Since last Fall, I have become increasingly active on Facebook about the 2016 election. First, speaking out about Donald Trump, and my horror that anyone could consider him a suitable candidate for president. Sadly, we have more than enough proof that he may be a viable one.

Then I realized I also needed to start talking about who I do support in the presidential election — with utmost confidence in her record, qualifications and ability to lead our country, Hillary Rodham Cllnton.

Slowly my Facebook posts have shifted to be largely political commentaries on the candidates and the election. Mostly focused on why #imwithher and #nevertrump. Of late I’ve also become increasingly critical of Senator Sanders’ campaign, which has surfaced a few critics of ME, no surprise. I also changed my Facebook profile to announce — with pride — that I will be voting for Secretary Clinton for president.

Today though I decided it was time to take my commentary back to my own blog. I’ve got more to say than can be encapsulated short Facebook posts, and this poor little blog has sat neglected for far too long anyway.

Why today? Because yesterday was a tipping point in this election. I want my thoughts all in one place. Let’s run it down.

Hillary Clinton at the Apollo

Hillary Clinton delivered an excellent speech at a campaign rally at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. The content was on point, for both the local and national audience, and she was in a word, presidential. It was everything that her supporters expect to hear from her, that her opponents fear to hear from her, and I hope, that the undecided truly listen to. Watch it for yourself (below) but listen especially for the 3 points she calls for all the candidates in the election to address:

  • the well-being of the American people. All the people
  • the safety of our nation
  • making our country whole again

When you listen to campaign speeches, measure the candidates against these 3 critical things. In my opinion, and to date this year, the opinion of nearly 9 million others, Secretary Clinton is the only candidate across both parties who can deliver on all three.

She inspires me with her passion for our country, its people and her desire to serve us. All of us. #imwithher. And I trust her.

More coverage of the speech:
The New Yorker
New York Times

Donald Trump Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot to Ankle

Donald Trump made what has to be his most ignorant statement to date in a Town Hall interview with Chris Matthews. When pressed by Matthews, Trump said that if the abortion were banned, women who get abortions should be punished. Not the men involved. Just the women.

How outrageous was the statement? So bad that Trump did something he hardly ever does with his outrageous statements — he walked it back almost immediately to the more toned down idea that the doctors involved should be punished. You can read the summary here.

What he didn’t take back, and in fact NONE of the Republicans will, is a commitment to overturn Roe v. Wade. They all want to take away a woman’s right to choose, to make abortion illegal. The other candidates just don’t have foot in mouth disease to the same degree as Mr. Trump. They may not say it, but they kinda want to punish women too.

To the undecided voter:

The consequences of the GOP policy on reproductive rights fall disproportionately on women, especially women with lower economic status. Who is guaranteed to not really suffer in the GOP scenario? Unless you are a principled OB-GYN, white men. Is this the America you want? Remember — abortion rights don’t force anyone to have an abortion, they just give everyone the right to make a choice. If your religion prohibits you from considering the option, fair enough, but in the United States, a founding principle is the separation of church and state. We cannot pass laws that force belief systems upon others. It is the law.

Cruz and Kasich and Ryan and Romney and all the rest of the crew? They’d ban abortion too, given the chance. Stopping this, stopping them is one of the most important issues at stake in this election. It speaks directly to the well-being of the American people and is a large part of why current races for Senate and the House are so crucial. We need to make Congress more blue. Secretary Clinton understands this at the most fundamental level, which is why she deploys her considerable fundraising muscle not just for her own campaign, but also for the benefit of the down ticket Democrats.

Rachel Maddow Rocks the House

Rachel Maddow conducted illuminating exclusive interviews with both Democratic candidates yesterday. Secretary Clinton in person following the Harlem speech, and Senator Sanders by video feed.

While much has been said about the similarities between the two platforms, the two candidates are very different people, with different qualifications, experience and priorities. One of the reasons I support Secretary Clinton for president is that I believe in both her plan to get things done, and her ability to make it happen. I appreciate some of Senator Sanders ideas, but do not have the same confidence in him, and these two interviews solidified some of the reasons why.

Maddow had hard questions for both. To her credit, she didn’t repeat old questions that both candidates have asked and answered. She used her time wisely to ask about the way forward.

If you are a diehard Sanders supporter, you will likely not agree with my take. That is indeed your right and privilege. For those of you undecided, go ahead and watch the clips first if you want, and then come back for my POV.

Here’s the first Clinton clip, and just follow on from there on MSNBC to watch the other interview clips:


If you prefer a transcript.

Here’s the first Sanders clip, same instructions:


If you prefer a transcript.

Secretary Clinton really shined. She looked and acted presidential. Some of the highlights:

  • Her respect for the primary system and electoral process
  • Her take on the GOP, especially how Trump is just a more extreme representative of the positions of the party — in fact, a product of the GOP machine (if a little more unpredictable than the party leaders would like). She explained that her sharper criticisms of the GOP candidates were not a pivot away from the primaries, but stem from her need to respond to the poisoned environment they are creating sooner rather than later.
  • The importance of supporting the down ticket races to turn Congress more blue so the progressive agenda can actually be carried out, not blocked by an obstructionist Congress.
  • Strong support for President Obama on the Merrick Garland nomination. I love the “one president at a time” comment.
  • Good answer to the the hard question about the Clinton Foundation donors. Rather than shutter the Foundation during the election (and presumably her presidency), she wants the Foundation to to be able to continue its good work, in full daylight and full transparency.

Sanders did not fare as well. Maddow pressed him hard on a number of process issues that have been in the news of late. He was visibly irritated at the questions, and honestly didn’t give such great answers.

  • On the super delegates, he acknowledged that he intends to lobby super delegates to switch their votes, even if Secretary Clinton is ahead in the popular vote and pledged delegates
  • On his campaign claims that they just didn’t spend any money in those states where they lost, where Maddow herself has proof that this isn’t true, he wiggled and waffled, and ended up throwing his staffers under the bus.
  • On whether he would fundraise for the down ticket races, he gave a resounding “we’ll see.” Translation: probably not.

I know many people love him to distraction, and are ready to march in Bernie’s Revolution. The question is, what is the actual plan, and can he get anything done? He’s not helping the party he’s “borrowed” to run for president. In fact, it sort of feels like he’s just helping himself.

For another take on the differences that emerged during the two interviews, read Steve Benen’s post on the TheMaddowBlog.

And then there were the candidates’ responses to Trump’s abortion remarks.

Clinton takes Trump, and the anger he is fomenting, very seriously. She has said before that we need to address the root cause for why his message resonates with his supporters, and in her speech, she addressed some of his very dangerous ideas directly.

She reiterated these sentiments in her comments to Maddow about the Trump remarks, making it clear that women’s rights, including abortion rights, are an essential part of her platform. They cannot be ignored or relegated to second spot. This is one of the things that I appreciate about her. She has always worked to achieve economic and social equality for women, knowing that it is fundamental to achieving progressive goals as well as retaining the ground we’ve already won. Like Roe v. Wade.

She says it better than I do though, so here’s the clip from the Maddow show, which includes the Trump/Matthews “conversation” and Secretary Clinton’s statement:

Sanders, on the other hand, just does not get how important the abortion rights issue is. To women, and to the progressive agenda overall. While we know he supports a woman’s right to choose, and he said so very clearly, he dismissed Trump’s comments as more of the same old outrageous, and pivoted immediately back to his usual talking points. Don’t get me wrong — the things he is angry about are important. But they aren’t the only issues at stake, and for some of us, they may not even be the most critical issues. If we have to pick. Dismissing Trump’s comments dismisses the danger of the underlying GOP philosophy behind them.

Bottom line, he showed how tone-deaf he is to women’s issues. That matters to me. A lot.

Here’s the clip:

Abortion rights is a pivotal issue for me, and many voters. Male and female alike. No one — not a friend, not a Facebook troll, not a candidate — has the right to dismiss your issue as less important than others. Whatever your do or die issue is — the tie breaker, your go-to-the-mat issue — it is your absolute right to make your ultimate voting decision based on that issue.

Senator Sanders dismissed one of my core issues as less important in his comments yesterday. Secretary Clinton, on the other hand, made it crystal clear how important and fundamental she considers woman’s rights, including the right to choose.

Clinton gets it. All the issues are important, and we have to make progress on the WHOLE Democratic agenda. Not just one piece.

I was voting for her anyway. Today, I am even more certain that she is the right choice for the United States.

And if you want to call that voting with my vagina? Well, it’s way easier to use the ballot or the voting machine, but I’ll see what I can figure out by election day.

 

Did you know 1 in 5 children in the United States don’t get enough to eat? That’s 18,000 school busses full of kids. Or if, in this season of gridiron rivalries, football metaphors do it for you, 223 football stadiums full of fans.

I live and work in cities —Bridgeport CT and New York — but most of the poverty I see in my daily commute is the adult variety. While I know that child hunger is a problem in America, it’s largely intellectual knowledge. For many, myself included, we aren’t as motivated to take action when something isn’t tangibly real. We give to the charities that impact the people around us, or that have helped personally at some time in our lives.

In our comfortable middle-class lives, it’s hard to even understand hunger. Real hunger. Not just “skipped lunch” or “fasting for a colonoscopy” hungry.

Unilever Project Sunlight aims to change all that by giving us both the tools we need to better understand childhood hunger, and with its downloadable #ShareAMeal toolkit, concrete suggestions for ways we can help, including:

  • help a family in your own neighborhood by hosting a community potluck or sending an extra lunch to school with your child;
  • volunteer at a local food bank;
  • host a virtual food drive;
  • make a donation to Feeding America.

Get your kids involved.

A good way to make hunger — real hunger — more tangible for them while you help families in need in your community is to do the same activity as the kids in the Hatch Project Hunger video above. Set a budget, say $40, and go food shopping for a family of four for a week, then donate the food to your local food bank. Be sure to check in advance for any restrictions; some organizations aren’t equipped to handle too many perishables, and may prefer dry or canned goods.

Start by watching the Hatch video with your kids, and downloading the #ShareAMeal toolkit, and then talk it over with them. How would they like to help?

In my family, we are going to start with a donation to Feeding America. If that’s all you have time for right now, please join us! It’s what we can do, right now, and that’s better than waiting to do anything until you have more time to volunteer. I’d love to hear what you’ve decided to do in my comments.

About SheKnows’ Hatch, the Hatch Hunger Project and Unilever Project Sunlight:

SheKnows’ Hatch teamed with Unilever Project Sunlight to help families build awareness and take action around child hunger in America. The facts are startling: 16 million kids living in the United States don’t know where their next meal is coming from. That equates to one in every five children – enough to fill 18,000 school buses and 223 football stadiums. On average, those who live in food-insecure households have only $36.50 to spend on groceries every week. That means that 80 percent of children may not understand the everyday struggle their peers – many of whom could be their own friends or neighbors – confront when there’s not enough food on the table. The Hatch Hunger and Project Sunlight video and workshop aims to create empathy by showing kids what it means to shop for healthy, filling meals for an entire week on a thrifty budget. It teaches important math and teamwork skills. Finally, it is about action, empowering kids to have a positive impact on their community to Share A Meal with a family in need and donating food and canned goods to local food banks.

So. Mineorama, the Minecraft convention I wrote about in June, was “postponed” under quite dodgy circumstances a mere 5 days before it was scheduled to take place. And when I say postponed, the chances of it ever happening are (in my opinion) slightly less than a snowball’s in hell.

Cue lots of disappointed fans, many of whom had planned summer holidays in NYC just to attend the two-day convention, We were among the lucky locals who were potentially out our registration fees (although it looks like American Express has allowed my claim and refunded my payment) but not air tickets and potentially non-cancellable lodging reservations.

And then something amazing happened. A group of YouTube stars and server vendors who were scheduled to appear or exhibit at the conference put their heads and resources together and in a matter of days pulled together a one-day FREE meet-up for the fans, open to anyone who had proof of purchase of Mineorama tickets.

Space was limited so you had to register for the event, and bring both the YouCube Meetup Eventbrite registration and your proof of Mineorama tickets to the door, but on the day, everything went very smoothly. There was plenty of security managing the entry and meet-up lines, and volunteers kept everything moving to schedule.

Doug was more interested in meeting his favorite YouTube stars than the panels. Here he is with AntVenom:

DougwithAntvenom

 

And with JeromeASF.

Doug_CavemanFilms

I mostly hung around in the “parent lounge,” the floor near an outlet so I could get a little work done, or stood in line holding his place while he scouted the room looking for other stars to get photos with. That strategy ended up paying off big time; he was able to meet the guys slated for the last autograph session earlier in the day so we could scram and get lunch much earlier than we expected. WIN!

We both had a great time. He got to meet some of his favorite YouTubers as well as talk Minecraft with other fans as we waited in line. I loved seeing him have so much fun.

I also love the lesson that this whole affair provided the kids about the Internet — the good and the bad. Especially the good though. We get enough of the doom and gloom fear-mongering about safety and security of the Internet every day. While it is good to be cautious when purchasing anything over the Internet, Mineorama had all the trappings of a legitimate conference. Including relationships with STEM education initiatives and NYC schools. If it was fraud (and I am not saying it was), it wasn’t Internet fraud. It was just fraud. And honestly, I am inclined to believe that the organizers intentions were good, but their execution extremely poor.

But the good. That is the story that matters. The group of folks (MCProHosting, SkyDoesMinecraft and Mineplex) who came together and at their own expense put together the one-day meet-up exemplifies everything that I love about online community. Once you find your tribe, the tribe will be there for you. What could have been utter disappointment for the kids turned into a perfect example of how people can make a difference.

Sweet.

There has been some chatter on Twitter about the YouCube Meetup folks doing a Kickstarter to fund a 2015 meet up. I haven’t seen any details yet, but if they do it, I’m in.

 

Kids, online relationships, digital safety and a little Minecraft

July 2, 2014

Last month, I had the privilege to attend the New York Women in Communications (@nywici) Cocktails & Conversations panel on The Future of Communications. Moderated by the group’s outgoing president and NY PR agency head Liz Kaplow, the panel featured BlogHer CEO Lisa Stone, Dana Points from Parents and American Baby and Sarah Davanzo from […]

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Spring has sprung, and I’m out and about

May 9, 2014

It’s finally spring in the Northeast. The relief on the faces you see on the street, in the subway, on the commuter rail platform is palpable. Even a little rain doesn’t seem to dampen the spirits. Last weekend, I was out and about in the glorious weather. Starting with a reception for the exhibit of […]

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