Blog Guidelines

★ No bullying or threats allowed.
★ No putting down other sites or bloggers.
★ Most comments by "anonymous" are deleted.
 Your comment is more likely to be published if you own it. 

RSS Feeds
Polly's Book


Kindle Edition:

Al's Book
Powered By
Powered by Squarespace
« Jon Steps Up...We're Proud Of You Jon! | Main | This is Not Child's Play »

Child Labor Law Hearings ~ Harrisburg PA ~ 9/23/10

On Wednesday, Irene Smith from Mississippi and Sherry T. from Ohio came to my little town of Wernersville PA.  I gave them the grand tour of our little burg, which takes of all ten minutes, and they enjoyed an Italian sandwich from CC's (made famous in the Al Walentis book The Secret World of Jon and kate:  The Stupidest Story in the History of the Universe and the People Who Covered It, click at image on right to buy) while I lunched on lighter fare and antibiotics to ease my sinus-infection and strep-throat ridden stomach.  I presented Irene with a gag gift I made for her, based on her name for the main drag of Wernersville, or to quote Kate Gosselin, Ghettoville.   Here is Irene, proudly displaying her nifty gift.

After lunch the three of us drove to Harrisburg for the next day's hearings on House Bill 2515, Rep. Thomas Murt's legislation drafted to address deficiencies in PA's child labor law as it relates to television and film productions in the Commonwealth.  At our hotel in Harrisburg we met up with Janet Palazzatto and Paul Petersen of A Minor Consideration, and Dr. Jay Shankman of New York and Marianne of Pittsburg, two more supporters of the new legislation.  Later we all headed out to dinner where we met up with others who either support the bill or were scheduled to testify on its behalf the next day.

From the left:  Rep Tom Murt, Janet Palazzotto of A Minor Consideration, Sherry T.,  Werny Gal/Polly kahl,  Dr Jay Shankman,  Paul Petersen, Alison Arngrim, Irene Smith, Marianne from Pittsburg, and Jon Provost.  Paul, as most of you know, played Jeff Stone on The Donna Reed Show, Alison Arngrim played Nellie on Little House on the Prairie and John Provost played Timmy on Lassie.  Alison is also involved with a wonderful organization called Protect.

Paul was surprised with a wee slice of cake embellished with a small jukebox (in appreciation of his hit records from when he was a best-selling superstar hottie, not that he's not still a hottie) and we all sang a riotous version of Happy Birthday to him, in unison if not in tune.   A Minor Consideration had been meeting with legislators all day and it was nice to see them relaxing before the hearings the next morning.  Later, back at the hotel, Irene, Sherry and I had a long soothing swim in the hotel pool before collapsing into our cozy beds.

Two bills addressing the needs of children in entertainment in PA are now up for consideration.  Bill 19 was drafted in response to Bill 2515.  Between the two of them, they offer several solid solutions to some of the legal lackings in our current child labor laws.   Hopefully both sides can come together on this non-partisan issue and unite the strongest elements of both bills to create fair and stringent laws protecting children in entertainment in PA. 

Unfortunately, I was too ill to attend the hearings, although I was able to watch the second half on a live feed online from my luxurious hotel bed.  I will post a link to the hearings as soon as it is made available again online.  I would have loved to have been there physically, to support my friends who have worked so hard on behalf of this important legislation, and I also would have liked to have personally met the Kreiders to thank them for their courage in testifying at the April hearings.  Still, I felt very blessed to have been able to enjoy dinner, including both serious conversations and a great deal of laughter, with such a sincere, hard working and dedicated group of child advocates.

Although this entire situation (the family conflicts, the media frenzy, the divorce, etc.) has no doubt been very hard on the Gosselins, I hope some day they will look back and realize that because of their filming in PA, legislators here have been given a valuable opportunity to update our very outdated (and in some cases, nonexistant) child labor laws.   Even without their direct testimonies, the Gosselins will always be an important part of PA history of which they can be proud:  Improving the future lives of many children in this State by contributing to laws which make it a safe and child-friendly place to not only live, but to work as well. 

Reader Comments (85)

Well, how great was that? Hope you all had a wonderful time -- you certainly look as though you did! :-).

I have hopes for the new PA legislation. Are you guys also optimistic, post the hearing?

Is any testimony other than the DOLI's on line? I only managed to catch the last 10 minutes of the live-stream. Darn, work! It gets in the way.

Best wishes, and thanks to all.

September 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJill P.

Hi Jill, I just put my final touches on the post in case you want to re-read it. Yes, we all had a great time, lots of talking, sharing, a good combo of serious discussions and laughter, and lots of solution-seeking. I'm sure Irene and Sherry will be popping in to fill in some more info. I am still sick and am thinking I need to get better meds tomorrow since I've been out of it for five days now. Irene summed it up best when she described everyone as classy and down to earth. Rep Murt (or Tom as I now call him) is a very nice, sincere and caring person who I am proud to have on the PA payroll. This is truly an exceptional group of people. It was also pretty damned funny seeing the waiter just about wet his pants over Alison. He was all verklempt. He's going to be talking about that night for a long time. : )

There is a lot of work to be done but I think I can safely say everyone left optimistic. It's hard to go wrong when there is such a smart dedicated group of folks coming together for such a good cause. Anyone who cares about kids has to agree there's no downside to this legislation.

September 26, 2010 | Registered CommenterWerny Gal

That was a great post! Kudos to you, Irene and Sherry for taking the time to show up and support this cause not just online but also in person. As you said, the Gosselins have the privilege of knowing they've made life better for the generations to come after them. We don't always understand as we're going through things what positives will come out of it, but I personally believe God works all things for the good in the end.

So thank you, Jon and Kate, Cara, Mady, Aaden, Collin, Joel, Hannah, Alexis and Leah. Without you, this cause might never have been. Thank you for bringing attention to the plight of children in reality programming, for good or bad.

September 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersilimom

Thanks silimom, it was a momentous occasion, even if partially seen from my hotel bed. The bill will be worked on for the next couple of months and then be ready for voting around January. Next time, no bed for me! I'll be there even if they have to wheel me in on a gurney. Lordee bee!

September 26, 2010 | Registered CommenterWerny Gal

Thank you for the update and info, WG. I'm so sorry you're not feeling well. Please take care of yourself and get some rest!

Irene and Sherry have been voices for the Gosselin children since day one and their commitment (obviously yours too, WG) is commendable!

How awesome it must have been to meet with such fascinating people! I would have loved to have been there and heard those conversations. Thanks again, WG....but call your Dr. tomorrow and get stronger antibiotics!!! (that was a loving yell ;) )

September 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermommyinca

WG - I'm so sorry to hear you are so sick. Sinus infections are B-R-U-T-A-L and I tend to get one about this time of year as well (and in the spring - the seasons changing usually triggers them for me). I always know when I have one because I suddenly will have ZERO energy. Like I could sleep for days and days. They can also be life threatening. A man from our church got a sinus infection that went into his brain. He nearly died 3 times. He was a successful banker, he had to retire and he and his sweet wife lost their home due to all of their mounting medical bills (she was also diagnosed with breast cancer while he was fighting to stay alive!). I don't think most people realize just how serious they can get if not treated. Sounds like you are doing all that you can though to treat yours and I hope the meds start working soon. I'm so sorry you feel so bad. :-(

Thinking about that couple from my church made me think about Kate and how she would absolutely lose her mind if something like that happened to her. This couple is just precious. They were obviously used to a certain way of living with him being a successful banker and then within a year, their whole world changed completely. He's in ICU fighting for his life and she's in surgery - literally at the same time - having a mastectomy. They lose their home to foreclosure because he loses his job and their medical bills overwhelm them. BUT...they are a grateful and humble couple. They are grateful they are still alive and still have each other. Losing their home and lifestyle is not as important as having each other, their faith and their health back. It's such a contrast to someone like Kate. She wouldn't know grateful if it walked up and slapped her in the face. And a situation like this would cause her to have to be fitted with a nice little white jacket to be worn in her new padded bedroom. She wouldn't know how to handle it because she has no humility and awareness of the reality of life.

Hoping you feel better soon. I'll pray for healing and strength.


September 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

Once a parent has sold out the children's anonymity, who is libel for their security concerns as they grow-up? Has anyone considered that added and ongoing financial issue??

September 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatE

Thanks for your warm wishes, gals. I do feel a little better after a great night's sleep last night, and I only have two appointments today, so I can get more rest, which seems to be the biggest cure. That infection in the brain thing is very scary! I almost wish I didn't know, but I it's always better to be overinformed than underinformed IMO.

Yes, the dinner was full of great conversations. I really hit it off with Alison because our childhoods were similar and we've both done standup so I had a bunch of questions about that. She is naturally funny and has a good positive attitude but also this direct no-BS way about her that I really like. And it's always educational and interesting talking with Paul. He's so smart and has a great heart and is totally honest. I do wish I'd gotten to talk with Mariann from Pittsburg and Jon provost more, but they were both at the other end of the table and everyone down there was having as good a time as we were up at our end.

PatE, I assume that once they're out of the nest, they are responsible. It's not like the president's kids who can have the Secret Service for the next few years, and it's not like TLC is going to care once the contract ends. Heck, it's not like they care now, according to the list in my last entry. I wrote about this in my chapter in Al's book. There are many examples of reality TV participants who are just left out in the cold once the show is over, and they have been unprepared for all of the emotional fallout, such as being recognized for years afterward and all of the consequences of that. In many cases it has been devastating and several former participants have committed suicide. (This is NOT child's play.)

Thanks for your support and have a great day, everyone.

September 27, 2010 | Registered CommenterWerny Gal

Hi Werny Gal- How wonderful for you, Irene and Sherry. I'd like to thank all 3 of you for taking the time to attend these hearings. I hope you are feeling better soon WG. Take care!

September 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiane F.

One more thing....I just read that the children were only filmed from the waist up naked....NOT truth. In one episode, Kate was changing one of the girls, and it showed the whole side view, and just enough at an angle that it showed, a bit of the pubis mon. I was watching the episodes on netflix a few weeks ago, and was really surprised at how much it showed. I guess when I was watching the shows as they aired, I was not sensitized to the exploitation of the children.
If I had the time, I when would go back and watch them again and find the exact episode. Another example of Kate not protecting those kids!!!!

Again, it's the kids that need bodyguards, not Kate.

September 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatE

Thank you all for your hard work. We are hopeful that every state in the Union will adopt some kind of protection for all children in showbiz. Hope you are feeling better soon. I just know that someday the Gosselin children will ask, "Where is our money?"

September 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I thank you and the others also for having the courage and convictions to carry this on.
It really impressed me to see all the "power" at that dinner table!
To know there is finally someone(s) with such knowledge and power to help protect our children is wonderful.
January cannot come fast enough to get some action finally and hopefully!
I so admire Paul P and all he is doing and getting others to help to protect children.
To finally see a politician helping is also wonderful. Of course, the other actors who know only too well what the industry can do and does to children. No one can dispute their actual experiences and lives.

I hope the stories are true and the program is finally finished and that Jon gets control of his children and with good help & support like it appears Ellen is giving, turns things around enough to undo some of the damage already done. Kate will continue to put herself first no matter how she tries to spin it and I do not feel she has the true maternal instinct needed to raise them alone. I already see signs of entitlement from the kids but there is still time to correct that. They all have the natural goodness in them and with help will do better.

Again, with sites like this a lot of good can happen and thanks to all who help.

September 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersftk

Werny Gal, Thanks for the update. I am so glad you got to be there despite your nasty sinuses. Hope you feel better soon!!!

September 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMerette

WG - I didn't mean to scare you with the brain infection story. I do think his ordeal was rare and it kind of snuck up on him. I had never heard of a brain infection as a result of a sinus infection before either. I think getting the sinus infection under control with treatment - as you are doing - is obviously key. I don't know how pro-active he was in getting treatment initially and that may have played a role in the spread of the infection, but who knows? I have heard of strep spreading to the brain and spinal cord before and wrecking havok on the body, but not the sinus infection deal. Crazy stuff. Glad you are being pro-active in getting yours under control.

Thanks for being an unofficial advocate for the Gosselin children. I have a sense that the tide is turning and that Kate's number is finally up. I'm not sure why, but I am just getting a vibe that the end of the line for her and her "fame" is near. One can only hope.

Hope you are feeling tons better soon! :-)

September 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

Hi Neighbors!

Wernygal, Love the blog post about your experience last week. It was such a pleasure to get to meet you. You were so gracious with your time & your heart. It was a very positive experience & all the moms & dads out there who have tirelessly tried to expose the truth that these kids are WORKING are such an inspiration. This has been brought to the light.

David Z graciously posted Sherry & I's experience on the trip. We hope you enjoy...

September 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIrene

Thanks Heather, I am starting to feel better now. This sinus infection was a doozy. And although some might not agree, my brain still isn't infected. : )

Looking forward to reading it, Irene. I'll go do that now.

Must go to work and looking forward to lunch with a good friend. Have a wonderful day, all.

September 28, 2010 | Registered CommenterWerny Gal

Sorry I have been missing again. But I have determined that I am suffering from Fixation Overload. Now that I've figured out what the problem is... I used to only fixate on Scott. Now there is Scott, Grey's Anatomy, Gosselins, Facebook Privacy, new TV season, friends on Facebook (friends in Real Life too - went out Sunday for what was meant to be 2 hours but ended up being 6. fun though!), ducks, bunnies... Every time I get to one, I find myself apologizing for being absent, due to doing one or more of the others.

I just found out yesterday that Irene and Sherry went to PA! Read their reports last night on Z (thanks guys - if it wasn't in one place I would have missed it) and am just getting here now.

Skimming, sounds like you guys had fun while dealing with the serious business, and appreciate you going, as someone put it, on our behalf. Sorry for the illness :-(

I'm off to read this post now - in between visits to the bathroom to see the bunny (I'm allergic, which means she needs to be in one room, and bunnies need attention, so I have to go visit her frequently. Hopefully when Florida cools, we can play outside more.

September 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPamelaJaye

HI Pamela, thanks, I am almost back to normal now. It's always great hearing from you and also about your bunny and duck adventures. : )

September 28, 2010 | Registered CommenterWerny Gal

Hey Wernygal

All I have to say is that I believe friendships have been made that will last a lifetime and seeing people come together like this from all over and watching these two crazy mommas with their road trip, like Where's Waldo, suddenly drop into Harrisburg and know we are all there for the same reason, the kids, just makes you realize how special life is sometimes!

This is all all good. We've managed to expose the industry for what they are..all about the money and how they avoid at all costs child labor laws/regulations and basically treat kids as if they were living props whereas so many believed they were all protected while they work.

The reality TV kids may be the ones that will end up bringing this to Washington as many of the legislative members in PA talked about Federal standards. They are the ones that are being swallowed whole by this industry with no safety net at all. The kids are the trailblazers..showing us where the voids are but we just want them to know that there WILL BE support for them when they get older and try and sort through all of this! No one's going anywhere for a long time.

I can't explain what Harrisburg was all, work, friendships, new beginnings for this industry, awareness, support, just being silly and relaxing..spending time with three of the best advocates in the biz whose insight is priceless..Paul, John and Alison and who are giving back to the community, helping all of the kids who don't have a voice and realizing when you all have something in common like the just all falls into place and I think it felt like we've all known one another for years!

Love the photos...glad everyone is home safe and sound and had a wonderful time in PA! Rep Murt couldn't have been more welcoming as well. I have no doubt his office staff actually enjoy going to work in the morning and the a mini Washington DC inside the buildings!

great trip..progress made, it's all good!!

Thanks to everyone who helped..

September 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJanet

I'm partially back ;-) I've read the post but not all of the comments. But everytime I turn around I read something that makes me want to reply! If I wait till the end, I forget half of them.

Werny - glad to hear your infection is improving. I don't know if I've had an infection, per se, but since I was 26, I've had sinus issues. (never before that). Today its just intense pressure (which somehow causes pressure in other parts of my body - like hands pressing down on my shoulders as well as my face) other times it's outright pain, and sometimes it progresses to sinus headache which could split your skull open from the pain. They have been known to last up to 3 days. And even then, I assume, they are not as bad as migraines - which I have never had. (for bonus points I'm fairly sure I pissed off my dentist by confronting him with some issues (he also ran a bible study and the issues related to that) and I have a broken tooth and an inflamed other tooth, and no dentist and can't really afford one. For the win: the inflamed tooth is right under the sinus)
Still it was sad you had to miss the hearings but I'm glad you did get to meet some other advocates, who I deeply admire (Sherry, Irene, yourself ;-) and have dinner.

I really liked Alison's statement - the part I read (Sherry, I think,posted it on Z's blog) My friend Kay had quite the positive reaction as well.

I remember what it's like going out with a large group and just wanting to get to talk to everyone, but the seating doesn't cooperate! I've never found a solution to that but I have been there.

Yesterday when I was trying to test out a new Facebook "feature" - it now takes 6 steps to completely get rid of a friend request - I tried it out of the first person who sent a request. I was just about at step 6 - delete request - when I realize Mickey was a Gosselin person, not a duck person, and went back and confirmed her.

(So many groups, so little time. Seriously, I think that if all my fixations didn't come with their own batch of people to communicate with, I'd spend less time (If I were just reading and moving on) but I do like the Community that comes along with my fixations - I like to talk to the people I meet, and I like to discuss things.)

And finally for now, (is Sherry here?) apologies on not getting the message in time on how to shut off notifications on Facebook, which Barbee needed. I do know how, I just didn't see it. And I may not have the money or strength to go to PA but at least I could serve with some techie info, but I missed it and probably did not reply till after you left town. Oops. (If Sherry's not here, someone pass that on.)

Oh Mickey - I saw your link to People and spent like half an hour trying to get myself logged *out* of People. I had to log out of Facebook and kill and amazing amount of tentacles - I mean Facebook cookies, and then of course one cannot reply on *without* a Facebook account. (I need to pass that on to my privacy clan). So that took a while. But yes - it was a vomit inducing pack of lies as usual. Thank goodness Kate doesn't cause my blood pressure to rise or I'd have been long since dead.

As for Duck and Bunny
Here is a non-live link to a pic of me and the pets in the backyard from last week.
You might also be able to click on my name at the bottom of this post and get to it, without having to copy/paste.

The Bunny, Anya, is still acclimating to her new home. Her Mum is still acclimating her ferocious allergies to the bunny. So far, since we got the HEPA air cleaner, after the need for more intense drugs than usual on the first night, I have not needed any more nebs, which is a definite YAY! but we will see as fall closes in. Fall is the time I used to always get very sick and then recover to find my pet had been re-homed while I was in bed. She's adorable and I really want to get to keep her. Also she's adopted and I don't want her to get foster care whiplash.

September 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPamelaJaye

You are truly an inspiration, Janet. You truly are.

PamelaJaye, you are adorable with Snuggles and Anya. I can only imagine the stress of getting well only to discover your babies have been placed in new homes. Do you do rescue work? I've always had the impression these are your permanent babies. I'd like to put on my shorts and tee and sit on the ground with you and have Snuggles and Anya walk all over me...sweet!

September 28, 2010 | Registered CommenterWerny Gal

Pamela Jaye:

You are correct, both People and Facebook are intertwined. This can be a good or bad thing depending upon your POV.

Too funny, I read about the comments on the People site on 15 Minutes so I decided to go over to that site to check them out and was surprised to see my real name is already there under the comments section! So I had to leave People, go to Facebook, log off under my real name, re log on under Mickey McKean, and go back to the People site.

All this trouble just to let them know that I am not that blonde not to know photoshopping when I see it as well as to mention that I no longer buy their magazine!


September 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMickey McKean

Werny Gal, Irene and Sherry T:

High 5 to you guys for attending this hearing, especially you Irene based upon the number of miles you drove just to be there.

It is one thing to sit and blog for hours, but another to put forth the extra effort required to help make a difference that will impact the lives of children - not just the Gosselin 8 - but all children in reality TV, today and in the future.

If nothing else, just know that you guys will always have the memory of being part of this time, where TV history will be changed forever in the best interests of all children.

I think we all agree that the Gosselin train wreck is running out of tracks, and it is just a matter of time before the G8 will be off TV, that is, if K+8 has not already been quietly canceled already by TLC.


September 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMickey McKean

I had posted earlier that I have a sense that Kate's number is up. "Stick a fork in it" is the vibe I'm getting from the internet sites/blogs and magazine/newspaper articles. I could be wrong and this could be the calm before the storm, but that's my overall sense. Kate hasn't been photographed out anywhere in almost a week and I believe the backlash from the R&K interview, followed by her Mexico trip/People article are the culprit. I have always said she would be her own undoing.


September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

Good Morning Neighbors,

Thanks for all the kind thoughts and what a team of people all over raising awareness for the kids. The bloggers are a part of that. Many bloggers were raising red flags long ago and now the awareness has been brought to the light.

The absolute best part of the entire trip was the palpable feeling that legislators are understanding that the PA 1915 law is outdated, not comprehensive enough, and that with over 192 productions in Pennsylvania since 2001 alone there has to be change. And, that theme could be replicated throughout all people we came in contact with on the trip.

*The biggest reason we support HB 2515 (Rep Murt's bill) is because it has the Studio Teacher. That is vital to any legislation going forward. If you don't have a 3rd party you really don't have protections necessary for the children's health, welfare and education. HB 19 does not provide for that. Hence, that is my running joke of it being written by a TLC lobbyist on a Happy hour napkin.

Oh, and btw Wernersville is not ghettoville...Kate doesn't tell the truth...but we sized her up a long time ago.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIrene

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>