Interview With an Ex-Con

Everyone’s got prison on their mind!

With Bernard Madoff in the news due to his 150 year sentence for running a massive Ponzi scheme, the floodgates have been opened in terms of the number of prison related articles.  In this article I’ll share with you some of them I found most thought provoking, and maybe I’ll even throw in a few thoughts of mine.  Today I offer you this offbeat post about prison.

The Problem with Populism

“Since the only authority one wishes to please is the majority, all its projects are supported with enthusiasm; but as soon as its attention is drawn elsewhere, all effort comes to an end…”

-Alexis de Tocqueville, [amazon-product text=”Democracy in America” type=”text”]0140447601[/amazon-product]

Populism, which I define here as the mood of the people (as opposed to the will), purports to be a democratic tenet.  The problem with Populism, of course, is often the best analysis happens once people have time to mull over the issues and try to approach issues from an emotionally balanced angle.  Reference: the move to cap pay in the financial industry earlier this summer.  De Tocqueville refers to these movements as the “Tyranny of the Majority”.

What the hell does this have to do with Madoff?  America is angry.  We’ve bled off a large chunk of our household net worth over the last few years.  When a mob is angry, sometimes it demands a sacrifice.  Bernard Madoff is that sacrifice… and he volunteered.  Only with something to blame can we move on from what ails us.  If we feel no justice was served, the mob will remain angry.  And about this article title, “Interview With an Ex-Con”- please read this CNN interview.  And watch this video:

… and of course, glance at the angry comments the article has gathered.  Can he be THE scapegoat for the issues of the last few years?  Or, was his sentence enough to appease the crowd (the victims themselves are a different story)?  If not, don’t worry!  Soon R. Allen Stanford will face the music.  In this case, if Madoff does happen to serve his time in a medium-security prison, it will prove White-Collar Crime doesn’t pay (forever).

Folsom Prison Blues

Too Bad It's Closed... from mrj4393
Too Bad It’s Closed… from mrj4393

Michigan estimates it has to close prisons.  California is having budget problems, has no place to put inmates, and is contemplating turning over some prisons to private companies.    Not so fast, says Michigan, “let’s make a deal.”  California is already housing inmates in Arizona, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Ohio.  Could Michigan soon be the sixth state that California’s criminals call home?

A Second Shooter? Say it ain’t so!

Tell me: (in the comments…) did you believe for a second that Bernie was running his $50 Billion Ponzi scheme alone?  Neither did I.  Reports today indicate that Federal investigators  are ready to charge as many as 10 of Bernie’s associates.  The issue with the boss going down first is that these ‘persons of interest’ can only rat on lower level associates (like each other).  I’ll tag this development as ‘obvious’.

Jail bars thumbnail sourced from, shot by Nic McPhee.