Sunday, February 28, 2010


I am traveling and vacationing in Seattle and San Francisco. If you're interested you can search for me and follow my updates on facebook.

Have a good week!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Half The Sky

I read the book Half The Sky Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide by co-authors Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, published by Alfred A. Knoph in September 2009.

This important book enlightened even me, a 63 year-old man who has a mother, sister, wife, daughter, and has worked with lots of women all my adult life. I love, admire, and respect women and have often said they are superior to men in many, many ways. When I was in my career job, I liked management teams when they consisted largely of females. They were almost always appreciative, tolerant, empathetic, patient, and stressed quality over quantity. I loved working with and for women!

Now, let me relate some facts presented in this book:

An obstetric fistula is a condition of torn or weakened membranes brought on by difficult childbirth. Left uncorrected by surgery, a fistula results in urine and bowel waste continually flowing from the female body. Poor health care in parts of the world results in some women living with this condition. The odor is horrendous and the unfortunate women are often ostracized to the point of death or suicide.

On any given day, absenteeism by doctors in health care facilities is 30% in regions where care is desperately needed.

Iodine deficiency in some countries affects brain development in the first trimester of fetuses and lowers IQ by 15 points.

In some countries young girls are lured to other countries by job opportunities and then forced into prostitution and remain trapped in brothels.

Female genital cutting is practiced in many cultures as a way to deter promiscuous behavior.

Infibulation is a process of stitching the vulva to prevent sexual intercourse until marriage and is practiced in Sudan, Ethiopia, and Somalia.

During the last hundred years, of all the countries in the world China has done more for the advancement of women. Women in urban areas of China participate in decision making in the community and enjoy high status in the family with housework equally shared by the husband and children.

Fully 30 percent of parliament positions in Rwanda are held by women since the genocide of 1994. As a result, the country is changed and getting better.

This book is about the potential of women worldwide and the need to break free from some customs that are rooted in religion, culture, tradition, peer pressure, and sexuality. The authors put forth a case that a better world will only result when women are more educated and participate in governance. They point out that when women are educated birth rates decline, violence and terror are reduced, and health improves overall.

The authors contend that a movement for women is needed similar to the abolitionists who changed slavery in the 1800's and activists who affected civil rights in the 1900's.

Do you agree and can you be an instrument of change?

Have a good week!


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Character and Respectability in Young Adults

Click on the photo to enlarge.

The photo shows one marine being recognized as NCO of the Quarter and the other, Marine of the Quarter. (1st Quarter 2010) These young people earned this honor by competing with other marines and passing several board reviews of grilling questions about academics, job knowledge, articulation when addressing the committee, physical fitness, and more. The difference between the two awards is rank and responsibilities.

The male on the left, Cpl. James Mabe, was born in Cali, Colombia, came to the United States from Panama at age 6 when his mother married my brother, was adopted and later gained U. S. citizenship. He graduated from Jack Britt High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina and entered East Carolina University. (Jack Britt High School scores highest across both genders and all ethnic groups year after year on standardized testing compared to all other public 4-A high schools in North Carolina. If you're curious verify my statement and speculate why this is true). He attended ECU for two years and became disillusioned with the widespread undisciplined and deviant behaviors of many modern college students. He left the university and joined the Marine Corps in January 2007, graduated boot camp highest in his platoon, continued training at Camp Pendleton, California and works today in command headquarters there.

I don't know the background of the female marine on the right in the picture, but I would guess she, too, is remarkable.

I admire these young people and their service to our nation. They are receiving the best life skills training that can be acquired as they practice discipline, teamwork, physical fitness, and leadership. Also, they are accruing college funding credits for themselves or a spouse.

I realize all service men and women are not stellar individuals. I also know that all college students aren't slackers. I'm in classrooms with college bound high school students that I believe are the best. I feel great delight in the classroom with many of the students. I see and sense the quality of their behavior, their respect for authority, the hard work they exert on assignments, the way they behave toward each other, and the physical fitness of their young bodies.

I often acknowledge these attributes to the class and add that they should avoid the parties of "young people gone wild" when they get to the university. They usually respond with something like, "Okay, okay, Mr. Mabe we get it."

Have a good week!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Winter of Twenty-Ten in Pfafftown, N. C.