Some of these stories are a few weeks old -- sorry, that's what happens when you go to SXSW!
Technologist. Leader. Music lover. Noise maker. Philadelphian.
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Despite the fact that all recent evidence pointed to this outcome, I'm still sad to see that Ségolène Royal was not elected as the new French president. I was glad to hear that about 85% of the French people voted, though -- that's huge!
I didn't follow the election all that closely -- though I probably paid more attention than the average American. My French isn't all that great anymore, but from what I was reading about Mme. Royal's position and what I thought I understood, I thought she had some great ideas in her 100-point plan.
I wonder what will happen to France as a country with Nicolas Sarkozy at its helm. His plans for changing France have been called "American" and "racist" by some -- and for France, that really scares me. I don't mind him fighting for things like over 35-hour work weeks (because I never could quite understand how anything ever got done in France when there were so few work hours), but it seems to me that he does come across in much the same way that Dubya does -- hard-headed and unwilling to change his views in the face of opposition. He's known for his bad temper. I think he's kinda scary.
I also can't help but wonder how this may affect Hillary Clinton as she contends for the Democratic presidential nomination. I'm not yet sure who I'm for in that run-off, but I certainly have a keen eye watching what goes on with her, just to see how she's treated by the media and how she handles herself. I heard that, in the last French presidential debate, Royal was on the offensive -- which Sarkozy called out as being un-presidential. A thinly veiled sexist attack that we're to see more of in the U.S.? We'll see soon enough...
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It's official! Earlier today, Drew Gilpin Faust (Bryn Mawr '68) was unanimously confirmed as President of Harvard!You probably need no reminder, if you've heard the news, but she is the first woman to hold this office (as well as "the best candidate", according to the senior fellow of the Harvard Corporation). As Drew herself said, "I'm not the woman president of Harvard. I'm the president of Harvard."
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Rebekah E. Gee, M.D. and M.P.H., has written a piece for the New England Journal of Medicine, Plan B, Reproductive Rights, and Physician Activism. It's well worth a read! Here's my favorite bit:
Our government has been burying its head in the sand, pretending that sex does not happen. This agenda sets women back decades, threatening their right to achieve equally in society by robbing them of options for planning their childbearing.
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South Dakota lawmakers have just signed a law that could make nearly all abortions illegal. I want to vomit. I want to scream!
South Dakota lawmakers, and others that support this type of legislation, clearly see it as their right to enslave women of reproductive age, making us into nothing more than breeders. In the case of the SD law, they'd force women who have suffered through rape or incest to carry and birth a child. This puts SD on par with countries like Afghanistan and Iran, where women's rights are often restricted in other ways. What's next, South Dakota, what's next?
And tell me, South Dakota lawmakers, is access to birth control going to be improved? Would sex education be improved?
And what legislation are you proposing to punish men who commit rape and incest? Forced vasectomies? Castrations? What requirements do these men then have in assisting financially in raising the child that they helped create? Or in assisting the mother with medical bills, lost wages, etc.?
If you have no answers to these questions, South Dakota lawmakers, you've been foolish in your policy making, and you are clearly unfit to fill your jobs. I hope that the people -- women and men of your state -- will vote you out in upcoming elections.
If you feel as I do about South Dakota's abortion law, I encourage you to join Planned Parenthood's National Day of Solidarity with South Dakota. Or post signs, write letters, post to your blogs!
South Dakota can't repeal a woman's right to free speech!
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Benjamin Franklin is my favorite Founding Father -- pretty much anyone that knows me well knows this. And anyone that's been following local Philadelphia news knows that we're quickly approaching Ben's 300th birthday.
I started celebrating early, and had a Franklin-themed Christmas. A statue of Ben, given to me by Kevin, sat by the piano and watched over our holiday cards and decorations. While out holiday shopping, Kevin bought me Benjamin Franklin : In Search of a Better World. And on Christmas, I received four books on the man -- plus one additional book compiled from his writings:
As if that weren't enough, I'll be returning home to Philadelphia for New Years... and once all of the mummery is over, I'll visit the many Franklin-themed exhibits and attend some Franklin-themed lectures, such as:
Of course, I'll also be visiting the Franklin Institute and Independence National Historic Park. Unfortunately I'm only in town through January 8th... what will I do on Ben's birthday (January 17)? What will you be doing to celebrate this great man?