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April 29, 2009

How To: Fix the Prison System

Jim Webb's Reading List

This should surprise no one, but it turns out that when you have prisons designed to dehumanize and punish people, the released prisoners don't try to turn their lives around as much as when you attempt to educate and reform them.

Schwartz is the founder of the Resolve to Stop the Violence Project (RSVP), a restorative justice program based in California that has reduced the recidivism rate among violent inmates by as much as 80 percent. As anyone who reads her book will discover, she hasn't achieved such results by pretending the prisoners who enroll in the program are choirboys. A Jewish lesbian and feminist, Schwartz makes no effort to excuse the conduct of the rapists, child molesters, gangbangers and murderers who populate California's prisons and turn up in the pages of her gritty, unflinching book. But she is equally unforgiving of a system that funnels violent offenders through its doors without even trying to instill the one thing that might prevent them from committing more crimes: a sense of accountability and remorse.

There's no point in trying, conservatives have insisted for years, pillorying liberals who want to waste taxpayer dollars on programs that don't work. But RSVP does work, and not by dint of some magical formula impossible to replicate. Through a rigorous yet disarmingly simple regimen of education and counseling sessions that exposes inmates to victims' rights groups, religious leaders and other prisoners who have changed, Schwartz shows how hardened criminals – many of whom are victims of physical violence and sexual abuse themselves – can muster the courage to take responsibility for their actions, to feel remorse, to empathize.

The story of one stubborn bait show vs. an illegal bridge to Canada

detroitblog -- Last man standing

This is really worth reading.

Moroun wants a privately owned second span next to the existing bridge. He hasn’t gotten full permission, but he went ahead and constructed a massive, six-lane entrance ramp anyway. It arcs just outside the little bait shop’s front door, high in the air.

To make room for the bridge and the profitable duty-free shops Moroun wants at its base, century-old side streets and the houses on them were obliterated. The bait store was located on Lafayette and 23rd street, but that intersection doesn’t exist anymore. The shop now has an address only in name, not in geography.

. . .

Moroun initially condemned land in his way and took the properties on it, claiming he was acting as an instrument of a federal project, but the courts have so far ruled he can’t do that anymore, even if he compensates the properties’ owners. So it appears he has to live with Aytes’ rickety old bait shop in the middle of his new plaza.

April 28, 2009

'Snuff Films' Could Hold Answers In Zodiac Case

'Snuff Films' Could Hold Answers In Zodiac Case - cbs13.com

"The pictures are open to interpretation. With how cloudy they are, why do you think she was tortured? What kind of mutilation do you see?" asked CBS13 reporter Kris Pickel.

Dewhurst responds, "She was cut up. She was decapitated. Body parts were cut off."

In one hazy photo, Dewhurst believes he see a woman's naked, decapitated body from the stump of her neck to her mid torso. He says he is able to see that her right breast has been removed and a knife is being held above her left breast.

"The film proves in my mind Jack Tarrance was a serial killer," says Dewhurst.

Time.com's Most Influential Person 2009:
moot, owner of 4chan

moot.jpg1,000,000 Internets to Anonymous for pulling this off. The World's Most Influential Person Is... - TIME
In a stunning result, the winner of the third annual TIME 100 poll and new owner of the title World's Most Influential Person is moot. The 21-year-old college student and founder of the online community 4chan.org, whose real name is Christopher Poole, received 16,794,368 votes and an average influence rating of 90 (out of a possible 100) to handily beat the likes of Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin and Oprah Winfrey. To put the magnitude of the upset in perspective, it's worth noting that everyone moot beat out actually has a job. Since moot launched 4chan.org in 2003, the site has given birth to Internet memes as diverse as Lolcats and Rickrolling. 4chan averages 13 million page views a day and 5.6 million visitors a month; by some estimates it is the second largest bulletin board in the world. Moot denies knowing about any concerted plan by his followers to influence the poll, though TIME.com's technical team did detect and extinguish several attempts to hack the vote. ... Undoubtedly, many people will question moot's worthiness of the title World's Most Influential Person. TIME.com managing editor Josh Tyrangiel says ... "I would remind anyone who doubts the results that this is an Internet poll. Doubting the results is kind of the point."

April 27, 2009

Thailand issues etiquette guide for flamboyantly gay monks

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | 'Etiquette guide' for Thai monks

A Buddhist preacher in Thailand has announced plans for new guidelines aimed at curbing the flamboyant behaviour of gay and transgender monks.

The "good manners" curriculum - the country's first - is being introduced in the northern province of Chiang Rai.

The senior monk told the BBC he was particularly concerned by effeminate activities among novices such as the wearing of make-up and tight robes.