People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Cruel & Inhuman Punishment?

The folks over in Big Stone Gap have their priorities right. Until the monsoon came a few days ago, this quaint little town deep in the mountains southwest of here was experiencing a severe water shortage. So they started rationing water at the local prison. Makes perfect sense to me. Well, apparently not everyone agrees.

Human rights activists question prison's water conservation

BIG STONE GAP (AP) - Water conservation measures at Wallens Ridge State Prison do not pose a health risk to its 1,200 maximum security prisoners, a corrections spokesman said Monday, responding to inmate complaints.

The conservation effort, in response to a water emergency declared by officials in this southwest Virginia community, was criticized by Human Rights Watch in a letter to Warden David Robinson. Inmates wrote in letters to the human rights group that the conservation efforts endangered prisoners' health.

"Given Wallens Ridge State Prison's failure to meet these basic health standards, we are concerned that prisoners in your facility may be suffering from dehydration," wrote James Fellner, a lawyer with Human Rights Watch in New York City. (link)
So let me understand this. I knew cattle prods and whips were frowned upon but dehydrating prisoners is now a bad thing too?

Never Underestimate God

The same folks who believe it to be perfectly natural that criminals behind bars are there to suffer (you can include me in that group) also believe in the power of prayer. It's been raining cats and dogs for the last three days - ever since the people of Big Stone Gap decided they'd had enough of our drought conditions and got together to call on The Big Guy for help.

Group prays for rain to end crisis

BIG STONE GAP - Prompted by a conviction of the need for a prayer gathering to help address the town's current water crisis, Pat Hughes, a Wallens Ridge State Prison employee who attends East Stone Gap United Methodist Church, on Sunday asked her pastor, the Rev. Ken Sprinkle for help.

Sprinkle got busy sending emails to all the Methodist ministers in the area and making calls to those of other denominations, and a little more than 24 hours later, 40 people were gathered on the sidewalk on Wood Avenue. They were there to sing praises and pray for rain to alleviate the current water shortage, which could drain Big Cherry Lake in as little as six to eight days, town officials have said. (
Weather forecasters in the area were discouraged.
With weather forecasts not offering any hope of substantial rainfall until at least December, Sprinkle said, the need for prayer and divine intervention grows daily.
I think Jesus heard your prayer, Brother Sprinkle. We're up to five inches of rain and it's still coming down. I wonder, can you get the boys together again and ask Him to turn it off now?

Oh For a Glass of Sparkling Mindy's Blue

If you've never tasted shine before, let me describe it for you. Imagine you have pulled into your local Citgo station and you've filled up your five gallon can with 87 octane gasoline. Once you're done, you take the hose, shove it in your mouth and squirt. Tasty, no? Well, that's what shine is like.

But to each his own. As long as each is paying federal and state taxes on the production of his own. Otherwise it ain't his own anymore. From The Roanoke Times:
Agents take pickaxes to still, drain hundreds of jugs of whiskey

AXTON, Va. [near Martinsville] (AP) -- In a page from Prohibition, officials used pickaxes to destroy a still found hidden in woods behind a home.

Alton Junior Moran, 70, of Rocky Mount, and Daryle Wayne Johnson, 31, of Bassett, each were charged with the manufacture of alcoholic beverages without a license as a result of the discovery, authorities said.

The still, located in a shed, included a 400-gallon pot, five 800-gallon pots and a 1,200-gallon pot, said Jay Calhoun of the Alcoholic Beverage Control's Illegal Whiskey Unit. He said the illegal distillery had been in operation for a "good long time," and officials found 343 gallons of spirits in plastic jugs.

The still was capable of producing from 800 to 1,000 gallons of liquor per week. (link)
There are two startling aspects to this story. (1) These guys were crankin' out a thousand gallons of the stuff a week and (2) the author chooses to call it whiskey. I prefer to call it jet fuel.

From my sordid past, I remember a brand name that was rather popular in parts of Kentucky - Mindy's Blue 22. Now that swill would put hair on your chest. Although Mindy tried her best to cover it up.