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Advocates for families caught up in the child-welfare system hope that the national debate sparked by the free-range parenting movement will draw attention to the threats and intrusions that poor and minority parents endure all the time. Child-neglect statutes, says Martin Guggenheim, a New York University law professor and codirector of the school’s Family Defense Clinic, tend to be extremely vague, giving enormous discretion to social workers. “The reason we’ve tolerated the level of impreciseness in these laws for decades,” he notes, “is that they tend to be employed almost exclusively in poor communities—communities that are already highly regulated and overseen by low-level bureaucrats like the police. For somebody like me, the ‘free-range’ cases that are hitting the paper today are a dream come true, because finally people who otherwise don’t care about this problem are now calling out and saying, ‘Aren’t we going too far here?’”


There are two new books coming out about Astrid Lindgren, and I am HERE FOR THEM:

Sometimes a book is published, and its impact is like a thunderbolt. “Pippi Longstocking” turned the established order upside-down, because it has a girl as a heroine who is stronger and many times smarter than any adult, and because the anarchy in the book triumphs over middle-class decency.

What made Lindgren invent such a hero in the middle of the war? Literary scholar Barbara Vinken described “Pippi Longstocking” as a “shifting insurrection.” In March 1944, Lindgren noted in her diary: “On the home front, Karin had the measles, with everything that goes with it, and she isn’t allowed to get up yet. — I am currently greatly amusing myself with Pippi.” She had injured her ankle and was forced to stay at home and rest. She was bored and took advantage of the time to write.


Becoming Rihanna:

The whole deal with this cover story was that she wouldn’t grant us any facetime, or phone time, but agreed to answer five questions over email.

Thing is, I knew she could go ghost. Not just because she can, which she can. Not just because of Beyoncé’s recent Vogue September issue cover story, where Pulitzer-prize winner Margo Jefferson wrote a killer writearound with zero involvement or comment from Bey’s camp. But because I’ve been in exactly this position before—seven times, actually, if you count each leg of Rihanna’s 777 Tour in 2012.

From Mexico City to Berlin and Toronto to Stockholm, I’ve waited for Rihanna. Once, I waited on the tarmac at Charles de Gaulle airport for three hours because she wasn’t quite finished shopping for lingerie at Chantal Thomas. After which she stopped at La Perla, another very nice underwear store. This was documented on Rihanna’s Instagram, and Just Jared’s. I think she ran into Puffy at La Perla.


Hogwarts Nine-Nine


I don’t know if you’ve been following The New York Timesseries on the very elderly, but it is very good and very interesting, and this installment is great:

FOR FREDERICK JONES, 88, the family safety net consists mostly of holes. Mr. Jones began the summer having portions of two toes amputated because of circulatory problems. He was discharged from a rehabilitation center in late August and sent home to his three-story walk-up apartment in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

“My insurance said they weren’t paying anymore,” he said, sitting amid the bills and junk mail that had piled up during his nearly three months away. The rehabilitation center had provided him with a walker, but it was too heavy to carry up and down the stairs, so it sat idle, in the spot where a neighbor had put it for him. Mr. Jones did not know when he would feel strong enough to leave the apartment.

The care he gets at home is minimal.

He has regular contact with only one of his six children, and she has breast cancer, which keeps her from spending much time with him, he said. He has too much money to qualify for Medicaid and most subsidized programs for low-income seniors, but not enough to afford private aides or to move from his rent-controlled apartment to a building with an elevator. When he was discharged from the rehabilitation center — “too soon,” he said — he was left with only short-term solutions: a visiting nurse to change the dressing on his foot, a part-time aide for three weeks and meals on wheels delivered twice a week.


Fuck this guy:

Inmates at the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York said the guards who beat them in the days after a brazen escape in June wore no name badges and did not identify themselves.

But one guard, the inmates said, stood out. He had a large tattoo of the American flag down his left arm and was known around the prison as Captain America.

No officer has been publicly implicated in any wrongdoing since an investigation by The New York Times nearly two months ago found what appeared to be a campaign of retribution against dozens of Clinton inmates after the escape at the prison.

Now, through interviews with inmates, The Times has identified Captain America as Chad Stickney, a gang intelligence officer and onetime steward in the state corrections officers’ union.


I really loved this long Ellen Page profile:

Today, she appears to be so open and frank and optimistic; before she came out, though, she was miserable. “I’m embarrassed to say how closeted I was,” she said. “I get sad thinking about it, honestly, because it was painful. And painful for people I was in relationships with. Just all-around destructive. Intolerance and closetedness is just a ripple effect of shit.”

She would hide women she was dating, she said, making them, for instance, leave a hotel by a different entrance to wait for her in a car. “That kind of shit,” Page said, sounding disgusted. “Go in the bathroom when room service comes. Or: This is my friend.” And, of course: “Noooo public interaction.” She cringed: “I feel bad about it. And I did start feeling really guilty about it. And I think that I should feel guilty about it.”


The vets and volunteers working with animals injured and displaced by the wildfires in California:

Lake County, where the poverty rate hovers around 25%, faces an extremely rough recovery from the fire, especially in Middletown. The implications of that poverty rate for animals are a longstanding problem, as Dr Christi Camblor, a veterinarian at Compassion Without Borders, explains. Her organization arrived at the Calistoga Fairgrounds to provide basic care to animals who had never seen a veterinarian before, including animals who hadn’t even received vaccinations. She adds that even as veterinarians in Lake County get their fire-related caseload under control, the issue of access to veterinary care for low-income people will remain a problem.


On the uses of orphans:

At the age of seven, I knew an awful lot about Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, China, and the Philippines so that I could correct adult strangers about conflicts from which they assumed I’d been salvaged. From the time I was 10, strangers wanted me to discuss my adoptive parents’ fertility, the cost of my adoption, the imagined poverty, sexual habits, and mortality of my birth mother, my genetic relationship to my sister, my wise advice to potential adopters, and my gratitude to parents and idle bystanders for my welcome in this country. They’ve used my “success,” for which they also claimed credit, to shame the supposed failures of the less fortunate. After I was attacked on a busy street, in daylight, by a white man who slammed me into a wall and hit me with a bottle, screaming at me to get out of his country, while dozens of people stood by and did nothing, I had to explain to my beloved grandfather why I questioned his railing at “the immigrants” to leave “his” country. (Mortified, he said he didn’t think of me “that way.”) And I’ve been wept at, confided in, and appealed to, by complete strangers—while I was trapped on flights or at work—to explain why their adopted children had grown alienated from them.

“Why does my daughter hate me?”
“Why is my son so angry?”


My friend Carrie’s new puppy has soulful eyes:

carmella_portrait


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