I write like
Cory Doctorow

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The trail of whacky news leads to my backyard

Most days, nothing fires my creativity.  Somedays, I struggle to pare down the fascinating news down to three stories:

Yes, I know this story is now weeks old, but I saw it in full for the first time earlier today.  Did you know that there are a few states in the U.S. that are charging their prison's inmates a nightly rate for staying in the prison?  Apparently, some prisons have hiked the price of junk food in the snack bars, started charging for regular meals and/or lessened the portion of food served in each regular meal?  The Christian Science Monitor does a good job of sampling the various fund-raising efforts in states that are otherwise hurting for funding to support their state's prison population.

It does beg the question: What happens when an inmate has no source to tap for money to pay the nightly usage fee, buy food or otherwise pay for their keep?  Outside of prison, when one cannot pay the rent, the property manager can evict the tenant.  Might inmates strapped for cash have their parents, spouses, brothers and/or sisters tapped for cash to support the inmate in the prison?  If someone other than the inmate is directly funding the inmate's stay in prison, what new rights does the . . uh . . patron (?) have? 

If I had to pay for a relative's stay in prison, shouldn't I have the right to ship my inmate relative to a cheaper prison?  Would married inmates face a greater percentage of divorce to cut the tap off to the state for the inmate's stay?  What about the victim(s) of the inmate's crime? If they still want justice for their attacker/thief, perhaps they could chip in to cover the tab??

The endless meandering imagination of a liberal like me can take this argument to the Nth degree.  The depths of ridiculousness . . just no end.


A pair of men from Britain have been languishing in Santa Ana City Jail since July 2008. (Santa Ana, CA -- in the middle of Orange County).  For what reason?  Have they been charged with something? They can't afford bail?  Is the City Jail pitching in to keep a tight hold on detainees in the War on Terror ??

I'll quote the author of this article from the L.A. Times, Dana Parsons:
The men, known as the "heretical two" to supporters, aren't in U.S. custody because of their world views. Nor have they committed any crime in America. Their lengthy detention is largely the product of the asylum-seeking process that Sheppard and Whittle brought on themselves when they entered the country. They and their original attorney acknowledge that motions they filed helped prolong the case.
They were 
convicted in Britain of "disseminating hate speech" on a website one of them ran.  The men figured they could receive political asylum in the U.S. as our country is well known for supporting free speech.

The L.A. Times does a good job of bringing the facts on this.  So, now for my righteous liberal indignation for the ugly words and thoughts these two decided to spew on line:

What a bunch of hooey!  That's right.  Hooey!!

It may turn my stomach to read/hear the absolutely nutty ravings of people who seek to blame everyone else but themselves for their own perceived misfortune.  That said, I would rather be free to read/hear those nutty ravings.  Short of their diatribes encouraging violence and vehement, in-their-face ugly words in the faces of those these "writers", I say let them at a keyboard.  All the better to see them with.  

The article writer seems quite doubtful their stint in Jail is due to end anytime soon.  11 months could well turn into several years, unfortunately.  Should the U.S. give these two political asylum?  Well, yeah!  There is some measure of difference between posting ones thoughts on-line and the horrors physically brought on others in recent years based on twisted beliefs.

and, finally . . in my backyard, sort of:

One of the newest medical marijuana dispensaries in California will be opening in Whittier, CA!  Seems the city's Planning Commissioners saw fit to go counter to the City Council's vote in April 2009 where
 " . . the council by a 3-2 vote asked staff to draft an ordinance banning the medical marijuana dispensaries. Councilmen Owen Newcomer and Bob Henderson were the dissenting votes."
In what has traditionally been a conservative corner of Los Angeles County, the City Council couldn't even get unanimous consensus on this issue.  My guess is that this more a function of the state of the economy rather than a genuine concern for those who were prescribed marijuana for treatment of their ailments here in our fair city.

I'm going to go ahead and give some of the credit for this moderate shift in the city government's mindset on the grassroots group which started months ago (and who, sadly, I have not met with for a couple of months now.  I knew something had to give when I started a full-time job working away from home again).

Soon enough, when you need to smoke 'em, you'll soon be able to get 'em . . locally . . uh, as long as the Council votes to OK this next month.  Who knows?

The trail of whacky news could continue to wind about for some time to come.

No comments:

Search This Blog