And the Scams Go On

The is the core forum of BFC. It's all about informal and random talk on any topic.
Forum rules
Post a new topic to begin a chat.
Any topic is acceptable, and topic drift is permissible.
User avatar
yogi
Posts: 5311
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 15:49

Re: And the Scams Go On

Post by yogi » 02 Mar 2019, 19:29

It's apparently unconstitutional (14th amendment) to keep people in jail for not being able to pay their debts. Certain federal agencies will come and confiscate your possessions if you owe them or obtained them illegally. I guess that's ok and actually might make more sense than housing and feeding them. Apparently crooks have rights too.

When I suggested prison labor could be put to good use I wasn't thinking of chain gangs or road crews. Apparently the folks in Denmark are way ahead of me and seem to be pretty successful at it, well, until Facebook got on their case: https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/2/22 ... u-thailand

User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 2886
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 11:54

Re: And the Scams Go On

Post by Kellemora » 03 Mar 2019, 13:06

A couple of the kids I went to school with ended up in Prison, one for something like 20 years.
He worked in the prison laundry for at least 10 of those years, and in the library for the latter 10.
I didn't know much about the other guy, but I think he worked in the kitchen.
The point being is, all the inmates did have a job of some sort back in the 60's to 80's.
I don't know about after that time thought. Never looked into it.
The two fellows who robbed us, one got life and died in prison, the other got off Scott free in a couple of years for turning states evidence on another case he was involved in.
But I don't know what they did while in prison.

I do know prisoners have access to e-mail, and probably the Internet, pool tables, game rooms, sports activities, etc.
My wife's niece talked to one for a few years, not knowing he was a prisoner for several months. Once she found out he was an inmate, he told her all kinds of things about the place, and none of them included anything called work.

User avatar
yogi
Posts: 5311
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 15:49

Re: And the Scams Go On

Post by yogi » 03 Mar 2019, 16:44

It may not be fashionable in 2019, but at one time it was thought that prison was a way to rehabilitate the inmates. I think what happened is that a lot of poor people ended up in jail because their only means of survival was to commit crimes. You can't rehabilitate poverty or the fact that you are a black guy. The other side of the coin is that you don't want a few thousand people in cages with nothing to do. Thus there are internal jobs to be had and activities to be pursued. I know of at least one fellow who got his GED while serving time.

All that is well and good. But there are other ways to occupy the prisoner's time and have him/her learn some skills they can use in the real world. The article I cited uses female prisoners who already have sewing skills so that the benefit is to allow the prisoner to earn some cash for the day they are released. The wages payed are below scale so that the corporation benefits from lower labor costs too. I don't see it as a violation of the 14th amendment if the inmate volunteers for the program. Unfortunately there are a lot of short-sighted people who think it's taking unfair advantage of a captive audience (pun intended). Apparently certain companies in Europe have a broader vision, Facebook trolls notwithstanding.

User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 2886
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 11:54

Re: And the Scams Go On

Post by Kellemora » 04 Mar 2019, 11:53

Since we landed on this topic I've done a little research. It seems there is nothing uniform at all among any of the prisons.
Some require a prisoner to work in-house, some send prisoners out to work, some pay high, some pay low, and some don't pay at all.
As far as the use of computer or access to the Internet, those opportunities seem fairly isolated. Many prisons have no computers for inmates at all, while others have some short time use for good behavior. Same applies to TV time, and often then only restricted to a certain channel or two, or an in-house video program.
Some prisons, inmates are only restricted to their cells for 6 hours per day, and others they are only out of their cells about 10 hours per day.
Basically, it all depends on the prison itself and who's running it.

Step back 20 years and almost all inmates were required to work at state run projects, such as the manufacture of license plates, uniforms, hats, and leather goods, to earn money they would not get until they were released.
They did get paid for in-house necessary chores, at anywhere from ten cents to 50 cents per hour, but never over 14 bucks a month. But again, this was not uniform across all prisons.
Up until some laws changed, a couple of prisons had a 12 hour work day, but not at the same job.
Perhaps 6 hours in laundry, 2 hours in hall mopping and cleaning, and 4 hours in kitchen duties.

I could not find anything that stated current prisoners were required to work at any tasks.

User avatar
yogi
Posts: 5311
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 15:49

Re: And the Scams Go On

Post by yogi » 04 Mar 2019, 17:02

I don't know enough about prisons to form an opinion. I do know that the current administration in Washington is trying to get the government out of the federal prison business. This is more to cut down government expenses than it is to improve prisons. Running a prison has to be an ultra expensive proposition not to mention the cost of the building. There are indeed privately owned prisons, and I can't imagine how they could operate at a profit, or even break even for that matter. Their only source of income would be from the criminal justice system wherein the government would pay somebody to keep the inmates confined. If in addition to that my idea of hiring out the inmates for work projects was standard procedure, then that could possibly be a source of income as well. But commercializing prisoners' labor sounds like it's only on the fringe of being legal.

I'm not surprised to read about the variation is prison practices. Each state has their own ideas and laws. I might expect the federal system to be more consistent, but even then I can see room for variations.

User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 2886
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 11:54

Re: And the Scams Go On

Post by Kellemora » 05 Mar 2019, 19:29

I think certain types of hardened criminals should be placed on an island and fend for themselves.
They would have to learn to get along and create a community or kill each other off.

Until the laws are enforced properly, the prisons are just going to keep getting fuller and fuller.
Almost no one has a fear of the law anymore! Mainly because the punishments have been cut down so much they are almost meaningless, and also, depending upon your status, you may never go to prison even for serious crimes.

User avatar
yogi
Posts: 5311
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 15:49

Re: And the Scams Go On

Post by yogi » 06 Mar 2019, 09:47

I think you have it backwards. If the laws were enforced as they should be, prisons would be overloaded with inmates. The reason why the system is the way it is can be traced back to the over burdened courts and lack of prison facilities. That's how those red light cameras came into popular use. The traffic courts now don't handle the petty stuff. It's all arbitrated by a private company that owns the cameras.

User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 2886
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 11:54

Re: And the Scams Go On

Post by Kellemora » 06 Mar 2019, 12:14

No I don't agree. If the laws WERE Enforced as they should be, there would be less crime committed, because they would know they won't get by with it. And if the punishments suited the crimes. 30 days for Murder just don't curb homicides.

User avatar
yogi
Posts: 5311
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 15:49

Re: And the Scams Go On

Post by yogi » 07 Mar 2019, 07:58

I would counter that there is no deterrent to crime within our current legal system. Life imprisonment and/or the death penalty has done nothing to slow down the murder rate. I'm from Chicago and can speak with some authority on that. :mrgreen:

People are both good and evil. The only way to cut down on the prison population is to cut down on the evil within. Good luck with that.

User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 2886
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 11:54

Re: And the Scams Go On

Post by Kellemora » 07 Mar 2019, 11:18

Crime does escalate with population density as you pointed out previously.
I'm trying to find an article I read about the different areas of our city, the high crime to lower crime areas, because it had some very interesting comparisons.
Income level was one key factor, as was housing conditions, and several other factors.
But one of the main things addressed was crime prevention and punishment, over a 50 year time span.

My pulled from air figures here will not be close to what they said, but will get the drift of the article across.
The first thing had to do with the number of crimes committed, the percentage of captures, and incarcerations.
50 years ago, the number of captures was like 80% of crimes committed, and the number of captures dropped each year after that until only 10 years ago, the number of captures was only around 10% of crimes committed. Today that figure is less than 5%, something like 4.23% is all. Basically this mean 96% of criminals are getting away with crime and going unpunished, compared to 50 years ago when only 20% managed to keep from getting caught.
The next thing they covered was the punishments for the crimes.
I sorta covered this in some of my other comments over the past couple of days.
50 years ago, nearly every felony had serious jail and or prison time as the punishment.
Now, only the most serious of felonies end up with actual prison time, and if so, due to overcrowding, the sentences are much less.
I wish I could find that article, because it gave several comparison crimes. How much time was served for each type of crime, and how much those sentences have been reduced each decade.

I mentioned one of them in my last post. 30 days for a Murder conviction, has one heck of a lot of us up in arms.
A family of husband, wife, and two small children, this person killed the wife, who was also the principal breadwinner for the family, and he only got 30 days in jail. He destroyed an entire family, took a life, and they call that punishment!
This is why none of us has any faith in our judicial system anymore.
One person lies one time to the FBI and gets 3 years in prison. Another person tells numerous lies to the FBI and is not even charged with a crime. They undoubtedly belong in prison, but have more political clout.

User avatar
yogi
Posts: 5311
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 15:49

Re: And the Scams Go On

Post by yogi » 07 Mar 2019, 18:21

I'm only slightly surprised that you would rely on statistics to prove a point. In the past you were very reluctant to put any confidence at all into the numbers. But then again, I was the one handing out the percentages back then. LOL In any case you certainly must agree that while numbers don't lie, exactly how they are interpreted is wide open to manipulation. Right off the top of my head I could say that 50 years ago saw a much different population in our country than today. The population from which a sample is taken is even more critical than the linear regression used to draw conclusions.

I've done some reading myself and have seen studies regarding the deterrent effect of doing hard time. Like yourself it would take forever to find the source material and I can only cite with certainty the conclusion about the death penalty. It has no effect whatsoever in cases of a capital offense. It may not be valid to project that conclusion to other classes of crime, but I have a feeling that somebody breaking the law just to survive doesn't care about the consequences. There are others, presumably those crooked politicians we talk about, who seem to be criminally inclined out of choice. Apparently they can do the time because they have no problems doing the crime.

My greatest concern is the number of people that cannot be processed properly in our judicial system. I firmly believe that alone accounts for the light sentences and the lack of effort to capture the perpetrator. Back when you lived under home rule the population was small and contained. It was very possible to determine and detain law breakers. When we up the population to millions or even hundreds of thousands of people, the bad guys outnumber the good guys because they can easily hide in the crowd. I don't know if there is an answer, but I do know that when the leaders of a community turn sour the entire population declines.
Last edited by yogi on 08 Mar 2019, 13:29, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 2886
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 11:54

Re: And the Scams Go On

Post by Kellemora » 08 Mar 2019, 10:14

I agree with you on all points made Yogi!

For the most part, using percentages is often totally meaningless.
As is taking samplings and using them to determine the whole.
Whoever is conducting the test will take samples from area they know that promote their agenda and ignore areas they know will be a deterrent to them.

One thing that has always bothered me is how and why innocent people go to prison, while the real criminal never gets caught or even ever charged if they are caught.
I've served on juries enough times to see how the facts are manipulated and only certain facts are allowed to be presented and the more important facts are not allowed to be presented at all.

Another problem is the Media making hundreds of false accusations or posing false scenarios to the public, hiding behind the word alleged to tell a lie.
I was on one of the McDonalds Hot Coffee lawsuits. And hell yes we awarded the victim, because we found out the truth of what really happened. McDonalds knowingly used defective cups DESIGNATED for Cold Drink Use ONLY. Rather than discard thousands of defective cups to a landfill, they were used to provide Free Cold Water to patrons. Every Carton and Every Plastic Sleeve over the stacks of cups clearly said FOR COLD DRINK USE ONLY.
It wasn't a mistake that a few were used accidentally, which is what McDonalds attorneys claimed. Employees came forth saying their Manager said Look these are Coffee Cups and ORDERED them to use those cups for Hot Coffee. The employees took pictures of the shipping boxes with the warning on the boxes, and pictures of the sleeved stacks of cups with the same warning.
Also presented by the cup manufacturer was HOW the cups came to be marked defective. The cups looked OK, they were definitely coffee cup design, everything was the same on these cups as on a coffee cup except for one important fact.
The wrong adhesive was placed in the machine that glued the handles to the cups. The manufacturer caught this before any of the defective cups were distributed. In fact, to be safe, they marked the 1000 cups before and the 1000 cups after the run with the wrong adhesive. But rather than send them to a landfill, they decided to send them to the restaurants to use for free water distribution. It would be too cost prohibitive to remove or cut off the handles, so they marked each of them with a blue Water Symbol, and packaged them as I indicated above.
McDonalds attorneys tried to get the manufacturers and employees accounts tossed out before they could be shared with the jury. But the jury knew something was up, where were the several witnesses for the burned lady we heard about all week? We finally got to hear all of their statements, and see the pictures the employees took. Even the Manager hung himself when he said he inspected the cups and they looked fine to him, they were friggin' coffee cups, no different than any other coffee cup they used, they were just marked to use for water because we got them free. The ladies attorney had a hay day with his comment, Oh, so can you tell what kind of glue was used by a simple visual inspection of the outside of the cup?
As a side note here: Had the store manager agreed to pay her the small amount her attorney requested to settle out of court. This would have covered her medical expenses, and roughly two months off work as she healed. They would have only been looking at paying out around 65 thousand dollars is all. But because McDonalds brought in their Big Expensive Guns to try and beat the case, this escalated her award up into the millions of dollars, as it should be.
The sad thing about this case was, she came very close to having it kicked out because her witnesses accounts were being held back from presentation to the jury. And they probably would have been if we didn't hold our ground and demand to hear her witnesses.

Yes, as the population grows, criminal activity goes up, and apprehensions goes down. It shouldn't be that way, but it is!

User avatar
yogi
Posts: 5311
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 15:49

Re: And the Scams Go On

Post by yogi » 08 Mar 2019, 13:56

That McDonald's hot coffee case was fought hard for a reason. I'm sure McDonalds would rather pay out a few million, which I'm certain was covered by their insurance, than go head to head with dozens or hundreds of copycat cases for petty amounts. If they had to pay out $65k many times that was not the end of their expense. All those lawyers and court costs could easily exceed the payout. Plus, I'm sure they were trying not to set a precedent that could be used against other companies. Also, I don't know if you meant to imply that the jury gets to decide which witnesses testify or not. It's my understanding that the judge in the case determines how the case is presented. Usually all that is agreed upon before the trial begins.

Innocent people end up in jail for many reasons. The idea is to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the accused is guilty. That means there could still be an area of doubt that is beyond reasonable, and that's where the incarcerated innocent people reside. It's also where the guilty ones who go free live. The numbers are small, but our less than perfect system allows for such things to happen.

User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 2886
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 11:54

Re: And the Scams Go On

Post by Kellemora » 09 Mar 2019, 12:04

You know the old trick of attorneys making a comment, and then the judge tells the jury to ignore the comment.
Well, that doesn't happen. Plus it may let us know there is pertinent evidence that was withheld during the trial.

While in deliberation, or more often during a break, a jury may pose questions to the judge, normally this is for clarification.
But when it is quite obvious to the jurors one side did not present a counter to an issue brought up, we can ask why.
The last thing a judge wants is a hung jury, because it means he will have to call a mistrial and hear the entire case all over again.
McDonalds tried to hide the fact the cups themselves were defective and instead tried to place the blame on the injured party being a klutz. The first two days of the trial was all about McDonalds is not responsible for what is done with their product after it goes out the window. At that point the product is out of their control.
Then another day was spent talking about the temperature of cups of coffee.
McDonalds just pushed one smoke screen after another in front of the jury and we were getting sick and tired of it.
They did manage to get half the jury to believe that once the product left the window, this ended McDonalds responsibility.
It was like on day three, maybe four, when we heard the victim claim she didn't drop the cup, she didn't smash it between her legs, the friggin' handle came off the cup.
It was only then did we learn this information was suppressed.
I should point out that the case I was on the jury for, was not the same case which the media picked up and ran with.
In that case, the lady did smash the cup between her legs, and I think she won also because of the temperature of the coffee was above safe serving temperature.
The media definitely knew about our case, but they sided with McDonalds and buried the case I was a juror on, except for some small mentions way back in their newspapers.
FWIW: The temperature of the coffee in the case I was on was below the established safe serving temperature, but what is now considered still too hot and I think the coffee is now served several degrees lower.

User avatar
yogi
Posts: 5311
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 15:49

Re: And the Scams Go On

Post by yogi » 09 Mar 2019, 15:56

The ideal coffee brewing temperature is 195°F which is very close to what McDonalds was serving at the time before the infamous law suit. Coffee aficionados claim that is the ideal serving temperature as well. Unfortunately, it's too damned hot to drink any liquid at that temperature but that's irrelevant as far as the experts are concerned. The outcome of that case you were not on is that McDonalds has agreed to label all it's coffee cups with a warning that the contents is, of all things, HOT. They also agreed to lower the serving temperature to either 170° or 180°; I forget which. There were repercussions beyond what McDonald had to pay out and consent to going forward. For example home coffee makers now brew at the lower temperature which McDonald is being forced to use. Only a couple coffee makers on the market today brew at 195° which I can see how that would affect the quality of the end product.

OK, I was not aware of there being more than one lawsuit regarding McDonald's coffee. The case of the defective cups is an entirely different issue and it seems incredible that such information was withheld during the trial. That defect was the point of the case. I also know that juries can ask the judge for clarification. That's not the same a I originally though happened, i.e., the jury calling on witnesses to testify.

Also, I have to agree with McDonalds in that they can't be held responsible for what people do with their products after they leave the store. There are some really dumb-ass people out there and if Mickey D is doing what it ought to be doing, they should not be responsible for somebody else's stupidity.

User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 2886
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 11:54

Re: And the Scams Go On

Post by Kellemora » 10 Mar 2019, 11:33

I don't drink coffee myself, so don't know much about how it is brewed, other than what I hear.
I do know some of the Bunn commercial coffee makers do brew at the ideal temperature, but do not dispense into the serving pot until the temp drops below a certain temp and the little flap opens to let it come out.
Apparently, if the water is not hot enough, it doesn't pull the coffee from the ground beans properly and you end up with bitter coffee short of oils, or something like that.
The one and only coffee my mom would brew and drink was Manhattan. She preferred making it in a drip-o-later. That's the huge two pot system with a vacuum seal. You bring the water to a boil so it pushes it up into the top pot, then turn the burner off and let it drip back down into the bottom pot. Second best to her was a percolator, and she would keep that sucker going until the coffee was like black tar, the way her dad liked it, hi hi.

User avatar
yogi
Posts: 5311
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 15:49

Re: And the Scams Go On

Post by yogi » 10 Mar 2019, 14:08

Pour over is the best way to make coffee and the drip method was pretty good. I had a Melitta coffee maker that simply was a funnel on top of a pot. Line the funnel with a filter (unbleached of course) and fill it with finely ground almost powdered coffee. Then pour the 195 degree water over the top to let it drip into the pot. Great stuff I must say. Of course the secret to success was in the way the coffee was ground and the temperature of the water. The powder provided maximum surface area from which to extract the essential oils that let go freely at 195F. There was a specific ratio of coffee to water but I don't recall what that was.

Well, there are all kinds of thoughts about how to make that perfect cup, but the best coffee I ever had was made by a house guest many many years ago when my youngest daughter still lived at home. Her friend from Puerto Rico came to stay for a week and she was a coffee drinker. She was very polite and didn't complain about my Melitta method, but she did mention one day that they do it different in Puerto Rico. So, I asked her if she could make us some the Puerto Rican way. She didn't like the powdered coffee but said it would work well enough. First she boiled a pot of water and while it was still bubbling she dumped about a cup of coffee into the water. Then she took it off the heat to let it cool down to drinking temperature. That was it. It was strong as hell, but I actually liked it a lot. LOL

User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 2886
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 11:54

Re: And the Scams Go On

Post by Kellemora » 11 Mar 2019, 11:24

Sounds almost like the way my grandpa (mom's dad) made coffee.
I just brought a pot to boiling, tossed the coffee in the pot.
Then right before he was ready to pour it into his cup, he would toss a teaspoon of sand in the pot.
What did you do that for grandpa? To settle the grounds, he would say.

You would have loved my uncle Andy. He got more use out of coffee grounds than anyone else in the world.
And oddly enough, everyone loved his coffee. Said it was nice and rich, but not harsh.
He had this foot tall 1-1/2 inch diameter nickel lined copper pipe, it had a fitted funnel that set into the top, and a sleeve for the bottom with several screens in it. Protruding from the sleeve were four brass rods so the whole pipe assembly could sit over his coffee collector pot.
I would guess the coffee pot only held about 10 to 12 ounces, it wasn't large, all glass though.
But the coffee collection pot was about twice that size.

To make a pot of coffee, he would first take off the funnel and place a plug in the pipe but he doesn't push it in yet.
He inverts the pipe, removed the sleeve with the screen and arms, washes it off, the he will hold the pipe at an angle over the sink and push the plug in about 1/2 inch I guess is how far it went. He would slice off the old coffee grounds from the bottom, put the screen back in place, set it on top of the pot, remove the plug, wash it off, then put the funnel back in place and add a scoop of fresh coffee. By then the water in the coffee pot was boiling and he would pour that into the funnel.
His copper tube probably held over a dozen scoops of coffee, and he only removed about one scoop from the bottom after each use, and added a new scoop to the top. He made at least three pots of coffee per day, so by the time he removed the grounds, they were probably 4 days old if not older. I guess it had some type of filtering action, since folks loved his coffee so much. Seems to me, keeping the old grounds going would cause the coffee to be bitter, but I guess not.

User avatar
yogi
Posts: 5311
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 15:49

Re: And the Scams Go On

Post by yogi » 11 Mar 2019, 20:04

You are absolutely correct. Uncle Andy and I would get along fabulously, at least as far as coffee making is concerned. LOL

I think I have a good mental picture of what your uncle was doing. It would be interesting to know how he came about that method and why he chose the particular materials he did. I have a Turkish coffee pot and it is all copper and lined with something that might be nickle. Don't know for sure. Copper is good for keeping the heat evenly distributed and whatever the lining is might be to prevent any interaction between the coffee and the copper.

The courseness of the grind is what determines how much oil is extracted from the bean. Too course and not enough oil can be extracted leaving a flat taste. Too fine and too much oil is extracted making it bitter. The courseness must fit the degree of roasting too. It is the roasting that turns the beans dark and that darkness is where the oils come from. Thus it can be a tricky balance between roast and grind.

Uncle Andy's method obviously extracted all the essential oils available from those grounds at the bottom. Thus they most likely were simply filtering the liquid through the length of the pipe. The amount of old ground up coffee left in the tube would determine how flat or bitter the end product became. It wouldn't take too much experimentation to find the right combination, but just coming up with the idea of a tube is pure brilliance.

I can't believe sand would settle the coffee in the hard boil method. The Turkish coffee is made so that a layer of grounds covers the bottom of the cup. The idea is to let it stand a bit to allow the grounds to settle. It's never perfect, or at least not the stuff I attempted making. I always ended up with a mouthful of coffee grounds. :grin:

User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 2886
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 11:54

Re: And the Scams Go On

Post by Kellemora » 12 Mar 2019, 13:21

Uncle Andy was dirt poor and tried to stretch every penny he could. His distant ancestral line was Greek, but don't know if that had anything to do with how he liked his coffee. I'm pretty sure in his mind, he was extracting every bit of coffee he could from the grounds before disposing of them.
I do know for several years, he was getting the waste coffee grounds from a donut shop across the street from where he lived. Don't know if he had his tube coffee maker than or not, I was only about 8 to 10 years old at the time. But loved to go get the container for him because I got a free donut in the process, and sometimes a free soda.

Are you familiar with how a Diotomacious Filter works? AKA Swimming Pool filter system using Grinds.
What made me think of it was the coffee powder you mentioned.
Didn't Knapp-Monarch make a recirculating coffee filter for commercial use back in the 50's or 60's?
Or maybe it was a wartime unit they made when coffee was at a premium?
It was a way to use powdered coffee before viable filters were made to filter the fine powder without clogging up.
It relied on the coffee itself becoming the filtration medium as it layered itself during re-circulation through a basket with holes or screens the coffee would pass right through at first.
Once the original container was clear of powder it would then be channeled out of the recirculating loop to the coffee pot.

Post Reply