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Americans love to talk about family values. That is to say, they love to express outrage—at Janet Jackson's exposed breast; at a politician's adulterous indiscretions; at the sexual orientation of their children's favorite underwater sponge—and slap a "family values" label on their outrage.

While "family values" makes for a convenient bumper sticker slogan for politicians running on a platform of discrimination, the reality is that our nation's domestic policies demonstrate that, in fact, we don't really value families at all. Those who claim to advocate for family values are far more concerned with narrowly defining what constitutes a family than with promoting policies that support and strengthen existing families. Relatively few governmental programs exist to assist families and those that do are laughably underfunded and restricted, and under constant attack from the very people who feign outrage at faux issues.

We could do this. Other countries around the world that have claimed an interest in helping families have invested resources in effective programs rather than propaganda. From family planning to family leave to subsidized health care and education, there are policies that do work. Unfortunately, our "family values" debate in this country dismisses such policies as socialism and sinfulness. So instead of investing in what works, our resources are diverted to propaganda that doesn't.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

Family planning

Family values begin with family planning. It really is that simple. The benefits are several and significant. Family planning means healthier women and children. It means stronger, stable relationships between parents. And it also happens to be fiscally conservative.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists family planning among the 10 greatest health achievements in the U.S. in the last century.

Access to family planning and contraceptive services has altered social and economic roles of women. Family planning has provided health benefits such as smaller family size and longer interval between the birth of children; increased opportunities for preconceptional counseling and screening; fewer infant, child, and maternal deaths; and the use of barrier contraceptives to prevent pregnancy and transmission of human immunodeficiency virus and other STDs.

Conversely, lack of access to family planning resources has severe consequences for women and their families. Lack of access is one of the most significant contributing factors in what Amnesty International calls a maternal health crisis in the U.S., where women have "a greater lifetime risk of dying of pregnancy-related complications than women in 40 other countries." Amnesty International's study found that half of all maternal deaths in this country are preventable, and that education and access to family planning resources are critical to addressing this crisis:  

According to the CDC, women with unintended pregnancies are more likely to develop complications and face worse outcomes for themselves and their babies. Women with unintended pregnancies are more likely to start prenatal care late and receive inadequate prenatal care.197 Furthermore, pregnancies that are spaced closely together pose additional risks for both the woman and the baby.198 For example, the risk of maternal death may be as much as 2.5 times higher when women become pregnant again less than six months after giving birth.

The value of addressing this crisis should be obvious. Dead women can't care for their children. Family values advocates will often say there is no more important role for a mother than caring for her child; thus, ensuring that women have safe and healthy pregnancies, and also receive the post-natal care they require, should be a priority. In response to this maternal health crisis, House Democrats have introduced H.R. 894, the "Maternal Health Accountability Act."

To amend title V of the Social Security Act to provide grants to States to establish State maternal mortality review committees on pregnancy-related deaths occurring within such States; to develop definitions of severe maternal morbidity and data collection protocols; and to eliminate disparities in maternal health outcomes.

Given the current hostility to family planning and women's health, however, the bill is all but destined to go absolutely nowhere. Which means that American mothers will continue to die, every single day, for reasons that are largely preventable.

Another factor that plays a role in unintended pregnancies, and in the maternal health crisis, is lack of access to information. Family planning services therefore must include fact-based, comprehensive sex education so that from an early age, boys and girls understand how to control their reproduction. Teens who receive comprehensive sex-education—rather than misleading, propaganda-based abstinence-only sex education, which has been proven wholly ineffective—are 50 percent less likely to experience unintended pregnancies. Given that approximately half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended, costing taxpayers $11 billion a year, addressing and reducing those numbers is, or should be, a legitimate concern for those who value families, not to mention fiscal responsibility.

In addition to the myriad increased health risks, and severe economic consequences (for individuals and for the country), of unintended pregnancies, they also have a destabilizing effect on relationships:

There is also some evidence that unintended pregnancy has significant negative effects on relationship stability. Both marriages and cohabitations are more likely to dissolve after an unintended first birth than after an intended first birth, even after controlling for a range of socio-demographic variables.

In other words, family planning strengthens families. Unintended pregnancies undermine them. If creating strong, two-parent families is a goal of family values advocates, family planning is a necessary component to achieving that goal.

Title X of the Public Health Service Act, enacted in 1970, is "the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services." It is a critical program, given that:

Of the 36 million women in need of contraceptive care in 2008, 17.4 million were in need of publicly funded services and supplies because they either had an income below 250% of the federal poverty level or were younger than 20.

Of course, Title X is currently under attack by the Republican Party, at both the federal and state levels. They insist that even the relatively paltry $317 million invested in Title X programs is an unfair and immoral burden to taxpayers. Earlier this year, the Republican-led House passed H.R. 3, the bill to defund Title X. States, such as Indiana, are proposing and enacting legislation to do the same, even at the risk of losing all Medicaid funding, which of course means cutting off access to any health care for low-income women and men. In fact, 60 percent of women who obtain health care from family planning centers rely on those centers as their primary source of medical care.

If we as a nation were truly concerned with assuring that men and women are best able to provide for their children, assuring that they have access to the resources that enable them to plan for their families is the first, critical step.

Subsidizing stay-at-home parents

A critical component of so-called family values is the belief that once a child is born, a mother should be at home with her child. Stay-at-home motherhood is, supposedly, the most important job a woman can do and one of the most important factors in her child's health and well being. Some of the most vocal proponents of stay-at-home parenting warn that those women who dare to work outside of the home are even endangering their children's well-being. Such claims are questionable at best, but let's not litigate the merits of that argument here; rather, let's just imagine how we as a nation would provide resources, rather than impose obstacles, that would allow more women to do just that.

For example, almost every country on the planet provides at least minimal paid family leave to encourage mothers—and, in many countries, fathers—to be able to spend the first several months, or even years, at home with their children. The U.S. is one of only three countries that does not offer any paid family leave.

A comprehensive study by Human Rights Watch examined how family leave works in other countries around the world. Among its many findings:

Financing for paid leave can be done in many ways, but the trend in most developed countries is away from requiring employers to directly pay wages during leave, and toward establishing social insurance funds (often financed with payroll tax contributions or through general tax revenues) that employees can access during leave. This public financing approach helps mitigate discrimination by private employers in the labor market by reducing the disincentive to hire workers they consider likely to have children and take leave. Of the countries included in the 2010 ILO study, 53 percent financed maternity benefits through social security, 20 percent relied on joint contributions from employers and social security, and 26 percent required employers to cover the full amount (down from 31 percent in 1994)

Sweden, which offers 16 months of paid family leave, paying 82 percent of the annual income, is often cited for having the most generous family leave policies in the world, a result of the Swedish government's unapologetic goal to increase family stability, decrease divorce rates, improve fathers' involvement in parenting, and encourage women to remain in the work force. And its policies have been extremely effective at doing just that.

Companies have come to expect employees to take leave irrespective of gender, and not to penalize fathers at promotion time. Women’s paychecks are benefiting and the shift in fathers’ roles is perceived as playing a part in lower divorce rates and increasing joint custody of children.

But Sweden is hardly the only country to provide such generosity to its citizens.

Denmark offers a full year of leave, at 100 percent of income. Brazil provides 120 days, paying 100 percent of salary, with a tax deduction for employers. Slovakia offers three years of parental leave; six, if the child is handicapped. Ethiopia provides three months at 100 percent. Estonia offers 140 days at 100 percent—more if there are medical complications.

Even the libertarian paradise of Somalia offers 14 weeks at 50 percent.

The list goes on, of course. Countries around the globe, regardless of religion, form of government, or economy, all recognize the value of providing paid leave for women (and increasingly, men) when a child is born.

But here is the bottom line: The U.S. offers nothing. Zip. Zilch. Squat. For a country that boasts of being No. 1!, we are actually at the bottom. The extent of our family leave policy is the pitiful and toothless Family Medical Leave Act, full of restrictions and conditions, which merely allows up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. What that really means is that unless an employer has opted to provide paid leave for its employees, a family can only take advantage of the allotted 12 weeks if that family can afford to go without pay for three months. The reality is that FMLA is a privilege, not a right, for those who are wealthy enough to be able to use it.

As paltry as our family leave laws are for the first few months of a child's life, our support for those parents who do embrace the stay-at-home mandate is even worse. Mothers are expected to forgo their careers (and incomes) in order to provide full-time, unpaid care for their children. And even those few programs intended to provide additional resources, like Head Start, are dismissed by the very same "family values" crowd as being unnecessary and even harmful.

Take, for example, the Republicans from the Frederick County, Maryland, Board of County Commissioners, who voted earlier this year to cut in half local funding of Head Start programs because the government shouldn't invest in early childhood education; instead, women should just get married and stay home and educate their own damn children.

Never mind that early childhood education has proven to have many benefits for children. While other nations subsidize early childhood education, ours doesn't.

Those who advocate most strongly for "family values" applaud stay-at-home mothers who do not work, but instead sacrifice their income (and other benefits that accompany a job, like health insurance and retirement  and Social Security contributions). But again, the government refuses to provide the resources that allow all mothers to make such a choice. Those women who have availed themselves of government assistance—such as Medicaid, to have access to health care; food stamps, to be able to feed their families; and welfare—have been shamed and demonized as "welfare queens" who are abusing the system, and taking unfair advantage of the government, in order to do the very thing the "family values" advocates insist they should be doing: foregoing a paycheck in order to be with their children.

Rather than properly fund and gladly encourage women to make use of these few kinds of resources, "family values" advocates demonize and shame them. And even the minimal funding of such programs is now at risk by the current crop of "family values" Republicans.

This year, for example, Florida Gov. Rick Scott cut $ 2 million from the state's budget that funded programs to assist at-risk mothers and children, like in-home visits from nurses, calling such programs "special interest waste."

Scott also signed into law a bill requiring women seeking enrolling in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (also known as welfare) to first submit to a drug test—at their own expense. The absurd and absurdly burdensome requirement relies on the completely inaccurate stereotype that the only women who would seek government assistance in order to provide for their families are drug addicts, and also that children of drug addicts are not entitled to the same quality of life as children whose parents do not require government assistance. So while "family values" advocates will argue that all children deserve to be born, not all children deserve food and health care.

Florida isn't alone, of course, in slashing aid to families who most need it. Other states, like North Carolina, are attempting to balance their budgets on the backs of at-risk and low-income mothers and their children.

So even parents who would love nothing more than to be able to spend the first months, or years, at home with their children cannot realistically do so. Those who avail themselves of the few government resources available are not lauded for following the "family values" mandate; instead, they are ridiculed, demonized, and even punished.

As in so many cases, when it comes down to it, our pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps philosophy of governing trumps our "family values" rhetoric.

Pro-family immigration

If "family values" means strengthening and supporting families, then our immigration policies stand in complete contradiction to that goal. Consider, for example, the way undocumented immigrants are routinely rounded up and separated from their children, suggesting that the importance of strengthening families apparently doesn't apply to non-U.S. citizens (even though the children of those immigrants often are U.S. citizens). Take, for example, the infamous raid at the Michael Bianco Inc. factory outside of Boston in 2007, where several hundred immigrants were detained, while their children were "stranded at day-care centers, schools, or friends' or relatives' homes."
Immigration officials said they made provisions for the children so none would be left alone. But in the days right after the raid -- as a 7-year-old called a hotline and asked for her mother, and a breastfeeding baby refused a bottle and was hospitalized for dehydration -- Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) began to categorize the raid's aftermath as a "humanitarian crisis."

As Sen. Edward M. Kennedy wrote at Daily Kos following the raid:

The reality of illegal immigration is anything but simple and the solutions are difficult. The Department of Homeland Security was ready with hundreds of officers to subdue a group of frightened workers, but they were totally unprepared to deal with the aftermath of their raid. DHS knew that it would be detaining young parents, and yet it had no effective plan to identify and help the children who would be left alone. The photographs of bewildered, desperate, crying children brought home the full horror of the government raid distinguished by its callousness.

According to a study by the Pew Hispanic Center, 4 million U.S.-born children have at least one unauthorized immigrant parent. In other words, millions of American children live every day with the very real threat that they could be separated from their families, their parents forced to decide whether to leave their American-born children behind or uproot them to a a country that has never been home to them, effectively punishing children for their parents' desire to provide them with the aggressively advertised "We're No. 1!" great American dream.

Likewise, immigration policies that value families would not separate parents from their children because of sexual orientation. At least 35,000 bi-national gay couples live in the U.S., and almost half of them are raising children. Which means that, as with children of undocumented immigrants, those thousands of children live with the threat of being separated from their parents or facing deportation.

While heterosexual Americans are allowed to sponsor their foreign-born spouses for green cards, gay and lesbian Americans are barred from that privilege. So committed couples living together, even raising children together, face the very real prospect that they may not be able to keep their families together. Democrats in the House and Senate have, for several years, introduced the Uniting American Families Act, which would allow same-sex bi-national couples the same immigration rights as heterosexual bi-national couples, but this legislation has faced strong opposition from many of the very same politicians who claim to support family values. If keeping families together is indeed a goal of the U.S. government, such legislation would be enacted. As Sen. Patrick Leahy said when he reintroduced the bill this year:

A core tenet of our immigration policy is preserving family unity.  Yet gay and lesbian Americans are still forced to choose between their country and being with those they love.

Any policy that separates, rather than supports, families is an absolute affront to the notion of family values. Just as budgets cannot be balanced on the backs of poor women and their children, the value of keeping parents and children together ought not to be conditional upon immigration status or sexual orientation.

Loving, stable homes for children

Adoption policies, like immigration policies, do not suggest that we as a nation value the importance of families. If children are best served by growing up in loving, stable homes, sexual orientation should not be a basis on which to deny them that which they deserve.

A handful of states have outright bans on gays and lesbians adopting children in need of homes; more than a dozen states have introduced and even passed such legislation that was ultimately found unconstitutional by the courts. While family values advocates speak of the importance of children being raised in stable families, they exclude gay couples from that calculation. So children who could otherwise be raised by loving parents are left instead to bounce around the foster care system. If children are indeed better off being raised by parents, instead of the state, laws should make it easier—not harder, or even illegal—for loving couples to open their homes to children in need. Abandoning children to the care of the state for the sake of discrimination is in no way a family value.

If the government does have a legitimate interest in promoting families—certainly a debatable point, but for another day—then there are steps we could take, policies we could support, legislation we could pass, and resources we could devote to that end. We could provide the education and resources to enable men and women to choose if, how, and when to have families. We could ensure that every child is born to a healthy mother, regardless of her economic level. We could enable mothers and fathers to stay at home with their children in those first critical years, funding and expanding resources to ensure that all children, regardless of their parents' income, have access to the basic necessities of food, shelter, health care, and education. We could eliminate discriminatory laws that divide, rather than unite, families. We could allow and encourage every man and woman who is willing and able to raise children in need.

We could do all of those things. If family values really mattered to us, there are dozens more steps we could take to show just how much we value families. And none of them involves censoring cartoon characters.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 10:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Three Star Kossacks.


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Comment Preferences

  •  "family values" (20+ / 0-)

    what this means 99 times out of a hundred is "we have 'values' and YOUR family needs to support them".

    I'm pretty sure that over 99% of Kos readers understand that it has nothing to do with actual family values.

    It's about 3 groups of people

    1. Those who wish it was the early 50's when everything was mythically clean and wholesome
    2. Those whose political and financial ends benefit from co-opting the naive hopes of the first group who see things slipping away
    3. And lastly, the Breitbarts, O'Keefes etc. of the world who are actually just too plain stupid to realize that the "family values" they tout are smoke and mirrors brought to you by the Immelts, Dimons, and other super-wealthies.
  •  Subsidized Day Care is a "family value" (22+ / 0-)

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 10:10:35 AM PDT

  •  Torture is NOT a family value. (22+ / 0-)

    Prosecuting a tortured child for war crimes is NOT a family value.

    Allowing those who admitted ordering real live human beings to be tortured to go scott free, in fact to benefit monetarily by means of speeches and books, is NOT a family value.

                      Standing for justice and accountability,
                                     For Dan,

    Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is doing it to whom.

    by Chacounne on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 10:18:06 AM PDT

  •  Paid leave for mothers AND fathers is a (20+ / 0-)

    family value. Paying Dads and moms what they deserve for their experience and skills instead of what they have to settle for is a family value.
    Happy Father's Day and, as always...Peace, if possible. ;-)>

    "We're right in the middle of a fucking reptile zoo! And somebody's giving booze to these goddamn things!"-Hunter S. Thompson ;-)>

    by rogerdaddy on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 10:18:18 AM PDT

  •  Facts (12+ / 0-)

    we can't haz dem.

    Brought to you by the conservative think tank- what an oxymoron.

    Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 10:29:22 AM PDT

  •  We Don't Have a Debate. (5+ / 0-)

    Maybe that's why it looks so incomprehensible when we think of it as one.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 10:31:24 AM PDT

  •  Recognizing that families are diverse is (18+ / 0-)

    a family value. What matters is that the child is raised in a loving, safe and stimulating environment, not whether it fits a narrow definition.

  •  Sorry, it does have to be that way. (5+ / 0-)

    I have a nephew, married, three children with one more on the way.  He's about as born again as you can get.  Every Thursday night he attends a "bible study class for men" at his local church led by his pastor.  They don't study the bible.  They talk politics.  They're told what to think and how to convey what they think to others.

    Now he's no bozo.  He's a registered civil engineer for the state of Tennessee.  He's articulate, engaging and convinced that god personally told him to spread the lies which make up the right wing agenda.  He does it "for his family" and "his community.

    Now show me the counter-balance from the Left.  He is a solid voting bloc of at least thirty people (wife, in-laws, neighbors, co-workers).  He guarantees god that he will get them to vote as they should.

    He is our adversary, and he is winning.  He's as disciplined and dedicated as a member of the Nazi Party before Hitler came to power.  He doesn't see himself as a tool of the plutocrats and corporations.  He's saving America from the socialists who took control of the country decades ago.

    The Left does not, and will not have a band of zealots like this.  Thus, in spite of a public which is much more solcialist, the electorate is charging to the right; the very hard right.

    The only realistic solution to this threat is devolution in the short-term, and regional independence in the longer term.  Actually, my nephew thinks that's a great idea and doesn't recognize that the blue states help subsidize those stupid red states.  We need to do this peacefully, and it can be done.  But if we don't get it started, we will end up in a very ugly war.  All my nephew needs is a "Leader".

    "Never let up. Crush bigotry and greed."

    by LouisMartin on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 10:38:06 AM PDT

    •  Sorry, but he is a bozo. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WheninRome, Sue B

      An example of the difference between "professional education" and education. But I more and more agree with him that we need to seriously reconsider the idea of One Nation as the ultimate goal. It appears too raggedy to survive the current epidemic of madness.

      Conservatism explained: Carrots for the rich and the corporate. Sticks for the workers and the poor. It really is that simple.

      by DaveW on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 10:58:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sound the Retreat? (0+ / 0-)
        I more and more agree with him that we need to seriously reconsider the idea of One Nation as the ultimate goal.

        Then you are conceding defeat? Religious communities are not monolithic, some do accept and promote progressive values.  The only difference is the aggressiveness and singlemindedness of the far right's approach to its agenda.

        My observation about LouisMartin's story is that it sure sounds like the Church involved is violating the conditions of its tax exempt status.  Perhaps someone should be pushing the IRS to take a look.

        •  Why is it defeat? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          To me the current paralysis is defeat. Removing a millstone from around your neck seems like a win to me. So does recognizing that something is fundamentally broken and moving on to something with more potential.

          Conservatism explained: Carrots for the rich and the corporate. Sticks for the workers and the poor. It really is that simple.

          by DaveW on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 12:23:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Because.... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            terabthia2, irishwitch, BYw

            It gives in to the anti-federalist, anti-progressive narrative. Because for 40 years we've been told by the right that it's "my way or the highway."  Because when you break down the issues to the point where the rubber meets that highway, most Americans agree with you about energy policy, environmental policy, women's rights and whatever else you want to talk about. On the "family values" front, the root appeal is that people's own families are threatened by those who live their lives differently. Yet you hear relatively few stories of families who don't unite around their members whose lives are less than "normal" (whatever that means).

            I take your point and appreciate your perspective, but I don't think the architecture of the system is the problem. Let's say we retreat to our favorite progressive redoubts, do we really think that the right will just leave us alone? Unlikely. Further, the way they conduct their lives (raping and pillaging for energy, for example) would be, in many respects, a continuing threat to our lives and values if not the planet as a whole.

            If anything, the architecture of our society is ideal for turning this around. The problem is that the conversation has been hijacked by interests who use gut, emotional issues (jobs, security, family) to further their personal agendas of power and wealth. The paralysis comes from fear that has been the the chief tool of the right employed with remarkable efficiency.

            This is war. We as progressives have to be willing to fight that war with the same ruthless determination that has served the right so well.

        •  They'd likely emerge unscathed from an IRS (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          investigation. As long a they're not specifically stating that they MUST vote for a specific candidate, and sticking to telling them what the Bible says on issues( "Men are the head of the home; candidates must reflect this"; "abortion is murder; pro-life candidates are in line with God's teachings"; "The earth is 6,000 years old; evolution is a myth and we must eradicate it from schools"). That's how the Catholic Church gets away with preaching against marriage equality and abortion: they stop short of naming the candidate.

          I don't know how they handle voting guides which list candidates' stances on issues. That MIGHT cross the line, or it might not.

          The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

          by irishwitch on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:17:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  What a socialist! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But the austerity dictated by the Koches won't pass over him if the state decides it needs to cut taxes for the rich...

      9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

      by varro on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 11:11:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "family values" is short-hand for the (5+ / 0-)

    hierarchical organization of society and the exclusion of those who don't belong or "fit in."  Hierarchy is important because it promotes obedience and obedience serves as a salve to otherwise endemically insecure individuals. Being able to order underlings about makes up for the fact that the head doesn't really know which end is up. It's a matter of perspective--from the head, not the members of the family unit.

    by hannah on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 10:43:51 AM PDT

  •  The "family values" meme (10+ / 0-)

    has always been a dog whistle conjuring up images of white suburbanites in their gated "communities" and picket fences. The myth of Father Knows Best, IOW. We all know that they are the only kind with real families, and everybody else is just dysfunctional or "broken". It's in part an attack on single people, especially female ones, who have the gall to reject entrapment in the cult of extreme consumption and devotion to property.

    Families in fact have no special values. Which families are they talking about anyway? Manson? Bush? Reagan? OJ Simpson? Caligula? Does anybody really believe that getting knocked up bestows some kind of special philosophical authority on the participants? It's sad and disgusting to see even the reality-based slurping up this steaming shit soup.

    Conservatism explained: Carrots for the rich and the corporate. Sticks for the workers and the poor. It really is that simple.

    by DaveW on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 10:54:41 AM PDT

    •  Well, WELL put, DaveW!!! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      irishwitch, supercereal, BYw

      So he says to me, do you wanna be a BAD boy? And I say YEAH baby YEAH! Surf's up space ponies! I'm makin' gravy WITHOUT THE LUMPS! HAAA-ha-ha-ha!!!

      by Cenobyte on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 11:41:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Family values" to fundamentalists is an article (9+ / 0-)

      of faith, not one of practical reality.

      There is a very interesting article in the New Yorker some years back:

      Red Sex, Blue Sex

      It shows that in the Red States, the places that constantly extols 'family values' does worse on every statistical norm of family stability than Blue States:

      Red States have more Unwed motherhood, early marriage, divorce, education that stops when the first child is born, the relegation of these young mothers to a lifetime of minimum wage jobs.

      In the Northeast, couples marry later, have fewer divorces, higher incomes, etc. etc. etc.

      Dog whistles or not, the ideal of 'family values' in practical reality happens more in the secular Blue states than the Red States.

      HylasBrook @62 - fiesty, fiery, and fierce

      by HylasBrook on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 11:51:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Everybody forgets "Father Knows Best" was ironic (0+ / 0-)

      Robert Young played a typical sitcom Doofus Dad who was typically manipulated, outwitted and outsmarted by the other members of his family, and only allowed to pose as the Wise Head of Household and spout the appropriate "family-friendly" Aesops at the end of each episode.

      It was only in his much later role of "Marcus Welby, MD" that he really did know best - because TV doctors always do.

      If it's
      Not your body
      Then it's
      Not your choice
      AND it's
      None of your damn business!

      by TheOtherMaven on Mon Jun 20, 2011 at 08:22:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for writing this. (5+ / 0-)

    "Don't fall or we both go." Derek Hersey 1957-1993

    by ban nock on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 10:55:10 AM PDT

  •  Who lives in a pineapple under the Sea? (5+ / 0-)

    "A witty saying proves nothing.." Voltaire

    by irate on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 10:56:39 AM PDT

  •  regarding "Stay-at-home motherhood" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HylasBrook, irishwitch

    To raise happy, healthy children, others don't just have to be available, they have to be happy, peaceful, optimistic, and trained to care for their children. That's the first thing girls need to be trained.

    One way to  raise happy, healthy children is to have a partner who is providing the material necessities and a matrilineage that passes on the child caring modeling. Often, this is not the case.  

    There are other ways though and science is there to define and lead. We do not need to provide assistance for an unhappy, unskilled parents or worse, a fearful one, to stay home and watch her child. We need to address the needs of children in our communities with them in the center of our universe. And that may mean taking care of mom a lot more than making sure rent and food bills are paid.

    It doesn't take taxes or public program for communities to make sure a new mother is visited by a mother who will encourage her and be there modeling how to tune into that baby.  

    With all my higher education and executive experience and money I didn't know jack about caring for a child much less raising one until I could see it actually being done right before my eyes. Well. Right when I had the need. OJT.      

    Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

    by kck on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 11:00:30 AM PDT

    •  There ARe parenting programs for at risk girls. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kck, irishwitch, BYw

      Don't know if there is as much for boys, except in prisons.  They are usually found in inner city neighborhoods but they are successful.

      Children raised in disfunctional family homes don't have an experience in successful parenting, but parenting can be taught.

      A classic example highlighted in Rachel Maddow show is the Ferguson Academy for young mothers -- a skill that teaches life schools and good parenting for young, unwed mothers.

      Gov. Snyder's  emergency financial manager was going to close the academy because no one would step up to run the place as a charter school.

      The Academy was finally picked up by a Charter School business (which I believe has a financial tie to Governor Snyder).  One can only wait to see what the charter school company cuts at the academy so can they can get more of a profit.

      HylasBrook @62 - fiesty, fiery, and fierce

      by HylasBrook on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 12:02:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  From my community hospital a visiting nurse... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HylasBrook, irishwitch, BYw

        ...goes to the home the day after a baby is released from the nursery. That's not much but it's something and if the home or family visibly needs assistance at least that person has an opportunity to see it.

        And there are parenting programs mothers involved with the courts can be required to take.

        We have a lot of very good, experienced mothers, especially in our immigrant and/or retirement communities. As we limit early childhood development care and services to mothers determined to be "at risk", usually by marital status and income, we're missing out on a lot of opportunities.

        Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

        by kck on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:02:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent posting (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    I love OCD, irishwitch, BYw, lungfish

    It is important not to cede this weird political bend on "family values".  Regardless of the GOP, Dems need to articulate our common values and principles and apply them clearly all along and families are integral.

    Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

    by kck on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 11:04:55 AM PDT

  •  The truth in this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cenobyte, irishwitch, BYw

    "Family values" means many things to many different people.  To progressives, it mostly means taking care of your family when/if at all possible and when/if people in families need help and assistance due to unforseen circumstances beyond what can be taken care of by the family unit, government assistance programs need to be in place to help as a safety net.  

    To many on the conservative side, "family values" also means taking care of your family but that's where the similarity ends.  For conservatives, government (ala, taxpayers) shouldn't be called upon to help.  It is not only an imposition but is a cost that makes people "dependent" on government.  

    What amazes me is that these same conservatives are the first in line to collect their unemployment benefits and go to Social Services for health care support and WIC and so forth when things south in their own financial lives.  

    We may be in very deep debt in this country and we may very well have an unsolvable financial debacle going on but America is still the richest and most prosperous nation on earth.  That alone makes it a crying shame for the conservative element in our country to want to take away that very safety net that makes us such a great nation in the first place.


    -- **Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.**

    by r2did2 on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 11:16:30 AM PDT

    •  Well put. I've been thinking about society as (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      irishwitch, Calamity Jean

      something that we all either collectively participate in, to everyone's benefit, lately. To me, this means paying one's taxes, being there for one's family, friends, community, and, yes, society.

      A just society, I feel, should be there to applaud successes and to help make sure no member of that society falls through the cracks and into homelessness, starvation, or destitution. I find those conditions to be beneath human dignity and, indeed, the dignity of any society worth preserving.

      Yet there are those who are currently members of our society, yet subscribe to the callous, psychotic attitudes reflected in Tim Pawlenty's following quote: "Children who are victims of failed personal responsibility are not my problem, nor are they the problem for our government."  -- Majority Leader Tim Pawlenty, April 2001 - as quoted in the Aitkin Independent Newspaper.

      I am happy to advise that anyone who is willing to take their own unwillingness to participate in such a just society, to the point of blaming children for being born, should promptly pack their bags and begin seeking out a new society that is sufficiently inhumane to its members, and prepare to relocate there with all haste. (But I don't think they can expect any help from the governing body of their chosen new society for relocation expenses.)

      And no, I am not kidding.

      So he says to me, do you wanna be a BAD boy? And I say YEAH baby YEAH! Surf's up space ponies! I'm makin' gravy WITHOUT THE LUMPS! HAAA-ha-ha-ha!!!

      by Cenobyte on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 11:50:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Family values" = euphemism for "sex" (6+ / 0-)

    It's time for America to grow up and leave Victorian prudery behind.

    Sex is a natural part of not only human life, but almost all life known to science. And like eating, breathing and defecating, should be done in a responsible manner. For this, education, not (deliberate) ignorance is useful.

    Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.

    by Leo in NJ on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 11:33:12 AM PDT

    •  The Term Was Put Out By the Movement To Restore (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OldDragon, irishwitch, BYw, Leo in NJ

      Victorian prudery because they knew it would be very useful to their cause.

      No sex outside of marriage, no marriage for gays, no birth control, no abortion, no sex education.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 11:58:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One of my exercises for our incoming (5+ / 0-)

    freshmen on critical thinking is to have them tackle the term family values.

    Because: What does it even mean, really?

    Aye, there's the rub!

    Everyone has values, right? Right! And we know what those values are, right? - er, like, yeah.

    And Family? Everyone knows what that means, right?

    Uh ...

    I mean, to someone in the room, this means, a man, a woman, and their children.
    A few more will admit the possibility of half-siblings arising from second marriages. Then, grudgingly, adopted children may, just maybe, be allowed into the definition.

    Then we hit the wall of the Puritanical and Victorian:

    * Single mothers? No.  Not even if their husbands left them? Uh ... Not even if their husbands died in an illegal war in Iraq? Or in a drawn-out and stupid war in Afghanistan? Er ... (This is uncomfortable.)

    * Single fathers? Uh ... what?!

    * How about extended families who share a home, or a family compound of home near to one-another. You mean like polygamists?!  No. Uh ... (Cue cricket sound fx.) Why not? Wasn't Abraham a polygamist? Among many other figures from your own Judeo-Christian traditions? (More crickets.) And several of Abraham's sons came from him coupling, with his wife's blessings, with her maid. (More crickets.)
    Come on, living together as a multigenerational family in a common, shared home is a common practice in many societies. (More crickets.)

    * Okay, what about same-sex couples. (Uncomfortable shifting in the seats.) Yes? No? What about when one partner in a heterosexual marriage realizes that s/he is a member of the opposite sex, but trapped in the body into which they were born?

    After a good, long while of this muddying of the waters, I've at least planted the idea that terms such as family values and, yes, even traditional marriage is not only up for a more expansive definition, but is more expansively defined within their own religious traditions. (Some of them, anyway.)

    It at least knocks some of the cud-chewer-level assumptions they've passively accepted about the terms.

    So he says to me, do you wanna be a BAD boy? And I say YEAH baby YEAH! Surf's up space ponies! I'm makin' gravy WITHOUT THE LUMPS! HAAA-ha-ha-ha!!!

    by Cenobyte on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 11:35:06 AM PDT

  •  Thank you a thousand million (8+ / 0-)

    times for writing this!  My daughter lived in various European countries for several years during her college/travel period, and she came home commenting about the lack of strong family support in this country - it's all about creating obedient cubicle rats who are too scared to take time off for ANYTHING, much less for family.

    She also had a lot to say about our consumer-frenzied culture, our weight issues (she was healthier and fitter while in Ireland and Switzerland than she'd ever been), and our peculiar way of defining ourselves.  No one ever asked her where she (or her parents) worked or what she drove or where she lived, all things that had defined her throughout her school years.  She was amazed that people wanted to know who she was, what she thought, how she viewed the world.

    I've thought since the '70's that we are becoming more and more centered on breeding for cubicles or foxholes, and less and less on quality of life.  I suspect the ideal America would have enormous breeding centers where life was cultivated, and each child started on a specific path to fulfill a specific business need, and the worn-out, useless, or odd would be neatly disposed of.

    I have come up with a question that I ask people who are fussing about unions or government spending, or whatever Tea Partyish BS they heard this morning.  "What would this country look like if the minimum wage was $25.00 an hour?"  It starts some interesting conversations.

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 11:39:29 AM PDT

    •  Well done. And you'va managed to make me jealous (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      irishwitch, I love OCD, BYw

      of your daughter for her travels in ireland and Switzerland, to boot!

      (We've seen London, and spent three weeks trekking about the Scottish highlands, and thanks to my wife's academic research, we wind up in India frequently and lived in Bombay/Mumbai for a year in 2001-2, but I still want to see more of Europe, and I'm half Irish.)

      So he says to me, do you wanna be a BAD boy? And I say YEAH baby YEAH! Surf's up space ponies! I'm makin' gravy WITHOUT THE LUMPS! HAAA-ha-ha-ha!!!

      by Cenobyte on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 11:57:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I got to spend 7 years in Japan (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        I love OCD, here4tehbeer, BYw

        Granted our home WAS on a base, but I taught ENglish and got to know my students fairly well.  ANd the one question no one who was Japanese EVER asked was "What church do you go to?"

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:25:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, spectacular, irishwitch! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I want to experience Japan. I think it only makes sense for me and my partner to experience Ireland.

          And I honestly want to visit and get to know much of Europe.

          Such adventures aren't cheap, but we have time to plot   :)

          So he says to me, do you wanna be a BAD boy? And I say YEAH baby YEAH! Surf's up space ponies! I'm makin' gravy WITHOUT THE LUMPS! HAAA-ha-ha-ha!!!

          by Cenobyte on Mon Jun 20, 2011 at 05:46:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  It Should be In the Teens to Equal 1968's Min Wage (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      irishwitch, I love OCD, BYw

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 12:00:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good presentation (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      I love OCD

      I applaud your post here because of a number of things you've said.  However, we must realize that many European countries are about the size of one of our states.  And, the social dynamics in many of the European countries and the racial/cultural make-up of many of them is FAR different than what we have in our country.  It is a little like comparing apples to oranges, really.  At least IMO.  I hope this isn't taken wrong.  

      I have spent over three years in Europe and there is a mountain of difference between many of those countries and the U.S. in a myriad of ways.  I'm sure someone will ask in what ways here and then argue each point.  But, this is just my personal observation having actually lived there with a reasonable command of the German language and so forth.

      My point is that we should be Americans.  We can't be like some European country.  We're different in just so many ways.

      -- **Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.**

      by r2did2 on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 12:07:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're absolutely right about the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean

        size and diversity of our country being an issue, but there are still ways we could improve how we handle our various social contracts.  I'm thinking a fair flat tax with no backdoors would make it possible for us to do all the things it's currently impossible to do - maintain SS and Medicare, improve education and healthcare, provide for families.

        To me it's more a question of propaganda - people have been so thoroughly twisted in their thinking that we actually can't have conversations about improving health care?  Helping the needy?  Paying a living wage?  That's just insane, if you live in a world where people count for more than corporations do.  It's perfect if corporations are at the top of the food chain, it sucks if you aren't uber-wealthy.  And it's not worse now than it was in the 1890's or the 1920's or the freaking Middle Ages, it's just maddening that we haven't evolved enough to be propaganda-proof, IMO.  

        I do have that wildly idealistic streak under my grumpy cynic cap.

        I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

        by I love OCD on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 03:39:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Eldercare is a family value. (5+ / 0-)

    We need a serious discussion about caring for the oldest of the old in this society. Half the population over 85 suffers from some degree of dementia. Many have so many health and behavioral problems that they cannot be cared for at home. (And btw, the children of these nonagenarians are no spring chickens either!) Right now we are talking about serious cuts to Medicaid. Medicaid pays for more than half of the nursing home beds for the elderly in this country. Hubert Humphrey said:

    It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.

    We need to talk about more than just Social Security and Medicare.

    •  And after that person int he nursing home dies, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue jersey mom, tardis10, BYw

      there is nothing left for the children who cared for them for many years before the burden became too great. Not that one cares for one's parents  to inherit, but because often the wife--it's usually the wife--has had to leave her job to be an unpaid nurse.   From my own experience, what is covered difffers vastly from state to state.  It ws jsut nme and my hsuband caring for my father--I am an only child.  I was also in my alte 50s and have a back problem, which meant I was very limited in what I could do--I couldn't lift Dad when he fell (an occurrence that happened at least daily.  We had an angry old man with Parkinson's, COPD and ALzheimer's 24/7.  There was no one to help. Ni respite care, no sursing assistance provided by the state--unless he was on Medicaid (the cutoff is $600 a month, which means almsot no one qualifies).   We MUST reorganize eldercare law.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:30:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My family values: Economic policy that provides (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, David Kaib, Calamity Jean

    good jobs at good enough wages to allow one parent to support one stay-at-home spouse and two children.

    Have you noticed?
    Politicians who promise LESS government
    only deliver BAD government.

    by jjohnjj on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 12:46:41 PM PDT

  •  graphic is missing a few family types... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I didn't see mine up there -- ANY couple plus ONE child.  that's both my and my brother's families, we have one boy; he/they have one girl.

    didn't see any childless couples, het or otherwise.

    didn't see anything for grandparent(s) plus grandchild/children (would a curvy-outline cane show up at that scale, to indicate the elder generation?)

    didn't see anything for a traditional family plus an elder... (which was my brother's family while my mom was still with us, well, sorta')

    maybe that's not the point of this diary or the graphic, but the "Missing Families" really jumped out at me.

    "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

    by chimene on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:01:35 PM PDT

    •  DOn't you know childless couples (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BYw, Calamity Jean

      aren't FAMILIES/snark

      If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, I'd be a lot better off financially than I am.

      We're childless by choice, and everyone, even complete strangers, seem to think he or she has a right to know why. On holidays, you're expected to cover for people with kids. My husband, after having been away  from me for 9 months ( 7 of them deployed, 2 moving to a new duty station for the Navy, while I stayed behind where I had a job, rather than moving to a new place with no support system a a l), returned shortly before Christmas. He put in for leave. His supervisor vetoed it. because "he didn't ahve afamily, just a wife". Husband insisted they push it up the chain, and it was approved. But that is TYPICAL.

      I also grew up in a home that had 4 generations until my great grandmother died when I was 4 or so. My grandparents lived with us my whole life, till their deaths.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:36:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is actually an important point. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      First I have to say that I agree with the overarching point of the post above, that the state should more actively protect and promote stable families economically. But one of the most important things here is how we define families. It's not just important that we include families led by same-sex couples or single people raising children. If people unite in a household to provide for dependent members, whether that dependent is a child, a handicapped adult or someone in their last years, society is enriched. Blood ties and marriage can be significant to these relationships, but they're not determinative of whether one exists, really.

      "It's like we weren't made for this world, But I wouldn't really want to meet someone who was." --Of Montreal

      by andydoubtless on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 06:32:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Someone should publish a book of student essays (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irishwitch, BYw, Calamity Jean

    A couple of years ago I read through a bunch of student essays written by Texas 10th graders who wrote them as part of the standardized test they had to take.  I was doing the scoring gig.
    I read probably 7,000 of these.

    One of the genres among the repeated themes I read was by a certain percentage of girls writing about the experience of becoming a teenage mother.

    They all started out the same.  The shock at seeing the little indicator on the pregnancy test, usually in a bathroom.

    What really struck me was that maybe a fourth of these, perhaps more, reported on the experience of being the daughter of a mom who had also been a pregnant teenager.  

    Given the constant sense of always being hindered in any attempt to move forward by poverty, resulting from the first generation, the second generation is in worse shape, and a third is set up.

    That is a huge human cost.

    The people willing to inflict costs on other people because of their own need to justify a harsh religious ideology are the ones who ought to bear some of the burden.  Instead they get to act righteous and look down their noses at others.
    They are also the ones to boast that they are promoting family values.  

    Given the emotional immediacy of these essays, even with the range of English usage, I wish that someone would collect such essays and publish them.  It is a witness to experience that is mostly out of sight and out of mind.  

    But it shouldn't be.

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:03:57 PM PDT

  •  Greedy corporations (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irishwitch, ebohlman, BYw

    are destroying American families, with the eager help of Republicans.  If they get their way with Medicare and Medicaid, most Americans will be forced to spend all of their assets for nursing home care of elderly and disabled parents, then will have to provide full-time nursing care themselves, leaving no savings or time to spend on their children. The alternative will be to watch their parents die years before their time.  That's the Republican Party's idea of a Father's (and Mother's) Day gift.

  •  The single most useful thing that could happen (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pandoras Box, BYw, Calamity Jean

    to advance the welfare of the human race today would be if all women in the world were to receive full civil rights and the ability to control their own reproduction.

    "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." Bertrand Russell

    by Thutmose V on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:39:46 PM PDT

  •  The mistake of this posting is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    psychbob, Calamity Jean

    to think that "family values" actually means values that help families.  Actually, as Republicans use the term, it is a coded way of saying "no gay marriage, no abortion, men should marry the mothers of their children rather than having them go on welfare."

    It should be noted that it is defined in a way that suggests no significant restraints on the behavior of prosperous heterosexual males.

  •  As an HIV prevention researcher... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    ...I closely followed the comprehensive-sex-ed vs. abstinence-only debate while working as an evaluation specialist for HIV prevention programs.
         It was simply astonishing to see the so-called "family values" crowd demand policies (abstinence-only education) that were literally worse than useless.  Worse, because they were "solutions" that were guaranteed to make the problem (unprotected teen sex, unwanted pregnancy) worse rather than better.  The research evidence was in then (5-10 years ago); as Kaili says, comprehensive sex ed was proven to reduce rates of unprotected sex and unwanted pregnancies - and for that matter, was associated with a later age at first intercourse and with having fewer sex partners.  All things that you would think social conservatives would approve of.  And yet, they screamed denunciations of comprehensive sex ed and demanded abstinence-only - which was proven to have worse outcomes.  Why?
         Because it isn't really about better outcomes for families, for th "family values" crowd.  It's about forcing their own rigid ideology of morality on everyone else.

  •  Yes, very well said. (0+ / 0-)

    And I'm happy to see these issues brought up here on Daily Kos, especially since many Democrats have been talking about all this for decades.

    I only have a few minor bones to pick; I would argue that it is possible for someone to be upset about what happened with Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl, and agree with what this article suggests (I suspect much of America would fall into this category).  More importantly, while I agree that the FMLA is far too limited; it's also better than nothing, and has actually helped significant numbers of people; it is more than a "privilege" for the "wealthy" (that almost makes it sound like the author thinks that a real liberal should be AGAINST it!)  While I'm all for pointing out the inadequacy of the FMLA, liberals should be EXPANDING on past liberal successes, not denigrating them, especially since those past successes are the foundation for what will be built next.  

    The era of "the era of big government is over" is over.

    by lungfish on Mon Jun 20, 2011 at 07:01:33 AM PDT

  •  "Family" values in practice are anti-sex values (0+ / 0-)

    which is pretty funny considering how families get here.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Mon Jun 20, 2011 at 04:15:16 PM PDT

  •  I just wanted to say, about FMLA... (0+ / 0-)

    that Charles used that and his accrued vacation time to take a little over a week off while I was in the hospital recovering from a kidney transplant, and we are still digging ourselves out of the financial hole because of it. I needed him there; someone had to be there to look out for me, and there were things he knew that I wasn't able to be aware of at the time and need to know (such as the fact that I needed a blood transfusion; I had no idea). But it cost us and cost us big.

    Organ donors save multiple lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me and in others. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate and sign up to give others the gift of life.

    by Kitsap River on Mon Jun 20, 2011 at 04:50:37 PM PDT

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