I Think You’re Missing The Big Bottom Line In Those “Skinny” Subway Ads

Have you seen Subway’s latest ad ~ the one with the woman who reminds us to “Eat Fresh!” and stay healthy & slim so we can fit into our sexy Halloween costumes?

Jezebel did. And out came the requisite rant. (Have I mentioned I’m getting tired of that?) Of course others had their rants too.

But come on now, let’s face reality. Aren’t all the Halloween costumes for women sexy now? The fact that Subway knows they are shouldn’t really be a surprise. Because just who hasn’t noticed this? There’s a name for it: Slutoween. And, right or wrong, there’s a history behind it. (And, in fact, Hallowe’en began as a holiday for rowdy, bawdy adults, not children.) Whether or not you want to don such sexy apparel is up to you; but stop denying that they are popular. Guess what, $1.4 billion will be spent on adult Halloween costumes. The free-market has dictated that sexy does sell when it comes to Halloween costumes.

With so much money being spent on the costumes, is it any wonder Subway would latch onto our vain desire to look better in those costumes? If our cultural definition of “better looking” is thin (or at least “thinner”), it makes dollars and cents to pull that marketing string. And if you want to cry out in body image outrage (apparently not seeing the shirtless man in the Viking costume at the table, as well as the humor of the commercial itself), go ahead. I’ll cynically counter with the point that Subway also wants us to be alive next year ~ if only to be customers. Having a business that’s all about eating healthier really is a great business model; it really does cost more to acquire new customers than to retain existing customers, you know.

jared_subway_pants Anyway, I think the negative response to this Subway commercial is itself sexist.

Where were the complaints about men having to slim down so they didn’t have to wear those huge pants?

The collective “we” saw that as a healthy move. There was no out-cry then.

But a woman wants to be sexy? A woman who dares to admit she wants to be sexy?

Oh hell no! We simply can’t have any of that!

Meanwhile, Natalie Mitchell, the actress in the ad who models all the sexy costumes (complete with “Foxy Fullback”), is keeping mum until this latest, mainly feminist, frenzy passes. Keep an eye on her Tumblr page for comment.

natalie mitchell foxy fullback subway ad

How Much Adultery Is Too Much Adultery In China?

chinese communist partyWell, that all depends on who you are.

China Daily reports that “adultery” is now banned for communist party members. That might seem a bit shocking, in one direction or another, depending on your view point of China and/or politics. You may have thought that was already the case or you may have thought that as in the US’s republican party and religious community, the anti-adultery stance was just a common sense approach for politicians — that marital infidelity is proof of “disloyalty” which would include a broken or weak commitment to country. Or, heck, maybe you never thought about it all. However, now you know: Though adultery is not illegal in China, it is now forbidden under CPC rules. And just in case you were wondering, there are a few distinctions regarding this new policy too.

Firstly, it seems the terms “adultery” doesn’t mean a simple extramarital affair; it means having a mistress — or more than three mistresses, to be precise. So cheating in general is A-OK; having one, two, or even three mistresses is A-OK; but four or more (presumably at the same time) is trouble. You might think this magic number of three has something to do with another typical assertion here in the USA, namely the fear that politicians would be sharing government secrets with lovers via pillow-talk; the more partners, the more pillows, the more talk. Hence, the greater the mathematical danger of loose lips sinking our nation’s warships. But the Chinese Communist Party is far more worried about another kind of math. The BBC explains:

In the public’s eyes, mistresses have become the ultimate symbol of corruption. The common assumption is no official would able to buy his mistress a car or a home without pilfering from public funds.

Secondly, sexism remains alive and well in this Chinese version of the Red Menace; for there is no mention of female party members. I suppose the term “mistress” might include the lesbian variety of paramours; but there is no mention of male lovers kept by women (or by men, for that matter).

The third issue worthy of noting in this new CPC rule is that there was no list of punishment(s) for those who break the rule.

In any case, Communist Party members must now at least appear to adhere to a higher moral standard than the general public.

I guess all things are not equal in this land of Communism. What. A. Surprise.

Sex Toy Bans in the Twenty-first Century: What Would Cleopatra Think?

Head in HandsSometimes, when looking at the current state of affairs, I find myself asking, “What decade is this again?” If you sometimes feel like our society is moon-walking backwards in time, you’re not alone.

Take, for instance, the fact that it’s illegal to buy and sell sex toys in some American cities! Sandy Springs, Georgia is in the center of a recent HuffingtonPost.com article that highlights the ludicrous city ordinance that deems “‘any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs’ obscene material, and prohibits their sale, unless ‘a bona fide medical, scientific, educational, legislative, judicial, or law enforcement purpose’ exists.”

Talk about the dark ages!

This ordinance has forced one resident, Melissa Davenport, to go through the insulting process of getting a sex toy prescription from her doctor. You see, Mrs. Davenport has multiple sclerosis, which impacts her ability to have enjoyable sex. She needs the help of sex toys to make sex with her husband pleasurable. “The ordinance,” she said, “basically says the government can stick its nose in your bedroom… It’s appalling. I just think it’s ludicrous.”

And it is.

Civil rights buffs might be reminded of Lawrence and Garner v. Texas, the landmark 2003 Supreme Court decision, which declared it unconstitutional for the government to have any say in what goes on in the privacy of one’s bedroom. In this case, it was a couple of men enjoying consensual sex.

And yes, this ruling does seem to apply to Mrs. Davenport’s case. It certainly did in 2008 when a federal appeals court struck down a similar ban on sex toys in Texas. According to NBCNews.com, the opinion of the court was that “the case is not about public sex. It is not about controlling commerce in sex. It is about controlling what people do in the privacy of their own homes because the state is morally opposed to a certain type of consensual private intimate conduct. This is an insufficient justification after Lawrence.”

Phil Harvey, president of Adameve.com, one of the plaintiffs in the case, spoke of the company’s plans to expand sales in Texas to include home parties. Previously, the company had been hesitant to pursue this because of the Texas law.

At the time of the ruling, there were two other states with sex toy bans on the books—Alabama and Mississippi. Since then, Mississippi’s ban has been lifted, but Alabama’s inexplicably remains.

There’s reason to be optimistic, though. And maybe Melissa Davenport of Sandy Springs will soon be able to see light at the end of the tunnel. It sure seems like a no-brainer, both constitutionally and rationally.

The fact is, sex toys have been around just about as long as human beings have been having sex. According to Alternet.org, archeologists have excavated numerous wood and stone dildos dating back to the Paleolithic era. It’s even believed that Cleopatra might have invented the first vibrator—a hollowed out gourd filled with angry bees!

If it seems completely asinine that there would be bans on sex toys in the twenty-first century… Well, just imagine what Cleopatra would think!


50 Years *sigh*

Today, June 21st, is my birthday; I turn 50. I feel pretty much the same way I did when I wrote this two years ago, “A lifetime of so little progress is just too much.”; only more so. *sigh*

I was born on June 21, 1964; I joined this world, as Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney left it. My mother’s screams may have been dulled by the twilight sleep of that time’s hospital deliveries, but I passed through the same veil, entered the ether echoing with the agony, pain, and fear of those men, their families and friends, and all who possess any shred of humanity… And I have lived in a country filled with those sounds and the stink of racism ever since.

On Thursday, Rachel Maddow drove this one of the points home — like a dagger in my heart.

Michael Schwerner James Chaney Andrew Goodman

In honor of the three American Heroes who gave their lives that Freedom Summer, which most decidedly lead to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — which was struck down by the Supreme Court last summer, spawning lots of laws to suppress voting, the show went to James Chaney’s grave to show if times have really changed beneath the PC surface. It was disturbing, to say the least. Watch it. Do it as a birthday gift to me.

Recently, my sister mentioned, “What’s wrong with voter ID?” and, out of respect for not ruining some rare extended family time, I just sighed and said, “This conversation won’t end without an argument, so let’s not discuss this…” Maybe she will read this.

Prison Rape Isn’t Entertaining

The Kinsey Institute reminds us that while Orange Is the New Black (OITNB) may be entertaining, it downplays a major issue that occurs not only in female correctional facilities, but in male correctional facilities as well: sexual coercion.

Although research studies vary, rates of sexual victimization in prison may be as high as 41% of prison inmates.

This is why there’s the Prison Rape Elimination Act (Sexual Violence in Correctional Facilities). However, 11 years later, governors won’t comply with the Federal standards meant to prevent sexual assault in prisons; you can sign this petition to move them to do the right thing.


Padding Your Bra With Emotions

Can’t find enough reasons to hate your bra? You will soon: Microsoft is working on a smart bra to measure your mood:

mood sensing brasThe prototype contains removable sensors that monitor heart and skin activity to provide an indication of mood levels.

The aim was to find out if wearable technology could help prevent stress-related over-eating.

Mood data was provided to the wearer via a smartphone app in order to highlight when “emotional eating” was likely to occur.

A team from Microsoft’s visualisation and interaction research group embedded an electrocardiogram and electro-dermal activities sensors as well as a gyroscope and accelerometer in the bra.

In their paper, the researchers say using a bra “was ideal because it allowed us to collect EKG [electrocardiogram] near the heart”.

As if women don’t hear enough messages about our moods, behaviors, and weight; we now must hear directly from our clothing. And not just when they tighten around us.

Once you spend the time necessary for the equipment to learn all about you and your emotional eating habits, find correlations between your heart and skin activity, and you take the time to participate in the food & mood logging, the premise is rather simple. The sensors, custom boards called GRASP for Genitic Remote Access Sensing Platform (That name was by design?!), will then transmit the mood data to a mobile phone application using Bluetooth — then the messages from the “EmoTree” will begin to “suggest interventions” — i.e. nag the crap out of you.

One such intervention is to remind you to relax by taking some deep breaths — instructing you to tap on the little bird on the screen with every slow breath you take. Sounds a lot like it’s going to turn into Angry Birds, right? I can only imagine how stressed me would like to tap the hell out of some bird willing to tweet, however politely and privately, that Fatty-McFat-Face-me had better concentrate on her breathing & stay away from the fridge.

emotional eating bra app

There are also plans for the bra & app combo to offer other “distracting interventions”, whatever those are. What could be more distracting than your cell phone telling you to calm the hell down and not to eat? …Maybe it will play a humorous video clip or something nice. Or maybe it will be something more shaming. Like maybe it will it communicate with your friends and suggest they provide a personal intervention: “Jackie, your fat friend Deanna is stressed and heading for the ice cream again! Wouldn’t it be nice if you called her and listened to her bitch about her mother for awhile?”

What obviously springs to mind with this whole thing is the butt-load, err, bra-load of potential uses and abuses. What about hacks? Will there be bras to assess and monitor our other moods? Like one to tell us about our sexual arousal — with an app to alert our partners, of course. Perhaps it will even be like those hook-up apps, telling any stranger who signs up (or hacks into the program) that a randy dame is nearby. “Your honor, she was asking for it — she was wearing that bra app!” Whatever info is collected, maybe the NSA will need that data dump too.

The researchers don’t want us to think this whole idea is sexist. They noted that “efforts to create a similar piece of underwear for men worked less well, largely because the sensors were located too far away from the heart.” Well, jeeze, scientists, don’t fat men have those man-boobs? They surely could benefit from a bro, no? And don’t men wear something else everyday — something above the waist, like, I don’t know, a shirt?

Naw, that wouldn’t make any sense; we must focus on how women look because that’s what they are here for. And notice, there’s no mention or suggestion regarding anorexia  or other health disorders. Fat — women’s fat — is the health issue to focus on.

The good news here is that this mood-bra isn’t ready for market just yet; users in the study found the device “tedious” as the GRASP boards had to be recharged every 3-4 hours.

Then again, that’s about how long some of us can bear to wear our bras.

As for me, if I’m going to invest in any new tech bras, it might be the bra that can detect cancer. Let’s see if that one actually makes it to market.

Casual Sex Feminists?

Seeing that this article, Mediocre Sex – The Price Women Pay For Freedom? by Jennifer Kabbany, was published at right-wing college site The Collage Fix, I should have resisted and not given it a click — but, as a wise woman once taught me, you do have to listen to differing opinions. And, hey, maybe it wouldn’t be as bad as I thought.

But I was wrong.

It was bad from the start:

The infamous college campus hook-up culture celebrated by feminists suggests female students love casual, no-strings-attached sex, and enjoy one-night stands without guilt, shame or regret.

Oh yeah – then why aren’t they having orgasms when they do?

Feminism as a movement doesn’t celebrate hook-up culture; it just says that if it is allowed for men, if it is considered a right of passage or otherwise bears no lack of respect for men who do it, then it ought to be the same for women.

The article refers to studies and stories included in an article at the Times, which state that women are twice as likely to reach orgasm in serious relationships as they are in hookups and that casual sex does not bring the physical pleasure for women that men experience. Kabbany wrote:

The Times’ report interviewed several people who had all sorts of ideas as to what’s going wrong in the bedroom, such as that young men don’t care about pleasing a women they see casually, and the twosome doesn’t know each other well enough to know how to get each other off. Predictably, it goes on to quote sources who say sex without orgasms is fine for women seeking to scratch that carnal itch – that “mediocre sex” is the price women pay for freedom.

But the truth is women engaged in casual sex don’t reach orgasm because – on some level – they know they’re selling themselves short. They’re giving away their ace in the hole, pardon the pun, to some guy who barely knows their name and is likely too drunk to remember it in the morning. They’re offering themselves to a man who has committed nothing to them, cares nothing for them.

This isn’t about “inequality” in the bedroom, as the Times suggests. It’s about women with low self-esteem, who set the bar low for themselves, who search for affection and affirmation in the wrong way.

These studies prove that even if campus feminists are fooling themselves, their not really fooling themselves. Their subconscious knows the truth. Sex Ed 101 tells us that females climax on emotional/mental levels while men climax to physical/visual ones.

I obviously don’t agree with Kabbany. But she also missed some of the key points in that Time‘s article by Natalie Kitroeff:

By contrast, roughly three quarters of women in the survey said they had an orgasm the last time they had sex in a committed relationship.

“We attribute that to practice with a partner, which yields better success at orgasm, and we also think the guys care more in a relationship,” Dr. England said.

Indeed, young men surveyed in Dr. England’s study often admitted that they are less focused on sexually pleasing a woman they are seeing casually than one they are dating.

Duvan Giraldo, 26, a software technician in Elmhurst, Queens, said that satisfying a partner “is always my mission,” but added, “I’m not going to try as hard as when I’m with someone I really care about.” And with women he’s just met, he said, it can be awkward to talk about specific needs in the bedroom.

“You’re practically just strangers at that point,” he said.

The lack of guidance is common, Dr. England said. “Women are not feeling very free in these casual contexts to say what they want and need,” she said. Part of the problem, she added, is that women still may be stigmatized for having casual sex.

Dr. Garcia said, “We’ve been sold this bill of goods that we’re in an era where people can be sexually free and participate equally in the hookup culture. The fact is that not everyone’s having a good time.”

What women need to achieve orgasm can be very different from what they find in casual sex. Roughly one-quarter of women reliably experience orgasm through intercourse alone, according to a review of 32 studies conducted by Elisabeth Lloyd, a professor of the history and philosophy of science at Indiana University, in her 2005 book “The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution.” Another third of women rarely or never have orgasms from intercourse.

This highlights several key points. One, it’s pretty clear that people like Kabbany are illustrating Dr. England’s point about stigmatizing women, and, two, men who don’t care are often men who don’t care. But almost everyone is forgetting that women’s orgasms are more complicated to learn to achieve period.

Unlike the simple male organ (upright & locked in position in front, rendering it uber visible, its secrets easy to decode), female genitalia is more elusive (not only virtually hidden but offering more options). It takes more time for females to learn how to manipulate, arouse, and reach orgasm. (Note: It takes about the same amount of time for men and women to reach orgasm; it just takes more time for women to learn how to do this. Which is why I am so in sync with what U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders was addressing.) Given the physical and cultural complexities, how many college-age women know both how to please themselves and how to communicate that to another? Shit, how many women even know how to do this in their 30s.

vintage sex hook upFeminism is all about a woman’s right to embrace her sexuality. That includes masturbation, hook-up sex, sex in relationships — any safe, sane, and consensual sexual act a woman wants. And without shame or regret. But feminism does not “celebrate” hook-ups, as if they were mandatory. Not for anyone, man or woman. And feminism certainly doesn’t expect women to suffer mediocre sex because that’s what men want.

As Shanté Cosme writes in Why Sorority Girl Rebecca Martinson Writing About Double Blowjobs is Terrible for Ladies and Completely Our Fault, one should not confuse embracing one’s own sexuality with trying to please others — and in this case, we are talking about women trying to increase their value by trying to please men. Trying to please men in any capacity is not feminism.

Suzy Favor Hamilton Shouldn’t Be Shamed For Turning to Sex Work

In 1983, the Big Ten Conference established a women’s Athlete of the Year award and later named it after Suzy Favor Hamilton, a University of Wisconsin middle distance runner and alumna who followed her illustrious college career with three appearances in the Olympic Games. She was more than qualified to have her name attached to such a prestigious award. Unfortunately, the conference announced on Tuesday that her name would be removed from the award after it was revealed in December that Favor Hamilton had worked as an escort since 2011.

“I do not expect people to understand,” she wrote on Twitter, “but the reasons for doing this made sense to me at the time and were very much related to depression.” She added that her husband knew about her work and didn’t approve of it.

But something that the Big Ten needs to realize — along with the rest of the country — is that sex work is one of the most stigmatized professions in the world.

See on www.policymic.com

No Subsidy For Cupid, Stupid (Lessons In Pay Equity & The Value Of Teachers, From 1948)

I found this article, Subsidy For Cupid: Request for Salary Differential for Married Teachers Is Unsound, in the December 10, 1948, edition of The Wisconsin State Journal.

The first line reads, “The board of education has been asked to establish a permanent salary differential of $600 annually for instructors who are married.” This had me thinking that the proposed salary adjustment would remove $600 a year for married teachers; you know, because married women are therefore little women who do not really need a salary anyway. But then we get to the second line. “The request comes from the recently-organized Madison Schoolmasters club, whose members are married teachers in the city’s school system.” Surely this club would not be suggesting they cut their own salaries?!

Read on:

This type of a salary differential is based upon a poorly-thought-out idea, upon a misconception of the purposes of a salary structure, and is suggested without foresight.

Teachers’ salaries, like all others, should be based upon value received. All teachers should be paid decently, and The State Journal has pushed hard for a minimum teachers salary law that will attract qualified men and women to the profession.

[Hear that, Scott Walker, et al.?]

But in any good system, workers’ salaries are set with an eye on the value of the individual worker. The scales are based on training and background, efficiency, ability to cooperate, and perhaps seniority.

Unmarried teachers should not be penalized because they happen to prefer to remain unmarried.

[The picture becomes a bit clearer now…]

Taxpayers should not be asked to grant special subsidies to teachers who prefer to get married, any more than they should be asked to subsidize teachers who choose to buy automobiles or houses or trips to Europe.

[I am astounded at the suggestion that at any time in our history a teacher could afford a trip to Europe on their own salary!]

By all means, school salaries should be substantial enough to allow a teacher to get married if he wishes.

A-ha! So here it is! We are primarily speaking of male teachers! You know men, they have to take care of the little woman, the kids, the bills, the dog… No woman has to do that.]

But he shouldn’t get a bonus for walking to the altar, or for accumulating other personal obligations. Those matters are up to the individual.


There is good reason for teachers — particularly those who are married — to oppose the plan.

During a depression, boards of education must cut expenses, If that married-teacher salary differential were on the books, the inclination of money-conscious school board members would be to hire instructors whose personal status didn’t require payment of that extra $600. That would man less job-security for the very people who would need it most.

While the ending line nearly eradicates my hopes of some sort of gender equality, the lines before it certainly are felt in the pink ghetto and by women at every level during the rough economic times. When talking heads speak of how women are faring better, their 77 cents to a man’s dollar means a twisted sort of job-security.

Calling All Former Snip.It Users & Future Content Curators!

As mentioned in my interview with Scoop.It’s Guillaume Decugis, Scoop.It has been working on a way for those of us abandoned by Snip.It to upload the exported data. Earlier this week, I beta tested the new import feature — and it works quite well!

As you can see, there were some topics or categories in common, so I will have to work a bit to resort and even delete both individual links and entire topics. (Because I specifically worked to make sure that my feminist topic at Scoop.It was different from my feminist collection at Snip.It, I have to check each link before I hit delete — however, Scoop.It’s system has always let you know if you’ve scooped a link before, so it goes faster than you think!)

Amazingly, all of my collections uploaded — giving me more collection or topics than Scoop.It previously allowed! And it’s not just for former Snip.It users either now.

For the month of February, Scoop.It is “lifting the topic creation limit: for free!” That means, even if you were not a member of Snip.it, whether you were a Scoop.It user or not, you can get an unlimited number of topics to curate at Scoop.It!

Again, this is only for the month of February (2013). (Which works out pretty good for Snip.it users who have to download their export file of collections and snips by the 21st of the month.)

Here’s How You Do It

Step One: If you were a Snip.It user, and haven’t already done so, go here to export and save what you’ve snipped using the “Export To HTML” download button.

Step Two: If you are not already a Scoop.It member, join now.

Step Three: Once you are a Scoop.It member, contact Ally Greer at Ally@scoop.it. Introduce yourself as a former Snip.It user and request the account option to import Snip.It collections.

Step Four: When the option has been activated, login to Scoop.It, use the drop-down menu beneath your name and click on the Settings option.

Step Five: In settings, look for the Snip.It Import tab; click it and you’ll see where to upload your Snip.It export file.

What’s very cool, is they have progress bars to show you how it’s all going. For those with many collections and thousands of links, it goes faster than you think — especially when you can see that it is working!

Pretty easy and fabulous, right?

A few of the links, very few percentage wise, did not upload the images. But with Scoop.It, you can always edit your scoop, including uploading your own image. So if that bothers you, you can fix it.

First, click the Edit button…

Then the Edit Image button to upload the image.

Once you join Scoop.It, let me know. (You can follow my topics or just leave a comment here with a link to you at Scoop.It; whatever works for you.)

And if you have any problems, contact Ally; she’s always there to help. Really!

PS If you are new to curating, don’t have any file to import, or are an existing Scoop.It member who just wants more topics (for free!), you can still take advantage of the free love at Scoop.It this month. All you have to do is ask for more topics by sending an email to business@scoop.it. Again, details here.

The Scoop On Content Curation & Scoop.It

Once Snip.It pulled the plug on the content curation site, thereby pulling the rug out from under the feet of content curators like myself, I began speaking with the fine folks at Scoop.It.

As always, Community Manager Ally Greer was there with more than kind, supportive words but with some action too. Thanks to her, and the other responsive folks at Scoop.It, there will be some great news coming from my now favorite curation site soon. (Hint: They are working on a way for the exported Snip.It file to be uploaded to Scoop.It; details to follow, so stay tuned!)

Meanwhile, I wanted to talk about why why many had not been using the site – like myself, had not been as dedicated to Scoop.It. After all, while many are scrambling to move their online curation, the same reasons why they hadn’t used Scoop.It before may very well still apply, right? And what better way to discuss this than with Guillaume Decugis, Co-founder and CEO of Scoop.It.

Thanks so much for making the time to discuss this with me, Guillaume.

Decugis: Thank you for giving us this opportunity to communicate with you as we try to find Snip.it users a solution to migrate their topics to Scoop.it.

You might not feel that way after I shoot some hard questions at you! Here’s the first one:

The problem, comparatively, with Scoop.It vs. Snip.It, was the limited number of collections or topics. Many of us had 20 or more collections, and even the business plan has a limit of 15. Can you explain Scoop.It’s reasoning for limiting the number of topics?

Decugis: In the very early phases of Scoop.it private beta, we were confronted with a very simple problem: some people were doing domain squatting on Scoop.it urls without actually using them to curate content. Scoop.it topic urls are unique and it works really well with our topic-centric model: we’re not just about curating content but we also strongly believe that we offer better discovery capabilities to our users by having this model where you curate, discover and follow topics. Making urls unique encourages users to be specific on the niches they cover. So preventing domain squatting was one pragmatic reason to implement topic limitation.

What we discovered since then is that even though we fully understand that some people might want to do more than these limits, this limitation actually forced them to focus on what they felt was essential — one of the objectives of content curation. Content curation in general, and Scoop.it in particular, is biased towards quality vs. quantity after all. We’re not saying you can’t have both, and there are exceptions, but so far the scheme has been working pretty well even though that’s of course something we might revisit at some point.

Of course, paying is also a concern. We obviously feel the pain of “free that can go away” (despite millions of dollars Yahoo! paid), but paid service sites also disappear… Can we be assured Scoop.It won’t vanish? Or at least not in a matter of minutes, without warning?

Decugis: First of all, we’re not forcing anyone to pay: Scoop.it is a free service and will always remain free. Free users are very valuable to us as they help the Scoop.it brand awareness by bringing qualified traffic to the platform. Thanks to them we grew from 0 to 7 million monthly since our launch. So everyone is welcome to use Scoop.it as much as they want for free. Premium plans are here to add value to professionals who want more from Scoop.it or businesses and companies who want to use content curation as part of their content strategy.

No company can ever say “we’ll be here forever”. However, I think free Web services without any implemented business models are likely to be much more vulnerable which is why it’s been very important to us to launch Scoop.it publicly only until we had a good idea what our business model would be. We had close to a year of private beta (yes, we took our time…) but this was very important to us to understand how the balance between free and paying users would work, what people or businesses would be ready to pay for and at what price. We can’t say the current model is perfect, nor that there won’t be any changes. But a bit more than 1 year after our public launch, we’re very happy with the revenue we’re generating, the number and growth rate of our paying customers and, more importantly, their strong loyalty to their premium plans and the low churn rate we’re observing. In the long run, profitability is the only thing that can guarantee any company’s survival and while growth has been our main focus, having a sound business model has been one of our other priorities from day 1.

The last thing I want to say about this is that we view Scoop.it as an open platform: we offer multiple interfaces with social networks but also blog platforms like WordPress or Tumblr as well as RSS feeds and an open API. This provides multiple export capabilities for our users’ curated content and we’ll enable even more in the future. We think the value we build as a company is in our active and growing community – not in locking up our users in a proprietary platform.

I know beggars can’t be choosers, but is there a way former Snip.it folks could get a discount on Scoop.it services?

Decugis: Though we’re happy for Ramy and the team at Snip.it and wish them the best in their integration with Yahoo!, we feel sad about the Snip.it service shutting down. We didn’t plan to do anything specific, but some Snip.it users like yourself have asked us whether they could import their Snip.it collections to Scoop.it and we’re investigating that. We don’t plan to offer a discount on Scoop.it premium plans, but we’re looking at what we can do to welcome Snip.it users who want to join our community while obviously being fair to our existing users. Stay tuned.

I can’t thank you enough for your time, Guillaume. Hopefully this will address the concerns and potential fears of people who are considering using Scoop.it.

As for me, my final thoughts are this: Scoop.It may be forcing us all to limit or tighten up our topics of interest (which does have both its pluses and minuses), even when you pay to play — but they’ve always had their strong points that can’t be refuted.

One, they’ve always had the best means of connecting and disseminating curated content to social media sites and blogs.

Two, they’ve always had the best method of suggesting content to a curator. In fact, they may be the only curation site to offer that option — which has proven to draw in members who may not even curate, but read and watch. Turning lurking subscribers into participating, engaged members is not to be undervalued.

Three, as you can see with this interview, the folks at Scoop.it are readily available to discuss issues, concerns, and suggestions.

As Guillaume Decugis and I have both said, stay tuned!

Snip.It Snaps

Today, just hours after I tweeted how much I loved the site, Snip.It was purchased by Yahoo. That’s good news for Ramy Adeeb and crew, but it leaves those of us who were fans of the site without the space for curation. Personally, despite being mentioned in the Snip.It Hall Of Fame, I feel as others do: tossed aside. Even with all the beta testing etc. I worked with Adeeb and others on, I found out after the site was “shuttered”. All my work there nothing but a downloadable file to upload at a short-list of bookmarking sites — which is nothing like content curation at all, and Adeeb and crew know it.

Personal whining aside, the worst of all this is the BIG business mistake of it all.

Handing things this way means Adeeb, Snip.It, and Yahoo alike all miss out on the good will and future adoption of whatever Yahoo plans to do with Snip.It. Instead of keeping all of us who loved the site in the loop and even in the game — waiting to kill services until after there was the new place for us to participate, this action has rather insured that we won’t give a flying fig about whatever the new service or site is about.

You can’t blame the likely death of Snip.It’s potent new life as part of Yahoo completely on Yahoo — even if there’s a history lesson in that. No, you have to blame the folks at Snip.It for devaluing users so much that we there couldn’t be a “Snip.It’s closed, sign up and merge your account at the new Snit.It.Yahoo” link for us to follow.

Tossing aside Snip.It users like they did, means that I myself have a bunch of orphaned users or followers of my own. That leaves a bad taste in my mouth. And one I’m not likely to forget. Even if someone from the old or new Snip.It comes-a-calling, asking me to adopt the new site.

A Reminder About Our Rights: We May Have Won, But…

While we sane folks may be celebrating the re-election of President Obama and the slew of other positive election results, we can’t forget that the battle continues. These insane control-freaks still exist, many still have power. And many nutballs weren’t up for election and remain in office. This is especially true of what Rachel Maddow correctly calls the “creepy rape and abortion caucus”. They, and their misogynist myth-information still exists. We must continue to fight to keep our rights — and in many cases, where rights and access was stripped from us, to get them back.

Image via Nerve.

Binders Keepers

Morning Joe is a show that continues to frustrate me. A recent example, Joe Scarborough’s comments on Romney’s rudeness to moderator Candy Crowley during the second presidential debate:

One, you don’t run over a female moderator. You just don’t. Stylistically you don’t. It’s very dangerous. Jim Lehrer, fine. You can get out a knife and, you know, have a knife fight with Jim Lehrer, fine. But you don’t do that with a female moderator. It’s problematic.

This from a man who continually interrupts and talks over his co-host, Mika Brzezinski. In fact, the nearly-incomprehensible-he’s-so-hypocritical Scarborough tromps over Brzezinski so often that I’ve theorized Brzezinski’s contract limits the number of syllables she may utter, making Scarborough’s rudeness of interjecting “I, I, I” a mere dotting of the fiscal “i”s to limit her speech. But it’s the poor theory of a woman amazed as she watches such perpetual rudeness. You keep it classy, Scarborough.

Scarborough also mocks “Binder-Gate”, completely missing the point of the reaction to Mitt Romney’s “Binders full of women” statement. Which is exactly what the tap-dancing Romney was trying to do. Romney want’s to hide his record, his stance, his very negative attitude towards women. It’s not the ill-phrased statement made by the perpetually awkward Romney, but the very negative scenario he was attempting to illustrate as a positive.

Let me spell it out for you: We don’t want to hear about binders full of resumes from qualified female candidates — which were given to you, not sought by you, Romney. We want to live in a world where hiring women, at equal pay, is common practice.

Binders Keepers, Binders Full Of Women

Mitt’s binder comment exposes the gender gap in terms of employment, wages, and benefits. Here, the binders represent keepers, exposing the sexist values of binding and keeping women in their place, which is, of course, beneath men. Holding women back, holding women down, limits and hurts families and our nation as a whole. And we know it.

Romney, Scarborough, et al., they seem to be mistaking fact for fiction, mistaking the female fantasies of sexual submission a la Fifty Shades for real world desires to be held down economically. While these guys substitute fiction for fact, we are not confused. We see them for what they are: Liars and anti-feminist.

To commemorate 2012, how about this Western-print binder featuring rope, customized with the words “Binders Keepers”. You can fill it with all the news stories this year.

Curating For You; Vote For Me

[This post has been sitting in “draft” format for so long, I’m actually embarrassed! Perhaps it sat so long because I’m too embarrassed to toot my own horn?]

If you follow some of my other blogs, you know that I’ve added “content curation” or online collecting to my blogging activities. My favorite site to do this is Snip.It — and not just because I earned an Honorable Mention for my Vintage Living Today For A Future Tormorrow collection in their Earth Day contest. *wink*

Now Snip.It has a History Contest:

Make a Snip.it collection all about your favorite period in history (anything from The Enlightenment to Pre-colonial America to Gen X) for the chance to win a new iPad loaded with goodies from Inkling. We’ll evaluate the collections based on depth and range of sources (dig deep!), your captions, and Facebook likes.

You can enter a collection and snip into it anytime between now and when we choose a winner on Tuesday, June 19th.

More details here.

Whether you enter or not, please visit my Herstory collection — and if you like it, please hit the Facebook “Like” button and even subscribe. Thanks!

Your Right To Bare Breasts

Given all the ruckus about breast feeding in public (something which relegated me to the isolation of many a stuffy room, even during family gatherings), I consider the right to bare breasts right up there with the right to bear arms. So meet crusader and an activist Moira Johnston, aka The East Village Topless Lady, who is working to spread the all-important message that it is legal for women to be topless — at least in New York City, since 1992.

Johnston is interviewed here, at the Gothamist, complete with NWS video:

Among other things, the 29-year-old discusses being harassed by middle-aged men and debating going topless with passersby (including one man who says topless women are “going against God’s law”). Johnston also tells how she was detained by cops for over an hour this week (because she was topless near the children’s park in the square), then released when they realized they couldn’t keep her. The arresting officer told her “it could be considered endangering the children…I asked his personal opinion, and he said he didn’t think it was endangering the children.”

And then there are the bare breasted broads abroad, taking to the streets, using their bare breasts to sell more than merchandise or sex itself. The women of Ukrainian based FEMEN use it to sell social change. They demonstrate for everything from women’s rights and the economy to terrorism and corruption, including against politicians like Putin.

FEMEN was founded by three young women living in Khmelnytskyi, Oksana Shachko, Anna Hutsol, and Sasha Shevchenko, primarily university students whose parents hoped that they would get married early. From an interview with Shachko:

There were hardly any jobs to be had, and the men drank. The girls, for their part, spent long evenings discussing philosophy, Marxism and the situation of women in post-Soviet society. They decided that instead of getting married, they would bring about change.

There were only three of them at first, but now the movement, whose ranks include students, journalists and economists, has spread throughout Ukraine and includes more than 300 women. Calling themselves “Femen,” they have started a movement that has also caught hold among women in Tunisia and the United States. It’s a movement that even encourages experienced women’s rights activists to undress.

Not surprisingly, FEMEN activists appear all over Europe, including in the Vatican City.

You can keep up with the FEMEN rights movement at their blog and curated stories in the news here.

Should you wish to take to the streets to defend your right to bare breasts, or to bare your breasts for social change, you’d better know the laws. [It’s currently illegal for women to be topless anywhere in the US, save for breastfeeding (which still raises hell), except for New York.] Not that imprisonment is always seen as a barrier to activists of social change; but you should know what you’re up against and make your educated decisions.

PS I refuse to mark this post NWS or NSFW because I don’t fear bare breasts or even nipples.

Working The Knowledge Graph

As I’ve said before, “Search engines are based on programs or algorithms which do their best to interpret what a searcher wants and, attempting to replicate human understanding, gives it to them based on the text or written content it can find.”

So Google’s announcement of, Google’s Knowledge Graph, a major shift in the way it looks at searches, focusing on trying to “think” even more like a human, i.e. less in keywords and phrases.

The Knowledge Graph enables you to search for things, people or places that Google knows about—landmarks, celebrities, cities, sports teams, buildings, geographical features, movies, celestial objects, works of art and more—and instantly get information that’s relevant to your query. This is a critical first step towards building the next generation of search, which taps into the collective intelligence of the web and understands the world a bit more like people do.

More at Mashable, where the funky infographic came from.

What The Beck??!

Part of my job is to keep an eye on auction news, so believe-you-me, I was not looking to do a story on this, but…

Heritage is the auctioneer service for Mercury One & Glenn Beck Charity Auction.

Instantly the name Glenn Beck raised my eyebrows.

The twin arches of suspicion only grew as I read more.

Some of the items include a trip to Israel, a scholarship to Liberty University, unique art and backstage passes to a Ted Nugent concert, to name a few. Bid to help Mercury One improve the human condition with malice toward none and charity toward all.

Can Ted Nugent’s name even appear near the words “malice toward none”?! No, of course not.

Mission One: One Mission Under Absurdity, With Misery For All

Does anyone even want to win pay for a scholarship to Liberty University? Uh, I guess… It’s America, land of the free, so if folks want to pay to remain woefully ignorant, I guess that’s their right.

Perhaps most importantly, what the heck is Mission One?

Something-something about charity… Something about how NASA is now “nothing more than a public relations firm.” The obligatory Tea Party dig at the Occupy movement: “We must not occupy but organize; not revolt but rebuild. This is our unique moment in time, a calling for the ‘silent majority’ to rise up and stand.”

Umm, when have the evangelical conservatives been anything other than the loud minority?

But really the mission — the one mission — of Mission One is this:

Be prepared for anything, be prepared for all.

Our goal is that each and every like-minded citizen does everything they can to be prepared for whatever may come. Prepared for emergencies, both big and small, natural and man-made. Have the food storage, medicine and necessities available, not only for your family, but to share with others in your neighborhood, church and community. Mercury One will act as a guide to mobilize Americans to assist each other as well as first responders: physically, emotionally and spiritually. We must give a hand up and not a hand out, while caring for the elderly and nurturing the young.

If that doesn’t sound apocalyptic-scary, how about it being followed up with “Rebuild, rebound, rebirth…”

Of course, Mission One thanks its sponsor, the National Center For Constitutional Studies: “A study of the United States Constitution from a principle based approach.” Their principals are not the real principals. Reading all this propaganda has me thinking that never before have the words “Founding Fathers” sounded so tainted.

Please do not bid.

The History Of Driving While Black

I’ve written before about why I don’t collect Black Americana; as a white chick, I don’t feel I have the right to document such history. (I’ll stick with documenting women’s lives with my collecting, thank you.) But since collecting the history of oppressed people intrigues me, I really enjoyed this article about David Pilgrim’s collection which will soon be on display at the grand opening of the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia on April 26th at Michigan’s Ferris University.

I love a good story about collecting, and Pilgrim’s begins thus:

David Pilgrim was 12 years old when he bought his first racist object at a flea market: a saltshaker in the shape of a Mammy. As a young black boy growing up in Mobile, Alabama, he’d seen similar knick-knacks in the homes of friends and neighbors, and he instinctively hated them. As soon as he handed over his money, he threw his purchase to the ground and shattered it into pieces.

But it get’s really interesting when Jennie Rothenberg Gritz, an Atlantic senior editor who wrote the piece and interviewed the collector, asked Pilgrim about his progression from destroying the objects to collecting them:

I went to a historically black college, Jarvis Christian College in Texas, and in addition to teaching the usual math and science, our professors would tell us stories of Jim Crow. One day, one of my professors came into the classroom with a chauffer’s cap. He set the hat down and asked what historical significance it had.

Now, the obvious answer was that blacks were denied many opportunities, and chauffeuring was one of the few jobs open to them. But that was not right answer. He told us that a lot of professional middle-class blacks in those days always traveled with a chauffer’s hat. The reason: If they were driving a nice new car through a small southern town, they didn’t want police officers, or any other whites, to know the car belonged to them.

I remember that story so vividly. No object has any meaning other than what we assign to it. But that was an incredible meaning to assign to an object that, on the surface, had little to do with racism.

This is not only proof of my theory about using collectibles to teach, but it shows just how old the problem of Driving While Black really is.

Driving Female Victims Crazy

Women, report rape, get labeled as having a mental illness. This isn’t only something that happens in the military, you know; it’s just easier to document this group of women and to hold an institution accountable. At least we hope it will be easier to hold the military accountable for this! However, the rest of us who are victimized aren’t officially given a psychiatric discharge to track.

If we live to tell of the abuses we suffered (and even a one-time assault has abusive consequences from the very persons, places, and institutions we are taught will protect us, provide justice, and support us), we are then treated to the same devices our abusers employed: Isolation.

We are silenced, ostracized, demonized, all but abandoned by a society which would rather believe (if they believe us at all) that we had somehow deserved or at least brought such atrocities — because to think otherwise is to believe that the boogeyman isn’t some stranger under our beds, but rather the man we lay with in our beds. The resulting isolation alone is enough to depress. Yet that isn’t they type of “crazy” they’ll be satisfied with either.

Women need to be put in their place with stronger, more pathological or violent diagnoses, so that we can be even less credible, dismissed completely. We are medicated (if we are white enough) and even institutionalized. There’s a long history of this, which Karen Essex shares:

I read the psychiatric journals of the period, which prescribed bizarre treatments for ladies who were “hysterical,” which usually turned out to mean that they were “excitable in the presence of men.” In many instances, the desire to read all day or engage in intellectual studies, were also regarded as symptoms of mental illness in the female. Young women were committed to asylums for doing cartwheels in mixed company, for desiring sex with someone other than one’s husband, or for staring seductively at a man. Most behavior that showed spunk, spirit, or sexual need, was pathologized.

All sorts of harrowing and torturous cures were developed to “settle” these women – restraints, forced housework (to help them remember their true natures), repeated plunges in ice water, and force-feeding, to name a few. As mental illness in females was thought to originate in the womb, doctors also were obsessed with menstrual cycles, figuring that if a patient’s cycle could be regulated to a strict 28-30 day cycle, the “illness” of wanting to have sex or read books all day, would disappear. Not coincidentally, an irregular cycle was also considered a sign of mental illness and required treatment.

If pure “spirit” or too much personality at odds with a man’s opinion is a problem, just imagine what daring to accuse a man will do to upset the apple cart.

(Absurd medical practices based on the thought that a woman’s menstrual cycle has any connection to her existence in utero, or manipulation of the former can correct the latter aside… If mental illness in women originates in the womb, just try to get insurance to cover that preexisting condition!)

But wait; there’s more.

You can be among the more fortunate of us and have escaped assaults, abuse and violence and still suffer. As I’ve asked before, in a social world of politics & legislation which tries to control us & our bodies, how do we keep perspective, how do we honestly keep our sanity in this mess?

Is simply being a woman in today’s society a reason why so many women, more than men, are medicated? I can feel a reason why more women in my age bracket of “over 45” are feeling crazy– as Angela Davis notes, 40 years later, and so many issues for women’s equality still have not been resolved.

Perhaps this why there’s something called feminist therapy.

Techniques that are used by therapists include helping the client understand the impact of gender roles in their lives, to provide clients with insight into ways social issues affect their problems, to emphasize power differences between men and women in society, to help clients recognize different kinds of power that they possess and how they and others exercise their power.

If your insurance will pay for it, of course.

Oiy, and before anyone whines or complains; I don’t hate men.

Harlots On Bikes With Numb Genitals

There’s been so much written on the history of women being liberated by bicycles (there’s even a new book on the subject: Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way)) that it difficult to believe that riding bikes decreases women’s sexual sensation.

As a feminist, I’ve often understood the old health concerns simply to be over-reactions — or outright orchestrations to limit women. But I bet some of those doctors are rolling over in their graves now.

However, this study would seem to refute the accusations that females on bikes were harlots.

Smells Like Mid-Life Spirit

Whether or not you want to smell like Madonna, you might want to catch her wearing lingerie (what else?) in the online ad (video below) for her new fragrance, Truth Or Dare.

I guess we should thank our lucky stars that Mad’s not completely nude as this online campaign was looked after by French art director Fabien Baron, the very same “director” of her 1992 coffee table book Sex. (The book is now highly collectible; yet deals can be found on eBay.)

The fragrance, I-kid-you-not, goes on sale in Macy’s stores April Fool’s Day (April 1, 2012). But it’s available online now for those with US mailing addresses.

The music for the perfume ad is a remix of Madonna’s latest single, Girl Gone Wild, which is the second single off MDNA. Girl Gone Wild has already enjoyed some notoriety, nearly costing the material girl in court (NWS).

Sex Strike Strife

Via Sex-Kitten.net (NWS), I heard about the Liberal Ladies Who Lunch and their attempts to organize women in protest of the recent war on women with SexStrike.org:



In light of the recent war on women, we are calling for a nationwide sex strike from April 28th to May 5th. All women should withhold from having sex with their partners.

This will help people understand that contraception is for women and men, because men enjoy the benefit of women making their own choices about when and if they want to get pregnant.

Once congress and insurance agencies agree to cover contraception, we will then resume having sex. Until then men will have to be content with their hand.

The suggestion is nothing new and the group notes the history on their FaceBook page — a page where you can read some nasty, negative and ignorant responses which only make women like me feel more like doing it by not doing it, i.e. going on a sex strike.  However, the sex strike mandate does present some issues…

As Gracie at Sex Kitten notes (still not work safe!):

While this may have some merits in terms of affecting those with men who need a little push, making those men pull it on their own, what about lesbians? And does this effectively unemploy sex workers?

These may not be the groups who should bear further duress in our dark times.

Besides, am I to punish myself and my husband — a man who already agrees such attacks upon women are terribly unfair, unsafe, and unreasonable? Isn’t the real point to motivate the unbelievers, those who would keep women under their thumbs?

As a survivor of domestic violence, my main concern is that this passive act of civil disobedience by women will be met with violence from their men at home.   Unlike Virginia State Del. David Albo (R-Fairfax Station), not all men will take “no” for an answer; especially if it’s politically motivated. After all, the whole point of this anti-women legislation is that we women are not individuals with equal rights; we are property that men control. So why would a man male who thinks that way accept his property has the right to say no? It brings the all too real and violent images of “breaking strikes” to mind.

Maybe the safest paths to take are legislative; to fight female health and contraceptive restriction with male reproductive and sexual restriction.

Amber Tamblyn: Hero

Amber Tamblyn: Hero

I’m no celebrity stalker; I can rarely identify an eighth of the folks plastered on the publications which stare at me while I’m in the supermarket check-out line. But I rather like Amber Tamblyn. Even if, right now, I can’t name that one police drama show she had… I like it, it was with that guy… Oh, never mind; I need to get to the dish.

Up to this very moment, one of the things I’ve liked best about Amber Tamblyn is saying her name.

Amber Tamblyn.
Amber. Tamblyn.

It’s musically delicious, the way it rolls off the tongue.

Turns out girl’s got more than a musically delicious name and actress chops in a pretty package; Amber Tamblyn’s got a grand sense of humor — and more.

When actor-musician Tyrese Gibson confused Amber Rose Tamblyn’s email address with that of Kanye’s ex-girlfriend, model Amber Rose, resulting in Tyrese asking Tamblyn via email if she wanted to record an album with him, Amber Tamblyn ran with it. Not only in a series of email exchanges but Amber Tamblyn laid down some serious demo tracks.

Called The Tyrese Sessions, these are amazing hardcore feminist rap songs which I would happily pay for. Hint-Hint, Amber. (“Tamblyn,” she whispered like Brick Heck.)

For now, we will have to settle for this woman’s poetry.

Will Bruce Willis Replace David Hasselhoff? It Makes Scents…

I love sandalwood. And I love Bruce Willis. So how it is I missed that Bruce launched his own fragrance in 2010?!

Bruce Willis is one of the most successful and popular actors in the world. He is a man of many sides – versatile and authentic. Together with LR, the Hollywood star has now developed his first own perfume. In doing so, a fragrance has been created that merges his personality, expressiveness and character.

The perfume of Bruce Willis – a breath of immortality

Smart Guys live forever – just like Bruce Willis.
Straight down the line, masculine and unconventional.
The fragrance of action heroes: strong sandalwood and spicy
pepper mixed together with earthy vetiver and revitalising
grapefruit. Bruce Willis’ first fragrance – now a legend.

Fragrance: woody – green – elegant

Bruce Willis’ fragrance is available as:

Eau de Parfum
Perfumed Deo Spray
Perfumed Hair & Body Shampoo
Aftershave Balm

Ahh, perhaps because it’s a German fragrance thing… “The Bruce Willis fragrance ranks among the top 5 at the German perfume prize 2011 in the ‘Lifestyle Men’ category!” Which means Willis may replace The Hoff in the noses, if not hearts, of Germans. (Despite rumors, The Hoff has no scents — pun intended.)

I’m not too keen on the ad. It brings to mind more the smell of charbroiled meats than anything else — and that’s not the hunger I have or ought to have when Willis is around…

But multiple angles of that sardonic Willis smirk are much appreciated — as is the Bruno vibe.

How did I finally find out about this? Willis has just launched Lovingly, a fragrance for women, “Inspired by my lovely wife Emma.” (I can only imagine how this all makes Demi feel…)

It is a very personal story of a world star who was inspired by his wife Emma Heming-Willis to bestow a fragrance. As a sign of his love Lovingly was developed. A fragrance so full of passion just like this unique declaration of love. With a bouquet of white blossoms and a hint of fresh citrus fruits this scent encases a lustful aura of charm and love. Sandalwood and musk lend a warm and romantic feel. This is true love!

Fragrance: flowery – green – elegant

Lovingly by Bruce Willis is available as:

Eau de Parfums
Perfumed Shower Gel
Perfumed Body Lotion
Perfumed Deo Spray

According to this news story, the Bruce Willis scents are only available from LR, which is some sort of European version of Avon, Mary Kay, etc. independent direct sales rep at home company. Not sure if they allow US sales reps or partners, but the Bruce Willis fragrances can be found on eBay from US sellers.

Celebrating John Glenn’s Legacy

Speaking of John Glenn orbiting the Earth

NASA’s Glenn Research Center will commemorate the 50th anniversary of John Glenn’s orbital flight in Friendship 7 by hosting an event, Celebrating John Glenn’s Legacy: 50 Years of Americans in Orbit, at 1 p.m. EST on March 2, 2012, at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center, 2000 Prospect Ave., in Cleveland.

Here’s a rundown of the celebratory event program:

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Glenn Director Ramon “Ray” Lugo will provide remarks during the one-hour program, which will include a welcome from Cleveland State University President Dr. Ronald Berkman. Space shuttle mission STS-95 pilot Steve Lindsey will pay tribute from the astronaut corps to Glenn. The program will culminate with a keynote address by the guest of honor Sen. John H. Glenn Jr.

Musical performances will be provided by the Cleveland Institute of Music, The Singing Angels and a soloist from Cleveland State University’s music program. Doors open at noon and a special pre-program musical performance by the Cleveland Institute of Music will begin at 12:15 p.m., followed by a video tribute to Glenn.

…Others attending the tribute event include agency officials, Ohio astronauts, NASA employees and contractors, elected officials, several hundred high school students throughout northeast Ohio, and 100 Twitter followers selected to participate in a day-long Tweetup event that includes tours of NASA Glenn and its visitor center at the Great Lakes Science Center.

After the official program, Glenn, Bolden and Lugo will participate in a Q&A session with the lucky Tweetup participants.

More than 800 complimentary tickets are being distributed to the general public for this event through a lottery by Cleveland State University in partnership with NASA Glenn. But don’t worry if you don’t win the lottery — the program will also be carried (streamed) live on NASA Television online. You might miss some swag and photo ops, but you can still see the event as it happens!

Will George Washington’s Wampum Belt Help With Treaties?

Today, February 28, 2012, Leaders from the Onondaga Nation and other Haudenosaunee leaders will travel to Washington, D.C. to file a formal appeal to their land claim, which was dismissed in court in 2010. And they will be bringing along with them George Washington’s Wampum Belt.

The longest wampum belt is the 1794 Canandaigua Treaty belt. This belt is 6 feet long and composed of thirteen figures holding hands connected to two figures and a house. The 13 figures represent the 13 States of the newly formed United States of America. The two figures and the house symbolize the Haudenosaunee. The two figures next to the longhouse are the Mohawk (Keepers of the Eastern Door) and the Seneca (Keepers of the Western Door).

President George Washington had this belt made to ratify a treaty with the Haudenosaunee to end the quarrels between us. That together we shall live in peace, friendship and forever.

The Onondaga want the federal government to honor the treaties signed with the Onondaga and other Indian tribes and are hoping that by “bringing the history to the attention of the public, healing and justice may be found.”

A press conference, with the wampum belt, will be held at 9:30 AM in the Murrow Room at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. — and it will be webcast live (I’m guessing that’s 9:30 AM, local D.C. time).