This entry was started while working on my iPhone, how sweet is that? Unfortunately there have been some technological glitches, having nothing to do with the phone, that have caused this (yet again) to not be a live blog. I didn’t want to give up, so today I dragged Synergy (my 800 lb. beast of a laptop) to the conference today only to find out that the WiFi connection is not working here in the Stata Center. Le sigh. I guess I’ll try again next year!

Anyway, the conference was just as great as last year–inspirational, educational, fun.  Like last time, I am full of energy and ideas about my work.  Let’s see how far I take it during the next 364 days…

Haifa Zangana gave an educational and heart-wrenching keynote address about the current plight of women in Iraq. According to the speaker, the climate in Iraq is much worse than during Sadaam’s regime. 91% of Iraqi casualties are men, which leaves women bearing the sole burden of employment and raising children. She gave startling examples of issues that do not reach us through American media:

There are currently over one million widows and five million orphans. Iraqi women and male clerics are raped as tools of military domination and familial/religious shame. The word “democracy” has become the butt of jokes as well as a threatening word that is used against unruly children. Only 28% of Iraqi children attended school last year. Women are being preemptively imprisoned for being “potential suicide bombers.” The Iraqi government and military are both poorly prepared and not adequately representing or protecting its own people. American spending on the war has now reached $3 trillion—about $10,000 per U.S. family.

“Stereotyping and Typecasting in Reality Television” was a fun and interactive workshop presented by Bitch‘s Andi Zeisler and TV Producer Terra Renton.  I got to catch up on the past few years of reality TV (without the benefit of having cable telelvision) and I have to say that I didn’t miss much.  I do want to watch the entire season of that MTV dating show with Tia Tequila–THAT looked crazy.

The most helpful workshop I attended was Christine Cupaiuolo’s “Everything You Wanted to Know (and Didn’t Know You Needed to Know) about Blogs and Blogging.”  I finally understand the inner workings of RSS feeds, Digg, Feed Burner, etc.  I have enough new resources about blogging to last me for a month–hopefully I can find the time to apply many of them here.  I’m really optimistic about creating a better blog and bringing more traffic to my site through the lessons I learned in this workshop.