Run Hillary Run!!

Our Own Hillary will be running the Philadelphia Marathon on Sunday. What a Renaissance woman – mother, entrepreneur, political candidate and much beloved MT member, and to top it all, a marathon runner.

Would you please join me in wishing Hillary luck on Sunday? Hillary, my running sister, may your feet be light, your muscles lactate-free, your joints limber and your heart and mind free and joyful. Best of luck and we’re with you every step of the way!


Midday Coffee Break

What’s up?

In case you missed it on Facebook, our Hillary won her primary race for Lehigh County Commissioner (District 5). You go, mujer!

In other election news coverage, the residents of California voted down five of six ballot initiatives meant to address a steep budget shortfall and deficit, according to CNN. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said if the measures fail, California’s deficit will balloon to $21.3 billion and he will have to make even more drastic cuts in education, health care and even release prisoners. Yikes.

Also in CNN: New Hampshire has come closer to signing a same-sex marriage bill now that the state legislature is adding language to protect religious organizations and individuals.

Oprah Winfrey recently interviewed two extraordinary single fathers. When I first saw the headline, I rolled my eyes thinking single mothers have had to juggle children and work for eons. Why is this news? But these men are seriously extraordinary, including a widower-ed father of nine who also works as a full-time corporate attorney and another widower who not only cared for a newborn when his wife unexpectedly died but also created a foundation in her name to help other parents in his position. Very cool.

Also in Oprah: A New York City screenwriter and producer wrote about the eight most annoying questions she has received about her adopted daughters from China. I was appalled at the rudeness of these questions like “What did they cost you?” and “Do they speak English?” Rude, rude, rude.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Real story or a media-generated fake?

OK – be honest with me – are there really significant numbers of Clinton supporters who will vote for McCain in the general election? I keep hearing reports of how “some” or “many” Hillary supporters are soooo mad (because women are so emotional??) that they won’t support Obama in November.

I am a die-hard fan of HRC.  I think she would make a wonderful president.  I was very disappointed that she got edged out in the campaign.

But there is no way in H*$# that I would vote for McCain.  I just don’t get it.  I guess I can understand someone who decides to “sit out” the election – not confident in Obama or whatever.  But…explain to me how someone who really believed in Hillary, who really supported her platform, could now vote for McCain.

I keep hearing this on the news, but no one gives current data to support it.  So, I looked around the web to find data to back up this contention.  Here’s what I found.  A gallup poll from March that says

only 59% of Democratic voters who support Clinton say they would vote for Obama against McCain, while 28% say they would vote for the Republican McCain. This suggests that some Clinton supporters are so strongly opposed to Obama (or so loyal to Clinton) that they would go so far as to vote for the “other” party’s candidate next November if Obama is the Democratic nominee.

There’s this CNN Report. that says

Sixty-six percent of Clinton supporters, registered Democrats who want Clinton as the nominee, are now backing Obama. That’s down from 75 percent in the end of June. Twenty-seven percent of them now say they’ll support McCain, up from 16 percent in late June.

 But it doesn’t explain how the questions were asked.  And 16% or 27% of HRC supporters for McCain is certainly not a significant number.  So…why does the NPR coverage from Denver insist on talking to three of these folks and not a single one of the 84% or 73% who are supporting Obama now?

So, now I wonder…is this a real phenomenom – HRC supporters who are now McCain supporters or is it a media-fueled fantasy?  And in either case, what is the motivation?  Someone here is racist or sexist or insincere or something.  Please help me understand.


Election 08 – Women at Risk

I’m very concerned about the split in the Democratic party between Obama and Hillary supporters. If we don’t elect a Democrat this year we are looking at possible World War, the loss of Women’s Rights, Civil Rights being rolled back to the stone age, and an end to an effective environmental movement.

While it’s disappointing to some that a woman won’t be running for President as our nominee in the General Election, we must realize that we can’t endanger the future of this country by staying home or voting for McCain.

There are Supreme Court Justices hanging on for dear life so they don’t allow Bush/Cheney to stack the court with more extremely conservative Judges. We can’t allow the division in the party to hand the election to John McBush. These justices probably won’t last another 4 years, this is our only shot at keeping the court balanced.

It’s time to come together as a party and support our Presumptive Nominee. It’s also important to do your research and understand the issues that we as women and mothers are facing. Talk to your friends, family, and children about what a McCain Presidency would mean. Please don’t allow the division in the Democratic Party to hand McCain the election.

We seem to be forgetting what an incredible step forward an Obama Presidency would be for all Americans. The only pro-woman and pro-family choice we can make is to support the nominee of the Democratic party, no matter who it is.  With 2 historical candidates in the race we have lost focus on the fact that either would be preferable to the disaster the last 7 years have been.

We can’t afford a war with Iran. Russia has basically threatened us with a major war if we go into Iran. We don’t have the troops or the money for a world war.

Roe V. Wade has been under attack for years, the only reason society hasn’t been put back 50 years is the current Supreme Court Justices refusing to retire until someone who will protect our rights is in office. I am certainly no fan of abortion, but I know that it is sometimes a necessity. Look at the state of our health care system – should we allow those that can’t fix it or provide care for uninsured children make choices for us? Can the government make a more informed decision about your life than you can?

John McCain was once a Repub in name only – pretty much an independent. When he began running for President this time he started moving to the right and if he abandons his beliefs this easily we can’t count on him to stand up to extremists.

Barack Obama is committed to early childhood education, making college an option for everyone by offering college money in exchange for community service, forgiving teacher’s student loans for working in rural or inner city schools, and getting rid of the disasterous “No Child Left Behind” act that forces teachers to teach a test instead of educating our children and preparing them for the real world.

He is committed to ending tax cuts for the wealthy and helping middle class and poor families. He will just ask that people making over $200,000 per year pay their fair share.

Please talk to the people in your lives that are considering staying home on election day because Hillary has lost the nomination. The worst thing they could do is stay home. We can’t afford another 4 years of Bush policies. Our children’s future depends on it.


i feel ill…

Anyone see this Wall Street Journal article?  It’s really getting my stomach acid churning.  I know that there are still men that think like neanderthals, but it’s some of the women’s comments that really got me:

At the Barricades
In the Gender Wars
Clinton’s women supporters fear her bid has unleashed a sexist backlash
March 29, 2008; Page A1


Valerie Benjamin, a human-resources manager for a consulting firm here, was driving to work recently in her red minivan with a Hillary bumper sticker when a man pulled up alongside and rolled down his window. “You can be for Hillary all you want,” he shouted, “but there is no way that thing is going to become president.”

“I couldn’t believe this guy was shouting at me in my car,” says Ms. Benjamin. “I am continuously surprised by the level of venom.”

When Sen. Clinton started her presidential campaign more than a year ago, she said she wanted to shatter the ultimate glass ceiling. But many of her supporters see something troubling in the sometimes bitter resistance to her campaign and the looming possibility of her defeat: a seeming backlash against the opportunities women have gained.

Just as Barack Obama’s campaign has been empowering for African-Americans, Sen. Clinton’s run has inspired women across the country, drawing millions to the polls and putting her in a neck-and-neck battle for the nomination. She has already gone farther than any woman before her — a source of great pride for her women supporters.

But her campaign has also prompted slurs and inflammatory language that many women thought had been banished from public discourse. Some women worry that regardless of how the election turns out, the resistance to Sen. Clinton may embolden some men to resist women’s efforts to share power with them in business, politics and elsewhere.

Sen. Clinton, the onetime front runner, has had to recast herself as the fighting underdog. There are many reasons for that beyond gender, of course. Among other things, she faces the perception, shared by many women, that she is a politically polarizing figure. And her opponent, Sen. Obama, has galvanized young people, including many women who don’t see gender as a defining issue.

But even some women who don’t support Sen. Clinton express unease about the tone of some attacks on her. “Why is it OK to say such horrible things about a woman?” asks Erika Wirkkala, who runs a Pittsburgh public-relations firm and supports Sen. Obama. “People feel they can be misogynists, and that’s OK. No one says those kinds of things about Obama because they don’t want to be seen as racist.”

The concern among some women about sexism comes amid signs that women’s progress in the workplace has stalled or even regressed. In 2007, women earned median weekly wages of 80.2 cents for every dollar earned by men, down from 80.8 cents in 2006 and 81 cents in 2005, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic.

At the nation’s largest 500 companies, women account for 50% of managers, but hold just 15.4% of senior executive jobs, down from 16.4% in 2005, according to a survey by Catalyst, the New York research firm and women’s advocacy group. Almost three-quarters of these senior women are in jobs that rarely lead to the corner office. The number of senior women in “line” jobs that involve running a business, with responsibility for profits and losses, dropped to 27.5% last year from 29% in 2005, according to Catalyst.

At U.S. law firms, women accounted for 17.9% of partners in 2006, up from 14.2% of partners 1996, according to the directory of legal employers compiled by the National Association for Law Placement, even though women received 48% of law degrees granted in 2006 and 43.5% in 1996.

Katherine Putnam, president of Package Machinery Co., a West Springfield, Mass., equipment manufacturer, recalls that at a lunch she attended recently, a group of male chief executives “started talking about what an awful b—- Hillary was and how they’d never vote for her.” She says she kept quiet. “I didn’t want to jeopardize my relationship with them,” she says. “But their remarks were a clear reminder that although I could sit there eating and drinking with them, and work with them, instinctively their reaction to me isn’t positive.”

Women make up the enthusiastic core of Sen. Clinton’s supporters. She won almost 60% of women voters in the Democratic primaries in Texas and Ohio, fueling her comeback, and she is counting on them in the coming Pennsylvania primary. Recent polls show her with a double digit lead in that state, and support from 60% of women.

“Every time Sen. Obama tries to close out the campaign, there are a ton of women who say, ‘Here is a woman trying to get her shot and they are going to elect a guy,’ and they rally to her,” says pollster William McInturff.

In the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll3, conducted this week, Democratic women favored Sen. Clinton over Sen. Obama, 52% to 40%. Among Democratic men, the results were reversed: Sen. Obama garnered 52%, versus 36% for Sen. Clinton. Negative views about Sen. Clinton were more prevalent among Democratic men than women. Fifty-one percent of men said they had negative views of Sen. Clinton, while 32% reported position views. Among Democratic women, 44% reported negative views about her, and 42% reported positive ones.

Many factors, of course, shape how voters view the two candidates: their positions on the issues, Sen. Obama’s rhetorical skills and message of change, and Sen. Clinton’s personality and record. But the tenor of the campaign is unsettling many women.

“No one can say that the male vote is all gender-based,” says Beth Brooke, global vice chair of strategy and regulatory affairs at Ernst & Young, and one of four women on the company’s 21-person America’s Executive Board. “But it reinforces among women of my generation the feeling that every day we walk in the door [at work], we are walking into an environment that is still biased. I’m feeling a tension I don’t normally feel.”

One reason women have faced difficulty ascending the corporate ladder in recent years is that the number of management jobs has declined as companies have gotten leaner. The total number of corporate-officer positions has declined 21% since 2002, according to a Catalyst study.

The ranks of women in senior-executive jobs are so thin that when a woman retires, switches jobs or is ousted, gains are often reversed. When Meg Whitman steps down as CEO of eBay on March 31 after 10 years at the helm to pursue other interests, she’ll be replaced by John Donahoe, president of eBay’s marketplaces division — and the number of female CEOs at the top 500 companies will decline to just 12.

A few weeks ago, Sheryl Sandberg, former Google vice president of global online sales and operations, moved to Facebook, the privately owned social-networking site, to become chief operating officer; she was replaced at Google by her former deputy, David Fischer. When Morgan Stanley co-president Zoe Cruz was ousted last December, her position was eliminated. On the other hand, women this week snagged two top finance jobs: Terri Dial was named global head of consumer strategy at Citigroup Inc., and Jane Mendillo was chosen to manage Harvard University’s endowment.

Heather Arnet, a Clinton supporter who runs a Pittsburgh organization that lobbies for more women on public commissions and corporate boards, recently surveyed the Internet and found more than 50 anti-Hillary Clinton sites on Facebook. One of them, entitled “Hillary Clinton Stop Running for President and Make Me a Sandwich,” had more than 38,000 members.

“What if one of these 38,000 guys is someone you, as a woman, have to go to and negotiate a raise?” she asks.

Here in Pittsburgh and surrounding blue-collar areas, Sen. Clinton’s run is stirring discussion among women about sexism in politics and in the workplace. The pay gap between male and female professionals in the Pittsburgh area exceeds the national average across most industries and occupations, according to a new University of Pittsburgh study. Women managers earned just 58.3% of what male managers made, and 89.5% of what women managers around the country made, according to the 2000 U.S. Census. In the political arena, Pennsylvania ranks 45th among states in number of female officeholders.

Even in the nonprofit sector, where women have been faring better nationwide, women in Pittsburgh earn less than two-thirds what men do, which is larger than the national gap. Four large nonprofits in the area recently had CEO openings; all the jobs went to white men, including two positions formerly held by women.

“I’d like to think that doesn’t reflect a trend, but just a periodic wrinkle,” says Frederick W. Thieman, who recently succeeded a woman as head of the Buhl Foundation.

An hour away in Indiana, Pa., a working-class town, Jill Fiore, who teaches part-time at a local college and has a doctorate in English, says she constantly has to remind students to call her “Dr. Fiore” — the same way they address male professors — rather than “Jill” or “Mrs. Fiore.” Unable to get a full-time college teaching job, she made just $8,000 last year cobbling together part-time work, and she recently decided to open a yoga business.

“The sexism aimed at Hillary is astounding me,” she says. “We want to let our daughters know that we can be anything. It’s a lie. If even Hillary Clinton can’t make it, what chance do we have?”

Exit polls indicate that Sen. Clinton has run strongest among working-class women and women in low-paying professional jobs such as nursing and teaching — women who work on their feet, who often have faced wage discrimination and have struggled economically.

Jean Yarnal, who has worked in local government for 41 years, says she was unnerved recently when a man she knew came into her office and asked for help with a zoning issue. When talk turned to politics, she says, he denounced Sen. Clinton as a “lesbian” and used several slurs. Ms. Yarnal says she didn’t respond, but thought to herself, “That’s the last time I do you a favor.”

“It’s like the feelings against women are getting stronger,” says Ms. Yarnal. “It’s like men are saying, ‘We want to put you women in your place — watch out, don’t go too fast.’ “

Charles McCollester, a professor of industrial relations at Indiana University of Pennsylvania who works with union members, says he is ready for a woman president, “just not this woman.” He supports Sen. Obama. “Several of my really close female friends feel this is unleashing some kind of antiwoman sentiment. But I don’t see it. We love women. I just never cared much for Hillary. She has set out to become as male as all the rest of the boys.”

Some women in town say they don’t bring up politics at work. “The consensus in my office is that women are too emotional and won’t make a good president,” says Terri George, a paralegal in a law office.

Some young women who support Sen. Obama — sometimes to the chagrin of their pro-Hillary mothers — say they too are troubled by the gender gap in the workplace. But many say they don’t feel comfortable being called “feminists,” and that they look to different role models than Sen. Clinton.

“It isn’t easy being a woman in academia,” says Amanda Moniz, a 36-year-old Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Michigan. “I want a woman candidate who is strong, but also feminine, and who doesn’t feel she has to be tougher than men to succeed,” she says. “Although Hillary has achieved a lot on her own, she wouldn’t be where she was if not for her husband — and that isn’t an inspiring lesson.”

Alexa Steinberg, 25, a graduate student at the University of New Hampshire, says she recognizes “that women only make 78 cents for every male dollar, and there are still hurdles for women that I’ll face.” She says she thinks it’s only a matter of time before she’ll be supporting a female candidate for U.S. president — but it won’t be Sen. Clinton. “Politically and personally, she’s trying to take on the male persona, and isn’t a woman in the way I want a woman candidate to be,” she says.

Ms. Steinberg, who supports Sen. Obama, says she’s far more drawn to Michele Obama as a role model. “Michele has a career and even earns more than Barack, and she can knock him for not picking up his socks or doing the laundry,” she explains. “But she has a sense of humor, too. She has a blend of many things, a balance that I can see and appreciate.”

With the Pennsylvania primary looming on April 22, it’s unlikely that workplace tensions over Sen. Clinton’s candidacy will abate. On March 5, the day after Sen. Clinton won Ohio, Jackie LeViseur, a fund-raiser at Youngstown State University, arrived at her office to find her female colleagues, mostly secretaries, high-fiving each other and cheering in the hall.

The men, most of them bosses, remained in their offices, looking, says Ms. LeViseur, like their team had lost the football game.

“They might have been a little afraid to speak up,” says Ms. LeViseur.

I can’t stomach the fact that some women are AFRAID to bring up politics with their male collegues. That is not an environment i want my daughter to have to deal with.  Hillary’s not feminine enough?  What a crock of shit!


First Ladies, Take 5

The wives of the presidential candidates have been compared, contrasted, scrutinized, and psychoanalyzed more than a few times already, so I was surprised that Salon’s Rebecca Traister decided to have a go. She doesn’t reveal anything new about the spouses, just compiles what is already out there and organizes them along the continuum between dull and scintillating.

Not to be a spoiler or anything, but Bill Richardson’s wife holds down the outer limits of likeable, normal, and noncontroversial (read:yawn!) and Judi Giuliani is a full-blown freak:

But it is the fact that Judi Giuliani once held a job in which she demonstrated medical equipment on puppy dogs who often died after or during the demonstrations that really kicks her up a notch and puts her head and shoulders above the rest of the pack.

Dennis Kucinich’s wife posted the complete lyrics to “Stairway to Heaven” on her MySpace page, and Hillary’s wife is/was a blowjob king, but at least they are not puppy killers!

The article is mostly a fun romp. But in Traister’s run-up to the spouse list, she takes note of the new age we are entering: one where more egalitarian relationships are reflected at the top levels of political power:

In a post-Hillary universe, as the second wave and children of the second wave grow up and form more egalitarian partnerships, there are more brassy, opinionated, loud, difficult, plum-crazy partners on the arms of their front-running partners. Just consider that Clinton was the first first lady ever to have earned a postgraduate degree. But in recent years, the primary fields have been lousy with lawyers and doctors and professors.

I can only view Laura Bush as an absolute throwback–or last gasp of the traditional First Lady. She has perfected mildness, a trait esteemed by men of a certain vintage… Compare her to gals like Dr. Judith Dean, Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Edwards, or even Theresa Heinz. I can’t help it–a person’s choice of mate speaks volumes to me about their character. And about their manhood, really. I always thought Paul Newman was extra hot for having married (and remained married to) Joanna Woodward, who seemed to exude intelligence and verve.

White male pundits like Tweety or Tucker Carlson can’t seem to understand why anyone would vote for a presidential candidate just because she’s a woman. They find it boggling, offensive, wrong. But they lack imagination. They’ve never experienced living in a world where people who look like them never hold top positions of power. They can’t even imagine it, let alone think of the impact it would have. In a similar vein, I am inspired and emboldened to see egalitarian relationships that look and sound like mine between some of the top presidential candidates and their mates.

Strangely, Maureen Dowd ripped Michelle Obama for being “emasculating.” My reaction is the opposite–I view Barack as being all the more masculine for choosing to partner with an ambitious, smart, funny, down-to-earth woman. Would he be more masculine if his woman was a polished ego-prop?


Happy Birthday Hillary!!

Strap on those birthday hats, my MT celebrants – for Oct 13 is Hillary’s birthday! (yes, I know I’m a tad early for it in the US, but we’re well into the day here in Melbourne!)

What can we say about our funky chick Hillary? Mother of two, fundraiser extraordinaire, runner (and vigorous cheerleader to us all who care to strap on a pair of sneakers and head for the start line).

Yes, she’s the total package. In short, she’s simply the best!!!

So, as they say here in Australia, Ladies (and any Gentlemen lurking), will you please be upstanding and toast our birthday girl, Hillary!


Open Thread

I bid au revoir to Erika and her family yesterday. Ari was so sad, but I let him know we would see them at Disneyland later this year.

We watched the Devil Wears Prada, which was funny. LOVED it. We also watched — well, I watched — the Democratic debate, which took place in New Hampshire, on Sunday. Did anyone else catch that?

My impressions: I was glad to see us on the right side of the issues when it comes to immigration and gay rights. But I would like to see more consistency — like immediate troop withdrawal — when it comes to the war in Iraq. Hillary, by the way, did really well in the debate, scoring the most laughs and applause of any of the candidates.

I am so undecided in this primary.

What else is happening, ladies??