Re: Free The Range

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Pantone?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:48 PM
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If the kids were not in distress, the cops should have done no more than ask their names and if they knew the way home. End of story.

This shit is just getting way out of hand.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:58 PM
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"Thanks to a crime rate that is the lowest in 40 or 50 years, our kids today are actually more safe than we were when we ran around as kids," she adds. "And yet no one arrested our parents for letting us play.

That's because they were too busy with bigger crimes. Now they have time to focus on the scourge of children roaming the streets between home and school.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 11:27 PM
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And I guess these kids were actually walking home from the park, but they're free range: the park is their school and they have no other mother than mother nature.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 11:31 PM
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No, the answer is 24 hour rolling news.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 11:32 PM
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"[W]ho works as a climate-science consultant" well that's that then, just part of the liberal conspiracy.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 12:58 AM
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Fucking ridiculous. There is talk here about bringing in legislation to say when a child can be left at home alone, and the number that's being talked about is 12 years old. Which is just idiotic - kids change school at 11 and by then most people (apart from out in the sticks I guess) let their kids get themselves to and from school alone, and it can be really hard to find childcare for secondary-aged children. So a child could be getting buses and trains by themselves, but their parent could be prosecuted for not being there when the kid gets home. Completely impractical.

At the moment we have no fixed age, but if anything happens and you are seen to have been reckless or negligent, then you can be prosecuted. Which sounds ok, but I read an awful story about a nurse who lost her registration and thus job because she accepted a caution for leaving her 13 year old and 3 year old sons at home for 90 minutes, the older looking after the younger. It makes me very angry that people's decision-making is being affected not by their assessment of their own child and the situation, but by "what will other people think?"


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 4:00 AM
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It's like you don't even read the comments here.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 5:21 AM
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in fucking Silver Springs

Thorn's 66 in that thread to this part.

(...I'd hope the level of outrage would be the same for demographics other than UMC white free-range parents, except time on the Internet has convinced me this is often not the case.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 5:25 AM
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I don't want to defend this case at all, but thought I'd throw out the possibility that the initial intervention was motivated by traffic safety concerns, rather than crime/abduction as everyone seems to be assuming. Obviously I don't know the exact route these kids took but the intersections around where they were picked up are fairly serious: six-lane streets with a lot of traffic, relatively high speed limits, aggressive asshole drivers. I used to cross there daily to get to the metro when I briefly lived in the area 15 years ago, and I'd have to hustle just to clear the light while dodging assholes making turns. They've reengineered it since then to make it less pedestrian-hostile but it's still not great. A CPS investigation is insane but I don't think it would take a fevered imagination to have some concern about the kids' safety from cars over there.

Also, just one Spring.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 6:16 AM
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Okay, I'll elaborate on my last comment to say that while I'm fine with saying a CPS investigation is unnecessary in this situation as presented (and I've seen a lot of sympathetic-to-family stories that have turned out to be covering up real problems, but mileage varies) but I can also explain why the investigation happened as it did.

Alexander [...] had no choice but to sign a document saying he wouldn't leave his children unsupervised until Monday or else his kids would be taken away.

This is identified in the other story as a safety plan and if there is a concern about a family, the first step of an investigation is to get the parents to promise to follow a safety plan that will keep the concerning situation from happening again. Then if it does happen, the parents are either being deliberately non-compliant or have some other problem that is keeping them from doing what's needed to keep the children safe. All of my girls' CPS involvement started with this step, but it happens in situations where there's never any escalation and CPS involvement ends too. We had to sign a safety plan after Lee asked to have Nia moved and we had a meeting with a bunch of caseworkers to figure out how to improve their relationship and keep our home safe. And we "had no choice" because otherwise they could have removed Nia and Selah from our home, but also it was the right thing to do because it identified problems and connected them with solutions that ended up being very helpful.

The children were interviewed by CPS at the school and the parents didn't find out until after the fact from the principal.

I promise I'm not aiming for analogy but just explanation, however let's imagine this was instead a sex abuse case since all cases get processed similarly. If you want to give a child the opportunity to make an allegation against a parent, you don't interview the child in front of the parent and you don't give the parent a chance to train the child on a cover story. So that's the rationale here, and this is also a typical step IME.

CPS asked for a look inside the family's home and Danielle refused. The agency later agreed to meet with her and her husband next week at a CPS office.

Sorry, but so much privilege! I can't imagine any of my girls' families feeling secure that there wouldn't be repercussions if they refused to let CPS into their homes. Being open to inspection is also a common part of a safety plan, especially in situations of neglect like this one was alleged to be. I close-to-guarantee you that if this were a poor family, the worker would have pressed harder and made sure there were beds and working toilets and food in the fridge and so on.

So if the people (not here necessarily) have a better way of doing CPS investigations that will keep the balance right between removing kids who are in true danger and leaving kids who are safe with family, with or without external supports beyond a safety plan, that's basically what the goal of CPS reform has been forever and I don't think anyone has figured it out yet.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 6:20 AM
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fucking Silver Springs

Fucking Silver Spring, dude. The fucking spring is fucking singular.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 6:26 AM
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Pwned twice. I see. That's some impressive trolling.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 6:29 AM
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I'm going to fully plead ignorance here but why the hell should there have been a CPS investigation in the first place?

Also I couldn't see this happening in a city like NY, nor can I recall anything like this being likely when I was growing up.

I'm absolutely sure that Thorn's 66 in that thread is correct but I do remember similar outrage when that mother who left her kid to play in the park when she worked her shift at a McDonald's was arrested.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 6:35 AM
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I actually don't know a ton about what CPS even does in wealthy areas, because in general there's disproportionate scrutiny and people who are poor are going to be the focus of investigations more. Here if you called the police about children wandering but not causing criminal mischief and they were old enough to talk and wearing weather-appropriate clothes and it wasn't 3 am, you'd be laughed off the line and nothing would ever happen.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 6:41 AM
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aggressive asshole drivers

If traffic safety is the issue then aren't these the people that should be getting hassled by the police?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 6:49 AM
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I agree with Thorn. And Urple.

At 10 I was completely free range, and that's in an environment full of snakes and scorpions. Heck, there were kids single-handedly manning roadside concession stands at about that age.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 7:05 AM
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The thing about 11 is that the disconnect between the SOP and what all of the outraged commenters feel is appropriate is exactly what demonstrates the idiocy of CPS getting involved. CPS is set up for situations in which children are legitimately endangered by their guardians (whether passively or actively, intentionally or no). Under that mandate, as Thorn says, their SOP is completely reasonable.

But what happened in this situation wasn't reasonable, because calling CPS was unreasonable. FBI anti-terrorism protocols may be* appropriate for terrorism suspects, which is why the FBI isn't called in for kids playing with fireworks (WMD!).

The thing is, a reasonable SOP is completely at hand: if some busybody/legitimately concerned resident calls the cops at the sighting of unsupervised children, the cop shows up, asks the kids if they feel in danger. If their answer is no (and there's no objective reason to think otherwise - they're dancing down the median strip of a highway or whatever), then the cop asks if the kids know how to get in touch with a parent/guardian. If the answer is yes, cop makes the call, explains what happened, confirms the parent/guardian is aware of what's going on and OK with it, and then, "Thank you, ma'am, have a nice day." That's it. I can't fathom an argument for a path other than that.

I know there's a touchy point in the middle, where the cop has to assess danger, and that's maybe where official verbiage somewhere needs to be worked out (I'm thinking that, rather than legislation, the Nat'l Pediatric Assoc., or whoever, should promulgate guidelines) to clarify that "But the Lindbergh Baby!" is not, actually, an objective, clear and present danger. But the bottom line is training cops that CPS is only called for in extremis, because it's an intrusive process designed to handle bad situations, and Thorn is right that CPS shouldn't be in the business of being intrusive for low SES families and hands off with UMC.

*OK, they aren't, but play along


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 7:07 AM
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One thing I don't get is that these stories always provoke outrage, yet hoi polloi still seems to believe that calling the cops on children who aren't in danger is correct behavior. Isn't this shit what Oprah is for? To tell the busybodies of America to step the fuck off?

BTW, for the last 6+ months, we've occasionally sent 10-y.o. Iris to Whole Foods* for odd items. We send her with the dog and with clear instructions, including how to handle nosy strangers. AFAICR, nobody's hassled her yet. My hope/goal is that, by next summer, she'll bike on her own to the cluster of friends' houses that's a bit over a mile away. Mostly neighborhood streets, but there's a stretch of pretty big streets right near our house that is unavoidable. Last summer we made repeated trips in that direction, and I think she'll feel comfortable doing it. I don't know if anyone would find it a problem, though.

*4 blocks away, but crossing 2 busy (but not wide) streets.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 7:15 AM
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Oh, I was going to say something wordy, but JRoth got it. Yeah, the problem isn't the CPS protocols exactly, it's that the machine shouldn't have swung into action at all.

There's another point, where I'm working off vague fears, and I don't know how accurate they are (probably accurate in some locations, not in others.) But the resistance to complying with CPS protocols like 'let us search your house and question your kids outside of your presence' might not come just from 'don't question me!' privilege, but from fear of CPS incompetence/confusion/malice. I have a vague belief that it is realistic to fear that overworked/confused/insane CPS workers, once they're interacting with your family at all, may seize on something minor and ordinary as 'dangerous' and do something traumatizing to your kids. Like the kid who spent a weekend in care because his father accidentally bought a Hard Lemonade for him at a ball game, thinking it was actual lemonade..

It's still privileged to be able to resist CPS involvement and get away with it, but the impulse to resist doesn't seem all that wrongful to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 7:17 AM
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I have a not-well-formed belief that one of the meaningful class markers has to do with how to deal with CPS and CPS investigations. Middle-class is saying on facebook "someone needs to put those kids in foster care!" after every news story. Lower-class is calling in vindictive cases on exes and enemies. Or something. It's definitely not that people in public housing don't know that CPS is biased and inefficient and likely to cause at least as many problems as it solves. Just, um, resistance is futile or something.

Sorry if I'm seeming weirdly off or humorless or something about this. It's something I'm thinking about a lot these days, how on earth reform can happen and actually work and what on earth is wrong with everybody.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 7:21 AM
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No, don't apologize, you actually know things about this. Keep talking.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 7:24 AM
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and what on earth is wrong with everybody.

We're half-bright monkeys* who have barely crossed the threshold of self-reflective symbolic thinking, and are lost in a strange, rapidly-changing ecosystem of our own construction.

*Yeah, yeah , I know. "[A]pes" doesn't flow.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 7:27 AM
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21: Probably something about familiarity with the system. I'd think the class marker breakline would be between people who had some sense of how a CPS investigation happens, and people with no first-hand experience at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 7:29 AM
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24: Yes, what's made this angry about the article in the OP is this "OMG, CPS did an investigation and it was a normal CPS investigation!" even though I realize that's not the main point and I'm on board with the part that's about how a CPS investigation is not the right response to siblings walking home from the park together. Just something about the wide-eyed amazement at the way things work really rubbed me the wrong way.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 7:36 AM
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16: like I said I'm not defending anything here, and certainly not saying that we should be fine with asshole drivers running over kids. Just raising the possibility that this particular case may not have been driven by delusions about crime rates as the OP suggests. Or maybe it was! (FWIW this is around where the kids were stopped. 7-8 lanes rather than 6 as I said above. I don't think it's crazy to let unsupervised kids walk around here if they're responsible, but I also don't think it'd be crazy for somebody to get a little concerned, esp. with a 6-y-o in the mix. Not CPS-level concerned but maybe enough for something like 18.3-4.)


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 7:37 AM
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26: Well that shark is certainly alarming.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 7:42 AM
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Just something about the wide-eyed amazement at the way things work really rubbed me the wrong way.

I get your reaction, but I still think it's because the basic facts of the story prime people to view "a normal CPS investigation" as outrageous because, well, it's outrageous that A would lead to B, even if B were completely reasonably for not-A.

Point being, some of this is surely UMC privilege - some of the upset people would also be upset if an abusive but respectable UMC person were subjected to this treatment - but most of it is the disproportionate response. As you yourself say, SOP isn't unreasonable when applied to suitable situations, so this isn't a situation of privileged people being fine with injustice as long as it's applied to them but getting upset that a UMC person would encounter it. CPS procedures could be the most awesome, balanced, fair possible, but they'd still be uncalled-for and intrusive in this situation.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 7:49 AM
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I have to say it's pretty clear we want it that way ("we" being "American voters") We want kids being taken away (see any news story about kids getting harmed for doing something kidlike); we just don't want it to be OUR kids. I bet if you asked The Outraged Silver Spring Parents to come up with a good plan for CPS when they were imagining it being about some poor kid somewhere else, they'd probably say something like "Well, maybe before taking the kids away, they should see if the problem was a one-off event, and maybe come up with a plan for a few days that everyone agrees to follow, and make sure the house is safe. And the kids should be talked to separately, because if they're scared of their parents they'll be afraid to talk in front of them."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 7:51 AM
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||

Apparently James Dean was an attractive man.

|>


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 7:55 AM
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This is exactly the situation where "privilege" is a counterproductive framing. Just because poor people are getting fucked over isn't an argument for everyone to get fucked over or for people not to care about it. "Oh you white people and your naive idea that the state shouldn't randomly take your kid away for no good reason." There should be an opposite word for these kind of situations.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 7:55 AM
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Yes to 31. I think foster care is demonstrably bad for children and that anything we can do to safely keep the population there low is a good thing. (So when I was a mandated reporter, required to call in any instances of neglect or abuse I knew about, I did things like pay off an energy bill to get the lights back on so I didn't have to call in kids I knew living in a home without electricity.) There's a program called Safe Families that lets parents who are having a hard time for whatever reason place their children with safe, background-checked caregivers temporarily before CPS gets involved, though in many areas it's limited to Christian families in terms of who can volunteer to help.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 8:00 AM
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For example, this isn't a case of UMC privilege, but of UMC provincialism.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 8:00 AM
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I have a very low opinion of our local CPS, based on the friends who work with HeadStart and the preK program. They describe "perky college students with a clipboard who can't fathom the general strain the family is under, and come in with a cape and sword determined to Save The Children." Other people have lent similar anecdotes.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 8:28 AM
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I was more curious about the second part of the post.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 8:29 AM
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It took me a while to remember that the tv show was Silver Spoons and now that song will be stuck in my head forever. Now there was a show about privilege.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 8:33 AM
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35 Just look at how high fear of terrorism is on lists of most people's concerns vs the actual incidences/chances of being hurt in an attack and that should give you your answer. How low? No low is low enough.

Partly due to the 24 hour cable news cycle ajay alluded to above and partly due to our inability to accurately assess true risk.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 8:36 AM
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So how low would crime have to be for people to start believing that it's not a major concern?

People here have asserted that when a danger becomes sufficiently rare, people's panic rises because they're no longer used to dealing with it and they blow it out of proportion. So: never!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 8:38 AM
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If they're worried about the kids being abducted by strangers, why not just give the kids guns? Giving more people guns solves other problems so well.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 8:40 AM
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39 Open carry kids.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 8:50 AM
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Children should be concealed and not heard.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 8:54 AM
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Open carry = free range.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 8:57 AM
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If the nanny state wants my kid to be supervised 24 hours a day, they should provide an actual nanny.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 8:59 AM
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31: This is a good point. Or, actually, what I find myself thinking is not that 'privilege' is counterproductive, but that people using it as a framework should be splitting it into cases where everyone should be treated the way privileged people are, and cases where no one should be treated like that. Like, I'm fairly confident my very white, middle-class sounding children are unlikely to have abusive encounters with the police, and that confidence reflects privilege. There, everyone should be treated like my kids.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 8:59 AM
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(Come to think of it, that would fix the nation's unemployment problems forever.)


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 9:00 AM
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45 to 43.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 9:00 AM
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Another question. We're all harrumphing about how this is unreasonable -- the kids are ten and six. What's the age at which we'd think the parents were unreasonable and calling in CPS made sense? I'm having trouble with the interrelationship of the two kids' ages. I think I'd be disturbed by a preschooler out alone with anyone under twelve or thirteen, maybe?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 9:03 AM
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On the CPS front, here's another family with similar complaints, except that I'm not surprised CPS frowns on feeding 13-year-olds marijuana even where personal use is legal. As far as "privilege" (and I know I'm the one who first threw out the term, but I do agree with upetgi and LB that the privileged version is the good one) this less-well-off family refused to comply with similar request and had the child removed to relatives. Maybe that had to do with the severity of the offense, but I think "severity" is really, really hard to separate from class much of the time.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 9:07 AM
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45 would also work 39. At least lawyers and doctors would never want for work.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 9:07 AM
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I'm not surprised CPS frowns on feeding 13-year-olds marijuana even where personal use is legal.

Agree. Learning to cop your own drugs is an important life skill that any 13 year old should be starting to learn.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 9:18 AM
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48: That one is a little different, because even in Washington, giving marijuana to a minor is still (after a quick google) a felony.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 9:31 AM
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What if you give pot to a minor with using google first?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 9:34 AM
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51: Yeah, and farther in the article it says that they were also giving it to the 5-year-old. But these articles get written up somewhat similarly, which is the kind of point I was trying to make, and where people draw lines of acceptability will differ a bit.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 9:35 AM
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A friend and I were once driving through Silver Spring when we happened upon a . . . oh maybe 1.5 yo walking down the street by himself. That was possibly a bit too young! Friend got out of the car and asked the kid where he lived, and he helpfully said, "House!" and pointed to all of the houses. A couple of minutes later a very harried dad came running down the street.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 9:36 AM
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54: I heard a different version of this story. In my version the baby says, "Shhhhh! I'm trying to sell some weed!"


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 9:43 AM
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Nearly all uses of 'privilege' fall into that category. This is why it's a terrible term for the thing it describes. Which is a areal thing, obviously.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 9:50 AM
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31
There should be an opposite word for these kind of situations.

How about "bad cases make bad law"? Silver Spring is an UMC area that's pedestrian-friendly in some ways and yet has big, busy thoroughfares running through it. That's rare these days. Even with an entirely rational understanding of crime rates, someone could be legitimately concerned about a car accident. According to the article these kids normally have cards on them saying "I am not lost. I am a free-range kid," but they forgot the cards that day. Also, the kids' ages are in a gray area. (A 10-year-old making the trip alone? A 10-year-old supervising a 4-year-old? Obviously worrying. But a 10-year-old supervising a 6-year-old? I wonder...

Obviously, the Meitivs have been having a bad few weeks because of this, and it's news because everyone cares about UMC white kids. But in terms of societal trends, CPS is not spending all its resources on kids like this walking around busy streets in the middle of the day.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 9:51 AM
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I was so proud of that cogent, insightful comment, and I forgot to close my parenthesis. Clearly, I'm out of practice around here.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 9:52 AM
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Also, I meant to say that a 10-year-old making the trip alone would be fine. But anyways, the point is, just because this story is in the news doesn't mean it's important.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 9:54 AM
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56: No, I don't think so. There's a fair amount of wrongful good treatment that privileged people get too. Think about hiring; you've got a bunch of candidates, and who to hire is a judgment call. None of them has a right to the job, so if you look at anyone who didn't get hired, they weren't mistreated if the reason was some vague "We didn't think you'd fit in" sort of thing. If the middleclass white applicant automatically gets "Oh, you'd obviously fit in great here" because they're middleclass and white, they're being treated inappropriately well, which ends up having a negative effect on everyone else they're competing with, even if no one else is being specifically treated badly.

I think you really have to look at situations case-by-case to figure out if leveling up or leveling down is the right response to disparate treatment.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 9:57 AM
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the middleclass white applicant automatically gets "Oh, you'd obviously fit in great here"

Why would it be bad if everyone got this reaction?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 10:07 AM
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If you live in the DC suburbs of Maryland, your children are not safe from aggressive asshole drivers even when going to the mailbox.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 10:09 AM
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It's not a possible reaction to have to everyone? That is, "You'd fit in here" implies that "you'd fit in better than a randomly selected person off the street." To the extent that reaction is driven solely by race and class, it's wrong. I mean, it'd be fine if the hiring process were "Probably anyone would fit in fine, we're just going look at objective qualifications," that would be okay. But once you're differentiating between people on the basis of intangible 'fit', it's a problem.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 10:12 AM
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On more thought, I think "provincialism" is pretty decent. It's a word with negative connotations, and that emphasizes peoples not knowing or caring about what things are like for people outside their group rather than them getting something they shouldn't be getting.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 10:13 AM
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Even with an entirely rational understanding of crime rates, someone could be legitimately concerned about a car accident.

It's not that I don't believe this is a risk--of course it is--but for kids who know how to walk safely on the sidewalk and cross the street appropriately, I don't believe the risk faced by children walking alone is materially different than the risk faced by all pedestrians.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 10:14 AM
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I was sympathetic to this story but now I'm less so because it's being flogged by Reason. That said, a couple other details from Reason not in the Post or SFgate stories:
MD law says anyone under 8 must be accompanied by someone 13 or over in a vehicle or dwelling, but doesn't mention outdoors specifically. People think that's what CPS is basing their actions on though.
The dad claims that after he refused to give the cops his ID when they dropped off the kids, they called 6 cars of backup, he relented, and as he was going upstairs to get it the cop told him if he came down with anything else, "shots would be fired," then followed him upstairs anyway.

Personally, we let our 10, 8, and 5 year old go to the toy store 0.4 miles away to buy some things, so 0.8 round trip which is similar to the distance in the story. But that's almost exactly the walk our school district says is allowed getting off their bus so no question it's legal.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 10:15 AM
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I don't think any of this really has anything to do with crime rates, or much to do with racism, at least not directly. It's more like a kind of safety inflation -- in basically every setting involving kids, the parent or group of parents who says "we need to do x to keep the kids more safe wins." You then have a new equilibrium in which it's not, actually, that insane-seeming* to call CPS in a situation like this because its become really unusual to have kids wandering the streets in this way -- and parents are inclined to keep their kids from wandering alone precisely because its not normal and someone might call CPS. I don't know if someone has a pithy phrase for this, "safety ratchet" or "safety inflation" maybe, but that's what it is, a series of small steps of increased protectiveness, any one of which might be individually justified, that ends up with a situation where it seems like the basic sense of exploration that used to be part of being between, say, 5 and 12 has been lost.

*it was definitely wrong to call CPS here. But it's not insane or beyond comprehension if it really is extremely unusual for kids their age to be wandering around in that location.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 10:15 AM
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Hey, what happened to the recent comments list on the front page? Fix it or I'm calling CPS.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 10:19 AM
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63: I don't think this is helpful framing.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 10:20 AM
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I don't agree with 60 -- I think this is a semantic point that can be argued around -- but it's a rabbit hole that's really not worth the trip.

For the benefit of people not living in DC, I wanted to note that "Silver Spring" is a huge unincorporated area, including neighborhoods and people of every class. My first year of law school, I had a Silver Spring address, living in the apartments just behind the KMart at the corner of Georgia and Connecticut. Miles from downtown SS, and there's even a different unincorporated area, Wheaton, between there and downtown SS.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 10:21 AM
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Ok, they're back, your kids are safe for now.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 10:22 AM
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I really do think it is. That is, I think to the extent there's pernicious race/gender/class discrimination in the workplace, a whole lot of it is people who aren't motivated by any sort of particular animus against disfavored groups, they just get warm fuzzies looking at a middle-class white guy, and somehow he gets the good assignments/promotions/anything handed out on a subjective basis disproportionately. And someone who's limiting their self-examination to animus is going to miss that the results of their actions are discriminatory.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 10:24 AM
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Now they're gone for me.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 10:24 AM
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72 to 69/70.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 10:25 AM
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Okay, the way you've set up 72 makes me think you are just trying to draw a distinction between discrimination and privilege (and arguing that both should be eliminated).

Which is an okay way to think about things, but that's not completely in accordance with how the term "privilege" is commonly used.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 10:27 AM
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What I understand the point of calling things 'privilege' is that they're the things that make life easier/more rewarding for people in favored groups where the affected member of the favored group isn't doing anything actively wrong, or active at all, to get the better treatment, and it's very easy for the person in the favored group to not notice it happening at all. Not the favored persons' fault, not much they can do about it, but it's important to be consciously aware that not everyone gets the same treatment.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 10:31 AM
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Anyone who is qualified for a job, has good references, demonstrated by the affirmative act of applying that they think they are a good fit for a job, and has no indicia to the contrary should be given the presumption that they are a good fit. Failure to give that presumption is an unfair act, and if the failure is based on a protected category, it should be an unlawful act.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 10:32 AM
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Furthe to 67, a lot of it is also just the general breakdown in social solidarity -- if you don't really view your immediate surroundings as part of an identifiable community, where you're likely to know people and they're likely to know you, and at least have some similarities and common values, you're way less likely to let the kids wander around unattended. If you combine a breakdown of expectation of local social connection with the safety ratchet, the current situation is almost inevitable. Which makes the Reason approach so annoying, it's the relentless individualism they hawk that caused the thing they're complaining about. Not to go all Bob on you, but kids in Japan walk alone by themselves everywhere.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 10:32 AM
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76 -- It's a real thing, and I don't think reasonable people say it isn't. I guess the question is whether it's two real things -- unfair bumps up and unfair bumps down -- and I think that these net to one thing (unfair bumps down) for any meaningfully practical purpose.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 10:36 AM
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should be (unfair bumps relatively down)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 10:37 AM
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77: Sure, but hiring's subjective. If you've got a bunch of reasonably equally well-qualified candidates, you're going to decide between them on the basis of a subjective sense of who you think is going to work out best. And if you're picking one candidate from a bunch, you're deciding for the candidate who's going to fit best, not against the candidate who won't fit. So you can privilege middleclass white men over everyone else, even if in the absence of a plausible white male candidate you wouldn't have anything against a member of another demographic.

It's not a big deal, it just seems very clear to me that there are some kinds of privilege that involve treating disfavored groups worse than the background of how everyone should be treated, and some kinds that involve treating favored groups better.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 10:38 AM
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And Ripper has a real point about the safety ratchet. As I've complained about before, my kids were less free-range than I wanted them to be because I was inhibited by fear of norm-violation and someone rescuing them.

(There's a subsidary point, that someone violating a norm, even a dumb norm, is likelier to be violating important norms as well. There was a case in NYC years ago where a Danish? Swedish? enlightened topless Scandinavian anyway, mother parked her warmly wrapped-up sleeping baby in a stroller outside a cafe and went in for a cup of coffee, and the police got involved. And apparently that's perfectly normal where she came from, and thinking about it logically I can't see any real risk. But I'd still look very suspiciously at an American who did that, because it's such a weird thing to do by our standards that I'd suspect them of being dangerously out of touch with how to safely take care of a kid.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 10:52 AM
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I don't have kids, TRO's 67 has been my experience in a lot of situations that involve subjective risk analysis. There's an Overton Window of paranoia.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 10:54 AM
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That said, a couple other details from Reason not in the Post or SFgate stories: MD law says anyone under 8 must be accompanied by someone 13 or over in a vehicle or dwelling, but doesn't mention outdoors specifically. People think that's what CPS is basing their actions on though.

And this incident was not their first time dealing with CPS about this exact issue. So, the full text of the statute:

A person who is charged with the care of a child under the age of 8 years may not allow the child to be locked or confined in a dwelling, building, enclosure, or motor vehicle while the person charged is absent and the dwelling, building, enclosure, or motor vehicle is out of the sight of the person charged unless the person charged provides a reliable person at least 13 years old to remain with the child to protect the child.

Supposedly CPS told them judges have interpreted that to include places like parks. The parents are kind of idiots if they've been talked to about this by CPS on a prior occasion and are still doing it. That law pretty much means that yeah, the cops are doing to do something if they're called. It might be low odds of something actually bad happening, but if a cop blows off that call and then those kids get hit by a car or something that cop is going to get hung out to dry.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 11:35 AM
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The parents are kind of idiots if they've been talked to about this by CPS on a prior occasion and are still doing it

Dude, it's an idiotic guideline, and of course CPS is going to say something like "THE COURTS FROWN ON THIS." This is why, as I say in the OP, legislators need to legislate. This is a ridiculous state of affairs.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 11:37 AM
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I think the ages of this case are a bit tricky. Do we generally think a ten year old should be supervising a six year old around a busy road like that?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 11:43 AM
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It depends entirely on the specific kids. Which is why it's not crazy to trust the parents.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 11:47 AM
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But only specific parents.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 11:47 AM
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I think 67 is very perceptive; there's a ratchet/feedback loop where the situation itself isn't unsafe, but it's uncommon, and perhaps uncommon enough to make someone wonder if everything is alright. E.g., I would worry if I saw an infant alone in a car here, not because anything is likely to happen on a 30 degree day, but because given the constant drumbeat of don't-let-your-baby-die-in-a-car, it's really not normal to leave a kid in the car.

Still, I'm curious -- ogged wants a different law. What's the new one look like? Different age limit? Non-automatic calling of CPS (based on what?)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 11:50 AM
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legislators need to legislate

I'm all for clearer, as opposed to less clear, law, but this is unlikely to do much. First, if the legislature gets involved, the safety ratchet is only going to go in one direction -- up. Second, any law that's passed will have (and certainly should have) substantial room for discretion in enforcement, anyway, and can't possibly cover all possible situations.

If you want more free-rangy kids, change the norms. Both about kids wandering, and also about relations with your neighbors. Nothing else is going to work. ISTM that in the contemporary US if hassle-free free ranging kids is your goal, you need to move to a place where either (a) everyone is poor, including you, and too distracted to worry about this issue or (b) is genuinely a rural small town (not a suburb) or (c) a suburban compound where everyone has agreed that it's OK for kids to wander so long as they do so within the compound.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 11:51 AM
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First, if the legislature gets involved, the safety ratchet is only going to go in one direction -- up.

I dunno, the Texas "kids under 7 can spend 5 minutes in the car" is helpful, reasonable, and much less strict than what I got yelled at for by that meddlesome asshole last summer.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 11:55 AM
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That's a bullshit statute, but obviously having been made aware of it, the parents shouldn't be acting all shocked that the consequences of repeated violations are visited upon them.

I still think the police should have backed off once they saw that the kids were not in distress, because I think the intervention of the state here is much likely to be worse for the kids than walking home from the park.

Write the parents a citation but leave CPS out of it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 12:02 PM
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That law is bullshit, both as written and in application. 12 year olds, definitely siblings but even neighbors/other acquaintances, routinely babysit kids in the 5-8 range (basically beyond diapers and able to reliably follow instructions.) As I said, MA has no specific law and in fact our city policy is to explicitly allow 9 year olds to walk their younger siblings, as young as 4, home from the bus up to half a mile.
As for application, it's sounds more like it's about confinement and fire hazards, it says you can't lock a kid in a car or house. If they're with someone who can let them out, they are not "confined." For them to interpret that to include parks is questionable enough, but to also include walking down the street is way out of scope.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 12:08 PM
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They were told about the statute and they don't agree with the expansive interpretation CPS has taken because the situation they allowed is specifically not covered by the statute. If some cop cites me for a law that's obviously not applicable (I will refrain from any specific analogies) I just have to accept their word that no really the judge will supports them in emails and shut up?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 12:11 PM
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If the law interprets 'enclosed spaces' to include parks or sidewalks or whatever I wonder how the fire code applies to them. Someone might have the opportunity for a really amusing lawsuit that would result in a change to the law just to avoid goofy consequences. How many clearly marked exits does a park have? If it's a confined space, legally, then clearly the fact that you can just walk across any of its boundaries doesn't count because then it wouldn't be enclosed at all.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 12:13 PM
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The statute actually looks to me to implicitly authorize unsupervised kids outdoors and on the street. The statutory language is "may not allow the child to be locked or confined in a dwelling, building, enclosure, or motor vehicle". The prohibited conduct is clearly the confinement, and while I'd certainly read that to include confinement in something that arguably wasn't on the list (um, an unpowered sailboat?), I can't see a legit interpretation that it bars allowing unsupervised kids to play in a park or walk on a street. If you read confinement out of the statute, then it bars children eight and under from being out of sight of a caregiver anywhere at any time.

But I agree that if the parents were warned, continuing to let their kids walk to the park unaccompanied is activism, rather than naivete, and it would be silly of them to be shocked by enforcement.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 12:15 PM
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Oh, look, someone's apparently suing. I can't follow that link due to work filters, but it looks relevant. Anyone mind summarizing, or are you going to make me walk to a window and get out my phone?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 12:16 PM
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That Matyland statute (section 5-801 of the Family Law article) was enacted in 1984, prior to which point, different counties had their own restrictions. (I think)

I'd take a run st challenging its application to a park or walking home from school -- I think the language of the statute is way too specific for that to work. But someone better be home when the kids get there.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 12:16 PM
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eight and under from being out of sight of a caregiver anywhere at any time.
No potty time for you, kiddies!
Most parks actually do have defined entrances and exits, whether fences with gates/openings or just foot paths.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 12:17 PM
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Do we generally think a ten year old should be supervising a six year old around a busy road like that?

Doesn't particularly bother me. I had pedestrian kids in an urban area, and by six they were savvy enough not to run into traffic. A six year old that's familiar with that kind of setting shouldn't need much supervision at all to be safe.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 12:18 PM
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Donate to support our legal action on behalf of Danielle and Alexander Meitiv whose children were detained and are under "investigation" because of "CWP" (child without parent) and on behalf of all other parents in Maryland (with an impact on parents across the USA) to enjoin intervention unless a child is harmed or is in imminent danger of harm (more than a skinned knee from playing). We must pay filing fees, hire local counsel, pay for expert witnesses, engage in discovery, and pay other expenses. We hope to file this action by February 12, 2015, in the US District Court for the District of Maryland, Greenbelt Division. Click the link for "Tickets" to be directed to the donation page where you may use your credit card or PayPal account. We are a 501(c)(3) so your donations are tax-deductible as permitted by law.

Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 12:18 PM
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99.2: Sure, but many if not most parks also have infinitely more entrances and exits.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 12:18 PM
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102: But even with defined entrances and exits, kids aren't 'locked or confined' therein.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 12:20 PM
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No, I was addressing the question of whether it has exits wrt fire code. Of course you're not confined, except maybe for the kiddie playgrounds with fences and gates with magnetic latches that only tall people can open.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 12:27 PM
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101: Thanks. I tried Googling that group and found almost nothing. No Wikipedia page, their own Web site is small and nothing else talks about them, the only news hit is a press release. Can't find any news stories where the parents talk about planning to sue, either. Looks like the organization is just trying to cash in on the controversy.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 12:31 PM
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Well sure if you count the ability to just walk right out at any point or the fact that there's literally nothing keeping you inside the park to mean that it is entirely bounded by an exit then sure. But by that reasoning you aren't confined in it either and then the law wouldn't really apply. And since the law does (apparently, according to precedent) then obviously it doesn't so as a result the park appears to have either no exits, or at least very few of them for its size.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 12:31 PM
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Park playgrounds around here have locking gates to keep the kids from wandering off. I could see that counting as an enclosure for the purposes of the statute, though you'd have to imagine, like, a tree catching fire or something to construe some actual danger to the kids.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 12:37 PM
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Silver Spring is an UMC area

Its weird to hear this. 25 years ago I used to get bussed to the magnet schools in Silver Spring, and it was the least UMC part of the county. But I guess times change. I know they tore down the skeevy pool hall I used to hang out at. That pissed me off.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 12:42 PM
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Its funny that, in my mind, Silver Spring remains kind of a shithole. But I have been there a few times in the past 5 or 10 years, and its not any more, really. If fact, if I were ever able to convince my family to move to the DC area, that's probably where we would end up. MoCo schools, walkable, and Metro accessible.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 12:46 PM
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I know they tore down the skeevy pool hall I used to hang out at. That pissed me off.

Is it now a 7-11?


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 12:47 PM
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This place. Probably not a good place for a 6 and a 10 year old to hang out. Golden for a 15 year old, though.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 12:56 PM
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108-111: CharleyCarp's 70 may be relevant. It's a big area. Parts of it are probably still skeevy. The kids in question, however, walked by the Discovery Channel's headquarters and two restaurants with three dollar signs on Yelp, and a fancy multiplex. (Judging by the WaPo's description of their route, and making a few reasonable but admittedly not certain assumptions.) It's a nice area. Full disclosure: I have friends who live there. Haven't been to those particular pricey restaurants with them, though.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 1:00 PM
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108, 109: It's way more UMC than it used to be, certainly in the core downtown where this all happened, but as 70.2 says, it's a big place,* and there's still quite a bit of socioeconomic diversity.

*When we first moved to the area my ex-wife and I took an aparment, sight unseen, in Silver Spring, thinking we'd be just outside the city. When we got there, turned out we were like six miles out past the beltway and a clusterfuck of a commute into work, car to park-and-ride to long bus ride to metro. Man that was deflating. (Yes we'd looked at a map, but didn't have a good enough sense of the area to realize just how spread out things really were. Or we were just stupid I guess. Luckily we split up not long after, she kept the apartment, and I got to move into the city.)


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 1:01 PM
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Yeah, downtown Silver Spring, specifically, has gone from down-and-out to UMC. It looks nothing like it used to back in the day.

Its true that Silver Spring as a whole is huge - the largest unincorporated city in the United States - with plenty of socioeconomic diversity. But a lot of of the poor people close in have been pushed out toward Wheaton and over to PG County.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 1:09 PM
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114 - I grew up in the area and as a teenager literally the only things I did in Silver Spring were a) go to the well-stocked record store, Vinyl Ink, to buy records and b) park my car and take the Red Line into DC.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 1:21 PM
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I used to go down there to go to the baseball card store. Also, Montgomery Donuts.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 1:27 PM
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In my time there, a decent record store -- a paradise even, iirc -- was first in Aspen Hill, then moved east to Plaza del Mercado and then west to Gude Dr. where SS fades into Rockville.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 1:27 PM
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a paradise even, iirc

I see what you did there. They moved to downtown Silver Spring a few years ago, just across the DC/MD line; also a couple other good record stores close by.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 1:49 PM
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||Supreme Court takes up SSM!|>


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 1:54 PM
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So how low would crime have to be for people to start believing that it's not a major concern?

It's not the amount of crime on the streets, it's the amount of crime on TV. That may well have been increasing.


Posted by: Grant | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 2:03 PM
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119: One of the couples in the case goes to queer parent playgroup with us and it'll be pretty cool for the girls to see their friends on national tv when it happens. But I'm not being ridiculous in feeling optimistic when the map right now has a big blank spot in the stats that will be covered by this ruling and things are decided just about everywhere else, right?

Though I don't have to care at a personal level, because we have court in a few months for shared custody agreements on all three girls, which will be great. I think we may have said in the paperwork that we intended to get married when it was legal to do so, but they can't hold us to it.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 2:08 PM
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It's not the amount of crime on the streets, it's the amount of crime on TV.

As people watch less TV, that should be less of a problem, no? Because the internet is far less prone to sensationalizing danger narratives?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 2:09 PM
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I think we may have said in the paperwork that we intended to get married when it was legal to do so, but they can't hold us to it.

I don't know, isn't having Big Government force people to get gay married kind of the end goal here? That's what they told me on Fox News...


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 2:13 PM
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121: No, not ridiculous at all to feel optimistic. Going to be a heck of a stressful last day of the term between this and ACA subsidies, though.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 2:14 PM
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isn't having Big Government force people to get gay married kind of the end goal here?

Only straight people.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 2:19 PM
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Going to be a heck of a stressful last day of the term between this and ACA subsidies, though.

Someone on the internet was arguing that deciding in favor of SSM could give Roberts the cover he needs to kill the ACA without going down in history as the greatest hack Chief Justice ever.


Posted by: kermit roosevelt, jr. | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 3:31 PM
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Someone on the internet

Someone on this very blog.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 3:34 PM
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127: I was thinking of this.


Posted by: kermit roosevelt, jr. | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 3:42 PM
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Can anyone cite a Supreme Court decision that was hackier and more irresponsible than overturning the state exchange subsidies would be?


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 3:44 PM
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(Conservatives would say Roe v. Wade, probably. Or Miranda. Let's be serious.)


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 3:46 PM
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129: Striking down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Don't know that that one can ever be topped.


Posted by: kermit roosevelt, jr. | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 4:00 PM
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Ruling against the government in King would exceed the high bar for hackishness set by Bush v. Gore, but Shelby County was worse by a full order of magnitude at least.


Posted by: kermit roosevelt, jr. | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 4:06 PM
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Bush v. Gore?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 4:06 PM
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126: had occurred to me as well but ultimately I don't believe it, they're gonna do what they're gonna do.

129: if the criteria is combined hackery plus irresponsibility, Bush v. Gore has to be high on the list, and 131 comes close, as does NFIB. For pure hackery the list is looong.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 4:11 PM
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Bush v. Gore was hacky but not that irresponsible—nobody knew quite how awful Bush was going to be.

I'm not sure if I agree Shelby was worse. At least you can convince yourself things might be OK post-Shelby (e.g., there's no such thing as racism anymore); King will unambiguously screw with millions of people's lives.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 4:14 PM
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It was completely irresponsible, honest, for reasons too complicated to type out on a phone. They inserted themselves somewhere they had no business being, created the insoluble problem that they then solved by awarding the presidency to Bush, and then stamped the ticket for one ride only. Shelby was pretty much maximal hackery in legal terms but arguably slightly less irresponsible in terms of consequences (arguably).


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 4:19 PM
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NFIB could be close; I don't know what the numbers look like of people affected by the Medicaid expansion vs. people being subsidized on the exchanges. The absurdity of the argument in King is pretty much unbeatable, though. (Has everybody seen this?)


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 4:21 PM
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Disagree with 132. Shelby was a terrible, hackish decision but I don't see any reason to think it was substantially more hackish than the DC Circuit panel decision in Halbig or Bush v Gore. Not sure what the criteria are, all three are clear manipulations of settled law, using obviously terrible reasoning, to reach pre-determined and terrible politically motivated results.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 4:24 PM
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The King argument is extraordinarily stupid but doesn't entail coming up with wholly invented constitutional principles like Shelby did, it would simply be an utterly dishonest application of well-established statutory construction principles, so less hacky in that respect.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 4:24 PM
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I'm not sure if I agree Shelby was worse.

As Potchkeh says, it was worse on the legal hackishness dimension, even if arguably less so on the irresponsibility dimension. Shelby County ruled that Congress (nearly unanimously, BTW) overstepped its Constitutional authority on a matter where there is an explicit grant of Congressional authority in the Constitution, and did so without citing so much as a single phrase in the Constitution that the law was purportedly in violation of. That's a standard for hackishness that any future court will have to work hard to excel.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 4:29 PM
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Disputes over statutory construction or application of precedent pale by comparison, almost by definition.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 4:30 PM
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I guess I'd say Bush v Gore was the worst. If you're using horrible, made-up "legal" reasoning to literally determine the result of a presidential election, you're getting close to the max level of judicial impropriety in a democracy. Honestly the only reason the Supreme Court retains any legitimacy at all is that everyone has kind of collectively agreed that it's necessary, for the functioning of society and the government to continue, to forget that decision ever happened.

I could easily make an argument that Shelby was better or no worse than Halbig, but who really cares. Once you've entered the funhouse mirror world of hackdom all is permitted.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 4:32 PM
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The standard in 140 if applied literally would also pick up a bunch of liberal SCT decisions as the worst ever, including, I guess, most recently, Windsor. But I just say that to be a trolling bitch. Shelby was obviously a horrible decision.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 4:35 PM
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Every time I read an explanation of why the argument about the federal exchanges is complete gibberish and painfully dumb hackery I become more convinced that the conservatives on the court will absolutely go for it. When you really, truly hate someone (or, perhaps, liberals or anyone not wealthy) winning in clearly illegitimate bad faith ways is even more satisfying than winning fair and square.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 4:39 PM
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In my mind "irresponsible" means, right or wrong, the decision is going to cause a lot of hardship. An unrelated example: overturning software patents (which I think would be a generally good idea) would be irresponsible, because it would upend billions of dollars in investments overnight. Bush v. Gore was irresponsible, I guess, in the sense that they seriously endangered the legitimacy of our form of government (but, hey, it turns out nobody gives a shit!).


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 4:40 PM
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Windsor as written was fairly hackish, but the fact that there was a perfectly good argument for the same outcome lurking in plain sight mitigates things considerably. But 142.last is exactly right, who cares? We are ruled by hacks.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 4:41 PM
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143: what sets Shelby County apart is the explicit grant of Congessional authority in the 15th Amendment. There's no language in the Constitution saying "Congress shall have the power to disadvantage gay spouses with appropriate legislation."


Posted by: Knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 4:44 PM
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Shelby County and Bush/Gore are in a completely different universe than King. In the latter, there is a bit of statutory language that seems sloppily written; the sort of thing you'd correct in a technical corrections bill, if our politics wasn't completely screwed up.

In Shelby County, the Court guessed, correctly it turns out, what Congress wanted.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 5:12 PM
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I dunno, I'd argue that a case where you completely ignore clear rules governing statutory construction and settled rules of administrative law is at least as bad as constitutional cases where you make things up from whole cloth based on purported structural principles found in the constitution. Sure, the equal dignitude of the states thing in Shelby was ridiculous, but it's not like it's the first time that the Supreme Court has made up a constitutional principle from whole cloth (e.g., 11th amendment jurisprudence, arguably the Griswold/Roe line of cases) and arguably the constitution is designed to permit it to do so. In interpreting statutes the Court is supposed to be even less creative.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 5:22 PM
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147 -- eh, Article 2, Section 8 pretty much is exactly the same for taxation and other Article 2 powers as Section 2 of the 15th Amendment is to voting rights -- Congress has the power to tax and can do so in whatever way it deems necessary and proper. Yet according to Justice Kennedy in Windsor somehow something federalism blargh prevented Congress from enacting DOMA as written.

I agree of course with Potchkeh that the existence of an available good constitutional argument invalidating DOMA (the equal protection clause)makes the hackish argument in Windsor much better, but the difference isn't the one that you're pointing to.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 5:33 PM
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Seriously, though, this is too stupid even for me. The hackishness is hackishness all the way down.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 5:39 PM
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I really haven't followed this closely enough to have an opinion -- a low bar for me -- but my impression is that the language in question was from an earlier draft that worked a little differently, and when they went to the current system, they didn't get all the conforming changes made. Is that wrong?

On the Roberts point above, my take is that justices care about their reputations and history and all that, but not enough to actually change their votes on any cases. OK, maybe they can be talked out of filing an opinion concurring or something like that, but not into writing opinions they don't agree with themselves.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 5:47 PM
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In light of the absent "Recent Comments" sidebar, this comment may not be seen, but have people seen Ian Millhiser's piece on the Rand Paul/libertarian bent of the Roberts court? I am not a lawyer, much less a SCOTUS scholar, so I found it extremely informative.

On Millhiser's account, everything's about there's a story to be told regarding the Lochner era, from roughly 1905 to 1937, when that decision was overturned:

Lest there be any doubt that Senator Paul, himself an elected official, believes that the problem with American government is that it gives the people too much say over how they are governed [i.e. that there is too much democracy], Paul endorses the Supreme Court's long-ago overruled decision in Lochner v. New York. Lochner, which Paul has also praised on the Senate floor, invented a so-called "right to contract" that employers could use to resist laws protecting their workers. The idea was that the Constitution places strict limits on any laws that interfere with people's ability to enter into contracts.
...
The arc of justice may be long, but Chief Justice Roberts is bending it towards Rand Paul.
...
On the surface, King v. Burwell and Lochner have little in common. King is primarily a statutory interpretation case asking how the Affordable Care Act should be read (although there is a constitutional issue in King that could save Obamacare if the justices choose to misread the statute). Lochner, by contrast, was a landmark constitutional decision that read new rights into the Constitution primarily protecting employers from attempts to better the lives of their workers.
The King plaintiffs, however, share a very Lochnerian desire to advance their legal arguments regardless of what the law actually says

Sorry to quote at such length. Read the whole thing. It comes down to judgments about which rights held by some trump which rights held by others.



Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 7:22 PM
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God knows I've had bones to pick with the Obama Department of Justice. But can there really be any doubt now that Eric Holder is one of the great reformist AGs every to hold the office?


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 9:22 PM
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God bless em for pulling civil asset forfeiture back


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 9:37 PM
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If you want more free-rangy kids, change the norms.

This. This really is one of those broad cultural shifts that cannot be reversed through legislation. I mean, legislation where (at the municipal level? or statewide? or federal?) and how (a federal law that says Congress cannot infringe upon the right of a 10-year-old to walk to and from the park by herself?)

I am not optimistic about the prospect of reversing this trend.

As the social fabric continues to unravel, as we continue to care less and less about those who really need something from us, our tradition, our polity (and who, in social justice terms, really deserve, and have a right, have a rightful claim, to something more, to more care and attention and consideration), the UMC child becomes increasingly an object of our fussy, neurotic, obsessive concern. Even the theoretical possibility of the smallest possible risk to our cherished hothouse flowers is no longer acceptable! We deprive them of their 'natural right' (as it was once conceived) to free movement within a reasonably bounded sphere of activity only because we love them, and because we're good people.

Our grandchildren will live in an American-inflected version of Singapore, no doubt: Disneyland, with the death penalty.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 10:24 PM
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If you guys think this is a broad cultural shift (it is) what's the hope that the thing to do is reverse it? You're going to have much better luck having people who remember wandering as kids to write some legislation about what doesn't count as neglect. As to where, wherever you can get the votes.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 11:00 PM
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Legislation is a way of expressing cultural norms which is a way of shifting those norms (or acting as a loci for broader efforts to shift those norms) see, for instance, same sex marriage.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 4:16 AM
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"as a loci" that's an abomination unto the lord isn't it? I mean, "as a focus" (and also a locus, but.)


Posted by: keir | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 4:18 AM
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Also, while triple commenting, here's a three year old venturing out into the wide wide world: adorable youngish sea lion goes for swim.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 4:34 AM
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Ravi Vasudevan, The Melodramatic Public:Film Form and Spectatorship in Indian Cinema, 2011

The intensity of the socially subjugated melodramatic antagonist appears critical, and is often charged by a powerful symbolic blockage. It is as if the narration solicits an intensity of the spectator's investment in the difficulty that assails those lacking power, deprived of a voice, and assailed by doubt as to the possibilities of ethical meaning and individual and social fulfilment in the world presented to us by the fiction. Here I would make the distinction between melodrama as manichaean thriller, and melodrama as a mode of affective engagement with individual and social subjection. While the first allows for a fairly broad range of genres to be included under the melodrama rubric, including action genres, the latter brings to bear a sense of intractable social and historical blockage and a more sustained engagement with victimized subjectivity.


Crucial to such a narrative architecture is a space of attachment, most commonly the home, which acts on and is acted on by spaces outside it, in particular the public sphere of power, justice, and a more fluid set of identities based on social and spatial mobility. While the space may in practice be relocated, melodrama's ambiguous relationship to time and historical change invariably pulls protagonists towards memories and desires attached to earlier periods and places. It is the relationship between this space and others which generates the particular excess and formal energy which we associate with melodrama.

Coulda been the Spivak instead. Wanna see some amazing prose, check out Kotsko's place which is hosting a radical post-Spivakian symposium.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 5:14 AM
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154: Yes, there can be doubt. Not going after the banksters overrides everything. Watch where power goes, where power increases

Five Bleak Facts on Black Opportunity Brookings

medians

2007

White Wealth 192,500
Black Wealth 19,200

2013

White Wealth 141,900
Black Wealth 11,000

Thanks, Obama!

Neoliberalism is precisely using social progression to distract from economic subjugation.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 5:26 AM
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Glad comment feed is back.

I believe free range UMC kids will continue to be well-camouflaged and unmolested in the big bad city, as mine were.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 6:43 AM
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154 - Holy crap. The asset seizure one has got to have interesting consequences.

I guess this means that the right wing hatred for him could* actually have had something other than the fact that he is black and part of a democratic administration as a cause.

*(but didn't)


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 7:17 AM
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I would like to imagine a middle ground between the hothouse children of the decadent west who can't cross the road without suppressing fire, and the bracingly reared children of China who are beaten about the head by their mothers for falling behind in their reading lessons.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 7:42 AM
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The answer is that if you call the police for "suspicions," your phone explodes in a decapitating manner. We have the technology; do we have the will?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 7:48 AM
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I don't know that there's a pure technology fix. Even when Israel uses the phone of death, they still require human confirmation before setting off the charge.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 7:58 AM
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Ogged: Objectively more murdery than Mossad.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 7:58 AM
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You can just ask the caller. "Is a crime occurring right now?" "Well, I'm not sure." Boom.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 8:01 AM
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Oh look, another one. At least this one meets the wording of the law.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 10:39 AM
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As one of the commenters to the link in 170 put it, it's important to keep in mind that the person that called the police in that situation did not do so out of genuine concern for the well being of the children, but to be an asshole busybody.

I think the numbers in the Maryland statute are bullshit, and the legislature should definitely be pressed to lower them.

But even more important, is building in some sort of rebuttable presumption that the numbers mean that there's neglect, to give the police a way to say, about the 10 year old with a sleeping one year old, during a shopping trip that had already ended without incident by the time police investigated, no harm no foul.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 11:58 AM
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OT: I know this is off-topic, but what the fuck is wrong with the people at Marginal Revolution? On the widely-reported news that over half of US public school students are now living in poverty, they insist that ah, nah,

Children who are eligible for such lunches do not necessarily live in poverty. Subsidized lunches are available to children from families that earn up to $43,568, for a family of four, which is about 185 percent of the federal poverty level.

Oh, well, that's fine then. Cowen is a sometime friend of this blog, and he didn't write that post, but really, I mean, come on.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 1:29 PM
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172: It's a pedantic point, but what's wrong with observing that families who are above the poverty line are not technically "in poverty"?


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 1:40 PM
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Wait, are we supposed to be friends with Cowen? Since why? (Maybe from way back in the dawn of blog and I forgot?)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 1:45 PM
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Nothing wrong with observing that the technical definition of the poverty level is really, really low. A more interesting post would have addressed that. As it stands, the post calls bullshit on the statistical news about the number of children who qualify for free lunches because they're not technically in poverty.

A minor tangent: I'm gathering that the federal definition of poverty doesn't take into account cost of living in various regions of the country. This strikes me as problematic.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 1:51 PM
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174: I think Becks is/was.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 1:52 PM
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It's the official sensible Democratic position.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 1:56 PM
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Complacency has always been Drum's bailiwick.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 2:03 PM
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To tie together several recent threads (kids, yoga, pumping), Broad City goes to yoga.

"I couldn't imagine having sex without pretending I'm making a baby."


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 2:03 PM
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As Slate (yeah...) points out, a lot of states have civil asset forfeiture laws that are unaffected by Holder's decision. There are 19 states with more strict laws that it will effectively restore to relevance, because the federal sharing program was a loophole/workaround. So, a good move on changing the "culture" but needs more state and local followup.

The WaPo article on this quoted some police association guy asserting direly that this will negatively affect police budgets, which are implied to be sacred and of course, too low.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 2:09 PM
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Worth noting that exercises in calling out whether those who qualify for free lunches are or are not technically in poverty paves the way to policy proposals according to which only the truly (technically) impoverished should receive free lunches.

Really, this could not be more transparent.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 2:09 PM
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Other invisible friends have agreed to be visible busybodies looking after any free-range children and not calling them in. We're mostly earnest pale middle-aged women, might as well use it for good.

The kids who got on the bus with me yesterday were a little too old to need looking after but younger than I expected to be trading Facebook pictures of throwing up after a quarter-... dab? daub? but they're from either the old posh Catholic school or the new posh Montessori school, I guess they don't expect trouble.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 2:15 PM
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178 gets it right. Not necessarily about this issue, but in general.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 2:17 PM
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what the fuck is wrong with the people at Marginal Revolution?

They're economists. It's a tragic affliction.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 2:18 PM
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No offense to darB gnoleD.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 2:19 PM
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Nobled Drab.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 2:20 PM
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184: I hate to be contrary, but I don't think that's it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 2:27 PM
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Ooh, two things I hate--the "deep thinkers" of Edge.org and discussions of the Singularity--have come together at long last.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 2:28 PM
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Neoliberalism is precisely using social progression to distract from economic subjugation.

Gee, you've got an interesting definition of "economic subjugation" that excludes "legal theft of powerless people's cash and assets by the police".

Oh, and your data series starts in 2007, before Obama took office. If you take 2009 as the starting year, median Black household wealth has roughly doubled. But of course your brain is impervious to facts that conflict with the deeper truthiness you feel, so I don't know why I bother. Fuckwit.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 2:32 PM
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My new goal in life is to achieve enough a reputation that Edge.org will come asking me to write responses for them and I can reply to every one of their questions with "Oh, for fuck's sake."


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 2:33 PM
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My goal is to put that into a reply letter when a reviewer asks for something pointless.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 2:34 PM
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I downloaded a bunch of those responses before I realized I wasn't interested enough to read any.
Essear, is it just discussions of the Singularity you hate, or the concept itself?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 2:36 PM
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Everything about it except this comment from Blume.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 2:48 PM
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189: Is that what you meant to link to? My very quick skim suggested all that data ends in 2009. Also, "doubling" isn't a very good measure of progress (both for noise purposes, and because absolute values is what actually matters) when the starting point is almost zero.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 2:48 PM
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171: I've been focusing on tatting with the big girls (7 and 8) this year, trying to get them to understand that it's inappropriate if the goal is to get someone in trouble, a good idea if someone is in trouble and needs help. So that's my advice for changing the culture, at least at a micro level.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 2:50 PM
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I like almost everything about it except for most of the enthusiasts.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 2:52 PM
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195: TATTLING, autocorrect! Though I've worked this beat for years with minimal progress. Val once came racing downstairs yelling "Thoooooooooorn, Mara's tattling on me!"


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 2:56 PM
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TATTLING, autocorrect!
I misread this and went back to find what secrets autocorrect had revealed about Thorn's life. Turns out she's into tiny tattoos.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 3:01 PM
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Can you tell who's in the office on a Saturday?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 3:02 PM
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Well, she's into knitting, why not tatting? Although, it seems like a pretty intricate craft for the kids.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 3:05 PM
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199: I would be, but after last week, I suspect that not working will make more forward progress.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 3:06 PM
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I can't remember if I bought a tatting shuttle or just wanted to, so I can't buy another (?) until I know for sure. So mostly just knitting and sewing for me, though I think LB tats as well as making crocheted lace, right?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 3:08 PM
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I was intending to spend today catching up on work but instead I sent a stupid idea to my collaborators, then a little while later an email explaining why it was stupid, then gave up and opened a bottle of wine and sat down in front of the internet.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 3:11 PM
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Also reading The Warmth of Other Suns but finding it too depressing to read more than little bits at a time.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 3:13 PM
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Tried it, made a couple of things, decided I hated it. You can't unravel to fix errors, and the product is incredibly fragile.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 3:15 PM
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203: Yes! Except mine was needing to send a collaborator bad news combined with worse news, so I'm waiting a few days to regain some sort of tact when I tell him his published procedure is both unsafe and irreproducible as written, and that his former student is misrepresenting progress on the project. Whee!


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 3:19 PM
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206: Oof, that sounds unpleasant.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 3:32 PM
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204: Spoiler: it doesn't get less depressing when they get out of the south.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 3:36 PM
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Not only is Kevin Drum complacent, but he lacks imagination.

Drum is absolutely hornswaggled that Romney is running again. Incomprehensible.

Well, one condition that would get Romney running, or the cautious Jeb Bush to run...

...is that they think Clinton is not going to be the nominee.

With Jeb and George jumping into the race, I'm lowering the odds of a Clinton nomination to 30%.

Could Warren win MA against Romney?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 4:05 PM
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204: That was exactly my experience reading it. It's still worth sticking with, though.

208: I'd say it gets *less* depressing. It just never makes it to "not depressing at all".


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 4:23 PM
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LB, I have a lacework commission for you! Ask Thorn for details.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 4:28 PM
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Wow, nosflow, I thought wwhat we had was special. Now I find you'll go for any floozy who has string and usable implements!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 4:45 PM
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208, 210: I guess if it didn't stay depressing it would be more a work of fiction than history. I'll keep taking it in small doses.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 5:26 PM
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205: it's hard to fix errors & the designs are limited, but it's one of the sturdiest laces. Should be resistant to snags & not need much blocking, for instance. What are you comparing it to?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 5:52 PM
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Okay, the flickr pool contains the personalized accessory I designed and knit for nosflow. I'm really not sure what lace work he envisions, but I've done my part.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 6:04 PM
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You'll always be my first, Thorn.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 6:14 PM
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Nosflow wants a lace ruff as a base.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 6:31 PM
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What about a macrame ball gag?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 6:32 PM
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What about a cement fishing rod?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 6:41 PM
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Lace collar, obvi. Actually that is not true.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 6:44 PM
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That was exactly my experience reading it. It's still worth sticking with, though.... I'd say it gets *less* depressing. It just never makes it to "not depressing at all".

I concur on both counts. It really does reward reading all the way to the end.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 6:57 PM
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Is that what you meant to link to? My very quick skim suggested all that data ends in 2009.

The appropriate starting point (2009) is in the link I posted. The end point is the same as bob's, from the same source.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 7:04 PM
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215: I didn't even know knitting text was possible.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 7:35 PM
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You can knit just about anything, though I've never done text before. This arguably NSFW sweater, for instance.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 7:53 PM
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Inspired by the Agent Provocateur cardigan from a few years ago,

Agent Provocateur makes cardigans?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 8:01 PM
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One, anyway, apparently.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-17-15 8:01 PM
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1 fifty 4: a six year old can go to the local shop in Narnia every day of the week without a damn SWAT team getting called.


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 01-18-15 6:47 AM
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Textish stuff knitted.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-18-15 8:07 AM
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When you really, truly hate someone (or, perhaps, liberals or anyone not wealthy) winning in clearly illegitimate bad faith ways is even more satisfying than winning fair and square.

Heh. Just last week, on the Pirates blog I frequent, somebody mentioned an old friend who used to say when a hated team lost, "The only way it could have been better would've been if they'd been cheated out of it." The essence of spite.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-20-15 11:07 AM
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Way too late for the OP, but I recalled this morning that a couple months ago we allowed Iris and her BFF (both 10.5 at the time) to hang out in a nearby neighborhood (Pgh's "Little Italy", one of the healthiest main streets in the city, split between old Italian ladies and cycling hipsters) for awhile. It was a day off school, so I walked up (3/4 mile, very safe and neighborhoody) with them and Kai, then set them loose while Kai and I got haircuts and then returned home. We used walkie-talkies to be in communication while I was still up there (in case they got nervous, or lost, or whatever), but they were pretty much on their own (albeit with her grandmother's house at one end of the main st. and my barber, whom she's known all her life, at the other). No issues. Their main complaint was that there were no toy stores - so big, so little.

Anyway, sounds like there's likely no law against it, but I was certainly more worried that some busybody would cause trouble than I was that anything bad would happen to them.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-20-15 11:24 AM
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That's a dangerous street. A woman was attacked there by an Obama supporter that didn't exist.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-15 11:43 AM
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