Friends of Webster

Raised in the house, but field certified.

Marine Exonerated After Nine Years in Leavenworth

Marine Corps Times

Vindication happens, even in the Marine Corps. Hope.

April 29th, 2009 Posted by | Justice is Contagious | no comments

CGR’s recent Civil Rights Revelations; Nate Silver may have the Answer

Literally, there are people who might be in school in Arkansas or Tennessee and might never interact with someone, in a positive affirmative way, from a different part of the country or a different racial group…Once something is predictable, it is what I call ‘designable.’ You can start thinking about solutions to solving that problem eventhough it is pernicious and as intractable as racism. If we understand that root cause of the behavior and where it manifests itself and where it doesnt, we can start to design solutions to it.

Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight.com

From CoastGuardReport.org:

Also of concern to this Committee is ensuring the level of minority acceptances at the Coast Guard Academy reflects the composition of America. To have offered only nine African-Americans acceptance for an entering class of approximately 300 this coming Fall is unacceptable. Clearly, the Coast Guard did not listen to this Committee last September when our Members challenged them on low admission rates for minorities.

-Congressman Jim Oberstar on the U.S. Coast Guard Academy

Fascinating. Could this be a factor in the Civil Rights (non) discussion? This may be a root of the Civil Rights difficulty that has Congressmen, traditional and non-traditional media lambasting the Coast Guard’s practices. The problem has been predictable for some time now and the solution should be designable, by this point.

April 27th, 2009 Posted by | Pictures Worth Seeing | one comment

Ricci v. Destafano; Civil Rights at the Forefront

The New Haven, Connecticut Fire Department has the entire legal world abuzz.

WSJ: New Haven’s Racial Test

NPR: Supreme Court Hears Fire Fighter Promotion Case

World Mag: Supreme Court Tackles Race (again)

Connecticut Law Tribune: New Haven Race Case Inspires Vigorous Debate

From the looks of it, this Supreme Court case will leave many unsettled stomachs.  No matter the side of the fence you stand, this quintessential race case will shake the foundations of both.  The question seems to be discriminatory intent or Disparate Impact?  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 preceeds my opinion.  It should not be what is best for those black firemen but it is what is best for the sovereignty of law. The Equal Protection Clause has been used as grounds for plaintiffs and defendants for decades but even after 45 years, the question remains, “Equal Opportunity” or “Equal Outcome?”

Opportunity has to be met with preparedness, true, and Equal Outcome has failed occasionally in the past but where should the Supreme Court draw the line? Where should other African-American starved organizations draw the line when the issue of black membership arises?

I glanced over some recent posts on the Coast Guard Report and there is similar conversation in the comments section of, “Connecting the Dots: Appendix C to the Booz Allen Hamilton Report on Coast Guard Civil Rights.”

It would serve the Coast Guard well to have a case like this in the national spotlight. Sometimes Civil Rights issues need to be thrust upon an organization to force resolution. With the break down of the CG office of Civil Rights and the special attention profferred by Congressman Elijah Cummings, it seems as though now may be that time.

April 22nd, 2009 Posted by | Conn. Law | one comment

Expectations

Often times, I lose sight of what I am fighting for. I forget why there are D.C. lawyers calling my phone or why some people go out of their way to bring up the very issues that spawned this web site. It is only when I sit back and read the most recent 41 page brief to the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces that everything comes back to me. United States v. Webster Smith was supposed to have been an open and shut case that ended with a guilty plea about three years ago; but the case still has life.  By all indication, the case has more life now than it did when many first heard about it.  LT Stuart Kirkby, bless his soul, had about 100 men and women on his JAG docket.  Merle Smith had a line to toe and he toed it well, with diplomatic and political savvy. The content of the brief to CAAF couldn’t have been raised as issues to the court, back when. They would have had Kirkby sanctioned and Smith barred from ever pursuing employment within the community that has defined his life, supplanted his purpose and provided for his family.  

As much as this case is about people, it is also about a system. Never should a person be defeated by the investigation, itself. A person should never be influenced to make a decision about the sanctity of their freedom based on what they read about themselves in the print media or hear from nationally prominent politicians.  Facts of the case, media scrutiny and the intensity of the investigation can break the best of men. Yet in still, facts-despite the media scrutiny and investigation-are often enough to get a man through it all.   The latter is where I stand.  Some people preferred it when negative media scrutiny over-shadowed logic or facts. To them, U.S. v. W.S. was more reasonable, more tolerable, when I didn’t say a word. It was more reasonable when most of the facts had yet to speak for me.  If you believe that there is finality where I currently stand, I ask you not to insult the CAAF judges.  They have already positively changed the lives of several men that I once knew. 

Some of the anonymous messages to this site have ramped up recently.  There are people that are infuriated that this fight continues; it was supposed to end with me breaking down in a room before anything ever went public or something, I suppose. It was supposed to be over before any testimony was scrutinized.    

EXPECTATIONS  

As odd as it may sound, I have embraced this whole (long) process; that includes the good and the bad. No one has to remind me of the shame, dishonor and regret because I have already coped and moved on. I have a daughter who I hope to raise as a moral and compassionate person but believe me; I first had to reconcile fatherhood with my own flaws. I wouldn’t have grown, gotten married nor had a daughter, so soon, if I remained the person that I was. That was the good that came of it and it makes me feel safe and secure.  The bad, however, keeps me moving forward. It is an engine for progress; I enjoy it. Every time that I get one of those messages or hear some discouraging news, it reminds me of what I set out to fight for.  No person veiled with my transgressions, would ever give up on themselves when they know that they are right.  Yesterday, the Easter message at our church was about expectations. About never lowering one’s expectations, no matter what realities we face. Pastor Fleming also talked about the many ways that God turns curses into blessings. Personally, without all of the negativity and doubt, I would lose my way. I don’t remember life without it. The harsher the bite, the closer I feel I am. No matter the amount of discouragement, I have never lowered my expectations.   The line of demarcation, guilty or not guilty, has long since been forgotten.  

Whatever the outcome of this next stage, it will impact me and I will move on. I am simply trying to continue on with a pure and obedient heart, everything else will take care of itself. I have put all of this in God’s hands and I am watching it unfold. Don’t ask me to accept my current situation as reality, that would be lowering my expectations. 

April 13th, 2009 Posted by | Reflection | 9 comments

Pennsylvania Ave?