Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I saw The Help on Friday with “Rolling” over at MomsRising. I loved it and will review soon. But I learned that she has a blog of her own. (How did I miss that?) You can drop a comment to her at WordyDoodles. Her name is Anita. :)

Thank you to the Coffee Party for addressing the oft-repeated ignorant comment, “only half the U.S. population pays taxes,” which was most recently espoused by Pastor Rick Warren. News flash for the “Pastor”: even if half the population doesn’t pay federal income taxes, they are paying payroll taxes, sales taxes, and other taxes that disproportionately hit the poor and working class. It’s a sad statement of our country that half the population doesn’t even earn enough to pay federal income taxes. It’s even sadder when people like “Pastor” Warren, who is supposedly on their side, attacks them for it.

This doesn’t surprise me: Apple is now the largest manufacturer of cell phones while Google’s Android is the largest smartphone operating system, according to With limited childcare and time this summer, I have found myself checking my e-mail on my iPhone a lot.  

Prudie at the Dear Prudence column advised an expectant mother not to name her baby girl “Lolita.” What do you think?

I had no idea that Padre Alberto — now Father Albert on FOX — has his own show. For Latinos, Padre Alberto was the Catholic priest who became an Episcopalian to marry the woman that he loves. Someone that we know, Laurie Puhn over at the Expecting Words blog, is going to be on his show today! It airs at different times so check out Laurie’s post for showtimes.

For those of you going to BlogHer this weekend, my panel takes place on Saturday at 3 p.m. in room 6A. Thanks!

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


Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I just got back last night from almost a week in beautiful Lake Tahoe. Pictures are coming in the next thread!

But here are some news items that caught my eye: relationship expert Laurie Puhn over at the Expecting Words blog will be taking your questions in a live chat at 9:30 ET/6:30 PT tonight! Here are the details.  

Finally, I am proud of the fact that even though I was splashing in the sun in Tahoe, I still managed to get my work done for MomsRising. We just ran a blog carnival protesting proposed Medicaid cuts. Some commenters were pretty cold with our writers. One commenter even told one of our writers with spina bifida that “I am glad the generous tax payers of this country are affording you great healthcare. Just know that it comes from the sweat and hard work of taxpaying citizens.”

She had a great response, which I must share with you:

Hey, you know my family and I are taxpayers just like you are (I mean, I hope you are!). And I’m not whining, at least not for myself. And my father has worked HARD for over thirty years to provide good healthcare for us. So, we’re not exactly getting anything FOR FREE, ‘kay?

I can currently hold part-time jobs, but I can’t say the same to people who are confined to group or nursing homes. Who’s going to pay their stay there if they can’t take care of themselves?

Now I’m going to turn the tables on YOU and ask YOU to be grateful that you have the ability to support yourself and provide for yourself. You’re able to hold a job and support yourself. Well, good for you! I can’t wait to join the ranks. But, unlike you, I will be more than happy to pay my taxes if it goes to support those in need of healthcare, of an education, of all those basic things we take for granted but that I believe every citizen has a right to.

If you’re so blessed as to be able to provide for yourself, then perhaps it’s time to start thinking of others who are less fortunate. I know I will do just that.

Oh, and I suppose you think my charity should begin with those “poor rich people“ that you claim don’t have enough money. And you think people like ME are milking the system? Pssssht.

Good. For. Her. I can’t believe we’ve gotten to the point in this country that we are going after the low-income, disabled and elderly in our country in favor of the well-off. It really has become a race to the bottom.

How are you today? What else is in the news?


Friday Morning Open Thread

(Bear with me as I took this photo with my iPhone. From left to right: Kyle de Beausset, Matías (last name not listed), Lisbeth Mateo, and Yahaira Carrillo, at the “Illegal” Organizing panel.)

On my first day at Netroots Nation, I attended so many interesting panels such as the Latino Caucus — my report on it is coming up next — and the panel pictured to the right: “‘Illegal’ Organizing: Lessons from the Migrant Youth Movement.” For video of the discussion, click here.  

The four young adults pictured are brave. They have “come out” — their words — as undocumented and have been arrested for civil disobedience. They have sat in Sen. John McCain’s office, Sen. Harry Reid’s office, have stood front and center at immigration rallies and have even been detained. One of the speakers said she believes they have not been deported because it would be “bad PR” for immigration officials. When people discuss “illegals,” the image of a young person in a cap and gown, assimilated and speaking English, is not what immediately comes to mind. Yet, passage of the DREAM Act would grant a million of these youth temporary permanent residency in the only country they call home.

“We are visible and upfront,” activist Yahaira Carrillo said. “We get personal attacks, personal e-mails and personal messages on Facebook and Twitter. But (coming out) also has its benefits.”

Unlike their parents, Carrillo and her fellow panelists represent a new mentality among undocumented youth. They are not afraid of declaring themselves undocumented, signing online petitions and attending rallies.

Lisbeth Mateo said they survive through their creativity. They have started their own businesses, been hired anyway — they are educated and speak English — or depend on donations for their activism. In other words, they have the work ethic and drive of Americans.

“Some people call it naive or foolish,” Carrillo said. “But we call it fighting for our lives.”

One way to help their cause is to call your members of Congress and have them support the DREAM Act.

In non-Netroot Nation news: Laurie Puhn at the Expecting Words blog wrote about how our partner’s flaws — and our own flaws — can blow up in our faces once we have children. She offered tips on how to fix them. Also in the Expecting Words blog: Laurie just attended the Smart Marriages Conference in Orlando and learned a bunch of factoids, like, the No. 1 predictor of divorce is the habitual avoidance of conflict. (Here is the source.)

The Associated Press had an article about a controversial school board measure in Raleigh, North Carolina, that critics say will re-segregate schools. Warning: do not read the comments as they are downright scary.

A writer at Mamapedia wrote about life after foreclosure.

In celebrity gossip break (that’s what it’s become!): Mama Palin supposedly doesn’t approve of daughter Bristol and Levi Johnston’s engagement, according to Reuters.

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


Tuesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Let’s call this the relationship open thread, shall we?

I often quote Expecting Words blog’s Laurie Puhn because she is a relationship expert. She has a couple of books under her belt and a Facebook page that has some moms talking. Most recently, Puhn published these two updates, which created a healthy response:

Couples often have phases in their relationships, good years, and then not-so perfect years and back to more good years.  If your relationship is going through a rough spell, don’t give up!  Has anyone experienced the phases and survived?

Game Show time! Name “Things that Make a Couple More Likely to Fight“ 1) Broken air conditioning (I’m suffering from that right now!), 2) Lack of sleep, 3) A new baby, 4) ….. what’s your answer?

On the latter, money was a big issue that caused even temporary separations. But a couple moms did comment on kids — including their husbands acting like children — and sleep deprivation.

In the beginning of my and DH’s relationship — that would be 14 years ago! — we did have spats over money, but not enough to break us up. One of us would fret about our debt load, then we’d fight over who was spending what, and we’d end up spending more money making up over takeout. (Ay!) In recent years, however, I would say that sleep deprivation and division of labor — meaning childcare — has caused the most tension in our relationship. But we have managed to plunge through, meaning, we have fought, but then made up and talked things over after we’ve had time to stew. What about you? What are some of the things you and your partner fight about? How do you “roll with the punches” so to speak?

In dysfunctional relationship news, Time magazine covered a study showing that people who have recently experienced a breakup exhibit the same symptoms of addiction as someone on cocaine. Read on:

It also helps explain why feelings of heartbreak are so hard to get over and even harder to control. The study notes, with classic academic rigor, that the spurned students had engaged in activities such as “inappropriate phoning, writing or e-mailing, pleading for reconciliation, sobbing for hours, drinking too much and/or making dramatic entrances and exits into the rejecter’s home, place of work or social space to express anger, despair or passionate love.” Sound familiar, anyone?

At least in one sense, this pain is a good thing, according to Brown. “In a way, nature gave us this response as a protection,” she says. “It helps us keep relationships going under adverse circumstances, which is important for keeping our species going.”

Such pain is also the first step in helping people get over their exes.

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


Did You Like Being Pregnant?

My apologies in advance to our adoptive moms, step moms, and non-parents, as I know what your answer is. But for the folks who got knocked up, did you like being pregnant?

This was an interesting question posed by Laurie Puhn at the Expecting Words blog, who is expecting her second child, by the way. Congratulations to her!

I understand her hesitation in posing the question in the first place as she made it clear that she was grateful that she was pregnant in the first place. But I agree with her that I tend to look at happy pregnant ladies as odd and enviable creatures.

A couple of bright lights: I loved shopping for new clothes. Also, the first time I felt the baby kick was exciting. But then I worried incessantly when I didn’t feel the baby kick. As for the other physical symptoms? I could have done without those.

After the initial euphoria of learning that I was pregnant — I have had two miscarriages, so yes, I was very excited to see the two stripes on my pee stick — reality set in. For both my pregnancies, especially my first, 10 weeks of my first trimester were marked by horrible waves of nausea and vomiting. I was relieved to arrive to my second trimester for so many reasons, then dreaded the last three months of pregnancy as I was so freaking tired and couldn’t sleep on my back, my favorite sleep position. A couple of times, I landed on my back in the middle of the night and almost fainted, reminding me to get back on my side.

My favorite part of pregnancy? The actual delivery. Yes, the contractions were horrible and I puked through those, but being done with being pregnant and holding the baby in my arms was the best.

What about you? Did you love or hate being pregnant? Don’t worry, we won’t judge you! :)


Tuesday Open Thread

What’s up?

In celebration of Black History Month this month, check out this CNN story about a sit-in at a whites-only lunch counter 50 years ago. It still amazes me that this country had segregation only 50 years ago.

If you can stomach it, here is a depressing Newsweek story on children as indentured servants in Haiti.

Here is a game-changer in favor of abstinence-only education: At least one study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania has found that a third of 6th and 7th graders did delay having sex after taking an abstinence-only course compared to students in other sex education classes, according to the Washington Post. Officials for the Obama Administration, who have called for a scientific approach to sex education, have said abstinence-only courses like the one in this particular study could qualify for federal funds.

Laurie Puhn over at the Expecting Words blog cast a spotlight on a parenting philosophy of treating children like “little people” as opposed to babies and toddlers. In this case, a father let his almost 3-year-old daughter run around a high-end bar because she needed to figure things out on her own. Puhn viewed it as a lack of parenting while the father thought otherwise. What say you?

Starting in April of next year, fathers in Britain will be able to take 6 months — three months paid — of paternity leave, according to the Telegraph of the UK.

The taxpayers of Oregon just passed tax hikes on wealthy individuals and corporations to avoid a budget crisis in the state, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Here is an interesting article in Education World on how recess before lunch actually helps children eat more, behave better and gives teachers more instruction time. Who knew?

I, too, missed the Grammys Sunday night so here is a recap thanks to CNN.

Apparently American Idol will go on without Simon Cowell next year. Among floating names to replace him is former head of Sony Music Entertainment, Tommy Mottola, according to CNN.

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