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1. Excellent editorial from the Cleveland Jewish News that rebuts the stereotyping idiocy of last week’s New York Times article about Jews in S. Florida and Barack Obama’s candidacy. That gray lady is going to make her hair fallout if she doesn’t stop that kind of crap.

2. A new website for Obama supporters: Oh Boy Obama. I keep writing Oy Boy Obama by mistake when I type that.

Oh Boy Obama is the unofficial campaign think-tank. Created by Obama supporters for the purpose of giving the Obama grassroots a platform to submit and vote on ideas to better the 2008 primary and general election campaign of Barack Obama. All supporters are welcome to contribute.

3. The Women’s Media Center is offering intensive media training through its Progressive Women’s Voices program. Please take a look and either apply, forward to someone who might or blog about it. The program actively works to place women on op-ed pages and in the media (talking head shows).

4. The Ohio Attorney General’s human resources director has resigned. I’m not sure what to read into that but I always think about the information that leaves when a human leaves.

5. Congratulations to Dr. Nancy Wingenbach, the new Orange schools superintendent (two-year contract). I’ve known Nancy for almost as long as she’s been in the district and think she is a superb choice. Dr. Lukich, whom she’s succeeding, is going to Palantine, IL for another superintendent job.

6. Okay – so – does this post imply that White Hat Management Life Skills Centers in Florida sanction religious invocations? With public dollars? After all the fuss over the charters in Florida with Hebrew language being taught?

7. Here’s the description of the BlogHer panel I’ll be on (I’m calling myself the token class privileged white feminist but seriously? I’m feeling pretty intimidated – the other women are major knowledge players in the are of race and gender):

Who We Are: Race and Gender: What are the lessons of 2008 No, this actually isn’t a re-hash of the Obama vs. Hillary debate. But certainly Election 2008 has made us all look at our own (and society’s, and the media’s etc. etc. ) attitudes about race and gender. BlogHers proved that you can indeed discuss these incredibly sensitive topics without it descending into anarchy or hate speech, but it’s tough. Please join Maria Niles, Jill Miller Zimon, Cynematic, Adele Nieves and Caille Millner as we discuss what we’ve learned about ourselves…and about others so far in 2008.

What I’m most thrilled about is that Maria and Adele have both played absolutely critical, vital without them I wouldn’t be where I am today roles in my learning and understanding about WOC, POC, allies and so much more (and still much more I don’t know). I know this is going to be yet another transformative experience – at age 45. How bad can that be?! I feel very lucky. Even if I’m token. ;)

8. John Ettorre at Working with Words tells us that Pat Tillman’s mother, Mary, has now written a book, Boots on the Ground by Dusk: My Tribute to Pat Tillman, about what the government did and didn’t tell her about her son’s death in Afghanistan. Tillman’s is truly one of the most nightmarish stories to come out of our military involvement in the Middle East. From Kirkus Reviews:

“Alongside fond memories and recollections of Pat’s charismatic bluntness and self-sacrificing nature, Mary details her family’s exhaustive search for the truth with the help of allies ranging from Senator John McCain to retired General Wesley Clark to numerous investigative reporters…the chilling results yielded by the Tillman family’s unflagging efforts indicate that Pat’s death was, at best, a result of gross negligence and incompetence on the part of the U.S. Army and, at worst, a sinister coverup by high-ranking officials willing to lie to a soldier’s family and hoodwink the public in exchange for higher approval ratings.” – Kirkus Reviews

9. And the uncertainty continues in the Democratic primary. I wonder how many Jews are on that DNC committee – think they’ll go to Shabbat services first tomorrow?

10. E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post writes an interesting column about women, anger, Obama, Clinton and the media. One of my favorite sections:

Female politicians feel for Clinton as someone who regularly faces questions that male politicians would never be asked. When a reporter queried [Rhode Island Lt. Gov. Elizabeth] Roberts about “my brand of lipstick and what color was it,” she revealed the vital information — “Revlon Number 235″ — but noted that “some of my supporters were offended that she asked me.”

These are professional politicians, so they know that Clinton is on the verge of defeat because of her campaign’s organizational mistakes, its failure to take Obama seriously early on and the difficulties created by her husband’s presence. Roberts points to an age split among women, noting that her 19-year-old daughter, Kathleen, is a staunch Obama supporter. Obama, Kopp said, clearly has a strong appeal “among younger women, though that’s true among many older women, too.”

Indeed, Obama has the support of many prominent female elected officials, notably Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Govs. Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas. He won significant female support in the primaries, carrying a majority of the women’s vote in 13 states and splitting it evenly with Clinton in Wisconsin.

Nonetheless, even these very pragmatic female politicians who very much want a Democrat to win the White House are looking for signs of “understanding and respect,” said Kopp.

“It’s a campaign, someone wins, someone doesn’t win, that’s life,” she said. “But women don’t want to be totally dissed.”

Does anyone want to be totally dissed, ever? Echoes this, doesn’t it? Think they’ll call Dionne a male, Republican Scientologist?

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:49 pm May 30th, 2008 in Politics, Remains of the Day | 2 Comments 

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From ONN:

The study shows more than 13-percent of Ohio’s population is poor. That’s about 316,000 people.

Numbers have not been that high since the 1960 War on Poverty.

The study was prepared for the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies and looks at numbers from the 2006 Census.

The largest population group in the poverty level is single mothers and their children.

Other facts in the article:

The population groups with the lowest poverty rates were older adults, whites and married persons with children.

The Southern and Southeast Ohio regions had the highest poverty rates.

Focus groups used for the report also indicated that communities with little experience with poverty are now seeing poverty moving to the suburbs.

Here’s the association’s home page but I can’t seem to get to news. Apparently, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland created a committee to study the problem, via executive order, on Wednesday.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 4:21 pm May 30th, 2008 in Politics | 9 Comments 

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I really like Sandy and her work and am pleased to post her announcement about her new book (disclosure: I’ve written for her a few times):

Hi Friends!

Allow me to be a little self-indulgent this morning. My first book, “Cleveland’s Little Italy,” is coming out on Monday and I’m giddy like a new parent.

Part of Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America” series, the 128-page, softcover book tells the story of one of the city’s most interesting neighborhoods from its beginnings as a community of immigrant artisans to its renaissance in the late 20th century as an artist colony and tourist center. The book features more than 180 mostly historic photos from the (now-closed) Little Italy Historical Museum, the Cleveland Public Library, CSU’s Cleveland Press Collection, and a few private sources.

I’ll be doing promotions and book signings at a number of local booksellers this summer. Everyone is welcome (even if you’re not in the market for a copy of the book).

Scheduled so far are:
June 28 – Loganberry Books Local Author Book Fair (Larchmere Blvd) – 11am to 5pm
July 26 – Barnes and Noble at Great Lakes Mall in Mentor – 1pm
July 31 – Mac’s Backs in Cleveland Heights – 7pm

“Cleveland’s Little Italy” is available via Amazon.com and Cleveland area bookstores. You can also purchase an autographed copy (with free shipping) via my Web site, www.writedestination.com.

Thanks for sharing in my excitement.

Best,
Sandy

Sandy Mitchell
The Write Destination
Blogging at b5media about food, golf, holidays, and the Olympics
About.com Cleveland
Celebrate Wine
Author of “Cleveland’s Little Italy,” coming June 2

Good luck and Mazel Tov!

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 2:57 pm May 30th, 2008 in Announcements, Blogging, Cleveland+, Culture, Ohio, Resources, Women, Writing | 5 Comments 

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From TVNZ:

The Vatican issued its most explicit decree so far against the ordination of women priests, punishing them and the bishops who try to ordain them with automatic excommunication.

The decree was written by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and published in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, giving it immediate effect.

A Vatican spokesman said the decree made the Church’s existing ban on women priests more explicit by clarifying that excommunication would follow all such ordinations.

Okay – so, most people know that women aren’t supposed to be allowed to be priests in the Catholic churches, right? So, why this, why now?

Reverend Tom Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Centre at Georgetown University, said he thought the decree was meant to send a warning to the growing number of Catholics who favour admitting women to the priesthood.

“I think the reason they’re doing this is that they’ve realised there is more and more support among Catholics for ordaining women, and they want to make clear that this is a no-no,” Reese said.

(sarcasm alert) How do you say “no-no” in Latin?

Well, so, what are the arguments?

Against ordination:

The Church says it cannot change the rules banning women from the priesthood because Christ chose only men as his apostles.

Church law states that only a baptised male can be made a priest.

For ordination:

Proponents of women’s ordination say Christ was only acting according to the social norms of his time.

The article says that the ordination of women as priests is in fact very rare.

Obviously, I am a fish out of water on this, even though I went to Georgetown. So, here’s a site called, Women Priests which has a section on the reasons why they believe in women priests in the Catholic Church. Here’s nice coverage from the National Catholic Reporter, with profiles of five women priests. But here’s an article (albeit from 1997) about why women should not be Catholic priests.

From the wayback machine, here’s an article about women in the clergy in the Anglican Church, circa 1992. Very different approach.

Again – fish out of water – what is the difference in interpretation of Jesus’s actions and words that leads to such divergent rules?

I don’t know. There’ve been women in the Jewish clergy for decades.

Did you want to be a priest rather than a nun? I really cannot comment specifically on this, except as an outsider.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 1:36 pm May 30th, 2008 in Culture, Gender, Law, leadership, Religion, Social Issues, Women | 6 Comments 

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Rumored for months but still fascinating:

Houda Nonoo told the Associated Press on Friday that she was proud to be named “first of all as a Bahraini.”

This week’s formal appointment of the 43-year old mother of two follows leaked reports in Arabic language press a month ago.

Nonoo is a member of Bahrain’s all-appointed upper legislature and heads a human rights group in the Persian Gulf island kingdom.

Bahrain is considered to be at the forefront of a democratization push in the Arab world. Its tiny Jewish community of about 50 dates to Talmudic times; Nonoo is descended from Iraqi merchants who migrated in the late 19th century.

More from the BBC:

She is believed to be the Arab world’s first Jewish ambassador.

Ms Nonoo, 43, has served as a legislator in Bahrain’s 40-member Shura Council for three years and is head of the Bahrain Human Rights Watch.

Bahrain is a close US ally but has no diplomatic relations with Israel.

It has a Shia Muslim majority, roughly 65% of the population, but the ruling elite is Sunni.

FYI as a reminder (and do not listen to John McCain): just under two-thirds of Iraq’s Muslems are Shi’a and 90% of Iran’s Muslems are Shi’a. So, I don’t think I want to institute a monarchy in the USA, but just the other day I was saying how must I’m liking appointments lately and maybe we should be thinking about using them far and wide. This appointment continues to make me believe that, but let’s wait and hear from the new ambassador, on the job.

Hmm – just noticed – these articles indicate that she informed the AP of her appointment. This much lengthier article says the, er, umm “royal decree” came Wednesday.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 1:18 pm May 30th, 2008 in Foreign Affairs, Gender, Government, Israel, Jewish, Women | 2 Comments 

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Major kudos to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. From NPR:

Transit officials in Boston recently launched an aggressive campaign aimed at cracking down on people who take advantage of the tight squeeze on crowded trains. Over the past month, officials say the program has led to a record number of arrests for subway sex assaults.

Riders on Boston’s subway, known as the “T,” are accustomed to the fact that sometimes there will be full-body contact on jam-packed trains, where people are falling and bumping into one another. However, that sardine-canlike environment creates the perfect camouflage for those who grope.

Here’s how it works:

Transit officials say women usually don’t report groping incidents because they’re embarrassed and don’t believe it will have any effect. So officials have plastered subway cars with nearly a thousand signs urging victims to speak out — and warning potential predators that they are being watched by cameras and by “the grope patrol” of undercover police officers.

On a recent subway trip, Sgt. Mike Adamson was one of several plainclothes officers keeping an eye on a police decoy rider — a pretty young blond woman wearing a T-shirt hanging off one shoulder, a bright skirt and flip-flops.

The decoy got on the train and ended up wedged between the door and a bald guy in a button-down shirt who kept trying to talk to her. She winked at the officers as the man’s arm dropped out of sight behind her, but after several subway stops, nothing had happened. Later, the decoy laughed at the guy’s lame pickup lines about her tattoo and her toes.

Think they’re crazy? Rolling your eyes?

Read about how Japan’s efforts continue to be in place (they were started in at least 2005; read more here) and read about what Mexico is doing:

Mexico City has started a women-only bus service to protect female passengers from groping and verbal abuse common on the city’s packed public transportation system.

Millions of people cram into subway trains and buses in the Mexican capital, one of the world’s largest cities, and women have long complained of abuse from men taking advantage of overcrowding to sneak in an inappropriate grab.

Mexico City already had reserved the first three cars in subway trains for women and children but this is the first time the model has been tried in buses.

How many is enough to make push come to shove, when it comes to hearing the complaints? I’m not sure but obviously in Marc Dann’s case, the threat of impeachment.

Hostile workplace environment, sexual harassment – it’s unpleasant but it does not have to happen. At any level.

Hattip to Feministing.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 12:08 pm May 30th, 2008 in Crime, Culture, Law, leadership, Social Issues, Women | Comments Off 

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[Update: I've received a warm response to my inquiry about women and Politicker and hope it leads to good discussion and, of course, the pick-up of qualified writers for the site, who are women.  Gotta start somewhere. Also, I want to link to this NYT article about the Politicker idea, to give some background.  I think it's a great idea and can fill a niche without impacting the hyper-local nature of blogs like The Wom Blog, Glass City Jungle or Brewed Fresh Daily, among others.]

Hattip to Bring Ohio Home for announcing the new blog, PolitickerOH. I don’t recognize most of the names but I do recognize James Pindell’s. He did a great job covering New Hampshire last summer for the Boston Globe. All RSS’d for it.

However, unless Wally Edge is a woman, out of the eight folks listed, ain’t nary a woman involved. Time to write an e-mail to check that out.

Oops! I found one! Here: Jennifer DePaul – in charge of the Wake-Up Call service.

Okay – still e-mailing. Curious to know how they are on the WOC and POC thing too.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 11:45 am May 30th, 2008 in Announcements, Blogging, Ohio, Politics, Women, Writing | 2 Comments 

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First Read at MSNBC has a good primer on what you need to know about today’s meeting of the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting to discuss proposals to reinstate Florida and Michigan delegates. Those two states violated rules related to when the DNC said primaries could be scheduled and they were penalized. Now, the commitee will be considering how to, if at all, re-instate the delegates so that they can be “seated” at the Denver national convention in August.

There are 30 members of the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee, and here’s the breakdown: 13 back Clinton, eight support Obama, and nine are uncommitted, including the two co-chairs, Alexis Herman VA and James Roosevelt. A majority vote of those present is needed to pass a resolution or judgment.

The Los Angeles Times has a good primer on the issues at stake this weekend, saying that there are two issues before the Rules committee. “The first involves whether to seat 368 delegates from the renegade states along with 49 superdelegates, and if so, how. Party legal experts issued a memo this week advising that, under party rules, committee members can restore no more than half of the states’ convention delegates. So if the panel decided to recognize Florida and Michigan, it could allow the states to send half of their delegates to the convention. Or it could seat all of the delegates and give each half a vote. The second — and far trickier — issue is how to divvy up those delegates between Clinton and Obama.”

I received a call from the BBC for a Sunday interview about the Montana, Puerto Rico and South Dakota primaries and when they said that those primaries would be the topic, I smiled and said that a lot of people are intensely focused more on today.

I’ll be staying up with it all throughout the next two days.

What do you think should happen and why? What do those last three primaries mean?

Update: James Pindell of Politicker.com has a good column here about the meeting and the issues.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 11:23 am May 30th, 2008 in Barack Obama, Campaigning, Democrats, Elections, Hillary Clinton, Politics, Predictions, Voting, WH2008 | 18 Comments 

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