Category Archives: Uncategorized

Download the President's Tax Returns

The White House Blog made the President and Vice President’s taxes public today. 

The President and the First Lady paid about $1.7M in federal income taxes and reported about $330K in donations to 40 charities.  The President also donated his $1.4M Nobel Peace Prize to 10 charities. In Illinois, the Obamas paid about $163K in state income taxes.

Posted via web from ericaamerica’s posterous

Diversity in the Newsroom: The Rise of Women?

At the National Press Club Panel I spoke on last week, moderator Alex Treadway of the Daily Caller posed a question to the panel of women: Do you think this new wave of journalism will open up the doors to more women and help break up the “old boys club?”

While the esteemed journalists who I shared the stage with (Donna Leinwand/USA Today, Kim Hart/The Hill, Cindy Boren/Washington Post) made their remarks, I thought it through and went with my MO: without agreeing or disagreeing, I offered a fact and an observation from experience.

First, according to the 2009 Social Media Study by BlogHer, iVillage and Compass Partners, social media skews women. 79 million women actively particiate in some type of social media weekly – 12 million posted to blogs and 8 million published their own. So the potential here is great for women to increase their share of voice and influence. However the true test will be if they, if we, can transition from hobbyists bloggers to paid professionals, a real time story that is playing out right here, right now, by yours truly, and so many other young women.

Second, from what I’ve seen across industries – specifically where I have experience (health care and media), the bigger the company – the more difficult the adaptation to the digital economy has been. On the flip side, the more agile an organization is, which typically means smaller in size, the more seamless digital integration has been amongst staff, in processes and services.  If it’s true that the old boys club is having trouble adapting, it might be an ironic indication that they are victims of their own success.

Finally, to tie it all together – Salon.com blogger, Sara Libby, wrote a reaction post to Michael Calderone of Politico’s article, “New Pundits: Prodigies or Pipsqeaks,” which I found to be an insightful piece about the rising class of young pundits. But Libby is right – his examples, with the exception of one, were young, white men:

What bothered me about Calderone’s ranting wasn’t so much whether any of these young men deserved to break into these famously stodgy, old-school institutions — I find all their work refreshing and valuable; Cillzza, especially, is an incredibly tenacious reporter — but that they were simply younger versions of what has long been an old boys club. Is it really that much of a surprise that pages typically populated with old, white men are now also occasionally featuring young, white men?

Posted via web from ericaamerica’s posterous

#snOMG Snowball Fight Attracts Hundreds

Today what seemed like more than a thousand Washingtonians (big kids at heart), walked to Dupont Circle for a massive, spirited and fun filled snowball fight. I made my way to the front lines and got nailed square on the face by a serious snowball. These people weren’t messing around and I was fair game!

ABC WJLA (Jennifer Donelan) was there to cover it throughout the day, so I’ll direct you to them for more coverage. Feel free to check out my Flickr feed as well and enjoy the snow!

Helen Thomas and Craig Crawford at the Smithsonian

Yesterday I went to the American History Museum – which just re-opened after nearly three years of construction, to say hello to Helen Thomas and  Craig Crawford. The two co-authors of “Listen Up, Mr. President” have been on a joint book touring for the past few months. (See my Flickr photos of the event and Craig Crawford’s Twitter feed here).

I talked to Helen for a few minutes and it was clear her mind was on the White House news that morning. Just hours before, two former Presidents, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, made a joint appearance to help the devastated people of Haiti and announced the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund. Here is the PSA on WhiteHouse.gov.

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SFGate.com: Let's Collaborate

Every week the online news team at the San Francisco Chronicle publishes Helen Thomas’s weekly column. The Chronicle, or SFGate.com, is part of Hearst News Corporation, who Helen works for.

Today I decided to email one of the Politics Blog writers, Mr. Michael Collier. The reason? If SFGate.com’s audience is receptive to Helen’s columns, why not publish my video interviews alongside? We’ll see if Mr. Collier gets back.

Equal Rights: More Than a March

I just got back from the National Equality March that is taking place right now in Washington. Thousands of GLBT equality advocates have descended on Northwest D.C. and are in full force as they march from McPherson Square to the steps of the Capitol.

The march has been met with some skepticism, especially by openly gay Member of Congress, Barney Frank (D-MA), who told Associated Press: “The only thing they’re going to be putting pressure on is the grass.” He went on to allude to more effective ways the GLBT community could push their equality agenda – constituent lobby days and grassroots efforts in the states, such as Maine, where gay marriage will soon be voted on. But even with that valid point, the thousands of marchers in Washington had ample reason to be here.

Over the last two decades, our government has actually established legislation that prohibits equality. First there is Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT), a ban of openly gay people in the military, which reduces military effectiveness. Then there is the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which conflicts the Constitution by connecting church and state with a legal definition of marriage: between a man and a women.

On the other hand, you have the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA), a piece of legislation that protects people from wrongful termination – except GLBT people. In fact, in 29 states, employers can fire or not hire someone based on their sexuality. And the list of policies that dictate civil rights for a minority group in America goes on.

In sum, our government is actively producing policy that makes some U.S. citizens less than equals. We all know that no matter what, it is not right. But somehow that message has not reached all of America. Here are some people who want to change that.

Iranian Protestors Confront White House

Protest. Today. White House.

Hundreds of Iranians and supporters showed up with flags, signs, and shades of green to urge the White House to intervene in what has become a widespread uprising between Iranians for democracy and the government, lead by the Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei  and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

BBC reported from that 10 people have died so far in the Tehran protests. One woman I interviewed denounced that and said the real numbers are in the low hundreds. While all of this goes on, dozens of journalists have been jailed while others, like BBC’s John Leyne, have been removed from the country. Total chaos.

I came across this protest unexpectedly but luckily had my Flip Video on me. Check it out and be sure to get the take from the ground with my live tweets next time.

Is The GOP Rejecting Their Own?

I just have to ask. What was the Republican National Committee thinking when they made their Request for Proposal (RFP) for a complete rebuild of their Web site public?

On Friday, the conservative blog, RedState, published a copy of the two-page RFP. After reading the RFP,  RedState managing editor, Erick Erikson delievered a swift blow at the GOP leadership by writing, “they don’t know what they are doing.”

Not long after posting, which appears in full below, the comments began to roll in…giving voice to a frustrated and confused Republican niche – the bloggers themselves. But they bring up a good point. Why is the RNC leadership not bringing the conservative bloggers to the table for some very dire, much needed advice?

RNC Fail: This is getting freakin’ ridiculous
Post by: Erick Erickson

Attached is an RFP to redesign GOP.com, the Republican National Committee’s website.

Look at it. Savor it.

Friends, either the RNC has no freakin’ clue what the hell it is doing or else all the rumors about certain consultants having an inside track at RNC contracts is true.

Why? Because there is no way any competent person would put together an RFP like this. It’s crap. It is not legitimate. It is unprofessional. It is illusory.

Either they don’t know what they are doing, or they’ve already picked their consultant and are going through the motions. If it is the former, well, the RNC is screwed. If it is the latter, Michael Steele’s claims about bidding out work was B.S.

And I suspect it is all B.S.

Happy Hour for Votes

Tonight President Obama hosted a Happy Hour at the White House.

He invited eleven of the most bipartisan Republicans in Congress and eleven of the most bipartisan Democrats in Congress. I am sitting here amazed at how this Presidency has unfolded – in just a few days.

An interview with Al Arabiya, a leading news network in the middle east. An order to shut down Guantanamo. And a stimulus plan that just passed through the House. Each, forceful indications that the the Executive Branch is acting swiftly.

So to those members who got invited to the Happy Hour — there was a catch. Happy Hour conversation would be the Economic Stimulus Plan. Because in order to pass through the Senate and make it to his desk, Obama needs the help of the Legislative Branch, which is Congress.

There is one quote I will always remember about our Congress, and it came from a Washington mentor who has since passed away. I asked what Congress was doing to stop the war, which had turned unpopular in the polls. “This is the most unproductive Congress we have seen in a long, long time,” he said very matter-of-fact. He had been a Washington resident and reporter beginning in the 1950s.

I guess we will have to see if Obama can work some magic – across the bar…and the aisle.