Betsey Johnson (far right), Donna Karan (far left), Halston (second from right), Marc Jacobs (middle), and Tracy Reese (second from left)

This week, a celeb-studded Wednesday Five: Shirley Sherrod fights back, a skeptical look at Oprah’s OWN network, and some tips for getting the best out of Fashion Week, including a hot new design firm loved by Maya Angelou.

  • Yes, February 14 was Valentine’s Day, but Shelby Knox prefers to celebrate it for the birthday of pioneering physician and suffragist Reverend Doctor Anna Howard Shaw.  Knox notes that birthday (with a link to Shaw’s bio at the end of a list of offbeat ways to mark the date, including “the last day of Freedom to Marry Week, marked with a petition to Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act,”  V-Day,and ” the first day of National Condom Week!” But Knox then describes Dr. Shaw: “a leader of the US suffrage movement, one of the first female physicians in the United States, and the first woman to be ordained in the Methodist Church.” A belated happy birthday to the Reverend Doctor!
  • Happy Healthy Long Life has been collecting success stories of “People Who Wanted More Than a Prescription to Increase Their Odds of a Healthy Future – They’ve Made Lifestyle Changes “For Life!” The post includes numerous links and posts by people who didn’t simply rely on statins or other pharmaceutical methods of addressing their heart problems — with a cartoon you might not want to miss.
  • Jack and Jill Politics hails the lawsuit just filed by former Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod against conservative activist Andrew Breitbart, whose misleading video about her led to Sherrod’s dismissal after 25 years of service. Sherrod says that her lawsuit, filed Tuesday in D.C. Superior Court,  “is about how quickly, in today’s internet media environment, a person’s good name can become ‘collateral damage’ in an overheated political debate.” We’ll watch this one closely for its free-speech implications, discussed here at Salon. But our first instinct is the same as J&J’s: “Go, Mrs. Sherrod!”
  • WVFC has always cheered the immense power that is Oprah Winfrey, and we wondered what her new cable network would bring. So far, however, says marketing maven Mary Schmidt at Lipsticking,  the results underwhelm: “in a highly unscientific survey (I asked friends) I’ve found that people think it’s – well – boring. ‘Same old stuff;’ ‘re-treads;’ ‘Nothing new;’ ‘blah;’ etc. This from women who were looking forward to the new network. Which is unfortunate, because it would be – er – nice – to have a nice 24-hour non-news network that ‘inspires, entertains and educates viewers.'”
  • This week, New York Fashion Week follows on the heels of those in Berlin and London — making, as some say, more of a “Fashion Trimester.”  Mama’s A Rolling Stone offers glimpses from the likes of Betsey Johnson and Donna Karan (see photo above). We were also thrilled to learn from about the hundreds of emerging designers in smaller shops, strutting their stuff all over town. “Unlike a typical runway show, which spends more time on setup than it does showcasing looks,” writes Lisa Rowan, the smaller shows are more like “a presentation. It’s almost like a school science fair: Present your best work, stand by your exhibit, wait for judges to ask questions. Nerve-wracking, for sure…”  One such show, noted by The Root, showcased the work of new duo Rubin Chapelle, who hosted one of WVFC’s Women Who Should Run the World at its opening: “It was refreshing to see Maya Angelou listed among this house’s clients, alongside Angelina Jolie, Beyoncé, Cameron Diaz, et al.”

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