Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Late Random Thoughts

Note to tv newsie editors - Jeremiah Wright is Reallllllly Boooooring. Really.

Why no live footage of the big Marine - Taliban battle in Afghanistan this week? What ever happened to Ashleigh Banfield? She would go. I guess the North Carolina primary is more important.

Why is Slate's web site so slow? I always forget, then remember why I don't read it more often. I'm onto Drudge.

From the I'm Old, Not Dead Department:

So my wife won't think I'm the only weirdo who thinks that Nancy Pelosi is kind of hot, Fancy Nancy comes in at No. 4 on The Hill's list to the 50 Most Beautiful People in Washington, DC our nation's capital. There's something about those Catholic girls.

Sweet Caboose!

Check out this Arab pregnant man.

Pregnant Man Abdullah with Husband Ahkbar and Sister-Wife Condi.

From the Don't Know Whether to Laugh or Cry Department:

"You know, I'm really not interested in policies that are long on rhetoric and short on results. I think the taxpayers, as well as the people we're trying to help, need to know our strategy is well-defined, with clear goals, and we hold people accountable."-- George W. Bush

"No Barney! We're fighting the Moslems, not Mormons!"

What is the government doing by taking all of those Mormon kids away from their mothers? Based on an apparent hoax by a 30 something year old crazy woman, posing as a 16 year old unwilling Mormon bride, the State of Texas has arrested over 400 kids and locked them up in some kind of convention center. Where is the probable cause? Where is the due process? Where are the family values? Where is the freedom of religion?

Not in Texas.

Texas Police Diversity Training Film
Buy it Here!

Talk about state terrorism. You want to terrorize me? Don't threaten to shoot me or electrocute me. Threaten to take my kids away. That's what terrorizes me. That's what is happening in Texas.

It turns out that 5 teenage girls in that renegade Texas Mormon group are either pregnant or have a baby already. That's out of 418 kids (now reported as 435 kids - they can't even count them correctly) the state took into custody. Teen pregnancy! Well, we better hurry up and get the rest of those girls away from their parents and into foster care! Then we know they'll be safe. I'd sure feel secure knowing that my kids were safe in the bosom of the Texas foster care system. Note to literalists - not really.

I Need Foster Care!

What this is really about is that the government has a vendetta against the FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, for forcing young teenage girls into arranged "marriages." Jeffs was convicted of "rape by accomplice" after arranging a religious marriage between a 14 year old girl and her 19 year old cousin. The young groom is now facing charges as well.
Warren Jeffs

That was certainly bad. That's why he's in jail. But what it has to do with the 436 kids taken from their mothers has not been made clear. Nobody has been arrested for anything and not a single child has been alleged to be abused. So what's up?

But onto a group that suffers no police harassment -

More Swinger news!

We continue to keep our ear to the ground for more info about the Swingers alleged to be in our area. Keep in mind that I have no idea if any of this is true.

  • Another Secret Swinger Signal - put a box of Tide in your window. Though I'm not sure what happens next.
  • Apparently there are a couple of "urban" young men who will "host" a Swinger party at the Swingers' homes. Word is that the guys pair up with the ladies while husbands watch. This one really kind of freaks me out. No word on whether the guys get paid for this. The hosts I mean.
  • Reported ATL Swinger neighborhoods include Laurel Springs, Three Chimneys, Windermere, and St. Ives.
  • The is an introductory course available online (absolutely free!) for new Swingers at http://www.swingersvillage.net/, apparently hosted by Shannen Doherty.
  • I even found a Swinger resort on the internet http://swingermarbella.com/en/about-us/. (I hope it's not true that the IT guys can see everything I do on this PC.)
Random TV Land Observations:

Who is Kimora? She may be a nice person, but in the print ads she looks like a Vegas hooker in that gold dress. And why does she have a tv show?

Love 30 Rock and The Office these days.

I hope James wins Survivor.


Bill McC said...

The news sources I read say that of 53 "sect girls" between the ages of 14-17, 31 have children or are pregnant. If true, that seems really bad to me. I think the situation gives rise to tough, probably insoluble, issues. However, it seems like a pattern of abuse is pretty apparent, and perhaps even proven (or at least provable), and I applaud the people who are grappling with these issues in an effort to give the kids a chance at a future that bears some relation to our society's idea of normalcy.

I also don't really know about the apparent hoax call you describe that precipitated the whole thing, but if a 30-year old woman knew what was going on and determined that pretending to be a 16-year old girl was the best way to do something about it, I applaud her, too.

I agree that the state absolutely should not take kids away from their parents lightly, but I think it's fair (and morally necessary)for the government to impose some common standards of decency toward people who are not able to protect themselves. I'm about as much in favor of the government leaving people to their quirks as anyone, but brainwashing kids to grow up as peacefully subservient sex/domestic slaves is a bit beyond the pale for me.

It's more or less the same as the freaky Austrian dude's sex dungeon setup except that, like everything else in Texas, the cell is bigger.

WV said...

First of all, plaudits on good use of "insoluble."
Second, I'll go out on a limb and agree with you that training kids to be sex slaves is bad.
But, I haven't heard any specific allegations. The rumors are that the men are the ones who marry the girls - this is the basic abuse allegation. So separating the children, even babies, from their mothers just seems to me to be very harmful for the kids. And the foster system is notoriously rampant with abuse and neglect, so I don't see why that is considered a good alternative. Why can't they put the Moms and their kids in FEMA trailers?
PS - The Austrian dungeon comparison is a bit of a stretch.

Bill McC said...

I'm not really sure what the usual procedure is in abuse cases, but I think that if one parent abuses a kid with the other parent's acquiescence and/or active participation, there is a pretty solid argument for separating the kid from both parents. That sort of principle could be at work in this case. Of course, if the underage girls are victims, it's easy to argue the adult moms who used to be underage girls are also victims. That certainly seems true in the larger scheme of things, but an abusing parent's past victimhood doesn't somehow trump present danger to a child. Clearly, whether or not the mothers are abusers and/or are actually an imminent danger to their kids' wellbeing is one of the very difficult issues presented by this case, but I wouldn't reject the possibility out of hand. At the risk of generalizing unfairly, I think it is probably safe to assume that if it were up to the moms, a great many of them would prefer to pack up the kids and take them back to the compound to be married off to their creepy middle-aged neighbors.

As to the comparison to the Austrian situation, I believe the analogy is perfectly reasonable. In both cases, you have a defenseless kid victimized by a person in a position of authority, separated from society, and kept for the pleasure of the abuser. In the Austrian case, the separation from society was accomplished by locking the poor woman in a cell for a couple decades, and she was forced to have a great deal of sex with her own father, and so it is perhaps more shocking to contemplate. But do you really think the "sect girls" grow up with a whole lot more freedom than that? Come on! If you and I have daughters and agree with one another that we're going to brainwash them and hand them off to one another as slave brides at the onset of menstruation, should we really pat ourselves on the back for being way more enlightened than the Austrian guy? I guess it's a little better because it's not actually incestuous, but it's still really, really bad. I suppose if there is some precedent for it (i.e., a whole bunch of people living in our community and others like it engage in the practice, and we claim some religious foundation for it), it may lessen the moral outrage in some people's eyes a bit further, but even then not enough to matter.

No matter how you slice it, we're talking about a whole lot of kids who are probably screwed up for life. Should we cut everyone a break just because the kids' acculturation was effective enough that they don't realize how bad they've got it?

WV said...

When you put it that way, it does sound bad. So, I agree with your main points.

But, as far as I know, none of this has been proved or even alleged with any specificity. For proof, we have one crank phone call and generalized beliefs that what goes on is as you describe. I think separating kids from their mothers can be traumatic for the kids.

Snake Nation said...

Thinking Nancy Pelosi is hot doesn't make you a weirdo, just fashion forward. Nancy is the best dressed gal on Capitol Hill, hands down. If she was giving Hillary fashion tips, things would be different.

There is no easy answer for the FLDS situation in Texas. Allowing those children to continue a life of abuse is bad(15 year-olds being told they need to be married in order to go to heaven...that's abuse in my book). Forcing those children into a flawed foster care system in a society that is totally foreign to them is also pretty bad. I don't know that anyone has a clear answer for those kids.

Bill McC said...

I definitely agree with your main point, too, that it can be traumatic for kids to be separated from their mothers. (Today happens to be my mother's birthday, and I'm suffering with about 1,500 miles worth of trauma.)

As I indicated, I don't know much about they child welfare system, but I think persnickety details like proof aren't needed to take kids away from parents where abuse is suspected (whereas proof probably is needed to terminate parental rights on a permanent basis). What little I do know about the area comes from my having once represented a young boy in a court proceeding that was intended primarily to determine whether or not he should be allowed to be with his father, as opposed to remaining in foster care. I have to admit that I found it to be a very unsatisfying form of public service on an emotional level, because I there was just no way to be sure I was doing the right thing (to make a very long story short, I argued successfully for his being reunited with his father). The choice in these cases is often between two potential horribles: stay with a bad parent or be wrenched from a bad parent and put in a bad foster care system. There's this overwhelming sense (at least, I think, for many people who come in contact with the system) that tender lives are already pretty far down the road to ruin, and the chances of an actually positive outcome are low. I really admire the caring adults who spend a good part of their lives fighting to improve the lives of kids who have everything stacked against them. I found my little involvement in that system draining, and every time I think about it, I just want to race home, hug my kids and not let go.