Prepping car for trip

Having the engine checked over, some hydraulics, and the cup holder fixed again.

The design of the cupholder is such that and improperly removed arrowhead water bottle will damage the retaining clip. There’s a certain silly irony that a disposible bottle can take out a 100.00 cup holder.

Trying to plan the route to see as much as I can without spending a ton of money on gas.

In general I’m planning a photographic trip so I’m wanting to catch some of the interesting coastal sites before swinging inland. I’m also hoping to see friends along the way.

This is a serious WTF?

Due to prison overcrowding in California a significant number of convicted criminals are being released.

So what exactly does this say?

Is this a condition where California has TOO DAMN MANY LAWS?

Or and this may be more likely,

Does California have TOO DAMN MANY CRIMINALS?

I’m blown away by the kind of thinking that says it fine to release known criminals back into society simply because they’re crowded.

Prison is supposed to be a deterrent. In general I agree with Sheriff Joe Arpaios of Arizona methods. His philosophy is in general pretty much like what I was raised with in the South. In the South they still use chain gangs for road cleanup and repair. YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE IN PRISON IN THE SOUTH!

I was taught that when you were convicted of a crime and sentenced to prison, all but your basic rights were suspended. So you were entitled to an appeal, you were entitled to food, and shelter. Anything beyond that was at the discretion of the Warden.

It astounds me that a California inmate costs the state on average $47000 a year. According to Legislative Analyst’s Office about 2/3 of the cost is administrative in nature (Security, health care, & operations) I think we AS TAXPAYERS are entitled to some kind of compensation. I think that all the inmates should be doing some kind of productive work. Instead of sitting around watching TV, working out, and getting degrees on the taxpayers dime.

Unfortunately, if California tried to use the prison population as a labor force offsetting the cost of incarceration, we’d spend more money fighting legal challenges than we’d save.

There is a subtext in all of this. It’s that there is in fact NO punishment or accountability. Why would the police spend any real effort to deal with petty theft when they know there’s no jail time even if they catch the perpetrator. The problem with this is, now the police are in a position where they’ll pick and choose which cases are more important.

So what’s the answer?

Deport Illegal aliens? Well that would work except that the hardened elements would be back in a week

Accelerate the execution of the prisoners on death row? Well, that would give us a few more cells to work with. It would certainly put the fear of California prison into potential criminals. But cleaning out death row isn’t a viable long term solution.

Eliminate the 3 strike Zero Tolerance laws? I think this actually would help. Zero Tolerance ANYTHING is stupid. When you have mandatory prison terms for certain offenses you automatically stress the prison system. Lets eliminate Zero Tolerance and get back to enforcing the spirit of the law not the letter.

Ship prisoners to out of state prisons? I don’t know if that’s a good idea or a bad one. Eventually, all the prison system will be overloaded, if it’s not already.

Whatever the solution, I don’t think dumping prisoners into society is the answer. Especially not with the state / local budget in crisis and police forces that are understaffed and overworked.

Lets face it most of the time the police arrive in time to clean up the blood, they rarely have an opportunity to actually prevent a crime. Dumping our prison population is far more likely to increase their janitorial duties.

As always, this blog is just my opinion and if you’ve got a different opinion you’re welcome to express it.

Happy Memorial Day

Good morning!

I hope that you all have a great memorial day

While you’re enjoying the day with your family don’t forget that the point of the day is to remember the ultimate sacrifice many of our military Men and Women have made to insure our freedom.

If you know a veteran, or an active duty soldier, Give them a big hug and say thank you.

These folks may be dealing with grief remembering missing friends. They may be a little sad but would probably appreciate being reached out to.
Invite them to join you for your BBQ.

If you know of a military family having a hard time, invite them to join you as well.

Often, the families of deployed soldiers have it really tough. Not only is their family member not home, but sometimes it’s hard for them to make ends meet. (there’s another whole blog post in that statement, but this isn’t the appropriate time)

To any veterans reading this.

I remember each of my friends who are no longer with us. They live on in my memory, the lessons they taught me, and in the many lives that they touched. I miss them and will raise a glass to them later today.

Peace guys.

Ben Cohen is the tops

Some of you may not know who Ben Cohen is.

He’s a recently retired rugby player from the UK. He is absolutely the tops in my book and deserves everyones support in his new endeavor.

I’m a little sad about his retirement, I’d always wanted to catch him in a rugby match. It was on my list of things to do when finally get to visit the UK.

On the plus side and consistent with everything I’ve read about Ben, he’s started the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation. This is the world’s first anti-bullying organization. Ben is running Stand Up as its chairman.

He is traveling for StandUp making appearances as part of the Ben Cohen Acceptance Tour. If you’re going to be in any of the cities he’s visiting, please make it a point to support his efforts.

While StandUp at the moment appears to target bullying against gay kids. I think we should remember that Bullying in general has lead to unspeakable tragedies around the world.

The most notable examples here in the US are Columbine High School and Virginia Polytechnic. (It’s been reported that Seung-Hui Cho was bullied in a similar fashion to Eric Harris of Columbine.)

I was raised to protect ANY child. It didn’t matter whose kid it was or what they were being protected from. ALL children are worthy of care, compassion, and concern. Ben’s efforts resonate right to my core,

I hope that his efforts resonate with you too. No child… gay, straight, or just different, should ever find themselves in a position where death is preferable to living.

StandUp has the potential to give any child in need an outlet and a place to turn to for support.
At the moment StandUp is focusing on homophobia. In my opinion this is the perfect starting point. Especially since a recent study suggests that suicide attempts among gay teens may be as high as 20% versus 4% of straight teens.

I imagine as the organization matures, it will reach out more broadly to all children that are being bullied. It just seems to be Bens style.


My Impression of Ben

Over the years, I’ve been keeping an eye on him. At first because I thought he was damn handsome in an approachable kind of way. But as I read about him and watched him and his career mature, I came to the conclusion that he’s a lot more than a handsome face…

He’s a genuinely decent human being.

Ben is kind, dedicated, and respectful of other people.

He’s a straight man, the father of two and has never been anything other than who he is. I wouldn’t go so far as saying he’s my hero. What Ben is to me is an example of Manhood in the truest sense of that term (look up the definition, part of it includes courage and strength of character). He’s a guy that I would go out of my way to meet, and I’d be very proud to call him a friend.

He’s embraced his gay following with humor, kindness, humility, and good cheer.

He’s an old school authentic sports star, always remembering, acknowledging, and appreciating his fan base. (American sports stars could learn a thing or two from his example.)

Ben is his fathers son. (Ben’s father died after doing the right thing. The Elder Cohen attempted to break up a bar fight and subsequently died from injuries he sustained. Again, another real MAN who was willing to risk doing the right thing instead of assuming it was someone else’s problem.)

Ben takes a stand. (Not the easiest thing to do sometimes, but there’s Ben… speaking his mind saying what he believes in. Ya just gotta respect him weather you agree with him or not.)

Ben’s website can be found here. I’m still exploring the new site. I can’t direct you to any particular place, explore on your own.

Given that Ben & Jill Tipping, Ben’s assistant are brilliant in handling media and marketing, I will not be surprised to see a lot more information about StandUp in the coming weeks.

All of which is to say, Ben deserves support from everyone not just the gay or straight community.

EVERYONE!

Ben and StandUp have the potential to serve everyone and be a positive force in the world. It’s our duty and responsibility to help add to that positive force.

(FYI… I hate having to use the awkward LGBT label, it’s my blog so I’m not going to. it’s not that I’m not inclusive it’s just that saying and typing LGBT over and over is a pain in the ass.)

Reality TV???

Does anyone need this explained to them?

Reality TV isn’t REAL

Dancing with the Stars
American Idol
The Bachelor
Survivor

Are not real.

So people while these shows may be entertaining, don’t behave like these people are anything other than entertainers. When they’re voted off the island or whatever their lives didn’t end.

I’d gotten so tired of hearing a play by play of whatever reality show was on the night before, at work that I couldn’t see straight.

I actually don’t watch these shows because I can’t stand the hype, or teary over dramatized “Thank yous” from contestants because a judge or tribe-mate didn’t flush their sorry asses.

I swear it’s starting to look like the Roman circus. How about this reality? Televised executions! That’s about as real as it gets. Execution by Gladiator pops to mind, at least then it is completely REAL!

Think about the advertisement revenue! The ratings would be crazy especially when the GITMO executions start!

Just remember, I get my cut of the advertisement revenue since I’m one of the creators.

Can we just ignore the Train-wrecks?

Please can we just put these people on ignore?

Lindsay Lohan
Charlie Sheen
Britney Spears
Paris Hilton
Chris Brown
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Mel Gibson

I bear them no malice. I am however sick of seeing their train-wreck lives splattered across my TV and news feeds.

I just don’t care what trouble they got into today.

I do resent that most of these people are handled with kit gloves, especially when the average person would be tossed into jail for any of the offenses that these people have committed.

It’s annoying enough to me, that I spend most of my entertainment time reading, or watching streaming video or DVDs.

I finally understand why so many people I know, have gotten rid of their TVs. I’m not there yet but I get it now.

Between the train wreck celebrities and the so called “Reality TV” there’s very little worth watching.