* While "Lil D" didn't make an appearance in the gallery at the State of the Union Address, Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp had its first inmate immediately released because of the First Step Act this month. He had been serving a long sentence because of the sentencing disparity related to crack cocaine. That disparity going forward was changed in 2007 with the Second Chance Act, when Congress finally acknowledged the little secret of what some would call an obvious racial bias that made sentencing for crack cocaine 100 times harsher than regular cocaine. The First Step Act rightly made those 2007 sentencing changes retroactive. These immediate releases are happening because they occur pursuant to actions in the federal court system where the Bureau of Prisons can't drag its feet. Any sentence reductions that require the BOP to do anything won't happen anytime soon.
* Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules For Life is an excellent read. Rule #3 is "Make Friends With People Who Want The Best For You....
While going to Baylor University in the mid 1970's and then living in Waco, Texas, until 2015, I've heard more than my share of preacher boys and even a few preacher girls preach their first sermon. Some of those experiences were quite remarkable, while some were downright scary.
In chapter 4 of the gospel of Luke, we can read about Jesus' first recorded sermon. It occurred after his temptation in the wilderness. Returning tired and hungry to his boyhood home of Nazareth, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath and read from the scroll that contained the words of the prophet Isaiah. As translated by the New International Version, this is what he read:
The spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom
for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.
Walton would have been 32 years old tomorrow. I still can't help but think "what if?", wondering what he would be doing were he still walking this earth instead of frozen in earthly time at age 27.
The poet David Whyte wrote a beautiful prayer for his deceased friend. Part of it reminded me of my precious baby boy, as I also wonder, not what if, but what he's actually now doing, learning, feeling. Whyte's words are quoted below.
"...we who imagine you here in some other parallel, and who knew and loved your anxious wish to share with us your vision, feel sure to chance a prayer that you are happy now and still stand with us on this same mountain, in good and knowing company, and that somehow you have been met, and recognized and welcomed home, and that when they greeted you, the first thing out of their otherworldly mouths might have been this, that you had missed one thing and one thing only in your precious sight, and that was the simple knowledge that you were never alone, neither amo...
Freddy is still gaining about 4 pounds each week and continues to amaze me with his intelligence and personality. He's to the point now in his development where I can take him wherever I go.
Our command of the month is Wait. It's the command that instructs him not to cross a threshold. To begin teaching it, we walk up to a doorway. When Freddy reaches the edge of the threshold, I turn in front of him to block his progress and tell him "Wait." Of course, when he waits, I praise him. Once he does this consistently, we work on it at greater distances while waiting for longer periods. When he's in service, he'll need to be able to wait on command at a doorway, on top of a table, at a curb or incline, in his kennel or at any threshold while up to a leash length away for someone who may confined to a wheelchair or have other mobility challenges.
Personally, I've never been good at waiting. I prefer immediate gratification. Thus the most difficult aspect of my "rehabilitation" here at Bastrop F...
I've seen the law of unintended consequences painfully played out countless times in politics, organizations of all types, and relationships. My latest encounter took place here at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp.
We all know that Texas weather can be extremely unpredictable. There's a constant conflict when southerly flowing cool air, arriving from the rocky mountains, collides with warm, moist air moving north from the Gulf of Mexico. This is particularly true in winter when afternoon temperatures can vary somewhere between 25 and 80 degrees. Heating and cooling in that environment can be challenging for anyone. With the body-heat generated by our current inmate population of 170 inmates living in a housing facility designed for 90-something, it's probable that the building will need to be cooled, not heated, at least part of almost every day, even in January and February.
Our saga began on the west side barrack, when some of our inmate geniuses broke the tamper-proof case protecting t...
Today is a glorious day because my daughter is getting married. Based on my security level, my conduct while here, and the time remaining of my sentence, I qualified for an un-escorted day furlough of up to 16 hours to be there. Unfortunately, it was not granted. This denial was personally devastating because there are few earthly joys that quite compare with walking my daughters down the aisle, believing that they made wise choices in the men they chose to marry.
Even so, I am grateful to be able to give my blessing to Lauren and Brandon and to share my hope and prayer that they experience all the joy, the love and the mutual fulfillment in their marriage that God desires for them.