Bits and Pieces

A bunch of interesting things to read if you are Polar Vortexing like me, or if you’re gloating like all the rest of you:

Should homeschooling be more regulated? As it stands, homeschooling in the U.S. is basically a free-for-all. Is there a parental right to school your children however you see fit? Or do kids have a right to a certain level of education? And what about the many children for whom homeschooling is another part of an abusive home life, leaving them isolated and even more powerless?

Jeffrey Sachs makes the case for more foreign aid.

The ESPN-owned website Grantland, which is a site I usually enjoy quite a bit, recently published a piece about a woman named Dr. V, who invented what she claimed was the best golf putter in the world. In the course of investigating her claim and discovering that Dr. V falsified her academic credentials, the reporter also discovered she was trans. He outed her to an investor. Dr. V, who had attempted suicide before, succeeded in killing herself. Grantland ran the piece including details about Dr. V’s trans status, framing that status in a way that implied being trans was part of Dr. V’s deceptions — that she wasn’t who she claimed. The whole thing is ugly and awful, and Mallory at The Toast has a great round-up of critiques.

The very existence of sex for sale where women overwhelmingly serve as sellers and men serve as buyers means that the gender playing field isn’t level, and the global sex trade sheds light on some of our crassest inequalities and dysfunctions — racism, misogyny, colonialism and stark income inequality. But outlawing sex work doesn’t work, and only makes it more dangerous. Maybe it’s time big-picture opinions and ideals took a back seat to here-and-now harm reduction.

The Archdiocese of Chicago finally releases its records pertaining to sexual abuse allegations. They are predictably appalling.

Gabourey Sidibe = THE BEST.

11 comments for “Bits and Pieces

  1. TomSims
    January 22, 2014 at 10:53 am

    The RCC has been long exposed as a cult of pedophiles. They all need to be in prison.

    • January 22, 2014 at 9:16 pm

      All? Somehow I don’t think my ninety-something aunt, a Loreto order nun, is either a pedophile or deserving of being locked up for any other reason.

      • TomSims
        January 23, 2014 at 10:25 am

        Im sorry, I was referring to the priests.

      • January 23, 2014 at 10:53 am

        You’re missing the distinction between “Catholics” and “The Roman Catholic Church,” Kitteh’s Unpaid Help. It’s pretty obvious that Tom was referring to the hierarchy of the Church, not every person who identifies as a Catholic. The Roman Catholic Church does indeed have serious systemic problems with child rape that go far beyond a few molesting priests.

      • PrettyAmiable
        January 23, 2014 at 11:45 am

        … Are you implying the women who are part of the hierarchy are irrelevant? Because this is the wrong site for that. Or did you miss the part about her being a nun?

    • Asia
      January 23, 2014 at 10:44 am

      yea not ALL, but the institution as a whole is responsible for hiding child abusers. There have been cases involving nuns abusing kids and at this point abuse has been documented worldwide. If they can’t figure out a way to not hide and enable child abusers they need seriously restrict if not end all of their involvement in the education and care of children.

  2. January 22, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    I used to beg my mother to home school me. In addition to being very bored in class, I didn’t exactly mesh well with my classmates. Mom felt that I needed to be social and be around other kids my age. I think it was probably the right move, though I really didn’t learn how to manage my social anxiety and introversion for several more years.

    In college, I had a class with an early admission student who had graduated high school at 14. At 15, she began college classes. I was in a freshman English comp class with her, and peer edited some of her papers. She was certainly intelligent, but I felt her proficiency was that of a very bright high school student, not a college freshman.

    This story ends terribly, because within a couple of semesters she began keeping company with certain athletes. She got passed around from player to player, regardless of the fact that she was still several years underage. After she began passing bad checks and using her rent money for drugs, she was summarily expelled. Her family filed suit against the university and got an undisclosed settlement in return.

  3. Alexandra
    January 22, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    Here’s another news item to add to your bits and pieces, one that made me break down and cry in the car today:

    Obama Announces Task Force To Combat College Sexual Assaults

    “‘I want to make sure we are doing everything we can to spare another American the trauma of sexual assault,’ Obama said.

    “This includes setting up a task force, which will look at what colleges can do to better prevent assaults and putting pressure on those that aren’t doing a great job.

    “‘This is more than just laws that need to be complied with,” Valerie Jarett, aclose advisor to the president and head of the White House Council on Women and Girls, said. ‘This is changing a culture…what’s acceptable and what’s not.’

    • Alexandra
      January 22, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      ack, I’m sorry. I forgot there was signal-boosting Wednesday going on. I’ll post this over there, and respond to the home-schooling stuff here to make up for it:

      The people I know who have been homeschooled are a diverse lot – children of mothers with PhDs who stayed home after marriage to teach them Greek and Latin; children with special needs of one sort or another who wouldn’t fare well in middle school; children whose parents were borderline cultists in very religiously conservative traditions who were homeschooled to shield them from the evils of paleontology and sex education.

      I’d be interested to see what kinds of regulation of home schooling would make a difference. Proposing that if you’re going to home-school through high school, you should have a high school education or a GED seems reasonable. I also wonder whether there should be higher standards for homeschooling through high school anyway – so many people have deficits in math and science that it’s hard to imagine them giving decent education in Calculus or Biology at the kitchen table.

  4. January 22, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    A bunch of interesting things to read if you are Polar Vortexing like me, or if you’re gloating like all the rest of you:

    Well, not wanting to experience that sort of weather, but after our week of 44C days, not gloating, either!

    There really needs to be a way to swap bits of weather via the intertubes.

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