June Ramblings

* I finally tried some of the bathroom cooking here at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp after confirming that the particular ingredients hadn't been sitting in someone's locker for 3-4 days. The corn tortillas with chicken, cheese, peppers and onions were good--not restaurant good, but I was alive the next morning. Unfortunately, I was still in prison.

* Anyone not in a coma should know that we marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day this month. My deceased father-in-law, a B-24 pilot for the Army Air Corp, flew one of his 30-plus missions that day to bomb German gun emplacements at Normandy. He and his crew had to abort the mission because of cloud cover. So, many of those German guns were still in place when the first wave of American boys made amphibious landings on the Normandy beaches called Omaha and Utah. They were also supposed to be supported by Duplex Drive tanks equipped with inflatable canvas skirts. This state of the art technology allowed these tanks to float to the beaches after being launched from cargo ships off-shore. Sadly, most of the tanks sank in the rough seas with only 2 of 28 making it to Omaha Beach. Without air and armored support, that first wave experienced casualties of 85%; but they kept going, and more followed. There are enough stories of courage that day for a thousand books. Sadly, some of them will never be told, as most of that Greatest Generation are no longer with us.

* The First Step Act, the prison and reform legislation that became law last December, remains essentially unimplemented by the Bureau of Prisons. One provision renews and slightly modifies a pilot program that had expired in 2009. That program allows a nonviolent offender, age 60 and over, to spend the final third of his/her sentence in home confinement. This is as long as the BOP determines there is no substantial risk the offender will engage in criminal conduct or be a danger to others.

* Three staff members from Canine Companions For Independence came recently to check on Freddy and his puppy buddies who are in training to be service dogs. Maybe they were just checking to see that we weren't training them to run drugs and guns or commit wire fraud, but I find their love for these dogs and the people they serve to be very inspiring. It was also nice to hear words like "amazing" and "awesome."

* This month most of our weekend visitation was cancelled because of "safety and security" concerns (code words for punishment). Our access to the softball and soccer fields and the walking track were also limited to 2 hours per day. Naturally those 2 hours were the hottest part of the day. So much for safety and security.