Marc on the Huffington Post, and other news from prison
On Tuesday, September 4th, I had an OP-ED published on the Huffington Post about the two Presidential candidates and the drug war. Although I like the message that’s there, it was sanitized by the Huffington Post (ultimately with my approval) so that another related theme, the lack of activism from the African-American community in opposing the drug war and prohibition, was removed entirely. I'll discuss that more in my next blog.
Monday, September 3rd was Labor Day, and now that it has passed, I only have one more Labor Day to serve in captivity. 2012 is two-thirds over, and as of September 2nd, I have 675 days to go if I serve every day in the US, and 915 days served behind me.
My band Yazoo's ninth concert was on Saturday, August 18th. We performed despite having a very small audience, as it thundered, flashed lightning and poured down rain for the entire afternoon during our amplified rock show. We still managed to play two hours and 18 songs. It was our best performance yet. I've been trying to improve my technique recently, with both hands, using two fingers (instead of one) on my plucking right hand, and better finger technique on my fretting left hand.
I've got an MP3 player now, with 120 songs on it, and it’s such a wonderful thing to have. I'm working on two songs for our next concert, "Too Rolling Stoned" by Robin Trower and "Running Down A Dream" by Tom Petty, and being able to listen to these and other songs I'm working on is very, very helpful, especially since I don't have the Bass Tab sheet music for either one of those two songs.
Songs are $1.55 each mostly, with some at $1.20. Here are some songs I have on my player; I have an eclectic collection:
Daft Punk - Robot Rock
Bob Marley - Natural Mystic, No Woman, No Cry
BB King - The Thrill is Gone
Talking Heads - Girlfriend is Better (and ten other songs by Talking Heads)
ZZ Top - Blue Blue Jeans
Nirvana- Come As You Are
Ric Ocasek - Emotion in Motion
Digital Underground - Same Song
Rihanna - S&M, Disturbia
Owl City - Fireflies
Nat King Cole - Twilight on the Trail
Bruce Springsteen - Tunnel of Love
Buddy Guy - Stormy Monday Blues
Led Zeppelin - Heartbreaker
Peter Tosh - Legalize It, Bush Doctor
Phil Collins - In The Air Tonight, One More Night
Ellie Goulding - Lights
LMFAO - Party Rock Anthem
Marvin Gaye - Inner City Blues, What’s Going On
Curtis Mayfield - Freddie's Dead
Mason Williams - Classical Gas
Vangelis - L'Enfant (from Year of Living Dangerously)
Haddaway - What is Love? (made famous by Saturday Night Live)
10,000 Maniacs - More Than This
Baby Bash - Suga, Suga
Bob Dylan - Everything is Broken
Bryan Ferry - Slave to Love, Kiss & Tell, Don't Stop the Dance
Some artists are not yet available: the Beatles, The Rolling Stones before 1972, Metallica, Madonna, AC/DC, and the Eagles last two albums, but certainly there is still plenty to choose from.
My health is good and I'm busier than ever. I'm practicing my bass guitar more. I'm reading 'Famous Trials: Sir Roger Casement' after reading the new biographical novel about Sir Roger Casement called 'Dream of the Celt' by Mario Vargas Llosa. Roger Casement was the first human rights activist, and did research – on location in the Congo and Peru – into the murderous and genocidal industrial rubber plantations run in the Congo by King Leopold II of Belgium (1903 report), and a British rubber company (Azana Rubber) in the case of Peru (1912 report). Casement was hanged by the England that knighted him and commissioned his human rights work, after he supported the Irish Uprising in 1916 by going to Germany during WWI to get weapons and collaboration from the Germans. Casement was tried for treason and hanged, though Ireland did achieve independence six years later in 1922. Casement's outstanding and daring work as a documentarian of atrocities committed against natives of the Congo and Peru is little known.
I'm reading Grant Morrison's ‘Doom Patrol’ and ‘The Invisibles’ graphic novel series. I just finished the funny and insightful novel called ‘The Full Catastrophe’ by David Carkeet. It’s a quirky, funny novel about a linguist who loses his job studying the communication habits of one- to three-year-olds at daycare centers, and ends up a marriage councilor doing his work living in the household of the family he's counseling. I read ‘Savages’ by Don Winslow and it’s a good book about marijuana producers who get squeezed by a Mexican cartel. [WARNING! SPOILER ALERT AHEAD] Ultimately everyone dies, the heroes, villains, the DEA agent, everyone's corrupt, no one profits by prohibition in the long run, it’s all death and short-term advantage.
It’s a parable about the insanity and senselessness of prohibition. I just received the prequel, called ‘Kings of Cool’, I'll start that next. I'm mid-way through 'To Forgive Design', a book about colossal engineering failures and how we learn from our disasters. Engineering and science learn from their errors perhaps, but not, apparently, prohibitionists.
Jodie just got her driver's license, so now she can drive from any airport to see me when she visits. I am concerned I'll get transferred to an immigrant prison after November, but it’s good to know she can drive from the nearest airport to wherever I end up, including while I'm here at Yazoo. I was at an immigrant prison before I was here at Yazoo, and there are not at all as properly run as Bureau of Prisons facilities. In fact, the immigrant prison near here, in Natchez, Mississippi, had a riot in May where one guard was killed, seven injured, the SWAT police were called in in force to restore order with tear gas and riot gear, and the place has been on lockdown for the three and a half months since.
That’s the kind of place I could be sent to, one run by GEO Group, or Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). There is no Corrlinks email there, and its 90%+ Hispanic Spanish-speaking inmates, most all involved with cartels or gangs. My transfer application to return to Canada can begin to be processed in five months, on February 6th, and can be in Washington April 6th – seven months away. I'm hoping to be back in the Canadian prison system by September of next year, and out on parole perhaps for Christmas 2013 with Jodie.
I've been writing a letter every day to mail correspondents but I'm still way behind. Hello to Howard in PA., Len in MI (who still writes me every day, amazing!), Kathy in Lethbridge, Dove in Vancouver, and all others who do write – I will write you back, if not the first letter you send, the next one! Each letter I write takes about two hours, so I never quite catch up. But I definitely appreciate hearing from friends and fans. Thank you to all of our supporters!