Showing posts from January, 2024

I’m sick and tired of it!

I’ve never spent a lot of time thinking about money. Maybe that’s because I never had much of it. I was gainfully employed all my life, so Marcia and I were able to raise four kids and pay the bills. Granted, there were some lean years in my topsy-turvy world of three distinctly different careers, but we always had enough to eat.   My thoughts turned to money recently, however, when my cousin Nancy---who had an amazing career as an exemplary teacher---posted this little statement on Facebook:   Imagine a world where pro athletes buy their own footballs   and teachers get diamond rings for being good at their jobs.   As a former broadcast journalist, I’m still a bit of a news junkie…so I started paying attention to stories about those persons who make a lot of money.   -Donald Trump, during a recent deposition, threw around all kinds of sky-high figures, pegging his famous name and related brand at $2.9 billion and even $3 billion!   -Shohei Ohtani, major league baseball pla

Cages: No place for man nor beast!

"If you ask a child to draw a picture of a zoo, chances are they'll draw an animal behind bars. We gotta take that image and change it." Jim Breheny, Director, Bronx Zoo   “If you ask someone to draw a picture of a prisoner, chances are they’ll draw a person behind bars. We gotta take that image and change it!” Doug Tjapkes, Founder, Humanity for Prisoners   I’m thinking about my hero Dr. MLK this week, thinking about my incarcerated friends this week, and wishing I had the skill to craft my own “I Have a Dream” speech.   I have a dream that here, in my favorite state, we might trash our present programs of punishment and retribution, and start thinking about humanity and rehabilitation for those persons who have made terrible mistakes. Just a quick note. Those individuals, also, were created in the image of God. Just a quick footnote. God loves them just as much as he loves you and me!   I have a dream that Michigan chooses to end solitary confinement in its pr

I don't know how you sleep at night!

  If the law is not strong enough to protect the humblest and weakest citizen it deserves the contempt of all. Clarence Darrow   Many, many years ago, I received a standing ovation after telling members of the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan (CDAM), “You are the backbone of our justice system!” I made that statement, realizing that a member of the HFP Board of Directors was wincing. His son had just married a young woman who made a career of defending criminals, and he boldly told her, “I don’t know how you sleep at night!”   As a young broadcast journalist, in my first career, I felt some of the same emotions as our board member. How does one defend these creeps?   Decades later, I befriended a poor Black guy sitting in the Michigan prison system, accused of a crime he did not commit. His defense attorney, and I use the term loosely, had a reputation of falling asleep in the courtroom. Appointed by the State of Michigan to make sure that Maurice H. Carter would receive a

How innocent people get screwed twice in Michigan!

It’s true! A couple of good news/bad news examples.   The good news: our state legislators adopted a law in 2017 offering compensation of $50,000 per year to victims of wrongful convictions.   The bad news: the measure is so vague that some of the people who deserve this money cannot collect it.   The good news : Michigan ranks fifth in the country when it comes to reversing convictions.   The bad news: A bout one-quarter of the people exonerated have been denied payment.   When that bill was passed in 2017, some lawmakers boasted about the state’s generosity…as if $50,000 for every year spent behind bars was even adequate. How does one put a cost figure on trying to get started again with no family, no home, no job prospects, no driver’s license, etc., etc.?   Now, I’m wondering if some of these lawmakers had their tongue in cheek, adopting a law whose narrow criteria and confusion over eligibility left former prisoners facing another system that seems stacked against th