The Tea Party is Going to Judge Sum Essays


This morning I turned on Facebook and friend in Northern California was dismayed to see that the Tea Party would be hosting an essay contest in her town. Actually it was at her child’s middle school. She felt like middle school was too young for politics and there I disagree because both of my children are made to follow this election cycle as part of their middle school curriculums. What I think she meant was that middle school students were too young to have outside influences on their politics and that it should be taught by educators without bias. That is a sentiment with which I heartily agree.

I’m not certain that a Tea Party sponsored essay contest is problematic in public education. It seems at though political groups sponsor all sorts of contests including an essay contest by the El Dorado Dems with prizes starting at ten times what the Tea Party is offering.

I have one great concern about this contest. How will the Tea Partiers of El Dorado Hills know when a student has used an apostrophe correctly?





US Constitution Essay Contest

Information and Rules


For Constitution Month the Tea Party Patriots of El Dorado Hills are offering an Essay Contest that addresses a fundamental principle of the US Constitution.  We have aligned our contest with Constitution month in the schools and the local library.  We have worked hand in hand with the El Dorado Hills library and coordinated our efforts to support you in this contest.  The goal of this contest is for students to utilize the resources provided by their school and the local library to write this essay.


The Contest will be held at three schools, Oak Ridge High School, Marina Middle School and Rolling Hills Middle School.  Three prizes will be given away at each school, a Grand Prize, Second Place Prize and Third Place Prize at each school.  The prize money will be the same at each school. 

Grand Prize: $100                                       Second Place: $75                                           Third Place: $25

Essay Question

The Middle School Question

What is the difference between a republic and a democracy?

The High School Question

Why do you believe our Forefathers choose a republican form of government for our country versus a democracy?  Please focus your paper on the differences between the two and why our Forefathers chose a republican versus a democracy.

Resources Available to You:

The El Dorado Hills Library will have a research day every Friday in September (after school) and all afternoon on Saturday, September 15th will be dedicated to helping students find the resources they need to answer the essay questions.

The El Dorado Hills Library will also have a guest speaker, Dr. Beeman of the University of Pennsylvania.  Dr. Beeman will discuss the essay question in his presentation at Oak Ridge High School on September 24th.  Please contact the library for more information on the time and exact location at Oak Ridge.


Essay Contest Rules

1. All entries must be submitted by email to:  (All submissions have to be an attachment to your email.)  Microsoft Word or PDF is the preferred format for submission

                  a. No Entries will be accepted after midnight on September 30th.

2. All Essays must be an original work.  Plagiarizing even one sentence will result in the essay being withdrawn from the contest.

                  a. All essays will be submitted to Turn It to be checked for plagiarism after submission.

3. All work from other sources included in your essay must be properly cited.  Contestants can choose whatever recognized system of citation that they desire.  But any work in the essay that is not the contestants work must be cited or it will be considered plagiarism.

                  a. Please refer to Noodle for assistance in creating citations.

4.  All essays will be evaluated based on the rubrics that can be found at:

 Two readers will score each essay.  The two scores will be averaged to assign the essay its final score.  The three essays from each school with the highest scores will receive the prizes accordingly.

5.  All winners will be contacted by no later than October 12th. The prize money will be awarded shortly after October 12th.

6. Each contestant can only submit one essay. 


Format That Your Paper Must Be Submitted In:

Your School Name                                                                                                 Your Name

Your Grade                                                                                                    Your Email Address

Yes/No my name can/’t be submitted to the press if I win the contest.                   Evening Phone Number


Title of Essay

Your Essay

How Do Bloggers Know When a Publicist is a Liar?


This morning I noticed an interesting piece at the Edelman Blog about Ryan Holiday’s Book Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator. I’ve not read the book. I know that he pulled a stunt with one of the journo sites earlier this month so I was curious as to what the content might be and when Edelman wrote this:

 Holiday begins by describing “a scam called trading up the chain. I can turn nothing into something by placing a story with a small blog that has very low standards, which then becomes a story for a larger blog and that in turn for a story by larger media outlets.” Holiday’s media landscape begins with small hyper-local websites that are understaffed and traffic-starved. He then moves the story on to the online versions of legacy media, sister sites such as, which update often but have less editorial oversight. Finally one gets to the national media. Holiday contends, “This takes less direct pushing and a lot more massaging…the smaller sites will submit your articles to news aggregator sites like Digg…mass media monitors the aggregators for story ideas and cover what is trending there.” He suggests reverse-engineering a story path; knowing that mediabistro and Gawker are heavily read by the “New York Media” set, you “craft your story for those sites.”

A lightbulb went on over my head. In fact it was accompanied by dinging sounds and colored lights. I realized (not for the first time) that Mom Bloggers in particular are targeted by trust me liars every day.

Most often it’s fairly benign with folks being duped into thinking that a product performs differently than it does. Recently the Corn Refiners had a group of Mom Bloggers believing that “Corn Sugar” (the new name for High Fructose Corn Syrup) is somehow good for you… or at least not bad. America’s waistline suggests otherwise but we don’t need to have that debate today. The Corn Refiners succeeded in making a small group of smart women look gullible and untrustworthy. When the two groups of people (bloggers and publicists) walked into that room one of them had a plan.

Yesterday quite a few parenting bloggers got the following email from the kids at O’Malley Hansen Communications:

Hi, [redacted]:

I am contacting you on behalf of the Center for Food Integrity (CFI).

I’d love to discuss an initiative/project we’d be thrilled to have you be a part of. Given your expertise and platform, we’re really confident you would be a perfect fit for an educational (yet entertaining) video project regarding modern farming practices and consumer concerns. I am happy to share more information/discuss your potential involvement further at your convenience.

Essentially, we’re seeking a “consumer representative” to ask experts questions about modern farming and GM crops/food. The video will not be scripted and we hope to simply create a discussion between you and a specific expert.

Please feel free to give me a call or let me know when a good time is to chat. This should be a really interesting project that has a significant impact. You will have an opportunity to represent thousands of consumers/moms with families to feed and ask important questions about farming, food supply, etc.

Specifically, we want you to ask questions regarding the nutrtional implications.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

Modern farming! Why yes, who doesn’t have questions about that? It’s not like you drive past a red barn and see pigs rolling around in muck anymore. Farming has become industrial and our food looks different now than it did just a few years ago. Why? Well because folks like Monsanto make products like roundup to kill weeds. The problem with killing weeds is that it also kills plants you want to grow. The solution? Well, you can create new plants in a laboratory (which should NOT be confused with creating a hybrid) with altered RNA that will not be affected when toxins like RoundUp are sprayed over the fields.

Another cool things that scientists can do with crops is to sterilize them. These alterations in plants create Genetically Modified Organisms. Much has been written about GMOs. On the softer side of the news they tend to bankrupt farmers. You see the soy and corn they buy can’t produce seeds so the farmers are beholden to the scientists that create the seeds each year. This is not sustainable.

The Atlantic has a nice article about some of the dangers of genetically modified foods. If you don’t feel like reading it I’ll give you part of the punchline: cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and infertility.

So what does this have to do with  O’Malley Hansen Communications, The Center for Food Integrity and  Trust Me, I’m Lying?

Well, if I connect the dots appropriately I see that O’Malley Hansen Communications is inviting mom bloggers to be on camera asking scientists questions about farming on behalf of the Center for Food Integrity (CFI). Why wouldn’t they ask a FARMER about farming? Well, because farmers can’t answer questions about RNA and food safety and farmers are probably terrified of CFI because the members of CFI include giants like Monsanto that can make a farm disappear. Having a blogger ask the questions may look like an endorsement to the casual viewer. Mommy endorses GMOs! PR wins… health loses.

This is all very curious timing. Here in California we’ve put Prop 37 on the Ballot. Prop 37 would require packaged foods that contain GMOs to be labeled as such. KPCC has a list of folks who have donated money for and against Prop 37. There’s a bit of overlap between the two lists with Bimbo bakeries being the one with the largest overlap donation at $17,783.28. The CFI can’t help the con side without some level of disclosure so I’m sure that one has nothing to do with the other. I’m CERTAIN getting a news story placed about how GMOs are safe has nothing to do with the fact that Prop 37 has huge support here in California and no one is saying you can’t have GMOs, all they want is for consumers to know where they are.

Moms, what I’m telling you is that this isn’t a coincidence. Do NOT go on camera with a scientist to talk about food. Ask a farmer that doesn’t have a publicist. Promise them anonymity and get a real story. If you love your children (and I know you do) you won’t ignore the fact that $1,186,000 has been spent by The Council for Biotechnology Information, The Grocery Manufacturers Association, Dupont, and BASF Plant Science to prevent YOU THE CONSUMER from knowing when a Genetically Modified Organism is in your food.

If it didn’t matter would they spend the money?

Everyone knows that the moms matter. It’s an election year ladies, let’s stay smart and learn from Ryan Holiday about the publicists who are liars.

If you’d like to join the grass roots campaign to Label GMOs please go to and pledge your support. We need you. 

Preparing Myself for Rape as Best I Know How


Kansas leaves me speechless and I can’t help but wonder who is living there. I know many wonderful Kansans and they don’t appear to be the sort of people who hate women. I’m assuming their neighbors are.

In Topeka Kansas a bill has been approved that would require women to get separate insurance to cover abortions. This way businesses that are pro life will no longer have to pay for coverage that includes family planning.

This should enrage everyone. Right now the only terrorist group I see in America is the religious right. These hideous, angry and ungodly people are on a campaign of terror that I absolutely equate with the stoning of women in the middle east. People like Republican Pete DeGraaf put our peers and our daughters at risk every time they pen a new law.

Outlawing abortion does not stop women from having abortions, it stops them from having safe abortions. I don’t care if you believe life begins at conception, it’s just a belief, it’s not science and your beliefs cannot legislate my country.

Somewhere, somehow the Christian Coalition got together and decided that this country belongs to them. It doesn’t, there’s room for them here, and our laws have been set up so that folks can worship any way they see fit. I will always defend your right to worship. Right now I’d say that Pete DeGraaf has more in common with an Al Qaeda terrorist than with a good American.

From The McPherson Sentinel:

Rep. Barbara Bollier, a Mission Hills Republican who supports abortion rights, questioned whether women would buy abortion-only policies long before they have crisis or unwanted pregnancies or are rape victims.

During the House’s debate, Rep. Pete DeGraaf, a Mulvane Republican who supports the bill, told her: “We do need to plan ahead, don’t we, in life?”

Bollier asked him, “And so women need to plan ahead for issues that they have no control over with a pregnancy?”

DeGraaf drew groans of protest from some House members when he responded, “I have spare tire on my car.”


Christine O’Donnell, Gawker, NOW, Masturbation and Feminism?


Christine O’Donnell makes me giggle. I haven’t addressed her ridiculousness campaign yet on my blog, because I try to avoid low hanging fruit.

Well, today the National Organization of Women has said that the Gawker Story about O’Donnell and her Halloween hookup is sexual slander. Had Ms. O’Donnell not made a video like this for MTV I’d probably agree.

The sad reality is that Christine O’Donnell is running for office based on Bejeezus, Magical Creation Wands, and not masturbating, because “it’s selfish”.

I think that Gawker missed the mark when they talked about the unruliness of O’Donnell’s pubic hair. I’m torn, because I wonder if they included that tidbit so that the author could prove he was with her, or just to humiliate her.

It seems to me that NOW has jumped into the fray because there’s a spotlight, there’s sexual activity and there’s politics. That’s where they belong, right? Also it’s asinine to say that male politicians don’t have their sexual misconduct put out in public. We have Bill Clinton, Justice Clarence Thomas, Mark Sanford, John Ensign, David Vitter, Kwame Kilpatrick, Larry Craig, Barney Frank, Gary Hart, and pretty much every Kennedy that was ever born.

Does it suck to say one thing in public, and be betrayed by your private life? Absolutely. Is it a feminist issue? Absolutely not.

Ground Troops Invade Gaza and Jews in America Whisper


We whisper to each other, but not to you.

As I made my way back to Los Angeles from our Colorado Ski Vacation, the news of Israel retaliating with a Ground Invasion brought my vacation to an abrupt end. I find it startling that Bloomberg (the Mayor of New York City) is boarding a plane to the Middle East but Condoleeza Rice is silent. Israel has been bombed 90 times in the past few months, they’re hitting back. Hurts, doesn’t it?