Paying workers off the books

By. L

Household employers: why is paying nannies under the table the norm, and what can we do about it?

https://slate.com/human-interest/2018/05/child-care-man-nannies-feel-forced-into-under-the-table-pay.html?via=homepage_taps_bottom

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Open Thread

Retention policy update:

Here are the latest poll numbers: 

94 total
29% / 28     don’t care
35% / 34     3 months or shorter
35% / 34     6 months or longer
The administrators have decided to go with 4 months public access, starting July 1.  It will be 4 previous months plus  the current month.      Older posts will not be permanently deleted immediately, but held for at least a year as private.

 

Since education is the most popular topic by far, occupying the Open Thread two weeks ago and the Politics page (perfectly civil discussion) last week,  we will try out Education Thursday to go with Relationship Monday and Open Tuesday.

Offline, we received a observation that some types of topics don’t get a lot of traffic with the implication that we would be better served by providing different ones.    So we are asking people outside of the usual group of 5-8 to submit things of interest to them with a story or a link.     And be aware that summer is slow.   Fewer people are in need of a workday time-filler.

Topics for the rest of the week:

Wed-  Paying workers off the books

Th—   Alternatives to College

Fri–   Pair Novels with your Destinations

 

 

Are Americans too attached to their pets?

by MooshiMooshi
This article, which is from the National Review, presents the idea that we have become too close to our pets and that this is getting in the way of forming real relationships.
I think in some cases, there could be some truth in that. But sometimes people become obsessed with pets because they fill a gap. I know someone who wanted kids, but her husband did not, so now that they are older she fills in by doting on her cats and dogs. She posts endless photos on social media just as we do with our kids, and she even paints portraits of them. I think it helps her, though.  I see many other parents bringing dogs and cats into their lives as their children migrate off to college and jobs. On the other hand, a friend of mine from college collects cats. He has never managed to have a longterm relationship, and I think the 6 or more cats at any time in his apartment are one of the barriers.
In this era of floof and blep and emotional support peacocks, have we gone too far in adoration of our animals?

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

by WCE

Interesting article on the limitations of machine learning

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/05/machine-learning-is-stuck-on-asking-why/560675/

“In that case, what do you think about free will?

Pearl: We’re going to have robots with free will, absolutely. We have to understand how to program them and what we gain out of it. For some reason, evolution has found this sensation of free will to be computationally desirable.

Hartnett: In what way?

Pearl: You have the sensation of free will; evolution has equipped us with this sensation. Evidently, it serves some computational function.

Hartnett: Will it be obvious when robots have free will?

Pearl: I think the first evidence will be if robots start communicating with each other counterfactually, like “You should have done better.” If a team of robots playing soccer starts to communicate in this language, then we’ll know that they have a sensation of free will. “You should have passed me the ball—I was waiting for you and you didn’t!” “You should have” means you could have controlled whatever urges made you do what you did, and you didn’t. So the first sign will be communication; the next will be better soccer.”

The post header is, of course, the title of the Philip K Dick story on which Blade Runner is based (inserted by Mémé).    The TV series Westworld also explores issues of robot consciousness.    What do you think about machine learning in general and the wider issue of “free will” in machines?    What would you like to see in your lifetime?

 

 

 

Identity and Clan

by Louise

The Rachel Divide

A very interesting documentary is out on Betflix about a white woman by birth who has identified as black.   (Rachel became notorious a few years ago because she was an NAACP official.    She was a white bio child, whose family adopted several black sibs, and she allied herself with them against the parents, altered her hair and complexion.)

Beyond the exploration of her actions and motivations,  the film raises wider questions about identity.   Who we are, who are our people and our community.   It many a time rears its head when we think about adoption, relocating far from our places of birth.    It also appears when we participate in an activity historically associated with one group or another.

In a nation where we can be who we want to be (or at least are lead to believe so) discuss what identity means to you.

What happens when the group you identify with (either by origin or your active choice) rejects you in public and in subtle ways?     How do you deal with and move on from that?

Open Thread

Please participate in the poll.   Regulars, lurkers, those who are waiting for a final policy to determine whether to continue.    We two administrators followed people’s comments both on and off line and came to radically different conclusions about what group really wants.   We need hard data.

Topics for the rest of the week

Wed –   Identity and Clan

Th – Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Fri – What do you keep in the Fridge?

 

Following up with old Classmates

 

Have you kept touch/regained touch with old high school (or college) friends? Were you surprised at how well or poorly they turned out? Not just financially, but emotionally, spiritually, that they just became good, cool people, or got really boring?

On some blog or other, an inveterate FB old acquaintance seeker really couldn’t understand why people from high school and college would not want to re-connect with her.   Here are some of the reasons she tried to imagine for their refusal to engage.

  •  They are now different people with totally different lives and interests.
  • There are aspects of their past they don’t want to re-live.
  • Their plate is already full of friends, acquaintances, and relatives
  • She was a jerk to them, without knowing, and they don’t want to be part of her self discovery narrative.
  • They really don’t know or remember her.

Has anyone from those days tried to reconnect with you, for good or for ill?

 

Who will clean your self driving Uber?

by L

Unforeseen problems with self-driving cars: who will clean them? https://slate.com/technology/2018/05/who-will-clean-self-driving-cars.html?via=article_recirc_recent

Being one of those people who gets carsick easily, I can foresee this being one of the most important reasons for me not to buy a self-driving car. (On long trips, I always drive so I don’t get sick.)

What unanticipated problems do you for see for on-the-horizon  technological advancements or have you already encountered with those already introduced?

Summer plans

Fred wondered if we had already done a formal post on summer or other vacation plans.     Not expressly, but the discussion meanders into that territory frequently.

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer season in many parts of the country (but not New England) .   Also, there are still many posters dealing with child care gaps during the summer, as well.    How are you dealing with the kids’ schedule?

Winemama is considering a trip overseas, her first. She would appreciate a review of how to find cheap airfares and other tips for travelers.

Kerri asked for summer reading suggestions for adults and children, and wonders what was on your or your kids’ high school summer reading lists.

If you have firm plans, what are they? If not, or you’re just dreaming about something, what are you thinking about?

Open Thread

Totebag 30 day challenge week 4 will go live on Thursday.   I’ll put it on the top level to remind everyone.

Anyone who still has privacy concerns or requests should email one of the admins. We will respond offline.

We are unable to figure out why the name “Lark” ends up being flagged as spam.   Perhaps it has joined the list of names used by Russian girls who want to be your friend.   Lemon’s post of last week just had too many links and went into pending approval.

Upcoming posts.

Wed –  SUMMER PLANS

Th –  WHO WILL CLEAN A SELF DRIVING UBER?

Fri –  NON-TRAVEL WISH/BUCKET LIST

What is GDPR and why should I care?

topic submitted by saacnmama

From an internet article.

If you’re a person on the internet, you’ve probably been getting a lot of emails from companies about privacy updates, all related to a new law that just went into effect in the European Union: the General Data Protection Regulation, known as the GDPR.

1. What is the GDPR?

It’s a set of data privacy laws that was approved by the European Parliament in 2016, and after a two-year transition period, it’s now law. It affects any company that handles the personal information of anyone in Europe, and that means any company that does business in Europe, even if it’s based in the United States or somewhere else in the world.

It’s much stronger than privacy regulations in the United States. It basically says that companies have to get explicit permission to collect and use your data, and that they have to let you see what they’re storing and allow you to remove it. If you’re in the EU, that is. 

2. Why is the EU putting new regulations in place (and why isn’t the United States)?

The EU, being made up of lots of different countries, has a lot of rules around privacy and data collection and how data should be stored by companies not based in Europe. So really simply, the GDPR is an attempt to create one set of rules that everyone can follow, and it happens to enact the most consumer-friendly set.

The United States essentially has no federal privacy regulations around data collection, use and notification. The difference is really cultural; privacy is considered a human right in Europe, and of course, it’s a much more regulation-friendly environment. American citizens have a lot less concern about trading information for free goods or services, like email, maps, chat or photo sharing, and it hasn’t seemed necessary.

3. What do the new privacy regulations mean for users in the United States?

It depends on the company. In the short term, it means a lot of emails about updated terms of service and privacy policies, which you’ve already probably noticed. But some companies, like Microsoft, have said that it’s going to make the rules of the GDPR standard for every user, even people in the United States. So in theory, that could mean that you could call up Microsoft, ask to see what personal information it has about you and maybe ask Microsoft to delete it.

4. What do businesses need to do to comply?

First, they have to figure out if this applies to them. It applies to any business that processes the information of anyone located in the EU. There are probably some businesses that don’t realize that their mailing list is international.

And even if they don’t understand exactly how to comply with the new rules — because they are a little bit vague — experts say that they at least have to make a good-faith effort to get consent from people in the EU to collect and use their information.

5. What does the future hold for new privacy regulations? Could this be a new standard?

That’s the hope of a lot of privacy advocates. It is likely to have a trickle-down effect on big companies, at least. It will just be easier in the long run to have one set of behaviors for how you treat personal information . And it could lead other jurisdictions to craft new privacy rules in the image of the GDPR. California is working on very strong regulations, for example.

It’s also important to note, though, that this will have a lot of downstream impacts on companies, especially small ones that can’t take the risk of large fines if they expand into Europe.    So the big will stay big and get bigger.

Totebaggers, have you been reading the new privacy notices?   Are you planning to take any action to examine the data held on you?    Are you actively concerned about privacy issues in general?

Note:   Our site was established under an earlier version of WordPress that allows fully anonymous comments with no requirement to provide an email address.  (Some posters have routinely filled in the box, but it is not necessary.)    So far an update has not been forced on us.   We therefore do not request or “monitor” personal data.    We also do not engage in economic activity.

2018 Politics Open Thread, Jun 3-9

From WCE

This article on fiscal capacity- many red-leaning states lack enough rich people to tax to provide adequate public services- summarizes what is a primary reason for the political divide. Areas with wealthy people to tax lean blue, and neither the affluent blue areas nor the less affluent red areas truly “see” the other. Both New Mexico (blue) and Utah (red) are exceptions to the general rule. Other countries including Canada do more to equalize the provision of public services.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/04/teacher-protests-funding-difficulties-red-states-underlying-cause/

Weddings, Proms, Graduations and Parties

by Louise

It’s the season for celebrations. The Royal Wedding was perhaps the biggest such media event of the year. Do you have any celebrations coming up ? Are you the host or hostess or a guest ? Have you looked at an invitation dress code and wondered what to wear ? Any trusty outfits you routinely dust off and wear again ?
Let’s talk about celebrations, the trends, the fashions and departures from custom.

Apparently, some people like to Cry

by Mémé

This article from the NYT piqued my interest.   You see, I HATE to cry, and rarely do.   Sentimental stuff doesn’t turn on the waterworks.    Most of the the crying I have done in my life after childhood is the hard, ugly, devastated and/or frustrated kind.     The only kind I have ever found cathartic is the one associated with biological reaction to a sudden physical injury.

The author states:

I cry. I am a crier. Crying releases the anger and frustration. Crying gets the sad out, and it humbles me in a good way. In the aftermath of crying, I experience clarity of thought and a burst of productivity.

And then she lists her favorite ways to make herself cry.   In the internet era, she likes to seek out soldier surprise homecoming videos, tragic gofundme campaigns.   And there are the old standbys –  books like Beaches, TV shows like This is Us, and apparently daytime TV such as Ellen deGeneres.

Are you someone who finds crying a welcome release?   Do you seek it out?   What odd things make you cry?

 

That which does not kill us, makes us stronger

 

A high school friend is sailing from California to Florida. He has done a number of things in his life, military, acting, private investigator and is now retired in his early 50s and sailing from California to Florida. One of the many refreshing things about his FB posts are his refusal to worry about material possessions. He has lost a house in a wildfire, rebuilt it, wrote a how to book about the process, and generally refuses to worry about lots of stuff.

Someone expressed recently expressed concern about a big storm/potential hurricane in the Gulf, and his response was basically: I’ll ride it out, or get behind a sea wall and get a hotel. If the boat sinks, I have insurance and will buy another one.

I recall in high school he was as worried as the rest of us about how life would pan out. Now, not so much.

Have you been able to navigate life challenges and jettison baggage/concerns/worries because, well you faced a challenge, saw it through and realized that it was handle-able?

5 Chores You Should Never Skip (Even If You’re Busy)

 by saacnmama
From the site Apartment Therapy

1. Making the bed

2. Doing the dishes

3. Picking up dirty laundry

4. Quick countertop swipes

5. Vacuuming common areas

The complementary list of weekly(?) chores that they think can be skipped if you are busy.

1. Mopping

2. Scrubbing the shower

3. Taking out the trash

4. Doing laundry

5. Organizing your entryway, dining room or coffee table

These are so different than mine! When I make the bed during the day, it makes no difference to me.  I fold back the sheets to air out when I wake up, and pull them straight sometime before going to bed.  What is really worth making time for is putting things away.   I have no trouble rinsing dishes off as they’re used or tossing things in the hamper, or even in the washing machine, as long as that next step isn’t blocked. What about you? What are your “must do” chores to keep your home clean?

 

Memorial Day Open Thread

Here are the topics for the rest of the week :

Tu – 5 CHORES YOU SHOULD NEVER SKIP

Wed – THAT WHICH DOES NOT KILL US, MAKES US STRONGER

Th – SOME PEOPLE LIKE TO CRY

Fri –  WEDDINGS, PROMS, GRADUATIONS

Totebag challenge week 3 will go up Wednesday.  The final challenge day in June is a Friday, so weeks 3 and 4 will be Eight Days a Week.

 

 

2018 Politics Open Thread, May 27- Jun 2

“I’m sick and tired of old men sitting around in air conditioned rooms here in Washington, dreaming up wars for young men to die in.” — George McGovern

Memorial Day is a time to remember and honor those who died in military service.     In my (Mémé’s) opinion, there is no greater honor than to stop adding to their number.

 

 

What’s in a (middle) name?

by Mémé

From time to time we have discussions on names, and trends in names.   Unfortunately, the anonymous nature of the site means that we can’t relate much of anything about the actual names used in our families.

Do you have a middle name?   Do your kids have them?    Is there something in your ethnic or regional background that dictates what is used as a middle name or how many or the order?    What about using two or more last names from both sides of the family?  How about Saints’ names?  Or the Southern custom of using  a family surname for a middle name and going by that instead of the more vanilla first name?

And if you feel like it, please share some of your real ones.    In my immediate family the middle names are  Biblical:   Asher, Isaiah, Ruth, Elizabeth, Jochebed (pronounced yō-‘HEH-but, Moses’ mother), Abraham.   Except for me.  My 1950s mom was assimilated in the fashion oand didn’t want to be ethnic, so it is Beth to honor my late grandmother, Beile (BAY-luh).

Are Bookstores Relevant?

by Lemon

I came across this opinion piece and was taken aback at the thought that Barnes & Noble may disappear. I love bookstores and love that there is a B&N five minutes from me. I often go with my kids so they can explore and find books that interest them. We’ve adapted to their changes (smaller store, much smaller kids section with no reading nooks or chairs to lose yourself in a book, and less staff), and it looks like we may have to adapt some more.

We are avid users of our library too but there is something about an outing to the bookstore that we love to do as family.

Would you be sad if Barnes and Noble closes? Do you think Amazon is to blame? Will you use the library more or seek out independent booksellers?

Make School Tougher to Improve Behavior?

by L

The calculus track can keep kids on the straight and narrow! Who’d’ve thought?

For those outside the paywall, the abstract of the original paper.

Previous studies have shown that years of formal schooling attained affects health behaviors, but little is known about how the stringency of academic programs affects such behaviors, especially among youth. Using national survey data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBS), we study the effects of mathematics and science high-school graduation requirements (HSGR) on high school students’ risky health behaviors–specifically on drinking, smoking, and marijuana use. We find that an increase in mathematics and science HSGR has significant negative impacts on alcohol consumption among high-school students, especially males and non-white students. The effects of math and science HSGR on smoking and marijuana use are also negative but generally less precisely estimated. Our results suggest that curriculum design may have potential as a policy tool to curb youth drinking.

Mémé’s comment:   The author of the NYT article completed the assignment, but  without saying in so many words conveys the impression that correlation is not causation in this case.   The study’s authors did account for the effects of increased standards on dropouts who are not counted, but they have made a less than half hearted attempt to explain anything else.

Open Thread

Topics for the rest of the week:

Wed –  MAKE SCHOOL TOUGHER TO IMPROVE BEHAVIOR?

Th –  ARE BOOKSTORES RELEVANT?

Fri – WHAT’S IN A (MIDDLE) NAME?

There will be a new Open Thread started on Memorial Day and  assigned topics for the rest of that week.      There is now a tentative full slate of posts for an entire month,  (Way to go!! )   The tentative schedule is adjusted on the fly to balance serious vs light, insert new submissions that enhance the set list,  and to push back any that duplicate a long tangential discussion.  The goal is to be fully scheduled for three-four weeks out at all times.

Just in case there is still confusion about submitting posts that include links to sites behind a paywall.    All submissions are welcome to either administrator.   If the link is behind a paywall (other than the NYT), please provide excerpts or a summary in the body of the post OR send me (Mémé) an email with a link I can access and I’ll do the work of selecting excerpts.      Some readers don’t choose to establish an email relationship at all, or want to stick with July only.    The Suggest Posts page is for everyone’s convenience.

Also, topics presented on Suggest Topics or via email ready to go as posts will likely end up in the queue earlier than a statement in the regular thread or on Suggest Topics along the lines of,  why don’t we have a post about x topic.

How to Maintain Sibling Relationships

by Lark

We frequently touch on our siblings, but have we discussed them in depth?

Do you have strong sibling relationships? What are you doing to foster strong sibling relationships among your kids? Could your parents have taken steps to make you closer to your siblings

08sl-siblings-superjumbo

Some tips from the article on how to repair/maintain relationships

Heal the past

The first step to establishing a healthy adult sibling relationship is to release baggage you’re carrying from childhood.

Share your goals

An easy topic to bond over is where you want to go in life, both in terms of this specific relationship and your overall goals.

Avoid contentious issues

When talking with your sibling, don’t bring up anything that could create strife, like politics, religion or even rehashing traumatic childhood memories. Accept that some topics will be off-limits

Don’t compare yourselves

“These comparisons people make as if they had it the same is really a lie,” Dr. Caspi said. “People don’t have it the same.” They have different experiences with different teachers and coaches and peers, all of which shape a person’s sense of self.

Verbalize your appreciation

Cultivate a friendship

2018 Politics Open Thread, May 20-26

I am sure there will be plenty to discuss this week.    Things are heating up internationally and domestically.

Submitted articles or thoughts that are political  or likely to stimulate oft repeated back and forth will be placed on the politics page as starters.  If you see what you  construe to be a  very liberal  topic starter, rest assured that soon after there will be a very conservative one, and vice versa.    Some weeks there will be no starter.     Next week is liberal, the week after conservative.     WCE is doing her part to help me out with sources.

Where would you choose to live in 1500?

by honolulumother

This post comes courtesy of my youngest, aka Tuxedo Boy.

If you were going to be sent back 500 years into the past to live but could choose the location, where do you think would be the best place to live?  You can keep your basic talents and personality, but you’re rolling the dice (or we’re drawing a Rawlsian veil of ignorance) as to your social class, sex, and race / ethnicity.  Alternatively, where do you think would be the worst place to live?
I chose China for my best place to live — they’re in the middle of the Ming dynasty so if I’m a peasant my crops aren’t so likely to be burned, and they promote based on civil service exams instead of who your parents are.  My worst place to live is the Aztec Empire.  It’s already the kind of place where they think nothing of sacrificing you and wearing your skin as a cape, and yet things are about to get significantly worse.
How about you?  Where would / wouldn’t you choose to live 500 years ago?

Paying For College

by Lark

We have a number of readers now whose kids are in college or heading off this fall. How’s the financial aspect been? Did you save enough? Have there been expenses you didn’t anticipate? How much are you requiring your kids to contribute, either to tuition or incidentals? If you could go back 5 years, is there anything you’d do differently financially?

 

Words

by saacnmama

This is a very verbal group, and we are fortunate to have some great writers here. Whatever our level of writing skill, it’s clear that we all like words to some degree; how else would we stick with a group that communicates nearly exclusively in writing?  By this point, most of us have a good guess of the others’ ages. But stepping into the wayback machine, we may have deduced which generations others belong to partially based on vocabulary.

 Do you use any of these words, or have you used them in the past? I never slept on a Davenport or asked anyone about “tricks”, but I not only said “mood ring” and “pet rock”, I had them (a magic 8 ball and Twister too). I still catch myself asking someone to “roll” down a car window and referring to “tape”.
Of course, this is not a complete listing. And there are words the next generation may find embarrassing that we don’t see as problematic. Have you caught yourself using any of these words or phrases? Are there others you have consciously dropped?

 

by Mémé

“How does a word get into a dictionary? It gets in because we use it and we keep using it, and dictionary editors are paying attention to us. If you’re thinking, “But that lets all of us decide what words mean,” I would say, “Yes it does, and it always has.”Dictionaries are a wonderful guide and resource, but there is no objective dictionary authority out there that is the final arbiter about what words mean. If a community of speakers is using a word and knows what it means, it’s real. That word might be slangy, that word might be informal, that word might be a word that you think is illogical or unnecessary, but that word that we’re using, that word is real.”    

Anne Curzan

Link to ted talk on the subject

Have you adopted new words from your children, or colleagues, or social media?

 

 

 

Open Thread

Mémé:  I am trying out different ways to present articles that are behind paywalls.  I intend to pick out some choice sections and include them in the body of the post.  Feedback will be appreciated.  Most of the submissions so far are from the NYT, where I have a subscription, so I can fiddle around.   (I repeat my request for submissions from those of you who are regular readers of sites other than  NYT, WaPo, Vox, Slate.)    Be advised that I don’t pay for WSJ (no free articles), so I need some of the content provided via email or inserted into the body of the post so that I can share with the group.

July is planning to do some cleanup on the site. For now, Politics will stay as is.

There will  be 30 day challenges again.  My first reaction was that to enable maximum participation it may be best to wait until after summer vacation season.   However, there appears to be a movement for a fitness challenge in the near future.    So we will facilitate that for after Memorial Day.     I am not up to speed yet on how to set it all up.

Topic titles for the rest of the week are:

Wed – WORDS

Th –  PAYING FOR COLLEGE

Fri – WHERE WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO LIVE IN 1500?

Resolutions for Parents of Grown Children

by Risley

From a January NYT article.

Resolution No. 1: Be as polite and uncritical as you would be with comparative strangers. I’ve been working on this one for years; it’s the one that encompasses the need to keep quiet about a child’s choice of attire or music or crush object, the way you would about a colleague’s. We are almost all of us able to refrain from needling the people we work with, the people we meet at parties, the people who ask us for directions on the street. It might not seem like a high bar to show that same level of fairly bland and often insincere courtesy toward children, instead of letting them know where there’s room for improvement, but it takes a lot of reminding and a lot of resolving.

Equal and opposite: Go ahead and be yourself every now and then; we’re all family here.

Resolution No. 2: Give grown-up children credit for being grown-up. They are more competent than you think. They manage perfectly well when you aren’t around. They solve problems, they manage their lives. If you seize on some convenient (and amusing) example of non — grown-up behavior (brought dirty laundry home, left the dirty dishes piled up on the counter), you are probably missing a plethora of quiet examples of a young adult navigating the world without making a big fuss about it.

Equal and opposite: Relish the fact that sometimes the whole point of coming home for grown-up kids is to stop being grown-up for a while.

Resolution No. 3: Don’t try to keep up too much of a good front; they’re old enough to know that their parents are human. Part of helping our children navigate adult life is often admitting things to them which we might have kept quieter when they were young: jobs are difficult and sometimes frustrating, long-term relationships have their ups and downs, parents are vulnerable and fallible and often confused, just like everyone else. The truth is, of course, that our children come to know us very well as they grow up, and they are unlikely to be shocked, or even mildly surprised, by our faults — but acknowledging those faults with an increasing degree of rueful honesty is a way of acknowledging our children as equals.

Equal and opposite: Don’t tell them what they don’t want to know.

Resolution No. 4: Don’t track them too closely. This one plays out in so many ways, from the message-me-that-you-got-home-safe requests to the less than subtle ways that I have tried to extract details of not only my own children’s health and well-being, but also the health and well-being of their friends and roommates. I tell myself that my motives are good, whether parental or pediatric, but the truth is, I would have deeply resented any such intrusiveness on the part of my own parents. When your children grow up, you should track less and let them tell you what they want to tell you.

Equal and opposite: Just tell them: Message me that you got home safe. I’m your mother. I won’t be able to go to sleep myself till I know you’re O.K.

Here is a link to the whole article:

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/01/15/well/family/resolutions-for-parents-of-grown-children.html

Note:   Next Monday the topic, suggested by Lark, will be  Maintaining Relationships with your Siblings, so the general discussion of adult family dynamics will have a second chapter.

 

2018 Politics Open Thread, May 13-19

WCE suggested this WSJ article on Ben Carson’s proposals for HUD rent increases.  It is behind the paywall, so I reproduce it in its entirety.

The rationale for Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty” was that the government should take a more active role in helping people get on their feet. Today the federal government is more active than ever in this regard, but whether its efforts are truly helping is debatable.

Ben Carson, a former neurosurgeon who now runs the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, understands that often the best way for the government to help the poor is by getting out of their way. In an interview Monday, Mr. Carson explained to me how some of America’s federal rental-assistance programs have become barriers to upward mobility by effectively discouraging work, marriage and other behaviors that tend to help people advance economically.

“We have stagnation,” Mr. Carson said. “We have people in public housing not for a few years but for a few generations, with no incentive to come out.” In New York City, which has the nation’s largest public-housing system, the average tenant has been there for almost 20 years. “We’re trying to get people out of chronic poverty.”

Many of Mr. Carson’s critics are more interested in defending a status quo that keeps poor people dependent on government aid. HUD is urging Congress to pass legislation allowing local public-housing authorities, among other things, to impose work requirements and reduce red tape. In public housing, the more money you make, the more you pay in rent. The incentives couldn’t be more perverse, often leading people to hide income or work less.

William Russell, the head of the public-housing authority in Sarasota, Fla., who testified before a congressional subcommittee last month, told me that his biggest frustration is how the system discourages families from increasing their incomes. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to explain to someone, who’s gotten a job and their income has gone up, that now their rent has to go up,” he said. “And they don’t understand how this makes any sense.” Mr. Russell worked at HUD during the George W. Bush administration and was a New York City housing official in the 1990s.

In the real world, two-parent households have clear economic advantages, since everything from child care to transportation to housing costs is shared. But in the world created by federal rental-assistance guidelines, people think differently. In a typical scenario, Mr. Russell told me, the significant other comes over at night and then sneaks out the next morning to avoid detection by the housing officials. “That sets up a horrible dynamic between us and our families,” he said. “The truth is, I want more fathers and men to be in the community, living there and being active in their kids’ lives and offering more stability in general. This current policy is holding back our families.”

Mr. Carson aims to change this dynamic. HUD’s proposals are based on successes in places like Atlanta; San Diego; Charlotte, N.C.; and Cambridge, Mass. Under a federal program initiated in 1996 and expanded in 2015, around 140 of the nation’s 3,400 public-housing agencies have gained the freedom to tailor rental-assistance policies to local needs. Since San Diego implemented its program under the new guidelines in 2013, tenant incomes have increased 25%, according to the city’s housing commission. Mr. Carson wants to give more housing authorities similar flexibility.

The most controversial part of HUD’s proposal would raise monthly rents for people receiving federal housing subsidies. They would pay 35% of gross income instead of the current 30%. The plan would also triple the minimum monthly rent for the poorest households to $150. Naturally, liberals have pounced. Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, called the proposal “immoral” and “the latest example of the Trump administration’s war on poor people.” Calm down.

The reality is that about half of the 4.7 million families on rental assistance would be unaffected by the changes. The elderly and disabled are exempt, and additional carve-outs are available for financial hardship, such as a death in the family or the loss of employment. About 712,000 households on housing subsidies would have their monthly rents raised to $150, according to HUD. Mr. Carson told me that the rent increase was necessitated by budget constraints. The last time Congress increased rents was 1981, when they rose to 30% of income from 25% for the same reason.

Mr. Carson said he wishes rents didn’t have to rise but thinks the proposal is still a net plus for participants. He also stressed that this is the beginning of a legislative process and that he’s open to hearing ideas from Democrats on how to make the housing program more effective and sustainable.

“We’re all ears,” he said. So far, he’s heard only jeers.

 

Favorite Gadgets

by Houston

 

Gadgets! What are your favorite gadgets? Either oldies but goodies, or recent purchases? Do you have any gadgets that were a total waste of money?

For our family, we love our Chrome Casts. We have two (one for each tv) that allow us to stream content easily. We also bought one for DS at college and my in-laws.

 

The article mentions 1) Alexa and her cousins, 2) Roku, etc., and 3) the following

The gadget that finds all your lost gadgets

In 2013, a small company started a crowdfunding campaign, met its goal, racked up more than 200,000 presales and earned a loyal customer base. Today that company, Tile, makes a well-known Bluetooth tracker that attaches to anything you deem important and keeps track of it via a mobile app. There are now other Bluetooth trackers that make finding your keys, wallet or anything else easier than ever.

Wirecutter recommends the Tile Sport for its Bluetooth range, alarm volume and handy crowd-finding feature. Basically, if you lose an item that has a Tile attached to it, anyone with the Tile app who passes by will help ping the location of your lost item to you. The person doesn’t have to actively use the app to help you (and won’t know you lost something).

If you prefer a Bluetooth tracker with a replaceable battery (but less stellar Bluetooth range and no crowd-finding), Wirecutter recommends the TrackR Pixel. You can replace the battery, rather than the whole product, and the alert system includes flashing lights.

 

That Mom

by Louise

The other day, I jokingly told DD that I was going to email the middle school and request more homework based on the light homework pattern I’d seen with her brother. She rolled her eyes and told me not be That Mom.

It got me thinking about who exactly is That Mom.  The antithesis of Mom and Apple Pie, Strawberries and Cream, Pretty Flowers and Cards.

I think of her as the woman who pushed for doctors and teachers to take notice, provide treatment or a plan of action and didn’t give up. If her own child couldn’t benefit it pushed the door open wider for others. She became an activist for a cause.

I think of her as a woman doing her best to provide for her kids. When her kids are hesitant to ask the teacher about things neither they nor her understands she pushes and prods. Tiger Mom she is not, it is more like Mama Elephant.

When I celebrate Mother’s day with my mother, I won’t be celebrating the seemingly sweet looking petite older lady. I’ll be celebrating That Mom.

Eat your greens, but watch out for E coli

by MooshiMooshi

Reasons why lettuce in particular, and raw veggies overall, are now the big culprits in E. coli outbreaks.

I  try to avoid bagged lettuce in general because it is too often not as fresh as I would like, and also often has a strange smell and texture. I would rather rip and wash my own lettuce, but it is getting harder and harder to buy whole head lettuce. In the summer, I grow a lot of lettuce but that does not work well in winter.
What do you guys do to lessen the risk?

 

Open thread and topics request

by Mémé

I am not undertaking any significant travel until the fall, and so will be the post scheduler and first line of administration for the next four months.   July is still actively involved, but she deserves a rest from the day-to-day admin duties.   Please bear with me as I get more familiar with WordPress.

I plan to reinstitute Fun Fridays.    Nothing heavy, unless current events warrant it, on Fridays.    Non-holiday Mondays will always have a topic.  Tuesdays will normally be Open Thread days, with a listing of the topics for the rest of the week.    If you have submitted topics on college or finance, be advised that I will be spacing those out since many of our daily threads veer off into those areas.    If I don’t have contact info for you, I will not be able to tell you in advance that your topic has been scheduled for a particular day.

Conservative readers, including lurkers and occasional commenters, I implore you to submit articles from some of your regular reading sources.     Submissions can be made by adding a comment to Suggested Topics, above.   Or send me an email at memetotebag @ outlook.com.  During this time, July will forward posts to me if you submit them to her.

I also ask that if any discussion thread or posted item on the Politics thread is perceived by the regulars over there to get out of hand (and that would take a lot), or if the page gets spammed, please alert me via email or FB for those who know me IRL.   I won’t be checking into that page frequently or even reading every post, especially during the hundred post heated back and forth exchanges.

This week’s remaining topic titles:

Wed – EAT YOUR GREENS, BUT WATCH OUT FOR E.COLI

Th –  THAT MOM  (Mother’s Day Post)

Fri – FAVORITE GADGETS

 

 

 

When time runs out to mend a relationship

By Mémé based on a post by saacnmama

Have you ever had a break in a significant relationship, one that you intended to mend, but the person died before you could?

S&M mentioned that seeing praise in the memorial comments for the traits you knew back in the day makes it all the more strange.

Sometimes a break is mostly a matter of drifting apart.   I am sure most of us have been on the sending and receiving end of mid life facebook inquiries.   Sometimes there is follow up, sometimes not.

0ther times there was a clear event or series of events that caused the break.    If we were primarily at fault, we can look to the well known  9th step of AA and other recovery programs.   “Make direct amends to persons [you have harmed], except when to do so would injure them or others.”   Making amends is not merely apologizing or asking forgiveness, but taking action to repair any harm, if possible.

And reaching out to someone when we feel that we are the aggrieved party is very tricky.    “I forgive you” is probably not the best opening line, even if it is true in a spiritual sense.

I recall a book in the 1980s, something like  how to make peace with you parents  (even if they are dead).      That one was helpful to me.  I think my Mom recommended it in the days before we had become close again.