I was walking to school with Ella last week when she said to me: “Mama, when will I get paid for work?” Thinking she was speaking in generalities I replied, “Oh, usually when you’re about 15 you can get a job where you earn money.”
“No no,” she said to me, “I mean for the job I have now, Political Playground, I want to get paid and I want a bank account.” (I swear this really happened.)
“Hmmm…” I said “How bout this. I can’t make any promises but I can try and set up a meeting for you with my boss, Executive Producer Steve Friedman and you can make your case for why you should get paid. Do you want to do that?”
*Enthusiastic head nodding from Ella*
“Alright but you’re going to have to take it really seriously and work really hard at it. OK?”
The rest of our short trip to school Ella fantasized about her bank account and credit.
She also determined that her account would not be at Bank of America because they’re “terrible.” (I’ve really got to watch what I say around this child.)
Steve agreed to take the meeting with the stipulation that I not be in the room. My agent Henry agreed to “represent” Ella and the result of their negotiation can be seen in this video. I’ve got to say, Ella secured a pretty good deal. Maybe when I renegotiate she can give me some tips.
Crisis management and scandal recovery have captured the moment, from big-league sports to New York City’s current political silly season. PR firms are rebranding themselves as crisis advisers. Ex-White House aides are peddling their bona fides. While the public sees scandal through a tabloid lens, at its heart are flawed human beings making mistakes, acting emotionally, and trying to preserve their reputations and careers. “Recovering politicians” who suffered highly publicized scandals share their stories, offer guidance, and comment on the latest attempts to launch second acts.
A conversation with:
Krystal Ball, co-host, MSNBC’s “The Cycle;” former Virginia congressional candidate Jonathan Miller, Daily Beast columnist; No Labels co-founder; former Kentucky state treasurer Michael Steele, co-chairman, Purple Nation Strategies; former Republican National Committee chairman
Jeff Smith, assistant professor of politics and advocacy, The New School; former Missouri state senator
Crisis management and scandal recovery have captured the moment, from big-league sports to New York City’s recent political silly season. PR firms are rebranding themselves as crisis advisers. Ex-White House aides are peddling their bona fides. While the public sees scandal through a tabloid lens, at its heart are flawed human beings making mistakes, acting emotionally, and trying to preserve their reputations and careers. “Recovering politicians” who suffered highly publicized scandals share their stories, offer guidance, and comment on the latest attempts to launch second acts.
A conversation with: Krystal Ball, co-host, MSNBC’s “The Cycle;” former Virginia congressional candidate Jonathan Miller, Daily Beast columnist; No Labels co-founder; former Kentucky state treasurer Michael Steele, co-chairman, Purple Nation Strategies; former Republican National Committee chairman
Moderated by: Jeff Smith, assistant professor of politics and advocacy, The New School; former Missouri state senator
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2013 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Theresa Lang Community & Student Center, Arnhold Hall
55 West 13th Street (between Fifth and Sixth avenues), 2nd Floor
By Krystal Ball, on Wed Aug 7, 2013 at 10:00 AM ET
President Obama just gave another economic speech, this time in Phoenix, aimed at helping middle class families attain the American dream of home ownership. In truth, however, owning a home is only one part of the American dream. The real core of the American Dream was illustrated well recently by Robert Putnam, a social scientist whose work on community and inequality has influenced the president. In a recent op-ed for The New York Times Putnam talks about the way his hometown of Port Clinton, Ohio, has crumbled. He warns that the American dream is in danger of crumbling right along with it as manufacturing jobs leave and Port Clinton residents become locked in a cycle of poverty, hopelessness and despair.
I just spent the summer with my family and my new baby in my own crumbling rust belt town and I can attest to the fact that seeing that sort of regional despair up close has a way of clarifying your thinking. My little town of East Liverpool, Ohio, used to be the pottery capital of the world. Now China is the pottery capital of the world. The next town over, Midland, PA., used to be home to one of the largest steel mills in the country, offering thousands of good, union, middle class jobs. Now the mill is all but defunct. What will replace these jobs? That’s the real economic question we need to focus on, the real heart of preserving the American dream. After all you need a job and money to buy a house.
We tend to romanticize our era of manufacturing dominance and there is something wonderful about making things. Perhaps with new technology and new economic incentives we can restore some of our manufacturing prowess but there’s no time machine to take us back to the good old days. But listen to Richard Florida, senior editor at the Atlantic. He suggests the job boom we really need is staring us right in the face. Jobs that can’t be outsourced, in a sector that is already growing rapidly. The service sector. Jobs like retail clerks, home health care providers, childcare workers.
As manufacturing jobs have declined in this country, service sector jobs have increased. Perhaps rather than trying to bring back a bygone manufacturing era, we need to find a way to make service jobs the sort of good jobs that you can support a family on, buy a car with, take vacations on.
I don’t know exactly how we do it. But I know the activism among fast food workers and WalMart employees is a good start. I know that companies like Costco and Zappos and Amazon are leading the way by showing that a respected worker is a productive worker. And I also know that turning service jobs into middle class jobs will likely require a willingness among all of us to pay a bit more for the services we use. But keep in mind, manufacturing jobs were not always so great. They started out dirty, low paid, and dangerous. Perhaps service sector jobs can evolve just as manufacturing jobs did in those good old days.
Home ownership is fine. Bridges and roads are great. Education is absolutely critical. But what we really need to preserve the American Dream is a realistic path for all to the middle class through a fundamental shift in the way we view and treat our service workers. Oh, and it might help to have a Congress that was actually interested in tackling these problems, or might even be in session now and then.
By Krystal Ball, on Wed May 15, 2013 at 10:00 AM ET
President Obama recently celebrated 100 days of being office for his second term. In recent months his approval rating has been wobbling, but according to a Pew Research Center poll released on Wednesday it has gone up to 51%. While it still lags behind his 55% approval rating a month after being re-elected, his rating is higher than the 47% he received in March.
However, even with his rebounding approval rating, the president faces persistent criticism about how much he has or has not been able to accomplish. With the budget talks at square one, the gun control legislation not passing the Senate (due to a GOP blockade), and both sides failing to rid the country of the sequester, President Obama’s 100 day mark didn’t seem to be filled with many accomplishments.
In this week’s episode of Political Playground Krystal asked her 5-year-old daughter, Ella, what she would ask President Obama if she was a member of the press like her mom.
“Why can’t both sides work together” Ella responded.
Americans agree with Ella. Pew Research Center also found that 80% believe that the president and Republican leaders are not working together. Forty-two percent blame Republican congressional leaders for the gridlock in Washington, while only 22% blame the president.
Ella does have some advice to help President Obama in his next 100 days: “Make your team work harder!”
Krystal Ball is someone that we can all learn from. At 29, she ran for Congress in Virgina’s first district. She would have been the youngest woman to serve in Congress ever, if elected. She didn’t win though. During her election, she faced a sexist smear campaign by her opponents on the right who leaked salacious college photos of Ball. (We covered this 2010 edition of sexist double standards here too.) Throughout the whole thing, she held her head high. When others might’ve crawled away from the spotlight, Krystal used that moment to shed light on the inequalities women face in the public sphere. In her response, she wrote:
I don’t believe these pictures were posted with a desire to just embarrass me; they wanted me to feel like a whore. They wanted me to collapse in a ball of embarrassment and to hang my head in shame.
Despite the people that wanted her to hang her head in shame, she did just the opposite. And she’s still speaking up and ruffling feathers. She’s currently one of four hosts on the MSNBC showThe Cycle, where she not only brings a progressive spin to current events, but also, at times, creatively uses her 5-year-old daughter to highlight the need for marriage equality (much to many on the right’s chagrin). She is a great example of someone bravely pushing boundaries, taking risks, and doing things her own way. And most of all, instead of letting negative experiences break her spirit, she uses them to lift herself higher.
And now, without further ado, the Feministing Five with Krystal Ball.
Anna Sterling: Looking back on your experience running for Congress, would you do it again?
Krystal Ball: Absolutely! Was I scared? Yes. Was it hard? Harder than childbirth. Were there some low moments? Of course. But overall, it was actually a fantastic and rewarding experience that made me stronger and that is a source of tremendous pride. I also think it’s incredibly important that as women we share stories not just of our successes but also of our failures. I ran. I lost. And not only was it not the end of the world, but it actually created the opportunity for me to do what I’m doing now. I think a lot of women don’t run for office because they’re afraid of losing. I’m here to say winning is fantastic but even in a loss, nothing is truly lost and much is gained.
AS: What steps do we need to take to end this double standard placed on women? And what advice would you give young women looking to possibly run for office, who are afraid to take that leap because of what could leak in this social media age?
KB: To end the double standard, we have to be willing to call out our friends and our opponents. To me the recent conversation about the President’s calling California Attorney General Kamala Harris the “best looking” Attorney General was quite interesting. There were a lot of men and women who considers themselves to be feminists who defended the President. Now look, there are worse things in the world than being called good looking and I’m not mad at the President or even really offended. But the fact remains that any sort of focus on a woman candidate’s appearance or clothes does in fact undermine her credibility with voters. There’s a brand new “Name it. Change it.” research from the Women’s Campaign Fund, Lake Research Partners, and the Women’s Media Fund that proves this point. So even though this President has in many ways been great for women, it’s still up to us to educate people about the impact even well-intentioned comments can have.
As for young women looking at public office, my advice would be two-fold. First, and this goes for men and women, be thoughtful about what you put out on social media. But second, if there is some stupid party photo from your youthful days out there, don’t let that put fear in your heart or stop you from running. In my race, while it was painful and embarrassing when party photos of me were posted, there was also something beautiful about the number of people of all political persuasions who rushed to my defense. Many told me that the photos just made them feel like I was a real human being. In the final analysis, based on our polling, they didn’t end up hurting me electorally one bit and may have actually marginally improved my vote totals.