Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

A new mom at Yahoo Shine bemoaned living far away from family. When I first became a mom this was one of the factors that had me depressed — along with sleep deprivation. I regretted not giving my children the gift of grandparents and extended family, not to mention, felt envious of friends who could drop off their kids to family for much-needed respite. But now that my kids are older, they are easier. Also, I have come to love the family we have created in California, largely other friends with children. The kids are growing up together, and it has been awesome to watch. They are all family for life.

Without prompting, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama were considered the most admired man and woman in 2011, according to a Gallup poll.

Dana over at Mombian wrote a story about the lack of LGBT biographies for children. Good point.

In the Washington D.C. area, black students were two to five times as likely to be suspended or expelled from school than white students, according to the Washington Post.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Thursday Open Thread

Happy Thursday!

I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait for the election on November 2 – if only to get the f’en campaign commercials to STOP!! I am so sick of seeing the same commercials over and over AND OVER again! Please lord, make them GO AWAY!

By the way, do you know what the difference is between Meg Whitman and Jennifer Grey? Four years. Yup. Meg Whitman is only four years older than Jennifer Grey. I know, I know. I’m being petty. It’s those damn commercials I tell ya!

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According to US Magazine, The Parents Television Council isn’t too happy with GQ’s latest cover featuring a few members of the cast of Glee, and issued the following statement:

“By authorizing this kind of near-pornographic display, the creators of the program have established their intentions on the show’s direction,” the statement concludes. “And it isn’t good for families.”

The cast members featured on the November cover of GQ are all of age. In fact, both Dianna Agron and Lea Michele are both 24, and Cory Monteith is 28 – BUT, they all play high school students are are dressed pretty provocatively in this issue. What do you think? Cause for concern? Is this issue courting pedophiles?

Also according to

US Magazine, seems that Beyonce and Jay-Z are expecting their first baby! Congrats to the happy couple!


Now, I feel that I must address an issue that is very personal to me, and perhaps just as personal to you: that of our President, Barack Obama. When I wrote last week about my disappointment with this administration’s decision to appeal the historic DADT ruling, I didn’t mean to imply that I was anti-Obama. I’m just a little confused, and, dare I say, more than a little uninspired.

Let’s go back – WAY back to the presidential primaries. Some people campaigned hard for Barack Obama (me included!), and some people campaigned hard for Hillary Clinton. Regardless of whether Obama or Clinton would have gotten the nomination, it would have been a momentous and historic event. One, a black candidate; the other, a woman.

Personally, I hate the terms: “drinking the Obama Kool-Aid” and ““How’s that hopey changey thing working out for ya?” because they are part of the Republican meme that I don’t subscribe to, along with many other aspects. For example, I have a friend who said that he voted for McCain during the Presidential election even though he, “hates Sarah Palin.” Because he believes very strongly in the military and that every “man” should have a military record – and since all Obama had was a history of being a “community organizer” and no military record, he wasn’t qualified in his eyes. So I asked him what his ranking was and in what branch of the military he served? He gave me a blank look because of course HE DIDN’T SERVE IN THE MILITARY!!!

Another Republican I know is all for keeping the Bush tax cuts because, “making $250,000 in a year is not that much!!” Mind you, he doesn’t even make a quarter of that, doesn’t own any property, and wouldn’t benefit from these cuts. I. DON’T. GET. IT.

Look, we can speculate all day and night about how much better Hillary would be as President, but truth be told if she would have won the election, the Obama supporters would be doing the same thing. No one knows how hard the job is until they are the one sitting in the Oval office. Does this mean that I am going to go to my car and peel off my Obama bumper stickers? No. I still believe in the man I voted for – we’ve just got to turn up the heat. Does that mean I am going to give good ol’ Barry a free pass for falling short of his campaign promises and letting down his base? No. He has to remember who put him in office, and I hope to god he does. And, if he doesn’t remember – it’s up to us to remind him, and that’s what I intend to do.

With that said, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is sure making President Obama look bad. Have you seen her “Tomorrow Will Be Better” video? If you haven’t, here it is:

It sure would be nice to get one from the POTUS…just sayin’.

The bottom line is that we’ve had eight years of two very corrupt men digging us into a hole. The current administration has only had two years to fill it.

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Tuesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Besides a plate-full of work and travel, this is on my mind: a murder took place at the end of my street. One of my neighbors wrote about it in the Examiner, and that is all we are talking about in my neighborhood. A Chilean visitor was killed in front of his fiancée by two men and a woman in a getaway car — for no reason, not even a botched robbery. My heart goes out to their families. A crime watch group is getting together with law enforcement and the mayor this Sunday to hopefully get answers for them — and for us as there are loose killers prowling around our area. It really is a sucky situation all around.

In lighter (better) news, many thanks to those of you who called your members of Congress in support of the DREAM Act, which would grant conditional residency to undocumented college students and those who wish to serve in the U.S. military. The bill is scheduled for a vote this week. The Citizen Orange blog, which has worked fervently on this issue, ran video clips of President Obama’s support for the legislation.

Here is another reminder that MomsRising.org is collecting healthcare stories and analysis for a blog carnival. If you are a blogger and want to boost your traffic numbers, or you’d like to dip your toe in blogging, this is a great forum for it. MomsRising’s blog carnivals are read and tweeted by hundreds of thousands, if not millions, including celebrities. Jessica Alba tweeted our last blog carnival on immigration!

This time, actress and health advocate Fran Drescher (The Nanny) will send out tweets in support of the healthcare blog carnival as well as “tweetchatting” with MomsRising members on Thursday, 12 p.m. PST/3 p.m. EST. If you are interested in writing a blog post for the carnival, shoot me an e-mail at elisa at mothertalkers dot com. If you’d like to join Fran at the live tweetchat, go to www.tweetchat.com and use the hashtag #hcrparty.

Kudos to President Obama for appointing Elizabeth Warren as head of the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Here is a New York Daily News article about her. I have family members under water with their homes and preyed on by loan modification companies, which almost always are scams. They offer to cut down your mortgage substantially, for a fee, of course. If anyone you know wants to refinance their home using loan modification businesses like “Mortgage Assistance,” please pass along this phone number for HUD, which offers FREE counseling to avoid foreclosure. Beware of home loan scams!

I did feel some assurance that Warren, and not yet another Wall Street guy, is at the helm of the consumer financial protection agency. Speaking of politics, has anyone noticed how gray Obama has gotten? I was shocked at the New York Daily News photo of him. What a brutal job the presidency is!

Wal-Mart has started selling wireless plans at its stores, according to NewsOXY.com. Cell phone vendors are concerned about their businesses now that the retail giant has entered the fray, and customers are questioning whether the service will be any good.  

Finally, I plan to attend the Coffee Party Convention in Louisville, Kentucky this Friday and weekend. I will be on numerous panels, including a trans-partisan talk on Saturday at 7:15 p.m., which is supposed to air on CSPAN. I will post that information as soon as I have it.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Wednesday Morning Open Thread – 365 Days

It has been 365 days since Barack Obama took office as President of the United States, and there is no shortage of articles detailing the people’s disappointment. Like this one from the Daily Beast entitled He’s Doing Everything Wrong, or this one from the Los Angeles Times entitled Reporters Feel Jilted by President Obama. Or, how about this one entitled, Downhill After His Election?

I, for one, feel pretty disappointed. Politically, I feel alone, unstable, as if no one has my back. It’s an ugly place to be. I am disappointed in the man I believed so much in, but I am mostly disappointed in our party. When are they going to get their shit together?

What about you? It’s been 365 days – how are you feeling? What do you think can turn this Country around? What can turn our Party around?

Of course, this is an open thread and you are free to discuss whatever you wish. What else is going on?

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Thursday Morning Open Thread

Happy Thursday! I am back to a (semi) normal work week and I forgot how great it was to get home at a reasonable hour and spend some quality time with my kids. After work, I stopped by my mother’s house to visit and to drop off a sprinkles cupcake that I bought for her. (YUM!)

I visited for a bit while she ate her cupcake, and just before I was about to leave, she said that she had something for me. She pulled out a survey she received in the mail and asked if I would complete it for her. “It’s called the 2009 Obama Agenda Survey, since you LOVE Obama, you can fill it out for me.” I took it from her hands to give it a quick once-over, and chuckled when I noticed who sent it to my Mexican immigrant mother…the Republican National Committee.

FUN! Let’s take a looky at what we have here. Examples of the ridiculous questions asked were:

“Do you agree with Barack Obama’s budget plan that will lead to a 23.1 trillion deficit over the next ten years?”

“Do you believe that Barack Obama’s nominees for federal courts should be immediately and unquestionably approved for their lifetime appointments by the U.S. Senate?”

“Do you believe that the best way to increase the quality and effectiveness of public education in the U.S. is to rapidly expand federal funding while eliminating performance standards and accountability?”

“Do you support the creation of a national health insurance plan that would be administered by bureaucrats in Washington D.C.?”

“Do you believe that the quality and availability of healthcare will increase if teh federal government dictates pricing to doctors and hospitals?”

I answered the survey as I hummed. Then folded the survey and inserted it into the self-addressed envelope provided. The best part? Although the envelope was “stamped” with the “no postage necessary if mailed in the United States” box, there was a message with an arrow pointed at the box stating, “By using your own first class stamp to return this envelope, you will be helping us save much needed funds. – Thank you.”

La di da di…

Wanna take a guess on what I did?

What else is going on?

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yeah- what rachel maddow said

I’m not sure why everyone is so upset about Barack Obama winning the Nobel Peace prize.  I mean I get why the wingnuts are upset.  Like Alan Grayson said, if Obama has a BLT sandwich today, the Republicans will try to ban bacon tomorrow.  Try as I might though, I just can’t look at Obama winning the Nobel Peace prize as a bad thing.

This diary (not mine) over at Daily Kos has a Rachel Maddow clip which perfectly explains why Obama deserves the award.  

a daily kos diary

And Obama’s acceptance speech brought me to tears.

I love how Maddow explained exactly whom Obama was referencing.


So now that we’ve all slept on it, what do you Mothertalkers think about our president winning the Nobel Peace prize?

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Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I have been keeping my distance from the Jaycee Dugard case, but I could not help take a sneak peak at her family’s reunion via the Associated Press.

Southwest Airlines now allows customers to pay an additional $10 each way to reserve a spot in the boarding line, according to MSN Money. Also in MSN Money: Wal-Mart plans to update its website to sell a million items, putting it in the same league as Amazon and eBay.

President Obama will address the nation’s students on Tuesday, according to the Washington Post. As has been pointed out in one of our open threads, conservative parents do not want their children to hear the president, according to Education Week.

Amy Benfer over at Salon Broadsheet ran a rant against parents who write personal things about their children — especially after they have protested. I want to point out that writing a memoir always burns bridges. The immediate example that comes to mind is my friend Julia Scheeres who wrote a scathing memoir — Jesus Land — about her fundamentalist Christian parents and no longer talks to them. But Benfer argues that writing about one’s children is different. Do you agree?

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Monday Morning Open Thread

Good morning, MTs. Hope you all had a good weekend. A few fun tidbits to ease the transition to the workweek:

Wise Latina. First an innocuous statement in a speech. Then a potential cudgel to bludgeon a now-associate justice of the Supreme Court. Now? A tee-shirt slogan. Of course!

Leticia Van de Putte, a Democratic state senator from San Antonio, said she had T-shirts made, reading “Another wise Latina woman,“ as soon as she heard the controversial term. She sent them to nearly 200 relatives, friends and fellow politicians with a card that said: “The Hon. Sonia Sotomayor has broken ‘the glass ceiling’ for all Latinas.“
As a Mexican-American, Senator Van de Putte said, “wise Latina“ conjured images of the grandmothers and elder women who were sought for advice and comfort “in our matriarchal culture.“

Andy Warhol would be most pleased, I think!

Also, The Daily Beast has put together a Barack Obama Book Club list, which they developed after they “combed newspaper archives and peeked into Air Force One tote bags to bring you the complete list of the books Obama has been reading—or, well, strategically let on that he is reading—since the beginning of the 2008 campaign. Featured on the list:

Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution—and How It Can Renew America
by Thomas L. Friedman.
—Washington Independent, September 8, 2008.
Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age
by Larry Bartels.
—MSNBC, September 3, 2008.
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
by Doris Kearns Goodwin.
—Time, June 18, 2008.
The Post-American World
by Fareed Zakaria.
—The New York Times, May 21, 2008.

Uh, ok. I wonder what the president relaxes with? And let’s cut to the chase: what is Michelle reading and can we all join her book club?

So what’s going on with you today?

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One week later

We teetered on the edge for a while.  Should we go to the inauguration?  Should we skip it?  With 2 kids and a busy schedule it seemed nearly impossible to take the time to go, but we didn’t want to regret not going.  About a week before the inauguration pieces started falling into place, and we found tickets, time off, and a place to stay.  Grandma and Grandpa agreed to come and stay with DD1, which meant that we’d only have to drive with, and find babysitters for, DD2.  Yes, we told ourselves, it was meant to be.  We’d go.  

One week later, I am so glad we went.  It was so exciting to be in the middle of it all, but more importantly, perhaps, it brought closure to a big chapter of our lives that I hadn’t realized we needed.  As has been well reported in the media, the logistics of the inauguration were almost all consuming.  But in between picking up tickets, looking for cabs, and getting lost in crowds were moments of introspection and clarity that made it all worthwhile.  

I’m realizing now that what I will remember is not the hassle of going, but those little, emotional moments along the way.


Before we left, all was chaos and uncertainty.  We thought we probably had tickets to one ball.  And maybe dinner reservations with some friends.  We were staying with friends that promised places to stay, but were unclear about how many would be in their house.  Our babysitting plans came and went as the events that we would attend changed.  At the last minute, I stopped at a department store to buy a ball gown and accessories (I never dress up, so this was all new to me) and the sales lady, upon hearing that we were heading to DC, smiled at me and said, “I know that President-Elect Obama has a lot of work to do to get our economy on track.  But his election has already jump started our formalwear department”.  

Just like that, I was reminded that what I was not just checking off another box on an endless to do list.  Instead, I was going to witness and celebrate of the election of a man that I truly believe is the best person to address all this country has in front of it.  

Our drive to DC was plagued with bad weather and snow.  Our car was packed to the rafters as we essentially had to packfor the cold of a ski trip, the glitz and bling of a formal wedding, and added to the mix paraphernalia that goes with traveling with an infant.  We packed the bags that we use for 3 week vacations for the full family, and then piled on canvas bag after canvas bag.  We looked like the Joad family goes to DC.  

What I will remember from the drive was that nearly every vehicle that we passed, or that passed us, was draped in Obama/Biden stickers and signs.  We saw a rental RV with a handmade “Obama 2012″ sign in the window, a Honda Fit loaded nearly to the ground with 4 adults packed tightly in among sleeping bags and pillows and Obama signs, a minivan of kids with Kansas plates.  At each rest stop people stopped to compare notes: “where are you from?”  “do you have tickets?”  “where are you staying?”  “how involved were you in the campaign?”.  The answers to the last question was always yes.  In some way, either through phone banking or donations or field office leadership, everyone had pitched in and was heading to DC for closure.  

On the border with PA/WV we stopped at a rural general store about a mile off the highway.  After we exchanged greetings with the other Inauguration pilgrims, a local man leaned in and asked DH, in a very heavy appalachian accent, if we were heading to the inauguration.  “Yes”, DH replied.  “Figgered” said the man, tucking a case of unfiltered cigarettes more tightly under his arm.  Then he nodded at us and said, “well, guess we’re finally getting rid of that dictator and getting ourself a real president.  Yes we are”.  Indeed.  

We got to DC late Sunday and on Monday, tessajp and I met for margaritas (oh, and lunch!).  We walked around the capitol and again, the crowds of people and the energy of the event struck me.  This was a pilgrimage for busloads of people, young and old, of all incomes and races.  The police didn’t quite seem to know what to do — they’ve seen crowds before, but typically they are protesting crowds, or angry crowds, crowds with a point to prove.  Celebratory crowds seemed to confuse everyone and the police expressions varied from confused to amused to outright bored.  

Monday night DH and I went out to dinner with some friends, and then to the Illinois Ball.  The highlight was dinner.  Most of the people at the table had been involved in the campaign in one way or another and initially the conversation centered around who had thought that Senator Obama had a snowballs chance, and when people had started to believe it could happen.  But after a while the conversation changed.  Many of the people at the table were black and had grown up in segregated South Carolina.  Again, the enormity of what was happening — to have friends at the table that had had FBI escorts to school, now to see Obama’s inauguration… wow.  

Tuesday we got up early and headed to the Capitol.  I was nervous as we tucked our phone numbers and details into DD’s snowsuit.  Was this the dumbest thing I’d ever done?  We had tickets to a reception in one of the buildings overlooking the mall, and DH had tickets to the ceremony.  As we walked to the reception I was struck by the orderliness of the crowds.  There were excitement and anticipation in the air, but the snippets of conversation that I heard were all logistics: “where are we meeting them?”, “do you have tickets”, “Have you seen mom?”, “have you spoken to him this morning?”,  “I’ve got the camera in my front pocket”.  Strange, but even now what I remember of that morning was the cold air and the quiet, business-like manner of the thousands of people all intent on being there.  

It wasn’t until the music started that I realized that the moment was upon us.  But even then, as I watched on CNN and from the reception windows, it all seemed surreal.  In part, it seemed like a very routine.  An anti-climactic conclusion to a huge event that we had been hoping to see for years.  But then a moment would come where the enormity of it all struck me.  We did it.  This was it.  He’s President.  

It didn’t really sink in entirely until Tuesday night.  We went to the Midwestern States Ball with a couple of friends, and after taking in the sights ($12 champagne, $75 tote bags, and a pretty good band), we found a place to stand near the empty stage that we hoped would be where the President spoke.  To our surprise, first Sheryl Crow came out (in formalwear, no less) and played for about 45 minutes.  I’ve spoked to people at other balls and I have to say, I’m delighted that we were at this one — Sheryl Crow is a concert I’d willingly get a ticket for, any day.  After that, the Flag People (seriously, there were flag people) came out and fluffed up the American Flag and the VP Flag.  Shortly thereafter, Joe and Jill Biden came out and spoke to the crowd.  And let me just say, Joe may be the happiest guy in DC.  All smiles and jokes and, of course, poetry, followed by a dance with his wife.  

Then, the waiting.  The Flag People returned to switch out the VP Flag for the Presidential Flag.  The military band arrived.  The Color Guard came out.  Some woman sang God Bless America.  And finally, the band struck up Hail to the Chief, and the Obamas came out.  Obama spoke to the crowd, they danced together, and for me, this is where it sunk in.  

Until now, Obama was my Senator.  When I first met him, it was at a fundraiser at a friend’s house, with wine from a box and little cubes of cheese from Costco.  He walked in through the front door like a normal guy, and spoke to us off the back porch.  At other events he mingled with people, shook hands, and listened carefully to what each person had to say.  A little over a year ago I saw him walking around downtown, by himself, with a baseball hat on as camouflage.  Now he travels with full protection at all times, people stand when he enters a room, and Hail to the Chief is played as he walks into a room.  I mean, holy.  cow.  He’s the President.  And I can’t think of a better person for the job.  

If you’ll indulge me, I feel like he’s left the nest.  I’m proud that he’s there, but I’m a little sad, too.  He’s not my Senator anymore.  And as much as I believe that he is the best person for the job, and as hard as we all worked to help get him there, I’m going to miss him a tiny bit.  

I can’t wait to see him in action.  

–R

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Thursday Open Thread – President Obama Edition

After eight long years I can finally say that I love my President. I’m still on cloud nine, so excuse me as I continue to gush over the Inauguration, President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as the Obama girls, Malia and Sasha…

Jenna and Barbara Bush wrote an open letter to Malia and Sasha Obama. In their letter, they advised the Obama girls who they should go to if they needed a hug (Ramsey), if they wanted to talk football (Buddy), or if they simply needed a smile (Smiley). The Bush twins recommended that the Obama girls slide down the banister of the solarium, go to T-ball games and have swimming parties. They also provided this little nugget, which I found to be the sweetest bit of advise:

In fact, go to anything and everything you possibly can: the Kennedy Center for theater, State Dinners, Christmas parties (the White House staff party is our favorite!), museum openings, arrival ceremonies, and walks around the monuments. Just go. Four years goes by so fast, so absorb it all, enjoy it all!

Amen.

Speaking of Malia and Sasha, how cute did they look at the Inauguration? Once word got out that they were wearing J Crew, people flooded the J Crew website to “steal the look” and subsequently crashed it! Unfortunately, according to the J Crew website, the pieces were designed specifically for the Obama girls and are not available to the public.

An Indonesian “shy photographer” named Ilham Anas is in high demand because of his likeness to our new President. His popularity grew after some co-workers asked him to pose with a suit, tie and American flag, following Obama’s victory on November 4th.

“I was in the airport in Malaysia in transit and a man approached me and asked: ‘Are you Obama?’. I was very surprised when he asked to take a picture together and bought me a meal.”

What do you think?

Finally, I just wanted to say how much I LOVED Beyonce’s performance of At Last by Etta James. I mean, how elegant did our President and First Lady look as they shared their first dance?

Wow…The inauguration of our new President has come and gone, and I’m still an emotional mess…

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