Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

My apologies for my absence on this site and Facebook page lately. By now I should be on my way to El Salvador to visit DH’s family for Christmas. I’ll be back at my desk on Tuesday.

It’s been almost two years since we have gone and our first trip in a long time, in which we are 100% unplugged. Between the elections and my new staff position, DH and I are looking forward to unwinding and dedicating quality time to the kids. Whew!

In the meantime, here are some news items for you to chew on:

I am saddened and angered by the firebombing of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Wisconsin. Anytime I have visited a Planned Parenthood it has been behind bullet-proof glass doors and windows. Will we ever get to a point in our country, in which LEGAL reproductive health services for women are respected? Where civil discourse is embraced and not met with violent means like fire bombings? Sometimes I fear for my children and their generation.

On the flipside, this ad running in Alabama gives me hope. It is of clergy speaking out against the state’s anti-immigrant law, HB 56, and reminding Alabamians that the law is not christian. In related news, I updated MomsRising’s Alabama immigration blog carnival with new stories — reflections — by women delegates who witnessed firsthand the havoc HB 56 has wreaked on families.

Mitt Romney won the GOP presidential primary in Maryland yesterday, according to the New York Times.

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

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About Elisa

I am a journalist and online organizer who is the co-publisher of this blog. When I am not online, I am shuttling around my two kids, an 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter.

29 thoughts on “Wednesday Morning Open Thread

  1. dKos (diaries) angry yelling about religion makes me sad and tired.

    DD is much better, but so. much. vomit. to clean off the funiture.

    • I stay out of the dKos fray. Unfortunately everything is making me sad about the state of the world these days. I was up till 1 a.m. thinking “I should take up drinking.” but you know. I just bit my nails off and watched AbFab.

  2. Looking at another house to rent this afternoon. This whole thing is giving me headaches every day. Our credit rating is in the toilet because of the foreclosure, so I’m probably better off admitting that upfront, right? If it’s going to be an issue, I’d rather know right away. However, we are hoping that not many people can afford to pay the kind of rent we can. DH has a great job & has never gone through a period of unemployment, so we’re hoping that works in our favor.

    • I can tell you that as a landlord, I look at income before anything else. Ability to pay. In the end, I think you’d probably be happier renting from someone like us, who will overlook things like credit scoring numbers. Someone who just owns a few properties and isn’t just farming out all of their properties to very impersonal management agencies.

      We just rented out a house last night. A man who’s had a hard time. He’s a cousin of one of our tenants, and moved up here from Cincinnati to take a job. He’s been staying with his cousin over the past couple of months, but wants to get his wife and kids up here. Since we still have a few things that need to be done on this house, he’s taking it “as is” and will do the work and we’ll waive the security deposit and let his work on the house count for the first month’s rent as well. It’s a “win-win” thing. We get the work done, and he gets a house that he can live in that he otherwise would be unable to afford.

      I think there’s still other people out there like us. Probably a lot as so many foreclosed properties have been bought up by small investors.

    • I second tjb. I have a good friend in St Paul who is losing her house. She has always been completely reliable and has no debt. She talked to a potential landlord down the street, a doctor who like tjb, owns just a few properties and manages everything himself. He said he has no qualms about renting to otherwise reliable people who have the ability to pay. My friend was totally upfront about her foreclosure (and impending divorce) and I think that’s the way to go. Most people understand how complicated the economy is right now.

    • Agree with tbj – there are landlords out there who understand the less than perfect credit ratings. My boyfriend just rented out a house to a couple like you because he is more focused on ability to pay. Nearly every tenant of his over the last 5 years has been a foreclosure victim – and none of them has been a problem at all so he pretty much ignores credit reports – heck, I don’t even know if he ran one this last time!

      • I’ve never had my credit checked by a landlord, my Mom who is a landlord mever ran credit checks either, but she would walk people out to their car and surreptitiously “look” at it. Messy, uncared for car = messy, uncared for house to her. She was right too.

        • She won’t always catch it that way. My car is pristine–I made a conscious decision when I got it back in 2007 to keep it that way, just because it was nice to have a pretty, new-to-me car–but I’m pretty much a slob as a housekeeper. (Part of that’s because I can control the car a heck of a lot more easily than the house, and I don’t let the kids leave trash in it.)

          • I’m a slob in the house more than in the car (but a bit in the car), but I also have always returned every apartment I’ve ever had in pristine condition with no damage (well, the last one we paid $15 for the cats tearing up the carpet in the laundry closet), paid my rent on time, don’t smoke and don’t throw loud parties.

      • Yeah, we did the first time we rented out a house. Haven’t since. We ask for income verification and history of residency. If they’ve jumped all over the place and never stay somewhere longer than a few months or a year, it looks like there might be problems.

        The victims of foreclosure ARE possibly the largest growing segment of the rental market. All of those foreclosed properties that are up for rent had people living in them who had to find somewhere else to go. It’s what’s keeping rents high. Huge demand. Especially for family-suitable properties.

        • Thanks, all, for the thoughts. We’ve been in this house nearly seven years. We can certainly provide proof of DH’s income (and my small one) as well as the fact he’s never had an employment gap. We paid off two cars without being late one single time, and were never late when we rented. I’m still friends with one of our landlords & I know she’d speak for us, but we did rent from her almost 12 years ago. I’m making sure the kids look extra clean & adorable!

          • too bad you aren’t considering a move to Ohio…my daughter might be leaving her house. Just down the street from us. It’s a really nice house…probably nicer than mine, but smaller. Four bedrooms upstairs with a living room, dining area and kitchen downstairs. Basement that could easily be finished. Huge decks in both front and back yards, two car garage, and completely fenced back yard. Really nice neighbors on both sides.

                • Jeez, I haven’t been to Toledo in years. I do think that if I ever returned for a “straight” newspaper job in the States (hahahahah), I’d want to work for the Blochs.The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was my berth, but I liked the folks from the Blade as well.

                  I know the Blochs are your old-fashioned sort of Bob Taft Republicans, but man, they really cared about being a community newspaper.

                  • Of course, I don’t know how they vote when they enter the voting booth. However, The Blade is a decidedly liberal newspaper, editorially. Since I’ve lived here, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen them endorse a republican.

                    • that’s interesting, because the PPG tended to be a little more conservative. Or maybe I’m just remembering wrong!

  3. Re: Planned Parenthood – I work in healthcare, and just reviewed a report on the health safety net in our region (Sacramento). Planned Parenthood is far and away the biggest safety net provider – they see more patients than anyone. For most women and many men in the US, Planned Parenthood is the ONLY place they get medical attention outside an emergency room. When some crazy person firebombs a Planned Parenthood, they’re not just attacking women’s reproductive freedom – they’re attacking access to healthcare itself – it’s as bad as if they bombed a Medi-Cal office or an emergency room.

    • Why don’t we call firebombing PP and other healthcare providers what it really is, TERRORISM. It is about making people terrorized and keeping them from seeking medical treatment. It KILLS me that this is not taken seriously.

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