Tuesday Open Thread

It’s Tuesday, y’all!

Did you hear about the Kansas high school student who got in trouble for posting a snotty Tweet while visiting Gov. Sam Brownback’s office?

Here it is in its entirety:

“Just made mean comments at gov. brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot”

She didn’t really say that, of course. She was just trying to get a laugh out of her 65 Twitter followers. But one of Brownback’s staffers saw the tweet and TATTLED ON THE HIGH SCHOOL GIRL. She was reamed out by her principal and pretty much ordered to write a letter of apology. The genius girl instead went public with the story, earning Brownback some well-deserved mocking from all corners.

In the end, HE apologized to HER. WINNING!

Did I mention she now has thousands of Twitter followers?

Her mother stood firmly behind her right to express herself, saying:

“She wasn’t speaking to the 3,000 followers she has now …. She was talking to 65 friends. And also it’s the speech they use today. It’s more attention grabbing. I raised my kids to be independent, to be strong, to be free thinkers. If she wants to tweet her opinion about Gov. Brownback, I say for her to go for it and I stand totally behind her.”

How would you react if it was your daughter? I am loving the way they handled this preposterous situation.

What’s up today? Chat away!


Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Let’s call this the social media open thread. I do a lot of outreach on social media for work, and have gotten to know many other exceptional bloggers because of it. I want to draw your attention to the new category in our blogroll: “Special Needs.”

If you have a blog and are not in our blogroll, please let me know. I’d love to add you. Also, in case you missed it, MotherTalkers has a closed Facebook page just for us. Please join if you want to be part of our Facebook conversations!

Also, I was wondering how many of you were on Twitter? I’d love to follow you. You can find me at ElisaBatista. Thanks all!

In disturbing news: Topeka, Kansas is considering decriminalizing domestic violence in order to save money, according to Think Progress. Yikes.

Also, the title of this story is provocative, but the message is poignant: at the end of the day will watching Chaz Bono on Dancing With the Stars have an effect on our children’s future? No. But inhaling mercury in our air will.

If you can stand it, more despicable news: Republicans are blatantly trying to suppress Democratic votes in the upcoming election — working class, poor, college students and racial minorities — by limiting voting times and mandating photo i.d. with the vote, according to the New York Times. Two interesting facts from that editorial is that many poor people don’t have government issued photo i.d.s like driver’s licenses, and there is no evidence that voter fraud even exists. The people who claim it have not presented any proof. Ugh.

One more: here is an update on the sad fallout of Alabama’s anti-immigrant law, according to America’s Voice blog. Even Latinos who are U.S. citizens are leaving the state because of racial profiling. The scary thing is this law — known in Latino circles as “Juan Crow” — is the strictest in the nation, and another state in the deep south plans to follow suit: Mississippi.

A silver lining in an otherwise gloomy news cycle: this past Columbus Day, students in New York City spent a day at the Occupy Wall Street protests with their parents, according to the New York Times. Have you attended any of the protests? How about your kids?

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


I Heart Conan O’Brien

I admit that I have never really been a late night talk show fan, but I’ve always liked Conan. On those rare nights that I would catch his show because I found myself up past my bedtime, unable to sleep and channel surfing, I thoroughly enjoyed what I saw. And, I thought he was the epitome of class with the entire NBC late-night fiasco.

But then I started hearing and reading stories about Conan that just made me fall in love.

February 25th: Conan O’Brien finally relents and opens a Twitter Account and posts the following:  

“Today I interviewed a squirrel in my backyard and then threw to a commercial. Somebody help me.”

Within hours, he had 260,000 followers.

March 5th: Conan announces via Twitter the following:

“I’ve decided to follow someone at random. She likes peanut butter and gummy dinosaurs. Sarah Killen, your life is about to change.”

And boy, did it ever. You see, Sarah only had three followers at that time. In mere days, her three turned into 18,587…and counting. She’s been interviewed by Larry King, MTV, the Los Angeles Times and New York magazine. The lucky 19-year-old has even gotten a new iMac, as well as the promise of a custom-made wedding gown!

March 9th: Conan tweets the following:

“I no longer have health care. Can someone show this to a dermatologist and get back to me?”

He attached a picture of a freckle on his arm, next to a ruler. Genius!

March 11th: It was reported by TMZ that Conan will not be making any money from his forthcoming tour entitled, “The Legally Prohibited From Being Funny On Television Tour.” He is touring to keep some of his former Tonight Show staff working. Freaking ADORABLE.

I’m telling you – the quickest way to my heart is by making me laugh. And Conan has got that ability in spades.


Do you Twitter? (with poll)

I’m just curious, do you all Twitter? (Tweet? What’s the right verb here?)

I had an account I think once, but I deleted it.

I feel like there is redundancy now too. Even with the few bloggers/sites I follow, for example, am I supposed to follow their blogs? Or their Facebook? Their Twitter? All three?

I. Don’t. Get. Twitter!

If you do use Twitter, what do you use it for? And what’s the fascination?


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: Perez vs. Demi Edition

All this weekend, I kept coming across stories about a feud between celebrity gossipmonger Perez Hilton and actress Demi Moore.

As this Salon Broadsheet story describes it, Hilton has been posting pictures of Moore’s 15-year-old daughter, actress Tallulah Willis, on his blog and has tweeted things like she is “dressing like a slut! Look at her boobs!” Moore responded with a tweet of her own:

“Clearly Perez Hilton isn’t taking violating child pornography laws very seriously. He might not but there are alot (sic) of people who do!” she said, following up that “Anyone who advertises follows or supports Perez supports violating child pornography laws!”

While Salon Broadsheet’s Mary Elizabeth Williams said Moore’s grasp of child pornography laws are shaky, she did think Hilton’s tweets were “supremely gross.”

I admit I do not read him unless he comes up in the news. But he apparently refers to other teen stars like 16-year-old Miley Cyrus as a “Disney slut“ and 15-year-old Dakota Fanning a “hot ho.“

I know I would have a lot to say if he said those things about my daughter. Do you read Perez Hilton? What do you think of him referring to teenaged (female) stars this way?


Midday Coffee Break

What’s up?

A woman is being sued for libel after tweeting about the mold in her apartment, according to a blurb in MSN Real Estate.

Here is a frightening story in MSN Money: Harvard researchers have found that 62 percent of personal bankruptcies in the United States in 2007 were due to medical problems. Even more scary, 78 percent of those filers had medical insurance at the start of their illnesses, including 60.3 percent who had private health insurance — not Medicare or Medicaid. Yikes!

In other healthcare news: Healthcare industry lobbyists have waged such a fierce campaign to scare senior citizens about their Medicare coverage that House Democrats have been forced to respond, according to the New York Times. This is exactly why I feared a delayed vote. One month is all the health insurance companies need to muddy the waters with their lies. I have to say, I have never worked harder than when Obama was running for president. Most recently, I donated to MoveOn.org, MomsRising.org and called our Congresswoman Rep. Barbara Lee asking her not to go on vacation until she voted on the healthcare reform bill. What have you done for healthcare reform lately?

There is a lot of talk in American Idol-land that Paula Abdul’s contract may not be renewed. Sixth-season Idol winner Jordin Sparks told MTV that Abdul’s contract should be renewed. Abdul fans have started a twitter campaign urging Idol producers to keep her, according to Entertainment Weekly. What say you, American Idol fans? Should Paula stay or should she go?

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


Monday Open Thread

Good morning, MTs. Hope you all had a good weekend.

In serious news, it seems as though Chinese hackers have broken into the website for the Melbourne Film Festival because the festival will screen a documentary about exiled Uighur leader, Rebiya Kadeer. The festival and its authorities have been under a lot of pressure from the Chinese government to pull the documentary and rescind an invitation to Kadeer, actions that the festival have declined to take. It’s troubling, to say the least.

Yesterday], two days after the Melbourne international festival opened, hackers replaced programme information with the Chinese flag and anti-Kadeer slogans and sent spam emails in an attempt to crash the site, according to reports in the Australian press.

“We like film but we hate Rebiya Kadeer,” one message said, demanding an apology to the Chinese people.

The festival director, Richard Moore, said staff had been bombarded with abusive emails after he rebuffed demands from the Chinese government to drop the film about Kadeer, The 10 Conditions of Love, and cancel her invitation to the festival.

“The language has been vile,” Moore told the Melbourne Age. “It is obviously a concerted campaign to get us because we’ve refused to comply with the Chinese government’s demands.”

He said the festival had reported the attacks, which appear to be coming from a Chinese internet protocol address, and was discussing security concerns with Victoria’s state police. Private security guards are being hired to protect Kadeer and other patrons at the film’s screening on August 8.


Here in Australia, the show MasterChef Australia was a huge hit, garnering the highest ratings seen in years for any television broadcasts outside of sporting events. It’s no surprise that the show will be renewed for a second season, plus a celebrity version, and now, apparently, the network that runs the show are considering a children’s version as well:

FOR a child of nine, Clara Oxley thinks she’s a pretty hot prospect when the pressure is on in the kitchen.

Like the champs from TV series MasterChef, she and her brother Nicholas, 11, regularly team up with one of their parents each and compete to bake cakes for her older sister to judge.

But now she’s eager to take on some of the nation’s youngest aspiring chefs when Channel 10 cashes in on the success of MasterChef Australia with a children’s spin-off.

Clara, from Randwick in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, is one of the many children who have been captivated by the MasterChef show.

Ten programming chief David Mott admits the network was initially surprised by the interest in the series by children.

But unexpectedly, the show caught the imagination of the entire family and had taught many youngsters the value of good eating, team-building and the importance of accepting constructive criticism, he said.

Although the network’s priority is a one-day-a-week celebrity version of the hit show, executives are already discussing the possibility of a children’s MasterChef series.

Jess and I watched a fair few episodes of MasterChef and really enjoyed it – Jess, who loves to cook, asked a ton of questions on techniques and foods, and thanks to the week where contestants went to Hong Kong to learn how to make dim sum and Hong Kong’s exquisite cuisine, wants to go there to eat “the little pork dumpling thingies.“ What do you think, MTs? Are shows like this good for kids, benign, or evil, evil, evil?

Finally, I’ve long been a fan of Martha Stewart – to me, she’s one of the canniest operators in business today. I read a recent article outlining how she uses Twitter with great interest. By posting 140 character recipes (recent ones included rack of lamb and pico de gallo), Stewart has built a hefty following.

“With minimal effort—and I really mean it: I spend less than five minutes a day on Twitter—I have been able to garner over 1 million followers in a 4½-month period, with very few tweets, by the way,“ Stewart told me.

“You have to sort of look at the different accounts and compare,“ she said, adding that, proportionately, she has been getting substantially more bang for the tweet than Sean Combs (Twitter name “iamdiddy“) and Ashton Kutcher (aka “aplusk“). If you do the math on a per-tweet basis, Martha is twice as popular as Ashton and more than three times as popular as Diddy.

I’d be very interested to see how her Twitter following translates into viewers or subscribers. I don’t have a Twitter account – can’t see the reason for it yet, but if I owned a media business, I’d do it. How about you – do you Twitter? Why and have you been satisfied with the outcome?


Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

In the Daily Kos parenting diary this past weekend, we briefly talked about the Christopher Walken controversy on twitter. Basically, someone on twitter was pretending to be the actor and posted funny and apparently tasteless comments in his name. As it turns out, many celebrity twitterers are fakes, according to the Washington Post.

Also in the Washington Post: The Maryland Education Board has voted to shut down 8 schools in Prince George County. The empty buildings will be maintained and house specialty programs like language immersion, officials told the Post.

Cookie had a Q & A with mommy blogging pioneer Heather Armstrong aka “Dooce.” Cookie ran an excerpt of Armstrong’s new book, It Sucked and Then I Cried.

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


Weekly Parenting News Roundup

Cross-posted at Daily Kos.

Good morning fellow moms, dads and caregivers!

I am back with your weekly parenting news update. Here are some topics we recently discussed here at MotherTalkers:

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco recently heard arguments whether millions of women who work or used to work at Wal-Mart can join a class action lawsuit against the retail giant for pay discrimination, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. According to the plaintiffs, Wal-Mart showed a pattern in all 41 regions it serves of paying women, on average, $2,000 per year less than men who held the same positions. Men were also promoted at a greater rate than women, the women’s attorney said.

Just to show you that the unemployed are not the only people lacking health insurance, 1 in 5 U.S. workers currently has no healthcare coverage, according to the Associated Press. In related news, parents here discussed the benefits their companies have slashed to stave off layoffs in light of a news story showing that less working mothers are taking advantage of benefits like flextime in order to keep their jobs.

We had a long discussion about the lack of funding for gifted programs in schools. The conversation was sparked by this Newsweek column, in which a mom griped that there were more resources poured into her special needs son than her gifted daughter. What if her daughter can come up with a cure for autism? Personally, I agreed with those of you who said the purpose of a public education is to make sure everyone is served, not provide a specialized turbo education for a few kids. That said, there were many good suggestions on how to meet the needs of gifted children within a public school classroom. Are any of your children gifted? How are they educated?

For some light reading, check out this blog written by the grandma who was recently called out by the New York Times for being an uninvolved “glam-ma.” Also, check out The Great Zucchini, a wonderful profile in the Washington Post Magazine about a guy who has the unique ability to make preschoolers laugh and makes a six-figure salary doing it.

By the way, I gave in and opened a twitter account. I am still getting the hang of it, but you can follow me at ElisaBatista. Do you tweet? I am actually not a technophile and am still reeling over the Facebook changes. The horror!

What’s up with you?