Showing posts sorted by relevance for query The Fine Society. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query The Fine Society. Sort by date Show all posts

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Fine Society’s Debtors Prison

  Covering the class action lawsuit of lead plaintiff Richard Earl Garrett against the town of Harpersville, Ala, New York Times reporter, ETHAN BRONNER, essentially described how today debtors prisons evolved from our communities’ dependence on revenue. Titled Probation Fees Rise, Firms Profit and the Poor Go to Jail, besides Mr. Garrett’s decade of public debt turmoil, a woman is told about who was fined $179 for speeding and then failed to show up in court because the ticket bore the wrong date so her license was revoked. When pulled over the next time, of course, driving without a license, her fees had added up to more than $1,500. Unable to pay, she was handed over to a private probation company and jailed and charged an additional fee for each day behind bars.
  Lisa W. Borden, a partner in Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Camp; Berkowitz, a large law firm in Birmingham, Ala., has spent a great deal of time on the issue. Her assessment is, “With so many towns economically strapped, there is growing pressure on the courts to bring in money rather than mete out justice. Companies they hire are aggressive. Those arrested are not told about the right to counsel or asked whether they are indigent or offered an alternative to fines and jail. There are real constitutional issues at stake.”
  The Times reporter notes half a century ago in a landmark case, the Supreme Court ruled the accused had to be provided a lawyer if they could not afford one. But in misdemeanors, the right to counsel is rarely brought up, even though defendants run the risk of jail. While probation companies promise revenue to the towns, saying they also help offenders, defendants still often end up lost in a legal Twilight Zone.
  William M. Dawson, a Birmingham lawyer and Democratic Party activist, filed the lawsuit for Mr. Garrett and others against the local authorities and the probation company, Judicial Correction Services that’s based in Georgia. Interviewed, Mr. Dawson said, “The Supreme Court has made clear that it is unconstitutional to jail people just because they can’t pay a fine.” Something most all of us had seemed to already accept as part of a civilized society.
  In Georgia three dozen for-profit probation companies operate in hundreds of courts where there have been similar lawsuits. In one suit an Iraq war veteran, who lost his job, was jailed for failing to make $860 a month child support payments. Another victim of circumstances, with a monthly income of $243 in veterans’ benefits, was charged with public drunkenness, assessed $270 by a court and put on probation through a private company. The company added a $15 enrollment fee and $39 in monthly fees. That put his total for a year above $700, which the person struggled to meet before being jailed for failing to pay all his debt.
  John B. Long, a lawyer in Augusta, Georgia, who is taking the issue to a federal appeals court this fall said, “These companies are bill collectors, but they are given the authority to say to someone that if he doesn’t pay he is going to jail. There are things like garbage collection where private companies are O.K. No one’s liberty is affected. The closer you get to locking someone up, the closer you get to a constitutional issue.”
  The issue of using courts to produce income was investigated in a recent study by the nonpartisan Conference of State Court Administrators, “Courts Are Not Revenue Centers.” The report said in traffic violations, “court leaders face the greatest challenge in ensuring that fines, fees and surcharges are not simply an alternate form of taxation.”
  Plus Scott Vowell, the presiding judge of Alabama’s 10th Judicial Circuit, said his state’s legislature, like many, was pressuring courts to produce revenue, and that some legislators even believed courts should be financially self-sufficient.
  A Fine Society.
  The Times article also noted a 2010 study, by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, that examined the fee structures in 15 states, including California, Texas and Florida, with the largest prison populations. The sudy found, “Many states are imposing new and often onerous ‘user fees’ on individuals with criminal convictions. Yet far from easy money, the fees impose severe and often hidden costs on taxpayers and indigent people convicted of crimes. Creating new paths to prison for those unable to pay their debts by making it harder to find employment and housing as well as meeting child support obligations.”
  Over a decade ago many states abandoned pursuing misdemeanor fees because it was time-consuming and costly. Companies such as Judicial Correction Services saw an opportunity by charging public authorities nothing and making their money adding fees onto the defendants bills. 
  Yale Law School’s Stephen B. Bright, president of the Southern Center for Human Rights, said courts were increasingly using fees “for such things as retirement funds for various court officials, law enforcement functions such as police training and crime laboratories, victim assistance programs and even courts’ computer systems. In one county in Pennsylvania, 26 different fees totaling $2,500 are assessed in addition to the fine.”
  Mr. Dawson’s Alabama lawsuit also alleges that Judicial Correction Services does not discuss alternatives to fines or jail and that its training manual “is devoid of any discussion of indigency or waiver of fees.”
  In a joint telephone interview, two senior officials of Judicial Correction Services, Robert H. McMichael, its chief executive officer, and Kevin Egan, its chief marketing officer, rejected the allegations. 
  They said the company does try helping those in need, but that the authority to determine who is indigent is the court’s and not the company’s. “We hear a lot of ‘I can’t pay the fee,” Mr. Egan said adding, “It is not our job to figure that out. Only the judge can make that determination.” Mr. Egan said, “Our job is to keep people out of jail. We have a financial interest in getting them to comply. If they don’t pay, we don’t get paid.” Mr. Bright, of the Southern Center for Human Rights, complained that with the private companies seeking a profit, courts in need of income and the most vulnerable caught up in the system, “we end up balancing the budget on the backs of the poorest people in society.”
March 14 - 29, 2016
The Fine Society's Debtors Prison
7/13/2012 concluded: Mr. Bright, of the Southern Center for Human Rights, complained that with the private companies seeking a profit, courts in need of income and the most vulnerable caught up in the system, “we end up balancing the budget on the backs of the poorest people in society.”
Bob Herbert's excellent documentary.
Genius @ financing crime, not solutions.
  The Fine Society's not as fine as it should be. Though as polished as only success can be. The problem's not that we can't dig deeper for a handle on the bottom line. The divvy up's just stuck in divvy up.
  Sigh. We all like waking to feeling bad things aren't happening in our directions. In our way. But that it happens at all is a neglect that's gone unfazed because immorality's to blame. What a dodge. Another one Allah/God probably didn't think up for us. Another juicy conundrum thought up all on our own. Dismissing Matthew 7:1, judge not, that ye be not judged. 
  Enforcing crime's a protection from having not solved the dilemma's roots. But don't scapegoat cops, or anyone. No one particularly designed our cultural flaws that everyone needs benevolently gotten innocently through to an end to the dehumanized Criminal Enterprise System. Let's Get Civilized

Sold Judge Gorsuch and
What Eating Your Leveraged Sandwich Means

  Fed digestible sound bytes. Dialogue's become extremely crafted presentation. Response, an edged approach. Agitation a format. ...
  Straight-laced's a plus. But, to start, the candidate for the Supreme Court, Judge Gorsuch, does seem to restore the patriarchy with a subtle grace behooving such a powerful blow. Technically: Ethical, but another endorser of the Criminal Enterprise System. Except that the court's responsibility is to face the truth. Not stretch principle to endorse mere veneers of respectability and practicality that choke life of all its' beneficial diversity. Liberal and responsible and not just contrarian ruthless harda__.  
  And that's how it goes with this issue considered bigger than all of us. The methodology behind criminalizing behavior to enforce an ideal of moral rectitude, that's not only indifferently judgmental, but self-flagellating all across the board populated by finks and desperate, even conspiring legal, characters. 

some brooks babble more than others
Politics and Sports!
Poll Says 70% of Country Approves of our 
President's State of the Union Address 

  Tuesday, February 28, 2017, President Trump presented a more polished list of promises, that's said to have been worked over by his daughter Ivanka. Morning News Radio, I heard, suggested issues were talked about when what each point had in common was their just being mentioned, as usual. Aren't we redundant? Such as suggesting "clean water" when business before ecology interests are already shown to be of paramount concern to the administration. An antagonistic essayist might suggest the president is mocking ecological interests. As if swiping the nuisance off with the back of an empirical hand. 
  Not that business interests aren't important. It's just, as in the case of West Virginia, where enough profit wasn't reinvested to distance that state from dependence upon coal jobs when cleaner methods of fuel usage have been developed for a few decades at least. West Virginia University makes runs at national collegiate sports championships, (Final 16, 2017). But the state's lack of economic diversity, and grassroots strength, is the sore spot everywhere else as well. 
  But I digressed. The speech's only declaration that received full bipartisan applause, lauded a fallen soldier whose sacrifice will be honored "for eternity." Directly ignoring the basis behind which the jargon entrenched religious war festers. That people need brought out of the fog from. "Love thine enemies" disregarded, and chest beating religious war, the cause behind all our becoming kindling for the causes. End the Cycle of Revenge.
  Of course the big issue, as huge financial nut, is Health Care. Insurance technically succeeded as socialism for the rich without the bottom line drain caused by the poor. But over the decades insurance was the excuse for charging more, such that cost had no real relation to affordability, for anyone, at all. Leaving us with a system whereby doctors as an individual entity have no real power. A labyrinth of bureaucracy that's not faced as government's the convenient scapegoat for bureaucratic failure. Obamacare's compromise with an industrial skim is, most probably, being replaced by yet another skim.
  So just as bankers bail out businesses when too big to fail, the American public has to bail out the promises. While where credit's taken, is what the people get.

My Satisfaction With Tim Raines' Induction Into The Baseball Players Hall of Fame 

  Late September 1976, the season's first Sanford Seminole High School Seminoles football game, versus Oviedo, was my first and, possibly, last sidebar interview as a sportswriter. The Sanford Herald's Head Sportswriter complimented me for getting an interview with Tim Raines, who'd been reluctant to give interviews since, as Tim told me, no one ever quoted him accurately. Though still just a senior in high school. The plight of the local sports hero. Right. You can hear everyone not crying in unison over that one. But something he genuinely felt.
  Anyway. Since my high school swim coach, Coach Terwilliger, told Tim, the year before, that I'd concerned myself with our dual meet schedule so Tim would have at least one school team winning season to appreciate team success, Tim stunned me by preparing a place in front of his locker for, me to sit and, us to talk all alone after the locker room cleared. Fond memory of how neighbor, Kenny Lee, was go between, because I was too shy to ask or politically shrewd because everyone liked Kenny. While protocol tends toward song and dance.
  But what happened was, during the game, someone told me that, as a sportswriter, I had access to behind the end zone, when no one else did, and what I saw literally amazed me. Tim running very fast around right end, at mid-field, evaded a reach by instantly accelerating to extremely fast and that touchdown blew me away. But I went into a funk for weeks, knowing Tim had a bright future. The idea of his success ground down my pursuit of outside endeavors, understanding my allegiance was to studying history. 
  So as Tim's career was misshapenly portrayed as having fallen short of the hall, I bothered to know better. Owners scapegoating players for rising consumer prices is when Tim sacrificed his prime-of-life numbers to stand firm for the rights of players who'd invested their lives in the game. So when it's said Tim finally made the hall, my belief is he was always there. It's just the real numbers, recognizing that fact, finally grew up. Huh, sportswriters?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Andy Griffith Made A Mark

  Sheriff Taylor passed away. Andy Griffith’s television character, Andy of Mayberry is one of the greatest of all television achievements. Jumping the Shark years aside, The Andy Griffith Show was brilliant. In an era of utopian themes on American television, Sheriff Taylor’s triumph was one of the best. As the 104.3 FM DJ said this morning, Griffith made more Matlock legal mysteries, but for those who remember Andy is classic. Or something similar.
  Children watched faithfully until, of course, because Andy and Barney had so much fun protecting the community, Officer Fife had to go because the show’s wholesomeness precluded promotion to Andy’s job. And while the Sheriff was earnestly serious, it’s in Andy’s grin how much Barney Fife’s discombobulation drew their perfect picture of camaraderie.
  In the 1970-90s when Atlanta’s TBS broadcast Andy every day repetition reiterated the Sheriff’s clarity controlling Mayberry with an even hand while even accommodating the city’s career criminal, Otis Campbell. It was as if that nut Ted Turner decided Andy should have a pulpit for as long as he held out against television ratings. Brilliant how the show faced the world’s real hard questions. The writers exposed a central problem that no one likes feeling shovelled through the system. Andy had time. Remember the sophisticated big city gal who got the speeding ticket from Andy at the City Limits? She just had to be ornery with the southern hick and Andy jailed her until she woke to the idea common folk are equal.
  Watching, its apparent African-Americans were not characters on the show to appease racist sentiment. But every time someone does appear in the background its a statement only good people would live in Mayberry. Yet Andy of Mayberry wasn’t so much walking the line to get away with anything as saying everything should be thought through. Sheriff Taylor exemplified how well thought out dilemmas were almost always solved with at least another question by the end of the show.
  Symbolic as all get out, Mayberry really tackled solving the criminal enterprise system as casually as you please as Andy’s Sheriff’s Office was just people hanging around three decades before Seinfeld was a show about nothing. Whereas Seinfeld abstractly flaunted morals to remind us what social scientists have said we forgot, Andy was downright like Confucius with a badgeExemplary. Surely Andy Griffith’s portrayal of goodness epitomized his career in fiction, but, if you’ve seen A Face In The Crowd you know as Sheriff Taylor did, Andy Griffith said so much more smiling between the lines. Thank you Sir, you really broke your leg.
March 27 - April 13, 2016
7/3/2012 concluded: Symbolic as all get out, Mayberry really tackled solving the criminal enterprise system as casually as you please as Andy’s Sheriff’s Office was just people hanging around three decades before Seinfeld was a show about nothing. Whereas Seinfeld abstractly flaunted morals to remind us what social scientists have said we forgot, Andy was downright like Confucius with a badgeExemplary. Surely Andy Griffith’s portrayal of goodness epitomized his career in fiction, but, if you’ve seen A Face In The Crowd you know as Sheriff Taylor did, Andy Griffith said so much more smiling between the lines. Thank you Sir, you really broke your leg.

  Throw words at the wall, target, be what it may. Appealed numbers hold sway. Regardless, anyway. Transition's generations unfold. And nothing's as transfixing as bold. As expected. Far from surprise is concern, as anticipated throughout. Volume's what it takes, took, and still happening. Drowning out what's meant. So what's intended isn't heard. Uh huh. Russia, etc? All ruthlessly intense, absurdly framed, leveraged, relationships. When rule of law is who establishes order, is tyranny.
  No one's run a civil society as Sheriff Taylor could. Where the major detail's wondering "where's Opie?" Because town drunks are civil enough to lock themselves up. It was as if Andy often hid the key, to the cells, so people could face themselves without hiding in a hole. Yet everyone could see the key on its' hook right between the jail cells. 
  Mayberry. Everyone who can face truth, knows it's true. That despite all the necessary pragmatic measures this violent world requires, if everyone settled their disabled utopias in Mayberry violence would conclude. Uh huh. But revenge substituting for justice sounds foolish too. 
  Yet if everyone faced those truths?
Justice Springs Eternal
by James Forman Jr., author of the forthcoming,
"Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America"

  Sheriff Taylor was above the fray, where larger issues were kept secondary to ratings. Not dissimilar to the current era. Where fought over numbers and dictating opinion to a transcribing populace hasn't changed. Censorship? What people're fed to know's, cloaked jargon infused dialogue where phrases replace thought and sentences become fragments of superlatives shading the narrowed substance. 
  Sure we're sure no one's sure everyone's sure for sure. Sure. 
  Affording law and order's what's not happened yet. Costs? Partly. Because whatever civilization can't afford, is made up for by how lucrative crime's legal aspects remain. Sure Mayberry could afford a more passive, in appearance, enforcement during the dawn of the great cultural upheaval scapegoated by advocates of the continued Militarization of the Criminal Enterprise System that requires submitting sub-cultures to orthodox prejudice. Hint: Free the Rasta Soul
  Everywhere anything's scapegoated to justify violence. It's the shame that's not fully shared and felt by this, another arrogant, generation among many. Categorizing disruptives as totally responsible for disruptiveness. Sigh. Everything through inanimate objects are our productions. Then suddenly enticed by wickedness, crime's the perpetrators' fault entirely. Right. Justify that liberal crap that puts killers back on the streets. Separate the public consciousness from realizing the petri dish life of prison cell aggravation is inhumane. Periods in a a yard, notwithstanding.What follows is the acceptable fact. Be nice to us, you're let out. Sorry we avoid solving circumstances that allow for your going in. Bleeding heart, I get. Short-sighted, I understand. And unfortunately chest-pounding authoritarian-ish self-righteousness sucks too. ...
  Legal (sanctioned) corruption's as unfortunately fascinating, and root of all that's wrong? So much has been learned, it's dreadful, and sad, public consciousness is led and torn by such jagged edges. 
     ... Sheriff McCall ...
5 Reasons Andy Taylor May Have Been A Corrupt Sheriff 

What's Going On During These Days On The Verge?
  Verge. Wanting to use Upright Citizens Brigade in a sentence to dramatize the zealous idealizing of manufacturing an ideal society, I was soon daunted by the realization it's already a comedy troupe's name. Adjectives avoiding nouns in this day and age? Who'd want to be guilty of that? Cough. Sometimes it feels we're overrun by devotion to an upright citizens' brigade.
  No. The public's probably not learned enough lessons from the preceding year's supposed political upheavals to overturn politicians' use of the "American People" to support whatever power play they devour rather than approach because, after all, ruthless rules. The target that just keeps giving. Economics are everything. And when upheaval's sensed, upheaval's sold gung-ho
  So everyone's mood's for manufacturing news to fit what's ready to discombobulate. Create sparks so the show flies. Failures as opponents to be human beings. Such that people are machines where power's involved. No? Or, at least, maybe, most likely. Don't be anyone's sycophant.
  So. Acting our age. Theoretically very old in people years, but blip in eternal time. Fascinating. 
  Right. All our lonesome we're still culturally and economically screwed up. Trickle down's opportunity poisoned by disasters we control. Poverty's high cost when poor's not much money's ground under by inflation's pace. Plus scapegoating drug addiction's criminal empire and nature's calamities. Things not solved so we don't. As if impoverishment's fate. That's so yesterday as the kids used to say. 
  If not for imperfect people - the unspoken thought goes. But what's not faced is what the Criminal Enterprise System's Fine Society is. By surviving on the however immoral crutches themselves, The Fine Society scapegoats responsibility while paying ourselves, somewhat, for the frustration. Right. Tinker. People aren't as bad as made out to be desperate.
People Think What They're Told
  Is some assumption. Political Theorem.  Excused as a necessary evil in an already poisoned well. That no one's an island means not bothering to remind kids to question authority? Because everything civic should just reflect a patriotic glaze? I believe, essence of, monarchic rule, no? 

Etc. The Government Gorsuch Wants To Undo

  Yeah. The liberal slant opposes replacing one bureaucratic labyrinth with the other. As for anyone who's lived through office politics, there's a pot calling kettle black aura about this massive maze of ill & legitimate conspiracies of individuals, competing for power, afoot here. Wow, we're complicated. Sinister? Gulp. ... Why the millions of dollars required for a comfortable retirement's such a disappointment. Life's affordability a modern lark. Time was a decent yearly income was interest on $100,000 in the bank. LOOK WHAT WE'VE DONE! Disabling our own success. ...

  It's not part of the spoken parlance, that a collective sigh will never be heard from this country again. Sigh. Tragedy's the only communal emotion, world-wide, for this vitriolic inhabited planet. Glory before power, aye yai yai. The world's only as corrupt as it thinks it has to be.
  Eh? Yeah. An all-powerful Oz will deliver us from our shenanigans in triumph? Philippine tyrant-lite? Will Jared Kushner be lip-service-in-chief reformer of the Criminal Enterprise System? Or will getting along still mean the power of the state riding shotgun over our independence. Will the police be kept stuck-in-the-middle, still? Utilizing offense when citizens' lives are to be defended no matter how crazy we are. 
  I submit my case, your honor
  Generally people don't receive the same messages. Usually just opposite views. Such that it's betrayal to relate to others. Leaving everyone baffled by the convenience of literally everything's being framed. Beyond subjective, objective's myth. Imaginations closeted to protect the sanctity of certain frames of team mindedness. April 6, 2017, the U.S. Senate reached and passed a governance threshold. In the name of a claim to a purer righteousness that's only established as a foothold on self-righteousness. Ruthlessness' root. 
  Harda___s please rule responsibly, the unspoken, but humble, plea. 
Why reform's taken so, really, many, long generations, centuries.
Everyone Has Real Choices? Soapbox View
* In Search of a Good Emperor by Ross DouthatThe New York Times