Colorado Governor Signs Parent Time Off Bill Into Law…for some

The state of Colorado has a shiny new law stating that employees of companies with more than 50 employees may take up to 6 hours per month in leave to attend meetings & conferences with their children’s educators.  Pretty good, eh? …well, except if you’re a manager, an independent contractor, a domestic employee or an agricultural worker: they’re not eligible. (Maids don’t have children, do they? Or anyway if they do, they don’t go to school, right?) (Thanks, HEB!)

When Two Rights Make a Wrong

So, fully-grown adult woman having a tipple? fine, yes? Let’s stack the deck: fully-grown American woman having a tipple? I know it’s a tough question, so I’ll answer for you: It’s fine. It really is.

Mother breastfeeding her baby? Fine, of course. Excellent even. Right? Right.

And yet, combine the two and, without any medical or otherwise scientific say-so behind it, CHILD NEGLECT. That’s right, child neglect. At least, it is if tippy mummy lives in North Dakota:

A North Dakota woman accused of breast-feeding her 6-week-old baby while drunk has pleaded guilty to child neglect. Twenty-six-year-old Stacey Anvarinia could face up to five years in prison when she’s sentenced on the felony charge in August. Judge Sonja Clapp says Anvarinia will not have to register as an offender against children.

She doesn’t have to register as an offender against children…for brestfeeding her child! Wasn’t that nice of the judge?

Nearly 20 years ago, Mary Anne Warren warned against a shifting tide of sentiment towards the rights of the fetus that may someday see pregnant women prosecuted for child abuse on grounds of eating the wrong foods, getting too little sleep, consuming alcohol (Hypatia 4:3 Autumn 89); in other words, that may someday see pregnant women lose the rights that other adult persons have. Guess what, Mary Anne? Even postpartum women are catching it these days!

But surely, you say, this ruling is based on medical evidence. Surely they have consulted the relevant experts and expert research in order to come to the conclusion that breastfeeding while intoxicated constitutes child abuse. Maybe, for example, they have consulted the American Academy of Pediatrics:

The American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Drugs considers alcohol compatible with breastfeeding. It lists possible side effects if consumed in large amounts, including: drowsiness, deep sleep, weakness, and abnormal weight gain in the infant, and the possibility of decreased milk-ejection reflex in the mother. (La Leche League FAQ on Alcohol)

OOO OOO! Abnormal weight gain! Surely causing your child to gain weight abnormally is abuse! YES! So long as feeding sweets or other nutrient-poor foods to your children (once) is abuse!

Thomas W. Hale, R.Ph. Ph.D., member of the LLLI Health Advisory Council, says

Excess levels may lead to drowsiness, deep sleep, weakness, and decreased linear growth in the infant. Maternal blood alcohol levels must attain 300 mg/dl before significant side effects are reported in the infant. Reduction of letdown is apparently dose-dependent and requires alcohol consumption of 1.5 to 1.9 gm/kg body weight (6). Other studies have suggested psychomotor delay in infants of moderate drinkers (2+ drinks daily). Avoid breastfeeding during and for 2 – 3 hours after drinking alcohol.

Pyschomotor delays! Child Abuse! Hmm. Again, Only if feeding your kid a crap diet–not even a crap diet: a crap foodstuff, one time–is child abuse, too.

This (pardon my french) absolutely bullshit ruling has nothing whatever to do with medical science, and everything to do with placing restrictive social standards on mothers: it’s all about a distaste for seeing someone’s mommy get ripped. Go ahead and add a second count of abuse if she was swearing. Or wearing trousers. Or sitting with her knees apart. Or thinking for herself.

Out of solidarity for all that is right and good in this world, I encourage all of you who are on Facebook to join the group Moms Who Drink and Swear. Having children shouldn’t mean you have to become Donna Reed to escape a prison sentence.

(btw, let me give our lovely and beloved breastfeeding-zealot readers a head-start on what they should be thinking about this story: Nestle must love this ruling!)

(Thanks, Jender-Parents!)

“Did you even hear what I heard?”

Note: This post is about something said on radio.  Since I wasn’t watching the clock, I can’t be sure when I hear this or even on which station.  Short of reading/listening to hours of very conservative broadcasting, I can’t be sure I can find it.   I’ve worried about whether I should post this without more documentation, but let me instead leave it to you to decide how you’ll take it.


I wasn’t able to watch Obama’s press conference yesterday, but shortly afterwards I turned on the radio and started listening to a discussion of it.  The show’s host said how disappointing Obama’s statements about Iran at the conference had been.  Then he  said we should listen and played a passage with Obama saying that it would be counterproductive for the US to be seen as meddling in Iran’s political affairs.

So what’s wrong with that picture?  Though the host said he was talking about the June 23rd conference, the tape was of remarks Obama made on June 16, one week earlier.

Having heard the tape, even I was wondering when I saw the later headlines on the NYT and CNN that Obama had strongly condemned the Iranian gov’t actions.  No doubt some of the radio show’s listeners will dismiss them as fabrications of the liberal media.  In fact, it seems sometimes we do not even hear what supporters of the other side hear.

Gender Bias in Theater?

The NY Times reports on a year long study conducted by a Princeton economics student, Emily Glassberg Sands, whose work has been vetted by a number of excellent economists.  The study looked at the fact that many more plays produced are written by men than by women.  These are the conclusions reached:

1.  There are many more men than women playwrights and the men are more prolific.  Given that, men’s and women’s plays are produced at the same rate.

2.  A study, which sent a play to theater directors and literary managers around the country with the name variously a male or female one, indicated that men judge men and women equally, but women are more likely to favor the male writer.

3.  Women’s plays, when produced, are commercially significantly more successful, but they do not get any longer run time than the less successful men’s plays.  (A case of there being higher standards for woman to get treatment equal to a man.)

4.  “Plays that feature women — which are more commonly written by women — are also less likely to be produced”.  (One person’s quoted reaction said that the female characters were less likable; it was not possible to tell if this was supported by the research or an interpretation of it.)

Let me start off the comments.

I have heard the equivalent of 1 holds for the sciences; I am not sure about other fields, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is true in most or all male  dominated fields.  The data in this case was drawn from a directory that depends  on self-reporting, so part of the difference could start with what is reported.  One reader comments that women are still socialized to believe that they will be wives and mothers in a way that puts other things second.  I am inclined to think rate of productivity may be influenced by having a sense of being a part of the community, having expectations that what one writes will be taken seriously, and so on.

2 is certainly unwelcome, but a reminder that women are equally likely to have implicit biases; if we simply assume we  are more fair, we may well be less fair.

Now, please, do join in and tell us what you think!