Tuesday, November 2, 2010


“Suffrage is the pivotal right.” - Susan B. Anthony 

Celebrating 90 years of women's right to vote by casting my ballot this morning.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Gaga for Gaga

Yes, yes.  There are plenty of reasons why I shouldn't be so gaga for Gaga: she pushes the envelope to such extremes that everyone is offended by something she's done.


I love her brashness, how far she pushes gender bending and asexuality, and that she's not afraid to be overtly political.

This week, she got my attention again when she attended the Video Music Awards escorted by United States servicemen and women discharged under Don't Ask Don't Tell.

The video song above is from her performance last fall at the annual Human Rights Campaign dinner.  She followed President Obama, and frankly, put him to shame.  Towards the end, she changes the lyrics of Lennon's "Imagine":
It isn't equal if it's sometimes

I want a real democracy
Imagine all the people
Could love equally
The last time I paid serious attention to the VMAs, the big political statement to watch for was who was wearing the red AIDs ribbons.  Of course, Gaga's star could quickly fade, but at least she's using her fifteen minutes to draw attention to issues she cares about.  And yes, I love her music, too.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Lipstick LobbyList 9.14.2010

A fantastic way to celebrate ninety years of women's suffrage: women legislators hitting the campaign trail for other women.  This is particularly timely given reports like these continue to persist: Number of Female Chiefs of Staff in Congressional Offices Remains Deficient.

Some things never change in Texas: a men only fundraiser for Gov. Perry. "Yes, because that's how Rick Perry thinks things work here in Texas. If you're a woman, you speak when spoken to, eat when your husband's done eating, and certainly don't have enough social standing to even be invited to a fundraiser."

The best Mad Men episode to date.  Peggy has always been my favorite character, and I'm so excited to see that they are developing her character so much this season.  She perfectly captures the complexities of an often hostile and unwelcoming workplace, yet she loves her work and wants to find a way to belong and contribute.  Love her, and can't wait for more.

I loved the replay of Dolly Parton's Fresh Air interview last week.  Her first top ten song in 1965 was titled "Dumb Blond," with the lyrics "Just because I'm blond/don't think I'm dumb. 'Cause this dumb blond/ain't nobody's fool."

This year's it campaign shoes.   Yes, a group of my friends emailed about a possible bulk order.

And a hat tip to Nebraska; better late than never: The Omaha World Herald to accept gay wedding announcements.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Lipstick LobbyList 7.7.10

Catching up from the past few weeks....

Ben Smith from Politico on the trend of columnists calling Obama the "first female president".
Linda Hirshman on the Boxer v. Fiorina California Senate race:
"But there is a deeper, more fundamental difference between Fiorina and Palin for that matter and Boxer, a difference that brilliantly illuminates the current debate about whether any woman in office is a plus for feminism. It's the difference between the candidate's autobiography and what's good for the people she would like to represent."

John Stephen, Republican candidate for governor in NH, had to scrap his plans for a bikini contest fundraiser. Sounds like a wise move, John. (h/t JM)

She's even wooed over the Herald! One of my favorite Boston pols: Sheriff Andrea Cabral.
"Their sheriff is no hack. And the department she oversees is quietly but steadily assuming a transformational role - not just to jail people until they are spun back out to the streets, but to give them the tools to keep them from returning. She's produced a 44 percent reduction in the recidivism rate among Suffolk inmates."

“Lady lawmakers play ball” Congressional women's softball team. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was one of the team's captains.

Just sayin': Clinton finally ahead of Obama in popularity

Google is taking some impressive leadership on employee benefits offerings - paying for the tax penalties same-sex couples pay for their benefits coverage.

But Google needs to step up their feminist game when it comes to their doodles.  They honored the birthday of Frida Kahlo this week (yay!), but have a terrible track record of women honored doodles.  AND - they have yet to feature a Cinco de Mayo doodle.  Come on, Google!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

“Just as I was very proud to say the obvious more than 15 years ago in Beijing that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights, well, let me say today that human rights are gay rights and gay rights are human rights, once and for all.”

“So here at the State Department, we will continue to advance a comprehensive human rights agenda that includes the elimination of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, LGBT Pride Month Ceremony, June 22, 2010. (via http://nolimits.org/)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Beer drinking - every girl's dream job

H/t to Banker Babe who got my blood boiling this morning before my second cup of coffee, when she pointed out this winner of a headline on the cover of today's WSJ - "No Glass Ceiling For the Best Job In the Universe: Turns Out Women Can Often Beat Men As Beer Tasters".

Rupert Murdoch, I'm so glad you're pointing me in the direction for a fufilling and profitable career.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Lipstick LobbyList 6.10.10 - Mama Grizzlies

Was Tuesday’s primary elections a sign of the another “year of the woman”?  Sarah Palin is credited with cracking the Republican Party's glass ceiling and shepherding in a wave of “mama grizzlies” - pro-life, feminist, conservative women candidates. (h/t Banker Babe)

From the Washington Post:  In at least five races, from California to Arkansas, women won by straying from traditional women's issues and only infrequently discussing their gender. Especially noteworthy, according to The Washington Post's Anne Kornblut, is that four of the women who won this week were Republicans.

From Barbara Lee’s statement on the June 8th primaries:
The June 8 elections put women candidates in the spotlight and on the ticket from Maine to California. Though these candidates are not united ideologically, yesterday’s elections give us an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate women in today’s political landscape....Women comprise only 17% of the U.S. Congress. A mere 12% of our governors are women. And as we know, it is the governor’s office more than any other public office that leads to the Presidency.
I appreciated Sen. Barbara Mikulski on calling any year the “Year of the Woman”: "Calling [it] the Year of the Woman makes it sound like the Year of the Caribou or the Year of the Asparagus. We're not a fad, a fancy, or a year."

As a reminder of progress still needed, today’s the anniversary of the Equal Pay Act.  President Obama’s statement: "47 years later, pay parity remains far from reality, as women in the United States still only earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. For women of color, this gap is even wider.  This remains unacceptable, as it was when the Act was signed.  All women – and their families – deserve equal pay."

Some tips from abroad: Sweden paves the way towards gender equality in the workplace.  “Now men can have it all — a successful career and being a responsible daddy.” 

Image source

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Lipstick LobbyList 6.8.10

(Left) RIP Blanche.  From the NYT obituary:  "Rue McClanahan, who helped make 'The Golden Girls' a long-running television hit playing the saucy, man-devouring Southern belle Blanche Devereaux (in one scene she made a date at her husband’s funeral), died [last Thursday] in Manhattan. Unlike Blanche, she had no trouble admitting her age, 76."

Sotomayor giving back.

I love these fabulous “Grannies” in South Africa. And - they are coming to Massachusetts for a game!

Italy is paying women to not have abortions?  Sounds like this approach makes more sense: Ensuring that birth control is covered by insurance.  (h/t JM)

The left/right collaboration on equal marriage expands: John D. Podesta, founder and president of the Center for American Progress, and Robert A. Levy, chairman of the Cato Institute are co-chairs the advisory board of the American Foundation for Equal Rights. This foundation helped launch the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, which is currently before a federal district court in California but is likely to be appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Study: Children of Lesbians May Do Better Than Their Peers

Boston’s meteorologists - breaking through the green wall?

Friday, May 28, 2010

They want you

Last night, the House voted to repeal the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, as part of a Defense authorization bill.  Earlier in the day, the Senate Armed Services Committee also voted to repeal the policy. A few steps closer to getting this repealed!  The Senate will debate the measure next month.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Lipstick LobbyList 5.27.10

Yesterday Sen. Scott Brown, who in 2001 described a lesbian couple’s decision to have children as “not normal”, has decided to vote against repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

Not at all a surprise.

On the very same day, Attorney General Martha Coakley continues her arguments to strike down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

Just sayin’.

From the Cornhusker state - Sen. Ben Nelson is now a yes vote on DADT repeal. From his statement:
“I don’t believe that most Nebraskans want to continue a policy that not only encourages but requires people to be deceptive and to lie. The ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy does just that...It also encourages suspicion and senior officers to look the other way. In a military which values honesty and integrity, this policy encourages deceit.”
Pelosi is key to the DADT repeal.

Former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey writes about his support of medical marijuana for veterans.

On a lighter note, while in China, Hillary dishes on Chelsea’s wedding plans.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Lipstick LobbyList 5.25.10

CBS 60 Minutes tours of Secretary Clinton’s State Department office.  I love how she includes personal heroines throughout her office - from Eleanor Roosevelt, to a statue of a pregnant African farmer, to a bowl with American women figures - she brings such a great perspective to the Administration. 

(Left) A photo from the recent Chinese/American talks.  To quote a favorite Sesame Street song: "Which one of these things is not like the others?"

News from Minnesota today!

Sen. Al Franken’s new dog, Blaine
Blaine "is already the office favorite," says McIntosh. He carries a stuffed duck in mouth, sits in on staff meetings and lounges in the legislative bullpen.

Happy birthday to Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) who turns 50.  Love her!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Lipstick LobbyList 5.24.10

(Left) No comment.

Yesterday was the 200th birthday of a fabulous Cantabrigian: Margaret Fuller.  "Fuller is now seen as America’s first female public intellectual. Fuller said women were constrained and diminished by a society that failed to see their true powers."

Lisa Belkin on “Judging Women”: “But it is still harder for mothers to reach the top. For men, having a family is an asset when pursuing a demanding career. For women, it is still a complication.”

Peter Beinart in the Daily Beast, “Put a Mom on the Court”:  "Our government is actually doing a pretty good job of providing role models for the 20 percent of American women who don’t want kids. Where it’s failing is in providing role models for the 80 percent that do."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Lipstick LobbyList 5.20.10

Michelle Obama is asked by a second grader about her husband's immigration policy.  Heartbreaking video clip, where the student explains: "But my mom doesn't have papers."

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a message for Republicans this fall: Bring it on.

SCOTUS nominee Elena Kagan makes the Mr. Bartley's Gourmet Burgers’ menu.

A Boston networking group for women CEOs led by Pixability's Bettina Hein: the She-E-Os.

Nebraska, you’re not making me proud these days:
A tweet for Newark Mayor @Cory Booker, a guest at last night’s state dinner with Mexican President Felipe Calderón:
I really enjoyed The State Dinner. White House was amazing, 1st couple were inspiring and having Beyonce perform at the end was phenomenal

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Remembering Arlen

Raising a cocktail tonight to remember Sen. Arlen Specter, who lost the Democratic primary yesterday in Pennsylvania. The Old Boys Club has one less old boy today.

The Lipstick LobbyList 5.19.10

Maureen Dowd finally gets it right in today’s column on the Kagan nomination, by asking the question: when do you go from being “single” to “unmarried”? 

“White House officials were so eager to squash any speculation that Elena Kagan was gay that they have ended up in a pre-feminist fugue, going with sad unmarried rather than fun single, spinning that she’s a spinster.”

Some great commencement speeches out there.  Two of my favorites:
Meryl Streep and Rachel Maddow (h/t TAG).

Fantastic video of Rep. Mark Souder, the eight term Republican congressman who recently resigned, discussing the importance of abstinence only education….with his mistress.

New York Times offers A Toolkit for Women Seeking a Raise. From a friend who emailed the link:  “I like anything that coaches women to ask to be paid more but don't like that there is a fundamentally different way for women to do it so that they aren't disliked by males in the workplace for being too aggressive.”  (h/t ESL)

Rebecca Traister says “Screw Happiness.”

A piece in the New Yorker earlier this month with lots of Boston history – from the tea party of the American Revolution to the tumultuous 1970s to the modern day Tea Partiers and Sarah Palin's recent visit.  A great read. (h/t Banker Babe)

For anyone in Boston tonight, head out to this great event:  DO Ask, DO Tell! Hear retired Marine Staff Sergeant Eric Alva speak out against “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” at Faneuil Hall on Wednesday, May 19, at 7 pm. Local gay and straight veterans will join him in a panel discussion that will be open to questions from the audience.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

One step back

Tomorrow, the Massachusetts House is scheduled to vote on  H 889, An Act Relative to Savings Bank Life Insurance, a proposal that would permit Savings Bank Life Insurance Co. (SBLI) to charge different rates for life insurance for men and women.  As a Massachusetts-chartered company, SBLI is prohibited from charging different rates based on gender. SBLI, which hands tens of billions of dollars of Massachusetts life insurance policies, has argued that it faces a competitive disadvantage with other Massachusetts companies and out-of-state firms that aren't held to the same standard.

While it is true that women often live longer than men, there are other biological differences that are considered discriminatory and barred from consideration in insurance underwriting. For example, Asians have the longest life expectancy out of any racial group; however, federal law doesn't allow for race to be considered factor. This bill would create a slippery slope in addressing inequalities because we can not choose where to draw those distinctions.

Rep. Ruth Balser wrote to her House colleagues on Monday arguing to reject this measure: “The company is the most successful life insurance company in the state,” she wrote in an email to all House members and staff. “But if there is a competitive disadvantage, the solution is to require that all life insurance be gender neutral, not to retreat from a historic commitment to equality.”  (via State House News registration required)

Well said, Rep. Balser.  Let's hope the House heeds your wise words and this measure is rejected tomorrow and discriminatory language is kept out of life insurance.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Happy Marriage!

Six years ago today, equal marriage came to Massachusetts.  As the Boston Globe reported then:
Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to permit gays and lesbians to wed just after midnight today, when Cambridge City Hall welcomed more than 250 same-sex couples who hugged, cried, cheered, and applied for the marriage licenses many thought they would never see in their lifetimes.

Outside City Hall, 10,000 supporters and onlookers gathered to witness the historic event, spilling off the grounds of City Hall, and clogging Massachusetts Avenue. Police in riot gear lined the street, but the anticipated clash between protesters and supporters of gay marriage never came: All but a handful of opponents stayed away.
There remains 36 states that ban the recognition of same-sex marriages or partnerships.  But, I'm hoping this is a sign of the turning times:

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Great but...

Lipstick Lobbyist's letter in response to the Salon.com piece: "Healthcare rights expand for gays New rules will let patients define family."

While this is indeed welcome news, I've been disappointed at the liberal embrace of such a short sighted offering from Obama to the LGBT community.

I see this simply as another "Stupak" compromise, throwing a bone to LGBT families for failing to include critical coverage and tax exemptions in the final Health Reform bill (see the New York Times Bucks blog: "Gays May Still Pay More for Health Coverage").

Additionally, a "rule" issued by the current president is not a permanent fix, and can be undone with the stroke of the next president's pen, as President Obama as demonstrated with lifting the Global Gag rule and easing the restrictions on stem cell research. In such a politically divisive time, I'm looking for something to hang my future on, not "hope for the best" when the next president takes office.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Madam Justice Hillary

Mark McKinnon & Myra Adams write in the Daily Beast today, that Hillary could be on track to be a Supreme Court justice.  They write:

But if in the end if it’s about what is realistic, and how Hillary could have the greatest impact on society, most would agree she could have the greatest political influence by hanging around for a couple of decades casting votes and writing opinions on the Supreme Court.

Crossing my fingers that this speculation is more than just D.C. parlor games....

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mass. Backwards

So yesterday, Massachusetts voted for a Republican for U.S. Senate (more on that later).

And today, I find myself politically in agreement with Glenn Beck and Cindy McCain.

Certainly, one of the (many, many) low points in the campaign was during Scott Brown's victory speech (around the 8:30 mark) when he essentially offered up his two twenty-something daughters as "available" to the national audience of potential suitors.  It felt like a reality show gone bad.  And Glen Beck agreed with me:

GLENN: But I don't understand the thinking of Scott Brown last night with his two daughters and national TV audience when he says this.
BROWN: And just in case anybody who's watching throughout the country, they're both available.
GLENN: And did you see me naked in Cosmo? Okay. Stop. Stop. Listen, listen, listen. Listen. I want to chastity belt on this man. I want his every move watched in Washington. I don't trust this guy. I'm just telling ya.
Pictured left is a photo of Cindy McCain who contacted the NOH8 campaign offering to lend her public support for marriage equality.  As explained on their website:

Aligning yourself with the platform of gay marriage as a Republican still tends to be very stigmatic, but Cindy McCain wanted to participate in the campaign to show people that party doesn't matter - marriage equality isn't a Republican issue any more than it is a Democratic issue. It's about human rights, and everybody being treated equally in the eyes of the law that runs and protects this country.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tough as Nails*

This week’s New Yorker features a profile of Justice Sonia Sotomayor – well worth the read. (The illustration at the left is mentioned in the profile, as a framed item that sits on Justice Sotomayor's desk.)

As usual, Sotomayor impresses me with her ability to thread the oh-so-impossible needle of showing personality and feistiness, yet offering a professional and respected perspective.

In other Sotomayor news, this month she granted her first magazine photo cover as a Supreme Court justice to Latina magazine.  In this photo, Sotomayor is wearing her judge's robe, with her hand over her heart - beautifully showcasing her signature, bright red nails.  Nails that she had been advised not to paint for her confirmation hearing.  It's a fantastic photo. I love that she is challenging the staid fashion standards for female judges, even choosing not to wear a judicial collar during court.

Some great insight on the set up for the shot (click here to see the cover yourself):
Everything was going great, but there was one thing that we remained curious about. Latina writer Sandra Guzmán provides some background:

“While President Obama's staff was preparing Sotomayor for the confirmation hearings, the team covered all of the potentially explosive questions and briefed her on every minute detail, including how to dress for the cameras. They even advised her to keep her nails a neutral shade, which she did. But on the day of the White House reception celebrating her appointment, Sotomayor asked the president to look at her freshly manicured nails, holding up her hands to show off her favorite color: a fire-engine red. The president chuckled, saying that she had been warned against that color.”

My editor, Mimi Valdés, tells me that in many Latino families, red is a very important and symbolic color. It's seen as an "adult" color, and it's even considered inappropriate to dress a little girl in red. For many, the color is very much a point of pride.

We knew about the judge's love for the color red, so we made sure to tell the manicurist for our shoot to bring lots of red nail polish. But we weren't sure if it would end up in any of the photos. During the shoot, there was a moment the judge made a gesture, and Mimi and I looked at each other. Platon saw it, of course, and captured her hand on her heart--and we had our cover.

I love this photo. To me, it looks like she's taking a pledge. It looks like she understands how historic this is. What this means not just for her, but for millions of other people. And, I like to think, it looks like she's now able to proudly show off... that beautiful color red.

*Huffington Post, June 10, 2009