April 21, 2016

Why warehousing people doesn't work

We've been trying to chip away at mass incarceration in WV for a while now, both for adults and for kids in the juvenile justice system. This NY Times op-ed provides a good summary of why it just doesn't make sense.

One thing that does make sense is substance abuse treatment. WV just launched its first residential treatment program for regional jail inmates. That's kind of a big deal since many inmates aren't eligible for parole without treatment.

Off topic, I really hope the WV legislature doesn't revisit the bogus "religious freedom" license to discriminate bill in the future. Here's what an editor at the Gazette-Mail had to say about that.

April 20, 2016

Urgent owlet update...and other stuff

Photo credit: Sister in law Unit.

A while back I posted a picture of a baby great horned owl that was born on our hill. I'm pleased to say that he survived and has now taken to venturing forth. This isn't quite the same as fledging, according to the Spousal Unit. Apparently that is like moving out. Instead, the little critter is branching, which entails a return to the nest. You can see both in the picture above, with the nest in the upper left and the owlet in the lower right.

YOU REALLY CAN'T. I've often mentioned here my campaign to update state motto of West Virginia from "Mountaineers Are Always Free" to "You Can't Make This **** Up." This column by statehouse reporter Phil Kabler has a priceless example in it.

COAL-LAPSE. There's been a lot of coverage about the decline of coal. This AP article suggests it's happening faster than anticipated. Note that the article attributes most of this to market conditions rather than a certain Muslim socialist of questionable American birth.

SPEAKING OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE. I knew things were bad, but I didn't know things had gone this far.

April 18, 2016

Prison nation

On the latest Front Porch program/podcast, we spoke with my friend Pastor Matthew Watts of Grace Bible Church and Hope Community Development on Charleston WV's west side. This is a heavily edited version of a long conversation we had about prisons, race, mass incarceration, social changes and more.

WISDOM BOOKS. Regular readers of this blog know I'm a sucker for ancient Greek and Roman classics. Right now, I've made a decent start at rereading three classics that I plan on going through again and again: Plutarch's Lives, Herodotus' Histories and Thucydides' Peloponnesian War. (I'm about 320 pages through the first and just finished the life of Timoleon, the Corinthian leader who liberated Sicily from the rule of tyrants.) So it's no wonder that this Gazette-Mail op-ed on Thucydides caught my eye.

SAD SIGN OF THE TIMES. It's no secret that WV has a drug overdose problem and that my county of Cabell is ground zero. It was really sad for me to read that school nurses in that county are preparing to administer naxolone for opioid overdoses.