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Sheriff Joe is at it again! May 20, 2008

Posted by Mongo in Uncategorized.
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The following information was forwarded to me by a friend, and I do remember seeing him on “60 Minutes” back a while ago. For the record I think this guy is spot-on with his assessment of criminals and the handling of his prison system. I’ve never understood how violent, hardened criminals should be allowed the same “rights” as the rest of the law-abiding citizens who are not in prison. Well, Sheriff Joe has a system that’s legal, extremely tough on his inmates, and it seems to work well both as a deterrent and an education in basic human values. Other systems should learn from this example…

You all may remember Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona , who painted the jail cells pink and made the inmates wear pink prison garb. Well………SHERIFF JOE IS AT IT AGAIN!

Maricopa County was spending approx. $18 million dollars a year on stray animals, like cats and dogs. Sheriff Joe offered to take the department over, and the County Supervisors said okay. The animal shelters are now all staffed and operated by prisoners. They feed and care for the strays. Every animal in his care is taken out and walked twice daily. He now has prisoners who are experts in animal nutrition and behavior. They give great classes for anyone who’d like to adopt an animal. He has literally taken stray dogs off the street, given them to the care of prisoners, and had them place in dog shows.

The best part? His budget for the entire department is now under $3 million. We [the writer of this article] adopted a Weimaraner from a Maricopa County shelter two years ago. He was neutered, and current on all shots, in great health, and even had a microchip inserted the day we got him. Cost them $78.

The prisoners get the benefit of about $0.28 an hour for working, but most would work for free, just to be out of their cells for the day. Most of his budget is for utilities, building maintenance, etc. He pays the prisoners out of the fees collected for adopted animals.

I have long wondered when the rest of the country would take a look at the way he runs the jail system, and copy some of his ideas. He has a huge farm, donated to the county years ago, where inmates can work, and they grow most of their own fresh vegetables and food, doing all the work and harvesting by hand.

He has a pretty good sized hog farm, which provides meat, and fertilizer. It fertilizes the Christmas tree nursery, where prisoners work, and you can buy a living Christmas tree for $6 – $8 for the Holidays, and plant it later. We have six trees in our yard from the Prison.

Yup, he was reelected last year with 83% of the vote.

Now he’s in trouble with the ACLU again. He painted all his buses and vehicles with a mural that has a special hotline phone number painted on it, where you can call and report suspected illegal aliens. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement wasn’t doing enough in his eyes, so he had 40 deputies trained specifically for enforcing immigration laws, started up his hotline, and bought 4 new buses just for hauling folks back to the border. He’s kind of a ‘Git-R Dun’ kind of Sheriff.

To those of you not familiar with Joe Arpaio, he is the Maricopa Arizona County Sheriff and he keeps getting elected over and over. This is one of the reasons why: Sheriff Joe Arpaio created the ‘ Tent City Jail’. Some of the things he’s done with the jail are the following:

  • He has jail meals down to 40 cents a serving and charges the inmates for them.
  • He stopped smoking and access to obscene magazines in the jails.
  • Took away their weights.
  • Cut off all but ‘G’ movies.
  • He started chain gangs so the inmates could do free work on county and city projects.
  • Then he started chain gangs for women so he wouldn’t get sued for discrimination.
  • He took away cable TV until he found out there was a federal court order that required cable TV for jails, so he hooked up the cable TV again only let in the Disney Channel and the Weather Channel. When asked why the Weather Channel, he replied, “So they will know how hot it’s gonna be while they are working on my chain gangs.”
  • He cut off coffee since it has zero nutritional value. When the inmates complained, he told them, ‘This isn’t the Ritz Carlton…..If you don’t like it, don’t come back.’

More On The Arizona Sheriff:
With temperatures being even hotter than usual in phoenix (116 degrees just set a new record), the Associated Press reports: About 2,000 inmates living in a barbed-wire-surrounded tent encampment at the Maricopa County Jail have been given permission to strip down to their government-issued pink boxer shorts. On Wednesday, hundreds of men wearing boxers were either curled up on their bunk beds or chatted in the tents, which reached 138 degrees inside the week before. Many were also swathed in wet, pink towels as sweat collected on their chests and dripped down to their pink socks. ‘It feels like we are in a furnace,’ said James Zanzot, an inmate who has lived in the tents for one year. ‘It’s inhumane.’ Joe Arpaio, the tough-guy sheriff who created the tent city and long ago started making his prisoners wear pink, and eat bologna sandwiches, is not one bit sympathetic. He said Wednesday that he told all of the inmates: ‘It’s 120 degrees in Iraq and our soldiers are living in tents too, and they have to wear full battle gear, but they didn’t commit any crimes, so shut your mouths!’

WAY TO GO, SHERIFF! Maybe if all prisons were like this one there would be a lot less crime and/or repeat offenders. Criminals should be punished for their crimes – not live in luxury until it’s time for their parole, only to go out and commit another crime so they can get back in to live on taxpayers money and enjoy things taxpayers can’t afford to have for themselves.

Battle of the Ballparks in Chicago May 2, 2008

Posted by Mongo in Baseball.
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I’m “borrowing” again from the Chicago Tribune for this article, as it’s interesting to baseball fans on both sides in Chicago.  At the bottom is a ranking/comparison of U.S. Cellular vs. Cleveland’s Progressive Park (#1 overall) and Wrigley Field vs. Milwaukee’s Miller Park (#2 overall, #1 in NL).  For the most part I agree with both articles & the rankings, but of course I have a few comments to share.  First and foremost, the articles are supposed to be about why this is your favorite ballpark, not ripping apart another one.  Listen, I love Steve Dahl and still enjoy his show, but in his opening comments (and then more shortly thereafter) he’s magnified the glaring weakness that affects most Sox fans – the inability to carry on a conversation about baseball without mentioning something derogatory about the Cubs.   I say “most” because there are a scant few that actually realize the Cubs are not their direct threat and worry more about Cleveland, Detroit & Minnesota.  So this is my message to the majority of Sox fans – get over it already.  You’re probably not going to be the most popular team in the Chicagoland area, ever, or at least in our lifetimes.  So what?  You’ve won a World Series in the recent past and have a contingency of loyal fans.  Be happy with the accomplishments, as the crazy bitterness reflects badly on both you as a fan and on your team.

I’ve been to the four ballparks mentioned numerous times and feel the rankings make sense.  Miller Park is truly a great place to see a ball game – excellent facilities, great food/drinks, easy in & out, and extremely family friendly.  Not much else around there, but it’s not in a horrible neighborhood either.  Progressive Park is absolutely outstanding on virtually all levels, and I’d actually bump them up a few notches on hospitality as I found the fans very friendly.  The Cell ranks higher than Wrigley (8 vs. 15) primarily due to the better facilities, is more family friendly and is definitely easier in terms of access (parking, etc.).  I think they rank the atmosphere there a bit higher than it should be, but I’m a bit biased.  On that note, there are few if any places that will beat Wrigley in terms of tradition, atmosphere, and the absolute fun of a great surrounding neighborhood.  Yes, some of us do actually go there to watch baseball though the extra partying certainly helps create a very fun event.  In regards to Fan IQ – funny!  Both are in the top third, but Sox rank #4 while Cubs rank #8.  What probably drags the Cubs down a bit are the thousands of people just there for the party…plus all the extra alcohol kills brain cells.

To give the Chicago Tribune credit – the original articles that follow can be found here, here, here and here.

Here’s why Wrigley Field is No. 1 to me
By Ron Santo
As told to Paul Sullivan
May 1, 2008

I can only go back to when I signed with the Chicago Cubs to give you an idea of how I feel about this ballpark. I’d been watching it on TV in Seattle, where I was born and raised, and there was always something about Wrigley Field that intrigued me.

When I got here, two years after my senior year, I’m walking out of the corner clubhouse with Ernie Banks and there’s nobody in the stands, and the feeling I had was unbelievable — walking with Ernie and walking on that grass. I felt like I was walking on air. There was an electricity and an atmosphere that I’d never experienced in my life. Any ballplayer that’s ever played here can tell you about that great atmosphere, and anybody who’s come here to watch a game feels the exact same way.

This, to me, is a ballpark that helps the fans relate to the players because of its intimacy. They’re right on top of you, and that’s special. You look at a ballpark like Wrigley that holds 41,000, and it’s packed every game, despite not having a team that’s gone to a World Series in most of their lifetimes. People just love to come here, and it’s a park you just love watching baseball in.

To me, it’s the No. 1 park, and I think if you went and asked all the players who played here back in my day, they’d say the same thing. It’s a hitters’ ballpark, and everybody gets that feeling that anything can happen today. Everywhere you go, you see it. Cubs fans never lose their allegiance, or their love, for Wrigley Field.

Will Wrigley still be here in 50 or 60 years? I don’t know that. I don’t have an answer. Heck, I never thought I’d ever see Wrigley Field with lights, but they’re here and they’re great.

But I’ve got to believe that when you look at Wrigley, you’re also talking about Wrigleyville. It’s all about leaving the ballpark after the game and going to the bars and restaurants. It’s one big happy family here, with nothing but parties. It’s a wonderful place, and absolutely the best ballpark in baseball.

Here’s why U.S. Cellular is No. 1 to me
By Steve Dahl
As told to Matt Lynch
May 1, 2008

There is so much to love about U.S .Cellular Field that it’s hard to know where to begin. It has plenty of parking, funnel cakes, urinals … what else could a baseball fan possibly need? Unlike its counterpart across town, the White Sox have kept up with all of the latest ballpark innovations. They have mastered the use of electronic scorekeeping. They have installed a JumboTron.

They have outfitted the bathrooms with the most up-to-date urinal technology available.

I always hear the “at least we fill up our park” refrain from Cubs fans, but that’s because we White Sox fans are more discriminating and only show up if the team is winning. Or if it’s half-price night.

Playing hardball like that spurred the team to make improvements that have really made a world of difference in the atmosphere, particularly changing the seats from a blinding bright blue to a more welcoming green and reconfiguring the upper deck.

U.S. Cellular has given my family numerous fond memories over the years. One of my favorites was watching Bo Jackson crush a home run during the team’s home opener in 1993 on his first swing. Bo had just made his amazing comeback from receiving an artificial hip. He dedicated the hit to his mother, who had passed away that spring.

We also watched the White Sox sweep their way to a World Series victory. Sharing the 2005 playoffs and World Series championship with my sons was definitely special for me. It was cold and wet, but extremely heartwarming.

The food at U.S. Cellular Field has also been a source of many memories. Most recently, I remember the 20 pounds of White Sox-related weight I put on last season, because I am still trying to lose them.

It’s that combination of funnel cake, ample parking and fond memories that keeps me coming back to the South Side when I need my baseball fix.

Also, did I mention they have urinals?

Top 10 is nice … but Cleveland rocks
May 1, 2008

Comparing the Cell to Cleveland’s Progressive Park, the former Jacobs Field, the No. 1-ranked venue in all of baseball.

The Cell Progressive
8 OVERALL RANKING 1
18 AFFORDABILITY 10
2 FOOD 6
17 TEAM QUALITY 3
15 TRADITION 6
8 ATMOSPHERE 2
4 FAN IQ 9
23 HOSPITALITY 19
4 PROMOTIONS 3
1 TRAFFIC 4
23 NEIGHBORHOOD 9

Old style no match for Milwaukee’s best
May 1, 2008

Comparing the North Side shrine to the No. 1-ranked venue in the National League (No. 2 overall), Miller Park in Milwaukee.
Wrigley Miller
15 OVERALL RANKING 2
27 AFFORDABILITY 2
22 FOOD 1
12 TEAM QUALITY 8
3 TRADITION 17
6 ATMOSPHERE 5
8 FAN IQ 10
24 HOSPITALITY 8
16 PROMOTIONS 1
23 TRAFFIC 3
2 NEIGHBORHOOD 18