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29 July 2013

Stuff I've written that's been posted elsewhere...

Just a quick note to point out two pieces that I wrote for other sites that perhaps you missed...

1) I interviewed US Secretary of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius while she was in town for Blogher '13:
This week a little boy was born in London. One day he will grow up to be the King of England. This week a little boy was born in Chicago. Who knows what he will grow up to be. One thing we do know is that the future king’s birth most likely cost half as much as baby boy Chicago. 
The state and cost of health care in the USA is why the Affordable Care Act is an important piece of legislation. I am unsure if the cost of health care will go down under Obamacare (I hear it won’t), but we do know that everyone will be mandated to have insurance. This, hopefully, should put health care in the affordable category for most of us. But will it help minimize health disparities in the US? This is what I asked Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

 To read the rest, visit The Broad Side.

2) Latina Lista asked me to write a short summary of the MALCS 2013 Summer Institute that I attended and presented at:
Columbus, Ohio is not the first place you would guess for an academic gathering focused on Chicana/Latina and Native American women studies with a feminist heart. But last week it was!

The MALCS 2013 Summer Institute is an annual gathering of Chicana and Native American scholars. This was my first time attending. I have failed to attend in the past mostly because I have not felt that my academic work had focused on Latinas enough. But after learning that MALCS also had a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) track, I knew I needed to go to present my work and hopefully learn from other attendees.

Within the STEM track, there were presentations on the low number of Chicanas/Latinas in STEM at all levels, from undergraduate students to faculty members.

Jean Rockford Aguilar-Valedz, PhD, used Gloria Anzalduan’s writing to frame her solution of the decolonizing science education. “Why are the advances that the Incas, Aztecs and Mayans made not discussed in the same manner as European civilizations?” I could not help but hear Edward James Olmos as Jaime Escalante saying, “You burros have math in your blood!” 
Read the rest at Latina Lista

19 July 2010

I'm a 2010 Blogher Voices of the Year Finalist!

Back when I thought that I would be going to Blogher 2010, I submitted a bunch of posts for the Blogher Voice of the Year contest. Yes, it's a contest. People read the entries, people vote and only a few get to read their post to the conference. Anywho, I didn't win, but I am a finalist. And as such will be celebrated at the Blogher 2010 Gala and Art Auction. So yeah for not winning!

My not-quite-winning post was one that I wrote for Girl w/Pen on the balance between human life and scientific discoveries/guidelines in light of the new mammogram guidelines.

I'm happy that my writing was honored, giddy that it was something on Girl w/Pen and fucking off the wall that it was in the Geeky/Nerdy category. I'm disappointed that I won't be there for the Gala, but I couldn't do both Bloger and Netroots. A grrl on a budget has to make choices.

31 July 2009

My most embarrassing & kick ass moments of Blogher

Ah, Blogher fumes still rumbling thru my veins...

So Florinda mentions TWICE my most embarrassing moment of Blogher. She asked me for an autograph on the Ms. magazine that I just handed her. I laughed and saw she was dead serious. It was extra funny because my husband had just been teasing me the day before about "When is your signing at Women & Children First?" But Florinda was serious and since I love her so, I took her pen, my pen?, and signed my name under my photo. I meant to write a peace symbol and then my name. But it came out as [Peace sign], [heart] and feminism.

Then came my favorite sluts...I gave them a copy of the magazine before the panel started. After I composed myself from signing Florinda's copy, one of them asked me to autograph their copy with a fushia Sharpie. More nervous chuckling.

By now my dear readers, you should know that while I'm excited about all the stuff I do, I am also a horrible promoter. I'm currently fundraising to hire Cinnamon for that role. I'm only a few thousand short, so someone give me a huge ass book deal! haha...Seriously thou, I'm awful at it, thou I am getting better. But the thought of anyone wanting my autograph is too overwhelming for me to really comprehend, so it pushes me to being more embarrassed than anything. I guess cause I just don't know how to handle it.

So what was the most kick ass moment of Blogher? Introducing friends to Gloria Feldt. I mean, hello!? How many years have I been getting mass emails & snail mail from her about Planned Parenthood? And because of the Progressive Women's Voices program, I know her well enough to introduce her around. Oh, yeah...now that's bad ass.

But it helped show me (and it should you too) that we're all experts at something (thanks Katie) and well, blogging is one of the things I'm an expert at. I might not be a Forbes Power Mom blogger, but I know a thing or two about this medium. I also love, love, LOVE connecting amazing women to each other. I am the human LinkedIn/Friend Finder. And honestly, I love it because I can talk until my neighbors come home about you and this other amazing woman. And yes, that means I don't have to talk about me! Perfect, eh?

So if you ever pay me a compliment and I get all "aw, shucks..." that really is how I am. And while it is embarrassing, it's also pretty fab too. Thanks.

26 July 2009

Blogher 2009 is history...

and I'm pooped!

But as is par for the course, life's roller coaster keeps chugging up that hill.

I was lucky enough to get a small number of Ms. magazine copies to pass out at Blogher and I've already gotten word that some stores are selling it despite an August 4th news stand date. This means that I need to brace myself for a small uptick in traffic.

I have to laugh at this because I spoke this morning at the National Council for La Raza (ya know, !) on social media and one of the last questions was about rankings. I told the man (damn, what was his blog again? This is what happens when I'm on stage without a pen!) that I gave up on my stats and rankings a long time ago. I gave up because I know I'm listed on some pretty big blogs exclusive blogrolls. I know that I go to places like La Raza & Blogher and get "I love your blog!" comments from people who I have no idea who they are. Thus, stats can suck it. Feedburner, Google stats, Google rank and especially Technorati seem to be unable to explain why I seem to be fairly popular. I'm not A-list, but I'm not totally D-list anymore. But that's not why I missed the D-List lunch - I swear I thought we were having breakfast! haha...

But I'll be back at the La Raza conference for a short event on Monday and part of Tuesday burning up my press pass.

And if you read my blog on my blog instead of a RSS reader (it's ok, that's how I read your blog too.) you might notice that my Blogher button has been replaced by a
Blogalicious button! Oh yes, I'll be traveling to Atlanta to hang with fellow women of color bloggers & some of our super kewl white girlfriends.

BUT...that will be after I get back from Tampa for the Florida Consortium for Women's Studies. I submitted a proposal to look at how the increase in women in general on campuses might be helping the increase of women in STEM. A total, total preliminary study, but I'm hoping that it will give me some direction for some research projects.


Like I said, the roller coaster keeps chugging along. Some days I feel like I'm being run over or dragged, but more often than not, I'm enjoying the ride.

And to all my coworkers who read Ms and now have found my blog, Hi!

21 July 2009

Welcome Blogher peeps!

You might have clicked on that link in your latest Blogher Attendee newsletter and found yourself here.

First let me say thanks for clicking! Or oops, you clicked, but stay a moment.

Next, come say hi to me at the "Leadership: What is "Pro-Woman" in a Post-Palin World?" panel on Friday! It's at 2:45 pm. So take your break before me. I'm sure it's gonna be a fab conversation.

Lastly, don't forget why my link was even in the Blogher newsletter - BlogHer SOS!

BlogHer's Rock! That is all we have to say. Okay maybe we have a little more to say...

Thanks to the fabulous idea from Veronica and Kim we will be hosting "BlogHer SOS - Save our Soap". This means we will be gathering unused amenities at the registration desk to be donated to Deborah's Place in Chicago. The pickup is on Saturday so if you want to donate, do it before Saturday. Also, the Hotel does donate used amenities to a local shelter, so nothing will go to waste!

And I do have to give 100% of the credit for the idea to Kim and the info on Deborah's Place to my fabu coworkers who helped organize a similar donation drive earlier this year. See my friends, that's my real #1 skill - networking - I get people together. So make sure you get together with me this coming weekend so I can hook ya up later on.

12 November 2007

The Me and Mine Meme 100

Me and Mine Meme 100 Directions:

1.) State the name of your blog, your real name or your online name, and link to your "about me" page.
Viva La Feminista
No about page...this is what you get.

2.) Say you want to be profiled on BlogHer as a family blogger and link back to this post.
I do! I do!

3.) Tell how long you've been blogging.
Here, since the summer. Ever? Since 2000.

4.) Pass this meme on to three other bloggers that you think should be profiled/interviewed.
a. BirdieRoark
b. Marcie
c. Kim

Technorati tags: blogher, mommy blogging

24 October 2007

For Melanie

When Melanie Stokes become pregnant, she seemed to have everything in place. She was a successful pharmaceutical sales manager happily married to a physician. She had a supportive family and her share of brains and beauty. She was a radiant pregnant woman, eager to meet the child inside of her and to begin her new life as a mother.

On February 23, 2001, Sommer Skyy was born, beautiful and healthy. When Sommer was only a month old, Melanie's depression had grown so severe that she had stopped eating and drinking and could no longer swallow. She began to have paranoid thoughts about others--she thought that her neighbors across the street had all closed their blinds because they thought she was a bad mother. She became gaunt, hallow-eyed, a shell of her former self. Then, she began searching for a way to end her life.

Melanie's was hospitalized three times in seven weeks. She was given four combinations of anti-psychotic, anti-anxiety, and anti-depressant medications. She also underwent electroconvulsive therapy. Her family rallied around her with all their strength, but in the end, Melanie jumped to her death from the twelfth floor of a Chicago hotel. [link]

Today legislation that bears her name may finally be passed and signed into law to provide funding for research into postpartum depression and create an awareness campaign. The House passed their bill last week. On the Senate side, Senator Menendez & Senator Durbin have introduced the Mothers Act bill. Both would accomplish the same thing except the House bill has an interesting amendment attached to it. It wouldn't just look into postpartum depression

(a) Sense of Congress- It is the sense of Congress that the Director of the Institute may conduct a nationally representative longitudinal study (during the period of fiscal years 2008 through 2018) of the relative mental health consequences for women of resolving a pregnancy (intended and unintended) in various ways, including carrying the pregnancy to term and parenting the child, carrying the pregnancy to term and placing the child for adoption, miscarriage, and having an abortion. This study may assess the incidence, timing, magnitude, and duration of the immediate and long-term mental health consequences (positive or negative) of these pregnancy outcomes.
When I first heard that this amendment was attached, I hit the roof & flew off the handle. I am just sick and tired of the anti's attaching anti-abortion language to anything that moves. Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-Pa.), who opposes abortion rights, said that although postpartum depression is a serious disease, it is "just as important to know the effects of adoption, miscarriage and abortion in order to properly help women" (Abrams, AP/Google.com, 10/15). I personally think they will end up being shot in the foot by this amendment.

Post-abortion syndrome has been shown in an APA study to be very rare. This is years after Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, despite his own feelings & a lot of political pressure, stood his ground and said there was no evidence that abortion was a risk to women's health. While I am still upset that money will be wasted on studying something that I think is already known, perhaps one more study will shut them up. Oh, wait, I forget, we're dealing with people who still cling to the idea that abortion gives you breast cancer despite study after study.

But I think the most damning report may come out of the adoption study. I personally support adoption and think it is one of the most courageous things a woman can do. BUT...if a woman desperately does not want to carry a pregnancy to term, I think that may cause more psychological damage. And there goes the anti's mantra of "Don't abort, adopt!" If the woman wants to carry to term and relinquish their child to another family, great. But if being pregnant makes a woman crazy, let's not force her. I firmly believe there are situations where abortion is better than adoption.

PSI: Blog Day for the Mothers ActThe silver lining? Perhaps we will have a better understanding as a society of how to treat & heal women who miscarry.

In the end, I hope that every single dollar goes towards solid science and an awesome PR campaign. I can't wait to see what comes of it.

To take action on the Mothers Act bill, click here.

This post was in support of BlogHers Act: Blog Day for the MothersAct

Cross-posted at Chicago Moms Blog.

Technorati tags: Blogher, BlogHers Act, depression, postpartum, Melanie Stokes, abortion, miscarriage, adoption

20 August 2007

Vote on Global Health

Voting ends at midnight on August 25th.

Technorati tags: blogheract, health

31 July 2007

Biggest shock of Blogher 2007

...was that out of all the gazillion Presidential candidates only two bothered to send any representation.

Elizabeth Edwards (who should be running for something!) gave the closing plenary on Saturday. She was eloquent, sincere, and had a great knack at turning a negative question into a positive one, at least for John.

Hillary Clinton sent a representative, whom I've now seen at 2-3 conferences, who spoke at a few sessions including the one that talked about Hillary and how women voters see her.

NONE of the GOP candidates came out and especially odd was that my own senator, Barak Obama, was no where to be seen. Dude, you live down the street!

So what does this tell me? What should be read from this? That the largest blogger conference happened in Chicago and only two candidates showed. One look at this weekend's YearlyKos speaker list shows at least six Democratic candidates. Considering it's a progressive con, you don't expect the GOP to show up. But Blogher is evenly divided between conservative & liberal. Which we were reminded of many times!

I agree Yikes! Who does value women voters?

blogher07, hillaryclinton, johnedwards, barakobama

29 July 2007

Summary of my Liveblogging Blogher 2007

Here are the links to all my Blogher 2007 liveblogging posts:

Blogher Pre-Party

Not liveblogged, but I wanted to include it this summary post.

Blogher - Friday morning session

Friday - Breakout #1

"Art of Life: Finding and Following Your Passion"

Friday - Breakout #2

"Our Bodies, Our Blogs"

Friday - Breakout #3

"The Art of Writing Reviews"

Friday - Breakout #4

"The State of the Momosphere"

Friday - Breakout #4 (part two)

"Getting it On(line) for a Cause: Part 2 - Raising Consciousness"

Saturday Morning Keynote

Saturday - Breakout #5

"Earn Our Votes: What Questions Do Women Bloggers Want Candidates to Answer in Election 2008? "

Saturday - Breakout #6

"How to write great political coverage: From breaking news to Op-Ed"

Saturday - Breakout #7

"Patriots Act: How to turn Your Blog into a GOtV Machine"

Closing Plenary - Elizabeth Edwards


28 July 2007

Closing Plenary - Elizabeth Edwards

She came to Blogher because she does believe that the blogosphere is the new town square. You don't get to see too many people on the street corner expressing their interest.

She started online with her kids by doing various things like bidding on sports cards with her son. After Ward died, she joined mailing lists that functioned like blogs. Grief ones were like that.

Blogs are an enormous opportunity to meet and discuss issues with people we might never had met. We form natural connections without much thought to gender, race, etc.

Elizabeth just noted that "It's like an addiction. You all don't know about that, right?" Good one.

We just segwayed into discussion about trolls by citing her recent confrontation with Ann Coulter.

She's never had a personal blog/online diary. She admires us for our dedication & focus. She did participate under screen names, but now feels she owes it to everyone to be honest about who she is when online. She does write everything she puts on the Edwards site.

Why is she saying things that aren't coming out of John's mouth? She replies that abortion will be covered under the Edwards health care plan. She also does note that they do differ on marriage equality, but notes that John would never impose his personal views on others.

What does she mean when she says that John is better on women's issues than HRC? She notes that she does townhalls all around the country. She gets the same questions over and over. HRC and her have differences on issues. Those issues include lesbian issues, DOMA (both Edwards want to repeal all of it), health care, true universal health care, and others. HRC needs to be more aggressive on these issues.


Child care: The problem is that we don't have enough slots and we end up without the competition to get enough child care. We need to have care & education from birth to death. She thinks it is helpful to have children in structured environments even just a few hours a week. John's policy will include birth to death education incl head start, etc. Need to invest in early childhood educators. Make it an attractive career path. Loan forgiveness by agreeing to teach for a period of time.

Involvement of young people in the election: Very important. John's been going around the country talking to people, young and old, about poverty. YP feel powerless and we need to find ways to empower them.

Is Iraq a women's issue? Yes. Women are serving in Iraq. Mothers are losing children, fear for their children who are serving in Iraq. If mothers were in charge, there wouldn't be wars. We need to take it personally when someone else's child is serving.

Jennifer Pozner is now asking a question about media, surprise, eh? Media consolidation: John is very clear that he doesn't want Rupurt Murdoch as the media source of the USA. The FCC of this admin is further compounding the problem. He does want to reverse what has happened. This is very bad for democracy. Another reason why net neutrality is so important. She will make sure it is on the website.

What are her top blogs? She reads so many. When she reads them she picks a random blog on her blogroll and continues moving from blog to blog without going back to her blogroll until the next day. She uses Google Alerts.

Elder care: John wants to work on chronic and long-term care. She's dealing with this issue with her father and mother need professional care because they have the finances. We need to increase the number of people who work in elder care just like child care & early education. People need to help navigating the system.

Damn...I really thought I'd get to ask my question, but looks like the mic is moving away from my area of the hall. I hate it when I'm that close, got pointed at, and then get a shrug.

We need to talk about issues from our personal view to get the politics out of politics and start talking policy.

They will be running a 50 state strategy. She thinks that John would square up against Rudy quite well in states like Texas.

Last question is from a woman who stated that she finds it dismissive that the entire conversation is around liberal politics. Also asks how many people review her posts before she can publish. Elizabeth has full editorial control over her blog as well as the comments she leaves on other blogs.

Time has run out.

Elizabeth appears to be very genuine and honest. Each question that seemed to really push her, she answered perfectly and eloquently.

So what would I have asked her?

First I would have thanked her for being such a great role model for women, mothers, and especially working mothers who have to balance work, caring for children/parents, our health, and everything else. My question would had been about how the Edwards administration would work to make work/life balance a reality. That new parents can take paid time off, that sick workers can go to the doctor without fear of losing their job, etc.

Off to the Children's Museum! Where Elizabeth will join us, so maybe I can ask her my question or get a photo with her.


Saturday - Breakout #7

"Patriots Act: How to turn Your Blog into a GOtV Machine"

Put voter registration buttons/links on your blog

get your local media contacts

Get offline and interact with people

Should have an email list of people who can help you with an issue. This will help you find a pattern of who knows who.

Don't let my lack of blogging mean that this session isn't good. Partly I'm finally feeling tired and partly I'm just pretty amazed by the panel. OK...I'm really tired.

A lot of mainstream organizations fear blogging only because they don't see how blogging can turn bodies out into the street (2006 Immigration marches & 2004 March for Women's Lives).

Keep in mind that a lot of the political campaigns are run by young people, mostly men, and often child free, so...they don't have a full range of experiences to impact the campaign. Believe in your experience and communicate it to the campaigns. And bring 10 of your friends to make a larger statement.

All politics are local.

Why aren't there more GOP women bloggers? Are they afraid of being labeled crazy-AnnCoulter-loving-women? A participant expressed a hope that more GOP women will be courageous to come out and blog. Liza Sabater responded that she believes they are out there, but are being ignored by being labeled "mommy bloggers."

Some campaigns have started reading the blogs and trying to find a theme and maybe incorporate them.

"Listening" online - Use your keywords, it helps you see how people are finding you and how they are receiving you.

Power of personal. Don't speak to any party, speak to your beliefs.

We are are the most credible source of information for women. We have a tremendous amount of power, so we better use it.

Widgets: Google calendar, Feedblitz, Upcoming (via Yahoo!)

We are not individual bloggers, we are nodes in a large network.

Don't underestimate the power of MySpace and Facebook.

Get an event tool, mailing list, etc. Don't fret too much about which one, just get one.


Saturday - Breakout #6

"How to write great political coverage: From breaking news to Op-Ed"

We're starting out in break out groups to answer: "Is a political blogger the same as a person who blogs about politics?"

My group came up with a distinction between the two in the a political blogger is someone who is trying to effect a particular outcome, targeting a segment to sway. Then there are those whose blogging about politics is storytelling. We did note that blogging can become political even when we think we're not writing politically. The woman who noted this mentioned that she usually blogs about jazz and then Katrina happened. She had always lamented why jazz doesn't hold a higher status in our society and came to the conclusion that it was a race issue. She did visit NOLA soon after the disaster to help with clean-up.

Two points have bubbled up in the larger conversation:
  1. Use primary sources: don't just depend on the AP, WaPo, etc. to tell the facts; read govt reports & not just the summary; see if you can get a statement from the report writer
  2. Think about what you're not hearing: journalism tends to be episodic, you need to follow up on stories
Our moderator spent the week that GWB went to Africa reading African newspapers. THEN read what the NYTimes, WaPo, etc said about the trip. It was fascinating the distinctions!

Letters to the editor can be powerful and can lead to bigger things (guest speaking, op-eds, political commentary career). Amen! Everyone should be writing letters to the editor. My writing has fallen by the wayside, but I guess it's time to pick them up again!

Pet peeve/pitfalls: Non-disclosure (if you're getting paid by a campaign, you gotta say it), mainstream media pits the extremes on both sides against each other.

FINALLY! Someone disses DailyKos for now being just an arm of the Democratic Party and not the grassroots/netroots community it claims it is. OK...enough on that or I'll start ranting. And no, I'm not going to his ego party this weekend. I promise, that's it.

We need to take advantage of the diversity in the blogosphere in every form it takes to really make a change.

What is political to one community isn't for another. Food/grocery deserts is a political issue that touches on urban planning, racism, on and on... Just a few years ago the A-list political bloggers (mostly men) were claiming that women bloggers weren't blogging about politicals. In reality women were framing their politics differently than those men were (*cough*DailyKos*cough*).

Try to understand the issue from multiple sides not just your side or "the other side."

Don't feel like you need to cover the issue all in one post. Break it down into parts.

Take home points: Know what you're writing, don't do commentary from the hip, it shouldn't be just opinion, use fact/data from credible sources, and stay human.

Citizen Journalism is the buzzword for this entire conference, but esp in the session.

This has been HANDS DOWN the best session and there's only one more to go. The Momosphere one was great, but I got more out of this one for me personally and professionally.


Saturday - Breakout #5

"Earn Our Votes: "

The goal of this session is to come up with 12 questions that Blogherites want answered by candidates, especially Presidential candidates. We are warned that Blogher is a nonpartisan.

A GOP advisor (use to work on the McCain campaign) says that if they can get to close to 50% women voters, they win. The gender gap is huge. Thanks to Ellie Smeal for documenting it in the 1980s. Women care about: Iraq, Health care, jobs, immigration, terrorism, and environment in that order in a recent poll. Women btw 18-49 care about health care more than other age groups and immigration is of more concern for men.

  • Iraq: Younger women (YW) and older women (OW) think it's gotten worse.
  • Immigration: Women think it hurts more than it helps BUT it's not a top issue. 47% hurt vs 41% for men.
    • When women talk about immigration they talk about how their children don't get enough attn in school due to spanish speaking children, longer waits at ERs due to people without health insurance (ummm...the white NYer next to me doesn't have insurance either!)
women polling data from 2006:
  • Women's vote key in VA, MO, MT - determined control of the Senate
  • unmarried women, fastest growing demo in the US, were more likely for Dem candidates in last election
  • women's agenda is broader than men's includes child care, early education & equality for women. The environment - spec energy ind & global warming - also on the agenda
    • have to connect it to health to really get women involved
  • Top concerns among men and women
    • GOP women: Iraq, corruption in govt, social security & retirement
    • Ind women: Health care, economy & jobs, Iraq
    • Dem women: health care, social security & retirement, economy & jobs
NOTE: A TV camera is now in the room and freaking me out. Sorry for major typos!

  • NYTimes data on HC: 45% women favorable, 36% men favorable
    • STRIKING PPT slide that I don't have the time or energy to put in here. They should be posted soon.
  • More than half of single women have a favorable impression of HRC (53%0
    • single men - 43%, married women 39%, married men 32%
  • When polls are done, are they asking if the people are 'informed' of the candidates?
    • Screening questions are usually if they voted, will they vote, not where candidates stand on the war
  • How can women candidates deflect the idea that if they are successful that women voters become jealous for that success?
    • Women need to be empathetic. Be honest about struggling with issues.
    • Overwhelmingly women support women candidates. When women ar eon the ballot, women vote. From EMILY's List
  • How can we deepen the dialog instead of reacting?
    • Stop using crisis because you lose people. Engage, education people.
  • Any post-Katrina data?
    • Nothing too much, but have a feeling that people saw what happened with Katrina and came to a conclusion that the govt isn't working.
  • HRC - Policy vs smear campaign? (posed by Jennifer Pozner, ED, WIMN)
    • GOP pundit says it's a policy problem with GOP women not just cattiness
    • HRC campaign person - The more people get to know her, the more they like her. It's overcoming the GOP smearing. When she won reelection, she won counties that GWB won!
  • How can you explain the diff btw how people view a candidate and what they care about issue-wise?
    • It's a combination. For Arnold Schwarzenegger, his personality helps his issues. For Phil Crane (IL), the more he got out to meet voters, the more his numbers went down!
  • Is the HRC race a do-or-die situation?
    • If she loses, does this doom future women candidates?
    • If she wins, does this mean for more power for women overall?
    • Kim Gandy responds that personally and for NOW, being a woman is NOT the only reason to vote for a candidate. Weight the issues. It's imp for our sons to see women as leaders & consider operating under a woman boss/supervisor.
  • Deborah Siegel, author, asks if there is any generational differences in support for HRC? Boomer women vs women in their 20s?
    • Have to remember that single women are of all age ranges (unmarried, widowed, etc.)
    • No data that splits an age diff
    • There is data that shows education is the deciding factor. Less educated women support HRC higher than educated women
Now we're breaking up into group discussions. I'm sitting in the health care corner, so I think I may stay right where I am.

We need to come up with three questions to ask the candidates! Yikes!

There's a list of issues going around, that I don't have yet. We each get three votes for the numerous issues. There were in addition to the ones on the sheet:
  • allocate fairly?
  • rationing health care?
  • incl long term disabilities
  • mental health parity
  • insurance companies dictating dr's choice of treatment (procedures & medication)
  • how will they lead us in a disc about health care without the politics & religion that usually goes into it? Let's get the science back into healthcare
  • family friendly healthcare
  • where does healthcare fall in their priorities? #1? Behind education?
  • what is their healthcare policy/proposal?
Now here's the feedback:

IRAQ: 1] Money, spending; 2] Leaving Iraq - will you work to leave Iraq by the end of your 1st term, y/n, why?; 3] VA healthcare

ENVIRONMENT: 1] React to the fact that we are coming to a pt of no return, how will your policies protect people from pollution? 2]how will they define their legacy in terms of climate change? 3] Mass transit is the third, but not fully formed.

ECONOMICS: 1] Most sm biz owners are women, will you give self-employed a tax credit to pay for their own self-insurance? 2] Housing issue: How do you prevent predatory lending in the future & how it effects other mortgages; 3] Gap btw rich & poor & women & children are incr at risk: How will you help break the cycle of poverty for women and children? It's not fully formed yet.

HEALTHCARE: 1] rationing care...we just can't afford to give everyone everything that they want, incl end of care. Should it be rationed by lottery? market place? 2] how to ensure that everyone gets health insurance? 3] how do we get birth control covered by all insurance?

Now...how we can take action:
  • Build your coalitions
  • You have two targets: candidates & others who think like you
  • change our culture so that it's ok to talk about politics
Jennifer Pozner has the floor now:
  • Women are about half the bloggers: Don't believe anything different. We do have presence and own that.
  • 1/3 of bloggers consider their blog journalism
  • 56% bloggers spend extra time verifying fact
  • we should all consider ourselves citizen journalists & fact check
    • we don't need a press pass to call up a campaign to ask a question. Blog it!
  • CNN/YouTube debate is a great case study
    • A great question about policy was reframed as an individual question
  • get involved in media reform groups, make relationships with media, use our blogs, support indy media
No time for questions at the end. *pout* But we ended on time!

It should be noted that the only candidates who sent representatives were Clinton & Edwards. ALL candidates were notified of Blogher and the political sessions today.


Saturday Morning Keynote

I got here late, so forgive me!

I walked into the room with NOW President Kim Gandy* and the first thing I heard was something about sex fetishes. GOOD MORNING!

Right now there is a discussion whether or not blogging is elitist. One speaker said it perfectly, it's not elitist in that only upper class discussions occur, but that it is elitist in that there is a digital divide. Now a discussion about literacy itself. I know that some of my blogging friends & I kid about the NSA looking thru our emails and blogs, but one speaker mentioned that in conversations with poor communities could care less, they just want to be online - for job applications, community, and all the fun that we take for granted.

Community is a huge theme, especially within the momosphere. I made a parallel yesterday to someone. That our lives are so crazy that we don't have time to chat over fences with neighbors, so we have created online intimate communities.

Do we need to change technology to suit women or do we change society's view of women? What role do we have to play to make technology the best it can be for women?

Our country has always had an underground press, the internet & blogs have taken that role over. People are aware of the corruption of mainstream media. Althou we have seen that corruption leak into online media.

Women need to be confident in what we know about technology. We don't need to have a Ph.D. in computer science to have technical knowledge. Don't dismiss what you know. I admit to doing this often. I pledge to work on this harder.

I'm a C or B-grade geek thou. I just found out that digg seems to be not listing stories that are being submitted by women. Anyone have any insight on this? Yikes!

Technology is not gender neutral because behind the technology are human beings and we're still sexist/racist/etc.

A great conversation about what the hell we're doing with all this blogging.

* I was lucky in that she was looking for the ballroom when I was walking by. It's not like we planned it. I'm not that cool.


27 July 2007

Friday - Breakout #4 (part two)

Now I'm in the session called "Getting it On(line) for a Cause: Part 2 - Raising Consciousness"

Women care about community and understand what's going on with other people. There is synergy to be used.

Global Health what do we mean by this?
  • safe motherhood
  • UNFPA and the Bush administration refusal to fund it
  • make it clear that when we talk about global health we're talking about women. changing the public debate to include women as members of the world (that one came from Jennifer Pozner of WIMN)
  • need to keep in mind separation of church & state as our politics here in the USA affects the politics of other countries that take their cue from the USA
  • we have to depoliticize this debate (ok...how is safe motherhood political?!?)
  • increasing education for girls (if you get girls to 2nd grade, her families health increases 40%. People, that's only to second grade!!)
  • 34 Million Friends
  • A "both...and" strategy
  • focus on empowering women to take care of their children
  • education for midwives who can then train other women in villages to spread the knowledge to ultimately help safe children, including microloans
  • let's try not to frame this as we are helping "the developing world"
  • when we talk about global health, we have to remember that the USA is a part of the world
We need to start commenting in the open thread about what actions should be taken, do we all do the same thing, do we niche the actions (foodies, media, etc.)?

Friday - Breakout #4

"The State of the Momosphere"

And we're off...This session came from mommy bloggers requesting it. There was a lot of discussion afterwards if mommy bloggers mattered. Well course we do and now we're here!

What does it mean to identify as a mommy blogger? What makes a mommy blogger? What does it mean now that advertisers want to reach us? Do we change? What do mommy bloggers want?


  • Finding a shared story; community; finding others who are going thru the same experience (post-partum, etc.)
  • Support and advice community
  • Started as a journal
  • It's unpolitical in that negative interaction, people playing politics, even thou there are shifting nodes, groups, and communities, a social & normal part of the community
  • Much more like a salon or cocktail party
  • It is very much like high school to people who are being left out
  • Is there active exclusion?
  • Is not being on a blogroll an act of exclusion? What do you do when you need to remove someone?
  • Are we mommy bloggers or bloggers who are mothers? Does it matter? Does it change the level of respect we get from non-parent bloggers? Does it change if you weren't a parent when we started blogging?
  • Is there a momosphere ghetto or a mommy ghetto?
  • Is there power in calling yourself a mommy blogger?
  • Is the audience for mommy bloggers limited to babies & toddlers?
OK...off to another session! If I can get out of the room.


Friday - Breakout #3

"The Art of Writing Reviews"

"What makes a review?" Ooohh...this is gonna be good.

Engadget is middle ground between a 'professional' review and conversation between friends. Eugenia adds in that she bounces between professional review and not. Her site Literago is unique by reviewing book readings. Claire Zulkey talks about writing reviews on sites like Metromix.com where you get practice. You shouldn't just watch a show and write the facts and add in whether you like it or not.

Example: "So You Think You Can Dance" and parallel to other dancing shows, compare to other summer shows, etc.

Tips: Make product reviews as general as possible and talk about how it could fit into someone's life or your life.

Tips on to summarize movies, shows & books: Keep it down to a few sentences, stay away from plot summaries - they are boring, Claire says it is opposite for TV shows - include spoilers,
--> Check out how much a NYTimes reviewer summarizes a movie. They don't much.

Bottomline: Read reviews you like and learn from them.

You'd think there was more of a secret, but I guess there isn't.

Literary Mama.com blogger suggests that you make it personal or political. It gets you away from summarizing.

Always keep in mind your audience.

How to deal with negative reviews: Try not to shy away from negative reviews, be honest - it does a disservice to the company to write a false review, your readers will know it; come at it as "I wanted it to be good, but..."

Citizen reviewers: Good spelling, don't write in all caps, proof read
---> Oy...I'm a very bad reviewer!

Photos very, very imp of reviewing devices (user interface) and historical data (rank against others in its class).


Also, you need feedback. This makes me think that I need to be better about commenting on other reviews I read for the writer's sake. So comment!

A PR person just stood up and said, yes, they are reading our blogs and looking for blogger reviewers.

The blogosphere is built on authenticity thus we usually stay away from advertorial pieces.


Friday - Breakout #2

"Our Bodies, Our Blogs"

Chicagoan Wendy McClure talks about the evolution of her website into a blog into a book and how during the course of writing her book, she gained back the 40 pounds she lost. She only recently decided to talk about it. She's reviewing the push-pull feelings behind the Dove campaign. OOH, she doesn't want to be sold the idea that real beauty is real and that we should buy Dove to promote real beauty. OTOH, she also ridiculed men who were grossed out by the Dove campaign because they want to see skinny models. She doesn't get Love Your Body Day?!? I guess when she says she's cynical, she really is.

Laurie Toby, a photographer, uses her craft to talk about body image by photographing large women in the nude. She's speaking about how raising daughters raised her awareness of body image in our society - this was 25 years ago! She's been the token skinny woman on a panel of fat women discussing fat and feminism. Since then she's been involved in many aspects of body image including non-Caucasian women getting surgery to look more Anglo.

Yvonne Marie posts images of herself online as she goes up and down the weight scale. She got amazing feedback from other women after she posted a photo of her stomach with stretch marks. She so hated her belly, but was moved when other women shared their photos and realized she wasn't the only one.

Oohh...I think I see someone I went to high school with! Of course, we didn't hang out, so I have no idea what her name is. Oh, well.

A blogger in the Q&A talks about how she is "faking it until she makes it" by every day she looks in the mirror and says three good things about herself before she can leave the house. Her life has been much more positive since she started. Hmmm...maybe I need to start doing that. Then again, I'd never leave the house.

Laurie makes a great point that she doesn't want to talk about body image if we don't include men. THIS is exactly what I mean when I tell people that feminism is about men. Feminism gave women the vocabulary and lens to break down body image issues. When the diet & cosmetic industry "discovered" men about 10 years ago, it were feminists who I heard talking about it first & critiquing the tiny box our society gives me to be masculine.

Another blogger asked the panel how we can tsk the media for using 'fat ass' when there are some of us are trying to reclaim the term. Good question.

There are so many blogger friends that I wish were here with me.


Friday - Breakout #1

"Art of Life: Finding and Following Your Passion"

So far most of the audience questions are from women who seem new to blogging and are trying to find their niche/voice. I think I know my niche. Why am I here then? I'm struggling with my online voice, specifically on how to balance RL and BL. After 7 yeas of blogging you'd think I would have figured it out. Problem is that for 6 of those years I could count all my readers on both my hands. Now I have way more readers than I know what to do with.

Part of what I started blogging for is to improve my writing. Not so much the technical parts (spelling/grammar), but the feel of my writing. I need to figure out the next step in all this insanity.

A 72yo blogger is speaking right now. She's so kick ass.

OK...so do you set up your blog as a one show pony or a junk drawer as a punk mama just described her blog? I'm a fan of the junk drawer blog because my mind is not a one track mind. My overarching theme is feminism, but it might be about parenting, TV, shopping, or the elections. If I were to stick to one area I'd suffocate.

Great point about multiple blogs...family safe and your 'real' blog. ha! This is my family safe blog. *snicker*

Question asked: What's the most unexpected thing that has come from blogging?

For me it would have to be all the friendships that have blossomed. And these gigs at Chicago Parent & Chicago Moms Blog. I won't be ashamed at being a mommy blogger. Maybe because I started blogging before I became a mom, but still, being a mom is part of my life.

Great session!



This blog is my personal blog and is not reflective of my employer or what I do for them.
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