By Bob Martin
Maybe I should have stayed on the cruise ship. First, a personal note
It’s great to be back in Sweet Home Alabama after what is called an Alaskan Cruise. I called it a Western Canada Cruise, but we did hit those dots of Alaska off the coast of British Columbia such as Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway and stopped in Victoria on the way back.
The trip included Nancy’s sister and two brothers and their spouses. We were able to stop off in Denver on the way home to visit two of our children and six of our grandchildren. It was enjoyable, but I am still in recovery mode.
I returned home to these headlines:
“Cruel confinement in Alabama prisons.” This story is about findings by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) citing the violation of federal laws relating to inmates with disabilities and mental illnesses. It is no secret that Alabama have one of the worst prison systems in the United States, a system that is at nearly 200 percent of capacity and has an inadequate number of medical personnel. It is an almost foregone conclusion that the feds will eventually take over the state prisons.
“Alabama prisons sued.” Six days after the above story ran, the SPLC sued the State Department of Corrections, alleging that it is failing to provide constitutionally adequate medical and mental health care to prison inmates. The Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program joined the lawsuit, claiming that the prison system fails to provide disabled inmates with accommodations and services required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Circuit Clerk offices reopened.” Chief Justice Roy Moore, who also is the chief administrator of the state’s court system ordered the Circuit Clerk offices throughout the state re-opened on Wednesdays. Last year, Moore ordered all circuit clerk offices to be closed on those days because of funding shortages for the court system. Circuit clerks said that the offices throughout the state are working with a shortage of employees, some even down to half the staff they had previously.
“ASU sued for bias.” A white professor at Alabama State University in Montgomery has filed a discrimination suit in federal court against the school, claiming that university officials retaliated against him and his gay partner after they complained about what they said are “racially discriminatory practices.” Filed in United States District Court in Montgomery, the suit alleges that the professor was targeted after speaking out against the alleged discriminatory practices.
We get more sleep
An American Time Use Survey compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that Alabama and Mississippi residents on average get nine or more hours of sleep, the most in the country. Mississippians get nine hours and seven minutes, while Alabamians get nine hours and one minute. The average Mississippian gets 40 minutes more sleep per day than the average resident of Wisconsin, the state that is getting least sleep.
Both we in the South and Utah residents are more likely to consider religion as “very important” and spend more time each day devoted to religious activities. The South jumped off the map for time spent on religious matters, with an average of 17 minutes per day. We also spend more time relaxing and thinking, which, the report concludes, may be an extension of the time we spend on religious and spiritual activities. In contrast, folks in Rhode Island average only two minutes each day on spiritual matters.
The study suggests that all relaxing and praying might contribute to an overall peace of mind, which could explain why Southerners sleep so much longer than people in other states.
Other interesting findings about our habits and activities is that we are more likely to spend a lot of time on personal grooming – about 45 minutes – and more time working than the rest of the country, clocking in for more than eight hours a day.
To read the entire report, go online to the Washington Post and click on Wonkblog for 10 maps that show how much time we Americans spent grooming, eating, thinking and praying.
Bob Martin is editor and publisher of The Montgomery Independent