Midday Coffee Break

Due to the popularity of our open threads, we have decided to add a midday open thread for your viewing pleasure. We are also upping our posting frequency to seven times a day. Enjoy!

What’s up?

Today is International Women’s Day. I actually know of one child care center here in Berkeley that has the day off. Here is a brief history of the “holiday,” which started about 15 years after New Zealand became the first country in the world to give women the right to vote, according to the International Women’s Day website.

In health news, middle-aged women in unhappy marriages are more likely than men and their female peers to suffer from health problems like stress and high blood pressure, according to CNN. The researchers were reluctant to call for outright divorce, stating that health habits over the years and “personality factors” may have also contributed to a decline in health.

Also in CNN: Just to show you it is a buyer’s market, first-time homeowners are finding bargains at auctions of foreclosed homes.  

Help! I can’t stop reading Meghan McCain’s column at The Daily Beast. This time she ripped into Ann Coulter, which admittedly was self-serving, but delicious to read. I also applaud her for attempting to modernize and “moderatize” the Republican Party. For example, she does support gay marriage, stem cell research and voted for John Kerry in 2004. You go, girl!

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

32 thoughts on “Midday Coffee Break

  1. Hmm….could it be

    that having health problems causes marriages to be under stress?  Or maybe we should talk about how husbands can be more supportive of wives during stressful times?  I don’t know.  

  2. Happy International Women’s Day!

    I like that. :)

    Our local news also did a story on the foreclosure auctions. They broadcast from one taking place in NYC. Apparantly there were many protesters outside the convention center. I feel bad for the people that lost their homes, but at the same time I think it is good that the banks are trying to recoup something on the properties.

    Its another damp, cold, rainy Monday here. My boys slept terrible last night and as a result, so did I. Everyone was grumpy and tired this am. So despite the rain we trudged over to walk around our local mall. I figured getting out of the house might out us all in a better mood. DS loves an interactive game that they have projected onto the floor. Nice cheap way to spend the morning.

  3. Good diary over at DK about the Radium Girls

    that is an important bit of women’s history:

    http://www.dailykos.com/

    In our first installment How Regulation came to be:  Radium Girls – Part I we were introduced to the Radium Girls, both collectively as well as to the first of the specific subset of Radium Girls who would eventually take on the powerful United States Radium Corporation in Orange, New Jersey.  Inside, the story of the Radium girls continues with a story of business, governmental, scientific, and institutional entanglements that may sound eerily familiar to survivors of a certain recent Republican Presidency.

    When Orange, New Jersey-area public health officials encountered several unusual cases of jaw and tooth problems in the early twenties, they contacted, not a government agency, but an independent organization called the National Consumers League, an organization that still exists today.  Founded by Jane Addams and Josephine Lowell  in 1899 with  Florence Kelley as its first executive secretary, the League had been active in the fight for an end to child labor; for a safe workplace, minimum pay, and decent working hours for women; and a variety of other causes of the Progressive Era.  

    One of Kelley’s early victories with the Consumers League was the landmark 1907 Muller v. Oregon Supreme Court decision which established the legality of a 10-hour working day for women.  The victory seems all the more impressive coming, as it did, just two years after Lochner v. New York.  In concert with Consumers League legal counsel Louis Brandeis, Kelley used an unprecedented and risky application of scientific and social data — the same sort of approach as would be prepared for the Radium Girls’ case — as a basis for legal argument.

  4. I posted this in the open thread,

    but wanted y’all to see the good news.

    The bad news is we were in the hospital again…apparently Andy has an irregular heartbeat?  Who knows?  

    Good news:
    I posted some MIRACULOUS progress videos in the Fitness and Training diary, though.

    I feel the need to caution that both of those exercises knocked him out for DAYS afterward, but they’re definitely worth celebrating.

    And Happy IWD!

    • Miraculous

      Round peg, you and Andy have done what you were told was impossible. This is amazing. I am so thrilled for you BOTH.

      And I’m telling you: there’s a book in this.

      • Thanks!

        We’ve been busting our butts, and he’s made so much progress in the last month, I am just shocked!

    • definitely…

      going to check out the video. And I am in total agreement with shenanigans that you and andy have survived all these ordeals miraculously and there must be a book here somewhere.

  5. Meghan McCain

    She’s okay by me.  I wouldn’t vote for her if she ran for office, but I’d be thrilled if she gave Ann Coulter a run for her money.  I’d be interested to know exactly what she means by “pro military” as far as policy goes, though.  Pro sending the military into meaningless and very dangerous situations?  Pro funding for education and health care for military families and their survivors?

    • Curious

      That comment she made about Facebook, then was untrue — she claimed that if someone had things like “1,000,000 strong for Obama” on their profile, then they stood against everything she was for. That sounds like quite a stretch given the things she is “for” above.

      Maybe she means Pro-Military in the sense that she disagrees with people who have those bumper stickers about having a bake sale to raise money for bombs? It sounds like a weird thing to be “pro” anyway. Yay, I am so glad we live in a world where we need to arm ourselves silly to feel safe! Rah rah!

      • I thought the same

        How is an Obama supporter against everything she stands for, if she’s pro gay marriage and stem cell research?  I guess I could see if she feels like the republican party is or should be about thinking that the government should have very little impact on people’s lives.

        It’s also interesting that she says she’s been a republican for less than a year.  I understand that she voted for Kerry in 2004, and that it was probably her first presidential election, but that’s true of many republicans.

          • Well

            that animosity there is no secret.  Bush’s endorsement of McCain was no more meaningful.  But I was surprised that she not only voted for Kerry but even implies that she identified as a democrat.  She’s no Patty Davis, but still…a democrat?  Until she had the chance to hang out with cool republicans?  That tells me that if she hung out with democrats she liked all summer, she would be a democrat.  It’s about ideology, not about there being inspiring forces on either side.

  6. Bright spot

    I read a bit about a study that said children of older fathers tend to be less intelligent, but the older the mother, the more intelligent the child.  Yay…I haven’t screwed my kids up too much by being ancient!  The study could be crap, but I need something to brighten my day…I’m in the doldrums.  Which reminds me…maybe I should reread “The Phantom Tollbooth.”

  7. Need a bit of business advice

    So MTers, rather than post a diary, I thought I might solicit some advice here. As many of you know, I run my own wedding invitations business, and am gearing up for growth over the next few years. Because I am 100% of my company and am in charge of the kiddos during the day, my business remains small (or, micro as I like to put it).

    My issue is credit cards — up until now, I have never accepted them from customers. Now that I am getting asked left and right if I do take them, and plan to add online ordering to my site (maybe in the next year), I’m thinking it is time to add that to my accepted forms of payment. The pros of doing this are many.

    The cons? It looks expensive, and would cut into my already small income. Then, there is my main fear that a customer would refuse to pay me or “charge back” once they received their order. This would be rare, but even once or twice a year it would knock out enough of my profit that the whole year might have been a waste.

    I do an average of 10 wedding invitations orders per year, and then about 30 orders for smaller things like save the dates, ceremony programs, placecards, etc.

    Does anyone have any advice? Is it worth it? Any tips for how to choose a credit card processor?

    • one option

      I did some research into this for a client a few years back.  Slightly different in that the client was a large corporation selling products to mom and pop retailers, but the financial premise was the same.  We found that people reacted very negatively to being charged more for using a credit card, even if they hadn’t planned on using one.  But if you scale up your costs so that you would still profit if everyone paid with credit card, and then offer a discount back to your customers that don’t use credit cards, that is seen as a benefit both to the people that want to use credit (gives them flexibility and makes you look like a full service provider) and to those that want a discount and can afford cash prices.  

      Again the client was quite large and had leverage over retailers so they didn’t worry about non-payment too much, but I’d advise you to start by talking to legal counsel on that front first to see how watertight you can get the contract language.  

      –R

      • incentives

        That’s a good idea, I hadn’t thought of that. I figured I’d just inch up my prices across the board and hope it covered that new cost.

        Legal counsel is probably something that I should do, but I make so little that I can’t afford to do that right now. 50% of my income goes straight to saving up for my DD’s montessori school. I typically have the next-year’s tuition saved by September. The rest goes to cushion my husband’s income so we can sleep at night!

    • as a customer

      FWIW, as a customer, I don’t mind when a small business doesn’t take credit cards – I do get that it costs the business. If I like the vendor, I’ll send a check or whatev.

      But Rocky makes a good point …. raise your prices a bit to cover it, and offer rebates. Everybody loves the feeling of getting a deal :).

      • Right now

        Yeah, for the last 4 years, it really hasn’t been an issue. I have never had someone TELL me they weren’t going to use me because of that. However there is no telling how many people read that on my web site and went elsewhere. Which has been fine, since I have all the work I can handle right now. But in this economy, and with more and more clients asking about it, it just seems like the next step, and I have planned to do it at some point anyway.

    • You should do it

      Many of my friends are artists who have struggled with that dilemma. Taking credit cards makes you look more professional and serious.

      If you want to sell online, it’s absolutely required. PayPal alone doesn’t cut it. (Plus, PayPal isn’t necessarily better for you financially anyway… they have some policies that have caused a lot of seller headache.)

      One of the advantages for my friends has been that the credit card is a great way to end any wheedling about time payments or “I don’t have my checkbook” or whatever else. The credit card companies are in the business of time payments. Let them do their core competency and you do yours.

      My friends have not generally had problems with chargebacks, other than with a particular rip off artist several years back who had taken someone else’s card without permission and charged up a storm with it. You’re probably not any more likely to have problems with that than with bad checks.

      When you accept credit cards, you have to agree to charge everyone the same as part of that. Of course, if you’re doing custom work, and negotiations, you’ll have more leeway to discount prices to people who pay you immediately with a check or cash.

      • Professional

        Yes, that’s definitely a reason I have always planned to take them at some point down the line. Once I get my online ordering enabled (really not on the horizon until next year), I wouldn’t do pay pal. As a customer I feel like it looks less professional to see that on a web site.

        And from what I can see Pay Pal is expensive! It might be ok for the next couple of months, but as I figured, it would eat about 18% of my profits. That is not money I can spare with tuition going up next year. The next issue is figuring out which of the 1,000 card processing companies that pop up online are good.

  8. Whine ahead.

    This trip to Hawaii has been a huge disaster.  I can’t take it anymore.  I made a total ass out of myself with my briefing today.  My kids are sick at home.  I have to switch hotels because there’s no reliable internet here, and ants.  All I want to do is go home, and I can’t until Friday!  BAH!

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