Yesterday, by email, Capt. Conch, the host/Ed. of the Coconut Telegraph gossip column of bigpinekey.com, accused me of having an obsession with the Tom Stump case. I wrote back that he made a grave mistake accusing me of that. I said I hate working on that case, it makes me feel more poisoned than anything I work on in the Keys, which means there is something really bad there the angels who stay on my case want to come out. I sure feel poisoned right now.
I told Capt. Conch, after all the time he has known me, he still does not understand that I do not choose the subjects I am given to write about. The subjects are given to me, and while I make plenty of typo and dyslexic mistakes, the subject matter is not my decision. I gave him yet another chance to tell me the names of the friends he is shielding from me and the readers of the Coconut Telegraph, with respect to Tom Stump’s disappearance. Once again, I received no reply to my request for their names, even though this time I had said perhaps his telling me who they are would resolved the matter and I would be able to keep writing to the Coconut Telegraph.
The result of Capt. Conch’s refusal to give me his friends’ names is that they now have been identified as people who know something about Tom Stump’s disappearance, which has not yet been made public. This is so even though Capt. Conch may himself know nothing about what they know. It probably isn’t too terribly difficult to hazard a guess as to who they are, if you have lived in the Sugarloaf-to-Big Pine Key area for a few years, so I won’t insult anyone’s intelligence by doing that now, other than to say Bill Becker came to me in a dream last night and grumbled about a fishy smell in his basement.
I also dreamt last night of going fishing offshore with an old friend from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where I attended law school. He later changed jobs and went to work for A.G. Edwards in Tuscaloosa, and when they closed that office, he was moved to Naples, Florida. Now he runs that office. While fishing in my dream we caught 40 nice table fish on 10# test line, and then we caught the devil. Seemed like another fishy way for the angels to confirm my thoughts yesterday about what’s behind Capt. Conch’s reluctance to tell me who he’s shielding.
Along somewhat similar lines was a dream about my representing a defendant in a north Georgia federal court last night. U.S. District Courts in two different states, Alabama and Georgia, recently ruled a sheriff (the Alabama case) and a county commission (the Georgia case) have to run county jails humanely, or face contempt of court and time in jail. It was no chance happening that these two federal decisions came down while Lorri Szostak, M.D. and I are trying to get our local and state officials to do something about the deplorable food situation in the Stock Island jail. The timing was arranged by the same angels that are on my case all of the time, in an effort to try to get the attention of our local sheriff and his top brass, our county commissioners, our state attorney, and our Governor. Anyone who has been reading what I write about the food in the Stock Island jail, who does not see the hand of God in all three jail cases, and that all three cases are spiritually linked, needs to go to an eye doctor.
I told Capt. Conch yesterday that the only obsession I have is not being on this planet any longer, and that he would have the same obsession if he lived in my skin. What causes me to feel that way is summed up pretty well in this post, and in my telling Capt. Conch that I often wonder why all people are not treated by the angels the way Sandy Downs and I are treated. Then I said I probably could answer my own question in two ways. One way, if all people are treated the way Sandy and I are treated, the population will diminish to 50,000 people. The other way, the angels choose only a few people to be cut out from the herd and given special treatment. Anyone else who wants special treatment must really want it, to receive it.
Sloan Bashinsky, 31 January 2009
Archive for January, 2009
Yesterday, by email, Capt. Conch, the host/Ed. of the Coconut Telegraph gossip column of bigpinekey.com, accused me of having an obsession with the Tom Stump case. I wrote back that he made a grave mistake accusing me of that. I said I hate working on that case, it makes me feel more poisoned than anything I work on in the Keys, which means there is something really bad there the angels who stay on my case want to come out. I sure feel poisoned right now.
Shoob: Adequate funding for county jail has not been provided
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
A federal judge on Tuesday threatened Fulton County commissioners with fines or incarceration if they don’t provide adequate funding for the county jail.
In a three-page order, Senior U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Shoob put officials on notice they could be held in contempt if Sheriff Ted Jackson is not provided the necessary resources to bring the jail into compliance with a court order.
BITA HONARVAR / firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Shoob
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Shoob issued the order in an ongoing case filed in 2004 that alleged the jail was understaffed, crowded, dirty and dangerous. In February 2006, Shoob approved a consent decree, under which the county pledged to improve conditions.
Shoob’s court-appointed monitor recently expressed concern over the county’s decision to cut the sheriff’s budget from $98 million to $93.4 million. The monitor believes such a reduced budget will not enable the sheriff to comply with the consent decree, Shoob said.
“The county defendants should be aware that it is their obligation to budget sufficient funds to enable the sheriff to comply with all requirements set out in the consent decree,” Shoob wrote. “This obligation is unconditional.”
Revenue shortfalls or a general need to cut spending will not be considered “as a justification for noncompliance with this obligation,” Shoob added. The county defendants will be held to account for any violation of the consent decree “if they fail to comply for any reason.”
If Jackson, the county’s new sheriff, believes the county has not given him enough money, then he should seek additional funding, Shoob said. If that money is not provided, then the sheriff should notify the court so a contempt hearing can be scheduled.
If the defendants are found in contempt, “possible sanctions will include not only monetary fines but possible incarceration of individual defendants,” he wrote.
Shoob listed the defendants as Fulton County, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners and the individual commissioners.
County Attorney R. David Ware, in a statement e-mailed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, noted that the order requires Jackson to notify the county if he determines his budget is insufficient and that it provides the county with the opportunity to respond.
“We anticipate that all parties will work together cooperatively to insure full compliance with the consent decree,” Ware said.
An Atlanta lawyer representing the inmate who initially filed the lawsuit said the case shows how much it costs to properly run a jail.
“Holding people in jail is expensive and the judge is making it clear there’s no way around that,” said Lisa Kung, director of the Southern Center for Human Rights.
Kung said ways costs could be cut if the jail were not a “dumping ground” for people with mental health issues and for those who commit “poverty crimes.” There also should be a way to streamline procedures so detainees can more quickly post bond and be released, she said.
I, Sloan, have felt all along that the jail buck stops with our own county commissioners, who give our sheriff the money he requests to run the sheriff office and jail properly. I fully anticipate the county commissioners and the county itself, as well as the sheriff, will be named as defendants, if the way our jail on Stock Island is run ends up in federal court again.
The second item, below, was posted to the popular Kudos & Whiners/Coconut Telegraph page of bigpinekey.com yesterday.
Reluctantly, I say goodbye to the Coconut Telegraph today. I will post nothing further here, and anyone who wishes to keep up with what I write can do so by checking in daily with the Today’s FlaKey Drivel file of goodmorningfloridakeys.com, or the Today’s Cock-a-doodle-doo file of goodmorningkeywest.com.
From what I read from time to time on the Coconut Telegraph, plenty of its readers will be happy to read of my departure. I owe them and other readers an explanation, even if they don’t want it.
Simply stated, I have learned that the host/Ed, whom I have viewed as a good friend, has someone he will not identify to me who does not want him to publish anything I write about Tom Stump’s disappearance. I know this for a fact, because when Ed first declined to write what I published about Stump’s disappearance, he sent that person an email saying if I stopped using the Coconut Telegraph, then this person owed Ed what he wasn’t going to make off me any more. Oddly, I received this email instead of the intended recipient. What I received that day from Ed addressed to me was an email saying some of those people (unidentified) were still his friends, and he could not publish anything about Tom Stump’s disappearance that I wrote.
Later, after learning I had received the email he meant to send to someone else, Ed said the reason he could not publish what I wrote about Tom Stump’s disappearance was because he had already published any and everything other people wanted to write about it a few years before, which I believed he had done, and he didn’t feel okay publishing anything about it again. If that was all I had heard from him, I might well have gone along with it. Alas, there was more to it, as Ed’s first communications to me clearly proved.
This was some months ago. I waited it out, not knowing what to do, even as I remained very disturbed. Whenever I am put to write about Tom Stump’s disappearance I get to feeling really poisoned, more so than when I am moved to write about anything else in the Keys. This tells me that there is something really bad lurking there that has not yet been brought to light, and it tells me that the angels who keep after me are not done with it, even if many people want it to be done with.
What brought all of this to a head, my leaving the Coconut Telegraph, happened when I wrote the Keys Karate post the other day, which was an absolute slam of the karate dojo on Big Pine Key. Ed left out the lead into the post, which indicated that it was about that dojo, which meant that no Coconut Telegraph reader who did not go to one of my websites and read the entire post, Black.Belt, understood what the post was really about. I trained with a 7th degree black belt in a Japanese form of karate, who once was world champion. The person running the dojo on Big Pine is a thug, and I would entrust no child of mine to his care.
Sloan Bashinsky, 30 January 2009
Somebody I know well told me a story yesterday about a young man she knows well, who once ate a can of dog food on a bet and seemed to handle it okay. Now this young man is in the Stock Island jail for doing something he really ought not to have done. Not long after arriving there, he ate a bologna sandwich and it turned his stomach upside down. He has not eaten a bologna sandwich since. He has lost 10-15 pounds, which he did not need to loose. He supplements his diet with chips (Doritos) from the jail canteen, which have about as much food value as bad bologna, but don’t make him sick. I know this about Doritos, because my father’s company made the same product, but called it Tostados and tortilla chips. Potato chips have even less food value, which was the main product my father’s company made. I know this, because I worked there four years and learned how to cook all of the products. The only one that had any food value was peanuts. The rest of it they called “snack food,” but actually it was junk food. A hell of a thing to say about the company your own father spend his life building into a major southeastern manufacturing company. I nearly said food manufacturing company, but food is something else, except for the peanuts, which are food. As, maybe, is canned dog food. At least it didn’t make my friend’s friend sick.
Sloan Bashinsky, 29 January 2009, Key West
This post is to the inmates in the Stock Island jail, and to their relatives and friends. To streamline it, I will write as if I am speaking just to the inmates.
A Key West friend emailed me yesterday, to say I’m known and liked by inmates throughout the jail. I replied that maybe it was premature, because the inmates didn’t know me yet, or what I would feed them if I had my way. I save for dessert what I would feed them, after I give them the main course.
Maybe what I first should say is jails have never been nice places to live, and they are not supposed to be nice places to live. Meaning, I am not going to try to make the Stock Island jail a nice place to live. What I am trying to do is make it humane, especially with respect to the food you are served. It is supposed to be nourishing, and is not. It is supposed to be safe, and it often is not. That’s where I’ve been TOLD to focus, and that’s where I’m focusing. All of your other complaints are way down the list of importance, as far as my work assignment is concerned. Please keep that ever in mind.
There are two people in the Keys, I am one, Sandy Downs is the other, who are uniquely suited to try to help you be given proper food. We are suited because we are seeking nothing for ourselves, not applause, not money, not anything, and we are TOLD what to do, OR ELSE. Unfortunately, the Monroe County Commissioners and the top brass in the Sheriff Office and Stock Island jail view Sandy and me as lunatics and liars. They take that view because they are in bed with the sheriff and jail brass, and because if we are not lunatics and liars, then they are. Because of this, Sandy and I are not going to be able to persuade the sheriff and jail brass, the county commissioners, or Governor Crist to do something about your being fed properly. Locally, your only hope is Dennis Ward, our new State Attorney. Maybe he will lean on the sheriff and jail brass. Maybe he will stop taking their cases, if they don’t start feeding people correctly, whom they have asked him to put away. Maybe he will prosecute the top sheriff and jail brass, and the county commissioners who provide the funds for the sheriff and jail, for inflicting cruel and unusual punishment on inmates. Maybe he will actively seek immediate bail for all nonviolent offenders. Maybe he will stop taking open container offenses coming out of Key West, and cases against homeless people who are guilty of sleeping outside at night.
There is one other person in this mix who can help: Lorri Szostak, M.D., a board certified forensic psychiatrist with much experience evaluating people in jails to see whether or not they are mentally competent to stand trial, are criminally insane, and so forth. It is imperative for Lorri to come down here from Vermont, where she lives and works in a hospital, as its psychiatrist. She needs to go into your jail and eat and talk with you, and size you up. Psychiatrists, especially forensic psychiatrists, are trained to size people up; determine their demeanor, whether they are telling the truth. People give off all sorts of unconscious clues about their truthfulness, and a doctor like Lorri Szostak is well equipped to make that determination. Having made it, she then will have the ammunition she needs to go before the county commissioners and Governor Crist and report her findings. They will be hard-pressed to ignore her. Hard-pressed. In fact, if they ignore her, you can bet your bippies she will be diagnosing them as sociopaths, which might come in handy in a later federal court proceeding, in a courtroom where state and local bubba wubba back-scratching and protection have no standing whatsoever.
Alas, Lorri has from the very beginning been extremely resistant to coming down here and doing what God gave her to do. She knows and has told me that God put her into this mess, but she does not seem to understand that working for God means walking the talk. It means doing what is not convenient. It means doing what might well even be dangerous, or might even get you killed. I tell you truly, being chosen to do something for God is nothing to sing praises to the Lord about. It is something to dread, wish had not happened. For when God asks you to do something, it is because God wants to change you. If you do not believe me, then re-read the story of Jonah and the whale, which is about what happened to a man God wanted to change, but when the man balked, God swallowed him until he decided to go along with the program. Or what he thought was the program. But as the story progressed, he found out that he was seriously mistaken what the program was. Instead of being about the people he was sent to tell God was going to burn them to a crisp, it was about God teaching him that God can do anything God darn well wants to do, no matter what God has said before that. It was not only the people of Niveah God set out to change, but also Jonah. It was Jonah who was the hardest for God to reach. Read the story. See for yourself.
What God is trying to do, using you in the jail as bait, is turn Lorri Szostak into a doctor the likes of which we haven’t seen since Jesus. That’s what God is trying to do. And you in the jail are part of the cirriculum. After Lorri does what she needs to do regarding you, she will be given something else to do that will change her even more. And then she will be given something else. And so on, unceasing. As she goes through the changes, if she goes through them, she will be healed in ways psychiatry cannot imagine. She will be healed of the trauma in her family of origin. She will healed of the Holocaust, which subconsciously plagues every Jew on this world. And much, much more will she be healed. She will be given wings and she will fly. In moving from a caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly, she will become a beacon of light, a beautiful rainbow, in whose wake all who know her can follow. For she will have blazed the trail, making it easier for others to follow her, than if they had blazed their own trails. That is what God is up to here, and you in the jail are the bait who just might benefit in many ways from Lorri swallowing you hook, line and sinker. Just might benefit. So I encourage you to encourage her to come down here and see you, for her and your sakes. And for the world’s sake. Here’s her email address: email@example.com.
As for what I would feed you, if I had any say in it. You just read it. However, I will go a bit further and say what I would give you to put in your mouths and chew and swallow in the breakfast, lunch and dinner sense, mostly. I would serve you brown rice and beans (cooked brown rice and beans) and collard greens three times a day. Enough of each to stop you from being hungry until it is time to eat again. You will get an orange a day. Three times a week, you will get a serving of beef or chicken. Sometimes you will get whole wheat bread and peanut butter sandwiches, instead of beans and rice, but always collard greens. Always. Salt and pepper, and spices such as curry, chilli powder and cayenne will be provided at all meals. You will get a multiple vitamin-mineral supplement each day. Those of you with allergies to any of the above will be given something else equivalent. For beverage, you will get water only. All soft drinks, coffee, tea, milk, white bread, pastries, desserts, juices and sugar will be eliminated from the kitchen and canteen. The kitchen and canteen will serve only what nourishes the body. Tobacco will be prohibited, although those using it will be given a weaning regimen of one month. All inmates will be given the opportunity to exercise, outside and inside. I will provide you with books unlike you have ever seen before, in most cases. I will provide scrabble games, dominoes, checkers and chess sets, and playing cards for those who know how or wish to learn how to play hearts, spades or bridge, all to sharpen your minds. When you leave the jail, you will not be addicted to anything but real food and living right. And hopefully, to God. Hopefully.
Sloan Bashinsky, 28 January 2008, Key West
I’m sorry I’ve taken so long in writing about my observations about the jail food, but I’ve been busy scrambling to find a second job so that I don’t wind up in jail myself because I wind up homeless. I have been selling off my possessions just to make ends meet. Anyway, enough of me. On to the jail food:
As I may or may not have told you, I worked in medical in the jail for about a year. While I cannot give specific names of the inmates (it’s been a while – if I could give you names I would. But I remember many times the reluctance of the institution to give the proper diet trays to the diabetics, and having to call the kitchen many times to get the orders straight. I also remember quite a few inmates who lost weight while incarcerated. Ten, twenty pounds at times. Double trays would be ordered (and can only be ordered by the physician on duty) and would take too many faxes to the kitchen, and too many phone calls. At the time I worked there, there was a particular physician who I won’t name here in this email, but she was very cold to most of the inmates that I observed, and often denied requests for double trays. I think she’d already needed to get out of the prison doctor business because of her bias. Inmates would have to wait until she would write the order, which seemed to be taken with a “sucks to be you” attitude. The inmates eat off these really disgusting looking plastic molded trays, and from what I saw, it was slop every day. Diabetic inmates especially distressed me, because some of them were what we call “brittle diabetics”, meaning their sugars were very difficult to keep within allowable limits. They would often complain to staff that most of what was on the trays were not food for diabetics. I didn’t know the dietician, but I’m sure the mandate was to keep costs as low as they could. It sure seemed that way. There were a few sympathetic guards and other workers, but most of those issues were out of their reach, so to speak. Yes, Sloan, conditions at that jail are deplorable. And we all know it’s about revenue. If there is anything I can do, please don’t hesitate to call on me. I don’t care anymore if they know it’s me speaking out. I hope this is of some help.
One more thing I find outrageous that you may or may not know about. I once asked about funding given to the commissioners, for each and every inmate, every day they are incarcerated. The number that was quoted to me was $185. That’s per inmate, per day. I can’t vouch for the complete validity of that info, but it was quoted to me by a ranking officer at the jail during a casual conversation. I believe that’s why they can hold some of the inmates up to 29 days. I think that “subsidy” runs out after that period. I sure would like to find out the truth in that matter. I always wondered why the jail was always full to capacity. That could be a reason why.
So that’s some of my recollections, and if more pop up in my overstuffed brain, I will keep you updated. Write me back (or call me) and let me know if I can be of further use to the cause. I have never lived in a state/county so blatantly corrupt. I’m sick of it all…
FYI. Here are three letters from inmates having health issues at the MCSO. The third of three letters in this pdf file is from a Mr. Vance Montoya, an inmate at MCSO since 1/21/09, and his case is of particular concern due to his illness. Mr. Montoya has authorized me to contact anyone who can help. He has idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura…(AKA ITP). He was previously incarcerated in Florida a few years ago and maintained on WynRho (immune globulin) for this disorder (having failed to respond to Prednisone treatment, and as he was considered a poor candidate for splenectomy due to severe risk of hemmorrhage interoperatively….) He was in New Mexico seeking and receiving care at a cancer center for his ITP, and picked up there recently for violation of probation. He was transferred to MCSO, Key West on 1/21/09. His last platelet count before re-incarceration was, per him, 24,000. He was told by his prior treatment providers that his platelets should be checked every 2 weeks. While in New Mexico jail custody, no medical treatment was provided to him, pending soon return to MCSO-Key West. He requested medical treatment of his ITP upon arrival to MCSO. He was told by jail medical staff that they would obtain lab tests but otherwise “nothing could be done” as the immuneglobulin is “too expensive” to receive from the jail. To this date he has not had any labs drawn, he has received no treatment of his ITP, and he has multiple large bruises over his body, indicative of extremely low platelet count. There is a critical platelet level at which he will hemorrhage profusely- e.g.,about 5,000-8,000 count. It seems to me that this is inadequate medical care on the part of the MCSO; if care is not rendered to this inmate this is likely to result in him “bleeding out” as we healthcare professionals call it…eg., intracranial hemorrhage or GI bleeding…an ugly way to die because he “violated probation” to seek medical care at a New Mexico cancer center for his ITP…..This certainly seems to be non-compliance with the McIntyre Consent Decree, section U…..if not by the letter of the law than certainly by the spirit of the law in which the decree was crafted….Here is a link with treatment guidelines for ITP…Especially note that it advises “urgent treatment is required for adults with severe thrombocytopenia…” http://www.bcshguidelines.com/pdf/BJH574.pdf
And a description of the disorder…
ITP, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, also known as immune thrombocytopenic purpura, is classified as an autoimmune disease.
ITP occurs when certain immune system cells produce antibodies against platelets. Platelets help your blood clot by clumping together to plug small holes in damaged blood vessels.
The antibodies attach to the platelets. The spleen destroys the platelets that carry the antibodies.
In children, the disease sometimes follows a viral infection. In adults, it is more often a chronic (long-term) disease and can occur after a viral infection, use of certain drugs, pregnancy, or an immune disorder.
ITP affects women more frequently than men, and is more common in children than adults. The disease affects boys and girls equally.
Bleeding into the skin causes a characteristic skin rash called pinpoint red spots or petechial rash
Nosebleed or bleeding in the mouth
Exams and Tests
Laboratory tests will be done to see how well your blood clots and to check your platelet count.
Blood clotting tests (PTT and PT) are normal.
Platelet associated antibodies may be detected.
bone marrow aspiration or biopsy appears normal.
In children, the disease goes away without treatment.
Adults are usually started on an anti-inflammatory medicine called prednisone. In some cases, surgery to remove the spleen ( splenectomy ) is recommended. This can help increase the platelet count in about 50% of patients. However, other drug treatments are usually recommended instead.
If the disease does not get better with prednisone, other treatments may include:
Injections of high-dose gamma globulin (an immune factor)
Drugs that suppress the immune system
Filtering antibodies out of the blood stream
Anti-RhD therapy for people with certain blood types
With treatment, the chance of remission (a symptom-free period) is good. Rarely, ITP may become a long-term condition in adults and reappear, even after a symptom-free period.
Sudden and severe loss of blood from the digestive tract may occur. Bleeding into the brain may also occur.
RE: Platelet Count-In an adult, a normal count is about 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per microliter (x 10–6/Liter) of blood.
If platelet levels fall below 20,000 per microliter, spontaneous bleeding may occur and is considered a life-threatening risk. Patients who have a
bone marrow disease, such as leukemia or another cancer in the bone marrow, often experience excessive bleeding due to a significantly decreased number of platelets (thrombocytopenia). As the number of cancer cells increases in the bone marrow, normal bone marrow cells are crowded out, resulting in fewer platelet-producing cells.
Low number of platelets may be seen in some patients with long-term bleeding problems (e.g., chronic bleeding stomach ulcers), thus reducing the supply of platelets. Decreased platelet counts may also be seen in patients with Gram-negative sepsis.
Individuals with an autoimmune disorder (such as lupus or idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP), where the body’s immune system creates antibodies that attack its own organs) can cause the destruction of platelets.Lorri [Szostak]
I was able to open and read the inmates’ letters Lorri forwarded by attachment, but am unable to copy them from the attachment. One was from the fellow described in Lori’s email, a University of North Carolina graduate and disabled war veteran. One letter from another inmate about jail conditions, and a formal complaint from three inmates about being roughed up in the vehicle that transported them to the Stock Island facility. Roughed up by the vehicle and not being properly restrained, not by guards.
Sloan Bashinsky, 27 January 2009, Key West
One correction to yesterday’s Citizen.Action post: I misnamed the Florida Department of Law Enforcement by calling it the Florida Department of Legal Enforcement.
The rest of today’s post is directed to the kids in the Korean-style karate school on Big Pine Key, the school Sandy Down’s ten-year-old son is not attending because the head of that school, who calls himself Master Somebody, would not let Sandy’s son into the school because Sandy had run against Master Somebody’s friend, Bob Peryam, in the sheriff race, and had said a lot of not very nice things about Bob. Master Somebody told Sandy this himself, all of which I covered briefly in a previous post about a week ago, which a kid in the public school Sandy’s son attends on Big Pine read on the Internet, and told Sandy’s son about it. That part of this story I only learned last night, when I spoke with Sandy for the first time since she told me about Master Somebody not letting Marshall into his school.
In the early 1980s, around age 40, at the encouragement of a lawyer buddy of mine, who was a black belt in trial lawyering, I started training in the karate dojo where he trained. The head of this school went by the name of Shihan Oyama. He was seventh-degree black belt in his Master’s version of Japanese karate. He was Japanese. Shihan and his older brother, whom we called Saiko Shihan, at a young age, went to train under Mas Oyama, who had invented his own brand of karate. They took him as their father, and took his last name, and lived in his dojo. At that time, they did not go by Shihan or Saiko Shihan, which are exalted names they had to earn. More exalted than sensi, which means teacher.
Mas Oyama was the karate master, I learned, who popularized karate in America, when he came here and went on tour. He got into rings with big, mean bulls with big horns, and they had it out. The bull charged, Mas Oyama knocked off one of his horns with one blow from one of his massive fists. The bull charged again, Mas Oyama knocked off the other horn. Then he hit the bull in the head with his fist and killed the bull. As I said, these were big, mean bulls, and he dispatched them with no trouble, with his bare hands. Which is what karate means in Japanese: with bare hands; or with open hands.
Shihan told us a story once during a class in the dojo. He said when he was nineteen, he could beat up every student in Mas Oyama’s dojo. But he was still a white belt, because all he wanted to do was fight and beat people up. Only after he changed his attitude did he start getting promoted. Although he became a seventh-degree black belt, the highest dan (black belt rank) in that style of Japanese karate, Shihan was much more advanced than that. He became world champion. He and Saiko Shihan started doing tours in America. Their performance was something to behold.
Saiko Shihan dressed up in full samurai body armor and wielded a razor-sharp samurai sword about three-and-one-half feet long. He chased bare-handed, bare-footed Shihan around a ring, swinging that razor-sharp sword at him, as Shihan dodged and weaved and repelled his brother with various kicks and punches to the body armor that sent his brother sprawling. The climax of the performance came when Saiko Shihan had Shihan on his knees before him and raised the sword to cut him in half. Shihan clasped and trapped the rapidly descending sword between his bare palms and stopped it just above his head. I actually saw them do this at a karate tournament in Birmingham, Alabama, where Shihan and I lived. By then, they were in their forties. They were old men. And yet they were still something to behold. And they were still able to beat up anyone in their dojos, if they wanted to. Saiko Shihan lived in New England.
One day in Shihan’s dojo, during a large class, boys and girls, men and women, and several black belts, Shihan told us karate begins when you receive your first dan (black belt). All the rest is just warm up for the real thing, in other words. In another packed class, he told us, including the black belts, that in his eyes, we all were white belts. And compared to him, we all were. I reached green belt, before realizing I was too old and brittle to be training in karate. That was a little way over half-way to black belt in that karate style. My lawyer friend was brown belt, next to black belt, but I doubt he could have taken me, as I was much more flexible and athletic than he was. And I was ambidextrous, could kick and punch and block and spin as well from either side. But as a lawyer, he was head and shoulders above me. He had top secret clearance from the US Government, and sometimes defended Americans accused of espionage and treason. He was that good, as a lawyer.
I think Shihan would have liked to meet and get to know Sandy Downs. He respected training in areas other than karate. He would not be pleased, I don’t think, were I to tell him the story of Sandy’s son not being allowed into the karate school on Big Pine Key, because his mother had taken on the powers that be during her campaign for sheriff, and had spoken out and said things nobody else dared to say and others did not want to be said in public. Sandy put her very life on the line, when she did that. I think kids on Big Pine Key, and throughout the Keys, would benefit greatly to meet and get to know Sandy. Spend time in her dojo on Cudjoe Key . Listen to her stories. In time, you perhaps will come to know her Shihan.
I know Jesus is training her, because he is training me. He started training me when I was still a kid, but I didn’t know it yet. I only started glimpsing he was there in the early 1990s, in my early 50s. A very, very tough teacher, Jesus. Very, very tough.
Sloan Bashinsky, 26 January 2009, Key West
This is to relatives and friends of inmates in the Stock Island jail.
I write to you because I was told recently by Bob Pierce, an inmate in this county jail, that some of you are reading my blogs at goodmorningkeywest.com and goodmorningfloridakeys.com; and because perhaps you can lend some assistance to getting the deplorable food and other bad situations in this jail straightened out. Here is the text of an email I received yesterday from an inmate’s mother, responding to yesterday’s Jail.Food post. Below it are more of my own thoughts and sentiments.
Sloan Just read your email for today. I want to thank you so much for some one finally getting the word out. I’m the mother of one of those inmates. I have had a hard time sleeping at nights knowing things that go on there. I send letters ,money orders & the jail takes the money or give very little to him of what you send. just wanted him to have a little to go to get a soda. he has been in there will be 2yrs march. I live so far away I can’t get to visit. I’m 76yrs old hoping for the day my son will walk out. I do worry every day he will not get to walk out because I’m afraid some thing will happen to him. they beat him terribly one time of course I’m sure they say he caused it all. I don’t have money to pay for a lawyer. have sent money several times to some they took my money did nothing. I wish I had the money to hire a lawyer from some place else because they all seem to be corrupt there. Thanks for listening to a mother who loves her son. I can’t speak out for my son for fear of what might happen to him. I’m afraid he will but we by the saying god will take care of you. I kept telling him don’t give up.Thanks again. thanks to Lori she sent me your emails. So every day I read them now. Mary Bruce
I wrote to County Commissioner/Mayor George Neugent yesterday, asking him if he can find out what the jail is paid per diem, per inmate, because it would be unconscionable, in my opinion, for the jail to have any profit incentive in “collecting” residents for its jail.
I know for a fact, because I have seen copies of Lorri Szostak M.D.’s emails to Governor Crist, and the emails his underlings sent back, that the Governor’s Office, I say his office, because Crist may not have even seen any of Lorri’s emails, is taking the position that this is a local law enforcement matter, best resolved locally. That is, in the Keys.
There are big problems with that line of thinking. The sheriff office is a constitutional office. This means the sheriff answers to no one locally, but only answers to the Governor and agencies headquartered in Tallahassee, which have regulatory power over the sheriff office. I learned when Sandy Downs ran for sheriff last year that these state regulatory agencies are a joke; that trying to get one of them to investigate wrongdoing in our sheriff office is like putting the fox in the henhouse. This means, I’m sad to say, that Governor Crist probably is the only person in state government who can, on his own, get something done about the deplorable food situation in the Stock Island jail. Inasmuch as he is a lawyer and was our state attorney general before he was elected governor, we can only hope that he can be persuaded to intervene. Here is his email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is another body that can do something about this: the Monroe County Commission, which approves and funds the sheriff’s budget. The commissioners could decline to give the sheriff money until the jail food situation, at the very least, is straightened out. Unfortunately, my experience with the previous county commissioners, and with the five now sitting commissioners, is they see the sheriff office as top-notch and believe anything the sheriff or designated sheriff personnel report about complaints against the sheriff office. Too bad we don’t have a local Citizens Review Board, which would be a perfect body to investigate the food complaints. We don’t have one because we elected a sheriff who said throughout his campaign that he saw no need for a CRB; a man who repeatedly proclaimed at candidate forums that we have a top-notch sheriff office that he was proud to be a part of; a man whose wife was head of Internal Affairs; a man who had been demoted from major to captain, and he never explained why during his campaign; a man who had been convincingly accused of serious conduct unbecoming and, along with his sheriff buddies, had terrorized the Kelly family; a man who claimed at candidate forums that he had been cleared, when actually he had never been investigated for the Kelly affair by Internal Affairs or by the Florida Department of Legal Enforcement, which is one of the aforementioned state agencies headquartered in Tallahassee. Here are the county commissioners email addresses: Kim Wigington email@example.com; George Neugent firstname.lastname@example.org; Heather Carruthers email@example.com; Mario DiGennaro firstname.lastname@example.org; Sylvia Murphy email@example.com. boccdis stands for board of county commissioners district whatever.
Many years ago, Sheriff Roth, who preceded our new sheriff , Bob Peryam, was sued in federal court in Miami for running the worst jail in Florida (in Key West). As a result of that lawsuit, known as the McIntyre case, Sheriff Roth entered into a settlement with the plaintiffs, which was formalized in a Consent Decree. The part of the Consent Decree regulating the kitchen and food in the jail is found in the Jail Food Requrements (McIntyre) file in the menu of the goodmorningkeywest.com home page. As far as I have been able to determine, Sheriff Roth never complied with that part of the Consent Decree. From that, I conclude he never intended to comply and entered into the settlement in bad faith and perpetuated a fraud on the federal court. From that, I conclude Sheriff Roth, now retired, should be in jail for perjury and contempt of a United States District, and his replacement, Bob Peryam, should be in there with him, now that we see he is following the same jail-food regimen as his predecessor.
Federal court action is another topic, though, which I might delve into more later. Right now, you need to pester Governor Crist and the five county commissioners unceasing. Unceasing.
You might also wish to write to our new State Attorney, Dennis Ward, whom I worked very hard to get elected. Dennis said at his swearing in that he reads all of my posts. Maybe he will see something in your correspondence that he feels the State Attorney office needs to look into. Maybe he will see something that will cause him to be extra cautious about accepting cases brought to him by the Monroe County Sheriff Office and the Key West City Police Department for prosecution. Here’s his email address: DennisWard@aol.com. Please do not bother him with something trivial. His job is to prosecute crimes and put away bad folks.
Please feel free to use this post, and previous posts about the Stock Island jail, if you wish.
Sloan Bashinsky, 25 January 2009, Key West
This is to the inmates in the Stock Island jail.
The other morning, when the power station on Big Coppit Key went haywire and power was out below there, I went out to your hotel and visited Bob Pierce, who is Dr. Lorri Szostak’s friend. I met them both through Paul Caruso, who lives on Geiger Key, I think, and is a friend of them both. This was maybe 2 1/2 months ago.
I went to see Bob because I had received an email the day before from a Keys woman I did not know, whose husband is locked up for the same reason Bob is, something to do with some kind of alleged real estate fraud. Both men, as is the case with most of you local residents at your hotel, are awaiting trial and have not been convicted of anything. This woman said she had just visited Bob and her husband, and Bob wanted to see me about new information. So when the power went out the next morning and I could not get online to write and publish, I took that as a sign to drive up to your hotel, even though I didn’t know if I could get in, due to the power outage.
The power was on at the hotel and I got in right a way to visit with Bob. What he said he wanted to see me about was the interior painting of the jail that had caused so many inmates who were confined in the painting sites for several days to get sick, and also a jail female employee, whom Bob said had to be carried out of there. Bob said she did not return to work and now is suing the jail/sheriff for her injuries caused by being confined in the painting sites, breathing the fumes. Bob said I would receive a large packet of papers, with instructions, about the paint-fumes injuries many inmates, including him, had suffered.
I told Bob several things. First, I don’t take instructions from people, but only from God. Second, I already knew about the paint problem and had been told to stick with the food problem, because the food problem is ongoing and very destructive, and the paint problem, although very destructive, was a one-time thing. Third, if I was told anything different, I would focus on the paint problem as well. Meanwhile, I said, as a lawyer, I would tell Bob and other inmates injured by the painting in the way the female jail worker was injured, or worse, to join in her lawsuit as plaintiffs. I said this was me, the lawyer talking, and I did not know what God might want. I said I am a priest now, but am connected with no church.
Bob said he has been reading the Bible, which caught me by surprise because I am not accustomed to Jeweish people telling me they read the Bible. Lorri had caught me by surprise there, too.
I told Bob to be very careful with what ministers tell him about the Bible. I said he should read the Gospels and pay close attention to what Jesus said. Acts also he should read, I said. And the Letter to the Hebrews, which is about the priesthood to which Jesus belonged, a priesthood I told Bob I had never heard mentioned in any Christian church I had attended, and I once attended church a lot. The Melchizedek Priesthood, I told Bob it is called, and Hebrews is about initiation into that priesthood, in which Jesus is said to be high priest.
I told Bob that I would be inclined to stay away from the writings of Paul, and then I explained some parts of the Gospels in the way they were explained to me by folks who do not have human bodies. For example, Jesus told his disciples that a man could blaspheme him and be forgiven, but a man who blasphemed the Holy Ghost would not be forgiven. I told Bob the Holy Ghost is one and the same as Shehina in the Jewish faith, the female side of God. He seemed quite surprised to hear this. Maybe it was that I even knew of Shehinah caused his surprise.
I then explained that Jesus tried very hard to teach his disciples how to live in the way he lived, but he didn’t do much good. They were still juvenile delinquents when he was taken from them. They argued and boasted among themselves. They betrayed him at every turn. They were afraid and superstitious. All of which continued until Pentecost, when they received the Holy Ghost, and then they moved into their own ministries. Jesus had planted the seed, but the Holy Ghost is what led them after Pentecost. I told Bob that if the disciples had not followed the Holy Ghost after Pentecost, that would have been the blasphemy Jesus had warned them not to commit, and they would not have been forgiven. I said Jesus had to leave his disciples because they were holding him back, like millstones around his neck, preventing him from doing what he needed to do next, and if he had stayed with them, it would have held them back, looking always to him, instead of to the Holy Ghost to lead them.
Bob seemed very interested in this perspective, and it was around then that I said I had offered to come into the jail to do spirit work with inmates, but I had gotten no reply from Major Tommy Taylor to my overtures. Tommy is in charge of all the county jails. Bob said there is no chaplain in your jail, and you inmates who do not have a local minister to see, do not have a minister. I said maybe I should apply for the chaplain position. Later, it would occur to me that if the jail has a chaplain, then the inmates just might have an ally in the food and paint troubles. If the chaplain has the guts to speak out. Bob is the sixth man I have spoken with directly in the past month, who told me the same story about the deplorable food being fed to inmates. The other five men had been in the jail and were now out.
Bob also told me that inmates’ families are reading my blogs and copying my writings and sending them by snail mail to inmates. He said his and other inmates’ mail is being monkeyed with by the jail. Sometimes what they mail out does not reach the recipient. Sometimes it is held a long time before being sent out. Bob said inmates are being threatened for complaining about the food. Mail coming in sometimes does not reach them. Mail sent to or received from lawyers sometimes is opened by jail staff. The inmates are able to know if something iswas sent to them, or if something they mailed does not reach the recipient, because they have access to a pay phone and talk with people on the outside.
I gave Bob my snail mail address and said any inmate could write to me, who was willing to paint a bulls-eye on his or her back. I said Jesus told his disciples that some of them would be killed because of him, and I told Bob, who certainly has painted a bulls-eye on his own back, that I do not want to hear from inmates who are not willing to step up to the plate.
Our visit came to an end just after all the power went off, when a female jail guard came in and said visitation was over. In the visitors reception area, I was told visitation was stopped for the day because of security issues. I saw my personal attorney, Sam Kaufman, getting on the elevator, and asked if he knew why they had stopped visitation. He said he thought it was because of the power outage. That seemed reasonable to me, and I wondered why I had seen Sam there. Not just a lawyer, but a Jewish lawyer, who once put in many free hours trying to get the City of Key West to stop arresting and jailing homeless people simply for sleeping outside at night. I wondered if maybe Sam is someone who might be interested in the paint problem. He tries a lot of cases in county court, and from what I have observed, is pretty good at it. I will speak to him about it.
Here is my snail mail address: Sloan Bashinsky, 626 Josephine Parker Rd #102, Key West 33040. If you don’t want your name in something I might be moved to write, or in court documents, I do not want to hear from you.
Sloan Bashinsky, 24 January 2009, Key West
This week’s main local southernmost news reports center around the reinstatement of Jim Young to his position as Manager of Code Enforcement, after the city commission and city attorney were pressured by Jim’s attorney, Hugh Morgan, to concede that Jim had been fired for, imagine it, enforcing the city codes fairly across the board. In doing so, Jim upset local power brokers who were accustomed to getting preferential bubba treatment, which is what got him fired.
According to today’s Key West the Newspaper’s report, both Jim and Hugh, commendably, took the approach that this was not about money but was about correcting a wrong. KWTN reported Jim as saying Hugh maybe wrote off over $80,000 in attorney fees. I told Hugh’s former law partner, Jim Hendrick, the other night during our weekly chess wits-matching, which usually goes his way, that the city should have paid all of Jim’s attorney fees, because Jim never did anything wrong. I said the city should have volunteered to do this, for why should Jim be out any money for what the city did wrong? It paid him the wages he lost. It should pay his for getting what the city did wrong corrected.
When my chess nemesis said there was more to the case, I said I did not see more to it. I saw a dedicated city employee wrongfully fired for doing his job in a way that pissed off some bubbas; a man the city commission feels so good about now, as I read the news, that it has asked him to reorganize and reform the city’s code enforcement operation. Maybe I’m being too simplistic here. If so, I would appreciate someone explaining why. And I would appreciate someone explaining why the city commission sitting when Jim was fired went along with it. Just joking. We all know why they went along with it. They were bubbas.
Sloan Bashinsky, 23 January 2008, Key West
The other day I posted: “A Key West friend called yesterday to say how much he really liked yesterday’s Wemins.Studies post. He said as he read it, he found himself thinking maybe that was why he and I are single. I reminded him that I’d had plenty to say about men, too, that wasn’t flattering, and he said he had seen that, but I wondered if he had, because he did not mention it when he called to say how much he liked what I had written about women all being crazy. If the truth be told, every person I know is crazy, including me. In God’s eyes we all are crazy . . .”
I could have added that maybe a reason I do not have a woman in my life is that my experience has proven that women simply do not like to be with a man who is told 24-7, 365, by God what to do; nor do they like having the same experience themselves, which the trade-off they must make to be with me. When they don’t do what is given to them to do, it starts backing up in me and I start getting sick and screwed up. If that continues, they are taken away from me, to protect me.
It is much the same with people I am given to work closely with on something. For example, I was supposed to do all I could to help Sandy Downs get elected sheriff of Monroe County. I spent more time on her campaign than I did on my own county commission campaign. Although it is only my opinion, I feel comfortable saying Sandy would have been elected sheriff if she had done what she was supposed to do, and we now would have a sheriff dedicated to actually living by and seeing to it that all sheriff personnel live by the values and code of ethics posted on the sheriff’s website, which did not happen under now retired Rick Roth’s tenure as sheriff, and will not happen under the tenure of his hand-picked replacement, Bob Peryam.
I frequently suffered tremendous internal difficulty because Sandy did not take care of the business she needed to take care of, to clear the way for her to run for sheriff. And I now am suffering tremendous internal difficulty because Lorri Szostak, M.D. has put off coming down to the Keys from Vermont, where she lives, to try get inside our county jail on Stock Island and eat meals with the inmates and see what they are being fed and hear what they say about what they have been fed in the past. Lorri already experienced a very loud and jolting signal that she needed to stop writing emails and come down here to try to get in the jail and visit with the inmates. But then, if Sandy had done what she was supposed to do, the food situation in the jail would already be getting addressed without Lorri having even been drawn into it, for Sandy would have taken care of the food situation on her own. And a lot of other situations in the sheriff office that needed taking of.
What I’m getting around to saying is this: if the people I am given to work with on something important to God are not ready to work in the way I work, then I prefer to work alone, because it’s a hell of a lot easier on me physically and spiritually, and a hell of a lot less heartache and aggravation. It’s not how I want it to be, but it’s easier for me to go it alone, than to carry someone else’s load for them.
Therefore, I’m going to switch to another topic, by sharing another reply to the wemins.studies post I received from a north Georgia friend the other day, who manages 6,000 acres of prime forests and streams and a nice public retreat for the state of Georgia. This fellow and I were members of the Kappa Alpha Order in college, but at different universities. The creed of that fraternity is Dieu et les dames; in English, God and the women. The first time my friend got married was in Key West, on the beach at Ft. Zachery Taylor, I think he told me. He has very fond memories of Key West, memories I’m sure Capt. Tony Terrancino had many more of. Memories the photos in the email forward captured pretty well, I imagine. For those who do not live here and/or know about Fantasy Fest, it is a week when this sort of Adam and Eve scenery is in plain view on Duval Street. In plain view. I say this mostly for the benefit of the people who provide me with access to the world wide web, so they will not get the impression that I am publishing pornography. I am publishing Key West. I am publishing the likes of what the untold thousands of people who have attended Fantasy Fests have seen with their own two eyes on a public street in broad daylight. Why the city resists providing a clothes-optional beach year-round is beyond my comprehension, when it loudly and proudly touts Fantasy Fest in its advertising. Why the city does not encourage body painting year-round also mystifies me. We have tattoo parlors, dirty-T-shirt shops, strip, lap-dancing and escort service parlors, a sexy bull riding cowboy/cowgirl juke joint, and a clothes-optional upstairs bar, all on Duval Street. Why come we don’t have body-painting parlors there? How come? I had trouble transfering the pretty pictures to this email, but was able to get them into Today’s FlaKey Drivel at goodmorningfloridakeys.com and Today’s Cock-a-doodle-doo at goodmorningkeywest.com. The Cock-a-doodle-doo verson shrunk the photos down, maybe too small to get their true essence, which Today’s Flakey Drivel seems to have captured pretty well. Well, shoot! When I just now rechecked, the pretty pictures are not showing on either website. Maybe you’ll just have to use your imagination, or come down here and see for yourself.