Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Political News in Late February of 2024.


There is a lot of economic news coming about. Kellogg's raised its prices by 14 percent from Quarter 2 in 2022 to Quarter 2 in 202. Company profits have increased, and the executives shared plans to spend more on stock buybacks and larger dividends. This comes when the CEO of Kellogg recently suggested that Americans struggling with higher food costs should eat cereal for dinner. That is patronizing and disrespectful. It outlines the agenda of corporate monopolization that dominates much of the present economic system of America. This goes on when tax evasion by millionaires and billionaires tops $150 billion a year according to the IRS chief. The CPAC meeting featuring racists, neo-Nazis, and far right extremists show us that the GOP is dominated by the Trump cult. We are clear that our American diversity is part of our strength. Our diversity makes us stronger to promote freedom, democracy, and a sense of purpose to believe in complete justice for all.

Recently, Terrence Bradley, the former law partner and divorce lawyer for Nathan Wade (the special prosecutor Fani Willis hired to lead the Georgia election subversion case against former President Donald Trump). We know of the bigger picture. There is no smoking gun evidence that Fani Willis did overtly massive conflict of interest fraud involving the case. Yet, far-right MAGA extremists constantly try to prevent Trump from being held accountable for Trump's crimes. Trump has already been found liable for multiple crimes after a jury trial. So, he is a convicted criminal already. We have to wait and see if Attorney Fani Willis will be disqualified from the case in Georgia or not. Terrence Bradley said that he didn't know when his former client Nathan Wade's relationship with Fani Wilis started (and he was speculating when he told a defense attorney it started before Willis hired Wade to lead the investigation into Donald Trump and others). Trump's attorney implied that Wade and Willis lied under oath. One lesson here is that black men and black women must be on their grind and make sure that we have our stuff together to combat the extremism of far-right people. These far-right extremists play hardball and will use slander, disrespect, threats, and violence to try to achieve their aim of a fascist, theocratic, and anti-democratic society.

Trump's comments about black people voting for him because of mug shot is not only stereotypical and offensive. That statement mocks the experiences of black people in America and throughout the world. The reality is that there is no moral equivalency of Trump's legal cases and the plight of black people. Donald Trump was accused of many crimes, and the prosecutors have gathered tons of evidence to document his crimes too. He has been convicted now of many violations of the law, but he refuses to accept accountability for his nefarious actions. In contrast, there is sociological evidence of the injustice found in the judicial system against black Americans. Also, black culture is not about mug shots or the glorification of crime. Real black culture relates to resiliency, family, human expression, community, and tons of positive aspects of human living from the music of Ella Fitzgerald to the activism of Ella Baker. The vast majority of black people in America reject Trump's agenda as authoritarian, racist, sexist, and antithetical to democratic principles.

Kenneth Chesebro, the attorney who helped Trump to promote the campaign's fake electors plot in 2020, concealed a secret Twitter account from Michigan prosecutors. He hid dozens of posts that undercut his statements to investigators about his role in the election subversion scheme. Trump is an authoritarian fascist who glorifies violence by saying that the police can rough up suspects and wants people to beat protestors. The situation in America now is as real as it gets. Trump is known for being a convicted money launder, liable for rape of a woman, and just a habitual liar. Danny Wimmer, a spokesman for Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said that his team will look into the Chesebro matter. There are more people in favor of democracy than those who hate democracy. So, we are on the right side of history.

There is an important Supreme Court case on social media. It deals with the First Amendment. The corporate media want nothing more than to promote overt censorship of real news from Operation Phoenix to the evils done by many corporate interests. Likewise, we believe in full transparency on the Internet. The Supreme Court is hearing a case on whether social media entities can restrict Trump from having a platform to show his views. The Supreme Court has shown skepticism about state laws in Texas and Florida designed to stop social media companies from showing conservative views. The truth is that social media companies should be allowed to ban hate speech or slander (which has nothing to do with free speech rights). The problem is that many innocent people (not Trump) have been unjustly censored on the Internet when they presented no slander, no hate speech, and no offensive language. Therefore, there should be a balance where slander is not tolerated in social media, but innocent people shouldn't be unfairly censored if they show speech that isn't derogatory towards anybody.

By Timothy

Monday, February 26, 2024

Nearing March of 2024.


Toronto's culture is filled with diverse, profound excitement, a multicultural ethos, and a powerful sense of history. Toronto has a large immigrant population that brings a great cultural essence to the city too. Many skyscrapers, musicians, parks, zoos, and sports facilities stretch all over Toronto. The city has the largest collection of Victorian-era industrial architecture in North America and the largest urban car-free community in North America. Kensington Market is a multicultural neighborhood in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is a historic site in Toronto. There is the annual Kensington Market Festival of Lights with a parade. There is the Carnival parade in the area with giant puppets, firebreathers, stilt walkers, and samba musicians. It was created by Ida Carnevali in 1987. The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the largest and most prestigious events of its kind in the world. We know about Caribana. This is a Caribbean cultural festival being the largest street festival in North America. Caribana represents a pan-Caribbean Carnival event being frequented by over 1. 3 million visitors every year. The festival's final parade and overall attendance can reach as high as 2 million people. It starts in July. It coincides with the August 1 Emancipation Day that commemorates the emancipation of slaves of African descent. The King and Queen Showcase, King of the Band, J'ouvert, food celebrations, galas, and other components are found in Caribana constantly. It has existed since 1967 as a gift from Canada's Caribbean community. We all salute our Caribbean Brothers and Sisters. Many people have visited Canada too from Malcolm X to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. People have experienced fun in the Beat Shoe Museum, the Aga Khan Museum, and the Hockey Hall of Fame where hockey is a cultural staple in Canada in general. Famous musicians are from Toronto or live in the city like Peaches, Rush, Drake, Jessie Reyez, Deborah Cox, Shawn Mendez, Alessia Cara, and The Weeknd. Art is promoted at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, John Street Round House Institute, TD Gallery of Unit Art, etc. The Toronto Music Garden was designed by musician Yo-Yo Ma as a consultant that has free orchestras in the summer. Many neighborhoods in Toronto are Forest Hill, Rosedale, Moore Park, The Annex, and other locations. The Trillium Park and the Black Creek Pioneer Village are famous parks in Toronto. The Entertainment District has many theater groups, galleries, and other high culture attractions. Punk, rock, and R&B Music (from Glenn Lewis, Melanie Fiona, Daniel Caesar and other people) are found in Toronto. The Toronto Raptors, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto FC, and the Toronto Argonauts were some of the professional sports teams in Toronto. 


It may sound cliche, but the 2024 Presidential election remains the most important election in human history. Some people are skeptical and mention the lie that voting doesn't matter, or we can't do anything to change things. Over a century ago, my ancestors were slaves in America who were oppressed and got no income. Now, people came together to fight for the banning of legalized slavery in American society by 1865. If voting didn't matter, why are far-right reactionaries passing abhorrent laws censoring black history, harming human rights in general, and restricting voting rights? So, voting does matter as evil people want to further restrict the rights of Americans to vote. We have just five companies dominating over 60 percent of American grocery sales. That is why in 2022, grocery prices were worse than they had in over 4 decades even though inflation is slowing down now. President Joe Biden is not perfect, and I disagree with him on some issues. Yet, he made much better policies than Donald Trump (who made the racist comment that his mug shot and indictments appeal to black voters) by any metric. Biden has promoted student debt forgiveness policies to help many students pay off their student loan debt (i.e. 138 billion dollars of student loan debt were canceled by President Biden). I am fortunate to pay off all of my student loans, but millions of Americans struggle to do so (and they need real assistance), the infrastructure law rebuilt many places in America, investments in HBCUs, and policies that cut childhood poverty in half. This is an unprecedented change since the Great Society programs of the 1960's. Still, many Americans want to follow Donald Trump, because they are in a MAGA cult. This Trump cult is more vicious than the wicked Reaganism agenda was. We live in a new era of time where complex social and foreign policy issues are heavily discussed and debated like the war in the Middle East and the Trump federal trials (after being convicted as being liable for raping a woman). The IRS wants to crack down on corporate jet users who abuse the tax code. Trump's Project 2025 is clear on what the GOP desires including privatizing Medicare too. Therefore, we have to do our part in promoting democracy, justice, and freedom for all. 


From 1928 to 1936, Lois Mailou Jones started a new chapter in her longevity. She started to teach people after finishing college. The director of the Boston Museum School refused to hire her for racist reasons. In 1928, she was hired by Charlotte Hawkins Brown after some initial reservations. Later, she founded the art department at Palmer Memorial Institute, a historically black prep school, in Sedalia, North Carolina. As a prep schoolteacher, she coached a basketball team, taught folk dancing, and played the piano for church services. By 1930, she was recruited by James Venon Herring to join the art department at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Jones was a professor of design and watercoloring painting until her retirement in 1977. She worked to prepare her students for a competitive career in the arts by inviting working designers and artists into her classroom for workshops. She was a great mentor and strong advocate for African American art and artists. In the early 1930s, Jones began to seek recognition for her designs and artwork. She began to exhibit her works with the William E. Harmon Foundation with a charcoal drawing of a student at the Palmer Memorial Institute, Negro Youth (1929). In this period, she shifted away from designs and began experimenting with portraiture. 

Jones developed as an artist through visits and summers spent in Harlem during the onset of the Harlem Renaissance or New Negro Movement. Aaron Douglas, a Harlem Renaissance artist, influenced her seminal art piece The Ascent of Ethiopia. African design elements can be seen in both Douglas and Jones' paintings. Jones studied actual objects and design elements from Africa. In her works, Negro Youth and Ascent of Ethiopia the influence of African masks is seen in the profiles of the faces. The chiseled structures and shading renderings mimic the three-dimensional masks that Jones studied. Jones would utilize this style throughout her career. During this period, she occasionally collaborated with poet Gertrude P. McBrown; for example, McBrown's poem, "Fire-Flies," appears with an illustration by Jones in the April 1929 issue of the Saturday Evening Quill. In 1937, Jones received a fellowship to study in Paris at the Academie Julian. She produced more than 30 watercolors during her year in France. She made about 40 paintings during her time at the Academie using the en plein air method of painting that she used throughout her career. Two of her paintings were accepted at the annual Salon de Printemps exhibition at the Société des Artists Français for her Parisian debut. Jones loved her time in Paris as she felt fully accepted in society as opposed to the United States at this time. The French were appreciative of paintings and talent. After she was granted an extension of her fellowship to travel to Italy, she returned to Howard University and taught watercolor painting classes.

In 1938, she produced Les Fétiches (1938), an African-inspired oil painting that is owned by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Jones painted Les Fétiches in a Post-Cubist and Post-Primitive style. Five African masks swirl around the dark canvas. She was able to view and study many different African objects and masks at the Musée de l'Homme and galleries through her fellowship in Paris. In Les Fétiches, masks from Songye Kifwebe and Guru Dan are visible. She worked hard in promoting her painting. By the 1940s, she ended up winning the Robert Woods Bliss Award for this work of art (called Indian Shops....), yet she could not pick up the award herself. Tabary had to mail the award to Jones. Despite these issues, Jones worked harder notwithstanding the racial biases found throughout the country at this time. During that time, the Corcoran Gallery banned African American artists from entering their artworks themselves, so she sent Tabary to enter her painting to circumvent the rule. In 1994, the Corcoran Gallery of Art gave a public apology to Jones at the opening of the exhibition The World of Lois Mailou Jones, 50 years after Jones hid her identity. Jones' Les Fétiches was instrumental in transitioning "Négritude" — a distinctly francophone artistic phenomenon — from the predominantly literary realm into the visual. Her work provided an important visual link to Négritude authors such as Aimé Césaire, Léon Damas, and Léopold Sédar Senghor. She also completed Parisian Beggar Woman with text supplied by Langston Hughes. In 1938, Jones' first solo exhibition was hung in the Whyte Gallery and would later be exhibited at the Howard University Gallery of Art in 1948. 

Jones painted "Arreau, Hautes-Pyrenees" in France during one of her many trips to France between the years of 1945-1953 where she shared a summer studio with Celine Marie Tabary in Cabris, France. While in France a part of her inspiration was Tabary, also a painter, whom she worked with for many years. Tabary submitted Jones' paintings for consideration for jury prizes since works by African American artists were not always accepted. Jones traveled extensively with Tabary, including to the south of France. They frequently painted each other. They taught art together in the 1940s. Arreau, Hautes-Pyrenees which is an oil on canvas landscape that stars a hillside in the South of France. The French influence along with post-impressionist influences are highlighted as Jones employees uses rich oranges, yellows, tans complemented with clean blues and delicate greens while remaining tonally warm palette. The geometric houses echo, and asymmetric composition echo the post-impressionist influences on Jones at the time. This influence can be recognized through her landscape and documentary portraits of people and landscapes in France and in America between the years of 1948-1953. Over the course of the next 10 years, Jones exhibited at the Phillips Collection, Seattle Art Museum, National Academy of Design, the Barnett-Aden Gallery, Pennsylvania's Lincoln University, Howard University, galleries in New York, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. In 1952, the book Loïs Mailou Jones: Peintures 1937–1951 was published, reproducing more than one hundred of her art pieces completed in France. At the Barnett-Aden Gallery, Jones exhibited with a group of prominent black artists, such as Jacob Lawrence and Alma Thomas. These artists and others were known as the "Little Paris Group."

Alain Locke, a philosophy professor at Howard University and founder of the Harlem Renaissance, encouraged Jones to paint her heritage. She painted her striking painting Mob Victim (Meditation) after walking along U St Northwest in Washington, D.C. She saw a man walking and was prompted to ask him to pose in her studio. She wanted to depict a lynching scene. The man had seen a person being lynched before and mimicked the pose that the man held before being lynched. The painting illustrates a contemplation of imminent death that many male African Americans were facing during the 1940s. Other paintings that came out of Locke's encouragement were Dans un Café à Paris (Leigh Whipper), The Janitor, and The Pink Table Cloth. Previously in 1934, Jones met Louis Vergniaud Pierre-Noel, a prominent Haitian artist, while both were students at Columbia University. They corresponded for almost 20 years before marrying in the south of France in 1953.  Jones and her husband lived in Washington, D.C., and Haiti. Their frequent trips to Haiti inspired and impacted Jones' art style significantly. 


There are a lot of African News going on. Namibia's Justice Minister Yvonne Dausab accused Germany of committing the first genocide of the twentieth century. This happened in real life when Germany brutalized the Herero and Nama people and noted that Namibia knows about occupation, colonialism, systematic discrimination, and apartheid. She wants the International Court of Justice (or ICJ) in The Hague, Netherland to support the human rights of Palestinian people. During the session, Professor Phoebe Okowa, a professor of public international law at the University of London and Namibia's spokesperson, emphasized that racist Israeli tactics in Palestine violate core human rights treaties and international law principles. At the end of the day, we want Israelis and Palestinians to have peace and justice.  The UN Court rejected South Africa's request for urgent measures to safeguard Rafah. The attacks and destruction of black monuments in America continue. There has been a vandalism of a Dr. King monument in Denver, and we know about the destruction of the bronze statue of Jackie Robinson in Wichita, Kansas. These racists are vicious, but we will stand up for our human dignity as black human beings. The crisis in Congo with M23 attacking places like Sake and other locations threaten the food supply in the religion. Most of the mainstream media is silent in the crisis of Congo.  


The car is a complex machine that we use and need constantly in modern-day society. Men, women, and children have been fans of cars for more than 155 years now. There are tons of parts of a car. Yet, to simplify things, you can divide the components of all cars into major features. At the heart of a car is the engine. That is a major part of any vehicle. The engine has cylinder block houses that have controlled explosions. Pistons are found within the cylinders using piston rings moving them up and down. It generates the energy to promote the combustion procession. This mechanical energy is the driving force that makes the wheels move in a car. There is the crankshaft and the camshaft. The crankshaft is a rotating shaft connected to the pistons that converts the linear piston motion into rotational power, carrying it to the transmission where it can be controlled. The camshaft runs the timing of the engine's valves that handle the inflow of air and fuel plus the outflow of exhaust gases. This makes sure that the care has optimal performance. It’s connected to the crankshaft via a timing belt or chain from its placement in the cylinder head, keeping the two synchronized for reliable performance. Sitting atop the cylinder block, the cylinder head houses intake and exhaust valves. These valves open and close at specific intervals to regulate the flow of air and fuel into the cylinders and the expulsion of exhaust gases, maintaining the delicate balance required for efficient combustion.  The intake and exhaust manifolds deal with air and fuel. They help to make sure that the engines have the right air-fuel mixture and expel gas waste efficiently. There are different types of transmission in the car. There is an automatic transmission (complex system of planetary gear sets, hydraulic torque converters, and a series of clutches and bands), manual transmission (with gears, a clutch, and a gear lever which is old school), and continuously variable transmission. There is a driveshaft, clutch and torque converter, ignition system, spark plugs, throttle body, and ignition coils in a car. Cooling and lubrication with the radiator and cooling fans are critical parts of a vehicle. These things help to stop the car from overheating. People check their radiator and coolant levels twice a year. There is the oil pump, oil filter, water pump, hoses, the battery (which helps the car's electrical parts), starter motor, fuses, wiring harness, solenoid, and alternator. 

People know about the car's suspension and steering like shocks and struts to keep the vehicle to have comfort and grow stability. Control arms, bushings, power steering pump, rack, and breaking systems (with brake pads, rotors, brake caliper, master cylinder, etc.), brake lines, abs module, and the exhaust system make any car work efficiently. The exhaust system has a muffler and a resonator. Oxygen sensors and wheels (with tire pressure parts) are key entities that we use in a car. The interior (like the headlight, mirrors, handles roof, windshield, hood, license plate, doors, etc.) and exterior parts of a vehicle deal with insurance, money, and other realities that we deal with constantly. How does the car run from the moment of ignition? A car ignition system produces the sparks used to ignite the air/fuel mixture in a petrol engine. It consists of an ignition switch, a battery, an ignition coil, and spark plugs. When the ignition switch is turned on by a key or a button, it activates the voltage from the battery to the ignition coil. The ignition coil transforms the low-voltage electricity into high-voltage electricity, which is sent to the spark plugs. The spark plugs ignite the fuel to make the vehicle run. A truck has massive similarities and differences than a truck. Trucks can haul cargo and trucks have a cargo bed like a flatbed with an open tub (like a pickup truck). Also, some trucks have an enclosed structure made by many materials. There is a physical divider between the passenger cab area and the cargo area. Trucks are much larger than cars, requiring more space to maneuver. People must be more careful driving a truck than a car (especially a smaller car. Yet, people driving a car or truck must follow the rules of the road regardless). Trucks can be very beneficial to tow more weight than a truck. Trucks can have a better fuel economy than cars. 

Besides steam- and diesel-powered locomotives, many modern trains operate solely on electrical power. They get the electricity from a third rail, or electrical line, along the track. Transformers transfer the voltage from the lines and the electrical current drives the motors (AC or DC) on the wheels. Many of the parts of a train are the radiator, the radiator fan, the sandbox, the air compressor, the truck frame, the fuel tank, the air reservoirs, the main alternator, the electronic controls, the cab, the traction motor, the pinion and gear, the control stand, the batteries, the air intakes, the rectifiers/inverters, the headlight, the suspension track, the passenger locations, the auxiliary alternative, the drive shaft, the gear box, and the turbo charger. 


Nearing Spring, we see a new era in our history. We experience the middle phase of the 2024 Presidential election filled with President Biden, Trump, Haley, and third-party candidates. Along with that, the conflict in the Middle East continues with protesters and other activists wanting an eliminated ceasefire. Now, a water crisis is happening in Mexico City with about 22 million people. Many people suffer from low rainfall, longer dry periods, and high temperatures with more demand. Many neighborhoods lack water for weeks. About 60 percent of Mexico City's water comes from its underground aquifer which has been over-extracted. There is the conflict in Ukraine lasting for over 3 years now. Zelensky warns that millions of people will be killed in Ukraine without U.S. aid to Kjiv. Ukrainian troops' deaths reach at least 31,000 human beings. It is clear, especially after the death of Navalny, to condemn Putin's cruel aggression against a sovereign nation. We found out that Alexander Smirnov is an accused Russian agent who promoted the lie against Biden and his son.  Putin has committed war crimes against Ukraine's apartments, schools, stores, and other civilian locations. We see another new era of space exploration as the U.S. lunar probe Ulysses has successfully landed on the Moon for the first time in 52 years after Apollo 17. The moon mission of Artemis plans to send humans on the Moon by 2026. Former NRA leader Wayne LaPierre has been found guilty of financial corruption. Therefore, we realize that we live in extraordinary times.



We, as human beings, have existed in the world for thousands of years. We have existed as icons of scholarship, musicians, athletes, teachers, judges, family members, and other contributors to society. Throughout the millennia of human history, we have seen music. Music is a powerful invention that has inspired many human souls, promoted joy plus happiness, and existed in multifaceted forms. In our time, musical education has been promoted constantly among the youth. There are plenty of studies documenting how music can increase intellectual strength, calm human emotions, and develop creativity that makes the human experience more positive results. There is always a debate in music too. The truth is not in the two extreme views of all music being evil and the other extreme saying that music that promotes evil must be glorified. The truth is that music that promotes honor, joy, love, and respect should be cherished, and music that promotes overt evil must not be respected. As a child, I remember listening to diverse music from The Temptations, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and so many other talented people. Modern musical culture in America spread into jazz, the blues, rock, R&B, gospel, classical music, pop music, country music, and other forms of human expression. All of these genres indeed helped to shape the modern world, especially after the end of World War II. With great power comes great responsibility. Many people have been rich in material wealth from musical careers, but their souls aren't happy for various reasons. Many people use dangerous drugs in a hazardous fashion and do other reckless actions to try to compensate for their unhappiness. That is why some working-class people with family, friends, and joy have more happiness than a lonely, insecure super wealthy person. It's a new time in 2024, and we should fairly critique music to improve society as a whole. 


By Timothy