Tuesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

My thoughts exactly:

Where was the “deficit commission” when President Bush started two wars and gave tax cuts to millionaires?

Since there is no free public option available under the Affordable Care Act, this is probably a good thing: a federal judge in Virginia just ruled that Congress could not force people to buy private health insurance, according to the Washington Post.

Prehistoric humans ate each other 12,000 years ago, according to research cited by Discovery News.

In other freaky news: a North Carolina teenager died after falling out of a plane in the sky, according to the Washington Post. Delvonte Tisdale, 16, managed a breach in airport security to hide in the plane’s wheel well, which is partially left opened during a flight.  

Check out this train wreck of a story: Kate Gosselin apparently stormed off of Sarah Palin’s reality show because she didn’t want to camp overnight in Alaska. Her kids wanted to stay, but she whined about everything from the bugs to the cold and packed them off on a plane.  

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


Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I have been running around town like a mad woman, preparing for a two-week trip to the east coast. This Friday, the kids and I will go to Philadelphia and drive to New Jersey to stay with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law for a couple nights. We plan to see fellow MotherTalker Rachel and her family. I am very excited as I have not seen Rachel in more than five years, and haven’t met the girls. We plan to get the families together on Saturday.

On Sunday, I will drive to Reading, Pennsylvania, to stay with my uncle and two cousins — on my mom’s side. I also plan to see my dad’s brother and his kids as they also live in PA. The following Friday, we plan to fly from PA to New Hampshire to see my parents, grandmother and brother — and of course, our Katie! It will be good to catch up with family and friends. Markos will join us in New Hampshire.

During that time, I will not be online much, if at all. I am handing the reigns over to our very competent Gloria and Erika who will update the site at least once a day. I’ll be back August 30. Until then, have a safe and relaxing rest of the summer!

In other news: here is a freaky story on belly bulge. Even people who are considered thin by body-mass-index-standards still have an elevated risk of early death if they have a bulging tummy, according to the Associated Press.

The Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts capped unpaid maternity leave for women working at companies with six or more employees to 8 weeks, according to the Boston Globe. In a 4-3 vote, the justices ruled against a housekeeper who was fired by a telecommunications company for taking 11 weeks of unpaid maternity leave. Did I mention that her leave — pretty paltry IMHO — was unpaid?

President Obama signed into law an emergency jobs bill credited with saving more than 300,000 teaching, law enforcement and other public sector jobs, according to AP.

This doesn’t sound right, but I know my kids would dig it. A Pop-Tarts Cafe — think, Pop-Tarts sushi — is opening in Times Square, according to Gawker.

The Washington Post ran an article on how, to the chagrin of parents, they hardly speak to their adult children over the phone due to the prevalence of texting and e-mail.

Some readers at MSNBC.com were vicariously living through a JetBlue flight attendant who ranted against a customer on the microphone, grabbed a beer and went down the emergency chute of the plane. Not surprisingly, he ended up in jail. Have you ever quit a job in such dramatic fashion?

Also in MSNBC.com: former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens died in a plane crash yesterday.

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


Palin: Not Good for Women and Children

One of the memes coming out of this Republican Convention is the notion that because Sarah Palin is a woman, women will support her candidacy.  I decided to take a look at the things she’s accomplished as governor to see if she’d done anything in particular to advance the status or health of women and children in her state.  What I found was not good news; rather than be a leading advocate for women, she seems to have ignored the issues dear to many women’s hearts.

First, I went to look at statistics on crimes that affect women.  I found that Alaska is by far the worst state in terms of the number of rapes committed.  This table shows national statistics from 2005 and 2006 for several types of crimes.  The national average of “forcible rapes” per 100,000 population is around 31.  In Alaska, that number is 76.  That’s right:  76, more than twice the national average.

And according to this chart from the Department of Health and Human Services, Alaska is 6th in the nation in its rate of child abuse and neglect.  The national average rate of child abuse/neglect is 12.1 incidents per 100,000 children; Alaska’s rate is 19.2.  Again, this would seem to be a crisis, but she has been silent on these issues since becoming governor.

To be perfectly clear, Sarah Palin wasn’t governor when these statistics were collected, nor am I holding her responsible in any way for them.  What I am saying is that FBI crime statistics show that her state has a terrible problem.  She knew this when she became governor.  What has she done about it?  What measures has she fought for?  What law enforcement changes has she suggested?

She did sign a bill reauthorizing the Alaska Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in early 2007.  She made April, 2008 Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Alaska.  She also used the high rape rate as a justification for more funding for law enforcement, without actually proposing any specific programs or initiatives.

That appears to be it–signing a bill the legislature brought to her, and a bunch of hot air about an “awareness month.”  It doesn’t look like she has spent much political capital on family issues of any sort.  Look at her responses to this questionnaire prior to her election as governor–there’s nothing here about women’s issues.  Her most important goals with respect to family issues are as follows:

12. In relationship to families, what are your top three priorities if elected governor?

Sarah Palin: 1) Creating an atmosphere where parents feel welcome to choose the venues of education for their children; 2) Preserving the definition of “marriage“ as defined in our constitution, and 3) Cracking down on the things that harm family life: gangs, drug use, and infringement of our liberties including attacks on our 2nd Amendment rights.

Translation:  school choice, no gay marriage, gun rights.  That’s her top three “family issues,” when the state was in a rape and child abuse crisis.

We know one other thing:  she slashed funds for a pregnant teen halfway house by 22%.  Here’s the actual page of the budget with her initials signaling the funding cut.

We also know that she is adamantly anti-choice, voicing a belief that abortion is only acceptable in the case of a pregnancy endangering the life of the mother.  No exception for rape or incest, even when the rape rate in her state is astronomical, and statistics show around 25 % of rapes result in pregnancies.

In my view, Sarah Palin is not paying attention to essential issues in her state with regard to the well-being of children and women.  Her “femaleness” alone should not be enough to get votes from women in this election.