Danielle Cadet: Why We Aren't Changing The 'once You Go Black' Headline

Danielle Cadet: Why We Aren't Changing The 'once You Go Black' Headline 2014-04-23

I work in the media and I write about race. It's a lethal combination that leaves me open to unsolicited feedback and criticism and, sometimes, racist attacks. But I do it because I've always thought race is one of those topics we still don't know how to discuss in this country, and I take great pride in being one of the people who is trying to figure that out.

But something happened yesterday that reminded me how incredibly complicated things can get when privilege and ignorance meet social media.

Last week, Black Voices published a story entitled "Proof That Once You Go Black, You Never Go Back," as a celebration of famous interracial couples and love in general, with a tongue-in-cheek headline. Yesterday, Salon writer Mary Beth Williams took issue with that headline and decided to make it her mission to publicly shame The Huffington Post for writing such a ghastly -- and in her opinion, racist -- story.

Jesus fucking Christ, HuffPo. pic.twitter.com/VI2ysVJ9Rj

-- Mary Beth Williams (@embeedub) April 22, 2014

When friends of mine sent me the inevitable "Have you seen this?" chat, I initially wrote off Williams as a rabble-rouser who completely missed the point of the article and didn't deserve any further attention. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But as the conversation continued, I realized she missed the mark entirely.

Williams has criticized The Huffington Post in the past, and sometimes rightfully so. However, she completely ignored the implications of the conversation she decided to take on; a conversation about a culture she obviously knows very little about but felt she could authoritatively police and discuss.

She wrote a piece titled "HuffPo's Worst Headline?" in which she offers a scathing review of the post and chastises the editorial team's lack of tact. Fair enough.

However, it's painfully obvious that not only is Williams unfamiliar with the "once you go black, you never go back" phrase itself, she's ignorant to the colloquial nature of the statement within black culture as a whole. She failed to do a little bit of research and understand that while the phrase may have origins in the blaxploitation era, it has evolved into an empowering statement that represents a prideful celebration of how wonderful African Americans really are. In short, black people are so great, once you love one of us you will love all of us. It is a phrase that celebrates blackness in the same way the phrases "black don't crack" or "black girls rock" do. People who use it are not looking to put other races down; they are simply complimenting a race that has historically been subjected to criticism for centuries.

Don't get me wrong, I'm totally aware that the statement could be misread and misconstrued. It could be seen as a fetishizing or over-sexualizing of African-American bodies, a challenge the community has grappled with since slavery. One could assume that we're reducing these loving relationships and these individuals to the single quality of their race. For the record, Robert De Niro is likely with Gloria Hightower because she's an incredible woman, not simply because she's black. The point is black men and woman can, in fact, be incredible -- a revelation some people in this country haven't come to accept or understand just yet.

Not only did Williams fail to offer any of those examples as a substantive reason for her argument, she fails to acknowledge the evolution of the phrase and how it can also be seen as a celebration of black beauty and interracial love. This is obvious in her literal interpretation of the phrase that not only has a white person who falls in love with a black person "gone black" but they are in fact "never going back." Let's be frank, plenty of white people go back to dating white people after dating a black person. It's not a hard and fast rule. It's a saying.

In her article, Williams fails to acknowledge that the post was specifically published in the Black Voices section of the site. However, she makes it a point to identify Jessica Dickerson, the writer of the article -- who in fact happens to be a product of an interracial marriage herself. Not only is Dickerson not clueless about race and the world, she is actually a perfect example of exactly "how beautiful love can be, no matter what the color of your skin is."

But despite all of these facts, Williams felt emboldened enough to authoritatively dictate and police the conversations in a community she apparently knows very little about. She uses a condescending tone, chastising our editorial team for playing off of a statement with a history she's seemingly unaware of. Her privilege has veiled her perspective so much that she doesn't even take the time to ask if black people are offended. Instead, she states that of course all people MUST be offended by such a ghastly statement.

Later, she pointed out that the headline hadn't been changed.

Pssst HuffPo still hasn't changed the headline. Enjoy the crazy now before they wise up! http://t.co/hM8KBMA073

-- Mary Beth Williams (@embeedub) April 22, 2014

But what she failed to realize is there is in fact no "wising up" that needs to take place. The story was intended for a community that understood the use of the phrase, and it was written in a way that celebrated love regardless of race. Changing the headline would only alienate the community Black Voices is serving, because, quite frankly, it made some white people uncomfortable. While we wholeheartedly acknowledge that on The Huffington Post platform, Black Voices stories are sure to appeal to non-black readers, we maintain that our audience should be our first priority and that we should draw the line between writing for our community and alienating it.

Every media outlet makes mistakes, and I'll be the first to acknowledge them when we do. However, I don't feel this was one of them. People of all races will differ in opinions, which they are well within their right to do. But opinions are served best when they are informed, and it is quite clear that Mary Beth Williams was not.

Chelsea Manning: A Statement On My Legal Name Change

Chelsea Manning: A Statement On My Legal Name Change 2014-04-23

Today is an exciting day. A judge in the state of Kansas has officially ordered my name to be changed from "Bradley Edward Manning" to "Chelsea Elizabeth Manning." I've been working for months for this change, and waiting for years.

It's worth noting that both in mail and in person, I've often been asked, "Why are you changing your name?" The answer couldn't be simpler: because it's a far better, richer, and more honest reflection of who I am and always have been: a woman named Chelsea.

But there is another question I've been asked nearly as much: "Why are you making this request of the Leavenworth district court?" This is a more complicated question, but the short answer is simple: because I have to.

Unfortunately, the trans* community faces three major obstacles to living a normal life in America: identity documentation, gender-segregated institutions, and access to health care. And I've only just jumped through the first one of these hurdles.

In our current society it's the most banal things, such as showing an ID card, going to the bathroom, and receiving trans-related health care, that keep us from having the means to live better, more productive, and safer lives. Unfortunately, there are many laws and procedures that often don't consider trans* people, or even outright prevent them from doing the sort of simple, day-to-day things that others take for granted.

Now I am waiting on the military to assist me in accessing health care. In August I requested that the military provide me with a treatment plan consistent with the recognized professional standards of care for trans health. They quickly evaluated me and informed me that they had come up with a proposed treatment plan. However, I have not yet seen their treatment plan, and in over eight months I have not received any response as to whether the plan will be approved or disapproved, or whether it follows the guidelines of qualified health professionals.

I'm optimistic that things can -- and certainly will -- change for the better. There are so many people in America today who are open and willing to discuss trans-related issues. Hopefully today's name change, while so meaningful to me personally, can also raise awareness of the fact that we trans* people exist everywhere in America today, and that we must jump through hurdles every day just for being who we are. If I'm successful in obtaining access to trans health care, not only will it be something I have wanted for a long time myself, but it will open the door for many people, both inside and outside the military, to request the right to live more open, fulfilled lives.

Thank you, Chelsea Manning

*Note: Chelsea prefers "trans*" (with an asterisk) to denote not only transgender men and women but those who identify outside a gender binary. For a better understanding of transgender people and the issues important to them, we recommend checking out GLAAD's "Transgender 101" blog.

For instructions on writing to Chelsea to tell her of your support, click here.

This post originally appeared on ChelseaManning.org.

Judge H. Lee Sarokin: My Friendship With A Convicted Murderer: Rubin 'hurrican

Judge H. Lee Sarokin: My Friendship With A Convicted Murderer: Rubin 'hurricane' Carter 2014-04-23

Rubin "Hurricane" Carter telephoned me a few days ago and said: "I want yours to be the last voice I hear before I pass away, because you were the one who gave my life back to me. I love you man."

We both cried. He died a few days later. Twenty-eight years ago, I issued an order freeing Rubin Carter from prison after he had served 19 years for murders that I am convinced he did not commit. His call in April came as a surprise to me, because he has called to thank me on November 7th every year -- all 28 years -- on the anniversary of his release.

His case came to me on an application for a writ of habeas corpus. Before my decision I never saw or met the man. But after the decision and the endless appeals by the prosecution -- ultimately to the United States Supreme Court, I came to know him. He is the greatest testament to the human spirit of anyone I have ever known. His conviction cost him his career as a boxer, his family and his freedom, and yet he never uttered a word of bitterness. Even facing death, he was upbeat and trying to cheer me up at the news of his terminal illness.

He devoted himself and his life to others who had been wrongly convicted. We spoke together at law schools and to a variety of audiences. He was always in good humor* and appreciative of whatever invitation or opportunity was presented to him to speak of the importance of habeas corpus review and the dangers of convicting the innocent. He never failed to carry with him and display the writ that had freed him. The movie about his life, The Hurricane, provided him with some notoriety, but he never lost his humility or his love for his new found freedom. He was always the messenger. His descriptions of the horrendous life of prisoners made listeners have empathy even for the guilty.

To the very end he was positive. He spoke only of his life after prison and what he hoped he had accomplished. There are books written about him and his resolve never to surrender his pride and dignity even while in prison. Despite repeated solitary confinements, he refused to bow to certain prison rules because it would have represented an acknowledgment that he belonged there -- something he refused to do. I know that there are still some out there that think he was guilty, but the man I knew was gentle, caring and courageous. I have often said that if he was lying to me over all of these years, he is a better actor than Denzel Washington. I was honored to know him and be his friend.

*As evidence of his sense of humor, he sent me a picture of a huge fish he had caught with the inscription: "Dear Judge -- Without you this fish would still be alive. Love Rubin"

Leanne Scorzoni: A Hymn To Boston

Leanne Scorzoni: A Hymn To Boston 2014-04-23

The Boston Marathon course is long. Hilly.

The first half rolls through sleepy towns most of us don't know exist. Past ponds and wetlands, train tracks and ice cream stands. Scenes of American life so perfect they look staged. Little girls in red wagons hand me orange slices. Bikers drinking beer astride their motorcycles give me high fives and scream my name plastered across my chest. We run past the man who blasts sports radio and writes out the current Red Sox score on a chalkboard for the runners.

I had grown up being a spectator so I knew how unpredictable the Boston course combined with New England weather could be. But I was not running for time, I was not in competition. My singular goal was to cross the finish line sprinting. After last year's bombing and all the precautions that came with it, my marathon mantra was simple: worst-case scenario for everything. I used layers of sunblock and Vaseline all over my body. Every downhill I pretended to run like I was on eggshells. Every uphill I bent my knees and leaned into it. When the temperature climbed, every two water stops I dumped water over my head. As arrogant as it sounds Heartbreak Hill was easy, but only because I was prepared for how bad it would be.

After the bombs went off last year I grieved long before my toes stepped to this year's starting line. I screamed with my relatives who grew up attending the marathon with me, all of us raging about the fact someone could do this to the people of our city. I cried with Muslim friends and spoke at masjids about why the marathon had such a special place in the hearts of Bostonians. I've never felt I was an ambassador for anything. I was only completing a personal dream and raising money to fight pediatric cancer. To be a representative for an entire religion is insulting to everyone that came before me. I simply told my own story as a Boston runner who happened to be Muslim. I spoke into microphones from Washington and Connecticut, smiled into cameras that broadcasted to Dubai, Amman and Jeddah. I made sure Fox News spelled my name correctly, and shook every reporter and cameraman's hand firmly enough to make an impression. With every quote, picture and publication I steeled myself for negative reactions that never came.

My feet crossed the finish line of the 118th Boston Marathon in a time of 5:14:17. I'm sure there have been people before me that have compared running a marathon to giving birth. The universal symbolism of a body and mind working together and locked in a bubble of pain and raw emotion. There is blood, sometimes a lot. Runners sob to the sky, others laugh hysterically as their mind starts to grow weak. A few weave and sway across the pavement as their legs give out for the first time, the final time, continuously. I was surprised to find none of that existed for me on Marathon Monday. All the pain sloughed off the further I ran. But what I felt as I gritted my teeth and sprinted the last 50 yards past the line on Boylston Street was the humanity all around me. In my final steps I saw my mother's tears and her pink jacket. My sunburned best friend hugging me, screaming without words. My friend from Saudi Arabia yelling my name and waving a water bottle over his head, liquid spilling down his shirt. The roar of the crowd, a living organism reaching out to wave, to touch, a mass of life emotionally present with me. The reverence of that. The gratefulness of that from one human to another.

As Bostonians we took back our city, we ran to heal and move forward. We did not run as men or women, Christians or Muslims, elites or Average Joes. We ran as a city, we ran as a collective of humanity in its finest hour. And I am truly humbled and blessed to say that this year out of all years, I am a Boston Marathon finisher, and I am Boston Strong.

Heather Mayer Irvine: Running Back To Boston

Heather Mayer Irvine: Running Back To Boston 2014-04-23

The buildup to the 118th running of the Boston Marathon was intense, and it started on the evening of April 15, 2013 -- a day that will forever mark the world's greatest marathon. Boston Strong became a rallying cry, not just in a city still reeling from an attack on Patriots' Day, but across the country and around the world.

I ran my first marathon on April 15, 2013. Having grown up cheering on the runners in Natick, I was excited for my first to be Boston. I hit my sub-four goal with a time of 3:56:42. And I raised more than $5,000 for the American Liver Foundation's Run for Research team. I didn't plan on coming back unless I qualified (3:35 or better for my age and gender). Those who know me know I stick to a plan.

But as I turned off Boylston Street and onto Clarendon at 2:50 p.m., the bombs went off, and my plan changed. Of course I had to come back in 2014 -- it was going to be a race like no other.

So for another year I trained. I fundraised. I shaved seven minutes off my Boston time in New York last November (on a course where personal records are hard to come by).

I cried when I watched coverage, read articles, saw pictures of that fateful day at 2:50 p.m., exactly 10 minutes after I crossed the finish line. But they weren't true cries. My throat choked up. Tears came. But I held them back. I gritted my teeth and embarked on yet another training journey, during the winter of the Polar Vortex.

As the months and weeks leading up to April 21, 2014 went by, I started prepping myself mentally. I knew this was going to be an amazing race, but I kept forgetting how emotional it would be. How hard it would be to turn onto Boylston Street and run by the site of two bombings.

The week before the big day, I ran in Stage 308 of the One Run for Boston, a relay started last year by three Brits. Runners ran from Los Angeles to Boston to honor the fallen. On April 11, I joined about 20 other runners for a 9-mile run from the World Trade Center to Harlem. I cried at the start. A memorial to commemorate those lost on Sept. 11 and running for those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings? It was too much. But we ran. And it was an incredible experience. It got me even more psyched for Boston.

In the early morning of April 21, the 36,000 runners in Athletes' Village in Hopkinton stopped their nervous chatter and put down their Vaseline and bananas to observe a moment of silence, reflecting on the events of April 15, 2013. I welled up but then refocused on the task at hand: 26.2 miles to Boston.

We all knew the weather was going to be rough (high of 66 degrees). I had my goals (3:30-3:40), but mostly wanted to enjoy the race and finish strong. Dare I say it, Boston Strong?

The crowds were like nothing I've ever witnessed before. We really did come back stronger than ever.

I ran hard but even until mile 18, when I hit the Newton Hills. The heat was getting to me, and I started slowing as I crested Heartbreak Hill. I knew my 3:30 was gone, but that was OK. Today wasn't really about that, as much as my competitive self tried to fight back. "Enjoy every step," I kept saying. "Every painful step."

Once I saw the Citgo sign looming in the distance, I was rejuvenated. I knew what was waiting for me, as I turned right on Hereford and left on Boylston. So I pressed on, gritting my teeth with every step.

I couldn't have prepared myself for Boylston Street, with the finish line in sight, "just" 385 yards down the road. The crowd put the Wellesley Scream Tunnel and Boston College kids to shame. Faster and faster I sped down Boylston. This is it. My GPS watch lost reception -- who cares? I looked up at the cameras (I still don't know how the picture came out -- ugly, I'm sure) and nearly collapsed over the finish line.

I fell into the arms of a volunteer as she carried me to the medical tent. They gave me fluids, congratulated me ("Why do you do this for us crazies?" I asked). Once I got my color back and caught my breath, they dismissed me. I meandered along Boylston, receiving my coveted medal and a blanket.

I was amazed I had been so strong emotionally. My focus was on the crowd and the finish line. I thought I would break down as I passed Marathon Sports, where the first bomb went off. But I didn't. The crowd was carrying me.

But then I turned onto Clarendon Street, and I lost it. I started crying hysterically. I thought I was going to collapse. This is where I saw the bombs go off. This is where I thought they were cannons, generators. I hyperventilated into the jacket of a volunteer (a U.S. Marshall). She didn't talk. She just hugged me. As I started to regain composure, she told me she lost a cousin in Iraq. I started bawling again. Where did this come from? As I tried to process why this was happening, it dawned on me: I never really cried. This was my closure: nearly the same time and place that started it all a year ago.

I will still grieve, every April 15, every Boston Marathon. But a weight has been lifted -- one I never knew I was carrying. My legs cry in pain every time I move, but my heart is lighter.

The Boston Marathon hurt me last year. But that same great race made me stronger and gave me back my finish line. And with it, a new PR of 3:42:34.

Gordon Braxton: Those Who Avidly Defend Manhood Are Often Its Biggest Traitors

Gordon Braxton: Those Who Avidly Defend Manhood Are Often Its Biggest Traitors 2014-04-23

We don't often acknowledge it, but I believe that most men possess some measure of discomfort with the cultural climate around sexual violence. Long before I consciously acknowledged this spirit in myself, possessed the language to articulate this spirit to others, or had the courage to share this spirit, I was aware that I spent a good deal of time feeling uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable hanging with my boys as they discussed the pursuit of women in the same manner as a hunter might describe his search for prey. And I was uncomfortable when they shared the fruits of the hunt through sensationalized expositions devoid of any acknowledgement that they were discussing encounters with actual human beings. The world told me that "boys will be boys," and that this type of fraternization was wholly distinct from the actions of rapists. But my spirit disagreed and hinted that we were sheltering those men, if not altogether grooming ourselves to join their ranks. For a time, I found peace with ignoring my spirit of resistance because doing otherwise would open me to accusations of betraying both my gender and often my race.

I had to learn that for every man who might criticize me for acknowledging these inner thoughts, there is another that can admit to having similar feelings. I also had to learn that holding my gender to higher standards does not constitute betrayal. Rather, those who most avidly defend manhood are often its biggest traitors. Their defenses of men often deflect any responsibility for sexual violence and regard men as near-mindless machines that can do nothing more than rely on behavioral scripts in order to determine the wishes of intimate partners. Women who submit similar reductions of men are often branded as stereotyping man-haters for their troubles. Men cannot criticize women for stereotyping men in this fashion, when we ourselves are guilty of so much reductionism in our own defense. Additionally, defenses that rely on myopic readings of men are subtly racist when applied to men of color.

The logic in defending men based on their inabilities also runs counter to the prowess typically professed by men -- their "game" if you will. To let many men tell it, they are experts at deciphering the intentions of women and wooing them towards a mutual attraction, but this confidence quickly disperses when it comes to discussion of sexual assault. There, we are passionately told that men are not mind readers and women need to communicate explicitly if their intent is to be understood. In this arena, men presumably need their intimate partners to do nothing less than fight them if they are to have any indication that something is wrong. Never mind men's ability to infer from body language, context, dialogue or anything that a capable and empathetic being could utilize.

It's worth calling men out on these inconsistencies. Since we spend so much time speaking to our ability to read women, it's worth reminding men that decades worth of data on sexual violence suggests that we are not nearly as good at reading women as we might claim. Either this or the more insidious interpretation that a good many of us are perfectly aware that we are engaging in non-consensual sexual activity and just don't care. If you read such an interpretation as unfairly malicious towards men, then I hope that you would follow up on your faith in manhood and join the women and men engaged in the critical work of training boys to become more accomplished wielders of the empathy and reason that we know them to possess.

This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and Take Back the Night in conjunction with Sexual Assault Awareness Month. To learn more about Take Back the Night and how you can help prevent sexual violence, visit here. Read all posts in the series here.

Need help? In the U.S., visit the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline operated by RAINN. For more resources, visit theNational Sexual Violence Resource Center's website.

Nafees Syed: Thrive Meets Drive

Nafees Syed: Thrive Meets Drive 2014-04-23

Since I met Arianna Huffington last week, I've been thinking about the obnoxious roommate in my head. In her book Thrive, Arianna draws attention to the voice in our head, the "obnoxious roommate," who feeds us insecurities and doubts. It was no coincidence that I met Arianna during her conversation last week with Amy Chua at Yale Law School, where fear of failure can be a strong motivator. Sometimes the roommate's voice is someone else (Tiger mom, anyone?), but most of the time it's you. And it still gets me. Why haven't I published more articles this semester? I'm being lazy. I'm just not as super-human as so-and-so, who can survive on four hours of sleep and churn out twice as much.

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Thrive teaches us to evict this obnoxious roommate. It is the book you are glad someone immensely successful wrote, because it validates what we can all intuitively understand. It is a book of evidence we can wave triumphantly at a world that now values stress over productivity. This coming weekend, the Thrive conference in New York City attempts to do just that. Arianna reminds us that we need to nurture ourselves to be successful. That it isn't smart to be sleep-deprived. That we have become workaholics and need to wean ourselves off as a society before we spiral into failure. But how can we silence the obnoxious roommate in order to thrive, when that same critic generates our drive?

As I walked through the campus of my alma mater, Harvard, this past weekend, I recalled the strength of that incessant voice. In an environment where you are graded in comparison to your peers, every hour you sleep or relax is an hour behind your peer who's going to get that higher grade. Our conversations would often include a competitive banter of all of the things we have to do: I see your three exams, two papers, and two interviews and raise you my three exams, two papers, two interviews, and a marathon! We were at the same time afraid of failing at our massive workloads, and proud that we were the type of people to take on so much.

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This is the stuff of The Triple Package. While there has been criticism of Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld's new book, few have disputed the major premise that successful people are driven. One of the most distinguishing characteristics of successful people is that they are good at controlling impulses. They are Aesop's ant, when people around them seem to be having more fun -- for now. There's that voice again, telling you not to take that nap when you have a project to ace. This impulse control is coupled with an odd partnership between insecurity and confidence that you are endowed with special talents and privileges. Everyone has a talent or skill to contribute to the world, and some of us are conscious of or have the means to discover it. Privilege is something that's harder to come by, but those of us who have or acquire it often know we must take advantage of it.

The opposite side to that coin is the fear that we won't live up to our talents and opportunities, a self-doubt I have seen plague even very successful people I know. It's the possibility that we are bluffing to ourselves about our own potential. That's the doubt that drives us up and away from failure.

But if that's all that generates your drive, it is exhausting and unfulfilling, is the crux of Thrive. I have seen this in my own life. We spend the formative years of our lives in education, from pre-K up. Now school, not just the workplace, has become a place of hours crunching. By the time I finished college, I was burned out of school and felt lost. I had lost sight of what I actually wanted to do with my life by trying to do everything.

Then I started to recharge. I began valuing even more the things that kept me grounded -- my family, friends (whom I had neglected in my busyness), and prayer. In Islam, the day is broken up into five parts for prayer. As Muhammad Ali famously noted: "If a man takes five showers a day, his body will be clean. Praying five times a day helps me clean my mind." You are forced to leave aside the mundane stresses of the world in that fifteen minutes to attain the "sweetness of prayer," a humble state of mind before God. I have come to value even more the meaning of the gentle physical movements, the words of worship, and the reflective supplication afterwards.

Arianna, who is deeply spiritual, devotes a large chunk of her book to prayer and even reflecting on our own mortality. It is a breath of fresh air from most books on success. In the constant work-cycle of today's world many of us dismiss the value of meditation, service to others, and reflection. At times, we even feel guilty for the time we spend doing it.

By carving out time away from being busy, I have been able to think clearly about my long-term goals. I have avoided jumping on the treadmill when I know that I should keep going at my own pace. And while I can still feel guilty about it, I sometimes slow down to soak in the moment.

So what happens when thrive meets drive? The way I see it, you stand between the two and hold both tightly by the shoulder. It takes a lot of self-control to find the right balance. You need enough drive to not become complacent, but enough thrive to realize what it's all for. Where is the passion, where is the you, if you live a life without well being, wisdom, wonder, and giving? People with money and power are on a precarious two-legged stool, according to Thrive. We as a society need to add a third one if we want to be successful and sustainable. While it will take a bit more time for our society to grasp this understanding, you can start with yourself.

This isn't psychobabble, it's your life. Here's to living it to the fullest.

Alexandra Zaslow: A Letter To 'the Boss'

Alexandra Zaslow: A Letter To 'the Boss' 2014-04-23

Dear Bruce Springsteen,

It was 2002, I believe, and you were on your Rising Tour in Detroit -- where I'm originally from. My father, being the fan that he was, liked to splurge on General Admission tickets. I didn't blame him. There's no sight quite like watching each droplet of sweat leave your forehead and land on the chords of your guitar.

And I inarguably had the best seat in the house.

My sisters and I would take turns watching the concert from my dad's shoulders. Imagine it: a breezy night in the mosh pit of Comerica Park at eye level with The Boss, feeling the security of my dad's warm embrace.

Magical is the only word I could use to describe it.

At one point, I felt like it was just me, you and my dad in that arena. After watching your sweat seep through the bandana wrapped around your forehead and spotting each speck of dirt splashed on your sneakers, I looked back at the stadium and saw the mega crowd going nuts for you.

It was at that moment that I knew you were special. I've adored and admired you ever since.

The truth is, I might've been kicked out of my house if I didn't. As soon as I walked down to my basement, there you were: a life-sized poster that caught my dad's eye when he was walking past a storefront window in Chicago. Since then, you've been an honorary member of our family.

2014-04-23-unnamed2.jpg For my father's 40th birthday, my mom threw him a Mexican-themed Springsteen bash thrown at the local Mexican restaurant. We all wore bandanas and only rocked out to your music all night. My mom also had this sign made: 2014-04-23-unnamed1.jpg But wait, it gets better.

My mom had a special cake made with my dad's face on your body. (Excuse my little sister's look of misery in the photo below. I promise she was having a great time that night.) 2014-04-23-unnamed4.jpg You really have been with us through it all.

When we were road tripping to visit relatives, it was your music that was in the car with us. You were laughing in my kitchen while watching my family form a conga line around the house to the tune of "Without You."

You were down the Jersey Shore with us as all of my cousins performed our own rendition of "Mary's Place." You were in the studio with my sister as she recorded our family's all time favorite song, "Thunder Road."

I woke up to your voice blasting through the speakers every Saturday morning as I tiptoed downstairs to find my parents dancing around the family room. Instead of getting mad at them for waking my teenage self up early on a weekend, I'd join in.

You've been with me through some thrilling highs and also stuck with me through some extreme lows.

You were right there next to me as I recited the lyrics of "You're Missing" in my eulogy at my dad's funeral. As I went on to grieve, you promised me everything was going to be alright through each strum of your guitar.

Every time my dad talked about one of your songs, it was like he was giving me a lesson.

His passion was most evident when teaching me how to appreciate the beauty of the song "Thunder Road." It was then that I learned what a love song is supposed to sound like. I give credit to my dad, who sat me down and taught me every note and every lyric. We sat there and listened until the very end as you and Mary drive away. I was carried by the movement of the music in the final moments of the song.

My dad thought that "Drive All Night" was one of the most romantic songs in history, so he had "I'd drive all night" engraved in my mom's wedding band. That way, she could carry your words with her wherever she went. (You true Bruce fans will know that it doesn't get much more romantic than that).

After my dad died, I received a lot of condolence wishes. All were very sweet and greatly appreciated, but it was yours that got me.

In April of 2012, my sister and I attended our first Springsteen concert since we lost our dad. It was your first tour without Clarence Clemons -- which, of course, added to the high level of emotions we were feeling that night. To pay respect to the "big man who joined the band," you said just what I needed to hear at that very moment:

"We're missing a few people here right now. But if you're here, and we're here, they're here tonight."

So, Bruce, thanks for your music and for all of the memories you helped my family build. And thanks for always being there when sometimes no one else was.

You're a loyal friend.

Sincerely,

Alexandra Nicole Zaslow

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Terry O'neill: "i Don't Want To Be That Girl": The Story Of Why I Don't Tell Stories About Sexual Assault 2014-04-23

This is a personal story about why I don't like to tell personal stories about sexual assault and domestic violence. My misgivings became clear to me about a dozen years ago, when I got a disturbing phone call from a former law student of mine at Tulane University.

The summer after her second year of law school, this young woman had gone to South Carolina for a clerkship in a really great law firm. She told me that while she was there, the manager of the clerkship program raped her. It turned out that this man had a reputation for picking one woman from every summer's group of clerks and sexually assaulting her, or having consensual sex. Whichever way it went, that's what he did every summer.

My former student told her parents, who immediately demanded legal action. At first the firm's leaders said they were stunned and appalled, but over the next weeks and months things changed. It's something I've seen time and again in instances of sexual assault. In the first few weeks, the community really supports the rape victim, but then there is a shift and the rape victim becomes isolated while the community circles around to defend the perpetrator. This New York Times story about a flawed rape investigation involving a star college athlete is just one example of what I mean.

I could hear the anguish in my former student's voice. She was afraid that pursuing a legal claim against the perpetrator would distract her from focusing on her final year of law school. She knew that in law school, grades are everything. They follow you throughout your entire career. Employers want to know what rank you had at graduation, and if you wanted a top job, it had better be high.

And then she said something very interesting.

"It's not just my law school career that I need to protect," she said. "I don't want to be that girl. I don't want all that people know about me is I got raped. I'm afraid that if I go public, that's all I'll be -- a rape victim."

When she said that, I immediately identified with her. It was 30 years before I started to talk openly about my own experience with domestic violence.

I graduated law school, made partner in a tough firm, made tenure at a top law school, worked in politics, became a leader in women's rights -- I want people to know those things about me. I don't want people to think that I'm a loser who got mixed up with a creep who hits.

This is what makes it so difficult for women to come forward, and why I'm so uncomfortable with media requests for women to tell their personal stories on the air or in print. They need to understand that they're asking a lot from women who have a personal story. Instead of putting a big scarlet "R" for Rapist on the forehead of the perpetrator you are putting a big "RV" for Rape Victim on the woman -- forever.

I eventually started speaking openly because I thought that my experience could be useful. I was involved in the opening in suburban Washington of a Family Justice Center, which is a place that provides a full range of services to families impacted by domestic violence. The question was frequently asked, "What do victims need?"

I found myself saying, "Well, let me tell you something, first of all they need to be identified as way more than victims. It's not about calling them a survivor, it's about calling them capable individuals, good mothers, skilled achievers, talented women -- it's about recognizing in them all the other things they are."

I've been thinking about all this a lot lately as NOW is working to help pass Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's Military Justice Improvement Act, which takes decisions over whether a case goes to trial out of the military chain of command. Women in the military frequently decide not to report sexual assault because they -- quite rationally -- fear that doing so will cause their careers to come to an end. Not only will they be labeled as a rape victim, they'll also be called "difficult" because they came forward.

Women who take the courageous step of telling their stories need to be heard, not stigmatized. I don't mind talking about my own experiences, but personally, I prefer policy. I want to bring whatever talent and ability I have as an advocate to press for policy solutions to things like sexual assault and domestic violence. At NOW, we don't want to just get people's attention; we want to bring about lasting change.

So you won't see a lot of personal stories about sexual assault and domestic violence on the NOW website. I'll talk to you about what I went through, but it won't be the first thing you hear from me -- or the only thing you remember.

This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post in conjunction with Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Read all posts in the series here.

Need help? In the U.S., visit the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline operated by RAINN. For more resources, visit theNational Sexual Violence Resource Center's website.

The Daily Meal: You'll Never Believe What People Put On Pizza Around The World

The Daily Meal: You'll Never Believe What People Put On Pizza Around The World 2014-04-23

There's so much more to pizza than cheese -- people will really put anything from pineapple, to mashed potatoes, to macaroni and cheese (no, really) on a pizza. Visitors to the Minnesota State Fair have even admitted to indulging in a deep-fried corn-dog pizza! Surprisingly, these choice toppings are still fairly palatable in comparison to some.

Click Here to see the Complete List of Things You Won't Believe That People Put on Pizza Around the World

Pizza may have originated in Italy but these days it's a truly global dish, arguably one of the world's favorite foods, popular from Korea, to Brazil and everywhere in between. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently noted that about one in eight Americans consumes pizza on any given day, and mostly as dinner.

It's reasonable then, that people will try to combine it with some of their other favorite foods like spare ribs, perhaps, or even hamburger meat (or in some cases the whole hamburger). Then there are some combinations like the baked beans pizza from the U.K. that push the envelope out a little further.

Also in the U.K., you'll find an array of chocolate pizza offerings. Some are actually pizzas made from gourmet chocolates, and others throw chocolate chips and cream cheese on a pizza crust... an interesting choice either way.

Back in the U.S., Missouri locals take advantage of cicada season by baking up the bugs into a cheesy pizza masterpiece. Incidentally, they also (briefly) make a popular cicada ice cream, which Missouri conservation officials are none too keen on.

What strange toppings would you put on your pizza? Prawns? Crocodile? Kangaroo? Read on to see what unusual toppings people are putting on their pizzas around the world.

-- Serusha Govender, The Daily Meal

More Content from The Daily Meal:

17 Best Pizza Chains Around the World

11 Best Frozen Pizzas

101 Best Pizzas in America

Domino's Launches Fried Chicken-Crust Pizzas

America's 25 Best Pizza Chains

Michel Bauwens: Beyond Jeremy Rifkin: How Will The Phase Transition To A Commo

Michel Bauwens: Beyond Jeremy Rifkin: How Will The Phase Transition To A Commons Economy Actually Occur? 2014-04-23

In his new book, Jeremy Rifkin focuses on the value crisis of contemporary capitalism based on the revolution in marginal costs which destroys the profit rate. He concludes that this will mean that the economy and society will re-orient itself around collaborative commons, with a more peripheric role for the market dynamics. In this, Jeremy Rifkin joins the founding charter of the P2P Foundation, which was precisely created in 2005 to observe, study and promote this transition.

Past historical phase transitions, say the transition from the Roman Empire slave-based system to feudal serfdom, or the transition of feudalism to capitalism, where not exactly smooth affairs, so it may be un-realistic to expect a smooth and unproblematic phase transition towards a post-capitalist social order.

To get a better understanding of how this transition could occur, we can do two things. First, we can look at past transitions, such as transition to feudalism, and ask ourselves what this means for the current one; second, we can look at the micro-economy of the already existing commons economy, and perhaps deduce from this the future outlines of the social order to come. Follow me in these two explorations.

2014-03-31-FinalZMCSCoverArt.jpg 1. What we can learn from Rome

Most historical empires followed the process outlined by the 14th century Islamic historian Ibn Khaldun: at a certain stage of development, the benefits of the expansion are no longer sufficient to outpace the rise of the costs of managing complexity, the empire starts to decline and is taken over by neighboring 'barbaric' tribes ... But Roman transition did much more than that: it created an entirely new economic and social system. Faced with the crisis of Roman globalization, i.e. a dearth of slaves and gold, Roman emperors and the more intelligent parts of the elite, switched to the emerging coloni system, i.e. a system of land-bound agrarian serfs.

The transition dynamic can be summarized as:

1) a crisis occurs in the dominant system; 2) an exodus occurs at the bottom of society in the producing class (from slaves to serfs, from serfs to labor, from labor to peer producer); 3) a section of the managerial class orients itself to the new mode of value creation and distribution.

Hence the paradox that it is actually a section of the former ruling class that funds and creates the new modalities. Reality check today: the economic meltdown is causing an exodus of labor to freelance status, unemployment and peer production; a section of capital, netarchical capital, invests in the commons and sharing-based social media. Think IBM, which has morphed to a certain degree into a Linux-based consulting company; think Facebook, paradoxically enabling and empowering self-organization and p2p social logics on a global scale.

A second factor, based on the resource crisis of the Roman Empire, is a transition from economies of scale, to economies of scope, i.e. 'doing more with the same thing.' Hence, the feudal system relocalized production in local domains, the Catholic Church and its monasteries created a global open design community at the scale of Europe, and the monks mutualized the physical infrastructures of production and became the engineers of the first medieval industrial revolution (Gimpel, Jean. The Medieval Machine: The Industrial Revolution of the Middle Ages). Note that this was NOT a smooth transition, and took almost five centuries of instability before its consolidation after the first European Revolution of 975 (the Peace of God movement led by the monks which created the new feudal social order that would blossom in the 10th to 13th centuries).

Reality check today: the free software, free culture, open design and hardware movements are mutualizing knowledge, while the sharing economy and the hackerspace/makerspace/fablab/coworking movements are mutualizing physical infrastructures. Just as after the 5th century, the transition towards economies of scope has started.

The third lesson is crucial: political and social revolution is preceded by the emergence, within the old system, of the new productive system and its value logic. Not the other way around, as the socialist and marxist tradition has claimed. Today, in the very womb of capitalism, the new mode of production, the new way of value creation and distribution, is already emerging and growing, but under the domination of the old system still, but, as its logic is fundamentally different of the logic of capital, it cannot possibly be subsumed forever, and prepares the ground for a structural transformation. This structural transformation, or 'phase transition', will make the emergent subsystem into the new dominant logic. Today, the economy based on common knowledge pools is already estimated at 1/6th of GDP in the US (17 million workers). Netarchical capitalism, the forces of capital that are funding and enabling the transition towards the collaborative commons, though under their own conditions, are a increasingly strong sector of the economy, but their very parasital mode of operation (i.e. expropriation of nearly 100% of the value created by human cooperation), makes it impossible for them to be the next ruling class. A capitalism that doesn't pay its value creators simply cannot exist in the long term as a stable system. This is why Jeremy Rifkin is entirely correct in his prediction for the future.

2. Looking at the already existing collaborative commons economy.

So what is the existing commons economy? It's the economy of commons-oriented peer production, first described by Yochai Benkler in The Wealth of Networks. It consists of productive communities of contributors, paid or unpaid, who are contributing, not to privatized knowledge, but to common pools of knowledge, code and design, which fuels a new commons-oriented economy. It's the economy of open knowledge, free software, open design and open hardware, more and more connected to practices of open and distributed manufacturing. It's the economy fueled by the exodus from waged labor, into a freelance economy of young urban knowledge workers, who live from the market economy, but produce more and more for open knowledge pools.

It has a fairly clear institutional structure that prefigures the commons society to come.

Unlike proprietary capitalism, the value is deposited by a community of contributors in a common pool ; this is the core of the new value creation; this is the sphere of abundant knowledge that can be shared and reproduced at marginal cost; the infrastructure of cooperation is empowered and enabled by a new type of for-benefit associations, which do not command and control the production, but make it possible. They are most often foundations, like the Apache Foundation or the Gnome Foundation; around this is constituted a entrepreneurial coalition of enterprises, which provides employment to an increasing number of peer producers: 75% of linux contributors are paid by enterprises who operate on the market , and create market value on top of the commons. Other forms of peer-driven economies are constituted around distributed labor (crowdsourcing), social media (Facebook, Twitter). This new form of netarchical capital (the hierarchy of the network, hence 'net'-'archical') that at the same time enables and empowers social cooperation and collective value creation through sharing and the commons, also captures the value.

In this transitional model, still capital-based but already working around a commons that has an entirely different logic, that is already no longer a commodity, that is already no longer based on a command hierarchy, that is based on the self-allocation of effort through a distribution of tasks instead of a division of labor. In the more extreme variants of this model, we see 100% of the value creation carried out through free human cooperation, but also 100% of the value capture done by the proprietary platform owners. This 'value crisis', where no value flows back to the value creators, clearly show that it is a transitional model, not bound to last. How could a capitalism function, where none of the created value returns to the value creators. Who will buy the products ?

Hence the increasing contradiction in a system where the ability to directly create use value in the commons rises exponentially, but the capacity to monetize these efforts only grows linearly, and is captured without return in terms of livelihood.

Thus the need to harmonize the value distribution mode, in an increasingly dysfunctional capitalism, with the value creation mode. Bottom-up, the new type of enterpreneurs are experimenting with new types of open business models, which recognize the characteristics of the commons. But this will not be enough, restoring the value loop between value creation and value realization will be the key challenge of the phase transition.

3. Facilitating the transitions

The most interesting experiment is happening in Ecuador, where the author of this article has been asked to be the research director of a research project to plan a national transition towards a social knowledge economy. It is the first time that a nation-state recognizes the necessity of such a transition.

They have asked a team of research to create a framework and ten policy papers, that create both the material and immaterial conditions to re-orient the economy, and hence the social and economic system, around open knowledge commons in every field of social, economic and political activity. Following Rifkin's lead, the internet of knowledge creation, driven by common-based pools; could be matched with an internet of energy and manufacturing. Imagine that the neo-colonial economy of Ecuador, which still experts raw material like oil and bananas with low added value, and has to import consumption and production goods with high added value, would develop its own domestic industries, by combining cooperation with global open design communities, and local communities of practice (say in the field of open agricultural machine design and production), and would actually produce these tools and machines locally, close to the place of need. Today, in the neoliberal globalized economy, the cost of transportation is three times the cost of production, and IP-based profits trump the profits in material production. This is why open hardware can be produced consistently at about one eight of the cost of production of proprietary hardware. Imagine that a country like Ecuador, would systematically follow the advice of Joshua Pearce in his book, Open Source Lab (Pearce, Joshua M. Open-Source Lab. Elsevier, 2013), which shows how scientific labs can be built at about 10% of the cost, by systematically opting for open scientific instruments ? It is to early to tell to which degree Ecaudor will indeed follow the recommendations, but that it is contemplating such a transition, shows that the maturity of the emerging mode of production, is much more advanced than most analysts believe. This national effort is already matched by remarkable experiences at the local (city) and regional level in different parts of the world.

4. In conclusion: some recommendations

Our own recommendation is the following (in detail here): open design communities should move to the use of reciprocity-based commons licenses, which unlike the General Public License, allows for the creation of cooperative and reciprocity-based forms of material production, i.e. 'ethical', 'not-for-profit' enterpreneurial coalitions, formed by the commoners themselves. Once constituted, the members of such coalitions, operating in solidarity around the same commons, could move forward to new practices such as open book accounting and open supply chains. If this were done, peer production would become capable of insuring its self-reproduction outside of the sphere of the accumulation of capital.

Through mutual coordination, the already existing, stigmergy-based mutual coordination of 'immaterial' production, would become applicable to material production. In other words, the system of allocation of resources through market price signals, as well as the internal planning that takes place in large enterprises, would be matched by an emerging sphere that would allocate resources through mutual coordination. If the micro-economic model that we discussed in section 2 would grow to become a societal model, we would see that the core of society would have become a productive civil society, organized around contributory commons; we would see that the state would have been transformed into a Partner-State, which like the micro-economic for-benefit associations, would enable and empower autonomous social production on a societal scale; finally, a post-capitalist market economy would have been constituted by ethical enterpreneurial coalitions, who would use their surplus and profit to realize their social goals.

Craig Hatkoff: How The Tribeca Film Festival Became Religious About Innovation

Craig Hatkoff: How The Tribeca Film Festival Became Religious About Innovation ... And Pope Francis Became An Economist 2014-04-23

At the fifth anniversary of the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards on Friday, April 25th, we will honor the Sputnik satellite as a major disruptive innovation that shook the world. We will also honor Olympic high jumper Dick Fosbury, who caused a storm in the 1968 Olympics by winning a gold medal and setting the world record all by jumping over the bar backwards. Other honorees include: Rick Rubin and Kanye West, who used the cheaper, lower quality Roland TR 808 Drum Machine to define and help popularize hip-hop; Dr. Francis Collins and the National Institutes of Health, whose information is now open source; Regina Dugan, the former head of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that spawned the internet in response to Sputnik; Sesame Workshop; JC Curleigh and the culture laden Levi's Brand blue jeans; Adam Braun, New York Times bestselling author and the Founder of Pencils of Promise; Warby Parker & VisionSpring; GoldieBlox; AIDS activist Mary Fisher; the Red Bull Music Academy; the 10-year-old creator of the Menurkey Asher Weintraub; among many others.

One of our perhaps unexpected honorees is Pope Francis, who will be selected as the recipient of the Adam Smith Prize presented at the Awards by the Harvard Business Review. Hey! Wasn't Adam Smith an economist? The Pope's Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium will also be named as The Disruptive Innovation Awards' Book of the Year. Since his historic utterance of five words, "Who am I to judge?" he continues to capture attention and admiration across the globe from Catholics and non-Catholics alike. In our view, the Pope has the potential to be one of the most epic innovators in history. After all, not even Shakira has 1.2 billion followers. His commentaries on the state of capitalism reflect a deep understanding of not only Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, but also of Smith's magnum opus -- his morality-infused The Theory of Moral Sentiments -- that somehow escapes the attention or even awareness of most capitalists. But hopefully not any longer.

Tribeca? Innovation? Disruption? What's that all about? And how did it all begin? It started out almost sounding like a bad joke: "a Professor, a Rabbi and an Entrepreneur walk into a bar..." Well, actually it was the faculty dining room at the Harvard Business School in the summer of 2007, when an eighth generation rabbi (Irwin Kula ) and a serial entrepreneur (Craig Hatkoff), were about to have lunch with the celebrated Harvard Professor Clayton M. Christensen, the father of disruptive innovation theory. Christensen's theory changed the landscape of innovation across the globe in 1997 when he published the The Innovator's Dilemma.

In short, disruptive innovation theory suggests that when industry leaders make better and more powerful products (that outstrip the consumer's ability to even use the features) two guys in garage typically come along and put the industry leaders out of business ... and often pretty quickly. Christensen discovered a paradox: cheaper, more accessible products and services that are "good enough to get a job done" will reach new consumers and markets, and disrupt rather than sustain existing business models.

Both of our lives were changed forever during our lunch with Christensen and, in turn, disruptive innovation theory took a new twist: we asked whether he thought his theory could be applied to religion and spirituality? As it turns out Christensen is an Elder for the Mormon Church and this question piqued his interest considerably. By the end of lunch, the three of us had all agreed to sponsor a commitment for the Clinton Global Initiative to explore these questions.

By 2009, we co-founded the Disruptor Foundation, a small, private non-profit that would simply house our modest activities -- Christensen would jokingly refer to this as his advanced research and application arm.

Craig also happens to be a co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival that had become known for breaking new ground and taking substantial risks. In addition to traditional filmmaking, Tribeca had already become a cauldron of creativity and innovation in story-telling, digital and social media and interactivity. So why not create an award show to highlight disruptive innovation?

On April, 29, 2010 during the 9th annual Tribeca Film Festival, a new event was unceremoniously launched in the 65-seat screening room at Tribeca: The Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards. Christensen agreed to be the first lifetime honoree. Other honorees included Ashton Kutcher; Jared Cohen, the State Department's Twitter Kid; Jack Dorsey, who gave one of his first demonstrations of a new product called Square; Gregg Breinberg and the PS22 Chorus; Eric S. Raymond, who penned the open source manifesto The Cathedral and the Bazaar; and Alfred Taubman, creator of the modern mall, whose concept of "threshold resistance" has become an essential lens in predicting successful innovation.

Over the years, other notable honorees have included Twyla Tharp, Eric Schmidt, David Brooks, Bre Pettis of MakerBot, Norma Kamali, the City of Manchester, Psy, Jimmy Wales and others.

Curating our honorees is no easy task. The process is driven in large measure by those whose achievements best help tell the story of innovation, including great story-telling plus a liberal dose of metaphor, with an eye for highlighting the often-messy intersection between culture and technology. When technology and culture clash we have seen throughout history how it can impede much needed social progress in the societal domains. To better understand and predict successful innovation, in Christensen's words: "We will need to crawl up inside and see what makes people tick." For after all isn't that what a film festival is all about?

Babycenter: Being Born Around The World: Traditions, Customs And Superstitions

Babycenter: Being Born Around The World: Traditions, Customs And Superstitions! 2014-04-23

This post is part of the Global Moms Relay. Every time you share this post, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 (per action), up to $250,000, to the Global Moms Relay, to help improve the health and well-being of moms and kids worldwide in support of MAMA, Shot@Life, and Girl Up. Scroll to the bottom to find out more.

By Jennifer Borget, BabyCenter

The world is full of animosity, sadness and segregation, but I have hope in something that has potential to bring people together. Something we all have. Something many of you are. And that's mothers.

When I became a mother, I felt as though I was inaugurated into some kind of club. Other moms wanted to give me advice, and asked for it from me. I was invited to special little get-togethers we like to call "play dates." Mothers wanted to strike up conversations and even debate topics surrounding natural birth, breastfeeding, making your own baby food and diapering systems.

Women who have been through what I'm going through surround me, and I've become a fellow cheerleader for the team, encouraging expecting mothers along their journey.

Branching out from my own community, societies around the world celebrate pregnancy and birth with countless customs and traditions. From superstitions during pregnancy to customary gifts for new moms, some of our approaches surrounding new life couldn't be more contrasting. But regardless if one mother is giving birth in a hospital and another is in a village mud hut, we all possess a commonality that links us the moment our babies touch us. We share a love for our children.

Like sisters, we share the same feelings of new love for our babies, fear for the worst, feel pain when they're hurt and grief when they're sad.

Call me optimistic but I feel like a mother's love has the power to do amazing things. The world must agree with me to some extent, otherwise, why would we go through such lengths to celebrate new life?

Pregnancy and birth isn't a new thing, but that doesn't keep families around the world from reveling in this special time. Here are some fun traditions superstitions and customs around the globe surrounding the birth of a new baby.

Across the world we all have different beliefs and rituals, but one common denominator is we all want the same thing: healthy babies. Unfortunately that doesn't come as easy for families everywhere. The Shot@Life campaign aims to decrease vaccine-preventable childhood deaths and give every child a shot at a healthy life. Together we can be the change we hope to see in the world -- because the sisterhood of motherhood has the power to make positive change.

About the author: On the air, Jennifer Borget is a freelance news reporter and anchor. Off the air, she's is a wife and mother documenting her life in extraordinary ways, and inspiring others to do the same. She documents her journey through making and raising babies on BabyMakingMachine.com and BabyCenter.com.

You share, they give: Each time you 'like' or share this post via the social media icons on this post or comment below, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 (per action) up to $250,000, to improve the health and wellbeing of moms and kids worldwide through MAMA, Shot@Life, and Girl Up. Every 20 seconds a child dies from a vaccine preventable disease. $1 provides a measles or polio vaccine for a child through Shot@Life -- a campaign to raise awareness, advocacy and funds to get vaccines to the children who need them most. You can also use the Donate A Photo* app and Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 when you upload a photo for Girl Up or Shot@Life, up to $100,000. You can help make a difference in seconds with the click of your mouse or snap of your smart phone. Share this post with the hashtag #GlobalMoms, and visit GlobalMomsRelay.org to learn more.

The United Nations Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, BabyCenter and The Huffington Post created the Global Moms Relay with a goal of improving the lives of women and children around the globe.

* via the Donate A Photo app for iOS and Android. Johnson & Johnson has curated a list of trusted causes, and you can donate a photo to one cause, once a day. Each cause will appear in the app until it reaches its goal, or the donation period ends. If the goal isn't reached, the cause will still get a minimum donation.

Panache Desai: 3 Secrets To Loving Your Every Emotion

Panache Desai: 3 Secrets To Loving Your Every Emotion 2014-04-23

Your spouse is growing distant. You're terrified of losing your job. Your teenager is driving you insane.

On the inside, you're falling apart. But from the outside, no one would ever know.

You may think by hiding your sorrow, denying your fear, or stifling your anger you've crafted a mighty shield between you and your pain. But what happens when you don't shed the tears, face the fear, or express the rage? Unexpressed emotions erode your authenticity from the inside out and make it more difficult to embody your soul signature.

If you're experiencing challenges in your life, it's due to one thing and one thing alone--your unwillingness or inability to feel your emotions. Emotions are actually energy in motion, and in their optimal state, they are designed to flow. When we don't experience our feelings, they create a heaviness inside us that narrows our field of energy, blocks the flow, and keeps us from accessing our greater potential.

If the weight of your emotions has you at a standstill, these energy-shifting secrets will help you drop your armor, love your every emotion, and get your life flowing again.

"Bucking Up" Stops Here

At the end of a difficult week, rife with conflict, you decide to surprise your spouse with a lovely homemade dinner to make amends. He walks through the door seemingly disconnected and unmoved by the gesture. You immediately blame yourself, feel unappreciated, and hold your tongue to avoid yet another war of words.

Sadness and rejection are often emotions we don't want to own for fear of appearing weak, pathetic, or overly sensitive. We think we should just "buck up" and be strong. However, shrouding your sorrow and denying its existence does not take the pain away. If anything, it grows stronger. Removing judgment from your emotions makes you available to experience them honestly. Let them wash over you and propel you forward with greater awareness and understanding. Feeling your sadness does not make you a pitiful coward. Those are your judgments around the emotion of sadness. There is no need to "buck up." Sadness simply means you're sad.

Embrace Your Fear

Numerous budget meetings are underway at work, and the rumor is layoffs are eminent. You've heard talk that whole departments may be cut, yours included. Cubicles are abuzz and you're freaking out -- on the inside. The unemployment monster is out there, circling like a buzzard on the horizon.

When fear is upon us, we often respond in one of two ways--silence or rage. We may lash out: "This is insane!" "It's Bob's fault we're in this mess!" "I hate this job anyway." Or we may simply shut down. We choose these expressions because we're resisting what we're truly feeling-: fear.

By distancing ourselves from the emotion of fear by disguising or ignoring it, we think we're protecting that which we're terrified of losing. In truth, we're creating more stress, insecurity, and mental havoc around the situation. Instead of being swept up in a firestorm, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and accept your fear. Say to yourself, "I am currently experiencing my fear." It won't be comfortable, but stay with it and breathe. You may feel afraid and vulnerable, but embracing the beast that haunts you is the most powerful thing you can do. Articulating your unconscious conversations actually frees you of the emotional heaviness that fuels them.

Anger and Love Can Coexist

It's not uncommon for teenagers to believe that the world revolves around them, nor is it uncommon for this behavior to drive adults to the brink. When your sixteen-year-old comes home ranting that the expensive cell phone you bought him is "so last year," you want to explode.

Anger is often our defense against a perceived enemy -- a coworker, a spouse, strangers, or even our kids -- but anger is not the issue. The anger is born of fear. Maybe your teen's attitude made you fear that he has no respect for authority or that he'll carry these feelings of entitlement into adulthood.

No one wants to get angry with a child, but repelling your feelings of resentment and fury will only make you detonate like a powder keg later on. You worry that if you give into your anger, you'll escalate the situation. Your teenager will throw a tantrum or feel dismissed or unloved. So as you've done many times before, you put your feelings aside and soldier on, but to fully embody your authenticity you need to accept your irritation, experience it internally, and then move on. Expressing anger doesn't mean you're a bad parent. Your child, no matter their age, will benefit most when you're in alignment with who you really are.

Stuffing your rage, fear, or sorrow stops you from being your brilliant, authentic self and living your true soul signature. It's the acceptance of every single emotion you have that opens the floodgate of energy and keeps you anchored in the present. Your emotions arise to show you your greatness and deliver you to your best life.

It's safe to know yourself beyond your personality, your perceived shortcomings, or your story.

It's safe to be exactly who you are as you are.

And it's safe to be your sad, scared, irate, magnificent self.

_______________

Contemporary thought leader and spiritual teacher Panache Desai shares a message of love and self-acceptance inspiring people all over the world to relieve themselves of pain, suffering, sadness, and self-limiting beliefs. He has collaborated with internationally respected figures, including Reverend Michael Bernard Beckwith, Elizabeth Lesser, Brian Weiss, MD, Ram Dass, Alan Cohen, James Redfield, and Neale Donald Walsch, and has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Network's Emmy Award-winning show, Super Soul Sunday. Panache invites us to harness the power of our authentic selves through our unique soul signature--our spiritual DNA--and be guided by our true purpose. His first book, DISCOVERING YOUR SOUL SIGNATURE: A 33-Day Path to Purpose, Passion, & Joy, goes on sale on April 29 (Random House/Spiegel & Grau). To learn more, visit PanacheDesai.com

Josh Horwitz: Is Cliven Bundy The New Nra Poster Child?

Josh Horwitz: Is Cliven Bundy The New Nra Poster Child? 2014-04-23

With Bunkerville crisis, NRA reaping what it has sowed through decades of insurrectionist propaganda

"There never was a government without force. What is the meaning of government? An institution to make people do their duty. A government leaving it to a man to do his duty, or not, as he pleases, would be a new species of government, or rather no government at all." - Second Amendment author James Madison, during the 1788 Virginia Ratifying Convention

A potentially bloody tragedy was averted on April 11th when federal agents withdrew from the Bunkerville, Nevada ranch of Cliven Bundy following a tense-standoff in a dispute over grazing rights. Despite having a court order that allowed them to impound cattle of Bundy's that were trespassing on federal land, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officials were forced to retreat and return his livestock after a "1,000-strong coalition of armed men" gathered at the ranch and made it clear they were ready for a shooting war. A BLM statement said the retreat was required because of "serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public."

2014-04-23-BundyMilitia.jpgThe armed gathering of pro-gun activists, anti-government groups and right-wing-politicians at Bundy's ranch did not happen in a political vacuum. It was the result of decades of propaganda from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and other gun lobby groups; propaganda that (perversely) informs Americans that they have an individual right under the Second Amendment to shoot elected officials, law enforcement officers, and military service members if they sense our government has become "tyrannical."

There is certainly nothing "tyrannical" in the behavior of the Bureau of Land Management. The agency was founded in 1946 and administers 245 million acres of public land in 12 Western states. They have shown remarkable patience and restraint in their dealings with Bundy, which date back two decades. In 1993, Bundy stopped paying federal grazing fees. Since that time, he has expanded the range of federal land on which he is trespassing. As BLM noted, "This is a matter of fairness and equity, and we remain disappointed that Cliven Bundy continues to not comply with the same laws that 16,000 public lands ranchers do every year. After 20 years and multiple court orders to remove the trespass cattle, Mr. Bundy owes the American taxpayers in excess of $1 million."

In short, Bundy is putting his own interests first while denying the right of other Americans to democratically decide how best to use public lands.

It's clear that Bundy is not serious about redressing his grievances through the democratic process. He has previously declared, "I don't recognize [the] United States government as even existing." Bundy fancies himself a Sovereign Citizen, and embraces radical Posse Comitatus theories regarding the supremacy of the county sheriff as legal authority. It was therefore baffling to see U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) describe Bundy and his armed followers as "patriots." If a "patriot" is someone who doesn't recognize the government established by the U.S. Constitution, and who violently confronts it, then what exactly is a "traitor," Senator Heller?

Republican Nevada assemblywoman Michele Fiore also praised Bundy and boasted, "This is the first time we went arm to arm with the federal government."

Actually, no it's not. Long before there was Cliven Bundy there was Daniel Shays, the Massachusetts farmer who led an armed uprising in 1786-1787 against what many viewed as oppressive debt collection and tax policies. His rebels forcefully shut down local courts, but were eventually routed by state militia forces and disbanded. Shays' Rebellion so alarmed our Founders that it became a major impetus to scrap the Articles of Confederation and establish a new form of government with a more energetic, capable federal sector. When Federalist James Madison drafted our Constitution, he made it clear that the role of the Militia was to "suppress Insurrections," not to foment them. And the crime of Treason was defined in the Constitution as an act of "levying war against [the United States], or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort."

Our Founders continued to use the Militia to put down insurrections after the Constitution was ratified, including during the 1791-1794 Whiskey Rebellion, which was initiated in response to a federal excise tax. It was then that President George Washington rode out at the head of a militia force of 13,000 men to confront and disband the rebels, whom he deemed "insurgents." The bottom line is that our Founders did not hesitate to deal harshly with extremists who believed they could engage in violent resistance to the rule of law. [The comparison of Bundy to Washington by some right-wing commentators is literally laughable.]

NRA Sparta Come and Take ThemThe NRA, on the other hand, promotes a very different message, which emboldens pro-gun activists to turn their weapons on those enforcing the rule of law. Who can forget NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre's famous declaration that "the guys with the guns make the rules" at 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference? Or how about when Glenn Beck proclaimed that "universal access to firearms is indistinguishable from Emancipation" during his keynote speech at the 2013 NRA Convention? "A lot of times people couldn't do anything about [oppression] because they didn't have a gun, because their right had been taken away by the government," Beck told the audience. "Racists like James Earl Ray killed one. Disturbed killers like Adam Lanza killed 26. But history shows government kills millions." [Actually, the history of democracies shows exactly the opposite.]

It was another NRA luminary who suggested putting women in the frontline at Bunkerville. "We were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front," said Richard Mack, the head of the radical Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association and the NRA's Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in 1994 while serving as a plaintiff in their litigation to overturn the Brady Law. "If [federal agents are] going to start killing people, I'm sorry, but to show the world how ruthless these people are, women needed to be the first ones shot ... I would have put my own wife or daughters there, and I would have been screaming bloody murder to watch them die."

Thankfully, disciplined federal agents never gave Mack a chance to implement his macabre plan. In truth, the actions of the BLM at Bunkerville--which have consistently emphasized diplomacy and the safety of the public over the use of force--belie all hyperbolic claims of "tyranny."

Our Founders feared anarchy as much as tyranny, of course, and unfortunately anarchy is the direction the pro-gun movement is moving our country in. As Steve Benen of MSNBC noted, the Bundy camp sends the dangerous message that "you, too, can ignore the law and disregard court rulings you don't like, just so long as you have well-armed friends pointing guns at Americans." U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was even more direct, stating, "These people who hold themselves out to be patriots are not. They're nothing more than domestic terrorists ... We can't have an American people that violate the law and just walk away from it." George Washington certainly would have agreed.

With the next NRA convention just around the corner this weekend in Indianapolis, it will be interesting to see what their leaders have to say about the recent crisis in Bunkerville. Will Wayne LaPierre, Ted Nugent and the rest reap what they have sowed and embrace Cliven Bundy as a poster child for "Second Amendment freedoms"? Or will they back pedal, sensing that the next Cliven Bundy could look a lot more like cult leader/child rapist David Koresh or Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh?

If the NRA continues to stoke the fire with anti-government sentiment and insurrectionist ideology, and pro-gun activists soon get that shooting war that so many of them are itching for, you can be certain that all eyes will turn to that tall, blue-glass building in Fairfax County, Virginia. Talk about "civil war" and violence in the pursuit of "freedom" might sound glamorous in the abstract, but if Americans were to see images of bloody battles, body bags and mourning relatives on their televisions, they would quickly see insurrectionism for what it is: absolute poison to our democratic, virtuous way of life.