25 May 2004

Petition to count every vote

I just signed this petition to count every vote this November.

We must act now to ensure that our voting systems produce accurate and verifiable results.

Some states are planning to use machines that will not allow voters to verify their choices. This means that any flaws in the machine or software will never be caught -- and no recount will be possible.

And the head of the largest e-voting machine company -- who is a major contributor to George Bush and has promised to deliver Ohio to him -- asks that we just trust him.

Please join me by signing this call for accountability:



24 May 2004


The woman arrived At an airport one night With several long hours Before her flight. She hunted for a book In the airport shop, Bought a bag of cookies And found a place to drop.

She was engrossed in her book But happened to see, That the man sitting beside her, As bold as could be, Grabbed a cookie or two From the bag in between, Which she tried to ignore To avoid a scene.

So she munched the cookies And watched the clock, As the gutsy cookie thief Diminished her stock.

She was getting more irritated As the minutes ticked by, Thinking, "If I wasn't so nice, I would blacken his eye."

With each cookie she took, He took one too, When only one was left, She wondered what he would do. With a smile on his face, And a nervous laugh, He took the last cookie And broke it in half.

He offered her half, As he ate the other, She snatched it from him And thought... ooh, brother!

This guy has some nerve And he's also rude, Why he didn't even show Any gratitude!

She had never known When she had been so galled, And sighed with relief When her flight was called.

She gathered her belongings And headed to the gate, Refusing to look back At the thieving ingrate.

She boarded the plane, And sank in her seat, Then she sought her book, Which was almost complete.

As she reached in her baggage, She gasped with surprise, There was her bag of cookies, In front of her eyes.

If mine are here, She moaned in despair, The others were his, And he tried to share. Too late to apologize, She realized with grief, That she was the rude one, The ingrate, the thief!

How many times have we absolutely known that something was a certain way, only to discover later that what we believed to be true...was not?

" Keep An Open Mind And An Open Heart, Because...... You Just Never

Know...... Ya might be eating someone else's cookies!"

03 May 2004

Inmates Enjoy New Flat-Screen TVs

A friend of mine emailed me this story:


Inmates Enjoy New Flat-Screen TVs

Oregon Rewards Good Behavior With Access to In-Cell TVs



Convicted felon Nicholas Krahmer watches a seven-inch flat screen television he bought for $300 in his cell in Salem, Ore.

SALEM, Ore. (May 3) - Convicted felon Nicholas Krahmer kicks back on a bunk and enjoys one of the latest perks of prison life: A spanking new flat-screen TV that's still the envy of many viewers on the outside.

The tiny 7-inch set resembles flat-screen models installed in cars or on airplane seats. But it beats the alternative, he says - a night in the recreation room with about 150 other inmates who are prone to brawls over what to watch and where to sit.

Oregon's in-cell television policy springs from years of frustration in finding incentives for good behavior among prisoners serving mandatory sentences.

Krahmer bought the $300 television with money he earned working in prison, where he is paid a few dollars a day for computer drafting. Inmates also must have clean discipline records to qualify for the flat-screens.

"I've worked for it. I've stayed clear of any sort of nonsense in the institution," said Krahmer, 27, who is serving 70 months at Oregon State Correctional Institution, outside Salem, for assault with a knife.

"I've never seen an episode of 'Survivor.' I'm eager to watch that. I want to see what my family watches."

Randy Geer, administrator of the prisons' non-cash incentive programs, said that as far as he knows, Oregon is the only state where felons have flat-screen TVs in their cells. The 25 inmates who have bought the high-tech TVs get the same basic cable that's piped into the prison's common TV room.

Before the flat-screen program began in Krahmer's prison last month, Oregon was already one of 16 states in the country to allow in-cell televisions.

But most inmates in the state's 12 medium and maximum security prisons did not benefit: Only one of those prisons allowed personal TVs, and they were of the traditional tube variety, not flat-screens.

While allowing inmates to enjoy the latest high-tech gadgetry may seem odd, prison officials stress the flat-screens - which the state plans to introduce soon in all 12 of its higher security prisons - were selected for practical reasons.

Bulky tube televisions pose dangers, such as parts that could be used as a weapon, and hollow spaces that could serve as a hiding place for contraband, Geer said.

Flat-screen TVs used at the Oregon prison are made of clear plastic - so inmates cannot hide contraband inside.

Managers also considered cramped prison cells and decided the sleek, flat-screen models made sense.

"It was really the best solution," Geer said. "It is not a luxury item."

Before implementing the policy, Oregon officials questioned prison directors about television policy in all 50 states. Some states have decided to prohibit TVs in cells because the traditional tube models are too bulky. If a prisoner is sent to disciplinary confinement, the prison must store his or her belongings.

"Try finding space for 1,000 13-inch televisions," Geer said.

Steve Doell, president of the Oregon chapter of Crime Victims United, opposes television in prison for anything other than educational programming and to ease the work of correctional staff in disciplining inmates.

"If I were in charge, I would make sure they watch the Learning Channel, Discovery and C-Span," he said. "There's lots of movies and entertainment that show violence and sexual behavior."

Rank and file officers, however, are nearly as happy as the inmates.

"It's cut down on the number of inmates that come out in the evening to watch TV," said Julian Ruiz, a corrections officer who operates electronic door locks and monitors a cell block. "The more people you get down here in the evening, the more problems."

In the common TV room, each cell with two inmates is given a night to choose what to watch, and the honor rotates in strict order, Ruiz said. Prison staff intercede only to ensure major television events are shown, such as the Super Bowl, the NCAA basketball championships and the World Series. There is little interest in presidential addresses or other news, Ruiz said.

"If you ask, 'who wants to watch Bill Moyers?' one hand goes up, maybe. You ask about football, 100 hands go up," he said.

05/03/04 02:59 EDT


My dad emailed me this:

If any of you have ever been to a military funeral in which the song
"Taps" was played; this story brings out a whole new meaning to it. Here is
something EVERY AMERICAN should know. Until I read this, I didn't know.


We in the United States have all heard the haunting song, "Taps." It's
the song that gives us that lump in our throats and usually tears in our
eyes. But, do you know the story behind the song? If not, I think you
will be interested to find out about its humble beginning Reportedly,
it all began in 1862 during the Civil War, when Union
Army Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison's Landing
in Virginia. The Confederate Army was on the other side of the narrow
strip of land. During the night, Captain Ellicombe heard the moans of a soldier
who lay severely wounded on the field. Not knowing if it was a Union
or Confederate soldier, the Captain decided to risk his life and bring
the stricken man back for medical attention. Crawling on his stomach
through the gunfire, the Captain reached the stricken soldier and began
pulling him toward his encampment.

When the Captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered it
was actually a Confederate soldier, but the soldier was dead.
The Captain lit a lantern and suddenly caught his breath and went
numb with shock. In the dim light, he saw the
face of the soldier. It was his own son. The boy had been studying
music in the South when the war broke out. Without telling his
father, the boy enlisted in the Confederate Army.

The following morning, heartbroken, the father asked
permission of his superiors to give his son a full military burial,
despite his enemy status. His request was only partially granted.
The Captain had asked if he could have a group of Army band members play a
funeral dirge
for his son at the funeral. The request was turned down since the soldier
was a Confederate. But, out of respect for the father, they did say they could
give him
only one musician. The Captain chose a bugler. He asked the bugler to play a
of musical notes he had found on a piece of paper in the pocket of the
dead youth's uniform. This wish was granted. The haunting
melody, we now know as "Taps" ... used at military
funerals was born.
The words are ...

Day is done ...

Gone the sun ...

From the lakes ...

From the hills From the sky ...

All is well ...

Safely rest ...

God is nigh ...

Fading light ...

Dims the sight ...

And a star ...

Gems the sky. Gleaming bright ...

From afar ...

Drawing nigh ...

Falls the night.

Thanks and praise ...

For our days ...

Neath the sun ...

Neath the stars...

Neath the sky ...

As we go ...

This we know ...

God is nigh.

I, too, have felt the chills while listening to "Taps" but I have
never seen all the words to the song until now. I didn't even know
there was more than one verse. I also never knew the story behind the
song and I didn't know if you had either so I thought I'd pass it along.
I now have an even deeper respect for the song than I did