Extreme helicopter parents: Kids shouldn’t be allowed to play on their own

helicopterparents

I am so happy that I was born when I was, and got to go off on my adventures:

A whopping 68 percent of Americans think there should be a law that prohibits kids 9 and under from playing at the park unsupervised, despite the fact that most of them no doubt grew up doing just that.

What’s more: 43 percent feel the same way about 12-year-olds. They would like to criminalize all pre-teenagers playing outside on their own (and, I guess, arrest their no-good parents).

Those are the results of a Reason/Rupe poll confirming that we have not only lost all confidence in our kids and our communities—we have lost all touch with reality.

“I doubt there has ever been a human culture, anywhere, anytime, that underestimates children’s abilities more than we North Americans do today,” says Boston College psychology professor emeritus Peter Gray, author of Free to Learn, a book that advocates for more unsupervised play, not less.

In his book, Gray writes about a group of 13 kids who played several hours a day for four months without supervision, though they were observed by an anthropologist. “They organized activities, settled disputes, avoided danger, dealt with injuries, distributed goods… without adult intervention,” he writes.

The kids ranged in age from 3 to 5.

Of course, those kids were allowed to play in the South Pacific, not South Carolina, where Debra Harrell was thrown in jail for having the audacity to believe her 9-year-old would be fine by herself at a popular playground teeming with activity. In another era, it not only would have been normal for a child to say, “Goodbye, mom!” and go off to spend a summer’s day there, it would have been odd to consider that child “unsupervised.” After all, she was surrounded by other kids, parents, and park personnel. Apparently now only a private security detail is considered safe enough.

Harrell’s real crime was that she refused to indulge in inflated fears of abduction and insist her daughter never leave her side. While there are obviously many neighborhoods wrecked by crime where it makes more sense to keep kids close, the country at large is enjoying its lowest crime level in decades.

Too bad most people reject this reality. The Reason/Rupe Poll asked “Do kids today face more threats to their physical safety?” and a majority—62 percent—said yes. Perhaps that’s because the majority of respondents also said they don’t think the media or political leaders are overhyping the threats to our kids.

Vegas beats Taney, forces another game

I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Mo’Ne was good but she didn’t have her A game. And out of the 13 kids on the Vegas team, 12 of them bat over .300, so Vegas bats got them an early lead. Then they tacked on five insurance runs at the top of the 5th, and though Taney threatened twice with three men on, they never had the hits to bring them home.

A side note: Bad officiating is part of every sport, and despite the frustrations, you just have to suck it up and deal. But the home plate umpire had one of the most baffling and erratic strike zones I’ve ever seen, and I imagine that had a lot to do with Mo’ne’s performance:

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) — Mo’ne Davis didn’t have her best stuff when she and her Philadelphia teammates needed it most, and Las Vegas took advantage.

Dallan Cave and Brennan Holligan hit two-run homers, lefty reliever Austin Kryszczuk got out of two big jams, and Las Vegas beat Philadelphia and its star pitcher 8-1 in the Little League World Series on Wednesday night.

Davis, just the 18th girl to play in the Little League World Series and the only one to win a game on the mound, took the loss.

“Mo’ne didn’t have her A game today,” Philly manager Alex Rice said. “At this point, we’re playing to get to Saturday.”

The victory puts Las Vegas in Saturday’s U.S. title game and sends Philadelphia into an elimination game on Thursday night against Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West in a matchup of inner-city teams. The Great Lakes champion beat Pearland, Texas 6-1 on Tuesday night in an elimination game.

“I think it’s terrific,” Rice said. “I’ve been looking forward to playing Chicago since we got here.”

Davis, the darling of the sports world with her amazing success and poise, was both masterful and ordinary on a night made short because of pitch-count rules.

She allowed three runs and six hits and struck out six in 2 1-3 innings before leaving after 55 pitches. That makes her eligible to pitch again in the U.S. championship game on Saturday.

Davis played first after her stint on the mound and was switched to right field in the top of the sixth, but she dazzled her opponents more than once on the mound with off-speed deliveries and tantalizing pitches just off the plate.

“She’s very crafty,” said Kryszczuk, who picked up the victory. “She’s a great pitcher. That triple in the first was huge and then she settled down. Great job by us to get this victory.”

I just want to say that for the first time in my baseball history, winning is secondary. It has given me such joy to watch this Taney team, and to see the entire city come together to support them. (There were 9,000 more people at the game last night than there were at the Phillies game yesterday.) This city loves this team, and nothing will change that. No matter what happens, there will be a Broad Street parade for our kids.

Tonight, Taney plays Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West, another city team noted for its heavy hitters. We’re from Philly: We know how to lose — but we also know how to come back. Which Taney team will we see on the field? Tune in and see!

Cognitive dissonance

Freddie DeBoer:

The emails filling my box about Israel function as a remarkable document. They are a record of seemingly reasonable people who have completely lost track of basic moral reasoning. And that represents itself nowhere more consistently or powerfully than here: treating what could possibly happen to Israelis as more important than whatalready is happening to Palestinians. It’s such a profoundly bizarre way to think, that only this maddening issue could bring it about.

“Hamas denies Israel’s right to exist!”

Indeed– and Israel not only denies Palestine’s right to exist, it has achieved the denial of a Palestinian state in fact. What kind of broken moral calculus could cause someone to think that being told your existing state should not exist is the same as not having a state of your own?

“Israelis will become second class citizens!”

Arab Israelis already are second class citizens, and Palestinians in the territories no citizens at all. They are denied freedom of movement, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly. They are systematically discriminated against for jobs, especially in government. They lack adequate representation in government. Their leaders arekicked out of Knesset meetings for questioning the IDF. Racist, ultra-nationalist mobsmarched through their streets, chanting “death to Arabs!” Their weddings to Jews are the subject of vicious protests. They live side-by-side with racist teenagers who unashamedly trumpet ethnic warfare. They must live in a society where men like Avigdor Lieberman, an explicit racist and literal fascist, serves in a position of power and prominence. Where Meir Kahane is memorialized by groups receiving state funds,where the JDL’s thugs march, where Lehava preaches against miscegenation. A society where the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset openly calls for ethnic cleansing. Palestinians live in a society where a tiny fraction of government funding is spent on their communities or their people. Where human rights organizations like B’Tselem are oppressed by the state. Where they have to endure Kafkaesque application processes to prevent their homes from being bulldozed, if they are given that opportunity at all. Where they live under fear of reactionary, fundamentalist Orthodox settlers who call for death to the Palestinian race.

“Israel is diplomatically isolated unfairly!”

Palestine is diplomatically isolated in a way Israel cannot imagine. The United States uses its veto power to unilaterally deny even the possibility of full membership status for Palestine in the United Nations. The US has used its foreign aid programs and incredible diplomatic leverage to marginalize Palestine and protect Israel. Israel enjoys the protection of the most diplomatically powerful country on earth; Palestine cannot even claw out formal recognition of its borders.

“Israelis will be rounded up and put into camps!”

Palestinians are already in camps, open-air prison camps like Gaza, tiny, beleaguered cantons that lack access to drinkable water or transportation infrastructure, blockadedfrom receiving food and essential supplies, prevented from fishing their own waters, their movements harshly restricted, forced to go through humiliating and threatening checkpoints to get to work. They travel in segregated buses. They are frequently denied access to Eastern Jerusalem, the center of Palestinian commercial and cultural life. They endure constant calls for “Greater Israel,” the call for ethnic cleansing to establish a unitary ethno-nationalist state. They live in unrecognized villages in the Negev and the North which the Israel state provides no services for. They, unlike Israeli Jews, have no “right to return.” They endured the Nakba.

And so on.

Who would have thought

No to Oil Trains! : National Week of Action to Stop Oil by Rail, July 12, 2014, Alaskan Way and Clay Street, Seattle, Washington.

That deregulating the movement of hazardous substances would be so… hazardous?

Today the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released its final report on the July 6th, 2013 train derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. The report produced a strong reaction from Keith Stewart, Greenpeace Canada’s Climate and Energy Campaign coordinator.

“This report is a searing indictment of Transport Canada’s failure to protect the public from a company that they knew was cutting corners on safety despite the fact that it was carrying increasing amounts of hazardous cargo. This lax approach to safety has allowed the unsafe transport of oil by rail to continue to grow even after the Lac Megantic disaster. It is time for the federal government to finally put community safety ahead of oil and rail company profits or we will see more tragedies, Stewart said.”

Throughout the report there is ample evidence to support Stewart’s position and plenty to show why the people of Lac-Megantic want the CEO of Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA), the rail company responsible for the accident, held accountable in place of the engineer and other low level employees currently facing charges.

At the press conference for the release of the report the TSB representatives often noted that they had found 18 factors that contributed to the actual crash and they were not willing to assign blame to anyone, claiming that wasn’t their role.

But several critical factors stand out and they are the result of MMA putting profits ahead of safety and Transport Canada (TC), the Canadian regulators responsible for overseeing rail safety, failing to do its job.

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