Klobuchar in Iowa

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U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.,  takes part in a "Conversations About America's Future" program at ACL Live during the South by Southwest Interactive Festival on Saturday, March 9, 2019, in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP)

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., takes part in a "Conversations About America's Future" program at ACL Live during the South by Southwest Interactive Festival on Saturday, March 9, 2019, in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP)

FILE - In this Feb. 24, 2019 file photo U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., speaks to voters during a campaign stop at a home, in Nashua, N.H. Klobuchar, supports legalization and believes states should have the right to determine how to handle marijuana regulation within their borders but hasn't signed on to New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker's legislation. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

Minnesota’s Klobuchar all-in on Iowa as 2020 field grows


Associated Press

Friday, March 15

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is going all-in on Iowa as she tries to become the Democratic nominee for president, returning to the nation’s lead off caucus state this weekend for a flurry of stops — her third visit since launching her campaign just over a month ago.

Klobuchar pitches herself as the next-door neighbor who understands issues facing middle America, scoffs at a snowstorm and “can see Iowa from my front porch.” At house parties, bars and spaghetti dinners she’s referred to Iowans as “my friends” and reminded them she knows how to win in both big cities and rural areas, a key to defeating President Donald Trump in 2020.

It’s a strategy that could make Klobuchar competitive in a state that prizes Midwestern familiarity and values. But Klobuchar will have mounting competition for Iowa voters — and plenty of company — as she works to stand out among better-known Democrats with a lot more money.

“I am a candidate from the heartland,” Klobuchar told reporters in Des Moines recently, calling Iowa and the rest of the Midwest “an important part” of her path to success. She said she’s hoping for a top-three finish in the Iowa caucus.

Her trip will coincide with the maiden Iowa voyage for Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, the former Texas congressman who shot to stardom with his failed 2018 bid to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz.

O’Rourke has been polling higher in Iowa than Klobuchar, a three-term senator and regular visitor to the state. He’s scheduled to attend the same Waterloo event a few hours after Klobuchar and also to visit Cedar Rapids, where Klobuchar will march in a St. Patrick’s Day parade, inviting inevitable comparisons of crowd sizes and enthusiasm.

The crossover is to be expected with more than a dozen Democrats battling for the chance to unseat Republican President Donald Trump and several others, including former Vice President Joe Biden, potentially getting in the race soon.

Few face the same expectations to perform well in Iowa, however, as Klobuchar, who projects herself as a leading voice of the pivotal upper Midwest.

She has argued that her profile — granddaughter of an iron ore miner who’s won in both rural and urban parts of Minnesota — would distinguish her in key general election states 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton lost to Trump, such as Wisconsin and Michigan.

But Klobuchar has seen no real movement in her standings among a long list of declared and potential Democratic candidates, according to Des Moines Register/CNN polls. In a poll this month, 3 percent name her as their first choice, unchanged from December before she announced her candidacy. Six percent say she is their first or second choice, also unchanged from December.

Biden topped the March poll with 27 percent saying he’s their first choice. He was followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who was the first choice of 25 percent of people polled.

Klobuchar is still an unknown in Iowa, testing the theory that a neighboring state might be more friendly territory for her. There has been a slight decline from December in the share who say they don’t know enough about her to have an opinion — 41 percent now versus 54 percent then. That change is about evenly distributed between favorable and unfavorable ratings of her, though Iowa Democrats are more positive (43 percent favorable) than negative (15 percent unfavorable) toward her overall.

Klobuchar’s campaign says her grasp of rural issues and ability to win in non-urban areas will appeal to Iowa Democrats, who are looking for a nominee with the coattails to help candidates further down on the ballot return the GOP-controlled state Legislature to split government.

They also say Klobuchar will earn support from a wide range of caucus goers, including women and those looking for a “realist” and someone who can work with Republicans to get things done.

Former Iowa Democratic Party chairwoman Andy McGuire has signed on to be Klobuchar’s Iowa campaign chairwoman, and the campaign is expected to announce several new Iowa staff hires soon, spokeswoman Carlie Waibel said.

Associated Press reporters Tom Beaumont in Des Moines, Iowa, and Hannah Fingerhut in Washington contributed to this report.

Follow Sara Burnett on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Sara_Burnett.

The Conversation

Skilled blue-collar jobs are growing – though women aren’t getting them

Updated March 13, 2019


Eric Hoyt, Research Director of the Center for Employment Equity, University of Massachusetts Amherst

JD Swerzenski, Ph.D. Candidate in Communication, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Disclosure statement: Eric Hoyt is affiliated with the UMass Center for Employment Equity. JD Swerzenski is affilated with the University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s Center for Employment Equity Center.

Partners: University of Massachusetts Amherst provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.

In the press, the phrase “blue collar” is often used as shorthand for white working-class men.

The visibility of this specific slice of the workforce has risen significantly since the 2016 election, when white working-class voters were frequently cited as key to Trump’s success. The president’s rhetoric has mixed blue-collar advocacy with more specific appeals to the white working class, playing on feelings of societal neglect and increased competition with nonwhite workers.

Our new data analysis, published in March, looks at employment data for skilled craft and trade workers, the relatively privileged slice of the blue-collar labor market, including carpenters, mechanics, plumbers and more.

For those in the workforce without an advanced degree, a craft job is something of a gold standard. These are among the highest-paid and most stable blue-collar jobs. Between 2011 and 2015, the average yearly income within these skilled craft and trades jobs was just over US$45,000. Compare that to an average income of $24,539 for laborers, who perform largely unskilled manual tasks, often within the same worksites as craft positions.

So who is getting these high-paying blue-collar jobs? And to what degree do the data support the media narrative? Our analysis reveals that the craft workforce is racially diverse and geographically varied, but overwhelmingly male-dominated.

Trends by race

Using the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s 2016 records, we analyzed how race, geography and other factors influence craft employment patterns.

We looked at representation rates for black, white and Hispanic men, based on the number of craft jobs held by a group relative to that group’s participation in state labor markets. For instance, since black men made up 10.2 percent of craft workers in New Jersey, but only 5.6 percent of the state labor force, then we can say that they are 81.4 percent over represented in these jobs in New Jersey.

Other racial and ethnic groups were not included in our analysis, due to their low overall representation in craft labor positions in most states.

With the exception of Hawaii, white men are employed in craft positions in all other states at substantially higher rates than their presence in state labor forces.

White men have the highest relative employment rates in craft jobs in states on the northeastern seaboard: Delaware, New York, Maryland, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

Hispanic men are also largely over represented in craft jobs, although their degree of over representation varies more than white men’s across states. In Louisiana, for example, Hispanic men comprise 3 percent of the labor market, yet they hold 13.9 percent of craft jobs, an over representation rate of 366 percent.

Black men are over represented in skilled craft jobs in all but four states. Like Hispanic men, they have a high peak representation in North Dakota, driven, we believe, by the fossil fuel industry boom.

Men versus women

Where are the women? The short answer: not working in craft jobs.

Nationwide, women are 80 percent underrepresented in craft jobs. The best state for access to craft jobs for women is New Hampshire, with 77 percent under representation. Most states, however, hover closer to Montana, which posts the worst rate of 93 percent under representation.

Women’s representation also differs from the racial pattern for men. Hispanic women held the most access, followed next by black women. White women were least likely to be employed in craft positions.

For women, low access to employment opportunities is by no means uncommon. Among the EEOC’s 10 listed employment categories, craft has the lowest overall representation of women in its workforce.

Small and uneven advances have been made in women’s access to craft positions. However, in many skilled labor fields such as construction, auto repair and electrical work, a range of cultural, political and organizational forces have all held back women’s entrance into these jobs.

Women continue to predominate within “care labor” occupations, such as teachers, nurses, child and elder care workers, as well as within service sector jobs, such as waitresses, receptionists and retail clerk positions. All of these jobs are often typified, with rare exception within unionized teaching and health care settings, by low pay and irregular work.

Geography matters

White craft workers’ representation is highest in demographically white parts of the country: New England, mountain states and the Midwest.

Among black and Hispanic craft workers, these trends are less apparent. The under representation of black and Hispanic workers in states like Hawaii and Alaska might have to do with their relatively small populations in these states. But this logic doesn’t hold up in several states in which both black and Hispanic men see the highest representation in craft jobs, including North Dakota and Kansas.

Why is this? One possible explanation is that exclusionary old-line craft unions exert strong influence on both the hiring and training processes of particularly high-skilled and well-paid positions in construction and other craft sectors. Craft unions have historically been dominated by white ethnic communities. This could explain why four of the top five states for white representation are in the Northeast.

Contracts with the federal government may also influence craft employment. Federal contractors must agree to abide by affirmative action and other anti-discrimination policies, and are subject to random audit by the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs. The prevalence of federal contractor employment within Washington, D.C. could account for the greater representation of black and Hispanic craft workers there.

Changing the numbers

While far from a clear picture of craft employment patterns, our analysis does offer a more complex version of blue-collar labor than that typically offered through media coverage. Fears stoked by President Trump and many of his advocates that the white working class is being pushed out of the job market do not seem to apply to craft positions.

Furthermore, the growth of this sector of the economy seems to have opened up employment opportunities for Hispanic and black men, though all women are still largely shut out.

Given the strength of unions in craft labor markets, we advocate that these organizations double down on initiatives to recruit and retain new minority craft workers, using the power of the union hiring hall to broaden employment opportunities. These initiatives are an important legacy of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

We also think that the press should reframe its coverage of blue-collar employment not as a specifically white issue, but as one that affects opportunities for all workers.

The Conversation

Why Spain needs more feminism in the classroom

March 8, 2019

Author: María Soledad Andrés Gómez, Profesora Facultad de Educación, Universidad de Alcalá

Disclosure statement: María Soledad Andrés Gómez does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Partners: Universidad de Alcalá provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation ES.

It was a crime that shocked all of Spain: Five men raped an 18-year-old woman at Pamplona’s running of the bulls in July 2016, in a brutal assault captured on tape by the attackers.

The case – known as La Manada, which means “mob” – led to national outrage in Spain, both online and in the streets, and a nine-year jail sentence for the perpetrators.

Taken together with the #MeToo movement, which began in the United States in 2017 and quickly spread around the globe, sexual assault awareness has seen a sudden and dramatic increase in Spain.

Young women have joined feminist activism in record numbers, marching to defend the survivor of the La Manada attack, protest violence against women and protect abortion rights.

Last March 8, International Women’s Day, Spanish women staged a “domestic strike.” More people participated in Spanish women’s marches that day than in any other developed country.

The impact of La Manada and #MeToo in Spanish schools, however, has been much weaker.

Gender stereotypes start early

Children as young as six years old already show the strong influence of stereotypes about gender, according to a 2017 article in Science magazine. At that age, girls are less likely to say that members of their gender are “really, really smart” and more likely to avoid activities they perceive to be extremely challenging.

In the long run, the false perception about what girls can and cannot do explains, in part, why women are underrepresented in prestigious, rigorous professions like physics and engineering. They learn very early on that brilliance is a masculine trait.

It doesn’t help that women are almost entirely absent from the images in science textbooks.

Other developmental psychology research has shown that as young as four years old, children choose toys, games and roles traditionally associated with their genders: trucks and playing war for the boys, dolls and playing nurse for the girls.

As an educational psychologist, I know that school is one of the main places that children construct their worldviews. Through play and by observation, they accumulate the experiences that inform how they think about themselves, their gender identity and, therefore, their place in the world.

Games are more than child’s play: When children role play, they’re showing us the social models they believe to be true.

When little girls play house, or nurse, or perform other domestic duties, I recognize it as a sign that they have already internalized the stereotype that women are “natural” caretakers.

And when boys play at war, it can mean that they associate violence with masculinity.

Sexism at school

In an effort to avoid teaching stereotypical gender roles at an early age, some Scandinavian countries have banned fairy tales in schools and sought to use gender-neutral language in the classroom. Toymakers in the United States and United Kingdom have also stopped marketing products to children based on gender.

But surveys show that even in these countries, children still subconsciously hold sexist beliefs.

One in three female British secondary school students has been sexually harrassed. Sixty-six percent have heard sexist language used at school.

The percentage is higher in Spain.

According to a survey conducted in 2017, one in every two young girls has suffered or witnessed sexual abuse, harassment or gender-based violence.

One recent study showed that 56 percent of adolescents – nearly all of them boys – do not believe that gender inequality is a significant problem. Predictably, the other 44 percent of students – those who demonstrate awareness and concern about sexism – mostly comprises girls.

In my assessment, the gap between boys’ and girls’ awareness of gender inequality is compounded when boys and girls are educated separately. Spain, a traditionally Catholic country, still has hundreds of single-sex schools.

It is not uncommon at girls’ schools to hear teachers explicitly instruct their students to act in a way that reflects traditional feminine values.

“Girls don’t do that,” they may say. “Girls don’t carry that. Girls don’t wear this.”

Coeducation matters

If education is the vaccine for violence, as the saying goes, then Spain clearly has a lot of work to do.

It’s only fair to note, of course, that the government officials responsible for developing school curricula and the teachers who write their lesson plans every night are products of this same sexist educational system. They are not necessarily freer of prejudice and stereotypes than anyone else.

But change may be starting to reach Spain’s classrooms.

Feminist organizations and progressive educators in various regions of Spain have begun developing lessons plans and other resource materials that teach boys and girls that they are equal and to treat each other with respect.

The Spanish sociologists Marina Subirats, Amparo Tomé and Nuria Solsona recently published an excellent edited volume aimed at policymakers and educators about the urgency of coeducation in Spain.

In it, the scholars lay out the importance of teaching boys and girls together and push for a more feminist education system in Spain, one that incorporates gender-neutral teaching practices, sexual assault awareness and openness to nongender-conforming children.

“Feminism is the only movement that actually makes visible the violence and oppression under which women in a patriarchal society live,” writes Tomé of her chapter on feminist education.

“This system that also hurts boys by depriving them of their emotional development, expression of emotions, intimate communications and full participation at home and in childcare.”

This article was originally published in Spanish.

Pot-litics: 2020 Democrats line up behind legalization


Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A growing list of Democratic presidential contenders want the U.S. government to legalize marijuana, reflecting a nationwide shift as more Americans look favorably on cannabis.

Making marijuana legal at the federal level is the “smart thing to do,” says California Sen. Kamala Harris, a former prosecutor whose home state is the nation’s largest legal pot shop. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, a prominent legalization advocate on Capitol Hill, says the war on drugs has been a “war on people.”

Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke, who appears poised to join the 2020 Democratic field, has written a book arguing marijuana legalization would hobble drug cartels. In an email to supporters this week, he called again to end the federal prohibition on marijuana.

“Who is going to be the last man — more likely than not a black man — to languish behind bars for possessing or using marijuana when it is legal in some form in more than half of the states in this country?” O’Rourke wrote.

It’s a far different approach from the not-so-distant past, when it was seen as politically damaging to acknowledge smoking pot and no major presidential candidate backed legalization.

In 1992, then-White House candidate Bill Clinton delivered a famously tortured response about a youthful dalliance with cannabis, claiming he tried it as a graduate student in England but “didn’t inhale.” And two decades before that, President Richard Nixon unleashed a war on marijuana and other drugs and it helped carry him to a second term.

This year, leading Democrats hold similar positions supporting legalization. Presidential hopefuls in the Senate who have co-sponsored Booker’s legislation to end the federal prohibition include Harris, New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, who campaigned on decriminalizing pot in his 2016 presidential bid.

Another 2020 Democratic candidate, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, supports legalization and believes states should have the right to determine how to handle marijuana regulation within their borders but hasn’t signed on to Booker’s legislation.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who entered the contest this month, said in his announcement speech it’s “about time” to legalize the drug nationally.

During his 2012 run for governor, Inslee opposed the ballot initiative that made Washington one of the first two states to legalize so-called recreational marijuana. As governor, however, he has frequently touted what he describes as Washington’s successful experiment with regulation and has urged the Obama and Trump administrations not to intervene. He recently began pardoning people with small-time marijuana convictions.

The widespread endorsement for national marijuana reform among Democrats tracks the nation’s evolving views.

In the late 1960s — the era of Woodstock and Vietnam — 12 percent of Americans supported legalization, according to the Gallup poll. By last year, the figure hit a record 66 percent. About 75 percent of Democrats support legalization, along with a slim majority of Republicans.

Most Americans now live in states where marijuana is legal in some form. Pot dispensaries are familiar sights in cities like Los Angeles and Denver, and conservative strongholds like Utah and Oklahoma have established medical marijuana programs.

To Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project, a pro-legalization advocacy group, it’s not surprising there’s broad support among candidates to end the federal prohibition.

“It’s no longer popular to be in favor of marijuana prohibition,” Tvert said.

But there are limits: “We are not seeing any candidates saying, ‘I am currently a marijuana user,’” he added.

The trajectory toward legal pot has come with generational change.

In a 2003 Democratic presidential forum, candidates John Kerry, John Edwards and Howard Dean acknowledged using marijuana in the past. Former President Barack Obama has been open about his youthful drug use, sometimes with a jab of humor: “When I was a kid, I inhaled. Frequently. That was the point,” he said in 2006.

In a recent radio interview on the syndicated “The Breakfast Club,” Harris recalled smoking pot in her college days in the 1980s. She was an early supporter of medical marijuana but the Los Angeles Times reported that in 2010, the year she was elected California attorney general, that Harris opposed an initiative to more broadly legalize marijuana.

How potent the legal pot platform might be with voters in 2020 is only a guess.

Polls show some of the strongest support comes from younger voters. In California, millennials are now the largest generation among registered voters. However, younger voters are also the most likely to stay home on Election Day, said Paul Mitchell of Political Data Inc., a nonpartisan research firm.

President Donald Trump’s position on cannabis remains somewhat opaque. He has said he supports laws legalizing medical marijuana but hasn’t offered a definitive position on broader legalization.

In a departure from his predecessor, Jeff Sessions, new Attorney General William Barr has said he will “not go after” marijuana companies in states where cannabis is legal, even though he personally believes the drug should be outlawed.

Standing somewhat apart from the Democratic field is the man who presided over one of the first legal recreational marijuana marketplaces in the nation, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Hickenlooper opposed the ballot measure that fully legalized marijuana in Colorado in 2012. But he said he accepted the will of the voters and won praise for implementing the measure. He says his “worst fears” about legalization haven’t been realized and considers the system better than when the drug was illegal.

Still, Hickenlooper isn’t willing to go as far as some competitors. Rather than calling for national legalization, he wants the drug to no longer be a Schedule 1 controlled substance so it can be studied.

He doesn’t think the federal government “should come in and tell every state that it should be legal,” believing states should make their own determinations.

“I trust this process by which states should be the models of, or laboratories of, democracy,” he said.

Riccardi reported from Denver. Associated Press Writer Gene Johnson in Seattle contributed. Blood is a member of AP’s marijuana beat team. Follow our complete marijuana coverage: https://apnews.com/Marijuana .

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., takes part in a "Conversations About America’s Future" program at ACL Live during the South by Southwest Interactive Festival on Saturday, March 9, 2019, in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2019/03/web1_122506870-f19877270bc94ab98fd5e50d45ce8800.jpgU.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., takes part in a "Conversations About America’s Future" program at ACL Live during the South by Southwest Interactive Festival on Saturday, March 9, 2019, in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP)

FILE – In this Feb. 24, 2019 file photo U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., speaks to voters during a campaign stop at a home, in Nashua, N.H. Klobuchar, supports legalization and believes states should have the right to determine how to handle marijuana regulation within their borders but hasn’t signed on to New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s legislation. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2019/03/web1_122506870-c97a6693ef9c4b21bc0199e3b496bbd2.jpgFILE – In this Feb. 24, 2019 file photo U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., speaks to voters during a campaign stop at a home, in Nashua, N.H. Klobuchar, supports legalization and believes states should have the right to determine how to handle marijuana regulation within their borders but hasn’t signed on to New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s legislation. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
News & Views

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