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Your Kindness Will Never Be Forgotten

The past couple of weeks for us have been, how should I say this, hectic. Bonny and I are safely back home in Maine, and for that we are grateful. The passing of Bonny’s mom and uncle in the same week was somewhat surprising, but in all likelihood, we realize that other families go through similar, if not worse situations on a daily basis. It is a common experience that we all share.  In any event, these last several days have allowed for many hours of reflection.

As we all age, we realize that things like hope, kindness and good cheer do not smooth out the wrinkles, but can keep the heart refreshed. Honored age gives one the authority to ignore authority. You learn to forego your age or at least not dwell on it, to be happy to just be alive to have earned that privilege. If not years to your life, why not life to your years? Our human spirit is remarkably sturdy and resilient, allowing us to get past the hardships as long as we differentiate the little from the big, and find a way to smile through it all. Sometimes when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated. This is not necessarily the way that it has to be, as to lose a dearly loved one is also an opportunity for us to learn.

You learn that you cannot step twice into in the same river and expect things to be the same, for the waters behind you continue to flow. There is no time for stagnation as the flow of change goes on. So, let the past drift away with the flowing waters, but never forget the laughter, the sounds, the joys and the loving memories that you shared with loved ones. Extract the most from those memories. As sadness and pain creep in, realize that sadness and gladness succeed each other, both of which will be followed by spring.

So when the time comes, whether in a storm or calm, let down the sails and join quietly the waves.

On behalf of Bonny and I, we thank all of you for the outpouring of empathy, sympathy and inspiration that you have showered upon us and our family during these difficult times. Your kindness will never be forgotten.

 

By: raemd95, richardaevansmd.com, July 22, 2016

July 21, 2016 Posted by | Family Values, Marriage, Seniors | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Mad Men Problem At Home”: Closing The Wage Gap Begins With Remedying The Housework Gap First

When President Obama addressed the gender-based wage gap during his State of the Union address last week, women cheered and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro even gave out high fives. Obama called on Washington and businesses to help women succeed at work and “do away with workplace policies that belong in a Mad Men episode.” However, the President forgot to name a key constituency in his call to help women succeed: husbands.

All the workplace policies in the world aren’t going to get women to parity unless we do away with our Mad Men-era policies at home, too. Despite the fact women are the sole or primary source of income in a record 40% of U.S. households, they still do the majority of housework and childcare. According to the Pew Research Center, during an average week[OK? The study, if I’m looking at the right one, seems to have measured weeks rather than days.], women spend more time cleaning, doing laundry, and preparing food then men do. Men, on the other hand, spend more time watching television than women do. And even in households where the woman is the sole breadwinner, the labor division is far from equal. Men who stay home average 18 hours of housework per week, while their working partners average 14. Stay-at-home mothers, though, average 26 hours of housework. Their working partners average just a third of that time. America has a housework gap, and it’s fueling the gender gap at work.

Research indicates there is a direct and negative correlation between housework and the wage gap. One theory, from research in The Journal of Human Resources, suggests this could be employers’ negative reactions to women who appear dedicated to household activities. It could also be that many employers believe mothers are less committed to their jobs than other employees, as Shelley J. Correll, a sociology professor at Stanford University, posits. As a result, employers are reluctant to hire them and offer them high salaries. The “mommy penalty” is real. The wage gap between mothers and non-mothers is greater than that between women and men, according to the advocacy group MomsRising.

It appears that in 2014, we have high expectations of what a woman can accomplish at work, but we still have 1950s expectations about her role at home. But it’s time to rethink and renegotiate who does what where. Men who have opted out of housework should lean in at home so their wives can lean in at work. And they should advocate for, and take advantage of, family-friendly policies such as paid sick days, paternity leave, and flex benefits in order to create a more equitable arrangement at home.

If we truly believe that, as Obama said, “when women succeed, America succeeds,” then we need to stop ignoring the housework gap. Laundry and dirty dishes may not be standard agenda items for our legislators and business leaders, but they should be. After all, a woman can’t have it all if she’s too busy doing it all.

 

By: Liz O’Donnell, Time, February 4, 2014

February 5, 2014 Posted by | Gender Gap, Women | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Our Nation’s Biggest Shame”: How Much Money Would It Take To Eliminate Poverty In America?

Last week, the Census Bureau put out its annual income and poverty figures for 2012. The big news on the poverty front is that the percentage of Americans living in poverty is unchanged at 15 percent, which amounts to 46.5 million Americans. More than one in five kids under the age of 18 are in poverty, and nearly one in four kids under the age of six are impoverished as well. These are numbers we’ve all become accustomed to, but they can still shock the conscience if you make an effort to let them soak in again.

The sheer scale of poverty in the U.S. is so massive that it can seem as if eliminating or dramatically reducing it would be nearly impossible. After all, 46 million people is a lot of people. But in reality, if we stick to the official poverty line, the amount of money standing in the way of poverty eradication is much lower than people realize.

In its annual poverty report, the Census Bureau includes a table that few take note of which actually details by how much families are below the poverty line. A little multiplication and addition later, and the magic number pops out. In 2012, the number was $175.3 billion. That is how many dollars it would take to bring every person in the United States up to the poverty line. In 2012, that number was just 1.08 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), which is to say the overall size of the economy.

To be sure, you probably don’t want to run a program that hunts out every family below the poverty line and brings them right up to it. Such a program would effectively involve imposing a 100 percent marginal tax rate for all income made below the poverty line. But, things like strategically expanding the Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, SNAP, and related programs could make enormous strides toward poverty reduction. Implementing a mild basic income and a negative income tax would also help a great deal. The policy solutions for dramatically cutting poverty exist, they are used by countries elsewhere, and they could be used here, if we chose to do so.

It might be helpful to put the $175.3 billion magic number in perspective. In 2012, this number was just one-fourth of the $700 billion the federal government spent on the military. When you start hunting through the submerged spending we do through the tax code, it takes you no time to find enough tax expenditures geared toward the affluent to get to that number as well. The utterly ridiculous tax expenditures directed toward the disproportionately affluent class of people called homeowners—mortgage interest deduction, property tax deduction, exclusion of capital gains on residences—by themselves sum to $115.3 billion in 2012. Throw in the $117.3 billion in tax expenditures used to subsidize employer-based health care (also a disproportionate sop to the rich), and you’ve already eclipsed the magic number.

Eradicating or dramatically cutting poverty is not the deeply complicated intractable problem people make it out to be. The dollars we are talking about are minuscule up against the size of our economy. We have poverty because we choose to have it. We choose to design our distributive institutions in ways that generate poverty when we could design them in ways that don’t. Its continued existence is totally indefensible and our nation’s biggest shame.

 

By: Matt Bruenig, The American Prospect, September 24, 2013

September 26, 2013 Posted by | Politics, Poverty | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Pretzel Logic Of The Right”: Another Perceived Attack On The Sovereignty Of America, God And Family!

It’s hardly news any more when conservatives oppose ratification of a treaty reflecting widely shared American values. Concern for U.S. “sovereignty,” often based on conspiracy theories about the United Nations and other multinational organizations the U.S. helped create, has become a reflexive excuse for a kind of rigid unilateralism once associated with the John Birch Society or even older, isolationist conservatives.

But the current conservative fight to kill ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is especially interesting because the most avid opponents are the cultural conservatives who often profess solidarity with the disabled as part of their fight against legalized abortion. Anti-choicers and home-schoolers, however, have declared war on the convention on the theory that it confirms the “reproductive rights” of people with disabilities, and/or might confer other rights upon them that intefere with the absolute power of the family (presumably a servant-leader male-directed family) to raise children as they wish.

Thus it’s not surprising that Rick Santorum is at the head of this particular parade in the Senate, which raises the ire of WaPo’s Dana Milbank:

The former presidential candidate pronounced his “grave concerns” about the treaty, which forbids discrimination against people with AIDS, who are blind, who use wheelchairs and the like. “This is a direct assault on us,” he declared at a news conference….

[Mike] Lee, a tea party favorite, said he, too, has “grave concerns” about the document’s threat to American sovereignty. “I will do everything I can to block its ratification, and I have secured the signatures of 36 Republican senators, all of whom have joined with me saying that we will oppose any ratification of any treaty during this lame-duck session.”

Lame or not, Santorum and Lee recognized that it looks bad to be disadvantaging the disabled in their quest for fair treatment. Santorum praised Lee for having “the courage to stand up on an issue that doesn’t look to be particularly popular to be opposed.”

Courageous? Or just contentious? The treaty requires virtually nothing of the United States. It essentially directs the other signatories to update their laws so that they more closely match the Americans with Disabilities Act. Even Lee thought it necessary to preface his opposition with the qualifier that “our concerns with this convention have nothing to do with any lack of concern for the rights of persons with disabilities.”

Their concerns, rather, came from the dark world of U.N. conspiracy theories. The opponents argue that the treaty, like most everything the United Nations does, undermines American sovereignty — in this case via a plot to keep Americans from home-schooling their children and making other decisions about their well-being.

And so, Santorum brought his famous daughter Bella, who suffers from a severe birth defect, to the hearing where he fought against acknowledgement of the rights of people like her.

This is where the pretzel logic of the Right can lead.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Washington Monthly Political Animal, November 27, 2012

November 28, 2012 Posted by | Anti-Choice, Conspiracy Theories | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Poo Fighter”: A History Of Mitt Romney And Diapers

Most people do not look forward to changing their baby’s diapers. Not everyone. But most people. Which is understandable — it’s not a pleasant experience. You never know what kind of noxious, exotic things you’re going to find in there.

But Mitt Romney, in particular, really despises diapers.

We were reminded of this yesterday when Romney, at a town hall in Ohio, went off on a tangent about his family:

“Grandkids are fabulous!” he said. “You don’t have to change their diapers and, and they love you.”

This is telling. When describing the benefits of grandchildren, Romney places the absence of diaper-changing responsibilities — a seemingly minor factor — on par with unconditional love. It’s like saying, “Being president is incredible: There’s a bowling alley right in your basement, and also, you get to shape the future of the world.” It’s also unclear whether Romney would still find grandkids fabulous if they offered him love and required diaper-changing. Grandkids, under that scenario, might be “just okay.”

The funny thing is, Ann Romney has praised her husband for teaching her how to change diapers when they first had a baby. According to a December 2007 AP report:

Ann Romney traveled with her husband Saturday, testifying to the little-known qualities she believes make him the preferred Republican presidential contender.

She said … that her husband taught her how to both change a diaper and feed a baby, experience she lacked when she had the first of their five boys.

It turns out that before he had children of his own, Romney was wiping and powdering on a regular basis, as Ann testified:

“I did not grow up in these big Mormon families and all these kids and everything; I really grew up in the country in Michigan, and I never held a baby until I had my own.”

Romney had experience in holding, feeding and cleaning babies from taking care of his nieces and nephews.

“So, he comes in handy,” his wife said.

Well, not that handy, actually. After teaching his wife how to change a diaper, Romney — apparently scarred by years of changing diapers for his entire extended Mormon family — stopped doing it himself, save for the most tolerable cases:

I was willing to change the urine-soaked diapers, but the messier types gave me dry heaves,” he told GQ magazine in 2007. “So my wife allowed me to escape that.”

Dry heaves? A bit dramatic, no? The man who promises to get tough on China and do whatever it takes to stop Iran from going nuclear also cowers in the face of baby poo?

 

By: Dan Amira, Daily Intel, March 1, 2012

March 5, 2012 Posted by | GOP Presidential Candidates | , , , , | Leave a comment

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