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Prison Diaries

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March-April 2011- Misc Entries

Last week I was selected to be "upgraded" (or "down-graded") to minimum security level. I was notified several days prior to the URB Unscheduled Review Board meeting. I once aging voiced to the staff doing the board that I would like to decline it if selected (the benefits are just not that great to me). The benefits being: a single cell, $5 more per month on the canteen order (equals another jar of peanut butter and box of crackers) get to stay up one hour later every night, and get to work DFAC (dining facility) first for every meal. Did not seem all that great for losing essentially all communication with my friends, roommate, workout buddies and routine I was used to.

I have met with the Education staff several times in the past few weeks also. They have provided me with the material and means to start their first adult education class. I'll be able to squeeze in a class on math before I leave. Hope it will be fun for some of the inmates and lead to them being ready for college level classes when they get out. It is doubtful that this facility will get much started on college courses, on-line or correspondence, for quite some time.

First math class is tonight – I'm the only instructor. It should be fun. Several guys from my old pod are the majority of the class – nice because I think they are taking it because they know me – and likely would not bother if it were someone else they did not know.

One of the few opportunities available is the FEMA courses by correspondence. The Education Section has many copies of the books and over the past month more and more inmates have been borrowing them to complete. Those have also been keeping me busy. It has been hard for me to find the books I have not completed yet. The past two weeks I completed six more. Believe I only have three more FEMA books to complete the twenty one books available. These could be transferred in for some college credit – so it is nice to see many people completing these. Besides, there is some really good information in these books that applies to many career fields, along with some good information.

Since I did buy a little better radio last month, I get a bit better radio reception. Appreciate the info on talk radio again. So besides just getting to hear some clear radio about one hour per night while outside I can now receive signal much better indoors during the evenings. I have been getting to listen to more talk radio. Some afternoons and on my days off.

Recently received the Textbook "The Bible and it's Influence" by Cullen Schippe and Chuck Stetson. Remarkable textbook. Designed for secondary school teaching covering maybe a chapter a week – I am on schedule to finish it before my release, have to do about two chapters a day.

Pretty amazing what de Tocqueville was writing in 1831:

Alexis de Tocqueville "Democracy in America" Quotes

Page 79: "An American Constitution is not supposed to be immutable, as in France; nor is it susceptible of modification by the ordinary powers of society, as in England. It constitutes a detached whole, which, as it represents the will of the whole people, is no less binding on the legislator than on the private citizen, but which may be altered by the will of the people in predetermined cases, according to the established rules. In America, the Constitution may therefore vary; but as long as it exists, it is the origin of all authority, and the sole vehicle of the predominating force..."

Page 137... "However the predominant party in the nation may be carried away by its passions, however ardent it may be in the pursuit of it's projects, it cannot oblige all the citizens to comply with it's desires in the same manner, and at the same time, throughout the county."

"This point deserves attention; for if a democratic republic, similar to that of the United States, were ever founded in a country where the power of one man had previously established a centralized administration, and had sunk deep into the habits and the laws of the people, I do not hesitate to assert, that, in such a republic, a more insufferable disposition would prevail then in any of the absolute monarchies of Europe; or, indeed, than any that could be found on this side of Asia."

I was going to turn de Tocqueville back into the library because I've had it so long – so I was skimming it – then it just started catching me again. How could this man write so well and insightful about our government and perhaps even predict weaknesses of the people and future government to such a seemingly accuracy?