RIP Annette Funicello

RIP Annette Funicello

RIP Annette Funicello


(CNN) — Annette Funicello, one of the best-known members of the original 1950s “Mickey Mouse Club” and a star of numerous 1960s “beach party” films, died Monday at a California hospital of complications from multiple sclerosis, the Walt Disney Co. said.

She was 70.

Funicello was just 12 when she was selected by Walt Disney himself to be one of the original Mouseketeers of the “Mickey Mouse Club,” the 1950s television variety show aimed at children.

Funicello, who had a background in dance, quickly became one of the most popular Mouseketeers.

She “was and always will be a cherished member of the Disney family, synonymous with the word Mouseketeer, and a true Disney Legend,” Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said.

“She will forever hold a place in our hearts as one of Walt Disney’s brightest stars, delighting an entire generation of baby boomers with her jubilant personality and endless talent,” Iger said in a statement released Monday. “Annette was well known for being as beautiful inside as she was on the outside, and she faced her physical challenges with dignity, bravery and grace. All of us at Disney join with family, friends, and fans around the world in celebrating her extraordinary life.”

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RIP Margaret Thatcher

RIP Margaret Thatcher

Women’s News: What’s Worse Than ‘Attacking Other Women’

Women’s News: What’s Worse Than ‘Attacking Other Women’

Women’s News: 5 Ways To Know You’re Ready For Love

Women’s News: 5 Ways To Know You’re Ready For Love

A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

RIP Margaret Thatcher


London (CNN) — Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a towering figure in post-war British and world politics, and the first woman to become British prime minister, has died at the age of 87, her spokeswoman said Monday.

Thatcher served from 1979 to 1990 as leader of the Conservative Party. She was called the “Iron Lady” for her personal and political toughness.

Thatcher retired from public life after a stroke in 2002 and suffered several strokes after that.

She made few public appearances in her final months, missing a reception marking her 85th birthday hosted by Prime Minister David Cameron in October 2010. She also skipped the July 2011 unveiling of a statue honoring her old friend Ronald Reagan in London.

In December 2012, she was hospitalized after a procedure to remove a growth in her bladder.

Thatcher made history

Thatcher won the nation’s top job only six years after declaring in a television interview, “I don’t think there will be a woman prime minister in my lifetime.”

During her time at the helm of the British government, she emphasized moral absolutism, nationalism, and the rights of the individual versus that of the state — famously declaring, “There is no such thing as society” in 1987.

Nicknamed the “Iron Lady” by the Soviet press after a 1976 speech declaring that “the Russians are bent on world dominance,” Thatcher later enjoyed a close working relationship with U.S. President Reagan, with whom she shared similar conservative views.

But the British cold warrior played a key role in ending the conflict by giving her stamp of approval to Soviet Communist reformer Mikhail Gorbachev shortly before he came to power.

“I like Mr. Gorbachev. We can do business together,” she famously declared in December 1984, three months before he became Soviet leader.

Having been right about Gorbachev, Thatcher came down on the wrong side of history after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, arguing against the reunification of East and West Germany.

Allowing the countries created in the aftermath of World II to merge would be destabilizing to the European status quo, and East Germany was not ready to become part of Western Europe, she insisted in January 1990.

“East Germany has been under Nazism or communism since 1930. You are not going to go overnight to democratic structures and a freer market economy,” Thatcher insisted in a key interview, arguing that peace, security and stability “can only be achieved through our existing alliances negotiating with others internationally.”

West German leader Helmut Kohl was furious about the interview, seeing Thatcher as a “protector of Gobachev,” according to notes made that day by his close aide Horst Teltschik.

The two Germanies reunited by the end of that year.

Thatcher — born in October 1925 in the small eastern England market town of Grantham — came from a modest background, taking pride in being known as a grocer’s daughter. She studied chemistry at Oxford, but was involved in politics from a young age, giving her first political speech at 20, according to her official biography.

She was elected leader of the Conservative Party in 1975, when the party was in opposition.

She made history four years later, becoming prime minister when the Conservatives won the elections of 1979, the first of three election victories she led her party to.

As British leader, Thatcher took a firm stance with the European Community — the forerunner of the European Union — demanding a rebate of money London contributed to Brussels.

Her positions on other issues, both domestic and foreign, were just as firm, and in one of her most famous phrases, she declared at a Conservative party conference that she had no intention of changing her mind.

“To those waiting with bated breath for that favorite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say: ‘You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning,'” she declared, to cheers from party members.

The United Kingdom fought a short, sharp war against Argentina over the Falklands Islands under Thatcher in 1982, responding with force when Buenos Aires laid claim to the islands.

Announcing that Britain had recaptured South Georgia Island from Argentina, Thatcher appealed to nationalist sentiments, advising the press: “Just rejoice at the news and congratulate our forces.”

A journalist shouted a question at her as she turned to go back into 10 Downing Street: “Are we going to war with Argentina, Mrs. Thatcher?”

She paused for an instant, then offered a single word: “Rejoice.”

The conflict was not without controversy, even in Britain.

A British submarine sank Argentina’s only cruiser, the General Belgrano, in an encounter that left 358 Argentines dead. The sinking took place outside of Britain’s declared exclusion zone.

In her first term, Thatcher reduced or eliminated many government subsidies to business, a move that led to a sharp rise in unemployment. By 1986, unemployment had reached 3 million.

But Thatcher won landslide re-election in 1983 on the heels of the Falklands victory, her Conservative Party taking a majority of seats in parliament with 42% of the vote. Second-place Labour took nearly 28%, while the alliance that became the Liberal Democrats took just over 25%.

A year later, she escaped at IRA terrorist bombing at her hotel at the Conservative Party Conference in Brighton.

She was re-elected in 1987 with a slightly reduced majority.

She was ultimately brought down, not by British voters, but by her own Conservative party.

She was forced to resign in 1990 during an internal leadership struggle after she introduced a poll tax levied on community residents rather than property.

The unpopular tax led to rioting in the streets.

She married her husband, Denis Thatcher, a local businessman who ran his family’s firm before becoming an executive in the oil industry, in 1951 — a year after an unsuccessful run for Parliament. The couple had twins, Mark and Carol, in 1953.

She was elected to Parliament in 1959 and served various positions, including education secretary, until her terms as prime minister.

Thatcher was awarded the U.S. Medal of Freedom by President George H. W. Bush in 1991, a year after she stepped down as prime minister. She was named Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven after leaving office.

She retired from public life after a stroke in 2002 and suffered several smaller strokes after that. Her husband died in June 2003.

Though her doctors advised against public speaking, a frail Thatcher attended Reagan’s 2004 funeral, saying in a pre-recorded video that Reagan was “a great president, a great American, and a great man.”

“And I have lost a dear friend,” she said.

In the years that followed she encountered additional turmoil — namely in 2004, when her son, Mark Thatcher, was arrested in an investigation of an alleged plot by mercenaries to overthrow the president of Equatorial Guinea in west Africa. He pleaded guilty in a South African court in 2005 to unwittingly bankrolling the plot.

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A Message From The Creator


Women’s News: 5 Ways To Know You’re Ready For Love


Tracy McMillan

Author, TV writer

I talk about relationships pretty much all day, every day. When it comes to dating and love, everyone asks the same question: Where are all the good men? You guys, this question sucks. It is the wrong question. Why? Because even if there was the perfect location, that wouldn’t really help you move toward the relationship you want. You’d just end up hanging around the frozen food aisle of the supermarket or going to a couple of baseball games in full makeup, and let’s be real, if that worked, you’d be so married that by now you’d be sick of your husband.

The problem is not that you’re not meeting enough men — it’s that you’re not meeting enough men because you’re failing to ask the right question. And that question is: Are you ready for a great love relationship?

I can already hear you saying, Of course I am!

But no, not of course. Because as a relationship author — I wrote a whole book on this topic, Why You’re Not Married… Yet — and matchmaker on NBC’s new dating reality show Ready For Love, I see zillions of women who totally think they’re ready for love, but what they really are is wanting love. And wanting love and being ready for it are two different things.

So how do you know if you’re ready? I put together this little list of signs:

    1. You Act Your Age. This is America, which means you are free to pick an age and stick with it as long as you want — you can act like a young twenty-something for the rest of your life if you want to. But most young twenty-somethings are (age appropriately) self-centered and confused. Not exactly marriage material. So if you’re acting like one of the girls on Girls, you can be pretty sure you are not in the process of creating a long-term relationship. The good news is — this is easy to fix. Just don’t act like anyone you see on TV.


    1. You’ve Given Up. Recently I was talking to a woman who said about her dating life, “Oh, forget about me, I’m a lost cause.” I thought to myself, Awesome! You’re finally ready. There is something about surrendering your whole Plan For Your Love Life that opens your heart wide enough for a real (not fantasy) man to walk into it. Sure, lots of women get married according to Their Plan — they “get” the guy, house, kids — and they just end up learning this lesson on the job. Because there is no such thing as “getting” a guy, house and kids. There is only surrendering to them.



    1. If You Met The Opposite Sex Version of You, You Would Like Them. I talk to a lot of women who want to date someone who is “better” than they are — cuter, richer, went to a fancier school or comes from a more together family. In the Olden Days, this was called “marrying up.” Here’s the thing, you’re not really ready for love until you have enough self-respect that if you met your exact self but in a guy you would totally, completely, absolutely want to be with him. If that’s not true yet, I say GO BECOME THE PERSON YOU ARE HOLDING OUT FOR. (Yes, this is so important that I shouted it.) Even if you just get started on the path, you will move into an energy that defines “readiness.”



    1. Perfection Bores You. Ask anyone who has been in a love relationship for a while, nothing is perfect. In fact, lots of married women I know are happily (or reasonably happily) mated to men lots of my single girlfriends would reject on the first date. How interesting is that? Here’s the upshot: if you’re still unscrolling a long list of Must Haves and Must Not Haves and measuring your real life dates against it, you are not ready.



    1. You’re Alone But Not Lonely. You’re Not Lonely. You’ve heard it a thousand times: someone will come into your life when you least expect it. So you walk around trying not to expect anything, hoping The Universe will never know that you’d actually love for it to happen any minute. Of course, you can’t trick The Universe — it’s like Santa Claus that way. The difference between being alone and being lonely is all about loving your life SO DAMN MUCH that a guy becomes the sprinkles on top of the cherry on top of the whipped cream, hot fudge, and ice cream that is your existence. If this isn’t true for you yet, you can change it by finding one or two somethings you are so passionate about you would do them for free — then do them for free.

So, are you ready? If not, don’t even worry about it. All you really need is to be ready to be ready. Again, growth is all about taking a single step in the right direction. Continuing to do this more often than not will eventually bring you to the realization that when you’re ready, you already know the answer to where all the good guys are — everywhere.

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Women’s News: What’s Worse Than ‘Attacking Other Women’


Devon Corneal

Lawyer, Mother

I can get lost on the Internet. I log on for a short break and three hours later realize I’m up way past my bedtime because I’ve found another trove of amazing women writers. Women across the Web are writing glorious, touching, funny, controversial, insightful, frustrating, clever, sad, nuanced, direct, honest, scary and challenging pieces about their lives, their work, their beliefs, their lives and their dreams. The lucky ones have tens of thousands of followers, others have just a few. It doesn’t matter. There is a community of women out there sharing their perspectives and eager to read yours.

As in any community, people don’t always agree. There are differences of opinion about whether we should care for kids full-time or work outside the home, whether we should lean in, own guns, send our kids to private school, have abortions, lie, eat organic, believe in God, adopt, divorce, sleep around, co-sleep, have one child or a dozen, or move to the suburbs. I love the diversity. It allows for divergent paths, unique families, and a myriad of goals. It makes life complicated, but it exposes us to an array of views and, every so often, may change our minds.

Then it happens. In the midst of a dialogue, no matter how civil, someone almost always steps up and pleads for us to stop disagreeing because, wait for it, women shouldn’t “attack” other women. In nearly every debate about motherhood, someone characterizes the conversation as another round in the mommy wars. We pounce on people for being “judgmental” for no other reason than they don’t share our views and have the temerity to say so.

I’m confused. When did dissent become the same thing as hatred? When did an open dialogue become an attack?

I want women’s and mothers’ conversations, ideas, theories, and analyses to be taken just as seriously as men’s. I’d love it if our gender ceased to be the most important item in our biographies. Just because a large part of the women’s blogosphere covers things like parenting, marriage, children, psychology and work-life balance doesn’t make those topics frivolous. (Nor does it mean that women aren’t covering issues outside of those topics.)

You know what makes our ideas and opinions less important? Pretending that we are so fragile that we can’t handle a healthy and robust debate.

We are made of sturdier stuff.

That doesn’t mean I think it’s appropriate to trash talk people for fun or criticize their point of view for fun. I’d like to bar vicious anonymous comments, misogynistic slurs and cruel taunts. I am tired of remarks that focus on what a woman looks like rather than what she says. I see no value in shaming women for their choices or judging them because they chose a different path than yours. None of that seems designed to do anything more than diminish and belittle.

But I do support challenging our ideas in a wide forum. I have no issues with Sheryl Sandberg wanting to start a movement encouraging women to “lean in” or to write a book and give interviews calling for women to change the way they approach their jobs. But if I think that misses some larger contextual points, then I am damn well going to say that (as anyone in a four block radius of me knows). I’m going to ask us to put those ideas to the test — not to accept them blindly because they come from a successful woman, nor reject them on the same grounds.

You know why? Because that’s how you figure out what the good ideas are, that’s how we explore all the facets of a problem and avoid dead ends. And nothing in that process should scare us. I don’t speak up because I’m contrary or, heaven forbid, “shrill.” I don’t take joy in opposing another women’s ideas. But I don’t see the point of silencing my thoughts for fear of being labeled any of those things. I loathe being distracted from the important conversations we should be having because we’re scared of being called judgmental or divisive, and I want us to stop telling each other that we are.

Because here’s what I believe to be true. We can be wrong. We can be right and people will still disagree with us. Sometimes we have opinions that are just that – opinions. I want us to be able to handle the dissonance that these complexities create and move on. There’s nothing to be lost by acknowledging that our point of view might not be the best one. We lose nothing if someone says “I think there’s a better way to accomplish X,” unless we refuse to hear them. If there’s a war on women, it isn’t being waged by the women who speak up. It’s being waged by those who want us to stay quiet.

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