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Pinterest for n00bs

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I’m an avid Pinterest user, anyone who follows me on Twitter or Facebook is aware. I make a point of making mine 100% non-political, however there are many uses of the site besides collecting pictures of yummy recipes, great products and fabulous fashion. Today a former blogger emailed around a great primer for Pinterest for “n00bs” (newbies) and it was so valuable I couldn’t resist sharing her advice with you.

This is Allie Winegar Duzett’s advice (and check out her fiction blog here:  allieisawriter.blogspot.com and follow her on Pinterest here: http://pinterest.com/randommusician/):

Hey all! In the past month I’ve gotten several Pinterest follows from conservative groups like FreedomWorks and The Heritage Foundation. A lot of us are new to Pinterest and are still figuring it out, and I thought I would offer my pinning skillz to you all in case you find them helpful.

Spending inordinate amounts of time on Pinterest is my only qualification. But I really do spend an inordinate amount of time on there.

Here’s what you need to know:

Breitbart was all about taking conservatism and making it mainstream by inserting conservatism into our culture. Using Pinterest is a way to do that. Do it for Breitbart, people!! Pinterest sees over 1000 NEW visitors every sixty seconds.

Here’s an infographic that breaks down the demographics of Pinterest users in the US and UK. It’s from December, so it’s outdated. In recent weeks, I’ve been followed by more and more guys, and I’ve been seeing more and more political things on the pinboards I follow. Now is a good time to get into Pinterest. I think in the next year we’ll see Pinterest become something akin to Twitter and Facebook, in terms of popularity as a social connector. Just think: if you jump in now, you’ll be on the cutting edge. Not even Media Matters has fully embraced Pinterest yet (HA! I just became MM’s second follower. Go me!). This is our chance to beat the Left to an effective way of reaching out to everyday people.

Pin (noun) = an image you’ve pinned to a board
Pin (verb) = the action of putting images on your board
Board = Place where you store related images on Pinterest
Pinner = someone who pins things
Follower = same as in Twitter–you follow people and their pins come up on your feed

When you get your Pinterest account, you get a button on your toolbar that lets you pin images from the internet to your boards. You can pin whatever you like–except apparently anything on Ace of Spades HQ, which is very sad for me because I would pin stuff from them all the time.

The images you pin show up on your board, as well as in the feeds of everyone who follows you. Clicking on these images sends you to the site where the image was pinned in the first place. For example, if you write a blog entry about Obama, you could make an image of him with an obnoxious quote from him superimposed on the picture, pin it, and then when people repinned the image, they could click through and be directed to your article.

Basically–when you make clever, unique, useful images that resound with users, they will pin your image to their board, and thereby drive traffic to your site. Winning!

Right now you need an invitation to join–if you want one, email me with the email address you want the invite sent to and I’ll send you one.

See here.

This article explains how the WSJ is using Pinterest. Tips:

– Only pin images you own the rights to, if you’re pinning on behalf of a conservative organization. That’s my personal thought. This is important, I think, because it removes the worry of having some crazed leftist use your pins as a way to attack you. If you can create your own pins, you should. It’s easy to do in PowerPoint. Design everything on PPT slides and save them as jpgs, and stick them in your blog. Then pin. Done.

– Pin things that are funny. Funny things will get repinned. If you have a funny quote on your blog, copy and paste it into a PowerPoint slide. Format it to look cool, add your url to the bottom of the slide, and save it as a jpg. A lot of people have humor boards.

– Pin things that are insightful. For example, quotes that are inspiring or make you think. A lot of people have quote boards or inspiration boards.

– Pin infographics. The example I linked has to do with the health effects of caffeine, which I had pinned on a fitness board. This would be really effective for policy groups and blogs, using visuals to show things like the effect of Obama’s tax policy on the taxpayer, or gas prices on the economy, etc.

– Pin pull-out quotes from your articles.

– Pin well-staged images that illustrate a point. For example, you could have a picture of stick figures, ones that are brightly-colored for the people who have work, and blacked-out ones for people who are out of jobs. You could have two figures side by side to compare Obama’s job numbers v. Bush’s.

As an example, for this article, from Heritage, you could do something fun with an inverted pyramid–since the old Food Pyramid was a bottom-up approach to food, and Rachel wrote in that article about “This top-down, one-size-fits-all approach to education.” Top-down food pyramid? Maybe it’s a stretch, but maybe it could be a cool graphic. It would be easily pinnable. If you added words to the graphic, people would know what they were pinning.


I make pins from time to time to go with articles I write, and the pins I create generally take me no more than 5 minutes per pin. I know our time is precious–which is why I say to go ahead and invest that extra 5 minutes in a unique pin. If you’re already writing a great article, why not add a unique image that can help drive traffic to it?

Anyway. You all probably already know all this stuff. But in case you didn’t.

Happy Pinning!

Written by bethanyshondark

March 29, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

A Personal Look at Social Security Reform

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When I was younger, I was liberal. A large part of my “conversion” involved directly encountering liberal policies. A previous post discussed my experience on Medicaid, and explains how it evolved into my opposition to state-run healthcare.

My experience with the bureaucracy of the Social Security Administration showed me how the government needs to get out of another business: retirement.

When I was sixteen, my mother died. She was my primary caretaker, and I was entitled to survivors benefits. The first year after she died there was no-one to write the checks to (I had no legal guardian). When my aunt, my mother’s sister, took guardianship over me when I was 17, all of the back-checks were written to her, despite the fact that she was not responsible for me during that first year. When I moved into her apartment, she assured me that she would deposit the checks  in a separate bank account and only withdraw $200 a month to cover increased food costs.

When the checks stopped the day I graduated high school, my aunt kicked me out of her apartment literally onto the streets of New York City, with everything I owned in black garbage bags. She informed me that she had decided to keep all of the money that she had received both for the year I was not living with her and the year that I was. This amounted to about $15,000. As far as I was concerned, it had just vanished.

What was my recourse? I went to the offices of the Social Security Administration to get my money back. That was my first mistake, thinking that this money was mine. I waited for three hours to speak to a representative. I do not mock and I do not kid: He was mentally handicapped. He would be my “case worker”.

He took my story down in chicken scratch, as he could not use a computer. He asked me to call him back so that he could update me after he spoke to his superiors. I called half a dozen times over the next month, but never received a call back. I decided to go down to their offices again. And I waited another three hours. After I finally was able to see my case worker, he informed me that his superiors had decided that my aunt had committed fraud and an investigation would be launched.

Three times agents visited her apartment. All three times she did not answer the door. After every planned visit, I went to the Social Security offices and waited for two-three hours to hear what had transpired. I was informed after the third failed visit that the investigation would then be closed. After I demanded to speak to the agents in charge, I was told they would give it one last attempt. On the forth attempt they were informed by the building owner that my aunt and her husband had moved to Maryland. She was “out of their reach” now. This time the case was officially closed.

The money that my mother had been forced to pay into this “plan” her entire life disappeared into the bank account of a selfish and vindictive sister. And her only child, and only survivor, was left with no legal recourse. If these were private funds, they would have been deposited with my trust fund, which still sits safely in a bank account in upstate New York. If these were private funds I would have been entitled to the total amount that my mother paid into the system over the course of her life, as opposed to the arbitrary number that the Social Security Administration chose after she died. If she died after my high school graduation, I never would’ve seen a dime of what she paid into the system at all.

Even as a liberal teenager, a sense of outrage permeated my perception of Social Security after this experience. The government forced my mother to give them money over the course of her entire career, immediately deducted from her paycheck. It was deducted during months where we had nothing to eat but macaroni and cheese and we were sleeping in the same bed because my mother couldn’t afford to buy me my own. The government knew better than my mother about how to take care of her financial matters. The government would take care of her when she retired or after she died.

They did a great job, right?

Written by bethanyshondark

February 20, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Why did you start keeping halacha?

with 6 comments

At Shabbat dinner this week I was talking with someone and mentioned how I used to do something before I was shomer Shabbat. He asked me a loaded and complicated question “Why did you start keeping Halacha?”

Yelling over the table in the crowded Chabad dining room, I had to keep my answer brief. I was sitting between people who were also not always religious and observant, and as well as I knew them, it was fascinating hearing their answers.

Normally this blog is political, but this simple innocent question and the answers that came with it got me wondering about the other ba’al teshuva in my life.

What made YOU start keeping Halacha? Leave your answers in the comments. I’ll do the same.

Written by bethanyshondark

November 14, 2010 at 10:50 am

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A rant from a right-wing crazy

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On our way back to my apartment today, Seth and I were, admittedly, dressed like hipsters. Behind us, two women were talking about the upcoming election, about the tea party phenomenon gripping the country. They said “Those tea partiers… I don’t support them. They’re all shameless idiots.”

I turned around and simply said “no, not really.” They immediately shut up, awkwardly. They didn’t expect 20-somethings dressed in Converse and Toms Shoes to be so idiotic.

The thing that infuriates me about the left-wing of this country is how self-righteous they are in their fury. They are open minded, they are accepting and they are tolerant. Unless you don’t agree with them. We see it a million times over, most recently in the firing of Juan Williams.

They believe that they are the most intelligent and capable people in the country, and the rest of “fly-over” country should shut up and vote with them in harmony. Because that’s bipartisanship, voting with them.

To them I have this to say: Look at the economies of California and New York verses that of Texas. New York and California have been ruled in every way by Democrat majorities for my entire lifetime. Need I say more? In Texas, in contrast, they have been ruled by the principles that guide the tea party: low taxes, low spending, minimal governmental interference. And guess what? That one state has created more than half the jobs in the United States between August 2009 and 2010, and has seen a net growth of jobs, while California and New York have seen their jobs escape at a clip.

So, if I had to chose, I choose the right. Ignorance is bliss, especially when you have a job.

I can see November from here.

Written by bethanyshondark

October 24, 2010 at 7:10 pm

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Adventures on Medicaid

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For my four years of college, I was enrolled on NYS Medicaid. I had no other insurance options, and found that I was eligible to go onto Medicaid while at a booth that they had set up in the lobby of my school, CUNY City College. At first, it seemed great – free healthcare by the state. I had been on Child Health Plus while I was in middle school and high school, eligible because my mother was permanently disabled. To my knowledge at the time, that program worked out well while I was on it. It wasn’t until later that I found out that she paid for most of my doctors and dentists out of pocket, because the doctors and dentists that accepted my insurance seemed as though they graduated last in their class.

Why am I writing this blog entry now? Under Obamacare, 16 million Americans are going to get forced onto their state’s Medicaid rolls, straining the already broken systems to their limits. My experience on Medicaid convinced me early on that socialized medicine is one of the worst things you can do to a society. I don’t want to make this a long entry, so I’ll give bullet points of my experiences on Medicaid.

  • When I first applied to Medicaid I had to prove my income was low enough to make me eligible for the program. I had an off the books job, and told them that. I was told to write a letter stating how much I made, and that was taken as proof that I was eligible; my word alone. There was no investigation of how I paid my rent, how I paid for school, how I paid to live.
  • When my family moved, I had to change my address. I took the subway down to the worst neighborhood in Brooklyn and waited for three hours. This is the bureaucratic tangle that people on Medicaid encounter anytime they want to do anything. In the waiting room I sat and read a book while children ran around screaming, women plopped their babies on my lap so that they could take smoke breaks, and people played rap music on their phones. When my number was finally called, I showed the woman at the counter my change of address form and a letter addressed to me at the new apartment. I asked the woman why it took so long (I had seen her filing her nails for an hour), and she responded “Why should I move faster? Do you see anyone watching me?” And she was right, there’s no accountability in the public sector, no reason to do one’s job better.
  • At a Medicaid dentist I was told that I had 14 cavities, a year after I had gotten a clean bill of health from another dentist. When the dentist left the room I asked his assistant how it was possible that 14 cavities developed in one year without my having experienced any pain. His assistant’s response was: “This place is a factory, and you have Medicaid. That’s a dollar sign on the top of your forehead.” This assistant had looked at my x-rays and done my cleaning minutes before, and assured his nervous patient that she didn’t appear to have a single cavity.
  • Stupidly, I returned to this dentist. It was the only one I could get an appointment with the next year when I was having tooth pain. Doctors and dentists that take Medicaid insurance have scheduling waiting lists sometimes for months, and it is next to impossible to get appointments even for emergencies.  The dentist filled the cavity, and I had to return twice to have the filling filed down, because chewing was giving me a migraine. A year later, I paid out of pocket for another dentist. I was told that this was the worst filling she had ever seen, and had actually made my cavity worse. I was a month or two away from having to get a root canal, and paid for the new filling out of pocket. It was the best $300 I have ever spent.
  • My junior year of college (2007) I worked 50 hours in four days. I’m not sure if that has anything to do with the case of vertigo I came down with at the end of one of my last waitressing shifts of that year. The emergency room was located in New Jersey, where I was attending Rutgers. The bill came to well over $1000 for a four hour stay with no tests and two IVs, one of which was just filled with saline to counteract dehydration. Three years later, I’m still fighting with Medicaid to pay the bill. While out of state emergency room visits are covered, everytime the hospital faxes the bill over to the Medicaid offices, it gets lost. I’ve spoken with half a dozen people over at the Medicaid offices, and one told me that the hospital would probably just give up sending bills after a while. They haven’t, nor should they. The Medicaid offices have so much paperwork coming in, and such incompetent employees that the hospital I went to isn’t getting reimbursed. It’s no wonder so few doctors and dentists accept this insurance.

My experiences on Medicaid have convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that government has no business running healthcare decisions for any American, let alone most of them. Horror stories from people at Veterans hospitals, from people on Medicaid and Medicare are rampant, and my story is far from unique. I was horrified to see the health care law signed into law, and I support any House or Senate candidate willing to openly state their #1 priority is repeal, and nothing less. Most of America agrees with me, and I hope Washington is listening. If not, November is going to be quite the wakeup call.

Written by bethanyshondark

July 9, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Growing Anti-Semitism of the American Left

with 8 comments

In the 2008 election year the Left was abuzz with everything Obama. What he wore to the beach in Hawaii with his family was featured prominently in People magazine, everything he said and did was chronicled in newspaper magazines, interviews were splashed on every MSM outlet. In November the majority of Americans decided he would become our next President. American Jews and the general public ignored his connections to anti-Semitic figures such as Jeremiah Wright, and believed that the selection of a Jewish Chief of Staff was proof positive that Obama’s beliefs did not follow with that of his spiritual leader of two decades.

It’s become increasingly apparent, however, that these anti-Semitic and anti-Israel tendencies on the Left are becoming much more mainstream. What came first, the chicken or the egg? Perhaps the tendencies were there all along, and just surfacing now that the Progressive cause is led by someone whose pro-Israel stance is weak at best. Perhaps Obama is turning the tides of Leftist thought in this nation against the Jewish State.

Obama’s anti-Israel stance cannot be refuted by any realistic watcher of American politics. Some of the highlights include:

Only 9% of Israeli Jews trust Obama, and only 42% of American Jews would vote for Obama again tomorrow, even though 78% voted for him initially. The latest bout of silence in the flotilla fiasco is the latest affront to America’s longest standing and most reliable ally in the Middle East. Now that Turkey is seemingly devolving into a terror-sympathizing state, America needs to hold onto its relationship with Israel more than ever. The reaction of the Left to Israel exercising its legal right to self-defence is speaking volumes to how Israel is viewed by those Left of the aisle.

The Left leaning media has characterized the Israeli action aboard the flotilla as a massacre by Israeli troops. Those who tweet about the #flotilla are largely spewing Antisemitism, which falls in line with those who were actually aboard the boat itself. The response of the American media to these facts has been at best silence, and world citizens are turning to You-Tube to see the Israeli side of the conflict, which is largely ignored in the world media. Some American media personalities, however, have not remained silent. Helen Thomas, the longest standing White House reporter, has made some interesting comments about Israel’s latest skirmish, stating that Jews need to “get the hell out of Palestine” and go back to Poland and Germany. The mainstream media outside of Fox News, the New York Daily News, and the Drudge Report, have not aired this information as of late, however, extensive coverage was lent to the death of Ted Koppel’s 40-year old son of a drinking binge last week.

Does all of the anti-Israel bias of the Left establishment equate to Antisemitism? In this humble blogger’s opinion, yes, it does. Giving voice to virulently anti-Israel activists gives their position credibility. Calling the IHH “peace activists” while ignoring their terrorist ties allows them to continue their campaign to legitimize Hamas, whose sole purpose is the destruction of the Jewish State. Demanding an end to a blockade which keeps arms out of a sworn violent enemy of Israel is akin to asking Israel to commit national suicide. With the Left’s support of the latest flotilla activities, and with the Obama administration’s silence and neutrality, it is clear that Israel’s longest standing ally is falling to the wayside, allowing the lions at the gate to storm through. And as evidenced above, maybe they don’t view that as such a bad thing.

Written by bethanyshondark

June 6, 2010 at 11:05 am

Posted in Uncategorized

I’m too old for this…. stuff…

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A few months ago I was watching one of my favourite shows, How I Met Your Mother, and a scene between a husband and wife came on, and I realised it was a great way to explain how we’re raising a generation of wimps:

Marshall: I’m not picking on the kids. I’m picking on the culture of losing around here. I gotta get ’em in shape if they’re going to win that game tomorrow.

Lily: Win? We don’t keep score.

Marshall: What? (incredulous)

Lily: We don’t keep score.

Marshall: You don’t keep sco- What’s the point of playing if you don’t keep score? How do – Lily, what were you doing with this team before I got here?

Lily: I was coaching them. (cut to an image of Lily playing her guitar while the kids ran wild around her, all the while she’s encouraging them to ‘just have fun!’)  Because that’s the point of playing, to have fun.

Marshall: No! The point of playing is to win the trophy! And if you don’t know who’s winning who gets the trophy?

Lily: Everyone. Everyone gets a trophy. It’s a participation trophy.

Marshall: It’s like you’re speaking Chinese to me right now.

Cut to the game, after Lily has convinced Marshall to coach her way –

Marshall: Great job guys! At least we’re not keeping score, right? We have no idea what the score is. It could be 53-0, it could be some other score… It’s 53-0!

Kid: What are we doing wrong coach?

Marshall: You know, you’re not doing anything wrong. It’s great that you guys are losing! Because, in life, it doesn’t matter how much effort you put in, or how hard you try, people are just going to give you things! Like diplomas, and jobs and promotions… So it doesn’t matter what you do out there, as long as you have fuuun…

It reminded me a lot of Glenn Beck’s CPAC speech this year:

We need an understanding that life is not fair. It is not fair. The bad guy sometimes wins. Sometimes, O.J. Simpson gets away with it. Sometimes, the big banks fail. Sometimes the good banks fail. Not everybody gets a trophy. What is the point of competing for a trophy if everyone gets a trophy? Please stop teaching my children that everyone will get a trophy just for participating. What is this, the Nobel Prize?


No, that was – that was even beneath me, that was –

Not everybody gets a trophy. We should start correcting our children’s work in red ink again. I mean, I’m tired of – what are we, what are we spin the color wheel now? You corrected my child’s work in red ink. Yes I did. Well that’s a little traumatic. You know what’s even more traumatic? If little Johnny keeps getting these answers wrong, when he goes out into the big, bad world and he’s eaten. That’s worse.


There is some sort of element of competition to life. Oh that’s not natural. Really? Go watch the lions eat the weakest.


And that’s what America is missing right now. The ability and willingness to compete. To even admit that there’s a competition. We say now, oh well, the whole world is going to get together and we’re going to go around the campfire and sing songs – no we’re not. The rest of the world is about to kick our butt. Why? Because we’re not doing the things that make us competitive.

Let’s stop raising wimps, and start raising winners.

Written by bethanyshondark

March 14, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Posted in Uncategorized