Project Wonderful

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Worst Humans: Buckley and Tucker Carlson


Something has been bothering me for a couple days now and I haven't been able to blog about it because every time I read the story it pretty much ruins my day, or at least my hour. It's not just the story, it's what the story represents. And what is the story? An absurdly misogynistic tale of a political professional asking for a story correction. Please read about it here.

It is almost Passover and on that holiday we sing a song called "Dayenu" which means "It would have been enough." The song lists miracles that God bestowed on the Jewish people and after each the refrain is "Dayenu" as in "if just this one thing had happened on it's own it would have significant enough to be celebrating and glorify God, and yet there's more." If God had led us out of Egypt, it would have been enough, if he had led us to safety it would have been enough, etc. That's basically how I felt about the Carlson brothers and my overwhelming disgust for them as I read this story.

1) If Tucker Carlson had just founded the Daily Caller which is a lies-printing right wing news publication, it would have been enough.

2) If he had said things like this about Wendy Davis and this about equal pay. It would have been enough.

3) If Buckley Carlson had sent this email to his brother in response to a female public affairs director (and friend of friends and Tufts alum) asking for a correction to a story, it would have been enough.
Great response. Whiny little self-righteous bitch. “Appalling?” And with such an ironic name, too… Spitalnick? Ironic because you just know she has extreme dick-fright; no chance has this girl ever had a pearl necklace. Spoogeneck? I don’t think so. More like LabiaFace.
4) If one of his employees hadn't threatened Spitalnick that if she "“annoyed” him “with another whiny email..., I’m muting this thread, thanks.” It would have been enough. Can you imagine him saying that to a male spokesperson? Don't think so.

5) If he hadn't sent Spitalnick this condescending email in response to her complaint (and frankly I think because number 3 is so horrific, this piece isn't getting enough attention for how egregious it is) it would have been enough.

Dear Amy,
Thanks for your email. You believe our story was inaccurate and have demanded a correction. Totally fair. We are going over the transcript now.
What Bedford complained about was your tone, which, I have to agree, was whiny and annoying, and I say that in the spirit of helpful correction rather than as a criticism. Outside of New York City, adults generally write polite, cheerful emails to one another, even when asking for corrections. Something to keep in mind the next time you communicate with people who don’t live on your island.
Best,
Tucker Carlson

6) If Tucker Carlson had logic-defyingly defended his brother's misogynistic email (on which Buckley Carlson mistakenly cc'd Spitalnick because he is not only an idiot but also an idiot) by saying "he assures me he meant it in the nicest way." It would have been enough.

I'm just going to have to hope that if you're reading my blog you understand how revolting this is on both and a macro and micro level. How many of these exchanges about female political professionals happen that we are not accidentally CC'd on? How many times are we not sure if we're being talked down to or dismissed because of our gender only to realize in retrospect "yes, of course it was that!" but have had the moment pass us by? How many women are not in positions to call out sexism and misogyny in their work environments for fear they won't be supported? I am absolutely sick over this story both because of what it is and what it is emblematic of.

As for Buckley and Tucker Carlson, they are the human equivalents of diarrhea mixed with gas station sushi. I want to make a one time reversal of my feelings on the death penalty and demand that they be hung from the gallows while feminists throw stones at their rotting corpses. And I assure you, I mean that in the nicest way possible.










Monday, March 23, 2015

Always Buy The .Org

And every other possible iteration of your website. To wit, I present tedcruz.com.


Buckle up, ladies and gentlemen! It's going to be an interesting ride.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Some Handy Tech and Statistics Jargon


In February I went to the Analyst Institute Persuasion Retreat, which was absolutely amazing. (If you don't know what the Analyst Institute is, you should.) At the same time even with a (albeit limited) history of graduate level statistics I found myself intimidated by the jargon. I figured if I was, so were others so I enlisted the help of friends in defining some basic, and not-so-basic terms that were bandied about. Enjoy!

Cryptography - how we keep important data, like credit card transactions, safe from prying eyes.
Cookies- Used by tech and data geniuses to track where you go on the web.
P-score/P-value- Say do did a statistical test using a sample population and you confirm or reject your hypothesis using that test. The p-score is the chance that even though you ran the test right, the conclusion you came to is actually wrong, kind of like a margin of error.
T-test- Statistical test used to determine a p-score
N- Size of your sample in a statistical test
Neyman sampling- A survey tool used to find the number of people needed to represent people just like them in the whole populationAn example: Suppose the population is 10% African American; random sampling may put 0%, 15% or whatever percentage of African Americans in your sample. Neyman sampling would mean you would only select from your pool of African Americans (randomly) until you get to 10% of your sample size, then stop.
Simpson's paradox- This paradox occurs when a statistically significant trend occurs when looking at groups of data, but disappears when you look at those groups individually – or vice-versa. The most famous case was researched by Bickel et al, and had to do with gender bias in 1970s grad school admissions at U.C. Berkeley (go Bears). When looking at all of the grad schools together, women had a much lower overall acceptance rate, but when looking at individual grad schools (i.e. English, engineering, public policy) women had similar by-school acceptance rates; the paper concluded that the lower overall acceptance rate came from women applying to schools which were more selective (without mentioning why women didn’t apply to STEM grad schools.)
R package- a piece of software, like Excel, that is used to perform complex statistical tests
C code- As in the programming language. Some people do statistical analysis by writing a proprietary code each time.
Heterogeneity- You want heterogeneity within your sample so that you can use it to make an inference about the population at large. This is why people use Neyman sampling.
Bayestree It's a statistics thing that helps you determine how to organize your data. For example, "Imagine you're trying to predict life expectancy of animals using characteristics across species. Your variables might include: Number of offspring per birth, isWarmBlooded, weight, isMammal, avgTempOfClimate, isOceanDwelling, and probably others I'm not thinking of. There will be collinearity between these variables (I'm guessing Mammals have higher weights than non-mammals, etc). A Bayestree would help you identify the hierarchy of the variables (for example, isMammal is actually a subset of those who are warm blooded, if I've got my science right). The resulting hierarchy can then aid in variable selection/combination."


Big thank you to Adam Briskin-Limehouse, Mario Ben Bonafacio and especially Will Matthews who was the only person who could explain to me what a Bayestree is.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

How to Look Professional *and* Non-Boring! Guest Post on Your New Washington DC Look!


(Who wouldn't take fashion advice from these two? ;) Note: this picture was taken after the campaign.)

CampaignSickles,

I am super excited to share a post from my friend, political/fashion badass and plus-size fashion blogger, Renee Cafaro. When shopping my clothing mantra is basically "WWRD?" (What would Renee do?) Check out her amazing tumblr here. Below Renee gives her tips for dressing for success for job hunt or non-campaign job in Washington DC. AND if you are size 10 or higher and looking for an affordable convenient wardrobe check out my post on GwynnieBee and use my code to subscribe. Take it away, Ren
ee!

Dear Campaignsick fans,

You do not know me but we have a mutual love for Nancy. My name is Renee and a couple years ago, I had the pleasure of working with the brilliant and revered woman behind Campaignsick on a major citywide campaign. We shared a passion for social justice and skirts, so I knew would be friends for life. I am so excited to do this crossover post between her blog and mine: plus-size fashion blog, FoxyRoxyFashion. Whether you are plus or not, a lot of these rules will apply to you. Before we begin, repeat after me: You CAN be a feminist and be fashionable. The Fox-propagated stereotype that I must be a man-hating, bra-burning troll just because I would like congressmen to stop legislating my body is truly absurd. So now that we have gotten that over with, I hope you enjoy this article.
As I get ready for another advocacy summit in my old home, Washington D.C., I am forced to re-examine my wardrobe. The Nation's Capitol,or as I fondly remember it as "The Town of Blue-Shirts-and-Khaki-Pants", is less tolerant of quirky workwear than NYC. Even with a career in politics, I can still get away with wearing knee-high boots, patterned tights, sweaters and the occasional dark-wash jean and still look work-appropriate in the city.

In the halls of Capitol Hill or power-lunching on K Street, you need to bring your business wear A game. Let's call it "House of Cards couture". Tailored. Classic. Neutral. Powerful.

The only problem is that with plus-size women this is a tall order. The crisp white button down either looks bizarrely vulgar as it strains to stay buttoned over your big boobs or it buttons properly and rest of it looks dumpy. There was an unforgettable moment in my fashion life when I found myself on the verge of tears in a Lord & Taylor while shopping for suits for the 2012 Democratic National Convention. This sent me on a quest for things that look sharp enough for the Senate floor and still kinda sexy.

SUIT UP:

Why?! Why can I not find a power suit that flatters my full figure and not plague me with baggy butt or uncomfortably tight thighs? Even my slim friends have the same problem finding a suit that fits their top half and bottom half equally well right off the rack. Well I found the answer! Suit Separates! Sounds obvious, right? Actually many do not carry perfectly coordinated suit separates in a range of sizes and lengths. I found that Anne Klein and Rafaella are the best for those who are harder to fit. Ann Taylor is spectacular if you are an 18 or under and do not carry your weight all in you middle.


PRO-TIP: Look for 2-button or 3-button jackets to avoid the lapels bunching out around the bust. If need be, take the jacket to a tailor to get it taken in around the waist since the jacket sets most of the silhouette of the suit. Speaking of silhouette, avoid wide leg or straight let pants. Boot cut or curvy fit skim your curves and balance out hips without an excess of fabric.

ACCESSORIZE LIKE A BOSS:

Madeline Albright isn't the only woman who can own a room and an Hermes scarf. You can too! I like traditional accessories like chunky gold or pearl necklaces, nicely structured handbags and some oversized shades like the ones made famous by the "Text From Hillary" picture. Now that I think of it, we have had some pretty stylin' Madame Secretaries. If you are a fan of CBS' brilliant new show, Madame Secretary you will note that Tea Leoni also always looks impeccable. Perhaps diplomacy and designer duds go hand in hand?

We digress. Again, Ann Taylor is a great resource for coordinating, quality jewelry at an affordable price and we are obsessed with Coach and Kate Spade bags. They are timeless and nearly indestructible! On a budget? Charming Charlie has something for every trend in every color.

PRO-TIP: Remember that the running around the halls of Rayburn burns your feet. ALWAYS shop Aerosoles, EasySpirit, Sofft and other comfort brands for pumps. Other shoes will not last the day without damage to your feet and we try to avoid flats with skirts unless you have long legs.



INVEST IN INFRASTRUCTURE:

OK, we know this is something you may be discussing in a budget hearing, but what we mean is: be sure to buy all of the foundations you need for a solid wardrobe. This includes smoothing foundation garments, perfectly structured dresses and control-top panty hose (NOTHING beats L'eggs control toptights for comfort, shape and wear). Any avid reader of FoxyRoxyFashion knows that we are obsessed with the style and ease of dresses. If you find one that fits well in a classic shift or 3/4 sleeved shape, you are ready for any meeting with only a few accessories. For 12+, Go to Kiyonna for a huge selection of sleeved dresses. They are the hardest working items in my closet without ever wrinkling or looking old.

PRO-TIP: Shift dresses can be boxy too, so look for ones with a bit of stretch and/or get the darts tailored like we suggested for your blazers. An ill-fitting shift can make you look heavier so it is worth the effort. Also, be sure dresses are never too tight and hit just at your knee.

You are looking fierce, woman! Now, go show the good old boys at the Old Ebbitt Grill who's boss!


PS. Want more awesome guest posts AND to help me afford the beautiful clothing Renee recommends? Help support CampaignSick!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Think NYC Is A Liberal Paradise? Think Again.


Devotees will remember my devotion for (and erstwhile employment by) Working Families Party, a fairly powerful union-backed progressive third party in New York State. From their website:
Working Families is New York’s progressive political party. The Working Families Party is focused on tackling the political, economic, and educational inequality that deprive working and middle class families of opportunity. Our vision is to build a New York that is fair for all of us, not just the wealthy and well-connected.
Part of the genius of WFP, and why it has been able to be effective, is a mechanism known as fusion voting. As I explained in a 2011 post:
Here's how it works: WFP, or another third party, endorses a candidate already in the race. For WFP it is usually, but not always, a Democrat. Voters can vote for the candidate on either the Democratic or the Working Families Party line, and the votes for the candidate from both lines are tallied together. For example, if candidate X receives 30% of the total votes cast on the Democratic Party line and 20% of the total votes on the WFP line, while candidate Y receives 45% of the total votes on the Republican line, candidate X still wins!
This allows voters to exert pressure on politicians to vote in line with the politics of a progressive workers party without risk of "spoiling" the vote. Fusion voting is only legal in a handful of states, most notably New York and Connecticut. New York WFP has had an impressive track record of playing in Democratic primaries.

Although New York City votes overwhelmingly Democratic, it is home to several iterations of the Democratic party (and of course some Republicans). I don't know if you've ever heard this, but quite a few rich people live in New York- rich people who have socially progressive views, but also a vested interest in opposing things like paid sick leave and raising the minimum wage.

It can come as no surprise then that some Scott-Walker-in-sheep's-clothings have been on a cycles-long crusade against WFP, under the guise of enforcing clean elections. There are literally dozens of examples; here is one. But it did come as a surprise to me this morning to find out that the latest phase of this witch hunt involves the impending arrest of my friend and mentor in NYC politics. (I am not including her name to minimize her current Googleability but you can click the link to read.) This person hired me to manage my first campaign, for a WFP-backed candidate to whom she is now Chief of Staff.

These accusations have been around since 2009 and WFP's political opponents have desperately and unsuccessfully been trying to get anything to stick. As the Daily News
reported in December,
"Some close to the Working Families Party [including me] accuse Adler [the special prosecutor in the case] of having a longstanding political vendetta against the labor-backed political organization — dating back to his membership on the Kings County judicial screening committee for former Brooklyn Democratic Leader Vito Lopez, a frequent WFP advisary [sic].

Adler critics also note he lost his race for a civil court judgeship partially as a result of a reform ticket pushed by the Working Families Party.

They also point to a never before released 2012 letter from lawyer David Brown to a party official — obtained by the Daily News — which indicates Adler made up his mind two years ago that crimes had been committed and was threatening to expand his probe unless the party agreed to a settlement in the Rose case."

So you know, no conflict of interest there.

Yesterday's New York Times article explains that
for all parties, this is a matter that could have been an episode of “The Twilight Zone,” full of weirdness: what appears to be a first-of-its-kind case brought over errors that happen in many, many campaigns across the city. Normally, these errors are caught by the Campaign Finance Board, which audits political spending. The paperwork is then refiled with the proper information. Everyone lives happily ever after, with no handcuffs or police cars involved.
The article mentions that eight of nine campaigns that were subject to spurious campaign finance accusations were cleared with evidence of either no reporting errors or trivial ones. One of those eight was the campaign I managed. So for several reasons, these accusations hit close to home.

In a world where money is increasingly influential in our elections, the idea that anti-union politicians are persecuting and intimidating pro-union activists under the guise of campaign finance violations is an absolute farce. This is no better than the "beat 'em or cheat 'em" politics that Republicans use to disenfranchise their opponents through voter registration restrictions and voter ID laws. This is some horseshit. Roger Bennett Adler and the corrupt politicians he represents should be ashamed of themselves.




Monday, March 2, 2015

Arizona Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission

From the Brennan Center:
On March 2, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Arizona Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, which will decide whether Arizona voters had the power - through a citizen ballot initiative - to establish an independent redistricting commission to draw the state’s congressional maps every ten years.

The case could invalidate congressional redistricting commissions in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, New Jersey, and Washington and, depending on how the court rules, also could throw into doubt the tie-breaking procedures used in four states to resolve legislative deadlocks over maps as well as redistricting commissions in New York, New Jersey, and Maine. A measure approved by Florida voters in 2010 to tighten redistricting standards also could be at risk.

The ramifications of the case extend beyond redistricting, however. The Arizona Legislature's constitutional challenge to the commission is based on the Constitution’s Elections Clause and contends that the clause should be read to mean that the “times, places and manner” of federal elections can be set only by state legislatures or by Congress. That clause governs not just redistricting plans but a wide range of laws related to federal elections. If Arizona’s independent commission is struck down as unconstitutional, dozens of other state laws also could be at risk. These include 21 state laws adopted by ballot initiative and another 45 that needed approval by voters via a legislative referendum or constitutional amendment. Examples of such laws include Mississippi's voter identification law, Oregon's vote by mail ballot elections, and Ohio's ban on straight party voting. In short, the ruling, expected in late spring or this summer, could be a blockbuster.
Does anyone else see a huge problem with elected officials being the only ones who draw the lines deciding who elects them? Hello gerrymandering! Partisan redistricting only provides a vehicle for the party in power to solidify its hold on a state and its Congressional seats. Not to mention the fact that bipartisan and non-partisan commissions are almost always more favorable to Democrats than partisan gerrymandering schemes hmm... Partisan gerrymandering dilutes the will of the people, serves to disenfranchise voters and favor politicians. The idea that the Supreme Court would consider banning alternative redistricting methods CHOSED BY THE VOTERS is ludicrous to me. But ya know, what do I know?