The First Amendment and the Military

From the NYT today: Military Board Says Marine Who Criticized President Obama Should Be Dismissed

A military board has recommended dismissal for a Marine sergeant who criticized President Barack Obama on his Facebook page, including allegedly putting the president’s face on a “Jackass” movie poster.

The Marine Corps administrative board said after a daylong hearing late Thursday at Camp Pendleton that Sgt. Gary Stein has committed misconduct and should be dismissed.

The board also recommended that Stein be given an other-then-honorable discharge. That would mean Stein would lose his benefits and would not be allowed on any military base.

The board’s recommendations go to a general who will either accept or deny them. If the general disagrees with the board, the case could go to the secretary of the Navy.

Stein’s lawyers argued that the 9-year Marine, whose service was to end in four months, was expressing his personal views and exercising his First Amendment

Can the military legitimately restrict the rights of free expression of those who choose to be in the military, particularly with regard to criticism of the president? I am inclined to think that it can, especially because enrollment in the military is voluntary, and respect for the chain of command, which the president himself heads, is an important part of military culture. But I am curious what those who have been in the military actually think.

Bits and Pieces (Jumping in on Kevin’s Turf on a Friday Night)

I have no idea if this is actually a true story, but this ones for Mr Troll McWingnut:

Two Texas Highway Patrol Officers were conducting speeding enforcement on Hwy 77, just south of  Kingsville, TX. One of the officers was using a hand held radar device to check speeding vehicles approaching the town of Kingsville.  The officers were suddenly surprised when the radar gun began reading 300 miles per hour and climbing. The officer attempted to reset the radar gun, but it would not reset and then it suddenly turned off.        

Just then a deafening roar over the mesquite treetops on Hwy 77 revealed that the radar had in fact locked on to a USMC F/A-18 Hornet which was engaged in a low flying exercise near its Naval Air home base location in Kingsville Tx.

Back at the Texas Highway Patrol Headquarters in Corpus Christi the Patrol Captain fired off a complaint to the US Naval Base Commander in Kingsville for shutting down his radar equipment.

The reply came back in true USMC style:

Thank you for your letter …

You may be interested to know that the tactical computer in the Hornet had detected the presence of, and subsequently locked on to, your hostile radar equipment and automatically sent a jamming signal back to it, which is why it shut down.   Furthermore, an Air-to-Ground missile aboard the fully armed aircraft had also automatically locked on to your equipment’s location.   Fortunately, the Marine pilot flying the Hornet recognized the situation for what it was, quickly responded to the missile system alert status and was able to override the automated defence system before the missile was launched to destroy the hostile radar position on the side of Hwy 77 So. of Kingsville.

The pilot suggests you cover your mouths when cussing at them, since the video systems on these jets are very high tech.  And, Sergeant Johnson, the officer holding the radar gun, should get his dentist to check his left rear molar.   It appears the filling is loose.  Also, the snap is broken on his holster.

Semper Fi!

I couldn’t get the link to format correctly, but ashotinthedark wanted to make sure that everyone knew about this:

More Vegetables Evolving Chocolate-Sauce-Filled Centers As Evolutionary Imperative
NOVEMBER 18, 2011 | ISSUE 47•46

AMES, IA—Leading agriculturalists reported Wednesday that many vegetables, including carrots, eggplants, and zucchini are evolving rich, creamy chocolate centers in order to ensure their survival as a species. “A crop must adapt to changes in the food-consumption environment and develop traits that encourage the plant’s cultivation and consumption,” said Professor Gavin Tibald of Iowa State University, showing off a recently discovered variety of beet that releases carbonated sugar water when its skin is pierced. “If a species doesn’t entice farmers and consumers with an ooey, gooey goodness, it will die off and be replaced by a plant that does.” A similar phenomenon was observed last year when Danish fishermen discovered a species of scallop that appeared to have perpetuated itself by growing a thick layer of bacon around its body.

Best wishes to you and Mrs. Ashot for a quick and easy delivery of the newest ashot this weekend!

— Michigoose

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