Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up? Let’s call this the white male privilege edition.

It looks like Mitt Romney won the Iowa caucuses by eight votes against Rick Santorum. Ron Paul was a close third. Check out our DesMoines Dem’s blog Bleeding Heartland for excellent coverage of the caucuses.  

Considering he is a businessman that ran against the DREAM Act, here is why mittens is a big fat idiot for it from none other than Forbes.

In somewhat related news, an Arizona judge ruled against ethnic studies programs at the state’s colleges, probably leading to their demise, according to Daily Kos.

At a time when 40% of working families eligible for food stamps are not signed up, the New York Times published an editorial calling for Mayor Bloomberg to drop a requirement to fingerprint individuals who receive food stamps. As the good editors pointed out, many other states and jurisdictions have dropped this requirement as it further stigmatizes the poor and there is no evidence that it actually cuts down on fraud.

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

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A Young Immigrant’s Suicide Re-Awakens the DREAM Act

The death by suicide of Joaquin Luna, Jr., has weighed heavily on my mind. He was an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who was brought to the United States as an infant.

As this New York Times story pointed out, he has become a symbol in calls to re-introduce and pass the DREAM Act, which would grant conditional residency to undocumented college students and those who want to join the U.S. armed forces.

Anti-immigrant advocates have shamelessly blamed the parents for his death, even though deep down inside all parents, especially here in the U.S., would do anything to feed, clothe and keep our children safe. These haters have gone as far as to say that his suicidal thoughts had nothing to do with the fact that he could never work legally in this country without passage of the DREAM Act. Even though he practically lived in this country his entire life, his future was completely hinged on passage of this critical piece of legislation.

To the haters, I can say that depression and suicidal thoughts are not uncommon in young DREAMers, which is why those of us advocating for them are always telling them to look up, that the DREAM Act will someday pass, anything to keep them from losing hope. I have heard many firsthand accounts by DREAM activists like Reyna Wences, who admitted to a group of us this past summer that she had thought of taking her life. Fortunately, she did get help and was around to join us at Netroots Nation in Minnesota to receive an award for her influential work.

I also know of other top notch students brought here at a young age, who often wonder why they are busting their butts in school. It’s especially disheartening because there are U.S. citizens who totally take their status for granted and don’t do well in school.

Regardless of what Joaquin Luna wrote in his suicide notes, I believe his family and they are in my thoughts and prayers. I also hope that his death is not for naught. Congress should do the right thing and pass the DREAM Act now.

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Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Get ready to take a shower. A story in Huffington Post Latino Voices about the high high school dropout rate among Latino students, garnered a lot of hateful comments, primarily against Latinos. Let’s see, the reason we have so many uneducated people in our community is because we don’t value education and don’t want to learn English. First, I want to give these commenters the middle finger. I also want to comment on the latter: I bet many of these students don’t speak or read Spanish well either. Heck, I’ve encountered many Americans who don’t speak English well — and that’s the only language they speak! Let’s have a serious conversation in this country about the root causes for these abhorrent statistics: poverty and illiteracy. It has nothing to do with the language spoken at home, which if I had to guess, the kids probably prefer English.

Don’t you love research that tries to justify prejudice? MSN Health covered some research out of Canada that voters prefer male voices — in other words, male politicians. Ick.

The Boston Globe ran a sad story about parents of mentally ill kids having to call the police. It also highlighted the complexity of our mental health system that can incarcerate anyone a danger to himself or society, but not force him to take medication. Also in the Boston Globe: the brains of autistic children appear to be heavier due to more neurons that developed while the children were in the womb.  

In celebrity gossip: Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher have called it quits after six years of marriage, according to MSN Wonderwall.

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

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Michelle Rhee and I Agree on Something!

She wrote a column for the Huffington Post in support of the DREAM Act. Read on:

The legislation pending in Congress would put undocumented children already in the U. S. and who have done what’s been asked of them on a path toward legal status if they go to college or serve in the military. The bill, which has been debated for years and which appears to be gaining new momentum, would allow these driven young people to be eligible for student loans and work-study programs.

Immigration is not my area of expertise, but I do know it makes no sense for us to educate these children, see them succeed academically, and then send them packing. It’s estimated that by 2020, this country will have 120 million highly skilled jobs but only 50 million workers qualified to fill them. Putting these talented Americans on a path toward citizenship is not only the right thing to do — it’s the smart thing to do.

The teachers unions — Rhee’s nemesis — also support the DREAM Act. I wish these parties would work together to advance the legislation. Teachers have been at the forefront, seeing these students — and their parents — work their butts off to succeed in the United States. It makes sense that they would want to see this legislation pass.

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Monday Morning Open Thread

Good Morning, MTs. Five more sleeps until Christmas!!! Huzzah!!! Is everybody happy???

Right. In case the promiscuous punctuation isn’t clue enough, I’m feeling a little frazzled as we draw to the climax of this festive season. Not “losing my shiz gonna go stand on a watchtower” frazzled, but sort of low-level, things are irritating like a festering hangnail frazzled. You know what doesn’t help this time of year? Articles with Tips on How to Relax!! and Enjoy the Bounty of Christmas!!! Anything that features happy families frolicking. I direct you to Ladies Home Journal‘s Secret Weapons to Lower Holiday Stress. Their handy tips include “Ask your family what’s important to them” [are you mental? Ask my five year old what's important to her at Christmas? The list will start with "gingerbread mansion" and just get ambitious from there.]; “hit the post office early” [ no, really!? Seriously?! This is advice?]; and my personal favorite “give up on perfection.” [I just wanna slap the author now. The sack of doorknobs beckons].

For me, managing Christmas stress boils down to three basic tenents:

1.) Make a list, check it twice, then burn it to festive cinders about halfway through. Nobody bloody notices that I didn’t repaint the table reindeer. I didn’t even bring out the table reindeer. Hell, I think I threw out the table reindeer in a fit of healthy pique.

2.) Nobody cares if presents and cards arrive on Christmas Day. In my family, we’re more shocked and annoyed if presents arrive in a timely fashion, because it means that somebody is being all passive-aggressive and racheting up the performance anxiety. But maybe that’s just my family. Anyway, this one reminds me of my favorite Douglas Adams quote:”I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” Seriously. There’s a dirty, dirty thrill to putting that Christmas package in the mail on Dec. 27, like slipping your paper under the professor’s office door and convincing yourself s/he will think he/she dropped it coming in.

3.) Have a (goddamn) drink sometime. For me, this has to be alcoholic. But the crunchy types should have something they fancy too. Green tea? Kombucha? Just y’know, bliss out/be one with the universe/get tipsy and have angry holiday sex. Whatevs.

There you go. My secret holiday list. Make, then burn the list at the halfway point. Send packages late. Drink. Works for me, and happy wife, happy life or something like that.

But seriously, I’ll tell you what, though – the DADT repeal does feel like a present. Now how about the DREAM Act for Boxing Day?

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Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Seriously, people…

In somewhat related news, a friend helped me track down this brilliant AFSCME rebuttal to the scapegoating of public sector employees.

My heart and prayers go to Elizabeth Edwards and her family. Have any of you met her or seen her speak? Please use this space or the post below to share your memories. Personally, I found the essays at Momocrats touching and cathartic.

The New York Times ran an article on how daunting it is for parents to deal with cyberbullying. Schools usually don’t get involved with off-campus activities, yet police don’t think it is a big enough crime to investigate. Therefore, the kids are left to their own devices.

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether or not to allow a sex-discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart to proceed, according to the Washington Post.

My supervisor and colleague at MomsRising penned a column in support of the DREAM Act. One of our moms here at MotherTalkers, Margaret, was even quoted in the article.

In bizarre health news: babies born in the wintertime are more prone to neurological problems like seasonal affective disorder, bipolar depression and schizophrenia, according to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Bravo to Laurie Puhn at the Expecting Words blog for eschewing “parenting styles” or doctors or society — who is it anyway? — that insist there is only one way to care for an infant. It is hard, and parents should do what works for them.

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

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Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

The DREAM Act may come up for a vote this week. Here is a list of Democratic and Republican legislators whose votes are up in the air. Please call if any of them are your members of Congress.

In somewhat related news, the Pentagon released a report stating that 70 percent of U.S. service members believe repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” would have little or no effect on their units, according to the Washington Post. Also in the Washington Post: in one of the few bipartisan votes during this Administration, the Senate passed a sweeping food safety bill to ensure that less Americans get sick from salmonella and other food contaminants.

Yesterday, I reviewed relationship expert Laurie Puhn’s book Fight Less, Love More. Coincidentally, she also had a column in the Huffington Post about the root of divorce. Also from Puhn’s Expecting Words blog: she wrote a response to the responses she received to a column she wrote about a hospital doing away with the nursery. She thought it was unfair for a tired mother to have to care for her baby round-the-clock while she was at the hospital. What is your take on this?

The number of adults in Texas with diabetes is expected to quadruple over the next 30 years, according to the Texas Tribune. Demographers are attributing the spike in diabetes cases to an aging population and obesity.  

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

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Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

In other election news, the Illinois senate race for President Barack Obama’s old seat is up for grabs. America’s Voice, which has ardently fought to pass immigration reform and the DREAM Act, just released this clever ad reminding Latinos which candidate supports both.

Sorry for the paltry post, but yesterday I was fried and went to bed early. Not sure if it’s juggling too many balls in the air or our crappy rainy weather. But I told DH to check homework and put the kids to bed. Meanwhile, I turned in for the night determined to get work done in the early morning. Have you had a night like this recently?

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

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Why Do Moms DREAM?

Cross-posted at Huffington Post.

Odds are, if you are a mom, you’re one of the 72 percent of women in the United States who support the DREAM Act.

But we want to know why.

First, a quick refresher: The DREAM Act is short for the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act. Currently, undocumented immigrant children who were brought to the U.S. at a young age and have grown up here have no way to become legal citizens and fully contribute to society. Upon graduating from high school, these children face an uncertain future, including barriers to college and risk of deportation to a country they often no longer remember. The DREAM Act would address this problem.

If passed, the DREAM Act would provide approximately 800,000 young adults with the opportunity to work legally without fear of deportation and ultimately earn permanent legal resident status if they meet certain requirements. These requirements include needing to show that they came to the U.S. before their 16th birthday, lived here for at least five consecutive years prior to the bill’s enactment, be of “good moral character,” earned a high school diploma or GED, and completed at least two years of college or military service.

The legislation could also prove to be a boost to our economy. A soon to be released study by the UCLA North American Integration and Development Center finds that the estimated 800,000 youth legalized through the DREAM ACT will potentially generate $1.38 trillion dollars over their work-life. (2)

Not surprisingly, a large majority of Americans support the DREAM Act including 80 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of Republicans, according to a poll conducted by First Focus, a bipartisan child advocacy organization.(3)

In spite of such widespread support, our elected representatives in Congress are pretty much sleepwalking on this issue.

Versions of the DREAM Act have been introduced into Congress, either alone or as part of larger legislation for the past nine years. And yet still Congress has failed to act.


What’s it going to take?

How about moms flexing their political muscles? Let’s tell Congress that as moms, we think it’s long overdue for them to wake up and do the right thing by these children and young adults.

Our elected representatives need to listen to mothers like Elaine Lindelef who says: “No good can come from the U.S. deporting hardworking, talented, devoted kids who grew up here, regardless of where they are from.”

Congress should also listen to Fiorenza Comunian whose daughter studied alongside undocumented students at UCLA: “They pay full tuition and they have proven they have the will and determination required to succeed. Granting them a path to citizenship will be an investment in this country’s future and an act of compassion that benefits everybody.”

Now, tell us, why do YOU support the DREAM Act ?

MomsRising, a million member advocacy organization, wants to hear from you. Simply complete this statement:

“I’m a mom and I support the DREAM Act because______________________.”

Then send your statement to Dream@momsrising.org. You can sign your first name and identify your state, or you can sign ‘anonymous’ and we will honor that. You can also drop us your comment below.

With these mom-quotes, we’ll tell our elected leaders it’s time to stop snoozing, sleepwalking and stalling. Moms across the country want our representatives in D.C. to wake up and make the DREAM possible for all children in our nation.

Footnotes 1 & 3: “Public Support for the Dream Act,” a public opinion survey commissioned by First Focus, June 2010: . For more information, contact Wendy Cervantes, Senior Director of Child and Family Immigrant Policy, WendyC@firstfocus.net.

Footnote 2: Statement provided with permission from NAID founder and director Dr. Raul Hinojosa. For more information, contact Tolu Olubunmi, a consultant with First Focus, tolu@adaconsultingllc.com.

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Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Republicans and two “moderate” Democrats from Arkansas voted against a defense bill that would have repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, given our troops pay raises, and would have granted conditional residency to undocumented college students and young people wanting to serve in the armed forces. I put “moderate” in quotes because somehow this is supposed to make them sound reasonable when they are actually in the minority. I think Obama is the only president in history that needs 60 votes to pass anything. Assholes.

Also, for folks hemming and hawing about the deficit, here is an idea: why not let the Bush tax cuts expire? That would actually help balance the budget, according to the Washington Post.

As you all know I’ve been advocating on behalf of the DREAM Act, the bill that would grant undocumented young people who were brought to the United States as children, conditional residency. The Dreamers are encouraging Sen. Harry Reid to schedule a vote for the bill as a stand-alone bill. From Mohammad Abdollahi, co-founder of DreamActivist.org:

There is only ONE person who can make this possible and that is Democratic Senator Harry Reid from NV. You need to call him now and urge that he stop playing politics with your life, demand that he immediately schedule the DREAM Act for a vote as a stand alone bill. This means in September, NOT after elections.

Dial: 1-202-224-3121 and ask to speak with Senator Reid from NV:

“Hi I am calling to ask that senator Reid stop playing politics with the DREAM Act. I am calling to ask that he immediately bring it up for a vote.  Thank you.”

Who knows what will become of it, but I placed my call. I did tone down Abdollahi’s message and said, “Because Sen. Reid is the Senate Majority Leader, I am calling in support of the DREAM Act and hope he will introduce it as a stand-alone bill.” We’ll see.

In recognition of World Alzheimer’s Day, California First Lady Maria Shriver wrote a poignant essay for the Huffington Post about the disease and why we need to protect women in this country — and the world. What do Alzheimer’s and women’s issues have in common? A whopping two-thirds of Alzheimer’s cases are women, and 60 percent of women are likely to be the primary caregivers of someone with Alzheimer’s.

PBS Kids just launched a new cooking blog for parents and kids.

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

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