Tuesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

In Politics: It’s election day, which means we will have a special open thread tonight at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Please join us!

Many people from the Daily Kos crew will be at my house to cover the elections. Even though we are expecting a rough night, we plan to order pizza and eat cake as it is Mr. Ari’s 7th birthday today.

In somewhat related news, Medicare will face severe cuts unless Congress acts, according to the Washington Post.

Alcohol More Deadly Than Heroin? A British study, which was cited by the Washington Post, lead with how alcohol was more deadly than heroin and cocaine. But reading through the article, it sounds like heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine, or crystal meth, are much more deadly to the individuals who consume them. However, overall, alcohol has a much wider-spread and devastating cost to society.

When drunk in excess, alcohol damages nearly all organ systems. It is also connected to higher death rates and is involved in a greater percentage of crime than most other drugs, including heroin.

But experts said it would be impractical and incorrect to outlaw alcohol.

Leslie King, an adviser to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and one of the study’s authors, suggested education programs that target problem drinkers as opposed to the majority of people who indulge in a drink or two. He said that the price of alcohol should go up so it isn’t as widely available. What do you all think?

World Series: For San Francisco Giants fans following the World Series, our local Zeum Children’s Museum in San Francisco made these adorable movies out of clay models.

LGBT Youth: Our Dana wrote a timely article for the Keen News Service about federal initiatives to curb bullying of LGBT students in school.

Holiday Gift Idea: If you are looking for holiday gift ideas for young children, Sesame Street is offering a 10 percent discount on all its video games to mothers on the blogs. Just go to this website and enter promo code MOMMY at checkout.

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


Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Attention Bay Area moms: RachelD, Swiss Clogs and I are planning a MotherTalkers meetup in San Francisco’s Castro district for either Monday (12/14), Tuesday (12/15) or Wednesday (12/16). This would be in the evening for dinner. Please let me know either here or via e-mail — elisa at mothertalkers dot com — whether you can make it and what date works best for you. Thanks!

Also, one more question: Do any of you plan to come to the San Francisco Kossacks holiday party? It is this Sunday at a farm in Sebastopol. There will be a bouncy house for the kids.

Jezebel ran a fascinating story — and discussion — on a Texas teenager who was forced off the volleyball team because she is pregnant. The video clip on the site is worth watching!

An Italian court is expected to rule on the case of 22-year-old Amanda Knox, an American accused of murdering her British roommate in college, according to Newsweek. The ruling is expected as early as today.

Wal-Mart has cut prices to popular video games by 15 and 20 percent, which caused shares of the video game chain GameStop to tank, according to MSN Money. Also in MSN Money: AMC Theaters officially banned outside food and drinks.

Thank God Twitter wasn’t around when I got married. A groom in New York actually tweeted from the altar, according to the New York Daily News.

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


Late-Night Liberty: Time Management Edition

If you can stand one more holiday story: a friend sent me one of those “Holiday Survival Guides” type of mass e-mails. This one was on how to manage your time in the holidays now with sending cards, wrapping gifts and holiday parties. Here was the advice:

  1.  BOOT CAMP – By far the most important one!!  But that’s really no secret.  Exercising in the morning before you start your day will make your life so much easier.  You’ll feel more in control, able to handle anything that comes your way, and you will be able to think more clearly and make good decisions….
  1.  Eating Healthy – There are so many temptations and sweet treats around this time of year, not to mention the freely flowing booze at every holiday party!  People might be giving you cookies, cheesecake, candy, salted nuts, liquor, etc. as gifts.  Try one if you must, but don’t overdo it!
  1.  Sleep – Go to bed on time.  Do not stay up late wrapping presents, addressing Christmas cards, shopping online, overdecorating your tree, etc.  I know we all feel so rushed around this time of year, but really, those things can wait….
  1.  Say no – Not to me, of course!  :)  But learn to say no when saying yes will be overcommitting yourself.  Don’t spread yourself too thin.  Prioritize the things that are important to you.

Of course, this advice should apply year-round. I wished there were more tips on how to be more efficient in sending out the holiday cards, decorating, shopping and wrapping gifts. Any ideas?


Midday Coffee Break

What’s up?

Here is a story for the political junkies. Usually, I don’t read any political blogs for lack of time, much less right-wing blogs, but the moderator of the famous conservative blog Little Green Footballs has “parted ways with the right.” He slammed everyone in his former party, including Fox News, tea baggers, religious fanatics, Rush Limbaugh, you name it. It made me think of our Erin’s idea for a bipartisan blog — there may very well be a demand!

In other political news: The senate is expected to spend weeks to debate the merits of a 28-page healthcare reform proposal, according to the Associated Press. Also by the Associated Press: Sales at bricks-and-mortar businesses have been tepid so far, but online shopping is on the ascent.  

From CNN: Here is a fascinating article on gay marriage in Latin America. Argentina may become the first country in the region to marry a same-sex couple.

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


Tuesday Morning Open Thread

Oh, and how can I forget? We have our first MotherTalker election today! Our Hillary Glatt Kwiatek is running for Lehigh County Commissioner today. The polls in Pennsylvania close at 8 p.m.. -Elisa

What’s up?

This past weekend I was in Richmond, California for a party, a mere two blocks from where a 15-year-old girl was brutally gang-raped. Stories like these keep me up at night so I try not to engross myself in the details. But I do appreciate Tracy Clark-Flory at Salon pointing out that blaming the victim in any way for this savage rape and beating is completely unacceptable.

Once again, Wal-Mart is leading a price war on toys, forcing other department stores to slash their prices even as they need the income this holiday season, according to MSN Money.

A friend recently sent me the link to this vegetarian recipe website. She said the meals are healthy, yummy and easy to make. I thought I would share!

Also, I am out of it. I didn’t realize until yesterday that San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom dropped out of the California gubernatorial race to spend more time with his family. FWIW, I asked my political source here at home and he told me Newsom was “blown out of the water” in fundraising. Either way, I have not been following the race and am assuming my only choice is Jerry Brown? Do any of you California moms have any thoughts on the race?

In other political news: There are some major elections happening in the country today. First, there is the gay marriage vote in Maine. Here is a link at Daily Kos on how to volunteer your time to get out the vote. Also, the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial elections are happening. The polls in Virginia close at 7 p.m. and in New Jersey and Maine they close at 8 p.m.. I will put up an open thread tonight with the results.

A couple gynecologists at the Expecting Words blog set the record straight on five pregnancy myths.

If you haven’t received enough news about Kate and Jon Gosselin, the TODAY Show did this whole piece on how the public divorce is having an effect on Kate and the kids. What a train wreck.

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


More People Plan To Shop Online

The KenRadio tech show recently cited a study by ATG, showing for the first time that “multi-channel shoppers” prefer the web to in-store shopping. Nearly half of those shoppers said they would do the bulk of their holiday shopping online.

Here’s why:

  • Reasons for shopping online start with saving time (88%), locating hard-to-find products (84%), greater selection (83%) and avoiding the crowds at the mall (83%) – all surpassing saving money, which is still an important factor (80%)
  • Because of the tough economic climate, 52% of consumers plan to buy fewer holiday gifts this year. The average number of gifts is projected to be down from 16+ last year to 11-15 this year
  • Although consumers plan to buy fewer gifts and spend less for those gifts, 72% (vs. 65% in 2007) are planning to research products online prior to purchasing
  • Over 91% plan to purchase the same number or somewhat more gifts online; that’s equal to last year’s levels

The study found that free shipping and/or online sales are big drivers for online purchases. Here are some other findings:

  • For 42% (vs. 30% last year), gift cards will account for 11-50% of their online holiday spending. Wish-list use has also accelerated, with 35% (vs. 25% last year) reporting that they have shopped online from someone else’s wish list three or more times

This does not surprise me. I, too, find myself buying everything from clothes to gift cards online due to lack of time. The convenience beats the hassle of braving the mall with two small kids in tow.

Of course, there is always a last minute purchase, in which DH and I head for the stores Christmas Eve. But we will probably do the bulk of our shopping online this year, particularly gift cards. Do any of you do “Black Friday?” Or, have your shopping habits changed over the years? How so?