Not much time for posting today, but I did get drawn into this NY Times article about a man charged with sexual abuse of his wife who suffers from dementia. The husband had relations after nursing home staff informed him that she was incapable of consent.
If likes on comments are any indication, it appears that considerably more NY Times readers disapprove of the prosecution than approve.
Psychoanalyst Galit Atlas wrote in the NY Times about a 44-year-old patient who obsessively investigated the lives of strangers listed in newspaper obituaries. For much of his life, the patient also felt he had a dead twin that his parents never told him about.
The patient's mother scoffed at that suggestion, but after her death, the patient's father revealed that a brother, one year older than the patient, died at the age of 8 months. The parents didn't want to burden their second child with this knowledge, so they decided they wouldn't tell him about this traumatic piece of family history. The revelation became necessary upon the death of the mother because the parents wished to be buried in plots beside the deceased child.
Frank Bruni wrote a thoughtful piece about teen suicide and excessive pressure to achieve. Suicide isn't a simple matter of excessive pressure, but this observation is interesting.
Adam Strassberg, a psychiatrist and the father of two Palo Alto teenagers, wrote that while many Palo Alto parents are “wealthy and secure beyond imagining,” they’re consumed by fear of losing that perch or failing to bequeath it to their kids. “Maintaining and advancing insidiously high educational standards in our children is a way to soothe this anxiety,” he said.
He made these observations apart from the suicides, for which, he emphasized, “There is no single cause.” He recommended lightening children’s schedules, limiting the number of times that they take the SAT, lessening the message that it’s Stanford or bust.
“I will never be neutral on this issue,” he wrote. “The ‘Koala Dad’ is the far better parent than the ‘Tiger Mom.’ ”
Many wealthy parents are terrified that their kids will slip and lose their place at the top of the food chain. Note, I use the term 'food chain' intentionally because I believe that the intense competition at the top can trigger predatory death anxiety. It's no accident that Tiger Mom chose that name to describe herself and her child-rearing. She's a tiger and wants to raise tigers. The thought of raising anything else is terrifying.
I suppose that for parents who've grown accustomed to the security of vast resources, the possibility that their kid will be an average kid can raise fears that the kid will be eaten alive by the world. That's not an entirely baseless fear given that the world does eat many people alive, but as Strassberg also suggests, that fear for the kid's fate can be bound up with the parents' own anxiety about losing their own place in the food chain.
Perhaps such fear is magnified for parents who've built vast wealth on their own, as opposed to those who are backed by the security of great inherited wealth. The former may be more keenly attuned to the dangers of the jungle, and so fear more for themselves and their children, especially if those children don't seem voraciously hungry and prepared to defend their place at the top.
There are two big lessons from GE’s announcement that it is planning to get out of the finance business. First, the much maligned Dodd-Frank financial reform is doing some real good. Second, Republicans have been talking nonsense on the subject. OK, maybe point #2 isn’t really news, but it’s important to understand just what kind of nonsense they’ve been talking.
GE Capital was a quintessential example of the rise of shadow banking. In most important respects it acted like a bank; it created systemic risks very much like a bank; but it was effectively unregulated, and had to be bailed out through ad hoc arrangements that understandably had many people furious about putting taxpayers on the hook for private irresponsibility.
Most economists, I think, believe that the rise of shadow banking had less to do with real advantages of such nonbank banks than it did with regulatory arbitrage — that is, institutions like GE Capital were all about exploiting the lack of adequate oversight. And the general view is that the 2008 crisis came about largely because regulatory evasion had reached the point where an old-fashioned wave of bank runs, albeit wearing somewhat different clothes, was once again possible.
Krugman interprets GE's exit from the business as a sign that Dodd-Frank is working because shadow bankers can no longer play the same moral hazard game. They can't engage high upside but high-risk lending practices with too-big-to-fail offloading of risk to taxpayers.
Writing on The ScentificParent blog, a chagrined Canadian mom announced that she is leaving the anti-vaxx movement after all of her seven children — four of them completely unvaccinated — have come down with whooping cough.
Writing from quarantine, and surrounded by sick kids, Tara Hills wrote she is “emotionally, a bit raw. Mentally a bit taxed. Physically I’m fine,” before admitting that not only are her own kids sick, but they may have exposed her five-month-old niece who is too young to be fully vaccinated.
[...]“My youngest three children were coughing so hard they would gag or vomit. I’d never seen anything like this before,” she wrote. ”
But you were warned, just like every other anti-vaxxer out there. You stubbornly refused to believe that you were playing with fire.
Anti-vaxx claims do not hold up to scrutiny: Vaccine War
A civilian caught on video behaving like this police officer would stand a good chance of facing an assault charge.
And in the second video, a detective appears to steal rent money from a store owner. Less conclusive than the video above, but it looks bad for the cop who was suspended only after the video made the news.