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There’s a smattering of articles about how some of us don’t like any of our choices – that’s been me since Bill Richardson dropped out. And here’s a reminder of why I liked Joe Biden. Hattip Progress Ohio.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 11:02 pm May 15th, 2008 in Campaigning, Congress, Foreign Affairs, George Bush, Joe Biden, Politics, Primary, WH2008 | 8 Comments 

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I just can’t support a group that, according the Political Punch,

stands ready to boycott the Democratic Party if Clinton doesn’t win the nomination, and will work against superdelegates who support Obama over Clinton as a means of registering their displeasure with the party.

“We have a plan to campaign against the Democratic nominee,” the group said in a press release Thursday. “We have the (wo)manpower and the money to make our threat real. And there are millions of supporters who will back us up in the swing states. If you don’t listen to our voice now, you will hear from us later.”

And all the momentum for that group seems to be driven from Columbus, Ohio.  Lucky us.

I’m all for expression, first amendment, free speech, assembly and so on.  I’m even for letting people know how angry you are about something, over and over and over.  And sure, sometimes, you just take the hard line, no matter how it might seem to others.

I imagine that that’s how the folks who appear to support this effort feel.

I don’t feel the same way.  I know I don’t feel like sacrificing a Democratic president for the sexism that’s existed for centuries and no doubt isn’t going to disappear in the next seven months.  But I am willing to push for other promises of efforts to battle sexism.

I know what it feels like to be pushed to an extreme stance.  And I would say that it’s up to those of us – all of us – who don’t want to make that sacrifice out of a Democratic presidential win to find a way to address the same concerns that have these folks organizing.

More feedback:

Donna Darko with email contacts and Washington Post coverage (mentions a YouTube of a group member being on Fox but I couldn’t locate it)

The Political Carnival

Virginia at Katalusis is following the events and has a link to a story by Catherine Candisky of the Columbus Dispatch

From the Dispatch:

Democratic observers say passions are high as the nominating contests come to a close and the party is poised to have either the first female or first black presidential nominee.

“It’s great to be making history, but somebody is going to lose and their supporters are going to be disappointed and have legitimate complaints,” said Greg Haas, a Columbus-based Democratic consultant.

“For ranks to close, the party is going to have to take seriously the concerns raised by the losing candidate because there are legitimate issues. If those are dismissed, then there will be a problem uniting.”

Jim Ruvolo, former Ohio Democratic Party chairman, said that by November most Clinton and Obama supporters will be united.

“Most Democrats and independents want to deny George Bush a third term, and that will unite us,” Ruvolo said. “I think at the end of the day this election will be about a new direction for the country.”

I suggest Haas and Ruvolo make their plans for getting to that united place known ASAP.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:22 pm May 15th, 2008 in Barack Obama, Campaigning, Elections, Gender, Ohio, Politics, Social Issues, Voting, Women | 112 Comments 

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From TIME:

For sports fans, there’s nothing more disappointing than to see a career end before we want it to. This week, the world learned that two soon would. Belgian tennis player Justine Henin and Swedish golfer Annika Sorenstam both announced their retirements. Sorenstam, a career Grand Slam winner, is 37. Henin, a seven-time Grand Slam champion and current world No. 1, is 25. Neither plays a sport in which youth is at a premium. So it is difficult not to feel cheated: we will never again see Henin’s spry figure unleashing shots with such a variety of spins that she made the slugging behemoths of women’s tennis suffer death by a thousand slices. Sorenstam’s cool accuracy and composure will soon be lost to us, too.

To Henin and Sorenstam, an athlete’s career is in many ways no different from any other. “I have a lot of dreams, I want to live and I’m getting married,” Sorenstam said. Henin echoed: “This is the end of a child’s dream … It is my life as a woman that starts now.” The world has always admired northern European countries for their work-life balance, so we can hardly begrudge a famous Swede for saying she wants to start a family, or the planet’s best-known Belgian for simply craving a rest.

And the New York Times

Henin’s explanation for quitting in her prime is that, quite to her own surprise, she has lost the desire to train and compete and is now interested in focusing on her personal life and her new Belgian tennis academy.

“I think I will take long, real vacation,” she said. “I’m going to appreciate going for a run with nothing at stake, just doing it for pleasure. I’ve never put my feet in skis, and next year I think I’ll be doing it the whole winter. I want to rediscover the small pleasures, not look at my watch all the time because I have to get to training the next day.”

So is it pure and simple burnout? Not according to Henin and not according to Larry Scott, the head of the WTA Tour, who heard the news and an explanation from Henin on Tuesday.

“This isn’t an exasperated, frustrated player who needs a break,” Scott said. “This is a life decision. I don’t think there’s any chance she’ll come back. Really.”

Best to them both.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:39 pm May 15th, 2008 in Sports, Women | Comments Off 

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Today, I had one of the greatest honors anyone has ever given me: a chance to speak about someone who has had a life-altering impact on me, Wendy Hoke.  Here is the text of my speech.  And again, congratulations, Wendy. 

Wendy Hoke is the kind of person who could receive a distinguished service award for every role she’s ever embraced or that has been thrust upon her.  Daughter, student, wife, mother, friend.  Reporter, freelancer, editor, blogger, spokesperson.  Member, coordinator, president, chair, staffer.

What makes this assertion true is the fact that Wendy never applies only her skill set to a task. Rather, Wendy succeeds and excels unlike most everyone else because her efforts combine what she knows with what she feels: an innate talent and love for living life and telling stories.

It’s difficult for me to honor Wendy without slipping in even one story about how she has encouraged, mentored and nurtured me in the few years since I first wrote “Ms. Hoke” and asked her to tell me why I should join SPJ.

But you aren’t here to listen to how Wendy stood sentinel, laughing out loud over our carryon luggage, when we traveled to the 2005 SPJ annual convention in Las Vegas, while I raced madly on and off the plane from which we’d just disembarked because I thought I’d lost my cell phone, while, all the time, she could hear the phone ringing from inside the middle of my suitcase.

Yet, it is the way in which Wendy acts as this stalwart sentinel and caretaker, as she takes on every role – regardless of its importance – that distinguishes her and has permanently affected the local and national SPJ organizations for the better, and for all of us.

Wendy’s involvement in SPJ has spanned three decades. She joined the organization in 1986 during her sophomore year at Ohio University.  Although she claims that she was not “real active” if you know Wendy, her version of not real active could shame most of us.

Wendy remained only slightly more dormant until shortly after her oldest son was born.  Then, in early 1993, she learned that SPJ had held its national convention in Cleveland the previous fall but, even though she worked at one of the city’s major news organizations, she didn’t know a thing about the event’s existence.  In Wendy’s words, which I’m sure you can hear her saying, she became “incensed” because she’d been yearning, as she always has, to become a better journalist, but had been feeling that there were few local opportunities to learn.

As a result of this experience, Wendy went to her first Cleveland chapter board meeting, with her then eight week-old firstborn in tow.  Her intention? To give them a piece of her mind.  Instead, in typical Wendy fashion, she found herself “volunteering at the tender age of 25 to chair the 1996 regional convention in Cleveland.

This story of Wendy’s foray into SPJ Cleveland Pro activities underscores her self-perception as a cheerleader and idealist who only wants the best things to happen.

The spectrum of roles Wendy has played in SPJ over the last fifteen years is testimony to her mantra:

LOCALLY, Wendy has:  Chaired the regional convention twice and has been a panelist.  She has served on the SPJ local board for a total of 11 years, since 1993 and as president from July 2002 to July 2004.

NATIONALLY, Wendy was a Delegate twice to National SPJ Conventions and moderated numerous freelance panels at several subsequent conventions.

In October 2003, as a direct result of Wendy’s observation at that year’s convention that freelancers who had paid their own way had no freelance-oriented sessions to attend, she was appointed by the SPJ national president to co-chair the National Freelance Committee, a position that she held from Oct. 2003 to Aug. 2006. Wendy considers the formation and growth of this group, to nearly 500 members by the time she stepped down, as one about which she is most proud.  Why? “Because we gave them a voice when they felt that they weren’t being listened to or felt that the national didn’t have room for them.  We got SPJ to listen.”

SPJ National also utilized Wendy in numerous leadership capacities.  She was a Participant in the Ted Scripps Leadership Training Conference in June 2003 and a Speaker and/or coordinator of the program every year from 2004 through 2007.

One of Wendy’s most personally gratifying experiences, directly related to her hard work and unique contributions to SPJ came when she traveled as One of nine U.S. delegates to the East Asia Journalism Forum in Seoul, South Korea in November of 2004 where she gave a presentation on “How Blogging is Shaping News Coverage.”

While these achievements testify to Wendy’s dedication and extraordinary management skills, the real evidence of how distinguished Wendy’s service has been is best reflected by the recollections shared by others in response to learning that Wendy has received this honor:


She’s been known to wake up in the middle of the night to work on something.
She’s no pushover and look out if she’s on a mission.
Wendy is not afraid to rock the boat. But if she’s passionate and truly believes in something she isn’t going to hold her tongue. Sometimes she can give a person heartburn when she gets that look in her eye, but there’s no stopping her when she’s determined.
Most of all, what I’m grateful for is that SPJ brought her to Avenues, which eventually gave us the opportunity to work together.

My mom is an example of someone who truly loves what she does even if she doesn’t get paid for it, which doesn’t always please my dad.


There are journalists and writers who do their work independent of who they are and there are others who bring their whole selves to their work, and Wendy is a great example of the latter.

Wendy is one of the most welcoming journalists I’ve met since moving to Cleveland. Extremely open-hearted, and one who thinks big on your behalf — what you can be, where you can go, what you can do.

Wendy has always been a valuable resource and sounding board. I first met her working on the 1997 SPJ Regional Conference Program guide; I remember after reading a lot of Wendy’s work, I wished for my own to flow that well.  She’s a sweet, cool person and a great writer… and let’s face it, just about everything she does is distinguished.


Wendy always finds time to encourage up-and-coming journalists. Wendy, who is a frequent guest speaker in journalism class at CSU, offers students tips on becoming successful freelancers.

Wendy has been a great role model since I met her the summer before my senior year in college. (2003) We were both on our way to the SPJ leadership convention in Indianapolis and ended up chatting at Hopkins airport. We immediately clicked…and she has been a blessing since then…being there as a friend…and guiding me in aspects of my career. I am so thankful for all she has done for me and thrilled she is receiving this incredible recognition.

I was President when Wendy joined the Board. We had just taken a vote and agreed to host the Region 4 convention the following year. After the excitement wore off, I asked for volunteers to chair the event. There was a long, long silence, and then Wendy spoke up.
“I can do that.”
That would soon become her mantra. Whenever she said, “I can do that,” we knew she would. Her smile and her energy brightened up Board meetings.
Journalism needs people who are passionate, and Wendy certainly is. Her service to journalism, and to SPJ, has indeed been distinguished.


I had the pleasure of serving with Wendy on the SPJ Board for several years.  She is a true professional, and she is one of those persons who lights up a room when she is there.  She has an engaging way of bringing great ideas to the table without pressure or self-aggrandizement. Her enthusiasm is infectious.

Wendy was my ever-cheerful and always hard-working pal on the SPJ board for several years. What struck me during that time was her commitment to career and a growing passion for SPJ. When she became a freelance journalist, she fashioned the perfect balance for her life: time to be with husband and children, plus time to write on her own schedule. She soon learned ways to market her work and then share her hard-earned wisdom. Who else but Wendy could get the National SPJ (a group that always prized its affiliations with prestigious organizations) to recognize the contribution made by freelance writers? Who else but Wendy could talk them into giving her a national forum to discuss the trials and tribulations of the unaffiliated?
I didn’t know about her meeting with the Korean journalists, but if I had to think of an ambassador to represent what is good in American journalism, I’d have picked her, too.

I can think of no one more deserving of this award than Wendy. She is a talented writer who strives to perfect each question, each word in her pieces. More importantly she is a person with a passion for life that spills over to anyone who encounters her, and for the last few years, anyone who reads her blog. She has a passion for justice, for understanding the world around us, for her family, for others’ families, friends, etc. She doesn’t know it, but I look forward to going to each day and enjoy her well-thought insight and general updates. In fact, I’m actually disappointed when her workload is such that she isn’t able to post as frequently.

Wendy’s passion for freelancers and her passion for SPJ dovetailed well when she accepted the national freelance chair position and took on the part-time job of membership for the national organization. She believes strongly in the need for people to work together, share their insights and unite together for the betterment of whatever the cause or mission. That’s why I know how conflicted she was when two of her passions (SPJ and freelancer rights) came into conflict. Wendy took the high road (something no one who knows her would be surprised to know) — she worked internally first, took her case publicly after that didn’t work and ultimately made the decision that she personally could not continue to champion the organization that she felt had betrayed the very people she was representing. She didn’t get down into a knock-down, drag-out, name-calling battle — her eloquence said it all in such a brilliant way.

My description of Wendy is simple: If I could build the archetypal SPJ member from a kit, it would be her.
She is everything to which an SPJ member should aspire: dedication to journalism, adherence to high ethical principles, a talent for leadership, and all the other flag-waving stuff, to be sure.
But Wendy also has another wonderful quality: It is of service to others, that is, helping other journalists achieve their goals is among her most important goals for herself.
Our society’s watchwords are truth, talent and energy. Our society’s motto is “He serves best who serves the truth.”
She, among hundreds of others I’ve known in many years of national and local leadership, embodies SPJ’s most cherished values and traditions the most.
If I ruled SPJ, I’d declare that under “SPJ” in the dictionary would be Wendy’s picture. I’m honored and blessed to be her friend and colleague, and I deeply regret not being there to help celebrate this wonderful honor you are giving her.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 5:52 pm May 15th, 2008 in Announcements, Blogging, Media, Ohio, Women, Writing | 4 Comments 

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Given the kuh-ray-zee day Ohio had yesterday, many thanks to Scott Piepho of Pho’s Akron Pages for putting up this week’s edition of the Carnival of Ohio Politics #117.  It’s quite a collection.

Hopefully, next week, it will be a lot more Dann-less.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 5:36 pm May 15th, 2008 in Announcements, Blogging, Carnivals, Ohio, Politics, Tech, Writing | Comments Off 

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Let me be crystal clear: I don’t like and often overtly do not tolerate being told to sit down, get with the program or shut up, whether the message is sent as a subtle euphemism or otherwise.
And I agree that Hillary Clinton supporters count too.

However, the surest way to make sure that you don’t count?  Well, could be the Clinton Supporters Count Too plan:

An Ohio-based group of Democratic Hillary Clinton supporters say they’ll work actively against Sen. Barack Obama if he becomes the nominee, arguing that Clinton has been the subject of “intense sexism” by party leaders and the media.

So organizing a group to go on Bill O’Reilly might be attention-getting, but it ain’t gonna change a thing except drive voters who already don’t know how to deal with women further into their caves.

Good idea: championing the idea that acting as though you don’t need a single person who voted for Hillary Clinton to win the general election is wrong and stupid on multiple levels.

Not good idea: naming your group in a way that says you count, and then making your platform all about how you aren’t going to submit your vote to be counted.

I’m all about “women [who] feel like “we’re being told to sit down, shut up, and get with the program” expressing their views and pushing for change.  But formally organizing themselves as an anti-Barack Obama group?

That’s just dumb, not to mention counter-productive, naive and further aggravating the divide.

Not places any of us should be going.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 5:03 pm May 15th, 2008 in Politics | 2 Comments 

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Damn but nobody does it better and more consistently and with more aplomb (I love that word) than Bill Callahan, whom I also love.  Please check out his post about Econohomes in Cleveland.

Foreclosures? What foreclosures? Banks being bailed out with our money? What money?

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:59 am May 15th, 2008 in 'Roots News, Business, Cleveland+, Economy, Housing, Ohio, Politics, Social Issues | Comments Off 

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Okay – can we just get this out of the way? Watch for yourself:

Now, look – I chastise my father whenever he calls me anything remotely close to sweetie, and he’s used a whole bunch of those terms (let me be brutally honest since my mother reads this blog but my father doesn’t: I hate it when my father uses alleged terms of endearment like “doll” “babe” or “baby” – but I don’t like it when anyone calls me those things either – never have).

And after watching the clip, I believe Barack Obama when he says it’s a bad habit, as here in the Detroit Free Press:

Sen. Barack Obama, who is edging toward the Democratic presidential nomination, offhandedly called a Detroit television reporter “sweetie” during a tour Wednesday of Chrysler’s Sterling Stamping Plant in Sterling Heights after she hurled a question at him: “Senator, what are you going to do to help American autoworkers?” The incident got picked up by the national news media, and the video, which shows Obama saying, “Hold on one second, sweetie, we’ll do a press avail,” to WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) reporter Peggy Agar, is playing on

Several hours later, Obama left a message on Agar’s cell phone, apologizing.

“It’s a bad habit of mine,” he said in the voice mail, which is on the TV station’s Web site. “I mean no disrespect, so I am duly chastened on that front.”

Agar said in a televised report that she was more upset that Obama didn’t answer her question.

But you know what? That not answering the question, that’s exactly right. Enough readers have seen how I get when I don’t get my questions answer. And the “sweetie” spin is a very, very common way of trying to say, in what too many people find to be an acceptable tactic, “now calm down there – I’ll get to you when I’m ready – you little woman you” kind of thing.

It is a bad habit, and a lot of people do use it, men and women – I use it with my kids to put them off or cool their jets.

So you better believe Obama had an intention, even if unconscious, that when he is soothing with sweetie, the tough question can be finessed away. Calm down, now – I’ll get to you when I’m ready, don’t you worry now.

But he never did get to the question.

So why doesn’t this rise to the level of a macaca moment? Because a lot of politicians use similar techniques with the media, and private citizens use it too. It’s too common a bad habit to make it a macaca moment, which was really quite outrageous and mean-spirited.

However, the good senator would be very wise to work on undoing that bad habit because at its base? It was an avoidance tool that got turned at a female reporter. I understand it in context, but a lot of people, particularly men and women of voting age – may not.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:26 am May 15th, 2008 in Barack Obama, Campaigning, Civil Rights, Elections, Gender, Media, Politics, Social Issues, Women | 35 Comments