• A sad statement about the value of human life



I have been corresponding with a friend of mine who is currently in jail. I can’t use his name or say what he is in jail for, except that it is a non-violent crime and he suffers from a condition that requires medication. I have learned a lot about the jail in Valdosta. For instance, I found out that 1) Prisoners are not allowed to have any more than three books to read. Once the limit is reached no books can be exchanged or replaced. 2) There is no jail library. 3) There is no education program at the jail. 4) Prisoners are not allowed to read anything, even in letters that come from newspapers or the Internet. 5) Prisoners cannot even receive photos. 6) There is no air-conditioning in the jail. The daytime temperatures inside are over 100 degrees in the summer. Passing out from dehydration is a common occurrence. 7) Cell dorms are supposed to have a limit of 44 prisoners. My friend’s cell has 64. 8) There is a jail store where prisoners can purchase sundry items. When my friend had indigestion, he was able to buy a roll of Tums. The price? $6. It sure sounds like someone’s getting a kickback. Is this not the year 2009, not 1940?

When I have broached this subject with locals, I get responses like, “This is jail. They’re suppose to be punished.” I supposed that’s true for convicted prisoners in prison, but many of these prisoners in our jail have not yet been to trial (my friend hasn’t and it’s been eight months). Isn’t our legal system based on the premise that one is innocent until proven guilty?

If we were to treat animals in a public kennel the way prisoners are treated in our jail, the kennel would be closed and its operators arrested. What a sad statement about the value of human life in this “Bible Belt” town. But if we really want to focus on punishing people, especially people who have not even been convicted of a crime, I guess this is the way to go. And we will reap the reward of prisoners coming out angrier, stupider and more aggressive than ever. I used to be astounded at the horror stories I heard about the La Mesa prison in Tijuana, Mexico, but now, I think I’d feel safer if I was thrown in jail there. At least you can see your family and bribes are cheaper to pay than the price of basic provisions at Valdosta’s jail.



Robert Kumpel

Valdosta



• Don’t let the Fourth of July blow up in your face



This July 4th weekend Georgians will leave home behind and pack the kids in the family car headed for their favorite summer vacation destination. It’s time for sun-soaked holiday reunions where friends gather with barbecue, boating, beaches, and cold beer on their minds. But it’s also time for the Hahira Police Department to remind all motorists to plan ahead wherever they plan to party this summer. And that means planning for a designated driver is priority one.

Every motorist should be aware that one-out-of-five traffic fatalities in Georgia are now alcohol-related. Statistics show drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher are 11 times more likely to die in a crash than if involved in that same crash with no alcohol in their system at all.

There’s nothing wrong with adults socializing with adult beverages, but add car keys to the mix and drinking and driving makes a deadly cocktail.

And that’s why highway safety advocates across the country call the July 4th travel period one of this nation’s most dangerous times on our roadways due to DUIs. The history of this all-American travel holiday tells the tale. About a third of all fatal crashes on our nation’s roads during the July 4th weekend involve at least one driver with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. In Georgia, nearly half the state’s 14 July 4th traffic deaths involved at least one drunk driver in 2007.

Every July 4th holiday the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety coordinates more than 500 Georgia police departments, sheriff’s offices and state patrol posts statewide to run concentrated patrols on our interstates and to set up sobriety checkpoints on our roadways. Safe drivers go on their way, but impaired drivers go to jail.

“If you plan to party this July 4th, remember there are so many simple ways to prevent tragedy. Arrange for a sober driver, store taxi cab company numbers in your cell phone, or take mass transit. If you’re the designated driver, you too can help by reminding passengers about open-container laws, by obeying all traffic laws, and by making sure everyone always buckles up. 

 Don’t let the Fourth of July blow up in your face. Take a stand and declare your independence from drunk driving this July 4th.



Chief Terry Davis

Hahira Police Department



• Who will charge the Fed?



Bernie Madoff got 150 years in prison for his Ponzi scheme that cost investors $13 plus billion. Justice, at last.

Speaking of justice, has anyone thought of bringing charges against Congress for the Social Security Ponzi scheme that we have paid trillions into, and in just a few years will be bankrupt? Who will charge the Federal Reserve for not regulating the banks which made all the bad unsecured loans? Will the politicians face charges for violating their oath to protect and defend the Constitution, and bilking American taxpayers out of trillions to bail out failing car companies and financial institutions for poor business practices? The average American has lost 30 percent of their retirement accounts, 30-40 percent of their real estate value, and about 8 percent have lost their jobs. All because the federal government intervened in the free market to encourage loans to unqualified borrowers, then put their stamp of approval as a government guaranteed loan.

No, justice will not be done until the government is cleansed of the FDR socialist-look-alikes.

If the media “lap dogs” would become “watchdogs,” it would not take long to correct this.



Nolen P. Cox

Valdosta



• Is anyone watching or thinking?



Is anyone thinking? The same amount of atoms of the element we call “carbon” are in the earth today; as, at the beginning of time. Between 1 million and 400 million years ago vegetation was buried in some cataclysmic event. Carbon dioxide absorbed from the atmosphere was stored in the vegetation and buried. We call it coal and oil now! We are simply returning a small amount of what was in the atmosphere. Rainfall dissolves much of the excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Rain and snow tend to form most quickly around particulate in the air.

Ask a “degreed scientist;” and, if he is honest (I have), you will learn that the level of carbon dioxide was 20 times higher, at that time, than it is today. The difference between then and now is the coal and oil that has it stored underground.

Carbon is at the center of all living things; and, the food we eat. Tests in biospheres indicated plant growth is accelerated with an increase in carbon dioxide. These tests were done many years ago.

What “power” is taking advantage of Americans that can’t think; or, are naive? Who has done a valid model of the earth’s atmosphere to estimate the ability of it to thicken; and, absorb more than enough water to allow even more additional arable land and food production? At the equator the atmosphere is many times deeper than at the poles due to the warmer temperature.

We were able to bring the “Wall” down because of our economic strength and Russia’s inability to out produce and support their military. An insurmountable force is the only “peace.” It must be us (USA). We are “fools” to believe otherwise. Available low cost energy is at the base of our “wealth creation.” Is anyone watching and thinking?



James A. Martin

President of Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe, Inc.

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