Howdy. I spent hours and hours yesterday and today getting the photography challenge contest post ready, so I haven't had a chance to write this until now. I decided that I wanted to share with you all the stories that people have sent me this week, either asking for my opinion about what happened or wanting me to yell and throw things.
So, let's do this.
Such is a week in the life of a current events blogger.
(Seriously you guys, I should get some perks or something, or at least a press pass.)
Also...I will not be ranting about any of the SCOTUS decisions right now because I just finally calmed down from the post I wrote for Lefty Pop. At some point, I will get to the union case too, but that some point is not today.
Off we go.
The Kid in the Car
In all likelihood by now you have heard about the little boy killed last week when his father left him in the car all day. The case, disturbing from the beginning, just gets stranger and stranger...and more and more disturbing. At first it seemed to be another situation of a parent that got distracted and forgot that their child was in the car, another horrible but preventable tragedy that we'd all get upset about and then forget the next day as the tally of dead kids added up over the course of the summer.
Then it changed. The father was arrested and charged with murder. There is evidence that both he and his wife had searched the topic of heat-related death in cars, which just makes my stomach turn. There is apparently more evidence to suggest that it was intentional, and we know now that he came back to the car at some point during the day and "forgot" the little boy again.
My background working in the DA's office tells me that there is probably a lot that they aren't releasing to the public here. The mere possibility that a parent could intentionally harm their child in a manner as cruel and sick as this is enough to bother even the most hardened police officers and prosecutors.
He is, of course, innocent until proven guilty...but so help him if he is guilty...
The case was brought up by a friend and fan and we had a pretty good chat about it. About how horrid it is to think that this could have been intentional, about how I know that in a case like this we absolutely have to figure out what his motive was if there is any hope of preventing planned "accidents" such as this.
What we talked about the longest, though, was the other issue...the fact that so many rallied to his defense at first. The thousands of people who lashed out at the authorities for pressing charges against him. The claims that this was just an accident and could happen to anyone. The inevitable discussion about how many babies and children die this way every year and what we can do to stop it. The new inventions created to remind parents that there is a kid in the car, from tricks about putting shoes or phones in the backseat to heat sensors attached to the child.
I'll just say this....and I'm sure that I'm about to get yelled at for it....but if you'd forget your child in the car before you'd leave your phone, our society has a problem. I'm not making accusations about anyone in particular, more a commentary on our society and the constant distraction we live with. The constant distraction, but the simultaneous dependence on these handheld electronic leashes.
Maybe we should work on being less distracted.
Maybe fewer kids would die.
Off The Grid Births - Plan Ahead
I was sent this one by a couple of people, and have had a hard time finding out much more information about the case. Apparently a couple in Pennsylvania had a homebirth, not uncommon these days. After several days, they decided it wouldn't be a bad idea to take the baby in to get checked out at the hospital.
The doctors at the hospital arranged to have the infant transferred to Children's without consent and called the police. Once moved to Children's, the baby girl was put through testing for hours and her parents were not allowed to see (or feed) her. 13 hours later, finding nothing wrong with the child, she was returned to the custody of her parents.
The following day, social services showed up saying that the hospital expressed concern that the baby wasn't adequately supervised. Left really without a choice, they were forced to allow CPS to inspect the house in order to deem them appropriate parents.
They received a bill for over $3,000, the cost of the ambulance ride when their daughter was transferred without permission.
Obviously, there is a lot wrong with the situation here, and it should concern anyone who intends to have a home birth, particularly an unattended home birth. My advice, not just as a doula, but as someone with a legal background, is to make sure that you understand all the applicable laws in your jurisdiction about home births. Make sure that your doctor knows what is going on, make sure you get the baby checked out in a timely fashion and absolutely do not step foot in a hospital unless you need to. This is something I have seen play out in the hospice universe too, where family members, not understanding or accepting of the wishes of the dying person call 911 and request resuscitation or transport - putting the health care providers in the position of not having access to all the important information. Equip yourself with all the information you can get in the hope that you can avoid a mess like this.
Apparently, stories have been circulating online that US troops overseas are being forced to observe Ramadan. For the most part, they just aren't true.
What is true, and makes sense, is that when US troops are stationed in countries that have local customs, regardless of what the reason behind those customs is, they are required to follow some, but certainly not all, of the local rules and customs.
What that basically means is that in areas of the world where Islamic holidays are celebrated, US troops are not to engage in forbidden activities in public. Alcohol consumption rules vary from area to area. Some bases are dry, some limit the amounts consumed, some only allow consumption on base, etc.
But, as for requiring fasting...nope.
Snopes, you guys. Fact checking is a good thing.
The Nanny Who Won't Leave
This case is a weird one and I get the sense that it won't really be resolved for a while. A family in California hired a live in nanny who turned out to be a bit of a nightmare. First she claimed she was fired, but it turns out that she quit. Either way, she refused to leave.
Here's the thing that a lot of people don't understand...as a general rule, once you allow someone to live in your home, getting them to leave isn't always simple or easy. Sometimes you have to actually go through eviction proceedings.
The nanny involved is known for her litigious ways and has a long history of filing frivolous lawsuits. The moral of the story - be really damn careful about who you hire and even more so about who you let move in.
Facebook is Experimenting on You, and You Allowed It
You know those little boxes that you check whenever you sign up for a website that means you agree to the terms? Yeah, that. No one reads those things. No one. And yet if you are on the mighty book of face and you checked that box (as you had to in order to have an account), you may have been an unwilling guinea pig in a social experiment.
A study came out this week revealing that researchers manipulated the newsfeeds of some people to see if it caused them to react more positively or negatively based on what they were shown. Unsurprisingly, the answer was yes. Which, duh.
If all you see is negative, you are bound to pick up on it and vice versa. It's human nature.
Anyhow, people are mad. And yeah, there are ethical issues that people like me would generally love to get into deep discussions about, but the ugly truth is that as a page administrator, I've been dealing with this for years. Facebook has systematically limited visibility of pages for a while now in an attempt to get us to pay them for exposure to the people who follow us. They aren't doing it for some investigative purpose, they're just doing it for money...but they're doing it because they can.
And you let them, just like I did.
Now, if you want to get into the issue of whether accepting the terms of an agreement online actually constitutes informed consent...that's a different issue entirely. It probably isn't, but you checked it and I checked it and everyone else checked it.
Besides...everyone online already has an incentive to watch you, to track you. Apps guess what you want to watch and shop for, all because of the wonder of the internet and all because of those little boxes we check.
It is, unfortunately, the nature of the beast. We could all swear off the internet and set up a commune somewhere instead...who's with me?
And Now For Some Controversy
Slut shaming has become such a thing anymore that there are some brilliant people coming up with ways to mock it. My personal favorite is this one. Those suits....making men sexy and all. For shame.
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