Friday Open Thread

MomsRising is circulating a petition for Gov. Sarah Palin, asking her where she stands on issues that concern mothers like equal pay for equal work, health care and affordable child care. As MomsRising pointed out, Palin identified herself as a mom first at her big speech on Wednesday, but offered no details as to how she would actually help mothers and their families.

In defense of Palin, our Kay over at the Workin’ Mom blog highlighted the double standard high-profile working mothers like Palin must endure. Case in point: Sixty-three percent of readers at Working Mother said she should not be running for Vice President considering her “current family challenges.” Disclosure: I, too, voted no just because I could not imagine sticking my children in the public eye during a difficult family moment(s). But in terms of social progress, her running is probably a good thing for working women everywhere.

New Hampshire Public Radio’s Word of Mouth had a show on technology etiquette such as whether it is appropriate to use emoticons in a professional e-mail or reject friend requests on Face Book. Good questions. Have any of you rejected a friend request on Face Book?

In a column at Wondertime, a mom admits that she spends more money than she can afford on clothes for her three-year-old son. I was more flabbergasted at the amount of time she spends to carefully choose outfits. I am curious: Do any of you really dress up your kids with matching clothes, shoes and neat hair-dos? You see, I thought I would be one of these moms as I love clothes, shoes and makeup. As it turns out, I can barely dress myself much less my children. They are lucky their clothes match!  

In belated news, the International Olympic Committee has asked gymnastics officials to look into whether some of the competitors representing China were underaged, according to CNN.

I am looking forward to this season’s Survivor, which premieres on Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. According to Entertainment Weekly, contestants include the 29-year-old Crystal Cox, who was an Olympic gold medalist in the 4 x 400 track relay. Should be interesting.

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


Republican National Convention Day Two

There is probably a lot more news happening outside the Republican National Convention than inside its doors. For one, some Republican delegates are perturbed at the selection of Gov. Sarah Palin and no one — not even GOP party insiders in Alaska — knew that Sen. John McCain was going to offer her the job, making them wonder if she was properly vetted, according to the New York Times.

At least 5,000 anti-war protesters hit the site of the Convention in St. Paul, according to CNN. Unfortunately, the almost 300 anarchists that splintered off the group and were arrested are getting a lot of ink. Still, among those arrested are members of the media.

Finally, President George W. Bush WILL speak at tonight’s Convention via satellite at 9:30 p.m. EDT, according to Fox News. Also scheduled to speak tonight are Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and former GOP presidential hopeful Fred Thompson.  


Who Will Be the Education President?

I want to highlight one more education piece in Time. BTW, the entire series is worth a read!

The magazine neatly summarized the remaining (viable) four presidential candidates’ stances on some of the most important issues in education: No Child Left Behind, vouchers, merit pay and whether we should extend the school day or year.

No Child Left Behind
Sen. Hillary Clinton: Wants to end it. Says it is underfunded and puts too much emphasis on standardized tests.
Sen. Barack Obama: Wants NCLB to go beyond standardized tests and offer support for failing schools.
Gov. Mike Huckabee: Yes, despite some reservations about teaching to the test.
Sen. John McCain: Voted for it in 2001 and would reauthorize it, with slight tweaks.

Sen. Clinton: Believes that vouchers divert resources from the public-school system.
Sen. Obama: Believes that vouchers divert resources from the public-school system.
Gov. Huckabee: Yes, but puts more emphasis on “public school choice.”
Sen. McCain: School choice, including vouchers, is his main theme for education.

Merit Pay
Sen. Clinton: Maybe. Favors schoolwide performance-based pay but not merit pay for individuals.
Sen. Obama: Supports merit pay for individual teachers–but not if it’s based solely on test scores, and only if teachers support it.
Gov. Huckabee: Supports merit pay for individual teachers.
Sen. McCain: Supports merit pay for individual teachers.

Longer School Day Or Year
Sen. Clinton: Supports the concept but doesn’t specify it in her education plans.
Sen. Obama: Would give grants to districts providing more learning time for students in need.
Gov. Huckabee: Yes, but would leave the decision–and the funding–up to individual school districts.
Sen. McCain: Maybe. Hasn’t taken a position yet.


It’s Monday — UGH!

I have officially hit a wall. Literally. I am so sleep deprived the other day I back-ended someone in the post office parking lot — while the driver was in the car! She yelped as I hit her bumper.

“What’s the matter with you?“ the woman barked.

I mumbled some nonsense. But I saw the car. I was looking right at it as I was backing up and it did not dawn on me to hit the brake. Fortunately, I did not have the kids in the car.  

Sleep deprivation is not only torture on the body, it is dangerous. I remember feeling exactly this way when Ari was Eli’s age — six months old. I was a zombie. I would absentmindedly walk out of the grocery store without paying or leave my ATM card in the machine without exiting the transaction. Just this past weekend I lost my parking ticket at the mall and had to pay a lost ticket fee ($12). Later on, I found the ticket in my shopping bag, which would have cost me $1 if I had produced it at the booth. Ugh.

The good news is the woman I back-ended dropped all charges. She told me that she could easily spray-paint the scratches and would not charge me or my insurance anything. I must have used some stored good karma, which is quickly running out unless I get some sleep!

Guilt at the Grocery Store?: I heard about this on the radio. Supermarkets in London will unveil “smart carts“ or shopping carts that will give you detailed information about the products you are buying like whether they are sugary and high in fat, according to The Vancouver Sun.

Whatever you call it, this intelligent grocery cart will contain an interactive screen which will be able to tell shoppers just about anything they want to know about the food they’re purchasing.

This means that it could alert diabetics or those with peanut allergies that a product might harm their health, and could also tell the weight conscious, by flashing a red warning, that they’re about to buy something that’s high in fat or sugar.

Market research has suggested that many people prefer this since they find the current labels on foods difficult to read or understand. And by replacing those labels, companies can avoid much of the packaging, thereby helping the environment.

I have a sweet tooth. So my cart would go crazy.

No Toxic Baby Toys in CA: Hopefully, this will carry repercussions for the rest of the country. Breaking from his own party, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzeneggar signed legislation that bans a toxic chemical, phthatlate, from plastic baby toys. The Governator broke with industry groups over this bill as well as two ammunition ones vehemently opposed by the NRA. Sweet.

Much Needed Celebrity Gossip Break:  All the trashy mags are abuzz with rumors about Jennifer Lopez’s supposed pregnancy. I’ll believe it when I see a birth announcement. But that did not stop me from ogling her midriff in the photos published by US Weekly. Also in the magazine: sources close to Marc Anthony’s exes say Lopez is a good stepmother.

Wicked stepmother? Hardly. “I have bonus children,“ Lopez once said about Anthony’s daughter, Arianna (from a relationship with former NYC police officer Debbie Rosado), and sons Cristian, 6, and Ryan, 4 (Mom is Anthony’s ex-wife, actress Dayanara Torres). “I love being a stepmom,“ Lopez has said. And Anthony’s exes agree. “Dayanara says she is wonderful with the kids,“ says a source close to Torres. “Jennifer tucks them in at night. She’s very sweet with them.“

Speaking of Lopez, actress Rosie Perez recently talked smack to

Rosie says it was she, not Keenan Ivory Wayans, who hired Lopez as a dancer on the hit ’90s comedy show “In Living Color.” “He didn’t want her because she was overweight and didn’t dance well, but I said, ‘she has star quality.'”

What a cut-throat world Hollywood is.

Onto that other high-profiled momma, Britney Spears: She has monitored visits with her children who are in full-time custody with daddy K-Fed. But long-time estranged mom, Lynne, and sister Jamie made it to her Beverly Hills home to offer emotional support, according to People magazine.

I am intrigued by stage moms like Lynne. I am sure she like all of us doesn’t want her children to struggle. But what happens when these good intentions go terribly awry? What a nightmare for her as a mother. I know everytime I see older clips of a scantily-clad Britney I think, “Where is her mother in all of this?“ Yikes!

Finally, American Idol was fined $5,000 for violating U.S. child labor laws since singers Jordin Sparks and Sanjaya Malakar were only 17 at the time of their tour, according to

The Labor Department also says that 19 Touring lacked a certificate of eligibility to employ singers under the age of 18. Who says Sanjaya’s a singer?

Oh smack!

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