14 Years of FMLA -- February 5, 2007

Today marks the 14th anniversary of the original Family and Medical Leave Act(FMLA). Yahoo. But as we've discussed before in On Balance, FMLA, which is rightly considered "landmark" legislation because no safeguards existed before it and over 50 million workers have benefited, provides important but fairly minimal protection: Employees who've worked for 12 months and put in at least 1,250 hours at companies with 50 or more employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave if they are ill or if they need to care for a sick family member or new child.

Senator Chris Dodd, a Democrat from Connecticut and one of the original authors of FMLA, is proposing new legislation to expand FMLA, to put into law what some companies currently offer on a volunteer basis. Sen. Dodd's bill will push for at least six weeks of paid leave for an employee to care for themselves, their children, and their immediate family members. The program would be funded by a shared-cost mechanism supported by the employer, the employee and the federal government. The National Partnership for Women and Families and Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) have announced their support of Dodd's legislation.

"The U.S. does not do nearly enough to ensure that our workers aren't forced to choose between their family and their job," Dodd said in a press release announcing his modest new legislation. "Now more than ever, millions of workers need to be able to take care of their young children and their aging parents. No worker should be penalized for caring for their family."

Put that way, who can object? But what's incredible is that it's only been 14 years that American parents have had government support to combine work and family. It took eight years and two presidential vetoes before FLMA was signed into law under Clinton in 1993 -- the first bill he signed as President. Hopefully Sen. Dodd's expansion bill will get approved a little more quickly this time around.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  February 5, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Moms in the News
Previous: Worst Advice Ever | Next: 9/11 Dad


Add On Balance to Your Site
Keep up with the latest installments of On Balance with an easy-to-use widget. It's simple to add to your Web site, and it will update every time there's a new entry to On Balance.
Get This Widget >>


Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



First!

Posted by: Leslie | February 5, 2007 7:28 AM

Not sure if there is anything left to say on this topic...

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 7:30 AM

Oh LOOK...it's a dead horse

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 7:34 AM

Comparisons to France, anyone?

Posted by: cmac | February 5, 2007 7:52 AM

cmac, my wife makes the best French Toast. The secret is to use Crisco instead of butter or margerin. The same goes for grilled cheese, which I think was also invented by the French.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 5, 2007 8:03 AM

un croque monsieur I believe Fo4.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 5, 2007 8:04 AM

Wonderful, another article whining about companies and the gov't not doing enough. Will this be paired with one whining about salaries going down when companies have to find a way to pay for this nonsense, if it were to be enacted?

Posted by: again??? | February 5, 2007 8:13 AM

anybody have a better topic?

Posted by: experienced mom | February 5, 2007 8:22 AM

"The program would be funded by a shared-cost mechanism supported by the employer, the employee and the federal government."

I am just wondering who and how much the employees will have to pay? Will it be all employees or only the ones who are going to use FMLA. I know everyone can use it, but I've known very few where I work who have. I guess I am just wondering about the cost of the program.

Posted by: scarry | February 5, 2007 8:23 AM

I simply can't believe that it's only been 14 years since FMLA was enacted. I feel clueless. I also feel extremely lucky, because when I had my first I was working at a wonderful firm that paid for 10 weeks of leave. Granted, I'd been working there for almost 7 years in a management capacity, but it was a wonderful thing.

My sister is facing a difficult decision in a couple of months. She works for a very small company and they don't have to do anything in the way of paid benefits -- they don't even have to hold her job for her once she has the baby. She's been there for over 2 years, and we're hopeful that they'll keep her on, but we're just not sure. It is frightening to me that in this day and age a woman can still lose her job because she has a child. It's just like it was when my grandmother was working 65 years ago. She hid her pregnancy as long as she could, because she knew as soon as management figured it out, she'd be out the door that day. (And she was.)

I think it's time FMLA was expanded. This country pays a lot of lipservice to family and motherhood and the sanctity thereof without putting its money where its mouth is.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | February 5, 2007 8:23 AM

Father of 4,
I disagree about the grilled cheese. The best is baked in two pieces then put together when the cheese is melted and a bit crispy.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 5, 2007 8:38 AM

"I think it's time FMLA was expanded. This country pays a lot of lipservice to family and motherhood and the sanctity thereof without putting its money where its mouth is."

So the government (and/or corporate America) should have to pay for the choice of an employee to have a child?

Posted by: PT | February 5, 2007 8:39 AM

PT, in a word, yes.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | February 5, 2007 8:44 AM

PT it's not just for parents.

Posted by: scarry | February 5, 2007 8:46 AM

I completely agree with scarry. There's a reason that we have a higher standard of living than other countries. This is an unnecessary cost on employers and will decrease salaries across the board.
People are already in despair about how our wages are stagnating ( but no one talks about how things cost less).
The reason for that is when the govt steps in they usually make things worse.

In saying that, however, I do think that fmla was monumentous ( along w laws forbidding firing a pregnant woman), and was a great thing. I am also happy that clinton was smart enough to limit is as he did.

Posted by: atlmom | February 5, 2007 8:47 AM

Ah, yes, KLB, but when cooking for a family of 6, skillet space is a premium consideration.

Sacrifices, sacrifices, sacrifices!

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 5, 2007 8:49 AM

Leslie,

Congrads on being first! :)

Posted by: First Comment | February 5, 2007 8:50 AM

I love crisco grilled cheese sandwhiches. Although I have not had one in like 15 years. Criso is really bad for you. I did hear that they are coming out with trans fat free crisco though.

Posted by: scarry | February 5, 2007 8:51 AM

For folks who were talking about parents volunteering in the classroom, and how they felt about safety: California Schools Under Fire For Volunteer Sex Record.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/05/us/05school.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Apparently, a kindergartner's father who was volunteering in class is a registered sex offender.

Posted by: Not germane today | February 5, 2007 8:53 AM

I make my grilled cheese sandwiches with mayo (inside) and butter (outside). Goes well with tomato soup and a dill pickle.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 8:53 AM

Father of 4,
That is why baking on cookie sheet is so perfect for a lot of people.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 5, 2007 8:54 AM

Grilled cheese with extra sharp cheddar and granny smith apple slices on whole wheat panfried in butter. That's my vote on the sandwich question.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | February 5, 2007 8:55 AM

American, swiss, pepper jack and cheddar with either tomato or ham on rye, whole wheat or pumpernickle. Also vote for tomato soup.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 5, 2007 9:03 AM

Offtopic already!
Back to Friday for a minute. I was the one that likened infertility to cancer. Obviously a bad analogy, because my point was missed. I did not mean to suggest that infertility is as bad as cancer. My point is that infertility, like many diseases, is often treatable. So pick something else. Say, irritable bowel syndrome. If you have IBS, you don't say, I guess it was meant to be. You try to get treatment. If the doc says I can't guarantee anything, but we have these various treatments, you try them and hope. There's nothing wrong with taking the same approach if you are infertile. Often, it can be treated easily, but sometimes not. Why is this considered a science experiment?

And adoption is fine, but it takes a long time, can cost a lot of money, and isn't guaranteed. There's nothing wrong with investing those resources in yourself and your health prior to or instead of, adoption. If adoption were that easy, more people would consider it as a first choice, rather than a last.

Posted by: Back To Friday | February 5, 2007 9:05 AM

Not germane today,

That is okay. He is a parent and they are all good and should have all the access to any child at anytime. Snark.

I think anyone who is going to be a volunteer should have to have a back ground check and if they have something like this in their past, they should not be allowed around other people's children.

Posted by: scarry | February 5, 2007 9:13 AM

Can't help but think that the call for background checks is just more fear-mongering. An EXTREMELY small percentage of the population are sex offenders (registered or otherwise). Are we going to go so far as to make volunteering in schools a thing of the past? It's not like schools have extra money to do background checks.

I think the money, if you feel it's there, would be better spent educating our children (without scaring the bejesus out of them) about how to deal with potential predators.

Posted by: Righto | February 5, 2007 9:23 AM

Warning: unpolitically correct

BUT, when you are passing genes on to another generation, and you are unable to do so, there must be a reason. So why do it? For ego? So someone can look like you? Infertility treatments often cost more than adoption, so I do not buy that argument. There are millions of children in need of a good home in this world.

Yes, I got pregnant easily and it gnaws at me that I am using my resources to raise children of my own, but not helping others in need. But to me, it was meant to be this way, and if other powers wanted me to adopt, things would be different in my life.

Posted by: to back to friday | February 5, 2007 9:24 AM

Well, if the parent's want to volunteer they can pay for their own back ground check. Schools should be a safe place for children and that school wasn't a safe place while that sex offender was there.

teachers have to have background checks. Why are parents special?

Posted by: scarry | February 5, 2007 9:26 AM

"BUT, when you are passing genes on to another generation, and you are unable to do so, there must be a reason."

There does not have to be a reason. That's my point. It can be as simple as a hormonal imbalance. It can be as simple as scar tissue needing to be removed through simple, noninvasive surgery. It can be a heck of a lot cheaper and easier to fix the underlying health issues than to adopt. And I'm sorry, but since you have admitted that you had a baby rather than adopting, I don't believe that you have the right to tell somebody else what they should do.

And can I assume that whenever you get sick, you realize that "it was meant to be" and forego medical attention?

Posted by: Back To Friday | February 5, 2007 9:30 AM

Back to the topic: One thing that is missing from your discussion, Leslie, and from the proposed bill is greater protection for workers. Currently, if a company deems someone to be too important for their company and its revenue, they can set that employee off limits from FMLA. Well, as you can tell, that's a rather subjective rule and a company could argue that it applies to everyone.

The problem is there are just too many exceptions. It should cover ALL people at ALL jobs. It's not as if any of us can take a job and say, "Yep, I'll never have to take FMLA while on this job."

Posted by: Ryan | February 5, 2007 9:30 AM

I am not telling anyone what to do. I am simply expressing an opinion. That's what people do on a blog. You expressed yours, I expressed mine. There is no need to attack.

Personally, if I hadn't been able to get pregnant the natural way, I would not have done it. At least I don't believe I could have (I'm one of those women who didn't really think about kids except in the abstract until I was married).

But I see a huge difference in what you are describing and someone going thru ivf.

Posted by: to back to friday | February 5, 2007 9:38 AM

---The program would be funded by a shared-cost mechanism supported by the employer, the employee and the federal government. The National Partnership for Women and Families and Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) have announced their support of Dodd's legislation.---

Sen. Dodd: "Hmmm... I need bipartisan support to make my bloated, wasteful, feel-good legislation more palatable. Who can I count on?"

Sen. Stevens: "Bridge to Nowhere anyone?"

Sen. Dodd: "That's my man!"

Sen. Dodd & Sen. Stevens (holding hands, imagining lots & lots of votes, swaying to the tune of Pet Shop Boys "Opportunities"):

"You can see I'm single-minded, I know what I could be
How'd you feel about it, come and take a walk with me?
I'm looking for a partner, regardless of expense
Think about it seriously, you know, it makes sense...
Let's spend lots of money!"


Posted by: MBA Mom | February 5, 2007 9:38 AM

Scarry - I'm with you. We background check teachers and people who work with the elderly to avoid abuse - consequently, we should extend those checks to anyone in the school systems. It isn't that hard or expensive to run a CORI check on someone with their SSN. If my kid was abused by a volunteer at a school and they hadn't done a CORI check, I'd sue the bejeesus out of the district - that would be more expensive than running the checks.....

Posted by: Not germane today | February 5, 2007 9:43 AM

"If adoption were that easy, more people would consider it as a first choice, rather than a last."

Back to Friday, Adoption's isn't many people's "last" choice. For many of us, adoption is preferred to infertility treatments, and infertility treatments are either the last choice or not on the list. There's no need for you to denigrate adoption by suggesting that you're preferred choice, fertility treatments to correct whatever reproductive problem prevents conception, is universally valued over going the adoption route. There's nothing wrong with your pursuing that course for your family, but it does surprise many of us the lengths to which some women will go, including hormone and other treatments, in order to replicate your genes.

Being infertile is not the same as being sick. Irritable Bowel Syndrom can be debilitating. Infertility may have mental health consequences but is not phsyically debilitating. Apples, meet oranges.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 9:49 AM

Not germane today

Yep, I would do that and a lot more :)

Posted by: scarry | February 5, 2007 9:49 AM

In regards to volunteering in our schools...Fauquier County in Northern Virginia does require a parent that volunteers in the school to have a background and fingerprint check performed. It takes 15 minutes and is free to the parent. It isn't a big deal.

Posted by: just another mom | February 5, 2007 9:51 AM

I didn't think that saying you don't have a right to tell someone else what to do as an attack. I did not mean it that way, and I'm sorry if that's how it came across.

Friday's session sounded to me as if people were suggesting that ANY fertility treatment is a science experiment, not just IVF. There are plenty of options prior to IVF. And even if you get to IVF, it is still just medical treatment. Thank god for technology. I don't understand why it's ok to use it in some instances but not in others. But we can agree to disagree and leave it at that.

Posted by: Back To Friday | February 5, 2007 9:53 AM

blah blah blah

New topic: Idiot/a-hole bosses!

I can't stand my boss at the moment, so I need to hear some stories to know I'm not alone!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 9:53 AM

I bought a parmeson/olive oil baguette from Trader Joe's this weekend and made tiny toasted cheese sandwiches. Yum!

Posted by: Missicat | February 5, 2007 9:54 AM

Missicat,
Try the asiago cheese bread from safeway - awesome toasted with butter (of course).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 5, 2007 9:56 AM

I just saw this other comment re adoption. Most people (I did not say all) don't think about adopting until they can't have children. Isn't that true? There's nothing wrong with adoption. I'm just saying that it can be expensive, it can be time-consuming, and it isn't guaranteed to work.

I thought I made this clear, but let me try one more time. I'm not saying that infertility = whatever syndrome you pick.

I'm saying infertility is a medical problem, that that has medical treatment available. Why is it ok to seek treatment on "whatever syndrome you pick" but not infertility? There is nothing wrong with adoption but there is also nothing wrong with trying to fix your own body.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 9:57 AM

Whoops, that comment was from me.

Posted by: Back To Friday | February 5, 2007 9:58 AM

KLB - will do, I love asiago cheese. Needed comfort food this weekend since it was so cold! I think it may be up to 17 degrees now.

Posted by: Missicat | February 5, 2007 9:58 AM

As far as I know, the vast majority of school districts run background checks prior to permitting parents to volunteer. The hassle of complying with all the administrative requirements at our son's school is one of the reasons we don't volunteer there. We don't fear background checks. We simply decline to provide our social security numbers in order to obtain the privilege of being permitted to read a story on Friday afternoons. Our tax dollars are at work, once again, primarily at the advice of the school board's lawyers and primarily for the purpose of preventing a lawsuit, rather than because it's a cost-effective way of preventing bad things from happening. So as a result of attitudes like those expressed by not germane today (I'll sue! I'll sue! I'll sue!), we get to see our school's already limited resources devoted toward background checks. I'm a firm believer that there are an equal if not greater number of sex offenders wandering around who have no criminal record, and hence, don't show up in such checks.

I'd much rather have those limited resources devoted toward paying for an additional assistant in 1st grade classrooms, putting more books in the library or additional security personnel in the junior high and high schools.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 10:01 AM

We're talking about GRILLED CHEESE???

Posted by: grilled cheese???? | February 5, 2007 10:04 AM

Fauquier County is a perfect example of a wealthy school district with money to burn and volunteers by the score. What happens to volunteers less wealthy counties? Also, there's NO WAY in this day and age we can expect educated people to willingly provide their SSN for a background check to volunteer. Not with identity theft as prevalent as it is.

I maintain that this money would be better spent educating the kids on recognizing predators.

Posted by: Righto | February 5, 2007 10:04 AM

We're talking about GRILLED CHEESE???

You don't like grilled cheese? This weather is perfect for it.

Posted by: To 10:04 | February 5, 2007 10:09 AM

I have not thought about Crisco is years. My mother baked and cooked with Crisco and also had that "fat drippings' Container that reused fat - GROSS! I think about that now and want to gag.

Love French toast and french fries, also french style green beans. French style socialism - not so much.

Posted by: cmac | February 5, 2007 10:11 AM

"Put that way, who can object?"

Easy - anyone who objects to being forced to pay an "employee" who isn't working. If we love this idea so much, how do we feel about individual employers being required to provide six weeks of paid leave for a nanny who turns up pregnant?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 10:13 AM

Why bother doing background checks, then, at all, even for teachers and substitutes, if the risk of sexual predation is so small? There is always something "else" to allocate resources to - I just happen to think that running CORI checks on people that interact with my child on a regular basis is something I'd like my resources (tax dollars, whatever) allocated to.

Posted by: Not germane today | February 5, 2007 10:14 AM

Grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches with a little bit of mayo....mmmm

Posted by: Missicat | February 5, 2007 10:16 AM

Me too, but then again I know a few people who were molested by their band teacher during school hours, so maybe I am sensitive to the issue.

I just feel like I have the right to know who has access to my child and why they have access to my child.

Posted by: scarry | February 5, 2007 10:17 AM

If we love this idea so much, how do we feel about individual employers being required to provide six weeks of paid leave for a nanny who turns up pregnant?

Note that FMLA (and proposed extension) applies only to companies with 50+ workers. Do you employ 50 nannies? Or are you including your child's nanny as an employee of a family-owned company with 50+ employees? If so, then yes, you should indeed cover FMLA. Otherwise, READ THE LAW BEFORE YOU COMPLAIN!

Posted by: Lawyermom | February 5, 2007 10:18 AM

I like French Braids, especially on blondes and brunetts.

French dressing? no way.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 5, 2007 10:20 AM

Lawyermom -- A family that employs a nanny is NOT a company. I don't think that's a fair question.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | February 5, 2007 10:23 AM

Scarry, Not Germane Today

Scarry - I'm with you. We background check teachers and people who work with the elderly to avoid abuse - consequently, we should extend those checks to anyone in the school systems. It isn't that hard or expensive to run a CORI check on someone with their SSN. If my kid was abused by a volunteer at a school and they hadn't done a CORI check, I'd sue the bejeesus out of the district - that would be more expensive than running the checks.....


--------

What would you do if your kid was abused by a volunteer and a background check had been run and come back clean? Would you sue or not sue?

The softball program I help run has very strict rules on managers, coaches and other volunteers. No adult is ever to be alone with any child, other than his/her own. We believe that the requirement for two adults to be present is our best defense against abuse happening. In addition, all adult volunteers are required to go through a training program (ASEP, specifically) before we allow them to be involved.

We also have a policy that, any time a credible allegation is made about improper behavior by one of our coaches, that coach is removed from the program - whether the allegation is proven or not, it's all about the liability.

(This is a program for girls, ages 6 - 17, but the rules regarding adult volunteers are the same for programs for boys and for co-ed programs.)

Yes, we also require a background check for all managers/coaches, and the organization pays for it to the tune of about $25 per person. But, as the program counsel told me, the primary reason for the background check is to limit liability. If a volunteer has come back clean from a background check and still abuses a child in any way, the organization can say "hey, we did what we could" whereas if we didn't check them, we have folks like you saying "I'm suing you!"

(FWIW, I'm told by the counsel that in four years of checking - four sports, over 2,000 people - we've had one come back questionable and told the parent she couldn't volunteer.)

I'm not saying that organizations shouldn't necessarily run background checks; just that in my experience the primary purpose of such checks is not to protect the children, it's to protect the organizations against litigious parents.

Posted by: Army Brat | February 5, 2007 10:25 AM

Why bother doing background checks, then, at all, even for teachers and substitutes, if the risk of sexual predation is so small? There is always something "else" to allocate resources to - I just happen to think that running CORI checks on people that interact with my child on a regular basis is something I'd like my resources (tax dollars, whatever) allocated to.

Posted by: Not germane today | February 5, 2007 10:14 AM

since you ask, Not germane today, because teachers and substitutes are often in the classroom, alone with children, with no other adult supervision. Volunteers are supervised by those teachers and substitutes. Sure there's always something else, but any good organization has to make budget choices - and I would prefer that preventing lawsuits not be the deciding factor in those budget choices. Wait - I have a novel idea! What if the deciding factor for how school boards allocated resources was first, what allocation would produce the best education for the greatest number of students, and, second, what allocation would produce the most safe environment in which to learn.

Ask educators, parents, and kids underl 10 what the biggest safety risk is to elementary aged kids and the answer is bullying, bullying, bullying - not sexual predation.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 10:25 AM

FYI - Crisco has been reformulated to contain no trans fats.

http://www.crisco.com/about/shortening_0gramstransfat.asp

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 10:32 AM

Lawyermom - I apologize. I didn't realize you were responding to a previous poster.

So I guess my previous comment is directed at the 10:13 poster. A family that employs a nanny doesn't constitute a company. So what you're talking about doesn't even require consideration.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | February 5, 2007 10:33 AM

Thank God for family leave. We just had our first child and it was not an easy pregnancy. Our son was born prematurely and my wife had suffered with hypertension that had left her bedridden in the last two weeks. Her company offered a generous three months, due I believe in large part to the federal law, and I also got two weeks of leave from my law firm. It helped us have some time with him as well as time to recuperate. I don't know what we would have done if we just had vacation time to use.

Posted by: Bob | February 5, 2007 10:34 AM

WorkingMomX:

The question isn't whether a family who employs a nanny is a company or not. They're still an employer and have all the other obligations employers have- tax withholding, payroll taxes, etc. So the question is- isn't the nanny's right to combine work and family the same as yours? Why should she be forced to choose between raising your kid and having her own?

It's the height of selfishness to demand a law that forces your (theoretical) employer to pay you for not working when you aren't willing to extend the same protection to your (theoretical) nanny. If it's really about protecting people's ability to care for their families, then it ought to be about protecting ALL people's rights to care for their families.

Posted by: you've got to be kidding | February 5, 2007 10:37 AM

Our schools do background checks on volunteers. I don't think they're extensive, since I've never heard a word about cost associated with them - but we do have to fill out a criminal background form before we can work in the classroom with the children.

FMLA: "....at least six weeks of paid leave for an employee....the program would be funded by a shared-cost mechanism supported by the employer, the employee and the federal government."

"....who can object?"

1. Small businesses who cannot afford yet another tax.
2. Large businesses who don't *want* to afford yet another tax.
3. Employees who can't afford another tax.
4. The federal government who doesn't need another tax.
5. The employees who will pay double (both their own tax and taxes to the federal government to fund their part.)

Posted by: momof4 | February 5, 2007 10:39 AM

(altmom 8:47 am) "There's a reason that we have a higher standard of living than other countries. This is an unnecessary cost on employers and will decrease salaries across the board."


That depends on your definition of standard of living - if you translate it into stuff, then yes, we (United States) have a very high standard of living.

Putting the emphasis though on intagibles (some of which are in fact very tangible, it just not stuff that's sitting in your house or driveway) such as education (including university education), literacy rates, health care, leisure time, clean air, safe streets, public transport, and, yes, paid maternity/paternity leave - then much of Europe ranks way ahead. This is not to say that all is perfect in the old country, just another way of looking at the so-called standard of living.

Posted by: lindab | February 5, 2007 10:40 AM

Army Brat,

My kid doesn't have to be on your team, but she does have to go to school. I can also make it a point to be at practice, games, etc. I can't be at school all day.

Also, to your question, yes, I would sue the school because it is there job to teach and protect my child. I just don't see the need for all the volunteers anyway. They are not a necessity. What would you do?

Posted by: scarry | February 5, 2007 10:40 AM

"Infertility may have mental health consequences but is not physically debilitating."

I have to disagree. Without going into to many details, some of the reasons that women are infertile are due to physically debilitating conditions. For example, hormonal imbalances due to hypo- or hyper-thyroidism affect fertility, and have physical consequences. Also, not have regular periods (sorry) for whatever reason can be associated with endometriosis (which is sometimes painful)and an increase in certain types of cancer.

Infertility is a symptom of many physically debilitating conditions, so why not treat it as such.

Posted by: Been there | February 5, 2007 10:41 AM

"There's nothing wrong with adoption. I'm just saying that it can be expensive, it can be time-consuming, and it isn't guaranteed to work."

The same is true of fertility treatments.

I'm in the adopt-first camp. Just my personal preference.

Posted by: Mona | February 5, 2007 10:43 AM

"Now more than ever, millions of workers need to be able to take care of their young children and their aging parents. No worker should be penalized for caring for their family.

Put that way, who can object?"


Who can object, Leslie? Anyone who favors job creation and small-business profitability, and is offended by the concept that federal goverment unfunded mandates are somehow good for our economy and our country. None of the needs you mention are the responsibility of an employer. An employer runs a business and competes for employees. If it can compete for employees and provide fewer costly benefits, it does so. Even unpaid leave has costs in lower productivity and delays.

You want better benefits? Equip yourself with the job skills and expertise required by employers who provide better benefits. When those employers who do not provide those better benefits have trouble hiring good employees, voila!, they'll have an incentive to upgrade their benefits packages.

Raising a family and caring for aging parents are 100% the responsiblity of the employee. You take the position that some of this responsibility also should be shared by the government. Put that way, many of us disagree.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 10:49 AM

Some companies have a policy that if they send an employee for training and that person leaves within a year they have to pay the employee back. Can FMLA have they same policy? If a women takes the paid leave then does not come back she should have to return the money.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 10:50 AM

To "you've got to be kidding": People choose work arrangements for all different kinds of reasons. I know of nannies who are college-educated women who prefer to work with individual children than to teach pre-school; I know of nannies who are immigrants with little bargaining power. While the FMLA system is not perfect, it is surely better than the prior system, whereby even big employers could fire an employee who needed significant time off.

And I'm tired of posters who think that FMLA is only about birth & postnatal care. It can be for the employee herself, in the event she is seriously ill or injured; it can be for an employee with an ill parent, spouse, or older child. In short, it's there for everyone who may need it, not just women during childbearing years.

Posted by: Lawyermom | February 5, 2007 10:51 AM

'I just feel like I have the right to know who has access to my child and why they have access to my child'

I agree. I've also noticed that teachers don't leave the volunteers alone with the kids until they know them very well.

Posted by: experienced mom | February 5, 2007 10:52 AM

Has anyone seen the story today that French women live longest of anyone in the world- topping Asian women.

They all credit it to living life in moderation. A.K.A not being a workaholic, not worrying about eating a lot or amassing tons of money- just living a nice comfortable life.

Sorry, that just doesn't sound so bad to me! And before anyone tells me to pick up and move to France- I don't speak French (I didn't anticipate in 7th grade that I would want to move there and took German instead for 6 years and it can be tough to get citizenship, so it's not very realistic right now!) I'd really like to move from the US, or help to change the US itself, so I can actually enjoy my life instead of working and then dying young. No thanks!!

Posted by: FRANCE ALERT! | February 5, 2007 10:53 AM

plus it would be hard to abuse a child with an entire classroom of children watching.

Posted by: experienced mom | February 5, 2007 10:55 AM

Re FMLA: Even the proposed expansion of FMLA still won't cover all employees, which puts them and their families at greater risk than others. It also makes it harder for small employers to attract the best workers, if they're unwillinor unable to offer a similar benefit which a job candidate knows a larger employer must guarantee.

For those of us who got burned for want of such a law in the bad old days (i.e., prior to 1993), the FMLA was long past due when it finally went into effect. Once our vacation time was used up, workers were at the mercy of bosses, which simply added to the stress caused by the family problem.

Off-topic: on this sub-zero morning, I wonder how many more of us than usual are telecommuting than if the temperatures outdoors were seasonal? Some school districts here in flyover country are even closed for the day.

And yes, I'll be making myself a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch, too -- sauteed in a frying pan with the outsides of the bread covered with the thinnest possible film of butter (still on that New Year's diet, more or less).

Posted by: catlady | February 5, 2007 10:57 AM

"Some companies have a policy that if they send an employee for training and that person leaves within a year they have to pay the employee back. Can FMLA have they same policy? If a women takes the paid leave then does not come back she should have to return the money."

I agree wholeheartedly!

I told my employer I was leaving to be a stay at home mom about a month before I was due. He was pleasantly suprised that I didn't take my paid leave and then never come back.
I didn't want to burn any bridges and I also wanted to help train my successor- it would have been incredibly bad form to just leave with a months' worth of pay and never look back.

You know what?? My boss gave me a month's pay anyway! Sometimes if you do the right thing, you get rewarded. He also offered me a job 3 years after I left.

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | February 5, 2007 10:58 AM

Grilled cheese - homemade white bread with shredded gruyere cheese, buttered, cooked in a frying pan, and dipped in cream of tomato soup.

Posted by: when is lunch | February 5, 2007 10:59 AM

My version of the perfect grilled cheese is muenster and white american on wheat with honey mustard or grey poupon. Grilled in the panini press w/ a spray of Pam!! Everyone must get a panini press! catlady and others watching their figure- it's a godsend!

Mmmmm the best!

Posted by: perfect grilled cheese | February 5, 2007 11:02 AM

Re: "What would you do if your kid was abused by a volunteer and a background check had been run and come back clean? Would you sue or not sue?" Not sue - the organization had done their due diligence.

Re: "Wait - I have a novel idea! What if the deciding factor for how school boards allocated resources was first, what allocation would produce the best education for the greatest number of students, and, second, what allocation would produce the most safe environment in which to learn." That borders on the humorous. Best education PRESUMES safety - would you oppose asbestos testing if it were only a remote possibility, but known to be damaging if existent in the school?

Posted by: Not germane today | February 5, 2007 11:02 AM

"homemade white bread with shredded gruyere cheese"

Winner! Sounds like dinner tonite.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 5, 2007 11:03 AM

Only 14 years, huh? My mother-in-law was quite surprised when I told her I was taking 12 weeks off for maternity leave. She thought that was such a long time. I'm thinking, uh, no it's not compared to what women take in other countries. Perhaps she is still in pre-FMLA mode.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 11:05 AM

Never too late to learn to speak French!

Posted by: the original anon | February 5, 2007 11:06 AM

Quote: And adoption is fine, but it takes a long time, can cost a lot of money, and isn't guaranteed. There's nothing wrong with investing those resources in yourself and your health prior to or instead of, adoption. If adoption were that easy, more people would consider it as a first choice, rather than a last. Unquote

Fertility treatments are far from guaranteed. There are many treatment options that have a very low chance of success. I went straight to the adoption option, because I knew that I would end up with a child going that route. If I tried infertility treatments first, I could have ended up like my friend, who wasted time and money on infertility treatments and then adopted. Or, who knows, I could have ended up giving birth.

And I can't speak for most or even many people, but I know that my friend chose to try infertility treatment first because it was covered by her insurance (and no coverage for adoption, no sick leave after the adoption, etc). Same thing with my job. So yes, I agree with your statement that more people might choose adoption if it were easier. Not that I am suggesting that infertility treatment is easy. I understand that some techniques are quite invasive and painful. Both paths to parenthood are difficult in different ways. It's good to have the ability to choose.

Posted by: single mother by choice | February 5, 2007 11:13 AM

Adding onto what single mother my choice said, my insurance agency provides up to $20,000 per child for adoption expenses. I found this interesting and heartening, since I'd prefer adoption over fertility treatments. More companies should follow suit, making it easier to adopt--maybe then more prospective parents would do so.

Posted by: Mona | February 5, 2007 11:15 AM

lindab wrote:

"That depends on your definition of standard of living - if you translate it into stuff, then yes, we (United States) have a very high standard of living. / Putting the emphasis though on... education (including university education), literacy rates, health care, leisure time, clean air, safe streets, public transport, and, yes, paid maternity/paternity leave - then much of Europe ranks way ahead. This is not to say that all is perfect in the old country, just another way of looking at the so-called standard of living."

I think you've really hit the nail on the head, lindab! I marvel at the family-friendly job benefits my European colleagues and friends routinely receive, including universal medical care and prescriptions, longer vacations, more holidays. True, of course, it's not perfect there: they tend to have fewer (and smaller) cars, smaller homes, fewer (though nicer) clothes, a bit fewer of other possessions -- but on the other hand the middle class seems there somewhat less stressed-out than we do.

Posted by: catlady | February 5, 2007 11:18 AM

From Scarry:

My kid doesn't have to be on your team, but she does have to go to school. I can also make it a point to be at practice, games, etc. I can't be at school all day.

Also, to your question, yes, I would sue the school because it is there job to teach and protect my child. I just don't see the need for all the volunteers anyway. They are not a necessity. What would you do?

_____________________

I would expect most parents to sue in this situation. With all due respect to "Not Germane Today" I'd suspect he/she is in a very small minority - certainly not of "one" but reasonably close to it.

WRT volunteers in school - they help out a lot. Both my wife and I have volunteered in school any number of times. What good does it do? Well, let's see

- reading to the kids: we've participated in "Dr. Seuss Day" a number of times. The kids think it's fun; the teachers enjoy the break, and I get to trip over "Fox in Socks" yet again. Not absolutely necessary, but a fun time for the kids at school and it's one of the extra things that helps

- stuff "Monday folders". It takes time to put the school work, weekly reports, etc. in the folders that go home with the elementary schoolers every week. The volunteers do this in the corner while the teacher is actively, um, teaching the class. Would you rather the teachers do this while the kids were told to be quiet?

- judge the science fair. (Just did this a couple weeks ago for the high schoolers.) Sure, the teachers could be the judges, but the kids seem to get an extra kick out of having outside experts come in and evaluate their projects.

In short, volunteers bring a lot of benefit to the schools, and they seem to be appreciated by the teachers and administrators. No, they're not absolutely needed, but then neither are the sports teams, the chorus, the jazz band, the wind ensemble, strings, the school play, the French club, the school newspaper, or a lot of other things. They just help make the overall education better.

Posted by: Army Brat | February 5, 2007 11:20 AM

---Has anyone seen the story today that French women live longest of anyone in the world- topping Asian women.

They all credit it to living life in moderation. A.K.A not being a workaholic, not worrying about eating a lot or amassing tons of money- just living a nice comfortable life.---

Actually, if you click through to the article buried beneath the sensational and untrue front page title "Women in France Have Highest Life Expectancy":

"The women of France -- a land renowned for a cuisine laden with fats and calories -- have the longest life expectancy of any nation on Earth except Japan."

Should we also credit the Japanese life expectancy to a short workweek and a kick-back-with-a-bottle-of-wine lifestyle?

Posted by: MBA Mom | February 5, 2007 11:21 AM

A friend of mine, U.S. citizen, works in France on a work visa, and Americans absolutely do not get the same cushy treatment as French citizens. She must work crazy hours, gets no overtime, and barely even makes enough to pay the high cost of living. So to anyone who would suggest moving to France, that won't necessarily help.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 11:24 AM

Can I ask a dumb question? What are Monday Folders? I think I've also heard of them referred to as Tuesday (insert day here) folders - what's in them? We don't get 'em, so are we missing out or are they another hassle for parents/teachers? Thank you!

Posted by: Not germane today | February 5, 2007 11:24 AM

As being a branch of state government, wouldn't public schools be protected from suit under sovereign immunity principles?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 11:27 AM

Another dumb question. What is WRT?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 11:27 AM

WRT is with regards to

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 11:29 AM

WRT with regards to

Sovereign Immunity still does not prevent lawyers from filing lawsuits.

Posted by: the original anon | February 5, 2007 11:30 AM

I didn't ask what most people would do; I ask what you would do if it happened to your child because of someone's negligence.

I do think that sports, band, French club are necessary. Reading by parent volunteers, not so much. Also, why can't teachers stuff their own folders and why do the parents have to be in the class to do this. Not being snarky, I would really like to know.

"Would you rather the teachers do this while the kids were told to be quiet?"

I also said or implied nothing of the sort. Sometimes, I think that "school volunteers" have more to do with wanting to do something for themselves then wanting to help the kids or the teachers. Just my take from what I hear my friends complaining about.

Posted by: scarry | February 5, 2007 11:30 AM

As per the DOL website the key employee exception is defined as"

"Key" Employee Exception
Under limited circumstances where restoration to employment will cause "substantial and grievous economic injury" to its operations, an employer may refuse to reinstate certain highly-paid, salaried "key" employees. In order to do so, the employer must notify the employee in writing of his/her status as a "key" employee (as defined by FMLA), the reasons for denying job restoration, and provide the employee a reasonable opportunity to return to work after so notifying the employee.

Key employees are generally only certain officers of a company such as the CEO, CFO etc and are generally defined in the legal documents that incorporate the company.

In order to be eligible for FMLA a company would need at least 50 individuals (obviously a generous company can institute FMLA with less than 50 employees) everyone could not be defined as being a "Key" individual and therefore not automatically denied FMLA.

Posted by: To Ryan | February 5, 2007 11:31 AM

Tuesday Folders/Monday Folders contain all the pertinant information the school wants the parent/s to see....i.e. news about lice outbreaks, fundraisers, school picture day etc...

Does anyone like peanut butter on toast with iceburg lettuce? Now that is a great sandwich.

Posted by: Pink Plate | February 5, 2007 11:32 AM

And did I mention that most offices and businesses close for 90 minutes for lunch? Some people, in fact, get up to 120 minutes in the middle of the day - -and no, it's not a siesta.

No, dear, it's NOT a dumb question:
WRT = with respect to

Also, FWIW = for what it's worth
BTW = by the way
IM(H)O = in my (humble) opinion

Posted by: catlady | February 5, 2007 11:32 AM

In my experience corporate america is not as cold-hearted and calculating as it seems to be portrayed here. I can't speak to what was going on before FMLA - I was not even married then. However, when we had our two children, my husband got paid paternity leave 2 weeks each time from the company which gets beat up in the news a lot for being a greedy corporate giant. Companies want to retain good and valuable employees and their benefits and reward systems are geared this way. In fact, some private sector firms in DC area have much more flexible policies than even the federal gov't. Of course, it is very different in a small firm, where I think most of the abuse is taking place. Although I have an example of a small firm where I worked in the early 90's (under 10 people) where a woman got unpaid 2-3 months maternity leave and kept her job. I also know women who worked in positions protected by the FMLA and had their FMLA rights violated by their manager after returning from maternity leave.

Posted by: fmla good for business? | February 5, 2007 11:33 AM

Thanks, catlady.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 11:34 AM

ROFL= rolling on floor laughing

TIC=toungue in cheek


LOL=laughing out loud

OMG=Oh my gosh

Posted by: the original anon | February 5, 2007 11:38 AM

Working mom
Gwyneth Paltrow says she's going back to work -- and thinks it will make her a better mom.

The "Shakespeare in Love" star says she cut way back on her work once she had children, but has decided that spending more time in front of the camera will make her a better mom.

"I hadn't worked in a long time. I was really committed to being home. Then I finally agreed to do this movie 'Iron Man' [a comic-book adaptation with Robert Downey Jr.]. I reached a place where I thought, 'It's okay that I have a passion for something besides my family,'" Paltrow tells Entertainment Weekly. "I love making films. If I do one thing that makes me fulfilled, then I'm a more interesting woman for my children."

Posted by: Gwyneth working mom | February 5, 2007 11:40 AM

"fmla good for business?" hits on a salient point.

Back before FMLA, the decision WRT the amount of leave (paid or otherwise) to allow was strictly at the employer's discretion -- whether corporate policy or individual boss's decision -- so it could be allocated inequitably without legal recourse by the employee.

Posted by: catlady | February 5, 2007 11:40 AM

Gwenyth Paltrow is such a classy lady. I doubt many people can relate to her particular situation (georgeous, wealthy movie star with rock-star husband and adorable daughter (albeit with an unfortunate name)), but I think she has a good point. What better example can a mother set for her children, daughters in particular, than caryying out a fulfilling career while being a good parent.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 11:46 AM

Scarry:

I didn't ask what most people would do; I ask what you would do if it happened to your child because of someone's negligence.
____________________________________

It would depend on the exact circumstances. If after looking at the situation I felt that the school had done the best they could, then I wouldn't sue the school (but would the volunteer in addition to any criminal investigation that was happening). If I felt there was some negligence by the school and I couldn't resolve it some other way (e.g., discipline/fire the person(s) who were negligent; institute new policies) then I'd sue. I don't think extracting money from the school board or its insurance company would be my first choice, but I wouldn't rule it out.


____________________________
I do think that sports, band, French club are necessary. Reading by parent volunteers, not so much. Also, why can't teachers stuff their own folders and why do the parents have to be in the class to do this. Not being snarky, I would really like to know.
__________________________________

From my sister the first grade teacher, and from other teachers who are friends, the answer comes down to this: it takes time. Gathering all the material, collating it (e.g., putting all of Mary's papers together, all of Rashad's papers together, all of Ali's papers together, etc.), and physically stuffing it into the folders for handing out to the students can take 1 to 2 hours per week. (Typically, at our children's school, you have 10 different stacks of paper - head lice warnings, school security notes, homework papers, weekly evaluations, etc and 30 - 35 students in the class. So it takes a while.) Yes, the teacher can be made to do it, but where does that 1-2 hours come from? From the teacher's after school time, or from some time during the school day?
__________________________________
"Would you rather the teachers do this while the kids were told to be quiet?"

I also said or implied nothing of the sort. Sometimes, I think that "school volunteers" have more to do with wanting to do something for themselves then wanting to help the kids or the teachers. Just my take from what I hear my friends complaining about.

_______________________________

I apologize if you misinterpreted the tone of my posting. Yes, some "volunteers" really seem to be in it for the bragging they can do around the neighborhood. But from my mother the teacher, my sister the teacher, my wife the now-hired Instruction Assistant, and other friends, volunteers when used properly can be a great benefit to the teachers and thus the education system as a whole.

Posted by: Army Brat | February 5, 2007 11:46 AM

I still don't think schools or school boards can be held liable for negligence under sovereign immunity principles, so the entire "sue the school" conversation is moot.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 11:49 AM

No, dear, it's NOT a dumb question:
WRT = with respect to

and related posts....

I'm sorry; I keep forgetting not everybody speaks in abbreviations. :-)

I grew up as an Army brat (hence the nickname; I worked for the Federal Government for 17 years; I'm a computer engineer/network designer who's been using the Internet and its predecessors since 1981, and I have four kids - three teenagers - who live via instant messaging and text messaging. I keep forgetting that not everyone knows his/her parents' service numbers (Social Security numbers for civilians), operates in Universal Time Coordinated no matter where they are in the world, and communicates in acronyms and jargon.

Writing fully thought-out, gramatically-correct paragraphs? I really don't think I'm capable of that anymore. :-)

Posted by: Army Brat | February 5, 2007 11:49 AM

Gwenyth Paltrow can kiss my a**. I'm not interested in hearing her blather on about her "choices". She has many more options open to her than the overwhelming majority. If she wants, she can have a nanny on set watching the kids in her dressing room, she can fly back and forth on a private plane to commute, she can have a chef at home cooking up meals so that God forbid she doesn't have to stop at McDonald's, she can do hundreds of things that we in the hoi polloi can only dream of doing because she's got money and fame.

Not that I'm bitter or anything.

Posted by: Righto | February 5, 2007 11:53 AM

Army Brat, pls write me a DF on that!

Posted by: the original anon | February 5, 2007 11:54 AM

Today is kind of a snoozer. I'm pretty sure my company doesn't even have 50 employees for FMLA to apply. Since there have been several blogs on FMLA already, maybe a helpful blog would be about ways for non-FMLA-eligible employees to negotiate for time off for family emergencies, childbirth, etc.

See you guys tomorrow.

Posted by: catmommy | February 5, 2007 11:57 AM

"The program would be funded by a shared-cost mechanism supported by the employer, *the employee* and the federal government."

Am I interpreting this correctly? Is this really suggesting that the way to pay for this benefit is (in part) to have the employee pay for it? That, to an extent, defeats the purpose.

Also, do I get my money back when, as a man, I don't get pregnant? Do I pay less as a young person because I'm less likely to to contract a serious illness? Or is this just like insurance, where I pay a premium in perpetuity, but realize no benefit unless I am able to use what I've paid for? What about when I leave the company without having gotten sick or pregnant?

Posted by: WürstFührer | February 5, 2007 11:57 AM

to Pink Plate at 11:32: I prefer peanut butter on toast with tart apple slices and a sprinkling of cinnamon-sugar...

Posted by: Normally Lurking | February 5, 2007 11:58 AM

Back to Friday:

I find it interesting that in one paragraph you suggest that there is a genetic reason for someone's infertility, yet in the next paragraph you can't help pointing to "other powers" as being the deciding factor.

So which is it? Is it genetics that doesn't want some people breeding, or is it Jeebus?

Posted by: WürstFührer | February 5, 2007 12:00 PM

One last thing:

The best sandwich is grilled chicken on a hoagie with pinapple-mango chutney, melted brie, fresh spinach, and roma tomato slices. Mmmmm...

Posted by: catmommy | February 5, 2007 12:02 PM

A bit of military humor.

A company clerk, think Radar in M*A*S*H, has numerous reports to send to headquarters (HQ) every month. Even if there is nothing to report on a particular topic, a "Negative Report" must be prepared. Once a company clerk, feeling that none of the reports he sent to HQ, were ever read, only filed away, sent in a "Fly Paper Report" The Fly Paper report naturally reported on the number of flies caught in the fly paper for that month. He started by sending in a negative report on the flies. No response was given by HQ. He continued for a few months and then quit. The next month, he received a memo from HQ scolding him and requesting the fly paper report immediately!

Posted by: the original anon | February 5, 2007 12:04 PM

To WürstFührer ... as in Sausage Leader ??

Wurst has no Umlaut.

As to your questions -- yes, it's like insurance where you pay a premium in perpetuity, "but realize no benefit" unless you are able to use it. It is based on the concept of the "common good", that is, it may or may not benefit you personally, but to the extent that it is good for society as a whole, you benefit (indirectly, perhaps very indirectly) as well. Kind of like paying taxes to fund schools and roads and, well, lots of things. You are, of course, free to reject this concept.

Posted by: lindab | February 5, 2007 12:07 PM

Hot pastrami and provolone with mustard on rye.

Posted by: the original anon | February 5, 2007 12:08 PM

I'm getting a craving for a bowl of French Onion Soup and a Reuben Sandwich to dip it in.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 5, 2007 12:13 PM

Blackened chicken on jalapeno bread with carmelized onions, provolone, honey mustard, sprouts, spinach, and tomato. With tortilla soup on the side.

Posted by: lawgirl | February 5, 2007 12:17 PM

I like hot ham and cheese with BBQ chips.

Posted by: scarry | February 5, 2007 12:18 PM

Quote: Some companies have a policy that if they send an employee for training and that person leaves within a year they have to pay the employee back. Can FMLA have they same policy? If a women takes the paid leave then does not come back she should have to return the money. Unquote

Posted by: | February 5, 2007 10:50 AM

When I adopted my first daughter, I had to sign a statement on the FMLA leave request form that stated that I understood that if I left the company within a year after returning from leave, I would have to pay the company back for the money they had paid for my benefits during my leave. I don't remember if it included paid leave, as I wasn't eligible to take paid leave for an adoption (other than vacation, which they couldn't require me to pay back).

Posted by: single mother by choice | February 5, 2007 12:19 PM

Look, it is a horrendous Red Herring that putting in protections for workers substantially hurts small business.

First off, we are talking about businesses larger than 50 employees. You can run a mighty prosperous company with 49 employees. And as an owner, YOU NEED TO ANALYZE the situation and determine whether it is in the financial interests of the business to hire a 50th person.

It is NOT A GIVEN that all business models should set a goal of growing to be a 5000-person $1Billion business. That's basic MBA economics. Many, many books have been published on this topic.

The Federal Gov't sets a threshold for small business contractors, and as a company if you get near that threshold ($36m annualized of 3 years, or something like that) and decide that you cannot compete against companies in that next bracket, as a responsible owner, you manage your business growth such that you do not exceed that threshold. Optimize your processes to run leaner if you want more profit. Diversify and boutique your service mix so you can be more profitable with the same revenue.

It is absolutely counterfeit and silly for people to argue that a 51-person business cannot bear any more concessions that benefit employees. Executive compensation packages (even at that size company) have skyrocketed. EARN IT. Manage the business.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 12:19 PM

Basil tomato mozzerella on a baquette w/ sundried tomato spread. mmmmmm.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 12:19 PM

Is a BLT too summery? On toasted whole wheat with mayo.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 5, 2007 12:19 PM

Basil tomato mozzerella on a baquette w/ sundried tomato spread. mmmmmm.

Posted by: | February 5, 2007 12:19 PM

Fresh mozzerella, of course!

Posted by: Missicat | February 5, 2007 12:20 PM

I love basil.

Posted by: scarry | February 5, 2007 12:24 PM

How could we have missed the infamous steak and cheese? I like mine with jalopenos grilled with the onions.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 5, 2007 12:25 PM

I seem to remember that one of the big exciting things about FMLA was that it applied to men as well as women--supposedly now fathers were going to take paternity leave, and men were going to take leave at other times to be with their families. Among other things, this was to promote gender equality in the workplace, both directly and because having only women take maternity leave seems to be a drawback to hiring women. Yet most of the discussion here seems to assume that the people taking leave under FMLA are female, and it's not as if Ms. Steiner and the regular posters aren't aware of the issue of division of labor by gender.

Does anyone know of any hard data about men's use of this law?

Posted by: Alexander | February 5, 2007 12:25 PM

BLT, yummie! Hey, is it lunchtime yet?

Posted by: the original anon | February 5, 2007 12:25 PM

My favorites:

Bacon, fried green tomato and lettuce on sourdough. Light mayo.

Muenster, sprouts, cukes on a sesame bagel with dijon (pregnancy craving).

Really good ham with basil, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella on a baguette.

Tuscan bean soup.

I'm starving now, time to eat.

Posted by: Righto | February 5, 2007 12:26 PM

Leslie,

As a very new newcomer, I'm curious to know how you feel about all the off topic conversation on "your" blog. Or do you view it as "our" blog? Either way, your thoughts.

Posted by: lindab | February 5, 2007 12:28 PM

Deep dish pizza with extra cheese, pepperoni & mushrooms....

Posted by: Missicat | February 5, 2007 12:28 PM

I still don't think schools or school boards can be held liable for negligence under sovereign immunity principles, so the entire "sue the school" conversation is moot.

Posted by: | February 5, 2007 11:49 AM

The entire "sue the schools" conversation is not moot. Sovereign immunity is not a complete bar to all claims against governmental entities. It is a partial bar against certain kinds of claims meeting certain criteria.

Governmental entities are routinely and successfully sued by prisoners, by parents of dead/assaulted students, etc. Governmental entities are exempt from claims that they acted negligently. They are not exempt from claims of wilful misconduct or gross negligence.

If it becomes standard practice for school systems to run criminal background checks, then the failure to run a criminal background check can support an argument that Claim A is not barred by sovereign immunity because School System B was grossly negligent in not running a criminal background check.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 12:31 PM

Missicat,
The topic for today is sandwiches. Pizza is an entirely different blog topic. I mean you have to choose between thick, thin, stuffed crusts just to start with. Then we could go on for days about the toppings. :-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 5, 2007 12:31 PM

Lindab

Thanks for the correction and clarification. And I do reject the concept. I am not sure that it can be shown that this is, in fact, good for society as a whole, just because it is good for some segments of society. Roads, certainly. Schools, possibly. Paid leave for employees because they are pregnant or sick, I doubt it.

Posted by: WurstFührer | February 5, 2007 12:34 PM

So true, KLB - that would take all day. Tomato sauce vs. white sauce? Pineapple or no pineapple? The list is endless...

Turkey and avacado on whole grain with honey mustard...

Posted by: Missicat | February 5, 2007 12:35 PM

I find it interesting that people are already crying 'standard of living' when countries with equal or higher ratings on the standard of living index already have paid parental leave policies in place.

Like everything it depends a lot on priorities. Military spending, foreign aid, etc. etc. might be higher in the US and lower in other countries.

Canada has about the same standard of living (higher in some years) and provides a federal worker and employer funded insurance plan that pays 15 weeks maternity and 35 weeks parental leave (either mother or father). It's the same pool of money that is used for unemployment insurance so people access it several ways... or don't if they are so lucky as to never get laid off. I'm not saying this is The Solution but I think it's a little crazy to say that there is no way ever ever ever that anything like that could work.

Of course it could, if it were a priority over other things. But it's not. The US is not into providing direct supports to families. Maybe it's not surprising those kids grow up and oppose programs where there "isn't anything in it for me."

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 12:40 PM

I just don't see the need for all the volunteers anyway. They are not a necessity. What would you do?


Posted by: scarry

I agree but for probably different reasons. I am probably going to get slammed for this, but the most competent teachers I have come across have been the ones that did NOT rely on parental volunteers. The 3 teachers I am praising keep control of their classes, concentrate on their studies and minimize the class parties. They aren't all work and no fun, but they don't try to win the kids favor byt providing parties and treats. The teachers that relied on parental volunteers for the classroom were for the most part - unorganized and/or scatter-brained and needed additional hands continually to keep on top of their classroom.

When I was growing up volunteers were scarce even though a lot more women stayed home with their kids. There are a slew of reasons for the reliance of volunteers, but I think the most competent teachers need them minimally.

Posted by: CMAC | February 5, 2007 12:43 PM

Thanks for the correction and clarification. And I do reject the concept. I am not sure that it can be shown that this is, in fact, good for society as a whole, just because it is good for some segments of society. Roads, certainly. Schools, possibly. Paid leave for employees because they are pregnant or sick, I doubt it.

Posted by: WurstFührer
----------------------------
Just to clarify further - FMLA does NOT give paid leave to employees. It only requires that the employer hold their position and provide benefits. Of course this does have costs to the company, but it is not paid leave.

I am lucky to work for a company that did give paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child (maternity or paternity) but you had to promise to return and work for at least a year or pay the $$ back. This seems fair to me.

Posted by: clarification | February 5, 2007 12:50 PM

**Maybe it's not surprising those kids grow up and oppose programs where there "isn't anything in it for me."***

12:40, no truer words were ever written.

Businesses have tons of flexibility in the tax code and under GAAP for how they keep the books. People are into the culture of personal responsibility, and that's fine. I need to do my own taxes and have them correct and manage my own money so I have something to live on when I retire. Fine. No problem there.

But why do we insist on more and more and more loopholes and concessions to businesses when so many exist already?

This is an honest question.

Is it that normal folks have so little experience running a business (relative to their personal finances) that they do not understand that (a) businesses have lots of flexibility already, if managed well and (b) most government concessions benefit Wal-mart NOT Mom-and-Pop? Is that it?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 12:52 PM

RE: Like everything it depends a lot on priorities. Military spending, foreign aid, etc. etc. might be higher in the US and lower in other countries."

Absolutely. In Germany, a place I once lived and have family and friends, maternity and paternity benefits were greatly enhanced in part to address the birth dearth. Same in other European countries.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 12:53 PM

RE: Like everything it depends a lot on priorities. Military spending, foreign aid, etc. etc. might be higher in the US and lower in other countries."

Absolutely. In Germany, a place I once lived and have family and friends, maternity and paternity benefits were greatly enhanced in part to address the birth dearth. Same in other European countries.

Posted by: lindab | February 5, 2007 12:55 PM

cmac and scarry,

when "we" were kids, classroom sizes were 5 - 8 kids fewer than they are in many public school districts today, and, in some regions, the number of kids for whom English was a second language in each classroom was 1 - 2 -- completely manageable. That's not the case today in many school districts where the norm elementary classroom size is 28 - 32, 5 - 6 of whom qualify for remedial ESL instruction. Try teaching 5th grade level math to a class in which 20% of the students do not understand the words in which you instruct the larger class.

The two best uses I've seen for parent volunteers, employed by many, many competent teachers particularly in urban settings (see ESL comment above), is either to have a parent working with reading group A on seat-work or letting students read aloud to that parent, so that the teacher is free to work with another reading group or to give needed one-on-one attention to a student who is struggling; or to have a parent work with ESL students to review math concepts more slowly, and to work one-on-one to support such students completing seat work, e.g., as homework buddies.

Maybe the kids in the schools where you live are one homoegenous 23-kids-per-class bunch - easy to teach, all middle class, all living in families where English is the primary language. For schools who have a substantial diversity in reading abilities and English-language abilities, well-utilized parent volunteers may make the difference between whether or not everyone in the class graduates to the next year.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 12:55 PM

Agree with CMACs 12:43 post entirely.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 1:00 PM

I am so hungry after reading this blog today! Thank you all so much for sharing such fantastic suggestions regarding sandwiches!

Posted by: Nikki | February 5, 2007 1:00 PM

Since this seems to be the direction the blog has gone today, here are my indirect experience with volunteering:

My mom volunteered in my elementary school (mid-80s). She tutored second graders in reading. (She was a certified teacher, but was staying at home with us.) She worked with kids individually at a desk in the hallway outside the classroom. She was "alone" with the kid, although she was in full view of anyone who happened to walk by. I think a scenario like the practice room used in band and orchestra rooms at secondary schools could work. There are glass-walled, sound-proofed cubicles around the back of the classroom where students can work individually and still be monitored by the teacher. Why not set up parent-tutors with students in the same way?

As for stuffing envelopes and such - my school sent home weekly newsletters as well as various other bulletins. When I was in the fourth and fifth grade, a classmate and I were the school's "office helpers." Every day, instead of going for recess, we would go to the office, and the ladies there would tell us if they had a job for us. Usually, we'd stuff envelopes or staple newsletters. Sometimes, they even let us use the paper cutter! We both hated it on the days when they made us go out to recess because there wasn't anything for us to do. :-)

As for FMLA . . . I don't have a big problem with viewing it as a sort of insurance policy. It seems to me that it's not that different from health insurance, in that I pay my share to support others with the understanding that they'll help me out if I ever have extraordinary needs. There are some events you just can't prepare for, like a life-threatening illness (for yourself or a loved one). I also think it probably is in society's best interest to support parents in their first few weeks with their new baby or adopted child, but I can see others' arguments that the parents themselves should make those plans.

Posted by: FutureMom | February 5, 2007 1:02 PM

yep, future mom we had students do that sort of thing to during their free period.

Posted by: scarry | February 5, 2007 1:08 PM

....weighing in on the discussion of how hard/easy it is to manage a small business.

bizstats.com is a decent site for business stats, but only if you ask it the right question. Here is a basic table of how profitable US small businesses are as a percentage of net income, by industry:

http://www.bizstats.com/spprofitscurrent.htm

In general professional fields are extremely profitable (approaching 50%), as you would expect. Less skilled fields have less profit margin, as you would expect.

So, it would appear that professional business can sustain the additional drain of a FMLA payout (especially if the govt and the employee are paying a chunk), but a small company emptying dumpsters would have a tougher time. I guess that is no shocker. Okay my comment added nothing. I'm going back to work now.

Posted by: Proud Papa | February 5, 2007 1:10 PM

Well, since we're so far off topic and before Leslie pulls the plug on all of us for hijacking her blog :-)

From Anon at 12:55:
The two best uses I've seen for parent volunteers, employed by many, many competent teachers particularly in urban settings (see ESL comment above),

____________________

It's not just urban schools. We're in Howard County, something like the third richest county in the country and with some of the best schools anywhere. And, you can get the weekly bulletin from school (one of the items in the Monday folders) in Spanish, Korean or Urdu as well as English. There is a very large population of people - particularly from Korea and other Asian countries; in fact the Post ran an article on us a couple years ago - who come to the HoCo schools for the education. The high school has a group for parents of Korean students.

There have been two incidents of students pulling the fire alarm in the elementary school on their first day because they spoke/read no English and didn't know what that shiny red thing was.

(The good news is that, in the event a fire alarm goes off in the elementary schools, the fire department gets there very quickly and they get there in force!)


Posted by: Army Brat | February 5, 2007 1:10 PM

anon at 12:19 said:
"Look, it is a horrendous Red Herring that putting in protections for workers substantially hurts small business."

red herring
n.
1. A smoked herring having a reddish color.
2. Something that draws attention away from the central issue.

There IS no more central issue to the FMLA conversation than cost, assuming that you believe that the federal government has the constitutional authority to impose this requirement on businesses in the first place. Since those costs are imposed the most heavily on businesses at the threshhold - 50 employees - that's the best place to discuss whether the perceived benefits outweigh the burdensome nature of this federal requirement on businesses without the profitability to sustain this cost.

You say Red Herring. I say core issue.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 1:10 PM

Kids should have to learn English before they are allowed in the school systems.

"Try teaching 5th grade level math to a class in which 20% of the students do not understand the words in which you instruct the larger class."

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 1:14 PM

Agree with 1:14 post - we do ESL kids a disservice by forcing them into mainstream classes without at least a year or two of English immersion. They should have at least a year of English immersion before being mainstreamed - kids I've seen who are a year older than their english speaking peers, but now speak English, too, are much better off then being with peers their same age, but not speaking English. English is such an important language that many Europeans and Asians learn it as their second language even if they grow up in Europe or Asia - it is strange we don't do more to help ESL kids learn English here as soon as possible.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 1:18 PM

"Canada has about the same standard of living (higher in some years)..."

Oh yippy, another "my country is so much better b/c we have universal xyz..."

By what system to do you measure standard of living? Is it by per capita GDP (a reasonable measure of purchasing power per person)? Is it by unemployment rate? Size of labor force? Life expectancy? Percent of population below the poverty line? Public debt? Is is some amalgam of these? What do you use to back up this statement?

According to the CIA World Factbook:

1. The U.S. enjoys a per capita GDP about $10,000 higher (per person, remember) than Canada. Perhaps paying for those employer/worker-funded programs is what's costing you 10K per year? Or, maybe paying these costs prohibit Canadian employers from further expansion, which helps explain...

2. Canada has about 1/10th the labor force as the U.S., but still manages to have a higher rate of unemployment (6.4% vs. 4.6%). Lucky for you that you and your employer have been paying into this unemployment pool, because when they can't afford to keep you on anymore due to the rising costs of your socialized insurance programs, you'll have a nice cushion to fall back on.

3. Of course, given that 15.9% of Canada's population lives below the LICO (Low-Income Cut Off; Canada has no official poverty line), I guess the unemployment benefit doesn't pay that well after all. Meanwhile, 12% of the U.S. population (which is *10 times* the population of Canada) is living below the poverty line.

The trade off is, you'll live, on average, 2.37 years longer than you would in the U.S.

So what you're saying is, Canada, with 1/10th the population, higher unemployment, higher risk of poverty, and lower income levels should be the model? Thank you, no.

Maybe Canada isn't better off at all for its programs. Maybe paying for them has cost the average Canadian more in terms of income than they have received in benefits. Maybe Canada should think about removing some of these burdens from their employers to encourage growth (and hopefully jobs for that 6.4%).

"I'm not saying this is The Solution but I think it's a little crazy to say that there is no way ever ever ever that anything like that could work."

Posted by: WurstFührer | February 5, 2007 1:19 PM

Proud Papa: "Okay my comment added nothing. I'm going back to work now."

LOL! I started typing a couple times but realized that I had nothing to add, so I didn't submit. I know how you feel.

Although I will say that avocado makes any sandwich better. In fact, avocado makes life in general better. Best sandwich: avocado, fresh mozarella, tomato, basil, and oil and vinegar on a baguette. YUM.

Father of 4, I'm with you. French dressing? Yuck. French bread? Delicious, especially with brie. French braids? I can't do them! French kisses? We can all agree that they're right up there with avocado.

Posted by: Meesh | February 5, 2007 1:21 PM

If it becomes standard practice for school systems to run criminal background checks, then the failure to run a criminal background check can support an argument that Claim A is not barred by sovereign immunity because School System B was grossly negligent in not running a criminal background check.

I doubt failure to conduct background checks could be found grossly negligent -- ordinarilyy negligent, maybe -- but not grossly or wilfully negligent unless the school engaged in additional conduct, such as recruiting volunteers from the probation and parole office, or allowing unsupervised one-on-one contact between students and adults.

I don't think failure to run background checks would amount to anything more than ordinary negligence in most cases. Probably wouldn't be enought to even get to a jury.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 1:21 PM

Index of Living Conditions

The United Nations ranked Canada sixth on its Human Development Index for 2006. The country's standard of living, health care system, educational attainment, housing, cultural and recreational facilities, level of public safety and tourist opportunities are all of an exceptionally high quality.


Rank Country
1 Norway
2 Iceland
3 Australia
4 Ireland
5 Sweden
6 Canada
7 Japan
8 United States
9 Switzerland
10 Netherlands
11 Finland
12 Luxembourg
13 Belgium
14 Austria
15 Denmark


Source: Human Development Report 2006, Human Development Index (11/2006)


NOTES: The Human Development Index (HDI) is a measure of life expectancy, education and national income. A high HDI indicates a high level of development and a high overall standard of living. (1 = high, 0 = low)

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 1:22 PM

Hiya 1:10.

I'm not saying cost is a Red Herring to the FMLA discussion. I'm saying that at the macro level, the argument that additional constraint on business is always injurious to the smallest player is a Red Herring.

And I further reject your frame of the "burdensome nature of this federal requirement".

I assert that without several test-cases, we have no idea whether this would be "burdensome", nor have we discussed whether there are positive counterbalances to the business based on the proposed upgraded FMLA.

So, I feel that we need to stop with the kneejerk "oh business will get hurt by this wasteful taxation/obligation/government-imposed burden" rhetoric, because there's no proof of that (that I've seen). Thus far it is ideological tomfoolery from executive supply-siders who would love the easiest path to keeping profit high (which is to keep worker comp low) so they can pay it out to the corporate execs every year.

(Can you tell I voted for Jim Webb?)

Posted by: Mr. 12:19 | February 5, 2007 1:28 PM

Hey, France isn't on there. What gives??

Posted by: HDI Comment | February 5, 2007 1:28 PM

"The United Nations ranked Canada sixth on its Human Development Index for 2006. The country's standard of living, health care system, educational attainment, housing, cultural and recreational facilities, level of public safety and tourist opportunities are all of an exceptionally high quality."

HDI *does not equal* standard of living, as even a cursory reading of the intro paragraph would reveal. It *includes* standard of living. It also includes "health care system, educational attainment, housing, cultural and recreational facilities, level of public safety and tourist opportunities," which reasonably means we can *exclude* those things from standard of living, as they are clearly separate.

BTW, tourist opportunities? Seriously?

Posted by: WurstFührer | February 5, 2007 1:29 PM

Kids should have to learn English before they are allowed in the school systems.

1:14, regardless of your opinion, the public schools must meet the needs of such kids in a constitutional manner, i.e. as the courts, in several pertinent, published decisions generally dictate. There are any number of requirements applicable to ESL students that public schools must satisfy and that require mainstreaming and the provision of services. In case you're not aware, the schools don't get to decide what services they must, or may, offer to ESL students, the schools cannot set a proficiency or fluency requirement before offering those educational services.

We do help them learn as soon as possible. in fact, we devote a substantial amount of our school budgets to addressing such needs. Meanwhile, these students are in my son's fifth grade class and in your ninth grader's biology class. And the teachers are hammered by NCLB to focus disproportionate time and resources on these children who, through no fault of their own, do not understand the language being spoken in the classroom environment.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 1:33 PM

WurstFührer, good points. How do you feel about Canada's health care system? I think that's one think they have right.

Posted by: Meesh | February 5, 2007 1:34 PM

Canada's health care system

That is so good that many Canadans go south for any care above putting bandaids on their medical problems.

Posted by: the original anon | February 5, 2007 1:37 PM

"Kids should have to learn English before they are allowed in the school systems."

Look at the big picture. Non-native English speakers may consume more than their share of school resources at an early age, but children learn languages fast, must faster than adults. If schools take the time to teach children English, the chidlren will get more out of their educations. They will be more likely to go to college. If they choose not to go to college, they will be better equipped to enter the workforce than if they had been "left behind" at a young age. It is good for everyone for non-native English speakers to become proficient in English. The students themselves will be more functional in society, and they will often provide assistance at home to non-native speaking parents. Teaching English in schools is a good investment for all.

Incidentally, the Supreme Court does not consider a right to education to be a fundamental right.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 1:40 PM

Meesh

WurstFührer, good points. How do you feel about Canada's health care system? I think that's one think they have right.

_________________________

Meesh,

One negative point: the "wait time" for non-life-critical procedures.

(I worked for a Toronto-based firm for 3 years after leaving the Feds in 2000, so I got to know something about this.)

The Canadian Medicare Act requires that there be a single payer (the Provincial/Federal Governments) for all necessary "medical" care. It's against the law to accept private payment or to pay privately for any treatment on the list of "medical" procedures.

However, since all health care is now a part of the federal/provincial budgets, it has to be funded. Funding an unlimited health system would break the budgets, so each province sets up a system of doctors, hospitals, etc. that provides the quantity and quality of care they deem necessary.

Now, when you go see a doctor for some problem that isn't life-threatening, you get put in the queue for treatment. One of my (Canadian) co-workers injured his knee skiing. The proper treatment was minor out-patient surgery. At that point (2001) in Ontario, the wait time for minor out-patient knee surgery was 9 months. Yep, that's not a misprint; Tony would have to wait 9 months for surgery. Sure, it's a royal pain to go around with a knee requiring surgery, and it's certainly an inconvenience to him, but it's not critical so he goes into the queue. And one of the primary facets of the Canadian Medicare Acts is that no one ever jumps the queue.

Since he lived in Toronto, and had the funds to pay for it, Tony did what many Canadians do in such a situation - he went across the border to Buffalo, paid for the surgery himself and was back in tip-top shape long before the nine months would have elapsed.

I'm not making this up. Check the files of one of the major Canadian newspapers, e.g., the Toronto Star (www.thestar.com). "Wait times" for medical care is a major issue in provincial and federal elections because it's a part of their medical system that they just haven't gotten right yet.

Posted by: Army Brat | February 5, 2007 1:46 PM

"That is so good that many Canadans go south for any care above putting bandaids on their medical problems."

Actually, there is some pretty ground-breaking medical research going on in Canada, that can't go on here due to political conflict and the FDA sitting on its laurels. If the U.S. doesn't get with it, we won't be a beacon of state-of-the-art medical care for much longer, and Americans will continue to go overseas for experimental treatments when all of the "approved" treatments fail, and doctors here are telling people to call in hospice.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 1:49 PM

My friend who works in France nearly died because she had what started out to be a minor medical condition that can be remedied with outpatient surgery. Apparently, there are quotas for diagnostic tests, however, and she had to fly back to the states, seriously ill, and be hospitalized for more than two weeks.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 1:51 PM

The UK also has universal national health insurance. I read in "The Times" of one NH doctor (surgeon) who went on his mandatory leave for two weeks. He basically set up a private pay health clinic for his specialty. He treated more people in two weeks than he would be allowed to treat in something like 6 months under national health.

Posted by: the original anon | February 5, 2007 1:53 PM

Incidentally, the Supreme Court does not consider a right to education to be a fundamental right.

Posted by: | February 5, 2007 01:40 PM

Anon at 1:40, I'm not an expert in education law, by any means. It is, however, my lay recollection that at least one Supreme Court had the effect of ruling that public primary schools must offer the same free education to illegal aliens as to those here legally, and that the ESL explosion is a direct result of those rulings.

If I recall correctly, and I may not, public primary schools do not have the option to deny education to non-English-speaking children, whether on the basis of their illegal status, their parents' illegal status, or because they or their parents like avocado. Is that a correct statement of the law (excluding the avocado reference)?

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 5, 2007 1:55 PM

RE: BTW, tourist opportunities? Seriously?


Certainly has relevance. Think of the difference of taking a trip to India or Bangladesh or the Philippines vs Europe, the United States or Canada. Think of how differently the people live. The standard of living of the average person does in fact correlate to what a country can offer the average tourist. And tourism can also bring a lot of money into an economy. Not sure that I would have thought to factor it in but wouldn't consider it irrelevant by any stretch of the imagination.

Posted by: lindab | February 5, 2007 1:56 PM

Wow, a lot being said today. I think we have already discussed FMLA here several times. Nothing new to say. As far as adoption, some people adopt by choice. We are in that camp. We have a beautiful biological daughter and we are choosing to expand our family through adoption. As for class sizes, I don't know but the 23 kids seem like the norm around here. Does anyone know what it is in Fairfax county.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 5, 2007 1:57 PM

NC lawyer,
I think the determining factor would not be whether or not the parents like avocado but where the avocado comes from - CA vs FL makes a huge difference :-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 5, 2007 2:00 PM

I understand the drawbacks to Canada's national health care. I have heard the same stories about the long waits.

I guess I meant to say that I like the idea of their system. Do you think that the US could adopt it and do away with the wait times? Do we know what the problem is? Could we have the solution?

Posted by: Meesh | February 5, 2007 2:00 PM

"It is, however, my lay recollection that at least one Supreme Court had the effect of ruling that public primary schools must offer the same free education to illegal aliens as to those here legally, and that the ESL explosion is a direct result of those rulings.

If I recall correctly, and I may not, public primary schools do not have the option to deny education to non-English-speaking children, whether on the basis of their illegal status, their parents' illegal status, or because they or their parents like avocado. Is that a correct statement of the law (excluding the avocado reference)?"

My understanding is you are correct. The significance of education not being a fundamental right only means any limitations on access to public education are not reviewed under strict scrutiny, but the more lenient rational basis (and in cases of children of illegal aliens, intermediate scrutiny). Basically, that means a higher burden for potential plaintiffs, who must show a law is not rationally related to a legitimate government interest.

Posted by: Anon at 1:40 | February 5, 2007 2:04 PM

Meesh, since you brought up the subject of health care, I'm hoping your french kisses are as good today as they were earlier this year. Yes?

Two observation I made when traveling through Canada: 1. Exclusively females pumped my gas, and 2. Gas was really expensive.

Not that I'm saying anything here...

except to remind myself to get to the gym...

Maybe Congress can pass legislation that requires companies to provide excersise facilities for their employees.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 5, 2007 2:05 PM

Honestly, Meesh, I don't know much about it. I had heard that there were long waits, but depending on the type of care needed, that can be no big deal or a major deal.

Looking at the difficulties listed here, though makes me wonder about the potential efficacy in the U.S. Canada has these wait time problems with 30 million people. Imagine the problems here with 300 million people.

I hate increasing the size of government, so my knee-jerk reaction is to poo-poo it. But, maybe there is a reasonable way to do it. Something needs to control the costs we are paying here in the U.S., and we certainly can't count on insurance "providers" to do that for us.

Posted by: WurstFührer | February 5, 2007 2:05 PM

Canada's system works, in part, because there are only 32,000,000 people, give or take, in that great, icy country to the north.

The US has approx. 298,444,215 people.

See above comments about the wait-time for procedures.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 2:07 PM

Maybe Congress can pass legislation that requires companies to provide excersise facilities for their employees.


Posted by: Father of 4 | February 5, 2007 02:05 PM
I know some private employers do offer such benefits. I personally would love that!

Posted by: Missicat | February 5, 2007 2:07 PM

Oh, so europe is so great? Employers rarely grow a business or hire new employees because they are not allowed to fire anyone - kind of like the govt here. That's why inemployment in places like france, among young ppl is so horrible - something approaching 50 percent. When the govt there thought it might be a good idea to grow the economy they thought about passing a law that indicated that an employer could hire someone and they aren't required to never fire them the stdents and young ppl rebelled by having riots in the streets. Way to own your work-you are so afraid you can't handle it you don't want to allow an employer to fire you.
Soon, they will not be able to pay the generous benefits they are promising since there won't be enough workers to pay the taxes for them- kind of like social security here- so then you economy implodes.

Posted by: atlmom | February 5, 2007 2:10 PM

Meesh

In principle I like the idea of Canada's system too. What hinders it (and UK, France) and to a lesser extent the HMO model is the creation of a bureaucracy the users must pass through. The system is set up so no one abuses it/skips ahead but there are "gates" people have to pass through. Certainly not the most nimble set-up. It's also disheartening to think that Toronto had such a long wait -- what happens in rural areas?

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | February 5, 2007 2:10 PM


to February 5, 2007 01:49 PM concerning "experimental treatments" and "approved treatments".

Have you ever heard of the drug Thalidomide? This drug, developed in Europe without the strict standards of the FDA, was suppose to be the panacea for morning sickness in women. As I recall the story, the FDA was basically bulldozed to approve the drug for use in the U.S. Unfortunately, the testing done in Europe was inadequate and the wide use in the US and elsewhere resulted in birth defects in thousands of children. The US congress then demanded that the FDA increase its oversight of any new drug for use in this country.

I prefer that the effectiveness of a procedure or medicine be proven before I use it.

Posted by: the original anon | February 5, 2007 2:13 PM

While in my heart I certainly agree that children (whether they be legal or illegal) need an education my pocketbook hurts at the thought of the resources being taken away from legal students. Even in the longer term the prospects of these illegal aliens can be bleak at best as far as work conditions and housing even with a decent high school education. At some point these children are going to become adults and want to drive. If they can't get a legal license they may drive illegally. When they are involved in an accident they have no insurance. These are not worst case scenarios - they happen every day. A friend of mine was killed by a driver who was here illegally and who had no insurance and no license so, as you can imagine, I have strong feelings about this.

Posted by: DC lurker | February 5, 2007 2:14 PM

"Note that FMLA (and proposed extension) applies only to companies with 50+ workers."

Lawyermom, you've completely missed the point here. The question is "who can object" to requiring an employer to pay someone who is not actually doing any work for them. You're apparantly completely comfortable doing that to a large employer. Why? Because you figure they can afford it?

One very simple way to answer the question "is this fair" is to ask "how would I feel about it if it applied to me?" I would suggest that most of the posters on this blog would not like it at all if they were required to provide a nanny, tutor, lawn mower or anyone else with six weeks of paid leave just because they turned up pregnant.

If you don't want it to apply to yourself, but want to argue that it's only right for it to apply to your employer, then you have some explaining to do.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 2:15 PM

Obviously, these legislators have never had to work next to anyone with 'INTERMITTENT" fmla. I for one have had enough. I have no problem with protecting someone's job when they are on maternity leave or having cancer treatments. But "everything" qualifies for FMLA. Let's see, I have a migraine, I have asthma, I have a bad back, I have a son with asthma, I have a mother with a bad heart, I have a father with a bad heart, I have another child who has "issues" in school. Give me a break. These people get to take off whenever they feel like it and those of us who do everything in our power to stay healthy have to do their job while they have FMLA protection. Now you want to give them paid days off too? Give me a break. No one is telling them to keep reproducing so as to kill this planet in the nexgt 30 years, no one is telling them not to get appropriate treatment for their illnesses, no one is tleling them not to take care of their families, but in my small government office of 21 people, at least 7 at any given time have FMLA. And most of it is circumstantial and cannot be proven to even be valid. They are not taking off to care for a newborn, or a dying parent. These are the same people who are overweight, use their handicap tags to park all day at meters for free, overeat, don't take their medicines, and use the syetm of FMLA whenever they want a day off.

Posted by: Debbie | February 5, 2007 2:20 PM

"So I guess my previous comment is directed at the 10:13 poster. A family that employs a nanny doesn't constitute a company. So what you're talking about doesn't even require consideration."

Oh yes it does. Would you be willing to argue that "companies" should be required to report wages and pay social security taxes, but that "families" should not? That "companies" should be required to pay minimum wage and overtime, but that "families" should not? If so, on what moral basis?

This is exactly the same question. What's being argued is that workers deserve a certain benefit, and that employers should be required to provide it. What's different about nannies? Is it that they deserve less than any other worker? Or is it that their employers have less social obligation to their workers than other employers?

Or is it simply that you feel that the families that employ nannies would find it economically difficult? That's a very bad argument for you, because it applies equally well to any low margin business using relatively unskilled workers - especially if it faces foreign competition.

It's morally bankrupt to simply look for the deep pockets to pay for something that we want, but are unwilling to pay for ourselves.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 2:22 PM

RE: My friend who works in France nearly died ... "

If one is to do a bit of changing out some of the words --

My friend who works in (the United States) (France) nearly died because she had what started out to be a minor medical condition that can be remedied with outpatient surgery. Apparently, there are these (insurance companies that have a convoluted approval process) (quotas) for diagnostic tests, however, and she had to (fly back to the states, seriously ill, and) (be hospitalized for more than two weeks).

Stuff - lots of it - happens here too. One major difference is that in the United States more money would have been spent, as we pay more $s for less health care (per capita) than any other industrialized nation. That's, of course, why the topic is once again in the forefront with many businesses seeing the costs of healthcare as a major problem to their being able to remain competitive (especially in the global marketplace). And the number of uninsured persons continues to grow.

My experience in Germany was that people are generally satisfied with the system of universal coverage that involves also many private insurance companies - a sort of hybrid system - with employers and employees sharing the cost.

Posted by: lindab | February 5, 2007 2:23 PM

RE: BTW, tourist opportunities? Seriously?

"The standard of living of the average person does in fact correlate to what a country can offer the average tourist. And tourism can also bring a lot of money into an economy."

All due respect, lindab, but I don't think that is necessarily relevant. What a country can offer a tourist may be (and I personally doubt it) in some way a function of the standard of living of the average person; but, that does not mean the converse is true. Nor can one argue (convincingly) that standard of living can be measured by tourism opportunities in a country. That is the fallacy implied by the OP, which I sought to highlight with my (failed) joke.

Furthermore, to solidify this point. The source itself use "standard of living" in its definition of HDI, of which "tourist opportunities" is also a part. Clearly, the source considers these to be mutually exclusive indicators of human development in a nation. Thus, none of these other indicators (including tourism) can be included as a measure of standard of living. Otherwise, you'd have an absurd, circular train of logic.

Posted by: WürstFührer | February 5, 2007 2:29 PM

Father of 4, they are as good as ever!

DC Lurker, you touch on a sensitive point. I agree with you that we're not doing the best we can for illegal immigrants. In NC, the illegal population is booming. I am worried about being hit by someone without insurance or even a license. I think we, on a state-by-state basis, need to either ban them outright and enforce it or work to ingratiate them more quickly. What we're doing now is not working.

Posted by: Meesh | February 5, 2007 2:31 PM

I realize FMLA goes way beyond protecting women who go out on maternity leave, but explain to me, anonymous poster at 2:22 why it's fair that women should be discriminated against LEGALLY because they become mothers?

Also, if it's not important and costs so darned much, explain to me why some of the biggest companies out there consistently make the top places to work lists BECAUSE of their extended and/or paid leave policies?

The US is the only non-third world country which does not offer some type of paid medical leave. Way to go, Uncle Sam! We're in good company with Papua New Guinea, Swaziland and Lesotho.

Posted by: MyTwoCents | February 5, 2007 2:43 PM

WürstFührer | February 5, 2007 02:29 PM

Yes, I think I see what you're saying - Canada's a nice place to visit as separate from what is Canada's standard of living.

BTW, your Wurst's Umlaut has snuck up on you (it) again.


Posted by: lindab | February 5, 2007 2:45 PM

I'll have to second the post on the sandwich ideas posted today - they are excellent - and so simple. I still believe that a sandwich tastes better when someone else makes it for you!

Posted by: cmac | February 5, 2007 2:46 PM

It's this stupid autofill in Netscape. I start with the "W," then it autofills the rest and I just hit enter. It fills in, Umlaut and all. What are ya gonna do?

It's so hard to stop being lazy.

Posted by: WurstFührer | February 5, 2007 2:52 PM

Okay, I concede defeat. The few people who've commented on the actual topic here (FLMA, for those of you following along) have fascinating things to say. Thank you.

To everyone else, I hear you that 14 years or not, this blog needs to move on to other more appetizing (haha) subjects.

Posted by: Leslie | February 5, 2007 2:56 PM

WurstFührer

Wow. I never knew that computers this side of the pond were capable of Umlauts - or I'm simply incapable of producing them. I just go for sticking in an e when needed. How about "scharfes S"? Kind of anachronistic but still used some.

Posted by: lindab | February 5, 2007 2:59 PM

I think people are missing the point when we talk about ESL students (legal or illegal) - I'm not talking about denying anyone an education or an "adequate" education (if you're in NJ or MA), but children who come to the US and do not speak enough English to be mainstreamed should, in the context of the public school system, take a year or two to do immersion English. This can be taugh in public schools, but we would change the ESL program to be immersionary instead of half day English class, half day regular math, science, etc. So in the short term they aren't in mainstream classes, but long term, they get much more out of their US education than they otherwise would have.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 3:01 PM

MyTwoCents wrote: "The US is the only non-third world country which does not offer some type of paid medical leave."

Okay, I don't know much about leave. I know that I have short-term and long-term disability through my work that I do not pay for. As far as I know, this is paid medical leave. Is it totally the discretion of the employer to offer this, or is this mandated by the federal government?

And if I have this option, do I get FMLA too?

Posted by: Meesh | February 5, 2007 3:02 PM

Any future topic suggestions?

Posted by: Missicat | February 5, 2007 3:04 PM

Meesh, as I understand it (and I am in no way an expert):

you are eligible under the FMLA if you work for a company larger than 50 employees. This means you can take up to 60 days off each calendar year to care for yourself, spouse, child, parents (and maybe a few other relatives) without fear of losing your job

very few companies offer both STD and LTD; you are very lucky (do you work for a law firm?) to have both

for many companies, FMLA kicks in only after you have exhausted any remaining leave

If there's an HR or Benefits expert on the board, speak up if I'm right or wrong.

Posted by: MyTwo Cents | February 5, 2007 3:07 PM

How about a recipe exchange?

Posted by: topix | February 5, 2007 3:07 PM

Actually I was thinking about a food/health related topic - I think we all may enjoy this. I have noticed the older I get, the more I am watching what I eat. I have found I am buying fresh fruits & vegetables rather than canned or frozen, organic products and drinking water rather than soda. I don't remember the last time I ate in a fast food restaurant. I do have my temptations (pizza) but I think I am doing much better. I also have started exercising and doing yoga.
Anyone want to write a column?

Posted by: Missicat | February 5, 2007 3:11 PM

Ah, thank you. That makes "cents"

(I couldn't help myself)

Posted by: Meesh | February 5, 2007 3:13 PM

"My friend who works in (the United States) (France) nearly died because she had what started out to be a minor medical condition that can be remedied with outpatient surgery. Apparently, there are these (insurance companies that have a convoluted approval process) (quotas) for diagnostic tests, however, and she had to (fly back to the states, seriously ill, and) (be hospitalized for more than two weeks)."

I understand your point, but once my friend got back to the states, she was in a surgery within 36 hours, insurance company and all.

On another note, I wish insurance companies would realize the old adage is true: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. My mother works at a hospital, and her employee health care doesn't cover an annual exam! How ridiculous is that? People will just wait until they get sick(er) before getting treatment. Incidentally, a lot of easily treatable ailments don't have a lot of symptoms until they are completely out of hand, with serious medical consequences.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 3:20 PM

"What's different about nannies? Is it that they deserve less than any other worker? Or is it that their employers have less social obligation to their workers than other employers?"

What's different is that what's at stake isn't just pawning off your work on your co-workers. Someone's children won't have anyone to look after them if the nanny gets knocked up and demands maternity leave. A family would have to hire someone else only to fire them when (if) the nanny decides to come back. Terrible public policy.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 3:22 PM

"if the nanny gets knocked up"

Could you write nicely please?

Posted by: lindab | February 5, 2007 3:24 PM

"Have you ever heard of the drug Thalidomide? This drug, developed in Europe without the strict standards of the FDA, was suppose to be the panacea for morning sickness in women."

And the litigation over it still continues. But morning sickness is hardly terminal cancer, ALS, and a host of other devastating diseases for which treatment advances in other countries are outpacing those in the U.S. I figure those people don't have any other options when their U.S. doctors tell them to call hospice, so birth defects are far from a concern.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 3:27 PM

Meesh,

You are so right about the exploding illegal immigrant population here in NC (I'm in Raleigh). A few years ago the media ran several articles about how NC was a haven for illegal immigrants, because they could get a driver's license here very easily and then use it elsewhere to get even more authoritative documents for Social Security, welfare, etc.

So, what does NC do? Make getting a car registration or license triply difficult for everyone. Of course, that means the immigrants just drive around without a license, while the rest of us have to deal with the hours long wait at DMV.

My wife had to get her mom's car registered in NC after she inherited it. The DMV officials required the title be re-issued twice by the executor, needed further documentation certifying he was the executor, and then questioned the ID of my wife, whose name was different on the title from her driver's license. All this just to get a legal title transferred to NC and into her name!

Posted by: John | February 5, 2007 3:30 PM

"I prefer that the effectiveness of a procedure or medicine be proven before I use it."

Vioxx, Celebrex, etc., etc., all FDA approved drugs that cause heart attack, stroke, etc.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 3:31 PM

Lindab, not to make this into an MS Word workshop (although I suppose it's no worse than the Julia Child sandwich episode), but under the "Insert" tab in Word, you can select "Symbol." Then, select the font you want (it is usually set on WingDings, which won't work) and find the symbol you want.

Alternatively, for the ß in particular, you can hold the ALT key, and on your *number pad,* type 0023. Then release ALT.

Posted by: WurstFührer | February 5, 2007 3:31 PM

yeah speaking of drugs. How does everyone feel about the requiered shots for HPV in Texas.

Posted by: scarry | February 5, 2007 3:33 PM

"I realize FMLA goes way beyond protecting women who go out on maternity leave, but explain to me, anonymous poster at 2:22 why it's fair that women should be discriminated against LEGALLY because they become mothers?"

No one is being discriminated against "LEGALLY" - if I don't work, I don't get paid. That's not "discrimination." And yes, there are plenty of things that could happen to me that would keep me from working.

"Also, if it's not important and costs so darned much, explain to me why some of the biggest companies out there consistently make the top places to work lists BECAUSE of their extended and/or paid leave policies?"

Leave is an employee benefit, like any other. It's part of the overall compensation package. It can help an employer attract and keep workers. Lots of firms also offer dental, cafeterias, and on-site gymns. That doesn't mean that these things should be mandated by law.

"The US is the only non-third world country which does not offer some type of paid medical leave. Way to go, Uncle Sam! We're in good company with Papua New Guinea, Swaziland and Lesotho."

We also have one of the most vibrant economies in the world.

If you want me to take you seriously, you're going to have to be willing to extend this to domestic workers.

"What's different is that what's at stake isn't just pawning off your work on your co-workers. Someone's children won't have anyone to look after them if the nanny gets knocked up and demands maternity leave. A family would have to hire someone else only to fire them when (if) the nanny decides to come back. Terrible public policy. "

Sorry - this is just wrong. In many industries if someone is out, a replacement must be hired. Think truck drivers. Airplane pilots. Nursing homes. Retail sales. Same deal. (Not everyone is an office drone who wouldn't be missed for six weeks.)

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 3:34 PM

"Could you write nicely please?"

What - do we have to say "in the family way?"

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 3:35 PM

Scarry - I think it's great! An entire generation of girls being raised not to get HPV is great.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 3:35 PM

"How does everyone feel about the requiered shots for HPV in Texas."

My sister had cervical cancer from HPV. I think the vaccine is a great idea.

Posted by: Lizzie | February 5, 2007 3:39 PM

"Vioxx, Celebrex, etc., etc., all FDA approved drugs that cause heart attack, stroke, etc."

Yes, and because of the requirement that mandate continuing studies of these medicines, they were taken off the market.

"But morning sickness is hardly terminal cancer, ALS, and a host of other devastating diseases for which treatment advances in other countries are outpacing those in the U.S. "

I don't necessarily agree with this statement. I know my cousin is in the forefront of research on many forms of pediatric cancer

Posted by: the original anon | February 5, 2007 3:40 PM

Came back to see where this dead-end FMLA discussion ended up after noon.

"How does everyone feel about the requiered shots for HPV in Texas."

I'm not sure about making them required, but when I have kids, my daughter will sure as heck get one, as long as no medical contraindications arise before then.

So many vaccinations have turned out to cause other health problems, I'm glad I'll have a few years to wait and see what happens.

As for the parents who oppose the shots only because the think it will promote sexual activity, I can personally attest that I never even knew what any shot I got was for until I had to get Hep A and B and meningitis for college, and I was 18 when I got those. Twelve-year-old girls won't even know what they are or what they're for, unless their parents want them to.

Posted by: catmommy | February 5, 2007 3:40 PM

yeah, I am glad they developed them, but I am wondering if there are any bad side affects. My girl is 3 now, but if it turns out they are okay, then she will get one when she is old enough.

I saw an article that said that the governer was in with Merck and that is one of the reasons why the people were mad.

Posted by: scarry | February 5, 2007 3:42 PM

I'd like to see the following topics addressed either by Leslie or a guest blogger:

Balance issues relevant to . . .

(a) adoptive parents/employees seeking to adopt

(b) employees dealing with the severe illness of a parent or child in a household

(c) adult children moving back home

(d) single parents

(e) divorced parents with joint custody

(f) parents in a cross-racial marriage or raising children of a different race/ethnicity

(g) dealing with a disability

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 3:43 PM

Twelve-year-old girls won't even know what they are or what they're for, unless their parents want them to

Catmommy,

Not being snarky here but do you have kids? Trust me, a 12 yr old female will know what it is for.

Posted by: the original anon | February 5, 2007 3:43 PM

"Not being snarky here but do you have kids? Trust me, a 12 yr old female will know what it is for."

I don't have kids, but I'm young and it wasn't long ago I was a kid. I never knew what any of my shots were for. I knew I had to go to the doctor periodically, I'd get a few shots or a booster, get a lollipop, and leave. Like I said, I had no awareness until I was going off to college. At 12, it would not have occured to me to ask, although I'll leave room for the proposition that 12-year-old girls are more savvy now than when I was 12.

Posted by: catmommy | February 5, 2007 3:47 PM

Re HPV in Texas: Yes, some of us still think it's desirable for people to "save" themselves for marriage, if possible.

But, what parent can absolutely guarantee that their young virgin daughter will never be raped? Skipping the vaccine on principle doesn't seem worth the risk of any girl contracting HPV, not when it can be so easily avoided.

Besides, plenty of kids in abstinence-only classes and clubs wind up having sex before marriage anyhow -- even if a bit later than they might have otherwise -- except they lack knowledge they could use to decrease their risk of STD significantly.

Finally, if the girl receives the vaccination at, say, age 9, why does she have to be told all the gruesome details of what it's for? Wouldn't telling her that it protects against one form cancer be sufficient?

Posted by: catlady | February 5, 2007 3:48 PM

I'm with catmommy. I wouldn't have known what the shots were for either at the age of 12 or 13. Cervical cancer is serious. Cervical cancer does not say sex. People equating protection against cancer with increased sex simply boggle my mind.

Posted by: dotted | February 5, 2007 3:51 PM

"Sorry - this is just wrong. In many industries if someone is out, a replacement must be hired. Think truck drivers. Airplane pilots. Nursing homes. Retail sales. Same deal. (Not everyone is an office drone who wouldn't be missed for six weeks.)"

Sorry. You are just wrong. People pick up extra shifts, pilots fly more frequently (always staying within FAA regulations, of course), companies/nursing homes/firms operate on a skeleton crew.

I work in a 40-person office and one of the secretaries has been out for 9 weeks on disability. Two other secretaries are splitting her responsibilities until she returns to work on (we're told) Monday.

Posted by: My Two Cents | February 5, 2007 3:51 PM

"Could you write nicely please?"

What - do we have to say "in the family way?"

A bit old fashioned but certainly a better choice.

Posted by: lindab | February 5, 2007 3:51 PM


I have a teenager daughter. Here is my hierarchy from where they receive info.

1. Friends
2. TV
3. Movies
4. Internet
5. Comso and other mags...

175. parents.


I would be interested to hear any other hierarchies.

Posted by: the original anon | February 5, 2007 3:52 PM

I am completely in favor of the HPV vaccine. I read somewhere that 70% of sexually active adults have HPV, which I found amazing. Since it can lead to cervical cancer, I see no reason for children not to get the vaccine before they become sexually active.

Posted by: Emmy | February 5, 2007 3:53 PM

another possible discussion topic: the impact of school hours on life (e.g., increased school hours, availability of after school care at elementary, non-availability of after school care in middle, comparison/contrast differing county approaches...)

Posted by: dotted | February 5, 2007 3:55 PM

I don't understand the controversy over the HPV vaccine. It seems like a no brainer to me. I fail to see why parents believe one vaccine is going to wipe out the years of bringing a child up the way she should go. They must have zero faith in their parenting.

I'm with catmommy. The only shot I knew about was tetanus (sp?) because it hurt so darned much. I have a 19 year old and I certainly never had discussions with her about which shots she'd be getting at a doctor's visit. And while teenagers may be getting more savvy, it's not in that direction.

Posted by: Righto | February 5, 2007 3:55 PM

ah cosmo, I remember reading that magazine. My mother taught me at a very young age to always ask any doctor, nurse etc what they were giving me and what it was for. I am allergic to about ten different medicine so that is why.


Otherwise, I probably would't know either.

Posted by: scarry | February 5, 2007 3:55 PM

My daughter is 14. I am a little concerned about the vaccine being new and possible bad future effects. My husband and I decided to follow the pediatricians recommendation when it's time for the next scheduled physical.

My 14 year old does know what the vaccine is for and accepts it as something you can do now rather than wait until you are in a position where you may need it (on your honeymoon :). She does not see it as promoting early activity, just a medical vaccine like any other.

Scarry, the chicken pox vaccine was new when my kids were small and we elected not to get it. Now, it is mandatory where we live, so there may come a time when HPV is also mandatory in many places. We felt that getting chicken pox naturally was better than being immunized, and didn't see chicken pox as life-threatening the way cervical cancer is life-threatening.

Posted by: xyz | February 5, 2007 3:58 PM

to original anon:
If you talk to your kids early and often, you will find parents are much higher up in the hierarchy. I have one pre-teen, teenager and 2 in their 20s. Talking early and often gives them information and my opinion known. As toddlers, all knew what tampax was and how they worked. One of their first science experiments in some ways...

Posted by: dotted | February 5, 2007 3:58 PM

One other thought is that even if girls know what the vaccine is for, they should have a safety net against early sexual activity: a deeply rooted and quasi-paranoid fear of teen pregnancy. Every girl should have been thoroughly conditioned by that age to be terrified of getting pregnant. Protection against HPV isn't protection against pregnancy, and girls who know what the vaccine is for are probably also aware of that fact. If not, a chat with mom or the doctor should take care of it.

Posted by: catmommy | February 5, 2007 4:02 PM

Yes, I sure that by the time she is old enough to get it, it will be mmandatory.

I would have her get it anyway, but you know the shots are expensive and not covered by all medical plans.

Posted by: scarry | February 5, 2007 4:03 PM

To MyTwo Cents:
Actually many companies offer there employees both STD and LTD. In Meesh's case is probably a rarity that the employer actually picks up the tab on paying the premiums. Depending on the size on the company they may actually just use payroll dollars to continue the employees salary versus contractin through an insurance company to make the payments.

Additionally to Meesh's question (I believe) FMLA does not require you to exhaust your leave before moving into that category. The law actually allows (and I would bet most companies opt for) FMLA to run con-currently with any form of paid leave i.e. disability, vacation, sick leave etc. If a company were to allow employees to take their paid leave before allowing FMLA the employee could be away from their job for longer than the allowable 3 months.

As to Debbies comment earlier FMLA only covers a "serious medical condition" and a simple bad back or asthma attack is not going to meet the means test that a doctor must complete and submit on the employee's behalf. That said her company may be very lax in applying these rules and may actually count all "sick time" as FMLA time. If I were an employee in that company I would be concerned about this because if I did have a FMLA covered illness I may find out my allotment has been used up.

Posted by: Benefits/HR Professional | February 5, 2007 4:04 PM

Any advice on how to convince my 19-year-old daughter that she should get the shot? She said that there is no reason that she needs the shot now and will get it if she reaches a point where she thinks she needs it. She is highly insulted at the implied suggestion that she is or will be sexually active. The biggest problem is that she is deathly afraid of needles.

Posted by: Anon today | February 5, 2007 4:05 PM

HPV Vaccinne is a no-brainer. I heard a doctor on a news show saying "We have been praying for a vaccine for cancer and it is finally here and we aren't going to use it?"

Someone already said it - but what about cases of rape? Can you guarantee your daughter won't get molested?

HPV is so prevalent and by cutting down the risks of just a couple strains lives will be saved.

For everyone that doesn't want to talk to their pre-teen about it - why? Tell them what it prevents and remind them that sex can be dangerous. Besides HPV there are STD's and pregnancy. You don't have to lay it all on the line, but how would you feel if you didn't give your daughter the vaccine, she has a couple boyfriends that she sleeps with in high school or college - gets HPV and cervical cancer. Then she asks you why you didn't give her the vaccine and you have to say "because I didn't trust you with the information."

Posted by: cmac | February 5, 2007 4:07 PM

I don't think you can get it after you've become sexually active. I really, really don't wish to offend, but might she possibly have engaged in some kind of activity that would preclude her from getting the vaccine?

She should be more afraid of cancer and HPV than needles.

Posted by: To Anon Today | February 5, 2007 4:08 PM

In Texas, is there an "opt-out" for the vaccine? I'm in grad school and didn't want to get additional unecessary shots, so I filled out an "opt-out" form saying I knew the risks and did not want them/did not believe in them. Since HPV is unlikely to cause a widespread health crisis/outbreak in schools, that might be a valid option for parents, unlike measles or some of the other diseases vaccinated against.

Posted by: catmommy | February 5, 2007 4:08 PM

With respect to the HPV vaccine, I think its great as well, but I do not agree that states should mandate to parents that their daughters be vaccinated in this manner.

We have really ramped up the required vaccines over the last thirty years, including the fabulously unnecessary chicken pox vaccine. Every time a new vaccine comes on the market, the governmental officials and pharma producers tell us it's great, it's wonderful, it's a painless way to eliminate X as we know it, and, btw, there are no side effects about which you parents need to worry your pretty little heads. The group intended by some to be mandatoritly vaccinated are young women on the cusp of puberty. Who knows what the long-term impact is on their development? Let me decide for myself, in conjunction whether our pediatrician, whether our daughter gets this vaccination.

Please don't assume that all opposition to mandating this vaccine for all 12 year old girls is from fearful fundamentalists. The government can recommend and educate, but I oppose giving it the unlimited right to add on limitless vaccination requirements.
Some of us do not have limitless trust in either government or clinical trials.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 5, 2007 4:10 PM

For Anon today:

I can understand how your daughter would feel insulted. But ask her if she can absolutely guarantee that she won't get raped. Of course she may think she won't, but I'd guess that by age 19 she's known someone who was -- not necessarily by a stranger, but perhaps by an aggressive date. It really could happen to her.

Posted by: catlady | February 5, 2007 4:11 PM

You're not offending at all, considering her age.

"She should be more afraid of cancer and HPV than needles." I couldn't agree more, but I never said she was overly mature or rational! Think of all the people who drink and smoke who know what it can do to them.

"I don't think you can get it after you've become sexually active". I don't know if this is true. I believe that you can get the vaccine if you don't already have the virus - a simple blood test maybe to check? Any medical types out there who know more than I?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 4:13 PM

xyz said:
"Scarry, the chicken pox vaccine was new when my kids were small and we elected not to get it. Now, it is mandatory where we live, so there may come a time when HPV is also mandatory in many places. We felt that getting chicken pox naturally was better than being immunized, and didn't see chicken pox as life-threatening the way cervical cancer is life-threatening.'

I don't want to pick on you, but I don't understand parents that won't get their kids vaccinated.

From the CDC:

Prior to the introduction of the chickenpox vaccine, about 100 people died annually from chickenpox and 5,000 to 9,000 people were hospitalized with the disease. Chickenpox can cause brain swelling, pneumonia and skin infections in children and adults.

Just because you and your husband had a mild case of chicken pox doesn't guarantee that your child will. I'm glad it worked out o.k. for you, but it doesn't for everyone. People do die from chickenpox.

Posted by: Emmy | February 5, 2007 4:13 PM

"Will sexually active females benefit from the vaccine?
Females who are sexually active may also benefit from the vaccine. But they may get less benefit from the vaccine since they may have already acquired one or more HPV type(s) covered by the vaccine. Few young women are infected with all four of these HPV types. So they would still get protection from those types they have not acquired. Currently, there is no test available to tell if a girl/woman has had any or all of these four HPV types."

from - http://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/STDFact-HPV-vaccine.htm#hpvvac1

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 4:15 PM

dotted, great discussion topic in your 03:55 comment -

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 5, 2007 4:16 PM

I actually just recieved the first shot for the HPV vaccine today (I am a mid-20's female). Before getting the shot I did an extensive amount of research to determine if I should. Some of the things that were frightening to read as previous posters mentioned that almost of 70% of adults had the disease (men carry this disease and can actually contract penile and anal cancer from HPV). Additionally if you read all of the literature avaialbe you can and should recieve the vaccine even if you are already sexually active and even if you already have HPV as there are over 100 different strains (I know the vaccine only protects against a few at this point). For the concerned parent one piece of advice I would provide your daughter with is HPV like herpes cannot be prevented by using condoms. Having safe sex does not protect you.

For anyone interested the Wash Post ran a web chat in early Jan (I believe) with one of the doctors from John's Hopkins who spent years creating this vaccine. He also recommends that women over 26 recieve the shot - his sample only ran up to 26 which is why that is the announced age limit.

Posted by: Just Got the Shot | February 5, 2007 4:17 PM

"With respect to the HPV vaccine, I think its great as well, but I do not agree that states should mandate to parents that their daughters be vaccinated in this manner."

I agree. There have been concerns raised about vaccines being tied to a plethora of other health problems, including autism and wierd allergies. I'm not a doctor and don't know whether they are conclusive one way or the other, but I would feel terrible if I jumped on a new-vaccine bandwagon and it turned out it caused more harm than good.

I also think the government's interest in requiring vaccines should be firmly drawn at those required to prevent public health crises, similar to those that have previously been caused by smallpox, measles, and polio.

I have a real problem with the government decided the best way to raise children, an area firmly within the province of parents. I think the vaccine is a great idea, assuming no health problems arise from it. I would get it for my daughter if I have one. But I don't like big brother telling me what to do, especially if it's because the politicians are shareholders in the pharmaceutical companies!

Posted by: catmommy | February 5, 2007 4:20 PM

"I don't want to pick on you, but I don't understand parents that won't get their kids vaccinated."

My first child had already had the chicken pox before the vaccine was available. My second child was two. Our pediatrician stated that she preferred the children get the chicken pox naturally because of possible unknown longterm effects of the vaccine. She did state that the vaccine should be given if the child was older, maybe 7 or 8, but don't rely on my memory. Basically, we took a 'wait and see' approach, and our daughter developed chicken pox naturally at age 4. If she hadn't and the pediatrician recommended the shot at a later age, we would have gotten it.

Our children received every other recommended vaccine on schedule. Our decision regarding the chicken pox vaccine was due to the fact that it was new and the decision was made after consultation with the pediatrician.

I can't speak for other parents, but that is how we decided not to vaccinate.

Posted by: xyz | February 5, 2007 4:22 PM

Another topic: how to get back into the dating scene after death of a spouse, divorce, end of long time relationship, after 50 :-). Add to that what to tell the kids, how to ask about STDs and we could have one that isn't just for parents.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 5, 2007 4:24 PM

nc lawyer:
I'm in this strange blue doom today. I'm sure you know why..both shades of blue even.

Posted by: dotted | February 5, 2007 4:25 PM

Another topic: how to get back into the dating scene after death of a spouse, divorce, end of long time relationship, after 50 :-). Add to that what to tell the kids, how to ask about STDs and we could have one that isn't just for parents.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 5, 2007 04:24 PM

I second that suggestion!

Posted by: Missicat | February 5, 2007 4:26 PM

Add to my idea above - also a topic not just for women.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 5, 2007 4:27 PM

klb-how was your weekend?

Posted by: dotted | February 5, 2007 4:27 PM

Xyz,
Thank you for the explanation. Now that the chicken pox vaccine has been around a while, it wasn't an issue for us when we got our son vaccinated (we want him to attend public school. :) ) I guess I was just remembering the "chicken pox parties" I read about where parents purposefully expose their children to the disease, which I really think is ludicrous.

Posted by: Emmy | February 5, 2007 4:27 PM

Dotted,
It was just ok. I am not feeling it. He is very nice, easy to talk to but...no spark. I may be spoiled but I need a spark even tho the comfort level is nice to have.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 5, 2007 4:28 PM

Emmy,
When I was a kid (born in '55) our mothers would send us to visit any kid in the neighborhood who had chicken pox or measles or mumps - kind of like a controlled illness.

Posted by: KLB SS MS | February 5, 2007 4:31 PM

Re ESL
My grandmother came to this country and learned english in school with no esl. Didn't exist. There were even ppl as recently as the 70s who were mainstreamed (I know b c a classmate of mine only knew french when she came over. 2 yrs in kgarten and she knew english).
Using esl is a disservice to the students , actually.
Healthcare: my friend's kid is 4 and is about to die b c the drs in Germany didn't feel like doing a few tests. After this experience, my friend said she is pretty much confident that she and hubby are not returning to germany. There are plenty of stories like that- in canada too

Posted by: atlmom | February 5, 2007 4:31 PM

The media is not portraying Texas' decision accurately. Parent's have the right to opt out of the vaccine:
"The Department of State Health Services will, in order to protect the right of parents to be the final authority on their children's health care, modify the current process in order to allow parents to submit a request for a conscientious objection affidavit form via the Internet while maintaining privacy safeguards under current law."
Since the Post won't let you post websites you can google Texas and HPV to view the various articles that include this statement.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 4:32 PM

"Sorry. You are just wrong. People pick up extra shifts, pilots fly more frequently (always staying within FAA regulations, of course), companies/nursing homes/firms operate on a skeleton crew. I work in a 40-person office and one of the secretaries has been out for 9 weeks on disability. Two other secretaries are splitting her responsibilities until she returns to work on (we're told) Monday."

No, it's not wrong - and you've given us the perfect example of how the effect differs between employers. With a 40-person office, having one secretary out means that callers may wait longer before the phone is answered. With a city transit system, having a bus driver out means that a substitute must be found or one of the bus routes won't run. With a school, having a teacher out means that a substitute must be found or one of the classes won't be taught (unless you're willing to double the class size for two classes). For a delivery service, having a driver out means that a substitute must be found or deliveries aren't made on time.

Either the worker was necessary, or she wasn't. In your office, if the secretary doesn't come back, they could simply decide not to fill the position (you'd be surprised how common it is for a company to only discover that a position is no longer necessary when someone goes out on leave).

For some jobs, that's not true. Someone has to work the cash register. Someone has to drive the bus. Someone has to perform the surgery. Someone has to flip the burgers. Someone has to go to the client site and fix the copier. In those cases, the FMLA imposes a very real cost on employers. Turning FMLA leave into paid leave would force those employers to pay twice for the work.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 4:33 PM

I got chicken pox in preschool, and my school had a rule about when you could return after chicken pox. You could still have some scabs, but they couldn't be oozing, etc.

I felt fine and was bored staying home, and my mom needed to get back to work, so she sent me to school (still oozy) with long sleeves, long pants, knee socks, and strict instructions not to scratch, lest they call her at work to come get me and take me home.

We got away with it, although I'm sure my wearing long sleeves in the 90+ degree weather sparked some curiosity...

Ah, the memories...

Posted by: catmommy | February 5, 2007 4:41 PM

dotted,

I have many blue colleagues around me, too. oh, and a couple of very, very happy folks wearing red. Wednesday evening should be even more interesting than in a "normal" year.

KLB - I agree completely with the spark requirement as a minimum.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 5, 2007 4:41 PM

Scary, there is evidence that the measles along with other vacination is causing the epidemic of childhood diabetes and autism.

And you can bet that any government grant that gets issued to study this trent will do its best to conclude that there is no correlation.

The appalling way the government treated my best friend when he developed gulf war syndrom is a testimant to the way the government will treat its citizens when they mandate drugs to a person that eventually suffer from the ill side affects of the drug.

And one last thought: more people are getting diagnosed with polio from the vacination itself than other outside sources.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 5, 2007 4:42 PM

Well Leslie, I would have added an interesting comment about FMLA if the blog hadn't been overtaken by people in desparate need to share their sandwich recipes before I even had my first cup of coffee.

A request -- can the WP create a "press- here-for-tangent-blog-discussion button " for the few regular posters to this blog who have a tendancy to take over if they aren't completely interested in the daily topic? Too often lately this blog feels like grade school trivia.

Posted by: CA Mom | February 5, 2007 4:43 PM

Here's another memory about forced "treatment" for children. Anyone remember the boy who had cancer and his parents didn't believe in modern medicine and didn't want him to become sterile? They also didn't believe he actually had cancer. The state intervened and made the boy get treatment. Turned out he didn't have cancer after all.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 4:44 PM

To Father of 4:

Cite solid evidence. Anecdotes don't count, nor broad-sweeping generalizations.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 4:45 PM

F04:
I have to disagree with you on the polio opinion. Look it up. Polio is rampant where people refuse to get vaccinated. As a child of a polio victim, I can tell you: polio never goes away. It stays in your body. Years later, it comes back and is then called post-polio syndrome. It is the disease that can't be beat: ever.

Posted by: dotted | February 5, 2007 4:46 PM

Parents have been convicted -- even in recent times, and even if they try to invoke 1st Amendment religious freedom grounds -- if their child dies for lack of appropriate medical treatment.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 4:49 PM

WurstFührer is in lala land on the statistics:

1. "The U.S. enjoys a per capita GDP about $10,000 higher (per person, remember) than Canada."

Yep, and your health insurance with deductibles and copays costs more than THAT through an employer!! Buy it on your own and it is more like $15,000 -20000 a year for a family.

2. . "Canada has about 1/10th the labor force as the U.S., but still manages to have a higher rate of unemployment (6.4% vs. 4.6%)."

They count EVERYBODY - the US only counts those ho apply for and are still eligblee for unemployment. Haven't found work after 26 weeks and 1 day - gee, you don't exist anymore and aren't counted as unemployed! In the white collar world it takes on average 9 months to find a new job and add another 6 months to that if you are over 45. Those people don't count as unemployed after 26 weeks.

3. "Of course, given that 15.9% of Canada's population lives below the LICO (Low-Income Cut Off; Canada has no official poverty line), I guess the unemployment benefit doesn't pay that well after all. Meanwhile, 12% of the U.S. population (which is *10 times* the population of Canada) is living below the poverty line."
The Canadian LIC is far higher than the US Federal Poverty Level. Do you seriously think that an individual living on $10,300, or a couple living on $13,780 or a family of 3 living on $17,260 aren't living in POVERTY? According to the Federal government everyone of those households is NOT in poverty - they are above 100% of the FPL. Get a grip on reality.
RE: Army Brat

On the subject of waiting times for medical care vs Canada and here, have you ever gone to book an appointment with one of the premier neurosurgeons at one of the top medical facilities in the world located in the US? Try 5-6 months for an initial appointment with a non-life threatening problem.

So what if someone has to wait their turn for minor knee surgery which is non-life threatening and the injury a bit inconvenient after he voluntarily racked himself up on the ski slopes? 18000 people a year DIE in the US from treatable and curable health problems because they had an endless wait for care they would NEVER get because they ere uninsured. Someone being DEAD is a lot more important in the distribution of services than someone having a bit of an achy knee for a few months - something they deliberately went out and did to themselves.


RE: My Two Cents

Who writes ""Sorry - this is just wrong. In many industries if someone is out, a replacement must be hired. Think truck drivers. Airplane pilots. Nursing homes. Retail sales. Same deal. (Not everyone is an office drone who wouldn't be missed for six weeks.)" Sorry. You are just wrong. People pick up extra shifts, pilots fly more frequently (always staying within FAA regulations, of course), companies/nursing homes/firms operate on a skeleton crew. I work in a 40-person office and one of the secretaries has been out for 9 weeks on disability. Two other secretaries are splitting her responsibilities until she returns to work on (we're told) Monday."

Right - and are they getting paid to do her work too? Like 50% more? That is hat is unfair to co-workers. Everyone else has to work more (extra shifts, extra duties) so someone can stay home with the new baby. Are YOU going to volunteer for extra shifts, longer days and more duties without more pay to do someone else's job even if it interferes with your home life? (That is rhetorical - all the proponents of extended leave invariably wail "oh, but I can't take an extra shift. I have to go to Johnny's Scout meeting.)

Posted by: KSA | February 5, 2007 4:50 PM

"Well Leslie, I would have added an interesting comment about FMLA if the blog hadn't been overtaken by people in desparate need to share their sandwich recipes before I even had my first cup of coffee.
A request -- can the WP create a "press- here-for-tangent-blog-discussion button " for the few regular posters to this blog who have a tendancy to take over if they aren't completely interested in the daily topic? Too often lately this blog feels like grade school trivia. "

Someone has a case of the Mondays! How could it be overtaken? Your submission isn't kicked out if someone else writes at the same time.
If you don't like the individual submissions pass over them and move on to one you want to read.

Posted by: DC lurker | February 5, 2007 4:50 PM

to CA mom:
This blog talked about FMLA as least twice last week, and again the week before, and likely the week before too. Everything has been said, over and over again. the same facts, the same arguments. It is still worthy to note FMLA has been here for 14 years, but there isn't more to the argument. I think I'm searching for the phrase "beating a dead horse." Regular bloggers share their opinions on anything that works in their lives: including non-serious subjects like sandwiches.

Posted by: dotted | February 5, 2007 4:51 PM

This blog is like a conversation - it can go off in any direction at any given time. Fun and interesting and perhaps helpful sometimes.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 5, 2007 4:53 PM

Well Leslie, I would have added an interesting comment about FMLA if the blog hadn't been overtaken by people in desparate need to share their sandwich recipes before I even had my first cup of coffee.

A request -- can the WP create a "press- here-for-tangent-blog-discussion button " for the few regular posters to this blog who have a tendancy to take over if they aren't completely interested in the daily topic? Too often lately this blog feels like grade school trivia.


Posted by: CA Mom | February 5, 2007 04:43 PM

so, CA Mom, you had a brilliant on-topic post, but rather than submit it, you filled the blog with this off-topic comment? Ah, the irony.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 4:53 PM

Regarding the HPV shot, it's actually three shots over the course of 6 or 8 months. It may only work for 3 or 4 years, they don't know yet.
My daughters are 13 and 16. They know exactly what the shots are for. They don't need it yet. we decided to wait. a medical professional friend suggested doing the series of shots during senior year of high school, unless there is a boyfriend in the picture earlier.

Posted by: experienced mom | February 5, 2007 4:54 PM

"Regular bloggers share their opinions on anything that works in their lives: including non-serious subjects like sandwiches."

Sandwiches are an indisputable part of work/life balance! How else can you get all four food groups into a single, hand-held item, suitable for eating at one's desk or on the run, thereby creating extra free time to spend with your family and at the same time ensuring everyone is properly nourished? Sandwiches are a SOLUTION, not a PROBLEM!

Posted by: catmommy | February 5, 2007 4:56 PM

Does it stand to reason that if the HPV shot is recommended at the beginning of sexual practice that young women should also start getting pap tests at the same time?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 5, 2007 4:56 PM

klb-
I'm pondering the spark. I believe we need the spark just to get through jumble filling the nooks and crannies of our lives. However, in my case, the spark came after we were comfortable. The Aha moment, as it were. Just a thought.

Posted by: dotted | February 5, 2007 4:57 PM

Can you promise your daughters that in the interim -- before they have boyfriends or reach their senior year in high school -- that they won't get raped by someone carrying HPV? Didn't think so. Besides, if thir immunity does wear off, they'll have to be revaccinated sooner or later anyhow. So, the benefit likely outweighs the risk.

Posted by: catlady | February 5, 2007 4:59 PM

Dotted,
Thanks. My heart was broken many years ago by someone who had been a great friend for years before we started "dating". One day the spark appeared. I am not sure about this one tho. Heck, it was only the third date but by 1230 I was ready for him to go home so I could go to bed. Doesn't sound good, does it?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 5, 2007 4:59 PM

Regarding the Chicken Pox vaccine.

While I realize that chicken pox is relatively mild for most children, even a mild case of the chicken pox can lead to shingles later in life. Shingles are VERY painful. I know one woman who had them on her lower back and walks with a cane to this day. My husband had shingles a few years ago and characterizes it as one of the most painful experiences of his life.

Iin addition, I believe (would appreciate confirmation from a medical practioner here) that your child will be most contagious before they are displaying any significant symptoms. So, your decision to not immunize may cause a child more vulnerable than yours to also catch the disease, with more disastrous results.

I'm leery of "new" vaccines also (and am glad that my daughter is only 8 so we don't have to worry about the new HPV vaccine just yet), but the chicken pox vaccine has been around for quite awhile now. I know our school system requires it before a child can attend. It just seems a bit foolish to me to put a child at risk for a potentially fatal disease that could also have serious consequences once he/she reaches adulthood.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | February 5, 2007 5:00 PM

"Does it stand to reason that if the HPV shot is recommended at the beginning of sexual practice that young women should also start getting pap tests at the same time?"

Regardless of the HPV shot, girls should absolutely, 100%, without exception start getting an annual exam, including a pap test, as soon as she is sexually active! Obviously, this is also the obvious time to start the pill or other birth control method.

Posted by: catmommy | February 5, 2007 5:00 PM

Just had to laugh at what I wrote - "sexual practice"???

Posted by: KLKB SS MD | February 5, 2007 5:02 PM

btw, on the topic of what do 12 year olds know?

We take the position that one of the obligations of parenting is to educate our kids on how to work well with medical professionals and take responsibility for making informed decisions. Because our son has several appts. with specialists each year relating to three separate areas of concern, along with routine pediatrician visits, he's learned to: (a) listen carefully, (b) ask questions, specifically about any side effects, whether in connection with any treatment, vaccination or prescription; and (c) reach an informed decision having weighed the responses to (b).

I can't imagine taking a 12 year old to a physician and encourage her to have a vaccination or any other treatment without using the visit as a teachable moment for how to be an informed patient.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 5:04 PM

You made it to 12:30! That is a major milestone in my book. I'm so tired from all the other stuff going on that I barely make it to 11 nowadays. I remember, back in the day, when we went OUT at 11. I'm not suggesting trying too hard on this but don't give up too easily either. Different times, different needs. and that is the problem, eh?

Posted by: dotted | February 5, 2007 5:07 PM

Yes Dotted, that IS the problem. I won't give up. But not rushing into anything (and you know what I mean by anything don't you?).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 5, 2007 5:10 PM

Headline on the Wash Post on-line shows that VA legislature is looking at the HPV vaccine as well. From the article itself:

A bill to require all girls entering the sixth grade to receive a vaccine for the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer passed the House on an 80-17 vote after it was changed over the weekend. The bill was amended to give parents the right to review information about the vaccine and exempt their daughters if they wish. Exemptions already exist for parents who object for religious or medical reasons.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 5:11 PM

And one last thought: more people are getting diagnosed with polio from the vacination itself than other outside sources.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 5, 2007 04:42 PM

This is not true, from familydoctor.org and similar sites please read the following:

"What is the polio vaccine?
A vaccine is a medicine you take to keep you from getting a disease. The polio vaccine, also called IPV, is given by injection (a "shot"). (It used to be given by drops in the mouth.)

When should my child be vaccinated?
Most children get 4 doses of polio vaccine on this schedule:

First dose when they are 2 months old.
Second dose when they are 4 months old.
Third dose when they are 6 to 18 months old.
Last dose when they are 4 to 6 years old.


Are there reasons not to get polio shots?
Your child should not get the polio shots if he or she is allergic to these medicines: neomycin, streptomycin or polymyxin B.

What are the risks of the vaccine?
Vaccines carry a small risk of serious harm, such as a severe allergic reaction. IPV can't cause polio because it does not contain the live polio virus. (This was a small risk with the old oral vaccine.) Most people have no problems."

The live virus was given about 8 years ago orally and they even stopped that.

F04 I understand your problems with vaccines and perhaps gov't benefits and/or pharmaceutical companies, but the Polio Vaccine has and continues to save lives everywhere it is used.

Posted by: cmac | February 5, 2007 5:16 PM

Fo4, etc..
Actually there have been a number of stories (I think one was in the WaPost last year) on how there does not seem to be any links at all between increased vaccinations and autism. But there is a distinct public perception of this and people regard it as fact. There are a lot of interesting theories on the increase of autism, including selective mating (which angers a lot of people, but I think is fascinating), but so far - vaccines is not a winner.
Pro HPV by the way - though waiting a year or two if your child is very young would be reasonable, just in case some sort of reaction or side effect is noted.

Posted by: Michigan | February 5, 2007 5:26 PM

Fred,
How was the anniversary weekend?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 5, 2007 5:27 PM

Michigan,

Identifying yourself as "pro HPV" is right up there with some of this blog's funnier Freudian typing errors. Please reconsider and join those of us who are anti-HPV, whether or not you support mandatory vaccinations to eradicate HPV.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 5:31 PM

I just don't see why the vaccine has to be required. It went from getting approved to being required in some areas very quickly. I think some time to see if there are health side effects, to see how it works in the general population (as opposed to clinical trials), etc. is in order before making a blanket generalization that it is or is not right for everyone.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 5:32 PM

dotted and KLB SS MD -- Could you two share e-mail address and take your personal dating issues off the blog? Geez!

Better yet, get HPV.

Posted by: CA Mom | February 5, 2007 5:44 PM

Ca Mom,
Now that is just plain mean and rude. Geez yourself - this blog is about ready to go to bed for the evening - get over yourself.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 5, 2007 5:46 PM

CA Mom, we're still waiting for that initial on-topic post to which you alluded. Your value to the blog appears to be limited to spreading nastiness. Is that the rep you seek?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 5:52 PM

Can you promise your daughters that in the interim -- before they have boyfriends or reach their senior year in high school -- that they won't get raped by someone carrying HPV

I can't promise 100% that they won't get raped, but knowing their lifestyle, I'd say rape is highly unlikely for both of them.

Thanks for the lovely thought.

Posted by: experienced mom | February 5, 2007 5:53 PM

just out of curiosity why did you daughters doctor recommend waiting till their senior year in high school?

Posted by: to experienced mom | February 5, 2007 5:55 PM

"dotted and KLB SS MD -- Could you two share e-mail address and take your personal dating issues off the blog? Geez!

Better yet, get HPV."


She complained last week too altho included some of the other "regulars".

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 5, 2007 5:57 PM

"I can't promise 100% that they won't get raped, but knowing their lifestyle, I'd say rape is highly unlikely for both of them."


Whoaaaa, experienced mom. Did you intend to suggest that rape is determined by one's "lifestyle"?

My best friend returned to her apartment after work one day. She was raped repeatedly in a 7-hour ordeal by a stranger armed with a stun gun. Her years of martial arts training were no match for it. He broke into her apartment through a window and she could not see evidence of the break-in from the point of entry to the apartment.

Just what lifestyle is it that she should have adopted to prevent this attack?

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 5, 2007 6:00 PM

To dotted and KLB SS MD -- I meant, get the HPV vaccine. I may be snide and get irritated with some of the stuff on this blog, but I do care about people's health.

As for FMLA, why bother posting anything at this point? This blog has been OBE -- overtaken by events.

Posted by: CA Mom | February 5, 2007 6:00 PM

To experienced mom, who types: I can't promise 100% that they won't get raped, but knowing their lifestyle, I'd say rape is highly unlikely for both of them. Thanks for the lovely thought.

Of course one teaches children to try to avoid, or defend themselves against getting into, dangerous situations. But is it worth the risk to leave them unvaccinated in case, despite their best efforts, they are raped, whether by a stranger or an acquaintance? I think not. And sometimes we need to think un-"lovely" thoughts in order to be prepared.

Posted by: catlady | February 5, 2007 6:03 PM

CA Mom, since you're still posting, and others oresumably are still reading if not this evening than certainly in the a.m., why not contribute on topic instead of ranting? If you actually have something to say about FMLA, say it for the benefit of all readers.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 6:03 PM

CA Mom,
Why don't you just skip over us and move on to what you want to read? You have complained about this in the past and a couple of times today. Do you need a format all to yourself?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 5, 2007 6:07 PM

CA MOM,
Some people here have gotten to kind of know the others and can support them. A while ago one poster talked about her devastating miscarriage. We would like to think that our sympathy and empathy perhaps made a little difference to her that day.

Posted by: DC lurker | February 5, 2007 6:14 PM

Whoaaaa, experienced mom. Did you intend to suggest that rape is determined by one's "lifestyle"?

of course not! They are not often without their parents or teachers, that is the lifestyle I was referring to. Actually I was thinking junior year of high school might be a better time for vaccination.

Posted by: experienced mom | February 5, 2007 6:27 PM

and the worst crime in this neighborhood was a stolen bike.

Posted by: experienced mom | February 5, 2007 6:28 PM

My on topic comments for whomever.

I never have had to use it.

Posted by: The Original Anon | February 5, 2007 6:33 PM

As toddlers, all knew what tampax was and how they worked. One of their first science experiments in some ways...


Dotted, too funny! I cetainly agree with you point about parents educating their children about all things. My point is that children receive information from a lot more sources than maybe we had when we were that age.

As my teenager points out, high school is more complicated and difficult than it was when I went.

Posted by: The Original Anon | February 5, 2007 6:47 PM

the original anon-
I agree with your point on information sources entirely. I'm still undecided if high school is really more complicated or if yet another generation is bamboozling their elders. I know my generation did some bamboozling (in all meanings of the word).

Posted by: dotted | February 5, 2007 6:52 PM

dotted,

Ever see your teenage daughter being ripped to shreds via anon internet posting? Which every kids in the school views. Ever see yourself on Yotube (sp?)

Wow! much more difficult!

Posted by: The Original Anon | February 5, 2007 6:57 PM

in our school, it was anon posting on the bathroom walls-which everyone read. Sortof the same thing-remember the gossip on who was doing what with whom? I remember being totally torn apart by someone writing pure slander in the bathroom-all in an effort to 'get back' what she considered to be her man.

Youtube? I wouldn't admit to it, but probably.

Posted by: dotted | February 5, 2007 7:24 PM

I would hope that the boys would not go into the girls' bathroom to read the lastest! :)

There have been fights at my daughter's school that have been on You Tube.

Posted by: The Original Anon | February 5, 2007 7:32 PM

"Turning FMLA leave into paid leave would force those employers to pay twice for the work."

That's where a contribution-funded insurance program helps. Premiums are less than that person's salary.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 7:33 PM

That's where a contribution-funded insurance program helps.

Who would pay these premiums?

Posted by: The Original Anon | February 5, 2007 7:38 PM

fights? Wow...

Posted by: dotted | February 5, 2007 8:01 PM

Dotted,
What are we to do now that some people want us banished?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 5, 2007 8:05 PM

Yes, phone camera video of fights. These were pulled from You Tube very fast!

Posted by: The Original Anon | February 5, 2007 8:05 PM

we hold our ground and help each other discover that elusive balance thing. Balance isn't one-size-fits-all, but rather, no-size-fits-any....

It is indeed the height of irony that someone would claim to have something to say, but then go on to make a non-topic rant. Plenty of people make cogent posts which then serve to bring the discussion back on topic. If one wants on topic, then go ahead and make an on topic commentary or rebuttal. Someone is always willing to take them up on it... lo and behold, the blog is then back on topic.

fight videos-rather shocking.

Posted by: dotted | February 5, 2007 8:11 PM

Dotted,
What are we to do now that some people want us banished?

Make all of your comments anon?

Posted by: The Original Anon | February 5, 2007 8:15 PM

It is odd to be in a different time zone right now...

I wouldn't want to mix up my anon posts with you, the original anon! ha ha ha!

Posted by: dotted | February 5, 2007 8:18 PM

that is why I am the original anon!

Posted by: The Original Anon | February 5, 2007 8:21 PM

(as opposed to just "anon" or just a timestamp given by the Washpo.)

Posted by: The Original Anon | February 5, 2007 8:22 PM

I like the off-topic semi-personal comments. It opens a nice little window into people's experiences, and makes me feel a little more in sympathy with the posters. It is a little like a conversation, isn't it?

To the person who blasted experienced mom's comments of rape being a lifestyle choice(and I'm not saying it is) and explained the apartment scene (ugh). She lived alone, that's pretty dangerous, anywhere, sorry. I don't think a high school is going to live alone under experienced mom's care, so lay off and let her decide. I think if her daughter is in high school, she is out of the danger zone for pedophiles (well, true pedophiles) and into the danger zone for boys and romance. If experienced mom has a good relationship with her daughter, her daughter can make her own decision on the matter. And HPV does not equal cervical cancer, it's just a chance. So if (gawd, when did this blog get to talking about people's children being raped) there's a very small chance of her getting raped, I have to say HPV is the last of her concerns. Plenty of other STDs she can pick up and psychological trauma that will far outweigh the slight chance that she'll contract HPV, and that it will be a dangerous result even then.

Kids today I think are going to be less promiscuous than the last two generations (Xers and boomers) were because they don't need to rebel in that way anymore. I think the difference is now it is more out in the open, and parents are talking to their children about it which is great. I think HPV at age 12 is a tad young to be mandatory, maybe 14-15, that's about the age they start teaching about STDs in school.

Posted by: 2nd time poster | February 5, 2007 8:41 PM

For Father of 4: A person CANNOT contract polio from a vaccination injection, because it's made from killed-virus. Ditto for flu shots.

(How often have we heard someone claim to have caught the flu from their shot? Not so! They may have been exposed to someone with flu during the interim period between just before the shot and before immunity sets in, however.)

Posted by: catlady | February 5, 2007 8:50 PM

To "2nd time poster":

Are you saying an adult woman shouldn't live alone?

That "experienced mom" should never let her teenaged daughter be alone, to make sure she's never raped?

Or, if she does leave her daughter home alone, it's mom's fault if the girl is raped by an intruder?

Or it's mom's fault if she can't successfully fend off an attacker in the house herself?

And that high school girls can't be preyed upon sexually by adults?

Unrealistic scenarios all.

"Experienced mom" owes it to her daughters to get both of them the HPV vaccine ASAP, to minimize the risks of common strains of the disease.

Posted by: catlady | February 5, 2007 8:59 PM

2nd time poster, You've made an incorrect assumption. She didn't live alone. Her roommate happened to be out of town that day. She had three locks on her door, a black belt in tae kwon do, carried mace, and lived in what is considered by all standards to be a safe neighborhood. The assailant was unknown to her.

Not that I buy into your assumption that it's inherently dangerous for women to live alone. That's a crock.

As I recall, Elizabeth Smart lived with her parents. Bad things unfortunately do, on occasion, happen to conservative, careful, watched-over and protected, thoughtful women of all ages.

Finally, I didn't (and wouldn't) blast experienced mom. I asked for clarification and she graciously provided it. Before jumping to conclusions about a poster's message, I generally find it helpful to read carefully and ask follow-up questions.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 5, 2007 9:29 PM

"Kids today I think are going to be less promiscuous than the last two generations (Xers and boomers) were because they don't need to rebel in that way anymore"

There were many reasons that boomers may have been promiscuous and rebellion is only one of them. The others are/were, availability of birth control, Roe vs Wade (abortion was legalized), social times - make love, not war; and, believe it or not, feminism or women's lib - women could finally do what men had done for years without the same level of social stigma.

There has always been venerial disease, but we didn't have AIDs. We were not afraid of dying because we had sex.

I think the vaccine is a good thing, but I also think there is an element of paranoia to parenting these days. No one wants to take a chance on terrible things happening to their children, but I don't know that the risks and odds of contracting some things are as great as people make it out to be. I am 50 and had some wild times in my teens and 20's. My gyn just did blood work and there is no HPV present. I don't personally know anyone who has been diagnosed with cervical cancer, although I can't say the same about breast cancer. I know two people who were raped, and both were in their 20's.

I think experienced mom is correct in feeling that it is safe not to vaccinate her children until high school. I think you really have to weigh the probablilies based on your own family's lifestyle.

After all, children are killed in auto accidents all the time, but we don't keep them out of cars. We take reasonable precautions. I think waiting until teens are 17-18 or sexually active is a reasonable precaution.

Posted by: a boomer | February 5, 2007 9:49 PM

To "a boomer" re "waiting until teens are... sexually active is a reasonable precaution."

No, actually not. By the time a female is sexually active she may already have been infected with HPV. The time for the vaccinations is well before then, because the series takes some 6 months.

Posted by: catlady | February 5, 2007 11:39 PM

'Finally, I didn't (and wouldn't) blast experienced mom' NC Lawyer

I didn't feel blasted by you, I felt that we were having an interesting discussion. I felt blasted by catlady, who is another person who seems to think her opinion is the only correct one. And catlady, the polio vaccination is live, unless you ask for the dead version. and the flu shot does make people a bit sick sometimes. Please check your medical facts before stating them as absolute truths.

Posted by: experienced mom | February 6, 2007 6:57 AM

http://www.cdc.gov/std/HPV/STDFact-HPV.htm

I am coming to this rather late. But read the link above. HPV is much more common then people realize. Even though cervical cancer is not very common, the HPV is very common. A good % of times, the HPV does not cause serious problems or show any symptoms at all. I am all for the HPV vaccination. My only concern is the testing of the vaccine for other risk factors. I, in no way, think that a vaccine or birth control encourages sexual activity in young people. We do not need to encourage sex in young people. Young people engage in sexual activity because they are pumped up with hormones, they are risk takers, they are exploring the world around them, and bluntly stated sex feels good. I have a young daughter and I hope she abstains from sexual activity till she is an adult in a committed relationship. That being said, if the vaccine proves to be affective, I will darn well will have her vaccinated.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 6, 2007 7:42 AM

Before you accuse a parent of child neglect for not rushing their child to the clinic to get the latest vaccine, please read the article from the link below. This is only 1 of many...

http://www.shirleys-wellness-cafe.com/vaccines.htm

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 6, 2007 7:47 AM

Well Fo4, I guess that we should not give our children any vaccines and any medicines of any kind because you can always find some one who is allergic or has bad side effects to any medicine--prescription or non-presecription.

Posted by: the original anon | February 6, 2007 7:59 AM

Be advised that Shirley's Wellness Cafe advocates a non-traditional approach (for both humans and animals). I'd recommend instead that people consult sources like the CDC website, as other chatters above have done.

Please note that flu and polio killed-virus vaccines (administered by injection, the method I mentioned above) cannot give you the illness for which you're being vaccinated, because the virus is already DEAD. There's a very slight risk with live-virus vaccines (oral), but even these are considered safe for the majority of people.

Posted by: catlady | February 6, 2007 11:40 AM

Did someone seriously post a website called "Shirley's Wellness Cafe" as a legitimate site for HEALTH information? You could access the CDC, the NIH, the ACI or any number of well-regarded medical schools and institutes for means-tested and peer-reviewed scientific information.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 1:04 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2007 The Washington Post Company