Saturday, June 27, 2015

Me And Joe Willy 1942

Here is a picture of me and my playmate Joe Willy taken at my grandparents' place about four miles East of Cruger MS (Holmes County) in about 1942.

Joe Willy was the son of my grandmother's maid, Evelyn. His father worked for my grandfather, who was a county road district superintendent.

I envied Joe Willy because he was allowed to chop wood with an axe and I wasn't.

My grandmother called Joe Willy "Sambo," as a term of affection. Joe Willy never complained, but I could tell he didn't like it.

I learned a lot from Joe Willy and from my visits to Cruger.

I learned, for example, that white people almost never did any actual work. If a white person needed something done, he got a black person to do it. I never saw any actual money change hands in return for work.

White people "supervised." So far as I could tell from watching my grandfather's road crews at work, they didn't need any actual supervising.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Tradition, Confederate Battle Flag, And Nonsense

Hotty Totty, goshamighty, who in the hell are we?
Hey! flim flam, bim bam, Ole Miss, by damn!

Does this make any sense?

It's tradition.

When I arrived at the University of Mississippi as a (barely) seventeen year old freshman in 1954, we had to learn many traditions.Hotty Totty was one of them.

Another was at half time in football games when a group of students carried an enormous Confederate battle flag held horizontally like a tent over the heads of the marching band. Somewhere in my memorabilia is a photograph of the scene. Students, alumni and cheerleaders all waved the Confederate battle flag.

Until Robert Khayat, a former star placekicker for Ole Miss and for the Washington Redskins became Chancellor of the University. (He had previously served for many years as Dean of the Law School).

Bob Khayat was handsome, athletic and smart. He sometimes attended our Methodist Church in company with a young woman who was attractive, intelligent and talented - Mary Ann Mobley, who eventually became Miss America and a professional actress.

By the time Bob Khayat became Chancellor, enrollment was falling, and coaches were having trouble recruiting athletes.

Bob decided to find out why. Here's the story.

Before long, the University discarded its mascot, "Col Rebel" and the Confederate Battle Flag.

Probably only a historic football hero could have pulled it off.

Now the Republican governor of South Carolina has called for the battle flag to be removed from the grounds of the state capitol.

I wish her well.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Mass Killing In Historic Black Church In Charleston SC

I was dismayed to learn this morning of the mass shooting in a historic black church in downtown Charleston, SC.

The suspect, a 21 year old white man from Lexington County named Dylann Storm Roof, reportedly entered the church and sat in wait for about an hour before standing up and shooting his victims. At least nine victims, including a state senator, have died.

The shooting is being investigated as a hate crime.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

US Heavy Weapons In Eastern Europe

Today's New York Times reports the US is planning to preposition heavy weapons in new NATO countries in Eastern Europe:

The purpose is to send a message to our new allies and to Russia's Putin that the US is prepared to quickly come to the assistance of those countries closest to Russia. a half century ago, we would have called this an act of deterrence.

Deterrence was a much simpler concept when we thought we were living in a bipolar world. If we were talking about nuclear deterrence, we called it "mutual  assured destruction." But we no longer live in a bipolar world, if ever we did.

So how do we compel other states to do our bidding? Defense intellectuals spend their lives examining such questions. The answers aren't obvious. Failure is more common than success.

The situation can be very perilous when a stable system of international order falls apart, at least until a new system emerges. We have been in such a period since the late 1980's. It isn't over yet. 

I'll have a few thoughts over the next few weeks about the period's challenges and the historical setting. It isn't just about Russia. It is also about Germany.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Do ItYourself Legal Proceedings

I don't know, but I've been told that it was Mayor Bill Sage who wrote the Town of Oriental "Press Release" printed on the front page of the Pamlico News last March 17.

Mayor Sage did not explain, though he knows full well that the Court of Appeals decided that I could not be a "person aggrieved" in the case of Avenue A only because I did not claim personal injury. That's all. It was a rookie mistake in my brief. He also knows full well that the Court of Appeals explicitly explained (twice) that its decision on Avenue A does not apply to South Avenue. He also knows that my complaint concerning South Avenue does claim personal injury, thereby meeting the Court's criteria for being a "person aggrieved" and therefore having standing to bring the case and have it heard on its merits. To anyone paying attention, it could not have been "unimaginable" that I filed the second suit. In fact, Judge Nobles shook his finger at the Town's attorney and admonished him that "it is your fault that Mr.Cox had to file a second suit." That's a matter for a separate discussion.

In his diatribe, the mayor seemed specially annoyed that I represented myself pro se. He mentioned it twice. I do want to address that.

It is true that I am not an attorney. It is also true that I couldn't afford to retain an attorney. But I am not a complete stranger to legal proceedings. Or to legal standards concerning public officials. I am a naval officer. Law is a part of my profession.

I was seventeen years old learning to be a naval officer when it was impressed on me that public officials (including ship captains and admirals) have only those powers granted to them by law and regulation. My very first course in naval matters introduced me to US Navy Regulations 1948, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the Judge Advocate General's Manual and the Manual for Courts Martial. This body of knowledge was expanded over the next four years to include International Law and Law of the Sea.

When I was commissioned in 1958, all of the Navy's routine legal matters were handled by seagoing officers. We had no specialized corps of lawyers until 1967. I was assigned to USS Cabildo (LSD-16) as navigator, but I was also the ship's legal officer, administrative officer and personnel officer. Those three collateral duties all involved dealing with law and regulation. In Court Martial proceedings, I normally was trial counsel, but also occasionally was asked to serve as a sailor's defense counsel.

Later in my career I served as president of courts-martial, acted as investigating officer in JAG investigations and was awarded advanced degrees in international law and diplomacy. As a specialist in politico-military policy, I worked closely over the years with military and civilian attorneys in the Office of The Chief of Naval Operations, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Department of State and the Judge Advocate General.s Office of International Law.

After I retired from the Navy and was a founder of an information technology company, I represented the company in a GAO bid protest hearing where the other party was represented by the biggest government contract law firm in DC. I prevailed.

I mention these things not to claim that I have skills as good as those of a licensed attorney, but only to suggest I am not a complete novice in legal affairs. My advice to the Town Board should not have been rejected out of hand.

Had I been able to afford to retain counsel, my case would still be going forward.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Proposed Voting Rules

The NC State Board Of Elections is holding a series of hearings on their proposed election rules. The draft rules are as follows:,-99,798

These proposed rules are very important. Please look them over and either attend one of the hearings or submit comments to the State Board of Elections.