Search This Blog

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Legarde highlights 2015 economic challenges

Christine Legarde
As the World Economic Forum 2015 winds to a close in Davos, Switzerland, Christine Legarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, gave clear clues on dealing with monetary risks, stagnation, stability, and cooperation.

1. Create more jobs.
2. Lift GDP more than 2% by 2018.
3. Close gender gap by 25%.
4. Support training, affordable childcare, and workplace flexibility.
5. Make interconnected world a safer place.
6. Complete financial sector reform.
7. Close data gaps in banking sector so risks to financial stability can be adequately assessed.

For more information on this topic, go to: http://www.weforum.org/
Also, research ways to create diverse teams in the economic sector:
http://www.weforum.org/videos/diversity-dividend
 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Cyber fraud alert from FBI

If you receive unsolicited e-mail offers or spam, you can forward the messages to the Federal Trade Commission at spam@uce.gov.

Here are tips you can use to avoid becoming a victim of cyber fraud:
  • Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) e-mail.
  • Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited e-mail.
  • Be cautious of e-mail claiming to contain pictures in attached files; the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders. Scan the attachments for viruses if possible.
  • Avoid filling out forms contained in e-mail messages that ask for personal information.
  • Always compare the link in the e-mail to the link you are actually directed to and determine if they match and will lead you to a legitimate site.
  • Log on directly to the official website for the business identified in the e-mail instead of “linking” to it from an unsolicited e-mail. If the e-mail appears to be from your bank, credit card issuer, or other company you deal with frequently, your statements or official correspondence from the business will provide the proper contact information.
  • Contact the actual business that supposedly sent the e-mail to verify that the e-mail is genuine.
  • If you are requested to act quickly or there is an emergency that requires your attention, it may be a scam. Fraudsters create a sense of urgency to get you to act quickly.
  • Remember if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Tuskegee syphilis experiment - black men used as guinea pigs

Doctor "treating" syphilis patient (Public Domain - PD-USGOV)
“We must remember we are dealing with a group of people who are illiterate, have no conception of time, and whose personal history is always indefinite.”

---S.M. Reverby, Editor, Tuskegee’s Truths Rethinking the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill (2000), pp. 15–33.

For information on the whistleblower who stopped this experiment, go to:
http://www.whistleblower.org/blog/04302014-whistleblower-peter-buxtun-and-tuskegee-syphilis-study

Amelia Boynton Robinson: elders who move us forward

Civil rights leaders are elders with divine wisdom which can move us to act. (Photo by Kurk Johnson)
 
Excerpt from 2011 interview 
"Just to be given the right to vote is not enough. The Civil Rights Era and the Voting Rights Act were just the beginning.

“We had a wonderful leader (MLK) who was designated from the beginning of the world. ...We were enamored with the baby, (Yolanda) but he was just ordinary; but my opinion of him soon changed.

“When young people are caught up in their own dreams, they make fewer mistakes. It’s all right to dream, but don’t let dreams be your master. I believe in dreams, but I don’t believe in letting dreams control you without using your conscience and God’s guidance.

“I did not work hard just so today’s generation could go to any hotel or restaurant...Why not get together and own buildings?

“Get educated. Go into mathematics, science, astrology, astronomy. Excel. Then we can afford to fight. We need to have ammunition, which is education."

Desegregation: good or bad?

Jesus said to them again,
"Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
"Receive the holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained." 
--John 20:21-23


In 1963, 118 students - 106 black and twelve white - took their places together, constituting historic school integration at St. Joseph's Mission School. (Students returning from Mass)
I attended the first school to be desegregated in the great State of Alabama on Sept. 3, 1963, contrary to historical reports that another school was desegregated first. My school, St. Joseph's Mission, was integrated when 12 white kids enrolled in what was a previously all black elementary school. Black kids were admitted to a "white" public school six days later.

But that's not important... what is important is that white parents felt it necessary to make a statement and to integrate - and so did the Catholic diocese and priest, Father Mark, who were sued over their decision to let little white girls and boys go to school with little black girls and boys.

And the parents of the black children, mostly Christian but non-Catholic, thought desegregation was a good idea too!

Even living through that history, I often contemplate how desegregation hurt black businesses - like hotels, grocery stores, eateries, and pharmacies - which couldn't compete with white-owned businesses. The Gladys Jane Hotel, owned by a black man and named after his two daughters, closed after segregation. So did Moore's Dry Goods and Turner Pharmacy.

It all boils down to money and math, though, and whether you think "separate" can ever be "equal."

What we are dealing with now is pseudo-desegregation. On a recent visit to Orange County, Calif., I noticed few black people at attractions, restaurants, and private schools. My republican friends thought my discomfort from not seeing more people who looked like me was funny which made me angry.

Is just one or two people of color in one place truly representative of a desegregated society? I think not.  Look at our churches and places of employment at the top levels. Are we voluntarily segregating ourselves, and what will the outcome be? What does this re-segregation say about America's future?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Invisible brown friend


 
You can’t miss what you don’t see,

A brown friend, a bubble bee.
You never realize what you’ve missed,

At school or soccer practice.
And when you see him, you wonder why,

He never did see you eye to eye.
Until mentioned...

the very intention
Of including him as your friend.

 

We tend to forget what we don’t see,
We can’t forget what was not to be.

A chance glance and we realize

What we missed was authorized.
By happenstance, fate or status,
Never to be thought of or granted us,

missing and being apart.
A dart through the unnoticed heart.



But be of good courage, oh friend of mine,

'Twill some day be different and undefined.

It will not matter what track you live on

Who your brother was, of what cloth you're torn.

Remember, to your own self be true,

The world is made of more than you.

So watch for that friend to appear,

And when you find him, hold him dear.

Brown friends can be trusted, true,

Find one, or he will find you.

Wingchun Kung fu Grandmaster Klaus Brand coming to metro Atlanta for open seminar


Grandmaster Klaus Brand of Germany
Marietta, Ga... The Academy of WingChun Atlanta is hosting a training seminar with Grandmaster Klaus Brand of Germany on Sunday, January 25th from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Marietta Martial Arts, 2145 Roswell Rd., Suite 200, Marietta, Ga. All martial arts practitioners, regardless of rank, are invited to attend.

The seminar will include an introduction to the WingChun system, International Academy of WingChun® (IAW) training curriculum and exercises, student testing, and advanced techniques. All attendees will experience one-on-one, interactive, informative, effective training with the Grandmaster. Brand's seminars are intensive, fast paced, and loaded with excitement.

Brand is the creator of the IAW, and he is a former master sergeant in the German army. The IAW motto is "Learn to Defend Yourself."

"WingChun, from the first movement to the last, is pure self-defense. It's nothing else," Brand said in a recent interview.  "Of course, some are practicing WingChun because of the art, to improve their physique and coordination, but all our movements lead back to how one defends against an attack."

Brand will be accompanied by Sifu Paul Wang, US headquarters leader in Berkeley, Calif. Wang is also trained in Integrative Biology, Bipedal Locomotion, Human Biodynamics, and Chinese Medicine.
Sifu Paul Wang
Seminar cost is $120 pay-at-the-door for non-IAW members.

For more information, call (678) 453-8119 or click on the Events tab at http://www.atlantawingchun.com/index.html. 

World Economic Forum highlights leadership challenges

A global meeting on Economics opened in Davos, Switzerland today, "committed to improving the state of the world."

According to Tony Kalm, this year’s agenda highlights "deteriorating international cooperation, eroding trust in leadership, and unaddressed societal challenges, to name just a few."

Other issues being addressed include economic growth, environmental sustainability, financial systems, health for all, and social development.

To learn more, go to http://www.weforum.org/
 

Rivaling Obama like opposing Kennedy: a lesson in moving backwards

 
Bull Connor was a separatist who fought against Pres. Kennedy's views on integration. (City of Birmingham, Ala. photo)
I don't understand why any patriot, although disagreeable, would not support his/her top leader!
 
As I watched President Barack Obama's 2015 State of the Union Address, I remembered the words of Bull Connor, racist public servant who defied integration in Birmingham, Ala. during the 1960's: "You can never whip these birds (Negroes) if you don't keep you and them separate...You got to keep the white and the black separate!" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9kT1yO4MGg't
 
A nation divided will not stand! But our nation is set up on opposition: whites against non-whites, Dems against Repubs., Christians against Muslims, rich against poor, educated against uneducated, employed against unemployed, mansion dwellers against homeless, gays against straights, prisoners against freemen, public school attendees against private school students. Separatism, however, only exacerbates our problems.

Three branches of government were instituted by the founders fathers in our fledgling government's Constitution in Articles I, II, and III as a way to check and balance power. It was not set up to derail good intentions by leadership working for the common good in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. There should not be a constant war struggle on our shores between some politicians who are merely trying to enhance their standing, satisfy their base, raise campaign funds, look important, and sound convincing. Time for that should be over.

What would happen if our separate branches on the same tree could produce good fruit together? Everyone would win.

Yes, like Obama said last night, we are moving forward in a positive way economically, but we must keep our moral agenda in check. There is no reason why some rich Americans, who will never be able to spend all their money, should not concede that it is almost impossible for a family to make it on $15,000 a year.

My rich friends, I know you think you deserve all that you have worked so hard for, but consider the working poor who cannot pull themselves up by their bootstraps if they are barefoot. The playing field must be leveled in economics and education for us all to progress, and those who need help the most should get it! This is not communism or socialism, just good common sense! And this is a mostly Christian nation, so let's contemplate, "What would Jesus do?"

Let's stand behind our President, his advisers, and say to the legislative and judicial leaders "ACT" with Obama. Let's not slide backwards.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Selma, the movie, spans murky waters of civil rights strategy

Photo of Selma's Director Ava DuVernay by Marie Maye at AFI Film Festival and SAG "BreakThrough" Filmmakers Party (Creative Commons)
"One crossing a river should expect to get wet," is an old Zulu proverb that can be related to the movie, Selma. In 1965, there were no reports of any civil rights marchers being pushed off the Edmund Pettus Bridge into the Alabama River, but fluids were tested. Blood, sweat, hate and restraint saturated marchers and police as they met on the bridge named after a former confederate general turned KKK Grand Dragon.  

Selma is based on civil rights strategies that led to voting rights for Afro Americans being enforced throughout the United States. It is a melodrama fabulously directed by California filmmaker Ava DuVernay and acted out by hundreds of present day thespians who embody the emotion and mood of that challenging time. 


Center stage is Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife who he loving calls Corey. King is brilliantly played by 38 year old David Oyelowo, a British actor with family roots in Nigeria. At the 46th Commemorative Celebration of King's life held today in Atlanta, Ga., a tearful Oyelowo explained what it was like playing King. 

"What God starts, He will finish," he said of his prophetic dream that he would one day play MLK. Oyelowo does not discount prayer, fasting, and listening closely to The Almighty. "I know the voice of God," said Oyelowo who, like King, has four children. 

He said the mental anguish and murderous spaces King found himself in were almost unbearable. King's heavy burdens involved incredible pain, love of family, and realization that he was an ordained, moral child of the Most High. "There are no accidents with God." Oyelowo reminded today's revolutionaries they must not just spout words, but must act upon them.

Oyelowo said American slavery left scars on Blacks, but one must not let scars define one's humanity. "We must be in the center of our own narratives," he said, and like King, "Continue to speak truth to power."

Growing up in Alabama in the 1950's, I don't remember unrest in Selma as much as news reports from Birmingham, probably because I was more shocked at images of bombs,  fire hoses  and German Shepard dogs unleashed on protesters more than horses and billy clubs. Nevertheless, I had to see Selma, not because of its special effects, but the subject matter pulled me in. Almost immediately, I was stunned at the scene where four little girls were murdered in church.

What impressed me most was the project management being carried on by King and his advisors. I want to learn more about using non-violent protest strategies and build on them to combat racism, terrorism, sexism, classism, and ageism which continue to plague us. 

I wonder how many anti-black strategists are viewing the movie to become agents against civil rights. What holes in the movement would they be looking for to stall efforts proposed to end today's King-inspired movement?

Linkages between then and now... What is the next battle, and will it be on the silver screen?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Black woman who has it all - Folorunso Alakija

U.N. map of Nigeria...

Even with oil prices declining, Nigeria's Folorunso Alakija, 64, has surpassed Oprah in wealth due to savvy expertise in business and fashion.

Living in Lagos, Alakija has been married to her husband, Modupe, since 1976 and has four children. It is estimated she is worth $7.3 billion, according to Allafrica.com.

Learn more about this amazing woman at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RKpUl97aG8&feature=player_embedded

News or entertainment? You decide.

Grizzly photo of people killed by terrorists in Nigeria from Boris Kodjoe's Facebook post.

While news departments last week focused on 17 media murders in Paris, the manhunt, and eventual killing of the terrorists, I guess there wasn't enough time to report on terrorism in Nigeria??? 

Many are afraid to go there. Do you want to go there? Although I am a journalist, I don't want to go to any war zone, however, we must understand who decides on "news" stories and whether we are seeing "news" or are just being entertained. 

Journalism can shed light on wrongdoings which can lead to positive change. Some news, though, is just propaganda and public relations with agendas. You, the viewer, must decide the purpose of news reports and your response should be equal to your outrage. Right now, all I can do is use my keyboard.

Unfortunately, people in these countries are powerless when it comes to fighting atrocities...what can we do other than be spectators?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Benign envy can be good for those wanting to succeed, but be careful who you envy


Envying a beautiful girl standing in a beautiful place is not bad if it motivates you to wash your hair, lose ten pounds, and drive to Florida to enjoy the sites yourself.
Two things have motivated me to write this post: 
1) comments from anti-racists on what blacks need to do to succeed;
2) discussion on envy with relative.


I don't think we are envious when we are trying to learn from other's fortunes in an attempt to succeed ourselves. 

One definition of envy deals with people lacking another's superior qualities, achievements, or possessions. I do not condone malicious envy, but benign envy can be a positive, motivating force.

I think everyone should search his/her own soul, contemplate what is really important in life, set goals, and learn from others who have achieved success. When one "envies" a lottery winner, benign envy motivates him to buy a ticket, but trying to steal the ticket from the winner or wishing bad luck on winners would be malicious and contemptible. 

Some black people are envious of their friends, kinfolks, and the majority of white people who they deem are better off, have higher achievements, and more possessions. If our goal is to get a better house or car, a better education, higher spirituality, or keys to success, it will take more than envy but hard work and a plan to work toward goals together. We cannot succeed alone, but should include those we love in all future endeavors.  

And what about those who have what looks like the world? They too have their own problems, so be careful who you envy!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Biting words and images bound to piss off someone

Does this picture of a "damned" place in Missouri make you want to shoot somebody?
While in California, my friend's six year old son told me his mother didn't like the way I used "curse" words around him. I informed him that a Catholic nun had chastised my 4th grade classmate who thought "SHIT" was a bad word. "That's just dodo," she said, and that revelation coming from her gave me the impression that I could use any word I wanted - weak, strong or otherwise. Years later, I was elated when my French teacher taught me the slang word "Zut" meant "damn."

Yes, words and images do matter and they can hurt more than sticks and stones. Words and images, however, should not be construed as deadly faux pas leading to murder. As we recently witnessed in Paris, even strong images in cartoons kill. Unfortunately, those types of repercussions will not stop communications on a global scale, in bedrooms, or in church.

While at worship, I sat on some crumbs in the pew. "Is there something on my butt?" I asked the woman sitting next to me. She gestured her displeasure by rubbing one finger over the other, a sign that I had said a "no no."

My mother often related the story of a man in town killing his friend in a card game for calling him a name. While drinking and losing badly, he called him a "son of a bitch" which led to a lot of sadness in a small West Virginia town. Playing the dozens is wrong in some circles and comedic in others, but let's be civil regarding our response to what we hear.

Even related to my blog, my brother-in- law told me to stop writing because what I was blogging could have a negative effect on my career. To be honest, everyone is a critic which leads you to distrust any and everything you read and hear as not being truthful but the result of what editors want you to believe.

In this time of rapid communication -  talk radio, blogging, texting, and tweeting -  may we do so without killing ourselves. Look out into the cosmos and figure out what really matters.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Community policing seen through different lens

Do not use without permission.
Two Cobb Cty., Ga. cops
I used to and still want to trust the police.
 
Although my recently adopted mantra is "Trust no one except God," I remember traveling on business to New York City and finding myself abandoned at Grand Central Station. Spotting a black police officer in the crowd, I asked him to watch my luggage while I made a phone call. I trusted him. When I returned, he told me, "Lady, don't ever do that again!" He then walked me to a cab, deposited me and my luggage into the backseat, and told the driver to take me to my destination on Wall Street. That was in the '70's. I would never travel alone in NYC now!
 
In this new age, a time when pseudo cops are gunning down teens and real cops are shooting old ladies in their beds in the middle of the night, it's time for a new conversation on policing. "The Law" as they call themselves on occasion, are laughed at during Andy Griffin reruns set in Mayberry RFD.  In real life, cops are feared for what they could do - kill you for no good reason and get away with it.
 
Welcome to Alabama! This phrase was spoken to me at 2:00 a.m. on a Southern Highway after five police cars filled with rifle and revolver strapped officers stopped me and my fiancĂ©. I never will know if this stop was legit or just a few police trying to have fun on a dark highway. "Don't move, or I'll kill you," met me at the barrel of a shotgun as I exited our green van filled with old furniture. "Your vehicle matched the description of one reported to be transporting firearms across state lines," he explained, but we were never given an apology for being threatened with death. I give credit to God for saving my life that night.
 
Will I ever approach a policeman again when I need help?  Will I not be afraid when I spot a police car in my rearview mirror? I know they can kill me and pretty much get away with it...In a "Christian" country professing the Sixth Commandment "Thou shall not kill," aren't cops trained to use deadly force and not maim? That dichotomy is the reason for my unease.
 
And what about NY City cops deliberately going on hiatus from ticketing? (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/07/opinion/no-justice-no-police.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=c-column-top-span-region&region=c-column-top-span-region&WT.nav=c-column-top-span-region&_r=1) I guess citizens are glad they are not getting harassed for minor infractions, a money maker for government coffers. Who are they protecting and serving?
 
These are questions that need to be answered if I can ever trust "The Law" again.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Racial disparities, racism, and hypersegregation hurting educated Blacks

Blacks must interact with whites but not lose their identities.
This is in response to a New York Times article: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/12/25/business/for-recent-black-college-graduates-a-tougher-road-to-employment.html?referrer=&_r=2

Yes, this article hits close to home for several reasons.

1. I grew up in Huntsville, Ala. and lived there for 22 years. My voice teacher, Madame Lee, taught at Oakwood College, now Oakwood University. My parents were on the faculty of A&M College located on the outskirts of Huntsville in Normal, Ala. These two black schools were noted for high standards; one was tied to a 7th Day Adventist Church philosophy and the other was a school for blacks operated by the State. I understand that A&M has a major drug problem....Instead of staying in Huntsville for college. I decided to go to Indiana University and graduated in 3 1/2 years after an internship, landing a job in Kentucky in my field during the height of the recession at an educational television station. The key: assistance from my teacher and mentor, Dr. Winona Fletcher. Teachers with connections can help students get jobs!!!

2. I have interviewed Dr. Darity myself, and he believed in 2011 we needed a federal jobs program.  (http://wingcomwatchdog.blogspot.com/2011/08/economist-gives-solutions-to-end.html) He is probably right. I'm thinking that if the political climate changes after the next presidential election, we will go back to the days of Reagan and Bush when black unemployment was high. When the economy is bad, it hurts those on the bottom first. Also, black businesses suffer during these times, so getting ahead as a black businessperson depends on the competition and partnerships, not mind power or inventiveness. The main thing that Dr. Darity states harms blacks in this NY Times piece is not the lack of education, but racial disparities. In the U.S., racial disparities are directly related to criminal justice systems. After recently visiting Orange County, Calif., I think our country is getting more segregated, and whites are interacting less and less with blacks in the workforce, in housing, and educational institutions. "Our Nation Is Moving Toward Two Societies, One Black, One White—Separate and Unequal”: Excerpts from the Kerner Report...Whites don't really see their world as being segregated, but normal. Blacks let into the "white" world tend to lose all sense of identity. Neely Fuller states that racism/white supremacy is the basis of all our problems in every human activity, including education and employment.

3. I am blessed that my kids, who all finished college by using the HOPE scholarship, living at home, and accruing a small amount of educational debt, have jobs. Jobs not only provide income but a sense  of self-worth. I also feel that if they were white, they would be making more money. Educational systems make administrators, researchers, and teachers a lot of money, and they must be held accountable if graduates can't find jobs. Maybe we need to steer our youth into education and research instead of healthcare. Additionally, my daughter wants to go to grad school, but the company she works for won't help her pay for classes. I recently applied for a job at that same company and was told I was overqualified which just let me know that ageism/racism was at play.  We need ways to pay for advanced degrees so we can compete, land better jobs, but not become too "overqualified" and unemployable while still owing large sums in educational debt.

4.  Going to Dubai or working overseas may be an option, but for black women not the best move, especially seeking employment in Arab/Islamic countries.  I was informed some years ago that my husband would be welcomed in Saudi Arabia, but it was not wise for me or my daughter to work there. Europe also has high unemployment. Switzerland may provide some opportunities if you have connections there. On the other hand, if we can't make it here, we can't make it anywhere!