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.

Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I’ve read a lot of incredible analysis about the criminalization of poor mothers in the United States. The inconsistencies in outcome for the parents of the 9-year-old who killed her shooting instructor with an uzi and the mom of a 9-year-old who left her daughter in the park to go to work were mind-blowing in this article.

July 28, Associated Press:

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – Plenty of working parents can relate to the dilemma Debra Harrell faced when her 9-year-old daughter asked to play unsupervised in a park this summer. How do you find the time and money for child care when school is out?

Harrell’s answer to that question got her arrested. She spent 17 days in jail, temporarily lost custody of her girl, thought she lost her job, and still faces 10 years in prison if convicted of felony child neglect.

The decision of this 46-year-old single mother and McDonald’s shift manager has been picked apart since police were called when Regina was spotted alone in the park.

August 27, Associated Press:

PHOENIX (AP) — “All right, full auto,” the firing-range instructor tells a 9-year-old girl. She braces the Uzi submachine gun and opens fire at a black-silhouette target. But the recoil wrenches the fully automatic weapon upward, and the instructor is shot in the head and killed.

The death has set off a powerful debate over youngsters and guns, with many people wondering what sort of parents would let a child handle an Uzi.

….And while the tragedy in Arizona has indeed “set off a powerful debate” about kids and guns, it hasn’t brought the parents of the girl at the gun range, tourists visiting from New Jersey, anything close to the kind of sociological scrutiny that fell upon Debra Harrell, an African-American single mom trying to make ends meet with her fast-food job.

Wow. If there was any doubt that America hates poor people, read this article. The Nation had even more in-depth analysis on the over-the-top punishments doled out to poor single mothers of color.

Nightmarish stories about about the criminalizing of motherhood have been making headlines of late. There was Shanesha Taylor, arrested on child abuse charges for leaving her kids in a car to go to a job interview; Debra Harrell, locked up for child abuse for letting her 9-year-old play at a nearby park while she worked her shift at McDonald’s; Mallory Loyola, the first woman to be charged under a new Tennessee law that makes it a crime to take drugs while pregnant; and Eileen Dinino, who died serving a jail sentence because she was too poor to pay legal fees from her kids’ truancy cases. Other countries provide social programs and income supports for poor single mothers; in the United States, we arrest them.

I hate to end on that note, but glad that some media outlets are covering this important story. The New York Times once estimated that it costs, on average, $60,000 a year to incarcerate someone in New York, and $168,000 a year for someone in the city. (!) I thought of this story and compared it to how much cheaper it would be for us to simply pay for childcare for these moms or allow them to stay home with their children…and better for the kids, too.

What do you all think?

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

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Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Sadly, it’s premature for me to sing “Baby Got Class” as my kids don’t go back to school until the day after Labor Day. Nonetheless, I was all smiles when I saw these parents rapping about their kids going back to school to “Baby Got Back.” Hilarious!

And since I got e.coli over my summer break, I am extra careful when it comes to food-borne illnesses. ICYMI, nSpired Natural Foods Inc. voluntarily recalled peanut and almond butters produced under the Arrowhead Mills and MaraNatha brand names for salmonella contamination, according to NutritionAction.com.

Shudder.

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

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Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I am bone-weary tired. Ari had a soccer tournament all weekend in Redwood City, California, which is about 45 minutes south from us. Cheering and watching intensely during some nail-biting games in the hot sun can be tiring.

The good news is the kids did well! They came in second place overall in the tournament, bringing home their first ever trophy. My guy, who is so competitive, actually cried because they lost to the 1st place team, 2-1. It was heartbreakingly close, but what an exciting game.


What did I miss this weekend? How are you?

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Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

The child refugees from Central America are back in the news. This Washington Post story and Think Progress report on missing children — and murdered deported children — from Honduras was intense. It made me shudder, but also so grateful that I was born to the parents and country that I was.

I pray for a day that a child’s well-being isn’t based on where she was born.

If this issue is breaking your heart as much as mine, please consider signing this MomsRising outreach to Congress and the President. We have garnered more than 20,000 signatures and plan to deliver them soon.

Many thanks!

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

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Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

A preliminary private autopsy showed that 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot at least six times, including twice in the head, according to the New York Times.

For all who try to justify this brutal killing by a police officer over shoplifting, I give you the poignant and hilarious John Oliver. This is a must-see:

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Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Quantity versus quality. That’s been on my mind lately as our summer is winding down and we’ve had weekends packed with extended family visits and tearful good-byes. The kids may not regularly see their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, but the time they do spend with them is special. There is no doubt that we love each other. If there is a lesson that I’ve learned this summer, the quality of the time we spend with our loved ones is what counts.

This past weekend, I brought my 17-month-old niece with me to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, California. While DH, Ari, Eli and our 20-year-old niece from Honduras rode on the roller coasters, Sailis and I rode on the train and carousel.

We had so much fun that the minute I lay her in her stroller, she was out. lol!

When my sister and the baby moved out, I worried about my bonding with the baby. But I’ve made an effort to see them almost every weekend, and seeing our tearful good-byes, there is no doubt in my mind that we are bonded and always will be.

Any last-minute summer plans? How are you?

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Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but the news cycle was heavy this week. Besides depression and anxiety, actor Robin Williams had the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, according to CNN. May he rest in peace.

And like many of you, I cannot get Michael Brown’s family out of my head. The images coming out of Ferguson, MO, coupled with the fact that no one has been named — much less held accountable — for the shooting death of their son, it is beyond outrageous. The indifference on the part of the police feels like corruption in another country, not the justice and liberty this country is supposed to stand for. I keep thinking to myself W.T.F. That, and I hope that the Browns have secured a lawyer because I don’t know what else they are supposed to do. They must be stunned.

Shudder.

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Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I am baaack and so grateful to be in my routine. While I was in El Salvador, I got e.coli from something that I ate, but haven’t been able to identify. DH got sick, too, but the kids and my in-laws were unscathed.

I had the worst of it, landing in the emergency room near my folks’ home in New Hampshire twice for dehydration. Ugh.

It took 10 days before I could eat a meal, and right now I feel 95% normal. That said, the vacation wasn’t all bad. I did get plenty of rest, and wasn’t lacking for childcare so I didn’t have to worry about anything but getting better. The kids met a major milestone: they were with their grandmother three full weeks in El Salvador, two of those weeks without us. It is heartening to see them so grown up and mature, but I am also sad. I love the ages they are at — 10 and 7 — and now I am feeling the time fly. Sniff.


For many years, I wondered if my kids could be close to their grandparents since they only see them once a year. I’ve learned that it’s not about the quantity of time, but the quality of the time. My kids love their grandparents. Eli was crying that she didn’t want to go back home.

When I asked them what their favorite moments of their summer vacations were, they rated, equally, the time that they spent with their grandparents in El Salvador and in New Hampshire. One of their highlights was a day trip to Canobie Lake Park with my dad:


How’s your summer been? When do your kids go back to school? I don’t know about you, but I’m ready! lol. My kids return to school the day after labor day.

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

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Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Many thanks to our Mom of Twins, Liturgy Geek and Pat of Butter in a Sea of Salt — for back-up! — while I am gone. This will be my last open thread until I get back from summer vacation the week of August 11.

Stay tuned for pics!

What’s on your mind today?

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