The Whitey Bulger murder: looking bad for the Bureau of Prisons

I’m sure readers are aware of the murder of 89-year-old convict Whitey Bulger at a Federal high-security penitentiary in West Virginia.  That was bad enough, and his death has highlighted some serious errors in the way the prison handled his admission.  (You’ll recall that I was a chaplain at a Federal high-security penitentiary, and know how these things should be done.  From what I’ve read, they were not handled correctly at all.) Now comes new information that – if true – makes the Bureau of Prisons look even more guilty of serious errors in handling the late Mr. Bulger. Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger’s medical classification was suddenly and

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3M gets a legal slap on the wrist – but still makes millions

If this report doesn’t infuriate you, it should! A contractor has agreed to pay $9.1 million to the U.S. government for selling defective earplugs issued to thousands of servicemembers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan from 2003 to 2015. Known as “selective attenuation earplugs,” 3M’s Combat Arms earplugs would “loosen in the wearers ear, imperceptibly to the wearer and even trained audiologists visually observing a wearer, thereby permitting damaging sounds to enter the ear canal by traveling around outside of the earplug,” according to the whistleblower lawsuit complaint, which was settled Thursday. . . . The earplugs were originally manufactured by Aearo Technologies,

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Not just a moral or public relations crisis, but a criminal crisis

I didn’t write more yesterday about the latest child sex abuse scandal – “scandal”:  what a pathetically inadequate word! – to hit the Catholic Church.  The reality was too stomach-churning for me – or anyone in his or her right mind – to face.  Nevertheless, I’ve returned to reading more of the Pennsylvania report, and other people’s views and comments on it.  I think there’s an aspect of this situation that isn’t being properly addressed. The Catholic Church is already trying to “spin” this as a public relations crisis rather than anything more.  Efforts are being made to minimize the damage

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Sometimes the police can’t win for losing

Calibre Press posted this video a few days ago. In an accompanying article, the author pointed out: Only one person should be talking to the witnesses and taking information—confidential information, as it is—from the victims. That person in this case, Officer Bartynski. No one else should inject themselves into the investigation. This is too much, it seems, for Rev. David Bullock. . . . I’m not going to detail everything Reverend Bullock said over the course of the video. But what I will say is that this is a sad state of affairs we’re in. Elites criticize peace officers with impunity.

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Prison reform and the US justice system

I note that there’s a push to get a prison reform bill through Congress by the end of the year.  I’ll be the first to applaud if they can produce a workable solution to the present problems in the prison system:  but I think they’re starting from the wrong end.  The problem isn’t so much prisons as what happens to criminals before they get there.  I’ve written at some length about it in my memoir of prison chaplaincy. For those who haven’t read the book, here are a few important points (out of many) for consideration. First, the present justice system does almost

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Quote of the day

Courtesy of Miguel at the Gun Free Zone: Chief Judge Sol Wachtler … said district attorneys now have so much influence on grand juries that “by and large” they could get them to “indict a ham sandwich.” . . . Given the unprecedented latitude [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller seems to have in his prosecutorial discretion, that Trump wasn’t indicted means that either Mueller is a secret Trump backer or Trump is less culpable than the average ham sandwich in DC. Oh, that’s priceless . . . Peter

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The Kavanaugh hearings: this is not democracy, this is rule-by-mob

I’m sure most of my readers have been following the farcical proceedings on Capitol Hill this week, as Senate hearings began into the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be the next Justice of the Supreme Court. We’ve seen ridiculous, disgusting scenes that don’t deserve any part of politics in a constitutional republic like ours.  Protesters have screamed their outrage and vitriol, organized and paid to do so by outside forces inimical to democracy.  I’ve clipped the detail below from one of the photographs of a man paying protesters (you can see more at the link): Note the brazenness of the proceedings.  He simply didn’t care that

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If you read between the lines, things become a lot clearer

The expression “to read between the lines” is an old one.  For the benefit of non-native English speakers who read this blog, there’s a useful definition of the term here.  If one applies that approach to the latest letter from Prof. Ford’s lawyer to the Senate Judicial Committee concerning her proposed testimony on Thursday(quoted in part here, and reproduced in part below – clickit to biggit), a lot of things become clearer. See if you agree with my perception of what is said, versus what is meant or impliedby it.  Original text is in bold print;  my understanding of it is in italics below each excerpt. “The outside

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“The coming crime wars”

That’s the title of a very good article in Foreign Policy.  I can confirm its accuracy from extensive personal experience in the Third World.  Let’s begin with an excerpt. Wars are on the rebound. There are twice as many civil conflicts today, for example, as there were in 2001. And the number of nonstate armed groups participating in the bloodshed is multiplying. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), roughly half of today’s wars involve between three and nine opposing groups. Just over 20 percent involve more than 10 competing blocs. In a handful, including ongoing conflicts in Libya

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Gut reactions to the Kavanaugh delay

I’m trying to be adult in my response to yet another delay in Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation.  I can understand why some Senate Republicans wanted a further investigation, and why President Trump acceded to their wishes.  They have a one-vote – one single vote – margin in the Senate, and at least three RINO senators who may, for their own reasons, prefer not to support Judge Kavanaugh.  If they’re lucky, they may get one or two Democratic senators to support him . . . but that still means that his confirmation is not certain.  It may be that the Vice-President will have

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