February Ramblings

* 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." With regard to our friends, he asks us to consider: "If you have a friend whose friendship you wouldn't recommend to your sister, or your father, or your son, why would you have such a friend for yourself? You might say: out of loyalty. Well loyalty is not identical to stupidity. Loyalty must be negotiated, fairly and honestly. Friendship is a reciprocal arrangement. You are not morally obligated to support someone who makes the world a worse place."

*Freddy and I get a little bored sometimes, so we are working on some "off the books" commands. My favorite so far is a "High Five" which is different from the normal "Shake" command. It cracks us both up every time we do it.

* Three cooks were fired from the Chow Hall this month. Apparently the stolen 40 pounds of pork was too much to ignore even for the Three Blind Mice who run food services here. Our meals have improved significantly now that just 10% and not 50% of the food is being stolen before it's served.

* Deiter Uchtdorf is a native-born German who immigrated to America, becoming a pilot and leader in the Mormon church (which isn't called the Mormon Church anymore). He's one of my favorite writers/speakers on the practical aspects of Christianity. He said this about faith. "In my experience, belief is not so much like a painting we look at and admire and about which we discuss and theorize. It is more like a plow that we take into the fields and, by the sweat of our brow, create furrows in the earth to accept seeds and bear fruit that shall remain."

* I still spend a few hours each week, usually after 8:30pm, in the law library with Freddy asleep under my desk. While this is a good time to read and write, the conversations have really stepped up with the addition of a 2016 World Almanac followed by a 2018 edition. I prefer the 2016 because we can still argue about whether the information in the almanac might have changed in 3 years. It's odd that some of the best discussions of my life about topics great and small have taken place in this 12-by-14 foot room in a federal prison.