Moderate Moment | Moderate Moms

Archive for July, 2012

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Fed chair Bernanke issues sobering assessment of near term economic outlook /

Gov. Christie to speak at Republican National Convention /

Flash mob or Flash rob as 300 teens riot in Florida

Why two of Romney is better than none

If Sarah Palin has a legacy in politics, it is the “heartbeat away” factor. I was hoping Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney might try to balance out the ticket by picking a pro-choice, pro-civil union woman as his running mate. A woman of color like Condoleezza Rice would have been an added bonus. But Romney may feel that, after Sarah Palin, the days of picking someone out to balance the ticket are gone. And so, it looks like he may go with a junior version of himself. Safe, predictable and stable. According to the New York Times, the frontrunners at this point are Sen. Bob Portman and former Presidential candidate and former Governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty. It was Republican campaign strategist Ed Rollins who said last week that the Republican Party is “too old, fat and white.” Was he part of the drumroll around Condoleezza Rice’s potential nomination after Romney was booed by the NAACP? Could be.  At the end of the day, Romney’s campaign is choosing a “do no harm” strategy and we aren’t going to criticize him for it. Because the ultimate goal is to improve the economy and two of Romney is better than  none.

What does the Vice-President do?

The Vice President

The V.P.’s Job: The only duty the U.S. Constitution assigns the Vice President is to act as presiding officer of the Senate. But the Vice President also serves as ceremonial assistant to the President and is an important part of the President’s administration.

The Second Highest Office: The Vice President is only “a heartbeat away” from becoming the President. He or she must be ready to become President or Acting President if anything happens to the President. Thirteen Vice Presidents have gone on to become President, eight because of the death of a President. (Gerald Ford became President after Richard M. Nixon resigned, and the rest were elected to the office.)

Adapted from Scholastic News.

Summer ramblings …

It isn’t nearly as pleasant as dipping into an ocean wave or basking in the sun, I admit. But there is still a lot going on right now that American moms may not want to miss. Mia Love, who if elected to Congress, would be the House’s first African American female member, just had a great idea. She suggests that all of those young people looking for jobs right now might want to consider going into politics. You know, a modern day Peace Corps but this time, it’s our country that needs the help. And yes, we’re looking for the best and the brightest to serve.

This is a wonderful excerpt from an article in today’s Washington Post on the Democrats’ war on the wealthy.  Michael Gerson suggests Romney needs to reframe the class warfare discussion.

As a governing matter, encouraging social mobility could eventually be a unifying, bipartisan goal. As a political matter, it would provide Romney a particular advantage. Obama’s message is now in full Labor Party mode: Soak the rich. But the smartest Republican response is not to defend the rich. It is to defend a fluid society in which everyone has the possibility of becoming richer. Economic redistribution is not the answer, but economic growth is not sufficient, either. Upward mobility requires the broad diffusion of skills and social capital.

Romney, while disarmingly recognizing his own advantages, should demonstrate some market-oriented innovation in extending advantages to others: promoting early-childhood education, high school completion, college attendance and graduation, parenting skills and wealth-building among the disadvantaged. It would be a powerful political message, addressing a serious need, in a manner consistent with conservative ideals.

Chill out with chilled avocado soup

From the book 500 Soups by Susannah Blake:

I’m going to make this for friends Monday night. It’s the perfect cold food for a hot Summer night.

Chilled avocado soup with fiery tomato salsa


2 large ripe avocados 

1 red chili, seeded and chopped

1 garlic clove

5 cups chicken stock

Juice of 1 lime

Salt and ground black pepper

Ice cubes, to serve

For the salsa:

2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped

2 scallions, sliced

1 green chili, seeded and chopped

2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

Juice of 1 lime

First make the salsa. Combine the tomatoes, scallions, chili and cilantro in a small bowl. Season with a little salt, add the lime juice and stir the ingredients until thoroughly combined. Cover and set aside.

To make the soup, halve and pit the avocados, then scoop the flesh into a food processor or blender. Add the chili, garlic and stock, and process until smooth. Add the lime juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Then process briefly to mix.

Pour the soup into bowls. Top with ice cubes and a spoonful of salsa. Serve immediately.

Toys are serious business

Game helps students perfect persuasive pitches

By Dale Singer, Beacon staff

Sure, maybe you think you’re clever enough to sell ice to Eskimos, but how about selling surfboards to lumberjacks or beach balls to teenage techies?

Those challenges and more are posed to people who play Pitch It!, a game devised by history teacher Scott Moeller that can help students develop their powers of persuasion, as well as serve as a fun diversion outside of the classroom.

Players get two cards: a what, saying what kind of product they have to come up with, and a who, designating their target audience. Their challenge is to devise a name for their product along with a slogan and a drawing that will help them develop a successful sales pitch. A timer forces them to work fast.

Alone or in teams, the players then make their pitches to each other, then vote on whose was the most successful.

Moeller said he was shooting for a game that would be fun but also nurture skills that don’t always figure into typical lesson plans.

“A lot of teachers ask me in professional development sessions how do you get kids to learn to problem solve,” he said. “How do you teach them to think creatively?”

By working to come up with new ways of looking at old products, Moeller said Pitch It! helps get those creative ideas flowing.

“Thinking outside of the box and playing with language are important,” he said. “Making abstract connections and sharpening presentation skills are a huge part of this game.

Scott Moeller
Scott Moeller

“There’s also development of a team, if you are playing in groups, and how groups generate the best ideas, learning how to communicate with each other so nobody talks over the other. Then there’s coming up with the final plan on how to pitch the product to your certain audience and becoming aware of your audience. Using humor to sell a product is a big plus, so there are all kinds of skills that I can see in this game.”

Ladders, woks and electric underwear

For the students in Megan McCorkle’s English III summer school class, playing the game was a good way to use in a different way the persuasive skills they have been learning. It was also a good activity to keep teens engaged on a hot morning the day before July 4 — and having some Hershey’s chocolate and Starburst candy handy didn’t hurt either.

McCorkle reminded the class that they have been studying the three elements that go into persuasion — pathos, ethos and logos, or the emotional, the ethical and the logical — then split them into six groups of two each and dealt the cards that told them what their product was and to whom they had to pitch it.

They quickly got down to the business of how to sell frisbees to hip hop music fans, ladders to rock music fans and lawnmowers to cat owners. The winning pitch was for Country’s Finest Hose, a garden hose meant for country music fans.

Subsequent rounds involved food powder for meteorologists, MP3 players for cheerleaders, cell phones for high school jocks or woks to the crews of fishing boats — a popular entry that led to the Fish Fry Friday Frying Pan, for those times when fish just jump into your boat.



Though the team selling ladders didn’t latch on to the easy slogan — your easiest way to get high — McCorkle did mention an earlier class where a team selling underwear to electricians had to modify its original sales pitch: Let us cover your ass. A quick change to “bum” made the slogan successful and acceptable.

After round two, students were unanimous in their praise when they were asked whether they would like to play the game with their friends on a Friday night, when they weren’t in class playing under the supervision of a teacher.

“It’s fun,” said Jamika Loyd. “It’s entertaining. You can learn a lot about business.”

To Ja’Vaughn Barnes, the game became more fun when the timer was added, putting pressure on the teams to come up with their ideas fast. “It’s a good game,” Barnes said. “I would recommend it.”

“You can put your own personality into it,” added Chris Reyes, whose pitches took a musical tack. “You can make it how you want it and put your own spin on it.”

Said Courtney Spink:

“It’s a good idea to put two different things together you wouldn’t normally see together.”

Toys are serious business

McCorkle was pleased with the way the game’s goals fit in with the persuasive appeal part of her curriculum.

“In a regular class,” she said, “I would have them write an argumentative paper. This game goes along with that so well. It’s fun and intuitive and really does get them to think about their purpose and their audience.”

Talking after class, she and Moeller agreed that Pitch It! was a good opportunity to loosen things up without sacrificing academic goals.

“You’re asking them to think creatively,” McCorkle said. “How often do we have the chance to do that in school? For teenagers, it’s very hard to get them to think about their audiences. They are very much focused on themselves.”

Moeller recalled that the seed for the game was planted on a long car trip when his mind began to wander to word play games as something to pass the time.

“I focused on billboards on the side of the road,” he said, “and I started imagining selling unique items and products to unique audiences. I played with that idea. I thought it would be fun for people to create a product title for that product and a logo.

“I kept mulling over it and came up with rules and parameters for play. I eventually came up with a prototype and had people play it, my family first, and I realized that my mom enjoyed it. I thought I was on to something, and I’ve been developing it ever since.”

As the game evolved, Moeller had to start doing some pitching himself, to establish himself in a business that isn’t all fun and games. A trip to the New York Toy Fair was humbling, he said.

“It’s really tough to break in with a new product at this time,” he said. “You’re there in the same place with LEGO and Ty stuffed animals — all the toys you realize you’re competing against. It’s a bit intimidating. It’s been challenging.”

With his network of teachers, and what he called an “underground campaign” including word of mouth, e-mails, Facebook and other avenues, Moeller keeps trying to sell what he thinks is an ideal product to a receptive audience. With TV shows like “The Pitch,” “The Apprentice” and even “Mad Men” highlighting the powers of persuasion, he sees himself as making the right move at the right time.

“It’s timely,” Moeller said. “The economy is shifting and changing, and jobs are shifting and changing, so this is kind of a lighthearted way to take on that challenge and to think differently.

“I’ve had many people play this game and come up with an idea on paper, and they walk away saying, ‘I’m really serious going to try this, or think about trying it anyway.’ So that part’s been fun.”

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DC couple tries to hide baby in luggage at airport

Moderately Happy Moderates .)

From Arthur C. Brooks / The New York Times

People at the extremes are happier than political moderates. Correcting for income, education, age, race, family situation and religion, the happiest Americans are those who say they are either “extremely conservative” (48 percent very happy) or “extremely liberal” (35 percent). Everyone else is less happy, with the nadir at dead-center “moderate” (26 percent).

What explains this odd pattern? One possibility is that extremists have the whole world figured out, and sorted into good guys and bad guys. They have the security of knowing what’s wrong, and whom to fight. They are the happy warriors.

To read the rest of this article, click on the following link: