Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ahem. Taking My Own Congressional Recess.

The next two weeks will be insane madness for yours truly. Finals, friends in town and a new job have taken over so I will be taking un petite break to get life in order. Blogging fun shall resume in two weeks-ish. MUAH!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Doctor Who Performed Abortions Shot to Death

From CNN.com:

(CNN) -- Dr. George Tiller, whose Kansas women's clinic frequently took center stage in the U.S. debate over abortion, was shot and killed while serving as an usher at his Wichita church Sunday morning, police said.

Wichita police said a 51-year-old man from the Kansas City, Kansas, area was in custody in connection with the slaying of Tiller, who was one of the few U.S. physicians who still performed late-term abortions.

The killing, which came about 16 years after Tiller survived a shooting outside his Wichita clinic, took place shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday at Reformation Lutheran Church. Officers found the 67-year-old dead in the foyer, police said.

Witnesses provided a description of the car and a license number of the killer's getaway vehicle, Wichita police spokesman Gordon Bassham said. Police stopped a blue Ford Taurus matching the description about three hours later in Gardner, about 30 miles southwest of Kansas City, and took the driver into custody.

No charges had been filed Sunday evening and no motive for the killing was immediately known, but Wichita police Detective Tom Stoltz told reporters: "We think we have the right person arrested."

"We will investigate this suspect to the Nth degree -- his history, his family, his associates -- and we are just in the beginning stages of that," Stoltz said.

Tiller's slaying drew condemnation from supporters, from some of those who tried to shut down his practice and from President Obama, who just two weeks ago urged Americans to seek "common ground" on the issue of abortion.

"However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence," Obama said in a statement issued by the White House.

The shooting prompted U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to direct federal marshals to "offer protection to other appropriate people and facilities around the nation," according to a statement from the Department of Justice.

Tiller had been practicing medicine for nearly 40 years, said Peter Brownlie, president of the Kansas City-based regional Planned Parenthood office. His patients were "almost always in circumstances where something had gone horribly wrong with a pregnancy," and where a woman's health would be endangered if the pregnancy continued, Brownlie said.


Read the rest of the article here.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Sunday Funnies

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Calling for Real Housewives of D.C.!

On Tuesday, Bravo announced that it is expanding its popular Real Housewives franchise once again, this time heading to the nation’s capital and seeking women for The Real Housewives of D.C. I have no doubt that in five years there will be a Real Housewives in every state. Real Housewives of Utah? Interesting.

“We’re tapping personalities who are among Washington D.C.’s influential players, cultural connoisseurs, fashion sophisticates and philanthropic leaders,” Frances Berwick, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Bravo Media, said in a statement. “The people who rub elbows with the most prominent people in the country and easily move in the city’s diverse political and social circles.”

As lame as it is, I can't wait to see who they pick for the show. Wives of Senators and Congressional members will likely avoid the spotlight. Too much political risk for their husbands. Orange County housewives are known for their surgical "enhancements." Atlanta housewives are known for marrying NFL and NBA players. New York housewives are known for hitting the high-fashion and socialite scene. New Jersey housewives are known for paying for expensive items in "cash." What will the DC housewives be known for?

Rant of the Week: So Let Me Get This Straight…

Republicans nominate a moose-hunting pageant queen who was governor of one of the least populous states in the nation for less than two years to be Vice President of the United States but a Princeton and Yale Law grad with thirty years of judicial experience is somehow… unqualified for Supreme Court Justice. Huh?

Rush Limbaugh’s claims of “reverse racism” are almost laughable considering how Republicans attempted to skillfully play the gender card with Sarah Palin. On Tuesday evening, political mastermind Karl Rove questioned whether Sotomayor has the "broad intellectual powers" and Senator Jon Ensign (R-NV) raised questions about her "intellect" to serve on the bench. Hmm, somehow a woman who based her foreign policy experience on her proximity to Russia appeared to have the "intellect" to be second in command of the free world?!

Interestingly, Newt Gingrich has accused Sotomayor of being a big fat RACIST for saying that her background as a Hispanic female allowed her to understand cases in a different, better manner than her white contemporaries. However, Newt appeared to have no qualms with Judge Sam Alito's similar comment during his confirmation hearing, saying how he "can't help but think of" his immigrant family when evaluating immigration cases.

Republican comments about Sotomayor's experience and intellect appear to be desperate at best and discrimnatory at worst. In particular, comments about her lack of intellect may backfire given that she graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton and was an editor of the Yale Law Review. They run the risk of alienating both Hispanics and women. Dangerous ground, Repubs. Dangerous ground.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Let the Political Games Begin...

From Huffingtonpost.com:

This morning President Obama announced Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor as his nominee to replace Justice David Souter on the United States Supreme Court. In his press conference unveiling the choice, Obama described Sotomayor as an inspiring woman with a distinguished career, holding a "depth of experience and a breadth of perspective."

Though their numbers have dwindled in the Senate, the Republican party is not entirely devoid of options to block the nomination. Sotomayor will first need approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee before she can be voted on by the entire Senate. Though a majority vote is usually all that's required for a committee to advance a bill to the floor of the Senate, an obscure rule requires that judicial appointments be approved by a majority that includes at least one member of the minority party. In the case of Sotomayor, that means she'll need one Republican member of Judiciary to vote her to the floor.

That might draw excitement from conservative activists, but it's not likely that Sotomayor will lose a party-line vote of the judiciary committee. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a key Republican vote on the committee, has already suggested an unwillingness to block the nomination. And Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), another Republican member of the committee, has already voted to confirm Sotomayor once before (for the Second Circuit eleven years ago) making it unlikely he'll oppose her this time. By the time she makes it to the floor of the Senate, Al Franken will likely have been seated in Minnesota, providing the Democrats with a 60 vote, filibuster-proof majority. At that point, and without the filibuster option, Republicans will be powerless to prevent Sotomayor's confirmation.

Still, the GOP is angling for a fight. Among the few who graced Obama's short list, Sotomayor was largely considered the most progressive of the bunch. But as the Republican leadership gears up, they may be walking squarely into another political trap, carefully designed by the president. Should she be confirmed, Sotomayor will be the first Hispanic on the bench, chosen at a time when the Hispanic vote has emerged as a critical component to sustaining a Democratic majority over the long-term.

Already in 2008, Hispanic voters, who represent the fastest growing minority population in the country, were responsible for a dramatic political realignment. In the wake of an anti-immigrant nativism that came to define the Republican presidential nominating contests, Obama won two-thirds of the Hispanic vote, fourteen points higher than John Kerry's share four years earlier. That meant wins in states like New Mexico and Colorado, Nevada and Florida, and it meant an insurmountable electoral margin for Obama. The president recognizes that if the Democratic party can turn Hispanic voters into a loyal bloc of supporters, they can continue to expand their margins around the country, even in places as conservative as Texas, driven almost entirely by Hispanic population growth.


Read the rest of the article here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Obama Nominates Woman to Supreme Court

On Tuesday, President Obama nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court. Sotomayor would be the first Hispanic and third woman to sit on the Supreme Court. Woot!

Sotomayor was raised in the Bronx housing project and is the daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants. An alum of Princeton University and Yale Law School, she was appointed to the federal district court in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush. Although Republicans held up her confirmation to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, she eventually passed the Senate and was appointed by President Bill Clinton.

In his announcement, President Obama noted Sotomayor’s “inspiring life story” and “distinguished career.” He also cited her varied judicial experience in his decision to nominate her to succeed retiring Justice David Souter. In response, Sotomayor said she is an “ordinary person who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences.”

After facing pressure to nominate a Hispanic and a woman to the bench, President Obama received praise for his decision from Rev. Al Sharpton, New York Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Democrats from Sotomayor’s home state. The decision shows the President’s commitment to diversifying the court.

The Senate has four months to complete confirmation hearings and proceedings before the Court begins in the fall term.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Why Michelle O Reps the Modern Day Woman

By the time I reached my late teens, I developed such an extreme revulsion for tights that I decided to do away with dresses altogether. I have always been a bit on the clumsy side so my tights would often get caught on the corners of tables and the embarrassing runs inevitably followed.

Throughout my childhood and early adult years, tights and dress slips were mandatory accessories with a dress. White was not worn after Labor Day. Short-sleeved dresses were not worn in winter. Period.

The first day in my professional life that I decided to ditch the tights and walked into my office in all my bare-legged glory, I felt an immense sense of freedom. I was no longer bound by the constraints of traditional female fashion guidelines.

During the 2008 presidential election, I watched with extreme adoration when Michelle Obama made no apologies for her bare-legged appearances. I thought: Now, this is my kind of First Lady. She was not only sharp and smart but a woman that broke free from the fashion rules that mom always told you.

As First Lady, Michelle Obama represents the new young professional woman. She wears chic and fashionable short-sleeved dresses sans tights. She rejects the top fashion brands for no-name designers. She embraces colors like purple, orange and teal in lieu of the drab black and grey that is the fashion norm in the political and corporate worlds.

Even though her style is simple and elegant, Michelle is a fashion renegade in her own right. She assures women that they can be professional without adhering to the silly old-school rules that constrain them from being who they truly are.

Now, that’s change that I can believe in.

Cross-posted on Political Voices of Women

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Survey Says: Latinas Have Highest Teen Birth Rate

From CNN.com:

(CNN) -- She had many plans for the future: to go to college, start a career, meet the man of her dreams, raise a family -- when the time was right.
Expert: "There's a big disconnect between pregnancy rates and what Latina families want and value."

It was all cut off by an unexpected pregnancy. The baby became her life, consuming her energy and forcing her dreams to the back burner of her life.

She is 19 or younger and Latina, and has had her first baby.

It's not what she wanted. Nor did her parents, who are the greatest influence on her decisions about sex, according to a wide-ranging survey released Tuesday by experts on the Hispanic community in the United States.

The survey also found that 84 percent of Latino teens and 91 percent of Latino parents believe that graduating from college or university or having a promising career is the most important goal for a teen's future.

Somewhere along the way, the aspirations fail to match up to reality. The survey attempts to examine some of the reasons for the disparity and why Latinas now have the highest teen birth rate among all ethnic and racial groups in the United States.

"There's a big disconnect between pregnancy rates and what Latina families want and value," said Ruthie Flores, senior manager of the National Campaign's Latino Initiative.

According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 53 percent of Latinas get pregnant in their teens, about twice the national average.

After a period of decline, the birth rate for U.S. teenagers 15 to 19 years rose in 2007 by about 1 percent, to 42.5 births per 1,000, according to preliminary data in a March 2009 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

In 2007, the birth rate among non-Hispanic whites ages 15 to 19 was 27.2 per 1,000, and 64.3 per 1,000 for non-Hispanic black teens in the same age range. The teen birth rate among Hispanic teens ages 15 to 19 was 81.7 per 1,000.

Of the 759 Latino teens surveyed, 49 percent said their parents most influenced their decisions about sex, compared with 14 percent who cited friends. Three percent cited religious leaders, 2 percent teachers and 2 percent the media. Video Watch more on the survey results »

Three-quarters of Latino teens said their parents have talked to them about sex and relationships, but only half said their parents discussed contraception.

Read the rest of the article here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Jesse Ventura: 2 Repubs: 0



Once again, Jesse Ventura essentially (insert cliched wrestling move here) Sean Hannity on Monday. And it's a beautiful, beautiful thing.

And In This Corner We Have...

On Monday's The View, former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura verbally body-slammed Elisabeth Hasselbeck on the topic of torture. Ventura, who was waterboarded during his military training, reconfirmed an earlier comment that waterboarding is - in fact - torture.

"If waterboarding is OK, why don't we let our police do it to suspects so they can learn what they know?" he asked. "If waterboarding is OK, why didn't we waterboard [Timothy] McVeigh and Nichols, the Oklahoma City bombers, to find out if there were more people involved? ... We only seem to waterboard Muslims... Have we waterboarded anyone else? Name me someone else who has been waterboarded."

Hasselbeck attempted to defend the "enhanced interrogation techniques" but her Republican talking points could only get her so far. She quickly shifted the debate to Nancy Pelosi's alleged dishonesty about President Bush's torture program.

"I think what's worse is the fact that it happened," replied Ventura. "If we hadn't waterboarded to begin with, none of this would be a controversy, would it? Torture is torture. If you're going to be a country that follows the rule of law, which we are, torture is illegal."

Zing! Watch the smack-down below:

Monday, May 18, 2009

Apply for WeLEAD Class of 2010

Celebrating its fifth year, WeLEAD is a bipartisan leadership training program for women ages 21-25 and FREE of charge to those admitted. Run by the Women & Politics Institute’s (WPI) Young Women Leaders Board (YWLB), the program is aimed at helping the next generation of women succeed in politics and public service.

WeLEAD seeks to increase the number of women working in political professions such as the administration, congressional staffing, non-profits, lobbying and campaign consulting, as well as to encourage young women to run for elected office. One of the goals of WeLEAD is to empower and inspire young women, and to help them develop the confidence to succeed.

For the 2009-2010 session, WeLEAD will consist of seven training sessions from August 2009 through graduation in May 2010. These sessions are each held on a Saturday in the months of August, September, October, November, January, February, and April, from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM at American University. In addition, there are evening programs in October and January highlighting the work of important political women and a Congressional Dialogue in March that provides participants with the opportunity to meet with women members of Congress.

The application to apply for the Class of 2010 is June 1st. To learn more information or to apply, click here.

Our Fabulous Political Woman of the Month: Heather Higginbottom

Top of the morning, political divas and divos! Once again, I’ve decided to spotlight a woman who is accomplished, dynamic, poised, politically savvy and just plain fabulous all the way around. This month that woman is Heather Higginbottom.

One of the leading ladies in the White House, Heather was named, by President Barack Obama, as Deputy Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council on November 24, 2008. Prior to that, she served as Policy Director for the Obama for America campaign, overseeing all aspects of policy development. Take notes, my friends!

From 1999 to 2007, Higginbottom served as Senator John Kerry’s Legislative Director. She served as the Deputy National Policy Director for the Kerry-Edwards Presidential Campaign for the primary and general elections. She has also served as a Legislative Assistant and as Deputy Legislative Director for Senator Kerry. After the 2004 election, Higginbottom founded and served as Executive Director of the American Security Project, a national security think tank. She started her career as an advocate at the national non-profit organization Communities in Schools and worked on President Clinton’s ‘President’s Summit for America’s Future’ where she coordinated the role of communities of faith in the Summit.

Higginbottom received her Master of Public Policy degree at the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at George Washington University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Rochester.

Everyone who knows this talented chica (and I’ve had the pleasure!) can attest to the fact that she is one sharp, classy, and fashionably fierce lady with the passion and smarts needed to get the job done. A woman shaping our nation in a time of economic crisis, we applaud you Heather Higginbottom!

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!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

CNN Gets "Punk'd"

Actor and "Punk'd" host Ashton Kutcher pranked CNN and its founder Ted Turner on Wednesday after beating the cable network in a twitter challenge. After claiming 1 million Twitter followers in April, Kutcher donated 10,000 mosquito bed nets to charity for World Malaria Day and vowed to "ding-dong-ditch" Ted Turner.

On Wednesday night, Kutcher and his wife, Demi Moore, arrived at the Atlanta offices with a banner displaying his Twitter name @aplusk and placed it over CNN’s neon logo sign. Earlier on Wednesday, Ashton and twitter fans showed up at Teddy's Atlanta restaurant, stacked hundreds of boxes of Ding Dongs at the restaurant, and repeatedly rang the bell.

“You know, CNN lost. That’s what happened,” Ashton told a crowd of more than 100 fans who came along to watch the shenanigans. “I’m just fulfilling a promise I made… that I’d do this thing and I’m doing it.”


LAME prank but I applaud him for his tweet donation to charity! Kutcher will appear on Oprah Friday to celebrate the win again.

Watch Ashton Kutcher address his tweeps prior to the prank:

Michelle-O-Watch: A Slammin' Look

I just had to share this photo because Michelle O looked absolutely fabulous in the pictures from the White House Poetry Slam on Tuesday, May 12th. SNAPS!!


Check out more photos from the event here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hill Still A Climb for Female Staffers

From POLITICO.com:

Even with a woman wielding the speaker’s gavel, Washington can still feel like the old boys’ club it once was.

Consider the top leadership offices in the House and Senate. Women run just two out of 17: those of House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio and House Democratic Caucus Co-Chairman Xavier Becerra of California.

While Congress has mostly sloughed off its reputation as an unruly domain for cigar-smoking skirt-chasers, female staffers complain that the clubby atmosphere of congressional offices — and its after-hours equivalent in Capitol Hill bars — still makes it easier for men to climb the career ladder. And some are frustrated that Congress hasn’t done more as an institution to make the ascent to top staff jobs more even.

“Congress has a terrible track record” when it comes to elevating women to the top jobs, said Stacy Mason, the executive director of WomenCount, a group established after Hillary Clinton lost the Democratic presidential primary.

Republican staffers are particularly dissatisfied with the lack of gender parity among aides on their side of the aisle.

“Are there powerful Republican women? Yes,” said one senior GOP aide. “But there’s also a men’s club. To say it’s frustrating would be an understatement.”

Some even suggest the gap — however real — might hurt the GOP as the party struggles to rebuild its brand. “If the party is going to effectively communicate to women, it just makes sense to have more women around the decision-making table,” one former top GOP aide said.

Democrats give themselves higher marks for promoting women to top jobs, but many acknowledge room for improvement. To that end, four women launched the Women’s Congressional Staff Association last summer to build a network of female peers on Capitol Hill. The bipartisan group has since swelled to more than 100 members, and founders would like to someday see a member in every office.

Read the rest of the article here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

How to Build Your Kitchen Cabinet

Over the last few months, I’ve been working with some women leaders to start a Women in Public Policy organization on my campus. Shocker. On Thursday, we had our first “Building Your Kitchen Cabinet” Happy Hour at a hip and swanky LA bar/ restaurant. No, it didn't have anything to do with assembling a cabinet. It had everything to do with how to help women build a network of like-minded, smart and capable women that are willing to have your back when looking for a job, running for office or starting a non-profit.

The event could not have gone more fabulously. We had a great turnout of graduate, undergraduate and alumni women interested and involved in the fields of public policy, public health, philanthropy, law and public affairs. Complete with yummy drinks, delish aps, Women in Public Policy trivia and great conversation.

The reality is that we live in a society where who you know can make all the difference in the world. And it's the understatement of the century if you're in the field of politics. Therefore, we need to know how to tap into new and existing networks and find ways to build our "kitchen cabinet." A little shy about networking?

Here’s a Networking 12 step program, courtesy of the eHow Careers & Work Editor:

1. Stay in touch with people you like and respect even if they can't help you immediately. You don't want to go to someone only when you are desperate.

2. Talk to people you don't know everywhere you go. Cocktail parties and weddings are just the tip of the iceberg; don't forget about airplane rides, supermarket lines, sporting events, festivals, bookstores and so on.

3. Learn to ask "What do you do?" with comfort, sincerity and interest.

4. Become a better listener. Ask a question and then be quiet until you hear the answer.

5. Practice your own presentation of your skills. Learn more than one approach, whether frank or subtle.

6. Keep a great updated brochure, business card or other form of information about yourself on you at all times. Get comfortable handing out your card.

7. Take classes to improve your public speaking, body language and writing skills.

8. Join every networking club and association in your field.

9. Follow up on any lead, no matter how minor.

10. Remember people’s names and repeat it when you speak to them.

11. Keep track of people's birthdays and send them birthday notes.

12. Talk in terms of the other person's interests and find common experiences, activities, interests, etc.


Check out a video of the event here.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

HOT or NOT: The Week-In-Review

HOT: Joe the Plumber is Quitting the GOP. The man who once served as the mascot for the GOP during the '08 presidential election has decided to leave the party. Joe the Plumber cited overspending by Republicans as the reason for his dissent but also said he would not support any cuts in defense, Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. Rrrrrrrrrright.

NOT: Hannity Attacks Obama For Putting Mustard On His Burger? Sean Hannity officially ran out of material and criticized Obama for ordering a “spicy” or “Dijon” mustard on his cheeseburger at Ray’s Hell Burgers in Arlington, VA. Sounds like a plate full of desperation topped off with a condiment of hateration.

HOT: Palin's Popularity Plunging In Polls. According to recent polls, Connecticut Republican Governor M. Jodi Rell has taken Sarah Palin’s spot as the most popular governor in the county. What’s more, Senator Lisa Murkowski is now the most popular politician in Alaska.

NOT: GOP Appoints Sessions to Judiciary Committee. GOP leadership has appointed Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to replace Arlen Specter as the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sessions, who was nominated to become a U.S. District judge by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, has been called a "crypto-segregationist" for racially insensitive remarks he's made in the past. Now, that's how you rebrand a party.

HOT: Ridge Not Running For Senate. After much speculation, PA Gov. Tom Ridge has decided not to run for the Senate in Pennsylvania. The decision is a letdown for Republicans hoping for Ridge to run against Specter in the general election. And, another one bites the dust.

NOT: Dick Cheney’s Advice to Republicans. In a radio interview, Dick Cheney stated that it would be a mistake for the Republican Party to become more moderate. Because loving torture and appointing racially insensitive committee heads seems to be working so well.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Why Elizabeth Edwards Stands By John

From CBS.com:

(CBS/AP)
Political wives stand by their men more often than not.

Now Elizabeth Edwards, in her new memoir, "Resilience," reveals why she stood by her husband, former 2008 presidential hopeful, John Edwards, after she learned he cheated on her with a former campaign worker, Rielle Hunter.

Edwards, who has terminal breast cancer, appears on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" on Thursday to talk about her new book and how she learned Edwards was cheating.

In the taped interview, Edwards says John Edwards met then-42-year-old Hunter at a hotel. Her pickup line, according to Edwards, was "You are so hot."

Elizabeth says she cried, screamed and vomited when she learned of his infidelity. But even after John initially revealed the truth to Elizabeth -- just days after declaring his presidential run in 2006 -- she stayed with him.

"He should not have run," Edwards wrote in her book, adding that she wanted her husband to drop out to save her family from media scrutiny. The Edwards have three children: Cate, Jack and Emma Claire.

On The Early Show Wednesday, Dr. Robi Ludwig, psychologist and contributing editor of Cookie magazine, told co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez why many political wives stand by their cheating spouses.

"You know, (the wives) may understand that with these kinds of people -- these men are in the spotlight, they're very powerful, there are women throwing themselves at these kinds of men," she said. "I think, in some way, (these women) make a deal, whether it's conscious or unconscious, they understand that, if you enter into a political relationship, you might be dealing with a guy who might cheat, and to really keep the whole picture in mind. Do you want to maintain your life? Do you want to fight for a person you love? Maybe at the end of the day that's what's important."

Read the rest of the article here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Election 2012 Preview: Mitt Romney v. Sarah Palin? You Betcha!

In the latest instance of Republican-on-Republican crime, Mitt Romney took a swipe at Governor Sarah Palin in an interview broadcast Sunday.

Taking a cue from my grandmom's backhanded compliments (such as “Wow, you look nice TODAY” and “Good thing you have an attractive face because that haircut is just plain awful"), Romney addressed Sarah Palin's inclusion on Time's list of influential people. Mitt said, “But was that the issue on the most beautiful people or the most influential people?”

Wo-ho! Addressing the fact that polarizing figures Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin were the only Republicans on the list, Mitt said "I think there are a lot more influential Republicans than that [Time list] would suggest." Like... ahem... yours truly. This recent spat underscores the divide in the Republican party and enhances suspicion that both Romney and Palin will make a run for 2012.

A spokeswoman for Palin responded with, "I think there are 100 influential Republicans alone who have tremendous ideas and I hope that we can all work together to accomplish what we believe is best for America."

Palin supporters at Conservatives4Palin released a video hitting back at Romney:

Monday, May 4, 2009

Newspaper Bailout? Not so much.

From POLITICO.com:

Asked in his Monday briefing if the White House would consider bailing out the newspaper business, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters the government may not have the power to reverse the industry’s decline.

“I don’t know what, in all honesty, government can do about it,” Gibbs said in response to a question about the Boston Globe’s financial struggles.

Noting that it's a "bit of a tricky area to get into," given the relationship between the White House and the media, Gibbs said President Barack Obama “believes there has to be a strong free press" and expressed "concern and sadness" over the state of the industry.

But Gibbs wasn’t just sympathetic — he also twisted the knife a little, digging into reporters who questioned the Obama administration’s commitment to cutting spending.

“You guys didn’t think $100 million meant a lot a few weeks ago,” Gibbs said. “But looking at some of the balance sheets, $100 million seems to mean a lot.”

Check out Gibbs' comments below:

Top Jobs for Women Policy Leaders

Given current economic woes, I have spoken with quite a few amigas who have lost jobs recently and thought I'd post some faboo job ops. Check them out below:

The Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) seeks a full-time Program Manager for its downtown D.C. office. WISER is a non-profit organization that works to help women, educators and policymakers understand the important issues surrounding women’s retirement income.
To apply: Send a cover letter, resume and writing sample to info@wiserwomen.org

EMILY's List, one of the nation's largest political networks and the largest financial resource for women candidates is in search of a Senior Development Associate. We are seeking an experienced, innovative fundraiser to create and implement a fundraising plan for a designated territory including but not limited to Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Wisconsin and Utah.
To apply: http://www.emilyslist.org/about/jobs/

Women Employed, which aims to improve women’s economic status and remove barriers to economic equity, is seeking an individual to fill the position of Policy Organizer. The Policy Organizer is responsible for mobilizing key constituent groups and developing and maintaining relationships to advance Women Employed’s short and long-term legislative, advocacy and engagement goals. Travel is required.
To apply: http://www.womenemployed.org/index.php?id=17

The League of Women Voters is seeking to hire a Communications and Online Outreach Manager. The Manager works to maximize opportunities to build the visibility and political relevance of the League of Women Voters. Responsible for developing and overseeing the online engagement work including shaping the outgoing messages; managing the timing of various online appeals, alerts, and messages to enhance their impact; and creating and implementing a strategic outreach plan. Reports to Senior Director of Communications.
To apply: https://member.lwv.org/ContactUs.asp

The National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC), a grassroots advocacy organization, seeks a full-time Public Policy Associate for the Government Relations Department. The Public Policy Associate will monitor, analyze and research federal and state legislation, regulations, and proposals; establish and maintain relationships with key elected officials, appointees and staff in federal and state governments.
To apply: http://www.stopbreastcancer.org

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Sunday Funnies

Friday, May 1, 2009

HOT or NOT: The Week-In-Review

HOT: Barack & Michelle Make Time's 100 “World's Most Influential People." Another year, another list. Other notables were Paul Krugman, Rush Limbaugh, Penelope Cruz (?), M.I.A. and Sarah Palin.

NOT: Fox Not Airing Obama Press Conference. In yet another “fair and balanced” move, Fox became the first broadcast network to refuse to air President Barack Obama’s prime-time news conference. The network instead opted to show their new series “Lie to Me,” about a crime-fighting expert who can spot liars.

HOT: Jump in Stocks in April. In a sign that the economy is beginning to heal, Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed 9.4 percent in April, its best performance in nine years, and the Dow Jones industrial average increased 7.4 percent in April.

NOT: Michele Bachmann Blames Dems for Swine Flu. Good ol’ Bachmann suggested that President Barack Obama should be blamed for the crisis, mistakenly implying that swine flu epidemics tend to happen during Democratic administrations.

HOT: No Racial Gap Seen in '08 Voter Turnout. According to a study, the historically wide gap between blacks and whites in voter turnout evaporated in the '08 presidential election, mostly due to the Obama candidacy and an increase in the number of eligible voters. In particular, black women reported the highest rate than any other racial, ethnic and gender group.

NOT: CNN Talks About Barack Obama's "Swagga." CNN covered a story this week that would make any rational person of any race, age and gender literally cringe. T.J. Holmes spoke with four men to discuss the critical topic of Obama's "swagga," which ended with Kyra Phillips asking for a fist bump.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

100 Days of Obama-Bashing on Fox



Watch President Obama's press conference on his first 100 days here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Most Awful/ Amusing Picture Ever

Well, well, well. Now this is a conversation piece if I've ever seen one. Seriously, would you ever have pictured Speidi, from television show The Hills, and disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich to be photographed together - other then, say in a nightmare? Bizarro.

Word on the blogosphere block is that Blagojevich was set to be on the upcoming series of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! with costars Spedi, Sanjaya, and a few other real winners when a federal judge stepped in and blocked Blagojevich from participating in the show. That has not stopped dear Blago from promoting the show and said photo is a result of brillant marketing.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Closing the Gap: Equal Pay Day

As many of you know, today is Equal Pay Day, a sobering day to recognize the differences in salary between men and women. According to the National Organization for Women, women's median annual paychecks reflected only 78 cents for every $1.00 earned by men in 2007. Oof!

Check out the facts:

• Women's median pay was less than men's in each and every one of the 20 industries and 25 occupation groups surveyed by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2007. Even men working in female-dominated occupations tend to earn more than women working in those same occupations.

• According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR), if equal pay for women were instituted immediately, across the board, it would result in an annual $319 billion gain nationally for women and their families (in 2008 dollars). Over her working life, a typical woman could expect to gain a total of $210,000 in additional income if equal pay were the norm (these numbers include part-time workers).

• One year after graduating college, women are paid on average only 80 percent of their male counterparts' wages, and during the next 10 years, women's wages fall even further behind, dropping to only 69 percent of men's earnings ten years after college.


Feel like punching a man in the face to protest this economical injustice? Do something constructive instead and encourage your representatives to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and send it to the WH for the president's signature.

The Paycheck Fairness Act would require employers to show that any disparity in pay between men and women were due to factors other than gender and would bring the Equal Pay Act in line with other civil rights laws banning job discrimination.

Arlen Specter Switches It Up

Woohoo! The below article inspired me to literally break out into a spontaneous Filibustin’ dance move this afternoon. Arlen “Democrat-loving” Specter has always been on my short list of Republicans that I respect and admire.

And now, he has taken a step that puts Democrats even closer to passing climate change and immigration reform and NCLB reauth, oh my!

From Washpost:


Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter will switch parties and run for reelection next November as a Democrat, he announced today, a decision that could have wide-ranging consequences for the Senate and President Obama's agenda.

"Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right," Specter said in a statement released this morning. "Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans."


The move brings Democrats to 59 seats in the Senate, just one shy of the 60 they need to exert filibuster-proof control over the chamber. In Minnesota, Democrat Al Franken holds a 312-vote lead over former senator Norm Coleman (R), but Coleman has appealed the result to the state Supreme Court. Oral arguments in the case are expected to begin in June.


Specter's announcement, coming on the eve of Obama's 100th day in office, sent shockwaves through political circles.


Obama was informed of the decision at 10:30 a.m. today during his daily economic briefing. Minutes later he spoke to Specter by phone, telling him, "You have my full support," and adding, "We are thrilled to have you."


Read the rest of the article here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

How Many African Kids Could Celebrity Engagement Rings Feed?

So I'm not one to hate on another chica for her blinged-out engagement ring, but this story caught my attention. When my fiance (then boyfriend) sent me an article a year ago about how Debeers artificially increased the value of diamonds by stating that a man should spend 2 months salary on a ring, I initially thought "OK, homeboy just wants to be el cheapo." But there is much truth to it.

Westerners, celebrities in particular, spend a redunkulous amount of money each year on a needless object when they could be applying the money to take care of the most basic needs in the world.

According to Cat Walk Cat Fight, if celebrities donated as much money as they spend on diamond engagement rings, they'd feed millions of starving African children. It is estimated that 25,000 people die every day from hunger and related causes. Of those going without food, 230 million live in Sub-Saharan Africa. 25% of these people are children. What if we could take the decadence of celebrity and use it for good?

Check out the facts below. But we can't simply point fingers at celebrities, we must also look at our own waste and excesses compared to those less fortunate. To donate to the World Food Programme, the world's frontline organization fighting hunger, click here.

Valued at $500,000, Eva Longoria's ring would feed 10,000 starving African children for a year.



Valued at $2,500,000, Mariah Carey's ring would feed 50,000 starving African children for a year.



Valued at $4,700,000, Paris Hilton's ring would feed 90,000 starving African children for a year.



Valued at $5,000,000, Beyonce Knowles' ring would feed 100,000 starving African children for a year.

Nominate a Woman Of Worth

Nominate a Woman Of Worth and L'Oréal Paris will make a $5,000 donation to her most cherished charitable cause. L'Oréal will make an additional $5,000 donation in the name of each winner to support The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF), L'Oréal Paris primary philanthropy. To date, L'Oréal has raised over $18 million on behalf of OCRF to honor their commitment to women.

Additionally, one Woman Of Worth honoree and her cause will be selected by the public at large via online voting and will be recognized as the National Woman Of Worth Honoree. Her charity will receive a donation of $25,000 from L'Oréal Paris in her name. All honorees will receive national recognition for both her cause and her efforts.

Inspiration Behind Women of Worth
More than 30 years ago, L'Oréal coined the phrase "Because I'm Worth It" to celebrate a woman's worth and build her self-esteem. In 1997, as an extension of this sentiment, L'Oréal Paris proudly partnered with The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF) to raise money and awareness in the fight against ovarian cancer. Three Years ago our signature phrase and OCRF partnership came to life in a new way. L'Oréal established Women Of Worth - a grassroots program and award that honors women who serve others in their communities.

Who is a Woman Of Worth? She's an inspiring volunteer, an outstanding achiever, and a beautiful person who's making a difference in her community. Whether she's setting up literacy programs, organizing children's initiatives, or spearheading life-saving charitable organizations, her mind and door are always open. Her devotion is endless.

Nominations may be submitted until July 13, 2009. Tell L'Oréal Paris about a Woman of Worth whose volunteer work is making a beautiful difference here.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Sunday Funnies

Friday, April 24, 2009

HOT or NOT: The Week-In-Review

HOT: GOP Leader Boehner Accidentally Calls It "Torture." Boehner called a spade a spade this week, labeling the Bush administration’s "enhanced interrogation" tactics as “torture.” Later, Boehner clarified that the discussion of torture is "inappropriate" because it could "denigrate" the United States. Oopsies! It must torture him to keep all the lies straight.

NOT: Senate Repubs Block Confirmation Vote on Sebelius. Senate Republicans blocked the confirmation of Obama’s health secretary nominee Governor Kathleen Sebelius.

HOT: Obama Approval Rating Still High. According to a CNN poll, nearly two out of three Americans approve of the job that President Obama is doing.

NOT: Giant Island of Trash. Oprah’s Earth Day episode exposed footage on an island called “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.” The island is estimated to be twice the size of Texas and stretches from the coast of California to Japan. Clearly, this one's not on her list of favorite things.

HOT: CA First to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Fuel. California adopted the world’s first regulation to limit greenhouse gas emissions from fuel. The regulation requires producers of gasoline and diesel to reduce the carbon intensity of their fuel by 10% over the next decade.

NOT: Youth Volunteering Drops for the First Time Since 9/11. Recent data shows that the percentage of teens who volunteer has recently dropped. In 2005, one out of three teens volunteered but in 2006, the rate dropped to 29% and then to 28% in 2007. Note to teens: Joining causes on facebook does not count as volunteering.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Rant of the Week: Bush Admin Torture = Epic Fail

So let me get this straight: The Bush Administration used torture techniques to force detainees to falsely confess to some sort of "link" between al Quaida and Saddam Hussein. Criminal. There really is nothing else to say.

Watch Bill O'Reilly get schooled by military officers on torture:

Negotiating Strategies for Women Leaders

On Wednesday, I attended an informal conversation led by UCLA Professor Amy Zegart on women salary negotiation strategies. Recent studies suggest that women are much more likely to negotiate on behalf of others than for themselves. Many women, like myself, feel hesitant about negotiating salaries for fear of being perceived as too pushy.

According to Women Don’t Ask, by not negotiating a first salary, an individual stands to lose more than $500,000 by age 60—and men are more than four times as likely as women to negotiate a first salary. Kathleen L. McGinn, a professor in the Negotiations, Organizations and Markets (NOM) group and a Director of Research at Harvard Business School, has studied the differences between men and women in salary negotiation techniques and claims that this may explain, at least partly, the gender salary gap.

Professor Zegart identified two main reasons why women don’t negotiate: 1) they compare themselves to other women and 2) they are fearful of being considered too aggressive. Women are much more likely to compare themselves to other women, a group that makes on average less money than men. Academic research attributes lower expectations amongst women to the entitlement effect. According to the research, if you bring men and women into a lab and say either one of two things: "Work until you think you've earned the $10 we just gave you," or "Work and then tell us how much you think you deserve," the women work longer hours with fewer errors for comparable pay, and pay themselves less for comparable work. But if there's a standard [that men and women know], then this result goes away.

Professor Zegart answered questions about when to negotiate, what to say and how. Some of her great tips are:

• Don’t be afraid to wear your wedding ring to an interview. Do what makes you feel comfortable.

• Don’t talk about salaries in a first interview. Wait until you have an offer to begin negotiations.

• Do your research on the company and the industry to get a sense of what they would pay for your position.

• Don’t expect that female supervisors will have your back. Sometimes you have to fight for a deserving salary with female supervisors as much, or more, than with male supervisors.

• When you’re asked an “illegal question” (your marital status, when you expect to get pregnant, etc), you can use humor to change the subject.

• Don’t be afraid to talk with supervisors if you are accumulating more responsibilities than expected to discuss a salary change and/ or title change that appropriately reflects your workload.

• Learn how to say “no” when you have too much on your plate.

• It’s all in your tone. Asking for a raise or bonus doesn’t have to appear too aggressive if you talk in a polite but firm way.

• Keep a running list of all of your projects and duties in a position so you can always present the information should you need to defend your accomplishments in the office.

• Understand that you sometimes have to “manage” the managers by asking them for quarterly or biannual reviews. This provides a forum for you to articulate concerns and find out how you can improve on a regular basis.

• If you know that the company is facing severe budget cuts, ask if there are non-monetary (vacation, office with a door, etc) benefits that can be put on the table and/ or ask the company to increase your salary by 20% (or some other percentage) after 6 months, when the budgetary outlook is more promising.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Green Is the New Black

Happy Earth Day, Guys & Dolls! Nothing encourages you to combat global warming more than trying to make it through ninety-eight degree weather in April. Oof! I must confess that yours truly has been playing the role of Goldilocks as of late. Just last week I was complaining that sixty-five degrees just wasn’t cutting it for my spring wardrobe and next thing you know I’m sticking my head in the freezer every five minutes to keep myself from boiling over. Who knew Los Angeles was allowed to get this HAWTTTT?!

Moving on. Here's a list of great, super-easy, and affordable tips on getting in touch with your inner Eco-chic. These tips are so doable that I realized that I've already been doing half of them on a regular basis. Your pocketbook and your environment will heart you. While it's clear that we need bold and commonsense legislative solutions to fight climate change, we each need to do our part. Be green and stay cool!


10 Eco-Chic Tips, courtesy of MSNBC.com:

1. Use natural cleaning products.
Safe cleaning products don’t have to be a luxury. Green Works natural cleaning products are made of plant-based, biodegradable ingredients like corn, coconut and lemon (which leave no harsh chemical fumes or residue) and are affordable and accessible — you can find them at supermarkets, drugstores and mass-market retailers.

2. Get your magazines digitally.
Zinio.com offers digital versions of more than 500 magazine titles like BusinessWeek, Cosmopolitan, Car & Driver, Men’s Health, Dwell, Outside and Yoga Journal. Download the Zinio Reader and read the magazines on your personal computer or access your subscriptions online from any computer at Zinio.com. Owners of iPhones can even access entire magazines through their phones. And in the spirit of budget consciousness, Zinio is offering a free one-year trial subscription to a wide selection of magazines so people can try the service.

3. Use a reusable water bottle.
You’ve filtered your water, now you need a reusable bottle to transport it. There are numerous safe and eco-friendly options from Sigg to Klean Kanteen to BPA-free Nalgene bottles. Check out Filter for Good for more information about the impact of bottled-water waste and to purchase a BPA-free reusable water bottle with the Filterforgood.com logo.

4. Get paid to recycle your electronics and keep them out of landfills.
Instead of tossing your gadgets in a landfill when you’re finished with them, get paid to recycle them. Services like www.buymytronics.com, www.myboneyard.com and www.greenphone.com will recycle or refurbish your electronics, which keeps them out of landfills. Simply mail them in and wait for your check.

5. Turn to eco-friendly materials for affordable fashion.
Stores you know and love are focusing on greener fashion. H&M has an extensive line of products made of organic cotton, recycled polyester and natural wool, American Apparel offers colorful, affordable organic basics and Payless recently introduced Zoe & Zac, an affordable, eco-friendly footwear and accessories line. And this spring, look for Loomstate’s eco-friendly collection at Target.

6. Update your wardrobe by connecting with fashionistas with garb to barter.
Swapstyle.com lets you swap accessories, cosmetics and shoes with fashionistas all over the globe for free (you only pay for shipping). You can also combine barter with cash to trade up while avoiding the full cost — both monetary and environmental — of consuming a new product.

7. Use a car-share service to drive without owning.
Enjoy the freedom of being in the driver’s seat while eliminating the expense of owning (or leasing) and maintaining a car by joining a car-share service. Zipcar lets members locate cars conveniently parked at designated spots around a city and reserve them for an hourly fee (typically between $10.50 and $16.50). The company estimates that each of its cars removes the equivalent of about 15 privately owned vehicles from the road.

8. Ride share to get where you want to go.
Another alternative to owning a car is to catch a ride with somebody else. Ride sharing not only saves you the cost of car ownership and maintenance, but also keeps additional cars off the road — a positive eco step. Zimride is a ride-share service built on the Facebook social networking platform that enables members to create personal profiles and select ride mates who share similar music tastes, favorite sports teams, or who just seem “normal.” Zimmers can also evaluate things like driving speed, music volume and smoking preferences before agreeing to hop in.

9. CDs, DVDs and books: Swap, don’t buy.
Now you can avoid buying new products (good for your wallet, great for the environment) without sacrificing your need for entertainment. Check out Swapacd.com, Swapadvd.com and Paperbackswap.com.

10. Shave with just seven drops.
You’ll live a life free from shaving cream with just seven drops of Pacific Shaving Oil. The natural oil (enhanced with essential oils) will give you the closest shave of your life, and a half-ounce bottle ($6.95) provides up to 100 shaves. The tiny bottle is ideal for air travel, too — perfect for stashing in your carry-on bag.