I Ain’t Got Nuthin’ But Love For Ya’*

Much like when I wrote an open letter to Michelle Obama in December of 2006, I now find myself scratching my head at the response to my letter to Senator Hillary Clinton.

You people are crazy.

Alright, not all of you. In fact, I owe hugs and beers to many of you for your support. Even if you did not agree with my “whacky” idea that a candidate quit the race, you were respectful in your discussion. So thanks. And let’s face it, respectful in discussion is more than I usually am, so you get bonus points from me for keeping a level head.

The rest of you may just want to keep watching American Idol and worrying about Britney instead of coming back to this blog.

Some thoughts as I scan the hundreds of comments over at Huffington Post, at Digg, and here on Queen of Spain:

-candidates drop out of races all the damn time and states continue to vote in primaries that don’t matter. I live in California. My primary vote never mattered until this year. I’ve voted in PLENTY of elections in which it was already decided by the time my state got a chance. Guess what? You still get to vote in a general election. No really. I swear.

-If you don’t think Senator Clinton is divisive, read the comments in the last post.

-I don’t want anyone to give up on “fighting” for us or for themselves. Please. I realize the race is still neck and neck, I’m not a moron. What I was asking of the Senator was to sacrifice due to her inability to win over those Hillary-haters. She’s had time, it’s not working. That means if she wins (and mind you, if she does I am 100% behind her) we will be in a very similar situation as we are with George W. Sure, she’s on my team…but that does not change the hate. Yes, of course there are Senator Obama haters. OF COURSE. I just haven’t seen the same level of divisiveness with him. If anything, he’s winning many over.

-Superdelegates. Or as my son calls them, Super-sniff-my-butts, because he misheard me talking about them on the phone. But really, we might as well call them Super-sniff-my-butts. I’m really not liking these scenarios where Obama wins the popular vote and Clinton convinces more Superdelegates. Scary. And worthy of a revolution. As if the electoral college isn’t bad enough, now we’re faced with a frightening Superdelegate situation. Whoo hoo Democracy.

-What I was asking Senator Clinton do to was earth shattering and I realize that. I do not want a repeat of South Carolina. I do not want to see this party fight it out until the END of August and the convention leaving a bitter taste in all our mouths. The momentum of Obama’s campaign, coupled with the grassroots base and the divisiveness of Clinton does nothing but lead me to an early September of not just disenfranchised voters but near riots. I can’t be the only one who sees this coming.

-It’s Valentine’s Day. Let’s at least pretend to get along. I’m looking at the Wisconsin ads now and am quickly becoming disgusted at both campaigns when I see where this is heading. It is not pretty and it is most certainly politics as usual.

We can talk more about this tomorrow-live on ooVoo. Tell me why you hated, loved, wanted to rip to shreds my letter to Senator Clinton. Tell me if you have a better idea how to heal this country. Or are you over the idea of bringing everyone back together? Would you rather just win in November and oppress those right-wingers for a few decades?

In the meantime, I’m off to hug some Valentines…

*titled especially for the grammar nazi’s

Hillary and Erin: Pimps Forever ? !

I need to stand up and take Senator Hillary Clinton’s side on this one.

There is no excuse for a network on-air personality to say Chelsea Clinton was “sort of being pimped out” by the Clinton campaign. And Barbara Walters is rather deluded if she thinks this issue really should be dropped by the Senator.

I’ve heard from numerous sources Chelsea Clinton is a fantastic and energizing public speaker and (gasp) fully supporting her mother (no way?) during this election. Let’s just go ahead and assume a daughter can and would want to support her mother if she ran for office.

Now that Chelsea has stepped a bit further into the limelight on her own, it stands to reason the media will discuss her role, her events, her candor, her demeanor. We are no longer in the situation of the 90’s where Chelsea was the daughter of a president, in the limelight due to her parent’s choices.

Reporter David Shuster has apologized for the “pimp” comment. Keith Olbermann has apologized. The head of NBC has apologized. Then Senator Clinton sent a letter, reiterating how inappropriate the comment really was, and Barbara Walters thinks she’s gone too far.

Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaah. You come after my daughter…my kids-make some stupid remark or say something inappropriate-do you think *I* would let up?


Hell no.

I want heads. And I want them to roll.

In fact, I want them rolling and then wrapped in a bow and then served on a golden platter while you kneel at my feet.

I think the Mom and Daughter get to decide when to drop it, not Barbara Walters.

I’d have to argue against the idea this is a campaign ploy to keep Hillary’s name in the news. I mean, really. It’s all we’re hearing about, so that’s not a problem. I don’t think it’s some ploy by the campaign for Clinton to play victim and have us all feeling sorry for them. I really think this is a matter of being tired of the bullshit.

How much Chris Matthews and David Shuster can you take before you finally write the head of NBC and say WTF??!!! Enough already you assholes.

Notice Senator Clinton didn’t make such a bru-ha-ha about all this when they were just going after her. Cross the line to the kids, regardless of their age or voluntary or involuntary involvement…

..and the gloves are off.

I got your back Senator Clinton. Let them brand us pimps and accuse us of exploiting our kids. We know better. And we’re certainly changing the world, aren’t we?

I Have Pneumonia

So I sent my daughter, who will be 3-years old on March 30th, to entertain you while I rest.

Who wants to see my press pass?

full coverage over at BlogHer.com

BlogHer.com, the LAPD and YOUR Right to Cover News

**this is posted over at blogher.com where there is a great discussion-go join in!***

Are bloggers press?

That is the question we’re asking ourselves at BlogHer today as Morra Aarons will (wo)man the open thread discussion on tonight’s CNN/LA Times/Politico GOP debate in Simi Valley, California.

Stepping outside of my usual news-only posts, I am writing today as BlogHer’s Election ’08 Producer. You see, the coverage of the Los Angeles-area GOP debate was not supposed to be *just* an open thread by Morra. It was my job to secure credentials for BlogHer to attend tonight’s event. BlogHer’s Katy Chen and I planned on posting a video from the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley-much like you saw with BlogHer’s Mary Katharine Ham and Morra Aarons from New Hampshire.

Organizers of the event credentialed BlogHer.com to cover the GOP debate, but required all credentials be picked up with a “law enforcement issued press pass.”

However, the Los Angeles Police Department denied credentials to both Katy and I on the grounds we are “online media” and BlogHer.com was not throughly investigated by the LAPD. This decision came suddenly after weeks of talks with LAPD personnel and assurances that Katy and I, as former Los Angeles news reporters, would be applying for a press pass “renewal” as we were simply changing our media affiliation.

Normally any new reporter would have to go through a background check and fingerprinting before being issued credentials, but as Katy and I have already been through this process had been issued credentials for previous employers, we were told it was only a matter of “pulling us up in the system” and issuing stickers for 2008-2010.

BlogHer.com made all the necessary arrangements from passport photos to signed letters stating Katy and I were BlogHer employees and would indeed be covering events and news inside Los Angeles. We were told to contact LAPD on Monday morning, as the woman who issues the press passes would be in at 6:30am specifically to renew media for the next two days as “everyone is coming in getting them for the GOP debate, we’ll be doing it all day and night.”

Monday morning came, and I called as instructed and spoke with LAPD media relations in order to set my appointment time for renewal that day. It was then I was told “we’ve never heard of you or this blogher thing and you need a background check.”

I explained Katy and I had completed all the necessary steps, were instructed to bring our new employment letter to the police station, and that we can both be found in the LAPD “system.”

I was then told “…this is online, right? We’re not doing online. You have to submit the employer and show me three months of coverage in Los Angeles and I have to look at it before I can give you passes.”

To be honest, I was thrown. Here we had spoken to LAPD personnel, checking and double checking for weeks if we had prepared properly and were being told, two days before the event, we had to submit three months worth of coverage and find a way to show “via tape or print” BlogHer.com’s amazing coverage.

I offered to hand-deliver links, printed pages of the site and to assist in anyway possible in showing BlogHer.com as a legitimate source of information.

I was told there was no need, “submit it all by mail and I’ll review it and get back to you.” I asked if I could FedEx documents, given the rush and was again rebuffed with, “there is no need, I’m not going to get to it. It could take months.”

Frustrated and confused I hung up with LAPD, promising to send in our information via snail mail soon. Then I made a few more calls, and this is where the real story begins.

As luck would have it, Katy and I have had the good fortune of working for several news outlets in Los Angeles. We’ve gotten to know many news directors , anchors, and reporters over the years. Katy and I began calling and emailing past colleagues.

My first call was to the President of the Radio and Television News Directors Association or RTNDA. It was then I learned of the ongoing battle between the LAPD and media. I was told the RTNDA and LAPD agreed last year to come up with a system for issuing credentials to bloggers and failed to reach an agreement. In the meantime, RTNDA and LAPD agreed to put online media through the same background check and fingerprinting as main stream media and they would issue press passes on a case by case basis. I was told given Katy and my background in Los Angeles news media this should not have been an issue.

Furthermore, after talking to several local news directors, the LAPD personnel’s claim of “not knowing who we were” was contradicted. Each news director told me they had been approached by the LAPD and specifically asked about myself and Katy-if they knew us, when we worked for them, etc.

The confusion over the subject had Katy and I contacting the LA County Sheriff’s department and the California Highway Patrol to see if they would credential us in time for the debate. New background checks were needed for the LA Sheriff’s as they do not use the same system as the LAPD, and the turn-around time was months.

Then the emails and calls TO us began. I received several offers from local and national media to help us out. They would write letters saying we were their employees. They would give us unused 2008-2010 stickers. They would even let us take their well-known anchor’s pass (a man) up to the check in point of the library, simply to make a statement.

I politely and with much gratitude decline their offers, and agreed with each offering party that we would tackle this together, formally, as media brethren.

We’re not the only ones who have faced this issue. Frank Russo tackled this with the California Legislature in March of last year.

I understand with every new medium there are some growing pains. There is debate to be had over which entities can call themselves “media” and which are not. Over what constitutes a “legitimate” news or information source and what is just one woman and her blog, with no readers. But there is something to be said about that one woman and her blog, utilizing the freedom of the press and the officials she elects and tax dollars she contributes.

I encourage you to engage in this debate online and with your local, city, and state officials. Katy and I will mail the necessary requirements to the LAPD and wait for the results.

Tomorrow we WILL be covering the Democratic debate at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, as they have credentialed us without law enforcement press passes. In comparison, before I even submitted our social security numbers to organizers for the event, I received a “we’d be pleased to have you” response almost overnight.

I’d like to thank the Ronald Reagan Library for welcoming BlogHer.com and apologize for our absence tonight. And I’d be remiss to not publicly thank the various Los Angeles news departments that offered us their support, help, and who even vouched for us with the LAPD. I’m encouraged to see the old guard embrace and encourage the new, proving to me, once again, it’s all about community-online or otherwise.

An open letter to pollsters, stat takers, and survey pimps

What the HELL is this crap? Are you serious? A poll asking South Carolina voters which presidential candidate is the SEXIEST. Really?

I’m just curious what is accomplished by a poll like this, why any polling company would ask this question, and why the hell they think I care.

The President of Public Policy Polling, Dean Debnam, agrees this is silly, “Politics doesn’t always have to be completely serious,” he says in the press release. “We did this survey to remind folks to keep their senses of humor during this intense election season.”

Yeah, I’m not laughing.

If you want me to keep my sense of humor, how about asking me which candidate tells the best joke. Or which candidate is mostly likely to have a beer at the local pub. Draw me a funny political cartoon. Let me just state I’m stretching with those examples, because I really am not sure this election needs to have a sense of humor. Some “light” moments-I’ll give ya’ that…but my sense of humor just doesn’t come into play with dead soldiers and Iraqis, families struggling to pay their mortgage, lives-hanging-in-the-balance, fate-of-our-country politics.

But let’s tackle the bigger issue here and why this poll makes me roll my eyes and want to move to Canada-ENOUGH with the sexy crap. Obama girl, Hillary boy, Edward’s hair, Clinton’s cleavage-ENOUGH already.

What does even discussing which candidate is SEXY accomplish in the bigger picture aside from the few chuckles the polling folks were hoping for?

It reinforces that “sexy” matters.

It reinforces the idea that Americans care more about Oprah than Obama.

It reinforces to my daughter she needs to be thin, beautiful, and slutty.

It reinforces to my son SEXY counts when trying to win over the world.

It reinforces to ME some voters care more about American Idol and Britney’s custody case and will actually cast their ballot for the candidate who has the best stylist.

It reinforces to the candidates the false notion 8.3 million readers of BlogHer.com care more about fluff than the issues.

Maybe I have no sense of humor this morning. Maybe I woke up to find this poll and am overreacting. I’ll admit I’m feeling rather cynical this weekend.
Or maybe I’m tired of some woman shaking her ass all over national tv for Obama and the media discussing necklines and skin.

We have quips about looking “too” feminine or “mannish”-leading to snark about tears in New Hampshire. We have polls measuring the next leader of the free world’s SEXY.

Enough. Please. Enough

crossposted at the Huffington Post

Dear Michelle Obama, A Look Back

About a year ago, I wrote an open letter to Michelle Obama and published it here on the Huffington Post. It was picked up by the Chicago Sun Times and for one reason or another became a heavy topic around the web and at dinner tables because me-the white suburban mom-dared to utter the word everyone is thinking but no one wants to say.

It was probably one of the most sincere and heartfelt things I have ever written in my life. At the time I was getting ready for Christmas with my family and watching the candidates slowly declare for 2008.

I couldn’t help but wonder what on earth Michelle Obama was thinking. Not as a prominent player in American politics or as the wife of a Senator. I was wondering what the “Mom” in her was struggling with, if anything:

“The simple fact that I know you are weighing this decision with such intensity makes me like you and your husband even more. It confirms to me you are the type of people I think you are: smart, loving, educated, and with great common sense. Frankly, it makes me want your husband in the Oval Office even more. I’m just not sure my needs outweigh the cost to you and yours. I don’t want to seem like a selfish American, but it will take something BIG to give hope to this country and those of us disheartened, disenfranchised, and just plain disgusted with the current state of affairs. Yes, I want Senator Barack Obama to be that something big. I want him to be the answer. I want to ask you to support his run in 2008. But I can’t. I can’t ask you to do it for me. I can’t ask you to do it for the children or for the future or for the good of mankind. You are a mother, like I am a mother, and I know I can’t ask that of you.

I can only wait.

Whatever you decide, the Moms, if no one else, will understand and have your back.”

Many things have happened in the year since I wrote those paragraphs. Senator Obama is, in fact, a presidential candidate and depending which poll you like best, he’s not just in the race-he’s in the lead.

Again I find my mind wandering back to Michelle Obama. Because she’s a mother. Because she’s a woman holding two little girls hands, standing next to her husband, with history on the line.

I get twinges of this feeling with Senator Hillary Clinton. They are more reserved, and I haven’t exactly figured out why. The mother piece is there. The woman piece. The history. The first. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Senator. If she is the Democratic Nominee she will absolutely get my vote and I’ll be first in line to champion the first woman President of the United States of America.

Maybe it’s the sacrifice that is missing. Maybe I look at Michelle Obama and her family’s potential first differently than Senator Clinton’s. We all know the Clinton family has been dealing with the White House and all it entails, and Chelsea is grown and it seems just less…risky? Maybe that’s naive of me. Whatever the reason, the more I see Senator Obama climb in the polls, the more my mind thinks of his wife and family.

When the firestorm erupted over my original article I responded on my personal blog,

“But that really is what all of this is about. It’s about being a mother. Do you go with showing your children just how big of an impact you can make on the world? Do you take the safer route? It’s about choices. And the millions of choices that go with motherhood. Breast or bottle. Work or home. Cloth or disposable? It. Never. Ends.

My letter to Michelle Obama was nothing more than my sympathy and empathy for having to make yet another motherhood decision. And as we all know, what is best for one family is not, necessarily best for the next.

I still breastfeed my 21-month old. That is a choice that I get shit for. But it works for my family. Sure, it’s not an oval office issue or anything, but it’s an issue none the less. And it seems we women get shit for any decision we make on any motherhood issue.

As a mother, and a mother with a rather LOUD speaking platform, I will happily get the back of ANY MOM for their decisions. It’s time for the world to SHUT THE FUCK UP and remember it’s the mothers who sacrifice, suffer, and agonize over those decisions.”

Then, of course, I received another round of hate mail because I’m a mother and a woman and I curse.

The Obama and Clinton family will always have my utmost respect simply for trying to be the first-motives not withstanding. There is risk in this for white, Southern, male John Edwards but I’m not sure it’s the risk of the first minority or the first woman.

I realize we’re all trying to get past this whole race/gender thing…but let’s be real here-you and I both know people who say things like “I just don’t want a black man as president” or “I just can’t vote for a woman.” Throw in the “mother” and “family” factor and I think the Obama’s and Clinton’s will never get a fair shake.

I know-I’m a woman. I’m a mother. We can’t even pick out the right toy at the store without it being a national issue.

I am at a total loss for what I may be writing one year from now. I’m not even sure who I’m voting for let alone what I think might happen come next holiday season. Will we be talking of risk and firsts or will be over it entirely and already bitching about those first 100 days in office?

What I do know, is the same holds true today as I wrote last year:

“The talking heads and pundits can make fun of me all they want, but how soon they forget photos like this, and this, and this. It’s easy to dismiss a ‘self-described Mom’ when she’s showing support for a fellow mother, but it’s not so easy to dismiss all the mothers, wives, and children I see in those photos.

So mount your protests and do your best spin on my very honest letter. Just keep reading. Because the Mom voice will stay loud, and we’re making the decisions that rock the world-whether you like it or not.”

Crossposted at the Huffington Post

Ignore that Woman behind the Curtain

…we’re tweaking graphics. Sit tight.

Good for us she’s really smart and talented. This guy helped too.

Anyway, if it’s wonky for a few hours, nevermind us and move along.