I’ll take ‘Potpourri’ for $400, Alex

The GOP, bake sales in schools, Walmart’s packaging scam, and stay-at-home dads: I have a hodge podge of different stories that have caught my interest in the past few days, so I’ll outline them here — and try to be brief — and provide you with a link.

1. An Absence of Class, by NY Times columnist Bob Herbert

I really, really like this column because, as much as I don’t directly identify as being a Democrat, I certainly am not a Republican, and I feel like a lot of the tactics used in protests against health care are disgusting:

In Washington on Saturday, opponents of the health care legislation spit on a black congressman and shouted racial slurs at two others, including John Lewis, one of the great heroes of the civil rights movement. Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat who is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, was taunted because he is gay.

At some point, we have to decide as a country that we just can’t have this: We can’t allow ourselves to remain silent as foaming-at-the-mouth protesters scream the vilest of epithets at members of Congress — epithets that The Times will not allow me to repeat here.

We consider ourselves this influential superpower, but it’s often pretty embarassing how we act toward one another.

2. Parents Fight for the Right to Sell Treats at School, per NPR 

In New York City, schools have limited bake sales to once every month in an effort to promote healthy eating and knowing what goes into your body — which is why they still sell Doritos in school vending machines?

So parents and students can fundraise anytime they want with Cool Ranch Doritos or whole-grain Pop-Tarts or Quaker Oats granola bars. The packaged food just has to have fewer than 200 calories and not more than 35 percent fat.

Knowing what’s in food and understanding what malodextrin is are two different things, and this is sad to me because the bake sale was a staple of my childhood when I was in school. Plus, many different student groups used bake sales to gain money for their organizations.

The emphasis should be on changing children’s eating habits altogether, not teaching them that anything with a nutrition facts label is fair game. If you’re going to promote healthy eating, you better go through the vending machines and clean house, too. And, isn’t it bad if something has fewer than 200 calories and still manages to count for one-third of your total suggested fat intake for the day?

3. Walmart is sneaky: Its products have less stuff for the same price as competitors, per a friend

As if Walmart isn’t gross enough, they apparently package fewer items in a box and then look cool when they can beat a competitor’s price for the same item! For instance, they sell packages of 70 Luvs diapers as compared with Target selling them in packages of 80.

Walmart loves scamming people! The packaging is identical, and the consumer zooms to the price. The author’s original blog can be accessed at the link, but the link is an update of the original and provides readers with a visual comparison of Walmart vs. Target toilet paper, from the same company and type of toilet paper. Seriously, stop shopping at Walmart and get the amount of toilet paper you deserve.

4. Stay-At-Home Dads Grapple With Going Back To Work, per NPR

Lots of men lost their jobs in the recession, and they decided to stay-at-home with their children rather than keeping their children in daycare. This is nice, but then they started mentioning putting child care on their resumes, and I started thinking, “Hmm, I bet if a woman did that, they’d get a blank stare from an employer.” My first impression was that child care would make the man look more well-rounded, but it would somehow pigeon-hole or be expected from a woman.

You have to listen to the audio to hear about the resumes I think, as the text doesn’t have the part about resumes that I heard on the radio this morning. I think it would be great if anyone could use their child-care skills in resumes — multitasking, conflict management, prioritizing, stress management, etc. Most people advise that you don’t include parenting on a resume unless you are entering into a job that involves child care (although Ann Crittenden wrote a book about why parenting translates into the business world)

Either way, it’s nice to read about dads finding that spending more time with their kids is rewarding — it’s unfortunate that some need to be laid off in order to figure it out, but overall it’s good that they are realizing that fathers can be great caregivers, and they can enjoy it, too.

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