Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

30 January 2010

More on Jackson and Hoffman

Sorry, it's hard to write a coherent post when I'm not exactly sure where it's going.

I did mean to address a few more points:

* As I said in the last post, I admire Jackson's ability to put herself thru college. This compares to Hoffman whose grandfather once chaired Geico insurance.
* I admit that the fact that if Cheryle fails to win this primary that means there won't be one African-American in the U.S. Senate...again...and that depresses me.
* Word from the Jackson camp (after they read my post) is that Jackson and Blago weren't on speaking terms as she left his administration and that changed only when she got to the Urban League position.

But one thing that I have been brewing and stewing on the last few weeks is that at the beginning of the race, the press set out three front runners: Jackson, Hoffman & Giannoulias. The two men swiftly went after Jackson for her Blago connections. Yes, it was an obvious angle to take. But honestly, I'm quite tired of seeing men candidates band together, planned or not, to take out the lone woman candidate. I also noticed that even after a Chicago Tribune poll showed that Jackson was in second place, that the media seems to simply ignore her. Well other than to talk about how she's not raising any money.

And I think that's what gets my goat the most.

It's not that I think women can't play the game, it's that I feel that women have a different set of rules and that they change on the fly. And that is why I essentially go into races like this, where I don't have an overwhelming favorite, trying to find a reason NOT to vote for the woman candidate.

Compare this to the Cook County race where we have two women running, two African American women running and the race is about the issues, qualifications and all the stuff you would think should be on the table. I know sometimes there is more than one woman to split the women's vote, but I think women as a voting bloc has evolved from that point. Especially when the two candidates are clearly so different.

As a woman and a woman of color, I must pay attention to these factors. "Taxation without representation" isn't just a slogan, it's a reality for far too many communities in this country.

29 January 2010

I'm trying to decide who to vote for between Hoffman & Jackson for US Senate

One reason why I like to bring my political decisions to this blog is that frankly a lot of people ask me my opinion in real life, so I figure some of you might be curious as well. I also like to solicit thoughts from my readers as well. Today is Friday, only four more days until election day. According to Tom Skilling, Tuesday looks to be sunny and not too cold. This is GREAT for turn out. But even if I can skip my way to my polling station, I still don't know who to vote for in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate. According to a Chicago Tribune poll, it looks like I'm not the only undecided! So let's dive in:

CANDIDATES:

Robert Marshall: Opposes gun control and is frankly not a known entity. While I do root for the lil guy, I think Marshall is too little in this big race.

Jacob Meister: I think he was the first candidate to follow me on Twitter, so he gets points for that. Really, if a candidate is smart enough to use social media in the campaign, hopefully that means she/he will be smart enough to continue to use it to communicate to their constituents. I also like what he has to say on issues, especially prison reform. It's a start. I also like how feisty he was in the ABC 7 debate. Alas, he also lacks in name recognition and is woefully down in the polls.Again, I like my underdogs, but only so far.

Alexi Giannoulias: Obama's basketball buddy. I didn't support his Treasurer run and I won't vote for him in this race either. Not only do I get a bad feeling about him, but recent new issues with his family's bank are going to be a huge issue in a general election, especially up against Rep. Mark Kirk. I know the polls say one thing right now, but November is a long way off. The downside to an early primary is that leaves a LONG time for the candidates to beat each other up.

And here is where this feminist is up the river and on a fence. As I said in my Cook County post last week, it's hard to find the perfect feminist candidate. Mostly because there is no such thing as a perfect feminist. I've moved beyond supporting a woman candidate just because we may share some plumbing, but I also still prefer to vote for women because our representation is just so lacking in most venues. So I start with the woman candidate and tally up her pluses and minuses.

Cheryle Jackson: Good on most of the issues except marriage equality. As a NOW member and former NOW board member, I know how important it is to elect someone who wants full marriage for same sex couples and not civil unions.

She also put herself thru college. Since I did that myself, I always give candidates props for that fact. Hopefully that means they remember that struggle when crafting policy that impacts higher education and young workers.

Her big bad seems to be that she worked for Blagojevich, in fact she was his spokesperson. The question is how much did she know? I don't know if we can know that answer. The next question is can we trust her? 

David Hoffman: He's good on the issues and supports marriage equality. He made some mistakes early on in the campaign that soured me, but as the Chicago Tribune says in reaction to a Giannoulias ad, Hoffman apologized.

**
On Afghanistan, Jackson would call for troops to come home immediately, but Hoffman says it's not realistic. And honestly I struggle with that issue every day. I feel like Jackson, but think like Hoffman. I want to support bringing the troops home now.

So I think you can see why I'm struggling with my decision. I think that both candidates would make excellent senators.

I am thinking about who would be able to stand up to Mark Kirk. He's going to be formidable. While the Tea Baggers won't like him, they will love handing President Obama a loss in his home state. What will be a bigger liability? Having your family bank bailed out? Working for Blagojevich? 

GAH!! 

Sorry, I hit publish too soon. Came back to add:

Endorsements
I take them with a grain of salt. Except that Hoffman has a ton of endorsements and most of the newspapers. This tells me that he can handle the questioning that, gawd, I hope, happens when up against a newspaper board. Jackson has some key names on her list, but it's not a lengthy list. 

28 January 2010

Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Risotto

I can't believe, ok maybe I can, that I forgot to post this recipe that I made a few months ago. My thoughts on it are YUM! What I learned from making my first risotto from scratch: When the recipe says to cut into small pieces, DO IT. I don't think the taste would had been as strong if I had cut the pumpkin pieces into smaller bits. I do this a lot when cooking, take shortcuts like the cutting. I learned my lesson! I also learned that my family does not like risotto. This recipe also produces A LOT of risotto. For my family of three, I should make a half recipe at most. Of course now I need to figure out what a single serving looks like.

If you make this recipe, let me know how it turns out for you!



25 January 2010

Ideas

WOW...two days in a row of blogging original stuff for y'all? Imagine that!

A few months ago I was telling Cinnamon that I wasn't the idea gal. I was the administrative gal. You get the idea, I'll make it work. Of course that totally jinxed me and in the middle of one of the most stressful times of my life.

As you may know I work for a state institution and well, Illinois is second to only California for being in a fiscal crisis. As of now, I am personally not in any danger of losing my job, but I am responsible for bringing in money that will impact my colleague's jobs. If it was just me, I wouldn't be as stressed honestly. So I'm gearing up for a February that will be full of writing and data analysis. Hopefully I can get all the data I need!

And of course this is when my mind would start to be creative, right?

OK, honestly one idea has been percolating for almost a year now, but it kinda crystallized tonight. And another idea, well, I mentioned it to a group of people a few years ago and someone ran with it. Althou it's not running the way I pictured it, so I'm kinda thinking I should try again. But it'll be a big project.

Then of course there's grad school. Oh those pesky GREs are taunting me. The preposterous thing is that I think I can actually link all these ideas together for grad school. Maybe.

But time is not on my side for the first two. You may not believe me, but I have honestly been sitting on my hands for a few years. I hope that I finally stand up and make a run for it.

24 January 2010

Feminist Parenting: Teaching History

As many of you know, I named my daughter after Elizabeth Cady Stanton. This wasn't in pure ignorance of Stanton's racist and classist argument for women getting the vote before Black men. It was rather in recognition of her igniting a movement that still lives today and brought us, women & men, so much. This spring she had to pick a topic for a research project. She picked three topics and her teacher chose Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

This weekend we were filling out the information sheets that make up her project and reading through the two books she has on Stanton & suffrage when she asked the $64,000 question. "She wanted everyone to be equal right?"

I've never had any thought of telling her about Stanton thru rose colored glasses. Far from it. I guess I didn't think she'd bring up the equality question. But I should have known better.

Luckily one of the books she has is If You Lived When Women Won Their Rights by Anne Kamma. In it one of the questions is about why Stanton and others were upset after the Civil War and the Constitution would be changed only for men. It handles it pretty well by previously discussing how most of the suffragists were also abolitionists and how Sojourner Truth was upset as well. I added in that Stanton also felt it wasn't right that uneducated men would be allowed to vote before educated women like her.

The kid was shocked.

And I didn't even think to touch on Stanton & Anthony's partnership with racists in the West. But we did discuss, after her daddy mentioned it, that back in that time, the only people who really could afford to be educated were people with money. She was then quite offended that she was named after Stanton and said, "I think I'll just think that I was named after the Queen Elizabeth."

Her dad & I laughed as I said, "Oh, mija, if you think what Elizabeth Cady Stanton did was bad, just wait till you learn about Queens."

I went into how everyone, Mom and Dad, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Martin Luther King Jr. are all human beings. No one is perfect. 

I don't remember how we got back to her actual homework assignment, but we did. I know while the conversation is over for now, she's thinking about what she discovered.

And then I started to ponder how much harder it might be to tell her about my own failings one day.

This parenting thing is hard peeps. Really.

Clarification:  Other reasons that went into choosing the name Elizabeth included Elizabeth Bradford from Eight is Enough (yes, seriously), that Elizabeth is a versatile name, that Elizabeth is a strong name and that Elizabeth can be shortened to Buffy.

23 January 2010

Why I Give to Women-Focused Relief Organizations


This was originally posted at the AWEARNESS blog. Click on over, the only comment I've gotten is from someone calling me sexist. Thanks to all the Twitter love I got!

Edited on Feb 1, 2010 to add: I'll be adding articles at the bottom on women-centered giving or relief efforts in Haiti. 

When the earthquake hit Haiti last week I decided to direct my giving toward CARE, an organization that focuses its work on women. Some will question why I don't give right to the Red Cross, a very worthy organization. The honest answer is that I want to give my money to an organization who will put women and mothers as a priority. It's not a sexist statement, as much as a truth that reflects our gendered world.

Women are the caregivers of not just their families, but also of their communities around the world. Women know who lived where, who needs help, and so much more vital information that relief organizations require. Add in the fact that with globalization of our economy there are many parts of our world where women far outnumber men due to men immigrating to big cities or other countries, and well, you see how women get left at home to hold things together. When women do immigrate for paying jobs, they leave farming behind, hurting the community. Bottom line, when you put money into women's well-bring it impacts the entire community.

That is why I sent and will continue to send money to CARE. A gendered response is necessary. It doesn't mean that men and boys aren't important. Far from it. It means that women do have certain needs that men don't -- pregnancy, motherhood, and menstruation for starters -- that need addressing. When I give to women-focused agencies, I know they will make sure that women's needs are addressed.

I understand that you may think it's wrong to see this tragedy through a gendered lens, but the impacts will be gendered. And regardless of what you think of me, I hope you will give as generously as possible to whichever organization you support. Long after the cameras stop rolling and Anderson Cooper comes home, Haiti will continue to need us.

Edited on Jan 25:

Women eNews has an excellent article on how the Haiti quake is impacting pregnant women. For those of you still questioning the need for a gendered response (mind you NOT one that ignores men, but instead deals with the harsh realities that women face more often then men) I ask you to read the article. Here is one excerpt:
Of the 3 million people affected by the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti, and the aftershocks that continued as recently as Jan. 20, an estimated 63,000 are pregnant women. In the month ahead, 7,000 women are expected to deliver. Giving birth or seeking prenatal care in a city where even the presidential plaza is destroyed poses countless risks to women in Port-au-Prince and throughout the quake region. The New-York based UNFPA has spearheaded efforts to help minimize the risks these women face.
 Cartoon by Mikhaela B. Reid

Edited on Feb 1, 2010


From the Chicago Sun-Times: Relief workers began handing out women-only food coupons, launching a new phase of what they hope will be less cutthroat aid distribution to ensure that families and the weak get supplies following Haiti's devastating earthquake.

Young men often force their way to the front of aid delivery lines or steal from it from others, meaning aid doesn't reach the neediest at rough-and-tumble distribution centers, according to aid groups.


From Women eNews: With 45 percent of Haitian households headed by women, a number of United Nations agencies are targeting their relief efforts at Haitian women to help them overcome their human and material losses from the recent earthquake.


"They are the ones who are the economic as well as the psychological mainstay of children and other dependents, the aged and the sick," said Roberta Clarke, regional program director for the United Nations Development Fund for Women, or UNIFEM.

From Feminist Peace Network: In Continuing To Address The Needs In Haiti From A Gender-Informed Lens FPN is also linking to stories about gendered relief efforts.

Criminals in Haiti 'raping quake survivors and trafficking children':
Criminals in Haiti are preying on vulnerable earthquake survivors, even raping women, in makeshift camps set up in Port-au-Prince after the disaster.

"With the blackout that's befallen the Haitian capital, bandits are taking advantage to harass and rape women and young girls under the tents," Haiti’s police, chief Mario Andresol, said yesterday.


Blog for Choice: Lifetime shouldn't raise awareness with a lie

This was originally posted at the AWEARNESS blog


Do you remember the pregnancy pact story? A group of teen girls in one high school decided to get pregnant at the same time? I do. I also remember it turned out to be a myth, a hoax, a lie. That didn't deter Lifetime though.

blogforchoice2010.PNGJust in time for Blog for Choice celebrations, Lifetime will premiere a movie "based on" the fictional events about the pregnancy pact. Lifetime responded to criticism by saying that the movie is about raising awareness about teen pregnancy. But how, really? Making a fictional movie about something that was a hoax to raise awareness about a real problem? What's next? A movie about Balloon Boy to raise awareness about Amber Alerts?

That's not to diminish the cost and impact of teen pregnancy. Teen pregnancy is a serious issue that requires serious solutions, including supporting teen parents with child care and access to further education. But by basing a movie on a hoax that played on the idea that our teens are all running wild with the sex, well, it seems to miss the point. Chances are that a lot of concerned parents will end up watching and I do hope they take the chance to learn more about the issue and talk to their children, sons and daughters, about preventing pregnancy, teens access to contraception and the status of sex education in schools.

That said, I'll be tuning in to watch. Look for my tweets!

22 January 2010

Thoughts on the Cook County Board President Forum

Despite all the candidates (R, D, G) confirming their attendance, only four showed up for a forum to discuss how their administration would address violence against women, girls and the LGBTQ community. The forum was cosponsored by Chicago Foundation for Women, Center on Halsted, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women's Network, Loyola University Chicago and Rape Victim Advocates.

Toni Preckwinkle, Dorothy Brown (arrived late), Tom Tresser, and Todd Stroger answered questions by the fabulous moderator Kimbriell Kelly (Editor, The Chicago Reporter). I have to start out my post with major props to Kimbriell. As a journalist, she exhibited what one should expect from the fourth estate - she knew her topic and pressed the candidates for real answers. And believe me, that was tough to do.

Due to life, I ended up taking the kid with me to the forum. About half way thru she left with her dad to grab some food and focus on her homework. When I caught up with them she asked, "So who won?"

SUMMARY
I would have to give this one to Preckwinkle. Given her opponents, she could have taken a nap in the middle and still won. She was organized, knew her audience and gave thoughtful answers to most questions. Second place would have to go to Brown as she did have some answers althou she could never get "LGBTQ" to roll off her tongue correctly. I know even I get tongue tied with the acronym at times, but being a candidate, you should practice this one over and over. Third place goes to Stroger because he attempted to answer the questions. Last place obviously goes to Tresser and that fact really hurts, which I'll explain later.

Q&A
This first question asked the candidates to state what they would do in their first 90 days. Stroger said he's done a lot to reach out to the community in the last three years. He also called for a community meeting. Preckwinkle said she'd address issue that women don't report rapes & other violent crimes, work on incarcerating only violent offenders, remove non-violent offenders & focus on drug treatment, education/training and home monitoring. Tresser responded by talking about corruption and that he wasn't taking money from PACs, unions or had the support of Madigan (he held up the front page of the Chicago Tribune for effect). The moderator followed up with him about the issue - violence against women, girls & the LGBTQ community. Tresser continued with his anti-corruption talking points, but also interjected that the people in the room should be the ones in charge at the County. Preckwinkle added in that she would begin by addressing rape as a member of her family was raped and the justice system failed her, thus she went to civil court for justice. She followed up that neither her or Stroger had Madigan money or support.

OPENING STATEMENTS
Since Brown came in late, the opening statements were actually after the first question. Brown mentioned that she had been a victim of teen dating violence and that her office has a violence liaison.. Tresser stated that this was his first run at elected office and reminded us that he fought against the Olympics for a year. Preckwinkle talked about how she has worked to rebuild her ward, wants to repeal the Stroger tax, look at new revenue streams and make the independent health panel permanent. I missed Stroger's statement.

BACK TO Q&A

The next issue was violence and sexual assault against LGBTQ youth at our youth detention centers. Stroger said his hands were tied due to federal jurisdiction/oversight.Preckwinkle said that better training is needed.

Asked who should be prosecuted in the youth prostitute - pimp - john relationship, Tresser returned to his message that advocates in the room should be in charge and when pressed said that we need to address the issues that result in youth living on the streets and finding themselves in the sex trade. Brown talked about a need for alternatives. Preckwinkle called current laws that focus on prosecuting prostitutes as sexist.

Now here was an unbelievable moment in the forum. The candidates were asked about four pending federal lawsuits from women shackled during labor while incarcerated. Stroger, our current Cook County President, claimed that he had no knowledge of the issue or lawsuits. He said that he will talk with the Sheriff right away! Preckwinkle said she would settled the lawsuits and then cited a a program from Washington state that allows incarcerated new moms to keep their newborns with them for a time being. Does the Alderman read Ms. magazine? Brown said she can't believe it is happening and said that even if it was legal, it's a bad practice period. Tresser said he'd zero out the Sheriff's budget until the practice was stopped. Brown & Stroger then jumped in to explain why that just can't happen and thus why his tax increase was and still is needed. Brown disagreed on that last point.

When asked to address the historical lack of support for domestic violence and rape survivors in the county, Preckwinkle discussed her idea of setting up a way to support community organizations and a model that the city uses which honestly I got a bit confused about. I would love feedback from providers on this one! Stroger said he has six people looking for grants right now and would make sure there was a focus on DV issues. Tresser said no need to wait for grants, just cut out corruption which wastes up to 10% of our budget!


The last question from the moderator asked how each candidate would address the obstacles survivors and agencies face when attempting to gather information from the Cook County State Attorney’s office. Stroger stated that the state attorney can’t without information and with a new law that was passed in the state assembly, almost everything is available. The moderator jumped in to make the point that while the Freedom of Information Act is a tool, FOIA requests are often challenged and not as simple as Stroger made it sound. Preckwinkle made a point to state that the President is just one person on the board and that there are about 9 other elected officials in the county. She called for more training. Brown said she would work with advocates to change the laws. She would also work with the Commission on the Status of Women (If she meant the state commission, it was disbanded by Blagovich) and the Cook County women’s relations office. Brown also mentioned that we needed to have high ethics . Tresser sang his anti-corruption song and said he would put everything he could on the internet.

AUDIENCE QUESTIONS
How would you address the role of men in fighting violence against women and girls? 

Preckwinkle returned to goal of reducing the non-violent offender population in the jail system so there was room to incarcerate violent offenders. Brown mentioned rehabilitation of offenders, especially juveniles, while they are incarcerated.

President Stroger, please address what progress your administration has made in addressing violence against women, girls & the LGBT community.

Stroger replied that he gave Sheriff Dart the ability to hold johns more accountable by towing cars and fining the men. Said that we need a holistic approach to women in the sex trade, they need services.

How will you provide violence against women service providers when the state fails to hold up their end of the funding equation?

Tresser said simply, “VOTE GREEN!” He then said that the County President should be in DC to get money. Also said we need to get the churches involved and tell men to just stop. There were some other responses, but no one really answered it.

The next question asked if the candidates felt that one way to combat bad media images of women and LGBT persons was to incorporate gender sensitivity education to elementary schools. 

Brown said YES! She thinks that we should be teaching character education in schools as well as tolerance for everyone. Stroger put the blame on parents who listen to terrible music which fuels the difference fire. He called it “hateful noise labeled as entertainment” that targets gender, color and LGBT persons.

How will you address women with disabilities and the abuse they face in nursing homes and battling the nursing home lobby?

Preckwinkle: We need to segregate the populations: mentally ill, LGBTQ and those with disabilities. We need state legislation to help screening of employees and remain vigilant on hiring employees.

A senior from Dunbar asked about school-based health centers and how will each candidate support them as President. 

Preckwinkle said she thought they were wonderful ideas and would support expanding them. She sees them as part of strengthening a community since schools are the heart of communities. She especially liked the idea of high school based ones since it allows for ease of access to health facilities for teens who may have a hard time talking to their parents about obtaining birth control or treatment for STDs.

CLOSING STATEMENTS
Brown said that she couldn’t stay for the reception afterward because she was hosting an online townhall meeting and would continue to connect with voters thru online townhalls. She wants to reform the justice system, create more jobs and help small businesses.

Preckwinkle thanked everyone for attending and restated her independence. She quoted one of the newspaper endorsements she received where it was stated that she had the best chance to fight corruption.

Stroger pointed out that while the state and city have turned to furloughs and blackout dates, the county is economically sound. He has helped many people with their mortgages. He said he was a good fiscal manager.

Tresser said to go Green…again.

THOUGHTS
Being a feminist is hard when it comes to electoral politics. It’s hard when we have a two party system that caters to a huge moderate population. This often means that we can only go so far with feminist action. Abortion? Sure, but only if you can pay for it yourself missy. Child care? Sure, but only if you can afford a safe placement. Family leave? Darn tooting! But again, it’s on your dime. The President of the United States calls himself a feminist and yet he allowed the religious forces in this country to throw women under the bus during recent healthcare reform negotiations. In the recent Massachusetts Senatorial race, I heard from feminists who felt that Coakley just wasn’t good enough, that she had a track record that showed she said feminist things, but did otherwise. Some feminists feel that having a known enemy is better than being swept off our feet by a feminist candidate only to be left heartbroken by their actions (ahem, Mr. President!). We are very good at maintaining the status quo as we saw in the second Bush administration. Yes, we lost ground, but we also held back the bigger flood we feared would drown us to Gilead. The first year of the Obama administration was a disappointment, to say the least, when we felt that we could push our issues in a progressive direction.

That leaves many feminists to ponder what the hell to do when it comes to elections. Should we start our own party? Do we back third parties? For me, unless a candidate jumps out at me as awesome, I always investigate if the Green Party has a candidate. As someone who was against the Olympics, I saw what Tom Tresser was doing and had to tip my hat at his work. In 2006, I voted for the Green candidate Rich Whitney for Governor. I did it because I thought some of his ideas were good, but also to help the Green party become established in Illinois. When I vote Green it is not just as simple as a protest vote. I want to vote for ideas. Tom Tresser had a perfect venue to reach a community eager for change and he provided no ideas. Some people might vote for an anti-corruption candidate, but when I chatted with a few people afterwards, they were very disappointed he didn’t provide ideas on how to address the very real issues we live with corruption or not.

I’ve been keeping an eye and ear on Toni Preckwinkle for a few years. She’s voted with the Mayor a bit more often than not (55%), but she’s also shown the most independence in the rubber stamp City Council. She was also the most prepared candidate at the forum. She offered some good ideas and knowledge of the issues discussed.

For me the biggest issues that the county deals with is our public health care system and the jail. These are two areas that impact so many of us, even if we don’t realize it. I want the leader of the county to at the very least respect these issues if not agree with how I think we can address them.

For the record, I haven’t volunteered for any candidate nor given any of them any money.

The election is February 2, 2010, so get out there and vote!


NOTES
While I took notes by hand, @DeliaChristina tweeted as well and I referred to her tweets to help fill in things I may have missed while mothering the kid. If you were there and have a different recollection of what happened, please leave a comment. I know I didn't come close to capturing everything said.

14 January 2010

15,000th Tweet Giveaway & Donations

You know that have been trying to be a better marketing person, meaning that I'm not going to allow my blog, twitter or other space to be used to shill for any old product. When I realized I was coming up on my 15,000th tweet (yeah, I tweet a lot) I was hurting to come up with a good giveaway to celebrate.

For you my dear readers and followers, simply leave a comment here and I'll randomly choose one person to receive a Steaz gift pack. EXTENDED>> Deadline is 11:59 PM, Saturday, January 16th. 


What's Steaz? I didn't know either until Wednesday night when I attended a blogger PR dinner event hosted by Kim. There's a long description of what the company does and why, but bottomline they make soft drinks, ice teas and energy drinks. BUT they are certified organic. AND vegan. Vegan? How can a drink be vegan? At least compared to big name soda companies? It's the sugar. Regular old sugar is processed with charcoal and it's most likely bone char. Yes, some the sugar we normally eat is processed using animal bones. I also met Eric one of the owners. I'm a jaded mom blogger, so I was waiting for the big glitzy show. Instead I got to meet a guy who was raised by hippies, who installed solar panels with his dad and whose sister is a real estate agent who specializes in green homes. Um, ok...

That got me thinking...Are hippy kids allowed to maintain their hippy roots AND make a buck? Well, yes, yes, they are. Should I do marketing and PR for them for free? Um, why not? This one time.

One other aspect of their story that moved me is that they are an example of the Power of Moms - They were asked by Target to be one of the first organic products after moms demanded that Target start carrying organic products. You know that part of my motive for blogging is to help moms see their power and then wield it. It wasn't an organized movement, but enough moms spoke out to Target, sent emails, talked to managers, whatever, but they used their voice and pressured Target to carry organics.

I've only tasted two of their products - peach ice tea, which wasn't my cuppa tea. Althou I should try it again well chilled. I'm uberpicky when it comes to teas. I forget which flavor of soda I tried and it was ok. Again, I should try again with a glass of ice. Ya know sometimes that's all a drink needs. But I was sold on this company by their story. Because of that, I'm willing to try some more product (thanks to my gift bag) and giveaway one gift pack.

And in the spirit of Viva la Feminista, for every comment left, I will donate $1 to CARE for Haiti relief. If you don't want to be entered into the Steaz giveaway, just note it. I already donated $50, so this is a new batch of money. I will limit the donation to $100. I know my pocket book limits! Another way to support CARE's work in Haiti is to shop at Cinnamon's Poise shop where she will donate $20 for every purse sold. 

So what are you waiting for?

Thanks for reading, following and connecting with me. I know I'm a chatty chica, but I hope I'm worth it.

SCIENCE GRRL: Research proves girls & boys equally good at math…again

This was originally posted at Girl w/Pen


Do you ever think, “Duh!?” when you read a news story about how fattening movie popcorn or fast food is for us? I get that same feeling when I read that yet another research study has been published proving that girls and boys are equally good at math. How much more proof do we need?

Professor Marcia Linn’s paper focuses in on why there are differences in girls confidence around the world. The answer? Social expectations. [PDF link]
A society’s gendered division of labor fosters the development of gender differences in behavior by affording different restrictions and opportunities to males and females on the basis of their social roles….if the cultural roles that women fulfill do not include math, girls may face both structural obstacles (e.g., formal access to education is limited to boys) and social obstacles (e.g., stereotypes that math is a male domain) that impede their mathematical development.
Many people like to believe that we live in a post-feminist society. The evidence includes Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and women making up half of the workforce. But girls and boys still receive messages on a daily basis that they have roles to play and only those roles. As recently as this past holiday toy buying season, Toys R Us advertised three different magnification power microscopes and  telescopes, guess which one had the lowest power? Yup, the pink one.

Some will argue that we need to pinkify science things to attract girls, but do they also need weaker microscopes too?

And that brings us to another Duh moment…Pink often does stink.

13 January 2010

Take Action Day!


Instead of any real posting, I'm pushing you over to two other sites today: 

Over at AWEARNESS you can find my contribution to today's Not Under the Bus Day of Action.

This month's contribution to Chicagonista is a post about the upcoming primary. Yes, I'm a political junkie. Don't act like you're surprised!

OK, on with our busy lives.

Peace.

08 January 2010

The Shortys: Feminist Nominations


The Shortys are back!

This year a few of us feministas are looking to storm the stage at the awards ceremony. And here's our strategy:

1) Vote up feminist tweeters in official categories such as:

* http://shortyawards.com/addiestan
* http://shortyawards.com/rhrealitycheck
* http://shortyawards.com/RDispatches

If they are listed in more than one category, I think you can figure out which is "best" for them or which category they would most likely win. So go! go! go!

The official rules state: You can vote in any of the Official Categories or make up a category of your own. If a new category becomes popular, it might be turned into an Official Category with an award presented at the ceremony in March. And that's what we're doing....we're starting a feminism category.

2) Nominate your favorite feminist tweeter!

Yes, I'm nominated and as of the this writing in the lead. But this isn't about me. It's about getting all our fabu feminist work recognized. So nominate a person, a feminist blog, a feminist organization...Just nominate!
I nominate @TwitterUser for a Shorty Award in #feminism because...

3) There is an act.ly petition asking the Shortys to make feminism an official category.

As you can see from the snippet of the rules, even if feminism gets a zillion nominations, it's up to the Shorty peeps to decide if they want to award it too.
Petition @shortyawards to add #feminism as main category. Or will Shorty Awards be just like Oscars with no #women? http://act.ly/1lf 

There are also some great feminists who started up their own category, so why not vote them up too? 

* http://shortyawards.com/zimon4council


Are you missing? Just drop me a line via email, twitter or leave a comment!

Get your sample ballot, Illinois

(Looking for Nov 2010 election info?)

Thanks to Lynn Sweet for alerting us of eVote and a nifty place for all of Illinois to get a sample ballot. Simply put your address, city & zip in to grab a list of all the names that you will get to choose from on election day.

And the really kewl this is that once you get to your sample ballot you can ask it to note which candidates are endorsed by Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, Personal PAC, Illinois Federal of Teachers, Illinois Right to Life, Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Federation of Labor.

AND...double check your polling place address. After 5 years of voting in the same place, I gotta figure out where my poll moved. Nice move politicos...nice move.

You can also go to Chicagoelections.com to get all the info you need, but not endorsements.

07 January 2010

Preckwinkle is the peppermint mocha of election season

Following up on my post about election season kicking off in Chicago, I want to talk about the County Board President election. Long time readers know that I'm not a fan of current President Stroger. Not only do I think he doesn't have the chops for the job, but the lying that the party/machine and his family did to get Todd into that office will never be forgotten. That's a sentiment I hear from others in Cook County.

So this election to select a replacement has almost been counted down like New Year's Eve or the release of the latest tech gadget. Cook County is eager to replace him. But will we?

The primary is a crowded field, but it seems that Chicago Alderman Toni Preckwinkle is the front runner to rid us of Todd. It seems that Da Mayor is backdoor endorsing her too. I try not to listen to polls, but rather who is getting press, endorsements and buzz. I'm not calling her President yet, Todd still has a machine, even a weak one behind him. Last month polls had Dorothy Brown in the lead causing Rep. Davis to endorse her, but I haven't heard much from or about Brown since. But with the election just weeks away I'm sure that Cook County will be hit with a blizzard of ads, fliers, robocalls (which I hate!!!!) and of course email upon email.

Good luck deciding! And remember, get out and vote, no matter who you are voting for.

On January 21st, the Chicago Foundation for Women is sponsoring a forum with ALL the candidates - Dems, GOP and the lone Green:


Cook County Board President
CANDIDATE FORUM

Focusing on Violence Against Women and Girls

Cosponsored by Chicago Foundation for Women, Center on Halsted, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women's Network, Loyola University of Chicago and Rape Victim Advocates

Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010
6 p.m. (Doors open at 5:30)
Loyola University of Chicago, Water Tower Campus
111 E. Pearson St.
Beane Hall, 13th floor of Lewis Towers
Chicago

No RSVP necessary. Open to the public.

For full details click here!

04 January 2010

URGENT: Music and Mothers entry needed for Encyclopedia on Motherhood....

Andrea O'Reilly, general editor of the first ever encyclopedia on motherhood is in need of a replacement entry for the topic "music and mothers."

The entry is needed by February 1, 2010 and is to be 2500 words including a work cited of approx 5 titles. The entry is to provide an overview of the topic historically but most of the entry should focus on the following: motherhood as a topic/theme in various musical genres of the 20th/21st centuries; rock, blues, jazz, hip hop, country etc; contemporary popular mother musicians such as Courtney Love, Britney Spears, Dixie Chicks etc. (their music, how treated/perceived in the industry); the contemporary motherhood rock movement with special attention to Mamapalooza.

The encyclopedia is being published by Sage Press and will out in April 2010.

Please email aoreilly@yorku.ca directly asap.

03 January 2010

In Illinois it's political season!

Just as we are taking down our holiday decorations, recycling our trees and preparing to send our kids back to school, a new season is breaking - Election season!

Thanks to state politico leaders taking advantage of Obama-mania, the primary falls on February 2nd. It's apparently a date chosen not so much to put Obama over the top two years ago, but to reduce voter turn out by asking people to come out on one of the coldest and winteriest day of the year. ""It is the bitterest, coldest, iciest day of the year to discourage people from voting," [Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool] said, calling Illinois' voting system "rigged." The election that matters most, he said, happens in the primary season, not November."

Normally not a lot is at stake during the primaries since there has been little competition for seats in the Chicago area. But there are a few races that are worth noting:

* Jesus "Chuy" Garcia trying to "evict Commissioner Joseph Mario Moreno, 57, from the seat he has held since 1995 on the Cook County Board."

*Rudy Lozano Jr. trying to "end the 19-year tenure of state Rep. Dan Burke, 58, in the Illinois House."

* The race for President Obama's Senate seat between IL Treasurer Alexi Giannolias (Obama's basketball buddy who needed Obama's endorsement to win his Treasurer seat), Cheryl Jackson (lone woman), David Hoffman (former City of Chicago Inspector General who blew the whistle on the rotten parking meter sale) and a few other Dems. Smart money is on Alexi because well, he has all the money. Then we have the GOP where U.S. Rep Mark Kirk is the smart bet. I have to be honest that I have no idea who I will support in the primary and if it's Alexi versus Mark in the general, oy...tough call. I'm not a party gal so I'm not always voting for the Dem. I'll hash it out once we get to that point. But...

* The Illinois Green Party has slated LeAlan M. Jones for the U.S. Senate. I love the idea of a black man from Englewood being my Senator.

The first two races I don't get to vote on, which is a shame. I definitely believe that we need new voices in our political system. Rudy's passion, at least on Facebook, is endearing.

But this is Chicago and in February who knows what will or can happen. Other than the machine winning yet again.