You overslept on the very morning you have that very important appointment. Instead of navigating the subway, you stick your hand in the air and hope the next cab has vacancy. When it stops, you slide into the weathered seats, tell the driver your destination, and begin to absent mindedly flip through your e-mails. But, is that a familiar face in the rear view mirror? Could it be? Yep. The man taking you around town, honking at traffic, and charging you forty cents per mile is none other than President Obama.
Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg pulled off a stunt recently that many of his fellow democratically elected leaders would likely be too scared to carry out: He tried to mingle with the people. In what he described as an effort to hear from real Norwegians, Stoltenberg dressed up as a taxi driver and spent an afternoon driving people around Oslo. He didn’t quite manage to remain incognito though. Pretty much all his passengers realized sooner or later who their driver was, despite the sunglasses and uniform. Still, from the short video posted online it seems like lively discussions did emerge, even if the passengers knew who they were talking to. One elderly woman says she’s lucky he was her driver because she “wanted to send a letter.”
The media stunt certainly makes the prime minister seem like friendly guy, with one woman even making fun of his driving. “Your driving isn’t exactly the best I’ve seen,” she said.
I regret that this video footage of the scene is not in English, but seeing the delight on his passengers’ faces as they realize their driver’s identity make it worth a quick watch:
Shhh….Don’t tell Matt Damon, but something went sideways and he made a conservative manifesto in Elysium.
It’s pretty much a warning about what will happen to Earth if socialism wins.
Elysium takes place in the near future, after the entire earth suffers under the kind of economic meltdown threatening some of our great cities now. It’s dusty. It’s dirty. It’s unkept. No one has families or cars decent homes or fresh clothes or, apparently, showers. Jobs are dreary and dangerous and unsatisfying, if you can find them at all.
Future Los Angeles. Behold the power of socialism!
Basically, it’s Detroit.
Total economic meltdown. Here is a partial list of places where this sort of systematic economic failure has happened or looms: Detroit. California. Illinois. The Soviet Union. Cuba. Greece. Spain.
Not, say, Texas or Virginia.
Read the rest of her review – called After Watching ‘Elysium, You’ll Want to Register as a Republican’ - here.
Time magazine’s new cover story “Having It All Without Having Children,” by Lauren Sandler breaks down an interesting trend. More couples are foregoing parenthood than ever before in American history:
From 2007 to 2011, the most recent year for which there’s data, the fertility rate declined 9%. A 2010 Pew Research report showed that childlessness has risen across all racial and ethnic groups, adding up to about 1 in 5 American women who end their childbearing years maternity-free, compared with 1 in 10 in the 1970s. Even before the recession hit, in 2008, the proportion of women ages 40 to 44 who had never given birth had grown by 80 percent, from 10% to 18%, since 1976, when a new vanguard began to question the reproductive imperative… the rise [of childlessness] is both dramatic and, in the scope of our history, quite sudden.
The article purports to examine how judged and scorned these childless couples are in a society that often “equates womanhood with motherhood.” Instead of entering into what one childless-by-choice woman described as “the glamorous martyrdom of motherhood,” they are simply making another choice… a choice that just so happens to allow them to have more free time and take more exotic vacations than the rest of us.
The Hollywood Reporter has a fascinating book excerpt of “The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler” (Harvard University Press, Sept. 9) by Ben Urwand which chillingly shows how far major Hollywood studios went to collaborate with the Nazis during the ten years leading up to World War II. Apparently, they “let Nazis censor scripts, remove credits from Jews, get movies stopped and even force one MGM executive to divorce his Jewish wife.” They also enthusiastically assisted in the Nazis’ world-wide effort to spread propaganda.
The excerpt has some pretty amazing detail, including one example from April 1937. After author Erich Maria Remarque’s trilogy “Three Comrades” was completed, MGM hired F. Scott Fitzgerald to write a screen play which attacked the rise of Nazism in Germany. The film was set in the late 1920s, when the Nazis were gaining their brute political force. However, the German consul didn’t approve of the movie and suggested some changes. “This screen adaptation suggests to us enormous difficulty from the standpoint of your company’s distribution business in Germany. … [and] may result in considerable difficulty in Europe for other American producing organizations.”
MGM executives capitulated to several German demands. Eventually, the film’s setting was moved up, had no attack on the Nazis, and absolutely no mention of Jews. (Rest assured, these cuts didn’t affect the movie’s romantic plot.) Three Comrades would have been Hollywood’s first explicitly anti-Nazi film.
According to the New York Times, “Mr. Urwand said that he found nearly 20 films intended for American audiences that German officials significantly altered or squelched. Perhaps more important, he added, Jewish characters were all but eliminated from Hollywood movies.”
“At this critical historical moment, when a major Hollywood production could have alerted the world to what was going on in Germany,” Urward laments, “the director did not have the final cut; the Nazis did.”
Just last week Greg Pollowitz linked to a story about Prince William putting his newborn son in his car seat incorrectly. Well, apparently we’re all doing it wrong. This article is from March 21, 2011 — how many of us missed this? Emphasis mine.
Everything you thought you knew about car seats is wrong. Okay, not everything, but things have changed and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced new guidelines today. And it’s big news. The recommendation is that children rear face longer and they also changed the details for kids in boosters. . . .
New Rear-facing Recommendation: Parents are to keep children rear-facing until 2 years old, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for the seat as noted in the manual. . . .
New Boostering Recommendation: Children should ride in a belt-positioning booster (that means a high-back!) until they are at least 4 foot, 9 inches, AND 8-12 years old. . . .
Beyond that, all kids need to stay out of the front until they’re at least 13 years old. Make sure you’re using the car seats correctly, too. There’s a lot of intricacies for both harnessed seats and boosters. When in doubt, find a Safe Kids inspection station or event and get checked out by a tech. And hopefully more and more pediatricians, with these new recommendations, will be on board as well, and we can maybe put an end to vehicle related-injuries being the number one cause of death in kids ages 2-14.
For all our kvetching, it’s those last words that hit home. Yes, it seems extreme and, yes, it seems that parents are being guilted ad nauseum. But when one considers the benefit of following simple precautions (despite how difficult it may be to get the legs of a tall 18-month-old to fit comfortably when rear-facing) and the heart-breaking cost of not following them . . . all right, all right. We’ll do it.
And for those willing to take it to the upper limit, the $750 Carkoon is on the way to store shelves. Its slogan is “when safe is not safe enough.”
By now, America has rejected Anthony Weiner with as much passion and unanimity as it rejected New Coke and the final episode of Seinfeld. After giving him a second chance, our forgiveness resulted in even more predatory sexual behaviors, exposing our children to blurred photos of his nether regions on television, and more genitalia puns in one week than in the average four years of high school. Suddenly, everyone agrees it’s time for “Carlos Danger” to simply go away. And, if recent New York polls are any indication, America might just get its wish.
But Carlos is an easy call. What about other politicians? When should scandals end political careers, even when they’re really, really sorry?
Recent examples abound.
Obviously, there’s Democrat Eliot Spitzer who resigned from his position as governor of New York in 2008 because of a prostitution scandal, but is currently running for comptroller.
Then, there’s the Democratic San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, whom seven women have publicly accused of unwanted sexual advances like groping. On Friday, he told his constituents “the behavior I have engaged in over many years is wrong … the intimidating conduct I engaged in at times is inexcusable.” Yet, instead of resigning, he’s entering two weeks of “intensive therapy.”
Republicans have their own share of drama.
For example, did you know Tennessee’s 4th Congressional district is being led by a self-described pro-life Congressman Scott Desjarlais who encouraged his mistress to have an abortion and supported his former wife’s decision to have two abortions?
And what about Newt Gingrich, Mark Sanford, and others who have tarnished our “family values” brand in their own unique ways?
We’ve heard about all the college grads moving back home, and about the sandwich generation caring for parents and children. But more and more, it seems to be the grandparents who are making the necessary sacrifices to ensure financial stability.
Grandparents helping their children and grandchildren is nothing new; that’s what family is for. But the extent of the support — whether it’s providing a place to live, caring for young grandkids, covering back-to-school shopping or paying college tuition — has increased with the fragile economy.
At the height of the Great Recession, nearly two-thirds of America’s grandparents were providing an estimated $370 billion in financial support to their grandkids over the previous five years, according to a  survey by the MetLife Mature Market Institute. That averages out to $8,661 per grandparent household.
And now it’s not elders moving in with their kids because of financial straits, it’s the other way around.
According to a Pew Research Center analysis of the latest U.S. Census Bureau data, approximately 51 million Americans, or 16.7 percent of the population, live in a house with at least two adult generations, or a grandparent and at least one other generation, under one roof. The Pew analysis also reported a 10.5 percent increase in multigeneration households from 2007 to 2009. And a 2012 survey by national home builder PulteGroup found that 32 percent of adult children expect to eventually share their house with a parent.
“It used to be older people whose money had run out who were living with their children, and now it’s the next generation that can’t keep up,” says Louis Tenenbaum, a founder of the Aging in Place Institute, which promotes “multigen” remodeling.
And grandparents are thinking about their grandchildren’s future, as they are contributing to 529s more and more.
Parents still contribute the lion’s share of funds invested in 529 accounts. But contributions from grandparents now make up about 9.5 percent of the total, according to the most recent data from the Financial Research Corp, which tracks 529 investments. . . The trend isn’t lost on financial services companies, and many are starting to market 529 investment opportunities directly to grandparents as a result.
Here’s a list of guidelines for financially assisting children and grandchildren.
The Wall Street Journal had two pieces on family finances yesterday that caught my eye. The first from Rebekah Bell is about graduating from college debt-free. She starts her analysis with these sobering statistics:
Figures from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reveal that 37 million Americans have student loan debt. About two-thirds of students receiving bachelor’s degrees borrow to fund their education, with the average student debt at an all-time high of $26,000. Total student-loan debt is estimated to be $1 trillion.
Only 38% of borrowers are making payments on their loans. The rest are either still in school, postponing payments or not paying them back. Almost one in 10 students who started repayment in 2009 defaulted within two years. At least 40% of student borrowers put off a major purchase such as a car or home because they couldn’t afford it, and many are delaying marriage and families.
She goes on to suggest several strategies to help avoid crushing college-loan debt, from accumulating as many “non-premium rate” educational credits from varying sources (including high schools, online courses, and summer-school classes at a local community college) to several ideas for generating income during your college days. Read more here.
Then I saw an opinion piece by Demetria Gallegos about parents’ veto power on their children’s purchases. With kids carrying hefty balances as they stash away generous gifts from grandma and money from lucrative babysitting gigs, it can be difficult to teach them to forego pricey items and to think about the future.
[My husband] John and I have had to articulate a policy around savings, and how the girls can spend it.
The general principle: “Until they’re 18, we have the right to deny them spending it on things we don’t approve of,” says John. “Our name is on the bank account.”
The girls buy this argument – up to a point.
“I understand if you keep us from using it on things like drugs, but since it’s our money, it should be our decision,” says Emily. . . .
Jamie, 16, agrees that John and I are within our rights to control withdrawals. “You should have more influence in our bank accounts,” she says. “You’ve been putting money in that account for years. That’s your investment in us, so you should have a say in it. . . .“Our insistence on holding the reins, however, doesn’t mean that the money is untouchable. In the same way their allowance teaches them to manage cash in hand, we want the savings account to give them lessons in delayed gratification.
I know it’s a struggle in our household. More here.
A recent New York Times article makes a fascinating claim: that females make males more generous, brothers who have sisters are more sympathetic, and corporate execs who have baby girls are less tight-fisted than execs who have bouncing baby boys.
But wait just one second. Don’t liberals tell us all the time that gender is a social consctruct and that men and women don’t have unique roles?
Presumably, this is an interesting, feel-good article that makes us all happy that there are males and females who complement each other by playing their specific gender roles. But wait just one second.
Presumably, this is an interesting, feel-good article that makes us all happy that there are males and females who complement each other by playing their specific gender roles. But wait just one second.
Showtime has a new documentary that shows a subculture that doesn’t believe in even kissing before marriage:
The documentary, slated to air on Showtime later this month, follows the Wilson family, American Evangelical Christians who believe not only in waiting until their wedding night to have sex, but even to share their first kiss. “Virgin Tales” focuses on two years in the lives of the Wilson parents, founders of the Purity Ball, as they prepare their seven children for their vision of romance and marriage.
“It’s interesting not just with the physical aspect but also a psychological and certainly these days there is a political aspect to it,” director Mirjam von Arx told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “I was astonished to learn how many people there are that are sharing their beliefs, and not only in America, but there is a movement gaining strength even aboard like in Europe. A lot of parents say their kids are a lot more conservative than when they were young.”
Writer E. Stephen Burnett, however, does not think this is a good thing:
For some Christians, those beliefs are one and the same. But are biblical commands to walk by the Spirit in light of the Gospel, treat spiritual family with purity, and repent of sexual sins, no longer enough? Do we also need (Talmud-like?) rules about not even kissing before marriage, human fathers acting as family “priests,” and women refusing to attend college?
Why do many abstinence promotions focus only on women’s purity? Why do others emphasize fathers helping daughters, an emphasis simply foreign to Scripture?
Why make “documentaries” to push beliefs that are at best extra-biblical? (See also: Divided, which accuses youth ministry of not simply being a bad idea but of ruining families and churches.)
How does showcasing one’s virginity – encouraging others to think about a particular woman having or not having sex! — fit with biblical truths about humility and modesty?
Interesting points. However, culture is always obsessed with sex — even of the supposedly non-existent kind (for example, Preachers’ Daughters on Lifetime). In other words, I’m sure this documentary will generate much conversation amongst liberals who scoff at the idea of maintaining sexual purity. And maybe it will also cause those of us who value Biblical principles to have some soul-searching conversations as well.
Most of us can only imagine the struggles, along with the unique joys, of raising a child with Down syndrome or another disability. One of the hardest aspects must be the decisions regarding your child’s ability to work and live outside your home.
The Washington Post had two stories recently which highlighted two aspects of these decisions. The first was a heartwarming story about a bakery in Chantilly, Va., that is employing many people with varying disabilities, giving them valuable work skills as well as some independence.
Wildflour [is] a cafe, bakery and catering business in Chantilly where two-thirds of the employees have intellectual disabilities. Started in 1994 by a special-education teacher in the Fairfax County Public Schools, the nonprofit organization has expanded to employ more than 50 people. . . . Wildflour trains them as prep cooks, packagers and greeters, and sends them home with more than just a paycheck.
The idea, said the general manager, Alberto Figueiredo Sangiorgio, is to give them marketable skills — and to build self-esteem.
“This is a job,” said Sangiorgio . . . “They don’t come here to be babysat. Our expectation is they’re going to learn something and they’re going to do better than they’re doing now.”
On the other side of the coin was a story about a 29-year-old woman with Down syndrome who is seeking to live with friends and not in a group home, as her parents wish.
Margaret Jean Hatch, a diminutive blonde known as “Jenny,” learned to read at the age of 6, has volunteered on political campaigns (always for Republicans) and once, after finding a job she wanted, showed up repeatedly until she got it. She also has Down syndrome, an IQ of 52 and tends to shower affection on strangers as well as friends. . . .
The case, which began in August and is set to continue this month, has captured the attention of both major advocacy groups and residents in the Hampton Roads area, who have turned the phrase “Justice for Jenny” into a mantra. For many, the legal fight is about not just who Jenny Hatch is but also whom she represents. . . .
The details of the story reveal just how difficult these decisions often are, as society tries to find a balance between protecting the vulnerable while reinforcing their personal autonomy.
And, more accurately, on your family dynamics, your local schools, your ties to the community, and whether or not your city is an “innovation hub.”
With income mobility, as with real estate, location matters a lot. According to a New York Times analysis of new research, a lower-income kid in the bottom 20% growing up in Atlanta has a 4% chance of making it to the top 20% vs. an 11% chance for a lower-income kid growing up in San Francisco or San Jose. In other words, depending on where you live in America, upward mobility could be at Scandinavian levels or at the lowest levels found among advanced economies.
Credit: The New York Times.
The research reveals four main reasons for a greater chance of upward mobility: dispersion of poor families amongst mixed-income families, two-parent households, better schools, and more civic involvement. Things that were not so much significant factors: liberal focal points like taxes (tax credits for the poor/higher taxes for the rich), college tuition rates, or the amount of extreme wealth in the area.
Read here for more ideas about what an effective agenda for promoting upward mobility would include.
I came across this thoughtfully written blog post by Sarah Brooks thanks to GeekMom.com (which is a great site with articles ranging from “A New Bridge in Three Days? You Just Watch” to “Winners of the STEM Video Game Challenge” as well as the likes of “3 Nights of Disney Fandom to Include Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel Specials”).
She offers great advice on being aware of the perils that come with the fun of the photo-sharing site Instagram which is all the rage with middle-schoolers.
We’re no longer in world of handwritten “circle yes or no” notes between two people; your kids are living social lives on a completely public forum.
This is not new information.
But, taking it a step further: have you considered that your child is given numerical values on which to base his or her social standing? For the first time ever your children can determine their “worth” using actual numbers provided by their peers!
Let me explain . . .
Your daughter has 139 followers which is 23 less than Jessica, but 56 more than Beau. Your son’s photo had 38 likes which was 14 less than Travis’ photo, but 22 more than Spencer’s.
See what I mean? There’s a number attached to them. A ranking . . .
My intent is to dig a little deeper into the impact these sites can have on your kids. To start thinking about how to safeguard childrens’ hearts and minds against what appears to a 12 year old to be concrete numerical evidence about their value and popularity.
As Jack Fowler mentioned today on The Corner, the Gatestone Institute published a story yesterday about the epidemic of rapes by British taxi drivers and the rise of sex crimes by “child grooming gangs” in the U.K. And the government and the police are often hesitant to go after the perpetrators. Why? Because they are Muslim.
Apparently these assaults on British women and children have been going on for years. As for the taxi assaults, legislation requiring the licensing of all drivers was passed five years ago, but enforcement has been lax. So unlicensed cabbies troll for unaccompanied women and then attack them. A judge has said, ”It appears that nobody can travel in minicabs with any degree of assurance of safety.”
The situation has become so dangerous that “women-only” taxi firms have started up, employing only female drivers to drive only women to their destinations.
Is this something American moms will have to face one day? Political correctness at the expense of our children’s safety? Will society place so much shame on speaking out against those Muslims who are not the peace-loving, women-respecting citizens we do know that our daughters will be left for the taking? Will law enforcement ignore crime waves perpetuated by thugs simply for fear of offending their co-religionists?
I’d like to think: never; not here. But I imagine most Brits thought the same.
It goes far beyond “getting the milk for free,” though that does play a part. Helen Smith, author of Men On Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream – And Why It Matters found that it wasn’t a lack of maturity but a rational response to new societal norms.
It seems that fewer and fewer people in general are getting married these days, and even fewer men seem interested. Men no longer see marriage as being as important as they did even 15 years ago.
According to Pew Research Center, the share of women ages eighteen to thirty-four that say having a successful marriage is one of the most important things in their lives rose nine percentage points since 1997– from 28 percent to 37%. For men, the opposite occurred. The share voicing this opinion dropped, from 35 percent to 29 percent.
The reasons why fewer men are choosing marriage range from the fact that fathers command less respect than they used to, to fears over losing male friends or losing living space. The biggest reason, however, is just that many perceive the single life to be better than ever.
You may have heard about the Cheerios commercial that stirred up some racists in this country. It was referred to as a controversial commercial by some — including the makers of the video below – but most folks had absolutely no problem with the ad and thought it was adorable. (Yes, count me in.)
The lesson we should have learned from the popularity of the musical South Pacific decades ago still rings true: Kids don’t see any problem with an interracial couple.
Now, can we take the overwhelmingly positive response to this video as an indication that the claims of racism at every corner — especially in the past few days — are exaggerated? It’s definitely food for thought.
I was recently asked to write a weekly article following HBO’s Newsroom, a drama about an anchorman who apparently — in the first season — decided to save network news by telling the truth and covering only “important” stories. I’d heard from friends that the show leaned left. Really, left. However, since it was by Aaron Sorkin, the creator of West Wing, I decided to give it a chance.
Walking the walk: Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wa.), the only woman to give birth to two children as a congresswoman, is about to break her own record as she is expecting her third child.
In anticipation of the pending birth of a royal baby, some interesting naming trends in the U.K.