Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The perfect holiday gift. Seriously.

I'm not a fan of this time of year, mostly due to the holidays and, more specifically, the Christmas music that stores begin playing as early as November.  However, most people feel otherwise, so I might as well try to take advantage of the "general mood."  When you're buying holiday gifts this year, consider stuffing the stockings with a copy of my second book, Tried and Convicted: How Police, Prosecutors, and Judges Destroy Our Constitutional Rights (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2012).  But don't buy it on my recommendation; I'm somewhat biased.  Instead, listen to Robert Worley at the International Criminal Justice Review, who recently wrote: "Throughout this book, Cicchini argues that Americans should have a healthy distrust of the criminal justice system. . . . I strongly recommend this book.  Once I opened it, I literally could not stop reading."  That is sweet music to an author's ears (or eyes).  Now, buy the book and give it to loved ones so they can learn what really goes on in "the system," starting with the police investigation and moving all the way through trial and even appeal.

Oh, and happy holidays.   

Saturday, November 23, 2013

From around the world wide web

I nearly always write original posts, but once in a while I like to share things from around the world wide web.  Let’s start with the incomparable and amazing Popehat and its coverage of the free speech issues at the University of Texas.  It turns out that some students didn’t like a conservative student group’s activities designed to raise awareness (I love that phrase) of immigration issues.  So not only did the academic community shame the conservative group—something that Popehat points out is the proper reaction to unpopular free speech—but many students are also asking the government to step in and punish the conservative group for exercising their free speech rights.  In a nutshell, Popehat points out how ignorant this is.  Don’t these students know that some day—or even today in some contexts—their own speech will be hurtful and unpopular to others?  Do they really want the government stepping in and censoring them?  When reading the post it struck me just how much some people rely on the government today.  They turn to it for nearly everything, even when their feelings are hurt because others are saying unpopular or offensive things.  Man-up, offended students of U.T.!  When you leave the academic bubble and, hopefully, get jobs, people will say and do things all the time to offend you.  Get used to it, and stop running to the government for your every (imagined) need.  Also from around the web . . .

Friday, November 22, 2013

Obama-Care: The worst branding effort in history?

Several years ago, legislators signed off on the Patriot Act in knee-jerk fashion, and many of them hadn’t even read the document.  The reason?  Well, first, the nation was in a state of fear, so obviously some piece of legislation had to be passed immediately—that’s just what lawmakers do.  And second, it was named the Patriot Act.  You would have to be unpatriotic not to get on board, right?  Anyway, that was a case of great branding.  Had it been named the Government Spying Act, or the Invasion of Privacy Act, fewer people would have supported it (although, I think it still would have passed).  And now, this same branding phenomenon is playing out, only in reverse, with Obama-Care, a/k/a the Affordable Care Act.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sex and Religion

I stole the title of this post from an album by the world’s greatest guitarist, but the idea behind the post came from a recent essay on Minding the Campus, titled The Hyped Campus Rape that Wasn’t