Paid Family Leave — Are you feeling sandwiched?

sandwichSandwiched…squished. Pressed between two things. Perhaps more than two things. Sound familiar? For women today, we can feel pressured by the need to take care of our children, of our aging parents, and God forbid, other members of our family.

Finally, the Oregon State legislature may just help. It is considering legislation that will provide $300 a week for up to six weeks if you need to care for your children, parents, spouse or any member of your family.

This week, you have a unique chance to make a difference, and help pass a law that may actually have a huge impact upon your lives. Wednesday, April 8, the Senate Commerce and Workforce Development Committee will be holding a hearing, and they need to hear from you! You can either go to Salem (meet at 2:30 on the capitol steps) or call your legislator.

In the meantime, go here for more info. And watch one of the great videos that the Time to Care for Oregon coalition has produced…


Oh NO! Not Gay Marriage!

Really. Everybody needs to chill. The world will not end if people who love each other continue to gasp, love each other with tax benefits and some cake. Really.

Thanks to Bob Cesca for the image.


A Quick Education on Rahm Emanuel

rahmIn the rank of days of my life, it goes like this 1) and 2) the births of my two exceptionally amazing children, 3) marrying my sweet, totally awesome husband and 4) drum roll please….

November 4, 2008.

My children will now spend at least 4 years living in a country led by, without a doubt, the most exceptional individual to be elected to political office in recent, or even distant, memory. And perhaps to banish the inexperience and memories of chaos of the Clinton years, he has already chosen, as his Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel.

So who is this guy? First, let’s chat about what the chief of staff does. Generally, this person corrals the Cabinet secretaries and keeps them in line with regard to the over-all agenda of the president. He or she (actually, unfortunately, this person has never been a “she”) also frequently is a key leader of the team that represents the executive branch to the Congress, pursuing votes and admonishing malcontents in the party. Think Leo in the West Wing. Essentially, the administrative version of the president.

Rahm Emanuel is the two term congressman from Illinois and is a tightly wound ball of hyper-kinetic energy. Since 2007, Emanuel has been the chair of the Democratic Caucus (kind of a big deal). He was head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, an instrumental force in taking the House of Representatives back from the Republicans in 2006. He worked for Paul Simon and was a chief advisor of Bill Clinton.

He is a young guy – 48 – and the father of three children. He has a 100% voting record on choice, supported the initial war resolution on Iraq but has since become a strong and vocal opponent of the war, has been great on the environment and is very well known for being a huge personality to that advocates tenaciously for a progressive agenda.

On paper, it all looks good. Now, let’s back up for a second. One of the key reasons that Obama won Virginia and Indiana and stood a chance in states like Montana and North Dakota, was because the Chair of the Democratic Party, Howard Dean (known in our house as Saint Dean), implemented a strategy of targeting each and every state, regardless of electoral history, as a potential Democratic site of victory. Brilliant. Exceptional. Pure genius.

While Dean struggled to implement this strategy, his most vocal opponent was Rahm Emanuel, who clung to the older strategy of pouring all of the resources into the states most likely to secure victory. Because of this, Emanuel has lost favor with some aspects of the Democratic Party.

In the end, though, the Obama campaign became a combination of both strategies …  Dean’s was used to get through the early part of the campaign, and when it came down to the final days, Emanuel’s older strategy was favored to target resources in key states (that’s why Obama never made it to Oregon during the general campaign).

Given this past feud, it looks like there might be some tensions between the party machine and the White House. But you know what? Never before have I trusted a leader to manage disputes, quell unproductive discord and listen to both sides of an argument more than I trust Obama.

Bring on the constructive debate.

KID-FRIENDLY Election Night Party

You are invited to an entirely kid-friendly election night party at the BackSpace Cafe (renamed the BarackSpace Cafe until Nov. 5th) at 115 NW 5th on November 4, starting at 5pm.

The BackSpace Cafe is huge, with lots of room for kids to run around and a full menu of vegetarian/vegan food for sale. It also has a big parking lot across the street.

 It’s being hosted by Poligots, as well as Activistas and MOMocrats. We’re so excited!

The party will have:

**** Maps to color as the results come in (with LOTS of blue crayons :))

**** Balloons

**** Pin the tail on the Democratic donkey

**** Other games and kiddo diversions

**** Of course, lots of other great kids to play with.

And, it’s FREE. We just want you to come and celebrate what we hope will be a fantastic night for Oregon and our nation.


Yes, and Green is Red, too. Vote NO on Measure 64.

The Republicans and those on the Right have always been incredibly good and turning and twisting words to make everything sound better. Global warming became climate change. Homophobia and sexism became family values. For those things they hate, they twist words just as well (think partial birth abortion.)

Now, in Oregon, Bill Sizemore has done it again, this time, in support of Measure 64.

Let’s chat about how this works. There are a number of organizations, including the Oregon Food Bank, the United Way, the Black United Fund of Oregon, and my former employer, the Equity Foundation, who give their donors the option of getting a contribution to the group deducted from their paycheck. These donations are entirely and completely voluntary – what it amounts to is simply a convenient way to give. No stamps or check writing…just a quick form at the beginning of the year.

Measure 64 would ban this.

It would ban something else. Every year, some of these groups set up tables to educate employees about their options. They hand out balloons, stickers, etc. It’s a friendly way to educate folks about ways they can give. Nope, says Bill Sizemore. Somehow this is a threat to our way of life. Yikes! Balloons! Scary.

Now, instead of calling this what it really is – an attempt to limit funding for organizations doing good, Bill Sizemore is calling Measure 64 a campaign finance bill. Uh, right.

Please vote NO on Measure 64. It’s a ruse.

Yes on 26-94

Today, like a number of other organizations in Portland, we’re urging you to vote YES on measure 26-94, also known as the Portland Children’s Levy.  Every five years Portlanders have the opportunity to approve funding which goes to local early childhood education, programs in child abuse prevention and intervention, and services for children in foster care.  The Oregonian, Willamette Week, Portand Tribune and Portland Mercury have all endoresed the levy as well as dozens of other businesses and individuals. By supporting the levy we are ensuring a healty community which is proactive in the lives of our young children.

In it’s endorsement, the Portland Tribune writes,

“This proposal, referred to voters by the Portland City Council, deserves support for two reasons: It’s a program that already exists – and it’s a program that works to improve the lives of Portland’s neediest children.

The success of the Children’s Investment Fund has been based on its partnership with nonprofit agencies. This isn’t a case of government creating new programs or bureaucracies. The funding – aimed at early childhood education, preventing child abuse and providing after-school options – is directed toward nonprofit groups that are skilled at providing such services.

Among the dozens of recipients of Children’s Investment Fund dollars are such groups as Albina Head Start, Morrison Child and Family Services, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Friends of the Children. Due to these investments, children are receiving the help they need to be ready to start kindergarten. They are getting tutoring, and they are being assigned to mentors. Their health is being monitored and they receive therapy for abuse.

In the time since the investment fund was created following the November 2002 election, the project has been evaluated by objective researchers, including a comprehensive 2005 study by Portland State University. The evaluators found that the 16,000 mostly low-income children being helped by the fund are hitting key benchmarks and that their prospects are being improved.”

At best we can remember that the children who will benefit by your vote are individuals who are too young to advocate for themselves.  They are our future and our now and today they’ve asked for our help.

Make sure to fill out your ballot completely, this is the last item and on the back side.  For more information about the Children’s Levy please see their website

Get Up, Stand Up

Seriously. If you think it’s over, let me just say, it’s not. We’ve got perhaps the sneakiest, slimiest opponents in history and while we’re ahead in the polls, they’ve got voter fraud, Diebold, deceptive robocalls and creepy campaign tactics still up their sleeves.

As Obama said yesterday, “For those of you who are feeling giddy or cocky or think this is all set, I just have two words for you: New Hampshire. I’ve been in these positions before, when we were favored and the press starts getting carried away and we end up getting spanked.” Of course, he’s referring to his primary loss in New Hampshire, where the polls had him up by 15 points the day before the vote, yet he lost to Senator Hillary Clinton.

We have less than three weeks to go. What do you have in you? Even if you are convinced that he’s going to win in your area, he needs a Congress that will work with him, as well as state legislators and governors who won’t try to undo whatever federal action they don’t like.

Tomorrow, I’m off to North Carolina, where my family and I will be taking a break from our break to knock on doors and do whatever we can to make sure Kay Hagen and Barack Obama win there. Where ever you are, please, please, please, do whatever you can.

Before you go, enjoy the video below. Won’t it be great to say that you played a role getting this man elected to the presidency?