Inside the Beltway: Baby credentials

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Uh-oh: Mothers are vexed with the Democratic Party for its plan to “credential” infants at the Democratic National Convention next month in Charlotte, N.C., not to mention the lack of child care at the event. National Organization for Women chapters in Southern California — we’re talking Hollywood, Long Beach-South Bay, Pacific Shores and Palm Springs — have denounced what they deem discrimination, and a betrayal of sorts.

“When the Democratic Party refuses to provide child care at the convention and denies automatic access for young children to join their moms who serve as delegates on the convention floor, an entire group of women are disenfranchised,” says Susie Shannon, a convention delegate and mother. “Moms with young children 6 years of age and under who cannot be left at home, some of whom are breast-feeding, are relegated to second-class status within the Democratic convention.”

There’s an “insurmountable barrier for mothers,” says Lindsey Horvath, president of Hollywood NOW. “The DNC requires children and babies to have a credential to enter the convention, and then denies these credential requests from moms. The DNC credentialing process is being used as a tool to prevent mothers from participating at the convention and is nothing short of discriminatory.”

READY TO RUMBLE

It’s big but it’s honest. Republican National Convention organizers are determined to make the mammoth event as transparent as, oh, a perfect martini. It’s a “convention without walls,” they say, complete with a relentless PR effort meant to provide every little detail about all big doings in Tampa, Fla., now a mere six days off. Things are so organized, in fact, that each day has its own big theme. Indeed, when the sun rises on the Grand Old Party on Monday, it will be “We Can Do Better” day, with a wall-to-wall agenda.

At bare minimum, the 50,000 conventiongoers will hear 25 daily speakers and be privy to old school parliamentary procedures, just to remind everybody that despite the flashy packaging, the convention has historic roots and a purpose. And this just in: The lineup for Day 1 includes speechifying by first-lady-in-waiting Ann Romney, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, House Speaker John A. Boehner, Govs. Bob McDonnell of Virginia and Rick Scott of Florida, newly minted Republican Artur Davis, 2008 presidential-primary runner-up Mike Huckabee and Texas senatorial hopeful Ted Cruz. Need instant updates? Find all the fancy apps for mobile phones here: connect.gopconvention2012.com.

ABOUT THAT STAGE

The Republican National Convention stage, that is. The 40-by-60-foot superspace took 18 months to design and build and cost a reported $2.5 million. It incorporates 13 gargantuan LED screens, offers 1.36 million watts of amplifier power, 381 speakers, 92 microphones and a podium designed as “America’s Living Room” using cherry wood and mahogany in a Prairie style design. “The challenge was making a large-scale set that was also warm and inviting,” the designers say.

UNDERCOVER COVER?

There was Sarah Palin in running shorts, a trim young mother breast-feeding a 5-year-old boy, a fake Mitt Romney dancing a Mormon-themed jig, President Obama as the first “gay president.” Yeah, well. Newsweek covers have long capitalized on provocative covers to peddle their wares. This time around, we have the “Hit the Road, Barack” cover, or “Why we need a new president,” by contributor Niall Ferguson, a Harvard University history professor.

“The voters now face a stark choice. They can let Barack Obama’s rambling, solipsistic narrative continue until they find themselves living in some American version of Europe, with low growth, high unemployment, even higher debt — and real geopolitical decline. Or they can opt for real change: the kind of change that will end four years of economic underperformance, stop the terrifying accumulation of debt, and reestablish a secure fiscal foundation for American national security,” Mr. Ferguson says in the grand finale of his lengthy account, which dwells on health care, the economy and the Romney/Ryan ticket.

Buzz was swift: New York Times financial columnist Paul Krugman and the Atlantic’s Matthew O’Brien revealed instant collective disgust, faulting Mr. Ferguson’s reasoning and facts; the author followed with his own rebuttal. Politico media writer Dylan Byers accused Mr. Ferguson of cherry-picking a Congressional Budget Office report on Mr. Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, conservative observers chortled while Newsweek editors remained mute.

“Interesting what a liberal mag will do to get your attention,” points out longtime media observer Lucianne Goldberg, founder of Lucianne.com.

HOLA AMERICA

“Hispanics are now, for the first time, the largest minority group among the nation’s four-year college and university students. And for the first time, Hispanics made up one-quarter (25.2 percent) of 18- to 24-year-old students enrolled in two-year colleges. In the nation’s public schools, Hispanics also reached new milestones. For the first time, one-in-four (24.7 percent) public elementary school students were Hispanic, following similar milestones reached recently by Hispanics among public kindergarten students (in 2007) and public nursery school students (in 2006). Among all pre-K through 12th grade public school students, a record 23.9 percent were Hispanic in 2011.”

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