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Mom-In Chief Steals The Show, Again.

“My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it –

so long as we seize it together,” Barack Obama.

 Barack Obama, Michelle Obama

As I struggle to help my daughter Sari understand the U.S. Constitution for her 8th grade homework assignment, at least the words “We the People” makes better sense to me now, thanks to yesterday’s inauguration of Barack Obama as our 44th president. Indeed, it was a great day to be American as our first African American president was sworn in for his second term. I wrote about his inauguration four years ago, and this time around was just as special.

It coincided with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation to free slaves, the sesquicentennial year of the placement of the Statue of Freedom atop the new Capitol Dome in 1863, and a day off of school. If that isn’t reason enough for our kids to watch television all day long and witness a history lesson, I don’t know what is.  Obama placed his hand on the personal bibles of the Rev. King and his predecessor Abraham Lincoln when he  take the oath of office. The significance of it all was palatable.

The only thing that pulled me away from the TV momentarily was to sort cantaloupes and carrots at the Jewish Food Pantry with Sari and to take my son to a dermatologist appointment. Other than that, I was glued to the pomp and circumstances of the 57th presidential inauguration and tweeted about my favorite moments, including the memorable performances of Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson and James Taylor, who all made me weep at their renditions of American classics, and later that night I applauded Alicia Keys and Stevie Wonder, who brought down the house and made me wish that I didn’t have to wait another four years for a presidential bash.

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Candidates Try To Win Over Soccer Moms

I’m all for freedom of speech, but when did it become okay for a CNN panelist to call our commander in chief a “wimp” and the Republican presidential candidate a “douche?”

Call me old-fashioned, but I think our democracy deserves more respect, even if I don’t believe every word Obama and Romney are saying and fact checks are now considered standard procedure. Continue reading

Presidential Faceoff Is Debatable

At my house, watching a presidential debate ranks right up there with the season finale of American Idol. Before the show got started, I made myself a little snack, homemade guac and ginger ale, and I settled on the couch with my laptop so that I could take notes and follow tweets of celebs like Anderson Cooper and comedian Sandra Bernhard. Even though my daughter was yelling at me from upstairs to blow dry her hair for school tomorrow, I was too mesmerized by the lines on the bottom of my television screen that looked like the EKG of a deceased person. It was actually a play-by-play interpretation of the viewer’s reaction to the speeches. I should have known this debate would fall flat.

Let’s face it, sometimes the anticipation of a big event is greater than the moment itself, and tonight’s political face off was one of those letdowns. I mean, the build up reminded me of a red carpet pre show on E!, and I was even expecting Ryan Seacrest to interview Ann Romney and the first lady backstage.

By the way, I loved their advice to their husbands before the candidates took the stage.

Ann: “Trust your own gut.”

Michelle: “Have fun, relax, and be yourself.”

Sure, easy for them to say.

Anyway, the debate started off interestingly enough when the president wished his “sweetie” a happy twentieth wedding anniversary and told her, “One year from now we won’t be celebrating with 20 million people watching.” Even Mitt Romney felt obligated to extend congratulations to his opponent.

After those niceties, I thought I would witness a real showdown, but neither candidate hardly made eye contact and both smirked at each other’s comments. Surprisingly, the Republican nominee blew away many viewers with his obvious preparedness and specifics about an economic recovery plan that included a $5 trillion tax cut. Personally, I thought he came across rude and disrespectful to nice guy moderator Jim Lehrer, a seasoned journalist who has hosted this gig for 12 years. Meanwhile, President Obama looked half asleep with his eyes closed (he was actually looking down while writing notes to himself, I hope) and didn’t bring much new to the table even though his educational incentives that include the “Race to the Top” program always impresses.  One thing that kept me busy was when I tried to count how many times the candidates blinked their eyes per minute because a study shows that excessive blinking is a sign of nervousness and usually indicates who loses the election.

Finally, I was expecting some real zingers, quotable one-liners that usually highlight these 90-minute showdowns other than Romney’s rant about how he “loves Big Bird.”

What were your memorable moments of the debate?





Honoring 11th Anniversary of 911

Under the bright blue cloudless sky, waving American flags line the parking lot of the high school up the street. It’s a beautiful sunny morning and the flags are there to remind us that today is September 11, 2012, the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I also hear church bells ringing loudly, cars honking, birds chirping, children laughing, and airplanes roaring above as if my senses are on high alert.  It’s an ordinary day,  but it’s not.

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First Lady Commands DNC

When military mom Elaine Brye introduced Michelle Obama on day one of the DNC, it was clear that the mom vote set the precedent for winning the election.

Brye announced, “Wow! What’s a mom like me doing in a place like this? I’m not even a political person. But what I am is a military mom. My husband and I are so proud of our five kids. One each in the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the Marines. Our youngest is still in high school, and yes — we’re hoping he’ll join the Coast Guard. They are a mom’s most precious treasures.”

She went on to talk about how she sent the Obamas a Christmas card, thanking them for their support of military families, and before Brye knew it, she and her husband were invited to the White House.

“It was an amazing experience (being at the White House). If someone is there for my family and families like mine, then I’ll be there for them. That’s why I’m proud to introduce my fellow mom and our first lady, Michelle Obama.”
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Republicans Reach For Mom Vote

Is it just me or does the election so far remind you of the 2012 Academy Awards when all the winners thanked their mothers? Remember, pregnant best actress Oscar-winner Natalie Portman thanked her parents for “giving her life” and best director, Tom Hooper, thanked his mother for pointing him to a story that would become the King’s Speech.

Or maybe it’s the red carpet and flashing cameras and Mitt Romney’s handsome slicked back hair with a touch of grey and a lot of gel that made the Republican National Convention (RNC) feel like I was watching the Oscars all over again. Or maybe it was the overacting, the standing ovations, the glamour of it all, Ann Romney’s fashionably understated bright red belted dress designed by Oscar de la Renta that matched her lipstick and nail polish.

Or maybe it was American Idol winner Taylor Hicks singing my favorite Doobie Brothers song “Takin’ It To The Streets” and the down pouring of red, white and blue balloons that fell from the sky at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa amidst the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac. Continue reading

Where Were You on September 11, 2011?

Ten years ago, on the morning of September 11, my day started out ordinary. My husband Scott went to work; Jack, in first grade, was at school learning how to tell the time; and Sari, only 2 years old, dressed her dolls in beads and bows, oblivious to the national crisis that was about to explode before our very eyes. Continue reading

Horrific Missouri Puppy Mills Defy Jewish Law

Missouri is famous for many things: the pony express, Gateway to the West, Mark Twain, and, of course, caves, to name a few. The Show Me state is also on the map for something not as proud, but rather abominable: puppy mills. Continue reading

Obama’s Era of ‘Change’ Welcomes Movers & Shakers

Where were you when Barack Obama placed his left hand on a burgundy velvet bible that was last held by Abraham Lincoln and was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States of America?

If you’re a mom, chances are you were doing something else while you were glued to the most anticipated inauguration of our lifetime, either that or you set your TIVOs. Carrie Craven was waiting at the doctor’s office. Michelle Beilenson was hanging out with her mom. Karen Fox was running errands in her car and tuning into NPR. Laurie Velasquez was working in her office at a market research firm. Sandy Brand was zooming home from yoga class. Continue reading

Government Makes Amendments; God Makes Commandments

Finally, the cutthroat, mid-term election is over, and us voters are as much survivors as the politicians themselves. In record numbers, we not only survived the glitches of the new, high-tech electronic voting machines, but we sustained all the hateful television commercials, political propaganda junk mail, and annoying phone messages that raided our homes like a war zone. Now I have to assess the collateral damage, which is my children’s shattered illusion that the American government actually looks out for us.

This particularly competitive campaign seemed to separate the community as much as the championship World Series united us. The playing fields are different, but both events are games that go down in history. Continue reading