Category Archives: politics

War on Women Timeline

There is no war on women. There has never been a war on women.*

War on Women Timeline.

This seems to be a rather comprehensive compilation of the various anti-women actions that have been taken in the past year and a half (since 1/1/11) or so.

Let me be clear: I am pro choice but anti abortion. Some 14 years ago, I (we) came face to face with an unexpected pregnancy, after Kristen and I had previously discussed our views on abortion.

I am glad to report that, when confronted with the need to make a choice, both of us decided that abortion was not to be our decision. I would have supported her regardless of which way she chose to go, but I am truly glad that the choice was to bring another child into the world.

I am adamant that, as a man, I am involved with the choice of bringing a pregnancy to term. The woman, however, is committed. Kind of like a pig, a chicken, and breakfast: the chicken is involved (eggs), but the pig (bacon, anyone?) is committed.

I do not regret for a single instant the fact that we brought Katie to term.

Hateful comments will be deleted, but impassioned discussion will be allowed. It’s my blog, I can make the rules.

*With apologies to George Orwell.


Gardening and cooking are subversive acts

Today, I spent a good hour of my day just listening to the following talk:

Authors@Google: Michael Pollan – YouTube.

Michael Pollan is the author of, among other things “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “In Defense of Food” of which the latter is the topic. There was a lot of information to chew through, but one of the core points is that much of what we eat in America today is “edible food-like substances” rather than “food.”

What is the difference between these two terms? your grandmother or great grandmother would recognize anything that is “food” as edible without difficulty.  “Edible food-like substance” on the other hand, would stymie her. Pollan gave the example of Gogurt as something that she would be confused by. What is in this sealed plastic tube? It feels like toothpaste! The ingredients are crazy, too: High fructose corn syrup (Huh?) and tricalcium phosphate? Neither of those occurs in nature, and Grandma certainly wouldn’t use them in her cooking.

The American diet is so far removed from the natural state of food that most of us have no idea where what we eat comes from. Even our lettuce comes processed! When I was a child, I had to tear apart a head of lettuce If I wanted to have a salad.

Count in that the fact that much of the produce in the grocery store comes hundreds or thousands of miles from where it’s grown to our table. Much of that produce is genetically altered and designed (hybridized) with an eye toward being shipping-durable above all else. If you’ve ever tasted a garden-grown tomato against a grocery store tomato, you know that there is a giant difference in flavor, appearance, and texture between them.

There is a movement underway that has people returning to “real” food, food that Grandma would recognize, and food that doesn’t travel thousands of miles to get to the market. This includes buying food at farmer’s markets and home gardening to raise produce. I don’t have any numbers, but I’ve seen lots of things on the Internet and in my town that proves that some people are “getting back to real.” Even my family is getting back to real food, though that’s as much necessity as anything else.

A big problem with this is that “real” food is more expensive than edible food-like substances. The reason for this is two-fold. First, there is a supply and demand curve that must be overcome. More people want the real food than there are farms and gardens to support it. Second, a great deal of what makes up the food-like substances are subsidized, therefore artificially driving the price down. Watch “Food, Inc.” for more on that. One person that I know summed up that movie in five words: Want some corn with that? Corn is one of the most heavily subsidized crops in the country, making it dirt-cheap to use.

For another problem with our current food supply, just refer to the recent uproar over “pink slime“. Household cleaning chemicals are used to make something only fit for animals into people food. I object, your honor.

Sometimes the sheer thought of eating in the American public makes me sick. I’m growing a garden, so I know where it comes from. (and because it will subsidize my family’s diet for the Fall.)


Screw Stay at Home Moms!

That got your attention, didn’t it? Before you blow me out of the water, give the first paragraph a read.

My wife and I were lucky: I made enough money that she could choose to stay at home, raising the kids and taking care of the house. When we met, she was a working mother, and the “lifestyle” that she was able to “enjoy” was less than stellar.  She would leave the house before sunrise to drop the kids off with her grandmother (who watched them for years) and was not able to return home until long after sunset after running the normal errands that a family needs, like shopping. After we were married and I was working at a good job, we were in the position that it would actually cost more to put the kids into day care than she could make at her job. That’s notwithstanding the fact that the kids were then in school, so they would only need daycare for a few hours each every day.

These were the rocking and rolling days of the early to mid 90’s when there were jobs available more or less for the asking. Once I was established in a career track, she and I sat down and crunched some numbers, and came to the conclusion that it would cost more than she could make in a week if we put the kids all in daycare. Therefore, it was as much an economic decision as a personal preference that she stayed home with them. She didn’t WANT to be a working mom, she wanted to be a stay at home mom. I was all for that, since that’s what I grew up with, and saw what some of my peers with two working parents had to go through.

Before I go any farther, let me say that I think that the working mom/stay at home mom decision should be left up to each family, and I think that both of these choices are valid and good. One is not necessarily intrinsically better than the other, but each has it’s pluses and minuses. Which one is more appropriate should be left to the decision of each family unit. But it should be an actual choice, not a forced one because of economics.

That being said, there is a recent Gallup poll that shows that stay at home moms tend to have lower family incomes and lean toward political independence, rather than either liberal or conservative. Both of these are not surprising to me, since I’ve seen the economics of the “work/raise kids” dichotomy. I also think that it’s fairly obvious that, since they live the reality of the situation (as opposed to an idealized view like Anne Romney has), most moms who stay at home would tend to be more moderate and pragmatic. Anne Romney has had a better-than-average family situation, especially after her husband started bringing in 6 figures per year or more.

The Gallup poll also indicates that more stay-at-home moms tend to have a lower over-all education level in addition to a lower over-all economic level. This is definitely NOT to say that stay-at-home moms are incapable of either. However, I firmly believe that it’s a compound problem: Some moms start with a lower level of education (no degree), meaning that they are not able to find high-paying work outside the home. Because they can’t find high-paying work, they are not afforded the realistic choice to work outside the home, since the cost of child care is roughly equal to or higher than the income that she could gain at her level.

All this is my rambling way of saying that I think that Anne Romney had a great option available to her, and that option is not one that all of American women are afforded.  I also think that Hilary Rosen put her foot in her mouth big time, saying that Mrs. Romney, as a SAHM, hasn’t “worked” a day in her life or is out of touch with her family economy.

I approve of women being able to have the option of raising their kids at home, regardless of their income level. Even those on public welfare should be afforded the opportunity (if they have a working partner) to raise the kids, rather than being forced to choose between maintaining their benefits or raising their kids. I firmly believe that a big social problem is that there are not enough available role models available for the youth of America because of the requirement to work if you want benefits.

Related:

Mitt Romney: Mothers Should Be Required To Work Outside Home Or Lose Benefits
No privilege for most stay-at-home moms


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