Tuesday Morning Open Thread

Update: Okay, here is the radio interview. I am 29 minutes in and take turns talking with a doula named Miriam Perez. Aside from my tangents on questions 3 and 4, I think I did fine. So listen away if you want to practice your Spanish! -Elisa:)

What’s up?

President Barack Obama has nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, according to the Associated Press. I was impressed by Obama’s speech yesterday on TV and like that Kagan would become the third woman on the bench if voted in by Congress. But I read mixed things about her at Daily Kos because she hasn’t actually served as a judge so not all of her positions are clear. What do you all think?

One debate I unfortunately got sucked into — although I did not participate — was the one about the “motherless Supreme Court.” Here is a Huffington Post column knocking it. Not since Sandra Day O’Connor has a mother served on the Supreme Court, even though we make up 81 percent of women 45 years and younger. (The latter U.S. Census Bureau statistics were compiled by MomsRising, by the way.) Do you think it matters?

My opinion for what it’s worth: I don’t think any candidate for any job should be judged by parental status and Justice John Paul Stevens is a great example of that. But I do think the lack of women nominees who are mothers is emblematic of our outdated work policies: the new 60-hour work week, a lack of paid family leave, paid sick days, subsidized childcare and the wage gap, which is largely due to maternal status. Women without children make 90 cents to a man’s dollar while mothers make 73 cents and the single mother makes 60 cents to a man’s dollar. Also, mothers are 79 percent less likely to get a job than someone without children who has the same resume. All of these stats are fresh on my mind as I did a radio interview on it yesterday.

The non-profit organization Save the Children just came out with a report on the countries with the “best conditions for motherhood.” Norway topped the list in the developed world, followed by Australia, Iceland and Sweden. In the developing world, Cuba topped the list, followed by Israel, Argentina and Barbados. I was on the nationally syndicated Radio Bilingüe’s “línea abierta” or “open line” show to discuss the conditions that led the United States to a mere No. 28 ranking on the “more developed countries” list. As a representative of MomsRising, I talked about the lack of paid national maternity leave and even sick days for mothers, which by the way, have helped close the wage gap in the rest of the developed world. It just doesn’t exist. I wish the program would link to the segment. If not, I will post when it appears online. Anyways, rather than start some culture war between mothers and non-mothers, I think this is the real debate we should be having.

U.S. regulators recalled best friend charm bracelets from Claire’s because of their high levels of cadmium, according to AP.

From the ethics files: Gawker ran a fascinating story about a feud movie critic Roger Ebert had with some tea party activists on twitter. Five California students were sent home on Cinco de Mayo for intentionally wearing American flag t-shirts, and Ebert had this to say, “Kids who wear American Flag t-shirts on 5 May should have to share a lunchroom table with those who wear a hammer and sickle on 4 July.” Later on, he explained his statement even further, saying that it would be disrespectful to wear a Union Jack t-shirt at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and that our country holds specific days to celebrate different cultures like Chinese New Year, Pulaski Day in Chicago, and yes, Cinco de Mayo. He felt that we should respect the cultures and not intentionally mock their celebrations.

While it sounds like the kids wore the American flags to get a reaction on this particular day — and yes, lately there has been a lot of racism towards Mexicans — I don’t know if I would have compared the American flag ensemble with a hammer and sickle. But I appreciated Ebert’s sensitivity and empathy on this issue and was completely turned off by the way the tea baggers attacked him for his cancer. (Ebert lost his jaw to cancer, by the way.) They were downright cruel. What do you all think of this issue of students observing — respecting — different cultures in school? Do you agree with Ebert’s statements?

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


Tuesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

The recession is having an impact even on Wal-Mart. According to MSN Money, foot traffic at U.S. stores fell slightly as customers grappled with unemployment and less money to make purchases.

Attention Bay Area moms: a Chilean friend of mine — our Poppygirl’s husband — just created a website to help Chileans in the aftermath of the earthquake. It is a place for people in the Bay Area to host events to help the people of Chile.  

Laurie Puhn over at the Expecting Words blog doled out tips on how to save money on maternity clothes. Where did you buy or acquire your maternity wardrobe?

US News & World Report ran a profile of a mother and sociologist who doled out these two tips to increase parents’ happiness: eat dinner together as a family and change your morning routine to avoid conflict.

As our Katy over at Non-Toxic Kids pointed out, the Senate and House will be holding hearings to possibly reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which regulates the introduction of new or already existing chemicals. The law has not been updated since 1976.

In case you missed it, D.C. now allows same-sex marriage, according to CNN.

In disappointing news: the Catholic Archdiocese in Denver just barred the child of lesbian parents from attending a Catholic school, according to Pam’s House Blend blog. I was heartened to read of the many Catholic protesters on the ground in Denver and Boulder condemning this decision, which was clearly motivated by prejudice. After all, the church is not expelling the students whose parents have fornicated, been divorced, practiced birth control, committed adultery — all which go against church teachings, too. I pray the progressive Catholics on the ground keep the heat on Father Bill and the archdiocese.

In somewhat related news: the moms over at Mamapedia recently doled out tips on how to get your 6-year-old to sit still in church, or at least “enrich” the experience for her. Of course, many of the moms said there is no way to get a 6-year-old to sit through a sermon. What do you think?

Also, did any of you catch movie critic Roger Ebert on the Oprah Winfrey Show last week? My husband and I were in awe at how technology has evolved to help him sound like himself. Ebert had his thyroid, salivary glands and jaw removed due to cancer four years ago. He hasn’t been able to speak without the aid of a computer. A company in Scotland developed a program that helps him speak — and sound — like his old self. Amazing.

Alice in Wonderland, starring Johnny Depp, earned a $116.3 million in its opening weekend — a record for a movie in 3-D, according to the Associated Press. Will you watch it?

Hybrid Mom magazine had a video trailer of the upcoming movie Motherhood, starring Uma Thurman and Minnie Driver, that made me smile.  

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