[FoRK] The bee sting theory of poverty

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Tue Jun 29 22:04:32 PDT 2010

No time to address JB's points until I get some things accomplished.
Any suggestions on the mystery puzzle piece identification before I work 
on it would be helpful.

On 6/29/10 1:19 PM, Marty Halvorson wrote:
> Stephen D. Williams wrote:
>> Seems like these should be a good start:
>>     * Clean, safe, & functional living space
> According to the State Police, my son's biological mother provided 
> just that.  She has multiple arrests, and multiple felony convictions 
> for domestic abuse.  Definitions of those words are required.

Indeed.  Current laws, customs, and interpretations are still bad.  Much 
better than when I was first divorced, but still bad.  For one thing, 
joint custody, physical and legal, should be the default, and basically 
required unless there is a significant reason otherwise.  And in her 
case, it sounds like there was plenty that was significant.  Courts 
still favor the mother blindly far too much of the time.
>>     * Food
> What kind of food?  Macaroni and cheese, Twinkies, and all other kinds 
> of "junk" food?  While my son was at his biological mothers, he mostly 
> ate what I would call junk food.  When he came home, he complained 
> bitterly about his diet while there.

There are of course two levels: calories and nutrition.  They have 
different urgency, but both are important of course.  Short term vs. 
long term to some extent.

>>     * Basic business and exercise acceptable clothing
> Mostly agreed.  Climate appropriate clothing for sure.
>>     * Health care
> Agreed.
>>     * An education past high school
> Why?  Many children, especially those with severe learning 
> disabilities, can not, and should not, reasonably expect to succeed.

An education past high school for those who are capable.  Most are.  And 
willing, however willingness should be encouraged strongly.
I dealt directly with "learning disabilities" in multiple cases, 
including volunteering to teach severely mentally deficient students 
when I was in school.  (In our school in small town Ohio, they had their 
own classroom in the same building.)  In the end, there are few with 
"disabilities" that are permanent and cannot be overcome.

>>     * Internet
> What is so important about the Internet that it's a requirement for 
> "baseline" living?

Key to all knowledge, more or less.
Access to communication, social interaction, business interaction, 
government access, finances in an efficient way, etc.  It is now a 
requirement for any fully functional independent person and will 
continue to become more so.

There is no real reason for people not to have access.  Bandwidth is 
plentiful and cheap.  Low bandwidth is or should be free.  It easily 
could be.  Computers good enough are everywhere.  I have something like 
a dozen working computers that I'm giving away or throwing away right 
now.  A little electricity and a dry place to run them are all that is 
really required.

Although they have been far too hobbled because of overblown fear of 
someone some where being offended, there are computers at libraries with 
free Internet access in most communities now.

>>     * Outdoor play / exercise space (parks, trails, sidewalks)
> Mostly Agreed.  That's one of the reasons I live on the bank of a 
> (mostly dry) river in a rural area.  I don't believe sidewalks are a 
> requirement.  For that matter, neither are parks and trails.

Sidewalks are a requirement if you would otherwise be landlocked by busy 
highways that are too busy and narrow to traverse by foot.  I have run, 
biked, and inline skated thousands of miles along highways, country 
roads, city streets, etc.  Where I am right now, there are 2 roads, one 
of which is barely safe to drive on and impossible to walk safely along: 
There is no excess road past the lines on the narrow 2 lane road with 
constant traffic, with ditches and other impassible obstacles.  Only an 
expert runner wanting to get a cross-country workout could safely run 
that road without getting a broken ankle or run over.

Parks are required if all land is privately owned and off limits.  
Trails are required if roads are hostile to pedestrians / bikers or 
natural areas would be off limits or too dangerous otherwise.  If you're 
in Arizona and you want to stop along a highway and just go walk through 
the desert, you don't really need a park.  If you're in the Bay Area, 
you're not allowed to be anywhere you don't own that isn't a park except 
the Bay itself and beaches (which are more or less all park).

> As a list of requirements for "baseline" living, your suggestions 
> strike me as elitist.

Elitist?  You agreed with most of these points, didn't you?
I'm not making a list for just surviving, but for thriving, or at least 
having what it takes to do so.

> Peace,
> Marty 


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