A Rick Diculous View.....

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Am I my brothers keeper?

The Prison System. Love it or hate it, a necessity in any society. But in our society it doesn't work. At least not as it supposed to.

Let's be clear. There are definitely some people that are far beyond rehabilitation, and that we owe it to ourselves as a society to protect each other from them. Sociopaths, Rapists, Murderers, Child Molesters. But these people do not make up the majority of our criminals in the penal system. In fact, most prisoners are there because of drugs, and drug related offenses.

Now we can debate about the war on drugs, but I am a staunch, and stubborn believer, that we long ago, lost that un-winable war. But how do we address society's ills?

Let's start with Drugs, since they make up the majority of our criminal system. For starters, we need to decriminalize personal drug use. Even if we do not legalize, we can certainly handle non-violent drug offenders much better than we do. You see, when you put a guy in jail for drugs. And you stick him in with REAL criminals, they learn to become REAL Criminals. When they get out, no one wants to hire them (Would you hire an ex-con to work in your business? Be honest!) With no prospect of employment, and society labeling them pariahs, they turn to what they know...CRIME (which they learned from the criminals we locked them in with). So they become a new blight on society, and we in turn send them back to jail to teach a new crop of Non-violent drug offenders how to become criminals.

Now, there is also Cost. I would think this part of the issue would help drive a prison reform movement. You see, it costs about $60,000 a year to house a criminal in jail. But it costs less than $30,000 to send a drug addict to an in house recovery program. And here's the kicker, Drug addicts who go to jail have about a 70% recidivism rate (chance of returning to prison). Drug addicts who go to treatment facilities have about a 30% recidivism rate. So, let's get this straight... It's cheaper, AND works better to send them to drug treatment, than it does to Jail. Why are we not doing this? En Masse?

Ed Burns, the brilliant writer, director, and creator of the tv show The Wire (My all time favorite show) has called for Jury Nullification. He says that until we stop locking up non-violent drug offenders, we should, if called to serve on a jury, nullify, and find not guilty all non violent drug offenses. Not the ones where someone was shot, or hurt, but things like simple possession . I'm not sure if I agree or not. I've struggled with my thoughts on this. He is absolutely right about drug sentences being disproportionately out of whack. In some states three times getting caught with a bag of weed will get you 25-life. The guy who killed my ex-wife got 7 years. Killing someone is worth 7 years, and having a bag of pot is worth a life sentence? Does this make sense? No, of course not.

Now as for "Real" criminals (the rapists, and others I mentioned before) We do need to keep these people locked away. And we need to treat their mental, and social disabilities. We need to find ways to teach these people new skill sets, because many of them will be released into our communities. Wouldn't you rather this person have been given some sort of therapy to deal with their social ills, before being set free? Even if it only works at a 20% rate. That's better than the next to zero % rate it is today.

It's supposed to be the department of "Corrections". We are supposed to be correcting the problems these men and women have. Not punishing them. When we are victimized, it is natural to want vengeance. But vengeance is not justice. And punishment is not correction. When I was a union steward I used to ask managers in discipline meetings what the objective, or goal of a discipline was. Was it to be Punitive or Corrective? Because punitive only causes the person to feel bitter, and to seek their own perceived vengeance. But corrective works towards fixing a problem or a deficiency. And can turn someone who might've been an almost worthless worker, into a productive one. I've seen it work. And again, even if it only works less than half of the time..it still fix's enough of the people who re-renter society to make a noticeable difference.

Tell me what you all think.

oh, and I haven't even touched the death penalty.......

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Interracial couple denied marriage license

Really? In 2009? Has this guy lived in a box for the last 50 years?


Interracial couple denied marriage license

La. justice of the peace cites concerns about any children couple might have

updated 2 hours, 11 minutes ago

HAMMOND, La. - A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have.

Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.

Neither Bardwell nor the couple immediately returned phone calls from The AssociatedPress. But Bardwell told the Daily Star of Hammond that he was not a racist.


"I do ceremonies for black couples right here in my house," Bardwell said. "My main concern is for the children."

‘I feel the children will later suffer’
Bardwell said he has discussed the topic with blacks and whites, along with witnessing some interracial marriages. He came to the conclusion that most of black society does not readily accept offspring of such relationships, and neither does white society, he said.

"I don't do interracial marriages because I don't want to put children in a situation they didn't bring on themselves," Bardwell said. "In my heart, I feel the children will later suffer."

If he does an interracial marriage for one couple, he must do the same for all, he said.

"I try to treat everyone equally," he said.

Thirty-year-old Beth Humphrey and 32-year-old Terence McKay, both of Hammond, say they will consult the U.S. Justice Departmentabout filing a discrimination complaint.

Humphrey told the newspaper she called Bardwell on Oct. 6 to inquire about getting a marriage license signed. She says Bardwell's wife told her that Bardwell will not sign marriage licenses for interracial couples.

"It is really astonishing and disappointing to see this come up in 2009," said American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana attorney Katie Schwartzman. "The Supreme Court ruled as far back as 1963 that the government cannot tell people who they can and cannot marry."

‘He knew he was breaking the law’
The ACLU was preparing a letter for the Louisiana Supreme Court, which oversees the state justices of the peace, asking them to investigate Bardwell and see if they can remove him from office, Schwartzman said.

"He knew he was breaking the law, but continued to do it," Schwartzman said.

According to the clerk of court's office, application for a marriage license must be made three days before the ceremony because there is a 72-hour waiting period. The applicants are asked if they have previously been married. If so, they must show how the marriage ended, such as divorce.

Other than that, all they need is a birth certificate and Social Security card.

The license fee is $35, and the license must be signed by a Louisiana minister, justice of the peace or judge. The original is returned to the clerk's office.


Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

DEATH TO WALL STREET CAPITALIST THIEVES!!!

AIG took over $90,000,000,000.00 (thats billion) in government bailout money.

Think about that for a minute. $90,000,000,000.00

And today, it has come out that AIG is now paying out $1,750,000,000.00 in bonuses.

Folks, you are being robbed. Not by a man with a gun or a knife, but by a group of people wearing suits, with good friends like Hank Paulson, and Tim Geithner. I say it's time for some Capitalist Punishment. That's right, I am calling for our government to begin summary executions for the entire board of directors of AIG, Hank Paulson, and Tim Geithner! We execute everyone else! Fuck, Texas executes children and the retarded! I say we give them to Texas and tell them it's time to live up to their reputation. Tell them they're be forever labeled "Yellow Bellied Cowards" if they don't follow through! And, We'll sell them to Mexico!

Paulson and Geithner are both Capitalist conspirators, and should be charged with aiding and abetting grand, grand, grand, grand, grand larceny!

If you are not outraged, then you deserve this.

And let's talk about Capitalism for a moment.

I saw Michael Moore's new movie, "Capitalism : A Love Story". I loved it.

But there were a few points brought up, and one I feel is worth stating.

If the point of Capitalism is that the "good" businesses will survive because the consumers will choose them, and the "Bad" ones will fail. And they should be allowed to die off, according to Capitalists. Then why did all those Capitalists insist we had to bailout "Bad" businesses that the consumers decided should fail? Why did they want a "Socialist" bailout for Capitalism?

If a business is "Too Big To Fail", then it never should've been allowed to grow that large, and should be broken up and dismantled. That, or allowed to fail!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Tip Jar......

I am going to give a non political rant here.

I hate the Tip Jar. You know what I'm talking about. The little jar that is on every counter of every retail establishment in this country.

I pride myself on being a good tipper. I waited tables for years, and tended bar for a short while. I fully recognize the importance of tips. They are the majority of income for many in the service industry. But the tip jar is a complete slap in the face. You see, in many states, it's allowed to pay waitstaff less than minimum wage. When I waited tables I made about 40% below the federally set minimum wage. But these people who work at coffee houses, McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts, and others all make at least the minimum wage. Plus, they do less for you.

A server takes your order, makes part of your meal, personally reviews your service, resolves any issues you may have. They make themselves responsible for your service. They are also generally working class women, who have no other means to make a living wage. The person at Dunkin Donuts is either a kid, the owner, or part of the owner's family. They make more in salary, They get you a donut or coffee, and ship you off without any care if you got what you wanted. You are not getting a meal. They don't come back and check to see if you liked everything. And then they have the audacity to put out a tip jar (or cup) and expect you to drop whatever change you have in there. For doing what????

The other problem is that it only serves to frustrate society. When you are being strong armed into tipping for everything, you eventually start to resent the entire process. Therefore you wind up not tipping people who've actually earned it.

I say enough!

I also am not a fan of Automatic Gratuity's being added to the bill. At least I dislike them when they are not made VERY clear upfront (like the waitstaff should tell you, "Oh, just so you know, we have a policy that parties the size of yours will have a 15% gratuity added). And It should not be mandatory. Meaning, I understand that large parties can sometimes undertip. And that the servers have to work twice as hard, and forgo other tables. So it being on the bill automatically (Again, after being made painstakingly clear to you) is understandable. But it shouldn't be mandatory. If you feel you got poor service, you should be able to tell them manager that you feel the level of service did not warrant 15% (or 10% or 0%). You, of course, can always leave more, if you choose. It should also be highlighted on the bill. Frequently you have a large party, and there are 32 lines of items, and in there, below the food, but above the tax, is the Tip added in already. On more than one occasion did I tip 20% only to find out I had also automatically tipped 18%. I was very aggravated.

There are other jobs that earn tips as well. The pizza delivery guy uses his own car, and fuel and usually gets paid pennies on the dollar for each mile driven. He deserves a tip too. Unless you see a driver delivery fee. Then, I feel, that should be the tip. if the Pizza shop s pocketing it, then the driver should find a new pizza shop. Hair salons, masseuses, casino dealers, valets, and many others should be tipped. But enough is enough with the tip jar. Where will it end? The grocery clerk for ringing you up quickly? The mall security guard for making sure no one keys your car? Really, where will it end?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sorry Roman, but......

Sorry Roman Polanski, but you belong in jail.

I always find myself amazed at how quickly we are willing to forgive and forget the criminal or ethical indiscretions of celebrities.

For those who do not know the back story, please allow me a chance to explain a bit.

Roman Polanski was born in France, but raised in Poland prior to the start of WWII. During the war, he lived in the Krakow Ghetto, and his mother died at Auschwitz. He would eventually wind up in America as a movie director (I know, I've made a big jump here). He married an actress named Sharon Tate, who became pregnant with his child. While she was 8 months pregnant, she was murdered by the Manson Family (Charles, not Marilyn). All of this is a lot for one life to bear. I do not deny it.

But things would get a little sticky. You see, Mr. Polanski had a 13 year old girl come to his house. She was left unattended (Which makes you wonder what parent leaves their tween daughter with an older man, but anyways.....) for a photo shoot at Jack Nicholson's home (Nicholson has no other connection to this event). According to his victim, he gave her Champagne and Quaaludes. She protested the sexual acts, and Mr. Polanski then , allegedly, forcibly, performed Oral,Vaginal, and Anal Sex on her. A 13 year old child!

Mr. Polanski was arrested. And was initially charged with rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14, and furnishing a controlled substance to a minor. But for some reason, he was allowed to plead to Unlawful sex with a minor. He was supposed to spend 90 days at Chico State Prison for a psychiatric evaluation.

Now how this was ever allowed is infuriating to me. 90 Days in jail for drugging and raping a child? What The Fuck???

Now the judge apparently decided that he could be famous, or something. And it appeared that the judge was going to back out of allowing the plea deal to go through. Maybe he had a lapse of reason, or maybe he thought he could drag it out. Who the hell knows. Afraid of having to do real jail time for committing a heinous crime, Mr. Polanski fled to France.

And he's lived there, in a luxurious chalet, for 30 years. His supporters have claimed that he's had a hard enough life, and that he's been forced to live in exile. He even won an academy award. Harrison Ford picked it up and delivered it to him.

Why do some people feel that this was ok? The same thing with Woody Allen? He married his adopted step daughter and had a kid with her. What The Fuck??

If either of these guys was just Randy or Walter from down the block, they'd immediately be referred to as Creepy Randy, or Weirdo Walt. You wouldn't send your kids to their house to play with their kids. In fact, look at Phillip Garrido (The guy who kidnapped and fathered children with Jaycee Dugard). Is he that much further away from Polanski? Yes, Polanski didn't keep his victim locked away in his creepy campout for 18 years. But they're both pedophiles who believe they are geniuses. Their biggest difference is that Polanski has money, and powerful friends, and Garrido really is the creepy guy. But if Polanski was broke, and didn't know Harvey Weinstein, and Jack Nicholson, he'd be the same creepy guy.

Recently, Polanski had lawyers file a motion for dismissal, citing judicial misconduct. The presiding judge said he'd hear the case (Since the first judge has died), however Mr. Polanski would need to return to the U.S. for the case. He even said it was possible that Mr. Polanski would not be jailed while awaiting disposition. He still refused to come back to the U.S. His motion was dismissed.

Last week, he was picked up by Swiss authorities, and is being held. And all his familiar supporters have come out, and asked for him to get bail, and asked that he not be returned to The States. How would we all fair in these situations?

Would Harvey Weinstein, or Harrison Ford come speak out for me if I was in this situation? Or better yet, would a judge listen to my friends and allow me to receive bail, after I already fled the country once? I think we all know the answer.

But the problem, I believe, is us. You see, we sit around and idolize these entertainers, instead of appreciating them for what they are...ENTERTAINERS! Actors, Musicians,Artists, Athletes, and the such are nothing more than entertainers. Do we really need to be involved in every detail of these peoples lives? Do we really need to elevate them above the rest of society? They've made our lives more fun, perhaps, but they haven't really improved out lots in life, have they?

We need to step back, and reevaluate the relationships we have with celebrity. Stalin knew this, and exploited it with his "Cult of Personality". We don't follow the Starbucks Barista home, and wait for them to sign an autographs after their shifts. But they provide a service, as do entertainers. We need to stop. Stop with idol worship. Stop with the use of the phrase "Hero".

We can't live in an equal society, if we don't hold people to the same standards. How can we complain when we aren't held to the same standards?






Tuesday, September 15, 2009

President Carter's statements about racism and Obama.

CARTER: RACE PLAYS ROLE IN OBAMA DISLIKE

Posted: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 6:44 PM by Mark Murray
Filed Under: ,

From NBC's Mark Murray
In an interview with NBC's Brian Williams, former Democratic President Jimmy Carter attributed much of the conservative opposition that President Obama is receiving to the issue of race.

"I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man," Carter said. "I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way, and I've seen the rest of the country that share the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African Americans."

Carter continued, "And that racism inclination still exists. And I think it's bubbled up to the surface because of the belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It's an abominable circumstance, and it grieves me and concerns me very deeply."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I have for sometime felt Race has been a big issue with Obama. Now, not everyone with a criticism of Obama is a racist. And I would caution against wantonly accusing someone of being a Racist. It's a terrible accusation when untrue because it shapes peoples opinions.

That being said, I do feel that it is a fair question to ask. If conservatives were to argue policy points and things of that nature, well, that's certainly fair game. But I really haven't heard any actual debate from the right wing. The only thing they keep saying is "We have to stop the government takeover of healthcare". But at no point in time do they tell you why they feel this way. They don't tell you what they think should be done. Just what shouldn't be. That's not leadership. That's Cowardice! And it is certainly fair to question it's root causes, and to wonder if they are racist.

15 years ago, Then First Lady, Hillary Clinton attempted to reform healthcare conservatives argued policy points. They challenged the Democrats, and they won (like it or not). Today, they organize protests of people who show up with guns, and hold up signs saying "We want 'our' country back!". Which country is that? the Jim Crow, "Separate But Equal" country? The Slavery country? The Pre-Civil Rights Country?

I want the country we were promised as kids. The one where everyone is equal. I want the "Good Old Days" when one member of the family worked a career and was able to buy a house, and a new car, and send all of his kids to college, and had enough money to retire at 60. Except I want it for everyone. Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, Gay, Straight......EVERYONE

It's time to move forward. There are things we can all do. Start opening up ourselves to other communities. Stop comparing anyone to Hitler. Start voting for regular people to elected office. Remove the Confederate Flag (No other losing side is allowed to incorporate their treasonous banner into the public).


Forward, not backwards.....


Monday, September 14, 2009

RIP Crystal Lee Sutton

Inspiration for movie ‘Norma Rae’ dies at 68

Labor organizer succumbed to long battle with brain cancer

updated 2 hours, 11 minutes ago

RALEIGH, North Carolina - Crystal Lee Sutton, whose fight to unionize Southern textile plants with low pay and poor conditions was dramatized in the film “Norma Rae,” has died. She was 68.

Sutton died Friday in a hospice after a long battle with brain cancer, her son, Jay Jordan, said Monday.

“She fought it as long as she could and she crossed on over to her new life,” he said.

Actress Sally Field portrayed a character based on Sutton in the movie and won a best-actress Academy Award.

Field said in a statement Sutton was “a remarkable woman whose brave struggles have left a lasting impact on this country and without doubt, on me personally. Portraying Crystal Lee Sutton in ’Norma Rae,’ however loosely based, not only elevated me as an actress, but as a human being.”

In 1973, Sutton was a 33-year-old mother of three earning $2.65 an hour folding towels at J.P. Stevens when a manager fired her for pro-union activity.

In a final act of defiance before police hauled her out, Sutton, who had worked at the plant for 16 years, wrote “UNION” on a piece of cardboard and climbed onto a table on the plant floor. Other employees responded by shutting down their machines.

Union organizers had targeted J.P. Stevens, then the country’s second-largest textile manufacturer, because the industry was deeply entwined in Southern culture and spread across the region’s small towns. However, North Carolina continues to have one of the lowest percentages of unionized workers in the country.

Bruce Raynor, president of Workers United and executive vice president of the Service Employees International Union, worked with Sutton to organize the Stevens plants. In 1974, the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union won the right to represent 3,000 employees at seven Roanoke Rapids plants in northeastern North Carolina.

“Crystal was an amazing symbol of workers standing up in the South against overwhelming odds — and standing up and winning,” Raynor said Monday. “The fact that Crystal was a woman in the ’70s, leading a struggle of thousands of other textile workers against very powerful, virulently anti-union mill companies, inspired a whole generation of people — of women workers, workers of color and white workers.”

Raynor said Sutton was also a symbol of the national health care struggle. In a June 2008 interview with The Times-News of Burlington, Sutton said she couldn’t get possible life-saving medicines for two months because her insurance company wouldn’t cover them. She eventually received the drugs.

“How in the world can it take so long to find out (whether they would cover the medicine or not) when it could be a matter of life or death,” she said. “It is almost like, in a way, committing murder.”

Sutton’s son said his mother kept a photo of Field in the movie’s climactic scene on her living room wall at her home in Burlington, about 20 miles east of Greensboro. But despite what many people think, she got little profit from the movie or an earlier book written about her, he said.

“When they find out she lived very, very modestly, even poorly, in Burlington, they’re surprised,” he said.

Jordan said his mother spent years as a labor organizer in the 1970s. She later became a certified nursing assistant in 1988 but had not been able to work for several years because of illnesses.

“She never would have been rich. She would have given it to anyone she called the working class poor, people that were deprived,” Jordan said.

Sutton donated her letters and papers to Alamance Community College in 2007. She said: “I didn’t want them to go to some fancy university; I wanted them to go to a college that served the ordinary folks.”

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I am married and I am a proud father. I have family that I love, and friends that are family. I am very opinionated.