Sunday, August 24, 2008

Election '08: The Movie

Like 99% of the world, I will be in Denver for the Dem Convention this week (woot!) and will be out of pocket. There's no doubt that this has been the most exciting/ bizarre election in recent history and has me wondering about who would play who in the film.

I leave you with my Election '08: The Movie cast...

Will Smith as Barack Obama

Jack Lemmon as John McCain

Angela Bassett as Michelle Obama

Heather Locklear as Cindy McCain

Jeff Bridges as Joe Biden

Meryl Streep as Hillary Clinton

Sinbad as Jeremiah Wright

Robert Deniro as Rudolph Giuliani

Ian McKellen as Ron Paul

Keanu Reeves as John Edwards

Alec Baldwin as Mitt Romney

Robin Williams as Mike Huckabee

Friday, August 22, 2008

From 18 to 80: What Do Women Want?

Howdy, Politicas! First off, thanks for your patience while I get Californialized and all that jazz. Now that my life is beginning to resemble a sliver of normalcy, I am back to putting on my blogger-in-Chief hat…

A national study released by EMILY’s List, surveyed 1,400 women voters in four distinct generational groups: Generation Y, X, Boomers and Seniors.

So how do women of different generations view the presidential candidates, politics, and life in general? Here’s the basic 411: After Generation Y women, Senior women are Senator Obama’s next strongest generation. Obama leads Senator McCain by 30 points among Gen Y, 11 points among Seniors, 8 points among Gen X and 6 points among Boomers.

It appears that Obama’s greatest room for growth is among Senior women. They give him an 11 point advantage over McCain, but give a generic congressional Democrat a 27 point lead over the Republican. The 16 point gap between presidential performance and generic Democratic performance is larger than in other generations and offers Obama an opportunity to grow this margin.

Keep Hope Alive?
The most dramatic divide in the presidential race is between women who are looking for a candidate who offers hope and optimism (supporting Obama by a 60 point margin) and those who are looking for a candidate who offers safety and security (supporting McCain by a 35 point margin). The women's electorate divides exactly evenly among those who are looking for hope and optimism (38 percent) and safety and security (38 percent).

All Politics is Loca(l)?
According to the study, the majority of all generations of women say the outcome of the presidential race will make a lot of difference in their own lives (61 percent of all women). That number drops to 36 percent who think congressional elections will significantly affect their lives.

Politically Engaged and Underage?
50% of both Boomers and Seniors say they actively seek out news about politics. Just 28 percent of Gen X and 26 percent of Gen Y are actively seeking news, with large majorities in the younger generations saying they are interested in politics, but not actively seeking information.
29% of all women have made a political contribution in the past two years to a candidate, a party, or a political cause group. Giving is greatest among Seniors (41 percent) and most uncommon among Gen Y (13 percent). 42% of women who identify themselves as strong Democrats have contributed, compared with 33% of strong Republicans.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

California Bound

Hey Gang - I’ll be en route to LA tomorrow and will be seriously MIA for a few dias while I get settled in the sunshine state. Stay tuned for more fabulousness from the West Coast! Besos, Linds

Friday, August 15, 2008

HOT or NOT: The Week-In-Review

HOT: Obamicans. Former Iowa Congressman Jim Leach and the Republican Mayor of Fairbanks, Alaska endorsed Barack Obama this week. The “Republicans for Obama” website is up and running and includes a couple of hundred thousand names. Republicans with good sense? Who knew?

NOT: Cheating on your wife. Former presidential candidate John Edwards admitted to an affair with Rielle Hunter, who worked on his campaign. (Sighs, shakes head and moves on).

HOT: Breaking world records. Talk about a good week for Mr. Phelps! Michael Phelps collected six gold medals at the Beijing Olympics and has set a world record in every final he's raced in Beijing. Geez Louise, my greatest moment of triumph this week was (sort of) finishing one of those sudoku puzzles in the paper.

NOT: Calling “the other guy” elitist when you own nine houses. Senator John McCain’s worth over $100 million, owns 9 houses and flies around on a $12.6 million corporate jet… a real man of the people, folks.

HOT: Playing offense against Swift Boat attacks. Senator John Kerry sent out an email to his three million-person list denouncing the new anti-Obama book by Jerome Corsi. Kerry introduced a new website called to battle against the Swift Boat-style smear machine.

NOT: Appearing on a white supremacist show. As if you needed another reason to not like Jerome Corsi, you can add this one to your list: Corsi is set to make an appearance on the “The Political Cesspool” on Sunday. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, it is "an overtly racist, anti-Semitic radio show hosted by self-avowed white nationalist James Edwards.” Oh lovely, can’t wait to tune in to what will surely be the height of sophisticated, unbiased, and intellectual conversation.

HOT: Restoring peace. Russia and Georgia have made a fragile peace agreement to curtail looting and continued fighting. Condi arrived in Georgia on Friday in an attempt to seal the deal with Russia. The US is sending troops to Georgia to oversee the humanitarian efforts.

NOT: Making slit-eyed gestures. Two photos emerged showing Spanish Olympic athletes making “slight-eyed” gestures, a crude impersonation of Chinese people. The photo, which is still visible on the official website of the Spanish Tennis Federation, is captioned “Estamos preparados para China," which translates as “We are prepared for China.” Stupidest move ever: Insult the Chinese.

And I leave you with Our Fabulous Video of the Week:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

In a Generation, U.S. to Look Older and More Diverse

According to U.S. Census Bureau projections released on Thursday, ethnic and racial minorities will be the majority in America and the number of people older than 65 is expected to more than double.

Currently, minorities constitute about a third of the U.S. population. They are projected to become the majority, making up more than half by 2042, and 54 percent by 2050. Furthermore, more than half of all children will be minorities by 2023. This is primarily due to the higher fertility rate for some of the minority groups, especially immigrants, and an influx of foreigners in the U.S. from 1.3 annually today to more than 2 million a year by 2050. The U.S. is expected to top 400 million in 2039 and reach 439 million in 2050. By 2030, all baby boomers will be age 65 and older, constituting nearly one in five Americans. By 2050, the 65-and-older age group will increase to 88.5 million, more than doubling its current number of 38.7 million.

The Hispanic population, which will have the most dramatic gain, will nearly triple from 47 million to 133 million. They will account for 30 percent of Americans, compared to 15 percent today. The African-American population is projected to increase from 41.1 million to 65.7 million by 2050, going from 14 percent of the U.S. population to 15 percent. The Asian-American population is expected to increase from 15.5 million to 40.6 million, or from 5.1 percent to 9.2 percent of the population. The number of U.S. residents identifying themselves as multiracial is expected to more than triple, from 5.2 to 16.2 million. There will not be significant gains in the non-Hispanic white population, reducing its share of the overall population from 66 to 46 percent.

These projections may stir more anti-immigrant furor and more legislation, such as the English as the Official Language Act, which is likely fueled by apprehension that America is losing its official language, traditions and demographic makeup. In the future, it means that whites will be more interested in health care and pensions issues and the minority population will be more interested in education and children’s issues.

Given this information, it would appear to be in the best interest of aging whites to advocate for more education and health care programs for minority children. As whites age, they will become increasingly dependent upon a minority workforce. They should support political candidates that advocate for increased funding for Head Start, GEAR UP, Upward Bound and other programs that ensure that minority children are adequately prepared for higher education and are equip with the skills necessary to become productive adults.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Oh Swift Boat Veterans, How We’ve Missed You!

The group that worked to sink John Kerry’s ship in '04 has made a rather timely entrance into the 2008 election. But really, what would an election be without specious and baseless attacks from our dear calculating friends the Swift Boat Vets?

Jerome Corsi, co-author of Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry, which contains false attacks on Senator John Kerry's military service, has a new book attacking Senator Barack Obama. His latest book, The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality, was released this month with the sole goal to “defeat Obama.” In a NYT oped, Corsi states that “an Obama presidency would lead us into an ‘Obama Nation’” and paints him as a black radical on the low.

The Obama Nation has debuted at No. 1 on The New York Times' hardcover nonfiction best-seller list. Media Matters for America has already found two falsehoods in Corsi's Obama book and it has been challenged as misleading since it made its debut earlier this month.

The question is: Will the media play brain dead once again when addressing these attacks? Have they learned from the 2004 election and give immediate scrutiny to Swiftboat Vets claims? If the media has fallen head over heels with Barack as the right seems to think, than will they come to his defense? Only time will tell.

And because anti-Obama books are all the rage on the right these days, a second book has emerged on the scene, with the same goal and by the same publisher. National Review Online writer David Freddos has recently released The Case Against Barack Obama: The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media's Favorite Candidate.

On a positive note, Barack Obama, author of the million-selling "Dreams From My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope," has announced a first printing of 300,000 for his new policy book. A compilation of speeches and policy statements by Obama and his campaign staff, "Change We Can Believe In," had reached the top 75 on by Monday evening, less than a day after The Associated Press reported the book would come out in September. In other good news for the Obama campaign, Reverend Wright’s daughter now says that he will NOT release a book in October (happy dance!), as previously reported.

If you're looking to get riled up, check out Jerome Corsi's interview on Fox News. Warning: This video may cause you to throw a book at your computer screen. I watched the ridiculousness so you don't have to.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Make Room: Women Coming Through

According to a recent study by the Center for Women in Government & Civil Society at the University at Albany, the number of women in state government leadership positions is on the rise. In six states, the percentage is nearly proportionate to the general population. In Montana, the percentage of women in top state government positions — 54.5 — actually exceeds that of women in the state's overall population — 50.2. Women held 35 percent of governor-appointed posts in all 50 states last year, up from 28 percent a decade earlier.

Although women in state government positions have made great strides, the numbers federally are still embarrassingly low. A few weeks back, a coworker and I attended a Hill reception and showing of a documentary called 14 Women, which follows the lives of the 14 women serving in the U.S. Senate (Note: there are now 16 women serving in the senate). Speakers at the event included Senators Boxer and Mikulski. These women are fierce. Nuff said. Due to their presence, they talked about how there is now a “petite” sized podium on the senate floor. Now if that’s not progress, I don’t know what is.

Most importantly, they talked about the need to grow the number of female senators. Yes, the number of women in the senate grew from nine to fourteen in the 109th Congress and these women are having a substantial impact on policy and politics – but we have a long way to go. What was most poignant was that they interviewed young girls in the documentary and asked them how many women they thought served in the U.S. Senate. The majority of the girls guessed that there are 50 women serving in the senate and were shocked to hear that there are only 14.

It begs the question: Why don’t we have 50 women serving in the senate – proportionate to the number of women in the country? Imagine what our country would be like if there were 50 women serving in the United States Senate! Increased funding for health care and education and decreased funding for wars. Paid family leave. Quality child care services and programs. Putting our children first would actually be a reality and not simply a soundbite. Our world would be a different (better) place.

What’s most encouraging is that these women meet regularly for some good ol’ fashioned girl talk. They take off their partisan hats and talk about their families, their challenges, success stories, etc. They have formed an impenetrable support network. I thank them for their service to this country and the sacrifices that they have made and continue to make for more women to cross that threshold into the political realm.

Check out the trailer for the '14 Women' Documentary, a look at the 14 female senators:

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Countdown Begins: 14 Days Until DNC

Feeling particularly jolly this morning, I’ve decided to skip over the seamier stories about Johnny Boy’s misdeeds (is there really anything new I can add to the absurdity?) and Russia-Georgia drama.

With the Democratic Convention around the corner, the Democratic National Convention Committee announced the prime-time speakers for the four nights of the convention in Denver from August 25-28.

On August 25, Michelle Obama will headline the opening night of the convention (woot!) and Hillary Clinton will headline Tuesday night (which appears to be BIG hint that Clinton will not be the VP pick). On August 27, the still unknown vice presidential nominee will speak (inquiring minds, Barack…). And on the final evening, the venue moves to Invesco Field for Obama’s convention speech.

Around 50,000 guests including some 5,000 delegates, 15,000 members of the media and others are expected to gather in Denver for the convention. The last time Denver hosted a Democratic convention was in 1908 when it nominated William Jennings Bryan. The 2008 convention is the second Democratic National Convention to be held in Denver.

If you are planning on attending the convention or need some further convincing, below are a few events that you may want to check out.

Fab DNC Events for Politicas:

"Unconventional Women"
Monday, August 25
8:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Buell Theater
Denver, CO
About: "Unconventional Women" is a historic, non-partisan symposium uniting 3,000 women. White House Project President and Founder Marie Wilson will be one of many high-profile women speaking at the event.

Future Frontrunners Summit
Monday, August 25, tent.
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
The Curtis Hotel, 1405 Curtis Street, Denver
About: A day-long summit will be held for winners of Lifetime's Future Frontrunners contest to identify the next generation of women leaders. The contest for high school & college students, part of Lifetime's Every Woman Counts campaign to engage women in the political process, was launched in partnership with CosmoGIRL!'s Project 2024 to promote girls leadership and Declare Yourself, a nonpartisan, non-profit campaign to register more 18-year-olds to vote.

Democratic Women's Caucus Breakfast/Rally
Tuesday, August 26
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Convention Center
About: Lifetime Networks celebrates the opening day of the Women's Caucus, where more than 2,000 delegates and elected officials are expected to attend.

Every Woman Counts Late-Night Celebration with Rock the Vote
Tuesday, August, 26
10:00 PM - 1:00 AM
Cowboy Lounge, 1941 Market Street, Denver
About: A high-profile gathering of hundreds of women elected officials, political leaders, campaign staff, advocates, partners & celebrities to encourage women and youth to register and vote, speak out on the issues that matter to them most and inspire and empower them to become more involved this election year and beyond.

The White House Project's 10th Anniversary Celebration
Wednesday, August 27
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Denver Newspaper Agency
Denver, CO
About: Join The White House Project as they pay tribute to women's leadership past, present and future. Help them celebrate their 10 years of advancing women's leadership and the extraordinary potential of the women in the leadership pipeline.

Celebration of Shirley Chisholm and screening of Chisholm '72:
Unbought & Unbossed, directed by Shola Lynch and funded by PBS, is sponsored by Best Buy and Mills College
Thursday, August 28
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Denver Newspaper Agency
Denver, CO

For more info or to RSVP, check out The White House Project. If you are planning on attending the convention, be sure to hit me up!

Take a look at the women working around the clock to put on a great Democratic National Convention:

Friday, August 8, 2008

HOT or NOT: The Week-In-Review

HOT: VP Speculation. The VP pick saga continues: For Barack, will it be Kaine or Bayh? Or neither? Let the wagering begin. For McCain, will it be Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA)? Don’t feel bad, I had to google him too.

NOT: Fleeing to Canada. Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick goes to the pokey for a day after a judge ruled he violated the terms of his bond in his perjury case by making a business trip to Canada and not informing the court. Absolutely brillant.

HOT: Timetables. Iraqi negotiators propose a timeline for U.S. combat troops to peace out by October 2010. Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr claims to dissolve his Mehdi Army militia if the United States started withdrawing troops according to a set timetable. Bush & co respond with, “Uh, how bout dem Red Skins?”

NOT: Clinton Bitterness. Lifetime’s Every Woman Counts program released a poll of women voters revealing that just one in five women said sexism sank HRC.

HOT: Clinton. She’s back and better than ever! Hillary Clinton is back in the campaign picture and will campaign for Obama in Nevada and Florida later this month.

NOT: Air Pollution. China has poured $20 billion into "greening" the city, but it appears to be a case of “too little, too late.” And yet, the show must go on.

HOT: Magazine Spreads. Michelle Obama appears on the covers of Ebony magazine, Ladies’ Home Journal and in the pages of Harper’s Bazaar, she’ll be played by supermodel Tyra Banks. The September issue of Vanity Fair calls Michelle Obama the "commander in sheath" on its "International Best-Dressed List." Eat your heart out, Cindy McCain! Forget about this presidential race business, the battle of the magazine spreads is where it’s at.

NOT: Obama Fatigue. 48% of Americans say they have been oversaturated with Obama media coverage. Barack and the fam take a much-deserved vacay to Hawaii with the onset of Olympicmania. America takes a vacay from Obama fatigue.

HOT: Anthrax Conspiracy Theories. Theories run amok about mad scientist Bruce Ivins’ alleged involvement in the anthrax terrorist attack.

And I leave you with Our Fabulous Video of the Week:

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I Heart Michelle Obama

I still have chills. On Wednesday, I got to pitch in at an event with the Obama for America DC Finance Team honoring Michelle Obama in Norfolk, VA. It was a fundraiser hosted by Anne Holton and Tim Kaine with a performance by Bruce Hornsby at the Harrison Opera House. I was blessed to have the op to help out and take in all of Michelle’s fierceness.

It was – in a word – fabulous. Sometimes there is no better word to describe something. I left the house at 7:30am and did not return home until 12:30am the next morning (oh, the sacrifices I make in the name of democracy) and it was totally worth it. Mad props go out to Kyle, Joanna and Courtney on the Finance Team! You guys are awesome and did an amazing job pulling this all together.

The self-proclaimed “Mother-in-Chief” made her first campaign stop that morning reading to schoolchildren and then stopped at Old Dominion University to speak with military spouses. At the evening fundraiser, Michelle talked about what it was that made her first fall in love with Barack. She talked about how he took her to one of his community meetings in a neglected and run-down neighborhood in Chicago and how he spoke to the single moms, the retired women on fixed incomes, the unemployed men about the “world as it is” and the “world as it should be.” And although this was twenty years ago and she barely knew the man at the time, she saw a glimpse into his vision for America and his desire and commitment to turn the “world as it is” into the “world as it should be.”

It was powerful. The event was completely packed to the brim and everyone was standing up and clapping and Amen-ing like they were in church.

I was able to sneak in a few photos after taking shifts (wo)manning the check-in desk. See below!

Folks standing outside of the Harrison Opera House in Norfolk, VA. Packed like sardines.

Tim Kaine introduces Michelle and brags about how awesome she is.

Michelle (aka my shero) talks about Barack and his vision for America.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Dreaded Question: Is Obama Selling Out?

Those of you who know me, know that I’ve been a diehard Obama girl since day one so it literally pains me to pose this question, but Barack's recent stances on oil drilling and FISA have certainly prompted a few “hmmms” from yours truly.

There’s no question that those on the left are not happy campers about some of his recent positions on these issues and the words “sell-out” and “flip flop” have been floating around the liberal political blogosphere for a few weeks now.

I had to seriously put on my thinking cap here, filter through the mainstream media’s portrayal of him as a flip-flopper and really delve into where I stand on this. And although I do not necessarily agree with Barack’s more recent stances on a few key issue areas, I can respect the fact that he is open to alternative solutions, particularly when it comes to America's fuel crisis. For God sakes, the man isn’t looking to drill us into oblivion, but has simply said that he’s open to putting drilling on the table if it’s part of a comprehensive package. At the end of the day, I don’t think it is a matter of selling out to the right as much as it is an attempt on his part to find common ground, strike a balance between liberal and conservative wants and ultimately do what’s best for the American people.

If his message is that we need a Prez who is willing to look beyond the political divide and be open to other opinions, then aren't his recent views keeping consistent with that message?

We say all the time that we want a politician to not simply pander but to take positions that are sometimes unpopular and controversial with conviction and integrity. But when our candidate of choice takes a position that is not our own, we quickly label him/her as a “sell out” and huff and puff about how they’ve betrayed us. I’m not just talking BO here. I’m talking generally. We just can’t have it both ways, my friends. Many of us laud and defend Barack’s idealistic statements on “bringing America together,” “bridging the gaps” and “working across the aisle,” but it gets murky when he practices what he preaches. For us staunch supporters, isn't this why we love the man? Because he doesn't display this sort of rigid Bush-Rovian it's-my-way-or-the-highway dogmatism.

Don’t get it twisted, I’m not saying that Barack is perfect and his stances are 100% excusable. What I am saying is that we progressives should respect the fact that the man is thinking outside of the ideological box and is willing to consider other ideas when given compelling evidence.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Lifetime Launches Every Woman Counts Bus Tour

The above subject line has likely prompted a ripple of involuntary eye-rolls from our male readers but hang in there with me! Lifetime Network has taken a break from mawkish made-for-tv chick flicks to launch a bus tour across the country to the National Political Conventions. The femobile will make stops in 11 cities where women can register to vote and create videos for Lifetime’s YouTube(TM) Channel and New Site

The bus tour aims to engage women in the political process this election season and beyond. At each tour stop, women will be able to upload vids declaring what they would do if they were Prez, highlighting the issues most important to them this historic presidential election year. They will make stops at both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions and host a series of high-profile Every Woman Counts forums and festivities.

Thirty-five million eligible women did not vote in the 2004 presidential election, and they are committed to changing this statistic as part of their campaign. Rising country stars Carter's Chord wrote and recorded "Make It Count," a song dedicated to empowering women that will serve as the tour's theme song.

Market stops include: July 31, Indianapolis, IN; August 2, Louisville, KY; August 4, Nashville, TN; August 5, Atlanta, GA; August 7, New Orleans, LA; August 11, Houston, TX; August 13, San Antonio, TX; August 18, Albuquerque, NM; August 20, 25-28, Denver, CO, site of the Democratic National Convention; August 31, Kansas City, MO; and September 1-4, Minneapolis/Saint Paul, home to the Republican National Convention.

Viewers at home can track the 'Every Woman Counts' YouTube bus on its trip around the country. The site also features a special national political conventions resource section, including a quiz to "Test Your Convention IQ."

Note: Their campaign is releasing a national survey of female voters today that will provide new information about why Clinton didn't win and how women feel about the 2008 general election match-up. Poll results will be released today at 1 p.m.

Check out Queen Latifah interviewing women as part of the Every Woman Counts campaign.

It begs the question: So what would you do if you were Prez?

Monday, August 4, 2008

News Flash: There is Political Life in LA

When I first decided to move to LA, two quick questions immediately came to mind:

1) Are people even politically active in LA?
2) Where am I going to find a hairdresser? Yes, this may seem like a rather inane question but it took me about a year and a half to find a good hairdresser in DC (shoutout to Victor at Salon Roi in DC) and I nearly lost half a head of hair in the process (the black sistas give a sympathetic nod).

So while the hairdresser situation is still in flux, I’ve been pleasantly surprised about how politically active people are. Who knew that there was more to LA than red carpets and botox treatments?

On Friday night, I was at a my former coworker Tomeika’s birthday shindig/ my farewell party Part IV (yes, it never gets old) at Panache Restaurant in DC and ran into a group of folks that were visiting from LA. They are all UCLA grads (Yea Bruins!) and are very heavily immersed in the political/ policy world in LA. It was definitely one of those moments when you realize that there are only like 1.5 degrees of separation between people in the political world (a blessing and a curse).

One of them works for Councilmember Ed P. Reyes (pictured below) and they are all attending the Democratic Convention at the end of the month. They assured me that people are indeed very much politically-engaged in the area. (Note: It was pretty obvious that these were not East Coasters because they were possibly the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life). I was thrilled to have connected with them about getting involved in the political scene in LA. Some pictures from that night ☺

My Soon-to-be West Coast BFFs:
Mike Fong (left) and George Yin (right)

Straight VIP. You know how we do!


Celebrating Our Single-Working-Womeness

So this week (Aug 3-9) is Single Working Women Week, which honors single working mothers and the daily sacrifices they make. A product of a single working mom household myself, we certainly need to honor these amazing women, but I am also claiming this holiday (that’s right) for all single women in the workplace trying to do their thing and make ends meet.

But what challenges are unique to single working women? For many single working women, they are trying to support themselves while dealing with underpaid jobs, a housing crisis, credit card debt and student loan payments. Because they are single women there is often an expectation that they can work the long hours in the office and should be wedded to their careers. They are also at a financial disadvantage compared to their male counterparts who perform equal work. Today, women make 77 cents for each dollar a man makes.

The National Women’s Law Center offers these facts about working women:

■ In 2005, the median annual earnings of women ages 15 and older were $31,858, compared to $41,386 for their male counterparts. Minority women fare significantly worse. In 2005, the median earnings of African American women working full-time, year-round were $29,680 compared to $46,437 for white men; the median for Hispanic women was only $24,214.

■ The earnings gap between women and men also persists across all educational levels. While education lifts all boats, it lifts men’s boats much higher than women’s. While earning a bachelor’s degree yielded a median annual of income of $35,478 for women, it produced a whopping $51,389 for men.

■ If women in the workforce earned the same amounts as men who work the same number of hours, have the same education, age, and union status and live in the same region of the country, their annual family income would rise by about $4,000 and their poverty rates would be cut by half or more. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research has calculated that a typical woman who graduated college from 1984 and who was in her mid-40s in 2004 has lost more than $440,000 during that period due to the wage gap.


The good news is that the U.S. House of Reps passed the Paycheck Fairness Act last week in a 247 to 178 vote. Woot! The Paycheck Fairness Act, sponsored by Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), strengthens current laws against wage discrimination and closes loopholes improving the law’s effectiveness. More specifically, the Act prevents employers from retaliating against employees for sharing their salary information; creates a training program to teach women and girls how to better negotiate their salaries; and tightens the rules that allow employers to dismiss a pay differential for men and women as based on a factor not related to sex.

When the Equal Pay Act was passed over forty years ago, women earned only 59 cents for every dollar earned by men. That number now stands at 77 cents. Yes, we have indeed made progress, but we still have a ways to go in making certain that working women’s salaries are on par with their male counterparts.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Our Fabulous Political Woman of the Month: Ayanna Pressley

So given that so few political women get their due props, I’ve decided to highlight one woman at the beginning of each month that stands out as accomplished, dynamic, poised, politically savvy and just plain fabulous all the way around.

This month, that woman is Ayanna Pressley. Ayanna is Senator Kerry’s Political Director and serves as the liaison to Massachusetts elected officials and candidates, as well as Democratic party and committee organizations. Her role also includes coordinating outreach to local constituencies such as African Americans and women, and representing the Senator at events and meetings around the state.

Pressley arrived in the Kerry office at age 22, already a veteran of three campaigns and three years of constituent work as the Social Security Liaison for Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II under her belt (ok, I feel like a slacker). From 1997 to 2002, she served as the only African American scheduler on the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol, where she was a key architect of the logistics to mount a run for the Democratic nomination.

Ayanna Pressley is originally from Chicago, IL and moved to Boston, MA in 1992 to attend Boston University. Ayanna serves on the following Boards: Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus, Emerge Massachusetts, UMass Boston Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy, and the Commonwealth Seminar. She is also a Mentor with the Young Black Women's Society. And as if that wasn’t enough, Ayanna is a popular public speaker. She participates in panels, career day seminars, campaign trainings and youth rallies throughout the Commonwealth, sharing her compelling personal story, message of civic engagement, diversity, and girls/women empowerment. In 2005, Ayanna was recognized with a Wonder Woman Award by the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus, and in 2008, Unity First Magazine recognized her with a Visionary Woman of Excellence Award.

A good friend and mentor to me, I personally can attest that this woman is no joke and is certainly a mover and a shaker in the political arena.

So three cheers and two snaps for our Fabulous Political Woman of the Month! If you have someone you’d like to nominate for next month, hit me up!