Don’t Ask Don’t Tell – Palm Center Argument Maps

New ways to visualize information make the research so much more interesting.  And, so it is very appealing to see what the Palm Center at U.C. Santa Barbara does for the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell debate.

“Using the Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC)‘s Public concept mapping or Cmap Tools, the Palm Center’s Research Director, Dr. Jeanne Scheper and the Palm Center’s Senior Research Fellow, Dr. Nathaniel Frank are collaborating on mapping the key arguments related to the gays in the military debate.”

These “Argument Maps” cover a wide range of topics related to gays in the military, from privacy to health to foreign militaries.  These very useful charts will soon be fully interactive according to the site.

If you visit the site, you’ll find other useful (and traditional) resources on this topic, too.  They recently posted a legal memo outlining the Pentagon options in dealing with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.  They also have a blog, a short bibliography, a list of web resources and more.

Stories from the trenches: Getting by with a little help from our friends

Sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know.  Or, more accurately, whose contact information you can find.

This morning we received a request to track down some government reports that were the subject of a FOIA request a few years ago.  Initial web browsing was unsuccessful, so I took a decidedly low-tech approach (at least by today’s standards) and picked up the phone.  I called both the organization that made the initial request and the attorney who represented them in a subsequent lawsuit.  Within twenty minutes my call had been returned and the reports were sent poste haste, via e-mail.

This is not the first time that an attorney or organization has jumped in to help out by sending hard to find items our way.  One of our favorite tips to give students in our Advanced Legal Research class is to reach out to individuals when searching in their favorite spots does not pan out.  Today it payed to practice what I preach.

Below is a link for the requested items.  Included are memorandums and reports from the Department of Defense and their Threat and Local Observation Notice reporting service relating to surveillance of college campus activities surrounding the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy of the United States military.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell FOIA Documents