Thursday, May 31, 2012


Military Moms Breastfeeding in Uniform Stir Controversy

By Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Parenting – 18 hours ago
Photo: Brynja SigurdardottirAt a time when breastfeeding in public is already controversial, pictures of two military moms doing so while wearing their uniforms is sparking outrage.

The photo is part of a local breastfeeding awareness campaign by Mom2Mom of Fairchild Air Force Base, a support group launched in January by Crystal Scott, a military spouse and mother of three. Among the intimate close-ups of smiling young mothers cuddling their adorable babies, the images of the two airmen stand out.

Related: Moms react to the "Time" magazine's "Are You Mom enough?" breastfeeding cover

"People are comparing breastfeeding in uniform to urinating and defecating in uniform. They're comparing it to the woman who posed in "Playboy" in uniform [in 2007]" Scott told Yahoo! Shine in an interview. "We never expected it to be like this."

"I'm an X-ray tech and I breastfeed in my uniform all the time," Scott says. "Granted they're scrubs. But people do it all the time in their uniforms. If you have a hungry baby, why would you take the time to change completely?"

Related: Army mom home from Afghanistan surprises her son

Terran Echegoyen-McCabe, a member of the Air National Guard who was photographed in uniform nursing her 10-month-old twin daughters, says that she's surprised by the reaction to the photos.

"I have breastfed in our lobby, in my car, in the park ... and I pump, usually in the locker room," she told the "Today" show, adding that she usually nurses her babies while on her lunch break during drill weekends. "I'm proud to be wearing a uniform while breast-feeding. I'm proud of the photo and I hope it encourages other women to know they can breastfeed whether they're active duty, guard or civilian."

All of the women in the photos volunteered to appear in the awareness campaign, and Echegoyen-McCabe is featured -- wearing civilian clothing -- in a few of the other candid shots. None of the photos are posed; the women are simply feeding their babies the way they usually do. But even though some of the other photographs are just as revealing, only the ones of Echegoyen-McCabe and her friend Christina Luna in uniform have been criticized.

"The Air Force has never endorsed these photos," the photographer, Brynja Sigurdardottir points out on her website, where she posted several other photos from the Mom2Mom campaign. "These women just happen to be in the Air Force, in their uniform, breastfeeding their babies."

When it comes to talking about breastfeeding in public, comparing it to other bodily functions -- and even sex -- is common, in spite of the fact that breastfeeding is legal and protected while defecating or having sex in public is not. But the fact that two of the moms are shown breastfeeding in public while wearing military uniforms makes the entire controversy more complicated. The Army, for example, didn't even come up with a combat uniform for women until 2010, so accepting the idea of a uniformed soldier breastfeeding a baby may be especially jarring. And the uniforms themselves come with their own sets of rules.

According to Military Spouse Central, public displays of affection -- even something as innocuous as holding hands -- are not allowed while wearing a military uniform. Also forbidden while in uniform: eating, drinking, or talking on a cell phone while walking, carrying an umbrella that's not black, and (in some cases) smoking or even chewing gum. While there is no policy that addresses breastfeeding in uniform, Air Force spokesperson Captain Rose Richeson told MSNBC: "Airmen should be mindful of their dress and appearance and present a professional image at all times while in uniform." Military moms who are still breastfeeding are encouraged to pump and bottle-feed their babies while they're in uniform.

Scott suggests that the issue might have less to do with the uniform and more to do with our own internal conflicts. "I think a lot of people think that you can't be a mom and be a soldier," she says. "This is not something that's out of norm for them. They breastfeed in uniform all the time -- it's just not something that's usually captured on film."

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Syrian mayhem -- So sad

ula: How a massacre unfolded

People gather for a mass funeral of those killed in Friday's attacks in Houla At least 108 people were killed in Taldou, the majority of them women and children
The village of Taldou, near the town of Houla in Syria's Homs province was the scene of one of the worst massacres in the country's 14-month-long uprising on Friday.
United Nations observers on the ground have confirmed that at least 108 people were killed, including 49 children and 34 women. Some were killed by shell fire, but the majority appear to have been shot or stabbed at close range.
But at whose hands they died remains a matter of contention. Anti-government activists, eyewitnesses and human rights groups - including the UN's high commissioner for human rights - point the finger at the Syrian army and the shabiha, a sectarian civilian militia that supports the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
The government however denies all responsibility, saying its soldiers were attacked and armed terrorists went on to shoot and knife civilians.
The United Nations has condemned the "indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force", but Maj Gen Robert Mood, the head of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria, said "the circumstances that led to these tragic killings are still unclear".

Start Quote

I was in a room by myself when I heard the sound of a man. He was shouting and yelling at my family. I looked outside the room and saw all of my family members shot”
Survivor of the Houla massacre
Protest attacked
The picture being pieced together by activists, survivors and the limited number of international journalists and human rights organisations in Syria is of an attack that began with the army shelling the town and ended with militiamen killing people house-by-house late into the night.
Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has said initial investigations suggest the majority of the victims were "summarily executed in two separate incidents" while fewer then 20 were killed by artillery or shell fire.
Eyewitnesses say that at about 13:00 local time (10:00 GMT) on Friday, just after midday prayers, soldiers fired on a protest in Taldou in the Houla area to disperse the crowds.
Some accounts report that opposition fighters then attacked the Syrian army position where the firing was coming from.
According to Syria's foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi, "hundreds of gunmen" armed with machine guns, mortars and anti-tank missiles attacked soldiers, killing three.
Activists and eyewitnesses say the Syrian army shelled the town, reportedly at first with tank fire then with mortars, in a sustained bombardment that lasted at least two hours.
This tallies with UN accounts of tank and mortar shells in civilian areas. The UN Security Council issued a statement saying that "such outrageous use of force against civilian population constitutes a violation of applicable international law".
Mr Makdissi said that the army did not send tanks into the village and security forces remained in their defensive positions.
House-to-house attacks Any civilian deaths, he said, were the result of "armed terrorist gangs" going house to house and killing men, women and children.
But according to activists and eyewitnesses interviewed by the BBC, other media and human rights groups, army shelling paved the way for a concerted ground attack by the Alawite-dominated pro-government militia, the shabiha.

Taldou, Houla region

  • The region of Houla, in the west of Syria, comprises several villages and small towns
  • The village of Taldou lies around 2km south-west of the main town, also called Houla
  • The area is in the province of Homs, which has seen heavy fighting in recent months
  • Houla's villages are predominantly Sunni Muslim, but the region is ringed by a number of Alawite villages - the sect of the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad
Their reports suggest that men from the shabiha entered people's houses in army fatigues and either cut their throats or shot them in the head from approximately 16:00 to 01:00 on Saturday morning.
One opposition activist from the area, Hamza Omar, told the BBC: "The shabiha militias attacked the houses. They had no mercy. We took pictures of children, under 10 years [old] their hands tied, and shot at close range."
If that is the case, it is possible the killers were drawn from a string of largely Alawite villages to the south of Houla region. Fearing reprisals, some residents there have apparently been donating blood to help the approximately 300 injured.
Many of the dead come from the extended Abdul Razak family, which has a cluster of houses near to each other in the village.
In an interview with Human Rights Watch, an elderly woman from the family recounted: "I was in the house with my three grandsons, three granddaughters, sister-in-law, daughter, daughter in-law and cousin.
"At about 18:30 we heard gunshots. I was in a room by myself when I heard the sound of a man. He was shouting and yelling at my family. I hid behind the door... They were wearing military clothes.
"After three minutes, I heard all my family members screaming and yelling... As I approached the door, I heard several gunshots. I heard the soldiers leaving. I looked outside the room and saw all of my family members shot."
'Heroic Syrian army'
UN observers inspecting victims of the Houla massacre The UN observer mission in Syria is investigating the massacre
These eyewitness accounts are by video evidence and have also been confirmed by the Syrian government, although they blamed terrorists for the attacks.
"Women, children and old men were shot dead. This is not the hallmark of the heroic Syrian army," foreign ministry spokesperson Jihad Makdissi told reporters in Damascus.
At a news conference in Moscow with his British counterpart William Hague on Monday, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said it was clear the army had used tank shells but not who shot civilians at point blank range.
Alexei Pushkov, chair of the international affairs committee of the Russian parliament, the Duma, was more explicit on Monday: "We have very strong doubts that those people who were shot at point-blank [range] and were stabbed, that this was the action of forces loyal to President Assad," he told the BBC.
"The shelling was probably the responsibility of the troops of Mr Assad, but the stabbing and point-blank firing was definitely from the other side."
The UN's Maj Gen Mood told the BBC that monitors are continuing their investigations in Taldou to try and uncover the truth about what the Security Council has called an "appalling and brutal crime".

More Middle East stories


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Monday, May 28, 2012

Gordon ramsey's accident

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Dirty Tackle

Gordon Ramsay taken off on stretcher after getting flattened in Soccer Aid match

The biennial Soccer Aid match benefiting UNICEF was once again held at Old Trafford on Sunday, pitting England against the Rest of the World. As usual, both teams were comprised of a mix of celebrities and football legends, but this year one of those celebrities probably regretted stepping on the pitch with one of those legends.
Playing for the Rest of the World team along with the likes of Will Ferrell, Gerard Butler, Mike Myers, Ed Norton and Woody Harrelson (who scored the winning penalty two years ago) under recently sacked Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish (see full rosters here), chef and profanity connoisseur Gordon Ramsay was taken off on a stretcher an hour into the game after former Manchester United striker Teddy Sheringham smashed into him.

Gordon Ramsay gets carried off on a stretcher. (Getty)
Ramsay, who was a trialist with Rangers in his younger days before a knee injury ended his hopes of a career as a footballer, didn't get much sympathy from Sheringham after the hit. Instead, the England striker gave him a pat on the face as Ramsay winced in pain before being carried off and replaced by "X-Men: First Class" actor James McAvoy.
England (under manager Sam Allardyce) went on to win the match 3-1 with their first goal coming from Sheringham himself just nine minutes after crushing Ramsay, but the goal of the day belonged to the RotW team's Serge Pizzorno, lead guitarist for Kasabian, who chipped a beauty over legendary Arsenal keeper David Seaman.
"I told my careers adviser I wanted to be centre forward for Leicester City. When he said 'No' I thought I'd be in a rock 'n' roll band," Pizzorno said before the match, showing that he was a bit too easily swayed as a youth.
Here are some more photos from the match...

Avengers knocked off spot

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The suits have knocked off the superheroes at the box office.
Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones' sequel "Men in Black 3" debuted as the No. 1 movie over Memorial Day weekend with $55 million domestically from Friday to Sunday.
That bumps Disney's "The Avengers" into second-place after three blockbuster weekends on top for the superhero sensation. "The Avengers" took in $37 million over the three days to push its domestic total to $514 million and become only the fourth movie ever to top half a billion dollars.
Distributor Sony estimates that by the end of the four-day holiday weekend Monday, "Men in Black 3" will have pulled in $70 million domestically and $202 million worldwide.
Universal's "Battleship" was No. 3 in its second weekend with $10.8 million, raising its domestic earnings to $44.3 million. Paramount's comedy "The Dictator" took in $9.6 million to finish fourth in its second weekend and lift its total to $41.5 million.
The Warner Bros. horror tale "Chernobyl Diaries" opened at No. 5 with $8 million.
"Men in Black 3" launched with a bit more cash than its two predecessors, which both had opening weekends of just above $50 million.
But the original "Men in Black" debuted in 1997 and "Men in Black II" premiered in 2002, when admission prices were much lower than today's. That means "Men in Black 3" sold fewer tickets than the previous installments.
"Men in Black 3" reunites Smith's Agent J and Jones' Agent K as they battle a new alien menace that travels four decades back in time to do away with the younger Agent K (Josh Brolin).
Among the movie's box-office highlights overseas were debuts of $19.5 million in China, $18.9 million in Russia, $8.5 million in South Korea and $8 million in Japan.
Distributor Disney estimates that "The Avengers" will take in $47.1 million for the four-day holiday weekend, lifting the film's domestic total to $523.8 million. That will put "The Avengers" within $10 million of "The Dark Knight," the No. 3 movie on the all-time revenue chart with $533.3 million domestically.
"The Avengers" will pass "The Dark Knight" in the coming week, leaving only two movies above it: "Avatar" at $760.5 million and "Titanic" at $658.5 million.
With $26.3 million overseas, "The Avengers" raised its international total to $781.6 million, and its worldwide revenues to just under $1.3 billion. "The Avengers" will soon overtake "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" at $1.33 billion to become the No. 3 film on the global revenue list, again behind "Avatar" at $2.8 billion and "Titanic" at $2.2 billion.
Overall domestic receipts for the four-day Memorial Day weekend will come in well behind last year's record of $276 million. Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker, estimated that four-day revenues this time will total $195 million to $200 million, about 30 percent below Memorial Day weekend a year ago, when "The Hangover Part II" delivered a $100 million-plus debut.
Hollywood remains on a record pace this year, with domestic revenue so far at $4.24 billion, up 12.5 percent over 2011 receipts, according to
But "The Avengers" and now "Men in Black 3" have been the only notable successes for the summer season so far, with big releases such as "Dark Shadows" and "Battleship" fizzling on the domestic front.
"We really need to get going if we don't want to have play catch-up every weekend through the summer," Dergarabedian said. "Some of these summer movies are just not doing the business people had hoped for in North America."

When the pain comes

When the pain comes
I am lost
taken to a world where there is nothing but hurt
When the pain comes
Everything i am fighting for becomes pointless; mere folklore
When the pain comes
A pain that seems to pierce my very soul
When the pain comes
No matter how many people are around me
I always feel alone
and every breath is like a knife digging into my very soul
When the pain comes
I groan
Hating myself for the loud cries of pain that burst from the throne
of my soul
When the pain comes
heaven seems closer
almost like home
When the pain comes i wish i could be reborn

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Mirror, mirror
I am alone
All I have is you
And my reflection
That points at me
Saying the same things I do

Mirror, mirror
You are like the voice
Of the soul
In you I see
Through pictures
What I want to be
Where I want to get to

Mirror, mirror
I see a prince of myself in you
I see an overcomer
A visionary
One sought after by many
The pictures I see in you excite me
They show me what I can achieve
If he is with me

Mirror, mirror
I am before you again
Show me the next stage
The next phase
Mirror, mirror
Today is today
Freedom …. I can taste it
Mirror, mirror …. Once again


I hear a call
Sweet, soft, poignant
It strikes a chord
Deep within my soul
It fills me
Consumes me
Gives peace
The call begins to make me
I hear a voice
Soft, sweet
A tingle like electricity
Moves on the inside of me
He sings to me
His song brings me peace
Brings release
Removing every burden from me
Making me free

I hear a song
It’s in his words
I read through them
And I am reborn
Rejuvenated by his sweet words
That have now become songs
In my heart
The path before me is now illuminated
I know how to go now
What to do now
Because of the call
Because of his voice
And his song
Which has now become
The mirror on my wall
The blueprint to my soul
Because of this I am home again

How Do Agents & Editors Decide?

For May 22, 2012
In This Issue
From the Editor

My note is going to be a little shorter than usual this week. (I know most of you can relate to life getting really busy!)

Back to Writer's Digest Tutorials . . . If you've ever submitted a query to an agent and received a fairly quick no, it's really hard to not be really critical of yourself over it. What I love about this week's featured tutorial: you'll learn there are many reasons why this happens that actually have nothing to do with you or your writing. Even better yet, you'll learn the three-tiered approach used to evaluate potential books . . . and how you can make sure you are strong in all areas. 

This week's featured tutorial, How Do Agents & Editors Decide?, is taught by a literary agent that has over fifteen years of experience in publishing. Years of valuable experience are brought to you in this short invaluable lesson! 

At the very least, please make time to watch the short preview clip of today's featured tutorial. You are sure to pick up tips by merely watching the preview—and you'll gain a vast amount of knowledge by watching the entire tutorial. Remember that with tutorials, you can watch on your own time—when it's convenience for you. You can also pause and replay as many times as you'd like. I'd highly recommend taking out a WD Tutorials subscription if you haven't already. Please also feel free to preview the many tutorials available to you through the WD Tutorials site!

I hope that all of you have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day. Please take time to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day—it's not merely a three-day weekend for many. It's a day of remembrance for those that have died while serving our country. 

Wishing you only the best!
Julie Oblander
Online Education Manager
Writer's Digest Tutorials

Featured Tutorial: How Do Agents & Editors Decide?
Why do some projects get picked out of the pile by agents and editors while most do not? It's because great books that catch the eyes of the pros are a combination of an excellent idea, excellent writing, and, if need be, an excellent platform.

This tutorial discusses the three-tiered approach that publishers use in evaluating potential books: the idea, the writing, and the platform. Learn how to evaluate your own project based on this structure, and how to improve the area that needs help.

In this 76-minute tutorial video, you'll learn:
  • How agents and editors quickly look over a project and decide if it has the necessary elements to make them request more.
  • How to develop an attractive platform—connecting with other writers and individuals while making yourself a visible authority on your subject.
  • How to compose the best idea—creating a hook that makes publishers interested in your project.
  • How to make your writing shine—taking an idea and fleshing it out with voice, narrative, point-of-view, and structure.
  • How to get your book published! 

Missed a previous tutorial? Try one of these . . .
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Live Webinar | 10 Elements of a Saleable Novel Today
Join us next week to hear literary agent & VP Jim McCarthy!
Session date: Thursday, May 31, 2012
Starting time: 1:00 p.m. EDT
Duration: 90 minutes 

Many writers are in the dark when it comes to the question of what makes one novel saleable and another a non-starter in today's complex publishing arena. What makes agents and editors say "no" to so many submissions and "yes" to just a few? Is there a specific formula? Are the criteria different today from 10, 20, or 50 years ago? What affect does the rise of e-publishing have on how novels are published, selected, and promoted? In the end, does it just come down to quality, or are there other forces at work?

In this webinar, Jim McCarthy will answer these questions and more—shedding light on the inner workings of the often baffling publishing process, insight into the kinds of stories agents and publishers are seeking, and commentary on the principles every writer must be aware of to succeed in a dynamic and exciting time of change in the publishing world. 

This webinar also includes a critique from Jim McCarthy! You are invited to submit a query letter and the first two double-spaced pages of their novel. 

Learn More or Register Today >

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A Sneak Peek at What's Coming!
Many of you have asked for shorter tutorials—and I heard you! Very soon you'll find a newly recorded tutorial (less than 20 minutes in length) loaded to the site. This tutorial is called How to Get Pre-Publication Income to Support Your Work. I love the unique information this tutorial brings and hope you will too! 

Keep this link handy as it'll take you to a page where you can view ALL tutorials on the site: View all WD Tutorials >

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