Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I have spotted a lot of great blogs lately that I decided to add a “homeschooling” section to our blog roll. If you know of other great homeschooling sites, or blogs in general — are you in our blog roll?? — then please let me know. Drop a comment here or e-mail me at elisa at mothertalkers dot com.

I just read a poignant article on the lack of middle class jobs in America. Even as the economy is recovering, it is doing so at the expense of the middle class, according to an article in Harvard Business Review. Here is an example of what we are seeing in terms of “job growth”:

It turns out that the hiring we are seeing is at the extreme ends of the spectrum. To ensure strong profits, corporations are cutting out the middle layers of management — the middle-class. In their place, they are hiring at the very low end and promoting at the high end. Senior management compensation is up nearly 25% this year ($9M for the average S&P 500 CEO), to levels higher than in pre-recession days, according to executive compensation research firm Equilar.

On the other side, we have job growth coming in at the bottom of the pyramid, mostly minimum wage and temporary positions. Take last month’s job creation, for example. Out of the 260,000 jobs created in April, a whopping 60,000 jobs came from one company: McDonald’s. There is nothing wrong with flipping burgers for a living, but it will not pull us out of a recession.

Meanwhile, corporations are flush with cash because they are running a lean operation.

Prudie from the “Dear Prudence” column had advice for a mother with an autistic 5-year-old who sometimes acts out in public.

Last, but definitely not least, here are the details of our Minneapolis meet-up! Our very own Cynmill has arranged for us to meet in the city during the Netroots Nation Convention. A group of us are meeting that Thursday, June 16, at 5 p.m. at Brit’s Pub. If you can make it, please let us know here or at the MotherTalkers Facebook page. That way Cynmill can make reservations for us. Thank you, Cynmill, and thanks all! I can’t wait to meet in person.  

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


74 thoughts on “Wednesday Morning Open Thread

  1. Blogging for LGBT Families Day

    Just wanted to invite any or all of you to submit posts for the sixth annual Blogging for LGBT Families Day. LGBT people, families, and allies are welcome! Personal anecdotes, political reflections, musings on parenthood–the topic is up to you.

    Even if you don’t have a blog, stop by and peruse the master list to see what others have written.

  2. Here is…

    Here is where I preach to the choir : )

    The biggest problem with the mcjobs is the health insurance problem, since most hire part-time workers and don’t offer health insurance.

    Not everyone can have or even wants a high-level corporate job, many people would be more than happy to work in the retail or service industries if they could have a basic level of security such as healthcare for their families.

      • : )

        I don’t know if I’m becoming narrow-minded, but I’m seeing everything through this lens now. Even with that big college discussion we had the other day about Race to Nowhere and all the pressure, I’m starting to think much of the stress stems from our lack of health insurance. It’s not enough for your kid to get a job, it has to be one with health insurance. Sigh.

        • ITA

          So many huge decisions hinge on getting or keeping health insurance.

          It’s not just young people or part time workers or retail/service. At dh’s former law firm, there was a senior partner who would have retired (she was independently wealthy) but being a woman in her mid 50s it would have been too risky, insurance wise. At least that was one big piece of her decision making.

          Our whole system is crap.

          • So true

            And it definitely stifles entrepreneurial spirit even among higher-income folks, especially once you have a family involved.

            • right?

              Here we are in the land of the individual, but the individual has to work a job he hates because he’s got a family to provide insurance for. The Republicans are such hypocrites because reforming how healthcare is provided would give the economy a huge boost, IMO.

              There’s a new kind of pressure now, too, with kids being able to stay on parents’ policies until they’re 26. I’m happy the kids will be covered but as a parent, that’s another 8 years I’m responsible for. I was off my parents’ plan for college (health center covered us) and never went back on.

              I’ll be working ’til I’m 90.

              • not to mention

                the fact that it hinders hiring of older people. My mom is in a kinda-crappy job situation, but has been afraid to quit because at her age – in her 60s – she’s afraid no one will hire her because of the health care costs. Now that she’s eigible for Medicare, that takes some of the pressure off. But, you know, consider the logic – people complain about those mean oldsters and Boomers who never quit; my mom would love to quit and go to a part-time job or a consulting job, but she’s a captive to the fact that she needs to stay where she’s certain to get employer-paid health insurance for her and my dad. Um, hello???

                Mind you, I’m all in favor of people working as long as they want to/ can do so comfortably. I hate the ageist discrimination.

                • Many of the women

                  I work with only do it for the health insurance.  They talk all the time about retiring and doing other things but they do not feel that they can.

        • Totally!

          Before I decided to quit full-time work to stay home with Ari, I remember that my ONLY reservation was health insurance. We would have to go to an individual plan, in which there was a good chance of us being rejected. If we had been rejected I would have had to return to work and use my entire paycheck on daycare.

          It really is a problem in this country.

    • ITA

      Making this the employers’ responsibility is messed up in too many ways to count.  Bad for business, bad for families, bad for the individual, bad for the economy.  

    • testify, sister

      There are actually half-decent part-time and freelance/consulting jobs going in Melbourne, which my friends in the parenting-at-home game are able to take advantage of because, you know, finding healthcare is not a problem in a socialized society. There is even a good proportion of families in Jess’s kindergarten class where both parents are working part-time or freelance/consulting/out of the home while their kids are young. Not having to worry about health insurance is freeing, which in turn leads to a more nimble economy in certain ways.

        • I Know!

          and it gets worse – the social-ma-lized government provides subsidies for childcare and 14 weeks paid maternity leave and two weeks paid paternity leave. Heresy!!!!

                • Interesting

                  The right and specifically Reagan kind of adopted that song but the lyrics are so cynical and jaded.  It’s the complete opposite of their vision of the US.  I can hear Inigo Montoya saying “I do not think that means what you think it means” in my mind whenever I think of the 80s and the way the right embraced that song.

                  “God Bless the USA” ticks me off more although my son’s class was very cute singing it at assembly last week and the second verse where they pretty much do geography is OK.

      • jobs

        I know from seeing my family in other countries, they’ll work what we would consider sort of crummy jobs, but they are quite happy. Of course, they aren’t living in mansions or anything, but how much you spend on housing has some flexibility. Food costs are flexible too (and relatively cheap).

        So why do I even think of these jobs as crummy, or what we would consider mcjobs? Probably because I am American and I associate them with “jobs that don’t have health insurance benefits.” Sad.

  3. Shopping with DD2

    can be exhausting.    She talks non-stop and she asks to buy every interesting thing that she sees which is a lot!  She’s relentless.   She tried this last night:

    DD2:  Can I have this stuffed animal?
    Me:  No
    DD2:  Please!
    Me: No
    DD2: Why can’t I have it?
    Me:  You have plenty of stuffed animals.
    DD2:  Daddy would buy it for me.
    Me: OK, Dad can bring you back and get it for you.
    DD2:  Never mind.

    Then she was on to something else to ask for.  She eventually wears a person down.  When you leave the store, you’re proud of yourself that you said yes to only one of the million things that she asked for.   Until later when you realize that you were had.

    • “Put it on your list”

      is my response.  Christmas list, birthday list…whatever.  They always forget before the holiday anyway unless they REALLY want it.

      • “Let’s tell Grandma and Grandpa”

        We never do actually tell them, and it’s generally kind of evil to bring them into it, but I still like to say it sometimes.

    • I don’t take them

      I know it’s not always possible for everyone, but I never take my kids shopping unless it is a dire emergency. Not even to the grocery store. It is way too annoying!

      • Same here

        I’m so thankful for the regular school hours because I can take care of almost every errand without kids! I have to do shopping errands for work, too, and usually I end up on a hunt — this store doesn’t have what I need, so now I have to drive 20 minutes to another one to find an item. It’s torture for everyone involved if I have to do those things after school!

        • online

          I do so much online with Amazon Prime, since the shipping is free and two-day. It’s really awesome and saves me so much time and aggravation. I do most of our clothes and shoes shopping online too.

          I get my groceries delivered once a week too, so worth it.

      • same here

        I had to make one of those rare stops in the grocery store with ds just today, reminding me of why I never do that. It’s not terrible, and we have a deal where he gets a single fruit roll up per grocery visit, but still, life is short.

    • We used to have buying days and nonbuying days

      and I would tell them before we went into the store if it was going to be a buying day or a nonbuying day.   They’d still beg or whine but I could fall back on it being a nonbuying day.  

      • good one

        I also have a firm rule that we never buy anything at the register, those evil racks of crap. One of the guys at our local store helped me out with this when he told ds that all the bad chocolates are at the register. Which is still working.

    • “remember your promise”

      I had a fairly successful Target run the other day, because I made them promise that we would look at the toys and stuff, but not buy anything. It worked! Of course, they got restless toward the end when I was trying to pick out shorts for them (note to self: do that first next time) and disappeared a couple times. That was the little one, who’s almost 5.
      Disclaimer: I was shocked that they kept their promise. Especially b/c the promise was only about toys.

      I do use “Did you bring your money?” and “Put it on your list.”

    • this is why

      except for food shopping I try realllllly hard not to bring my DS w/ me.  The internet is my savior.  I also now have packages sent to my work address because when a package comes it’s “what’s mine?  where’s mine?”   ugh.

  4. DH is freaking out

    because there’s a tornado watch in effect.  You know what I think?  I think that growing up in the sticks has made me more respectful but less terrified of tornados.  DH grew up in the city- the sirens go off, you run to the basement and hope for the best.  There’s no sense of what a tornado looks like.  I’ve seen them from a mile away, watched them move across a field, and that’s made me blase, I guess.  He’s sent 3 e-mails and called twice about the watch.  He’s thinking of having me pull the kids out of school.  

    I think dude needs to take a deep breath and go back to class.  Am I crazy?  Is he?  Is it not an either/ or question?

    • I just read that b/c the weather center

      has better technology now it’s standard to issue the watch when “conditions would be right for it”  which isn’t the same as “lookey a tornado” ….

      I just hope whatever is coming through comes before I drive home between 3 and 330…

    • Holy crap

      We have a tornado watch here too!!!!!


      Why did you tell me? j/k

      It’s until 8 pm which does not help me at all.

      • keep one eye/ear on the weather cast

        TV, radio, internet. If you have a smartphone or a weather radio, those are best. I usually make sure I have some bottled water (I don’t buy it anymore so I keep some cleaned juice bottles) in the hallway and/or basement. Calmly put the stuff you’d need if you have to run — purse, meds, glasses, dog leash — in one safe place (interior hallway, bathroom, or basement), and make sure you and the kids are shod. Should bad shit come toward you, go to that hallway or basement with your phone/radio. But in the meantime, just keep an ear out and don’t panic.

    • Tornados in the Northeast

      This freaks me out. I never heard of one while I lived there, not till I moved to the South at almost-25.
      If it’s just a watch it will probably pass. I wouldn’t want the family to be separated if something happened either – –  I was PISSED at DH last time when he took an hour to leave a restaurant while I was home watching the newscast and hoping I wouldn’t have to drag the sleeping boys downstairs — so I get it. Here’s hoping it’s just a storm.

      • Not too freaky

        We’ve had some small ones.  There was the big Labor Day storm in Syracuse in 98 but every summer we have tornado watches and warnings.  There have been at least two or three that hit the state fairgrounds near me  in the last 20 years or so.  There had to have been some while you were at Ithaca but maybe you were unaware at the time.

    • tell him

      not to freak out until there’s a tornado WARNING rather than a watch.  (I did my time in the midwest also and never even really saw a tornado.)

      • I can never remember

        which one of those is which. I wish they had named them something a little more distinctive.

        I guess from your comment, the warning is when somebody actually saw a tornado.

        • Or a cloud sort of shaped like a tornado.

          Or something twisting.  Or a little dog named Toto.  Or at least that’s how it was when I was a kid.  I think it’s a tad more scientific than “Burt Wilmes out to Pickering called in to say he saw a funnel cloud the tractor.  Looked to be heading out to old Schneider place so folks out there might want to take cover.”

          • We get water spouts here all the time

            which are technically tornoadoes, just smaller and out to sea. We watched three of them touch down in the bay at the kid’s softball game the other day. Needless to say the game wasn’t cancelled.

        • right

          Watch isn’t as bad as Warning.

          Like a Winter Storm Watch is, “Check the weather channel once in a while”

          Winter Storm Warning is “Get your butt off the road and home.”

          Schools here only close if we’re under a winter storm warning, not a watch.

          • Gee

            I didn’t even know watches and warnings were applied to winter storms. Is that new? I just remember them using that for tornadoes. But I’ve never lived further north than DC so I don’t know.

              • Yeah

                I don’t remember hearing it used on forecasts where I’ve lived. But we don’t really have much in the way of winter storms.

            • We’ve have them here.

              I think with some of this weather has gotten a little sensationalized.  Like when they talk about severe weather in the summer here.  It’s July in North Carolina – a thunderstorm is a likelihood, not something for the weather people to get so worked up about.

              • Yeah

                I suppose the real missing hole in my knowledge is that I get my weather and other news from the newspaper rather than the TV, so evidently there is a lot I miss.

                Like Gloria’s post a few days ago about some mother on trial which I had totally missed. If it ain’t in the Bee or on DailyKos I don’t know about it.

          • I’ve seen that once

            in DC when we lived there and there was a tornado right near my office on the way home. It was creepy.

            • I loved it

              The only tornado I saw wasn’t a severe one but I do remember how beautiful I thought the sky was.  Tornados can be scary stuff though.  My heart aches for Joplin, MO.

            • we used to have all our summer vacations

              in Idaho when I was a kid (family history) and we used to drive from NJ to ID every year. At least once each way, we’d drive through a tornado area and see the funnels. Thank god nothing too close. Eerie.

      • He knows this

        but he’s convinced that these are KILLER STORMS!  Like in TWISTER!  Which was the least accurate depiction of a tornado EVER!  Seriously, though, he’s hung up on the lack of storm sirens out here.  (Though, ime, storm sirens go off too often and people ignore them- which was what happened in Joplin, to a degree.  Hell, I remember listening to the sirens go off once when we were in town at a bar b que.  The host (my dad) just kept on grilling, figuring he was only 2 steps from the cellar and the steaks were too good to waste.

        I’ll humor him.  At worst, it’s just a pain.  At best. we save my plants on the deck.  Plus it gives me another excuse not to grade the papers I’m supposed to be grading.

        During a watch you just…watch.  Pay attention. Be ready just in case.

    • Perspective

      I’m like you; I grew up in the country, on a prairie no less, and there were times I just went to sleep in the basement because I got annoyed with my mom waking us up to go down. I’ve seen tornadoes and damage so I respect the warnings but I don’t get too worked up over it. But I might lose my shizz over a hurricane or earthquake because that’s so foreign to me.

      However, I would not pull the kids out of school for a watch, especially with M’s anxiety. The last thing she needs is another thing to fear. He probably needs to chill, which could be wishful thinking.

      • He’s relaxed a little

        since I told him I got everything tucked away outside and would keep an eye on things weather wise.  I’m not pulling the kids, though.  It’s a silly thing to do and would just freak them out.  DH is acting principal at his school today so he’s briefed the teachers on what to look for and they’ve pulled the blinds so the kids won’t see the gathering clouds.  

        I was in a storm once in Michigan when I was leading trips for a summer camp up there.  The ranger came by and told us to take cover because there was a tornado warning. There was no storm shelter so “take cover” was pretty loosely defined.  I was definitely nervous but my co-leader was a much more experienced guide from Colorado so I deferred to her judgement.  

        The next day, as we were paddling along, she said, “So what is a tornado anyway?  Just a bunch of wind?”

        I nearly dropped my paddle.  She’d had no idea what it was or what it could have done.  After I filled her in a bit, she got pissy with me for not making a bigger deal over it.  (Not that there was a damn thing we could have done, but she was probably right.)  That was the last time I let someone else’s judgement override my own, storms-wise.

        • And we have a warning!

          Kids and I are in the basement with Abby.  Dh’s school chose to shelter in place but the kids’ school was sending kids out to walk home.  I mentioned to the principal that they’d just announced a warning.  His response?  Don’t mention it in front of the kids.  I overheard one teacher ask another, “What should we do with the kids?  Dumbass.  We can’t keep them here, can we?”  Without thinking, I turned to her and said “Hell yes.”  She looked like a scalded cat.  I can’t imagine the lawsuits if a kid got hurt walking home in a storm that the school knew was out there.

          • Oh sweet baby Jebus

            How stupid.  My music room was in the basement of the Catholic school.  The ks and 1sts lined up outside my room during storm warnings.  I would go out and get them to sing to keep everyone calm.  I’ve taught in schools where we’ve delayed dismissal due to weather.  This isn’t rocket science.  They should have procedures for this.  It’s not exactly an uncommon occurrence

          • So tornados aren’t common

            where you are, but you don’t practice for them?  Like a firedrill or lockdown drill?  School employees didn’t have a plan for this?

            • I don’t think so

              I know here we’ve always had fire drills in schools, where you are trying to get kids out, but never storm drills of any sort where you would be keeping them in. The state just added new drills now (lockdowns, etc) like for terrorism, but that’s just this year.

              • They started them here around 2000

                They’re called inclement weather drills.  They started that around the time we started practicing lockdowns.  It started in the wake of Columbine more than the terror alert era.

            • I always assumed they

              practiced a “shelter in place” but apparently not.  DH says his schools always have, but only because he required it.

            • We had tornado drills

              in NoDak. I never thought this was unusual! I remember one kid was always deputized to open the windows if we were leaving, back in the days when they thought that would keep the air pressure from exploding the room.

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