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The United States is one of only three countries that do not mandate paid parental leave out of 177 nations, according to researchers at McGill and Harvard universities. The other two are Papua New Guinea and Swaziland.
That is from an article today's Washington Post titled Landmark family leave law doesn’t help millions of workers.

By the way, officially I am not covered, because I did not have 1250 hours in at my current school before Leaves on the Current found out about her cancer and I had to take time off.   So this is an issue on which I have some sensitivity.

Especially when I read something like this:

And even when workers are covered by the law, they are sometimes penalized for taking advantage of it, as court cases and 5,375 labor violations show. Workers covered by the law have been fired for asking for leave to care for chronically ill parents or to accompany a dying father to the hospital.
Yet another issue on which the legislation for which we fought so long and so hard is still very insufficient.

We have horrible economic inequity.

We do not provide economic security for so many, even among the seniors for whom Social Security and Medicare were supposed to make a difference, and yet there is real pressure to cut benefits, whether by chained CPI or outright slashing or raising age eligibility as if everyone worked in an office without tension and not doing hard physical labor as do many.

We are number 1 in things for which we should be ashamed - incarceration rate, gun death rates among industrialized democracies . .

So when will we own up to the fact that our American Exceptionalism too often is an illustration of why we should at least be embarrassed if not outright ashamed by our country?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (30+ / 0-)

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 04:27:48 AM PST

  •  In Sicko There Is A Scene (8+ / 0-)

    a roundtable of Americans living abroad. A women there says she lives in Paris. She had a child. There was a knock on her door and a person said "I am from the government. I am a nurse. Can I help you?"

    I am 43. I don't have any kids. My brother has a little girl. He was confused how to raise a child. So was his wife. She is about my age. We have some financial means so it was OK, but alas I wonder what it is like for other people.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 04:51:57 AM PST

    •  if American really stepped back (9+ / 0-)

      and looked at how we truly compare to other nations in some categories, I think they would be shocked.

      It is one reason the close of Howard Dean's stump speech back in '03 and early '04 had such impact -  some people were recognizing OMG this nation should be embarrassed.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 04:55:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh I Hear You (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherken, The grouch, liz dexic

        I like to joke I am a liberal, liberal. Dean is the "man." The first campaign I worked on, in like 1994 was Jerry Brown. I went door to door for the guy in Lousiana and I was a "Yankee."

        That didn't work out so well ....

        When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

        by webranding on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 05:10:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Step Back to Where? Do You Realize How Difficult (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cocinero, liz dexic

        it is for an average American to know about other countries?

        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 Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 07:29:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, just a couple of clicks away. (4+ / 0-)

          Family policy in Europe? Just click here, on The Council of Europe Family Policy Database and on the sub topics.

          Of course that assumes some interest and curiosity. All it takes to remain ignorant is a sluggish mind. We have a large population dumb as a bag of slugs in that respect. Incurious and willfully ignorant fits. Hell, a survey of 18 and 24 year olds in 2006 found many could not place the Pacific Ocean!

          Pinpointing North America on a Map Is a Breeze Nearly all (94%) young Americans can find the United States on the world map, and Canada (92%) and Mexico (88%) are nearly as familiar. Wide majorities can find bordering bodies of water including the Pacific Ocean (79%) and the Gulf of Mexico (75%). Trends from 2002 suggest that more young adults can pick out Canada and Mexico (with few signs of change for other countries). However, it is concerning that one in ten of those with up to a high school education cannot identify the U.S., and one in five cannot find the Pacific Ocean.
          Yeah, how just specially positive! That means 21% of young Americans could not locate the Pacific and 25% were lost on the Gulf of Mexico!

          Oh well, we know about 25-35% of the population is dumb as a bag of slugs politically too. Oh well, a whopping 56% managed to place the Alps in Europe. We can strut with pride.

          The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

          by pelagicray on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 08:15:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  but, but... (7+ / 0-)

    by golly we have a military that puts the rest of the world to shame....if they don't envy us, they can at least fear us!!!

    It's really sad.  Our priorities as a nation are so messed up, we spend billions and billions of dollars to protect ourselves from some nebulous threat (Sadaam's chemical weapons?) but can't protect our citizens from dying from gun violence, or because they lack health insurance.

    There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast.

    by puzzled on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 06:42:52 AM PST

    •  RUSSIA HOUSE (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Soviet knight is dying inside his armour.
      That explicitly linked to the fact the military might was armor with a rotting carcass inside. Yeah, the Red Army was soon harvesting potatoes to make do and its nuclear blue water navy was radiating on the beaches of the Kola. The only real first line units appeared to be the missile force.

      We were certainly well on the way. Maybe in 2008 there was an alteration of course, but the idiot faction is still fighting over the helm.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 08:25:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  USA, USA , USA, USA, USA, USA (6+ / 0-)

    We're #1 in Drone Deaths.  We have the World's largest military budget.  We have more tanks, planes, bombers, fighters, weapons of mass destruction than all the rest of the world's armies combined.  We have more people who hate the USA than any other country.

    We could be so much, but we have made ourselves so little!


    We are the World.  We are the place where people want to go to school.  We were the land of opportunity.  Where did we go wrong.  Why do 47% of the American people listen to people like Mitt Romney and Karl Rove?

    Why can't people like teacherken find a voice to be heard?

    Dick Cheney said, "Pi$$ on 'em!" And, Ronald Reagan replied, "That's a Great Idea. Let's Call it 'Trickle Down Economics!"

    by NM Ray on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 06:52:49 AM PST

  •  "We have horrible economic inequity" (0+ / 0-)

    This is true.  In fact, I have seen mentioned in several reports of the last year or so that the economic disparity in this nation has reached the levels that have historically only seen in nations shortly before their collapse.

  •  Well, you know if you want an empire... (0+ / 0-)

    You have to make certain sacrifices.

    Take a look at the track record...

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 07:26:26 AM PST

  •  The U.S. has a history of exploitation. (0+ / 0-)

    It has become a habit. Somebody's got to be exploited.

    Then there's political economy. What does that mean? Does it mean that we ration power or that we allocate it efficiently?  Or does it mean that the system of trade and exchange is going to be employed to expoit our target populations? Money, it has turned out, is such a lovely shield. It leaves no fingerprints. And then, when we combine it with the law (patent, proprietary, private property), the fleecing of the majority is super easy.

    The rule of law.  What a marvelous invention!  Not like the Bible or the Koran, the secular law can be tweaked and shapen in an on-going revelation!

    The ex-men.  How do we miss them?  They're middlemen.  We hardly notice their function. You know, like the driver on the plantation, the union boss, the MBA.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 09:26:07 AM PST

  •  California has a useful program (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Child bearing was added to the short term disability program and prospective new moms can receive disability benefits for four weeks prior to birth and 6-8 weeks after birth. This would be an easy program for other states to copy.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 09:53:43 AM PST

  •  When a nation has to constantly puff out its (0+ / 0-)

    collective chest, thump it and screech how great it is, and how it's Number One - there's a problem.

    We haven't been Number One in quite some time.  It's just that no one really wants to be the first to say for the record you're not Number One anymore.

    "For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die." Ted Kennedy 1980 DNC Keynote Speech

    by Dumas EagerSeton on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 02:35:45 PM PST

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