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Romney polling 20% higher among white voters

Algebra season is right around the corner … The Mom Vivant

Posted at 11:39 AM ET, 07/30/2012

Taking on algebra

Twice in my rather distinguished career I have taken on algebra – questioned why is it invariably a required course in high school, observed that I have never used it in what is sometime called real life and did not, let the record state, understand it for one minute, which must be why I nearly flunked it, passing with a wink from the teacher. Still, I have managed to eke out a living and write what must be 10,000 columns,  a few of them very good indeed.

Both algebra columns were greeted by Bronx Cheers registering a solid 10 on the Richter scale. Some people thought I had lost my mind or that I must be joking, while others called me a numbskull and demanded that my editors put me out to pasture. A blogger named Scott Aaronson said I had shared my “doofus insights” with the world and far more prestigious-sounding “Quantum Physics World” quite methodically – but not persuasively – took me apart. An article about my column in at The American Thinker was headlined “The Strange Beliefs of Richard Cohen” in which my algebra animus was found to be “indicative of (my) liberal bias.” This from someone who credits algebra to teaching him logic.

Now comes the extremely distinguished social scientists Andrew Hacker to reiterate the Cohen Case against algebra. The first of my columns was a more or less personal rant against a subject I found as painful as a migraine and which I never used – not once – in a pretty full life. But the second concerned the truly pernicious effect algebra had on the high school dropout rate: It was public enemy number one. I took as an example a girl named Gabriela Ocampo who after taking and failing algebra six times, just dropped out of school. Hacker, a numbers guy himself, has the stats to show that Ocamapo is hardly an anomaly.

“Algebra is an onerous stumbling block for all kinds of students: disadvantaged and affluent, black and white,” he wrote in a New York Times op-ed piece. “Even well-endowed schools have otherwise talented students who are impeded by algebra, to say nothing of calculus and trigonometry. He cites statistics fingering algebra for the low graduation rate at New York’s City University, where he is an emeritus professor of political science. (Additionally, he is a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books.) At CUNY, “57 percent of its students didn’t pass its mandated algebra course,” Hacker writes. “The depressing conclusion of a faculty report: ‘failing math at all levels affects retention more than any other academic factor.’”

To his credit, Hacker adds insult to injury. He takes a properly cynical pose toward the totally unproven claim that “the math we learn in the classroom has any relation to the quantitative reasoning we need on the job.” And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, he even questions the canard “that mathematic sharpens our minds and makes us more intellectually adept.” I am here to tell you that it does not, or, to put it another way, the inability to master algebra says absolutely nothing about reasoning ability. In fact, I know people who can virtually work out Fermat’s Last Theorem in their heads but keep marrying the wrong women.

I don’t know about Hacker, but I hold no animus towards algebra or those who can do it. Bully for them! And if they find the manipulations of unknowns so exciting that they continue to higher math and solve one or two of the world’s major problems (global warming, for instance) then I, for one, applaud with great sincerity. As for me, though, I never got it. I never understood a word the teacher was saying and every problem chalked out of the blackboard filled me with dread: What the hell was it?

With glee, with cosmic relief, with incredible giddiness, I fled to history, geography and English. I read the textbooks in the first week and then lost myself in the library. I loved history — and I still do. The history I learned in school I still use. It informs my columns and my political views. The algebra I (didn’t) learn has proven totally useless. I have never once used it, not even inadvertently, which is what some people insisted after I wrote my earlier columns, and its only use, it seems to me, is to convince those of us who can’t do it that we are somehow inferior. As I have previously maintained, the proper answer to the question of “How many boys will it take to mow two lawns in half the time” (or something like that) is, “Who cares?”

By  |  11:39 AM ET, 07/30/2012

Republicans need to court Swingles

Republicans need to court Swingles

Swingles, or single women voters, now make up 20% of the electorate, according to the New York Times. That is a huge voting bloc that needs to be recognized and addressed. The Times notes that married women still favor Republicans but single women tend to be much more sympathetic towards President Barack Obama and don’t necessarily blame him for the ailing economy.  For the record, I’m still voting for Romney. But this is an important area where the Republicans have an opportunity to remind single women of the many ways that they are affected. One of the most obvious ways is that the unemployment figures for this group are 11%, which is higher than the national average. The Republicans need to make the connection clear to those who can least afford it.

NY Times report on why married women voters favor Romney

 

For Female Congressional Candidates, a Record Year

  • by Elizabeth Dexheimer, 
Medill News Service

Among the two major parties this year, 12 women — nine Democrats and three Republicans — have won primary elections so far in Texas for seats in the U.S. House. That’s up from record participation levels in 2010, where seven women — five Democrats and two Republicans — won primary elections in congressional races, according to Rutgers University’s Center for American Women and Politics.

What’s more, seven women — four Democrats and three Republicans — are on the ballot for congressional races in Tuesday’s runoff election.

Nationally, the 2004 record of 141 female U.S. House candidates in a general election could be broken if the same voting patterns continue through the primary season, according to the center.

“I think what we’re seeing this year is what we had hoped to see: more women running,” said Debbie Walsh, the center’s director. “2012 is a year of real opportunity for women. And Texas is an extraordinary state, for both progressive and conservative women.”  

 

The Texas contingent in Washington currently consists of U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Republican who is leaving office at the end of her term, and three members of the U.S. House.

At the state level, there are six women — four Democrats and two Republicans — among the two major parties running for Texas Senate and 45 women — 25 Democrats and 20 Republicans — running for Texas House. That total is just short of the 2006 record of 56 female legislative candidates but still robust, Walsh said.

The center’s director said recruitment and redistricting are key factors driving this year’s increase in female participation.

“Redistricting means more opportunity for newcomers, and we are seeing women taking advantage of those opportunities,” Walsh said. “There have also been conscious efforts to go out and support women who are running for office.”

But though numbers are important, Southern Methodist University political science professor Dennis Simon pointed out that participation is just one part of the equation. Ultimately, women need to win in order to gain significant momentum.

“Most of the women who have won nominations are coming up against strong incumbents. And I don’t think they are going to be able to throw people like Ralph Hall out of office,” Simon said, referring to the Republican congressman from Rockwall. “Everyone is looking for another 1992 — that was just an astounding year, a perfect storm for women. … But you need to be careful about reading too much into it too early.”  

Party divides

Most of the women running in Texas are Democrats, which is consistent with national trends.

 

Texas Democrats say the increase in participation among women from their party is because of recruitment efforts and the increased attention on issues such as access to health care and the state’s education budget.

“Democratic women are running with a vengeance,” said Rebecca Acuña, a spokeswoman for Texas Democratic Party. “Women are angry about what’s happening. … They feel they understand, for obvious reasons, their own health care issues better than men do.”

Republicans say their party coalesces around overarching conservative principles as opposed to specific issues.

“We don’t tend to fractionalize our voter base in the same way. … Democrats focus on factions of their base that focus on things like race and gender,” said Jessica Colón, a Republican consultant who is working with several women running for the Texas House.  “We look for people who want to serve. And we’re seeing women, as well as other candidates, stepping up to serve and push a conservative agenda.”

The battle for bucks

At the congressional level, though fewer Republican women are running for office, they have raised more money than Democratic female candidates, according to an analysis of the Center for Responsive Politics’ latest fundraising data. The 13 Democratic female candidates, including primary winners and runoff candidates, have raised about $1.48 million, and the six Republican female candidates, including primary winners and runoff candidates, have raised approximately $1.93 million.

“I think the values of our state are more conservative, so the women who run for office probably more accurately reflect the will of electorate more than their Democratic counterparts, all of which translates into financial support,” said Beth Cubriel, executive director of the Texas Republican Party.

Katie Naranjo, a Democratic consultant who works for several female legislative candidates, said that where Democrats are lacking in fundraising at the congressional level, they are making up for it at the state level. 

“You’re seeing women go to the plate to play ball, even though it may be hard for them to win. They don’t want to see a seat unchallenged,” Naranjo aid. “At the state level, we are doing a great job supporting women candidates. But at the congressional level, not so much.”

Effects of redistricting

This year, there’s yet another dimension to women running for Texas office: redistricting.

The state’s new political map, which includes four new congressional districts, gives women more opportunities to throw their hat in the ring.

“Texas is the biggest opportunity, because of redistricting … the open seats are where there are the most opportunities to shake things up,” Walsh said.

There are female candidates running in two of the four new districts.

But analysts will also be watching to see whether redistricting has a “gender-mandering effect” on the state.

Barbara Palmer, co-author of the book Women & Congressional Elections: A Century of Change, has performed research across the country and has found evidence showing that drawing new districts can often have unintended effects on women.

“The demographic profiles where women are successful are surprisingly different than where men are successful,” said Palmer, adding the most woman-friendly districts are generally wealthy, urban, highly educated and racially diverse. When those demographics are manipulated, it can change the outcome for female candidates.

“A combination of changing demographics and redistricting will have powerful effects for women candidates for the next decade,” said Palmer, who is waiting until census data for the 2012 election is available in November to determine the impact of Texas’ new district map.

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What’s for Dinner

From Allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – pounded to 1/4 inch thickness
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2/3 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
 

Directions

  1. Coat chicken breasts with egg, and dip in bread crumbs. Place on a wire rack, and allow to dry for about 10 minutes.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place chicken into the skillet, and fry for 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Remove to a platter, and keep warm.
  3. Drain grease from the skillet, and squeeze in lime juice. Cook over low heat until it boils. Add butter, and stir until melted. Season with chives and dill. Spoon sauce over chicken, and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information open nutritional information

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 455 | Total Fat: 30g | Cholesterol: 171mg

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Midwest drought could lead to higher food prices /

Man survives 18 mile free fall

Civics for Kids

Courtesy: New York Times By , Published: July 24

The six young performers had just two weeks to write the play. The short production would be their chance to share their life experiences before an international audience, a rare opportunity to show people far outside their community what it’s like to come of age in the District.

They were asked: What does it mean to grow up in a city with one of the nation’s highest HIV-infection rates, among uninformed teens having casual sex? What does this global problem look like in the city hosting the 2012 International AIDS Conference?

Ky’Lend Adams, 17, wrote about a woman at church who was shunned by her community when it became known she was HIV positive: “No one would sit next to her. . . . Everyone kept their distance, like they’d die if they got close.”

Terra Moore, 25, told of the challenges of romance as a transgender young adult: “I’m afraid to become intimate with anyone, which is a deal breaker for most men in the city.”

Angela Hughes, 19, questioned a public-education system that doesn’t address sex until after most kids are having it: “I didn’t take my first sex­ual-education class until 11th grade.”

All six have faced their own struggles, including Davina Smith, 23, who married at 16, had a daughter at 17 and split from her husband at 19. Now a single mother living in Baltimore, Smith said she didn’t learn much about sexual health or HIV until she first visited Metro TeenAIDS, a nonprofit HIV advocacy and educational organization in the District, as a young adult.

Their play, “Pulled Apart,” the result of a partnership between Arena Stage and Metro Teen­AIDS, chronicles lives that largely go unseen and issues that often go unaddressed.

On Monday afternoon, as thousands milled elsewhere in the conference’s Global Village, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the performers rehearsed in a quiet, enclosed corner. In the midst of a massive and diverse event, where much of the discussion and discourse would focus on public policy and complex science, the D.C. natives weren’t sure what their performance space would be like or who would come to see them. But they adjusted their choreography and perfected their lines, getting ready for the moment to tell their stories.

Youth movement

Young people are playing an increasingly prominent role in the fight to end the global epidemic, said Emily Carson, 22, youth program coordinator for the AIDS conference. This year, about 3,000 people under age 30 — a demographic that represents half of new HIV infections worldwide — will participate in the event, Carson said.

“This will show the international community that we are stakeholders in the epidemic,” she said. “They’re going to make the leaders in the District and the rest of the U.S. look at HIV as a United States problem.”

The staff of Metro TeenAIDS knows all about the impact of the virus in their community. The group’s 45 peer educators — people between 14 and 20 who are employed and trained by MTA to conduct weekly community outreach efforts — come mostly from the District’s low-income neighborhoods. They are active in schools and community centers, on the Internet, on street corners. Many integrate their work into their personal lives, stopping by MTA’s Eastern Market headquarters to pick up pamphlets and condoms on the way to a party or a club. Last year, they reached more than 28,000 teens and young adults, according to MTA.

The Mom Vivant / The Glass Cliff

Newly minted Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s pregnancy confounded financial writers, with one saying the news was both “wonderful and awkward,” as they struggled to relay what her appointment means to the company’s financial future while acknowledging she may not be there for a spell. Beta Beat said that, having shot through the “glass ceiling,” Marissa Mayer is now balancing on the edge of a “glass cliff.” Other reports call her “the hottest CEO” ever. (Trust me, no woman hates hearing that!) And then there’s talk of a 59 million dollar salary. This is a woman other women could easily hate. But the only hater so far has been one commentator who Piers Morgan took to task after he doled out the unsolicited advice that Ms. Mayer should just stay home and raise her baby for a while! 

Bloomberg Business News pointed out that Marissa Mayer could be a role model and shine a light on maternity leave policy, especially after she reportedly announced she won’t be taking it.  But I would say in Mayer’s case, she doesn’t have to take it to be a role model. She could help publicize a program that California created to bridge the gap between the Family and Medical Leave Act. It’s a 1% payroll tax that most agree is working. It allows employees to get at least half their pay while out and the consensus seems to be that it is working. And more than 80% of businesses have said it isn’t creating an additional financial burden the way they feared it might. The problem is not enough people know about the program. What a wonderful opportunity for Ms. Mayer to redirect the conversation away from, “should she or shouldn’t she?” and do a good deed for all of the other parents out there who don’t realize they have this option available to them. We shouldn’t forget that the ultimate sexist reaction to Ms. Mayer’s news would be to assume that she should be able to be a CEO who has a fairly steep challenge in front of her job-wise, first-time Mom and someone who needs to get in the middle of the fight over whether to amend the Family and Medical Leave Act so that the Feds mandate paid leave. Two of the three assignments would be daunting for any of us. And at the end of the day, it’s about options and choice. And California has found a creative way, that appears affordable for everyone involved, to make sure women have fair choices in front of them.

 

Below are a couple of good links you might be interested in.

Piers Morgan calling out Sexist Sully

Marissa Mayer’s pregnancy is “her business.”

A horse of a different color

A horse of a different color

By Published: July 25, 2012 Courtesy: New York Times Photo: Victor Blue

LONDON — More than 10,000 athletes are descending on London this week for the Summer Olympics, including global names like Usain Bolt, Oscar Pistorius and Michael Phelps. But the one athlete that is seemingly under stricter guard than any other — sequestered outside London for training, with the public and news media not allowed to lay eyes on her — is a horse.

Ann Romney and her partners purchased Rafalca in 2006.

Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Jan Ebeling, 53, will compete in his first Olympics with Rafalca, a mare that is owned in part by Ann Romney.

Rafalca, a 15-year-old mare from Germany, is owned in part by Ann Romney, wife of the presumptive Republican candidate for president. On the eve of the opening ceremony, the equestrian horse represents an exceedingly unusual collision of national politics and the Olympics, making her an unlikely celebrity in a sport not unaccustomed to the highest reaches of society and royal splendor.

Before the equestrian competitions begin at Greenwich Park — one of the royal parks of London that counts foxes and deer on its vast expanses of green just southeast of the city center — Rafalca will gain international attention in this Olympic host city. Mitt Romney is expected to meet Friday with United States athletes as Rafalca settles into the stables in Greenwich Park. She spent the past few weeks at Layham Hall, a private dressage facility in Suffolk, England, after arriving by plane.

“I just feed her a bunch of watermelons,” Jan Ebeling, the equestrian who rides Rafalca, said about the flight in a recent telephone interview. “It’s not enough for a horse forever, but it’s good for the road.”

The United States Equestrian Federation and the United States Olympic Committee have refused to make those working with Rafalca available for interviews in the days leading up to the Games and prohibited the news media from even seeing the horse. Through a spokeswoman, Ann Romney declined to be interviewed.

With a milk chocolate coat, raven tail and white socks above three of her hooves, Rafalca will next be seen in the dressage ring on Aug. 2, performing in a sport sometimes referred to as horse ballet in which a horse and rider, typically clad in a top hat, tails and riding boots, perform a series of complex movements, often to music. Her pedigree is supreme.

Rafalca is an Oldenburg, which are often branded with an “O” on their legs and have been bred for centuries as everything from carriage horses to artillery horses to farm horses. As leisure time increased, Oldenburgs were increasingly bred for show jumping and dressage, favored for their long legs and strong gaits.

Rafalca’s grandfather (dam sire, the father of her mother) was Rubinstein, who has been called the stallion of the century by German breeders.

Rubenstein “was a fabulous dressage horse,” said Ken Braddick of Dressage-News.com, a Web site that closely covers the sport. “In modern-day dressage, what’s really important is that you have horses that can be powerful and fit because doing a Grand Prix with those movements involves incredible strength and a kind of mind to flawlessly make those transitions.”

Dressage “is the most difficult horse event,” Braddick said. Olympic horses may also compete in jumping or eventing, a sort of equine triathlon that combines dressage, jumping and cross-country. “They’re incredible athletes.”

Many of the jumping genes end up in dressage horses like Rafalca. Her sire, Argentinus, was a successful Hanoverian jumping stallion, with a similar dark mocha coat to Rafalca’s, and part of a long line of successful jumping horses going back to the 1930s.

Rafalca was born in Menslage in northern Germany in 1997, bred by Erwin Risch, an acclaimed German dressage breeder who runs Zuchthof Risch. The pastoral facility in northern Germany has specialized in breeding since 1975 and has produced competitive horses including Air Jordan Z, a successful jumping horse.

Generally, the horses are kept at the facility for three to four years, and some preliminary training is done — walking the horses in circles and getting them accustomed to saddles. When Rafalca was young, some 50 to 60 horses lived there, according to Heike Haferkamp, Risch’s daughter, who now works with her father in Menslage.

Fueled by her success, Rafalca’s lineage has since been repeated by the breeders, Haferkamp said, and currently a 2-year-old stallion there with the same Argentinus-Rubinstein blending lives there. “Rafalca looks more like Argentinus,” Haferkamp said. “But the talent, the talent she gets from Rubinstein.”

After leaving Zuchthof Risch, Rafalca began to compete in smaller competitions. At 4 years old, Rafalca won several titles, helping her increase her appeal to buyers looking forward to her professional years.

Rafalca was purchased and brought to the United States in 2006, at a time when dressage horses were fetching six- and seven-figure price tags. (Rafalca was not sold at auction and her price has not been disclosed publicly.) Care and keeping for such horses is not cheap. In 2010, the Romneys reported a $77,000 loss on their tax returns for their share of Rafalca, which is owned by a partnership that includes Ebeling’s wife, Amy, Ann Romney and Beth Meyer.

Unlike racehorses, which compete when they are young, dressage horses are often trained for years and years, not reaching their competitive peaks until they are at least 10 years old. The longer a horse is with its trainer — Rafalca and her rider Ebeling have been a pair for six years — the better.

Rafalca “did everything perfectly,” said Miriam Dhanji, a horse consultant who splits her time between England and Germany. “The horses are bred to perform at high levels. The breeding does a lot, but the actual training is a big part of it.”

Ebeling, a German native who has been a United States citizen since 1998, heard about Rafalca from a friend of his who had seen the horse. Ebeling, like many riders, preferred geldings over mares. “Mares can be difficult sometimes,” Ebeling said. He told his friend he was not interested.

But the friend persisted and persuaded him to visit Rafalca on his next trip to Germany.

“I fell in love with her right away,” Ebeling said. “I think it was her temperament. She’s a horse that puts her heart into it. She tries really hard to please.”

Rafalca was walked in front of the Ebelings and they were impressed with her gait. Then he rode her and was taken with how responsive she was to subtle movements of his legs and shifting of his weight, crucial details in dressage. Her shoulder and neck structure, too, befit the sport, and is one of the traits of the Rubinstein descendants. Romney and her partners purchased Rafalca in 2006.

Rafalca’s Oldenburg qualities were on full display for Ebeling that day in 2006: her mood, gait and responsiveness to commands. “If you have a horse with a good temperament, that can overcome a lot of other small shortcomings,” he said.

That’s part of what Ebeling has been training to do as a rider for years. He was born in Berlin, but spent most of his childhood in Oldenburg, Germany, not far from where Rafalca was born. As a child, he took lessons at a nearby riding club and fed and groomed the horses and maneuvered the horse manure cart to pay for his lessons. “From an early age, there was a high level of commitment,” he said.

A student of the German riding school, Ebeling worked his way up through an apprenticeship and now oversees 30 to 40 horses, including Rafalca, at the Acres, a ranch in Moorpark, Calif.

“Rafalca is a classic German horse,” Braddick of Dressage-News said. “It fits with Jan’s personality and Jan’s training, which is very consistent and classical. They fit each other.”

From the start, developing trust with Rafalca and honing her training proved challenging. Dressage horses may not be primed for elite competition until they are 10 to 15 years old and after years of continuous training.

“I can read her,” Ebeling said of Rafalca. “With a horse, when you’re competing at that level, you have to have some kind of bond. You really have to have a relationship with the horse. I know when she’s not feeling so good and she can probably tell when I’m not feeling so good.

“The essence of dressage,” Ebeling said, “is we’re trying to show the power of the horse and the balance of the horse in total relaxation. You have to look powerful, but it cannot look forced. That’s our problem sometime. The good riders that make it look easy, that’s the point.”

In a show arena, the rider is not allowed to use his voice with a horse, but may shift his weight or pat a horse.

“They can feel a fly on their back,” Amy Ebeling said. “They can feel the tension of the rider on their back. That’s why they have long-term relationships with the riders. It’s a huge trust issue.”

When Jan Ebeling began working with Rafalca, she was not at the Grand Prix level, he said. In 2007, he competed her at a few events below the Grand Prix level. At her first two competitions in Pebble Beach, Calif., she came in second and first place.

“There were some movements that needed to be perfected,” Ebeling said. “A lot of strength and muscle building to be done.”

Rafalca worked on perfecting her piaffe, the trot that is a signature move of the sport. Through 2008 she continued to compete, placing first in four competitions that year.

“You never really know whether a horse is going to become a Grand Prix horse,” Ebeling said. “Some of the movements are so complicated that some horses never really learn them. There’s a lot of hoping and praying that goes on.”

As the two became more comfortable with each other and Rafalca continued to compete well, Ebeling, who had never been on an Olympic team, and Rafalca made a failed bid for the 2008 Beijing Olympic team. It was a disappointment for Ebeling and Rafalca’s owners.

“I think now, looking back, she would have been too young,” Ebeling said. “It was a real bummer.”

But a new problem emerged for Rafalca shortly after the Olympic team trials. During the 2009 World Cup in Las Vegas, one of her first international competitions, shortly after Ebeling and Rafalca entered the ring for their event, “she saw ghosts everywhere,” Ebeling said. “She did not want to be in that arena. Her warm-ups were fantastic, but she saw something and that was the end of it. Horses, they’ll keep you humble.”

After the Las Vegas debacle, Ebeling added sports psychology to his training repertory. He also worked with Rafalca in an arena with mirrors and more noise, hoping to expose her to elements beyond the normal tranquillity of the ranch.

It seemed to work. In 2010, Rafalca was chosen as an alternate for the World Equestrian Games. In 2009, 2010 and 2011, Rafalca competed in the World Cup. Rafalca continued to improve and competed well in the United States but struggled in international competitions. Last July, Rafalca and Ebeling came in 28th at a Grand Prix event in Aachen, Germany, and in April this year, Rafalca came in 15th, 16th and 17th in a series of Grand Prix events.

Many dressage insiders considered Rafalca a long shot for the American team, especially with Ravel, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, tearing up the international circuit. (Ravel also earned a spot on the dressage team.) The Ebelings, too, knew that making the United States team would be competitive. Rafalca finished third at the Olympic trials, barely earning her a berth — and a first Olympic spot for the fit, 53-year-old Ebeling.

After trials in Gladstone, N.J., Rafalca traveled (yes, with fruit) to Layham Hall to become acclimated before the dressage competitions. Rafalca was slightly jet-lagged, taking naps midday in her stall, but has adjusted well from the heat of the Northeast to the cool climate of London, Amy Ebeling said. “She does better in a cool environment than a hot and humid climate,” she said.

Rafalca will stick to her normal diet and workout schedule, with some grazing on the fresh grass at the facility. Ebeling does not train in complete isolation leading into the competition, but his focus becomes sharper, he said. “It’s easier for Jan to focus on him and his horse,” Amy Ebeling said. “She’s been in great spirits there.”

She added: “I know it sounds crazy. But she is so loving and sweet. She is so kind and knowing. You look into her eyes and you can see her soul. I don’t know if we’re ever going to have another horse like this again.”

The Mom Vivant /

The Mom Vivant / “Dad Jeans”

So, Vanity Fair has a new column that I am really digging right now. It’s called, “Words that shaped the Week.”  My favorite one this week is “Dad Jeans”, which are jeans that are an awkward combination of too baggy and too straight legged and typically come in a color that was obviously picked out by Mom, like “cerulean.  “Sarah Palin” is defined as a noun that means anachronism, or an event or person that is out of order with respect to time and history. 

Caingrich [kain-grich], noun: A chimera, as in the ancient Greek tradition, consisting of one part Newt Gingrich, one part Herman Cain, and one part Rick Perry’s dreams.

Tweepulsive [twee-puls-iv], adjective: Overly precious and cloying, as in the case of certain Zooey Deschanel facial tics.

Now before you go considering the ultra liberal Vanity Fair your source for online political news consider that they also listed November 2012 and defined it both as the month the elections will take place and the likely date for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide the legality of Obamacare. Umm, hello?