Category Archives: public health

Intelligent, non-noisy response to Todd Akin, et.al.

This arrived today via email. Voting is the easiest, most basic way to respond to the vision of America touted at the Republican National Convention, expressed by Todd Akin, and underlying the policies hawked by Paul Ryan.

Vote for candidates whose agendas apply equally to all residents of our country. Vote for candidates whose vision of personal liberty and “respect for life” applies to all ex-utero people, to sentient human beings who are capable of making sound decisions about their personal lives. Let’s vote for candidates whose “respect for the living” goes beyond the embryo and fetus, to encompass women, (pregnant or not), hard-working residents contributing to our GDP, the unemployed, the poverty-stricken and to people of all races and ethnicities. What could be more fundamentally “American” than that?

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One Last Thanksgiving Burp

If the United States devolves into a theocracy, Thanksgiving would surely be its central rite.

It’s a few days after the holiday. Reading this morning’s newspapers (I prefer to dribble my coffee and spew muffin crumbs on the papers instead of on my wireless keyboard), I couldn’t help but notice the hand-wringing over two topics that are also part of our national liturgy: overeating and football. Continue reading One Last Thanksgiving Burp

The Girl Effect in Action: “Trust in Education” at work in Afghanistan

I’m reposting this blog, nearly a year later — in support of “The Girl Effect” campaign that is now residing (in part) at this site: http://www.taramohr.com/girleffectposts/

PLEASE scroll on down and read this post, watch the video and yes, visit Tara’s site to see what others are doing and saying in support of The Girl Effect.

You don’t need to be a girl to support the premise of The Girl Effect!

This post is about as serious as Blonde can get. Too many girls and young women are living under inexcusable circumstances… but these can be fixed. Attention must be paid. Action can be taken. Find your way to make a difference. Thanks.

It’s a fact that all over the world, women are the “keepers of their culture.” Ironically and tragically, in many countries — some of the most populous on Earth — the very culture in which women raise their kids denigrates them. The stories of individual girls and young women are movingly told by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn in their new book, “Half the Sky.” I just finished reading it and urge you to read it, too.

I’ve also read Nick Kristof’s op-eds in the New York Times for the past ten years. He tells hauntingly vivid stories of the tragic plight of girls who’ve been victims of sex trafficking, stoning, torture and maiming. Kristof names the girls. Places them in their cultural contexts. And he allows them to speak for themselves. “Half the Sky” and his op-eds offer narratives of specific girls’ and womens’ lives and demonstrate how very simple steps can measurably improve outcomes in education and health care. Helping one girl or a dozen stay in school longer has been proven to help their entire families. We used to call it the “ripple effect.” It works.

Every day, millions of girls and young women are exploited sexually, economically and socially. “Human rights” simply don’t apply to them. In some very populous countries, cattle are more highly valued than women. This can change, and we can be active in this change.

On November 16, 2010, life coach and author Tara Sophia Mohr invited 30 influential women to write about “The Girl Effect” and post to her blog, Wise Living, as well as on their own blogs. Just a few days later, over 130 people have added their posts. This is beyond what we used to call “consciousness raising.” This is motivation to act — in whatever way works for you… and me.


Some of the most oppressed and repressed and brutalized girls in the world live in Afghanistan. You don’t have to fly there yourself to help them.
. You don’t even have to start your own 501(c)(3). There are many organizations already up and running, and you can add your strength, skills and resources to one that appeals to you. Here’s one that with five years of accomplishment and it’s getting stronger every month:

A few years ago, I met a retired lawyer named Budd MacKenzie who lives in the San Francisco area. He was initially inspired by reading Greg Mortensen’s “Three Cups of Tea.” The book changed Budd’s life. He decided he could make a difference. Consequently, he and his supporters have improved the lives of hundreds of families in Afghanistan. It all started with expanding access to education in rural villages.

In 2003, Budd founded “Trust in Education.” TIE started by building a secular school in Lalander, Afghanistan, three hours from Kabul. It opened in March, 2005. As Budd states, “Education is the long-term solution to everything and they love to learn.”

TIE’s schools are open to boys and girls, but it’s been the girls who benefit most. For these village girls, TIE offers the only way out from being married by age 12. They are eager to learn to read and write and think for themselves. Despite the pressures imposed by a tradition-bound community, girls do not want forced marriages, serial pregnancies, and lives spent in household confinement.

Building Zohra's School for Girls
The beginning of "Zohra's School for Girls"

Afghan girls going to school
Girls Going to Their School!

Could be our daughters...
The Girl Effect starts with them

“We have been tallying up the numbers, preparing for next years budget. We now sponsor classes attended by 1297 students, 751 of which are girls. Five years ago there were 90 boys and 40 girls.

That’s one thing about becoming involved in supporting education. The fourth grader expects there to be a fifth grade next year. Our commitment can’t be any less than theirs. Help!!! We don’t have an exit strategy!!”
Trust in Education email, November 17, 2010

THE GIRL EFFECT IN ACTION!
(please ignore the obligatory opening “ad” from Smilebox…the video is worth it!)

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