Thursday, November 17, 2022
From the Washington Post:
A new round of viral infections — flu, RSV, covid-19 and the common cold — is colliding with staffing shortages at schools and day cares to create unprecedented challenges for parents and teachers. More than 100,000 Americans missed work last month because of child-care problems, an all-time high that’s even greater than during the height of the pandemic, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Those absences are rippling across the economy and straining families and businesses, just as many thought they’d turned a corner.
“We have sick kids at the same time we have a child-care crisis — you put the two together and there just isn’t any wiggle room,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at KPMG. “People are falling through the cracks. It means missed paychecks, disruptions at home, and staffing shortages that erode productivity growth and increase costs at a time when we’re already worried about those things.”
Nearly three years into the coronavirus pandemic, families, businesses and health-care facilities say they’re under renewed pressure. Children’s hospitals nationwide are at capacity, in large part because of RSV and other respiratory viruses. Workplaces are reporting unfilled shifts and lost revenue as employees call out for extended periods of time. And parents are, once again, caught in an impossible position, balancing sick children, school closures and workplace demands.
There are signs that those pressures are taking a toll on the economy. Worker productivity — a measure of goods and services an employee can produce in an hour — posted the sharpest plunge on record in the first half of this year, according to federal data.
Read more here.
Wednesday, November 16, 2022
"People often reach out to me seeking relationship advice. They remark on photographs they've seen of me and Barack together—the two of us laughing, or sharing a look, appearing content to be side by side—deducing that we enjoy each other's company," Obama shared in The Light We Carry, the follow-up to her critically acclaimed memoir Becoming.
"They ask how we have managed to stay both married and unmiserable for thirty years now. I want to say, 'Yes, truly, it's a surprise to us, too, sometimes!' And really, I'm not joking. We have our issues, of course, but I love the man, and he loves me, now, still, and seemingly forever," she wrote in the book, obtained in advance by Newsweek.
Read more here.
From NBC News:
President Joe Biden said Monday that he did not expect Democrats to have enough votes in Congress to be able to pass legislation codifying Roe v. Wade
Asked at a news conference in Bali, Indonesia, what Americans could expect Congress to do about abortion access, Biden said: “I don’t think they can expect much of anything other than we’re going to maintain our positions.”
“I don’t think there’s enough votes to codify unless something happens unusual in the House,” Biden said.
“I think we’re going to get very close in the House,” he added. “But I don’t think we’re going to make it.”
Control of the House remains unresolved as vote-counting in the midterm elections continues; Republicans remain the favorite to control of the chamber by a narrow majority.
Read more here.
Tuesday, November 15, 2022
From the Salt Lake Tribune:
In an unexpected move, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave its support Tuesday to a proposed federal law that would not only recognize all legal marriages but also codify ones between same-sex couples.
The Utah-based faith’s doctrine “related to marriage between a man and a woman is well known and will remain unchanged,” according to a news release posted to the church’s website. “We are grateful for the continuing efforts of those who work to ensure the Respect for Marriage Act includes appropriate religious freedom protections while respecting the law and preserving the rights of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.”
It seems a somewhat of a reversal for the church, which famously put its members and a lot of money behind California’s Proposition 8 in 2008 to oppose same-sex marriage before it was legalized by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Some perspectives apparently have changed.
“We believe this approach is the way forward,” the release said. “As we work together to preserve the principles and practices of religious freedom together with the rights of LGBTQ individuals, much can be accomplished to heal relationships and foster greater understanding.”
Read more here.
International Society of Family Law – 18th (Golden Jubilee) World Conference
Families & Family Law?”
12-15 July 2023, Antwerp (Belgium)
The 18th (Golden Jubilee) World Conference of the International Society of Family Law will be held in
Antwerp, Belgium from 12-15 July 2023, under the title “Rethinking Law’s Families & Family Law?”.
The conference title and themes
The conference title echoes Alison Diduck’s book title Law’s Families (Cambridge University Press,
2003), in which she addressesthe tension between the conception of the family in family law and policy,
and how we actually do family in our daily lives. The conference will explore and critically examine who
the “law’s families” are and what role family law plays and should play.
The conference is intended to be inclusive, extending to a diverse range of topics and methods. Panels
will be clustered alongside their topic (partners; parents & children; the extended family) or method
(international and comparative approaches; interdisciplinary approaches; and approaches pertaining
to conflict handling).
As the 18th World Conference also marks the ISFL Golden Jubilee, a Jubilee stream will cover the past
and future of family law. Contributions to the Golden Jubilee stream are based on the 2023 and 2024
Surveys of International Family Law.
Participants are welcome to propose individual presentations or collective panels. Among other
themes, panels may cover – but are not limited to – legal aspects of reproduction, (minor and adult)
siblings, migration, and juvenile law. The conference is held on-site in Antwerp and in English; proposals
for limited French or Dutch panels are also welcome.
Proposals should be submitted no later than December 16, 2022 by email to email@example.com.
The proposals should include the proposed title, an abstract of no more than 300 words and the participant’s name, function and affiliation. It is strongly encouraged, but not required, to indicate the
theme and method as mentioned above. If the proposal is for a panel, it should also include the name
and affiliation of all of the proposed participants.
The conference conveners are Prof. Frederik Swennen, member of the ISFL Executive Council, and Prof.
Elise Goossens of the University of Antwerp, on behalf of RETHINKIN., a Scientific Research Network
funded by the Flanders Research Foundation – www.rethinkin.eu. The Golden Jubilee stream is coordinated by Piotr Fiedorczyk.
All information is available on www.isfl2023.org.
Kentucky’s near-total abortion bans returned to court on Tuesday for a high-stakes hearing that could clear the way for clinics in the deep-red state to resume offering the procedure.
It’s the first time state abortion restrictions have faced judicial review since voters turned out en masse for abortion rights nationwide in the midterm elections and since Kentucky voters in particular rejected an amendment saying there is no constitutional protection for the procedure.
That win at the ballot box set up the groups challenging the laws to argue that the court should block two abortion laws — the near-total ban on the procedure beginning at conception and the ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy — for violating the privacy rights that have been in the state constitution since 1891.
Should the court side with the challengers in the coming weeks, clinics could start providing abortions up to 15 weeks of pregnancy while arguments on the merits of the laws continue and while a separate lawsuit against the state’s 15-week ban plays out.
GOP Solicitor General Matthew Kuhn tried to make the case Tuesday morning that the ballot referendum should have no bearing on the court’s decision, saying that the state constitution was “silent” on abortion before the vote and continues to be so today. He asked the justices to leave the matter to the state legislature, which he called “the branch of government most responsive to the people.”
Read more here.
A judge overturned Georgia’s ban on abortion starting around six weeks into a pregnancy, ruling Tuesday that it violated the U.S. Constitution and U.S. Supreme Court precedent when it was enacted three years ago and was therefore void.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney’s ruling took effect immediately statewide, though the state attorney general’s office said it filed an appeal. The ban had been in effect since July.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, which represented doctors and advocacy groups that had asked McBurney to throw out the law, said it expects abortions past six weeks of pregnancy to resume Wednesday at some clinics.
Their lawsuit, filed in July, sought to strike down the ban on multiple grounds, including that it violates the Georgia Constitution’s right to privacy and liberty by forcing pregnancy and childbirth on women in the state. McBurney did not rule on that claim.
Instead, his decision agreed with a different argument made in the lawsuit — that the ban was invalid because when it was signed into law in 2019, U.S. Supreme Court precedent under Roe. v. Wade and another ruling allowed abortion well past six weeks.
Read more here.
From the WHO:
Today the World Health Organization (WHO) released important updates to its landmark Family Planning Handbook, which provides health workers and policy makers with the most current information on contraceptive options.
Drawing on lessons from recent outbreaks, this new edition details tangible measures for frontline health workers to protect access to family planning services during emergencies, such as wider access to self-administered contraceptives and the use of digital technologies by providers. It also expands guidance for women and young people at high risk of HIV.
Read more here.
From CBS News:
A bipartisan group of senators announced Monday that they reached agreement on revised legislation that wouldand provide protections for religious liberties, assuaging concerns from some Republican members who feared that the measure could infringe on religious freedom while paving the way for the Senate to take up the bill this week.
A joint statement from the group of five senators involved in the negotiations announced that they have crafted "commonsense language to confirm that this legislation fully respects and protects Americans' religious liberties and diverse beliefs, while leaving intact the core mission of the legislation to protect marriage equality."
Read more here.
With the Senate set to take up a bill that would protect same-sex marriage at the federal level, a clear majority of Americans continue to say that the legalization of same-sex marriage is good for society.
About six-in-ten adults (61%) express a positive view of the impact of same-sex marriage being legal, including 36% who say it is very good for society. Roughly four-in-ten have a negative view (37%), with 19% saying it is very bad.
The new survey – which was fielded in October, before the midterm elections – comes as some have questioned whether same-sex marriage will remain legal nationally following the Supreme Court’s June decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, turning abortion laws back to the states.
Views of the impact of same-sex marriage on society are largely unchanged since 2019. However, there has been a dramatic increase in public support for same-sex marriage over the past two decades. As recently as 2004, nearly twice as many Americans opposed than favored allowing gay and lesbian people to marry legally; by 2019, public opinion had reversed, with 61% in favor and 31% opposed.
Opinions about same-sex marriage’s impact on society vary widely by age, education and – most starkly – by party and religion.
Read more here.
Monday, November 14, 2022
From the New York Times:
Republican power did expand in some states, opening the door to further bans on the procedure in the coming months. But elsewhere, Republicans fell short in key contests for control of state governments that would have allowed them to easily advance restrictions.
And voters in several states revealed broad support for abortion rights, with California, Michigan and Vermont enshrining lasting protections in their state Constitutions and those in Kentucky and Montana rejecting anti-abortion measures.
In many places, the outcome of down-ballot races may prove as consequential for abortion access as those for governor or legislative seats. Shifts in power on state supreme courts are important to watch, as these courts can rule on challenges to new or existing abortion laws. Newly elected attorneys general will also have some say in their enforcement.
Read more, and see a state-by-state analysis, here.
Saturday, November 12, 2022
The Supreme Court appeared divided on Wednesday over the constitutionality of a 1978 law that regulates the adoption of Native American children. After more than three hours of oral argument, several justices expressed doubt about specific provisions of the wide-ranging law, even if they did not appear inclined to strike down the law in its entirety.
Congress enacted the Indian Child Welfare Act as a response to a long and tragic history of separating Native American children from their families. The law establishes minimum standards for the removal of Native American children from their families and establishes a preference that when Native American children are taken from their homes, they be placed with extended family members or with other Native families, even if the families are not relatives. Opponents of the law say it exceeds Congress’ power, violates states’ rights, and imposes unconstitutional race-based classifications.
Representing the seven individual plaintiffs who are challenging ICWA, including three non-Native couples who tried to foster or adopt children with Native American ancestry, lawyer Matthew McGill told the justices that ICWA “flouts the promise of equal justice under the law” by treating Native American children differently. And McGill insisted that ICWA falls outside Congress’ power to regulate Native American affairs, arguing that Congress does not have the “power to regulate Indians everywhere, wherever they might be in the jurisdiction of the United States.”
Read more here.
From the Conversation:
The past 60 years have been a period of change and reflection for many in the Catholic Church, initiated by the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s and continued by the current synod on synodality.
In the autumn of 2021, Pope Francis announced a new synod, an official meeting of Roman Catholic bishops to determine future directions for the church globally. The first working document issued by the synod was published on Oct. 27, 2022.
This document was made public soon after the 60th anniversary of Pope John XXIII’s 1962 convocation of the Second Vatican Council. During the three years that followed, Catholic bishops from across the globe met in several sessions, assisted by expert theologians. Many guests were also invited as observers, which included prominent Catholic laity and representatives from other Christian churches.
The council called for fresh ways to address 20th-century social and cultural issues and initiated official dialogue groups for Catholic theologians with others from different faith traditions.
However, Catholics have become increasingly divided over this openness to contemporary cultural changes. As a specialist in Roman Catholic liturgy and worship, I find that one important flashpoint where these deeper disagreements become more painfully visible is in Catholic worship, particularly in the celebration of its seven major rituals, called the sacraments. This is especially true in the celebration of matrimony.
Read more here.
Thursday, November 10, 2022
Being less stressed in general is linked to better heart health. Now, a large study shows that having a less stressful, happier marriage is associated with better recovery in people who have a heart attack at a relatively young age — less than 55.
Researchers found that those who had the most stressful marriages were more likely to have more frequent chest pain or be readmitted to hospital in the year following their heart attack.
People with a stressful marriage had a worse recovery after a heart attack compared to other heart attack survivors of the same age, sex, education, and income level, as well as employment and insurance status, their study found.
"Patients should know there is a link between marital stress and delayed recovery" from heart attack, says AHA spokesperson Nieca Goldberg, MD, who was not involved with this research.
"If they have marital stress, they should share the information with their doctor and discuss ways to get a referral to therapists and cardiac rehabilitation," says Goldberg, a clinical associate professor of medicine at NYU Grossman School of Medicine and medical director of Atria New York City.
Read more here.
Wednesday, November 9, 2022
The study in Molecular Psychiatry, found that children’s exposure to parents’ relationship discord or divorce is associated with the potential for alcohol use disorder as adults.
“Previous research has shown that genes that predispose people to alcohol use disorder also predispose them to experience more conflict in their close romantic relationships,” says first author Jessica Salvatore, an associate professor and director of the Genes, Environments and Neurodevelopment in Addictions Program at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Rutgers University.
“Based on this, we hypothesized that children who are exposed to divorce or parental relationship discord also inherit a genetic predisposition toward alcohol problems—and that experiencing these family adversities might be one pathway through which genetic risk for alcohol problems is passed from parents to their children.”
The researchers used The Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism—a large-scale family study designed to identify genes that affect the risk for alcohol use disorder and alcohol-related behaviors—and analyzed data from 4,846 people of European ancestry and 2,005 people of African ancestry who were interviewed when they were approximately age 30.
The researchers assessed whether participants had any symptoms of DSM-5 alcohol use disorder and studied predictors in their parents, including relationship discord, divorce, and alcohol use disorder symptoms, as well as a measure of their genetic predispositions for alcohol problems.
Read more here.
Tuesday, November 8, 2022
Monday, November 7, 2022
The last thing I need as a parent is another expert making me feel bad.
Thankfully, clinical psychologist Dr. Becky Kennedy proclaims parents are, and have always been, good inside — and so are kids. (She has three.)
In her new book, “Good Inside: A Guide to Becoming the Parent You Want to Be,” the expert known as the millennial “parenting whisperer” lays out a child-rearing approach that draws a distinction between identity and behavior.
So much evidence-based parenting advice is built on behavior-modification principles, she explained. But our goal is not to shape behavior; it’s to raise humans.
Kennedy shared her concrete strategies for parents to create the best of all worlds — strong relationships with the kids and improved cooperation. Her approach not only helps caregivers do better on the outside, it helps them feel better on the inside. Checking all these boxes is almost too many parenting wins to fathom.
Read more here.
Saturday, November 5, 2022
From PBS News Hour:
As the Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of the Indigenous Child Welfare Act, many Native Americans anxiously await the outcome. The law governs the removal of Native American children from their homes and where they are subsequently placed. It's an effort to keep them with other family members and their tribes. Stephanie Sy reports on the challenge that could dismantle it entirely.
Read more, and listen to the story, here.
Friday, November 4, 2022
A deluge of radio spots and mailers targeting transgender children is hitting swing-state voters as part of a broad ad campaign directed by prominent Trump administration alums.
Polling rarely registers transgender-related issues as a top priority for voters, with other topics like the economy and public safety taking the lead in this midterm cycle. But America First Legal, launched by longtime Donald Trump aide Stephen Miller, has plastered airwaves and mailboxes with the issue ahead of the election — all without mentioning candidates currently running for office, as both groups are registered nonprofits.
Read more here.