Wherein I read things, laugh [or not], and pass them on to you…
I’m a mom. I know moms. Is it hard work? Sure. It’s hard whether you stay at home or not. Moms that stay at home often would like not to and moms that have to work wish they could stay at home sometimes.
The latest conservative freak out is all about
Ann Romney’s hurt feefees Mitt Romney’s appalling record with women voters. Could Rosen have said what she said differently? Sure. Was she wrong? No.
Ann Romney talks a good game about choice, but it’s just a game. For the vast majority of women, there’s no choice about it, and if the conservatives get their wish, they’ll have even fewer choices than that. Romney got to choose to stay at home. Good for her, seriously. But don’t turn around and talk about struggles, don’t you dare. In most circumstances, I’m willing to take an “it’s all relative” approach. Everybody struggles in their own way, we’ve all got our own pain, blah blah blah. But this time? No way. Ann Romney is so painfully out of touch here on what the average woman, the average mother, has to go through. Ann Romney’s never had to be worried about whether or not she could afford to have 5 kids in the first place. She’s never had to be concerned about whether the state she’s in has draconian abortion and family planning options that will make it impossible for her to stay in the workforce – a workforce that will pay her less because money isn’t supposed to be important to women – in order to feed the kids she does have. She’s never had to worry about getting medical care for her kids, or herself for that matter. I don’t begrudge Ann Romney any of these things. I just wish that they were available – that they were the choice Ann Romney mentioned – to the majority of women, rather than the slimmest sector of women in the 1%.
As to the choice Ann Romney mentioned, I can’t be the only one that gritted their teeth at her mention of it. Choice? When the right wing hacks and slashes at a woman’s right to choose, it really does take some sort of nerve to get up in front of people and talk about choices. When the right wing has stripped not only reproductive choice but so many other choices from women, that really does take some fucking nerve.
Walking Dead and Kvetching with Jewish Zombies: The following story takes place on the eve of Passover in a remote town: A peaceful Christian family is suddenly attacked by a group of murderous, possessed Hassidic Jews. They are under the influence of a mysterious virus, spreading like an epidemic via contact with their infected blood. This story might sound like it came out of the twisted mind of Joseph Goebbels, but in fact it is the plot of the 2008 parody zombie flick “Night of Living Jews.” The movie was created by a group of young Americans, both Jewish and Christian. The group decided to poke fun at all that is tabbo: From mocking the Jewish culture, anti-Semitism, the ultra-Orthodox attire, keeping kosher, racist myths and other prejudice against the Jews – they all come together in a trashy and amusing black and white bloodbath. [shalomlife/Amir Bogen/12 Apr 2012]
Fast And Furious 6 Is A No For Jason Statham: We were thrilled by the thought of Jason Statham joining Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson and the rest of “The Fast and the Furious” gang for not one, but two new films for the franchise. Stathman is no stranger to action and explosions having been in “The Expendables,” “Killer Elite,” and three “Transporter” movies. To see him show off his driving skills would be the sugar, spice and everything nice badass dreams are made of. We were abruptly woken from our dream, however, when reality knocked on our door to the deliver the unfortunate news that the franchise will have to continue on without him. Twitch Film reported that the actor has turned down the offer. Back in October, speculation began that “The Transporter” star was in negotiations for a role in “Fast Six” and “Fast Seven.” The plan was to shoot both films back-to-back in Europe this year to be released next summer (May 24, 2013). [mtv/Fallon Prinzivalli/12 Apr 2012]
Mitt Romney’s Plan to Woo Female Voters: Pretend Women Are Very Stupid: Mitt Romney has finally accepted that he has lady problems. After blithely dismissing suggestions that he might lose female voters by embracing radical antichoice positions that extend beyond just merely opposing abortion rights into attacking contraception, Romney has finally had to face up to a rapidly widening gender gap in the polls.
…Most insultingly, the claim that female voters don’t care about contraception, because they’re worried about jobs assumes that women are too stupid to care about any more than one issue at a time. Women can, in fact, both worry about high unemployment while being annoyed that right-wing politicians consider contraception “slut pills” instead of a normal part of health care. In fact, since the issues are related — a politician who cares about making sure women can afford contraceptive care is more likely to care about making sure women have employment opportunities — concerns about these two issues fit neatly together. What female voters have learned from the recent debacles over contraception coverage and Planned Parenthood’s funding is not just that Republicans have serious problems with female sexuality, but also that they don’t care if women have economically stable lives with affordable health care. We can make the leap from there to realizing they probably don’t care if we have good jobs, either. Suggesting that we’re too stupid to make connections like that isn’t exactly the best way to win over female voters who are already suspicious that Republicans have a problem with women. [AlterNet/Amanda Marcotte/12 Apr 2012]
Mothers, Don’t Fall for Ann Romney’s Stay at Home Mom Bait — Her Husband Still Supports a War on Women: Ever since Hilary Rosen’s appearance on AC360 last night, a war has erupted over stay at home motherhood. Pushing back against Mitt Romney’s tactic of using his wife to help him understand American women’s economic hardships, Rosen, a CNN commentator, said that Ann Romney “had never worked a day in her life.”
… as many people have pointed out over the past half day, Ann Romney is a disingenuous poster woman for stay at home moms, because she is the 1%. She no doubt worked hard to raise her children, but most moms who don’t have Romney’s economic advantages — i.e., the vast majority of mothers in America — would not relate to Romney’s definition of “work.” In Ann Romney’s world “struggling” means selling some stocks to get through college. Issues like unemployment (the “womancession”), slashed childcare services, and healthcare disparities do not affect her the same way they do so many American women. [AlterNet/Lauren Kelley/12 Apr 2012]
Why Hilary Rosen Is Right: For most of today, the homepage of Fox News has featured a huge picture of the Romney family with the headline: “5 Kids, 16 Grandkids, and Dem Adviser Charges Ann Romney Has ‘Never Worked a Day in Her Life.’ ” The outrage, which has spanned across mainstream media, Twitter, Facebook and beyond, is over Hilary Rosen’s comments to Anderson Cooper yesterday that Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, has “never worked a day in her life.”
There’s no doubt that Rosen, a CNN contributor and Democratic political consultant, made a gaffe in providing such a juicy sound bite. But her message—in context—was right on.
Rosen was responding to Mitt Romney’s constant trotting out of Ann when he gets a question on women’s issues:
What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying, well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues. And when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing.
Guess what, his wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and how do we—why do we worry about their future?
There’s nothing there about stay-at-home moms, or the idea that that raising children isn’t work. Rosen was referring to the fact that Ann Romney—an incredibly rich and elite woman—likely does not understand the economic concerns of most American women. Again, it was unfortunate choice of words—but she wasn’t wrong.
The Romney campaign, predictably, has grabbed onto this “controversy” in an attempt to divert attention from their missteps around equal pay and the war on women yesterday. Ann Romney joined Twitter, and her first two messages were about the flap, writing that “all moms are entitled to choose their path” and that she “made a choice to stay home and raise five boys.”
Since all moms are “entitled” to “choose” their path, I’m very much looking forward to the Romney’s plan for national mandated paid parental leave. I’m also wondering, since they believe that women’s domestic labor is valuable and real work, when they will come out in support of wages for said work. (Or perhaps women are only entitled to make their “choice” when they have the financial means to do so.) [thenation/Jessica Valenti/12 Apr 2012]
Republican National Committee Defends Rosen From Attack: Republican National Committee Communications Director Sean Spicer has rebuked the Catholic League for suggesting that Democratic strategist and CAP Action board member Hilary Rosen is not fit to adopt children in part because she’s a lesbian. Spicer tweeted, “The @catholicleague should be encouraging adoption, not demeaning the parents who are blessed to raise these children.” It’s refreshing to hear prominent Republican voices defending gays and lesbians for raising children, but it doesn’t change the fact that Mitt Romney, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, still opposes same-sex adoption.
Update – Spicer is already walking back his comments, trying to clarify that he did not support same-sex adoption [thinkprogress/Zack Ford/12 Apr 2012]
Catholic League’s Bill Donohue Explainers: Catholics Are Against Adoption Now: God bless Bill Donohue, always striding forth and grandly opening his warbly old yap and letting the most insanely bigotty shit spill forth. Remember that time he was on Scarborough Country, going on and on about Hollywood and “the Jews” and then got a helpful assist from copanelist Jennifer Giroux who said, “I’m sorry but we cannot go back and make it that the Hawaiians killed Christ.” Yeah, we do! So this time — you may have heard? — all the Mommy Blogs are warblogging with all the other Mommy Blogs, and Bill Donohue, head of the fringe rightwing group the Catholic League, twatted this: “Lesbian Dem Hilary Rosen tells Ann Romney she never worked a day in her life. Unlike Rosen, who had to adopt kids, Ann raised 5 of her own.” FUCK YOU, ADOPTIVE PARENTS! Bill Donohue has some thoughts on your abnormal life and ways! [wonkette/Rebecca Schoenkopf/12 Apr 2012]
Conservatives Attack Hilary Rosen For Raising Children As A Lesbian: No one is arguing that raising children isn’t work. Democratic strategist and CAP Action board member Hilary Rosen is a single mother of twins who had to go through the expensive and challenging process of adoption with her then partner Elizabeth Birch. Now, she’s trying to stick up for other mothers who don’t have the luxury of millionaire husbands to help fund their child-rearing duties, and the backlash is getting ugly. Catholic League president Bill Donohue attacked her family on Twitter this morning:
@CatholicLeague: Lesbian Dem Hilary Rosen tells Ann Romney she never worked a day in her life. Unlike Rosen, who had to adopt kids, Ann raised 5 of her own.
Somehow, Rosen’s family is less valid, less worthy of respect because she adopted her children. This insults not just lesbian couples, but all non-birth mothers. In fact, it seems like few even recognize that Rosen is a mother at all, perhaps an inherent cultural consequence of her choice (or lack of choice) to not be a stay-at-home mom.
…Update – The Catholic League has responded to the controversy on Twitter: “Glad to know Hilary’s fans are in a state of apoplexy. You’d think she was outed by their hysterical reaction. Get over it and grow up.” [thinkprogress/Zack Ford/12 Apr 2012]
Romney’s Double Standard In The War On Women: Limbaugh vs. Rosen: Since becoming the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney has abandoned his message that President Obama is waging a “war on religion” in favor of Obama’s supposed “war on women.” To drive this message home, the Romney campaign spent all day Thursday accusing Democrats of not valuing the work of stay-at-home moms after CNN contributor Hilary Rosen (who is not an Obama adviser, but is a CAPAF board member) said that Ann Romney hadn’t worked.
Romney’s apoplectic response to Rosen’s comments contrasts starkly with his reaction following Rush Limbaugh’s sexist attacks on Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke. [thinkprogress/Igor Volsky/13 Apr 2012]
Mitt Romney Needs to Get Some New Female Surrogates: That was quick.
On Thursday, one day after Democratic commentator Hilary Rosen suggested that Ann Romney had “never worked a day in her life” on CNN (she has since apologized), Mitt Romney attempted to portray President Obama as anti-mom by pushing out a statement from Penny Nance, the president of Concerned Women for America.
But the CWA, an Evangelical outfit founded by Beverly LaHaye (wife of Left Behind creator Tim LaHaye), might not be the best messenger if Romney wants to persuade female voters he’s a moderate candidate who has their best interests in mind. In response to Romney, American Bridge, the pro-Obama opposition research outfit, just blasted out a quick cheat-sheet on what, exactly, the Concerned Women for America are so concerned about. (Hint: It’s not equal pay for an equal day’s work.)
Among other things:
CWA Article Attacked Harry Potter For Indoctrinating Children With Witchcraft. According to an article published in the Family Voice, a CWA publication, parents “are now trying to protect their children from classroom discussions about paganism and the occult” when Harry Potter is read in classrooms. The article argues that “Harry Potter is part of a larger trend to bring occult themes to younger children.” [Family Voice, November/December 2001]
Concerned Women For America Flagged By Southern Poverty Law Center. In 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center flagged the Concerned Women For America as one of 18 “hard core” anti-gay groups. [Southern Poverty Law Center, Winter 2010]
CWA Opposed Pregnant Mother From Running For Office. In 1998, Jane Swift announced she would campaign for Massachusetts Lt. Governor. The announcement by Swift led to “Conservative groups such as Concerned Women for America and the Christian Coalition of Massachusetts [who] are openly critical of the Republican mom-to-be, saying Swift’s decision is not ‘in the best interest of the child.’” [Chicago Tribune, 6/7/98]
[motherjones/13 Apr 2012]
Uteruses Everywhere Weep As Arizona Governor Signs Insanely Restrictive Abortion Bill Into Law: Arizona made big strides today in its quest to be one of the absolute worst places to be a woman—or to even have a woman in your family. Governor Jan Brewer signed into law the hideous bill that redefines a pregnancy as beginning at two weeks before conception. That’s the earliest of any state, so if you want to get a jump start on living, try to be conceived in Arizona. The law effectively bans abortions after 20 weeks gestational age—err, 18 weeks if you’re using the old counting system—except in cases of medical emergency. As draconian as it sounds, it shouldn’t change much since very few of those abortions are even performed in the state at the moment. [jezebel/Cassie Murdoch/12 Apr 2012]
Congratulations, Arizona Women- Every Single One of You Is Now Officially Pregnant: Now that Arizona has decided to separate being pregnant from when you actually become pregnant, every single woman is, according to the law, pregnant the moment they begin their last period, and will remain officially pregnant until the beginning of your very next period. There will apparently be a 1 day window in between these two events in which you are not officially pregnant. [balloon-juice/John Cole/12 Apr 2012]
Romney Campaign On Equal Pay For Women: “We’ll Get Back To You On That”: It’s pretty straightforward: Women don’t like Mitt because Republicans hate women. Doesn’t really get any clearer than that, and the only people who have set women back over the past few years happen to have the letter (R) behind their names. [crooksandliars/karoli/12 Apr 2012]
Ann Romney should apologize!: Well, I’d like to demand that Ann Romney apologize to all women for equating the “struggle” of a wealthy mother who had full-time household help to that of a poor or working-class job-holding mother, who must choose between her job and her children when a child gets sick. How dare you, madam? Have you no shame? I’d like to demand that Mitt Romney apologize for his wife’s remarks, too. I’d like to hear every prominent Republican denounce Ann Romney for her heinous insensitivity to non-wealthy mothers who must work outside the home.
Wait. Ann Romney’s not a Democrat, and I’m not a Republican, so that’s not how the world works. Sorry about that. I apologize.
No, Ann Romney doesn’t need to apologize – but in a grown-up world, Hilary Rosen wouldn’t have had to either. The point Rosen was making was, and is, valid: Mitt Romney repeatedly refers to his wife, Ann, in lordly terms, “reporting” to him what matters to women. Reporting to him, like she’s an employee, or maybe a translator. It’s valid to suggest that he ought to talk about what women believe from his own experiences, or what he learns from women colleagues, co-workers, campaign staff. He should stop referring to his wife’s “reports” about women’s issues, sounding like Thurston Howell III.
And the fact is, Ann Romney’s experiences are not the average woman’s. She is a woman of great privilege. Most mothers don’t have the “choice” to stay home full time with their kids; they need a paycheck. Meanwhile, her husband supports the Paul Ryan budget, which cuts nutrition programs for pregnant women and new moms and their kids. It cuts Medicaid for poor women and children. It slashes food stamp funding, when women and children make up two-thirds of the people who get food stamps. He wants to get rid of Planned Parenthood, which provides not just contraception but breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings for millions of low-income women. [salon/Joan Walsh/12 Apr 2012]
Mitt Romney’s Maids’ Salary Raises Questions
WASHINGTON — For a woman with three houses and sixteen grandkids, Ann Romney doesn’t have very much help around the house, according to her 2010 tax return.
IRS forms released Tuesday by Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign show that despite reporting income of $21.7 million, the couple paid only $20,603 in taxable wages for household help in 2010. This figure was divided among four women: Rosania Costa ($4,808), Kelli Harrison ($8,667), Susan Moore ($2,238) and Valerie Cravens Anae ($4,890).
According to a number of Boston-based domestic staffing agencies, the salary range for a housekeeper is between $20 and $30 an hour, which adds up to an annual salary of $40,000 to $50,000 based on forty-hour weeks and two weeks of paid vacation a year.
But this number is only for one house, and the Romneys have three houses — a 2,000 sq. ft. townhouse in Belmont, Mass., a 5,400 sq. ft. lake house on 11 acres in Wolfeboro, N.H., and a beach house in La Jolla, Calif., that is undergoing renovations to double its size.
Even if the Romneys avoided spending time in La Jolla in 2010, they spent plenty of time in New Hampshire, with regular visits in the summer from five sons and their families.
Yet the Romneys still paid only half of the lowest range of an average housekeeper’s salary, which raises the question of who cleaned the Romney houses the other 50 percent of the time. A Romney campaign adviser declined to respond to questions from The Huffington Post about the housekeeping salaries.
Wouldn’t it be nice to learn that the Romneys split up household cleaning between them on days when the housekeeper was out? After all, Mitt Romney was “unemployed” in 2010, as he infamously reminded a group of voters in Tampa, so he had some extra time. And Mitt even knows how to do laundry, according to a photo tweeted Monday by his son Tagg Romney.
The more worrisome alternative is that the Romneys underpaid their household help.
[crooksandliars/David/12 Apr 2012]