Quickies: Poverty Myths Busted, The Failure of the 12 Steps, and Alien Commuters (not what you think)

On March 26, 1484, William Caxton printed his translation of Aesop’s Fables. I was obsessed with reading these as a kid, and one of my favorites was The Fox and the Stork. Did you have a favorite fable?


Mary Brock works as an Immunology scientist by day and takes care of a pink-loving princess child by night. She likes cloudy days, crafting, cooking, and Fall weather in New England.

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  1. On 10 Poverty Myths:

    “1. Single moms are the problem. Only 9 percent of low-income, urban moms have been single throughout their child’s first five years. Thirty-five percent were married to, or in a relationship with, the child’s father for that entire time.*”

    Flip that around and you get: Of low-income urban moms, 65% are no longer in a relationship with the child’s father.

    “2. Absent dads are the problem. Sixty percent of low-income dads see at least one of their children daily. Another 16 percent see their children weekly.*

    Honestly, “see at least one of the children daily” seems like kind of a useless metric to me. But even under the most generous interpretation, flipping this around means that at least 24% of low income children do not even see their father on a weekly basis. Because of the weaselly wording, this number could be substantially higher.

    In other words, if you believe that absent fathers are “bad” then these statistics should do absolutely nothing to as ease your concerns. Two thirds of low income mothers are not with their child’s father, and one fourth of low income children don’t even see their fathers every week. If we assume that fathers who are still with their child’s mother see their children at least weekly, then far fewer than a quarter of low income children who’s parents aren’t together see their fathers regularly.

    That said, I personally don’t think single mothers are a problem. And I don’t see any inherent problems with a child having a single mother. Or having a step father or two mothers or whatever, for that matter. The problem is poverty, plain and simple. No one should ever have to live on what we consider ‘low income’.

    1. My kingdom for an edit button:
      “then far fewer than a quarter of low income children who’s parents aren’t together see their fathers regularly.”
      Should say :
      “then far fewer than a *three quarters* of low income children who’s parents aren’t together see their fathers regularly.”

  2. Mary,

    “VA Christian school bans 8-year-old girl because her tomboy looks aren’t ‘biblical’ – The real question here is: does the school tolerate students who wear cotton/wool blends?”

    Good point, I wonder what other biblical laws the school board is either ignorant of or ignoring.

  3. Almost pointless to explain ONE MORE TIME that the ’12 steps’ are not a ‘treatment program’ and never have been. The treatment industry, and all the attendant bureaucracies (courts, probation, etc.) have NO affiliation with Alcoholics Anonymous. Their attempts to force the unwilling, uninterested, undiagnosed, and possibly non-alcoholic offender into AA are a disaster.

    The ‘steps’ are presented as a reverse-engineered description of the activities of the first 100 (some have counted it as the first 68) members of what was to become AA. In context, they are described as ‘suggested’ AND it is explained that NONE of the existing membership had been able to ‘maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles.’ The steps were written and argued into their current form, by people who HAD NOT ‘DONE’ THEM. Many of whom, including the co-founders of AA, never DID ‘do’ them

    Even if ‘done’ as a ‘program of recovery,’ there is no fixed or established set of instructions. Even Bill W. wrote that the newcomer can start anywhere he feels comfortable and is free to skip or ignore anything he finds distasteful.

    The idolatrous ritualization of ‘The Steps’ is a worsening phenomenon in AA. As involuntary ‘members’ are forced by outside agencies to submit to ‘sponsorship’ and step work that is geared to appease outside authorities.

    AA is self-described as:
    ‘…a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.’

    No steps, no god, no sponsorship. When those three are presented as ‘AA,’ you are dealing with misinformed or disinforming people. AA, the actual fellowship of real people, has no leadership and no exercise of authority of power of one member over another.

    That anarchic structure also means that AA cannot prevent individuals from ignoring, misrepresenting, or actively undermining those principles. The Xian Right, the treatment industry, etc. wield unearned influence in AA.

    I have been a sober, god-free member since 1988. I have never had to pretend belief or acquiesce to any indoctrination. That said, I cannot guarantee what anyone ELSE may encounter, walking into a random meeting ‘somewhere’ in the US>

    1. Yeah, my experience going to meetings was just people trying to talk each other into getting and staying sober. Pretty much exactly like group therapy, and someone to call if you were fearing an immediate relapse.
      It’s also about the only place to get into any kind of no-cost, almost immediate, open-ended recovery or support.

      Also, I’ve had serious problems working with addiction specialists as a patient. Don’t know if it’s indicative of the sub field or just bad luck.

      It would be nice to have more science-based options for addicts seeking help. I haven’t personally dealt with SOS, but they might be a good alternative for people:

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