Archive for July, 2008

Quake

We here in Los Angeles just had a very strong earthquake tremor, it shook many homes, apartments, businesses,  and the city in general. It was a strong one. Fascinating how at one moment everything is nice and quiet and then out of no where the ground shakes. Knowing that at any moment life could be over does humble some of us humans. This quake happened around 11:43 am today Tuesday July 29, 2008.  



Do Americans Expect Their Business Leaders To Be White?

Chance writes: The reason many Americans regardless of their ethnic background expect their business leaders to be white is because currently — whites still make up the majority of business leaders in America. On top of that many white business leaders working as CEOs, managers, supervisors, and shift leaders do a good job. The white population is still the majority in America, and many of them attended and graduated form the universities with degrees.

They then go and get jobs, and just by whites being the majority in population they naturally produce more job applicants. At the sametime many whites do make good business leaders. So it’s natural for a non white to go to a job and expect to see a white employer because most of the time the employer is white.

There are many competent non white business leaders also; their numbers are just small because non whites do not make up the majority in the population.

Do Americans Expect Their Business Leaders To White? Study Says Yes

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008 by Melissa Lafsky blogs at Discoverymag.com

 

Anyone who’s turned on a TV or read a newspaper lately can’t help but notice that race is currently at the forefront of American politics. But the subtle biases operating in the current debate aren’t always obvious, or even visible on the surface. In one example of how embedded racial biases can play out, researchers at Duke, the University of Toronto, and Northwestern business schools found that Americans still overwhelmingly expect business leaders to be white, and rank white leaders as more effective than their minority counterparts.

The study’s data came from 943 undergraduate and graduate students, nearly all of whom had experience working for a company or corporation. They were given fictitious news reports and performance reviews from a fake company and then asked to guess the race of a set of CEOs, project leaders, and other employees described in the materials.

The participants overwhelmingly (up to 72 percent) guessed that the people in power were white, even when the students were told that the company was predominantly African American, Hispanic American, or Asian American. The same “presumption of whiteness” didn’t occur when the subjects assessed the less powerful and accomplished employees.

In experiments where the leader’s race was identified, white leaders were held to be a “better match” with “traditional leader expectations” than were minorities, even when the levels of achievement was the same for both. As a testament to the fact that subconscious bias can cross racial lines, the participants who identified themselves as racial minorities over-guessed whiteness as often as the Caucasian participants.

Prior research has showed that humans develop implicit beliefs about subjective questions like, “What should a leader look like?” and the depth and power of these beliefs in shaping our opinions can’t be overstated (”Not presidential,” anyone?). Identifying and examining these biases, and bringing them to the forefront now, may help us make choices in November that are based on logical reasoning and actual issues, as opposed to subconscious stereotypes.

National Karma, Housing, And Gas

The price of houses continues to rise, and many people can’t pay their mortgages, and are loosing their homes to foreclosure. Many homes all over the country are too expensive for a lot of Americans. Many people do not make enough in wages to afford a good house because the cost of living has gone up but their wages have not.

Some have lost their jobs, due to layoffs, companies closing, companies merging with each other and cutting jobs, and terminations (got fired). The cost of gas continue to rise and it is, causing many to find other ways of traveling like riding the bus, bicycles, motorcycles, etc.

Many Americans are going to start sharing houses, condos, apartments, garages, etc with other families and people just to make ends meet.          

This is causing many Americans to stress. It is also making many Americans of various ethnic backgrounds equal. Now they all know what it is like to suffer financially (economically). No more looking down on certain Americans as being unable to make it and you are better than them. If the middle class of any country suffer economically the whole country will fill the effects of it. If the middle class goes, the country goes.

It will take the military to help get the county under control — because when people suffer economically they become more socially disruptive (civil unrest). They protest in front of certain political places and encourage violence sometimes.

I feel America is headed towards becoming more of a police state and will continue to have economic woes and problems. This will hurt the middle class even more, and will cause mass protest and someday civil unrest. Some Americans will be sent to prisons and jails because they will be branded political agitators.
           
Quran surah 17:16 — And when we (Allah) decide to destroy a village, we send a definite command to those who lead a life of luxury in it to commit lewdness, and thus the word of torment is justified against them. Then we destroy it with complete destruction.

Those who lead a life of luxury are the wealthy and the middle class people. When God wants to punish a county or town he allows them to follow the hidden thoughts in their minds and hearts of wanting to do lewd and sinful acts in life. The sinful acts manifest publicly and then certain types of behaviors become more acceptable in society causing further moral deterioration.

This creates bad karma for that country or town. All countries are going to receive their collective bad and good karma. When the economy does bad and people keep loosing their homes, and can’t keep up with cost of living to take care of their families, political agitation and civil unrest is guaranteed.       

The Capital City And Nuclear War

There is no doubt that there will be a third world war. Therefore, my recommendation is that people not live in the capital city of their country. The reason is, because when a war breaks out the capital cities will be the cities that will be targeted by nuclear weapons.

Washington D.C. America, Beijing-China, Moscow-Russia, Pyongyang-North Korea, Seoul-South Korea, London-England, Paris-France, Madrid-Spain, Jerusalem-Israel, Damascus-Syria, Saudi Arabia-Riyadh, Tehran-Iran, and other cities that are Capitols of various countries will be destroyed by nuclear weapons or weapons from enemy nations.

So therefore, you should try to avoid living in the capital city of your county if you can.
War is the continuation of politics in another form. The nuclear radiation will spread into other parts of the country and kill millions.  

Whatever you do avoid living in the capital city of your county — because the capital city is where your nation’s president, prime minister, dictator, and most powerful politicians live and work. So if you live their and there is war with a powerful country that has nuclear weapons move away from the capital.

 

How Much Does It Cost You in Wages if You “Sound Black?”

 

By Steven D. Levitt

Fascinating new research by my University of Chicago colleague, Jeffrey Grogger, compares the wages of people who “sound black” when they talk to those who do not.

His main finding: blacks who “sound black” earn salaries that are 10 percent lower than blacks who do not “sound black,” even after controlling for measures of intelligence, experience in the work force, and other factors that influence how much people earn. (For what it is worth, whites who “sound black” earn 6 percent lower than other whites.)

How does Grogger know who “sounds black?” As part of a large longitudinal study called the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, follow-up validation interviews were conducted over the phone and recorded.

Grogger was able to take these phone interviews, purge them of any identifying information, and then ask people to try to identify the voices as to whether the speaker was black or white. The listeners were pretty good at distinguishing race through voices: 98 percent of the time they got the gender of the speaker right, 84 percent of white speakers were correctly identified as white, and 77 percent of black speakers were correctly identified as black.

Grogger asked multiple listeners to rate each voice and assigned the voice either to a distinctly white or black category (if the listeners all tended to agree on the race), or an indistinct category if there was disagreement.

Then he put this measure of whether a voice sounded black into a regression (the standard statistical tool that economists use for estimating things), and came up with the finding that blacks who “sound black” earn almost 10 percent less, even after taking into account other factors that could influence earnings. One piece of interesting good news is that blacks who do not “sound black” earn essentially the same as whites.

(It turns out you don’t want to sound southern, either. Although pretty imprecisely estimated, it is almost as bad for your wages to sound southern as it is to sound black, even controlling for whether you live in the south.)

So what does this all mean?

The first question to ask is whether the impact of speech on wages is a causal one. It is possible that there are many other characteristics that differ between blacks who do or do not “sound black” that Grogger cannot control for in his regressions. It does seem likely that the biases at work would make his estimate an upper bound. (Although it should also be noted that his estimates are for young people, and the importance of speech may become important with age, in which case his results might underestimate the long-run effects.)

If one believes Grogger’s effects are causal, then investing in the ability to not “sound black” looks to have a huge return — roughly of the same magnitude as getting one more year of schooling.

Of course, there is the issue of one’s identity. There may be personal costs associated with being black and not sounding black. But these costs would have to be pretty large. (When I have Asian Ph.D. students go on the job market in the United States, I tell them that I think there is rampant discrimination against non-English speakers and encourage them to adopt Americanized first names for the job market. Very few of my students choose to do so — either a testimony to the identity cost of pretending to be someone you aren’t, or possibly their lack of faith in my assessment of the amount of discrimination.)

I was talking with one of my colleagues about this study. He thinks it will be a very important and influential one.

My response, “Tru dat.”

He Is Married Now: A 4th Of July Encounter

I was in downtown Los Angeles on July 4, 2008 and as I was walking I gentleman stopped me. He said excuse me did you use to be a cook over at the shelter long ago.
I said yes, and looking at his face I then recognized him.

Now this young man use to do a lot of drugs, hang out in streets, and sleep with a lot of women. I was a volunteer cook at a shelter in 1994 to 1995, and that is where he use to hang out. I remember that life style he use to live.

In the 1990s he had women who were white, Hispanic, and black. He was a player of women, and was dating messing around with many women at the sametime. He told me that he gave that life style up because it was not healthy.

He has greenish brown eyes, caramel skin, average height; hair that comes to his neck and he was wearing his hair in a pony tail, his face had shine (glow) to it, and a friendly smooth voice. We both were glad to see each other.

He no longer does drugs; he is married, and happy to be married. He said that marriage was a good thing for him, and that he enjoys being married. He said it has its up and downs but marriage is a good thing for him. He said that he and his wife have been married for five years now.

I told him a little about how my life is going, and we talked and laughed. I really enjoyed seeing him, and I was so glad that his life turned out for the better. I feel good because his life is good. I wish him the best of success.

Then I went home and enjoyed the 4th of July.

I was really glad to encounter him that day. And I say more success in life to him and his wife.  

End

Evictions, Loss Of Cars, Part Of L.A. Gang Crackdown

Chance writes: Mayor Antonio Villarigosa has released a new city law in Los Angeles, California that says if a Gang member commits a crime with a gun then the gangster will lose him car and be evicted from his apartment.

I assume that if the gang members name is on the rental agreement, then his whole family will be evicted too. The reason is because his name was on the rental agreement. If his name is not then maybe he will be asked to leave only.

The problem is identifying who is a gang member. A lot of what people call gang paraphernalia like certain ways of wearing clothes is also apart of the hip hop culture.
Baggy clothes, large T shirts and shirt, caps, hats, and shoes are apart of the hip hop culture.

Wearing these types of clothes does not mean you are a gang member. It is fashion. You have adults of all ethnic backgrounds in their twenties and thirties who dress this way. And, they are not gangsters.

If a person commits a crime with a gun that does not mean he or she is a gang member.
This city law was the result of a lot of frustration that has come about due to too many people in Los Angeles County being murdered by gang members with guns.

Law enforcement officials should do everything in their power to make sure a person is a gang member — before they take the person’s car and have them evicted from their apartment.

The new law went into effect July 1, 2008.


 

Evictions, Car Seizures Part of L.A. Gang Crackdown

 

Final Call, News Report , By Melanie Muhammad, Posted: Saturday, Jul 05, 2008


LOS ANGELES (FinalCall.com) –
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was flanked by police Chief William Bratton and representatives from various local, state and federal agencies, when he unveiled a new gang and gun enforcement initiative aimed at stemming violence in the city.

“In order to permanently reduce gang violence, illegal firearms must be public enemy number one,” Mayor Villaraigosa said. “Today, we are taking aim at the worst offenders and empowering law enforcement with the tools to disarm our most violent street gangs,” he added.

According to LAPD statistics, last year 394 people were murdered and 78 percent were killed by a firearm.Of the nearly 400 people killed, approximately 58 percent were killed in gang-related violence, authorities said.A 27-page report outlining the initiative focuses its use of more aggressive tactics involving civil gang injunctions, stiffer gun penalties, a higher level of collaboration between varied law enforcement agencies and greater suppression efforts in designated “hot” zones.

The new measures, effective July 1, also impact driving and housing.

“If you engage in violent acts with guns, you’re not going to be allowed to drive a vehicle without that vehicle being seized,” Chief Bratton said during the press conference broadcast by a local ABC affiliate. “If you engage in violent acts with guns in Los Angeles as a gang member, we’re going to take your apartment, we’re going to kick your family out and we’re going to give you a new residence—and your residence will be a 12-by-8 cell with somebody you might not want to be in the cell with,” he added.Under this initiative, landlords will have greater power to evict anyone found using a gun within 1,000 feet of their residence.In addition, the city would have the right to seize vehicles used in gang-related crimes.

The mayor’s policies have caused concerns among civil libertarians and community leaders. Student Minister Tony Muhammad, of the Nation of Islam, raised questions about the new tactics.“We applaud him for going after vicious criminals with guns, but to punish a whole family? So you get rid of one problem and now you’re creating homelessness,” he said. “The innocent (will) get caught up with the guilty in their plans and it’s troublesome. Instead of going after criminals, they have criminalized an entire people.”

The Justice Policy Institute, a Washington D.C. think tank, issued a comprehensive report last year titled “Gang Wars: The Failure of Enforcement Tactics and the Need for Effective Public Safety Strategies” that provides support for Mr. Muhammad’s assertions. “Young men of color are disproportionately identified as gang members and targeted for surveillance, arrest, and incarceration, while Whites—who make up a significant share of gang members—rarely show up in accounts of gang enforcement efforts. The Los Angeles district attorney’s office found that close to half of Black males between the ages of 21 and 24 had been entered in the county’s gang database even though no one could credibly argue that all of these young men were current gang members,” the report said.

“I have asked the chief and others for a clear definition of a gang and I have yet to receive a response,” Mr. Muhammad said.“Is it a tattoo or dress code? Who are the gangs? The problem is that there is a broad stroke over our people and what they refer to as gang dress looks like everyday hip hop youth,” he added.“The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan came to Compton a few years ago and warned gang members that if they continued killing each other that God would use the enemy to whip them into submission. This initiative just might do that, so we have to work hard and warn the youth,” Mr. Muhammad said.

END

The Grave Keeper

The Grave Keeper

My grandfather, my mother’s father has been a great influence in my life. He looked out for me when I was a little kid. I loved being around him as a little boy. He would take me and my brother places. We both where happy to get into his truck and ride around town, Grandpa go to other towns or cities to visit or do grocery shopping and we enjoyed going with him.

Grandpa had many hobbies, he fished, he enjoyed driving, working in his garden, good conversations with people, and keeping the cemetery lawn mowed. My grandfather would often go down to bluffsprings cemetery and keep it maintenanced. He mowed the grass, raked the leaves, and swept dust off the graves, and whatever else needed to be done.  

I would go with him sometimes, and I remember the strange feeling of being in the graveyard. A feeling of this is where we end up when we die, and a feeling of semi fear.
My grandpa pointed out the grave of his mother; he said this is my mother’s grave.

His mother was my great grand mother. In a picture of my great grand mother she had very dark black skin, long hair that came down to the center of her back, and the facial features of a Native American Indian. My grand mother had hair that was in between black and Native American Indian strait. It was long and black. Imagine a Native American Indian but with dark black skin like a dark skin black person.

That is what my Grandfather’s mother looked like. I admired my grandpa for taking care of the cemetery. He looked at it as a duty in life. He knew that he was doing something good. He is the grave keeper; he looks after the resting places of those souls who are no longer embodied. Bluffsprings cemetery is very old. It is very small too. It is not even one hundred yards long or wide.

Grandpa did not get paid to do what he does. He kept the cemetery clean because it needed to be kept in good condition. I hope the souls that lie (in the graves) there appreciate all of the efforts that he put out over the many years.

I asked grandpa once when we were there — are you afraid? And he said no.           

I feel that the creator of the universe will give my grandfather some good reward for his efforts of maintaining the cleanliness of the cemetery.

When I die, may a grave keeper come by my grave, and put a flower on my tomb.
Grandpa as your grandson, I appreciate you for all those years of keeping the cemetery clean and maintained.  

END