April 27, 2019

* I was disappointed recently that 2 women astronauts were unable to make an historic all woman space walk because there was only one space suit in their size in the International Space Station. I have thought of at least 3 comments about this, but they're all inappropriate, if not downright offensive. Let me just say that NASA apparently uses the same federal garment fulfillment center as the Bureau of Prisons, as I've never been issued any pants here that fit. Luckily, over the past 44 months, I've picked up 2 pair off the top of the trash can in the laundry room left by a couple of inmates who were leaving. 

* Alan Krueger, Princeton economist among other titles, died a few weeks ago. In the mid 1990's, he and David Card showed that increases in the minimum wage did not lead to reductions in employment as many thought. Critics assaulted their motivation, data, and analysis until finally realizing Krueger and Card were correct. Krueger worked in the Clinton and Obama administrati...

April 22, 2019

Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for President Trump, was recently sentenced by a federal judge in Virginia to 47 months. Then another federal judge in D.C. added another 43 months, for a smooth 90 (7.5 years). Democrats, who generally favor shorter sentences, were oddly outraged that Manafort's combined sentences were way too short. Many of them scoffed when he appeared at his sentencing hearing in a wheel chair. I would invite them to try to consider what it was like for someone his age to spend several months in solitary confinement, a place they'll hopefully never experience. If Manafort isn't pardoned by President Trump and lives long enough to complete his sentence, he will find a different world when released. He will have missed births, weddings, and funerals. He will be a convicted felon, unable to vote or possess a firearm. Worse yet, for someone who was respected and considered a big deal, he'll be neither.

Under federal law found at Title 18 U.S.C. Section 3553, "the c...

April 17, 2019

Anyone who has read any of my now 4 Easter posts (and some said this blog wouldn't last 90 days) knows I'm not exactly comfortable with the transactional theology that has Jesus being a substitutional atoning sacrifice to "pay for" everyone's sin. Jesus has to be more than that. And if God's love is pure, freely given, unlimited, timeless, and universally offered, there wasn't/isn't anything to pay for. However, as a first century Jew, Jesus was born into a religion deeply steeped in the historical significance of sacrifice. And there is no denying that Jesus' life and death in the first century would have been understood in that context.

Going back to his birth, the gospel of Luke records that the angels appeared to shepherds when announcing the birth of Baby Jesus...in his golden fleece diapers. Have you ever wondered why it was shepherds? Was it random, symbolic, part of the plan? And what in the world do shepherds have to do with sacrifice?

In first century Judea, lambs were often sa...

April 12, 2019

As we approach the most important holiday of the year for Christians, I have a couple of questions. 

First, what's so good about Good Friday? It doesn't seem that good to me and wasn't good at all for Jesus. 

Secondly, how did such a weekend/day get stuck with a bunny rabbit? That's so not right! At the very least, it should be a lion. It should be the Easter Lion, like C.S. Lewis' Aslan.

Looking toward Easter, I'm reminded that the cross was once the ultimate symbol of the Roman Empire's vast power and of a most excruciating death. Now it represents eternal victory over all earthly power, even death itself. That's definitely a lion, not a bunny.

Victory over death; that's kind of a big deal. It's mind boggling, and it changes everything here on earth and everywhere else.

April 7, 2019

One of the advantages to being incarcerated in a Federal Prison Camp, as opposed to a more secure institution, is that we usually have the freedom to go outside when we want. And one of the advantages of being a puppy trainer is that Freddy and I get to walk all over the campus. Puppies need their walks, so we get to enjoy the flora and the fauna of central Texas, weather permitting, every day.

We experienced thousands of young Monarch butterflies earlier this year passing through on their way to Mexico. With the warmer weather, birds have suddenly reappeared. There are Mallards, Barn Swallows, Killdeer, Mourning Doves, and Purple Martins everywhere.

Freddy, being a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix puppy, is fascinated by every one. He quickly learned the word "bird."

Mockingbirds are not the friendliest birds, and Freddy and I recently encountered one sitting on a fence. To my surprise, it didn't fly away as we approached, so we sat and listened. What we heard was more than a song. It was a...

April 2, 2019

Arguably the best television comedy in history was The Andy Griffith Show, set in the fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina, in the 1960's. And one of the most colorful characters in Mayberry was Ernest T. Bass who made infrequent appearances, as he wasn't in town often. He was usually up in the mountains hunting, fishing, moonshining, and blowing up stuff. When he did get to Mayberry, he would announce his appearance with his usual, "It's me, It's me. It's Ernest T." He was odd but harmless, with one noticeable flaw. He liked to throw rocks. And no window was safe when Ernest T. came to town. Now, you might wonder what ETB has to do with Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp, and that would be a reasonable question. So let me try to explain.

We currently have 182 campers from all walks of life. We have all races, sexual orientations, hairstyles, tattoos, and religions. We get along remarkably well considering we're crowded into a facility designed for half that many inmates. We all have...

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© 2016 by Charles D. Jones