Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

First, a very happy birthday to our resident mom of 7 tjb! (Her birthday is tomorrow.) You are an inspiration to all of us here at MotherTalkers. Thank you for shedding your light and wisdom!

There were elections last night. And as of 10 p.m. PT, Rick Santorum had crushed and swept Mitt Romney in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado, according to results at our brother site Daily Kos. Ouch for Romney.

Speaking of sanctimonious Rick, there are a few reproductive justice articles I want to highlight. The first one is this hilarious story at Jezebel about a pro-choice Democrat in Oklahoma amending a personhood bill to include protections for semen ejaculated anywhere outside a woman’s vagina. Needless to say, it failed as this would mean no masturbating, no wet dreaming or oral sex for men without being charged with harming an unborn child.

The office of Congressman John Fleming (R-LA) was called out for posting a satirical Onion story on Planned Parenthood as real news. The story, which was clearly fake, was about Planned Parenthood building an $8 billion “abortionplex” complete with coffee shops, bars, dozens of restaurants and retail outlets, a three-story nightclub, and a 10-screen multiplex theater— “features intended not only to help clients relax, but to foster a sense of community and make abortion more of a social event.” The article was taken down — after a screen shot of it was featured on Literally Unbelievable. ROFLMAO!

And in a glaring example of the giant disconnect between Catholic church leadership and parishioners on the ground, a poll found that U.S. Catholics are more supportive (58%) than the general public (55%) of having employers provide health insurance plans that offer birth control at no cost. This story was all over the place yesterday, including Daily Kos.

Marriage equality wins (again) in California! Here is a story on it at the Los Angeles Times.  

Speaking of family values, the Washington Post ran a powerful story on how African American women are more likely than other demographics to care for extended family in spite of great economic hardship. This reminded me of a story some years back about how African Americans were more likely to care for their parents in old age, and not likely to get any inheritance. Unfortunately, their generosity is punished in our backwards-ass economic system.

This article is in Spanish, but too fun not to share. Jeannette Kaplun over at TodoBebé wrote her top 10 favorite things to do at Disney World in Florida. She considered dining with the various characters, taking a ride on the Monorail, and riding on the Pirates of the Caribbean to be highlights. Disney World is so huge and crowded that it can be overwhelming. What are your and your children’s favorite things to do there?

I hate to end on a sad note, but I must mention that Susan Niebur, the 39-year-old mother who publicly and gracefully battled breast cancer, which she documented on her blog Toddler Planet, passed away on Monday. Here is a wonderful Washington Post story on her.

I remember seeing Susan at the Blogalicious conference back in October. She was wheeled in where, despite her physical state, she gave a rousing testimonial about battling cancer with six-year-old and four-year-old sons. She was a public advocate for more research to cure cancer.

Seriously. When are we gong to find a cure for this awful disease? May Susan’s family find solace after such a terrible loss.

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


Is Inheritance a Right?

Via Strollerderby: A soap opera of a story has emerged in Texas, in which the children of an 87-year-old man want the court to divorce him from his young, second wife who they say is squandering their inheritance.

Here is the story, according to the Dallas Morning News:

Claude Thomas married Susana Martinez Ramirez in 2001, but he kept it hidden from his adult children for at least two years.

When they finally found out, they were shocked. That shock turned to anger when his four children realized that most of his estate – and their inheritance – had vanished.

Now the children are asking an Ellis County family court judge to divorce the 45-year-old Mrs. Thomas from their 87-year-old father and award custody of the ailing man to one of his sons.

Mrs. Thomas’ attorney said his client is entitled to Mr. Thomas’ money because they’re married. But his children say she is taking advantage of Mr. Thomas, spending his money on her own children and their father, Santiago Diaz.

At issue for the court is what’s best for Mr. Thomas and whether he’s capable of making his own decisions.

Mr. Thomas exhibits early signs of dementia, but he appears to know what’s happening around him. He’s said in court that he wants no guardian – he’s happy with his wife and her spending habits. And he has disputed testimony that portrays his wife as a villain.

Here is the kicker, and good fodder for this site:

Cases such as these are cropping up more often as people live longer and accumulate more wealth, said Terry Hammond, executive director of the National Guardianship Association.

“It’s a case indicative of where we are as a society,” he said. “That accumulated financial wealth is a target. And the exploitation and love, or the appearance of love, is one of the first ways to an elderly person’s heart.”

Claude’s case is especially complicated because he shares a business with his children. I was struck by how Claude was able to keep his marriage a secret even though he saw his sons at work every day. Perhaps they rarely visited him at his home? Weird.

What do you say? Should children have a say in how their inheritance is spent? I will keep my eye out for the outcome of this case.


Weekend Open Thread

For the first time in nine months, I feel rested. My parents have been awesome, entertaining the kids while DH and I take naps or even go out — alone — which hardly ever happens in California. I can understand why someone would move closer to home post children.

If only I could get my father to quit smoking and my mother eating healthier…There is always a flip side, eh? But overall, the trip has been great.

I have spent a lot of time with my grandmother upstairs. She looks wonderful. She has always looked young for her age, does not have a hint of a wrinkle and hardly any grey hair. But she is definitely forgetful and painfully aware of it, which is the hard part. She can’t remember the recipe for dishes and must lean on others to cook for her. Also, she forgets from one day to the next whether someone has called or told her something. It has been sweet to see her hold Eli — Eli adores her, too, BTW! — and in that sense this trip has been worth it.

How are you spending your holidays, MotherTalkers?

Now for some celebrity gossip from — People magazine!

Sean Penn and Robin Wright Divorcing: Actor Sean Penn and his wife of 11 years, Robin Wright Penn, are divorcing. No additional details of the breakup were provided.

On Paris Hilton’s Inheritance: Paris Hilton’s grandfather, Barron Hilton, just earmarked 97 percent of his heirs’ inheritance for charity, leaving the remaining three percent to his children and grandchildren. Paris’s share would be $5 million, which is $95 million less if her grandfather had passed on the money to her rather than given it away.

I am sure Paris will be just fine with royalties from her sex video.  

Where are the Celebs on New Year’s?: People gave the lowdown on who was going to be where on New Year’s. Kanye West, Pink, Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Avril Lavigne, Lil’ Jon will either host parties or perform in them in Las Vegas.

Ashlee Simpson, Eve and Mandy Moore will hit the scene in Miami.

Kid Rock will host a party in New York City, while Carrie Underwood performs in Times Square.

Where will you be on New Year’s, MotherTalkers?