by Dan Pens
Paul says I can only have a thousand words; we have backlog of articles and cases waiting for space. So I'll get right to it. We recently started including a Adrop card in every issue. Sorry if they fall out and make paper cuts on your toes. So far we have had a positive response. The drop card makes it easier for people to send us donations or renew their subscriptions. They are also great for passing along to friends and family (encourage them to subscribe!). And when Bobo down the tier comes to borrow this month's issue of PLN you can just hand him the subscription card instead... maybe he'll get the message.
But along with the positive response, we have also gotten a lot of cards back with zero money and zero stamps, just a name, address and an AX in the check box for AINDIGENT PRISONER RATE - Send what you can, we'll pro-rate your subscription. These guys don't even include a brief letter, just the card. If it costs us $0.99 to produce one issue (See: Notes From the Editor in the May >95 PLN) how many issues should we Apro-rate to somebody who sends us zippo? I spent a couple of hours doing an extensive spreadsheet analysis on that one, and I kept coming up with the same answer.
We get a lot of article submissions, and that's good. But the vast majority of them are totally unsuitable for publishing in PLN. All I can say is Aget a clue! If you read each issue carefully, and compare what we usually print, you should be able to figure out that we won't publish an 8,000 word essay on AHow the Prosecutor Lied at My Trial. We print 1) legal analysis of prison rights cases, 2) news relating to prison rights struggle. AHow the Prosecutor Lied at My Trial" is 1) is about an individual criminal case, and 2) the fact that the prosecution lied shouldn't be Anews to most of our readers. We get a lot of article submissions detailing accounts of how prisoncrats have abused an individual prisoner. We simply don't have the space to print most of this stuff. Again, the mere fact that prisoncrats abuse prisoners is not Anews. The mere fact that grievances or litigation were filed is also not newsworthy. If it's a case where struggle occurred, a network of support was developed, and some sort of change was brought about as a result of litigation or other struggle, that's the kind of Anews we'd have room to publish.
One last pet peeve (for this month.) If you write to us and request a response, send a S.A.S.E. We have a tremendous amount of correspondence to deal with. It gets to the point where if a letter comes without a S.A.S.E., we just don't have the time or resources to respond.
On another note, my wife lives in a house she shares with several other people. Recently they were interviewing a potential housemate. He said he was a Aconservative. When asked what that means, he said, AI believe in people having personal responsibility. I guess he's the type of person they call a Aditto head. Poor guy. So I thought. .. AGee, there oughtta be some way to let these young ditto head-types see what's really meant by that >personal responsibility' slogan of the corporate/wealthy class. That's when it hit me. I'd like to get about 20 of these young conservatives in a workshop and invite them to play a game of musical chairs. Twenty chairs, twenty ditto heads. ANow when the music stops, I'd say, AI want all of the responsible people to sit down. No sweat. Plenty of chairs for everybody. Then I'd take five chairs away. AThis chair, I'd explain, Ais affordable housing; this one is a factory closing because the jobs are going to Mexico; this chair is federal funding for college scholarships, this one is affordable health care; and this last chair has to go because the unemployment rate is too high, and if we don't take this chair away the economy might overheat and inflation would set in. Then we'd play another round. We could have a terrific discussion about why the five people left standing weren't Aresponsible enough to find a chair.
We get a lot of mail from PLN readers, and I want to thank those of you who send words of praise, gratitude and encouragement. It takes a lot of effort to keep this thing going. I appreciate the support we get from you.
I close with a few reading suggestions. There are some other outstanding publications that I look forward to reading each month. When Aunt Sally asks what you want for your birthday, Christmas, etc., tell her to send you a subscription to one of the following: Z Magazine, $26/yr, 116 St. Botolph Street, Boston MA 02115-9979 C Extra!, $19/yr, PO Box 911 Dept. V5EE, Pearl River NY 10965 C The Nation, $35.95/yr (comes out weekly), PO Box 10791, Des Moines IA 50347-0791 - Dollars & Sense, $18.95/yr, One Summer Street, Somerville MA 02143-9969 CNorth Coast Xpress, $10/yr for prisoners ($12/yr otherwise), P.O. Box 1226, Occidental CA 95465. I guarantee you won't be disappointed. And while you're at it, tell Aunt Sally to get a subscription to any of these for herself, too. Another reading tip. Get a copy of the book The Mythology of Crime and Criminal Justice, V. Kappeller, et al, 262 pgs, Waveland Press, street price approx. $13.50. I'm only half way through this book, but it's a very well written analysis of how the government, media, and the corporate wealthy class create and exploit the mythology of crime.
My thousand words are up. Enjoy this issue of PLN. Pass it along when you're done. Encourage your family (like Aunt Sally), friends, and local law library to subscribe.
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