. They range from the innocently curious to serial deadbeating. While providing us with a certain level of frustration, they can also be amusing.

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