Saturday, March 26, 2011

Humorous Daddy Blog

There are many mommy blogs. My favorite is Let's Panic About Babies!

This is a humorous daddy blog, Message With a Bottle.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Interracial Marriage is No Longer Controversial

Pew Research Center has a fine new study of attitudes toward the family changes going on in our society. They ask about attitudes toward seven family changes, such as single parenthood and gay marriage. About 1/3 accept all the changes as indifferent or good for society. About 1/3 reject almost all of them as bad for society. About 1/3 are skeptical but not rejecting.

Except one: rising rates of interracial marriage. In each of the three groups, 6 in 10 think interracial marriage makes no difference to society.

The three groups do differ significantly in whether they think interracial marriage is good for society or not. Among the Accepters and Skeptics, about 3 in 10 think it good (31% and 27%). Among the Rejecters, only half that number (15%) do.

Still, interracial marriage was a flash-point issue within living memory. Now, most people across the whole spectrum think it is not a big deal.

This is progress.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Adultery Website Pretends There is a Woman Behind It

Ashley Madison is a website that brings adulterers together. The website is very feminine in graphic style and tone.

But there is no person named Ashley Madison. It was created by Noel Biderman, a married father of two small children. His wife, after a long sigh, says the anti-marriage line that Biderman uses professionally, is not at all like him. The business is just a business.

Biderman was a sports agent, juggling the wives and mistresses of professional basketball players, when he had the idea for making money from arranging adultery. He reasoned that men would turn up for any sex site. The key was to get women to sign up - married women, not just the prostitutes who also flock to all sex sites.

Here Biderman had what I think is the critical business insight of Ashley Madison, named for the two most popular girl's names of 2002, the year he started:

"For them to go and have anonymous affairs, I was almost gonna have to create that paradigm," Biderman says. "And to do that I felt that women were going to have to feel that there was...I don't want to say a woman behind it, but definitely that they were the focal point."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Hard Work of Combining Lab Science and Young Motherhood

A friend, Jessica Lang Kosa, has an excellent piece on how motherhood changed the direction of her work from lab science to lactation consultant. Her larger point is that this change was not a rejection of her mother's feminism, but a new direction of her own feminism from working away from her children to work with other mothers about children.

The crucial moment of unexpected redirection she describes thus:

When I first got pregnant at 28, I was a postdoctoral scientist working in genetic toxicology at MIT. I researched daycare centers and breast pumps, and assured my mentor I’d be back in 12 weeks.

Then I had a baby.

This is a familiar story that the Gruntleds and many other feminists have discovered. The path that we and the Kosas and others have followed balances family and work more than our pre-baby understanding had prepared us for.

I do wonder, though, if there is any good way to combine young motherhood and lab science - genetic toxicology, for example. It seems to me that a biology lab is about the least friendly environment for babies and small children possible. Moms doing this kind of work really have to separate work and family very thoroughly and physically. I know women who are lab scientists, and I know many science-trained mothers, but I know few women who have been able to combine intensive lab science with young motherhood.

I would welcome some good stories of "how I did it."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Cockpit Parents" - A Step Beyond Helicopter Parents

Christine Hassler at The Huffington Post has come up with a useful new pop sociology term. Where "helicopter parents" hover over their children, "cockpit parents" run their children's lives for them.

We all have the vices of our virtues. If one of the virtues of your family is that parents and children are close, and adult children respect their parents' wisdom, you (we) are also likely to have the vice of trying to support and advise too much. Hassler offers some helpful advice to parents about how to step back from running their children's lives. Complementary advice to those grown children would be to turn down your parents' direction, even when it would, in the short run, be helpful and easy.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Delayed Marriage Causes Middle East Risings for Democracy (Partly)

Delayed marriage is a significant cause of the unrest in Middle Eastern dictatorships.

Arab societies strongly control sex outside of marriage.
Young people can't get married without a job.
Jobs are mostly controlled by the government.
The governments are corrupt and nepotism is rampant.

This produces a rising tide of educated, unemployed young people, especially young men, who can not get married - and blame the government.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Police State Libertarians

This is the first of what I am afraid will be a many, many part series.

The strongest proponents of liberty and Christianity for themselves support the most draconian controls and merciless coldness toward others they regard as dangers.

Today's case in point: a proposal by Minnesota Republicans that welfare recipients not be allowed to withdraw cash. Anyone receiving public assistance would have to conduct all their business transactions through a state-issued debit card, so the state could monitor and control their purchases.

The crucial provision of the original proposal read:

1.11benefit transfer (EBT) debit cardholders in the general assistance program and the
1.12Minnesota supplemental aid program under chapter 256D and programs under chapter
1.13256J are prohibited from withdrawing cash from an automatic teller machine or receiving
1.14cash from vendors with the EBT debit card. The EBT debit card may only be used as a
1.15debit card.

In a tiny step toward allowing some freedom to poor people, the revised bill allows welfare recipients to withdraw $20 in cash.