Thursday, July 12, 2012

Rick Perry Seems to Hate Poor Folks and Women (and especially poor women)

Rick Perry hates poor folks and women (and especially poor women, and extra-especially slutty poor women)

Health and reproductive news here in Texas always leaves me with a combination of "OMGWTF?!?" and "eh, what the heck else should I expect from the good ol' boys club?" Our governor, pride of Aggieland, Rick Perry, has of course declined to expand medicaid as outlined in the recently-approved-by-SCOTUS Affordable Care Act (ACA). That was an obvious one, since they ruled that states actually could not be coerced into the expansion. In the linked article on RH Reality Check, Grimes points out that we have the highest rate of uninsured folks of any state with 25% of our population lacking health insurance. Health policy expert Elena Marks told Grimes that leaving this population uninsured doesn't decrease the cost of their healthcare, it just shifts it to the privately insured population. Apparently, the Texas Medical Association (TMA) says "insured Texas families pay nearly 80 percent more than the national average in premiums to cover the cost of care for the uninsured." (Quote from RHRC piece, link is to TMA page with lots of good info that I haven't had time to check out.)

Wait....WHAT?!? So my ridiculously high-priced premiums, paid partly by me and partly by the UT system, amounts to robbery of my income to pay for uninsured folks' care?!? So we COULD be accepting federal money to try and set up insurance to get these folks preventative services, and instead we are taking money for emergency room visits out of my paycheck?!? Okay, less "meh" and more "OMGWTF" over here.

Let's not forget that this is just the "health" part of the news to which I refer, we haven't covered the "reproductive" part. We have already rejected federal money for the Women's Health Program, specifically so that we could make sure no funds will go to Planned Parenthood. More on that to be found here. Now the Texas Department of Health and Human Services has proposed new rules that not prevents physicians accepting Medicaid from affiliating with abortion providers, they cannot "promote" abortion. As in: they cannot even discuss it with their patients, or provide any information about abortion at all to their patients. So economically disadvantaged women, the ones least likely to have means of caring for an unplanned child, are disproportionately affected by these rules. Of course, they might not find themselves asking about abortion if they had just been able to get into Planned Parenthood for some affordable, effective contraceptives. 

Let's just hope we don't end up like Mississippi. Though the woman running the last clinic there is putting up a good fight. 

Just so we don't end on a sour note.... In happier news, "Melinda Gates Challenges Vatican by Vowing to Improve Contraception." Go on, girl!

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Day in the Life of a SAHM

I work. 40 hours a week, 2-2.5 hours total commute time each day. Work's typically not stressful, I have the flexibility to set my own hours as long as I'm getting things done. (The flexibility went out the window with the kid. My job may be flexible, but daycare is less so. Unless I want to wake up earlier, which I do not.)

Today I was a stay-at-home-mom. Kiddo, age 2, has a fever and diarrhea. Husband's job doesn't offer sick time, only PTO. My job offers sick time and allows me to use it for a sick kiddo. So I try and do sick-kid duty whenever I'm not really busy.

I have total respect for stay-at-home moms. It's not like you can just hang out at home all day, the kids need to see friends and go do different activities. It's not easy to just be present for a toddler all day long, every single day of your life. I love eating my lunch in peace at work. I can't do that at home.

But you know what I can't do at work? Drink a margarita. Yep, that's exactly what I did this afternoon while I was making pasta salad and whipping up a batch of my special hot dog relish for dinner. The other thing I can't do at work is make pasta salad and hot dog relish. During a normal work week, this activity would occur at 9:30 or 10:00 at night, when I'd much prefer to be winding down for bed. Also, when your work is in your home, you don't have to commute at the end of the day. So by about 5:00 this afternoon, I was like "I could totally do this! Much easier than working all day, bookended with commuting, followed by dinner preparation, etc."

Then Husband came home. I asked if he wanted pasta salad? "Yes." And some hot dogs? "I had hot dogs for breakfast." Are you kidding me? Aside from the obvious absurdity of eating hot dogs for breakfast, I spent a significant amount of time preparing this damn relish. On top of that, I waited for his late ass to get home before we ate dinner, so we could eat as a family.

Never mind this SAHM stuff, I'm going back to work.

Update: Poor kiddo was sick the next day, then even sicker the next. Spent the whole week out of daycare due to fever and barfing (luckily the diarrhea subsided for the most part.)

Science: A Girl Thing?

Wow. Gee I wonder why we can't get more women into STEM fields? The European Commission is trying to lure women into science with this horrible campaign. Brought to my attention by this article via PPBB facebook page. I'm assuming the gist of it is summed up in the video featured in the article, because I haven't had time to investigate the actual campaign page. But there you have it, it was such a turn-off that I haven't even looked at it. Way to go, Europe, good thing I already have a career in science, or I might not even consider one after seeing your video.  :-/

For the record, science is NOT a girl thing. There are plenty of women in science, but tenured positions have many less females than males (at least in our department). So, if any girl actually DOES fall for this drivel, she may be surprised when she gets to graduate school and finds she has less female faculty mentors than male.

Sheesh. SMH.

Update: Campaign website has Q&A about the video clip. Essentially, the EC hired external contractors to do focus studies to find out what attracts teenage girls' attention. You know, kind of like how Lego did focus studies to find out what type of Lego products to market to girls. Maybe today's teenage girls have a narrow focus on fashion and makeup due to all of the girly crap that's been shoved down their throats their whole lives.

U.S. Census Bureau asks "Who's Minding the Kids?"

Did you know that the U.S. Census Bureau automatically assigns the title of "Designated Parent" to the mother in two-parent households? Article about it here, study published here. (I've only skimmed the first page of the study as of now.) Furthermore, the way they report parenting among fathers and mothers is different.

If mom goes to work and dad stays home with the kids, mom is still the "designated parent," despite the fact that dad likely handles all of the day-to-day little stuff of parenting. This is insulting to dad, who likely is more in tune with who likes to eat what at a given time, what the newest favorite habits are, and what will trigger or diffuse a tantrum.

Furthermore, dad's care of the kids while mom is at work is considered a "childcare arrangement." You know, like daycare or school would be reported. Okay, fair enough. But when dad works and mom stays home? Is that a childcare arrangement? Nope. Apparently that's just what's expected to happen. Despite the fact that most women had a job or career before staying home with the kids, mom's care of children is not a "childcare arrangement." Insulting to mom, as her parenting isn't even reported, despite the fact that it is in reality a "childcare arrangement" (I doubt most women would be sitting at home not working if they didn't have kids to mind). Insulting to dad, as his parenting is considered unequal to that of mom's, and could be considered "babysitting" according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

From K J Dell'Antonia:
That bears repeating. If, every morning, I go off to work and my husband stays home with a child, that’s a “child care arrangement” in the eyes of this governmental institution. If the reverse is true, it’s not. I asked Ms. Laughlin if the Census Bureau collected data on the hours mothers spend offering “work support” to their husbands. “No,” she said. “We don’t report it in that direction.”
If we are to ever change the way that businesses and governments look at parents, families, and their relationship to the workplace, we need to at least collect statistics in a manner that reflects our modern reality. We need to purge these 1950's-era ideas about what a family is "supposed" to be.