I am in San Jose this week, attending Netroots Nation with several of the other MOMocrats. This is my live blog of this morning’s general session on gun violence, six months after Newtown.
Moderator Jehmu Green cannot think of another conversation as important. This session focuses on how to address this problem and leave this conversation with a very clear understanding on how you can get involved.
Panel consists of:
- Lily Eskelsen Garcia, VP of the National Education Association
- Mark Glaze of Mayors Against Illegal Guns – in the fight since 2006
- Anna Galland, exec VPof MoveOn
- Rep. Robin Kelly of Illinois
- State Senator Darrell Steinberg of California
- Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers
The session focused on how to get engaged on this issue and what each organization and individual speaker is doing right now, six months after Newtown.
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I am proud to be a participant in the Lean In blog carnival today at MomsRising.org
I’ve been thinking a lot about women and our place in society the last couple of weeks. This is appropriate, as it is Women’s History Month and was kicked off at PBS with “Makers,” a three-hour documentary on the “second-wave” women’s movement.I sat down to watch it last weekend and was enthralled. I am old enough to remember all the events portrayed in the film, but was too young at the time to grasp the significance of the earlier events. And while I happily recognize that we’ve “come a long way,” I am terribly sad and frustrated that we’re not even close to achieving true equality.
If we were truly equal, the fuss over Marissa Mayers’ no-telecommuting directive at Yahoo! would have been focused on the protests of ALL affected employees, instead of just the mothers. And Sheryl Sandberg would not have needed to advise young women to “Lean In” to get ahead in the workplace.
The website for Sandberg’s new Lean In community states that they are “committed to offering women the ongoing inspiration and support to help them achieve their goals” and that “if we talk openly about the challenges women face and work together, we can change the trajectory of women and create a better world for everyone.”
I see nothing wrong with that and I applaud Sandberg for whipping up support to solve a problem. But I also understand why there’s been so much criticism of the effort as one that isn’t going to help the majority of women in the workforce — because most of us are not or will ever be on the executive track. We just need to support our families.
The way I see it, our unequal state in society is too big a problem to be tackled by just one initiative. The glass ceiling is real, as is the perception that some successful women don’t do much to help the younger women who follow. Sandberg’s book and support group may help put that issue to rest.
But that is just one tiny part of a huge problem that is somewhat invisible, even to women ourselves — until we give birth to our first child. That’s when we discover how widely our national policies veer away from our political rhetoric. It seems like the more lawmakers talk about “family values,” the less likely they are to vote for policies that support the families they supposedly care about.
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We are voting for LA’s Mayor on Tuesday. Find your polling place here.
My daughter couldn’t wait to show us the YouTube video they discussed in her AP US History class last week. “It’s hilarious,” she said.
You know what’s not hilarious? We’re having an election in Los Angeles next week, and this guy is the Republican candidate for Mayor.
My understanding is that this municipal election will feature a non-partisan ballot; there are no party “tickets,” just a long list of candidates. Kevin James is the lone Republican on the ballot. There is also a Socialist and four or five Democrats (I’m not sure of the political affiliation of at least one of the candidates).
I’m not too worried about Kevin James winning the election, although I would feel a lot better about that if he’d acted like this at the one debate I attended. Instead, he came across as funny and only moderately conservative (even if I had a hard time making sense of some of his answers to questions about the environment). That makes sense when you are running in a city that skews blue. And when you read the positions of the candidates side by side in this terrific interactive tool published by the Los Angeles Times — there isn’t a whole lot of difference between all the candidates’ positions. Even those of Kevin James.
They all want to fix our city’s fiscal problems, our transportation issues, grow our tax base by eliminating excess taxes, and get rid of the massive red tape you encounter whenever you try to get anything done here. They all claim to support public education. No one is advocating the issues that make me see red, like teaching creationism or revoking Obamacare.
So when you’re facing a slate of candidates whose stated views are all pretty similar to your own — and without a lot of polarizing issues between them — how does one choose?
Unfortunately, I tend to focus on superficial qualities. I confess that if I’m given a choice between a male and a female Democratic candidate, I have always gravitated toward the female. For the last couple of years, my involvement with the MOMocrats has led me to associations with groups dedicated to electing more women to office, like EMILY’s List and Women’s Campaign Forum. I spent much of last year working on a project we call Run, Mama Run – which consisted of an interactive map showing female candidates in races all over the country.
In this year’s race for Mayor of Los Angeles, there are TWO highly qualified female candidates in contention: City Councilwoman Jan Perry and City Controller (and former Councilwoman) Wendy Gruel. So which one did I decide to support?
Neither. I’ve decided to endorse Eric Garcetti. And not all the reasons are superficial (although some are).
Let’s start with those:
Garcetti’s campaign actually did some blogger reach-out over the summer, and I had an opportunity to chat with the candidate one-on-one over a fabulous lunch at the late, lamented Campanile. He impressed me with his understanding of the problems we face in this city (he should – he was President of the City Council) and his vision for fixing them. I learned that he was a Rhodes scholar and a professor at Occidental College (teaching diplomacy and world affairs) before embarking on his political career.
Most important: He really listened to my concerns, and even followed up with me by email after reading my post about it.
When I posted photos from the meeting to Facebook, I received comments from other political folk I know — all fans. “He’s the real deal,” one of them told me.
A political campaign is not all that different from marketing a product: a testimonial from someone you trust counts more than any 30-second ad.
What really put me over the top for Garcetti was learning that he was the candidate endorsed by NOW (over the two female candidates). The reason is his support of CEDAW, the UN’s Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. Garcetti is on the record as a supporter, and has vowed to implement the treaty in Los Angeles if elected.
I can’t find any mention of women’s issues in connection with the female candidates. Perhaps because they are women, they don’t feel the need to speak out on that?
At any rate: I’ve made my decision. I’ve made my endorsement public. I’ve even placed a sign on my lawn.
Now let’s hope I remember to vote on Tuesday!
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By this time next week, I’ll either be exulting — or depressed. Either way, the election will be over.
Every Wednesday, I get to talk politics with some of my favorite people, and we record the conversations for posterity. Today, we talked about Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy, FEMA, and Mitt Romney’s botched disaster relief rally yesterday.
We had 38 live listens — which is something of a record for us. Most people download the podcast, catch us on Stitcher or listen to an archived copy in the browser. We’re averaging a couple of thousand listens per week right now, which is no doubt due to the impending election. We also did a California only show about the ballot propositions, which you can catchhere.
We may do another special podcast before Election Day – or even a Google hangout (er, video!).
And of course, next Wednesday, we’ll be talking about the results.
And on Thursday? My MOMocrats colleague Cynematic and I are going to give ourselves a spa day — which I hope marks our re-entry back into the real world where I don’t feel I need to obsess over the news of the day.Read More
I really do try to keep my political rants here at a minimum (that’s what the MOMocrats Facebook page is for). But it’s been hard to do, especially now when the polls show a race that’s a virtual tie.
I’m a lifelong Democrat, so the candidate I choose is no surprise. What I want to do here is describe my reasons for supporting Barack Obama — without the lens of Democratic party loyalty or my antipathy to GOP policy and Mitt Romney.
1. Barack Obama inspires me.
I am not just talking about his oratorical skills — although I suppose there was some truth to John McCain’s charge in 2008 that Obama was a celebrity. There is a definite rock star quality to his best speeches. Obama’s best speeches make me feel the same way I did when I saw Bruce Springsteen in concert back in the day: high on the music and the lyrics and filled with hope for the future.
But I’m talking about his larger-than-life personal story, which is filled with the stuff that makes a good character in a novel: A mixed-race middle class kid from Hawaii, son of a single mom — works hard in school, winds up the first African-American editor of Harvard Law Review… could have earned a fortune at a major law firm but chooses a life of public service. He sees that he could do more for more people by becoming a legislator — and eventually, President of the United States.
When I was a child, my Cuban immigrant mother told me that the wonderful thing about this country is that anyone could grow up and become President. Even me. But really — back in the 1960s, did anyone think a woman could really grow up to be President? How about an African-American?
But besides the oratory and personal story: Barack and Michelle Obama aren’t “do as I say, not as I do” people. They are not offering hollow platitudes, like “a thousand points of light.” The Presidency began with a national day of service, and the Obamas have instituted repeat events throughout the term. They don’t just pay lip service to supporting our troops: Michelle Obama and Jill Biden have quietly and personally worked military families since before the election. And the President has supported legislation and signed executive orders to bolster the services offered our veterans through the VA.
2. Michelle Obama Inspires Me
I mentioned the First Lady in the previous paragraph. She showed off speechmaking skills of her own at our recent convention. She has also exhibited grace under extraordinary and unfair criticism: over her clothing choices, her body type, her decision to adopt fighting childhood obesity as her First Lady cause (really?? healthy eating is controversial now? WTF?).
Again, she didn’t just tape PSA’s telling kids about silly food pyramids. She planted an organic garden on the White House grounds, which now a source of fresh produce for the First Family’s meals. She urged families and kids to be more active, and famously showed off her push-up prowess on shows likeEllen (for which she was also criticized).
I could go on — but I feel I’ve already strayed, as I stated I would tell you the reasons I’m voting for the President (and we don’t vote for the First Lady — she’s just a bonus).
3. President Obama Kept His Promises
Candidates make a lot of promises during their campaigns. It would be nice if those promises came with disclaimers, like “if Congress cooperates” or “this is just a case of cynical pandering to get your vote.”
PolitiFact has been tracking the promises the President made in 2008 and how many were kept. As of now, that number is 38%, with an additional 21% in the works – plus 15% where he could not get the deal he wanted and had to settle for a compromise. So he either fulfilled or made progress on 64% of the promises he made during his campaign. When you consider the extraordinary resistance he got from Congress, I think that’s an amazing record.
4. President Obama Supports Women
I hate one-issue politics. There is nothing simple about our country, so I don’t want to base my vote on just one thing. But I loved it when President Obama had the opportunity to appoint Supreme Court justices and both his candidates were women — which tripled the number of females who are weighing in on cases now. His domestic agenda is heavy with the issues that concern me and other women: healthcare (including access to contraception and reproductive rights), education, college funding, infrastructure (you don’t worry about your kids traveling on some of those crumbling bridges? Mine just got her driver’s license! I care!).
5. President Obama Is a True and Successful Leader
I spent a lifetime staying out of the political fray. I voted, but I did not think my vote mattered one way or the other, that the country would carry on no matter who was President.
Then we invaded Iraq for no good reason, while we still had not finished the job we had started (for a very good reason) in Afghanistan. And the world made up their mind that America wasn’t to be trusted. By 2008, international opinion of the US was pretty bad. I felt it whenever I visited my husband’s family in the UK. Hell, I read it in their newspapers and heard it from the people I encountered. And that’s from the country that’s our closest ally.
The President and his team, led by Hillary Clinton, have done a very good job of assuaging international fear of US power – even while undertaking a campaign of drone attacks that are hurting our enemies in Al Qaeda but also causing civilian casualties.
Like many people on the left, I find the drones disturbing. You see, I don’t think the President is perfect, and I don’t agree with everything his Administration has done. But in balance — I cannot think of anyone who could successfully handle the economic situation and international climate that greeted Barack Obama on his first day. He has made the right decisions, kept us from falling into the abyss… and needs another term to finish the job.
And I will do everything in my power to help him do that.Read More