Your Military Defender Blog

Calendar

February 2023
M T W T F S S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728  

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 8 other subscribers

Blog Stats

  • 8,888 hits

BLOG 13 BETA

FOR HISTORY BUFFS.  Last time, we asked about the surprise awaiting English war planners in 1939.  Here’s the answer:  Supposedly a law was passed by the British Parliament in 1803 setting up observers to watch for a possible invasion by Napoleon. Somehow, the position was never abolished, even after Waterloo.  During World War II, when civil servants came to set up aerial observers to signal a possible Nazi invasion, they found a small group – still waiting for Napoleon.

A NEW QUESTION.  Alcoholic beverages are prohibited in the English Parliament with one exception. Can you name it?

A METHODIST CONTRIBUTION. The superintendent of the Arlington, Virginia district of the United Methodist Church has several suggestions dealing with fairness and equality:

  • prayer, for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the time the officer held his knee on George Floyd’s neck.
  • Education – reading books on racism
  • Working for equal justice under law
  • Personal experience with people different than us

MORE ON HOMESCHOOLING. New friend Andy contributes more on parents who suddenly find themselves teachers:

  • If you see my kids locked out today, never mind –we are having a fire drill
  • “Alexa, homeschool the children.”
  • Kids watching too much TV? Turn off the sound and turn on the subtitles – now they are reading. 🙂
  • “Arithmetic: Mommy has to homeschool three children for two months. She only has one bottle of wine left. How many more bottles does she need before the liquor store shuts down?”
  • It took less than one week of homeschooling to understand why nuns used to hit their students with rulers.
  • After one week of homeschooling, we have our first fundraiser. It’s a Go Fund Me… I’m going to need a lot of chocolate and medication.

THE BRITISH PARLIAMENT – 11 RULES. .  Paul Anthony Jones writes in Mental Floss about this venerable institution.

The UK Parliament is one of the oldest in the world.  It operates under strict rules and ancient traditions unheard of in modern politics.  Here are a few of its prohibitions.

  1. GIVING A SPEECH IN A LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH…

It’s not permitted to give a speech in the UK Parliament in any language except English unless absolutely necessary—despite the fact that from 1916–22 Britain had a native Welsh speaker as Prime Minister.

  1. … OR READING A SPEECH.

According to Companion to the Standing Orders and Guide to the Proceedings of the House of Lords, in most instances, the reading of speeches is “alien to the custom of this House, and injurious to the traditional conduct of its debates.”  Members may have “extended notes from which to speak, but it is not in the interests of good debate that they should follow them closely.”

  1. USING NAMES.

Members of the House are prohibited from calling one another by name. All comments must be addressed via the Speaker to fellow “honourable members.” Only the Speaker may use members’ first names.

  1. LETTING THE SPEAKER “WALK” TO THE CHAIR AFTER ELECTION.

Tradition dictates that the Speaker must be physically “dragged” to the Speaker’s chair when elected to the position (although it’s more of a ceremonial dragging than an actual one). Supposedly this bizarre ritual is a holdover from the days when the Speaker of the House—once tasked with dictating Parliament’s will to the king—often found himself first in line for imprisonment (or worse) if the king didn’t like what he had to say.

  1. GETTING A VISIT FROM THE MONARCH.

No reigning monarch has entered the House of Commons since 1642, when Charles I stormed the House of Commons, an event that eventually led to civil war. When the queen officially oversees the State Opening of Parliament every year, her speech has to be read from the nearby House of Lords.

  1. AND 7. TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS AND APPLAUDING.

Members may have electronic devices—”provided that they cause no disturbance and are not used in such a way as to impair decorum.”  They must be in silent mode and can’t be used “to film, take photographs or make audio recordings in or around the Chamber.”

Applause is also forbidden, which 56 newly-elected Scottish National Party MPs found to their cost in 2015, when they were admonished by the Speaker for spontaneously applauding their leader, Angus Robertson.

8., 9., AND 10. DRESSING CASUALLY, WEARING SUITS OF ARMOR, AND HAVING SWORDS.

Parliament’s strict rules extend to what members are permitted to wear, with current guidelines requiring “businesslike attire” at all times. There have been some exceptions to Parliament’s strict dress code over the years, mostly as a means of protesting or raising awareness for various causes.  In 2013, British Green Party MP Caroline Lucas wore a bold T-shirt protesting against the appearance of topless women in tabloid newspapers—and was promptly scolded by the Speaker for failing to meet Parliament’s strict sartorial rules.

Wearing a suit of armor is also banned, thanks to a law introduced by King Edward II in 1313. The same statute banned swords from the Chamber—although tradition states that the two opposing benches in the House of Commons are positioned precisely two sword-lengths away from one another. (There is one exception: The Serjeant at Arms is allowed to carry a sword.)

  1. USING “UNPARLIAMENTARY LANGUAGE.”

Of all the UK Parliament’s rules, those surrounding what is officially known as “unparliamentarily language” are among the most curious. For centuries, the Speaker of the House has repeatedly chided Members on their use of abusive, insulting, or slanderous language.

It is not permitted, for instance, to accuse a fellow MP of being a liar, a hypocrite, or a traitor. It is also against the rules to accuse anyone in the Chamber of being drunk.

But there is not, according to Parliament’s own rules, a “hard and fast list of unparliamentarily words.”  Whether something is in breach of the rulebook depends simply “on the context” in which it was said.  Nevertheless, some of the words that have been deemed unparliamentarily over the years include:

  • Ass
  • Blackguard
  • Coward
  • Git
  • Guttersnipe
  • Hooligan
  • Idiot
  • Ignoramus
  • Pipsqueak
  • Rat
  • Slime
  • Sod
  • Squirt
  • Stoolpigeon
  • Swine
  • Tart
  • Wart

An MP found to use language along these lines is typically asked by the Speaker to withdraw the comments or asked to leave the chamber.

Some MPs, however, have found ways of getting around Parliament’s rules. The phrase “terminological inexactitude” is used to avoid accusing a fellow member of telling a lie. According to one tale, in the 19th century, opposition leader (and future Prime Minister) Benjamin Disraeli was asked to withdraw a statement he had made accusing half the government of being “asses.”  In his half-hearted apology he stated, “Mr Speaker, I withdraw – half the cabinet are not asses.”

 

LEGAL NEWS

Bloomberg Law

U.S. Courts Try Out Social Distancing, Video for Grand Juries (“After months of being shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic, the doors at Federal courthouses around the nation are slowly starting to swing open with the convening of socially distanced grand juries. Jurors, tasked with deciding whether to issue criminal indictments, will be seated far apart from one another, or in some cases—like in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, and in Montana’s federal district court—will be required to view proceedings via video in different rooms or courthouses. That use of video is worrisome, said Nina J. Ginsberg, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. ‘There is such a tendency to depersonalize what you’re seeing on a screen, and you’re distancing yourself from the gravity of the decisions that you’re making,’ she said.”)

Washington Post

Police promised reforms. They still fatally shoot nearly 1,000 people every year. (“The Washington Post has documented 5,400 fatal shootings by police in the United States since the start of 2015.”)

 

Experts doubt this is a moment of reckoning for policing in U.S. (“The politics of police reform that have quashed previous efforts still loom: powerful unions, legal immunity for police and intractable implicit biases.”)

 

The Marshall Project

I Wonder If They Know My Son Is Loved (“Visiting my son in jail for the first time, I know that I cannot protect him. Although he is too young to drink, the criminal justice system regards him as an adult.”)

 

New York Times

Officers Charged in George Floyd’s Death Not Likely to Present United Front (“Facing decades in prison and a bail of at least $750,000, two former Minneapolis officers blamed Derek Chauvin, and a third has cooperated with investigators, their lawyers said.”)

 

Washington Post

Tacoma mayor calls for officers to be fired over death of another unarmed black man who yelled ‘I can’t breathe!’ (“Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards called on Friday for all four officers involved in the death of Manuel Ellis, a 33-year-old black man, to be fired, after the county medical examiner ruled his death a homicide in police custody. He died March 3 while in handcuffs, after being restrained by officers on the ground.”)

 

Two ex-officers involved in Floyd’s death blame veteran officer in first court appearance (“Attorneys for two of the fired Minneapolis police officers involved in George Floyd’s death cast their clients on Thursday as rookies who were ignored by their superior, the Star Tribune reported.”)

 

America is awash in cameras, a double-edged sword for protesters and police (“Smartphone cameras, home security cameras, traffic cameras — digital eyes are a boon and danger to protesters.”)

 

 

 

 

 

BLOG 10

SOME CUTE MOTHER’S DAY THOUGHTS

 Son: Dad, do you know the difference between a pack of cookies and a pack of elephants?

Dad: No.
Son: Then it’s a good thing Mom does the grocery shopping!

 

A: I have the perfect son.
B: Does he smoke?
A: No, he doesn’t.
B: Does he drink whiskey?
A: No, he doesn’t.
B: Does he ever come home late?
A: No, he doesn’t.
B: I guess you really do have the perfect son. How old is he?
A: He will be six months old next Wednesday.

 

 “If your kids are giving you a headache, follow the directions on the aspirin bottle, especially the part that says ‘keep away from children’”

 

I saw Mummy asking Santa why he didn’t put his dishes in the dishwasher.

 

Daughter: Mum, what’s it like to have the greatest daughter in the world?
Mum: I don’t know dear, you’d have to ask Grandma.

 

What three words solve Dad’s every problem?
Ask your mother.

 

THE HISTORY OF PANDEMICS. Nicholas LePan presents an interesting timeline of historical pandemics online at https://www.visualcapitalist.com/history-of-pandemics-deadliest/

 

INTERESTING LITERARY THOUGHTS:

  • People who knew nothing did not suddenly discover the truth just because they were frightened. They became people who made things up. The more desperate the witnesses, the more false signposts began to clutter the road to understanding

 

  • Tell the truth to everyone you meet; scroll all the walls of headquarters of the truth. Harass people until they listen.

 

  • It doesn’t matter what really happens what matters is what people believe

— Ruth Downey, Semper Fidelis

 

IN THE NEWS.

 NPR

WESA: Dreadlocks-Wearing Inmate Who Sued Is Released From Solitary (“A Pennsylvania inmate whose dreadlocks violated a jail’s haircut policy has been released from solitary confinement after more than a year, although his federal lawsuit is still pending.”)
ABC news

Over 5,000 corrections officers have contracted COVID-19 (“The pandemic continues to rage on inside prisons.”)

 

BBC News

 

Coronavirus: Nigeria’s death penalty by Zoom ‘inhumane’ (“The sentencing to death of a Nigerian driver via Zoom is ‘inherently cruel and inhumane’, Human Rights Watch has said.”)

 

Behind bars for 40 years, Maryland woman seeks release due to COVID-19 (“Eraina Pretty is the longest-serving female inmate in Maryland’s system.”)

 

The Appeal

 

Death Of New Mother At Federal Prison Hospital Prompts Calls For Accountability In Texas (“Andrea Circle Bear was confined within FMC Carswell while suffering from the novel coronavirus. ‘She was serving a 26-month sentence that ended up being a death penalty,’ one maternity specialist said.”)

 

Texas Lawyer/Law.com

 

Things Will Change When Texas Courthouses Reopen: Judiciary Lays Road Map for After June 1 (“Judges in face masks, constant courtroom cleanings, only two people per elevator and counsel tables moved six feet apart: These are some changes lawyers may notice when Texas courts start opening back up after June 1.”)

 

A PTSD POEM.

You find that ever since the war

you don’t know what you’re fighting for

but there is a feeling deep inside

of anger that you cannot hide!

Every day you try to cope

maybe your only source of hope;

yet, haunted by the horrid dreams

you can’t ignore those anguished screams

… From a poem by warrior – and PTSD survivor – K W

BLOG 9

RICHARD POWERS – THE OVER-STORYMr. Powers writes:

  • The wrong people have all the rights…
  • At a fire, you want to observe the handful of people screaming PUT IT OUT when everybody else is happy watching things burn
  • Say the planet is born at night, and it runs for one day… Anatomically modern man shows up four seconds before midnight. The first cave paintings appear three seconds later.

IMPRESSIVE. A recent PBS special on the Vatican shows the Pope not only washing the feet of the poor during Holy Week but then actually kissing those feet.

THANKS TO THE LITTLE LIBRARIES.  A few years ago, a good citizen inspired others to set up “little libraries” in their neighborhood – yard storage spaces where people could place books they had finished reading to be picked up by others.    As local libraries close, we are indebted to these sources.  We found several detective stories by James Patterson, who has sold more than 300 million copies, often in collaboration with others. A philanthropist, he is said to have a yearly income of about $95 million.

A SIGN OF THE TIMES?  Someone’s clever play on words, The Aging of Aquarius…

A SMART CONGRESS? Representative  Bill Pascrell   of New Jersey deplores the lack of evenhanded information to elected representatives. He cites the growth of corporate lobbying, whose expenses ballooned [between 1983 in 2013] from $200 million to $35 billion.  He asserts that the Federal government spends $9 4 billion on information technology…while Congress itself spends zero on independent assessments of technology issues!

 

IN THE NEWS

The Marshall Project 

COVID-19: A Survival Guide for Incarcerated People (“Tips on how to protect yourself from the virus within the limits of prison or jail.”)

 

 The Intercept 

ICE’S Immigration Detainees Protested Lack Of Coronavirus Precautions — And Swat-Like Private-Prison Guards Pepper-Sprayed Them (“On the morning of April 9, 24-year-old Carlos was feeling some of the typical symptoms of Covid-19: weakness, nausea, headaches, and pain in his throat. Carlos, whose name has been changed for fear of retaliation by correctional staff, is currently detained at the Stewart Detention Center, a privately run U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in rural Georgia.”)

 

 Texas Tribune

  70% of Texas prisoners tested have the coronavirus. Experts say it’s time for more testing and fewer inmates. (“Some of the nation’s biggest COVID-19 outbreaks have been in prisons and jails, and they can quickly spread to surrounding communities. Are Texas prisons doing enough to protect inmates, staff and the public?”)

 

 Washington Post 

As virus spreads in jails and prisons, correctional officers fear for themselves and their loved ones (“Nationwide, defense attorneys and other advocates have been pushing for the release of many inmates as they fear the spread of the virus in detention facilities. But corrections workers and their unions say more must be done to protect them as well.”)

 

Editorial: Privacy amid a pandemic may look a little different (“THE VERY idea of the government amassing location data about millions of citizens is anathema to America’s strong sensibility for civil liberties — except, perhaps, if America is in the throes of an epidemic and the data is being amassed to help stop the disease’s spread.”)

 

Three people charged in killing of Family Dollar security guard over mask policy (“A Family Dollar store security guard was fatally shot in Flint, Mich., on Friday after telling a customer her child had to wear a face mask to enter the store, the prosecutor’s office said.”)

 

Justice Department sides with church over virus restrictions (“The Justice Department has filed a statement of interest siding with a Virginia church suing the state’s governor over restrictions because of the coronavirus.”)

 

VICE 

New York Is Seeing a ‘Frightening’ Increase in Domestic Violence Calls (“Calls to New York’s domestic violence hotline rose by 30% in April, compared to the same month last year.”) …New York Daily News

 

 

Because He Lives – Gloria Gaither

From last post: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZ5iIWNu8dU

 

MUSIC FOR CHURCHGOERS

FOR CHURCHGOERS.  Some excellent music for believers who cannot get to services during Holy Week some can be accessed directly; others will be accessed by “YouTube” followed by the title.   

 

HOLY WEEK

Fauré: Cantique de Jean Racine Op 11 Monalisa de Lego

“The Palms” Crystal Cathedral Choir.swf


The Crucifixion         John Stainer – YouTube   www.youtube.com › watch   April 17, 2017  Daniel Summers

 

 

EASTER

Handel Messiah – And the Glory of the Lord

Brussels Choral

 

“Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” & “Thine Be the Glory” – Duke Chapel, Easter 2012

 

Because He Lives– Bill Gaither, Gaither band

 

INTERESTING & AMUSING

 THANK YOU RB.  Client RB praises us for the brief. We recently completed for the Navy corrections board. “You’ve done a great job,” he states.

FIRST BLACK WINNER ACCEPTED HER OSCAR IN A SEGREGATED HOTEL!   Over 75 years ago, Hattie McDaniel won an Oscar for ‘Gone with the Wind,’ [GWTW], accepting her award at the Ambassador’s Coconut Grove nightclub.

She was one of the biggest African-American movie stars  — but she did not sit with the rest of the cast. Instead, she sat at a small table set against a far wall.  With the hotel’s strict no-blacks policy, producer David O. Selznick had to call in a special favor just to have McDaniel allowed into the building.

Hollywood’s highest honor couldn’t stave off the indignities that greeted McDaniel at every turn.  Hollywood pigeonholed her as a “sassy Mammy” stereotype, with 74 roles in film, all as a domestic.

One of 13 children, McDaniel was born in June 1893, into extreme poverty in Wichita, Kansas.  Following the family’s move to Denver, her brothers, Otis and Sam, dubbed themselves the “Cakewalk Kids” after a dance fad that doubled as a sly caricature of white cotillions.

She was determined to avoid her mother’s and sisters’ fates as maids: she joined the show, doing impressions in “white face” for African-American audiences.

In 1929, McDaniel landed a gig in a road tour of the hit musical Show Boat.  But the stock market crash led to layoffs by producer Florence Ziegfeld Jr.  She was stranded and penniless in Milwaukee. Undaunted, she took a job as a bathroom attendant at Sam Picks Suburban Inn, then stepped in when the venue had no headliner. Her show stopping singing and dancing earned her $90 in tips and a job on the spot.

In 1931, McDaniel moved to Los Angeles.  Acting opportunities were limited to subservient servant roles.

By 1935, McDaniel was being touted as “one of the most prominent performers of her race” to promote the Clark Gable comedy China Seas.  She and Gable forged a close friendship during filming. When Gable learned his co-star wasn’t welcome at GWTW’s 1939 Atlanta premiere — Georgia law prohibited blacks in white theaters — he refused to go.   He only relented after McDaniel’s urging.

Incidentally, among the teen choir members costumed as slaves at the event was a young Martin Luther King Jr.

The NAACP made no secret of its disdain for the GWTW author and her frequent use in print of the N-word, simply for the Ku Klux Klan, and depiction of slaves as enjoying their fate.

Acting in the movie, McDaniel refused to utter the N-word.

Even after World War II, she continued to play underwritten maid parts in such films as 1946’s Song of the South, Walt Disney’s adaptation of the Uncle Remus stories.

In her final years, McDaniel found success on the radio, taking over in 1947 the title character in Beulah, a hit comedy series about a live-in maid.  It was the first time an African-American woman starred in a radio show, earning McDaniel $1,000 a week.   She was cast in the TV version of Beulah in 1951 but shot only six episodes before falling ill.

She died in 1952 of  breast cancer.  She was 57.

HOW TO REALLY GET INTO COLLEGE? College counseling has become a widespread industry, with a number of independent experts” even resorting to illegal actions to place youngsters into highly-competitive universities.

Professor Shamus Khan writes in the Washington Post Outlook regarding a more acceptable way to get into the schools – philanthropy.   Dr. Khan claims that Jared Kushner was admitted to Harvard, even though he had less than stellar grades after his dad donated $2.5 million to school.

MATERNITY LEAVE.   Social worker Dayna Kurtz claims that the United States “holds the dubious distinction of being the only developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave is a federal mandate.”

HUMOR FROM OUR FAVORITE BROTHER-IN-LAW.

The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning , and a good ending… and have them as close together as possible.

For seniors:  Remember when soda pop machines dispensed glass bottles… newsreels preceded the movie….you collected 45 RPM records…having a weapon in school meant being caught with a slingshot… your  three childhood punishments were having to go to bed early, not being able to leave the house, and not going to  a  party.   These three childhood punishments have become my adult goals.

 

 

 

 

BLOG DELTA DUET

 THANK YOUR RB.  Client RB praises us for the brief. We recently completed for the Navy corrections board. “You’ve done a great job,” he states.

FIRST BLACK WINNER ACCEPTED HER OSCAR IN A SEGREGATED HOTEL!   Over 75 years ago, Hattie McDaniel won an Oscar for ‘Gone with the Wind,’ [GWTW], accepting her award at the Ambassador’s Coconut Grove nightclub.

She was one of the biggest African-American movie stars  — but she did not sit with the rest of the cast. Instead, she sat at a small table set against a far wall.  With the hotel’s strict no-blacks policy, producer David O. Selznick had to call in a special favor just to have McDaniel allowed into the building.

Hollywood’s highest honor couldn’t stave off the indignities that greeted McDaniel at every turn.  Hollywood pigeonholed her as a “sassy Mammy” stereotype, with 74 roles in film, all as a domestic.

One of 13 children, McDaniel was born in June 1893, into extreme poverty in Wichita, Kansas.  Following the family’s move to Denver, her brothers, Otis and Sam, dubbed themselves the “Cakewalk Kids” after a dance fad that doubled as a sly caricature of white cotillions.

She was determined to avoid her mother’s and sisters’ fates as maids: she joined the show, doing impressions in “whiteface” for African-American audiences.

In 1929, McDaniel landed a gig in a road tour of the hit musical Show Boat.  But the stock market crash led to layoffs by producer Florence Ziegfeld Jr.  She was stranded and penniless in Milwaukee. Undaunted, she took a job as a bathroom attendant at Sam Picks Suburban Inn, then stepped in when the venue had no headliner. Her show stopping singing and dancing earned her $90 in tips and a job on the spot.

In 1931, McDaniel moved to Los Angeles.  Acting opportunities were limited to subservient servant roles.

.By 1935, McDaniel was being touted as “one of the most prominent performers of her race” to promote the Clark Gable comedy China Seas.  She and Gable forged a close friendship during filming. When Gable learned his co-star wasn’t welcome at GWTW’s 1939 Atlanta premiere — Georgia law prohibited blacks in white theaters — he refused to go.   He only relented after McDaniel’s urging.

Incidentally, among the teen choir members costumed as slaves at the event was a young Martin Luther King Jr.

The NAACP made no secret of its disdain for the GWTW author and her frequent use in print of the N-word, simply for the Ku Klux Klan, and depiction of slaves as enjoying their fate.

Acting in the movie, McDaniel refused to utter the N-word.

Even after World War II, she continued to play underwritten maid parts in such films as 1946’s Song of the South, Walt Disney’s adaptation of the Uncle Remus stories.

In her final years, McDaniel found success on the radio, taking over in 1947 the title character in Beulah, a hit comedy series about a live-in maid.  It was the first time an African-American woman starred in a radio show, earning McDaniel $1,000 a week.   She was cast in the TV version of Beulah in 1951 but shot only six episodes before falling ill.

She died in 1952 of  breast cancer.  She was 57.

HOW TO REALLY GET INTO COLLEGE? College counseling has become a widespread industry, with a number of independent experts” even resorting to illegal actions to place youngsters into highly-competitive universities.

Professor Shamus Khan writes in the Washington Post Outlook regarding a more acceptable way to get into the schools – philanthropy.   Dr. Khan claims that Jared Kushner was admitted to Harvard, even though he had less than stellar grades after his dad donated $2.5 million to school.

MATERNITY LEAVE.   Social worker Dayna Kurtz claims that the United States “holds the dubious distinction of being the only developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave is a federal mandate.”

HUMOR FROM OUR FAVORITE BROTHER-IN-LAW.

The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning , and a good ending… and have them as close together as possible.

For seniors:  Remember when soda pop machines dispensed glass bottles… newsreels preceded the movie….you collected 45 RPM records…having a weapon in school meant being caught with a slingshot… your  three childhood punishments were having to go to bed early, not being able to leave the house, and not going to  a  party.   These three childhood punishments have become my adult goals.

 

 

 

 

 

NAPOLEON BLOG

A liberal legal advantage? With many Supreme Court justices aging, the next president likely will get to name one or two new justices. But who can win Congressional approval, given the frayed relationship between the two major political parties? Wat if there’s a stalemate?

 

A recent Washington Post Outlook suggests that this situation would strongly favor the Democrats.  The article notes that 13 generally-conservative states are under “liberal” Federal appellate courts.   In contrast, in only six liberal states are under conservative Federal courts.

 

As a result, allowing the Court to sit with eight justices would favor liberals.    Why? Because – when a tie arises –standard Supreme Court practice is to leave the judgment of the lower court stand.   And that would highly favor the liberals, given geography and Federal circuit court appointments.

 

*  *  *

 

Great language regarding PTSD.  In the detective story “The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent,” Susan Elia McNeal writes about a character named Maggie Hope and her adventures in England in World War II.  Maggie had PTSD – she experienced “a mixture of shame, anger, guilt, and brief” which became a “miasma of depression which followed her everywhere.”    In the book, she learns a name for this condition, supposedly created by Winston Churchill – he called PTSD “the black dog.”

 

The author movingly writes:

 

The black dog of depression is dirty and scarred, feral and rabid. He looks on the night with yellow eyes gleaming, waiting for a chink in the armor, a weakness, vulnerability, a memory; and then, jaws wide and fangs deep, he would leap….

 

*  *  *

 

 

Army Col. Thomas Hundley, a doctor, hoped to inspire the troops with motivational messages on a DOD-run health website   He suggested that soldiers could improve their fitness through prayer.   This drew a complaint from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a group claiming more than

40,000 service-connected adherents.   The head of the organization, Mikey Weinstein, suggests that Col. Hundley inappropriately used his senior position for “missionary duties.”

 

*  *  *

 

 

Who are “We the People?”   The school board in Howard County, just outside Washington DC, recently took an interesting stand on religious diversity. They voted unanimously to expand the schedule of religious and cultural holidays. Recognizing growing diversity, students will get off for two Jewish holy days, the Muslim holiday of Eid el-adha, the eve of the lunar New Year, and the Hindu holiday of Diwali.

 

*  *  *

 

The Confederate battle flag – hate or heritage?  The Southern Poverty Law Center magazine, Intelligence Report, has some interesting statistics about the Confederate battle flag.   Almost 6 in 10 Americans view it as primarily a symbol of Southern pride; however, 72% of African-Americans see it as a symbol of hate. Interestingly, white reaction to the old Rebel flag seems to be affected by respondents’ level of education, the magazine reports.  The more the education, the more discomfort with the Stars and Bars.

 

*  *  *

 

Unfair!   Military personnel accepting involuntary separation pay cannot receive VA compensation, according to the website Task & Purpose.

 

The website tells the story of a 31-year-old Marine veteran named Tim Foster; he received a 50% disability rating from the VA.  Soon, he was shocked to learn that compensation benefits would be withheld until he returned his separation pay. The website suggests that there are over 23,000 involuntarily separated veterans.   The government is seeking to recoup some $576 million dollars from them.   The website comments this is a true hardship – many of these veterans have long since spent the separation pay

 

*  *  *

 

OLDIES BUT GOODIES

 

We heard an interesting story while stationed in England a few years back. At the start of World War II, the Brits feared a German invasion.  So they set up a Sentry system to warn the population.  Astonishingly, in one village, they found the program already well in place – it had been there for over a century, handed down from father to son!   The assignment:    Look out for Napoleon and his ships.  If you see him, ring the bell, and then run like hell. J  

BLOG NEW CHARLIE

MILITARY DISCRIMINATION.  DoSomething.org lists interesting data about military discrimination:

  • Despite “don’t ask, don’t tell” between 1993 and 2011, over 14, 000 military members were discharged due to their sexual preference
  • About 150,000 transgender individuals have served in the US military
  • Only 3% of white officers have reported racial discrimination in the military; this is compared to 27% of both black and Hispanic officers

 

LAWYER’S CORNER.  A great tool to find information – particularly for cases of PTSD: together we served.com

 

SMEARING THE DEFENDERS? Wherever you are politically, recent knocks on Alan Dershowitz for clients he defended in the past seem unwarranted.   Many commentators pointed out that he had defended such individuals as O.J. Simpson…thereby suggesting Dershowitz was tainted by this.  Again, whatever your views of his support of President Trump, rebuking a lawyer for defending “whoever” seems highly unfair.

 

PRAISING LATINOS.   A. K.  Sandoval-Strausz is director of Latino studies at Penn State.  Some recent observations:

 

  • Many neighborhoods could not have sustained themselves without the arrival of 25 million new Latino urbanites over the past half-century
  • Often, these newcomers prefer walking rather than driving – thereby revitalizing the inner-city commercial landscape.
  • Walking allows local shopping, renewed energy on city streets, and an increase in property values.

 

THE CONSTITUTION. The Washington Post raises five myths about the U.S. Constitution.   Included:

  • The First Amendment is NOT first because it is the most important
  • The Constitution does not require a clear-cut separation of church and state
  • Before the 19th amendment, women could indeed sometimes vote in the United States [viz., certain states allowed such votes].

 

OBITUARY    US District Judge Deborah Batts has died at 72; she was the first openly gay person to serve in the Federal judiciary.   

 

 

NEARLY 700 PEOPLE IN THE U.S. DIE FROM GUN VIOLENCE EACH WEEK.   Chicago’s landmark Cultural Center is a cluster of four glass houses.  Each has 700 glass brick openings — a stark, physical reminder of the average number of people killed by guns each week in the country.    So says the Gun Violence Memorial Project.

 

FINDING YOUR ROOTS? According to Axios, Ancestry.com has refused to comply with a Pennsylvania court search warrant authorizing police access to its database of about 16 million DNA profiles, the company confirmed to Axios.   

Inspiring Quotes by Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King inspiring quotes from his speeches and writings about education, justice, hope, perseverance and freedom:

 

“Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.” —“The Purpose of Education” from Morehouse College student newspaper, The Maroon Tiger, 1947

If we are not careful, our colleges will produce a group of close-minded, unscientific, illogical propagandists, consumed with immoral acts. Be careful, ‘brethren!’ Be careful, teachers!”  —“The Purpose of Education” from Morehouse College student newspaper, The Maroon Tiger, 1947

“True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.”  Stride Toward Freedom, 1958

“Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.” —“A Tough Mind and a Tender Heart” sermon, August 30, 1959

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Strength to Love, 1963

“We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed.” —”Letter From Birmingham Jail,” April 16, 1963

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” —”Letter from Birmingham Jail,” April 16, 1963

“Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”—”I Have A Dream” speech, Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy.” —”I Have A Dream” speech in Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” Strength to Love, 1963

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.” —Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Oslo, Norway, 1964

The time is always right to do what is right.” Oberlin College commencement speech, 1965

“The contemporary tendency in our society is to base our distribution on scarcity, which has vanished, and to compress our abundance into the overfed mouths of the middle and upper classes until they gag with superfluity. If democracy is to have breadth of meaning, it is necessary to adjust this inequity. It is not only moral, but it is also intelligent. We are wasting and degrading human life by clinging to archaic thinking.” Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967

 “For when people get caught up with that which is right and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory.” —“I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, April 3, 1968

“All we say to America is, ‘Be true to what you said on paper.’ If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn’t committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right.” —“I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, April 3, 1968

“We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now because I’ve been to the mountaintop… I’ve looked over and I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land.” —“I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, April 3, 1968