Saturday, December 31, 2011

Smorgasbord Saturday (New Year's Edition)

The Cost of Executing Monsters

This week the Idaho Department of Correction released the amount the state's execution of Paul Ezra Rhoades cost the state of Idaho. Not surprisingly for those who are familiar with the cost of carrying out the death penalty, the cost was great. The exact cost IDOC released to the press was $53,411, not including the construction of the new execution chamber (F Block, as it is named).

In an interestingly timed release, the IDOC stated the following:
BOISE, December 30, 2011 – The recent execution of Paul Ezra Rhoades, IDOC #26864, cost the Idaho Department of Correction $53,411.

Of the total, $25,583 went to employee overtime and $27,828 went to operating costs [...]

[...] Operating expenses include medical supplies, equipment rentals and meals. The total cost figure does not include salary and benefits paid to IDOC staff who would have been working regardless of whether or not there had been an execution. Only overtime costs that were accrued as a result of the event were included in the final tally.

The press release went on to compare the cost of the state of Idaho's execution of Rhoades with that of the state of Oregon as they prepared for the execution of an inmate who was ultimately granted a reprieve when the governor of that state placed a moratorium on executions. The two states were separated by merely a few thousand dollars. The insertion of this information in the press release may only be a way for the IDOC to explain to the general public that the cost is comparable to other states and other executions, but it seemed inappropriate to be announcing that we can kill a man in the name of our people for cheaper than another state can.

When the new execution chamber was revealed to the people of the state of Idaho prior to Rhoades' execution, we were told that the necessity presented itself when the state began to realize there would be several more executions in the coming years. Maybe that is so, unfortunately to those of us who would rather our state not take lives in our name, but it doesn't erase the cost.

As long as we choose to execute the monsters among us, there will be a cost.

The Finder

It's official, The Finder has it's own page on the FOX website! And they've been running ads for the hour-long show that will premiere on January 12, 2012 at 9/8c.

Check out this video for a preview of the show:

If you're not a regular watcher of Bones, you may have missed FOX introducing The Finder (aka Walter Sherman). They're calling it a spin-off of Bones, but the only connection I see is that both shows are based on a series of books and have the same creator. There isn't much of a connection between the two, other than the story line devised to introduce one show in the time slot of the other. The Finder is based on two amazing books by Richard Greener. Called The Locator series, Greener wrote The Knowland Retribution and The Lacey Confession centered on the unique gifts of a military veteran who can find nearly anything or anyone--lost, missing or stolen. Not unusually, there are some differences between the books and the soon to premiere tv show (just as there are differences between the books by Kathy Reichs and the Bones show). Most notably, there are far less characters in the tv show than in the book, one major character specifically. Differences aside, it looks to be a very entertaining show.

Given my track record of liking shows of late that are cancelled after a season or even less, I hope that Bones fans and fans of the Greener books will tune in and give this show a chance.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Smorgasbord Saturday

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

TDIH: Pearl Harbor (70th Anniversary)

As today marks the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and America's entering World War II, I thought the best place to find material to share would be the records from Hawaii. First word of the attack came through official channels and began the sending of this naval dispatch from the ranking United States naval officer in Pearl Harbor. This image is available through the Library of Congress American Memory website and comes from the papers of Admiral John Jennings Ballentine (1896-1970).

A simple search on the American Memory page for 'Pearl Harbor' brought up 859 items, though surely there are hundreds more related to the attack as well as our involvement in World War II. I highly recommend taking a look at their site and the items available on the site of the National American History Museum website, not just today on the 70th anniversary of this historic event, but as often as you have time. These items exist for us to examine and study so that we do not lose our understanding of history over generations.

To the men and women who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor as well as those who subsequently joined the armed forces, out of patriotism, duty or conscription, we will never forget you. Yours is our story.

Friday, December 2, 2011

TGIF Tunes

Lost most of the week to a trip at the beginning of it for a doctor's appointment. I'll get back into the swing of things next week. In the meantime, here's an interesting video I ran across that merges a few really interesting elements. Javier Colon, for those of you who didn't watch The Voice, is someone special. Add in a Ken Block of Sister Hazel and Mark Bryan of Hootie and the Blowfish and you get this very interesting version of "Let Her Cry" (only thing missing is Darius Rucker). Enjoy!