Prop 57 Dealio
Sticky, of San Diego
Even though I am incarcerated, and have been for about ten years, I am comforted by the fact that Prop. 57 has passed. For me, this is a good thing; I am a 2-striker within the CDCR.
Originally, after being jailed for my crime, I was going to fight it out in court. But, after a year of hemming & hawing, the county offered me a deal. Even though I am guilty of my crime, I thought I could do better than their initial offer of forty-three years. The more I held out, the more the offers continued to come down.
I remember the day my lawyer came to the jail and told me there was a final offer on the table; 15-years @ 85% + a strike. They said my crime carried a term of 3, 5, or 8 years. I was offered the mid-term of five years plus an enhancement of five years for my prior strike plus another enhancement of five for the prior prison sentence. Fifteen sounded a hell of a lot better than forty-three. Needless to say, I signed.
When my sentencing day came, my signed deal was placed in front of me and, like an idiot, I signed again, never re-reading the fine print, only that it said "15 years, 0 months" at the bottom of the page. Years later I looked over my own court documents to discover the change from 5 + 5 + 5 to 10 + 5. This is what I get for being hasty, trusting, and not reading the details. It is how guys get screwed and don't find out until it is too late. I always convinced myself that, since I did the crime, this is my punishment for all aspects of stupidity, before and after incarceration.
So, here we are in the beginning of 2017. Back in November, Proposition 57 was voted in. It says many things but the part that applies to me is the abolishment of enhancements. As of March, I have served my 10-years and will be starting my enhancement time. When you analyze it, 10 years @ 85% = 8 1/2 years. Therefore, once the 5-year enhancement is removed, I should be released, 1 1/2 years overdue.
I suppose California could appeal the crap outa the new law, like they do everything else, and drag this thing into the next century. But maybe they will not. I am not a legal-beagle who knows all the ins & outs & loopholes within the system, so I may be in for a big surprise. For now, it is a nice pipe dream. Hopefully I'll get some action on this.
Of course, with my buzzard luck, they will probably start mass releases the day after I get out.
Sam Aurelius Milam III
I can remember when having a thumbprint on a driver's license was voluntary. I can remember when getting a driver's license didn't require a Social Security number. I can remember when using seat belts was voluntary. I can remember when the parents decided if children rode in the front seat. I can remember when having car insurance was voluntary. I can remember when buying a plane ticket didn't require ID. I can remember when people could get on a plane without being searched. I can remember when there weren't any surveillance cameras, not even in the banks. I can remember when teachers could decide when to give a test, what to put on it, and how to grade it. I can remember when there weren't any cops in the schools. I can remember when students could enter or leave a school without being searched. I can remember when I could carry my pocket knife to school without being expelled for it. I can remember when schools were run by local school boards. I can remember when attending college didn't require a Social Security number. I can remember when I could get medical treatment, or have a prescription filled, without showing a driver's license. I can remember when medical insurance was voluntary. I can remember when babies didn't have Social Security numbers. I can remember when cops didn't look and act like Nazi storm troopers. I can remember when there weren't any SWAT teams.
|Letters to the Editor
Stop the press, because I've got a crazy prison story that you must print! You see I am a 51 year-old white guy doing time in an Arkansas prison for forgery, and as all of your readers know, the officers force all of us prisoners to work outside all day, for free at hard labor in the hot dusty fields like slaves chopping dirt and weeds with a hoe in our hand, without any gloves causing severe blisters while a security officer on horseback watches over us carrying a loaded shotgun pointed at us in case we should try to make an escape.
Well, Sam, the other day I had enough of being treated like a stupid white slave and I decided to outsmart them with a simple solution that I am damn sure all of your readers will love to learn!
You see Sam, I simply dropped a request to mental health explaining that every time I go to work outside in the fields that I am constantly having these weird thoughts of using my hoe as a weapon to knock the officer off his horse and me stealing his gun and horse from him, and me riding off into the woods to escape, and I don't feel that I should be blamed or punished for my having these weird thoughts and ideas, but I feel that it's probably best that I be restricted from working anywhere outside the prison gates.
Well Sam, mental health immediately turned this weird request over to security, and they read it and they locked me up in isolation under investigational status, and the very next morning they served me with a major disciplinary and I called mental health as my witness! You see Sam, they have now violated my rights and they've broken mental health patient confidentiality laws, and now I have the direct evidence to prove beyond all doubt that they are punishing for my admitting to them that I have these thoughts and ideas, and with this evidence, myself or another prisoner can use this same concept and easily win a federal law-suit!
But Sam, you can also be damn sure with this statement in my inmate file, they'll never risk putting my crazy ass back out in those hot dusty fields! But Sam, now we prisoners must all stand together like frontiersman and be totally honest with the mental health and tell them that truth that any time we are working outside in those fields is that escape and freedom is constantly on our minds, and for this reason we should all be restricted from working anywhere outside those prison gates.
For several years I've been getting a free publication, Frontiersman, c/o 4984 Peach Mountain Drive, Gainesville, Georgia 30507, from a friend, Sam Milam. Many of his issues have some very interesting articles included. If any of you are interested, Sam is willing to send you Frontiersman as long as he can afford it. You just need to contact him at the address above.
The most recent issue included an interesting quote attributed to Thomas Sowell: "Sometimes it seems as if there are more solutions than problems. On closer scrutiny, it turns out that many of today's problems are a result of yesterday's solutions."
There have been several recent interesting articles written by Robert Outman, a prisoner in a California prison.
Steve, of Wahiawa, Hawaii
I was going to write a letter about how the Baby Boomers, who seemed to be a rather libertarian group in the 1960s and 1970s, turned authoritarian and ended up supporting Clinton and Trump last year.
However, I am currently unsettled by the hoopla and overreaction in regard to health care. No one seems to be asking the BASIC question Is it the government's proper duty and function to provide health care? If that is a proper activity of government, why stop there? Why not completely socialize or collectivize the economy?
Baby Boomers The members of my generation have been a big disappointment to me. They started out with a lot of high ideals and then degenerated into their parents.
Medical Services See my article Trapped by the Safety Net. It's available on page 2 of the July 1998 issue.
Functions of Government Social contract government is the best way to answer that question. See The Long and Winding Doctrine: Social Contract. It's available on Pharos.
Economy Maybe the economy can be more socialized and collectivized than it already is. If it can be, then it will be.
Sam Aurelius Milam III
The more I learn about the universe, the less likely it all seems. Even our own little solar system doesn't seem very likely. Of course, some philosopher commented that, if something happens, then it must be possible. So, however unlikely it might seem, here we are.
So far as I'm aware, most of the scientific theories about the origin of the solar system posit the existence, billions of years ago, of an enormous cloud of dust. I suggested how that could happen in my essay Cosmology and the Law of Parsimony. It's available on Pharos.
Supposedly, the bits and pieces of dust of which that cloud was composed gradually fell together, because of their mutual gravitational attractions. They formed bigger clumps of dust which also gradually fell together, and so forth. Here's a problem. Given the presumably random dispersal of dust, why didn't it all just fall together into one big clump, at the center? What caused some of the bits of dust to avoid the center and, instead, fall into orbits around the center? I don't see any logical explanation for that. It should have been just the sun in the center, and nothing more.
Maybe the original cloud of dust was spinning. I don't know why it would have been spinning but, if it was, then that might have caused some of the clumps to fall into orbits. Most of the bits and pieces fell into the center, and became the sun. Some of them fell into orbits, and became planets.
Here's another problem. Pieces of debris in lower orbits around the sun would have had higher orbital speeds. Pieces of debris in higher orbits around the sun would have had lower orbital speeds. Every time that a piece of debris from a lower solar orbit fell onto our growing planet, it would have been moving faster than the planet. On impact, it would most likely have exerted a clockwise force on the planet, as viewed from what we now think of as the north. Pieces of debris from orbits further from the sun, moving slower than the planet, would probably have had the same effect, as would the internal forces associated with the Roche Limit. The result is that our planet and, indeed, any planet should spin in the direction opposite to the direction of its orbit. So far as I'm aware, in our solar system, only Venus and Uranus do that. Our planet spins backwards.
Also, why do scientists claim that the planet started as a molten mass and cooled at the surface, leaving a molten core? Why would it originally be hot? All of the original debris was floating around in open space, where things are cold. There might have been some heating at each impact but energy dissipates. Given billions of years of accumulation, there was ample time for cooling between impacts. I don't see any reason why the planet would have started out hot. I believe that it started out cold and that the core became molten later, if it's molten at all. Maybe only the mantle is molten. We don't know that for sure.
If the planet has a molten core, then what heated it? Consider this. The planet stretches about a foot toward the moon, due to lunar gravity. One foot isn't much, but that stretch travels around the planet, continuously, every day. After a few billion years of stretching and squeezing, heat accumulated. I believe that the interior of the planet was heated by lunar tidal forces, after they both were formed.
Speaking of the moon, why is it in such a nearly circular orbit? Why are any of the orbiting bodies in such nearly circular orbits? Why are the orbits, mostly, so nearly in the plane of the ecliptic? Why is there even a plane of the ecliptic? Given the original random accumulation of dust, it's all way too neat. Was the dust cloud not random after all? Was it a spinning disk of dust rather than a spinning random accumulation of dust? If so, then why?
Nothing about the solar system really seems likely. The more I learn, the more questions I have. Stephen Hawking commented that, in an infinite universe, all things are equally probable. That could be taken to mean that nothing is unlikely, however unlikely it might seem. Maybe our solar system is unique in the universe. Maybe the universe is littered with such solar systems. I don't know.
James Thurber noted that it's better to know some of the questions than to know all of the answers. Indeed, a man who knows all of the answers probably hasn't heard all of the questions. Sir Isaac Newton commented that he felt like a boy on a beach, finding smoother pebbles and prettier shells, while the ocean of truth waited nearby, undiscovered. The universe is the biggest ocean. Maybe it's inherently unknowable. Maybe questions are the closest that we'll ever get to understanding it.
My thanks to the following: SantaClara Bob; Betty; Eric, of Ione, California; and Sir Donald the Elusive.
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Sam Aurelius Milam III, editor