Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

And the most brilliant Facebook rant goes to…our Minnmom! LOVE this:

The first amendment guarantees the right to practice your religion; not the right to impose your religious beliefs on everyone else. Living in America requires that we account for diverse religions and beliefs—and lack thereof. If you want a homogenous country where one religion dictates the laws, try Saudi Arabia. I hear it’s awesome, really warm weather.

Allowing gay marriage in Minnesota will not force your church to perform same sex marriages if your church does not believe in them, any more than the civil rights act makes the Catholic Church ordain women. So if you don’t believe in same sex marriage, don’t stand in the way of those who believe, with just as much moral convition as you, that it’s a moral and civil rights issue. Your religion is not any more important than ours. And you are not “oppressed” just because you aren’t allowed to force your beliefs on everyone else. That’s not what religious oppression is.

I am SO stealing this! In related news, I LOVED this poster that my friend Laurita Tellado in Florida put up yesterday:

In other political news: check out how much birth control will cost you if there were a Romney-Ryan White House. (Shudder.)

Also, in California we are voting on Proposition 30, a measure that would increase taxes on the wealthiest Californians to fund education. Without it, we are looking at three weeks less of school, which as this blogger at MomsRising pointed out, would mean less instruction in the long-run as well as added childcare costs for working families. To echo the writer, if you live in California — vote YES on 30!

And don’t forget to join us in our elections open thread tomorrow. Now, get out and rock the vote, people!

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.

67 thoughts on “Monday Morning Open Thread

  1. Yes, 30 is critical and it is going to be a squeaker. Here we have a local measure on the ballot which if 30 fails would tax us to replace the funds. Of course I voted yes on it but while I support every parcel tax they put in front of us, I am starting to feel like we are becoming a weird little island of education finance into ourselves. We’ve had parcel taxes on the ballot every year for four or five years and every one has passed. We have still had cuts, a lot of them, but I can’t even imagine what is happening in other districts where they can’t pass a parcel tax – and that is the vast majority of districts, they are pretty rare actually.

    • We’re frankly screwed. It’s already bad with too many kids in the classes and not enough staff to really differentiate instruction. If 30 doesn’t pass we’ll lose those 3 weeks at the end of the year, and the curriculum, which has been moving at the regular pace, will suddenly have to either accelerate to get the material in, or just leave that stuff out. Our testing usually happens pretty close to the end of the school year as it is, I wonder if the kids will even be here to bubble stuff in?

  2. Did anyone else hear a story on NPR the other night about the budget in New Hampshire? I flipped the radio on for a short time so I’m not sure what program it was. I googled and can’t seem to find it. Anyway, I thought of Katie and SnarkyMom. They said (if i heard it right) the legislature is being led by a super libertarian guy. He introduced bills to do things like lower the cigarette tax, eliminate speed limits, etc. They rolled back taxes so far the UNH budget was cut by half, there were $250 million in cuts to hospitals and $14 million in aid to the poor.

    How can people want to live in this kind of society? Really, it amazes me to see our schools being so far undermined and stuff like this in NH and think this is actually what some people want.

        • Well you know it really all is so old news … the bi-annaul budge of 2010 saw HUGE protests on the statehouse lawn… and the effects on the mental health system have been devastating…but there really wasn’t much that could be done once the budget was passed… so hopefully come tomorrow he won’t be speaker anymore… we shall see..

    • I remember when I first moved to NH in 1991, there was no universal kindergarten nor celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. day. Coming in from Florida, it was bizarre.

      Not surprised to read this. Interestingly, NH public schools and other public services rank pretty high in the country.

        • Really? Not even half day? I could have sworn that at least half day kindergarten passed under Gov. Shaheen.

          I am convinced that the public services are as strong as they are because of the liquor stores. I don’t know how many people know this, but the liquor stores in NH are state-run, not privately run.

        • Hilariously, Oklahoma has universal free preschool.

          There was a pretty funny This American Life about how it came about, with the legislature voting for it without fully understanding that they did.

    • NH has always been like that, at least in my lifetime. Don’t forget how small New England is – the more densely populated part of the state is commutable to Boston. So NH is the place MA conservatives move to when they get fed up with income tax. My Republican brother will never budge off Cape Cod but he seems to view NH as a bastion of freedom and common sense embedded in a liberal cesspool.

      Fortunately speed limits are less critical in places where roads are straight, horizons are wide, sight lines are clear, population is sparse, and land is flat, such as the western plains and the farmlands of the central valley. I haven’t driven in New Hampshire recently so my memory may be a bit fuzzy on this point but as long as the roads aren’t narrow or hilly or winding or anything like that, and there’s little to no traffic, I’m sure it’s fine to eliminate the speed limits.

      • Aren’t these probably 2 or 4 lane roads though? You get the highest rate of vehicle fatalities on roads without closed on and off points (like a freeway).

        My friend is an injury epidemiologist and she did a Fulbright fellowship in New Zealand where they only have (or had at the time anyway) what we would consider country roads, not our type of freeways with on and off ramps. They had a much higher crash fatality rate because people were pulling out of driveways or cross streets onto roads where other people were driving very fast.

        • Apparently it also would have applied to speed limits in general, not just on highways. In front of schools, in town, wherever. It would decriminalize all speeding except where the speeding caused an accident resulting in damage or injury. Go 100 mph past a school, no problem if nobody gets hit.

          “This bill establishes that the offense of speeding shall be charged only in cases resulting in property damage or personal injury to another.”

        • OK, I was kidding. The roads are a lot different in the northeast. It varies, of course, but there are places (especially older roads) where the highway off ramps are not much more than right turns – people actually slow down and signal before getting off the highway. And the smaller thoroughfares meander a lot. You hear a lot about different regional driver personalities, but I actually think a lot of the differences in driving style appear when the roads aren’t as easy to drive on. Even if I’m back for long enough for my old boston driver training to kick back in, I’m executing aggressive moves at a lower speed than I’d use when driving courteously here.

  3. Yea, so this is the day I get my first bout of queasiness, which will last until they announce who wins the presidency. UGH. So nervous. Not sure Obama will win Lehigh Valley like last time. Went to Giant yesterday, and since I went last week, the whole of my drive there was COVERED in Romney/Ryan signs. UGH. My neighbor down the block is considering handing out coffee to make sure people vote. I keep reading that Obama will likely win, but I’m scared since I live in the state where people ‘THINK’ they have to show ID (stupid lying commercial) and maybe won’t go. I wrote a post, but still worried about turnout. I have zero skill to make calls though, I’m too shy to do that. Yes, I know fail, I just looked at the script and almost threw up! Too scary…

    • Not fail. You do what you can do and don’t beat yourself up about it.

      I woke up this morning (it’s about 9 a.m. Tuesday in Australia) and told DH that I’m not resting easy for about 48 hours. Jess just came up and patted me and said she hopes Obama wins.

  4. They had an election at Lucy’s elementary school last week, which she didn’t tell me about. I only knew because another mom expressed dismay on fb that her son had voted for Mitt Romney. So I asked Lucy about it and she said, “yes, we voted.” And I asked her who she voted for and she looked at me like I was crazy and said, “well, duh! I voted for Barack Obama!” PHEW! She told me they didn’t find out who won and didn’t know when/if they would find out. My girl is like Katie. . .adamant in her beliefs, but not really paying close attention. Because, hello? There are friends to play princesses with and TV shows to watch! For all I know, they already announced the winner and she just wasn’t listening.

    • I pay”reasonably” close attention…;-) and you know I’m probably more involved than I let on…I just happen to have alot of friends on the other side of the aisle so I try to keep my newsfeed clear of posting too many links or memes out of respect for our mutual differences. I post things that i think are moving or important but I try never to post “bash the republicans” kind of things… b/c if we ARE really all in this together and we all claim we have to be bipartisan then it has to start somewhere

    • Kindergarten is a little young to be paying close attention yet. My main political memory from kindergarten is a song about Nixon (put him in a high chair, punch him in the jaw, flush him down the toilet, rah rah rah).

      • Well, Lucy is in 1st grade this year, so it’s time for her to get her shit together, don’t you think? I just think it’s funny that she doesn’t know whether they have or will announce the winner of their election. She’s pretty solid for Obama and is always asking me whether the other candidates on yard signs she sees are “on Obama’s team,” because we only like the ones who are on Obama’s team, of course. One of the cutest things EVER was when she was like 19 months old and I would say, “who’s gonna be the next president?” and she’d say, “Ba-rack O-bama!” and then clap and say “yeah!” She had another toddler friend in her class who was 2 and whose parents are very involved in democratic party politics in this area and they’d literally sit around in school saying “Go Barack Obama!” to each other and then clapping. Her first political conversations. : )

        • Oops, 1st grade!

          I was in DC right before the 2000 election, must have been Oct of 2000, with my then 3 month old, and visited a friend who had a 2 year old. He did sort of the same thing. “Nate, who’s going to win the election?” she asked. He said it all as one word. “Algoooorrrrrre!”

        • Liza was in 3rd grade when Hilary lost the nomination and she’s still bitter… I remember she kept saying to me “I just don’t understand! She won NH , why isn’t she going to be President?”

          it was nice to have a partner in commisseration

          • Some elections just stick with you for life. I was in 5th grade in 1972. We held mock elections in school and of course McGovern won by a landslide. Everybody’s parents were voting for McGovern; we all knew that.

            I was really excited to watch the election returns, and my parents let me stay up late so I could watch the returns come in from the west. MA was one of the first to report results. And then I watched the rest of the map fill in. 40 years later I still remember the feeling of shock and disbelief.

            • When I was in 6th grade, we had just moved from the Bay Area to particularly wealthy and conservative part of suburban Minneapolis (my parents were so naive and had NO clue what they were getting us into). We had a mock election for Carter v Reagan (and Anderson, remember him?). In my entire 6th grade class, there were TWO votes for Carter. It was me and the one Jewish girl in our grade. During class discussions before the election, I just couldn’t believe the crap my classmates were saying. Coming from California, I was pretty aware of recycling and conserving energy and water, gas shortages and such. My classmates were 100% unconcerned about all that and it was a big education for me.

            • Definitely the ’88 election. Just couldn’t believe it that someone as decent and smart as Mike Dukakis didn’t win. I remember the DNC that year so clearly – Ann Richards and Teddy Kennedy in particular.

              • Of all the elections in my adult life, this one affected me least. I lived in Boston while Dukakis was gov, and I was not a fan; there was a controversial and high profile child custody case that I just couldn’t forgive him for sticking his nose into the wrong side. And GHWB wasn’t half bad, as republicans go.

  5. And in non political news, bb is still very much pregnant at 37weeks 6days. Had an induction massage today which was a nice treat after the wedding/moving chaos. The next house is still somewhat in limbo, but we need to get out of here (my parents) soon one way or another. Hoping this baby comes ASAP so we can get on with things!

  6. Tonight we are going to a HS open house. With school choice in full swing in NYC ( for HS and MS), there’s a lot at stake. OTOH, we love DS’s school, and it’s a 6-12 school so if we do nothing but hand back the completed form, he’s all set. OTOH, the only doubt I have is academic challenge. It’s a new school, so there’s no record to look at, and it’s a little nerve wracking to not know how the kids will be prepared for college. There are other schools with this model ( expeditionary learning) so we can look at them….but still it’s a leap of faith to a certain extent.

    And HE asked if we can look at schools that are more challenging. Not my idea …..see above, I love his school!

    So tonight and Thursday we are school shopping. We narrowed down our “other” choices to two, since there wer not other reasons to leave.

    We’re in a win/win. We love where we are, and he might find another option.

    Is it bad that part of me hopes he HATES the school tonight, so that the decision to stay is HIS?

    • haha, no I don’t think so! Yes, that would be ideal :) But, a win/win is good too. Wishing the best for him. And yea, I can’t imagine leaving a school you love. I’ve already told hubby not to accept any jobs he’d need to relocate for, because I’m not going :)

    • Well – he LOVED the other school – he sounds so mature in his thinking, I am blown away. He told me he wants the academic challenge, he wants to be in an environment where everyone cares about their work, and that he has some bad habits that this would force him to break (like procrastinating and still getting a good grade). I think he might realize that he needs the outside forces to make him work harder.

      This school is a nationally recognized school with tons of awards – and very competitive to get into . About 5% of the kids who apply end up there in 9th grade, so it would be a real long shot for him. He’s just at the bottom edge of their admission criteria, although it’s a tiny bit easier for boys than for girls because more girls apply and they try to have as many boys as possible in the school.

      We have a lot to think about, but I have to admit that this evening made me see him as a BIG kid, really sure of himself, and very insightful.

      • Stuy??? One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t go there even though I was accepted. I got creamed in college, but it would’ve been better for me to get creamed in early h.s. and develop good study habits in time to ace college instead of having to hang on by my fingernails and nearly get booted out. FWIW. Meanwhile, nice job, you and DH, raising a kid who’s already mature enough to recognize it’s not just about being smart!

        • Townsend Harris.

          And what you said – would he regret not even trying.

          It’s easy to get to from our house (half hour on the bus, 20 min if Mom drives him) and presents some tremendous opportunities.

  7. Tell me if I’m a humourless f*ck, please? On my yahoo feed there’s a link to a Jimmy Kimmel bit where he asks parents to film their kids while they tell them that the parents ate all of their Hallowe’en candy. So it’s basically parents making their kids cry and filming it. And the audience laughs and laughs at little kids being made to cry.

    It just seems so f*cked up. I don’t know if I’m just old or what but jaysus…you’re supposed to be your kid’s defender and protector and you play a mean trick and then post it? This kind of thing makes me angry. It’s nasty and mean spirited and cruel. Watching kids cry is entertaining? What kind of messed up sh!t is this?

    Am I just humourless and it’s a harmless little thing or are these people unfit?

    • No, I’m with you. I also don’t like the little girl who’s crying over e election, or any of the drunk from the dentist office bits. I think some of these parents don’t see their kids as separate beings.

    • I hate those. More specifically I hate the idea of those. I think he did something similar around Christmas where kids were filmed opening presents that were really bad like trash or something. Maybe it wasn’t Jimmy Kimmel but it was something going around last year.

      • I showed one of those to Lucy and she STILL remembers it and brings it up now and then, “why did those parents give their kid a half eaten peanut butter sandwich to make him cry? That was really mean.”

        • See? 6 year olds get it. The piece that really gets under my skin is not so much Kimmel – I think he’s an asshole but he’s supposed to be an asshole. He’s a talk show host and there’s a ringleader quality to that – plus he’s an asshole anyway.

          But the parents who intentionally hurt their kids – and that’s what they’re doing – and then put it out into the world so everyone can laugh at them? It’s messed up.

  8. I just saw this via Jezebel and my ribs are sore now from laughing. Damn, I miss my grandmother – in mid-2008, before her first stroke just around Election Day, she told me, and I quote, “If people elect that damnfool McCain to the White House, I’ll make sure that when I die, I haunt the White House.”

    NSFW link as follows:

    http://jezebel.com/5957757/reminder-if-you-do-not-vote-tomorrow-your-dead-relatives-will-watch-you-have-sex-from-heaven

  9. So I’m coordinating a big event for the Coalition of Essential Schools at the end of this week. It’s the national conference and it’s the single most visible thing we do. I came in as an emergency fill-in part way through the summer when the executive director left. Mostly it’s been great- the last time I did one of these was before the internet- but today my administrative assistant called to tell me that we had 178 people left to place in Friday sessions, and only about 78 seats left.

    Ooops. Apparently whoever set the “Here’s how many sessions we need” numbers didn’t quite do the math. So now I’m scrambling for a full-day session for Friday. Someone who can speak on a universally interesting k-12 topic.

    Then again, they’re forecasting a Nor’Easter on Thursday, so maybe I’ll get lucky and a lot of people won’t be able to make it in.

    • I agree with the line on the bottom – don’t call them “mompreneurs”, call them entrepreneurs. We certainly don’t call men who launch businesses after having started a family “dadpreneurs”.

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