Elections Foster Care Media Must Reads

Friday Must Reads


A surprising number of media types are going through bouts of preposterously irrational tisk-tisking over the Stewart/Cobert rallies taking place this weekend.

I mean, seriously, guys, WTF???

Here’s what Politico opined on Thursday:

Stewart will navigate two sets of risks Saturday: He will, a handwringing legion of journalists and bloggers worry, cross the once-bright line from commentary to political participation, and find himself stranded, unable to return.

And he could — television industry analysts say — alienate portions of an audience for his show that isn’t as polarized as that of the real cable news shows, with viewers divided starkly left and right.

Right. You wish.

Writers at the Washington Post are in a particular frenzy.

Earlier in the week, the Wa Po’s Carlos Lozada pleaded with Stewart to cancel the rally.

Two days later, the Post’s Op-Ed columnist, Anne Applebaum, went further.

I don’t know about you, but my heart sank when I read about Jon Stewart’s Million Moderate March, planned for the Mall next weekend. My heart sank further when I learned that liberal groups, lacking any better ideas, have decided to take this endeavor seriously.

But that wasn’t enough. WaPo staff writer, Paul Farhi, still had to have his say in a story titled, in all seriousness: Just Who Does Jon Stewart Think He Is?

(Geeze. The Washington Post staff cafeteria must be a slap-happy-romp of a place in which to hang out lately. Would you like a side of mouth-frothing envy with your overcooked Bitterness Burger, sir?)

Ryan Kearney at TBD has a pretty good round-up of all the idiocy—and a decent analysis of what is causing it.


This NPR story by Laura Sullivan speaks for itself. Here’s the opening:

Last year, two men showed up in Benson, Ariz., a small desert town 60 miles from the Mexico border, offering a deal.

Glenn Nichols, the Benson city manager, remembers the pitch.

“The gentleman that’s the main thrust of this thing has a huge turquoise ring on his finger,” Nichols said. “He’s a great big huge guy and I equated him to a car salesman.”

What he was selling was a prison for women and children who were illegal immigrants.

“They talk [about] how positive this was going to be for the community,” Nichols said, “the amount of money that we would realize from each prisoner on a daily rate.”

But Nichols wasn’t buying. He asked them how would they possibly keep a prison full for years — decades even — with illegal immigrants?

“They talked like they didn’t have any doubt they could fill it,” Nichols said.

That’s because prison companies like this one had a plan — a new business model to lock up illegal immigrants. And the plan became Arizona’s immigration law….


It was announced on Thursday that 83 LAPD officers will be reassigned from street duty to instead work at the new and long-vacant Men’s Detention Center, reports the LA Times’ Joel Rubin.

The police union is not pleased and it’s hard not to see their point.

Here’s a clip from their blogpost on the matter:

In 2002, Los Angeles voters approved Proposition Q, a citywide public safety bond measure to fund the construction of 11 new police facilities and the renovation of 12 police stations. One of the facilities, constructed at a cost of $85 million, is the five-floor, 172,000-square-foot Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC). Voters who approved Prop Q had a reasonable expectation that upon completion, this state-of-the-art jail would be fully utilized for its intended purpose.

Four years later, the City enacted higher trash fees in order to add 1,000 officers to the LAPD and bring the force’s numbers to 10,000. Again, residents had a reasonable expectation that the money would go toward its intended purpose, the hiring of police officers to provide increased community protection.

So in 2010, where do we stand? The $85 million MDC sits vacant—unused because there simply aren’t enough civilian detention officers in the ranks to staff it. In the meantime, to avoid overtime pay, hundreds of police officers are placed on forced days off instead of filling vacancies in patrols. This happens on a daily basis. At the same time, a drastic reduction in the civilian workforce has resulted in hundreds of sworn officers being taken off the streets and put into offices where they perform administrative and support functions at nearly twice the cost of a civilian employee…..

There’s more, so read on.


The LA Times Garrett Therolf has turned up yet another case of horrifying incompetence on the part of an LA County social worker.

By the time the 5-year-old boy was rescued from a dark closet in San Bernardino County last year, much of his body had been burned by a glue gun and hot spoons. Johnny had been starved and sodomized, taunted and punched, forced to eat soap and crouch motionless in corners.

Child welfare officials across the county line, in Los Angeles, might have spared him this. More than a year earlier, they had dismissed allegations that he had been abused as unfounded and determined that the “child [was] not at risk.”

A recent internal review by the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services concluded the finding was wrong — the result of a shallow inquiry in which the agency misjudged what little information it collected, according to records reviewed by The Times.

One is left speechless.

But here’s the thing: At one end of the spectrum you have horrors like this one. At the other end, you have kids who should absolutely positively not be taken away from their parents, but are—and suffer dreadfully for it—because somebody decides that it’s a swell idea to yank them. I’ve seen it happen repeatedly. Frankly, in most of the latter cases, law enforcement is involved and the entry of DCFS has to do with someone in the household—not necessarily the parent— being arrested on a drug charge. No abuse or neglect required.

Will someone at the County please explain this insane discrepancy? I would find it helpful.


Kevin Roderick at LA Observed writes about the Jewish Journal’s cover story exploring the Jewish perspective of the marijuana initiative.


After telling Latino voters, over the last couple of days, how “with” them on immigration issues like AZ’s SB 1070 she was (hoping that her conservative voters don’t speak Spanish), Meg Whitman has seen zero movement in her direction among Latinos in the polls.

Perhaps as a consequence, her newest move was a quick see-saw in the exact opposite direction when she told Greta van Susteren on Wednesday night that her former housekeeper of nine years, Nicky Diaz Santillan, should be deported. The San Jose Mercury News reports.

“It breaks my heart, but she should be deported because she forged documents and she lied about her immigration status,” Whitman said.

“The law’s the law and we live in a rule of law, it’s important.”

NOTE TO MEG: Multiple personality disorder is not generally considered an attractive attribute in a candidate for higher office.


  • That’s how bils are developed Celeste, every day both on the left and right bills are forwarded that are the babies of different lobbies and THEY ALL MAKE MONEY OFF THEM. Our legislators aren’t smart enough to come up with this stuff on their own.

    Nikki is an illegal alien felon, how could anyone think she should be anything but deported? The left says they don’t want criminal illegals here, is that all talk?

    Of course I’d have to go back to my old posting name.

  • You’re right, of course, when you say that:

    “At one end of the spectrum you have horrors like this one. At the other end, you have kids who should absolutely positively not be taken away from their parents, but are—and suffer dreadfully for it—because somebody decides that it’s a swell idea to yank them. I’ve seen it happen repeatedly. Frankly, in most of the latter cases, law enforcement is involved and the entry of DCFS has to do with someone in the household—not necessarily the parent— being arrested on a drug charge. No abuse or neglect required.
    Will someone at the County please explain this insane discrepancy? I would find it helpful.”

    But while it would indeed be nice if someone at DCFS were candid enough to explain that they are so overloaded with false allegations and trivial cases they are bound to screw up in all directions, explaining insane discrepancies in the workings of government is really the job of great big newspapers with lots of reporters (and, relatively speaking, the L.A. Times still qualifies).

    Garrett Therolf and his colleagues know full well that the errors go in all directions. An example of a case they’ve chosen to ignore is in today’s NCCPR Child Welfare Blog at http://www.nccprblog.org

    Richard Wexler
    Executive Director
    National Coalition for Child Protection Reform

  • I hope you’re not putting this on law enforcement Celeste. How about putting it on the two real culprits when this happens and law enforcement gets involved? The idiot criminals bringing dope into the house or the parents who are allowing it there.

    Really though, I’ve never seen any kid taken over some simple possession beef, unless there were other circumstances that made taking them the safest thing for the child and the best choice of all the other options. Other circumstances like hype kits, weapons or drugs lying around in the open where a child could easily get a hold of them, or it’s a major sales location.

    Cops notify DCFS and they make the call on what to do with the child, and except in extreme cases other relatives are usually the first choice. Haven’t there been enough stories about kids getting hold of dope or weapons and ending up dead to last a life time?

    Oh, a third culprit would be lawyers because some good hearted cop doesn’t take a kid when he should have and something happens to that kid and it’s cop suing time and you know that will happen.

    So easy to blame the cops and so one sided. I’d like to hear your definition of neglect in a home where the child has to depend on his doper family for the basics in life because I’ve seen some things that would make you sick.

  • # Sure Fire/Nikki Says:
    October 29th, 2010 at 4:29 am

    That’s how bils are developed Celeste, every day both on the left and right bills are forwarded that are the babies of different lobbies and THEY ALL MAKE MONEY OFF THEM.


    Glad you finally learned the real influence behind the so called “wars” on drugs and gangs, SF.

  • The problem behind cops being yanked from the streets to jail duty is buried in the PPL’s own blogpost, about how there are now fewer civilians doing desk duty so cops have to do it – at much higher salary and pensions, and risks to public safety. Was that all part of the city’s bright idea to retire thousands of people – and still pay their pensions? Saving virtually nothing, and losing institutional memory?

    Common sense would dictate, hiring civilians for paperwork. Understanding that this isn’t as simple as it sounds, since I understand this requires understanding of certain legal codes and things trained cops would know – but I can’t imagine that people like say, legal assistants, can’t be trained at a fraction of the cost. Maybe it’s something to do with unions, or being prohibited from replacing retired high-priced union employees with others, who knows. But certainly a lack of regard for common sense and the bottom line.

  • You’re absolutely right on the DCFS issue, that they yank kids who absolutely should NOT BE separated from their parents but allow those suffering genuine abuse to stay. Often a sort of reverse racism and classism, frankly: the frazzled mother of the kid whose mother slaps him/her for snatching things at the market and screeching when he/she can’t have it, might get turned in by a “well meaning” observer as a child abuser (though if she doesn’t stop the kid she’s an enabler given daggers of death looks). What about the parent on a plane, reviled if the kid kicks seats or makes a ruckus, but if she grabs the kid’s hands or slaps him/her at her wit’s end, she’s arrested, as we’ve seen recently. Maybe she needs counseling (and the luxury of some R & R by herself), but jail and the DCFS?

    Or a kid might complain to a teacher that she/he’s being abused because a parent dragged him/her back to bed after the empteenth time, or to a desk to do homework…I’ve heard reliably of one such case where a perfectly wonderful parent had DCFS come at 4 a.m. and dragged a little girl out of bed, into the yard, to look at her legs by flashlight to see if she really had bruises! Middle class parents are in terror of the DCFS, and their kids know their power in threatening them, but if they’re a minority or factory worker, it just might be that what is potentially serious is overlooked so as not to show potential bias toward poverty or cultural differences. If a single mom on welfare screams at her kids, she’s stressed and doing her best to raise them right – a middle class mom becomes an abusive witch.

    However I heard the NPR piece by Sullivan, and think the implication that the Arizona law is somehow concocted to create inmates for private prisons is overblown. Maybe those who run the prisons were invited to the table just to make sure that IF the law passed, there would be a humane way to imprison people, and it’s likely some prison owners took that as a profit-making opportunity (a REPUGNANT thought), but I’m sure that was in no way motivation for the legislators. They have nothing to gain by it – not even the loyalty of the prison guards’ union. (Now, THAT would be a concern, since they HAVE been too powerful in influencing laws here in CA and not just concerning prisons. They have a vested interest in keeping prisons full.)

  • SureFire, I’m not blaming the cops. They’re not social workers. But I do blame the way some of the social workers behave in these multi-agency task forces.

    Here’s an example: The police raided a house of someone they were convinced was a dealer, and found essentially nothing. No weapons, no drugs, no baggies, scales, or any other kind of paraphernalia, nada. However, when went into the back bedroom, they found the adult niece of the couple living in the house, who had two young guy friends over visiting her. (The niece was having a hard time, so the couple unwisely allowed her to stay with them until she got a job and got in her feet.) On one of the guys the police found a joint. On the other, a baggie with some pot residue in it.

    DCFS was called in and they took all five kids, including the older kids who were already at school. It was deeply, deeply traumatizing for the kids—-who should never have been removed from that home.

    BTW, I saw the condition of the house directly after the kids were taken. I saw the entirety of the DCFS report, and I attended every court date, as I was reporting on the family for another reason.

    I can name a number of these types of cases. In the one I described above, law enforcement pushed DCFS—but it was DCFS’s call.

    Why DCFS takes those kids and not others who are genuinely endangered, is beyond me.

    SBL, I don’t think it’s a class thing, since the people I’m talking about are all lower income. I don’t know what to think, really. Some social workers are good, some are vindictive, some are utterly incompetent (and some are incompetent AND vindictive)?

  • Had DCFS vist us once, there was a report we were abusing and neglecting my son. I was at work, this was the middle of the night, and I rolled home. My wife had a client of hers go off on her at work the day before. No doubt when my wife told her she wouldn’t be taking her business any longer she retaliated.

    The woman went through our house with a fine tooth comb and talked to my two daughters and a neighbor as well, yeah woke up my neighbor who was about 70. Even though they could see there was no issue for them to deal with they went further then they had to because I was a cop, no other reason.

    This took about two hours and she sat down at the end and said her only concern was that our pool wasn’t fenced. I asked if she wanted to watch my kids swim for awhile or just leave. She left. I’ll never understand DCFS and your last paragraph summed them up as well as I could.

    I have to say though for a cop to push DCFS on a joint and some residue would indicate more going on with the family than maybe you were let in on. Other cops shagging calls for the guy on this call would be pretty pissed at the waste of time otherwise. Just saying…I know I would be.

  • Stewart and Colbert are already talking about politics on their shows. Why shouldn’t they have a rally? How is that any different? It’s more like a publicity stunt than anything else.

  • “they went further then they had to because I was a cop, no other reason”

    Bwaaaaaaah !!!! Victim !!!1 DCFS Brutality !!!

  • Because they didn’t want to appear to be not doing their job because of mine. Can’t read between the lines my geriatric whipping boy? Shouldn’t you be trying to figure out all the Oakland pension bullshit you posted Running Man?
    You know where you couldn’t admit you were wrong cause you have no man juice in you?

    See Celeste, Reg has nothing to do with this thread but does his “hit and run” showing himself to be nothing but the low-life loser he is and so spanking him seems the only response. I certainly didn’t start it did I?

    Your pal.

  • Celeste, I do believe there is a class thing re: how DCFS treats middle class white parents, and the terror they live in and the knowledge their kids have about this club they can hold over their heads. However, one reason is that OTHER such people/ parents/ “well meaning observers” are far more likely to turn in a parent for a slap at the end of her rope, with the kid at the market who grabs everything and screeches and it’s a damned if parent does/ damned if she doesn’t, scenario. Or with the woman on the plane…whereas, when I was flying in Thailand for example, when kids acted up like that, it was common for the parent to administer a slap and it was virtually expected – though they are the most loving people to kids in general, and believe (I was told when I was there with a toddle treated like a goddess) that they believe until the age of 2, kids’ heads have a divine connector to the gods, so no one touches their heads…anyway, it’s a cultural thing.

    We go way overboard in some communities in America, especially white middle to wealthier ones. Another example: a kid at the expensive private school mine were at a while back, would never do her homework, played video games or whatever, the teachers kept sending notes and calling, chewing out the parents in increasingly strong terms for implied lack of parenting skills and concern, threatening expulsion. The mom took the kid by the hands firmly to seat her at the desk, wouldn’t let her run away. Next day kid complained to teacher that mom grabbed and shoved her around, that’s all it took to be ALMOST taken to jail for child abuse and to call DCFS. However in light of other considerations the child had to report to faculty daily, show her hands and so forth, on active watch: HOW humiliating for the parents. Oh, and the school never did anything to get the kid to do her work besides keep complaining to the parents, who now were even more helpless to get her to do anything. “I’ll tell!” was the retort. This seriously damaged the parent-child relationships for a long time, set the kid back further academically. And that is a very top school in L A. Which was just following the rules to report ANY allegation. The idea of taking a child away from a home where s/he had such well-intentioned parents raising him/her in comfort, for a foster home with someone being paid to care for multiple kids, is NUTZ. But many “well meaning” busybodies might turn a parent in over virtually nothing without thinking of the consequences. (Wanna bet how many such parents where both they and the teachers/admin. are black or Latino, would do the same, when a parent was just trying to get the kid to comply with school requirements – with no other help from the school?)

    As for the family in this story – as you say, you were watching them for another reason, so I gather they had other problems, have to agree with SF on that one. Also, drugs were found, and the cops had reason to be watching the house already, and to put pressure on DCFS…something more to the story. And I DO believe him that DCFS might have bent over backwards to ensure they were not showing favoritism to cops, and same might go to wealthy people or celebrities. A social worker coming in the middle of the night and having NO regard for how this traumatized the child who was alleged victim and other kids, and how this tarnished the image of SF to neighbors, also rings true. Total lack of perspective/ concern for the big picture and greater harm they’re doing.

    With whom it can go one way or the other extreme: Lindsay Lohan is essentially prevented from working, so the jail and rehab and expensive court cases are killing her career in what would be prime years while she says she’s going broke. THEN we have Charlie Sheen or Anna Nicole, who get/got away with horrific behavior, and she may have been seriously endangering her son.

  • Something lost in editing makes last para disjointed: meant, Celebrities as subject for whom treatment can swing wildly from one extreme to the other.

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