Respect for Dad


Dear So-Called Conservatives,

I know it is difficult to say anything good about Obama, but on Monday, Obama singed into law the BABIES Act which mandates that baby changing tables be installed in men’s rooms in publicly accessible Federal buildings.  These are buildings like courthouses, national museums, visitors centers at National Parks, etc.

This is good law.  Stop complaining about it.  When I go to a conservative leaning website that covered the news and the comments are filled with people bashing this law, it is infuriating.

For get about the trans issue.  Forget about mandating LGBT this or that.  This law helps responsible dads be responsible.  As a dad, it is frustrating when I go somewhere with my son and there is no place to change him in a men’s room.

For all the whining about “nanny state” that I see, this is completely within the purview of Federal authority.  The Federal Government has the power to control building codes (which is what this is) in Federal buildings.  They do all the time for things like security.  This act does not affect private enterprise.

At a personal level, I do thing that changing tables should be mandatory in men’s and women’s rooms in businesses that have restrooms available to the public, e.g. restaurants, movie theaters, etc.   It should be part of building codes.  Florida mandates, for instance, how much bathroom space you have to have for your occupancy.  There is nothing worse than going into a restaurant to find out it has one bathroom and people have to wait in line.  Illinois was like that.  That is bad building codes.

Even if it is not mandatory by code, it is just good customer service.  If you have highchairs and a kids menu and no place for me to change a baby, I’m gonna get pissed fast.  Yes, I have changed my son on the table in a Starbucks because it didn’t have a changing table in the men’s room.  That was a fun argument with the manager.

If you watch a bill be signed into law that makes it just a tad easier for dads to take care of their children, and your first instinct is to attack it because “liberal nanny state trans-lovers can’t leave our bathrooms alone,”  you really need to STFU and deal with your daddy issues.  And if you own a restaurant and have high chairs and kids menu, and no changing tables in the men’s room, I hope some dad like me changes a poopy diaper on your table because you’re a pig headed asshole.

J.Kb. out!


Update:  The first comment to this post brought up nanny states.  Let’s discuss.  I am a conservative, not an anarchist.  I believe there are good laws and bad laws.  Much of what separates a good law from a bad law is a cost benefit analysis.  Let’s take building codes.  Yes, it can be expensive to build to code.  But many codes exist for the safety of the public.  How to wire a building to prevent electrical fires.  Good law.

Mandating how big a soda a restaurant can sell is bad law.  High cost in loss of revenue, low benefit as limiting a patron to only a 20 oz Coke is not going to change his risk of a heart attack.  Mandating the temperature at which a restaurant keeps its refrigerators and freezers, and what cleaners it has to use is good law.  Low relative cost to do maintenance on restaurant equipment, vs. the high cost of causing an e coli outbreak.  Restroom size and baby changing space is a matter of hygiene.  The cost of a changing table is not much, a few hundred at the most.  The benefit is preventing disease to the baby or to other patrons by having an over flowing diaper leak onto places were food is placed.  Good law.

My family owns a restaurant, I am familiar with building and health codes.  Some are expensive and seem to have little value.  Others are important.  I want my tables wiped down with bleach water changed regularly.  Keeps it clean.  A damp rag used for an entire shift is just a vector for infection.

I’m not telling individuals how much TP that have to use, that is stupid.  I am saying that a business, open to the public, should make reasonable accommodations to the needs of families, which includes changing tables in men’s and women’s restrooms.  That is an ordinance that passes the cost benefit analysis sniff test.

There is a huge reasonable area between nanny state and anarchy.  Don’t fall for the false dichotomy.



  1. J.Kb., normally I agree with you. On this one, no. Nanny statism, no matter who it supposedly benefits, is a pox on these Former United States. Next up, how many squares of TP are we going to be allowed to wipe with? Please.

  2. Makes perfect sense to me. Doesn’t force anyone to modify their private life or any private businesses whatsoever (although some could argue it’s a precedent).

    • I think someone would have to stretch to say it’s precedent. I mean, the federal government basically is the owner/proprietor of those buildings, so if they aren’t saying what they want in them then who would be?

      That’s not really any different than a private business owner saying “my locations will have X facilities,” which is perfectly fine.

      Seems pretty basic and I don’t think it’ll have bearing on private business.

      • Agreed. If we’re talking precedent, it’s less of a stretch to say that per Title IX (which I know specifies education, but bear with me…), any facilities or equipment offered to one gender must be equally matched to the other. It’s usually leveraged to make sure girls’ sports opportunities and facilities are just as nice as boys’, but it swings both ways. Hence, baby-changing tables in women’s restrooms should be matched by baby-changing tables in men’s restrooms.

        And no, this is a federal law specifically affecting federal buildings. It is 100% within Congress’ and the President’s authority to enact this one.

  3. The federal government can dictate how federal buildings function, sure. I couldn’t care less how it runs the bathrooms in its own buildings. I just hope this doesn’t mean baby changing tables show up in the heads at Marine Corps boot camp. Let’s not hope they wrote it that retarded.

    But I disagree with your statement about supporting it for business. Private businesses is private, with private buildings, regardless of whether they invite the public in. That’s all it is: an invitation. You can choose another business if you want. As long as there’s a general expectation of safety (i.e. the roof isn’t gonna cave in, I’m not gonna catch ebola, etc.) then leave them alone beyond that.

    We have a thing called “choice”, and if you don’t like the bathroom facilities at one business then go to another. If there isn’t another business with appropriate facilities…then start one, and let the crappy one (no pun intended) fail while you make money. That’s a little thing called “opportunity”. If it doesn’t work out that way…then apparently their bathrooms weren’t bad enough for the public to care that much. Your issue was apparently not everyone’s issue…get over it.

    • THIS!!!

    • Believe me, I do pick and choose restaurants by baby friendliness. However, your free-for-all mentality disregards certain aspects of building and business code law. Poor hygiene and cleanliness causes the spread of disease. Not having a changing table available is like not having toilet paper or soap available in bathrooms.

      An overflowing diaper spreads fecal bacteria. If I go into a restaurant for the first time, and they have a kids menu, and then I take my son to the restroom and can’t change him, not is that just a risk to my son’s health but anybody else there if my son leaks through his diaper.

      I don’t think a bar needs a changing table. But a place with a kids menu does. There should be a minimum expectation of hygiene accessibility. It is public safety.

      • …apparently the hygiene issue is that you knowingly carry around something that leaks poop on a regular basis but don’t carry a simple hygienic medium to lay that something on as you fiddle with said leaking poop. Who doesn’t have a little mat or layer of plastic something in the diaper bag to change the baby on without leaving fecal matter on location?

        I mean, that’s even an issue WITH changing tables. Now I’m starting to believe changing tables are a bad idea IN GENERAL because it makes people like you change their baby’s diaper raw bottomed on the same surface 50 other babies will be changed on that day and that 50 others were changed on the day before…THAT is the risk to your son’s health, man.

      • I mean, toilets flush away fecal matter, sinks wash it off and down the drain and facilitate soaping…etc.

        Tables do none of these things. The are a convenient place only, they offer ZERO hygiene benefit. If you’re spreading fecal matter around when you change a diaper then the table is just another place to accept it…a place that is guaranteed to have been in contact with all babies before and after you. Your statement holds zero traction.

        If you’re not taking the same precautions you’d have to take on any other surface to not get your baby sick then you’re almost GUARANTEED to get them sick if you’re doing it on a public baby changing table. Same for spreading disease from your baby…you’re only guaranteeing that the next victim is a baby and that it’ll probably spread soon because it’s a highly trafficked area for that exact activity. The tables themselves offer no hygienic advantage whatsoever…they’re just tables…tables that see WAY more full-baby-diaper traffic than the average surface. Treat them as such.

        If anything the tables are just concentrating the baby changing traffic into one place and then convincing us to place more babies there to catch it.

        In fact it would be a logical hypothesis to say that the amount of disease spread would be 100% unaffected by changing tables (it’s the same amount of fecal matter left behind either way) or possibly upped by it (1 concentrated spot that is repeatedly used instead of it being less condensed into areas that are less likely too see further traffic between cleanings, less social pressure on the parent to clean the surface they used as thoroughly since it’s a spot specifically made for that purpose, false sense of security on the parent leading them to not think as much about finding a lesser trafficked spot to change the child, etc.).

  4. Bingo.

  5. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Unless it’s digital, but I haven’t seen any evidence of Obama being a robot, just an imbecile.

    Nearly 8 years ago congress was looking into the possibility of taxing driving distance to make up for fuel-efficient cars spending more time on the road per dollar of gasoline taxation. They were looking at making a GPS device for tracking driving distance mandatory, and having said device scanned at the gas station to add to the bill. Obama’s response was something along the lines of “No… no, guys.”

    For the record, I do see changing tables in most of the public bathrooms I’ve been in. But not all.

    If you object, consider this: Should handicapped-accessible stalls be mandated in public bathrooms?

  6. No. Just no. Using that argument is no different than the statists using the same argument to regulate with even more onerous restrictions, guns…because public safety. Negative Ghost Rider. Better you have your wife do it, or girlfriend, or boyfriend or nanny or whatever – or just simply frequent the restaurants that do provide the changing table for you. It’s really that simple.

  7. Most businesses have had these for years, and most major airports worldwide that I have visited also have them in the men’s rooms… This is probably the first common sense thing I’ve seen BO do… sigh

  8. It is also, from my perspective, a totally unnecessary law.

    I have not entered a publicly accessible Federal building that does not have a changing table in the gents in the last two decades. Maybe more. Even some buildings that are not generally accessible to the public have them. And, I have been in a lot of federally funded buildings as part of my job, and for personal reasons. So far, changing tables are the norm, not the exception.

    These things are already there, for the most part. Are they universal? No, but they are close to it.

    The changing tables are there because of market demand, not because Obama says they are a good idea.

    • I have not entered a publicly accessible Federal building that does not have a changing table in the gents in the last two decades.

      Just because you haven’t been in one doesn’t mean they don’t exist; just that you haven’t been in one.

      Unfortunately, I have. And I’ve had to change a baby on the counter next to the sink (after wiping the seemingly-standard half-gallon of standing water off of it, one-handed … how often are these restrooms checked, again?). They remedied that situation before this law, but it did cause a lot of men headaches.

      • “Just because you haven’t been in one doesn’t mean they don’t exist; just that you haven’t been in one.”

        Yep, I agree with that sentiment. And, I acknowledge that my evidence is anecdotal.

        I still stand by my assessment that this law is not necessary. It does not fix a problem that is not already being fixed by public demand.

  9. I have found it very difficult to find suitable table room for cleaning pistols and rifles in public establishments. I, for one, would like to express my appreciation to our federal overlords for providing such and suggest extending this outreach to include Hoppe’s and patches in various sizes.

  10. As Obama would say: “Let me be clear…”. I could care less what the USG regulates inside their own buildings…but to do as J.Kb. suggests, regulating changing tables in other buildings/entities, is. That better?

  11. It’s rare stuff like this that makes me tell the political pollsters that, on a scale of 0-100, Obama gets a low-but-non-zero (usually 5-10) response. He occasionally does something right.

    Here’s the way I see it, for all you “conservatives” who see this as “nanny-statism”: You want financial dependence on the government to end (or at least, be reduced), right? For that to happen, you need intact families, including dads that stay in the picture, right? For that, you probably want it to be easier for a dad to stay with his kids and their mom than it is to leave, right?

    So why are you standing against a law making it easier for dads to take care of their babies? Especially by railing against a law that only affects publicly-accessible federal buildings, which the federal government has every authority to manage? I’m not saying that dads will leave their baby-mommas over not having a changing table in the mens’ room, but why shouldn’t we make the necessary act of changing diapers — again, ONLY in publicly-accessible federal buildings — as convenient for dads as it is for moms?

  12. I’ll tell you why. Because it’s NOT the Federal godvernment’s job to mandate crap in the private sector. Please show me that in the Constitution if I am wrong. Why not just go to the places you dig the most that have the changing tables. Here is some breaking news:. your situation as a father will change rapidly – you won’t be changing baby forever. Bit the laws you want enacted changed things forever.

    So…. let’s not stop with changing tables for baby daddies. Let’s make these private establishments confirm to baby mommas that want to stand and pee…let’s mandate standing urinals for women so they have the ootion! I mean after all, because micro-agression.

    Good grief.

    • Sorry for the typos…

    • “I’ll tell you why. Because it’s NOT the Federal godvernment’s job to mandate crap in the private sector. Please show me that in the Constitution if I am wrong.”

      Congress would claim it is the Commerce Clause that allows them to impose these things on private industry.

      I adamantly disagree with that, but there are way too many nanny state laws passed that point to Congress’ right to regulate commerce between the states as the legal justification. The ridiculous conclusion of that thinking is evidenced by the EPA claim that they can regulate in-state power plants emissions because carbon dioxide can drift across a state border. (Not talking about the sale of energy via the power grid here, talking about atmospheric gasses.) Camel’s nose…

  13. Why after thousand of years do we suddenly need changing tables? Using the logic stated I would much rather have you change them outside of the building near a toxic waste site. I don’t care to see or smell your offspring’s waste products!

  14. This is no different than a private property owner mandating changing stations in every restroom in properties they own. Most malls, restaurants, etc do this already. Not sure if in specific jurisdictions if it’s a requirement or not, but it’s just good business sense.

  15. Notice, I said nothing about Congress’ “interpretation” of the Constitution backed up by 9 robed thugs. I said “the Constitution” says nothing about it. And IT DOESN’T. I’m well aware of the abuse of the ‘commerce clause’.

  16. I’m a full-time working mom. As a cop, I work odd hours, and my husband often has our kids with him. Almost no gas stations, restaurants, or stores have changing tables in men’s rooms. He is delighted when one does. My brother-in-law is a single dad. Where is he supposed to change a diaper? AND DON’T SAY IN THE CAR!!! Have you ever tried to change a massive poop in the car in below-freezing temps? NOT HAPPENING! I’m not into government regulating every detail of our lives, but this is a good law to help parents-kind of like laws the require handicap restrooms. Maybe President Obama was hands-on enough with is own daughters as babies to recognize the issues dads face.

  17. I was and remain a very ‘hands on’ Dad as well. But no, you are wrong. It’s BS law. More meddling by the G is never good. Ever.

Feel free to express your opinions. Trolling, overly cussing and Internet Commandos will not be tolerated .

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