Miracle in D.C.

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October 25, 2009 | | Comments

Over the past few weeks those of us who revere the Constitution have watched in shock, amusement, rage, disbelief…name your emotion…as the Obama administration has waged war against Fox News.

The reason for the attack? Simple. In the midst of the news media’s universal fawning over a President, an administration and a left-wing agenda, Fox News is the only major media outlet that has dared to ask questions about such issues as health care and unemployment; that has dared to cover such stories as the ACORN scandal, terrorism and czar eruptions; and that has dared to criticize the White House and its agenda. Fox News is the one voice to proclaim that the emperor has no clothes, and, not by coincidence, the only voice currently enjoying vigorous ratings.

So in response, the White House, citing the refusal of Fox News to play nice, intimated that this obviously illegitimate news outlet is not worthy of press credibility. In addition, officials urged all the other allegedly legitimate, unabashedly obedient, news outlets to shun Fox News, as well. In other words, we won’t let poor Fox News join in any reindeer games.

It came to a head Friday, when the press was invited to interview the illustrious Pay Czar, who has been granted the unbridled (not to mention un-Constitutional) authority to determine how much we the people can and should be paid. But something unexpected occurred. It seems a small voice began to nag at the collective senses of right and wrong of the journalists assembled there, a small voice implanted in the hard wiring of these individuals when they felt the first tender flame of their journalistic calling and received their initial instructions in the tenets of who, what, when, where and why. That small voice, it seems, became a roar that would not be ignored. And the journalists assembled there, for the first time in their willing collusion in this President’s ascendency, for the first time, they said no. If Fox News can’t play, then we won’t either.

And that was a miracle….or maybe not.

You have to believe that even so-called mainstream journalists have a thread of self-preservation running through their veins. For months they have sacrificed any semblance of professionalism, training, objectivity, and perhaps even individual conscience for the agenda of a man they hardly know. In the process they have watched their audiences, their readers and in many cases, their careers, evaporate. Perhaps, then, for a brief collective moment they acknowledged that this man and his administration could ultimately damage not only their livelihoods, but their country, as well.

Look, guys. The government goes after Fox News, it attempts to shut down and censor an arm of democracy that at one time you yourselves pledged to uphold, and you just can’t help but ask yourselves and perhaps each other: Who’s next? Say something that might be deemed unpopular or outside the realm of the prescribed administration talking points, and it will be you, CBS, NBC, CNN, ABC, and yes, even you, MSNBC. Though the moment was fleeting, we the people applaud you for your brief moment of collective illumination. We applaud you for having the guts to say no (felt good, didn’t it?). And we thank you, for the time being, at least, for preserving the sanctity of the reindeer games.

Perhaps we can also thank German pastor Martin Niemoeller, a man known for an unwavering resistance to Adolf Hitler, who has been attributed with the familiar following quotation that has occurred in various forms since coming to light after World War II:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.

It’s sad to realize how relevant this passage has become in our country over the past months. But I continue to keep the faith, believing that, inspired by these words and their link to that brief miraculous moment in D.C., we will be seeing more miracles in the weeks and months to come.

Betsy Siino | Comments

Balloon Boy Saga

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October 20, 2009 | Comments

I am no fan of reality TV. Wait. Strike that. I do watch the Food Network’s cooking competitions and I admit to following Dancing with the Stars with my daughter. But I steer clear of anything that follows subjects into bathrooms, promotes vicious mind games, or records intimate and embarrassing moments, all designed not only to titillate a voyeuristic public, but also to dangle the possibility that a participant’s bathroom performance will lead to superstardom.

Despite my attempts at isolation, I remember the night I first spotted a commercial for one of those “traditional” bathroom-wallowing-type reality shows, that indicated children were now being trotted out in front of the cameras to cry, eat bugs and entrails, and/or have tantrums for the entertainment of the entire population of the United States.

Thus was born my rant that has since become all too familiar to those who know me: My hope is that someday when these kids come of age, they will sue the daylights out of their parents, the networks and the production companies that exploited them on television without their consent.

Well, last Friday, reality TV collided with publicity stunt collided with child exploitation, when a hysterical media reported that a 6-year-old was thought to be flying thousands of feet above Colorado in an experimental helium balloon. Emergency personnel rose to full alert, the military was called in, Denver Airport suspended full operation, and America watched and waited.

Hours later, the balloon floated back to earth, empty. Hours after that, the boy was found hiding in his home, allegedly terrified of punishment for setting the balloon free. Hours after that, the boy stated on national television that it was all done “for the show.” Minutes later, law enforcement kicked in. Hours after that, we learned that mom and dad, veterans of reality TV, were seeking a new gig. And, well, now with such words as “hoax” and “child protective services” flying about, things aren’t looking all that rosy for mom and dad.

Those who spent that afternoon worrying about this boy have since learned that the child apparently cut his teeth on reality TV. He was paraded repeatedly by media-hungry parents before the cameras of “Wife Swap,” YouTube, and now virtually every media outlet in the country, all “for the show,” all for an alleged parental stab at a reality show. In an odd karmic twist — and much to dad’s shock, I’m sure – the boy has now emerged the poster child for reality-TV child exploitation.

And I say, let the lawsuits begin.

Betsy Siino | Comments

The High Standards of the NFL

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October 16, 2009 | Comments

Well, National Football League, you sure dodged the bullet this time. To think that rabid conservative Rush Limbaugh almost got through your vaunted gates to become part (minority) owner of the St. Louis Rams.

You have claimed, NFL, that you had nothing to do with the decision to ban Rush from your ranks. You didn’t have to. Your minions of sports and so-called mainstream reporters, assisted in the field by the many media personalities and political folks who have made playing of the race card a sport all its own, made sure Rush never even made it to the starting gate.

I certainly understand your position here. You can’t allow your illustrious band of owners, let alone the NFL organization at large, to be infiltrated by the likes of a man who reveres the U.S. Constitution; who supports opportunity for all Americans, regardless of color or athletic ability; and who absolutely adores the sport of football. Besides, Rush made all those awful comments about slavery, right? Well, not really. Even the mainstream media and your sports’ reporters have admitted that. But it’s Rush, so they can say whatever they want. You understand. We understand, too.

So now you can rest easy. Your reputation and high moral standards have been preserved – for the moment, at least, if not for all time.

You can now turn your attentions to applying the same tough vetting process to whoever does become the new owner of the Rams. We know that you and yours – the team owners, Jesse Jackson, ESPN, Al Sharpton, the United States Congress, ABC, NBC, the White House, MSNBC, all the usual suspects – we know you’ll be demanding that whomever you ultimately choose will meet the same high standards you have applied to the likes of, to name only a few, Michael Vick, O.J. Simpson, the party-boat Minnesota Vikings, and the many who have been welcomed back into your fold after beating, stabbing, shooting, and hitting-and-running. We know you have your — and their – reputations and high standards to uphold. Good luck with that, and again, congrats.

Betsy Siino | Comments

Dear Toys R Us….

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October 10, 2009 | Comments

A letter I wrote at the end of September to Toys R Us in the wake of Hollywood’s disgraceful support of film director/convicted rapist Roman Polanski:

Dear Toys R Us,

Just when I thought I could not be more outraged by Hollywood’s support of Roman Polanski raping and sodomizing a 13-year-old girl, topped by Whoopie Goldberg’s idiotic comment that the rape of this child wasn’t “rape-rape,” I realize that Ms. Goldberg also happens to be a spokesperson for your company. As we head into the holiday season during a challenging economy, I trust that the powers that be at Toys R Us are re-thinking their alignment with this woman who has exhibited a complete lack of concern for the well-being of children. And as someone who spends hundreds of dollars at your store each year, I will be waiting to see just how you seek to handle this so I can adjust my holiday spending if necessary….

I sent this letter to two female PR-type representatives of the company. After a week of silence and two more missives from me, I finally received a sparse, rudimentary email from a third woman. Her email address was my only clue that it was even from Toys R Us. This woman thanked me for “reaching out,” and asked where she could reach me to “set the record straight.”

The record looks pretty straight to me. On August 20th of this year, Toys R Us unveiled a new catalogue for kids with special needs, proudly displaying on the cover a lovely photo of Ms. Goldberg and a young girl with Down Syndrome. Weeks later, Ms. Goldberg, joined by the likes of her View buddies and other Hollywood moral authorities, defended the film director and derided the child he attacked.

I thus responded to this rather unprofessional and confusing response:

I trust you are referring to my message to Toys R Us regarding the company’s choice of Whoopi Goldberg as a spokesperson — especially in light of her cavalier and disgraceful comments regarding the rape and sodomy committed against a 13-year-old girl by a 40-something film director.  You say you would like to “set the record straight.”  You are welcome to do just that, as I would hope the company has taken some sort of position, and I would welcome you sending that my way.

So far, I’m sorry to say, no one has sent anything my way. I have continued to check for any public announcements from the company like those made when they celebrated their new alliance with Ms. Goldberg, but no, nothing. Not surprising, I suppose, when you consider how much money Toys R Us spent on assembling and distributing that catalogue and purchasing the image of their illustrious spokesperson. The only bright spot has been seeing that other outraged parents have discovered this story. Toys R Us has apparently even told one group representing children with special needs that they are looking into the matter (I’m sure they have also thanked the organization for “reaching out”). We’ll see. But as with so much that is happening today in this bizarro world of ours, I won’t be holding my breath, and I hope they aren’t holding theirs either.

Betsy Siino | Comments

Doctors in the Rose Garden

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October 7, 2009 | Comments

Another day, another ridiculous spectacle — this one in the White House Rose Garden.

It truly has become laughable the lengths to which this administration will go in its lame attempts to provide inauthentic visual images to a public it perceives as doddering fools. On Monday, the handful of doctors who supported the President in the 2008 election were invited to bask in the golden words of the endless campaigner who is the U.S. President, as he once again discussed the glory of nationalized health care.

But in what was yet another shameless and highly choreographed photo-op, some of these doctors dared to show up without their white lab coats! Without these props, how would we doddering fools know that these were indeed doctors? Not to worry. This savvy administration was, as always, prepared for such a disaster. Without a hint of shame, cameras rolling, representatives strolled through the rows of physicians anxiously awaiting the arrival of the great one, and handed out white coats to the delinquents. Now all would appear uniform both in support and appearance. How very sad and pathetic that the practitioners actually obeyed the commandment. At least I saw an expression of shame on a face or two – if not any outright refusals to comply.

This was, as always, a handpicked audience, designed to inspire in us idiot huddled masses the realization that “look, the doctors support the health-care-reform plan, so we should, too!” Note to the White House: You still don’t understand that we the people are not nearly as stupid as you think we are. Many of us are, however, perplexed. We are perplexed that there are even a handful of doctors who do support you and your plans to gut the greatest health-care system on the planet. I have yet to find one.

While we were told to assume that this particular bunch gathered in the Rose Garden on Monday support this President’s policies, we can also assume that the gathering did not include the radiologists the President has accused of performing unnecessary diagnostic tests (even on patients for whom such tests mean early diagnosis and, thus, perhaps life or death). Or the endocrinologists he has accused of treating diabetes incorrectly and without any emphasis on nutrition. Or the surgeons he has accused of greedily and unnecessarily amputating the feet of diabetics to soak those patients of more money.

Or remember when the President accused pediatricians of ordering unnecessary tonsillectomies for children simply to enrich their checkbooks? Methinks those doctors weren’t represented in this crowd either. When the President made this comment some months back, that proved to me not only that he has probably never taken a child to a pediatrician and come to know these specialists’ devotion to their patients, but also that he is obviously ignorant about the great campaign parents must launch to have those tonsils removed.

Moms out there: I trust you know what I’m talking about here. Sometimes this surgery is the only remedy to ending a child’s chronic sore throats, fevers and missed school days. Despite what the President said from his ivory tower on Mt. Olympus, we in the trenches of the real world know that nowadays, because of policies in place that actually mirror those the President supports, you have to move mountains to get this surgery approved. My family was blessed several years ago when faced with this dilemma, to have a pediatrician and a pediatric surgeon (it’s the surgeon who actually performs the surgery, Mr. President) who were willing to move that mountain for us quickly, before too many antibiotics had been pumped into our little one’s body (the President’s preferred remedy; though again, Mr. President, just so you know: Plenty of us moms and dads prefer to keep medications to a minimum).

Needless to say, I didn’t see our very dedicated family pediatrician or our wonderfully skilled surgeon sitting in the Rose Garden on Monday. Nor did I expect to. They have too much self respect as parents and as physicians to lower themselves so.

Betsy Siino | Comments

New Week, New Name

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October 5, 2009 | Comments

Sheesh, I take a week off to re-tool my site in honor of a new name – Grizzly Mom – and, as is so common these days, the world changes at light speed:

  • Led by the President of the United States, world leaders and diplomats gather in New York City at the U.N. to sing the praises of said President and to trash the U.S. and Israel. The U.S. President, reveling in the adulation, makes speeches that would once have seen the American delegation leaving the room. Only Israel’s leader and the Canadian delegation behave with dignity and courage.
  • After trashing Sarah Palin, the war in Iraq (and, by extension, the men and women in our military), and, deservedly so, every politician who has engaged in adulterous affairs, David Letterman confesses to a giggling, rapturous audience that he has engaged in sexual liaisons with female underlings. But as poor David tells it, again to mass applause, he is the true victim here – the victim of extortion attempts. His mom must be so proud.
  • While our troops are dying each day, Mr. and Mrs. Obama, spurred on by hometown cronies and a slobbering NBC, CNN, CBS, ABC and company, fly to Copenhagen to beg the Olympic Committee to award the 2016 Olympics to Chicago. Despite his heartfelt stories of how Chicago celebrated his coronation, and her stories of dad’s MS, the IOC dismisses Chicago in the first round, ultimately naming Rio the winner. Shocked media groupies weep, the IOC is obviously racist, and it’s all George Bush’s fault.
  • In the wake of his Olympic defeat, the President, doing his best Commander-in-Chief impersonation, swallows his pride and meets with General McChrystal, our commander in Afghanistan, on a London tarmac (in response, no doubt, to critics’ claims that the President is foresaking our troops and ignoring the General’s request for an increase). For only his second meeting with the General, Obama’s customary metrosexual skinny  suit stands in stark, wimpy contrast to the General’s desert fatigues (especially love the boots!). Though the President offers the General only minutes of his time, the General’s attire sends a clear message to those of us in his and his warriors’ camp. 
  • After decades of luxurious exile in Europe, film director Roman Polanksi is arrested in Switzerland. Years ago he escaped punishment in the U.S. for drugging, raping and sodomizing a 13-year-old girl, 30 years his junior. The morally upstanding community that is Hollywood jumps to his defense, led by the likes of Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, and Toys R Us spokeswoman Whoopi Goldberg. Apparently winning an Oscar trumps child protection.
  • In a related story, we discover – by the man’s own documented admissions — that the President’s safe school czar (whatever that is) at least once ignored his mandate to report a child in danger, counseling a 15-year-old boy who was hooking up with older men at bus stations to enjoy and be safe. We hear more is coming.
  • The U.S. dollar begins a global decline. Members of Congress and media hacks berate General McChrystal, demanding he just “shut up and salute.” The U.S. Congress continues to drive their un-read nationalized health-care plan that will decimate small business, extend coverage to illegals, ration care, punish doctors, limit care offered to seniors who have outlived their usefulness to the collective, tax us into oblivion, provide….

That’s enough. I can’t stand anymore. Too much rage percolating in this Grizzly Mom’s gut. But it’s a good rage. A rage for country, liberty and what we know is right. A rage that stems from the sick feeling in the stomach when all is not right in our country and the despicable efforts of those in power, when our Constitution is being shredded, our children’s futures destroyed. But it’s also a rage that can make things right again. For now, we’ll just have to call it a week and look for signs of light in this beleaguered country of ours, perhaps in the week to come (though I won’t be holding my breath for that one).

Betsy Siino | Comments