Moderate Moment | Moderate Moms

Archive for October, 2011

Click here for latest headlines as of 10/27

McD’s Denial over dirty playgrounds /

Fact checking Joe Biden’s claim that 8 mil. jobs had already been lost before Obama took over /

Poll shows Hillary Clinton ahead of all GOP Presidential candidates


Gay Military Moms to Uncle Sam:

Gay Military Moms to Uncle Sam: “We’re asking!”

By Jeff Chiu, AP / photo courtesy:

The military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is gone, but a lawsuit over benefits for gay and lesbian military couples has been filed.

“This case is about one thing, plain and simple,” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which filed the suit. “It’s about justice for gay and lesbian servicemembers and their families in our armed forces rendering the same military service, making the same sacrifices, and taking the same risks to keep our nation secure at home and abroad.”

The lawsuit names as defendants Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.

Under current law, the Pentagon is required to ignore same-sex marriages.

The Pentagon will evaluate the complaint and consult with the Justice Department, while at the same time continuing to follow the law, a spokesman said in a statement.

The spokesman, Capt. John Kirby, pointed out that servicemembers can already designate some benefits to people of their choosing regardless of sexual orientation, but other benefits are restricted by law.

“In connection with ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell‘ repeal, the Defense Department is engaged in a careful and deliberate review of the possibility of extending eligibility for benefits, when legally permitted, to other individuals including same-sex partners,” the statement said.

The lead plaintiff in the case is Maj. Shannon McLaughlin, a judge advocate general in the Massachusetts National Guard.

Another plaintiff is Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan of the New Hampshire National Guard.

Current policies cause “undue financial and emotional hardship,” she said.

Morgan said she has cancer and is worried that her spouse and their daughter would be unable to receive survivor’s benefits. “We are only asking for equitable treatment as a recognized family,” she said.

From Ina Garten Food Network

Brussel sprouts are a yummy cold weather vegetable.  I like to braise first on the stove top then put them in the oven to caramelize.  Yummy.



  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper



Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt ( I like these salty like French fries), and serve immediately.


Click here for headlines as of 10/25

Gov. Rick Perry proposes 20% flat tax /

Moderate Islamist Politics in Tunisia /

Democratic Party official calls schoolkids “little Democrats.” /


If Occupy-palooza were a rock band

Op-Ed Columnist Charles Blow wrote that he was sitting next to a young woman in Brooklyn who was having dinner and planning to head to the Occupy Wall Street Protest the next day … This is a reprint of that article that talks about the Grateful Dead trek atmosphere around these protests.  I personally think this spontaneous eruption of young people in the streets is probably no accident but an attempt to engage the young hipsters who helped Obama get elected in 2008 but sat out the mid term elections in 2010.

By Charles Blow, The New York Times

“Between a morning boot camp workout at the local Y.M.C.A. and an evening meeting with friends for drinks, she was planning her first trek to Zuccotti Park to take part in the Occupy Wall Street protests.  “Why?” I asked. “What specifically are you protesting?” I was curious.  I hoped that she’d respond with some variation of the umbrella arguments about income inequality, the evils of corporate greed and corruption or removing corporate money from politics. She didn’t. “I don’t know. It’s just cool,” she said. She went on to tell me about how she felt that this was a movement of people with whom she felt some kinship, banding together and making history, and that she wanted to be a part of that in the same way that people from previous generations were part of the civil rights, women’s liberation and antiwar movements. She hinted at inequality but never quite got there. Yet she was passionately convinced that she must get involved. That is part of the magic and mystery of these protests: a near magnetic attraction drawing in both the hard core and the hangers-on alike. While there are some people with very specific goals taking part in the protests and supporting them, there are many others who come with no particular, refined mission or message other than a desire to show solidarity, to rise up and be seen and heard and to display their disaffection for the status quo. And that may well be message enough for many. If the Occupy Wall Street protests were a band, I’d say the closest corollary would probably be the legendary ’90s grunge band Nirvana — both meaningful and murky, tapping into a national angst and hopelessness, providing a much-needed catharsis and gaining a broad and devoted following while quickly becoming the voice of a generation. Needless to say, that doesn’t cover everyone. The protests have a Lollapalooza-like eccentricity and diversity to the crowds. Some come to revel in the moment. Others come to rage against the machine. But they are all drawn together by the excitement of animating a muscle that many thought had atrophied: demonstration and disobedience in the name of equality. This has energized two groups who are notoriously apathetic and lacking in civic engagement — the young and the poor — and has done so outside the existing architectures of power and politics. This excitement has attracted the attention of progressive politicians, pundits and celebrities, many of whom are making pilgrimages to the protests to lend support while reinforcing their own street cred and pondering how to best harness the energy on display. After all, civic energy is a precious commodity in an election season. You can almost see some leaders and luminaries drooling at the thought of using the protests to their political advantage. But there has been an even stronger reaction by some on the right, who, out of fear, are seeking to pre-emptively stain and marginalize the protesters. Herman Cain has called them “jealous.” Bill O’Reilly has suggested that they are “crackheads.” Glenn Beck — I guess in an attempt to be king of the hill of hysteria — has gone so far as to call them killers: “Capitalists, if you think that you can play footsies with these people, you’re wrong. They will come for you and drag you into the streets and kill you.” The irony is that all these people are at the top of the food chain in an economic ecosystem that many protesters seem to view as fundamentally flawed and in need of radical realignment if not wholesale deconstruction. So the protesters have defied efforts to be led or labeled by either side. This independent positioning may be serving them well. Early national polls taken about the movement have found that although many Americans aren’t clear about the protesters’ goals, they support them. A USA Today/Gallup poll conducted last weekend found that nearly two-thirds of people who were asked didn’t know enough about the goals of the Occupy Wall Street protests to say if they approved of them or not. Yet a United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, also conducted last weekend, asked if people agreed with the goals of the protests from what they “know about the demonstrations.” Fifty-nine percent said that they agreed. That may well be because even if there isn’t a single, clear message of the protests that people identify with, it seems as if they do agree with many of the disparate ideas being put forward. A Time Magazine/Abt SRBI poll conducted last week found that among those familiar with the protests, 86 percent of respondents believed that “Wall Street and lobbyists have too much influence in Washington”; 79 percent believed that “the gap between the rich and the poor in the U.S. is too large”; 71 percent believed that “executives of financial institutions responsible for the financial meltdown in 2008 should be prosecuted”; and 68 percent believed that “the rich should pay more in taxes.” Closer to the epicenter, the mission is clearer and public support even stronger. A Quinnipiac poll of New York City voters released this week found that nearly three-quarters said that they understood the protesters’ views at least fairly well, two-thirds said that they agreed with those views, nearly 9 in 10 said that it was O.K. “that they are protesting” and nearly three-quarters said that as long as the protesters obey the laws that they should be able to remain as long as they wish. The Occupy Wall Street protests may or may not grow into a political force pursuing a specific legislative agenda through normal systems, but there can be little doubt at this point that the protests have struck a chord with a large swath of Americans. If nothing else, the movement has established itself as a cultural phenomenon with surprising staying power, and as someone who wasn’t sure that it would catch hold, I must echo the young woman in the restaurant: that’s just cool.”

Who knew the protests were such smelly business!

Who knew the protests were such smelly business!

Cassandra Garrison, Reporter/Producer Metro New York

There are plenty of complaints out there about the Occupy Wall Street protesters: They are a bunch of hippies who have no real demands! They trashed Zuccotti Park and other protest sites around the country! They bang too loudly on their drums and clog the streets!

Next time, though, you feel like complaining about Occupy Wall Street, just remember it could be worse: This guy could be there.

There is video posted online on of a man being apprehended by police at Occupy Toronto.

The person shooting the video can be heard telling police the man was in his tent, sniffing his girlfriend’s feet. He also tells police the man tried to get people in the tent to drink urine by telling them it was an energy drink. Even more disturbing is that he says the man took a sip, or “pretended” to take a sip, before trying to pass it to others.

It’s all very strange. At one point, you can hear what sounds like a woman (or an eagle!) screeching, and we’re assuming it’s someone’s ring tone — which is creepy.

Later, the man shooting the video suddenly remembers that the foot-sniffer handed him a knife earlier when he had asked for a pen. He races back to his tent to fetch it for police. On his way back to the officers, he is met by a group of people we can only assume are other protesters. He shows them the “knife” which actually appears to be a wine bottle opener with a corkscrew. Then the group debates whether or not to hand it over to police and the man shooting the video insists they must because it is “evidence.” There is some debate and then the “legal team” is mentioned before someone tells the man shooting the video that he has become a “conflict of interest” and the video ends.

So while there may be reports of arrests, drugs and anti-Semitism, at least at the protests here in the States, there has not yet been a foot-sniffer.



Click here for the latest headlines 10/22

Michelle Bachmann N.H. staff quits, one major player moves to Perry campaign /

Will Obama get a foreign policy bump? /

Tea Party: Occupy Wall Street Protestors not like us

The latest headlines 10/21



Obama job approval hits new low /

Dad caught racing his car at 118 m.p.h. with kids in car  


You tube sensation!  Baby thinks magazine is a broken IPad


Facebook may not be the brain drain you thought it was!

Facebook may not be the brain drain you thought it was!

By Ben Hirschler  (Reuters) – Scientists have found a direct link between the number of “friends” a person has on Facebook and the size of certain brain regions, raising the possibility that using online social networks might change our brains.

The four brain areas involved are known to play a role in memory, emotional responses and social interactions.

So far, however, it is not possible to say whether having more Facebook connections makes particular parts of the brain larger or whether some people are simply pre-disposed, or “hard-wired”, to have more friends.

“The exciting question now is whether these structures change over time — this will help us answer the question of whether the Internet is changing our brains,” said Ryota Kanai of University College London UCL.L, one of the researchers involved in the study.

Kanai and colleagues used magnetic resonance imaging MRI.L to study the brains of 125 university students, all of them active users of social media site Facebook, and cross-checked their findings in a further group of 40 students.

They discovered a strong connection between the number of Facebook friends and the amount of “grey matter” in the amygdala, the right superior temporal sulcus, the left middle temporal gyrus and the right entorhinal cortex. Grey matter is the layer of brain tissue where mental processing occurs.

The thickness of grey matter in the amygdala was also linked to the number of real-world friends people had, but the size of the other three regions appeared to be correlated only to online connections.

The students, on average, had around 300 Facebook friends, with the most connected having up to 1,000.

With more than 800 million active users worldwide, Facebook has become a major component of social interaction, especially among the young.

“Online social networks are massively influential, yet we understand very little about the impact they have on our brains. This has led to a lot of unsupported speculation the Internet is somehow bad for us,” said Geraint Rees of UCL.

“This shows we can use some of the powerful tools in modern neuroscience to address important questions — namely, what are the effects of social networks, and online social networks in particular, on my brain.”

The study results were published on Wednesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Heidi Johansen-Berg of the University of Oxford, who was not involved in the research, said the findings were intriguing but did not mean Facebook was a short cut to making people brainier.

“If you got yourself 100 new Facebook friends today then your brain would not be bigger tomorrow,” she said. “The study cannot tell us whether using the Internet is good or bad for our brains.”

Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Fennel

Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Fennel

Recipe Eating courtesy Top Chef


  • 2 large sweet-tart apples, such as Fuji or Braeburn, sliced
  • 1 large bulb fennel, trimmed, cored and thinly sliced, plus 1 tablespoon chopped fronds for garnish
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar

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  1. Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 475°F.
  2. Toss apples, sliced fennel and onion with 1 tablespoon oil in a large bowl. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast on the lower oven rack, stirring twice, until tender and golden, 30 to 35 minutes.
  3. About 10 minutes after the apple mixture goes into the oven, sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the pork on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn the pork over and transfer the pan to the top oven rack. Roast until just barely pink in the center and an instant-read thermometer registers 145°F, 12 to 14 minutes.
  4. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Immediately stir vinegar into the pan (be careful, the handle will be hot), scraping up any browned bits, then add to the apple mixture. Thinly slice the pork; serve with the apple mixture and sprinkle with fennel fronds.


Per serving: 258 calories; 9 g fat ( 1 g sat , 5 g mono ); 74 mg cholesterol; 21 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 25 g protein; 5 g fiber; 374 mg sodium; 861 mg potassium.