Friday, April 15, 2011

April 8, 2011

Dear Sis~

     This past Tuesday we awoke to the stomping of boots and rattling of chains, the telltale melody of the goon squad, which rolled in on us without warning (which is the point, after all) to tear up our cells.  This was the annual Spring shakedown, the ostensible purpose of which is to pick up any extra blankets, sheets and towels, plus our winter coats (I'm being very generous calling these thin, raggedy, torn-up garments "coats").  But, as with any shakedown, there are no limits; once in your house (cell) the shakedown crew can take whatever they want (or not) and tear up your house (or not) as much as they want.  It's the luck of the draw; if you get a couple of decent guards, they'll go relatively easy on you.  If you get a nasty crew, well, they dump all your property on the floor and walk all over it, maybe smash your eyeglasses, dump your instant coffee on the floor, break open all your bars of soap, squeeze out all your toothpaste, dump your photographs in the toilet, etc...I've had all that happen to me one time or another over the years.  This time they were not too bad, and in paticular, I lucked out.  After being strip searched, chained and shackled and placed in the shower, the crew only spent about 5 minutes in my house and they did not gratuitously destroy anything.  I lost my extra towels and sheets, lost my only good blanket (I'm left with a thin, stringy cotton "blanket" which is missing a third of its length, that I used to fold up for a pillow) but overall I did OK and I'm not complaining.  This is just one of the prices you pay for being in the joint.  Like rotten food and crazy neighbors, it comes with the territory...
     The Florida legislation is still in session and I get to watch the daily shenanigans on a local PBS channel.  With a Republican governor and Republican super majority in the house and senate, they can legislate with impunity.  The Democrats are mere observers.  One piece of mischief that is particularly blatant is their just-passed bill to amend the Florida constitution to resctructure the Florida Supreme Court.  There is absolutely no legitimate reason to do this; it's purely political.  Their bill calls for the current 7-member court to be divided into two separate 5-member Supreme Courts - one for criminal cases and one for civil cases.  The five most senior current justices will go to the new criminal Supreme Court, meaning three new justices must be appointed by the governor for the new civil Supreme Court.  The importance of this is:  the Republican legislature will soon re-draw all of Florida's congressional districts (as is done every 10 years).  These Gerrymandered districts can be challenged by the Democrats, but the case must be resolved by the new civil Supreme Court, dominated by Republican-appointed justices (all of our current justices were appointed by Republican governors, in fact).  This is a blatant Republican power play, modeled after what the Republicans pulled off in Texas, and designed to guarantee that Republicans control the Florida legislature in perputuity.  However, this bill only places the new amendment on the next ballot;  the voters still have to approve it before the constitution can be amended (the makeup of the Supreme Court is set forth in the constitution).  Maybe, just maybe, the normally sheep-like Florida voters will pull their heads out of the sand long enough enough to see how they're about to get screwed.  But, I won't bet any money on it...
     That's it for now, Sis.  Give the doggies a tummy rub for me.
Love & Peace

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