Moderate Moment | Moderate Moms

Archive for September, 2013

End of Wash: From Dryer to Drawer with Gun and Camera / Debbie Baldwin

By Debbie Baldwin of Ladue News 

Welcome friends. Today we take a harrowing journey, a journey upon which many younger tribesmen have never embarked. It is a journey fraught with hazards and obstacles, so much so that one wonders how any of our travelers ever make it. It is the curious migration of untamed clothes from the warm safe confines of the laundry room out across the open home to the more permanent habitat, the drawer.

The first leg of the adventure is the shortest and the clothes, still warm and fluffy, are seemingly unaware of their new surroundings as they tumble dazed, like a cat after a nap, into the basket. The sun rises over the landscape of central suburbia. Gatherers prepare to forage at the local markets and box stores. Hunters ready for the daily kill. In the far corner of the domicile a buzzer sounds, alerting the tribe that the clothes are preparing for migration. Most tribesmen ignore the puzzling sound until, driven by need, one member takes on the load. Jarred from their gentle tumbling, items cling together cautiously as the clothes wander out the open door, instinct taking over.

Behaviorists offer no theory as to why the flight instinct seizes many members of the sock species, in this early phase of the trip. Nevertheless, like lemmings into the sea, several socks attempt to leap to freedom, preferring to take their chances in the wild than continue safely to their drawer. Sadly, many of these creatures end up in a rodent’s nest or lodged under a hot water heater, and, as they mate for life, the errant sock’s partner too has no place in the drawer. So with a few initial casualties, usually unnoticed by the wranglers, the basket arrives at first camp: the folding table.

The folding and sorting system is as old as the tribes themselves; the method of procedure often passed down from generation to generation. Segregation is still du rigueur in all tribal households, clothing separated by gender, color and even size. Once folded and sorted, the clothes are at their most vulnerable, unprotected and at the whim of younger tribesmen. No clothes are safe from rifling, but athletic wear is often the most vulnerable to attack; often captured, put to use, and hampered, bypassing the drawer altogether. Older tribesman may protest this abuse, urging the young ones to use caution and patience, to show the clothes respect before using them for sport, but that is a lesson taught by experience.

Next, the clothes return to the basket or separate into smaller groups depending on the size of the herd and their pattern of migration. The clothes are momentarily safe, sheltered in the smaller confines of the basket and often overlooked by predators as they prepare for the final leg of their journey. Upon their arrival at the drawer, the clothes break into even smaller units and once again prepare to serve the tribe. A responsible tribesman will put the clothing to use until it is damaged or too old to work, then pass it on to a charity drop or rag bag—using every part of the material.

With that, the journey is complete. The clothing waits in the confines of the drawer until it is needed to provide warmth or cover. After its use, the trip begins all over again. The effort may seem futile, but in the sartorial world it is what these items are made to do. Join us again next week as we explore the journey of the elusive toilet paper roll from cupboard to spindle. It should prove fascinating as it is a journey that, while relatively effortless and simple, very few children or male members of the tribe have ever made.

CBS News/NYT Poll Shows Uninsured Divided on Obamacare


  • Allison Kopicki

    Less than a week before the health insurance marketplaces established by the 2010 health care law begin accepting customers, a New York Times/CBS News poll has found that there is some support among uninsured Americans for President Obama and his law, but also a wariness and a lack of understanding about what the law will mean for them.

    Uninsured Americans are divided about whether the law will help them, with 3 in 10 saying it will affect them positively, and about the same percentage saying it will hurt them. Four in 10 say it will have no effect on them. Six in 10 say they find the law confusing.

    However, nearly 6 in 10 uninsured Americans say they trust Mr. Obama over Republicans in Congress on health care, and more than two-thirds do not want the law stripped of its financing.

     As the Obama administration continues its campaign to convince millions of uninsured Americans that they will benefit from the law, the poll shows that skepticism remains: a majority of Americans disapprove of the law, half say they find the law confusing, and nearly half expect it to hurt the economy over the long run.

    Fewer than 4 in 10 Americans approve of the law, and among Democrats, two-thirds approve. More than half of independents and more than 8 in 10 Republicans expressed disapproval.

    Although Americans do not appear to be rallying around the law, the poll showed that there is stronger support for keeping the law in place and making it work as well as possible than for trying to stop the law and remove its financing.

    Understanding of the health care law is one problem: just one in five Americans say they know a lot about it.

    Perception of the law’s impact breaks down largely along party lines: 7 in 10 Republicans think the law will hurt them, compared with just one in five Democrats and more than a third of independents.

    Similarly, a plurality of Democrats say the law will improve the national economy, while 8 in 10 Republicans and half of independents see the law as harmful to the economy.

    The national poll was conducted Sept. 19-23 by landline and cellphone among 1,014 adults, and it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.



Q. and A.

  • Q.Do I need to do anything?
  • Q.What if I already have insurance?
  • Q.What dates do I need to know?
  • Q.How do I get started?
  • Q.What are the different coverage levels?
  • Q.Can I get help to pay for coverage?
  • Q.Does this mean I now qualify for Medicaid?
  • Q.What happens if I do not buy insurance?

A Hearty Fall Dinner / Cooking Light

Beef Filets with Mushroom Sauce and Parmesan Popovers

Photo: Jonny Valiant; Styling: Deborah Williams



Worthy of a special occasion

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 steak, 1 popover, and 1/3 cup sauce)
Recipe fromCooking Light

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 405
  • Fat: 19.9g
  • Saturated fat: 6.9g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 9.1g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.2g
  • Protein: 29.7g
  • Carbohydrate: 24.8g
  • Fiber: 1.5g
  • Cholesterol: 146mg
  • Iron: 3.6mg
  • Sodium: 675mg
  • Calcium: 113mg
$ 4 ingredients on sale for ZIP 63146

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  • Popovers:
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Sauce:
  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil $
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 4 ounces sliced fresh cremini mushroom caps (about 2 cups)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper $
  • 1/2 cup pinot noir
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • Beef:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil $
  • 6 (4-ounce) beef tenderloin steaks
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper $


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. 2. Combine milk and eggs in a bowl. Weigh or lightly spoon 4.5 ounces flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Add flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt to milk mixture, stirring well; let stand 30 minutes. Place popover tin in oven for 5 minutes. Remove tin from oven; lightly coat popover cups with cooking spray. Spoon 1/4 cup batter into each cup, and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 400° for 35 minutes or until puffed and golden.
  3. 3. Place porcini mushrooms in a bowl, and cover with 2 cups boiling water. Let stand 15 minutes. Drain through a sieve over a bowl, reserving mushrooms and soaking liquid. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallots to pan; sauté 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add cremini mushrooms to pan; sauté for 2 minutes or until almost tender. Add garlic to pan; sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in porcini, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; sauté 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add wine to pan; bring to a boil. Cook until liquid almost evaporates (about 3 minutes). Sprinkle 2 tablespoons flour over mushroom mixture; cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Gradually add the reserved mushroom soaking liquid, stirring constantly; bring to a simmer. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring frequently. Stir in herbs.
  4. 4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle beef with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add beef to pan; sauté 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from pan; let stand 10 minutes.
  5. Wine note: Beef Filets with Mushroom Sauce and Parmesan Popovers pairs well with 2007 Bodeaga Catena Zapata Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina ($20). It has a smooth tobacco aroma that opens into deep waves of vanilla and cassis—filled out by roasted plums and caramelized grapefruit. –Alexander Spacher

Julianna Grimes, Cooking Light 

Click here for headlines

Can it be stopped? 8 answers on Obamacare and the shutdown

By Z. Byron Wolf, CNN
Washington (CNN) — Over the next few days, the drama of a potential government shutdown will collide with the promise of a new health insurance system known as Obamacare.

Here are answers to eight of the most pressing questions about both:

1. What happens on October 1 with Obamacare and the government shutdown?

First, the health insurance exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act — or Obamacare — will be open for business. Millions of uninsured Americans will be able to enroll in health plans before the law kicks in on January 1, 2014. Second, the U.S. government might “shut down” if lawmakers can’t agree to pass a funding bill that has attached to it a provision to defund Obamacare. These two events are linked. The reason both houses of Congress may not be able to agree on a funding bill — also known as a continuing resolution — is that some senators and representatives see this as their last chance to stop Obamacare. But that’s really where the link ends.

 2. Does a government shutdown shut down Obamacare?

Not really. Most of the funding for Obamacare comes from new taxes and fees, from cost cuts to other programs like Medicare and other types of funding that carry on even in the event of a government shutdown. Congress’ research arm, the Congressional Research service, prepared a memo for Republican Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, that suggested an effort to use the government shutdown as leverage to force Democrats to delay implementing the law would not really work because the law will continue regardless of a shutdown. Plus, the law would still be in effect, so its many new requirements — everything from forcing insurance companies to cover anyone who wants insurance to forcing everyday Americans to carry health insurance or pay a fine — would still be in effect, too.

Government shutdown: Again? Seriously?

3. Do I have to sign up for a new health insurance plan on October 1 when open enrollment for Obamacare begins?

Maybe — Take this quick survey and we’ll find out:

A. Do you get health insurance from your employer? 
If the answer is yes — and this is by far the No. 1 way Americans get health insurance — go on about your business. Obamacare doesn’t really affect you. At least not yet. A lot of people think that because of Obamacare, fewer companies will offer health insurance, particularly to low-paid workers and retirees. There is some evidence of this. These employers would have to pay a per-worker fine to the government, but it might be cheaper for them in the long run to pay this fine to the government rather than offer insurance. Other companies might cut hours for some workers, making them part-timers working fewer than 30 hours a week in order to avoid helping pay their health insurance. But it will take some years to see if it really comes to pass. However, if you get health insurance at work, you could probably drop that coverage and buy health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges. But you might not want to. You won’t qualify for any government help to buy your insurance and your employer wouldn’t be contributing any of the money it is now.

B. Do you get health insurance from the government? 
If the answer is yes, go on about your business. Obamacare doesn’t really affect you. At least not yet. While Obamacare relies on making Medicare more efficient as a way to pay for some new services for younger people, it is not supposed to change the services offered by Medicare. One big test of this promise is Medicare Advantage. These are privately administered insurance plans that provide Medicare services to seniors. They cost the government more per person to provide Medicare. So, Obamacare seeks to bring their spending back in line with the rest of Medicare. This could lead to changes in Medicare Advantage options, like gym memberships and other items that are offered as enticements. But the same core Medicare services are supposed to remain in effect. The same goes for Medicaid. If you get your insurance from one of the 50 state-run Medicaid programs, Obamacare should not affect you. But you’ll have a lot more company in these programs, which will grow to insure a larger portion of Americans.


Zelizer: GOP strategy on shutdown courts doom

4. Do you have an individual health insurance plan?

If yes, Obamacare is going to affect you. It is possible that your insurance plan won’t change, but it’s just as likely that your plan doesn’t meet all the minimum requirements the law imposes. These include new rules for how much profit companies can take for plans, new rules for coverage of women’s services, new rules for how much more insurance companies can charge for women than men, and a lot more. So, you might have to buy a more expensive plan. In this case, your insurance company has probably already let you know. It’s also possible you might want a new plan. Check out your new state health insurance exchange or the one the federal government set up in your state if your state government refused to do so. People who like and dislike Obamacare have something to like about costs of individual plans. Prelminary estimates have come in lower than some government prognosticators expected. So it is fair to say Obamacare might be cheaper than expected for some individuals. But it is also accurate to say that premiums are likely to rise for healthy people on the individual market. Why? They’re going to get more robust insurance plans that cover more things. At the same time, a lot of sick people who get private insurance now pay a ton for it; their costs could decrease.


Congress: will it be a government shutdown or budget compromise?

5. Do you have no health insurance?

If so, Obamacare is for you, like it or not. You’re either going to have to enroll in Medicaid or buy health insurance from a private company on an “exchange” organized by either your state government or the federal government. If you’re single and you make less than $15,281.70 ($31,321.50 for a family of four), you’re likely to get Medicaid, although some states have refused to expand their programs. Those income levels for Medicaid — 133% of the federal poverty level — will increase from year to year.

10 ways a government shutdown would affect your daily life

6. How much is Obamacare going to cost me?

It depends. What if you make more than $15,281.70, but not that much more? You don’t get Medcaid. You don’t have employer-sponsored health insurance and you do want coverage. How are you supposed to afford a new health insurance plan?

The government is going to help a lot of people pay for it. If you’re single and you make less than $45,960 ($94,200 for a family of four), you’ll qualify for a government-sponsored subsidy to help you buy insurance. The Kaiser Family Foundation has estimated the average government subsidy for a family will be about $2,700 and the average premium costs will be about $8,250. Those costs will vary depending on the age and number of family members and the level of plan they choose to buy. Try your own scenario here.

Q&A: The lowdown on the shutdown, or why you should care about the CR

7. Is Obamacare health insurance government insurance?

No. Many state Medicaid programs will grow to insure much larger portions of their state populations. But the core of the law is the creation of new health insurance exchanges. These are places — online, mostly — where people who don’t get insurance can buy it from a private company. On the one hand, the government is making people either carry insurance or pay a fine, on the other hand the government is making insurance companies provide insurance to anyone who wants it and they’re controlling how much the insurance companies can charge.


8. What happens if I don’t buy health insurance?

You’re young and healthy. You don’t really want health insurance. No sweat. You don’t have to buy it. You can “opt out.” But then you’ll have to pay a fine of between $95 for every adult in your house or 1% of your income after $10,000, whichever is larger. So if you’re single and you make $50,000, you’d have to pay a $400 fine for not having health insurance. The Supreme Court called this fine a tax. You can look at it that way. Or you can view it as an upfront payment for having hospital and ambulance services able to come get you if you need them. Or you can look at it as horrible government overreach. Some people do.

5 strange things about deb

Detente by Twitter? / Christine Doyle

I didn’t know whether to title this blog post, “Baptism by Fire” to highlight the role that Samantha Power is playing in the apparent detente unfolding between the U.S. and Iran. Or “Detente by Twitter.” We might have also called it, “The U.N. is Back.”

Power is the United States’ Ambassador to the United Nations who had been pushing for a military strike against Syria all year long. Her life makes good copy. According to cobbled together news reports, her Twitter handle is @Amassador Power. She lives at the top of the Waldorf-Astoria. She is a power Redhead, born in Ireland, who convinced Obama to strike Lybia but hasn’t been able to convince him to use military force against Assad. She tweets from baseball games at Yankee Stadium with her two toddlers in tow. Madam Ambassador is also a Modern Ambassador. And controversial, too. She was booted from the Obama campaign after referring to Hillary Clinton as a “monster.” She called the Israelis something even worse. But, at the end of the day, her nomination was overwhelming approved after she said her views on Israel had changed.

The question now is, “Is she up for the task?” This ex-reporter finds herself in the middle of negotiations that have the potential to reform the Axis of Evil or to make the United States an unwhitting ally in the Axis’ arrival to social media and its ‘smoke and mirrors’ ability to disguise a user’s true intentions. After all, according to CNN, Iran wants to continue to be able to produce enriched uranium.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani apparently tweeted his interest in the highest level talks between our two countries since before the 1979 Islamic revolution via Twitter. Which is a little hard to believe given Twitter is outlawed in Iran.

We have to ask whether the happenings at the United Nations today are a response to old fashioned carrot and stick diplomacy? Are the changes unfolding because we were about to use military force again in the Middle East? Or is it because, according to Bloomberg, their oil exports have dropped, inflation is rising and the economic sanctions are wearing on the populace. At the risk of sounding cyncial, can we take anything Iran says seriously? As Businessweek put it, “Is Iran moderating its policies or its rhetoric?”

What is real and undisputable is the fact that negotiations on this level haven’t occurred between the US and Iran since before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

From the New York Times: Samantha Power has pushed for a military strike against Syria.


 UNITED NATIONS — Nearly a year before the world woke up to images of Syrians dying in a large-scale chemical weapons attack, Samantha Power was quietly pushing President Obama for a military strike to stop what she calls the “grotesque tactics” of President Bashar al-Assad. For a fleeting moment this month, it seemed she had prevailed.
Brendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Samantha Power, the American ambassador to the United Nations, speaking at the Center for American Progress this month.

Now Ms. Power, a former senior aide on the National Security Council and a former war reporter who emigrated from Ireland, must negotiate for peace in a new public role as Mr. Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations. The president’s abrupt decision not to use force in Syria has thrust her into the middle of contentious talks to create a United Nations Security Council resolution mandating the elimination of Mr. Assad’s chemical arsenal by the middle of next year.

She will be on the spot on Monday, her diplomatic debut, as Mr. Obama arrives in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. A woman known for her closeness to the president and the soaring prose of her Pulitzer Prize-winning book on genocide, “A Problem From Hell,” Ms. Power is the lead American negotiator in the difficult, gritty business of arguing with the Russians, Syria’s patrons, who have already rejected the notion of using force if Mr. Assad does not comply.

Even her supporters wonder if the untested Ms. Power will be tough enough, a question with big implications. Secretary of State John Kerry will work with her on the resolution, but her role is so central that her performance — in her first weeks on the job — will help determine America’s future course in Syria.

“Most diplomats in a career of 40 years would never get this kind of opportunity to make such a difference at such a critical moment,” said Edward C. Luck, the dean of the School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego and a former senior United Nations adviser on peacekeeping issues. “The stakes could not be higher.”

At the United Nations headquarters last week, where security was tight in preparation for Monday’s meeting of world leaders, Ms. Power, who turned 43 on Saturday, looked harried as she swept through the corridors with her entourage. In brief comments to reporters, she deflected questions about how she would handle Russia’s resistance to authorizing the use of force if Mr. Assad refused to comply.

“We are determined to have an enforceable and binding resolution,” Ms. Power said, in the kind of bland, bureaucratic language she might have shunned as a writer for The New Yorker, which she once was. Beyond that, “I think I’m not going to comment.” She declined to be interviewed for this article.

Over the past two and a half years, Ms. Power — who in her role in the White House in 2011 helped orchestrate the American intervention in Libya — was unable to persuade the president to do the same in Syria, even after evidence of small-scale chemical weapons attacks emerged this year.

One person close to Ms. Power said she had been advocating military action at least since then, and as far back as December of last year. The Aug. 21 sarin gas attack, which American intelligence agencies say killed more than 1,400 Syrians, nearly a third of them children, forced the issue onto Mr. Obama’s agenda.

“I don’t think she ever expected that every issue would be decided her way,” the person said, insisting on anonymity to share private conversations. “But she did want to be working for a president who was fully engaged, wrestling with this problem of how to respond to mass atrocities.”

Ms. Power was in Ireland at a family reunion when the attack occurred. She called for an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council, knowing that she would not be back in time to attend, and missed it, drawing sharp criticism from conservative commentators. She cut her trip short and returned two days later.

She also took to Twitter, keeping up her pointed assault on the Assad government. “Reports devastating: 100s dead in streets, including kids killed by chem weapons,” one post read. “U.N. must get there fast & if true, perps must face justice.”

In Washington, Ms. Power was confirmed in her new job by the Senate on Aug. 1 in an overwhelmingly bipartisan 87-to-10 vote. Yet she is polarizing. Conservatives like Senator Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican, are suspicious of remarks she made in 2002 about Israel, since disavowed, that solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict might require “alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import.” The antiwar left feels betrayed by her hawkishness.

When Russia blocked a Security Council resolution on Syria this month, Ms. Power said flatly that “Russia continues to hold the council hostage.”

The next day, Sept. 6, after Mr. Obama had decided to seek authorization in Congress for a military strike, she argued in a speech at the Center for American Progress in Washington that failure to act would “give a green light to outrages that will threaten our security and haunt our conscience.”

That sentiment flows from bearing witness to human rights atrocities. On assignment for The New Yorker in 2004, Ms. Power was among the first to chronicle the bloody ethnic cleansing in Sudan, where she visited refugee camps and slipped into rebel-held areas in Darfur to see villages that had burned to the ground. As a young freelancer in Bosnia, she reported on the systematic rape of Muslim women.

“Samantha is somebody who believes deeply that American power flows from our values as much as our military might, and that in the world, when we act in accordance with our values, we strengthen our ability to lead,” said Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former State Department official and a Princeton professor who knows Ms. Power well.

But the reporter who once risked arrest in the Balkans and harangued Clinton officials over late-night drinks now has a driver, a security detail and a household staff. She lives in the ambassador’s residence at the top of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel with her husband, Cass Sunstein, a Harvard Law professor and former regulatory chief in the Obama administration, and their children, Declan, 4, and Rian, 1.

Friends say she is unaccustomed to being called Madam Ambassador, or to having people rise when she enters a room. Her @AmbassadorPower Twitter account provides a hint of how she sees herself. “United States ambassador to the United Nations,” it reads. “Mother, human rights defender, teacher, writer and member of the @RedSox nation.”

Inside the clubby, protocol-laden confines of the United Nations, where her predecessor, Susan E. Rice, had a reputation for brusqueness, Ms. Power is viewed as “a softer personality, but with a toughness,” said one veteran United Nations diplomat, who insisted on anonymity in talking about a counterpart. She has been generally well received. It does not hurt that her second book was an admiring biography of Sergio Vieira de Mello, a much-loved United Nations diplomat who was killed in Iraq.

“She is already kind of a celebrity there,” Mr. Luck said.

Ms. Power brought much of it with her. She once posed for Men’s Vogue magazine in a slinky dress and four-inch heels, with bare arms and legs and her signature mane of red hair loosely tamed. In 2009, she and Mr. Sunstein were pictured in Esquire on the squash court, wearing tennis whites, under the headline “The Fun Couple of the 21st Century.”

Her first week on the job at the United Nations offered a hint of her agenda: she visited a summer academy for international refugees in Manhattan, headlined a Google+ hangout with human rights activists around the world, then flew to Los Angeles to speak to youth advocates for Invisible Children, a group dedicated to capturing the fugitive Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, accused of enslaving children as soldiers.

Ms. Power, who aides say has been in daily negotiations on Syria, has described the United Nations process she is facing as “a rare moment of promise at the Security Council after two and a half years of deadlock and paralysis.” If she can help break that deadlock with a vote that results in Syria giving up its chemical weapons, foreign policy analysts say it could help lay the groundwork for broader talks on ending Syria’s bloody civil war.

But if she winds up with a toothless resolution, it could be an embarrassment, setting the tone for the rest of her ambassadorship. Of all people, she does not want to be the ambassador who becomes bogged down in a drawn-out diplomatic negotiation while thousands of Syrians remain at risk.

“She is facing the same dilemma that many diplomats face,” said Vali Nasr, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. “Except for most of them, their convictions and ideals are not in the public domain in the form of a Pulitzer-Prize winning book.”



An article on Monday about Samantha Power, the American ambassador to the United Nations who is now center-stage in the contentious talks over Syria, misidentified the country in which she was born. It is England, not Ireland. (She emigrated to the United States from Ireland.)



The Role of the UN Ambassador / ABC News

What Does the U.S. Ambassador at the United Nations Do?
June 20, 2005 —

The U.S. mission to the United Nations was formally established on April 28, 1947. The United States has its own representative with the title of ambassador. An ambassador is a diplomatic official accredited to a foreign country or government, or in the case of the United Nations, an international organization, to serve as the official representative of his or her own country.

What does the United States ambassador to the United Nations do?

Simply put, U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations — or “permanent representatives,” as they are called — represent U.S. interests. The No. 1 duty is to keep the U.S. State Department informed of events at the United Nations. The ambassador then makes recommendations to the State Department and the president as to what course of action the United States should pursue.

How are they chosen?

U.S. Ambassadors to the United Nations are approved by the Senate after being nominated by the president.


What Women Want /

  • The question of “What do women want?” has been debated for hundreds of years in social settings, movies, songs and books, and the answer is still elusive. However, the following infographic, created by Ghirardelli, provides some answers from women taken in a survey conducted by LinkedIn and Cross-Tab.



Are American Teens Getting Healthier?

The Teens Are Alright (Healthwise, at Least)

U.S. teens are getting healthier, and, it seems, are doing what they’re told when it comes to eating right and exercising more.

Between 2001 and ’09, a new study published in the journal Pediatrics shows, teens became model health citizens. According to a national survey involving 9,000 students in grades six to 10, adolescents were more physically active, enjoyed more fruits and vegetables, ate breakfast, limited dessert and watched less TV. And all those healthy habits paid off.

While body-mass-index (BMI) measures (an indication of body fat using weight and height) of U.S. adolescents grew between 2001 and ’06, it remained stable from 2006 to ’09, suggesting that average BMI readings among teens are leveling off.

Weight stabilized for both boys and girls although there were slight differences between gender. Boys were more physically active than girls, but girls spent less time in front of the TV or computer.

The authors of the report say campaigns to promote exercise among adolescents and decrease screen time may be responsible for some of the positive behavior changes; pediatricians who discussed the benefits of lifestyle changes with their patients also helped. Improving interactions between doctors, nurses and their teen patients can potentially accomplish even more in helping adolescents to understand the importance of making lifestyle changes to their health — and sticking with them for a lifetime.

MORE: To Help Teens Lose Weight, Fold Talk Therapy into Health Class


Read more:

Pork Ragu from

Prep Time 15 minutesCook Time 8 hours 45 minutes


What could be better than a meal that’s waiting for you when you get home? With a bit of chopping and mixing before you leave in the morning, dinner can be served almost as soon as you return. In its rich tomato base seasoned lightly with herbs and spices, our extra-tender slow-cooked pork is comfort food at its best.
Serves: 10


by Joy Howard

What you’ll need

  • 2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 pounds meaty pork spareribs or baby back ribs,cut into pieces of 3 to 4 ribs each
  • 2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ cup water
  • Cooked egg noodles or pasta of your choice

How to make it

  1. In a large slow cooker, combine the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Place the meat over the vegetables, overlapping as necessary,

  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the tomatoe sauce, broth, vinegar, oregano, thyme, and salt. Pour the mixture over the ribs, then cover and cook on low until the meat is tender and begins to separate from the bone, 6 to 8 hours.

  3. Using a slotted spoon, remove the ribs from the sauce and let them cool slightly. Remove the meat from the bones and shred it.

  4. In a small cup, whisk together the flour and water until smooth. If needed, skim the fat from the pot, then stir the mixture into the sauce. Increase the heat to high and cook uncovered, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Stir in the meat, and heat 5 minutes more. Serve the ragu over egg noodles or pasta.

Courtesy of FamilyFun Magazine


Mum Diary: I'm a self-confessed 'sharent'

Mum Diary: I’m a self-confessed ‘sharent’

Yahoo LifestyleBy  | 

 (Copyright: REX)

I’ve been holding Baby Olly tighter this week. Dozens of my friends have been taking their children to school for the first time or watching them go off to high school, and they are all asking the same bewildered question: how did their tiny babies get so big so fast?

Having seen first-hand how quickly my firstborn became a gigantic toddler, I understand the feeling. Since Harry arrived two years ago, I’ve felt like I’m caught in a sort of childhood time vortex, where months whizz by in a blur of new shoes, notches on the height chart and discarded baby toys.

Baby Olly is four and a half months now, and about three times the size of the tiny, froggy creature I gave birth to. I’m a mess of contradictions; encouraging them to the next milestone while simultaneously wishing I could keep them in my arms just a little bit longer. 

It’s a feeling that every parent I know has and it’s why we all spend so much time lamely muttering clichés like: “It just goes so fast.”

[Mum Diary: I was mistaken for a perfect parent!]
[Mum Diary: Why are mums always late? It’s took an hour to get my two in the car…]

And because we can’t slow down the quick-march of time, we obsessively chronicle their childhood instead. Like many other parents of small children, I take a few pictures a day on my phone. 

This week I took the boys to the cinema for the first time (Harry watched a film about tank engines with an expression of almost spiritual joy and Baby Olly dozed off). First cinema trips may not be a particularly important milestone, but it felt important to me and so I had to take a picture of them sitting dwarfed in those fold-up chairs and Harry spilling popcorn over Olly’s ears. 

When I’ve taken a particularly cute picture, I do what any proud parent would and post it to Facebook. But now I wonder if I should.

With the new school term starting, dozens of my friends have taken pictures of their children in their shiny new uniforms with their smart new haircuts and their proud, terrified faces, and posted them on Facebook. My newsfeed has been one long collection of photos of charming kids in brand new blazers.

I love this. I have marvelled at how smart they look, I have laughed at the witty things they have said, and I have silently wished them well.

But some of my friends are not so keen. In fact, one child-free friend recently posted that she’s sick of all the first-day-of school posts and is thinking of blocking friends with children until they turn 18. She called us ‘sharents’ – parents who share too much.

(Copyright: REX)

I’m a sharent

Perhaps one of the reasons this annoyed me is that I am undoubtedly a sharent myself. Oh I’m not the worst of my friends – I know one person who has actually posted up a picture of her baby’s nappy contents to ask if it’s normal (My answer was of course not – it’s never normal to publicise pictures of poo).

But I do like to share pictures of my children, funny things they’ve said, milestones they’ve reached and the occasionally sentimental gush.

And I like seeing my friends’ updates about their children; after all, I care about them and their offspring. I think parents are an easy target – everyone uses social networks to obsess about whatever matters the most to them but when it comes to kids, a lot of people are obsessing about the same thing.

[Mum Diary: I can’t wait to embarrass my children too!]

I care about your cat

See, what I’ve worked out is that everyone on Facebook or Twitter has their own obsessions. They post up pictures of their partners or their cats or their cooking or their wedding plans. They add funny quotes or share news. Then they post up yet more pictures of their cats.

And just as I am delighted to see pictures of my friends’ kids getting ready for their first day at school, I like to see posts about what matters to my other friends.

Recent posts I have ‘liked’ have included news of a friend’s husband’s promotion and a photo of a friend’s cat in a cardboard castle.

Of course, I do have some sympathy for people who aren’t that interested in their friends’ children; the endless pictures of red-faced newborns, gummily grinning babies and school uniforms must seem relentless. If all my friends posted about their cats, I’d probably find the individual pictures less cute. But these friends should remember that we all have our obsessions, it’s just that theirs have more novelty.

So I will keep posting about my children, keep writing this diary and keep ‘liking’ anything to do with my friends’ kids. Except pictures of poo. That is definitely over-sharenting.

Am I being unreasonable? Do you get fed up of your friends’ baby pictures? How often do you talk about your children? Are parents boring (be nice)? Have your say in the comments below.