May 27, 2019

* The Wall Street Journal reported that Yale University researchers have discovered a way to restore some brain activity to pig brains 4 hours after death. Hank Greely, a Stanford law professor and president of the International Neuroethics Society, said, "Assuming always that this work is replicated, I think it's going to force us to think harder about how we declare somebody dead or not." Brain experts describe the results as remarkable, but the research is undoubtedly only a baby-step toward being able to restore full brain activity to someone who has been in prison for almost 4 years.

* The geniuses who run the commissary here at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp have decided to discontinue selling the packages of Star-Kist Lemon Pepper Tuna that I was being "gifted" in exchange for the "free" haircuts I provide on Wednesday evenings in the camp barbershop. I now have to substitute 2 New Leaf Vanilla Health Shakes. The package clearly states that the shakes are "A Healthier Alternative...

May 22, 2019

I was told this story by one who claimed to be in the room, so I'm asserting that it's accurate. Bill Moyers was Lyndon Johnson's Press Secretary. Moyers was known to be a Christian and was asked by the President to pray before a luncheon. In the middle of the prayer, Johnson yelled out, "Bill, I can't hear you!" Moyers responded, "Mr. President, I wasn't talking to you."

Unlike Moyers, I'm not very good at praying with other people around. In fact, I don't like to do it. I don't even like saying the blessing at Thanksgiving, and have written about it before here. Some people, though, are really good at it. They're articulate and sound very sincere, if not super spiritual. Some can even pray using the King James Version when God was "Thee" and "Thou." That's cool, but not for me. 

Don't get me wrong; I'm a fan of prayer, but have found it to be more listening, waiting, expecting, and receiving. In this sense, practicing meditation here has helped my prayer experiences. It made me realize...

May 17, 2019

Plea Agreements occur in 97% of federal criminal cases. Under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, specifically Rule 11 (c) (1), there are 3 types of Plea Agreements, wherein the defendant agrees to plead guilty to the charged offense or a lesser offense in exchange for:
     (A). The federal prosecutor not bringing or moving to dismiss other charges;
     (B). The federal prosecutor recommending or agreeing not to oppose a particular sentence requested by the defendant (Such a recommendation or request is not binding on the court); or
     (C). The prosecutor and the defendant agreeing to a specific sentence or sentencing range (Such an agreement is binding on the court, if accepted).

In my own case, there was never a question that I would plead guilty. My Plea Agreement was type (A). Unfortunately, I had no idea types (B) or (C) were available. One might think that since I was a lawyer, I should have known this. That would have been helpful, but I did...

May 12, 2019

In a former life, I've been known to say that a typical slalom water-ski run was nearly as good as sex; but the pure joy of a perfect run is slightly better. After several years of neither, I'm a little fuzzy on whether the comparison is still valid, so let's just focus on waterskiing.

Sadly, it takes me longer to get ready than to actually ski. I first have to hang onto something, usually the wakeboard tower to stretch my arms, shoulders and back. Of course I also need to stretch my hamstrings, calves and quads. Then not just any ski vest will do. Mine has to be lightweight but tight fitting. I like to wear gloves, so those go on next. Then I have to dip the ski in the water and squirt dish soap in the now wet ski boots because they're otherwise difficult to get on. My right foot has to be in front and goes in first, laced tightly. The left foot can be looser in the back. 

Once I'm finally in the water and the boat is slowly pulling the rope taught, my heart is already racing in anticip...

May 7, 2019

When I began this journey through the federal criminal justice system, I was asked more than once, "Don't you have a drug or alcohol problem?" "Are you sure you don't have a drug or alcohol problem?" Fortunately or unfortunately I didn't, so I was not a candidate for the Residential Drug Abuse Program offered by the Bureau of Prisons for those with substance abuse or addiction problems during the year prior to arrest. For those inmates who do successfully complete the 9 month, 500 hour treatment program, a one year sentence reduction plus 6 more months of halfway house can be earned.

About 15,000 nonviolent inmates, nearly 10% of the current federal inmate population, participated in RDAP last year. I've talked to every inmate here at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp who has completed the program. Without exception, they say it's thorough, demanding, and helpful. I know inmates who have taken or plan to take the program knowing they won't qualify for the sentence reduction. They do this s...

May 2, 2019

On April 18, 1942, 16 B-25 bombers took off from the deck of the USS Hornet. That sounds somewhat mundane until we consider that the B-25 required thousands of feet of runway. The Hornets flight deck offered a mere 500 feet. It was an absurd idea led by Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle. The planes were so stripped of extra weight that the tail guns were replaced by broomsticks. Even crazier, they were going to bomb Tokyo, flying right over the Emperor's palace a mere 132 days after the American Pacific fleet had been decimated at Pearl Harbor.

For all they knew, the planes would immediately crash into the ocean in their failed attempt to take off. Making matters worse, the Hornet's task force was spotted by the Japanese, causing them to take off 200 miles early in a terrible storm without enough fuel to reach friendly Chinese landing fields. It was now a suicide mission, but not one man accepted Doolittle's offer to withdraw from the mission.

All 16 B-25 bombers miraculously got off the flight d...

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© 2016 by Charles D. Jones