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Wednesday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele — last modified Mar 21, 2024 12:19 PM

Yesterday's topics with the most engagement included a neighbor with long COVID, a kindergartener and racism, taking kids on vacation without a custody agreement, and a Supreme Court ruling about Texas's immigration law.

The most active thread yesterday was titled, "Neighbor is living her best life on Disability with ‘Long Covid’" and posted in the "Off-Topic" forum. The original poster writes that her neighbor, who is a federal employee, has not worked since the summer of 2020 because she has long COVID. Nevertheless, the neighbor plays tennis, hosts a book club, and frequently leaves on vacation, all the while collecting disability. The original poster concludes by saying that if this is what long COVID looks like, she would like to be signed up. I have no evidence that this is a troll post, but if it were a troll post, it is almost perfectly designed. It is full of hot button issues. It not only has COVID, the inspiration for multiple most active threads, but long COVID. The neighbor is said to be a federal employee, a group constantly attacked on DCUM as being lazy. Finally, the specter of welfare cheaters living lives of luxury is one that has long been used to manufacture outrage. So, of course, plenty of outrage was manufactured. "I hate people who take advantage of the system. She is taking advantage of the system" wrote one responder. Similarly, another replied, "I hate scammers." But, not all of those responding were ready to immediately grab their torches and pitchforks. To the contrary, one of the most frequent responses was to tell the original poster to mind her own business. As the original poster had predicted, many cautioned that the symptoms of long COVID are not always obvious and that the original poster has no way to know the neighbor's true health situation. Others explained that obtaining eligibility for disability is a complicated process that would require that doctors support the neighbor's diagnosis. Some pointed out that disability does not pay that much and questioned whether it would fund the type of lifestyle the original poster describes. A few posters claimed that long COVID is itself a scam. On the other hand, some posters were willing to accept the original poster's allegations at face value and offered advice as to how to respond. They suggested contacting the federal agency that employs the neighbor and provide an anonymous report. Others suggested that there might be a hotline that she could call. There were also suggestions to contact the Social Security Administration's fraud department. There are enough angles to this scenario to keep posters busy debating various combinations of them. For instance, there is considerable debate about how exactly disability works and whether or not the neighbor might be expected to do another job if she is unable to do her original job. As for her part, the original poster appears to have disappeared after a single follow-up report, perhaps leaving on vacation or catching a quick game of tennis.

The next most active thread was posted in the "Elementary School-Aged Kids" forum. Titled, "Addressing comment about racism", the original poster describes a somewhat complex series of events. The original poster's son is in kindergarten at a small private school at which he also attends aftercare. At aftercare, the original poster's son learned a racist word from an older child. The boy then called a 3rd grade girl that word. The 3rd grader's parents let the original poster know and she discussed why using that word was wrong with her son and had him apologize to the girl in front of her parents. The original poster also contacted the school to let them know what happened in aftercare and is not having her son participate in aftercare until the situation is corrected. At this point, the original poster felt that everything had been resolved. However, she has since learned through third parties that the 3rd grade girl has been telling people that the original poster's son is a racist. This understandably bothers the original poster, but she is not sure how to respond, or even to respond at all. Several posters argue that the original poster has already done too much and should have simply thanked the other parents when they told her what her son had said and done nothing more than discuss the situation with her son. These posters don't believe the apology was necessary because the original poster's son is too young to have understood the ramifications of the term. They don't believe there is any reason to take further action. Others contend that the boy understood the word enough to know which ethnicity he should use it against and that the girl is justified in being hurt and expressing her anger by calling him a racist. They believe the proper response by the original poster is to explain to her son that this is the consequence of his actions. On the third page of the thread, the original poster responded to a post by saying that it was such good advice that she would not bother reading anymore. Nevertheless, the thread continued for another six pages. There are some helpful, thoughtful, and serious posts in this thread and I don't want to overlook them. The original poster clearly appreciated those posts and I am also thankful for such posters. But, let's be frank, a significant number of posters in this thread are manifesting their own hang-ups. There are posters who believe that a kindergartner should be fully conscious of the complex and often treacherous landscape of racial relations and blame the original poster for not properly teaching him. At least one poster claims that any criticism of the girl for calling the boy a "racist" amounts to protecting "male fragility". Some see this in political terms and blame liberal parents for lax parenting. So, there is a bit for everyone in this thread.

Next was a thread titled, "Can I go on vacation out of state with my kids if DH and I have no custody agreement?" and posted in the "Relationship Discussion (non-explicit)" forum. However, the thread is more appropriate for the "Parenting -- Special Concerns" forum so I moved it there this morning. The original poster is a school teacher who normally takes her children across country to visit her parents for seven weeks during the summer. However, now she and her husband are "parallel parenting in same house" though nothing formal has been filed. Her husband has threatened to call the police if the original poster takes the children as planned. The original poster has plans to talk to a lawyer, but was interested in more immediate feedback from DCUM. That may not have been a wise choice by the original poster because much of the feedback was useless, coming from posters who don't even appear to have read her post, or at least not comprehended it. But the bottom line from posters who appear to know what they are talking about is that, because there is no custody arrangement in place, she can legally take the kids. Whether that is a good idea or not is another question. According to some posters, her husband could then file an emergency custody order to try to get the kids back. Posters also warn that he can also take the children for an extended length of time. Another concern is how taking the kids away in this manner might look to a judge in an eventual custody case. The original poster later added that her husband also doesn't want her to travel for seven weeks without the kids because he doesn't want to take care of them alone for that length of time. Because her husband has a say over the children's travel, but not her own, several posters suggest using the threat to go alone as a bargaining chip. Tell him she either spends the seven weeks by herself or with her kids and let him choose. But some posters worry that her leaving the kids for seven weeks might also look bad to in a custody hearing. Probably the most frequent recommendation in this thread was to get a custody agreement as soon as possible. The second most frequent was to compromise in some manner. Several posters have suggestions for how to handle the summer including preparing meals in advance for the kids if the original poster has to leave them behind or sending them to summer camp while she travels.

The final thread that I will discuss today was posted in the "Political Discussion" forum. Titled, "Supreme Court Texas Immigration Ruling", the original poster referred to a decision by the US Supreme Court to lift an injunction on a Texas state law that allows Texas authorities to arrest and deport undocumented migrants. The original poster opposed this decision and considers it to be the worst Court decision since Roe v. Wade was overturned. The details here are a little complicated so forgive me if I get any wrong. The Texas law would give to Texas responsibilities that normally belong to the federal government. The Biden administration opposes this move and has opposed it in court. Lower courts have placed injunctions on the law, preventing it from being implemented. Those injunctions, in turn, have been appealed and the Supreme Court which, after repeatedly keeping an injunction in place, finally lifted it. However, before even the first reply to this thread could be made, another Texas court placed another injunction. So, for now, the Texas law will not take effect. This injunction will presumably also work its way up to the Supreme Court which may or may not lift it. In the meantime, the Supreme Court has not yet adjudicated the substance of the law. Assuming the Court accepts one of the lower court cases, that will happen in the future. Needless to say, most of this is lost on the posters in the thread who act as if the Court has already ruled in favor the Texas law. Even more frequently, posters simply debate their own opinions of the law or immigration more broadly. Immigration debates in the political forum are very rarely worth reading and, as such, I have not and will not read much of this one. Because Republicans have made immigration the focus of their political campaigns and their propaganda networks focus on the topic almost 24/7, most Republicans are well-versed on anti-immigration talking points. There is no value in having them regurgitated. Democrats have a much less coherent messaging system with regard to the topic and, hence, responses from liberals tend to be much more scattered and varied. Personally, I have a very dim view of the law which I think is part of a partisan political effort aimed at shoring up support for Texas Republicans and not really aimed at solving border problems. Once this law goes into effect, I suggest nobody go anywhere near the state without solid proof of their citizenship. Otherwise, Texas State Police are liable to end up dropping you off in Mexico.

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