Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

There is a lot happening this week, especially for the organizations I work for — MomsRising.org and Moms Clean Air Force. Please sign up for their e-mails, if you have not already done so. You all are the best! :)

The Moms Clean Air Force is running a series of videos promoting clean air. Among the speakers are author Ayelet Waldman, actress Blythe Danner (she is also Gwyneth Paltrow’s mom), Christina Applegate and Maya Rudolph.

There is a reason for all this corralling around clean air now. New mercury and air toxics standards are supposed to kick in this week, but some members of the coal power plant industry are fighting them tooth and nail. All that lobbying is to the detriment of our children’s health as mercury is in our air and water and arsenic in our food. If you haven’t done so already, please take action and sign this petition to President Obama at Moms Clean Air Force and MomsRising.

It is the holiday season. If anything, now is the time to count our blessings, but also remember our unemployed brothers and sisters out there looking for work. MomsRising ran a series of blog posts highlighting the need to extend unemployment benefits beyond December 31 of this year. Among the writers were my mother and a dear childhood friend in Florida who has had to visit a food pantry to feed her family. Please read and pass along to encourage your family and friends to support extending unemployment insurance.

In related news, the Occupy movement conducted a series of actions in Washington, D.C. last week. These were my favorite actions: first, this wonderful essay by Linda Evans, a great-grandmother explaining why she was occupying D.C.. I also appreciated this Los Angeles Times story about the protesters occupying one of Newt Gingrich’s fundraisers. (Seriously, I wonder who advised him to hold a fundraiser in the same place and at the same time as the protests?) Finally, I am glad someone stood up to K Street lobbyists — here is coverage of it on CNN. Many thanks to the Service Employees International Union for getting those clips together!

And one last piece of political news: in a rare move, the Obama administration overturned an FDA recommendation to sell the morning after pill — plan B — over the counter for everyone. This is stupid for a variety of reasons as spelled out by the blog RH Reality Check.

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

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Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

My colleague Ruth Martin at MomsRising.org posted a review of the TV show The Good Wife. Have you seen it?

Remember the children’s holiday-writing campaign I promoted here at MotherTalkers? Well, we helped collect more than 5,000 letters — more than our goal! — by children speaking out against family separation due to deportation. The We Belong Together coalition will now deliver those to Congress tomorrow. Thank you all, especially those who participated!

Teacherken over at Daily Kos wrote an excellent post about standardized testing. As the experts in his story pointed out — including a three-time elected school board member who took the test — there are serious limitations to the tests, including multiple reasonable correct answers on the reading section.  

Wow. A federally funded study found that 200 pregnant women in the New Hampshire area had elevated levels of arsenic in their urine due to rice consumption, according a story posted at Las Blogueras newsletter. If you have not done so already, please sign this petition to President Obama asking him to support new mercury and air toxics standards.

God bless, New Hampshire, for this research, too: just one percent of minors have actually sent an explicit photo of themselves over the phone, or engaged in “sexting”, according to this story in Slate.

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

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