Old and New News Roundup 10/2/07

So, I’m back in the blogosphere again, and realizing that I’ve been missing a lot of important news by taking a vacation for a few months. Here’s a quick overview of some of the stories I’ve found most pressing (and/or impressive) lately, even though some of these stories are old news by blog standards, and many other people have already done a much better job at covering them than I have.

First, Verizon Wireless, the cellphone megagiant, has gotten itself into a heap of trouble by initially refusing to allow NARAL Pro-Choice America to host a text messaging service on its network. Verizon initially claimedthat company policy allows it to refuse “highly controversial” and potentially “unsavory” messages from being distributed on its network. NARAL quickly shot back with an action alert and Verizon was flooded with thousands of e-mails and text messages from angry subscribers, and several anti-censorship groups also joined the fray. Quickly realizing it had made a huge mistake (especially when it discovered that other cellphone networks like Sprint and AT&T had approved the NARAL text messaging service without a whiff of protest), Verizon reversed its position, allowing the NARAL text service to go forward, and issued a statement in the press, but NARAL is still hounding Verizon to put its new public policy in writing. Interstingly, since the issue dealt with text messaging and shortcodes, the story was picked up not only by pro-choice and anti-censorship news carriers and blogs, but by sites like Ars Technica and Slashdot.

Sticking to the technology theme, the website Facebook recently started banning pictures of women breastfeeding from user accounts, and in some instances has banned specific users altogether (for example, Karen Speed from Australia, who has chronicled the entire event on her blog, One Small Step for Breastfeeding). Facebook banned certain pictures on account of their “obscene content” and asserted its right to remove pictures as a violation of its terms of use policy, but as the Sydney Morning Herald points out, it’s not exactly clear what constitues an “exposed breast”, which is the specific violation, and Facebook hasn’t provided any further. clarification. Right. So, breastfeeding is obscene, and women aren’t allowed to post their own pictures of themselves breastfeeding on their own facebook accounts. If this bothers you as much as it bothered me, go join the new facebook group entitled Hey, Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!

In other news, a 43 year old Russian woman has recently given birth to a 17 lb. baby, her 12th baby to date. Wow!!

Finally, this is a quick reminder to local folks that the 5th annual Miles for Midwives will be occurring this weekend, Oct. 6th, at Prospect Park. The 5K run/walk helps to raise awareness for midwifery, as well as raise money for the ACNM local NYC chapter, and Friends of the Birth Center. My beloved boy and I will both be there, of course, running and sweating in the sunshine. Race time is 10:00 am, rain or shine. If you’re interested in joining the race, you can register at Active.com.

Finally, the long-awaited SUNY Downstate Gala will be occurring this coming weekend, celebrating 75 years of continuous midwifery education. SUNY Downstate is actually the oldest and longest running midwifery program in the country, and is commerorating the event by a day-long educational symposium featuring speakers such as well-known author Barbara Katz Rothman and keynote speaker Joyce Thompson, CNM, followed by a dinner-dance. Sounds amazing! Go Downstate!

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