Archive for the ‘Foreign’ Category

KKK

 

It’s been awhile since I wrote in this blog. It’s appeared to me that some Americans have become concerned about foreign Muslim terror cells coming into this country and killing, and slaughtering innocent lives. What’s been more present is the fear factor among some people who has created this hysteria. Even though among the 14 people killed in the recent San Bernardino killings, two of them were black, it has certainly been more fear mongering from the conservative pool which a majority of those voters are white.

I watched a recent short documentary on the KKK, which seems to be rekindling their old flames of hatred, bigotry, violence, ignorance and yes terrorism. It seems idiosyncratic that pundits on tv and newspapers jump to the word terror the second they get a whiff of a Muslim sounding or influenced name. On the other side of the coin, Dylan Roof the man who executed nine members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church didn’t get that same label. It seems the characterization of that name was just out of reach for America to grasp, not to African-Americans whom never forgot about these types of attacks. In the weeks following the shooting in Charleston there were 6 arson fires in the St Louis area. Most of them were set on black churches. For me, how I see it African-Americans have been living with domestic terrorism far as long as the first slave ships entered into “Turtle Island“(taken from the Aboriginal Creation story).

The issue is it’s not just a few church burnings that keeps black people in fear and delirium. It’s the domestic terrorist groups like the KKK and the White Knights that have woven their hatred in secrecy into different factions of society. One thing that should become unquestionable is the fact since blacks and other minority groups are fighting a war against hate mongers, is that two offensive fronts have been put in place. The ones we see everyday are what I would call your classic bigot in the spotlight. This includes, the likes of Bill O’ Reilly, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and others who spew hatred the myth that the “White Man” is losing the country to N#$%% and Sp&^%, Jews and of course the Sand N%$%^.

These guys on the front lines of their views represent a portion of the country that feels affirmative action, welfare and other government programs are only out to help minority groups, even when the numbers prove they themselves are the top beneficiaries. More importantly than that are the racists and domestic terrorists that are hidden in the shadows and remain elusive. These men and women are more dangerous than any pundit, because just like the War on Terror, you don’t know who to look for and distinguish the rest from who are the real enemy.

One such case came to light back in 2006 when the FBI released a seven page document that revealed White Supremacist groups have actively pursued positions in law enforcement. Now, this may be new information to the mass public, but if you say this to anyone in a local black barbershop, you won’t even get a side look. This information has been long suspected among blacks, but my concern lies in what other pockets of government and public service could a potential White Supremacist be lurking. Could it be a congressman/woman, a judge, a doctor who you rely on on the operating table. The scary truth is as long as we don’t know anyone could be an agent. Like Neo from the Matrix fighting the agents, we just don’t know until they reveal their true selves.

One potential ally took a bold stance a month ago and released the names of possible affiliated KKK members. Anonymous who stated, “We are trying to change our world…”, even if this list is bogus, it does present evidence a chaotic coadjuvant relationship in positions of power that seems to create the balancing act circus that minorities have become uncomfortably accustomed to. The saying the pen is mightier than the sword speaks to the policies that were put into place that laid a foundation for the discriminatory practices such as Redlining, Sharecropping, Jim Crow among others. Black unemployment is at epidemic levels, black business ownership is way below any other race and house ownership is down as well. While walking into a massacre is probably the scariest scene one could ever encounter, we can’t undermine the back door meetings and operations that continually to plague communities that are underserved, set aside and forgotten about.

 

I can't breathe

Last Saturday was one of the most amazing experiences of my life on earth to date. I decided I wanted to be a part of history and march along fellow supporters to end this domestic terroristic sub-culture that tosses out cases of black men getting killed with no penalty or punishment of the police officer. Even now there are details behind the shooting and killing of Mike Brown that the prosecutor suppressed that directly conflicts with the narrative that suggests Darren Wilson’s life was in danger at the time of the shooting.

Man in chains

The march began at Washington Square Park, I got there around 3pm because I got off at the wrong stop and missed my scheduled train into Penn Station from LI. I remembered being nervous I was going to miss the crowd, but when I finally got into the city and arrived at West 4rth street I felt relieved. I could see large pockets of people gathering and soon saw the protests signs and heard the megaphones and the chants against racism and support for Eric Garner and Mike Brown.

Once I was inside the park I saw different organizations and that were there for this day. Among the most vocals were members from LRP-COFL.org, Answer Coalition.org, National Liberty Alliance, 100 Blacks for Law Enforcement. I also bought a newspaper called Revolution,  which covered protests from NY to Mexico and all around the globe. I was only in the park for about ten minutes gathering newspapers and fliers when the crowd was moving toward the streets. It was there that I saw the awesome power of our civil liberties at work.

Protest

What was silence, turned into chants organically into the crowd that crescendo into overwhelming applause and cheers. “Hey hey, Ho ho, these racist cops have got to go!” “Hands up, Don’t Shoot!” “Show me what democracy looks like, This is what democracy looks like!” “No justice, No peace!” “Eric Garner, Michael Brown,shut it down, shut it down!” I could see the faces of the onlookers and police by the barricades. Some were there just to see what the fuss was about, others showed support on their way to work or wherever they needed to be. Often they chanted with us and gave more power to the message that #Alllivesmatter even if the court system doesn’t see it that way.

The feeling was incommunicable in words. There was an inseparableness that I felt that I only experienced online until this point. I’ve seen past rally’s and protests and knew people of all economic and racial backgrounds were there. I even knew about the global support for Ferguson and Eric Garner, with the different hashtags #crimingwhilewhite, #blacklivesmatter, #Icantbreathe, but to witness first hand and be a part of the warm fellowship left me in state of awe.

I was surprised by this generation’s resilient and remonstrance spirit. All I have been told and thought is since first hearing about Michael Brown, is that this was gonna wash over America and end in a another church hymn with the packaging of we shall overcome during a pastor’s congregation meeting. This generation, to me now shows the spark of the young Malcom X’s, Martin Luther King’s, Cesar Chavez, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Stonewall Inn protests for Gay Rights. I was also humbled by the compassion of the buildings and businesses on the streets we marched on. Many of them held signs and banners that gave this movement life, “#BlackLivesMatter” and the diversity among the crowd couldn’t have been a better representation of what this country should stand for more often.

I remember feeling like since we’re all here for once cause, then I surely can stand up for another cause, even if it was not my own. I don’t have to be gay to stand alongside someone who is and fight for them. I don’t have to be an immigrant to know that they also deserve to be treated better in this country. During the marching and chanting, it become a jovial occasion, realizing the power of force and the message we are sending around the world and to Washington and every political office in this country, that change is coming, so either help us do it or get thrown out of office for someone who will.

I saw mother pushing baby strollers and fathers holding their children on their heads so they could see the signs and helicopters passing over us. I saw old, young, any color of race and nationality and sexual orientation. I saw some Latino sisters and brothers chanting along with us in Spanish and with a sign written in Spanish, which I couldn’t make out entirely, but I did see one part I recognized #Alllivesmater!

There were moments of silence, but the energy never wavered, even after hours of walking and I really didn’t even know where we were going, but I wasn’t going to stop. A gentleman finally told we were heading for the first precinct. “What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now”, “I Can’t Breathe” were also very powerful outcries in the crowd. One man who introduced himself as David asked to interview me during the march. He asked a couple of questions about me and why I was there to support and if I have any personal stories that fit the profile of being discriminated against. I told him the story of being pulled over at 2am for a broke license plate light, that ended in a 35 dollar ticket. I didn’t know about a license plate light to know I needed one at the time. I know it wasn’t a story that ended in a violent beating with night sticks or even getting shot over it, but I felt they pulled me over because I was driving while black through a prominently rich white neighborhood on my way home from work.

By the end of the day I was tired, hungry, cold and had been holding myself from going to the bathroom for almost four hours, but I didn’t want to leave. It wasn’t until I reminded myself that I had to work later that night, that I finally trotted back to the subway to make it for my shift. I don’t know if anyone took pics of me, since I didn’t have a camera phone, but I recorded audio of the event on my phone. I plan to go to at least two more protests this year. My agenda this year now to support the fight against climate change and a wage increase.

Some people want a pretty lie instead of the ugly truth. I get it, for a lot of years I accepted things that were explained to me as a kid. I trusted the sources, whether they were family members telling me what they were taught as children. Teachers whose job it was to cram the material down your throat and absorb the humdrum so you could pass a test or gather research for a paper that was due. I really didn’t learn the underlining truth until after I left school and felt the need to answer some questions that didn’t make sense to me.

 

Adam and Eve Dilemma 

In the bible the universe is only about 6,000 years old. I don’t know why, but this has been the subject of debate for a long time. I believe in science and I believe the Earth is over 3 billion years old and that mankind has only been around for a couple hundred years. This notion as well as the big bang theory was up for debate and argued by Bill Nye the Science Guy and Ken Ham, whose perspective was directly for the idea of creationism.

black Adam and Eve

Another piece of scientific evidence that can be used to debunk the creation of man came from a single woman and man was found in a man’s DNA that ties his lineage back over 300,000 years ago. I found an article in The MadMan Chronicles and it details that a man’sDNA from South Carolina has Y chromosomes that predates the earliest homo sapiens fossils. Discovery News and Science Direct found the dilemma when the volunteer’s DNA sample could not be verified by during a National Geographic Genographic Project. The base pairs to choose from were over 240,000. When the search led to a Mbo connection the project came to a conclusion the idea of a single man and woman creating the human race based on that the Y chromosome was part of a family tree.

Who is the real face of Jesus?

Jesus              Jesus is black                Black Jesus

If you saw your face as the reflected  image and embodiment of Jesus Christ, how much closer to omnipotence would this make you feel? Also, subconsciously how would you look your race? Would it make them godlike as well? These are the questions we need to ask ourselves when we look as pictures of the Lord and Savior. Up and until about 31 BC Jesus was worshipped in this original form, shape and sin complexion, which was not the blue eyes and white skin known today. The tribe of Judah was known to the Hebrews and a dark skin nation, which Jesus was known to have come from. Proof of this has been found on wall carvings in the catacombs of Rome, where a painting of Jesus who was beardless, dark-skinned with short hair was shown. Often his likeness could be found on paintings, carvings and scultpures.

Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo were in competition to win the approval of the King, Pope Alexander VI. Christianity was taken over by Europe at this time and the King had every image of the black Jesus destroyed and the Vatican was remade. Still the King needed a symbol that would lead the countries into the new world of the faith. Leonardo, who knew this and also knew the Pope loved his son Cesare Borgia. Leonardo created a painting of Cesare passed off as Jesus Christ and therefore created the falsehood story that a long-haired, blue-eyed European could somehow been the creator of the Christian faith. Cesare himself had a controversial past, he had a sexual relationship with his sister, and was also blamed for the murder of his own brother Giovanni Juan Borgia. Cesare Borgia was also a mass murderer and homosexual.My skin upon is black upon me.(Job 30:30)

The King James Version

King James Version

What can I say about this one. Oh, I know King James is not who he seems to be. Honestly, I was probably the most surprised when I did the research on him than anyone else on this blog. King James of Scotland/England I wanted to make his own version of the bible. One that was denied to the common people unlike the Geneve Bible that was for everyone’s use. The KJB was for government publication solely because of the “divine right of Kings” taught to him by his mother Mary Stuart aka Bloody Mary. King James was notably to the product of adultery since Mary Stuart had an affair behind her husband’s back, King Henry. David Rizzio an Italian secretary was King James father by birth. He was executed by King Henry after he learned of the affair.

Mary had many affairs behind her husbands back and often tried to kill him as well. She tried to kill him in a gunpowder explosion, but when he survived, he was mysteriously suffocated that same night. Mary was to blame for her husband’s death and put death herself by Elizabeth I of England who was her cousin. Charming family right!!!!! Before her death, Mary got the name Bloody Mary because during her reign she executed another cousin Lady Jane Grey to avoid any power struggle between them. She executed hundreds of protestant leaders with the intent to turn the church back into Roman Catholicism. To her being a protestant was a “crime” punishable only by death.

Remember, that was the mother who was a psychopath murdering, adultrist. Her son was not far behind. King James authorized the publication and production for the King James Version of the Bible, which was translated from Greek and Hebrew to English. While he didn’t hover over the authors of the new bible he did, however, provide rules they had to follow during the translation.

1.      The ordinary Bible read in the church, commonly called the Bishop’s Bible to be followed and as little altered as the truth of the original will permit.

2.      Or, since the common people preferred the Geneva Bible to the existing government publication, let’s see if we can slip a superseding government publication onto their bookshelves, altered as little as possible.

3.      The old Ecclesiastical words to be kept, viz. the word “church” not to be translated “congregation,” etc.

4.      That is, if a word should be translated a certain way, let’s deliberately mistranslated it to make the people think God still belongs to the Anglican Church — exclusively.

5.      No marginal notes at all to be affixed, but only for the explanation of the Hebrew or Greek words, which cannot without some circumlocution, so briefly and fitly be expressed in the text.

witch trials                                         witch trials again

The part that is more troubling is that King James was in fact a homosexual. It seems odd, the one who authorized the KJB like kissing young boys and men more than women. His conduct was documented in books like James I: The Fool As King and King James-VI of Scotland/I of England. He was nicknamed by the townspeople Queen James to mock his sexual relationships. In his teenage years James had a relationship with Esme’ Stuart, Earl of Lennox, which was not accepted by church leaders who forced Esme’ to flee Scotland. King James also kissed Francis Stewart Hepburn and was known to have a sexual relationship with him as well. King James also had affairs with George Villiers, and called Villiers his wife as well.

Another oddity about James was he enjoyed killing animals and would roll around in their blood for fun. It was rumored that he also practiced bestiality on the animals while they were dying. He would sanction witch trials and enjoyed the torture and killing of women whom he thought practiced witchcraft. When a jury acquitted Barbara Napier for witch craft, King James was so angered by the verdict, he wrote to the court to have the jury sentenced to death. Ironically, they reversed their decision and Barbara Napier was put to death.

The North Berwick witch trials started in 1589 by King James back in Scotland. An estimated 4,000 to 6,000 people were executed during the trials. King James published a book that was meant for defense against witches. Daemonologie  was three books used solely to hunt, capture and kill witches. They also discussed possession, demons, were-wolves, fairies, ghosts and necromancy.

Brain Power

 

Schools are losing the war on our kids education. I mean with more and more cutbacks who and teachers seem to be the blame why little Billy or Natalie is not learning. More so some kids don’t learn the same way as other kids do. Some kids are visual, where they learn by seeing the content, while others learn by repetition and some seem to learn with little effort as possible. Some individuals can learn a music note and learn to replicate it just by hearing one note. Myself, I learn by reading articles and then also by repetition. I’m never learned just by hearing a line or a note or even by seeing.

In an article for wired magazine a teacher Sergio Juarez Correa was inspired a new teaching method he learned from another professor in the UK at the University of New Castle. The method seemed unorthodox, Sugata Mitra a professor of educational technology introduced kids in India to computers and without any instruction the kids were able to teach themselves. What they learned was quite amazing, Correa, who taught in the border of Mexico knew he was onto something.

Sugata Mitra discovered his method back in 1999 where he found that kids learned themselves how to turn on the computer and what it does all while Mitra watched in amazement. Mitra put together a study and published it in 2010 in the city of Kalikuppam, a village in southern India. With a group of 10 to 14 year olds were shown Mitra’s didactic methods and then he left the room. Over the course of 75 days the children learned how to use the computer. Mitra then gave the kids an exam on molecular biology after which they got one in four right, but with the help of another party they were getting every other questions right. “If you put a computer in front of children and remove all other adult restrictions, they will self-organize around it,” Mitra says, “like bees around a flower.”

Amazingly enough Mitra won a 1 million dollar grant from TED to keep at his work. He is now working with seven schools where five are in India and two are in the UK. There will be no teachers, or curriculum, or separation by age just six or more computers and someone to look after them. Mitra also plans to hire retired British teachers who will appear from time to time via skype to help encourage kids to look into their own thoughts and ideas and pursue all curiousness.

Back in 2009 another study done by scientists at the University of Louisville and MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive  Sciences conducted a study that took 48 children between the ages of 3 and 6. The kids were given a toy that could squeak, play notes and reflect images and other things as well. One set of kids was given the toy and told about one aspect of the toy, while the other group of kids were nothing about the toy at all. It seems that the group of kids who weren’t any prior information about the toy found an average of six things they would do with the toy while the first group only found about four in all. It seems that when you let a child find out for themselves, they were more likely to find solutions. “The science is brand-new, but it’s not as if people didn’t have this intuition before,” says coauthor Alison Gopnik, a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley.

This way of thinking traces back to Socrates. The way we are going is not working for us. According to the testing service ACT almost a third are “not prepared academically for first-year college courses,”from those who graduate high school in 2013. The World Economic Forum ranks the US just 49th out 148 developed and developing nations in quality in math and science instruction. To put that in perspective were behind Japan, Switzerland, Germany, France and Estonia just to name a few.  “The fundamental basis of the system is fatally flawed,” says Linda Darling-Hammond, a professor of education at Stanford and founding director of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future. 30 years later “In 1970 the top three skills required by the Fortune 500 were the three Rs: reading, writing, and arithmetic. In 1999 the top three skills in demand were teamwork, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills. We need schools that are developing these skills.”

http://www.wired.com/business/2013/10/free-thinkers/

Alternate ways of learning include a method created by Dr. Maria Montessori where she believed the kids were empty slates  and kids learned naturally and had very absorbent minds capable of self-directed learning. She developed a curriculum where the kids could spend long periods of time concentrating. She was against the traditional ways of learning, believing that the structured lessons halted this concentration and slowed the learning process. She opened a school in Tarrytown,NY in 1911 in the NY times wrote “Yet this is by no means a school for defective children or tubercular children or children who are anemic. The little pupils in the big sunny classroom at Tarrytown are normal, happy, healthy American children, little sons and daughters of well-to-do suburban residents.” Even today the Montessori method is used within 5,000 schools and still shows kids developing better social and academic skills than traditional academic methods. Google founders Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page are students of the Montessori method.

Rudolph Steiner also sought out new ways of learning for children. Steiner was influenced by Goethe and Jean Piaget where there were 3 seven-year periods of child development. The Steiner curriculum consisted of 12 years teaching kids to prepare ” for living” with the emphasis on creative expression and social and spiritual values. His school became the largest school in Germany, he believed the first 7 years of a child’s life was  period for being imitative and sensory based learning and therefore noncognitive learning was best at this period. Kids during this period were taught to interact with their surroundings. From age 7-14 Steiner focused on creativity and imagination, where children learn foreign languages, eurythmy, an expressive dance developed by Steiner and other performing arts. By age 14 students were ready for more structured environments that are call for social responsibility. Despite criticisms of religious teaching in the schools by 1974 there were more than 800 schools teaching the Waldorf method.

The Harkness method forms around a large oval table to is the focal point of the classroom that uses the Harkness method. Edward Harkness, who was a philanthropist and oil magnate developed this method where students sit around the table and talk about different subjects from calculus to history to English in detail. The idea is to take away the seated rows and teachers lecturing to students and keep on point. The lessons are never the same and this helps teachers with burnout. In the year 1930 Harkness gave a multi-million dollar donation to Philips Exeter Academy which was a private school. He gave the money on the terms some money be spent on a new way of educating the students of the school. The school was able to hire 26 new teachers which resulted in more intimate class settings with fewer students. This was important for the Harkness method works best with 15 or fewer students per class. The classes are now small enough so that the shy or slow individual will not be submerged,” Exeter principal Dr. Lewis Perry told the New York Times in the early years of the program. “The average boy, similarly, finds his needs cared for. In short, the Harkness plan is best defined as an attitude. It is a new approach to the problem of getting at the individual boy.”

In the first three years the method shown a 6% decrease in failing for the students which was excellent. The kids were learning and being in such close quarters, they shared their ideas with their group of ten. Students also learned speaking skills and respect for others as well. Studies have shown this method increases chances of memory retention a recall, even though the Harkness method never gained traction in public schools.

Reggio Emilia is an approach used for kids 3 to 6. The method is named after the city in northern Italy, where a teacher named Loris Malaguzzi founded a new way of teaching post World War II. The first Reggio Emilia school opened in 1945,but it was until 1991 that the method had the momentum to cultivate a following in the US. An article in Newsweek called the Diana preschool in Reggio Emilia among the best early childhood institutions in the world. In the Reggio Emilia method parents are crucial in taking an active role in the child’s early education.  With no set lesson plans and a setting designed to feel like home the curriculum is also flexible all to help the child learn in a laxed setting. The growth is measured by the student not the curriculum also art supplies and art teacher are also a key factor in the development. Teachers often keep extensive documentation of a child’s development, including folders of artwork and notes about the stories behind each piece of art.

“It’s about exploring the world together and supporting children’s thinking rather than just giving them ready-made answers,” said Louise Boyd Cadwell, who was an intern at two Reggio Emilia schools in Italy in the early ’90s and then wrote a book about the teaching method. “Reggio Emilia is about full-blown human potential and how you support that in both intellectual and creative terms.”

Founded in 1968 in Framingham, Massachusetts Sudbury schools got their name from the Sudbury Valley School. Sudbury schools operate under individuality an democracy and take both principles very seriously. In Sudbury school students have complete control of what, and how they learn, even how they are evaluated if they are evaluated. A weekly school meeting votes on school rules, school budgeting matters, staff members being rehired and other matters related to the school. Every student gets a vote and every vote counts. The Sudbury philosophy is that the students are capable and able to assume a level of responsibility and making decisions for themselves. If they are wrong, they deal with the consequences. Sudbury schools believe students are inherently motivated to learn and use this ideology to defend not trying to get the teachers to develop new ways of learning. Sudbury schools have similarities with “free schools” that gained popularity in the 1970’s where students are not divided by age. The old students usually mentor the younger ones. The annual tuition for the Sudbury Valley School is $6,450 dollars.

 

http://mentalfloss.com/article/21824/5-alternative-teaching-methods

This past year has been huge for women breaking the glass ceiling and I wanted to take the time out and bring recognition to those who have broken barriers.

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Vice Admiral Michelle Howard- The U.S. Navy confirmed their first EVER!!!!!! female four star admiral. Not only the first female, but also the first African-American to be named  Vice Chief of Naval Operations. This is not the first for Admiral Howard, back in 1999 she was the first black woman to command a navy ship the USS Rushmore. If her impressive military accomplishments weren’t enough, Howard led a U.S. command ship against Somali pirates in the Arabian Sea. The mission Task Force 151 became the rescue mission Richard Phillips the captain for the Maersk Alabama. Her voice can be depicted in the film “Captain Phillips” starring Tom Hanks.

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Caroline Kennedy -WASHINGTON — WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has confirmed the daughter of slain President John F. Kennedy to be U.S. ambassador to Japan.Caroline Kennedy won the Senate’s unanimous endorsement late Wednesday shortly after it voted to end a partial shutdown of the government and extend its borrowing authority.Kennedy was nominated for the ambassador’s job by President Barack Obama after playing a role in his re-election campaign. At her confirmation hearing last month, she promised to carry forward her father’s legacy.Japan is the U.S.’ fourth-largest trading partner and home to the Navy’s 7th Fleet and 50,000 American troops. Kennedy’s father battled Japanese forces as a Navy officer in World War II.-http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/16/caroline-kennedy-confirmed_n_4112126.html

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Marjorie Scardino– Twitter added former publishing executive Marjorie Scardino as it’s eighth member board of directors. She is the first woman to be assigned such a high profile role in the social networking company. Prior to her role with Twitter she ran an economist group which is well known for its industry profiles. As the leader of one of the biggest publishing companies, Scardino was able to build relationship with some of the biggest advertisers on the planet.

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Mary Barra– General Motors named it’s first female CEO Mary Barra for the auto manufacturer. “I think it is fantastic, and it indicates the openness of even the most traditional corporations to look for leadership from all sources, including from women,” said Marcia D. Greenberger, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center, an advocacy group. “I think it is particularly heartening to see a corporation like GM do that, not only because of the traditional image we have of the male CEO at car companies, but also because of its global reach.”“With an amazing portfolio of cars and trucks and the strongest financial performance in our recent history, this is an exciting time at today’s GM,” Barra, a 33-year employee of the company, said in a statement. “I’m honored to lead the best team in the business and to keep our momentum at full speed.”

Catherine Samba-Panza

Catherine Samba-Panza-The mayor of Central African Republic’s Bengui Catherine Samba-Panza became the first female president. With her winning 75 votes over 53 against her opponent Desire Kolingba who was the son of a former president. “I’m launching a resounding appeal to my anti-balaka children who are listening to me: Show your support for my nomination by giving the strong signal of laying down your weapons,” said Samba-Panza, who is Christian but did not campaign on a religious platform. The 59-year-old called herself “the president of all Central Africans, without exclusion”, and said her top priority was “to stop people’s suffering, to restore security and the authority of the state across the country”.

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Inga Beale– Lloyd’s of London named its’ first CEO for the 325 year old insurance market. Beale has held senior roles previously in the insurance industry such as Zurich Insurance and General Electric. “Until we get more women around the decision-making table women are unlikely to get enough encouragement to really aspire to reach senior positions in the industry.” Beale’s appointment speaks to the current climate of adjustment companies are making to meet the expected mark of women representing 25% of the boards by 2015 set by business secretary Vince Cable.

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Janet Yellen– The senate recently confirmed Janet Yellen as their new federal reserve chairperson. The first time EVER!!!!! a woman has held this position in the 100 year history of the reserve or any major central bank.  “Too many Americans still can’t find a job and worry how they’ll pay their bills and provide for their families,” she said at her White House nomination. “The Federal Reserve can help if it does its job effectively.” Even with the glass ceiling right above her head she became the first democratic nominee to run the fed since 1979.

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Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd– Alabama State University is gearing up for its first EVER!!!!! female president. Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd will be the president of her alma mater in the next month. Boyd who is a 58 year old engineer comes to Alabama from John Hopkins University in Baltimore as the executive assistant to the Chief of Staff in applied physics lab. Only 20% of universities have a female president which makes Boyd’s position that much more recognizable. “Dr. Boyd is an alum. She’s very eager to turn the college around,” says Malveaux. “These jobs as HBCU presidents are really opportunities and challenges to serve and I think that probably outweighed ……………..

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Sasheer Zamata- The first SNL African-American female in six years to become a cast member is a Indianapolis native by the name of Sasheer Zamata. Sasheer appeared in a few different skits during her debut including alongside Drake for a skit for rap stars early careers. She is the first black woman that has been a cast member since Maya Rudolph left in 2007. Zamata is a graduate of University of Virginia and a performer for the Upright Citizens Brigade, two things that veteran cast member and 30 Rock creator both share. “She’s very much like Tina,” says UVA Prof. Richard Warner, who taught both women. “She’s a social critic and she’s a feminist.”

Other countries and America      It wasn’t until I was a pre-teen that I understood what it was to be a proud American. All those times before than, when I held my hand above my heart and recited the Pledge of Allegiance it didn’t quite sink in. Not until I started the learn and care about the history of this country and even African-Americans who were enslaved, tortured and mentally subjugated had a large part in the formation of this country. In the land of the milk and honey I also wondered how other countries viewed Americans and what influence this has on our relationships with them. Below I got research from different points of views from “spokesman” who have the inside track of how our allies and enemies view us aboard.

Asia– I found an article in the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs by Kishore Mahbubani explains that the numbers of Asian students attending American universities rose from 70,000 to 160,000 and the numbers keep going up. He even goes on to say his son and daughter went to Yale to study during their college years. He then adds that Asians love the American spirit of enterprise. Mahbubani goes onto say that America is the only country where success stories like Google, Facebook and Microsoft can emerge out of nowhere. They admire the capacity for Americans to create great enterprises and why it’s such a mystery as to why no other country has achieved anything like it.

Mahbubani also points out that America is a place where you can come as a foreigner study hard and become a CEO of a major company. Indra Nooyi who was a MBA student is now the CEO of PepsiCo, Vikram Pandit who heads Citibank and Muhtar Kent who is the CEO of Coca-Cola. He goes on to say, “I want to try it in America”. This is the part that won’t be so flattering for Americans to hear, but need to if we are truly concerned for foreign affairs.

One thing that changed in the eyes of Asians is our moral compass and the use of torture. Mahbubani states “Chinese intellectuals said to me in privatein the past, even when the Chinese used to disagree with America publicly, they would say, “I have to disagree publicly, but in my heart, I agree. You are right. We are not as good as you are.” But after you brought in Guantanamo and torture, they said, “Excuse me, we are no different now. Don’t lecture us anymore.”

Another negative area is the American antipathy toward the Islamic World. He mentions the film that made negative headlines on Youtube that led to demonstrations. He adds the importance of changing the minds of the Muslim world and working hard to change the perception of how to coexist. Kishore’s next point is the ignorance of the impact of American power. He makes the example of taking corn subsidies and turning them into ethanol can lead to hunger in other parts of the world. Another example he used is quantitative easing and pumping it into the money supply leads to inflation in the rest of the world. Mahbubani adds that most Americans aren’t aware the actions they make domestically affect the world globally.

One positive thing he mentions is that American philanthropists like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett agreeing to give away most of their money in their lifetime is an amazement. One that David Rubenstein in Singapore tried to unsuccessfully replicate this by attempting to persuade Asian philanthropists of the same “Giving Pledge” that their American counterparts did. It didn’t work out so well. One such negative example is the use of money in politics. In a democracy each individuals vote should and does count equally, but the issue is when the process of democracy becomes distorted when large sums of money come into the circle.

One major issue in the eyes of Asia is America adhering to International Laws. His claims that the US refused to accept International Court of Justice judgments, or refuses to ratify International Criminal Court, or Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Law of the Sea treaty. Another thing, according to Purchasing Power Parity term China’s GNP within ten years will become bigger than America. In China there is a deep suspicion that America wants China from succeeding even though China as a whole wants American to remain a superpower.

Middle East– It wasn’t after 9/11 that I began to know about the Middle East and the Muslim world and what terrorism meant. The ties with America and the Middle East goes far before that though. The US has failed in attempt after attempt to settle the Arab-Israeli conflict. When Israel gained a victory over the Muslims back in 1967 Secretary of State Henry Kissinger decided that Israel was the bigger power and he wanted to maintain that by giving the Palestinians money and guns to keep the Arabs and Russians out. This helped the momentum ultimately leading to the October War in 1973. Kissinger’s plan was to exclude the Palestinians from the post war settlement and the Egyptians from the Arab military line up. This move eventually led to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty in 1979.

For the next 30 years Israel’s supremacy showed the power of Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinians. Israel invaded Lebanon and killing 17,000 people in the process in 1982. Israel seized Beirut and started a massacre of right-wing Christians that left 800 Palestinians dead the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. For the next 18 years they remained in control in South Lebanon until Hizballah Guerrillas drove them out. The US called the guerrillas “terrorists” which did not sit well with the them. In the Middle East Palestine was only one reason for the cause of 9/11, the other was when the US removed the Iraqi’s from Kuwait back in 1991 and then back that with crippling sanctions said to cause the death of over a million Iraqi babies.

Yet another piece was when tens of thousands of Arab fighters who were trained by the US and given weapons to fight the Russian threat in Afghanistan. Once the Russian withdrew their military arm in 1989 so did the US with the mujaheddin . Large numbers of the Afghan Arabs were left angry, military trained and dangerous to roam in their home countries or even join Al-Qaida. George Bush’s “War on Terror” certainly did help any foreign repair when the US went into war with Afghanistan, a war that is still going on today over twelve years later. The US then decides to go after Iraq in which the neo-cons wanted anyway after the Iran Iraq war. An estimated 1.4 million Iraq’s died and 4,500 US soldiers died as well.

Even today as President Obama authorized  drone attacks against Afghanstan, Yemen, Pakistan and other Islamic militant group locations. The problems happen when the US is acting in the better interest of Israel through sanctions, wars and demonizing tactics.

Africa– For many in Africa the US represents a beacon of racial harmony. South Africa and the US both share a dark racial past between slavery and the apartheid regime. When the election and re-election of Barack Obama embraced the US it renewed faith in Africans that the US has better race relations then they did previously. It’s the African and African-American relationship that can get dicey at times. Even though African-Americans ancestry is largely in Africa there seems to be still a lot of ignorance and hatred toward Africans and the homeland. This bond was between the two cultures and people was broken and never healed properly.

One would think this would be the easiest bond to mend since we share past, present and future, but more often than not you can hear a black woman or man making descent and even execrable remarks about lions walking around villages. People imitating an African dialect with a series of mouth made clicks and clack sounds that are horribly misrepresentative of a beautiful and robust set of different languages that has dates back more than 100,000 years, which most scholars agree on.

Msia Kibona Clark, a visiting assistant professor at Howard University’s African Studies department said in a student newsletter that, generally, African-American students think “Africans are backwards … and that all Africans are poor”. Some students, she says, “question the presence of big cities [in African nations]. They think that all Africans come from a village.” Many African American still believe Africa is a place for famine, poverty, HIV, corruption and civil war. On the other end of the road the common misconception about African-Americans is that they have a “chip on their shoulder” and are not interested in becoming educated.

This is a problem that NEEDS TO BE FIXED since the numbers of Africans coming to America are only increasing from 110,000 between 1961 to 1980 to 530,000 from 1980 t 2000. The faces that reflect African-Americans are changing and the times and sensitivity to them need to aggrandize with the times were are in.

European– When you talk about what Europeans think about US culture. Europeans think that American politics are extremely negative and they are not favorable of American cuisine, but do favor TV and films as exports. A market research firm hired by the Wall Street Journal polled more than 18,000 people in 18 different countries in Europe. They found that France in particular did not like the Bush presidency and that the French more than any other country did not American Food. With the election of Obama the views of American politics has changed for a more positive position.

In Italy 39% had the citizens had a positive impression as opposed to the 25%  who had a negative impression. The U.K. (38% to 31%), Poland (32% to 24%), Bulgaria (29% to 25%) and Romania (29% to 26%) also logged more positive than negative responses.Luigi Mattirolo, an Italian civil servant in Rome says The American “way of thinking makes it possible for the people who really believe in something to achieve their goals. At least [in the U.S.] it happens more frequently than in Europe.”  Greece however has more negative views of American culture with 58% having a negative impression. Russia follows them with 45% and Hungary with 40% with negative impressions.

When it breaks down by category 30% of those surveyed believe that movies and tv shows were the best thing about American culture, then sports with 12% of those surveyed and music with 11%. On the other hand though 21% of those surveyed said “I don’t know” or “nothing” when asked what is the American contribution to world culture. Among the worst contributions is food from American culture with 66% of French respondents, 56% of Swiss respondents and 52% of German respondents. When the European countries were asked how America was looked at in regards to politics most of the countries had mostly negative responses, but Romania, Bulgaria and Poland were the only countries with the least negative responses. Romania views America as the land of hope and light especially after the oppression Romania faced from Russia.

Belgium, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Bulgaria and Russia all have more positive than negative views of America since President Obama began his term when they were questioned about political influence.

Latin America– According to the Pew Research Center’s “Global Attitudes Project a large portion of Latin countries has a positive view of the US. El Salvador had the highest favorability with 79% with Brazil right behind with 73%, Chile 68%, Mexico with 66%, Bolivia 53%, Venezeula 41% and Argentina with 40%. Currently 1 in 5 people from El Salvador lives in the United States and uses the US dollar as their currency. It seems in countries where US intervention has been the most frequent and dramatic also seems to be the same countries where US is in high favor(El Salvador,Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama).

Bolivia, Argentina and Venezuela are a few of the countries who have less than favorable attitudes toward the US. 73% of Argentines thinks that the US ignores their interests. This number coincides with the 41% favorability with the US. Chile is in a odds place though on both sides of the spectrum saying Chile feels positively about the United States, even though they also feels the US ignores its interest. Here is a list of the countries who thinks the US is not favorable and thinks  the US ignores its interests: Argentina 73%, Chile 61%, Bolivia 59%, Mexico 45%, Venezuela 42%, Brazil 38% and El Salvador.

I wrote this blog because our perception in the world does matter. We want to and need to become a country that is more compassionate and sympathetic.

overworked

Has your boss ever told you to work fewer hours? Were you told before that your 40 hour week is being reduced down to a third or a half what you use to make and still make the same amount at the end of the two weeks? I’ll wait……..I didn’t think so. It’s no secret or accident that Americans are over-worked, over-stressed, over-tired, under-paid and over-reaching for economical goals that are placed with intent just centimeters out of reach. The population of the working poor are gradually replacing the once thriving middle class.

I was talking to a friend who lost her high paying job and manage to find a job that pays a lot less. Now she’s working and drowning in debt. At one point was working two jobs and I worked 7 days a week between the two jobs. I had 64 – 70 hour work weeks and even with both jobs I wasn’t even scratching the $50,000 a year mark. I can tell you from experience there’s nothing more draining and frustrating then sitting down with your spouse going over bills and not being able to pay then knowing you worked all day and all night.

One article from “The Atlantic” says the opposite that were working less. Huh!!!! The argument is that within the last 60 plus years the workforce is being replaced new technologies. The magazine claims that their has been a significant drop in an annual hours per worker for 1950 – 2012. Another argument state the shift from women spending more time in the office than at home and now the men are home more because of less avidity for male – dominated industries. In 1965 on average women ages 25 – 54 fair 15 hours a week working and 43.4 hours doing housework.

By 2011 that number jumped to 25 hours a week and 28.5 housework hours. While men in 1965 worked 41.9 his a week to 11.8 of housework. 2011 the average was 32.6 hours a week to 16.8 of housework a week. Since the nature of marriage have changed so has the workforce. What used to be pairing of opposites is now more likely to be combining of like intellects and work occupations. The set work week has also been changed by cell phones. A Harvard Business School survey of managers and professionals. The study was for those who were “on” either working, or “monitoring work” and remaining accessible.

The study shows that a disproportioned amount of time was used for monitoring and little time working. North Americans spent 88.5 hours monitoring as opposed to Europeans with 82 hours and Asians with 80.5. The article in “The Atlantic” did note what was called “leisure inequality”. This explains the asymmetry between the downtime difference for Americans with a college degree than those without. On average American men have 3.6 hours of leisure time and women have .3 hours. While men without college degrees on average have -2.5 hours and women average -2.0 hours.

On the contrary an article written by ABC News back in the early 2000’s gives a different perspective. The article blames road rage, workplace shootings, rising number of children in day care and the demand for schools to provide after school programs on Americans being over-stressed and over-worked.  In 1999 The Bureau of Labor statistics shown that 25 plus million Americans or 20.5% of the workforce worked 49 hours a week and 11 million said they worked 59 hours a week. A book written in 1997 stated that Americans in 1990 worked almost a full month more per year that they did in 1970. Even then the argument was more women were entering the workforce working part-time jobs. Leaving a gap in a household chores.

Laura Flanders an author for “The Nation” reports that in 2011, 70% of Americans left their vacation days untouched. She also noted that Americans work almost five weeks more a year than our peers in Europe. Family leave is still unpaid under federal law and paid sick days are being attacked as well. Flanders offered a suggestion to march for leisure. She noted the last time US labor unions marched was for an eight-hour work day after the depression of 1884. Banners called for “Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest and eight hours for what we will.”

Flanders points out that the labor force in America is the smallest it’s been in 20 years and thanks to globalization and computerization the demand for US labor is just not there as strong as it was before.

So let’s make a comparison between the US and Europe and let’s see how they stack up against each other. Generally the US has a 40 hour work week and any hours over 40 in a week will be overtime pay. States like California are setup differently, every minute over a 8 hour work day is subject to overtime pay. So an example is given if an employee works four 10 hour days they have fulfilled the full 40 hours for the week with no over time. In California the same employee working the same hours will get two hours overtime for hours worked past the essential 8 in a work day. Overtime in the US is 1.5 times the pay of a normal wage.

In Europe –

The French have a 35 hour work week. Also there limitations on overtime in France. In Switzerland the work week is 45 hours in industrial and retail industries and 50 hours in other industries. In Austria the work week is 40 hours a week, the overtime pay is plus 50%. On Sundays and Holidays it is plus 100%. Also employees are forced to take an 11 hour period between tow work days. Germans work between 36 and 39 hours a week. The cap for them is 48 hours per week (that includes overtime). Overtime pay is a 25% premium and night work is 10%. Belgium is even more complicated. They have a five-day, 38 hours workweek, not all days are equally long. Overtime pay is 50% on Sundays and 100% on Holidays. Employees can not work over 11 hours overtime per day and 50 hours per week. The also need to take an 11 hour period between two work days.

Wages in the US-

The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour. Some states do not adhere to the wage and have ranges of wages from $5.15 in Georgia and Wyoming, $8.67 in Washington State.

Wages in Europe –

In Europe minimum wages are based on monthly earnings. In the Euro zone the amounts range from 55 euros in Montenegro or 170 euros in nearby Kosovo, to over 1.682 euros in Luxemburg. Switzerland and Scandinavian do not have a minimum wage. German employees are covered by a minimum wage of 1.400 euros or over 8 euros per hour. The German “mini-job” programs offers work at around 5 euros per hour.

So you heard the arguments do you think Americans are overworked? My personally opinion is that the evidence is in the society we live in. That is the best barometer for the conditions in the workplace. Typical a stressed out population usually doesn’t have the laxed work schedule that other countries do. I could be wrong let me know.