Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up? will meet with the White House for a live tweet chat this Thursday morning at 9 a.m.PT/ 12 p.m. ET — and you all are invited! Here are the details:

Can you join our live online Tweet Chat with the White House this coming Thursday, January 19th at 9:00am PDT/12:00pm EDT and be a part of that Twitter conversation by posting your questions and ideas in real time?  To join us, just follow @MomsRising on Twitter starting at 9:00am PDT/12:00pm EDT on Thursday, January 19th and be a part of the live conversation with the White House.  We’ll be using the Twitter hashtag #MomsatWH

Do you have any UI or 2012 priorities questions that you’d like us to have at the ready? Send them our way! Even if you can’t be online on the 19th, your questions and input are needed! Please email me at Monifa at MomsRising dot org your 2012 priorities questions ASAP so we can have them ready on January 19th.

I will be there — please join me!  

Carolyn Hax had a great column on how to find your “groove” when a child has gone off to college.

For the first time, New York City is shutting down one of its charter schools for mediocre performance, according to the New York Times.

What is it with people’s — er, men’s — discomfort around public breastfeeding? A heavy metal comic artist in Britain just called the cover of a heroine breastfeeding “offensive.” You have got to see the way women’s breasts are often drawn in these comic books at BlogHer. Misogynist much?

I am sure I am not the only diehard Dirty Dancing fan here who would appreciate this lovely write-up in Huffington Post about Patrick Swayze’s widow Lisa Niemi.

Speaking of Patrick Swayze, who died of pancreatic cancer at 57, a sausage a day or regular consumption of any processed meat can up the chances for the disease by a fifth, according to an article in the UK Mail. Yikes!

Finally, this video at Yahoo News is disturbing. It compared the fashion models of today with regular-sized women. As it turns out, models in the ’70s and ’80s were typically 8% thinner than the average woman. Today they are 23% skinnier than the average woman. Yuck.  

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


Weekly Parenting News Roundup

Cross-posted at Daily Kos.

Hi all!

I am back from a trip to Chicago. My brother-in-law got married in a unique and beautiful ceremony. You can read all about it and see pictures here and here.

Now onto some parenting news…

Are you a yeller? You are not alone. We discussed a New York Times story about how yelling is the new spanking. A poll cited in the article stated that as many as 88 percent of parents have yelled at their children. But no studies have been conducted to show whether this is harmful to kids.

Our Erika highlighted this MSNBC story about kids getting braces younger and younger. How old were your children when they got braces?

I am sure similar diaries have been posted here, but I thought I would mention to you that the Courage Campaign is seeking a few good volunteers to help fight the anti-gay marriage initiatives in various states and cities.

In somewhat related news, one of our front-page posters, Katie, is wondering whether she should change her last name when she marries her partner Kelly. It sparked a long discussion about women changing their last names — if at all — hyphenated names and everything you can possibly think of when it comes to choosing a last name. Ayayay!

Yet, in other LGBT news: The Scholastic Book Fairs banned books with gay and lesbian relationships, according to our contributing writer Dana. She and other moms on our site, who signed a petition, received a less than satisfying response from the company.  

Our Gloria highlighted this brow-raising article in Jezebel about mothers in their late 30s or early 40s being jealous of their teenaged daughters’ good looks. I am not there yet and found this article surprising and disturbing. What do you all think? Are you jealous of your gorgeous teenagers?

Attention Patrick Swayze fans: I reviewed the book Time of My Life. What a satisfying and quick read!

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


Review: Time of My Life

Yes, ladies, this hard core Dirty Dancing fan actually bought the Patrick Swayze book Time of My Life at the Oakland Airport. That despite the fact I had so many book club books to finish.

But it was such a sweet and quick distraction. For Patrick Swayze fans it was replete with a satisfying and complete summary of his career, his movies — including what went on behind-the-scenes — the artists he rubbed elbows with and clashed with and lots of photos. My favorite parts of the book were the personal. It included a play-by-play of his 34-year marriage to dancer and actress Lisa Niemi, the co-author of the book.

He met her at his mother’s dance studio in Texas when she was 15. She was only 18 when they married.

Swayze was candid about the ups and downs the couple experienced during their decades-long courtship. Niemi was often frustrated with her own career as she stood in her husband’s shadow and helped catapult him to fame. She almost always was on set with him and helped out with script re-writes, for example. She lost the part of Penny in Dirty Dancing to Cynthia Rhodes, something that often happened as Hollywood does not like husbands and wives to work together.

Here is a passage on why Swayze thought Niemi and he meshed so well:

In the decade we’d been together, I had seen Lisa grow from a naïve eighteen-year-old into a confident woman. She wasn’t afraid of anything, and jumped right into whatever we got ourselves into, from woodworking to acting to playwriting. Lisa was game for everything, and she never lost her sense of humor even in the hard times. The longer we were together, the luckier I felt that we’d found each other. And I even began to let myself believe she wanted to be with me, too.

One reason we fit so well together was that we shared so many interests. We both loved dancing, acting, traveling, being out in nature. We also both loved horses, and even shared a dream of possibly owning a few someday.

Don’t worry, it isn’t all mushy. I found myself laughing out loud during certain parts like the pranks he pulled on fellow actors behind the scenes. He battled pancreatic cancer with the same irreverence and sense of humor. Playing off a memorable Dirty Dancing line, he told his doctors, “Don’t leave Patrick’s pancreas in a corner!”

Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer did beat him. But I received consolation knowing he was every bit as charming in his personal life as on the big screen.

Of course, this is an open thread so feel free to discuss what you’d like. But I thought I would share my little divergence!


Weekly Parenting News Roundup

Cross-posted at Daily Kos.

Hello fellow moms, dads and caregivers! I am back with your weekly parenting news update.

Here are some interesting stories we discussed here at this week:

In case you missed it, our Erika just went in for her 19-week ultrasound and is having…drumroll please…a girl! iFelicidades mujer!

The Maryland Court of Appeals has ordered a new trial for a mother whose 14-year-old daughter frequently skipped school. According to the Washington Post, the daughter was absent 74 of 180 days in the 2005-06 school year. A lower court has already decided that parents can’t be held liable for their children’s truancy if they go to school but don’t attend class. This case would determine whether parents can be held liable if their children fail to attend school at all. What do you think?

DesmoinesDem wrote about various student loan reform plans floating in Congress.

My husband and I could not stop beaming at this video clip of this dad and his little girl at a baseball game. It is funny and a must-see.

I got to see an advanced screening of Michael Moore’s latest film, Capitalism: A Love Story. Here is a review and a pic — yes, I met him!

And please indulge me as I bust out my Dirty Dancing DVD and box of tissues. I know I was not the only Patrick Swayze fan to mourn his passing this week. Feel free to check out my little tribute to him — and vote for your favorite Swazye movie.

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


Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I know this is last-minute, but Lonestar Canuck and I plan to meet for an early dinner today, 6 p.m., at the Cheesecake Factory in the Macy’s in downtown San Francisco. The restaurant is located in the top floor of the Macy’s in Union Square. All are invited. Please do join us!

Salon had a fascinating article on how giving birth actually makes you more athletic. There are studies that show that a woman receives an oxygen boost in the blood after giving birth.

CNN had a recap of a View episode that included Whoopi Goldberg’s reaction to friend and Ghost co-star Patrick Swayze’s death, more gossip by Kate Gosselin, and of course, Kanye and Taylor.

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


Late-Night Liberty: Patrick Swayze Memorial and Other Celebrity Gossip

Man, I am bummed about Patrick Swayze. If there were no repercussions tomorrow morning, I would spend the night with a big tub of popcorn watching my favorite Swayze flicks, including Dirty Dancing and Ghost. (Yes, I cried at the end of Ghost!)

So humor me and take my Patrick Swayze poll, which I shamelessly ripped off of CNN. Also, thank you to Lisa in Austin for posting this memorable clip of him dancing on the Oprah Winfrey Show.  

Perhaps part of the reason I loved Dirty Dancing so much was that it was forbidden in my childhood home. As a tween, I remember first seeing it at my grandmother’s neighbor’s house — and I fell in love. I wanted to be Baby, dancing the mambo with some gorgeous tough guy I met on vacation. LOL!

In other celebrity news: A friend and I talked about the Kanye West fiasco today so I thought I would mention it here. Even the president of the United States weighed in, calling West a “jackass” for upstaging singer Taylor Swift during a recent music awards show. I admit, I hadn’t followed it until my friend brought it up, and could not believe how distasteful West was. My friend thought he was drunk. Did you catch it? What did you think?

This is an open thread so feel free to talk about what you want.


Midday Coffee Break

What’s up?

Sorry for the paltry post, but I am still backed up after my exciting weekend with guests. Everyone sadly left yesterday.

But I want to send a shoutout to Salon’s Kate Harding who wrote a thoughtful and truthful post on how violence should have no place in the contentious abortion debate in this country. James Pouillon, a well-known anti-abortion protester, was shot dead. It isn’t clear whether the shooting was related to his views, nonetheless it is a repugnant crime. I hope his family finds the justice they rightfully seek.

In other obituaries: This Dirty Dancing fan was teary-eyed to read that actor Patrick Swayze lost his battle against pancreatic cancer. He was 57. The photo spread of him and his wife of 34 years, Lisa Niemi, in People magazine was beautiful and fitting.  

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


Weekend Open Thread

Newsweek ran a trend story about ivy league schools lowering tuition and giving out generous financial aid to middle class families. As the experts in the article noted, these institutions ran the risk of taking in only two types of students: those whose families could pay full tuition and everyone else who was forced to take out student loans to obtain an education.

But now that these schools are poised to take in more middle class families, state schools and second and third-tier private colleges will lose their smartest students. Nonetheless, there is a college crunch for the children of baby boomers and less money, overall, for young people to study.

Sex Toys Allowed in Texas: (Editor’s Note: This item was corrected.) I did not know this, but a Texas court struck down the state’s ban against dildos and “pocket pussies” on, of all days, Valentine’s Day, according to Slate. Virginia, Alabama and Mississippi also ban the sex toys.

Phasing Out Plastic Bags: Whole Foods plans to stop bagging in plastic on Earth Day, April 22, according to the Washington Post. It will become the first American grocery store to phase out plastic bags.  

Patrick Swayze Has Cancer: Actor Patrick Swayze has pancreatic cancer, according to USA Today. While it appears that he is responding to treatment, this bit of news left this Dirty Dancing fan crestfallen.

Update On J-Lo’s Babies: It is official. Jennifer Lopez and husband Marc Anthony did have twins, a boy and a girl, according to People magazine. As expected, they named them Max and Emme.

The new parents welcomed their son and daughter on Feb. 22. Emme was born at 12:12 a.m. and weighed 5 lbs. 7 oz., and Max followed at 12:23 a.m., weighing 6 lbs.

Homeless Pets: These are the stories that give me faith the American people will vote a Democrat into the White House. John McCain talks a lot about his military service, but what does this mean for the American family on the brink of bankruptcy and home foreclosure?

Apparently, even our pets are feeling the effects of an impending recession. Low-income families on the brink of losing their homes are abandoning their pets at an astronomical rate, according to Newsweek. The National Humane Society even issued tips on how to find pets temporary homes in the event someone is facing foreclosure.

What else is in the news, MotherTalkers? Have a good weekend all!