Lawmakers want actual data on realignment

blivetIt would appear that some members of the legislature of the formerly great state of California have decided that they should maybe have some actual, accurate, real data on whether or not realignment is succeeding.  They are smart enough now to collectively realize that they don’t know if they are getting what they voted for.  It would have been nice if they thought of that BEFORE they voted for it, but what the hell, since it is taxpayers money and not “real” money, I guess they didn’t much care.

Clicking here will link to a Sacramento PRAVDA piece on this miraculous occurence.  Thanks to Caroline for the link.

SCOTUS backs Michigan anti-preference law

justiceBack in 2006 58% of the voters of Michigan approved a law, similar to California’s proposition 209, which prohibits racial or ethnic preference in allowing applicants into state supported higher education.  SCOTUS settled the issue today in favor of the voters.  The vote was 6-2 with Justice Elena Kagan not voting.  Kamala Harris, the California AG, attempted to rally support to overturning the voter approved proposition.

Clicking here will link to a Sacramento PRAVDA piece on this story.

Convicts And Guards Broil In Texas Prisons

katz-litter4Human rights group says Texas prisons are so hot during summers that ‘convicts and guards are broiling in conditions that are dangerous, unconstitutional and violate international human rights accords’

A story by in Mike Ward and Lauren McGaughy in today’s Houston Chronicle reports that the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Texas Law School has released a 40 page report highly critical of the summer heat conditions in Texas prisons. The group wants all 109 Texas state prisons air conditioned and wants the corrections system to take immediate steps to make sure that inside temperatures this summer do not exceed 85 degrees.

The correctional officers union has applauded the Human Rights Clinic report. But Brad Livingston, Executive Director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), is defending current heat situation. Livingston says: “We have significant protocols in place governing the movement of offenders early in the day for work assignments, we supply ice water and have fans and other equipment to increase air movement. We believe the protocols are appropriate.”

However, the law school clinic notes that the Center for Disease Control has “determined these measures to be ineffective in preventing heat-related injuries in very hot and humid conditions, such as those present in TDCJ facilities. The clinic report states:

“Despite these findings, TDCJ facilities largely do not provide air conditioning to the living areas of the general inmate population, many of whom are serving time for non-violent offenses. At the same time, the TDCJ has spent money on air conditioning for its warden offices and for its armories … (and) has not promulgated any maximum temperature policies for inmate housing, even though the Texas Commission on Jail Standards and numerous other state departments of corrections across the country have done so.”

“Continuing to disregard the plight of TDCJ inmates subject to extreme heat is not an option. [That] would be in violation of international human rights standards and the requirements of the Eighth Amendment if it were to do so.”

Since 1998, heat related illnesses have resulted in 19 Texas inmate deaths. Six lawsuits have been filed against the prison system over heat related deaths of inmates. One of those lawsuits alleges a cell temperature reached 149 degrees. The Chronicle story says that the heat repeatedly exceeds 115 degrees.

Now let’s get real here. Air condition all 109 Texas prisons? That would be cost prohibitive. And even if it were not, it would take years to complete the job. Heat related deaths in prisons are no different than heat related deaths among construction workers. The key to preventing those deaths in prison is to provide the inmates with plenty of drinking water and to restrict any strenuous activities during the hottest part of the day.

TDCJ, however, may not have its priorities in the right place. The department was criticized last year for spending $750,000 to build six air conditioned pig barns with ‘water misters that could lower summertime temperatures by up to 20 degrees and heaters in the winter – so the hogs would be comfortable.’ What we have here is pigs before convicts and correctional officers.

Brain Addled By Sandy Hook Shooting

katz-litter4The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting addled the brain of Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens so much that his proposals on gun control and the death penalty are downright anti-Texan, if not anti-American

I criticized some of my friends for calling Justice Stevens anti-American because he wanted to add five words to the Second Amendment – “The right of the people to keep and bear arms, when serving in the militia, shall not be infringed” – which would allow Congress to ban private gun ownership in this country. Stevens says he was so traumatized by the shooting deaths of those 20 little children that he had to call for gun controls along the lines of those in European countries where private gun ownership is all but prohibited and where the few guns allowed for hunting must be registered with the government.

Reports about his new book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, reveal that Stevens not only wants to change the Constitution so that it would become possible for the states or the federal government to ban the private ownership of guns, but barring that, he also wants to change the Constitution so that the states would be forced to run background checks on prospective gun buyers. His proposal would overturn the 1997 SCOTUS ruling that states could not be forced to participate in the background check system (Printz vs. United States).

In his book, Stevens also wants to change the Constitution in order to abolish the death penalty. And he wants to change the Constitution so that it would limit the use of guns in self-defense.

Stevens is downright anti-Texan for the changes he wants to make to the Constitution on gun control and the death penalty. And I herewith apologize to the friends I criticized for calling Stevens anti-American.  Fellas, please accept my apology!

Bad ’til the last drop…interrupted

Cop saves fleeing parolee from concrete reality.

Fortunately for one parolee, the police were there to save him from himself. Doubtless the 2nd chance is lost on him.

Costa Mesa cop snags fleeing con before potentially deadly jump

Francisco Novela is a 37-year-old Orange County parolee. He has a propensity to drive drunk and, according to LA’s Channel 2 (CBSLA.COM),  last Friday he was doing precisely that when an errant palm tree caused an impromptu stop.  His 1972 Ford Ranger was disabled–The palm and Novela remained standing.

The collision happened within earshot of Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Center for the Arts, where police officers Jonathan Tripp and Scott Drible were on patrol.  Given that, Novella thoughtfully compared and contrasted his parole status and prior DUI’s  with the instant circumstances and decided it was wise to flee the scene. Continue reading