TRUMP’S CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM SHOWS RESULTS (OpEd)

This OpEd by yours truly appears in the June 24, 2019 issue of Florida Today.

 

Most people are not aware of the First Step Act, signed into law by President Trump in December of 2018. It is a major achievement in improving the criminal justice system, long overdue.

This law seeks to incentivize prison inmates to participate in training programs targeted at increasing opportunities once released. Participation can earn as many as 47 days per year knocked off their sentences. Inmates also earn lighter sentences while ensuring, after release, they will become a productive member of society.

We all want to see criminals pay their debts for committing crimes, particularly violent felonies. No argument there. But imposing extreme sentences on people who will spend 20 to 50 years behind bars does nothing to rehabilitate. Rather, it further reduces opportunities for ex-inmates to become productive citizens.

Some want to see criminals enter prison for decades. But we forget that most of those inmates will be coming out one day, with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Not everyone has family members or friends. Not all have support systems. Many are released without any source of income.

Ricky L. was

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: (SHAFT (2019) – 3 (M. Frank)

Shaft  (2019)  –  3 out of 10.

 

In a word:  Ridiculous

 

First of all, if you don’t like violence and filthy language, don’t see this movie. There is plenty of both, to a point of gross excess, including lines spoken by little kids. I would estimate the “F” and MF” words are in play at least 200 times in the film or more…which is a distraction from whatever the plot was intended to be. With little exception, the screenwriting is pathetic. They should read a dictionary and see if there are other adjective words in English besides “F”.

     Yes, we are accustomed to lots of violence in movies, particularly those produced and directed by Hollywoodites who espouse anti-gun sentiments in their off-screen lives. In this film, there must be at least seven to ten wild shooting exchanges with no less than a barrage of a thousand rounds fired, or more, involving multiple actors using repeating rifles. Ironically, the good guys always got away unscathed, including Jackson, while the bad guys are all killed. Amazing what lousy shots they are.

     Shaft (2019) is the fifth in a series since 1971. Here, based in Harlem which he knows well, Samuel L. Jackson

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HARD TO JUDGE: PARKLAND SCHOOL OFFICER

 

Op-Ed Published June 13, 2019, in Florida Today

 

Shoulda, coulda, woulda.

That’s one way to sum up an analysis of Broward School Resource Officer Scot Peterson’s behavior, or lack thereof, as to why he did not take appropriate action when a crazed shooter went on a shooting rampage at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018, killing 17 kids and adults, and wounding 17 more. After all, taking action was his job.

Peterson, age 56, with a 30-year law enforcement career behind him, has now been charged with 11 counts of criminal misconduct including culpable negligence, perjury and felony child neglect. Upon being arrested and fired from the job, the judge set a modest bond at $39,500. If convicted on all counts, Peterson could conceivably be sentenced to 97 years in prison.

What did he do? Nothing.

That’s the problem. Rather than take action, even if it meant risking his life, he took no action other than communicating on radio. This is a case of someone being charged with a crime for what he didn’t do, not what he did do. Several news reports relate how Peterson walked outside of the building, as multiple gunshots

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “ROCKET MAN” – 7

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “ROCKET MAN” – 7.0

     In a word:  Eccentric

 

     This is a great movie for fans of Elton John, the British rock and roller who has sold over 300 million records in his lifetime.

     The movie focuses on the early life of the rocker in England, his conflicts within the family with whom he has limited attachment and later, his natural immersion into the world of rock music mostly through natural talents which he developed on his own.

     The high points of the movie are witnessing the emergence of an entertainment genius, wildly eccentric in flair and dress, and seemingly addicted to the roars of the adoring crowds. Meanwhile, John struggles with coming out of the closet, finally admitting he is a gay man. This doesn’t go well with his mother and father. Finally, wealth and success draws the artist into the abyss of addiction to most every substance imaginable, for which he eventually seeks out long range therapy and treatment.

     At the end of the movie, we learn that John has evolved into a sober person for 28 years, and proudly married to another man, on the heels of new British laws that allow for

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THE TROUBLE WITH LGBTQ

I have no problem with people who identify as a different gender than how they were born. In today’s world, it is certainly more acceptable than when I grew up in the 1940s and 50s. If a man feels more like a woman, and a woman more like a man, and they prefer to live those lifestyles, it is not only acceptable in 2019, it is also protected.

     But have we gone too far?

     No matter what mentality exists within a man or woman, and regardless of surgical procedures, nothing can ever change the fact they were born with the genetics and body parts of one sex or another (with rare exceptions). It’s no secret that male athletes will naturally develop higher muscle density and heavier bone structures. That’s nature.

     I would be uncomfortable seeing a male adult, however altered, enter a ladies bathroom knowing my female child was inside. That’s not being a bigot, that’s feeling protective. No matter how a transgender adjusts the human body, some are naturally very tall and muscular, obviously male. In public places, the doors to rest rooms are designated by gender. Gender doesn’t change just because someone “feels” like the other sex.

     Now,

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CAFOB Prodigy 1 – Dorothy Gal

 Meet Dorothy Gal, soprano, Houston Opera Company.

     We first met Dorothy when she was 15 years old, auditioning to compete in Brevard’s Got Music Talent at the Henniger Center.  The Creative Arts Foundation (CAFOB) was new in Brevard County then, a non-profit group that seeks out special talents among young music students of the region. As one might imagine Dorothy was a stand-out, singing the Laughing Song by Mozart.  I know, because I sat in as one of the audition judges. We were all “wowed.”

Since, Dorothy has continued to study music, piano and voice, plus learning a number of foreign languages. She participated in many of the CAFOB Music on the Hill series, plus she won first place in the third season of Brevard’s Got Music Talent competition (winning $1000). A native of Cocoa Beach, she is surely a local treasure.

She eventually went on to complete her college studies a Rice University and is now a full-fledged operatic performer at the Houston Grand Opera, one of the most prestigious in the United States. We are all very proud.

      Here is a recent performance by Dorothy in Houston:

Ho perduto, il caro sposo from Handel’s Rodelinda – YouTube

     Here

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “BOLDEN” – 7.5 (M.Frank)

“BOLDEN” – Rated  R  (nudity, language) –

     Rating:  7.5

     In a word: Frenetic

     If you are a lover of old-time jazz music, you’ll love this movie. While I do enjoy jazz, this movie offers an overdose, with constant repetition of horns from beginning to end. Nevertheless, it certainly fit within the plot structure, focusing on the pathetic life of Charles “Buddy” Bolden, Louisiana-born kid who happened to develop a unique talent playing sounds and rhythms that were new to the music industry at that time. The opening credits for the movie claimed Buddy Bolden to be the inventor of jazz music.

     Bolden formed a band that was well-known in New Orleans between 1900 and 1907. That’s when he lost his marbles and began episodes of lunacy which culminated in being locked in a cell block within a mental institution for the next twenty-five years until his death in 1931. During his “hey-day” playing jazz with his band all over Louisiana, Bolden embarked upon sub-life of using drugs and alcohol to a point where it apparently damaged his brain and he was deemed hopelessly insane.

     This was his story, as much as we know about it. Jon Cornick is quoted on

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