Patterico's Pontifications

5/2/2007

Concerns of a Clampdown on Milblogs: Overblown? (UPDATE: Probably Not)

Filed under: General,War — Patterico @ 5:50 pm

This Washington Post article suggests that the military is not conducting a draconian crackdown on milblogs, notwithstanding some previous fretting to the contrary. According to military sources, oldiers are not required to clear each post with a superior, as some had reported. Rather, they must register new blogs and inform superiors, so they can be counseled not to disclose classified or sensitive information:

Army Maj. Ray M. Ceralde, who worked on the new regulations, said Wednesday the intention of the 2007 rule is not to have soldiers clear every public posting with commanders.

“Not only is that impractical, but we are trusting the soldiers to protect critical information,” he said.

He said there is no effort to block soldiers from setting up or posting comments to blogs. “We’re not looking for them to seek approval each time a blog entry is posted,” Ceralde said.

The rules, he said, do not affect personal, private e-mails that soldiers send. “Soldiers have a right to private communications with their families,” he said.

Instead, Ceralde said, soldiers are expected to consult or clear with commanders when they start a blog, in part so they can be warned about information they cannot publish.

If true, this does not seem like an undue restriction, given the importance of protecting such information.

UPDATE: Note: as I say, the concerns are overblown if the military’s clarification of its purpose is true. Glenn Reynolds suspects it’s not, and that the military may simply be covering its posterior with the comments in the Post. The more I read, the more I think Glenn may be right. First, commenter Rick Wilcox cites language in comments that seems inconsistent with the intent stated by Maj. Ceralde:

g. Consult with their immediate supervisor and their OPSEC Officer for an OPSEC review prior to publishing or posting information in a public forum.

(1) This includes, but is not limited to letters, resumes, articles for publication, electronic mail (e-mail), Web site postings, web log (blog) postings, discussion in Internet information forums, discussion in Internet message boards or other forms of dissemination or documentation.

But what about enforcement? Well, Maj. Ceralde is not as clear in a Wired article about blogs being free of the need to consult before posting:

Despite the absolutist language, the guidelines’ author, Major Ray Ceralde, said there is some leeway in enforcement of the rules. “It is not practical to check all communication, especially private communication,” he noted in an e-mail. “Some units may require that soldiers register their blog with the unit for identification purposes with occasional spot checks after an initial review. Other units may require a review before every posting.”

I see. So you’re not looking to make them do that — but any commander who doesn’t want to get in trouble for making rules too lax may require that.

OK, maybe the concerns weren’t overblown after all.

UPDATE x2: I think the only way to know for sure is to see how this plays out with our favorite milblogs. I’ll keep an eye on the situation.

UPDATE: Army Lawyer is not too pessimistic.

Notes From A Proud Global Warming Skeptic (Part 9)

Filed under: Accepted Wisdom,Environment — Justin Levine @ 5:10 pm

[posted by Justin Levine]

In case you still haven’t heard the news, global warming (regardless of its cause) does NOT cause an increase in hurricane activity according to the latest published study.

Knutson said Landsea ”makes a very good case,” but “I consider the science still unsettled.”

Even if the global warming doomsayers refuse to accept the study, the fact that they now admit that the science in this area is “unsettled” represents real progress in their thinking. That is certainly a change in tune from what they have been insisting over the past year. 

I guess this means that we don’t have to worry about more hurricanes on Mars either.

Judge’s Pants Suit

Filed under: Buffoons,General — Patterico @ 12:08 am

Wow. It takes a judge to file one of the most frivolous lawsuits in history: a $67 million suit against a dry cleaning business for losing a pair of pants. (Via Orin Kerr.) The judge has been offered $12,000 in settlement for the pants, but no deal.

According to court papers, here’s how Pearson calculates the damages and legal fees:

He believes he is entitled to $1,500 for each violation, each day during which the “Satisfaction Guaranteed” sign, and another sign promising “Same Day Service” was up in the store — more than 1200 days.

And he’s multiplying each violation by three because he’s suing Jin and Soo Chung and their son.

He also wants $500,000 in ’emotional damages’ and another $542, 500 in legal fees, even though he is representing himself in court.

He wants $15,000 for ten years worth of weekend car rentals as well.

Yeah, well, I want a pony. And a $50 million mansion, with stables, so I can put it somewhere. For my daughter.

I’d settle for the chance to rip this guy’s complaint into shreds and force-feed it to him, with some horseradish to help it go down easier.

Fracture, Murder, Implied Malice, and the L.A. Riots

Filed under: Crime,General — Patterico @ 12:02 am

Yesterday, Eugene Volokh asked a very interesting criminal law hypothetical based on a movie. The answer got me thinking about an idea I have had for a new law — one that might have helped put away the creeps who beat up Reginald Denny in the L.A. riots following the Rodney King verdict.

Before we move on I need to warn you: if you haven’t seen the movie “Fracture” and don’t want to know the plot, READ NO FURTHER, because I am about to give it away. I’ll tuck the rest of the post in an extended entry.

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