September 21, 2012

Full house

Earlier this year, I worked with several allies on a report about prison overcrowding in West Virginia. We were hoping that the report might nudge the WV legislature into passing a pretty decent bill to begin addressing the problem.

Things looked pretty good until everything fell apart on the last day of the session. As a fallback, state leaders contacted the Justice Center of the Council of State Governments to study WV's system and make suggestions for addressing the problem. Some of those were released yesterday (and echo some of the points we made in our report).

The Justice Center has done similar work in other states, including some very conservative ones, so maybe their work can help provide political cover for state politicians to finally take action on this issue. It's all about reducing mass incarceration and saving money without compromising public safety. Here's hoping we can move this along.

On the same subject, here's an op-ed by my friend the Rev. Matthew Watts on mass incarceration and how it impacts the African-American community.

CALLING BS. Here's Media Matters for America on the whole "war on coal" thing.


September 20, 2012

Zombies, zombies everywhere

I have gone a good stretch here without mentioning the z-word. However, I do feel compelled to break the silence now. As this blog has noted, zombies have shown up in all kinds of places lately.

If memory serves, Occupy Wall Street had some zombie actions. The Centers for Disease Control lightheartedly used zombies as a hook to talk about disaster preparedness. There are now road races for runners which involve trying to keep ahead of zombies.

Here's the latest: zombies will be doing their bit for national security next month in a five day counter terrorism summit as training tools.

I can hardly wait to see where they show up next.

CALOO CALLAY NO LINKS TODAY. We're cabbages and kings. More like cabbages, actually.

September 19, 2012

47 99 1

Some days are better than others for presidential contender Mitt Romney. I am referring, of course, to his now famous discourse on the whole 47 percent, think of themselves as victims, depend on government, his job not to worry about them thing.

Without worrying about Mitt's math or the tax thing (read more about that  here), I must admit that I probably come from one of those families it is his job not to worry about. I mean my father, a WWII combat veteran who was wounded more than once, depended on the government for VA medical care, Social Security, and Medicare. My mother was a public school teacher, which I guess means she was on the dole her entire working career. She depended on government provided health care and pensions, along with the whole Social Security and Medicare thing.

I guess I'm a victim too. I attended public schools and a state university. I tend to travel on public roads, use public libraries, recreate in state parks, use the postal service and do other such acts that no doubt place me on the no worry list.

September 17, 2012

One that got away

I've been amusing myself by reading Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson. I'm not sure why other than the fact that I like the way those 18th century dudes talk and this book is all about conversation. Back in the day, Johnson was a literary lion, although he is scarcely read today and lives on mostly through his biographer.

Anyhow, old Sam struck a nerve in this morning's reading in a discussion of Italy:

"A man who has not been in Italy, is always conscious of an inferiority, from his not having seen what it is expected a man should see. The grand object of travelling is to see the shores of the Mediterranean. On these shores were the four great Empires of the world; the Assyrian, the Persian,  the Grecian, and the Roman.--All our religion, almost all our law, almost all our arts, almost all that sets us above savages, has come to us from the shores of the Mediterranean."

I wouldn't go that far, but he has a point. The sad part for me is that I actually did get to go to Italy last summer and ran around quite a bit for the little time I was there. BUT, alas, I didn't get to see the Mediterranean. I was pretty close at Ravenna but we only had a little time and it just didn't work out.

It is my custom when I meet a worthy body of water to touch and bless myself with a few drops of it on my forehead the way observant Roman Catholics use holy water and I REALLY wanted to do that with the Mediterranean.

Maybe next time. If there is one.

I HATE TO SAY I TOLD YOU SO, but the stimulus, aka American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, actually worked.

RUNNING BEHIND. I meant to include this item by Jared Bernstein on the latest Census poverty data last week. Here's the good news: for the first time in ages, the percentage of uninsured Americans actually fell, thanks largely to the Affordable Care Act.

WILL DISNEY SUE? Here's a look at Mickey Mouse on Mercury.