Sunday Morning News and Open Thread

Here's what's caught my eye this morning:

  • Behind Bars, Sort Of....Can a prison have glass walls, balconies, communal cooking spaces and private bathrooms — and still be a prison? (NY Times Magazine) The answer: Yes, but not in the U.S. Europe is so much more enlightened. In addition to Austria, as I wrote last week, there's France.

I know Oscar is having more fun being mayor than he has had doing anything else-- he is positively gleeful every time I see him. With his boundless ingenuity, good governance and gregarious personality, I fully expect he'll be Governor of Nevada one day.

In 2007, Oscar won by a landslide, with the AP reporting:

Oscar Goodman, a former mob lawyer and self-proclaimed "happiest mayor in the world," breezed to a third term as mayor of Las Vegas. The Democrat won 84 percent of Tuesday's vote with all precincts reporting, easily avoiding a June run-off. His nearest competitor had just 2,170 votes to Goodman's 26,845.

Oscar's only disappointed me once, in 2005.

He appeared on television and advocated that graffiti artists have their thumbs amputated on public television as punishment. Then he advocated caning as punishment for children who misbehave.
`I'm dead serious,'' said Goodman, adding, ``Some of these (children) don't learn. You have got to teach them a lesson, and this is coming from a criminal defense lawyer.'' ``They would get a trial first,'' he added.

I'm hoping he made these comments after one too many of his infamous martinis.

Seriously, Oscar would make a great Governor. He's smart as a whip, is a master of strategy as well as legal stuff, and he can solve problems. He's socially conscious with a charming and exuberant personality. He has a great family, and a truly deep and abiding affinity for the underdog. Let's face it, we're all underdogs in this economy.

If you'd like to see Oscar make the decision to run (and I know many criminal defense lawyers reading this site will), I have a way for you to make him pay attention to your request. Send him a letter, that says, Run, Oscar, Run! inside a package filled with Tootsie Rolls, the bigger the better. It's his favorite candy. He particularly loves the foot long ones, but will eat them no matter what size they are. His kitchen is filled with them. Nevada couldn't get a better Governor than Oscar, so please, cheer him on.

If you are in Las Vegas, he holds a bi-monthly coffee klatch with residents at places like Whole Foods or Lucas Cafe, so you can meet and bring him a tootsie roll there. His schedule is here.

Here's how to contact him:

Mayor Oscar Goodman
City Hall, Tenth Floor
400 Stewart Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89101 (Map)
Phone: (702) 229-6241
Fax: (702) 385-7960

What are you following today? This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    re Behind Bara (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by pluege on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 08:50:46 AM EST
    Europe is so much more enlightened.

    That's what happens when you don't let your societies be run by violent, hate-mongering, psychotic thugs. The empowerment of republican/conservatism in the US - led by indisputably psychotic thugs...coulter, limbaugh, reaqgan, bush, rove, cheney, robertson, rice, rumsfeld, gingrich...the list is endless is disgraceful, dangerous and has been ruinous.

    There can be and never will be humane decent progress in the US as long as psychotic hate mongering, violence inciting republican/conservatives with their monopoly on information via control of ABC Disney, Viacom, Fox, GE, and Time-Warner have the influence they do.  

    They make hate mongering and (none / 0) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 08:55:14 AM EST
    hatred fashionable and America is seemingly forever a "trendy" society...even when the trends are insane.

    But (none / 0) (#10)
    by jbindc on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 09:49:40 AM EST
    For low level criminals, this type of design might work.  But tell me why I should care if the aesthetics of a prison would foster hopey-changey feelings in criminals who probably will and SHOULD be behind bars for the rest of their lives?  Maybe I'm missing a gene or something, but I really don't care if gang-bangers and murderers and rapists get lots of natural light or have communal cooking spaces.

    Missing reality (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by pluege on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 10:57:35 AM EST
    1) The US only puts scary brown people in prison for life; known psychopathic republicans like von Brunn, Roeder, ann coulter, and so many more run free to murder and incite hate and violence.

     2) the treatment of prisoners in the US only further hardens them, negating any chance of salvaging a human being. For every 20, 100, 1000 prisoners beyond redemption, saving one human life should be worth the minor financial cost to society of decency. Decency has huge benefits beyond dollars and cents.  

     3) the chance of redemption through humane treatment in Europe in no way infers that Europeans are releasing anyone into society that hasn't been fully vetted as highly likely to be ready to be part of free society. It would be stupid to conflate humane treatment in prison with premature release of prisoners into society.

     4) treating people humanely is as much for the imprisoners as it is the prisoners. (Just as state sponsored murder, so-called capital punishment says more about the executioner, i.e., US society, then it does about the murderers being executed.) You can not have a humane society that intentionally mistreats people or treats them as waste. The concepts of humane society and inhumane treatment of people are mutually exclusive. Current US society is a perfect case in point. The more hate mongering, violence inciting republicans/conservatives hold sway, the more violent and hateful the society gets.


    I'm not missing anything (1.00 / 0) (#15)
    by jbindc on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 11:07:10 AM EST
    Gang-bangers and murderers in prison for life (as opposed to on death row) should not be afforded any luxuries.  I'm not talking about beating them or waterboarding them, but comfy accommodations for people who commit the most heinous crimes in our society should not be a priority for us. They get three square meals a day, shelter, and a better health plan than many Americans.  I don't care if they feel bad or they might be uncomfortable in a small cell  - they should. It is not inhumane to separate evil, violent people away from the rest of society  - they are the ones who are inhumane.

    Seems to me there isn't much difference (5.00 / 0) (#18)
    by Anne on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 11:31:11 AM EST
    between where many of these criminals came from and prison; they are being confined with, in many cases, the same kinds of people they were running with before they landed there.  Since most of them will not be there forever, it makes no sense to me to not try to teach them that there is a better way to live, to let them see that they can have a decent life without having to keep committing crimes.

    Or, we can just keep treating it like the revolving-door system that it is.

    Sure, there are those who should never see the light of day, and life in prison should not be like staying in a hotel, but you don't teach people how to be humane by treating them inhumanely - you just teach them that those with power can do whatever they want to anyone they want, and all that does is build resentment.


    Sure (none / 0) (#23)
    by jbindc on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 06:11:42 PM EST
    When you first take care of the other 10,000 problems we have for people on the outside who chose not to commit crimes.

    Think of it this way..... (none / 0) (#25)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 09:10:31 PM EST
    if we can find a way to treat criminals with humane and decent attitudes, imagine how reasonable and fair we can be with all the people who are not criminals.

    I have mixed feelings about it too (none / 0) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 10:01:16 AM EST
    Some violent offenders in prison may only choose to kill other people in the communal cooking space. I can't imagine living without natural lighting though because I have SAD.  I would be very depressed without lots of natural light.  I have read a lot of studies on natural light and many people become depressed without it so.....would that be beneficial in maintaining a safe healthy environment is my question because that may be very beneficial for everyone involved all the way around.

    Oscar appears to (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 04:03:55 AM EST
    Implementation of Sharia system of law.

    Oscar has an opportunity here (none / 0) (#4)
    by joze46 on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 07:57:46 AM EST
    Oscar has an opportunity here. Heck, from my view Oscar should run against Harry Reid. Go for the Senate that would be a hoot. With a giggle and some laughter  my side is starting to ache. The whole concept could be justice served. Of Oscar surely would need some ambitious lawyers at his side.  Actually we need an official who openly creates controversy. Sort of a dirty Harry type but with good intentions instead of "make my day punk" attitude or actions. Oscar can deal out assembled legal conspiracy Indictments. Um we need a yes vote on this legislation or we open up hearings in the morning. Yuke, yuke...  

    Shall we say that famous phrase "there are many ways to develop an offer that can't be refused." Especially if your in the arena with those that deal in trillions of dollars. Lets face it, there are many times when one would like to really turn a page in history, smile lightly, watching some of the status quo flinch moving in lost directions. Or even disappear joining the fraternity of want Abe pardoned lost souls advertising on cable and hate radio.  

    Harry Reid is a wimp anyway. Perhaps Oscar could bring a little long over due Union power to the political spectrum too. A fifty million dollar museum that Oscar wants to build in Las Vegas is chump change. Oscar should get a referendum going to sell stocks certificates in his casinos. Wall Street brokers have been ripping off Joe public for decades its pay back time, rip for change. If Oscar would like to get going on the technology side, I have a deal for him.  Or better yet, why not configure the Casino's to give car and home loans that have special middle class benefits. How about credit card services that don't go over 5%. Life is good...

    Imagine people betting on America and likely getting a piece of the pie instead of just getting stiffed in a 401k, or find it difficult to cash in on those so called cash value insurance policies.  

    racist, not right-wing (none / 0) (#19)
    by diogenes on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 12:40:05 PM EST
    Von Braun killed people because he was a racist, not because of conservative political doctrine.  Just as black panthers espoused violence because of racism, not liberal political doctrine.

    Was quite surprised last night (none / 0) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 09:08:57 AM EST
    Had a meeting with a fellow German Shepherd Breeder yesterday who lives 100+ miles away.  She works in a minimum security federal prison. Not exactly sure what that entails but she said they have no fences.

    Shh, don't tell the right that (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Dadler on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 11:27:46 AM EST
    If they found out many prisoners are only prisoners based on, essentially, the honor system, heck, they'd be calling for these folks to be wearing those dog collars that emit a shock when the dog wanders past the invisible fence/sensor.

    Oscar Goodman, Oscar Goodman (none / 0) (#9)
    by randy80302 on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 09:42:42 AM EST
    The mayor so good that it has to be said twice. :-)

    Oscar Goodman (none / 0) (#12)
    by jen on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 10:17:44 AM EST
    sounds almost too good to be true compared to what we have now. Gibbons was holding town halls the last few months, and when he came to my historically very red town, he did not get the adoring welcome we thought he would. The question and answer period was very eye opening, with lots of criticism and anger. I doubt Gibbons lost a wink of sleep over it.

    Says it all (none / 0) (#13)
    by dead dancer on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 10:19:43 AM EST
    I laugh (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 11:13:44 AM EST
    because Maher got exactly what he voted for.  And now he's complaining?

    Or maybe he's just another opportunist who rode the popularity then and now figures he might bring back some of the folks who cancelled HBO because of his koolaid drinking.


    no kidding (none / 0) (#26)
    by sj on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 09:18:50 PM EST
    I stopped watching him even before he went to HBO, during the 2000 Presidential race.  He was one of those "no difference between Bush and Gore".  Kept saying "Gush/Bore" with that sneer he has.  If he couldn't see the difference then he couldn't see anything.

    I still can't watch him (none / 0) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 01:09:46 PM EST
    And boo hoo, look what practicing a little selective misogyny got Bill?  An unsatisfactory life.  Hopefully someday more dudes will learn that golden rule.  Bill always said a few things that I found distasteful as a woman, but I can overlook some things if the entree has some meaty truth to it.  I have to do that daily in my real life.  He lost his macho a-hole mind though during the primaries and he now has what most guys have when they lose their mind and replace it with a misogynistic lizard one........reverberating consequences!

    Says not much at all (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Cream City on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 12:51:47 PM EST
    that we didn't know about Bill Maher.  His affect was fine for his movie roles, but he's in a different league now.  So he needs to grow up.

    Not being a New Yorker, (none / 0) (#21)
    by KeysDan on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 01:38:32 PM EST
    other than for enthusiastic visits to NYC,  I do not know about Tom Suozzi, Nassau County executive.  But, in his June 13 NYT op-ed, he presented cogent insights into his new-found support for same-sex marriage.  Moreover, Mr.Suozzi's thinking not only rests on equality, but also, discerns and honors both civil marriages and holy matrimony of religious institutions.  Perhaps, most refreshing in discussing his change of position was stating flat out..." I was wrong."   Not something we hear very often from a politician....I plan to forward Mr. Suozzi's article to Mr. Obama, or more importantly, to Mr.Holder's DOJ.

    He's running in the Senate primary (none / 0) (#22)
    by andgarden on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 06:00:54 PM EST
    against Gillibrand, who already supports marriage equality.

    Heh, the power of the primaries (none / 0) (#27)
    by nycstray on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 09:20:40 PM EST
    to bring some momentary enlightenment!  {grin}

    Lakers (none / 0) (#24)
    by Dadler on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 08:00:06 PM EST
    I think they're gonna take it tonight.  On a run and up by 9 with a few minutes left in the first half.  I think Orlando will make one good second half run, and if we don't fold then it'll be over.  Fold and it's back to LA.  But I don't think so.

    HEALTH INSURANCE (none / 0) (#30)
    by Inspector Gadget on Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 02:51:18 PM EST
    Some illnesses aren't really all that difficult to diagnose. I'm wondering how much money was shelled out to insurance companies for tests and doctor visits that couldn't come to a rather common diagnosis. This teenager actually diagnosed herself.

    Correction... (none / 0) (#31)
    by Inspector Gadget on Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 02:51:48 PM EST
    not TO insurance companies, but BY insurance companies.