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Monthly Archives: November 2017

SHIPS OF THE LINE

THE CENTURION

A series of pertinent – and impertinent – comments on military matters

 

EQUAL JUSTICE?  Rick Jones, a public defender in the Harlem area of New York City, comments on racism in American justice.   His main points – supplemented with extensive notes:

  • 42% of all school referrals to law enforcement are for black students, as opposed to 23% white and 29% Hispanic
  • Black juveniles are more than four times as likely as white peers to be committed to detention facilities
  • Black drivers are 2 ½ times more likely to have their cars search during routine traffic stops, compared to white drivers
  • People of color represents 2/3 of the life-sentenced population
  • Despite using and selling drugs at similar rates, African-Americans and Latinos comprise 62% of those in state prisons for drug offenses

ETHICS IN BLOGGING.  The NACDL’s Champion magazine warns about ethical pitfalls for attorneys using blogging and social media.  One problem is protecting client confidentiality.  Another common issue is inadvertently establishing a client relationship online by answering specific questions in response to queries.

CHALLENGES IN FEMINISM.  Commentator Ann Bernays recalls with affection her mother in the early part of the 20th century.   She continued to use her maiden name even after she married; and she became the first married woman to obtain a passport in her own name.  She soon found it a nuisance to repeatedly explain her name to clients, social contacts, schools, banks, and doctors.

ELEVATED BLOOD PRESSURE.  Northwestern University’s alumni magazine reports that segregation impacts the blood pressure of minorities.  An assistant professor of preventive medicine, Kiari Kershaw, found that the systolic blood pressure of African-Americans dropped between one to five points when they moved to more integrated neighborhoods.

SHIPS OF THE LINE.  For those not “Navy,” the expression ships of the line seems exotic. Turns out the phrase simply refers to war vessels sufficiently large to join the “line” of fighting ships.

 

LOOKING FOR TERRORISTS  IN THE WRONG PLACE?  Peter Bergen, a CNN national security analyst, says that Americans are worried about the wrong terrorists.  Of the 13 perpetrators of significant lethal and jihadist terrorism attacks in the United States since 9/11, all were American citizens or legal permanent residents.   In another study of 406 cases, more than 80% of those involved in terrorism were US citizens or permanent legal residents.

SECOND AMENDMENT ARGUMENT? We haven’t heard it elsewhere, so respectfully advance this thought – the Second Amendment speaks of a “well-regulated militia.” Question: does “well-regulated” simply describe Reserve/Guard forces?  Or does it imply that the militia (those who keep arms in defense of the Nation) are subject to regulation?

COMMAND INFLUENCE.  Recently, the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals set aside the conviction of a Marine SSgt.  named Chamblin.  The reason – command influence, with the service’s top general supposedly meddling in the case.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT.   Current news reports have involved powerful individuals and inappropriate sexual behavior.  We think back to the former Judge Advocate General of the Air Force, who was found to have engaged in such conduct during sanctioned office visits.  He targeted female attorneys, some of them holding high rank.  It is troubling thought that these professionals, holding doctorates in law, nonetheless felt uncomfortable refusing his unwanted advances.

 

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PSYCHOLOGY AND TORTURE.  What is the mature balance between national security and the rights of enemy combatants? Psychologist Roy Eidelson, writing a recent Washington Post commentary, notes a recent lawsuit filed by the ACLU for three CIA detainees. Two psychologists were accused of designing and overseeing an experimental program of supposed CIA torture and abuse.  The case was settled out of court.

Often drawn by patriotism, says Eidelson, these psychologists often seek to methodically break the minds and bodies of the detainees.  He believes they have been were present at facilities across the globe including CIA so-called “black sites” in faraway places such as Afghanistan, Cuba, Poland, and Lithuania.

 

CHANGING  MORES.  In regard to women’s rights, Irina   Carmon notes that rape of one’s spouse was not a crime until 1979.   Furthermore, the Supreme Court failed to recognize sexual harassment as a violation of Federal law before 1986.

FEELING OLD?  Writer Amy Nicholson comments that the highest-paid actor in the world is former wrestler Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson.

 

A NATIVIST BACKLASH?  Washington Post critic Carlos Lozada cites a series of successful authors feeding Europe’s anti-immigrant posture. They include Michal Houellenbeq, Eric Zemmouor, and Alain Finkielkrait.  They suggest an apocalyptic future in which the world is engulfed by a relentless radical Islamic tsunami.

 

AMERICA AFTER TRUMP.   E. .J Dionne’s new book ONE NATION AFTER TRUMP argues that seemingly neutral facets of the American political system have conspired in recent years to produce an unhealthy result.  He sees the electoral college as an obvious example – in the past five presidential elections, the popular vote winner lost the electoral count.  Furthermore, Mr.  Dionne condemns partisan gerrymandering – Democrats   enjoyed a 50.5% majority but controlled only 46.2% of the seats in the House.  This is due, he reasons, to a highly-skewed system favoring rural and Republican areas.