This week in the blogosphere, an author and TV analyst contemplates the Zen of world affairs, fashionistas discover style after 40, and a Women’s History Month celebration of women and labor.

  • “One could be forgiven for thinking we live in near-apocalyptic times, what with the mix of natural and nuclear disasters in Japan, revolutions and conflict in the Middle East,” writes author Farai Chideya on her blog, “as well as an economic suffering in our own still-comparatively-prosperous nation.” We agree, and were intrigued when Chideya — whom we think of as  offering political commentary, as she does regularly on CNN and other TV networks or on her site PopandPolitics.com — decided to examine instead The Spirituality of News.  ”Being open to the world is hard. It means seeing both beauty and injustice, experiencing terror and pleasure,” she writes. “Many people don’t like the news… [they] just don’t want to know what’s going on in the world because it makes them feel powerless and fearful.”  But we can be empowered, Chideya suggests, when we acknowledge the full humanity of anyone we read or write about.
  • We love it when fashionistas discover the beauty of life after 40.  Christene Barberich of Refinery 29 just  ”turned that big corner myself,” she writes, introducing the fashion site’s “4 Cool Women Making 40 Fantastic” photo spread:  ” Inspired by my best friend Eden, who’s in her mid-40s and seriously eternally ravishing, I began to pay closer attention to what 40 looks like of late…. we decided to go in search of other cool 40-something women to find out what amazing style really means as you get older, how it changes, and, ultimately, how it comes to define you.” The looks are stunning, with provenance from haute couture to H&M, and the women R29 profiles feel like friends.
  • Do meetings feel less like a way to get things done than a good way to waste time? In a guest post at the marketing blog Lipsticking, AmyK Hutchens offers a spritz of fresh air with Three Tweaks for a Meeting Makeover. “Most of us can relate to the download dump,” she writes. “The meeting where everyone reads their printed monthly report or shares in a monotone the latest and not always greatest about what they’ve been up to since the last meeting.  No one listens; no one cares.” To avoid those snoozy hours, Hutchens’s commonsense recommendations include “Shake ‘Em Up” and “Create an Agenda Based on Questions.”  We’ll see if it works.
  • In January, WVFC worried  about Wal-Mart v. Dukes, the highest-profile of the “class-action trifecta” to be decided by the Supreme Court this spring. But what does that have to do with Women’s History Month?  Erica Payne, on MomsRising.com, reminds us: “One hundred years ago, it was 25,000 mill workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts, who fought for rightful pay and dignified working conditions. Since that time, women have become 50 percent of the U.S. workforce. They are the sole breadwinners in 34 percent of families with children; and the owners of eight million small businesses. Women currently receive 58 percent of bachelor’s degrees, 60 percent of Master’s degrees and 55.5 percent of Doctorates. Our progress will continue. Unless the Supreme Court decides to stop it.” Payne calls Dukes “one of the most important civil rights cases in the country’s history” and warns that the Court’s ” decision will pave the way for further progress or stop it dead in its tracks.” Time to start watching for those oral arguments, and hoping that Justice Scalia decides women are persons that week.
  • Speaking of historic moments, WomenOnlyOverFifty marks this country’s longest-running soap opera and the publication of Greg Meng’s Days of Our Lives 45 Years: A Celebration in Photos. ”With more people coming back from the dead than a town-full of zombies, “Days” and I have been life-long friends,” writes Mary Cunningham. “A young mother when the soap first aired, I spent much of the day cleaning, washing diapers and caring for an infant…except for that one delicious half-hour.” Do you have a guilty pleasure of a show that soundtracked some portion of your young adulthood? (We sure do.)