Monday, April 26, 2010

April 22, 2010 Earth Day

Dear Sis~

Just watched a thought-provoking (and depressing) documentary on PBS titled Worse than War; the subject matter was genocide - why and how it happens - and the film investigated a number of well-known instances, from the Holocaust to Rwanda, to Cambodia, to the Balkans, etc...  It was a vivid reminder of what a brutal species we can be, and how thin the veneer of civilization really is.  When the right mix of politics, religion, ethnic hatreds and economic factors converge, the gloves come off and man's darkest impulses rise to the top like curdled cream...

A different PBS program, which put a smile on my face was Through a Dog's Eyes, a heart-warming tale of how service dogs are raised and trained to help those with special needs.  A number of excellent small companies or organizations, invariably non-profits, are dedicated to breeding and raising these special dogs, then matching them up with their new owners, many of who are kids, usually suffering from multiple sclerosis or some other form of paralysis, or seizures (some of these dogs are capable of detecting the onset of seizures, 10 - 20 minutes before they occur, and alerting the person about what's about to happen.  Nobody knows how the dogs can do this; it's an inate capability that comes naturally).  It was neat to watch the kids meet and bond with the big, friendly dogs (mostly labs) over the 4 or 5 days set aside for the process.  Most of these kis are terribly lonely, with no friends, and the dogs, besides being helpers, fill a big void.  The kids' faces light up with excitement when they get their dogs! 

Well, I've got a baldie again... The wing sergeant decided my hair was "too long" (it must have been a whole 2 inches long) and he ordered me to get it cut off.  As you know, there's only one style offered here:  a mandatory buzz cut with a numer one or number two blade.  That's why everyone here looks like a prototypical convict.  This is something of a fetish with the guards here at FSP...they want us to look like that.  It's  a violation of tyhe DOC standrds, which allows us to have hair considerably longer ( as long s it does not cover the ears or collar).  In the old days prisoners could be written up for cutting their hair off; the administration felt it was a gang symbol of some sort.  Now, it;'s the guards forcing us to look like the 1930's convicts.  This seems to amuse them. Anyway, I could care less;  I have a lot more substantial things to concern myself with than my hair ...

Alright, Sis, I've gotta get back to work on this legal project.  Give the dogs a tummy rub for me!

Love & Peace


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Death Row Diary: Capital Defense Weekly link

Death Row Diary: Capital Defense Weekly link

Capital Defense Weekly link

This group provides information on cases and litigation of death penalty cases and current news of executions, stays, ect.  Bill has begun using their servies and he's found a lot of useful information for his case.

Monday, April 12, 2010

March 28, 2010

Dear Sis~

California voters gathered sufficient signatures to place an initiative on the November ballot to legalize marijuana; if it passes, you'll be able to possess up to one ounce and grow a "small number" of plants in your home (I later heard the number of plants is 20, not very small at one to two pounds per plant).  My guess is that the inititative will pass.The folks who organized the ballot measure were smart enough to title it "Tax on Cannabis Act", thereby emphasizing the revenue gathering aspect, which will help Californians dig their way out of the enormous deficit crater they've driven their state into.  There will be real tension between the new state law and the federal statutes making weed illegal, but as long as the feds (read: DEA) decline to pursue and prosecute it will all be good.  Repubicans, and law enforcement are naturally opposed to the measure.  Republicans claim to be all about "states rights" and "the voice of the people", until the state or the people decide they want something the Republicans are against (e.g., assisted suicid, decriminalization of drugs), then all the states' rights talk goes out the window.  And, law enforcement is simply a cog of the great prison industrial complex, which has a vested interest in keeping jails and prisons full (that translates into a lot of jobs for prosecutors, cops, prison guards and all jobs related thereto).  If it passes, the initiative will dissolve all marijuana smuggling overnight (at least as far as California goes; nation-wide legalization would, of course, eliminate all marijuana smuggling nation-wide) and put them all out of business.  That would be a good thing by social standards, right?  But of course the law enforcement cabal is dead set against it.  If it passes, this will be the vanguard of eventual legalization across the land.  It will take time, but it will happen.  And it's long past due.  The idea of keeping hundreds of thousands of citizens in prisons for yearsand years, ruining their lives forever after (try getting a job as an ex-convict if you don't think your life gets ruined) for the "crime" of smoking weed is immoral, outrageous and counterproductive, as anyone with an ounce of intelligence knows.  It's way past time for America to grow up, get a life, and leave people alone (why aren't the Republican/Tea Party folks behind this?  They claim to be all about "personal freedoms" and "getting the government out of our lives").  And don't even get me started about the Biblical injunction, the book of Genesis which declares that God put all plants, seeds and herbs on the earth for mankind to cultivate and use for man's benefit.  Where are all those fundamental preachers when you need them?!!!...

Saw a good movie on TV today, Life as a House; sad, uplifting, poignant, a tear-jerker, well worth watching...

Tomorrow is canteen day;  in the joint canteen day is the centerpiece of the week, the day everyone looks forward to (this is for maximum security, lockdown joints.  Guys in open population go to the canteen window every day).  Tomorrow we get our little goodies, from cookies to honey buns, from potato chips to coffee, from pens and paper and flip flops to slim jims, tuna fish and the old standby, instant soup in a cup.  Of course, that's only for guys with money.  Most guys on the row have very little money, or none at all.  Some guys never get canteen at all, ever.  Guys in a bare cell, with no TV, no radio, no visits and no letters at mail call - a very lonely existence for 15 or 20 years, until they drag them to Q wing and kill them...

That's it for now, Sis

Love, Bill