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“A fact that needs to be spoken”

21/07/2014   |   No Comments »

His limitlessly enthusiastic facial expressions just kill me_HBOJohn Oliver joins the national dialogue on prison reform – vividly.

I’m sure it will surprise no readers of this blog to know I’m a radicalized John Oliver fan.

From Net Neutrality to the World Cup, I’m thrilled at the breath of fresh air HBO has allowed Oliver to blow our way on the topics of the day. As I watched this piece last night, I was pleased to see that just about every prison reform and private prison-related topic I’ve covered here – he nails. But, of course, the best part of the segment is the musical number. By singing about prison reform with Sesame Street muppets he sends it all over the top, simplifying the issue, making us laugh, educating and surprising us.

It’s a fact that needs to be spoken

America’s prisons are broken

It’s a hard truth about incarceration

prisons are needed for our civilization

But mandatory minimums for heroin and crack

stack the system against Hispanics and Blacks

Our prison population is bigger than Slovenia

‘Cause we put people in jail instead of treating schizophrenia!

Oliver and his writing team are hilarious. For me, they created a valuable tool I can use to snow plow through an otherwise complex issue. Helping to widen people’s understanding of incarceration in America and those behind bars just became a little easier. Thank you John Oliver.

 

The Argument Against @HiddenCash

20/07/2014   |   1 Comment

DAN TAGUE_dan_tague_sthhhudio_dot_com2Never mind the guy’s icky; there’s no excuse not to donate the cash

For anyone unfamiliar with the @HiddenCash story, there’s a rich dude running around the U.S., stashing fistfuls of cash for people to find. It’s called a Social Media Scavenger Hunt. He uses the @HiddenCash Twitter handle to drop clues as to the money’s general location, or to announce the next area to be blessed with his self-promotion benevolence.

We know it’s a guy, ’cause in early June of this year his identity was revealed, either by an interviewer or by design (I’d bet on the latter). He is alleged real estate scammer Jason Buzi, an ex-mortgage industry mercenary who keeps his house flipping out of the traditional real estate processes. Buzi is what’s known as a “lowballer”: He saturates neighborhoods with flyers offering “Ca$h for your home,” then contractually locks suckers into the price he offers. Assuring his clients they don’t even have to leave their homes, their contracts obligate them to sell to him alone. Buzi then goes off in search of an unknown third party to cover his end of the deal, leaving homeowners high and dry ’til he does. Eventually, the mystery investor acquires the property and flips it for a much higher price.

I don’t know about you, but I know someone who lost their home through these kinds of “deals.” And when the recession hit, Buzi is known to have made the money he’s now giving away. Personally, I wouldn’t search for his money if he put it in my bathroom. Read the rest of this entry »