Azimuth Check: Catching Up

Line-art drawing of an azimuth

See? Easy. Image via Wikipedia

It’s been a while since I’ve had an azimuth check. For those of you new to these parts, an azimuth check, in orienteering, is when you check to make sure you are going in the right direction–your azimuth. I use it as a potpourri of different things to get my mind back on track.

Yep, That’s My State

Sometimes, I love being from Kansas. (For those of you from one of the coasts, it’s a place you occasionally fly-over). Sometimes, I loathe it. Lately, it has been the latter. I weathered the days of forced “intelligent design” in classrooms (yep, I’m a product of KS public schools). That fight outed KS as a state that didn’t fully grasp the first few amendments of the Constitution. However, it did give us the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and that’s not a bad thing. Pasta be praised.

Now, I’m learning of the case of Brownback v. High School Senior. It seems staffers at the governor’s office found a disparaging tweet by a high school senior. Staffers informed the senior’s principal. The principal decided to give the student a rash of shit and order an apology. The student stood her ground. The student won (as of right now). The First Amendment also won (for now).

As a taxpayer, I’m doubly frustrated. If I understand it correctly, one of Gov. Brownback’s staffers monitors social media on a regular basis for comments about the Gov. I’m not feeling warm and fuzzy about my tax dollars paying salaries to watch social media, especially Twitter. I’d rather the state spend my taxes to refurbish the pavilion that houses the World’s Largest Ball of Twine.

Better Late Than Never

In 1980, the Army separated criminal defense attorneys from installation legal offices in order to prevent any actual or apparent improper influence upon their ability to zealously and fully defend their clients. It was the right call.

I’ve always been frustrated that the Marine Corps did not follow suit. Their lawyers remained under administrative and operational control of the same authorities that maintained the same close, local control of the prosecutors. Having grown in the Army system, it seemed wrong, wrong, wrong.

Finally, heat was brought on the USMC that shed a bright spotlight upon the system, and the Corps chose to amend their system to one similar to the Army’s Trial Defense Service.

So, a few months belated, I’d like to congratulate the USMC for separating their defense counsel into a separate command–Defense Services Organization. You’re 30 years late to the party, but we’re happy to have you all the same. Now, could you talk to your buddies in the Navy?


I’ve now had a private law office focused on military members and veterans for a bit. I noticed some law offices tout themselves as Premier law offices. Where do I get certified as Premier? Is it offered by the Univ. of Phoenix? Are classes required? Is it based on longevity? An LLM? Does it come to me spiritually on a vision quest? Can I eventually be ordained to bestow this title?

It sure seems swell to work for a Premier law office. The lawyers are always smiling and wearing nice suits. They seem to have very, very diverse practice areas. They have spiffy web sites.

And they all seem to have capped teeth.


4 thoughts on “Azimuth Check: Catching Up

  1. Eric, I always am delighted whenever you speak of home, the military, and the law. Just moments ago I just read of another youngster, age 23, already a Veteran, a Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer, the newest C.M.O.H. recipient has filed suit in Texas for defamation of his charactor, by his former employer, BAE, a defense contractor. I personally applaud these youngsters for standing up for their fundamental rights, wherever they’re from. ~Keep up the good fight, Eric, and remember, ad astra per aspera!

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