Open Thread for Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Legislature is back this week, so the time has arrived when downtown Columbia comes alive with the original purpose of the city’s founding.

And here are two or three topics y’all might want to talk about:

What did you think of Nikki Haley’s speech? — If you missed it, you can read it here. It garnered some positive reviews from some unlikely quarters, such as from here.

Get ready for a huge fight over DHEC nominee — It sort of blew my mind when I saw that Eleanor Kitzman was nominated to take over our state health and environment agency. We’re talking about a woman whose main qualification for the position is her ferocious loyalty to Nikki Haley. Remember this? But you know what? Aside from this one nominee, it would probably be a good development if SC senators would start raising some questions about executive branch nominees, in the name of transparency. We definitely don’t need it to be like inside the Beltway, where nominees get blocked because they’re from the opposite party. But some germane questioning and challenging of credentials would be nice. And then, of course, if their credentials stand up, they should be promptly confirmed. Anyway, senators are indicating they’re going to start advising some before consenting. We’ll see how good a job they do.

How “free-range” should kids be today? — Here’s something you should definitely check out:

But don’t just take Lenore’s word on what happened — we know where she’d be coming from (these parents are devotees of her movement) . Here’s the story in The Washington Post today. An excerpt:

It was a one-mile walk home from a Silver Spring park on Georgia Avenue on a Saturday afternoon. But what the parents saw as a moment of independence for their 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, they say authorities viewed much differently.

Danielle and Alexander Meitiv say they are being investigated for neglect for the Dec. 20 trek — in a case they say reflects a clash of ideas about how safe the world is and whether parents are free to make their own choices about raising their children.

“We wouldn’t have let them do it if we didn’t think they were ready for it,” Danielle said….

Or, we could talk about what you want to talk about…

31 thoughts on “Open Thread for Thursday, January 15, 2015

  1. Kathryn Fenner

    I think we are far too concerned about stranger danger, when the overwhelming risk to our kids in terms of both abuse and abduction is from people they know. I think that encouraging children to develop *smart* independence such as walking a mile to a park in a suburban neighborhood is great!
    You can’t protect your kids from everything, but you sure can set them up for a lifetime of anxiety by smothering them and terrifying them.

    1. Bryan Caskey

      Yeah, it’s a balancing act. I think there’s also some parental “peer pressure” to supervise kids, too. For example, when I’m out at the park with my three year old son, he likes to run around from one piece of playground equipment to the other the whole time. He does each thing once and then goes to the next.

      I would normally sit back and just let him run around (he doesn’t need my help to climb up and then slide down a slide, or ride the little dinosaurs on springs), but I feel like “Well, everyone else here is within arm’s reach of their kid the entire time, chasing them around, so I guess I’ll look like the ‘bad parent’ if I don’t do the same thing.”

      Sometimes I overcome that, sometimes I don’t. It doesn’t help when sometimes I’m the only dad out on the playground with a child, and the rest is all moms.

  2. Barry

    10 and 6? As the parent of a 14 year old, 11 year old, and a 7 year old, I wouldn’t let me two younger children walk that far.

    Their judgement is pretty good, but at that age, they don’t understand a lot of basic things- like the speed of cars relative to their slow pace of walking.

    They also don’t understand that there are people out there that could take advantage of that situation- like the guy in Forest Acres that tried to kidnap a child here in Columbia this week.

      1. Barry

        I take my children to school every day.

        I see children as young as 5 years old walking several hundred yards or more to school- always on a sidewalk- with a traffic guard keeping watch. That’s perfectly reasonable- and they are perfectly safe. The sidewalk is set back off the road. Even falling off the sidewalk- the child would be safe.

        I also take my oldest to a middle school where there is no sidewalk- and I see 6th graders (approx 12 years old ) walking right next to the roadway, through front yards – and it’s very dangerous.

        At least once a week I see a child too close to the roadway- and large trucks and other vehicles going too fast. IF a child slipped and fell, or a dog took off out of a yard after then right as a truck when by, they wouldn’t have a chance.

    1. Norm Ivey

      I think it depends on where the kids were. Walking along familiar neighborhood streets is far different than walking along Forest Drive at rush hour. I know I walked with my older sisters to the public library in downtown Winchester, Virginia when I was 6 or younger. My eldest sister would have been 10 or 11 at the time. I spent many hours running around other places I lived as a child alone and unsupervised except for telling my folks where I was going and when I would be back. The question has to be whether these kids were endangered by walking home from the park together.

  3. Phillip

    Reading Nikki Haley’s speech quoting Martin Luther King, Jr., and Henry David Thoreau is a bit like those Republican candidates using music at their rallies by rock bands and musicians whose political beliefs are polar opposite of the candidate’s (like Springsteen). The difference here is that MLK and Thoreau aren’t around to “call shenanigans.”

    1. Barry

      Sounds like you’ve been reading Daily Kos (this is their logic – labeling her a “cultural sellout” because they don’t agree with her positions. Love that level of open-mindedness.

      She has as much right as anyone else- maybe even more so.

      She’s one of two sitting Indian American governors, and of course the first woman to lead South Carolina.

  4. Bryan Caskey

    Read the speech; not bad. Uplifting and generally optimistic tone. Kind of general, not really any specific policy. Therefore, nothing terribly objectionable to anyone. I’m pretty sure we all agree that we should strive to have “a heart full of grace” and a “soul generated by love” along with putting foundations underneath our “castles in the air”.

  5. Karen Pearson

    After seeing the way the children behaved on TV last night, I think that they can walk in safety.

    I miss having Robert Arial’s cartoons in the paper.

    Inoffensive speech signifying nothing.

    Is she really trying to get another person who’s not qualified to head up that agency?? To do so may endanger anyone in a nursing home or, for that matter, anyone who drinks Columbia water.

        1. Pat

          Aerial was hired by the Spartanburg Herald-Journal. He’s not in the paper every day but is in with some regularity.
          I think papers share some, don’t they?

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              No, Robert has not been rehired by the newspaper. Actually, he is not formally affiliated with ANY newspaper (he was with Spartanburg for a time, but not now), although he has a deal with SC papers to do SC cartoons, and with the Commercial Appeal to do some Memphis-themed cartoons, in addition to the national and international stuff he does for the syndicate.

              What changed with The State is that they are now subscribing to his syndicated and SC cartoons.

    1. Norm Ivey

      It kind of strikes me as a self-conscious act. The best way to handle the original goof was to apologize, learn, and move on. But I guess if you want to give a gift to express your regret, a song from Taylor works better than, say, a bottle of wine.

    1. Doug Ross

      I’ll be there for the noon-4 session. Pour me a little extra in my cup, please! 🙂 And try to catch me early in the session. After many beer samples, I start talking like a liberal.


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