Monday, August 30, 2010

Emmys 2010: Jimmy Fallon with the Cast of Glee

Folks, if you like the television show Glee, you will love this opening sketch from the Emmys last night. If you love Bruce Springsteen, and have a sense of humor, you will also love this sketch. However, if you are a true Boss aficionado, you may cringe and feel like someone just ran their nails across a chalkboard. Enjoy!

Copyright 2010 (text only). The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Guest Blog: Women & Elections: 5 Reasons Why Women Make Great Political Candidates

In honor of Women's Equality Day and the 90th anniversary of women winning the right to vote, here is a guest blog from Phil Van Treuren at Killer Campaigning.

One of the reasons we started Killer Campaigning was to show potential political candidates of all demographics how to serve their communities by running for office. As a former political consultant and campaign manager, however, I’m especially interested in encouraging women to get into politics–particularly because I know how effective they can be as candidates in local elections.

While women often make unparalleled government officials, they also have a knack for being very competitive political campaign candidates. As a political consultant, I would have much rather worked for a strong female candidate than a typical male candidate–for many reasons. While female politicians and candidates are outnumbered by their male counterparts today, I’m encouraged by the growing number of talented women entering political campaign races every year.

So, how do women win such a large percentage of campaigns and elections they enter, and what characteristics make females such effective political candidates? The reasons why women are often more successful than men in politics are far too numerous to list in one article, but we’re going to take a look at five of the most compelling below. If you have more to add to the list, please leave a comment at the end of this post.

And if you’re a women thinking about starting a career in politics and elections, I hope you’ll go for it . . . your country and community needs more talented females in government!

Top 5 Reasons Why Women Make Great Local Political Campaign Candidates

1. Natural Communication Skills

While nothing in this post is meant to stereotype men or women, it’s a fact that females are often more talented and comfortable in the realm of effective communication.

Being able to communicate your ideas in a compelling fashion is a vital trait for political candidates, and the person who can do so naturally–without having to be taught how–has an advantage in any campaign. Many voters find the communication style of women candidates more appealing, which helps in both one-on-one grassroots situations and public forums or debates.

2. Higher Thresholds for Campaign Trail Stress

The rigors of the campaign trail–even in local elections–can be much more demanding and stressful than new candidates expect. A woman’s innate ability to process and deal with stressful situations calmly is a huge boon in political campaigns.

Not all men are hotheads, but a male political candidate is much more likely to respond to respond to the steady stress of campaigning in a damaging fashion. Angry outbursts, impulsive comments and bad attitudes just aren’t as common in female candidates.

3. Better Ability Make Supporters & Volunteers Feel Appreciated

One of the most important–and overlooked–things that political candidates can do for their campaigns is making employees, volunteers and supporters feel as though their hard work is appreciated.

I can’t tell you how many male candidates I’ve worked with who treat their staff and volunteers like dirt, which leads to awful productivity. This kind of arrogance and lack of empathy might be present in some women candidates, as well, but it isn’t as common. Women are often much better at letting people know how important and needed they are.

4. Lower Likelihood for “Skeletons in the Closet”

Sure, women can have their secrets, too, but they are much less likely than men to have career-destroying skeletons hanging in the closet. As a campaign manager, one of your greatest fears is that something scandalous is going to be revealed about your candidate in the last few weeks of the election.

Male candidates certainly don’t have a corner on the scandal market, but many of them do seem to have more political baggage. How often do you see a scandal involving a female politician in the news?

5. Greater Voter Appeal and Demographic Advantages

It’s a well-known fact in political consulting circles that a female candidate will often run a few points ahead of a male challenger just because she is a woman. We’re not going to explore the reasons for this, but in most districts, being a woman is automatically going to give you a head start in the race.

Now, just being female won’t win the election for you–it also takes good planning, hard work and a bit of luck. As a man, though, I would much rather run against another man than go head-to-head with a female candidate at the polls.

The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Glenn Beck Doesn't Think Women's Rights Should be Military Goal

I find this little ditty from the August 24 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program quite fascinating. Given that much of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan has been billed as "democracy building," you'd think Mr. Beck would have a clearer view of the importance of strong women's roles in a developing democracy. Democratization is harmed by not including gender as an important axis in assessing the character of political institutions, and gender theorists have long suggested that gender is a primary organizing principle of the state. Given the way the Taliban has horribly oppressed women and girls, it does not seem out of bounds to me that, in working with Afghan nationals, the roles and opportunities for women and girls would be part of our focus.

At the dawn of the 20th century, Egyptian poet Hafez Ibrahim said: "When you educate a woman, you create a nation." Another play on this idea came from Robert M. Maciver when he said, "When you educate a man you educate an individual; when you educate a woman you educate a whole family." Investments in women and girls -- through increased education, family planning, and labor force participation -- can lead to real economic growth in developed and developing countries. The cause of women's empowerment has never been more important. So yes, Mr. Beck, our soldiers -- an unprecedented amount of whom are women -- care about women's equality as they carry out their mission.

As New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof recently put it, gender inequality is "the dominant moral challenge we face in the 21st century."

Copyright 2010 (text only). The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Forced into Facebook

Well, it's finally happened. Despite my clear resistance, my friends have bullied and conned and schmoozed their way into winning the Facebook argument with me. So I have finally signed up for the worldwide social networking site. But, I must admit, I am intensely ambivalent about this move -- I'm really more of a Twitter girl, quite frankly. This great clip from Southpark aptly illustrates my Facebook ambivalence. Enjoy!

Copyright 2010 (text only). The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Forecast Says GOP House Takeover More Likely

The Cook Political Report raised its House forecast "from a Republican net gain of between 32 and 42 seats to a gain of between 35 and 45 seats, with the odds of an outcome larger than that range greater than the odds of a lesser outcome." House Republicans would need a net turnover of 39 seats to take control of the chamber.

"At this point, only 214 House seats are Solid, Likely or Lean Democratic, while 181 seats are Solid, Likely or Lean Republican, and 40 seats are in the Toss Up column. While this would imply an advantage for Democrats, given the continuous erosion we have seen in dozens of contests so far this cycle, races shifting from Solid and Likely Democrat to Lean Democratic and Toss Up, we would be surprised if there was not more movement over the 78 days from now until Election Day."

Ugh. We need to turn out the vote, people. Just remember where the last "Republican Revolution" got us. Besides that, if poor Rep. Boehner becomes speaker, he won't be able to devote so much time to his beloved golf game.

The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lightning, Up Close and Personal

Okay, folks. If you're a science geek -- or even not -- I bet you will find this as cool as I did. The video shows lightning strikes slowed down by 300X. While the video lasts 90 seconds, it actually covers less than a second of real time. What a scene. I don't know about you, but I love a good thunderstorm! Enjoy!

Copyright 2010 (text only). The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Not In My America

Asking citizens “Where are your papers?” We are better than that
Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL) wrote, “I do not want to live in a nation where American citizens are asked, ‘Where are your papers?’ We are better than that.” Arizona’s new immigration law strikes deep at the heart of American values of freedom and fairness. Watch this video and then share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

This campaign is sponsored by CAP Action and SEIU.

The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fab Ohio Billboard Hits Boehner Where it Hurts

Special thanks to @watergatesummer on Twitter, picture via twitpic.

Copyright 2010 (text only). The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Americans Having Twins More Often

It seems that American women are having twins more frequently than ever. And certain states have even more? Why? There's actually a simple biological explanation, as little Evan and Jamie's mom knows. Yep, a pal of mine had twins, and typifies this growing trend. Perhaps she will take them to the Twinsburg Twins Festival someday!

Copyright 2010 (text only). The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Everyone Loves BP - An Unedited Marketing Video a la Breitbart

Some fab new BP-inspired satire from Funny or Die. BP's spokesperson Beau Jangles hits the streets to ask people what they really think of BP.

Copyright 2010 (text only). The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

RNC Changes Presidential Primaries, Process to Avoid Winner-Take-All

The Republican National Committee "has approved a resolution making dramatic changes to the way the GOP picks a presidential nominee, moving primaries to later dates and requiring states to allocate their delegates on a proportional basis," The Hotline reports.

"The proposal will move the earliest nominating contests -- in IA, NH, SC and NV -- back from early Jan. to Feb. It will also require states that hold nominating contests in March to award delegates based on the proportion of votes candidates win, eliminating the prospect of an early winner-take-all state that would effectively end the nominating process."

Meanwhile, the St. Petersburg Times reports the 2012 Republican National Convention will be held in Tampa. I won't mind going there.

On June 30, 2010, the Democratic National Committee announced that four cities had been chosen as finalists to hold the convention: Charlotte, Cleveland, Minneapolis and St. Louis. I hope its in Cleveland!! Meanwhile, the DNC has also decided to retain its ridiculous superdelegate process, the one that made the 2008 primary so unnecessarily prolonged. Bad move, guys. You're supposed to learn from your mistakes.

The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Turning the Tide: from the Great Recession to Job Creation

Here's some fab propaganda from the office of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's (D-MD) office. It also has the added benefit of being true. Enjoy, and share with friends...the more folks who see it, the better.

Copyright 2010 (text only). The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

WWF's Top Ten Critically Endangered Species for 2010

The World Wildlife Fund has released its list of Top Ten Critically Endangered Species. I knew about the Tiger and the Polar Bear, and the Giant Panda, of course. But the Monarch Butterfly is a sad surprise. I guess its something of a Pyrrhic victory that there are no whales on the list.

1. Tiger
2. Polar Bear
3. Pacific Walrus
4. Magellanic Penguin
5. Leatherback Turtle
6. Bluefin Tuna
7. Mountain Gorilla
8. Monarch Butterfly
9. Javan Rhinoceros
10. Giant Panda

Copyright 2010 (text only). The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.