[FoRK] FoRK Digest, Vol 81, Issue 28

Marty Halvorson marty at halvorson.us
Wed Jun 30 17:55:48 PDT 2010

Stephen D. Williams wrote:
> 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.

I wasn't to clear I guess.  My son is adopted.  He was taken from his 
biological mother because of abuse and neglect.  The reason he was in 
the care of his biological mother was because he ran away and when the 
police retrieved him, he made a totally unfounded complaint against my 
wife and I.  I can say that because that's what the Department of Adult 
Protective Services determined.

I'll ask again what constitutes clean, safe, and functional?

>>>     * 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.

So what you're saying is food is part of the "baseline" and it doesn't 
really matter what kind of food?

>>>     * Basic business and exercise acceptable clothing
>> Mostly agreed.  Climate appropriate clothing for sure.

To amplify a little, climate appropriate clothing could for some 
climates imply no clothes at all.  e.g. In northern New Mexico, many of 
the communes in the 70's were "clothing optional" for those times of the 
year when it's hot.  i.e. clothes are not really necessary depending on 
where one lives.

>>>     * 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.

Yes, but some disabilities are permanent.  My son, for example, started 
life as a cocaine baby, with fetal alcohol syndrome.  He will never be 
other than "learning disabled".  My other son (who has the same mother 
and a different father) also has learning disabilities.  They both have 
problems because of the alcohol their mother consumed while they were in 

Just so you know, teaching a child with learning disabilities is nowhere 
near as difficult as being with them 24/7.  Especially when two of the 
disabilities are reactive attachment disorder (i.e. the boys never 
attached to either my wife or I), and ADHD.  ADHD because of the alcohol 
consumption and reactive attachment because they were removed from their 
mother.  RAD means that the child only requires reinforcement from 
himself for anything he does.  The equivalent of not having a sense of 
right and wrong.

>>>     * 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.

That depends entirely on where you live.  I'll ask again, why is 
internet access so important for "baseline" living.

>>>     * 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).

So what you're saying is a qualified requirement?  e.g. I don't need 
sidewalks or parks because of where I live.  I don't even have a paved 
road to my house.

>> 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?

No. Mostly agreed means I agree with the basic idea but not the 
implications.  i.e. I only fully agreed with health care.

> I'm not making a list for just surviving, but for thriving, or at least 
> having what it takes to do so.

What I disagree with is the absolutist quality of the list.  I believed 
you were saying these are the minimum requirements for survival.  And 
they clearly are not.  Therefore, your points can only be taken as an 
elitist attitude toward survival.  You didn't define that "baseline" 
meant "thriving" and "having what it takes to do so" in terms of survival.
> sdw


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