Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hilda Solis: June Cleaver, meet Juana Solis

Official portrait of Secretary of Labor Hilda ...Image via WikipediaHilda Solis: June Cleaver, meet Juana Solis | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Opinion: Viewpoints: "Now policymakers, employers and workers must find better ways to help people succeed at home and on the job. Products need to be made and parent-teacher conferences need to be attended. Aging parents need to be cared for and work deadlines must be met. Children get sick and have to stay home from school on the same day the big presentation is due at work. Yes, women now comprise nearly 50 percent of American workers, and in the majority of U.S. families, women are co-equal or even primary earners.
But this isn't just a women's issue. Men today have nearly doubled the amount of time they spend on child care, according to recent studies. Nearly half of all children in the U.S. live in households where all parents work full time. More than 43 million Americans serve as unpaid caregivers to family members over the age of 50. We are all in this together.
Work-life balance policies and workplace flexibility initiatives aren't niceties; they're necessities for working families. For employers, they aren't just the right thing to do; they're the smart thing to do. A recent report by the President's Council of Economic Advisers found that when businesses adopt accommodating policies, it adds to the bottom line.

Read the article here.
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How to Raise Powerful Women

Geeta Desai is president of the AAUW Poughkeepsie Branch. Her October message in their newsletter is reprinted here with Geeta's permission.
2 year-old girl.Image via Wikipedia
Thirty-three years ago, I looked down on my new-born daughter’s face and silently vowed to raise her to be a powerful woman. At the time, little did I know that I had embarked on an arduous but enlightening journey. There were all the usual challenges: boys to ward off, homework to be done on time, telephone calls to be limited to daylight hours, arguments to be had about whether a curfew was even necessary.

My biggest challenge, however, was to model the strength that I wanted her to develop. For example, I did not want her to be crushed when girlfriends let her down or to let criticism cut her to the quick, or to turn to counterproductive habits when she was stressed. But, in reviewing my own behavior in the early years I realized that I, on the other hand, had been guilty of all of these lapses; I had been inconsolable when I didn’t get my first “big “job, I had reached for excessive amounts of chocolate when I’d been blue, I had let criticism wound me repeatedly. To develop the resilience, strength and optimism that I wanted my daughter to have, I knew that I had to change the habits of a lifetime.

Looking back, I recognize the two things that would have helped me immensely. First, I wish I had joined the AAUW a long time ago. The company of smart, strong, supportive women would have helped me to develop an inner strength and a balanced perspective. Second, I wish my daughter could have taken advantage of girl-friendly events like our very own “Live YourDream” conference for seventh graders.

Still, I’m happy to say that my daughter has turned out to be a force to contend with. I talk to her about the AAUW, the great women I’ve met, our wonderful projects and the anxiety I feel about how much work still remains to be done. She talks to me about working in the male-dominated film–editing business, her dreams and her fears. We’re still muddling through that long journey that we started so many years ago but it is now filled with brilliant insights, touching moments and much more faith in ourselves.

For those of you who may be raising a seventh grade girl or know someone who is, please visit our website at and please encourage as many girls as you can to attend the “Live Your Dream” Girls’ Conference.

This year’s conference on Saturday, November 6 will cover friendships, creative self-expression, girl power, writing and publishing articles, dealing with diversity in schools, fashion and self-respect. If you would simply like to volunteer at this event, come at 1 pm to help sign out the girls.

So, here’s to strong girls and stronger women. May our ranks continue to grow.
Geeta Desai
If you know a 7th grade girl in the Hudson Valley who could benefit from attending (and who wouldn't benefit?), please share the conference information with them.
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10/19/10: GASLAND at UUCC Kingston

If you haven't seen GASLAND yet,
get thee to the UUCC tonight! --

7 PM on Tuesday, October 19
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Catskills
320 Sawkill Road
Kingston, NY

Sponsored by the Social Action Committee of UUCC
as part of its Issues Of Our Times series. Free admission.
For more information, call Paula at 845-679-2821.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Water, water everywhere....

Today is Blog Action Day 2010. The topic is water.

Thinking Globally
Almost a billion people on the planet live without access to safe drinking water. You can help change that. Click on the petition link on the right to support the UN's efforts to bring clean, safe water to millions. For $25, you can give clean water to one person for a lifetime. Or you can start our own fundraising campaign. Click here for more information.

Acting Locally
1. Come to our next branch public policy meeting on Tuesday, 10/26 at the Kingston Library, 55 Franklin Street. We'll meet in the 2nd Floor Craft Room (to the right of the Children's Library) and watch Blue Gold: World Water Wars (2008, 90 min.) at about 5:45 PM, then discuss it. This film is based on the book Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World's Water by Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke.

"Wars of the future will be fought over water, as they are today over oil, as the source of all life enters the global marketplace and political arena. Corporate giants, private investors, and corrupt governments vie for control of our dwindling fresh water supply, prompting protests, lawsuits, and revolutions from citizens fighting for the right to survive. Past civilizations have collapsed from poor water management. Will ours too?"

Also recommended (we might watch at a later date): Flow (2007, 84 min.) "A look at the world's water crisis and how the causes of the depleting water supply is connected to pollution, human rights, and even politics."

Optional homework assignment:
Read the Blue Gold book and share your thoughts during the post-film discussion

2. Just say no to fracking!


Submit written comments on NYS DEC's Draft Strategic Plan for State Forest Management by 10/29. Let's ask DEC to remove the entire Mineral Resources section (pages 225 to 242) from this document, and ask that our state forests never be leased to the gas industry. From page 231: "A significant amount of concern with hydraulic fracturing has been expressed both within and outside DEC due to the high volume of water used (up to eight million gallons per well)."

Support our neighbors in PA. Here's one way: attend the post-Election Day Rally to Stop Shale Gas Drilling on Wed., 11/3 in Pittsburgh. At noon, rallygoers will march across the Rachel Carson bridge to protest at the Developing Unconventional Gas (DUG) East conference. Check out the Water Management Workshop description: "Water use and disposal in the Marcellus shale is a huge issue of importance to operators, local citizens and regulators. From 2005 to 2009, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued more than 2,000 permits for new Marcellus wells—and the average frac can use 3- to 5 million gallons of water. Some 10% to 30% of that returns to the surface, to be treated or recycled."

Get informed at:

3. Get to know our greatest local body of water: the Hudson River (shown above). Go for a walk in a riverside park, dip your toes in, take a swim, go fish, indulge in a fall cruise, go sailing or kayaking, visit a lighthouse. Get involved with and/or donate to Clearwater, Riverkeeper, or another group of your choice.

The real bottom line: Love your mother. She is made up of 70% water, like our brains! Let's use them wisely, and do whatever it takes to protect mother earth's precious water and all of her natural resources — for all living beings, for we are all connected.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Now showing: GASLAND at Upstate Films

If you haven't seen GASLAND yet, here's your chance! It's showing this week - Tues (10/5), Wed. (10/6), and Thurs. (10/7) at 5:45 PM and 8 PM - at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck, NY.