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Lanes

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.13.18

The whole doctor vs NRA #thisismylane thing is totally heartbreaking. I am really glad to see doctors enter the political conversation as a united group with a vested interest in gun regulations.



 

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Sports and Opportunity Hoarding

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.12.18

This is pretty much 100% right:

Among richer families, youth sports participation is actually rising. Among the poorest households, it's trending down. Just 34 percent of children from families earning less than $25,000 played a team sport at least one day in 2017, versus 69 percent from homes earning more than $100,000. In 2011, those numbers were roughly 42 percent and 66 percent, respectively.
This isn't a story about American childhood; it's about American inequality.
"Kids' sports has seen an explosion of travel-team culture, where rich parents are writing a $3,000 check to get their kids on super teams from two counties, or two states, away," said Tom Farrey, the executive director of Aspen's Sports & Society program. Expensive travel leagues siphon off talented young athletes from well-off families, leaving behind desiccated local leagues with fewer players, fewer involved parents, and fewer resources. "When these kids move to the travel team, you pull bodies out of the local town's recreation league, and it sends a message [to those] who didn't get onto that track that they don't really have a future in the sport." The result is a classist system: the travel-team talents and the local leftovers.

Travel teams are insane in the demands they place on families, and when they start in elementary school they can fuck right off. The leftover families are always strapped to staff the local volunteer league.

Also has anyone read this book?

Declining athletic participation is a prime example of how the choices even benevolent rich households make can hurt poorer families--especially their children....It's commendable for all parents--rich or poor--to love, and desperately want to help, their children. But not all expressions of love are harmless. In his 2017 book, Dream Hoarders, the economist Richard Reeves wrote that economic mobility in the U.S. has been declining in the past few decades in part because of "opportunity hoarding." For example, rich parents may pull special levers to get their kids into hyper-select schools, or elite internships, or exclusive entry-level jobs. In so doing, they--in effect-- snatch precious opportunities away from the less fortunate.

"Opportunity hoarding" is a good way to label that thing we've discussed here before. However, the Amazon description of the book leads off with the sentence "America is becoming a class-based society" which makes the book sound naive.



 

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Fires

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.12.18

The California fires are terrifying and I hope all of you and your loved ones are safe and sound.



 

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Breather

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.12.18

Psychologically, it's just going to be much easier to stomach the next two years compared to the last two years. It's by no means a happy place to be in, but it's familiar territory - more similar the existential despair of the Bush years, or perhaps the Reagan years, and less un-fucking-charted waters. Pelosi saying they're going to focus on strengthening democracy, subpoenaing Trump's tax records, starting investigations, shoring up the Mueller investigation - I'm not saying these things will truly turn any tides, but reading headlines in the morning feels slightly less harrowing.

I'm still scared as hell that Trump will be re-elected in 2020, and I think then we'd return to the vertiginous cliff of the past two years.



 

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Veterans Day

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.11.18

Hawaii won a poetry contest for Veterans Day, so we went to her elementary school's Veterans Day assembly this past week. The assembly included a short ceremony where six (adult) soldiers in their most formal of formalwear stood around a table on stage, and went through this POW-MIA honors ceremony.

The table is round - to show our everlasting concern.
The cloth is white - symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to serve.
The single red rose reminds us of the lives of these Americans....and their loved ones and friends who keep the faith, while seeking answers.
The yellow ribbon symbolizes our continued uncertainty, hope for their return and determination to account for them.
A slice of lemon reminds us of their bitter fate, captured and missing in a foreign land.
A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears of our missing and their families - who long for answers after decades of uncertainty.
The lighted candle reflects our hope for their return - alive or dead.
The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain us and those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God.

Each item is placed on the table by a different soldier who intones the line. (I couldn't quite figure out the right Passover-comparison joke, but there's something there.) Ours was slightly different - it had an empty chair as the first bullet point to symbolize those who never came home, and the Bible was placed on the chair. I don't think our table was round. The soldiers also named specific soldiers, and at the end they all held colored squares of paper over their faces while saying more ritualistic stuff.

I found the whole thing absurd for an elementary school, and then after one kid broke down crying, I got angry and pissed about the bombasticness. No one else seemed fussed over it, though the nature of the occasion demands that everyone must stay poker-faced. (The rest of the assembly was fine - kids read their poems, sang songs, and the high school drumline performed. This is the first kid's Veterans Day ceremony I've been to.)

Veterans Day is tricky, because the soldiers really are brave, and many did lose their lives, and many more had their bodies and brains permanently injured. They should absolutely be recognized and honored. On FB, when people post photos of their loved ones who served, it strikes the right note of appreciation and tribute.

The problem is, of course, the vast majority of the wars and the people making the decisions all seem to get off scott-free. It's not appropriate to bring that up on Veterans day (except here! hooray for Unfogged!) but since you can't say it on Veterans Day, the message often bleeds into a generic "all these wars are good! More heroes! Maybe you can be a hero when you grow up!" which is just so gross.



 

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