A regular look at politics, religion and social issues by Julie Marsh

All of The Parental is Politial:

Politicians: Don't Do As They Say, Nor As They Do
One of the top reasons I enjoy writing about politics is that I look like a model citizen compared to a lot of politicians. We put them on pedestals (or rather, they install themselves there) and they wield a good deal of power, but plenty of them do and say ridiculous things -- from the president on... read more

No matter what, the President is still the President
There's a new Facebook fan page that's been gathering steam over the last week: Dear Lord, this year you took my favorite actor, Patrick Swayzie. You took my favorite actress, Farah Fawcett. You took my favorite singer, Michael Jackson. I just wanted to let you know, my favorite president... read more

On the fence about health care reform.
I'm not sure what to think about health care reform. On the other hand, I am sure that -- if I made that statement in conversation -- most people I know would shout either, "How can you support it?!" or "How can you oppose it?!" Because it seems... read more

Why I'm tired of the GOP
There's no doubt (except perhaps among loyal listeners of Rush Limbaugh) that the Republican party is splintering. From the emergence of the Tea Party movement to the backlash against RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) to the political odd couple on the Republican presidential ticket in 2008, it's nearly... read more

Coffee or Tea, Which One is for Me?
When I registered as an Independent, I did so because I didn't want to be affiliated with the Republican party anymore, but neither did I want to be a Democrat. I differ significantly enough with each party's platform that I refused to let either one count me among their ranks. I suppose... read more

The rise of the "Birthers"
I hadn't been paying much attention to the Birthers. Of course, I knew of the movement and its assertions, but I saw little coverage. It seemed that Camille Paglia was correct when she wrote last fall: "Thanks to their own blathering,... read more

Mortgage modifications still uncommon? Good.
One of my greatest reservations when I voted for President Barack Obama was his plan for addressing foreclosures specifically, that bankruptcy courts could determine new home values for those in danger of foreclosure. From... read more

Friends and Politics
In my writing, I'm quite open about exactly what I think. I endeavor to state my views respectfully and with a modicum of substantiation (I'm not the only person who thinks so, see?), but I don't shy away from sharing them even when I know I'll be in the minority. Why is it then... read more

The defection of Arlen Specter.
Senator Arlen Specter has left the Republican party and joined the Democrats. But don't be fooled - his defection is neither an endorsement of the Democratic platform nor a rejection of the GOP. It's a matter of political survival, which he stated quite plainly in his... read more

Green Up Your Act on Earth Day
Tomorrow is Earth Day. I'm aware of that fact primarily because my daughter came home from school last week and asked me if we were "green". "Sort of," I replied. It sounds like a wishy-washy answer, but it's true. Like turquoise... read more

Could Michelle Obama save the fashion industry?
There’s an old song by Depeche Mode, "New Dress", with lyrics that go like this: "Jet airliner shot from sky Famine horror, millions die Earthquake terror figures rise Princess Di is wearing... read more

What the White House garden can teach the rest of us.
Last summer, my husband spent countless hours in our backyard, putting down new weed control tarp, digging up aspen shoots, and planting a garden. We don't have a particularly large backyard, but we had enough space to grow sugar snap peas, cilantro and rosemary and basil, Roma tomatoes,... read more

Was Lisa Pagan just trying to make a point?
When I left active military duty, I fully intended to find a reserve position and continue my military career in conjunction with my private sector job. Then I got pregnant. Two months later, the attacks of September 11 happened. For both reasons, I became much less interested in pursuing... read more

Questions about the economic stimulus bill
The economy took center stage in the weeks leading up to the presidential election, and not much has changed since then. It's still a hot topic on Capitol Hill, where - in spite of President Obama's inclusive approach to discussing the details of his proposed stimulus plan - it's the subject of partisan... read more

Is the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act worth it?
Imperfect or not, if you're a parent of young children and you spent even a few moments online in the last eighteen months, it's inevitable that you heard about the toy recalls. From lead-based... read more

The Historic Inauguration of Barack Obama
The inauguration of the 44th president of the United States is one week away. It's a momentous occasion that's all the more groundbreaking because Barack Obama, our President-Elect, is African-American. For those who lived during times of segregation and who witnessed the civil rights movement... read more

Did Gov. Rendell Insult Gov. Napolitano?
When I was in the Air Force, I lived alone. I had a one bedroom apartment in a building that was about a football field's length away from the Pentagon South Parking lot. I also held demanding positions that required long hours. And I spent two nights a week commuting to College Park for graduate... read more

It's My Party, Too
The recent elections - not only the Presidential election, but many state and local races as well - underscored just how much the Republican party has narrowed. Even the commentary leading up to the elections, particularly on conservative talk radio programs, provided a rubric of which views - and... read more

Election Day!
Today is Election Day, on which perhaps one of the most significant elections in many decades will be decided. Maybe we'll know who the next president will be before we go to bed, or maybe we'll have to wait until morning (or longer than that). Regardless, there will be a long road ahead of... read more

The silly season leads to lousy sportsmanship.
As the negative campaigning reaches fever pitch, as much as I'd like to tune out of the ongoing political discussion, I can't. I'm still (yes, really) undecided as to where to cast my vote next Tuesday -- McCain, Obama, or Barr. It's possible, though unlikely, that something of actual substance might... read more

Do Endorsements Matter?
This past Sunday on Meet the Press, retired Army General and former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed Sen. Barack Obama. Reasons Powell cited for his endorsement included both positive views on Sens. Obama and Biden, and negative views on Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin. Specifically,... read more

The case for Electoral College reform.
When I learned about the Electoral College in the weeks leading up to the 1980 Presidential election, it was a nastier shock than when I found out that Santa Claus didn't exist. The people don't elect the President? I asked my father incredulously. Who are these electors? How... read more

Should you be responsible for your neighbor's mortgage?
As bothered as I am by the socially conservative viewpoints of the Republican ticket, the economic policies of the Democratic ticket concern me greatly as well. Case in point, a statement made by Sen. Biden in... read more

An Open Letter to Sarah Palin
Dear Gov. Palin, Yes, it's me again. I told you I'd be back in touch. I read Kathleen Parker's piece... read more

Who will find Osama bin Laden?
On September 11, Salon.com published a piece by Philadelphia radio talk show host and columnist, Michael Smerconish, in which he described his continued frustration with the apparent abandonment... read more

Who is Sarah Palin?
Judging from the scarcity of information about Sarah Palin's political positions, it's not surprising that most voters don't have a clear picture of the recently announced GOP vice-presidential nominee. Based on the information at On the... read more

The ins and outs of sex offender notification.
Are there any sex offenders living in your neighborhood? Of course not, you think. Not in my neighborhood. But how do you know? Have you checked your state's registry? Do you check it regularly? Or are you expecting to be notified by law enforcement or local... read more

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
I worked outside the home for more than ten years - three of those years with a child of my own at home (or, more accurately, in day care). I was an officer in the Air Force, and then I was an IT project manager in the private sector. My resume has length and breadth, and I'm proud of it. ... read more

Barack Obama's "Fight the Smears" Campaign
Barack Obama's campaign recently launched a new site called Fight the Smears, intended to debunk the rumors and mischaracterizations that are so easily spread via the Internet, and then given unwarranted credence through mainstream... read more

What are your "carbon offsets"?
I recently had the opportunity to participate in a conference call with Bill McKibben. From the background information provided before the call: Bill McKibben is one of the most vocal and visionary leaders in the climate movement.... read more

Why Can't Obama Win Over Working-Class White Voters?
Although it's been amplified recently by the coverage of Barack Obama's remarks in San Francisco (the so-called "Bitter-gate") and the statements of his former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the issue of appealing to white working-class voters has been a topic of discussion for months. Putting... read more

Having Their Cake and Eating It, Too
An article in the May 2008 issue of Reason Magazine presents some surprising information about the financing of the Iraq War. In short, funding for operations in Iraq does not come from the annual defense budget. Instead, "a series... read more

Who's Who Among Presidential Candidates: John McCain
Who's Who Among Presidential Candidates is a series of distillations of individual candidates' views on 24 topics loosely grouped into four categories, as presented on non-partisan website On The Issues. John... read more

A look at Thirty Ways of Looking at Hillary: Reflections by Women Writers, edited by Susan Morrison
... read more

Who's Who Among Presidential Candidates: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama
Who's Who Among Presidential Candidates is a series of distillations of individual candidates' views on 24 topics loosely grouped into four categories, as presented on non-partisan website On The Issues. Hillary... read more

Who's Who Among Presidential Candidates: John Edwards
Who's Who Among Presidential Candidates is a series of distillations of individual candidates' views on 24 topics loosely grouped into four categories, as presented on non-partisan website On The Issues. John... read more

Who's Who Among Presidential Candidates: Fred Thompson
Who's Who Among Presidential Candidates is a series of distillations of individual candidates' views on 24 topics loosely grouped into four categories, as presented on non-partisan website On The Issues. Fred... read more

Who's Who Among Presidential Candidates: Bill Richardson
Who's Who Among Presidential Candidates is a series of distillations of individual candidates' views on 24 topics loosely grouped into four categories, as presented on non-partisan website On The Issues. Bill... read more

Who's Who Among Presidential Candidates: Ron Paul
Who's Who Among Presidential Candidates is a series of distillations of individual candidates' views on 24 topics loosely grouped into four categories, as presented on non-partisan website On The Issues. ... read more

Can conservatives trust Mitt Romney?
In a rare opportunity to watch Sunday morning news programs in their entirety -- I've got kids; even if Tim Russert's on, I'm usually interrupted a dozen times during his intro alone -- this past weekend, I listened to The Chris Matthews Show uninterrupted and was particularly interested by Mitt Romney's... read more

A look at Bill O'Reilly's new book, Kids Are Americans Too
"You, kid, are an American. You have an obligation to be a good citizen. That means that you should be honest and pay attention to what happens in the United States and in the rest of the world too." - Bill O'Reilly, Kids Are Americans Too Bill O'Reilly... read more

Children and online safety.
With all the focus on the social networking site Facebook lately -- in terms of their deletion of breastfeeding photos, tacit approval of pro-ana groups (and other truly objectionable content), and their inaction regarding ... read more

Breastfeeding: Public Nourishment or Public Indecency?
Breastfeeding promotion has increased significantly over the past decade. Starting with a CDC-administered Lactation Support Program initiated in 1996 to facilitate pumping and storage, the US Department of Health and Human... read more

What's happening to the housing market?
What's happening to the housing market? An August 16 article in Forbes sums up the situation quite succinctly: The market's troubles began with rising defaults... read more

Will Hillary Clinton inspire Republican voters?
As the 2008 presidential race heats up, I'll start including columns that touch upon recent political developments and the resulting editorial commentaries found in the mainstream press. This past weekend, an... read more

Thoughts on Elizabeth Edwards at BlogHer 2007
Last year after the closing keynote address at the BlogHer conference -- at which Arianna Huffington was one of the speakers -- a close friend of mine asked if it bothered me to be politically distant from so many of... read more

Politics along the racial divide.
In college, I remember seeing African-American students wearing t-shirts and carrying tote bags emblazoned with the words "It's a Black Thang. You wouldn't understand." And I remember wondering, "Why are you so sure?" Slavery was abolished nearly 150 years ago, but the... read more

What do vaccinations have to do with politics?
Recently, several bloggers at The Parent Bloggers Network reviewed the new book by Paul Offit, MD, Vaccinated:... read more

Flag burning: merely incendiary, or downright illegal?
With Memorial Day a week ago Monday, Flag Day coming up a week from Thursday, and Independence Day next month, it's an appropriate time to talk about demonstrations involving the United States flag - most notably, flag burning in protest of US policies.   For the record, I'm a registered... read more

Jerry Falwell may have died, but his fundamentalist political agenda will live on.
Jerry Falwell may have died, but his fundamentalist political agenda will live on. Unfortunately. I’m using the term fundamentalist as it was used in this recent USA Today article, in which Falwell... read more

Stem cell research -- what do you know about it?
Stem cell research is perhaps second only to abortion as the most widely-discussed political topic pertaining to the sanctity of human life. While neither of these issues will likely be at the forefront of the 2008 presidential campaign, stem cell research will certainly figure into the candidates’... read more

Tax information and strategies to help ease your family's financial burden.
Taxation has long been a hot topic of debate in the United States. In fact, one of the most well-known demonstrations was held in opposition to taxes levied on our colonists – the Boston Tea Party. People generally view taxation as a fait accompli – after all, “in... read more

Do you really know what the No Child Left Behind Act is all about?
“I believe that children are our future Teach them well and let them lead the way” - “Greatest Love of All”, Whitney Houston, 1985 It’s easy for Whitney to sing about it. It’s even relatively easy for politicians to draft... read more

Facing new political responsibilities as a parent.
What do I know about politics? Certainly not as much as I used to, back in the days when I was free to watch “Meet The Press” on Sunday mornings. Now my girls clamor for cartoons instead.  Perhaps if NBC were to animate Tim Russert and his guests…now there’s an idea! It... read more

More Columnists:

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The Ultimate Rugrat Reprieve
By Rachael Brownell

The View From Here
MapQuest My Life, Please!
By Amy Sue Nathan

Not Your Average Fairy Tale
Sex Education. Lesbian Style.
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Silence is Not an Option
The Judas Kiss
By Robert Green

Growing Pains
Motor CYCLE mama.
By Elizabeth Thompson

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"We all suffer from the preoccupation that there exists... in the loved one, perfection." -- Sidney Poitier