published Friday, May 10th, 2013

Short takes: Nuclear protesters, pill politics and mothers' work

  • photo
    Activist Sister Megan Rice attends a rally by supporters before her trial with fellow anti-nuclear weapons activists in Knoxville.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

No good deed goes unpunished

Sister Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed were found guilty this week in federal court of depredation of government property and a rarely used count of injuring or obstructing the national defense. Instead they should be rewarded.

The three, collectively known as the Transform Now Plowshares, broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex on the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge Reservation in the early morning hours of July 28, 2012.

Rice, a nun, is 83. The other two are 63 and 57. They surprised everyone, including themselves, when they managed to penetrate the high-security core of the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge last summer to stage a several-hour, peaceful protest at the foot of the nation's storehouse for bomb-grade uranium.

Rather than prosecuting them, perhaps the security chief should have been tried, and the protesters should be receiving medals.

After all, they could have been real terrorists.

It's a pill

It's a pill to read politics into the Plan B One Step emergency contraception debate.

Moralists and some conservatives argue that taking the drug -- a contraceptive, not an abortion pill -- out from behind the counter and putting it on the shelves alongside condoms and allowing teens as young as 15 to buy it puts adult decisions in the hands of children. After all, 15-year-olds can't even drive, and usually have to get parental OK for an aspirin at school.

Reality check: Are there age limits on buying condoms? Is there an age limit on watching rerun episodes of "Friends" or any TV show that makes sex attractive and normal? Why not just petition God to change the biological clock on girls and boys so that they don't become sexually aware and interested until they are 30?

The fact is, 15-year-olds are at risk. Period. Many of our grandmothers and most of our great-grandmothers were married somewhere between 14 and 19.

Nothing here should be construed as encouragement for young girls not to practice abstinence, or at least safe sex. But look at the numbers. A 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that 53 percent of Hamilton County female high schooler students have had a sexual experience. And Tennessee is among 15 states with the highest teen birth rates: 43.2 births per 1,000 teen girls. Georgia's rate was 41.4 per 1,000.

Parents, talk to your children. Maybe this pill sitting on the shelf beside condoms will motivate you.

Head Start or head in the sand?

The sequester -- a.k.a. Congress' short-sighted war on the poor -- means 64 low-income, at-risk youngsters will be cut from Head Start's early learning program at the end of May when the North Chattanooga Head Start site closes.

This early intervention education program aimed at children unlikely to get much school preparation on their own, costs about $7,000 a year per child.

That cost can pay for itself many times over when children start first grade with a leg up on learning. Why? Because that classroom readiness means public school classes aren't slowed, according to educators. But in Chattanooga, where the Head Start program is among the nation's best, 622 seats will be reduced by 50 this year, and another 14 slots will be cut from the 226 infants and toddlers served by the Early Head Start in-home program here.

It's a cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face approach to money savings.

Pay parity for moms

Don't forget Mother's Day. If you do, you might get a bill.'s 2013's annual Mom's Paycheck survey took data from 6,000 people to compute hours spent as van drivers, laundry operators, cooks, psychologists, homework tutors, etc.

Stay-at-home moms work an average of 94 hours, and if given median wage rates for similar jobs in private business, they should earn $133,586 a year.

Working moms log an additional 58 hours of work at home and should earn $67,435 annually.

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conservative said...

Yikes! Only a Liberal would defend the indefensible.

If these 2 men and 1 heretical nun had been shot to death the writer would probably have complained that they only had gotten through a chain link fence, splattered some blood on the walls, hung a banner, and hammered off some brick. After all they didn't get inside the facility! Why is that such a big deal?

Trespassing and damaging and defacing government property is no big deal, right?

They are anti nuke kooks like most Liberals, have shown no remorse and I am glad a jury quickly found them guilty and that they were shackled and are still in jail. I hope they get long sentences and I hope their prison's electricity is generated by a nuclear plant!

May 11, 2013 at 8:38 a.m.
conservative said...

This very Liberal writer informs us of the injustice of motherhood, it is all work, all the time and she "should" be paid $133,586 a year if she doesn't work outside the home or she "should" earn the additional sum of $67,435 if she does work outside the home.

This is the thinking of a bitter and resentful woman who has been indoctrinated by some extreme Socialist website.

Does this extreme Socialist country/society even exist anywhere in the world?

May 11, 2013 at 9:31 a.m.

Pay parity for moms....... While you are at it could you do a pay parity for the single man? I work as well, work for your children. I pay double taxes for living in the city limits, most goes to help raise and educate your children. I pay more in federal taxes. Again this is to help pay for your chilrdren's education, school lunches, headstart, WIC, daycare and so forth. Could you do a piece on how unfair it is to force me to pay for the breeding habits of others who cannot afford to support the offspring they bring into this world or would you rather repeat how fortunate I am to make enough to be able to pay income tax, city tax, county tax, sales tax, and payroll taxes not due to the choices I made in life but because of luck?

May 12, 2013 at 12:29 a.m.
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