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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

No more blogging for a while...

Goodbye for now.
Dear Readers,

Since I began blogging 563 posts ago, I have received a lot of kudos for my efforts but no real monetary benefit from my hard work. I have even been informed that some of my remarks may have kept me from getting a full time job, and the government may be monitoring my posts.

Today I have decided to take a hiatus from blogging, but since my views in previous posts have already been documented, I will leave my blog up for historical purposes.

I hope that I have informed you on some matters and highlighted some accomplishments that you may not have known about, since most "news" is controlled by major news agencies at the discretion of assignment editors.

Thanks for your support. Now, on to my book writing...will get back to you later.

Tomi

Monday, July 29, 2013

And the monetary power couple is...

Official FRBSF photo

Janet Yellen is Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve, making her next in line to succeed Ben Bernanke as Fed chairman in January 2014. In order for her to be granted this position, Yellen will have to be appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate. According to her Federal Reserve bio,  "Dr. Yellen has written on a wide variety of macroeconomic issues, while specializing in the causes, mechanisms, and implications of unemployment."

FOLLOW THE MONEY! 
 
Her husband, George Akerlof, is an American economist and Nobel Prize winner.  Akerlof coauthor Efficiency Wage Models of the Labor Market with his wife. Their theories "propose rationales for the efficiency wage hypothesis in which employers pay above the market-clearing wage, in contradiction to the conclusions of neoclassical economic," according to Wikipedia.
Photo by Wyap91

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tribute to Earnest C. Smith, Sr., NASA's lunar rover, guidance systems scientist

Earnest C. Smith, Sr. (l) and Earnest C. Smith, Jr. in 1975
Through this blog, I have reconnected with one of my former classmates, Earnest Smith, Jr., from St. Joseph's Mission School in Huntsville, Ala. St. Joseph's was one of the first schools to be integrated in the South, and many of my classmates were children of employees at NASA and Redstone Arsenal.

As a consequence, I would like to honor a person who made major contributions at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a U.S. government agency responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research.

Earnest C. Smith, Sr. 
Smith holds a BS degree in Mathematics from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (1956) and a Masters in Mathematics from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville (1964). He is a former high school Mathematics instructor at Coleman High School in Pine Bluff and a 1963 Fellow of the National Science Foundation. He joined the Marshal Space Flight Center in 1964 as a decorated colonel of the U.S. Army Reserves.

Smith and team view controls at NASA.
In the mid-1980's, Smith helped to develop the Flight Robotics Laboratory which studies issues involving orbital rendezvous and docking systems.


In 1989, Smith and NASA were issued patent #4,821,425 for a cylindrical surface profile and diameter measuring tool. This invention is basically a metric, tamper-proof, stainless steel mounting fastener. Only 3,774 patents have been issued to NASA in its history which began in 1958.

Smith is a scientist and inventor.
Smith retired from the Marshal Space Flight Center in 1999 as a Senior Executive Service (SES) Level II. While there, he excelled as a lunar rover expert. His technical paper, "Lunar Roving Vehicle Navigation System Performance Review," was co-authored with William C. Mastin.

NASA Partnership with Alabama A&M
Smith also was director of the Astrionics Laboratory. His most prestigious awards include two NASA Exceptional Service Awards and the coveted Astronaut's Snoopy Award, personally presented by NASA astronauts.

Smith on field at football game,  Alabama A&M University vs University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff
Smith also taught an adult Sunday School class at St. John AME Church. He still lives in Huntsville with his wife of 61 years, Bessie, and they are the parents of four sons (Earnest, Jr., Keith, Karnie, and Cydale) and have nine grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.
Bessie and Earnest Smith, Sr.


Wingcom Watchdog salutes this space pioneer who made major contributions to science.

(Photos provided by Earnest C. Smith, Jr.)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Chicago's black youth living in fear on South Side

Kids who used to stand outside are now afraid to be on the streets of Chicago, said one South Side youth. (Photo taken in the 1990's by Kurk Johnson)

"Things are getting ridiculous on the South Side of Chicago," said a recent high school graduate. I met a beautiful 18 year old girl visiting relatives in metro Atlanta who is from Chicago. I asked, "Is crime up there as bad as they're reporting?"
 
"Yes, it's very bad in my neighborhood and also in Detroit. There have been hundreds of crimes committed since school let out, mostly gang related."

"What are the gangs doing? Are these crimes drug related?" I asked.

"It's petty crimes, stealing whatever they can to sell for money. Violent crimes are also being committed in retaliation for what one gang member has done to a rival gang member.

"Parents are instilling the wrong things into their children. Twelve to seventeen year olds left on their own have turned to gang banging while school is out. Before that, my 12 year old sister was robbed of her cell phone on the way to school, and her cell phone didn't even work," said the young woman who didn't want to be identified. She lives near S. Lowe where my uncle lives.

What does this young woman think will remedy the situation?  "Instilling proper lifestyles." She worries about her younger siblings "who aren't allowed to go outside for fear they'll get in the mix of crime and violence."

I asked her whether there was a Boys and Girls Club nearby, and she said, "No. Our leaders must create programs to keep kids active and off the streets."

This young woman had an innocent yet puzzled look on her face when I spoke to her. Both of us were grasping for answers. "I don't feel afraid or nervous for my own safety because I've lived there a long time and know how to stay away from certain situations, but I'm afraid for my younger brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews.

"I live with this everyday, fear for their safety, but I feel it will get better."

She is maintaining  her sense of positiveness amidst anxiety.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ron Seay: exceptional customer service in resort industry

One can choose anywhere to lodge while on vacation in Florida, but if you want to feel like family and receive outstanding customer service, Ron Seay can supply all your needs at a first rate resort.

It was a delight to find out that Seay, a graduate of Kentucky State University and Cornell University, is the front office manager at Sirata Beach Resort and Conference Center. What a joy to visit with him on our vacation in St. Pete.

According to a 2010 company press release, Seay "has creative ideas...to enhance customer satisfaction and ensure friendly and efficient transactions in all front office procedures." Seay was formerly an employee with the Clearwater Hilton.

Hats off to Seay. Keep up the good work!


For more information on this resort, go to: http://www.sirata.com/
 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Americans with Disabilities Act marks 23rd anniversary

July 26 will mark the 23rd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) which guarantees equal opportunity for people with disabilities in public accommodations, commercial facilities, employment, transportation, state and local government services and telecommunications. 

The Act was signed by President George H. W. Bush. "Let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down," is what Bush is quoted as saying after the Act became law.

56.7 million people were living with a disability in the United States in 2010. They represented 19 percent of the civilian non-institutionalized population. Disabilities include, for instance, having difficulty seeing, hearing, having speech understood, walking, bathing, dressing, eating, preparing meals, going outside the home, or doing housework, having Alzheimer’s, dementia, autism, cerebral palsy, or dyslexia, and being frequently depressed or anxious.

Statistics by age categories:
• 8 percent of children under 15 had disabilities.
• 21 percent of people 15 and older had disabilities.
• 17 percent of people 21 to 64 had disabilities.
• 50 percent of adults 65 and older had disabilities.

Source: Americans with Disabilities: 2010 <www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/p70-131.pdf

Politics on highways...

Here are some photos I took while riding through Florida and Georgia, USA.

Ghostbusters car


On back of jeep

Vietnamese restaurant

The Old South remembered
 

Ron Francis continues to amaze visitors at eclectic art studio in Tampa, Fla.

Portrait of Ron Francis
Most artists can be defined as creative, but Tampa's Ron Francis (Hutchinson) is over the top!

My family recently visited his new 5,000 square foot-evolving studio equipped with Tarzan-like ladders, clawed-petrified cactus furniture, reno-vated cars and campers, and a mountain of paint cans.  Thinking outside the box is an understatement for Francis, 47, a Venetian plaster expert who also dabbles in photography, murals, and museum art.

"An idea for a piece can come from any number of places, a certain frame of mind, a color or a newspaper article," Francis says of his work. He is a Philadelphia native and 1986 graduate in Visual Communications and Design from the Art Institute of Philadelphia. 

Ron Francis works on museum piece while Kurk Johnson contemplates idea. (Photo by Tomi Johnson)

Newly installed artwork in client abode.
"Sometimes it’s as simple as the canvas speaking directly to me...my work represents a transcendental, emotional language that people immediately understand, regardless of culture, race, religion and so forth," Francis says.

For more information on Francis, go to: http://www.ronfrancisart.com/178717/home/.



Francis with Ayron, Ilea, Daniel, Tomi and Kurk Johnson (Photo by Cozette Roche)

Frank Grant celebrates 80th birthday at Karate Do event


Sirata Beach Resort, St. Pete Beach, Fla...Members of The World Shorin-Ryu Karate-Do Federation decided to travel from it headquarters in Piqua, Ohio to celebrate the life of Grandmaster Frank Grant by hosting the 2013 WSKF Internationals on the beach, July 22-24.

Grant, born the ninth of twelve children in Paris, Ky., is presently Chairman of the Board of WSKF. "He, his students and his student's - students have raised thousands of karate-ka through the ranks and degrees of Matsubayashi-ryu Shorin-ryu, worldwide," according to the organization's website. 

Grant's soon to be published book, My Promise to the Master written with Jeff Slutsky, is a tribute to his teacher, Japanese Karate Master Shoshin Nagamine.

Grant poses with Kurk, Daniel, Tomi, Ayron, and Ilea Johnson of Atlanta WingChun in  Marietta, Ga. (http://www.iaw-atlanta.com/)
To learn more about this organization, go to: http://www.shorin-ryu.net/index.php.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Lexicon of black woes increasing; win-win scenario needed

We'll all need new street clothes if violence continues.
(Photo by Ayron Johnson, costume by Daniel Johnson)
When my lawyer friend asked me last night what I was going to write about in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin's killer, George Zimmerman, my first response was, "There's nothing else to be said and nothing else can be done. Trayvon's time for reincarnation has passed. Even a civil suit will gain nothing since Zimmerman has no assets. Rioting will only put more of us in the morgue."

It appears MLK's character dream has been trampled in the mud underneath Trayvon's body. Some are predicting a race war on the horizon, but not the one foreseen with whites fighting blacks....this one could be browns fighting browns. Didn't Hispanic George Zimmerman kill Black Trayvon Martin?

We can't just point the finger at others, especially when we are killing ourselves. According to Ebony Magazine, Chicago's Southside  is becoming a killing ground for black on black crime. (Chicago is President Barack Obama's hometown.) Other major cities - Washington, D.C., Detroit, etc. - are in the same shape.

People of color are facing a StarTrek-like Kobayashi Maru, a no-win situation, also called a "lose-lose" situation. We have freedom to choose what to do next, but no reaction will lead to a net gain if we play the game as before.

The solution involves redefining the problem and having the balls to carry out an action plan.

1.  Human life is not prized or valued as it should be, and man has not evolved from his Cain/Able mentality. People are jealous of others and will take a life easily, using the justice system as a crutch. In Zimmerman's case, he killed Trayvon because he was walking in HIS neighborhood. Trayvon  insulted Zimmerman's manhood when faced with fist fight justice. Trayvon was eliminated with one bullet to the heart with no chance of survival. 

2. Genocide is occurring, whether we want to admit it or not. Powers see a need to decrease the population. Abortion, murder, same sex marriage,  are the result of this agenda. 

3. Education denied leads to poverty and death. Trayvon was suspended from school when he was killed. If not for that, he would have been in Miami, not Sanford. As interest rates on college loans double, where will youth who can't afford higher education be? How will they find jobs? How will they pay back non-bankruptible loans?

4. No hope, no future. No faith, no God. Black people have been worshipping preachers and being entertained in church instead of organizing for war and protecting youth. Too many entertainers and basketball players making too much money and not solving problems. Too many youth not getting involved in the political process because they are too busy playing video games and downing liquor shots until daybreak.

What we need to do is work on this race problem from a project management perspective, iteration by iteration. Make it a test students take in school from age five; how to save ourselves!

We need to engage the most advanced  project managers for this task and have it supported by the government, financial and educational institutions, and the religious community.

We need to put a monetary benefit on this project. It needs to be solved and can be solved by 2014. If we can send a man to the moon in the '60's, bail out the banks, and catch Osama bin Laden, we can solve these 21st century human problems before a race war begins, but only if a monetary imperative and win-win scenario evolves. It's all where you place your priorities. You get done what you want.

Stop F******* with the volume. Turn it up!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Trayvon Martin is a martyr

Trayvon is a dead witness who was not allowed to defend himself in court.

Trayvon should not have tried to defend himself in order to stay alive on the sidewalk in Sanford, Florida.

Florida's prosecutors defended Trayvon's actions in the "legal" system, not the "justice" system.

Trayvon should have run home when he found himself being stalked by an armed man.

This is a question about race because Trayvon was black and Zimmerman is Hispanic.

This is not the first time a black youth has been killed for no reason but blamed for his own death.

The law handed down from God to Moses was "Do not kill." Zimmerman admitted he killed Trayvon, and the state let him go free. 

"Give us Barabbas" was the cry of the crowd, and the Roman government let a known killer go free and condemned Jesus to death.

Innocents have been killed throughout history because they are easy targets.

Message from Zimmerman's not guilty verdict: The State, run by police/vigilantes/lawyers/people with money, is in control in U.S. courts.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Breaking news: Trayvon Martin used self defense, not Zimmerman

No matter what happens in the Zimmerman trial, don't stop fighting for right! Don't give up your right to be free, to say what you believe and to walk where you want to tread. God is still in control. Trust in Him and not your own understanding. The universal truth: Good always overcomes evil!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

In our face: reality in the USA

Do we have the guts to change for the better? (Photo by Tomi Johnson)
"...but oh! what is man, that he dares so to accuse himself?"  Goethe

Tragedy of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman mirrors 21st century America. Assumptions have become reality.

Folks are profiled in minds of people who carry out their own justice. We lock our doors when we see someone approach our car. We tell a promising student to become a janitor instead of a lawyer. We pursue suspicious people and try to play cops. Unsophisticated people are put under the microscope because of the shoes they wear and the writing they read. We lie to protect ourselves instead of living up to our actions. We try to be what we are not. We are inhumane and revile apologizing.

We have ill will for the innocent and shoot them in the heart. We are not our brother's keeper. Our lawmakers let the guilty go free. The convicted stand unforgiven, and we put them into penal institutions where they learn more immorality.We are unsure of reality and don't seek God's guidance in courtrooms.

We don't trust those we claim to love.

We are a tragic people who question our place in the world and our neighbor's view of right and wrong. We are confused.

May God have mercy on us.

Thought for today...

"Racism is not the greatest crime an author can commit, telling the truth is."
This Recording

Great authors of color:
Toni Morrison
James Baldwin
Maryse Conde
Derek Walcott
Robert Hayden

 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Breaking news: Trayvon screamed for help; suffered after being shot in heart


Trayvon Benjamin Martin was the one who was acting in self defense when he was killed by George "Georgie" Zimmerman.

Martin, not Zimmerman, was walking away from and ultimately defend himself from what he believed was a stalker and potential rapist the night he was shot and killed. He used his fists when confronted by a gun.

Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, testified in court that screams on 911 recording were her son's screams for help. Fulton also testified that Martin had his two grandmother's names and her name tattooed on his body.

According to the medical examiner who performed an autopsy on Trayvon Martin, the young black male was alive and suffered after being shot in the heart. Although Martin lived between one to ten minutes after being shot, there was zero chance of survival.

This murder trial hinges on the fact of whether George Zimmerman is a "depraved" individual, of whether shooting an innocent child in the heart at point blank range while he was screaming for help was immoral. This is what the jury will be deciding. Zimmerman was supposed to be "watching" the neighborhood, not taking deadly action with a gun while waiting for police to arrive.

Pic of the day: Frogs

Do not use without permission.
Frogs in rain near swimming pool - Photo by Kurk Johnson - July 4, 2013

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Breaking news: Egyptian military coup choreographed in Cairo

Photo by Tomi Johnson
Ancient Khemet's capital of Cairo is undergoing a military siege now, according to Aljeezera News. General Sameh Seif Al-Yazel, however, says that it was not a coup, but the will of the people.

According to Reuters, the Constitution has also been suspended, and "the president of the supreme constitutional court will act as interim head of state, assisted by an interim council and a technocratic government until new presidential and parliamentary elections are held." Adly Mansour is interim president.

Viewing TV news reports, it appears that the protests and celebrations have been organized and orchestrated.  Fireworks and laser light displays are visible as are hundreds of flags and professional- looking placards.  This type of display has been planned in advance. There are also audio presentations being given over loud speakers and public address system.

The crisis resulted after protesters demanded the removable of democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamic political and religious group. Morsi is said to no longer be President of Egypt, and it is unclear what will happen next.

The CIA World Factbook deems Egypt's military encompassing the Army, Navy, Egyptian Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya il-Misriya), and Egyptian Air Defense Command.

According to a statement posted July 1 on the group's website (http://www.ikhwanweb.com/), "Egypt is going through a period of acute political tension reaching its peak over the last few days with the start of an open sit-in by the Egyptian opposition demanding the toppling of the elected President Mohamed Morsi and another sit-in by supporters of the President who are defending electoral legitimacy... This tension and deadlock has led to violent incidents resulting in numerous victims and the burning of the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood."

Egypt, home of great dynasties, learning institutions, and tourist attractions, is in chaos with an economy devastated since the Arabic Spring of 2011 when former President Hosni Mubarak was removed from power. According to a BBC report, "the UK Foreign Office travel advice to Egypt does talk of 'a high risk of attacks which could be indiscriminate, including in public places frequented by foreigners' ".

Thought for today...

The Creator's power is so great that It's not within our understanding.
---Tomi Johnson


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Black History: Colored laborers paid more in South than North five years after Civil War

Alfred R. Waud, artist. (Illus. in: Harper's weekly, 1868 - public domain)
“Gen. C. H. Howard, Assistant Commissioner of the Freedman’s Bureau for the District, is continually receiving applications from all parts of the Union for colored labors, and thus far has found no difficulty in filling all requisitions. Within the past month several hundred have been furnished transportation to different points, both North and South, and the demand for colored labors particularly from the South, seems constantly increasing, former slaveholders universally preferring imported labor, instead of that of their late slaves. Previous to transportation of colored laborers to the South, their employers are required to sign a contract binding themselves, beside paying reasonable wages to their own employees, to furnish them with comfortable quarters, fuel, and medical attendance. The wages of the freemen sent South average about $15 per month for able bodied males, while the wages of the females are in proportion.  No contracts are made for freedmen sent North, who generally receive less compensation for their labors than those sent to the late insurrectionary States.”
April 10, 1866…Front Page, New York Tribune