Another Day of Loss for America

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Tonight Americans will hug their children and loved ones as they pray and weep for those other Americans, who tonight, in the wake of the violent fury of a sick and deranged soul in a small idyllic Connecticut town, no longer have their children, their loved ones, to hug.

I imagine tonight those families in Connecticut who this morning kissed and hugged their children, their loved ones, and wished them a good Friday at school.  And I imagine those families tonight, praying that somehow they will be able to heal, to find peace, to survive, as people they love will never come home again.

I will never forget the stories of heroism or the images that have emerged from this day.  And I will be haunted for the rest of my life by the story of a first-grade teacher at the school, who, upon hearing the first sounds of carnage from a neighboring class, herded her students into a bathroom, her young students crying that they didn’t want to die.  They just wanted it to be Christmas.  God bless them, as well as those who tonight are no longer with us.  God bless all who this tragedy has touched, and may they know that they are are tonight, and many nights to come, in the thoughts and prayers of America.



A Letter to Mrs. Obama from an American Parent

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Dear Mrs. Obama:

A friend was kind enough to send me a copy of a letter you wrote to America’s parents, written, it appears, when you were busy hosting visitors from China as your husband celebrated “China’s rise,” and in the aftermath of the terrible shootings in Tucson.  Your letter, as you may recall, was written to instruct us parents to be tolerant and to teach tolerance to our children, suggesting that if we had done this, we might have prevented the Tucson shooting.

I know the past few months have been very busy for you, what with entertaining foreign dignitaries, hosting the White House Super Bowl party, taking vacations, traveling across the country for the Tucson memorial/Obama-campaign-launch event, teaching parents to prevent mass murders with tolerance, and gaining access as part of a large group of politicians to the ICU to visit Tucson-shooting victim Congresswoman Giffords.  I’m still wondering how a large group of non-family-member politicians gained that access; most hospitals are pretty stringent about ICU patient visitations.  I also don’t remember you and your husband being quite so passionate and involved when more than 40 people were shot, 13 murdered, at Fort Hood by a radical religiously-motivated shooter back in November, 2009.  But I do remember talk of tolerance; guess we parents didn’t do our job to prevent the tragedy in Tucson.

You, however, do not rest.  In your tireless efforts to make us, as your husband described, “better,” you have now taken it upon yourself to help influence and control the portion sizes served by America’s restaurants.  I believe I speak for many other American parents, who, like me, eat quite frequently in America’s restaurants and love nothing more than receiving enormous portions of food and bringing enormous boxes of leftovers home afterwards to satisfy the enormous appetites of growing active kids.  With all due respect, you need not suggest that we offer them something more in keeping with your list of preferred foods, because what and how we feed our kids is our decision, not yours.

Also our decision, and one of the most personal as a parent, is the decision to breastfeed – another issue you have taken upon yourself to promote.  I know it has been years since you were faced with that decision, and I don’t care to know what you decided, but I would imagine you know of women, who, for whatever reason, either could not or would not engage in this activity.  What is never addressed in regard to this topic is that it can be far more difficult and far greater a commitment than many women realize.  In answer to your related claim that breastfeeding prevents obesity, while plenty of scientific evidence confirms the benefs of breastfeeding on brain development, I have seen nothing linking it to long-term obesity prevention (and I have a feeling you haven’t either). 

So with all due respect, Mrs. Obama, as one of the millions of American parents you are addressing en masse with your letters, your speeches and your alleged scientific conclusions, I have done just fine on my own feeding my kids; monitoring their portions of restaurant food; and, as is my right as an American (an American who has always been proud of my country), teaching them the core values of my choice.  Indeed I know I speak for myself and millions of other American parents, when I say that we were doing just fine in this mission, long before we ever even heard of you and your husband.

I thus think your time might be better spent, not lecturing American parents on what we must do to ensure our progeny and their beliefs meet your and your husband’s particular expectations, but to concentrate instead on your own daughters.  I know nothing about your children (apart from the private information you shared about their BMI scores), and that is how it should be.  Your children and their BMI scores are, and should be, no concern of mine, and you, a self-appointed representative of the government, need not bother yourself with concerns about my children, either.

Sage Parental Advice from the Obamas for the New Year

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Just before jetting off recently for yet another of their luxury, multi-million-dollar sojourns in Hawaii, the Obamas took the time to offer yet more of their sage advice — mandated new year’s resolutions, if you will — to the peasants.

First, as part of Michelle Obama’s ongoing war against obesity (read that phrase any way you wish), the First Lady lauded the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act” that will regulate what children eat in federally funded meal programs. The cynical among us see this as only the first shot fired in Obama’s ongoing attempt to mandate what children eat in their own homes and restaurants, as well, evident from the FLOTUS’ illuminating comment at her husband’s signing of this act that “we can’t just leave it up to the parents.”

Obama continued, stating that “childhood obesity isn’t just a public health threat, it’s not just an economic threat, it’s a national security threat, as well” (oh, if only she, her husband and their rabidly devoted minions would describe extreme fundamental jihadists with those same words). But fear not, America. Though Mrs. Obama has targeted many of America’s best-loved foods for abolition in her war against this alleged national-security threat, let us take solace from the fact that she does from time to time grant us permission to partake of those forbidden, national-security-threatening foods. Indeed just this past November, she granted us permission to eat pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving.

Not to be outshone by his wife, Barack Obama offered his own words of wisdom several days later, when he took time from his busy schedule as leader of the free world and commander-in-chief of the American armed forces to promote some children’s book, that, like several other books we might name, lists “Barack Obama” as the author. The leader of the free world’s topic on this day as he spoke to a group of Virginia schoolkids: poop scooping.

“….a lot of times, I walk Bo at night, and that’s fun,” a folksy Obama told the kids in reference to the dog he named after himself. “Sometimes I run around with Bo, although I have to — sometimes I have to scoop up his poop, because I don’t want to just leave it in the lawn.”

Obama continued, “So if you guys have a dog, you got to walk your dog, too, and clean up after him a little bit,” not only speaking down to the kids, but doing so with improper grammar, using an example that showed them what it means to be perfectly unpresidential. (It’s a safe bet he, shall we say, fudged the truth, as well, since we know there is no way he has ever scooped poop at the White House or anywhere else).  No word on whether Obama needed a teleprompter for this event, or if Bill Clinton was waiting in the wings to push him off the stage to offer the kids sage poop-scooping advice of his own.

Airport Insanity Update

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After reading my post of November 13, a friend of mine commented that perhaps I am being a bit extreme in suggesting that TSA airport security might be the dream job for a pedophile.  Surely children would be exempt from new procedures that involve naked photography and the full-body fondling of airline passengers.

What a coincidence, then, that less than 24 hours later, I would stumble upon the story of a 3-year-old who had a meltdown when she was subjected to a full-body patdown by a TSA agent in San Diego.  The toddler’s dad happens to be a local San Diego news broadcaster, who made sure his daughter’s experience would not be forgotten or denied.

So, dear friend of mine, no, children are not exempt.  But you have to assume they are confused.  Parents, schools and pediatricians expend much time and effort teaching children how to guard against strangers and improper touches.  Consider then those children who are properly schooled in the fine art of self-protection, only to find themselves fondled by strangers in TSA uniforms at the airport.

Of course common sense has no place in the America of Barack Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano – at least in those areas of government where they still have some authority.  As if to thumb their noses (yet again) at an America that refuses to cooperate with a wholesale leftwing transformation of the United States, they tweak their policies daily, almost as though they are trying to see just how severely they can punish and humiliate the American people.

For example, today we learned that if you intend to wear sweatpants, pajamas or similarly loose-fitting leggings on your flight, you will literally find TSA hands down your pants.  And in the wake of the Muslim community’s demands that their women be exempted from full-body patdowns, Napolitano has stated that “adjustments” will be made, and “with respect to that particular issue, I think there will be more to come.”  I don’t think Janet herself even knows what she means (or what she’s doing), but I certainly hope it doesn’t mean what I think it means.  If it does, the response will not be pretty.

The irony at the root of this madness is that most would-be terrorists on planes since 9/11 have been foiled, not by TSA prevention policies, but by passengers on those planes who did not hesitate to jump in.  Even on the day of 9/11 itself, the heroic passengers of Flight 93, knowing the fate of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and knowing what awaited them, refused to go down without a fight.

Since that terrible day, the majority of us have become more vigilant, more observant, and more willing to take necessary action.  Despite what one might glean from the behavior of far too many of our elected and administrative officials, the vast majority of us have become far less politically correct, as well.  In other words, we know that traumatizing 3-year-olds and naked pictures of Grandma are not the answer.

Seize the Snow Day!

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February 11, 2010 | Comments

As we all know, the East Coast is being pelted by a series of record-setting blizzards, unlike any the people there have seen since such weather has been recorded (caused, of course, say the true believers, by global warming – but what isn’t?).

As a veteran of this global-warming phenomena myself, I grin as I hear the short sound bites that have punctuated the news coverage of this epic event:

“I just finish shoveling, and then I have to shovel again!”

“Everything is closed, so I stayed home and had a snowball fight with my daughters!”

“I can’t drive anywhere, so I’m going sledding with my son!”

What makes me grin is the common thread of pleasure and excitement running through these speakers’ voices. While we know frigid cold and snow can be violent and destructive, especially for those who are unprepared or unable to withstand its potential wrath, I hear in these exuberant voices their acknowledgement that this is a special, unexpected time in their lives, and they intend to cherish it. Every minute of it. And I say, good for them.

Speaking from experience, I have personally mourned for people stuck in snowbound cars on freeways, cringed at the news of children stuck at school overnight (or longer), assisted friends and neighbors with flooded basements and broken windows, and shuttered at the howls of 60-mile-an-hour winds that seem intent on ripping the roof off my house. But so have some of my most poignant family memories come from those times when Mother Nature blankets us with crippling depths of snow and frigid climes that will chill a bottle of wine in minutes (very romantic, by the way).

I wouldn’t trade for a moment the sweet, warm memory of sitting before a sparkling Christmas tree while that wind battered the windows, or giggling with kids and dogs as we leap through snow as deep as we are tall. Kids don’t forget these moments either. Indeed as many families are learning this week for the first time, there is no sweeter music to a kid’s ears than those golden words: “snow day.”

So to those currently experiencing Mom Nature’s surprise, if you have heat and light and food and find yourself housebound, take this time to enjoy your family, to enjoy your kids, to enjoy what you may someday look back upon as one of your warmest and coziest of your family memories.

Betsy Siino | Comments

Happy Birthday, Boy Scouts of America!

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February 8, 2010 | Comments

Today the Boy Scouts of America celebrates its 100th birthday. As a scout mom, I thank the BSA for all it does to promote character, loyalty and patriotism in the young men of our nation. Here’s hoping it continues to deflect the efforts made to undermine its foundation in this crazed world of ours, so it may celebrate 100 more years in February, 2110. Cheers!

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

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

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

Aftermath of the Great Speech

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September 8, 2009 | Comments

I felt kind of nauseous most of the day. All because of the President’s speech today to the schools.

I read the text of the speech yesterday (remember, they had to release the text to appease us wingnuts).  It was fine and dandy, just as I expected. Carefully crafted. Expertly designed to answer all the criticisms that arose over the last week when it was announced the President would be addressing the nation’s schoolkids. What kind of barbarian can object to a President, especially this President, urging kids to work hard, be responsible, stay in school, all that exalted stuff? Well, a barbarian like me, I guess.

The speech was fine, but I just couldn’t shake that pesky “original intent” thing – the accompanying lesson plan that, before backlash revision, asked kids to “help the President.” After my call to the school district last Friday got me nowhere, as a parent, I had to make my own decision and do what I thought was right. And my decision was no, I’m not buying.

The kids and I looked at the speech yesterday. Nothing new for them. They’ve heard it all before. At home. Many times. As it should be. Today one school aired it, one didn’t. I politely told the one that did that my youngest would not be participating. Apparently, according to an NBC pundit this morning who shall remain nameless, I am thus too stupid to raise my own kids. This was the same guy, who, on the morning of the 2008 election, proclaimed LBJ to be one of the greatest Presidents in history, so I’m not putting much stock in his assessment.

My reason for resistance was not that I feared indoctrination, and, as my offspring would tell you, I’m not one who believes in wholesale sheltering or isolation. No, it was the principle. I have taught my kids that what matters isn’t what they say, but what they do. The same applies to those around them, as well. This national event, following on the heels of debate about all the President’s czars (one of whom — an avowed communist and so-called “9/11 truther”– stepped down this weekend), set the perfect example.

A pretty speech does not erase the fact that I find this administration’s actions dangerous and diametrically opposed to what I want for my country and my family – and what is outlined in our Constitution. I was nevertheless left feeling tonight like a lone voice in the wilderness, so much so that I have second guessed today’s decisions over and over. Had I to do it again, perhaps I would have chosen a different path. Perhaps not. I don’t know. I guess this is what made me nauseous.

But I found my elixir tonight when I spotted a random quote from Sir Winston Churchill. I was reminded of an image once described to me of those dark days in the 1930s when the British Parliament was scrambling to appease the escalating aggressions of Adolph Hitler, assuming that would keep their island nation safe. But there among them could be heard one lone voice: “This is a terrible mistake.” Indeed I have always found strength in Sir Winston’s courage, not simply in standing strong against the Axis powers during World War II, but standing strong himself in the lead-up to the war, when his belief in what was right and what was dangerous made him one of the most vilified men in Britain.

So I will use Sir Winston’s strength to quiet my own lonely inner conflict. And the words of the brilliant Tammy Bruce, too, who said last week that “you are your child’s moral tutor, not that shady lawyer from Chicago.” As for my second guessing, well, as I told my husband tonight, “I have to get over this. I’ve never been a parent during an attempted socialist-fascist-whatever-this-is takeover of the government before.” Sir Winston knows what I mean.

Betsy Siino | Comments