Our Justice System Has Gone Mad

  Our Justice System Has Gone Mad

Posted by CN Staff on January 26, 2007 at 13:05:23 PT
By Silja J.A. Talvi, The Nation 
Source: AlterNet 

USA -- Every year, American taxpayers fund an estimated $60 billion for our incarceration system. This system staples together a network of public and corporate-run jails, prisons, pre- and post-release centers, juvenile detention centers and boot camps. All together, these facilities hold well over two million human beings, locked away without public oversight or scrutiny.Yet throwing money at the perceived scourge of criminality in the United States doesn't appear to have had the desired effect: Despite the staggering incarceration statistics, violent crime has actually begun to creep up over the last two years, according to the latest FBI Uniform Crime Report.
In the last several years, some signs have emerged of an increasingly organized movement of citizens, family members of the incarcerated, independent-minded judges and correctional or criminal justice experts -- who stand in firm opposition to our punitive, nonrehabilitative incarceration system.Viewed through an optimistic lens, the United States might genuinely be at the beginning of a trend toward real criminal justice reform. Meanwhile, millions of Americans have already paid far too high a price for shortsighted penological policies. Floridian Yraida Guanipa is among them.Guanipa spent the last ten and a half years locked in federal penitentiaries in Florida, locked away from her Miami community, her extended family and two young boys.Her offense: She agreed to pick up a sealed package for a friend, which turned out to contain cocaine. Although Guanipa had never been arrested before -- and had never been a drug user -- she was hit with a thirteen-year "drug conspiracy" prison sentence on par with a sentence that a major drug trafficker would have received. Guanipa's good standing in the community, her lack of criminal background and the fact that she had a 1-year-old and a 2-year old had no impact on her sentence. The story has become sadly familiar to me, particularly as I have spent the last few years corresponding with, meeting and interviewing women like Guanipa in jails and prisons across the country. In the decade of her imprisonment, Guanipa witnessed two suicides; countless incidents of medical negligence; the brutality of prison retaliation; and the everyday reality of sexual relations between male guards and female inmates.Guanipa became an outspoken advocate for other prisoners as a self-educated jailhouse lawyer, but most prisoners talk about retreating within themselves to try to survive the ordeal. Concern for collective well-being is difficult, if not impossible, when individual survival is on the line."Unfortunately, that's what prison does to us," Guanipa explains. "It takes the human feelings out of our body, and we just try to survive." Tasteless films like Let's Go to Prison notwithstanding, what really goes on in prisons is still a mystery to most Americans, as are the immeasurable collateral consequences of incarceration on families and communities. Arrest and incarceration are woven into the fabric of American life: Today, a black man has one chance in three of ending up in prison at some point in his life, and is more likely to go to prison than to graduate from college.According to the latest statistics from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the US prison and jail population hit a new high of 2,193,798 men and women at the end of 2005, representing a 2.7 percent increase over the previous year. A record number of more than 200,000 women are now doing time behind bars -- an estimated 80 percent of whom are mothers. Analysis by the Women's Prison Association has shown that female incarceration has jumped 757 percent since 1977.More than 95,000 juveniles are also in custody, held in the kinds of facilities that only seem to make their lives more troubled than they were to begin with. As one 14-year-old girl put it to me in Seattle's King County Juvenile Detention Center, "This place just teaches us to be better criminals. It's like a criminal training school." One in thirty-two US adults are now under some form of correctional supervision. Although Americans only constitute 5 percent of the world's population, one-quarter of the entire world's inmates are contained in our jails and prisons, something that baffles other democratic societies that have typically used prisons as a measure of last resort, especially for nonviolent offenders. But mass incarceration in America remains a nonissue, largely because of a lack of any serious or effective discourse on the part of our political leaders. At most, election season brings out the kinds of get-tough-on-crime platforms that have already given us misguided Three Strikes and mandatory-minimum sentencing laws. But there are now a few signs that today's insatiable carceral state might eventually find it harder to find bodies to fill our already dramatically overcrowded facilities. In December, 2006, a federal judge gave Republican Governor Schwarzenegger until June 2007 to devise a real plan to relieve severe overcrowding in California's thirty-three prisons. Designed to hold no more than 81,000 men and women, California's state prison system is overflowing with more than 173,000 inmates who are often crammed in eight-person cells or can be found sleeping on packed-to-capacity gym floors.A New Year's weekend riot at a Chino State Prison involved hundreds of inmates and sent more than two dozen to the hospital. Schwarzenegger has already authorized shipment of California inmates to private prisons in other states as well as more money for building new prisons. Thankfully, this approach has failed to pass muster with the federal court that could step in to order early release of prisoners unless more productive solutions are found to further alleviate overcrowding. "I think the climate [for reform] has opened up," says Marc Mauer, executive director of The Sentencing Project, a Washington-based advocacy organization. "The issue is less emotional and politicized right now. " Part of the reason for the slight climate shift has to do with the fact that taxpayers are growing increasingly tired of throwing money into fiscal sinkhole of multibillion-dollar corrections budgets. (California's corrections budget is a whopping $8.75 billion, yet two-thirds of prisoners still end up back in prison.) And then there is the fact that adult and juvenile violent crime rates have, until recently, been on an overall decline since 1993, and the hysteria generated by the crack cocaine epidemic has finally died down to a dull ebb.As the public has slowly gained an understanding of serious drug abuse as a health and addiction issue, millions of American voters have signaled their own dissatisfaction with the one-size-fits-all-punishment model, voting for treatment diversion programs in a number of states, including the highly successful Proposition 36 in California. Civil rights/liberties organizations ranging from the ACLU to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (the organization was instrumental in reversing convictions resulting from the Tulia, Texas, drug round-ups of primarily black citizens based on the uncorroborated accusations of one police officer), have made it clear that the grossly disproportionate incarceration of people of color and poor people should be an urgent, front-burner issue for the country as a whole. In December, 2006, the subject of what it might take to dismantle the American carceral system brought some 500 attendees to New York City. The conference, "Punishment: The U.S. Record," was organized by The New School for Social Research. The event brought together the likes of renowned Princeton sociologist Bruce Western, US District Court Judge Nancy Gertner and Stephen Bright, president and senior counsel of the Southern Center for Human Rights, in a unified call for radical, systemic change in the criminal justice system.From Judge Gertner's perspective, this change necessitates a "re-education" of the judiciary, reclaiming their independence in a criminal justice system that has favored strict guidelines over judicial discretion -- especially in drug cases -- since the passage of the Reagan-era Anti-Drug Abuse Act in 1986, the law that established the 100-to-one crack-to-powder cocaine sentencing disparity. With a new Democratic majority in Congress, a number of pending bills do seek to right some of the legislative wrongs of the past. Democratic Representative Charles Rangel has introduced HR 2456, the Crack -Cocaine Equitable Sentencing Act, introduced in 2005 and still in committee, which would equalize the drug-quantity ratio and eliminate the mandatory minimum for simple possession. Even some conservatives have moved forward on criminal justice reform. Republican Senator Jeff Sessions's S 3725, the Drug Sentencing Reform Act, introduced in 2006, would reduce the drug quantity ratio to a twenty-to-one disparity and mandatory sentence for simple possession to one year.Marie Gottschalk, author of The Prison and the Gallows: The Politics of Mass Incarceration in America, cautioned progressives to remember that most political leaders have been slow to enact any significant reforms for fear of seeming weak on public safety issues. In some cases, she said, some of the most regressive legislation and leaps in incarceration numbers have actually occurred under Democratic stewardship, as was the case under former California Governor Gray Davis (with his unapologetically strong allegiance to the state's prison guard union, CCPOA) and President Clinton's signing of the 1996 Prison Litigation Reform Act, which severely limited legal recourse for prisoners to appeal and their ability to plead for relief for abuses suffered while incarcerated.While many people working in corrections take their jobs seriously, abusive or negligent behavior is a fact of prison life, as are sexual exploitation and violence, the use of restraint chairs, and chemical and electric weapons. Racism and race-based housing has contributed to major prison riots; extended use of supermax-style isolation cells; and shoddy and/or life-threatening medical care are all common problems. Add to this the fact that more than half of all prison and jail inmates report struggling with mild to severe mental-health problems, whose periods of incarceration only tend to exacerbate pre-existing problems.Back at FCI Coleman in Central Florida, the relief that accompanied Guanipa's move to a halfway house last month -- and her eventual release to the "free world" six months from now -- is tempered by the knowledge of those she's leaving behind to face the day-to-day struggles of prison life."The hardships we endure here will be part of our lives when we are released," she says. Silja J.A. Talvi is a senior editor at In These Times. -- -- Her work appears in the anthology, "Prison Nation" (Routledge, 2003). Source: AlterNet (US)Author:  Silja J.A. Talvi, The NationPublished: January 26, 2007Copyright: 2007 Independent Media InstituteContact: letters Website: Justice Archives

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Comment #90 posted by Toker00 on February 01, 2007 at 02:57:05 PT
Exactly. It's like looking at a connect a dot picture. If you look at all the dots at once, you can't see the picture, but if you look from one dot to the next, you can see the picture form. Patience. The lubricant of education.Toke.
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Comment #89 posted by FoM on January 31, 2007 at 15:50:41 PT
You're so very correct. I have talked with people just a little about one or another issues and they seem to get it. I was a riding instructor. The hardest thing for someone to do that has experience in a field is to almost forget what you know and think what it was like when you first started. When you can go back to the beginning you can help a student learn. You can yell and scream and preach but it is the simple lets talk that always was effective for me even with the most timid child. I said that to say this. When a person is bombarded with too much they tune out. If you can make just one good point it makes their curiosity spike. That is how I do it. It seems that's what you are doing too. Each person must connect the dots themselves.
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Comment #88 posted by Toker00 on January 31, 2007 at 15:00:33 PT
nuevo mexican
That's cool. I like your enthusiasm. Believe me, if there was something we could all do simultaneously together, to end this Global cluster f**k, we would have done it. The trick is not to just to make people aware of what is going on, but to keep them aware. I constantly bring up 9-11 at work, medical cannabis, the Neo-con Agenda, all things that matter to all of us. When I first began talking with them about these things it didn't take long to burn them out, because they are not the type people to go off into the Internet like we all do. The Truth is incredible to people who are still brainwashed. A little information at a time now gets them asking questions. Ones that I can answer thanks to my education over the last seven years of REALITY, and the constant reinforcement of links provided by not in the least, mayan, and all others...that's why I luuuuuuuuuvvvvvvvv this place! Corporate bridge is falling down,falling down, falling down.Toke. 
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Comment #87 posted by FoM on January 30, 2007 at 21:52:41 PT
I have been reading the articles about Barbaro. When he foundered I knew he wouldn't live very long. I thought you might like to see it. I hope they make a movie. It could be another Phar Lap in a way.Barbaro's Death Brings Focus To Laminitis Disease in Horses
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Comment #86 posted by FoM on January 30, 2007 at 12:46:23 PT
More Off Topic News
Senators Assert Right to Block Bush’s Iraq Plan *** January 30, 2007Washington, DC -- The Senate Judiciary Committee began laying the constitutional groundwork today for an effort to block President Bush’s plan to send more troops to Iraq and put new limits on the conduct of the war there, perhaps forcing a withdrawal of American forces from Iraq. Democrats on the committee were joined by Senator Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican who led the panel for the last two years, in asserting that Mr. Bush cannot simply ignore Congressional opposition to his plan to send 21,500 additional troops to Iraq. “I would respectfully suggest to the President that he is not the sole decider,” Mr. Specter said. “The decider is a joint and shared responsibility.”Complete Article:
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Comment #85 posted by FoM on January 30, 2007 at 12:17:50 PT
Off Topic
Chairman: Bush Officials Misled Public on Global Warming
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Comment #84 posted by nuevo mexican on January 30, 2007 at 10:32:20 PT
All's well that ends well!
No disrespect to anyone here, just hearing only a few voices here and there is unusual, you all know who you are! Thanks for your input as always!I wasn't taunting, If I was, I apologiae, I love everyone here, and am used to commentors showing up to share their thoughts. Just wondering where you guys were!
Of course many of us here have lots of rallies, protests, and activism, behind us, what I am saying is we really have the momentum, it's not being reflected here, it slightly disturbs me, as FOM was saying, Sorry Hope, nothing was directed at you, or anyone specifically, I'm sure people post here when they have the time.Turns out the 'agreed upon' figure for the gathering was around 500,000, according to, nice, and from all the photos at, a great time was had by all!DC Protest - MASSIVE Photo Diary (with definitive diary links collection) Marches Draw Hundreds of Thousands
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Comment #83 posted by Hope on January 30, 2007 at 09:09:51 PT
Americans wanting to be free...
I can't see into the future. I don't know how bad it will get before we will see things get better. I do realize that so many people are getting sick of it. If the government doesn't mend it's coercion by fear and punishment ways, soon...something will undoubtedly happen. I'd like to see it happen because of reason and integrity on the part of our lawmakers. It's the government that has turned criminal. Killing, maiming, and jailing innocent people is the crime....and it's oh so real. On what scale or methods, change will come, I don't know. But the sorrow, waste, and destruction of it all hasn't reached the places of power yet...apparently. If our leaders don't wise up and give some of our rights back to us...there will be a breaking point. I can't understand why they don't see that. The government is abusing and killing innocent people like a violent spouse or parent. The abused, if they survive, eventually have to reach the point of resistance, and sometimes, worse. Media needs to make lists of all the innocent people killed and suffering because of the so called, "War on Drugs", and keep them plastered on TV and newspapers and magazines continuously until this travesty is ended. If they keep it in everyone's faces all the time...things will change...for the better. So far the mainstream media hasn't brought that up or made the mainstream completely aware of what is happening.The media has more power to change things than the so called leaders in congress, I think. They are capable of putting pressure on the lawmakers and keeping it there until they see the light.So far though, they've just blasted and deceived the public with government propaganda. Maybe the government controlled worm that the media has become will turn and do what the media can do so well, if they will. Peace and freedom can do wonders for civilization. I wish they'd give it a real try.
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Comment #82 posted by museman on January 29, 2007 at 22:36:06 PT
Nobody is a target if we are all in it together, it's only those few who get out in front and claim to represent us that are the targets. If we the people rise together, without 'leaders' to target who can stop us?Do I believe it can be done without bloodshed? Most definitely. Do I believe enough americans can stand up united to do it? Yes I do. Do I believe they will? The jury is still out on that one.
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Comment #81 posted by Hope on January 29, 2007 at 20:09:45 PT
Ekim and Museman
Yes, Ekim, I did see that. Thank you. Museman. You took my breath away again!The man in Tienanamin Square? I just haven't got what it takes to make that kind of target of myself. 
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Comment #80 posted by museman on January 29, 2007 at 14:28:59 PT
a proposition
As a rainbow-gatherer from way back, knowing that every year an American state is picked in 'vision council' for the next national gathering site;I hereby propose that we have the 2008 National Rainbow Gathering in Washington DC - the state that really needs to get it. I am sending that request, either in person or by proxy to this years gathering.
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Comment #79 posted by museman on January 29, 2007 at 13:38:43 PT
re: #75
"Yes...Freedom is worth dieing for. Freedom of future generations is worth dieing for. I just don't want us to run right up to them and literally make shooting targets of ourselves. They'd kill us and call it a good thing."What about that one brave guy who stood in front of the tank in Tienanamin Square? I'm sure he was literally holding his breath waiting for the death blow, as he stood there with that bag of groceries. And he failed to stop the massacre, but the whole world saw that man's bravery and conviction. Out of that one true expression, much inspiration has been gathered. And because of it China is changing.So if the people march into THEIR government houses and demand immediate change, they can expect THEIR armed forces and police to 'shoot them down?' Maybe, but maybe not. Since no one has actually done that, we can't know. Of course the fact that the gov has put up defensible barriers around the houses of government, makes it just a bit more difficult, and if we'd done it when we still had the chance -over the last 30 years- it would have been a lot less of a chance for them to shoot at us.Because over all we settled for material success, and comfort over taking responsibility for OUR failed government, -and now it's going to be a whole lot harder- we should just accept our unfortunate lot and go back to work for the beast and it's wealth?Sacrifice, unfortunately is a pre-requisite for true change, and I'm sorry, but 600,000 people taking a couple days off from their service to the beast they claim to protest, just doesn't impress me. Now if they all quit their jobs, and stayed there, sticking to their guns for more than a few hours, I'd not only be impressed, I'd more than likely hitch-hike to join them ('cause I surely can't afford the gas.)Somebody might have to die. Many have already. If we are so afraid of our government, then lets stop pretending we are a 'free nation.' And if that is the case, (and it is) the only way we are going to get it back is by just taking it back, plain and simple.It cannot be done violently, it's not about 'overthrow.' Our constitution says we have the right to 'redress our government.' The supposed base of our 'constitutional philosophy' states that the people have the final say. We have truth, righteousness, common sense, and the constitution to back us up -much more than the chinese had in Tienanamin Square, much more than Russia when they threw off communism, much more than the EZLN in Mexico, much more than a lot of struggling peoples who knew what they were struggling against.We have so much. We have gotten so comfortable and complacent, as soon as our comfort zone is seriously threatened, we turn away and hide behind our jobs, our self-important time, make every excuse available, and of course stand around and complain about how messed up it is.Everyone is entitled to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, but when it gets whittled down to just 'life' with no possibilty of true liberty to pursue happiness, it's just a big prison with color TV.I have a sister who no longer talks to me because I stated similar sentiments during the San Fransisco protests in '03.
But like the message I sent then, "When people are ready to get real, let me know, and I'll be there with 'em to the end." but I can see no reason to waste my time with useless effort that is proven to be "Full of sound and fury, but signifying nothing."
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Comment #78 posted by ekim on January 29, 2007 at 13:22:05 PT
have you read leaps blog latly seems Mr White wrote yesterday.
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Comment #77 posted by Hope on January 29, 2007 at 12:47:19 PT
comment 75
Of course, they'd just kill they did the far less threatening vets in 1932.They'd just mow us down and forget us.While I wonder if the "pen" is really "mightier than the sword"...I often doubt it...but it's the only weapon we can semi-safely use against those who would marginalize us as less than real humans and certainly marginalize our opinions.Sure. It's a fact that we don't matter. But enough people that "don't matter" can effectively put some push on a problem better than just a few people that "don't matter". A  bunch of people that don't matter...banded together...can get a bit more attention...and make them realize that we do indeed matter a bit more than they would like to believe.It's not like I'm a total coward...but I don't want to give them a chance to get rid of more us than they already have and that easily. Yes...Freedom is worth dieing for. Freedom of future generations is worth dieing for. I just don't want us to run right up to them and literally make shooting targets of ourselves. They'd kill us and call it a good thing. We have to accomplish our goals without causing more blood to flow...I hope. Surely we can. It will be slow...obviously...and no glory...but way fewer casualties. That seems important to me.Hamburgerized people "send a message". But I'd rather not have more blood than is in the "ink" already and it's impossible to actually speak and defend if we're turned to hamburger, aka, dead meat.No more martyrs. No more blood shed. No more lives lost. Victory without a river of blood...that's my goal.
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Comment #76 posted by FoM on January 29, 2007 at 12:31:39 PT
I know what you mean and I so agree with you at how you feel about animals. I never had trouble connecting with animals but I did with people. It basically guided most of my adult life. Laminitis is a recurring and very painful problem. It would be like tearing a fingernail totally off and trying to walk on it. I lost a horse to laminitis and saw him suffer in always worse stages until he was finally put down.
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Comment #75 posted by museman on January 29, 2007 at 12:29:30 PT
message from the next generation
In a conversation that just reslulted from this thread, a young man of about 19 put it into real perspective;he said' "If we're gonna march, lets march on congress or the senate, and take it back."Now that's a real option not too many Americans would take. They'd rather keep the status quo than take any REAL chances, and make any REAL effect.
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Comment #74 posted by museman on January 29, 2007 at 12:12:30 PT
It's a great page in history, if it is ever written the way it was.Personally, to me protests are an act of desperation. I suppose that for many who cannot find a workable solution to the fact that our empire is a well established Babylonian Harlot of Biblical proportions, which literally revels in blood, oil, real estate, and the resulting income from death and destrruction, protests seem like the only thing to do.Not that there isn't a need for education, knowledge and wisdom in the world, or a quick address of the current illegal war. All wars should end, all over the planet.
War should end between the husband and the wife, between the father and the son. There should not be war between neighbors, but there is. And if course the stupidity if the WOD can be added to the long list of wars both foreign and domestic.Why should I esteem one war over the next?To think that anyone in this forum upholds any of these conflicts by merely not posting praise or something for an event, that though it might be impressive, is certainly no guarantee of anything, other than a great big mob psyche patting itself on the back for showing up... to think that is quite an ignorant assumption. Maybe we were out protesting?The message was there for sure - but you know, I don't want to 'send' any more 'messages'. I keep hearin' the media going on about how all these 'messages' are being sent, but not one thing about them being 'recieved.' And even if the monkey himself were to say 'message recieved' who would believe it, and what difference would it really make?I suggest the celebration be saved until the troops are home, bush and the rest of 'em are out of office -one way or the other, and Americans make a real decision to take back our country.To me protests just say; "We are pissed off! But since we don't have any REAL power all we can do is yell and wave signs around."I may be an American citizen (which doesn't evoke a lot of pride anyway) but my greater allegiance is to mankind, so just because foolish parents allowed their children to participate in such a debacle, doesn't make me feel more compassion towards them than I feel towards the much more numerous casualties, death and destruction heaped on Iraqui innoence as well as mititary.I watched the protests against Nam. Participated in a few of 'em myself. At the time I was filled with a lot of piss and vinegar, and a lot of obviously misplaced hope about my own generation actually getting the job done.Well, Vietnam was ended in a mad scramble, we all cheered, and then most of us bought into the very system that has brought us to this point.
People think that it was the protests that ended the war, when really it was just 2 guys who got the goods on Nixon (and the brave night watchman). When Nixon got backed into the corner by Watergate, he started throwing bones to the mad crowd.Has anyone got the goods on Bush? Oh we know that he and his cronies, and the shadow gov pulling their strings set up 9/11, yet has there been any 'undeniable' facts to bring it on home? Maybe, but since we are all dependent on the corrupted system to deal honestly with the information, might as well expect your dog to 'watch the steak.'So, maybe we get rid of bush, bring home the forever scarred troops and put them to work in our burgeoning police state, what then? Are we done? Time to go back to work? Business as usual? Gotta get those retirement funds. Gotta have that house, that car, that wide-screen, and the new Apple laptop. Those are American priorities. And history so far proves me correct.I am sure this will find comment.
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Comment #73 posted by Hope on January 29, 2007 at 11:58:42 PT
But of course, sometimes they "say",
"I love you!" "You are the greatest!" "Where have you been? I've missed you so much!" and of course, "I trust you."
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Comment #72 posted by Hope on January 29, 2007 at 11:55:49 PT
They tried to save him, for sure. I'll grant them that.Living around horses and other animals all my life, it always hurt me incredibly for one to be put down. I tend to make pets of all of them and have cared for more than a few crippled or injured animals during my life. So it hurts me, but I do realize, especially now that I'm older, that sometimes it may be the only way to relieve an animal of it's suffering. On the other hand...I still have my child like view of animals and loving and caring for them. I can't help but believe, if Barbaro wasn't suffering pain, that there is a twelve year old girl somewhere that would dedicate herself to making that horse comfortable and loved for how ever long he lived. But he's a valuable animal and they don't give them away...even if they can't use them anymore.I often wish I didn't have such a connection and understanding of animals. I can't walk out to the corral and see a herd of dumb animals standing there. I often wish I could. I see Big Mama and Speckled Cow, and Frosty, and Salty and Bubba, and Stardust, and all the rest. They communicate with me with their eyes and mannerisms and sounds. It would be easier if I weren't a cow whisperer or horse whisperer or dog whisperer.They aren't just standing around. They are saying, "Feed us that good stuff, please." "Why are you giving us this crummy hay now? Don't you know it's crummy?" "I want in that pasture and not this one. Why won't you help me?"Aaargh. I had a pony once who really wanted to be a "house pony". For real. Animals can be so amazing and they can break your heart, as you all know, when you lose them.Aaargh. Aaargh.
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Comment #71 posted by FoM on January 29, 2007 at 11:20:53 PT
Thank you for the information on Barbaro. They really tried. It's not easy to work with large animals. I have great respect for the profession. Years ago I went to New Bolton Center in Pa and it was remarkable even back then.
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Comment #70 posted by Hope on January 29, 2007 at 10:12:27 PT
The War
Dang! Nuevo Mexican! You diss your friends with that taunting. It does kind of hurt my feelings that you would chastise us for not commenting on the protests. Nothing about being taunted draws me to the one doing the taunting or his ideas. Nothing.After the breath taking blow of realizing what was happening, I've barely got my breath back enough to speak out against prohibition. I haven't gotten my breath back from the hard hit of this war. If there was something I could say or do that would bring our soldiers home and our country to peace again...I would do it. I hate this war. I hated it when it was threatening. I hated when it was starting and I hate it every day. Blood and guts and shattered bone everywhere. People blown to smithereens...their blood and insides on the outside and the horror, and pain, and fear. People crying. People dieing and being maimed. Children suffering and being killed. Idiots backing it.I believe in self defense...but the wars we've been involved in had little to do with self defense. I certainly don't believe in "pre-emptive strikes". That would be like taking my self defense weapon down the street and busting in that guys house that I thought looked at me a bit threateningly, and shooting him or holding him hostage.I am grief stricken, horrified, and dismayed. The pain, the suffering, the loss of life and freedom. I can hardly bear to think of it. But I do think of it and I do care. I care very much. Peace is such a precious thing. I don't understand how some people can not know that. But I know they exist. I know that some people make their living off war...just like some people make their living off prohibition. Some will learn about Peace...from the sorrow and grief that splashes back on them from the war...and some will know about Peace from being thrust into the heat of the battles and bloodshed and mayhem and horror, themselves.I didn't comment on it because I've barely gotten to look at the computer this weekend...much less comment. I had to work this weekend because I was needed to help some of my family. I couldn't have gone to Washington anyway. But I'm so thrilled that people who could, did. I know it was a real hardship for many of them. I appreciate it.My comment would be basically...I so thank God for the wonderful people that were able to get themselves to that march and make it too big to be ignored. God knows I'm thankful for them. By the way, Barbaro was euthanized this morning.
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Comment #69 posted by FoM on January 29, 2007 at 09:39:24 PT
nuevo mexican
It's not that bad but I do wonder why no one talks about the war. Some people are happy the war is getting worse. Remember Armageddon is wanted by some on the Christian Right. They want to be raptured and they believe the closer we get to the War in Jerusalem the sooner they are out of here. The problem with believing that way is many generations have quietly and probably unknowingly made a war worse and then no rapture. it could be that people hate Democrats so much that they won't comment on anything about the War because then they'll be acting like one of the fuzzy headed liberals.
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Comment #68 posted by Toker00 on January 29, 2007 at 09:23:00 PT
nuevo mexican
I don't think that was called for. What are you doing so great that you have to come here and heckle us? Only two exceptions, Mayan and Observer? So the rest of us are just chopped liver? I would deny Mayan and Observer nothing. I have a spare bedroom filled with anti-war protest signs and Impeach Bush signs and regularly attend protests. Cat ain't never had my tongue. In fact, I said there would be hundreds of thousands people show for the protests, and I was right. Why are you attacking C-Newsers? I don't get it.Toke.
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Comment #67 posted by nuevo mexican on January 29, 2007 at 08:45:52 PT
Yeah, like whats' up C-Newsers!
Cat got your tongues? LOL!Your so right FOM, we are so compassionate, (but are we really?).If you are not active against the war, Cannabis activism will have no effect, as you need to be able to hold your government accountable, before you can have a government that is accountable, and we are NOT doing that!What's up C-Newsers, Mayan and Observer do their homework EVERY DAY!What's up C-Newsers, you been called out on you lack of activism! What's up C-Newsers, afraid bush is gonna bust your ass?Thanks FOM, your the greatest!
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Comment #66 posted by FoM on January 29, 2007 at 07:53:42 PT
nuevo mexican 
I was so impressed with the March. The people looked like the America that I love. Kind, intelligent, all different ages and races. It's was truly a beautiful picture to see. One thing I will never understand is how can people who want to change the unjust laws on marijuana not seem to even care about the war. I sit and wonder why not more comments on the protest and it depresses me. It's like a disconnect with compassion or something like that.
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Comment #65 posted by nuevo mexican on January 29, 2007 at 07:41:26 PT
NYTimes reports 400,000, Jesse J.: 500,000!!!!
If the New York Times says 400,000, and Jesse Jackson says 500,000, you can bet there were at least a half Million protesters, and most news reports only state 'tens of thousands'. Why? Because there is Power in numbers, and they CANNOT let the truth be known!Next demo: a rented helicopter for crowd estimates, please!!!Anti-War Marches Draw Hundreds of Thousands
 Peace activists from across the United States gathered in Washington Saturday for what they said was the largest demonstration to date against the Iraq war."It's time for a new day," the Reverend Jesse Jackson told what organizers estimated as a crowd of 500,000 demonstrators gathered outside the halls of Congress on the National Mall. DC demonstration against the war in Iraq January 27 2007Check out this great photo! People in the streets, YOU ROCK!These folks are the true heroes of Democracy, keep bush on the run, he wants to nuke Iran baaaaaad!!!!!Can you feel bush wanting his nuke job? I can!This man is CHAFFING AT THE BIT, to get his rocks off, and cheneys', by leaving a legacy of destruction and permanent annihilation for our future. Can you say 'radiated'? N00/371285979/We must act now, there is NO time, the Media is pounding the Iran meme into our consciousness, it already looks like a done deal if you watch Corporate News,
(you sons of bitches, you know you've sold your souls, fess up, and resign, confess, and turn yourselves in for counseling)A great weekend to bring hope back to the world, as it will be up to the American People to stand up to bush first, then the world will follow!
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Comment #64 posted by Toker00 on January 29, 2007 at 03:44:18 PT
In defense, and then not again, I will say they taught US, the present generation at the time, about the NEED to stand up for our CIVIL rights, and that perseverance and bravery can change laws and society. Just as the Mexicans showed us up, when it comes to marcher turn-out, in our own country ( all of Americans, not just the whites ) with the immigrant issue. Black men were NOT non-violent in convincing America to face it's Racism. They still aren't.
Yes, black people are just like other oppressed groups who finally break out. For a people to break out of slavery and show others what it takes is great, no matter the skin color. I heap no more praise on one race than another. I've had some very bad issues with blacks, myself, by the way. Not all good.  Peace.Toke. 
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Comment #63 posted by FoM on January 28, 2007 at 16:52:14 PT

Heart and Soul
Don't laugh but last night we watched really old music on PBS like the songs from Dirty Dancing. I don't remember the names of the songs or who sang them but my point is they made me feel warm and comfy inside. I think of the scene from the Blues Brothers in Church with James Browne as the preacher and doing cartwheels and dancing. That is what I mean by Heart and Soul.
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Comment #62 posted by museman on January 28, 2007 at 15:52:49 PT

Man, I really don't want to linger on this subject, but I feel obligated to point out - the achievements of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement aside; People have been 'marching' and demonstrating against corrupt governments and government sponsored social attitudes, since Yashua came and told us we were free.Before Ghandi it was mostly violent, it's true, but not entirely so, history plays favorites.How many citizens have marched to demand recognition from the government or redress?How about the WW I vets who marched peacefully on the white house in 1932? have the untmost respect and honor for the greatness of Martin Luthor King Jr. - I heard him speak once, but to attribute peaceful forms of dissent to the black man and the civil rights movement (which included white people in it's organization) is just incorrect.
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Comment #61 posted by Toker00 on January 28, 2007 at 15:06:51 PT

Thanks, FoM
Yep. Those are Texas Grandmas. They'll walk on you with their boots if you mess their Grand kids, but talk to ya with honey in their voices if they want something done! Ha! I love 'em. That's kool they weren't hippies. Few of us really were. They are anti-war, and that's good enough for me. Thanks.Interesting thought, rchandar, and I can vouch for it. Who taught us how to march? Who showed us the courage to at least try to fight back? Who are visibly armed in Public (Right or Wrong) to protect their leaders? When you call a black man's hand, you better have a very good hand. They don't BS about some things. But FoM, you are right about Heart and Soul. There have been many Good black people in my life. Helped me out of some scrapes. Toke.
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Comment #60 posted by museman on January 28, 2007 at 14:48:44 PT

re: #57
"I think the big reason they lock up so many black men is because they really are a dangerous threat to society. As in, they're the only people who wear their convictions, who show joy, who are honest in rejecting the racism and chauvinism of the system. Most whites who are like that, to me, probably learned this from black people."I actually find more contention with that statement than agreement.A. In my various experiences with black folks, from having them rob and beat someone right in front of me, over a penny, to having many black friends, a few of them good friends, I am relatively sure that they don't 'show' any more or less 'joy' than white folk (or anyone)who aren't all caught up in themselves.B. Honest in rejecting racism? Some are, some aren't, just like white people or any other 'race.'C. People who learned truth learned it from God, not just 'from black people,' sorry.The truth is, 'they' are a threat to the 'status quo', not society -accept that part of society which upholds it-, because of their culture - which for many reasons -not the least of is a deep racial tension relating to slavery and other past indignations forced upon them by a richman white dominance, does not fit in with 'the program.' Neither do 'Hippies' or other unrecognised 'minorities'.I had a US Government official state - in an inquiry about health and safety violations, and it's resulting discrimination against a group of us because we had long hair- the guy said and I quote (sorry for any offence) "Don't you know hippies are lower than niggers?"Racism and prejudice is a many sided phenomenon, and is certainly not exclusive to white people, nor is any other human attribute or failing.Poverty and greed are the real reason why so many poor black men are in prison. Their poverty, and the greed of a state run by corporate puppets. Wanting to have the same things as the rich, and violating the rich mans laws, can get one behind their bars, regardless of race - if funding for lawyers is not available. In other words if you're poor, it don't matter whether you are black, white, yellow, or brown - if you aren't willing to be a good little slave ("citizen") then like as not you'll get to visit their institutions. Unfortunately, a poor white man will get more lenience because most judges and lawyers are white.
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Comment #59 posted by FoM on January 28, 2007 at 08:20:59 PT

Off Topic Good News
B.B. King Is Alive And Well … Phew
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Comment #58 posted by FoM on January 28, 2007 at 08:17:35 PT

I understand what you are saying. Black people have heart and soul. B.B. King was hospitalized I read.
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Comment #57 posted by rchandar on January 28, 2007 at 07:49:52 PT:

My thoughts
I think the big reason they lock up so many black men is because they really are a dangerous threat to society. As in, they're the only people who wear their convictions, who show joy, who are honest in rejecting the racism and chauvinism of the system. Most whites who are like that, to me, probably learned this from black people.Whites that are in control--the ones who are the puppeteers--are a cold-hearted, crude and sometimes sinister lot. The ones who fight that system are nothing short of beautiful.--rchandar
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Comment #56 posted by FoM on January 28, 2007 at 07:36:59 PT

This article is for you.At D.C. Rally, Texans Opposed To The War Make Voices HeardPictures and Audio: 
WASHINGTON -- Leslie Harris, 56, describes herself as "a ballet mom" from Flower Mound. She drives a minivan and was raised as a Republican "until I had an awakening."URL:
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Comment #55 posted by FoM on January 28, 2007 at 07:00:27 PT

Interesting links and video. I believe that yesterday was a new beginning and the whole movement will grow as we unfortunately see more death in Iraq. As I write this I think of the families that will see a military person come to their door to tell them their family member has been killed in the line of duty. After the death toll rises more will get involved and if the draft is brought back out of necessity then people will care. 
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Comment #54 posted by Toker00 on January 28, 2007 at 04:46:57 PT

Great Symbolic Gesture
We have given them the backbone, but will they have the guts to use it? Somehow, I doubt they will unless we show them how.
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Comment #53 posted by Toker00 on January 28, 2007 at 04:34:44 PT

Matt Bor's Comics
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Comment #52 posted by Toker00 on January 28, 2007 at 04:04:28 PT

Lyrics and Concept by Marc Emory
Is this our Marc? HOME HOME ON THE RANGE.
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Comment #51 posted by Toker00 on January 28, 2007 at 03:27:31 PT

OT: Protest related. NYCLU
City Cannot Block Release of NYPD Materials from Republican National ConventionA federal judge last week rejected the city's attempt to block the New York Civil Liberties Union from making public extensive information on the mass arrests and detentions that occurred during the 2004 Republic National Convention.In a sweeping decision, federal judge James C. Francis IV ruled that the NYCLU is free to release NYPD documents, deposition testimony, and videotapes about all aspects of the Convention, including mass arrests and various policies deployed by the Department during the Convention."The public has an important interest in knowing what was behind the NYPD's mass arrest and detention of protesters during the Convention," said NYCLU Associate Legal Director Christopher Dunn, lead counsel in the Convention cases.The NYCLU filed two lawsuits in October 2004 challenging mass arrest, prolonged detention, and fingerprinting of Convention protesters. In pre-trial discovery, the NYCLU collected thousands of pages of city documents, recorded sworn testimony of many high-level Department officials, and obtained many NYPD videotapes taken of protest activity. City officials attempted to prevent the NYCLU from releasing the voluminous materials, but last week’s ruling clears the way to make the information public as soon as possible. More:
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Comment #50 posted by FoM on January 27, 2007 at 15:59:46 PT

nuevo mexican
The number game. I don't care what they say about the numbers. Numbers must be a right wing thing to re-direct people's thoughts from the amazing people who went to the rallies wherever they were. I read on your link that some people haven't gotten over Jane Fonda. Maybe that's what Obama meant in that one article in the New York Times. Vietnam was special because we had a Draft. Vietnam we had 500,000 troops In Country. Our death toll was at the end 50,000 soldiers and millions of Vietnamese. Those were very angry times. This war has volunteers and no draft. Jane Fonda whatever she did it's over and I am glad she had the nerve to speak today. She is rich and famous so why would she put herself in front of the cameras unless she had to do it for her conscience? She is almost 70 years old. I don't compare Korea or any World Wars with Vietnam and we shouldn't tolerate it this time I believe.
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Comment #49 posted by nuevo mexican on January 27, 2007 at 14:04:21 PT

600,000 attend rally according to reports!
From the big blog Daily Kos, the bloggers blog!UPDATE #4 and 20 seconds later...:--from Dania Audax--Timroff called back, having just spoke to an organizer. It is estimated the protesters number 600,000.UPDATE #4: --from Dania Audax--Timroff says that the march is finally underway, and our Kossacks are in a human traffic jam of epic proportions. They are following a giant spine.Everyone is very happy to hear that this diary is still on the recco list.Something happened to Timroff's camera, I will let you know whether or not there will be more pictures of our brave contingent. the numbers get downplayed by the obedient bush cowering media, as 'thousands'!If not, the Cat is truly out of the bag!What a day for peace!
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Comment #48 posted by museman on January 27, 2007 at 12:38:03 PT

A dialogue?
Yes lets open a 'dialogue' to discuss the gross imbalance of 'criminals' vs 'non criminals,' and where we keep them.Lets start by asking the questions;"Why do we have the highest prison population - per capita - than any other nation in the world?"Why is it that poor minorities - most especially black, end up being the bulk of the prison/jail/juvenile facilities/foster home/population?""Why is the punative system operated as a 'managed by profit' corporation, instead of rehabilitate and release?""Why are non-violent victimless 'crimes' the number one priority and prosecution of our 'justice' system?""Why do the REAL criminals get away with every crime ever invented by man, plus a few we don't know about yet, while living a life of luxury off the backs of the hard working common man?""Why are the so called "protectors and servers" of civil society consistently composed mostly of killers and miscreants who delight in their ability to perform criminal actions, and indulge in predatory behavior, 'legally'?""Why does a non-representing 'representative' get paid an equivalent of several hundreds of dollars an hour for not doing their job, while the man on the street working his ass off, that they are supposed to be 'representing' is only entitled to a 'minimum wage' which is still not enough for a single individual to make a living (and our 'new congress' failed to change that) ?"To me the answer is the same to every question, but I don't think that people are as ready to get real about dealing with the sources of the problems, as some might think.However, there's a whole lot of people out there trying real hard to make some kind of difference, and progress in understanding and consciousness is slowly dawning -like the new age we are finding ourselves in, as nuevo mexican reminded.I don't think that having a dialogue with the keepers of the status quo, is going to amount to much except giving them names and addresses.The dialogue that needs to happen has already begun, and if all those out of touch idiots who call themselves 'representatives of the people' want to have a 'dialogue or discussion' then they need to get down off their thrones and join the rest of us "People".

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Comment #47 posted by Richard Zuckerman on January 27, 2007 at 12:29:02 PT:

Drug arrests should be deprioritized for law enforcement resources to be directed towards serious malum in se crimes. As far as I am concerned, the fiscal burdens from funding law enforcement for drug arrests is the most serious criticism of the "broken windows" theory of criminal justice, legalistic method of law enforcement. The State of New Jersey has not even seriously considered deprioritizing drug arrests, though, as New Jersey Governor has not mentioned mentioned the plausibility of legalizing, regulating and taxing "Marijuana", as he announces his wishful thinking bullshit while grappling with the problem of reducing property taxes. One of my local elected representatives, N.J. General Assembly member Upendra Chivukula, (Phone)(732) 247-3999, recently wrote an essay concerning property taxes, without mentioning the tax burden of accomodating illegal immigrants.
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Comment #46 posted by FoM on January 27, 2007 at 11:14:22 PT

News from The Washington Post
Tens of Thousands Rally in D.C. for Troop Withdrawal***By Michael E. Ruane, Washington Post Staff WriterSaturday, January 27, 2007Tens of thousands of demonstrators from across the country converged on the Mall in Washington today to urge the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq as President Bush is proposing to send more troops in an effort to stabilize the country.The event, which appeared to draw fewer than the 100,000 people that authorities had said might come, began with a rally at 11 a.m. Among those expected to address the crowd are Jane Fonda, Danny Glover, Susan Sarandon and Jesse Jackson.URL:
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Comment #45 posted by Toker00 on January 27, 2007 at 10:50:11 PT

 This is so cool!
Carl Rove Busted!Hey Bush! Can ya hear us NOW???
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Comment #44 posted by The GCW on January 27, 2007 at 10:04:43 PT

Ex-Cheney Aide Shares Media Manipulation
Ex-Cheney Aide Shares Media Manipulation
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Comment #43 posted by Toker00 on January 27, 2007 at 10:02:38 PT

CODE PINK!!!!!!!
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Comment #42 posted by Toker00 on January 27, 2007 at 10:00:55 PT

LET ME HEAR YOU SCREAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Comment #41 posted by FoM on January 27, 2007 at 09:57:33 PT

nuevo mexican 
Rocky Anderson was great. I have been fighting back tears as I watch the protest. I am clapping along like someone other then my husband can hear it. I am trying not to get to upset so I don't get sick again but darn is it hard not to get fired up. This is the America I love. Nothing less then what I am seeing today in Washington means anything to me. 
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Comment #40 posted by nuevo mexican on January 27, 2007 at 09:46:18 PT

Rocky Anderson goes all the way!
WoW! Did you hear that from Rocky Anderson!He nailed EVERYTHING!With his anger, and Dennis' peaceful, positive approach, good cop/bad cop thingy, these two, along with Maxine Waters, who is the living MLK, imho, not even Jesse Jackson or Obama have her fire, are the real spokes-people for the American people and NOT the American Corpocracy!Do you hear this Corprocrats! Resign, and take your portfolios with you, and you multi-million dollar retirement funds, and find yourself in a permanent hell of your own making! As that will be the outcome of your actions!bush has gone way too far, and anyone who can't see that, will soon!Glad your watching FOM, peace has been my life mission, and peace though Cannabis is my path!Here's the forecast I sent out today!Venus at 29 degrees Aquarius!!!A great day to stop the war of occupation in Iraq AND stop bush from Nuk-ing Iran!If we don't, no one will, you can BET on THAT prediction!I would be irresponsible as an Astrologer NOT to give my clients a 'heads up' on the futureTHAT YOU ARE CREATING!So take your power back, and manifest Peace on Earth or we will have the opposite!If you are too young to remember, and some of you may be, we are in 'the Age of Aquarius', which lasts for 2000 years, and every year we go through the sign of Aquarius, we embrace the principles of that sign, and Aquarius is HUMANITY, and humanitarianism, altruism, world peace, and alternative energy, sustainable living and lifestyles, that are NOT based on consumption, fashion, limited access to news, being told to 'be careful of what you say', and everything we've experienced in the last 6 years.It's OVER folks, the WAR PARADYM is DONE, and Pluto SAYS SO!The Sixties are back, they never left, are are back with a vengeance!Time to eat healthy food, think healthy thoughts, eliminate all FEAR from your consciousness, and BELIEVE in the power of LOVE, as that is ALL there is!Peace be with you!

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Comment #39 posted by FoM on January 27, 2007 at 08:55:33 PT

nuevo mexican
I like different Democrats for different reasons. I like Obama because he is a Diplomat. I like Dennis Kucinich because of his stand on issues of importance to me. I like Al Gore because he has experience and cares about important earth concerns. I have no favorite at this point but I will be involved this time in politics because finally after all these years I see hope for a new direction in our country that I have wanted so much since I started doing CNews.Power to the People!
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Comment #38 posted by nuevo mexican on January 27, 2007 at 08:40:51 PT

Dennis for President, Gore heads the UN!
Dennis is always right on the money, let's get behind Dennis again, and when Al Gore throws his hat in the ring, we will team them up, won't we! President, V.P. either way, Dick Cheney has made the V.P.s office more powerful than the prez, so it won't matter now who's in what seat, will it! LOL!Ahhhh, 'the future is so bright, I gotta wear shades!'
-Timbuk Three
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Comment #37 posted by FoM on January 27, 2007 at 08:40:00 PT

Blessed Are The Peacemakers
Go Dennis!
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Comment #36 posted by FoM on January 27, 2007 at 08:38:33 PT

nuevo mexican
He won't admit it. Never forget the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. History just goes round and round but if this goes forward it won't be going around anymore, I believe.
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Comment #35 posted by nuevo mexican on January 27, 2007 at 08:35:02 PT

bush says he WON'T attack Iraq, NOT!
Prepare to stop bush NOW, as when he says one thing, he means the other! You all know this to be true, so don't think he won't do it, we...WE have to stop it, as our leaders in Congress will NOT be there for us, you can COUNT on that!Bush denies Iran attack imminent coverage on C-SPAN is excellent, and now.....DENNIS KUCINICH!!!!!!!
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Comment #34 posted by FoM on January 27, 2007 at 08:03:25 PT

C-Span: It's On Now
Time for me to stop and watch and learn. God Bless all the people who are taking a stand for Peace.
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Comment #33 posted by FoM on January 27, 2007 at 07:21:15 PT

Mayan and Everyone
MSNBC said they will be covering the DC protests. They said as many as 100,000 people will be protesting today. I don't think they meant just DC though.
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Comment #32 posted by FoM on January 27, 2007 at 07:00:51 PT

Thank you. I will turn it on soon then.
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Comment #31 posted by mayan on January 27, 2007 at 06:57:30 PT

The C-SPAN schedule says..."The beginning and end of this live program may be earlier or later than the scheduled times."Folks might want to tune in a little early!C-SPAN Scedule:

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Comment #30 posted by FoM on January 27, 2007 at 06:52:36 PT

Thank you. I will be watching C-Span.
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Comment #29 posted by mayan on January 27, 2007 at 06:49:20 PT

They will be covering the protest from 11:15 - 1:30 EST. Be sure to tune in if you don't make it to DC! seems that we've been told another lie to justify another war...Iran's President Did Not Say "Israel must be wiped off the map": "Wipe Israel Off The Map" Hoax: WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...The 9/11 Truth Revolution: Activists create newspaper to cover 9/11 Truth: Change on Front page of London Guardian Film Supplement: MOVEMENT MUST MAKE 9/11 TRUTH THE LEADING EDGE OF FIGHT AGAINST IRAQ-IRAN-SYRIA WAR: 9/11 SLIDESHOW FILM: Rep. Kucinich's Solemn Oath: "...uphold the Constitution without fear or favor.":
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Comment #28 posted by FoM on January 27, 2007 at 06:17:07 PT

Does Anyone Remember HollyWeed?
Danny Finegood Dies in Los Angeles  
 Los Angeles, Jan 27: Danny Finegood, a prankster famous for his creative alterations of the Hollywood sign, has died. Finegood died on Monday of multiple Myeloma at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Centre, according to his wife, Bonnie. He was 52. Finegood's large-scale wordplay was sometimes satirical, sometimes political and often both. In his first prank, performed as a college art project on New Year's Day 1976, he hung curtains to make the sign read "Hollyweed" the day less restrictive California marijuana laws took effect. He used stones and rope and erected the fabric as though he was hoisting sails.
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Comment #27 posted by goneposthole on January 27, 2007 at 05:50:13 PT

Call the Cops!
"Police are told that they should experience TASERs. This is as stupid as telling police to shoot each other with guns so that they know what those weapons feel like."
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Comment #26 posted by goneposthole on January 27, 2007 at 05:22:42 PT

It's a crime
Do you think John Ashcroft's nephew went to a filthy, stinking jail house after he was busted for growing pot?Naw, he just got probation.Bill Bennett didn't chop off his head. Darryl Gates didn't shoot John Ashcroft's nephew.John Ashcroft's nephew was treated with kid gloves. Got a slap on the wrist.What do you think John would have said to Bill? "Thanks for chopping off my nephew's head, Bill. I appreciate all that you do fighting the scourge of drugs"What do you think John would have said to Daryl? "Thanks for shooting my nephew right between the eyes, Daryl. I appreciate all that you do to help fight the scourge of drugs."He then would break into a chorus of 'Let the Eagle Soar.'Let's hear it for the drug war. A big round of applause for the drug warriors. The drug war will be over very soon, I just know it.Too bad Tom Croslin wasn't John Ashcroft's nephew. He'd still be alive today. When you're an American untermenschen, you just don't count.Freedom has been taken out back behind the barn and shot too.It's a crime.Smoke some cannabis today.

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Comment #25 posted by Toker00 on January 27, 2007 at 04:07:44 PT

Keep your eyes on the PEACE rally in DC.
Something significant could happen. Significantly GOOD. Join these people in SPIRIT, please! Don't' forget the Virtual March online.
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Comment #24 posted by Toker00 on January 27, 2007 at 03:33:23 PT

Mayan, Iran
That would be so good if we could do it. You and I would, if we could, huh? How do we get the other 3 million people to help? There's only one way to stop war. Remove the reason for it. Iran is NOT going to give in to any government, not just ours, who breaks international treaties in their faces while demanding Iran obey them. So diplomacy without fairness leaves their co-operation out. Let them build nuclear energy sites? ( And I'm not suggesting we bomb them to prevent it ) Is an active nuclear energy plant safer or more dangerous than an idle nuclear bomb? Are there safer alternatives to nuclear energy? Just like there is a safer alternative to petroleum, and a safer alternative to booze and hard drugs. Is technology geared toward a green future? Not unless all the petroleum refineries have been shut down. Nope. Ain't gonna happen. That is, unless WE make it happen. We will have to massively disobey and ignore our Imperialistic government to simply survive. Smaller groups of people will have to ban together to insure self sufficiency. We are so massively dependant on uncooperative "Corporations", this is going to be the biggest task. Natural medicine will have to separate itself from chemo-sorcery, and modern technology somehow used to develop cheap more effective NATURAL medicines that don't destroy for Empire. The world can be ours, but we'll have to take it back first. The sad thing is, if some of us don't prepare to sacrifice ourselves for Peace, our children will continue to be sacrificed for war.Toke. 
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Comment #23 posted by ekim on January 26, 2007 at 21:50:05 PT

sent to Kal Gazette in response 
to high school students that have been writing in the Kal Gazette about the keeping the
drug war ------------------------------------------------------------Kal on Mon Jan 22 07 lost 230 scientists from job layoffs at Pfizer's research labs. A total of 2300 in the whole State of MI.---------------------------------Cannabis Prohibition What else do we expect from the studentsWhen we have uniformed Police Officers teaching that cannabis use is against
the law no matter what -- students are told anyone regardless of age using
cannabis is a criminal and must be turned in.
 Over 750,000 Americans were arrested for cannabis use last year, 3 million
since President Bush has been in office.. Michigan's prisons are
overflowing we spend more on them then on education.
The 70 year cannabis prohibition has dimmed the thinking ability of our
elected leaders, our highest educators, our most revered spiritual healers.
Why wont Kal look at Ann Arbors 36 year law in decriming small amounts of
cannabis use by adults. Why no talk of regulating and taxing and stopping
the black market. On January 23 on C-Span Washington Journal Sen. Grassley was asked if he
supported allowing the American Farmer the right to grow Industrial Hemp for
a feed stock for the new Cellulose Ethanol. 98% of all the eradicated
Cannabis in the US was Hemp last year, we are killing off our natural seed.
Canada has been growing and will grow 50,000 acres this year.And China is
growing over a million how will we compete. To which he replied "no I will
not because we can not separate the Hemp from the Marijuana." Sen. Grassley
did say "that in Iowa during WWII hemp mills were all over the state
producing for the war effort."
We need that same effort now to slow imported oil, textiles, paper.
On January 24 on the History ch the show renewables showed at the National
Renewable Energy Lab in Golden CO. that cellulose ethanol made from switch
grass will yield 1,150 gals of ethanol per acre -- how much cellulose is in
switch grass --Hemp has 77% cellulose.
The Sen. never said that he would look at the issue and see how the
Canadians have separated the Hemp from the Marijuana he just took cannabis
prohibition as law and never bothered to use his mind. Canada was the first
country to allow the growing of Medical Cannabis for its sick - and has
proved that if you mix the two the marijuana will be far weaker when cross
pollinated and will lose THC.and cannabinoids.
We have watched as the Apjohn Co. here has been chosen from all of the
medicine business accelerators in the US to head the clinical trials of the
whole cannabis spray Sativex- GW Pharmaceuticals based in Salisbury England
for use in treating MS, rheumatoid arthritis and much more.
We have stood by once again watching as our children's futures vanish before
our eyes as our scientist leave by the hundreds. But we will front for a UK
company as they grow and produce a cannabis medicine and sell it to us.
 Here in Kalamazoo we have sat by and watched paper mill after paper mill
die a slow and painful death along with the loss of thousands of good paying
jobs for needy families as paper feed stock grew too expensive.
We teach paper making in WMU why did not one research program look into
cannabis as a fast renewable feedstock.What happen to understanding its not what we put into our mouths its what
comes out that counts.for information on all of the above see - 
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Comment #22 posted by FoM on January 26, 2007 at 20:05:21 PT

Have a good night and maybe even some pleasant dreams now that Souder isn't in charge and Dennis is!
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Comment #21 posted by Celaya on January 26, 2007 at 20:03:26 PT

It's WAY past time, of course. If someone had told me 35 years ago that marijuana would still be illegal in 2007, I would have said they were crazy. But here we are. I hope this is a sign that people are now finally ready to say the Emperor wears no clothes. i.e. - the Truth.Signing off for tonight. Perhaps tomorrow really is another day 8^) - Paz
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on January 26, 2007 at 19:56:47 PT

Maybe if the whole world doesn't blow up we might make a little progress now with Dennis Kucinich. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. We now have more in tune people in power. It's about time I say.
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Comment #19 posted by Celaya on January 26, 2007 at 19:44:58 PT

Yes. It's terrific news, especially for marijuana reform. Since the Drug Czar's primary mission and expenditure of time and money has been to fight the legalization of marijuana, ANY change to his operation has to be a great benefit to marijuana reform. This has astounding ramifications!
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on January 26, 2007 at 19:14:51 PT

More On Kucinich
Kucinich Becomes Chair of Key SubcommitteeJanuary 19, 2007, Washington, DCThis week Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) was named chair of the newly created Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee. The appointment was made by committee chair Henry Waxman (D-CA), with the support of the 23 Democrats on the committee. The new post gives Kucinich the power to convene hearings on a broad array of domestic issues, including everything from urban policy to election integrity to media policy to nuclear plant safety to drug policy. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Kucinich said he’d like to hold a hearing every week. His subcommittee will have oversight of agencies like the EPA and FCC, and 11 federal departments, including Justice, Labor and Energy. Rep Kucinich, a candidate for president in 2008, has stood strong for years not just against illegal war, but on a wide range of domestic issues. And now he will have investigative power over many of these issues.
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on January 26, 2007 at 19:01:37 PT

Isn't that the best news!
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Comment #16 posted by Celaya on January 26, 2007 at 19:00:23 PT

Kucinich To Be Drug Czar's Boss!!
This is incredible!------------------------- Dennis Kucinich has been named chairman of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the House Government Reform Committee, giving him jurisdiction over the Drug Czar's office. Oversight of ONDCP was previously conducted by the non-defunct Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources Subcommittee, chaired by rabid drug warrior Mark Souder.In short, the responsibility of overseeing ONDCP has effectively been transferred from Congress' most reckless drug warrior to its most outspoken drug policy reformer.Kucinich's agenda remains unknown at this point, but it's clear that he sought this particular appointment deliberately. From the [National Security] panel's presumed chairman in the Democratic-led 110th Congress, he had a ready platform to advance his antiwar agenda.But Kucinich said in a brief interview that he might wield more influence as chairman of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee, which will have jurisdiction over all domestic issues and the Office of National Drug Control Policy.More at link!

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Comment #15 posted by FoM on January 26, 2007 at 18:58:40 PT

That's so nice. 
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Comment #14 posted by ChristenMitchell on January 26, 2007 at 18:48:01 PT:

3rd Boulder Anti-DrugWar Candlelight Vigil
"For each unharmful, gentle soul misplaced inside a jail" B DylanTo honor the fallen in the longest running conflict in American history, the War on Some Drugs, Hemptopia will host its annual candlelight vigil Valentine's Day evening at Boulder's Central Park.Begun by the November Coalition on February 15th 2000 when the US inmate population reached the shameful 2 million mark, the vigil has continued in St. Louis and now for three years in Colorado.
Hemptopia - Save The Planet - Reduce - Reuse - Recycle - Relegalize
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Comment #13 posted by mayan on January 26, 2007 at 18:20:34 PT

We must stop the next war before it starts.The time is short...ElBaradei warns on Iran nuclear facilities attack -
‘Preventive strike would be catastrophic,’ IAEA chief says: attack possible, says Cameron: Must Get Ready to Repel a Nuclear Attack: WAY OUT...David Lynch Questions 9/11 On National U.S. Radio:
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on January 26, 2007 at 16:53:07 PT

There was something going around about 10,000 e-mails being sent to Nancy Pelosi and what I ultimately read was that she is concerned about medical marijuana but the major issues that are National are taking all the time. I think it meant this. We need to get the war issue out of the way in my opinion before anything else can happen. I believe it will happen now because of how Democrats think about social issues. 
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Comment #11 posted by Toker00 on January 26, 2007 at 16:38:03 PT

I will bring you pictures of the one we do every year in March on the anniversary of the Iraq War. It should be huge, too."But mass incarceration in America remains a non-issue, largely because of a lack of any serious or effective discourse on the part of our political leaders." Go on, because...because...BECAUSE most of them have invested heavily in the prison system, and/or related industries that support this system, that their Lies um, Laws are designed to fill. We are no more than Human Capital to them. We are their Property. Anybody comfortable with that?Toke.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on January 26, 2007 at 16:33:27 PT

I understand about not wanting to participate. This isn't a way to get photo ops for a politician. Let their yes mean yes and their no mean no. That's the bottom line.Large Rally Planned Saturday on Mall***Organizers Oppose Increase in Troops and Plan to Seek Withdrawal DeadlineBy Michael E. Ruane, Washington Post Staff WriterThursday, January 25, 2007; Page B06Tens of thousands of peace advocates from across the country are expected in Washington on Saturday for an anti-war rally that could be among the biggest since the war in Iraq began, organizers said yesterday.They said the rally on the Mall, followed by a march near the Capitol, will target President Bush's intention to send more troops to the Iraq war.Complete Article:
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Comment #9 posted by Toker00 on January 26, 2007 at 16:25:54 PT

Spell check malfunctioned.Toke.
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Comment #8 posted by Toker00 on January 26, 2007 at 16:23:59 PT

My friend told me there should be a 2-3 hundred thousand people in the DC march, maybe more. I hope MSM swarm DC. It would get my hopes up againg that humanity still has life breath. False hope? Better than no hope. But just.Toke.
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Comment #7 posted by Toker00 on January 26, 2007 at 16:19:51 PT

I have to withdraw from the Houston march because it is silent, and Sheila Jackson Lee has had about six different stances on the Iraq war, and only recently, like many other Dems are doing, joined the "peace" (with a small p ) campaign. She is NOT ant-war in her stances. So, I shan't support her. Sorry, but not really! ; ) I called a friend who is an organizer and government professor to get his opinion (and to borrow his digital camera, ; )) on this march. There may be a small crowd but organized to bolster her political ambition, not end war.Toke.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on January 26, 2007 at 16:06:47 PT

I really believe the media will cover the protests in Washington tomorrow. They have mentioned it on the news a few times today already. I sure hope they do.
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Comment #5 posted by Toker00 on January 26, 2007 at 15:58:17 PT

I'll see what I can do. : )One more. This one is more interesting for all. Excitement is Building for Saturday's March on Washington to End the War Now!The weather will be perfect, and a huge turnout is expected due to Bush's adamant refusal to back down from his plan to escalate his disastrous Iraq War. Details here:
United for Peace and JusticeSpeakers include: Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Danny Glover, Jane Fonda, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Reps. Dennis Kucinich, Maxine Waters, and Lynn Woolsey, Bob Watada, and many more.Unlike past marches, the Corporate Media is already covering this event, including the Washington Post. Better yet, we've created our own powerful progressive media on the Internet since 2003 - this Revolution will be Blogged and YouTubed!RALLY: Democrats.Com, PDA, activists and friends are asked to gather with their PDA state banner, Saturday morning on the National Mall between Jefferson Ave. NW and 4th St. NW. (Facing the National Air and Space Museum) We will begin gathering at 9:30 AM. Download the map. (If you need help finding us on Saturday, call Sherry 480-529-2131 or Laura 435-640-2252)Come to the workshops and trainings (including on how to lobby for investigations with the ultimate goal of impeachment) on January 28th and come with us to meet with your Congress Member and Senators on January 29th. It's not too late to register:'s what we're lobbying for (and what you can ask your Senators and Congress Member for): comprehensive list of all sorts of related events in Washington and elsewhere in the coming days, see: Your Friends to Join the Virtual March on WashingtonIf you can't make it to Washington DC, you can still show your opposition to the Iraq War! Join over 19,000 activists in our Virtual March on Washington: of us knows 5, 10, 20, 50, or 100 people who share our opposition to Bush's War but won't march in the streets. All we ask is they take 1 minute to email their Representatives: you help us by reaching out to your personal email lists? Click here: Announces First Investigation into Bush's CrimesHOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE Oversight Hearing on: "Presidential Signing Statements under the Bush Administration: A Threat to Checks and Balances and the Rule of Law?"10:15 a.m., Wednesday, January 31, 2007, Room 2141 Rayburn House Office BuildingTHANK Congressman John Conyers: (202) 225-5126, John.Conyers CBS to Let its Reporters Tell the Truth About reports that CBS will not air Iraq reporting by its own staff. Here's the story:'s video on the CBS website that it refuses to broadcast: can be reached for polite encouragement at phone 212-975-4321, fax 212-975-1893, or evening cbsnews.com________________Rosie O'Donnell Calls for Bush's Impeachment, May Put Her Job at RiskWatch this video of Rosie O'Donnell calling for Bush's much-deserved impeachment: contact ABC here to urge them to give Rosie any job she wants:
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on January 26, 2007 at 15:51:11 PT

Can you take pictures? Can you get a disposable digital camera if you don't have a digital camera and if they aren't expensive? I could upload them for you if you would want me too. Have a safe and productive day tomorrow. Power to the People!
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Comment #3 posted by Toker00 on January 26, 2007 at 15:44:42 PT

OT: Time sensative. HOUSTON area.
See ya there! 2:00 - 3:00 pm.Congress woman Sheila Jackson Lee has asked peace folks in Houston to 
her demonstrate the wide and deep opposition to Bush's escalation of 
U.S. military effort to dominate Iraq.WE MUST NOT LET HER DOWN!! After all, how often does a member of 
713.655.0050 (office)
713.899.9757 (cell)Summit and Peace March with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson LeeSaturday, January 27 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Her offices: Mickey Leland Federal Building, 1919 Smith Street, 12th 
Floor2:00 PM to 3:00 PM Silent March for Peace
Outside the Mickey Leland Federal Building
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Comment #2 posted by potpal on January 26, 2007 at 15:08:11 PT

With the insane stay the course bushheaded tack on the war on Americans who choose to use and those that desparately need cannabis is leading us to the day when half of America is in jail and the other half is guarding them.Prohibition is the crime.
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Comment #1 posted by Matt Stover on January 26, 2007 at 14:41:09 PT

Federal Judge: Clean Up City Jails!
Judge: Clean up city jails
His ruling found conditions offend constitutional rights.
By Mark Fazlollah
Inquirer Staff WriterPhiladelphia's jails are so overcrowded and dangerous that they violate the constitutional rights of inmates, a federal judge ruled yesterday.In a scathing 76-page ruling, U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick ordered the city to immediately provide prisoners with clean cells, toilets, showers, beds and medical attention, as well as to dramatically reduce the time that suspects are kept in police lockups.City jails will again be put under court monitoring - as they have been for most of the last 35 years.Surrick, who toured the city's Curran Fromhold Correction Facility last month, said the "unconstitutional conditions... required detainees to sit and sleep on concrete floors.""The conditions include the failure to provide beds and bedding, the failure to provide material for personal hygiene including soap, warm water, toothpaste, toothbrushes and shower facilities, unsanitary and unavailable toilet facilities, the failure to provide for the medical needs of detainees..."Yesterday's ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed last year on behalf of 11 prisoners by University of Pennsylvania law professor David Rudovsky. The suit was the latest to be lodged against the city prison system. In 1971, Rudovsky filed a similar suit and the city jails were put under court monitoring that ended in 2001."The city is ordered to immediately take affirmative steps to redress the unconstitutional conditions," the ruling reads. It also gave Philadelphia 15 days to meet with the plaintiffs to work out details on court monitoring of the jails.It was unclear how the city would respond to the order. The City Solicitor's Office did not respond to a request for comment, and other city officials could not be reached.Rudovsky last night said that he was "pleased that the court was persuaded to intervene in this continuing Philadelphia jail crisis.""We're hopeful that the city will now come up with both short- and long-terms solutions to the pressing problems," he added. "The city cannot build its way out of this problem. It has to find ways to manage the prison populations without spending millions and millions of dollars more each year for bricks and mortar."In July, when the latest suit was filed, the city had 8,900 people in custody, 1,000 over capacity. Furthermore, conditions in the city's prison system, which houses suspects awaiting trial and inmates with sentences of less than two years, "were deplorable and life threatening as any we've seen in the past 35 years," Rudovsky said.In the ruling, Surrick found that holding facilities across the city was overflowing. The judge said many of the inmates were being held in police lockups "for days beyond when they were supposed to have been sent to prison."Blasting the city's repeated failure to adequately house prisoners, Surrick said the current suit "raised nearly identical claims of overcrowding, resulting in unsafe and unsanitary conditions" as those pointed out in the 1971 suit. In addition to Curran-Fromhold, which the judge visited, Philadelphia's other major correctional facilities are the Detention Center, the House of Correction, Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center and the Riverside Correctional Facility.Surrick quoted Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson as saying that "people should not be held in police facilities, because [the Police Department does not] have facilities for showers, for beds and for anything else like that."The police lockups at Police Headquarters and in district stationhouses were firetraps, the judge found.There were "combustible materials" around the holding cell at Police Headquarters.A fire safety expert for the plaintiffs testified that the jails did not have sufficient fire-protection systems.Furthermore, fire drills were not conducted as required at Police Headquarters, and the districts appeared to have "no emergency plans at all," the judge wrote.It was not until three months after the suit was filed that "the Police Department issued a memo concerning fire drills to be conducted an unspecified times at the Police Detention Unit," the judge wrote,Surrick also cited testimony from inmates.One of the 11 prisoners involved in the suit "lost 15 pounds during a 5-day period in which he was in custody, and suffered dehydration and soreness from sleeping on a concrete floor," Surrick wrote.Another prisoner who suffered from Parkinson's disease and AIDS "was denied medication with the exception of one dosage during the four days he spent in police custody."He eventually was taken to a hospital where a nurse told police that he needed medication every eight hours. After that, Surrick wrote, "he was never taken back to the hospital and never again given medication while in police custody."While waiting to get assigned to a regular cell at Curran Fromhold, "detainees were forced to sleep overlapping one another and on every inch of concrete floor," the judge wrote. "Prisoners slept with their heads next to the toilet."The inmates would "spend three, four, five, or six days... without bedding provisions, sleeping, if they could, on metal benches or directly on the concrete floor."
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