499 – Gems on the web

This is post 499! Eek! Kind of exciting :)

Anyway, some gems on the web: I’m dying to make this quilt. I think I’ve said this before…because someone else had a lovely cross quilt in red and white. But I just love Betty’s in pink and off white. Awesome.

I’ve been asked to make a purse for someone…I do enjoy making purses, but I make little fabric purses. Not nice, stylish leather purses that cool girls in NYC carry or care about. I’m not a cool city girl. I’m a plain homebody girl who likes to sew. ANYWAY, I’m going out on a ledge here and I’ve decided to make this purse, but without the bow. I’ll be using black linen for the main body, and I got a fun floral silk for the binding. We’ll see how it goes.

The best gem on the web these days is my main man Barack. So, if you haven’t read it, it might be wise to familiarize yourself with the health care plan he’s laid out…get it from the horse’s mouth, not the horse’s asses all over the tv.

My final gem for the day is this video…my college band from 1996. I’m in there somewhere, dancing my spandexed-ass off. If you have a spare 8 minutes, you’ll see a glimpse of one of the happiest times in my life. Yay Marching Knights! The Pride of Central Florida!

another nonsensical argument

Healthcare for Everyone! Or else!
Healthcare for Everyone! Or else!

My friend posted this crazy editorial on Facebook. Here’s the first line, “Joining the military has its perks, but the value of those benefits is at risk.”

You should read the whole thing, but if you don’t feel like it, here’s the gist: Christie Vanover (USAG Benelux) is saying that if people want free health care, they should join the military. They can have all the free health care they want in return for serving their country. And if health care is going to be available to everyone now, then soldiers will need something more to make their sacrifice worthwhile.

I tried writing a response, but I went on and on, and Facebook’s comments only have so much space. So here’s my rebuttal this ill-formed opinion.

I’m not sure I’m down with the logic that anything is at risk, except a common recruiting tool. As a former service member and dependent, I can certainly agree that the medical coverage was the best of the benefits. However, I don’t think that the plan to include a public option would mean “free”…so far, the term used by the Obama administration has been “affordable”, and I certainly don’t think it has ANY bearing on whether or not service members are justly compensated for their service. There are clear bullet points of what the health care reform plan will and won’t do here.

This commentary (which I believe really has no place on the US Army’s official site) really muddies the water. Let’s not start pitting people who can’t afford health care against soldiers.

I can see how an affordable option for health care for everyone would scare recruiters…I would wager a lot of people join just for the health care. Just like people join just for the college money. Or just for the bonus. Or whatever.

But this is really an apples and oranges kind of situation. Making health care affordable for everyone can only add to the well-being and prosperity of this country. To say that making health care coverage available for people who have none somehow diminishes the excellent health care system the military currently offers, or that the military now needs something additional to make their service worthwhile is nonsensical.

The majority of enlisted soldiers come from lower and lower middle class families. Do you think they want to keep their extended families from getting healthcare coverage? I seriously doubt it.

I think people join the military for a million different reasons – because a parent or sibling or grandparent served, because of 9/11, because they want the GI Bill, because they hate their town and want out, because they want to see the world, because they think they need structure, because they LOVE THIS COUNTRY or because they have no other options. Whatever the reason, CHOOSING to serve is awesome. For me, wearing that uniform with pride was so important. I can’t really express how proud I felt when my dad called me his “little soldier”, or knowing that I was the first female in my family to serve, with ancestors serving in the military in every generation back to the Revolutionary War. None of that would be lessened if there was affordable health care available to all Americans. None of it. It would all still be there. Wearing the uniform, making the sacrifices, serving my country would still be just as worthwhile.

Let’s not muddy the waters.

Boycott Totes/Isotoner

I’m throwing my hat in the ring on this one. In case you haven’t seen the million angry articles and blog posts about the recent Ohio Supreme Court finding, you can read about it officially here or unofficially here and here.

Here is the letter I sent to Totes/Isotoner – feel free to take part or all for your own letter:

To: vickie.fightmaster@totes.com, customerservice@totes.com; chuck.aardema@totes.com; lauren.rosewski@totes.com

Subject: Alienating your consumer base

Ms. Fightmaster and assorted Totes executives,

This is some shameful legal tap-dancing on your part, Totes/Isotoner. You may have won the battle, but your consumers are surely watching you closely and I pray you won’t win this war.

The following quote was taken from http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/PIO/oralArguments/09/0311/0311.asp:

“Attorneys for Totes/Isotoner cite multiple court decisions that they say have held that an employer’s failure to extend additional leave or otherwise change workplace policies to accommodate women to facilitate the  breastfeeding of infants was not discriminatory because breastfeeding does not fall within the definitions of an “illness” or  “medical condition” arising from pregnancy or childbirth. “

You’re missing the most important point here – breastfeeding is what’s best for the baby. I guess that’s no concern of yours. The US is way behind in accommodating nursing mothers. And your little legal victory is a huge step backwards.

Your press release states:
“totes»ISOTONER has, does and will continue to provide work-place lactation support for all nursing mothers, including considerations for time, place and opportunity. Many nursing mothers have and continue to take advantage of these accommodations. In this particular case accommodations were in place and provided.”

First of all, womens restrooms are dirty, germ-ridden places. I do NOT consider the restroom suitable “accommodations”. By forcing lactating employees to wait to pump, or to only pump a little to fit into a 10-minute break period, you end up decreasing their milk supply. You are literally taking food out of the baby’s mouth.

I find it hard to believe that there is no way to accommodate a more lenient schedule for nursing mothers for nine to 12 months after giving birth. Can’t you keep track of the time and subtract sick leave or something? There must be some way to make it a fair but available option.

Essentially, instead of being a leader here – helping women do their job and take care of their families in the best possible way – you are part of the problem. You are forcing women to choose between a job they probably need to survive and providing their children with the best possible nutrition. This shouldn’t be an either/or situation.

According to the press release from Oregon Democrat Jeff Merkley’s office, “A recent study by the United Breastfeeding Committee found that if half of the babies in the U.S. were exclusively breastfed for six months, we would realize potential savings of up to $14 billion a year in health care costs for childhood illnesses.” With the inclusion of Sen. Merkley’s Breastfeeding Amendment in the ever-changing health care reform legislation, I have a small hope that accommodating nursing mothers will become a nationwide effort. It’s depressing that at the same time one side is fighting for the health of babies, someone else is litigating their way around it.

The following findings are taken from the proposed amendments, S.1244 and H. R. 2819, which can be found at http://www.thomas.gov/home/bills_res.html:

    • (1) Women with infants and toddlers are a rapidly growing segment of the labor force today.
    • (2) Statistical surveys of families show that over 50 percent of mothers with children less than 1 year of age are in the labor force.
    • (3) The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers breastfeed exclusively for 6 months and continue breastfeeding for at least the first year of a child’s life, and that arrangements be made to allow a mother’s expressing of milk if mother and child must separate.
    • (4) Research studies show that children who are not breastfeed have higher rates of mortality, meningitis, some types of cancers, asthma and other respiratory illnesses, bacterial and viral infections, diarrhoeal diseases, ear infections, allergies, and obesity.
    • (5) Research studies have also shown that breastmilk and breastfeeding have protective effects against the development of a number of chronic diseases, including juvenile diabetes, lymphomas, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, some chronic liver diseases, and ulcerative colitis.
    • (6) Maternal benefits of breastfeeding include a reduced risk for postpartum hemorrhage and decreased risk for developing osteoporosis, ovarian cancer, and premenopausal breast cancer.
    • (7) The health benefits to children from breastfeeding translate into a threefold decrease in parental absenteeism due to infant illness.

In an article in Industry Week, dated Sept. 18, 2008, I found this quote:

“Choosing to steer our resources toward preventative care and providing opportunities for health care screening was a shift in philosophy for us. We had been focusing on providing care when people became sick. As result of our screening we were able to help employees avoid some major illnesses and when it comes down to it that’s the core of what we want to do for our employees,” explains Chuck Aardema, Vice President, Human Resources of totes-Isotoner Corp.

Science has clearly proven that breastfeeding is an effective way to stave off infection and disease. Breastfeeding IS preventative care. Support it!

You can be sure that my friends, my family and I will no longer be consumers of Totes/Isotoner products. You are either part of the problem or you are part of the solution – and since you don’t even recognize the problem, you are clearly part of it.


Abi Beaty