Kids today:

Earlier in the summer the fights were taking place at Bluegrass Park and he locked the park to prevent the problem. The group then moved to the city park to engage in fights.

“At 2:30 p.m. when the kids get off the school bus is when they are gathering,” Gainer said. “We need the city attorney to look into this.”

Gainer said with cooler weather setting in, the group’s numbers seem to have dwindled.

“We need to be proactive this winter to prevent the problem next spring and summer,” Gainer said. “One time there was a fight with two girls and there was blood everywhere.”

What a waste

DSC 0009

The house had been vacant for almost two years before we moved in, and the garden was an overgrown shambles. Making order of it wasn’t the first item on our to-do list, but we didn’t want to ignore it. The week before the in-laws arrived for a visit, I cut the grass, whacked weeds, and trimmed back some branches that overhung the walk.

On trash day, the bag of clippings was left behind, next to the empty cans.

“They aren’t taking yard waste anymore,” someone explained-something about that part of the dump being full.

We suspended gardening for the time being. There was plenty to do inside the house, anyway. To get rid of what the trash men hadn’t taken, I mixed handfuls of dead leaves and bundles of twigs in with our kitchen trash, a little at a time, like a prisoner sneaking tunnel-dirt out of a cell. We wanted to weed, tame our hedgerows, rake the leaves. The unfulfilled obligations of good neighborliness weighed heavily upon us, but what could we do? Would a huge pile of yard waste have been any less unsightly than our bristling hedges and choked flower beds?

When the city announced a special yard-waste pickup for six a.m. this Monday, it inspired Amy to spend Saturday afternoon weeding and trimming. By the end she had filled three large bags and tied up a big bundle of branches and sticks.

I would have thought that everyone on this well-kept street would do the same. But this was the view at 6:30 p.m. tonight, with a mere eleven and a half hours left before the trucks would come rumbling through, and rain clouds drifting in.

Did you know you can subscribe to Margin Notes by email? No more than one email per day (and then only if there is anything new to report). What’s not to like?

The Week’s Tweets (2010-09-05)

  • Example of writing what you know: the line "let's act like fools" in Blake Shelton's douche-bag anthem "All About Tonight." #Top40Country #
  • We say we want our children to follow their own paths, but what if they actually do it? #parenting #football #sports #
  • "[T]he spread of the VCR would have been delayed if porn weren't around, because the early adopters wouldn't be there." #
  • My latest Went West column: We say we want our children to follow their own paths, but what if they actually do it? #

The Week’s Tweets (2010-08-15)

  • South Haven! #
  • Law enforcement just doesn't look right to non-law enforcers. My debut article on The Awl: #policebrutality #police #
  • Major renovation operations at Buffalo Street are now over. Mission accomplished? #
  • If only I could have back all the hours I have spent searching for misplaced tools. #
  • So, strip Muslims of property rights/1st amendment protection or "the terrorists have won"? #UnclearOnTheConcept #
  • My latest Went West column: Don't fear the coyote but maybe fear some other things. #

And newspapers wonder why they are dying

Today brings the news that, according to this AP article, “some major health insurance companies have stopped issuing certain types of policies for children.”

Perhaps you are wondering why the insurance companies are doing this. Well, the AP says that this development is “an unintended consequence of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law, state officials said Friday.”

Okay, how so?

The next paragraph brings this “explanation”:

“Starting later this year, the health care overhaul law requires insurers to accept children regardless of medical problems. Insurers are worried that parents will wait until kids get sick to sign them up, saddling the companies with unpredictable costs.”

Okay, so that’s a pretty good explanation of why-like the insurance companies are saying and some insurance commissioners are agreeing-we probably need some sort of enrollment period for the “guaranteed issue” policies for children, so that parents can’t put off buying these policies until they are “on the way to the hospital,” as one insurance company executive worries that they will do.

And it helps make the point why, contrary to what some critics of the reform bill want to do, we can’t in general just tell insurance companies not to pay attention to preexisting conditions without forcing everyone to buy coverage. Again, people could just wait to enroll until they get sick, adding only costs and no revenue to the picture from the insurance companies’ point of view, which, you know, really would be anti-business and un-American and whatever other negative things the health-insurance-reform bill is alleged by critics to be.

But it’s not an explanation of why companies would stop issuing policies to children now, while they can still pick and choose which children to cover on the basis of preexisting conditions, general health, etc.

Perhaps the article is trying to make the point that there are two problems: (1) the insurance companies are stopping issuing policies now, and (2) they aren’t planning to start again once the new rules that will require guaranteed issue take effect in September.

Perhaps. And that really could be a problem, one for which the fairest solution would probably be to institute the aforementioned enrollment periods.

But the article only ever gets around to talking about problem 1, and never gets around to explaining problem 2, so I’m just guessing.

It’s disheartening that so few Americans can be bothered to follow important news (as opposed to news about, say, the New Black Panthers).

But when you read articles that make as little sense as this one, it’s hard to blame people for tuning out of coverage about the important stuff.

Did you know you can subscribe to Margin Notes by email? No more than one email per day (and then only if there is anything new to report). What’s not to like?

The Week’s Tweets (2010-07-18)

  • WHY won't the contractor just FINISH. THE. JOB. #AboutToRunAmokWithAMachinegun #
  • Intriguing that my pro-legalization article is getting supportive comments even at a "conservative" publication. #pot #
  • Oil leak capped, financial reform passed. Here's hoping Obama keeps "failing." #
  • "Mystery Plumber" may be brains behind containment cap. (Presence of "brains" indicates it's not Joe, however.) #
  • Indication no. 437 your news source is lying to you: they act like there is something significant about the "New Black Panthers." #
  • Either (1) the oil leak is capped or (2) BP is lying, so, you know, grain of salt. #bp #
  • Glad I just jury-rigged a standup desk! #
  • Dick Cheney is in the end stages of congestive heart failure. #
  • Yup: seeing "a bald eagle dumpster-diving, feathers matted with waste is … like walking in on Uncle Sam on the john." #
  • Tons of comments on my pot-legalization article–mostly pro. If you're against it, you'd better jump in! #pot #
  • You can now say f*** on the air. #
  • Legalize it, and I'll advertise it (well, I'll write a Went West column about it, anyway): #pot #legalization #prop19 #
  • Mark Twain: "Interviewers are courteous and gentle-mannered, even when they come to destroy." #
  • Why does everyone call the Russian spies "dumb"? They got paid for doing nothing. Sounds like their bosses are the dumb ones. #
  • My latest Went West column grapples with that New York mag article on parenting. #
  • "Wall Street hiring in anticipation of recovery": Reassuring? Or yet more proof that these guys aren't that bright? #

The Week’s Tweets (2010-07-11)

  • People are actually talking about whether tanning tax violates whites' rights. #MostInconsequentialSuperpowerEver #
  • Oooh, death panels are back! Also, new Medicare chief will somehow institute UK-style national healthcare on his own! #
  • So I hear there is someone who calls himself LeBron James. #
  • If the MSM is so "liberal," how come reporters only get fired for espousing liberal viewpoints? #
  • I know mama grizzly bears. Ex-governor Palin, you are no mama grizzly bear. #
  • Wow, Flickr now lets you "grab the code" to use Creative Commons photos, rather than having to download/reupload them. Nice! #
  • Republicans abusing filibuster rule angry at Obama for "abusing" recess-appointments rule. #
  • Is there some kind of big sports thing happening today or something? #
  • After 10+ yrs with credit unions, it's disconcerting to learn of all the different fees I'm expected to donate to a bank's shareholders. #
  • Internet petitions used to be meaningless/ineffective (due to ease of faking signatures, etc.). Has that changed? #
  • "Sometimes people who are self-righteous and not very bright say things they don't mean but think they should mean." #