Tree top stars.
There goes my hero.
"I’m a neuroscience researcher."
"If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?"
"Listen to your inner voice."
"You’re a scientist. Isn’t ‘inner voice’ a spiritual term?"
"Bullshit! You’ll hear scientists talking about following their inner voice as much as you’d hear a musician or a priest."
"So how do you know which of your thoughts are your true inner voice?"
"All of them are! The question is— how much weight do you give them? How much authority do you give your own thoughts? Are you taking them seriously? Or are you sitting in front of the damn tube letting other people tell you what to think?"
Mark Ciavarella Jr, a 61-year old former judge in Pennsylvania, has been sentenced to nearly 30 years in prison for literally selling young juveniles for cash. He was convicted of accepting money in exchange for incarcerating thousands of adults and children into a prison facility owned by a developer who was paying him under the table. The kickbacks amounted to more than $1 million.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has overturned some 4,000 convictions issued by him between 2003 and 2008, claiming he violated the constitutional rights of the juveniles – including the right to legal counsel and the right to intelligently enter a plea. Some of the juveniles he sentenced were as young as 10-years old.
Ciavarella was convicted of 12 counts, including racketeering, money laundering, mail fraud and tax evasion. He was also ordered to repay $1.2 million in restitution.
His “kids for cash” program has revealed that corruption is indeed within the prison system, mostly driven by the growth in private prisons seeking profits by any means necessary.
Why might this not be a HUGE national story and his name not household? I’ll give you one guess what color those kids were.
Aldo was a great great dog with lots of bulldoged-ness in his heart and bones. Aldo gave his all to whatever he did despite his physical limitations that were due to unconscionable breeding. He was born with one kidney and no hip joints. He was a fighter, but not aggressive. He was quirky, almost cat like. He was playful up to the end. He gave us hours of delight, laughter and friendship. When I gave him a chew the other day, he snorted per usual and walked away to enjoy it. I used to chase him around the house, he one step ahead of me trying to get the chew stick.
I had the easy job of playing with Aldo and taking him for the occasional walk. Kathy truly served Aldo and gave him all the care that she was capable of. He could have had no better mother than Kathy. Aldo ate better than most humans we know. I always told Kathy that her name was written in heaven for the heart-felt care that she gave to Aldo. She was up countless nights with no sleep, but she never complained. That’s her way. She could not have given him more if she had tried, but she did. If that isn’t love I don’t know what is. Aldo’s health problems were numerous and started shortly after we got him home. A diaphragmatic hernia, severe stomach ailments (both of which required overnight trips to MSPCA in Boston), eczema squared, fused vertebrae, eye ailments et al. And finally a fucking malignant brain tumor which had started to affect his breathing and drinking. Never a whimper from Aldo. He wasn’t that kind of dog. Aldo would have never made through the summer heat and humidity. It was his time, but that doesn’t make it any easier. I’ll miss him in may ways too countless to list. He would run to the top of the cellar stairs (I would sometimes tip tow down the stairs, but he had the hearing of a cat we swore) and wait for me to show him an “animated” styrofoam cat taped together with duct tape at the tail. He would bark his heart out at our little game. Aldo used to sit near the dinner table and look into my eyes. He liked his cheese from the Italian import stores which was always on the table for him, but that wasn’t it. It was a look that I will always remember.