Politicians and bureaucrats -- 09/30/09

I'm not quite sure who is dumber, politicians or bureaucrats?

I saw a news item about two women who take turns baby-sitting each other's children. While one works, the other watches her child; then, while the other works, the first one watches her child. They have been informed by the government that they are in violation of the law by not being officially licensed for providing childcare services. But we're just taking turns watching each other's child, they attempted to explain -- no money is exchanging hands, this isn't a business. That didn't matter to the bureaucrats in the slightest. They warned that they would be subject to random unannounced inspections and surveillance and, should either of them be found watching the other's child, legal action would be taken against them. Naturally they were rather taken aback by this -- especially since they were both police officers.

Where was this idiocy taking place? I almost thought it had to be here in Rhode Island because we have a state government fully stupid enough to do something like that. Nope. Not Rhode Island. Nor was it New York nor California nor New Jersey... In fact it wasn't in the United States at all; it was in England.

Whew! What a relief. So our governments aren't as filled with morons as I'd feared...

Oh, but wait...

Irving Township, Michigan. A woman who lives by a designated school bus stop did a favor for three friends whose children had to catch their school bus there and watched their children in the morning while they waited for the school bus. She had been threatened with criminal charges of running an unlicensed day care center. No money has changed hands, she was doing this as a favor for friends who often baby-sat for each other's children. The state doesn't care. The law says that anyone who cares for unrelated children in their home for more than four weeks out of a year is running a day care center and it is illegal unless they are licensed to do so.

So, who is worse? The idiotic bureaucrats who are threatening decent people (while they ignore any number of cases of real abuse and neglect) or the moronic politicians who passed such stupid and badly written laws in the first place.

Oh... that's just the legislative and executive branches of government. Let's not forget the third branch, the judiciary. Here in Rhode Island there was a class action lawsuit against the state on behalf of foster children under the "care" of the state. The suit -- which was begun two years ago -- charged that the state violated the rights of the children to basic health and safety by failing to protect them from harm and abuse and neglect. The suit was thrown out by a federal court here in Rhode Island on the grounds that the people and organizations that filed the suit did not have legal standing to bring it because they were not close family relatives of the children. Duh, they were foster children. Many had no close relatives to care for them. The court felt that only state-appointed family court law guardians would have standing. Yeah, the very people who were failing to provide oversight in the first place. So often when I hear about a judge ranting about charging someone with contempt of court, I want to suggest that perhaps if the courts were not so deserving of being viewed with contempt... Ah well...

Much to my amazement, my eldest child turned 41 years old today. I say "to my amazement" because I'm still attempting to come to terms with being that old myself and, if Adam can be 41, then I must be really old. Oh, yeah, that's right... I am.

Google has put Life magazine online. Yes, every issue has been scanned into a database that is accessible via the Web. A few minutes ago -- in honor of Adam's birthday -- I looked at the September 27, 1968 and the October 4, 1968 editions of the magazine. Here is that October 4th issue, the one that I think would have been on newsstands (and coffee tables) across the nation when he was born. Car ads. It was filled with car ads. Huge hunks of Detroit iron. Oh, and cigarette ads. Gee, remember those?

Happy birthday, Adam!

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