Archive for April 2012

Is Childlessness Felt More When You Hit Middle Age

Back in the early ’70s, there was a cartoon circulating that depicted a woman smacking her palm on her forehead while the little talk bubble above her said, “Damn! I forgot to have children!”
Childlessness is again lighting up the talk boards with the electricity spinning off a new book by acclaimed French writer and feminist Elisabeth Badinter called, The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women.
Slate’s Katie Roiphe describes the book as “a rousing indictment of our child-centric culture,” and in a subsequent post discussed an alternative — remaining childless. She addressed how parents sometimes privately feel sorry for the childless, even condescend to them.
The Pew Center says that almost one in five American women ends her childbearing years without offspring Read more

Monrovia Here I Come

In May of 1997, in the middle of the Liberian Civil War, I led a mission to Liberia on behalf of Amnesty International (AI). Elections were going on at the same time in that damaged country and Charles Taylor, among others, was running for president. It was said that his campaign slogan was “Vote for me or I’ll kill you!”
At the opening press conference that the AI mission held in Monrovia, one of the reporters from a newspaper that opposed Taylor asked me whether Amnesty believed that war criminals should be allowed to run for president, implying, obviously, that Taylor fell into that category. I replied that Amnesty took no position on who should be allowed to run for president but we naturally believed that all war criminals should be brought to justice Read more

Meet Dr Hadland and Dr Vassy

Amid public polls suggesting that only 34% of the country supports the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) — the law that codifies non-recognition of same-sex marriage for all federal purposes — one wonders why it is actually still law. Maybe the problem is that those fighting to preserve it simply don’t recognize its adverse reach. Their arguments, tethered to a view of the intangible institution of marriage, seem to miss the law’s tangible consequences. Consider, for example, DOMA’s impact to our healthcare system.
By all accounts, the United States has been experiencing a primary care crisis over the past 50 years Read more

Whos To Blame For IsAnyoneUp

A website that I hope you have never visited called was shut down last week. The premise of the site was to let disgruntled ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends post explicit photos their significant others sent them alongside a screenshot of their Facebook or Twitter account. After two years of public outcry and disgust and over 500 million pageviews later, founder Hunter Moore put an end to the site, now tens of thousands of dollars richer thanks to advertising, event appearances and merchandise sale.
You might be wondering why I’m telling you this Read more

The Moment I Discovered My Greatest Passion

This is part of our new series “Gen: Change,” in partnership with Youth Service America, featuring stories from the 25 most influential and powerful young people in the world. Click here to read more about Zander and his amazing story.
The moment it found me, I was 11 years old walking along the beach in southwest Florida. I saw yellow stakes in the sand marking where sea turtles had nested Read more

Alice Is This Cool

“Johnny Depp has made it cool to like Alice,” was Miss Alice Llandudno Nicol Thompson’s answer to my question — Why do children today still love Alice in Wonderland? With Johnny Depp’s 3-D visual spectacle of a movie currently standing at a worldwide gross of $1,024,299,904, I suspect he made Alice in Wonderland very cool for a lot of Disney executives too.
But what about serious Carroll fans? How do they view Disney’s 21st-century technological efforts to keep the legacy “cool”?
“Despite the errors and license used by Disney in the story, it is Disney that continues to bring Alice to the children of today,” comments Lewis Carroll Society member Keith Wright (Chairman and Editor, Daresbury Chronicle). “Tim Burton’s Alice, although not an Alice that Lewis Carroll would recognize, did contain the Wonderland characters and used some of the text from the books.”
Lewis Carroll (aka Charles Dodgson) wrote his Alice books for children. His inspiration for Alice, namely Alice Liddell, is the focus of a magnificent 160th birthday celebration in Llandudno, Wales on May 4, 2012 Read more

Toasting Etiquette

The Splendid Table’s How To Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper.
Dear Lynne,
Should you drink if you are being toasted? When my mother toasted our engagement, I said “thank you” by raising my glass and sipping. My fianc didn’t drink. Instead, he stood up and thanked her. He claims this is correct and you shouldn’t drink when you’re being toasted Read more

Quick and Dirty Advice for SoontoBe College Students and Their Anxious Parents

As May approaches, many in the academic world are thinking about conclusions: finals will soon begin and end, the semester is coming to a close and students are graduating and moving on.
No doubt, high school seniors will be thinking the same thing in June as they prepare to graduate, too. But about 10 weeks after that, it’s again a season of beginnings for those headed off to college and for those of us in higher education, as freshmen arrive on campuses in droves for the start of the fall semester. Starting college is one of the most exciting and scariest times of life, for both parents and students Read more

Are You Too Busy Capturing Life to Enjoy It

The unthinkable happened at a friend’s wedding last month. As the groom was asked to confirm his desire to accept the bride as his lawfully wedded wife, he held up his hand, as if to say “wait a minute.” The audible gasps amongst attendees turned to relieved chuckles as he pulled out his iPhone in the middle of the vows. He was tweeting “I Do” to his hundred or so followers.
At a coffee catch-up yesterday, the person I met with was too busy typing meeting minutes in Google Docs to actually have a face-to-face conversation with me. Even after I received his play-by-play account of our meeting via email, I left feeling as if we wasted time and never went deep enough to discuss specific, critical issues.
On New Year’s Eve last year, as thousands of people counted down from ten to one, I looked across the Sydney Harbor foreshore Read more

The Facts on Fracking Interview with Barbara Arrindell of DCS

I AM PICTURES in association with I HEART H2O has just launched a trailer for their “ANYBODY of WATER” campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of unregulated fossil fuel extraction. A topic of controversy for the last number of years, hydraulic fracturing (a.k.a. fracking) has become a serious concern among citizens, particularly in the Northeastern United States. In this interview, Barbara Arrindell, Director of Damascus Citizens for Sustainability (DCS), one of the organizations behind the I HEART H2O PSA, shares the 101 on natural gas exploration Read more

Nia Long ABFF Celebrity Friends Support Black Film

Freshly dipped in cherry red denim, skin glowing and discreet diamonds sparkling, upon hitting the red carpet the petite film vet was quick to admit, “I cut my nails for this event.” Working the press line with her 11-year old son Massai in tow, the 41-year old industry darling has been absent from the red carpet scene after having a second son, Kez, last fall. Quickly exchanging her heels for bowling shoes actress / director Nia Long asserted, these days “when you see me, it will matter.”
Teaming up with longtime friend, Jeff Friday, the founder of the American Black Film Festival, Long co-hosted Saturday night’s 1st annual ABFF Strikes for Education event at Lucky Strikes Bowling Alley in Hollywood. With rumors of a Love Jones sequel brewing and plans to shoot a film with Omar Epps this summer, her presence and intention for the evening was clear — to raise funds and awareness for the Film Life Foundation, a charity that designs programs to educate and empower underprivileged youth interested in film and television careers. With a portion of the proceeds benefiting Howard University’s John H Read more

Mayor Bloombergs Sustainability State of Mind

Looking at the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, growing deficit and inadequate investment in science and education, it is difficult to believe our national leaders ever focus on the future. While I don’t see much concern for the future in Washington, I do see it here in New York City. It is easy to see in the city’s ambitious capital budget and in Mayor Bloomberg’s path-breaking PlaNYC 2030 sustainability strategy.
Recently I had the pleasure of moderating a panel discussion of New York City’s sustainability initiatives at the Sustainable Operations Summit. Two of my panelists were leaders in New York City’s government: Janette Sadik-Khan, Commissioner of Transportation, and David Bragdon, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability Read more

Osher Institute How One School Offered My Spouse A Fresh Start

Before Dan’s first day of school, we checked the bus schedule a million times. He chose his clothes the night before and prepared the items in his new messenger bag. As we walked to the bus stop we double-checked that he had all his equipment and reviewed the schedule for the day. He was ready, but it was also obvious that he was nervous Read more

Rocket Trike Diaries Week Four

Welcome to ROCKET TRIKE DIARIES — a 10 week video tour of the 2011 “Ride for Renewables: No Tar Sands Oil On American Soil!” Join Renewable Rider Tom Weis as he pedals his rocket trike 2,150 miles through America’s heartland in support of landowners fighting TransCanada’s toxic Keystone XL tar sands pipeline scheme. Here are the video entries from Week Four:
Renewable Rider Tom Weis, Alex White Plume, Daryl Hannah & Paul Siemens discuss why they are united in their opposition to Keystone XL. Weis talks about how Dr. James Hansen, the nation’s top climate scientist, was recently arrested outside the White House, when he should have been invited inside to brief the president: “What’s wrong with this picture?”
Renewable Rider Tom Weis, Daryl Hannah & Oglala Lakota elder Alex White Plume discuss corrupt dealings between the U.S Read more

No Justice For Metta World Peace

Rodman, Oakley, Laimbeer, Artest, NBA players you do not mess with. This is common knowledge to NBA fans and especially to the players. The elbow from Metta World Peace to the head of James Harden was brutal to say the least but blame can not be fully placed on Artest. Although he has a history of on and off court altercations he’s been a model citizen since joining the Lakers three years ago Read more

Has France Lost Its Soul

April 22 at 8:00 p.m., Paris time. Each and every person sat in disbelief as they discovered that in France, the land of Freedom and Human rights, 18% of voters had chosen the far-Right candidate.
In the last week, both the French and international press have struggled to understand the outcome of the first round of the French Presidential election. Some have called it a “rise in populism,” others wrote that millions of French people now subscribe to the ideas of the far-Right Read more

Elect Your Local Arts Manager

It has struck me recently that people who ascend to high government positions–as mayors, governors or even presidents–could do worse than to learn from arts leaders and other not for profit executives about creating loyal families of supporters.
Those who come from the for profit sector are trained to value, and believe in, results. Someone who has run a major corporation, therefore, and is then elected into a high government position, might be surprised when being right or being smart is not enough to govern effectively. They may have developed the appropriate strategy for their domain but have a tough time getting the voters to buy in to that strategy.
It takes the respect, loyalty and trust of a large portion of the electorate to govern effectively, to make tough choices and to propose and enact difficult legislation. If the voters trust their leaders, they can accept higher taxes, service cuts and even going to war Read more

Video AOL Launches Big Video News Video Portal with AP Reuters Wall Street Journal others

AOL Video/HuffPost Media, has become a major player in video news, passing both CBS News and Fox News in video views, according to February comScore numbers.
The company has achieved this heft by syndicating videos from outside news sources through its platform. Demand for the videos have come largely from the Huffington Post and hundreds of other publishing partners who seek news videos on their pages.
Last week, as part of the introduction of a new video portal strategy, AOL Video, now known as AOL On, introduced 14 public-facing channels including one for news.
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What Every Black Woman Needs to Know About Hair Loss Part 1

When I lecture to groups of dermatologists, I often say that hair loss is epidemic among black women. In the twenty years that I have been in practice, I have gone from seeing five women with hair loss each week to seeing 25 or more. No one knows for sure if African-American women are experiencing more hair loss or if more are visiting the dermatologist to find out why they having hair loss.
Hair loss can be absolutely devastating, particularly for women Read more

We Tried It Reformer Pilates

As part of our ongoing series, We Tried It, health reporter Catherine Pearson and nutrition and fitness editor Meredith Melnick tried a session at True Pilates studio in midtown Manhattan.
Catherine’s Take:
I have long wanted to try Pilates, and not just the mat class, but the real deal. Like, on the machines. They’re so intriguing — How do you use them? Are they as scary as they look? — and the Pilates afficionados I’ve met always have the loveliest figures. They’re long, they’re lean and they carry themselves like ballerinas, only somehow less stiff Read more

I Know Youre Tired of Hearing about Girls but How about a Puzzling Piece of History

I’m not mad at Lena Dunham, creator of the new HBO show Girls. She wanted to write about her life — which is filled with white folks — and people gave her some money to do it. Her voice is a new voice for television. Despite the misogynist rants of Three and a Half Men co-creator Lee Arohnson about television reaching the point of “labia saturation,” women have hardly been at the center of television or film production.
I think the backlash against the show — largely by feminists of color — is as much about the kind of praise it received as it is about the show itself Read more

A Moral Case for Tax Fairness in America

Why do the richest one percent of Americans often pay less taxes than their employees struggling to make ends meet? For most Americans, our recent tax day was about as welcomed as a trip to the dentist. But a cab driver working the double shift probably had more reason for discomfort than a hedge-fund manager on Wall Street because of an immoral tax system that lets many millionaires and billionaires get away with paying a lower rate than working families. It’s time for a broader values debate that includes an honest discussion about economic justice and tax fairness.
Pastors don’t preach many sermons about the tax code, and Jesus did not have a specific tax plan that he touted on the dusty roads of Nazareth. But our political debate over the economy and taxes could use more talk about core Biblical principles of justice and the common good and less deceptive rhetoric about “class warfare.” Some political leaders and their champions on the religious right often invoke Christian faith in battles over issues like abortion, but they conveniently ignore the sin of greed and the moral scandals of rising poverty and economic inequality that now darken the bright promise of the American dream.
America’s tax policy reveals our values and priorities Read more

Labor Action and Inaction in Colombia Free Trade Deal

As the media swarmed over the scandal surrounding the Secret Service’s alleged carousing with prostitutes in Colombia, another questionable financial transaction slipped quietly through the backdoor of hemispheric diplomacy.
While officials convened at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena earlier this month, the White House put the finishing touches on another free trade agreement, aimed at liberalizing markets in Colombia and the U.S. The deal has faced vocal resistance from labor and human rights groups in both countries, who argue that the agreement would effectively condone violence against activists and economic oppression. But for the governments looking to build economic ties, the fears raised by civil society groups were just background noise. The Obama administration tried to put the lid on the opposition by tacking on labor policies to address anti-labor violence and other abuses.
Now officials have tacked onto the deal a Labor Action Plan, which, at least on paper, promotes fairer labor practices and stronger protections for workers and unions Read more

A Mothers Story It Is Not What We Say to Black Boys and Men It Is What We Do to Them

Over the past month, I’ve listened to the public conversation unfolding around Trayvon Martin’s death. Across the nation — from race relations experts at the best universities to average Americans at the dinner table — everyone is debating: What role did race play in the
17-year-old’s shooting and the police’s subsequent actions?
It seems that answer depends on in whose shoes you are standing. Recently, a USA Today/Gallup Poll showed a racial divide between Blacks and whites in how
they view the shooting of this young Black man, dressed in a hoodie, who dared to walk at night through his upper-income housing development in Sanford, Florida. According to the poll, majority of white Americans feel that race made no difference in the case.
From where I’m standing, that’s nave and wishful thinking Read more