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Congratulation Bandleader Ludlow “Bingie” Lloyd Mckenzie


Congratulation Bandleader Basses, Ludlow “Bingie” Lloyd Mckenzie

Press Release July 10, 2017
by Valaie Flact

“Reggae Wellness Expo & Music Festival Mission Focus Is Honoring And Recognizing Unsung Jamaican Music Pioneers & Providing Exposing For Jamaica’s Next Generation Of Music Stars Each Year At The Annual Event. “RW” Mission Is To Always Be A Beacon And Champion Of Encouragement For Reggae Music Workers.”

The 2017 Honor Goes To Legendary High Symbol’s Band Leader Basses, Ludlow “Bingie” Lloyd Mckenzie.

Jamaica is commonly known as the Reggae Capital of the world and home to many great well known reggae bands and even more great reggae singers. Behind every great reggae vocalist’s live show, there was always a great bandleader that help bring their music to life.

“Bingie” has been bandleader for hundreds of these act over the last 20 years, unlike the stars he played behind, many outside the reggae arena have no knowledge of his achievements over that time.

In 1987 Mckenzie form the band “FM Force Band” with Sanchez as lead singer, Sanchez left the band in 1988 to pursue a solo career. Afterward He decided to changed the name of the band to (High Symbol Band).High Symbol Band with original members consisting of members: Ludlow “Bingie” Lloyd’ Mckenzie-(bandleader/bass), Bernard’ Powell-(drums), Elana Lewis-(guitar), Noel Davy-(keyboards),Garth Gray-(keyboards).

Current band member are Ludlow “Bingie” Lloyd Mckenzie (bandleader/bass player), Bernard Powell(Drummer), Philip Porter(Guitarist), Everton “Bubbler” Bryan(keyboardist1), Theodore Bernard(Keyboardist2) Duhaney ‘Singing Green’ Green(Led Singer) and Kenton Boyd(Engineer)

“Bingie” has toured extensively in the Caribbean, Mexico, where he is revered as an icon in Cancun, US, Central America, Europe and beyond.

Sure he was the bandleader for acts that performed before Nelson and Winnie Mandela in Kingston National Stadium, or at the Bob Marley Song Celebration in Australia and if you ever saw any of the acts listed below performing live, its a good chance “Bingie” was the bandleader.

Ladies First:
Marcia Griffith * Cindy Breakspear *JC Lounge * Pam Hall * Claudine Davis Dacia *Sister Charmaine *
Sister Nancy * Lady G * Lady June * Michael Irie * Lady EQ * Isha Bel *Jennifer Barrett Sofia Brown * Sofia Squires * Sofia George Tchiya Amet * Margaret Young * Angie Angel * Moeish * Empress Reggae
Tasha T * Cherry Nature Iquela Empress Sativa * Keida *

Dennis Walks * Ernie Smith * Half Pint * Horace Andy * Fred locks * Errol Dunkley
Pad Anthony * Utan Green * The Abyssinians * Michael Rose * Junior Reid Luciano * Dennis Brown *
Gregory Isaacs * Eddie Fitzroy * Frankie Paul Stranger Cole * The Silvertones * Earth Disciple * Ken Boothe * Yami Bolo * Bunny Brown * Sizzla Courtney John * Aaron Silk * Hezron * Courtney Melody Mikey General * Natty King * Chuck Fender * Ras Shiloh * Mark Wonder Dub Core * Leroy Sibbles * George Nooks * Admiral Tibet *
Richie Spice Spanner Banner * Paul Elliott * Tony Rebel * Capleton Welton Irie * Junior Cat Daddy Shark * Quench Aid * Saba Tooth * Super Black * Junior Vibes * Junior Demus * Wappa Demus * Yellow Man *
Delroy Wilson * Torch * Hopton James * Lt Stichie Purple Man * Ninja Man * Torch * Ninja Ford * Jah Mason Fantan Mojah Turbulance Abijah *Jah Cure * I Wayne * Bescenta Nesbeth * Assassin * Ghost * Natural Black * Prince Allah * Jah Mali * Captain Barkie Wicker Man * Tapa Zukie * Bunny General * Elephant Man * Beenie Man * Bounty Killer * Icho Candy Yasus Afari * Everton Blender * Alton Ellis Pinchers  * Leroy Gibbons * Andrew Tosh * Bobby Burnse * Terry Fabulous * Mr Vegas * Nitty Kuchie Peter Metro * Ronnie Twaites * Prof Nuts * Louie Culture * Ras Takura * Robert Mystic * Wasp Goddy Goddy * Bobby Tenna * Michael Fabulous

“Bengie” has also been writing and recording for a number of years but never release them, he and the band are currently preparing to release many of that music on an up coming CD.

Reggae Wellness Clinic, Expo And Festival
PO Box 215
Covelo, CA 95428 *
Phone: Main 415-373-1075 * 707-972-6831
Reggae Wellness Clinic, Expo And Festival


Choosing “Acupuncture” Over “KemeTones” Is Like Choosing Pain Over No Pain

TAEM Logo Final

Press Release

June 2, 2017

story by Erica Modell

KemeTones © is the Kemetic (Indigenous Ancient, African, Egyptian’s) approach to using Sound Vibrations as Healing Therapy

Definition of Therapist: One specializing in therapy; a person trained in methods of alternative Health care treatment and rehabilitation, without the use of chemicals or surgery

Tchiya Amet El Maat, Natural Health Therapist and Wellness Coach, Specializing in Kemetic Healing and Egyptian Yoga is one of those Therapist that provides therapeutic treatments using Acutonics© tuning forks.

KemeTones © is the Kemetic (Indigenous Ancient, African, Egyptian’s) approach to using Sound Vibrations as Healing with Acutonics©. Acutonics is similar to Acupuncture, except tuning forks are use to direct sound energy vibrations to the same area most Acupuncturist used to stimulate “acupoints” without the pain of the insertion of fine, sterile needles into different areas of the skin.

Tchiya Bening Kemmedacupuncturist 2

Acupuncture is a 3,000-year-old healing technique of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In 1997, the US. National Institutes of Health (NIH) documented and publicized acupuncture’s safety and efficacy for treating a wide range of conditions.

Hundreds of clinical studies on the benefits of acupuncture show that it successfully treats conditions ranging from muscular skeletal problems, back pain, neck pain, to nausea, migraine headache, anxiety, depression, insomnia, stress, PTSD, infertility and many other ailments, these same ailments treatments are also treated with KemeTones therapy minus the pain discomfort.


If you have been treated with acupuncture, and even if you have not but are considering acupuncture, or you have a fear of needles you should make an appointment to try KemeTones treatments, for the same ailments at one of Reggae Wellness Mobile clinic upcoming locations; next stop, Chicago, IL, June 25, July 1st, thru July 4th 2017.

Reggae Wellness Final TM


PO Box 215

Covelo, CA 95428 *

Phone: Main 415-373-1075

Reggae Wellness Clinic, Expo And Festival


People Living Alone: Good or Bad?

People_Living_Alone_1One of the telling features of modern world is that a person can live perfectly comfortably by himself or herself. Historically, people lived together as a large family for many reasons: poverty, food, safety, traditions, money, inheritance laws and such. In many parts of the world—Asia, Africa, some parts of Europe and Latin America— these reasons still play a big role in making people live together. However, most people in Western countries have long abandoned the notion of living together in order to gain some benefits; instead, they prefer the convenience of living alone. Is it a good or bad thing?

Living_Alone-elderlyApart from being a philosophical question, living alone seems to be a practical question for many in Western world. However, first we have to define what it means to live alone. According to most researchers, it means literally living alone: there is no spouse, children, parents, or other relatives living with a person in question in his/her house. It is understandable. Given contemporary economic conditions, many people have to move frequently around the country or world to find a job. As such, close proximity to their families and friends often becomes impossible. A person has to establish a single household. According to Eric Klinenberg, the N.Y.U. sociology professor and author of the book Going Solo, in the 1950s about 22 percent of Americans households were single; nowadays the number is about 50 percent. The increase in single households is quite astonishing.

Mid adult woman sitting on floor,

There are some obvious explanations. People are no longer ostracized because of living alone; it is becoming a norm. Moreover, compared to the 1950s, many women became quite capable of living by themselves, thus escaping centuries-old paradigm of being tied up to their husbands or families. As such, number of single households has increased. Moreover—thanks to modern technologies—most of us are now connected through the web, which gives us an illusion of being together with our families and friends, though virtually.

Man_AloneHowever, the increased popularity of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and similar vividly symbolize both our isolation and our yearning for a company. While we no longer share the facts of our lives with our relatives or neighbors face-to-face, we still want to share these details with them (and with some strangers along the way) via social media. Does it make us feeling closer to anybody? The question is still in the making. The whole phenomenon of social media is too new to recognize its long-term effects on our society. Surely, living alone allows for many benefits: doing whatever one wants without a fear of reprimand; spending money for what one wants (thus helping the country’s economy); having time to devote oneself to charitable causes one wants; freedom to pursue one’s passions and talents with abandon, and similar.  On the other hand, can anything substitute for pleasure on your family members’ faces every day when you come home?

It is a personal question for everyone. One thing to remember is that every person’s life is precious and it is be better spent worthwhile, alone or with others.


Literacy in the USA

children_learning-zbbjrxIt is undeniable that being literate is one of the most important things a person needs to achieve in order to have a normal existence. From everyday things such as reading food labels, medication information, or household bills to more complex tasks such as reading and comprehending books and more difficult texts,  reading enables a person to lead an independent and, hopefully, fulfilling life.

kids_working_togetherThe US Department of Education and National Center for Education Statistics differentiate between three types of literacy, “Prose literacy is the knowledge and skills needed to perform prose tasks (i.e., to search, comprehend, and use information from continuous texts, such as paragraphs from stories); document literacy is the knowledge and skills needed to perform document tasks (i.e., to search, comprehend, and use information from non-continuous texts in various formats, such as bills or prescription labels); and quantitative literacy is the knowledge and skills required to perform quantitative tasks (i.e., to identify and perform computations, either alone or sequentially, using numbers embedded in printed materials).” As such, according to their statistics dating from 2003, 22 percent of adults (those who are 16 or older) in the USA perform below basic in quantitative literacy, 14 percent of adults are below basic in prose literacy, and 12 percent in document literacy.

200449839-003The consequences of being illiterate or functionally illiterate are overwhelming. There is a very high correlation between illiteracy and poverty, possible imprisonment, teenage pregnancy, dropping out of high school, and unemployment. For example, provides the following numbers: 43 % of those who are at low literacy level live in poverty, 75 percent of state prison inmates and 59 percent of federal prison inmates are functionally illiterate, teenage girls at low literacy are four times more likely to become pregnant, $230 billion are added to government budget in health costs because of low literacy, and $ 225 billion are lost annually due to unemployment and lost taxes because of people at low literacy level.

How does the USA compare to other world countries? Total world illiterate population constitutes 16 percent with women being two-thirds of those.  There are three major regions in the world with the lowest literacy scores: Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and West Asia. However, according to 2011 statistics, the USA was the only free-market OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) country where current generation was less well-educated than the previous one. Based on US literacy levels, the USA is outperformed by such countries as Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Canada and many others.

studying_Students_gendergapIn modern world where access to information, education, and knowledge determines future success of any person, illiteracy is simply not an option. Therefore, it is truly disturbing that a country with such potential and wealth as the USA still fails to provide decent level of education for many people. Not only education budgets are routinely cut across the states, but higher education is also becoming more and more prohibitive money-wise for those who want to pursue college education. It would be highly advisable to learn from the countries which excel at providing education for their populations.


Refugees and Their Plight

refugees 2The United States of America is one the most popular countries in the world for people looking for asylum. According to US Department of State, since 1975 the USA has accepted more than three million refugees from different parts of the world; and, as The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development statistics demonstrates, in 2012 out of total number of 449 420 asylum seekers into OECD countries and Russian Federation, 68 thousand people came to the USA (next three major OECD countries for refugees are Germany (64540), France (54940) and Sweden (43890)). Who can be considered a refugee?

refugees migrantsAccording to the 1951 Refugee Convention, a refugee is someone who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.” As such, asylum seekers differ from refugees in their legal status, i.e. he or she can claim to be a refugee, but unless their claim is definitively evaluated by national asylum centers and they are granted official refugee status, an asylum seeker can be sent back to their home country. To further complicate things, in modern times millions of people choose to migrate in order to seek better opportunities for themselves and their families (for example, the so-called economic migrants), while refugees absolutely have to flee their home countries because of the fear of prosecution. As such, refugees and other types of migrants are subjects to different international and national laws.

In order for a person to receive a status of refugee, there are several steps which need to be undertaken. Usually, the first step is to register with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the country to where the person has fled, which evaluates the case and determines whether a person is eligible for a refugee status. Then, depending on the specifics of the case, a person is either settled in the country to which he or she fled, safely sent to a home country, or re-settled in the third country (for example, the USA). Each year, the US government sets a “refugee quota,” i.e. the number of refugees who will be allowed into the country each fiscal year (for the last few years, the number was set at 70 thousand people).  As such, each year the USA resettles the largest number of people who are eligible for resettlement into third countries worldwide. Of course, each refugee’s case is processed thoroughly by numerous governmental agencies and can take a long time. However, once a person is granted the right to resettle into the USA, there are many organizations which help him or her to successfully integrate and become contributing member of the American society.

refugees 1The United States has always been dedicated to help those who are forced to flee their native countries because of insurmountable obstacles and often are extremely vulnerable. As such, the USA is still the country where a person can start his or her life anew without a fear of prosecution.


The Religion Of Bob Marley, The Rastafarian Movement

Bob Marley Crop 9th Logo1The Rastafarian movement was born in Jamaica in 1930 when news of the crowning of Ras Tafari (Haile Selassie) as King of Ethiopia, attracted the attention of various Jamaicans who had been to some extent influenced by Marcus Garvey.   Haile Selassie is known to be JAH because of his direct descendancy to King Menelik, (son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba) and King David and because of his inherited title, King of Kings, Lord of Lord, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, which identifies him as the living JAH whose coming was foretold in the Bible, Psalm 68.4, Revelation 5:2-5, 19:16, 22:16,

Various persons connected Garvey’s prophecies of the crowning of a black king who would deliver black people from their oppressors, with certain biblical passages that confirmed to them that Selassie was indeed the Messiah.

Interestingly, these persons are said to have reached this conclusion quite independently of each other.

Among the key figures in this birth of the Rastafarian philosophy were Leonard P. Howell, Joseph Nathaniel Hibbert, H. Archibald Dunkley and Robert Hinds. All were ministers, who formed separate groups based on this revelation.

Howell is the man most credited with the initial spreading of the Rastafarian way of life.  He was a well-travelled man and was reported to have fought on African soil and to have command of several African languages.

Howell had stationed himself for a period of time in North America where the social ravages of racism were common practice.  This directed his intent in working for necessary reforms.  He began his ministry in the slums of Western Kingston, Jamaica.

Joseph Nathaniel Hibbert was a member of the Ancient Mystic Order of Ethiopia, a secret society, who after spending many years in Panama returned to Jamaica and began preaching of Emperor Haile Selassi as the returned Messiah.   Hinds was his deputy.   Hebbert started his mission in St. Andrew, and came to Kingston to find Howell preaching the same doctrine.

H. Archibald Dunkley, a Jamaican seaman, studied the Bible independently for over two years and concluded that Haile Selassie was indeed the Messiah that Marcus Garvey had prophesied.  He started his mission in Port Antonio, Jamaica but soon moved to Kingston.

There were several other Ministers and preachers that preached the words and truth of Rastafarian as they perceived it, such as Paul Erlington, Vernal Davis and Ferdinand Ricketts.

By 1934, a solid nucleus of Rastafarian had been established in Kingston.  Howell and Dunkley, in trumpeting the cause of Rastafarian, both paid penance.  They were jailed and became targets of repeated harassment, with Dunkley also being committed to an asylum.

These encroachments on their personal freedom only ignited the ideologies and practical solutions that Garvey had offered and along with Mortimer Planno, one of Bobs first Rasta mentors, gave Bob Marley the yearning to embrace the Rastafarian way of life while still in his teens.

Mortimer Planno not only influenced Bob Marley but also was the liaison between the establishment and many of the Rastafarian community.  Planno a well-educated articulate Rasta gained even more credibility when he greeted Haile Selassie upon his arrival to Jamaica in 1966.

Rastafarian is a challenge to Eurocentric values and a highly motivated thrust that seeks within its members its own cultural identity. The eye of the storm of Rastafarian is focused on the inherent right of a people who have long been “depressed”, to reposition them within the realms of the laws set by JAH.

Bob Marley Live PosterWithin Rastafarian teachings there are a few differences in terms of practice and structure, but all uphold his Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie as the return of the true Messiah.  It should be pointed out that while the fountain flows with many streams of water it does not change the substance of the matter that spurts forward.  Or you have many roads that lead to the promise land but only positive souls are allowed to ride on it to JAH’s house.

So it does not matter if you seek the truth about Rastafarian from the teaching of the Divine Theocracy Order of Nyabinghi, The Twelve Tribes of Israel, Ethiopia African International Congress, Ethiopian World Federation, Rastafarian Movement Association, Judah Coptic or the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, all follow the teachings of Ras Tafari.  Example, Baptists, Protestants, Catholics and Methodists all follow the Christian teaching, through the spirit of Love and reality; there is an oneness in recognition of one JAH. (GOD)

Rastafarian is not dreadlocks and a spliff (joint).  It is a way of life that is not dependent on feigned social freedoms.  Rastafarian prefers to opt instead for something less material and more meaningful-truths and rights. In other words…being in the world but not of it.

Herb, Marijuana, Collie or Ganja is considered a Sacrament to Rastafarians and is used to act as a channel to a calm and conscious temporal spirit much as Christians and Jews use red wine.  Rasta’s believe that this use of Ganja was granted to them by the words of Jesus in the fields of Zion, ” God gives man all green herbs, trees and plants bearing fruit with seeds” This he did while standing in a field of Cannabis. Genesis Book 1 verse 11,12,29; Rasta’s also believe that smoking Ganjas will allow them to use positive common consciousness.

To arrive at a clear and realistic view of Rastafarian, one has to see it for what it is – a way of life: not a myth, cult, sect or figment of any one individual’s imagination.  Rastafarian is the adherence to basic life principles and the expression of them through positive means.

Socialization within the prescribed norms of the general populace has not been the aim of the Rastafarian. Thus, what has developed from Rastafari’s concerted effort to change is a more definitive and heightened cultural awareness through language, mode of dress, natural eating habits and seeking of a clear channel away from confines of captivity.

The Rastafarian way of life has taken up where the dread middle passage voyages sought to disconnect.  The uncut, uncombed growth of hair, or “dreadlocks” as it is commonly referred to be the crowning antenna that keeps Rastafarian in tune.  Sharp perceptions, and warnings of predatory dangers are the benefits.

Locks are not plaited, waxed or mixed with cow dung as many misinformed rumors have spread.  Nor are they the habitations of the creeping creature known as the “forty Leg” or centipede.

There are many that through circumstances or choice do not wear the covenant, but are nonetheless principled.  Of course there are also many in disguises that are masquerading charlatans and utilize that appearance to do other than good deeds.  Dreadlocks are traceable to early civilizations of Africa, such as the Masai warriors along with other indigenous tribes.

The Rastafarian way of speaking or “reasoning” is not illiteracy, as some would have you believe, but the tailoring of the European language for more identifiable self-expression and modification of it to highlight the positive.

Changes in vocabulary and syntax are also a conscious act of protest against the established mores of “Babylon”.   Babylon is an evil force, be it a place, person or persons, way of life or anything dealing with negativity and hate.

Babylon is antiprogressive, its sole mission is to confuse and persuade the positive loving righteous to change their way of believing.

One refers to one self as “I and I” to express divinity of the God that is ever present and within the individual.  “I” is an assertion of individuality and of the importance of JAH.

“I” is substituted for all pronouns, such as “me”, “you”, “we”, “them”, which, are considered, too be detached.  Because “I” is so important, the first syllables of certain words are replaced by the sound; so that “vital becomes “Ital.”, “ever” becomes “Iver”, “Ethiopia” becomes “Ithiopia”, “creation” becomes “Ireation”.

Rastafarian dress codes usually emphasize a prominence of the identity colors and styles. The Colors Red, Gold & Green play a significant part in the Rastafarian doctrine.  Red is for the blood shed by the people, Gold is for wealth granted to his people and Green is for the Fertility of the Earth.

While Rastafarian continues to generate debate, its numbers are ever increasing. What more is left for foes of Rastafarian to do but stand aside and marvel at the sight of those who have endured innumerable indignities as they step progressively towards Zion.  It seems to be in the interest of “men” manipulators (those of cowardly persuasion) to keep the righteous ignorant of who they are and to brainwash them to deny all existence of their originality.

But Rastafarian “bredren and sistren remain fastened to that which claims and no disowns them.

I hope this summary gives people a better understanding of the Roots and meanings of the Rastafarian Movement

From the writing of Malika Lee Whitney, Dermott Husssey, with excerpts from the Torah and the Bible; Summarized by Sirron Kyles, Executive Producer Annual Bob Marley Festival Tour


Interracial Marriages in the USA

Interracial MarriagesWhile it might seem implausible today, but not until very long ago it was illegal to marry someone from a different race in the United States. Only on June 12, 1967 in the landmark case Loving vs. Virginia, the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously ruled that anti-miscegenation laws were unconstitutional. As the court stated, “Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival…. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not to marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.” With that ruling, many people were finally free to marry whomever they wanted—no matter their race and ethnic background—with no fear of being legally prosecuted for their actions.

19MIXEDRACE1113Anti-miscegenation laws were adopted in the United States since 1660s—first in Virginia and Maryland and later in all the original thirteen states—to prohibit people from entering into interracial (i.e. between white and non-white people, mostly blacks, but sometimes Native Americans and Asians) marriages, sex, and cohabitation. As a trial judge in Lovings vs. Virginia case asserted, “Almighty God created the races of White, Black, Yellow, Malay, and Red… and He placed them on separate continents…And but for the interference with His arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages…The fact that He separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.” As such, the sentiment against interracial marriage ran deep within the American population, especially in the South. For example, in 1958 Gallup polls as many as 96 percent of white Americans were against interracial marriage. However, starting in the 1960s this attitude started to change and today we have a society in which interracial marriages are no longer taboos.

interracial-marriageAccording to 2010 census, almost 15 percent of marriages in the United States were interracial. There are many configurations of interracial marriages in the country, some of which are more prevalent and some are less so. For example, 9.4 percent of whites, 17.1 percent of blacks, 25.7 percent of Hispanics and 27.7 percent of Asian
s married someone outside their race. Some of the combinations are more prevalent while others are rarer (for example, white male/asian or black female are much more prevalent than asian male/black female). In any case, given the melting pot which the United States is made of, it is not surprising that interracial marriages are on the rise.

Aarathi3.jpgInterracial marriage is still a hot topic for many people. Whether you are pro- or against them, there is a good chance that you will encounter different races’ couple in the course of your life. No matter what one’s beliefs are, one needs to be respectful and treat interracial couples no different from others. Today, when the boundaries between ethnicities and races become more and more obsolete, one can envision a future where race and nationality do not play a role at all. In The Time Will Come That Everyone On Earth Will Be A Shade Of “Beautiful Beige”


Community College: Is It for You?

Howard_Community_College_QuadHigh cost of college education in the USA is a subject of concern for the majority of ordinary people. According to the College Board, an average price for an in-state public college in 2013-2014 was about $ 22,826 and an average cost for private college was about $44,000. Compounded by rising cost of living, troubled economy and unclear job perspectives, college education can become an unattainable dream for many people.

However, there are many reasons for getting a college degree: the main one is that, on average, a four-year college graduate earns $ 800,000 more than a high school graduate by the retirement age. As such, it is certainly better to explore your educational opportunities and maybe consider less expensive options such as community colleges, on-line educational institutions, and such.

Many people believe that the quality of education one receives at a community college is much more inferior to the one at four-year colleges and thus is not worth the effort and time. Also, there are many additional negative stereotypes associates with community colleges such as that only those who could not get into a four-year college resort to them; if you decide to transfer to a four-year college, only few transfers will be allowed; quality of teachers is much worse; and that community colleges provide little benefits career-wise.

615_Harvard_Geneticist_Professor_ReutersHowever, if one approaches the decision to attend community college with due diligence, he or she can certainly be assured that they can present an excellent basis for a lifetime of gainful employment and good earnings. First of all, the cost of attending community college is much less than the one associated with four-year colleges (generally, it is about tenth of the amount). Also, community colleges offer greater flexibility and students can work full-time while taking classes—another huge financial incentive.

Besides, many people who attend community colleges are already living close-by thus saving the cost of living at the dorms, etc., which can be quite expensive in many areas of the country. However, the excitement of living on campus is something many students look forward to; but on the other hand, there are fewer distractions from studying when one lives at home.

Moreover, if one chooses college courses carefully (in consultation with a counselor, for example), he or she can transfer most of college credits to a four-year school thus saving a lot of money while getting the same education as others who attended the four-year college from the start. And, one can experience the life on campus as well, just a bit later and with fewer financial hardships.

joe-redishAnother surprising fact is that the instructors who teach at community colleges might well be the ones who teach at neighboring universities and supplement their incomes by providing classes at community colleges.

There is a downsize of communities colleges hiring older math and science professors; it has been shown the teaching and grading methods used by the majority of these teachers were out dated and difficult for many work force, and veterans to learn. Studies have proven that older methods do not work for today’s students even at four-year institutions.

It is estimated that nearly fifty percent of students attending community collages, attend to either upgrade skills for better job opportunities or increasing the amount of income they earn, and have no plans to attend four-year universities. Older methods for teaching and grading these students did not allow and even learning curve students coming from work forces and veterans.

Most have had very limited contact with academic science or math for many years, and as researchers suggest they have more difficulty adjusting to older teaching techniques. The research did also suggest that younger Instructor or adjunct instructors connected better and these students’ grade points were higher with younger professors teaching at community collages.

Community-CollegeMany students are happy to discover that the quality of classes is the same or close to those at four-year colleges while classes tend to be smaller than at large public universities. Also, a person at community college will have this extra time needed to understand what kind of career one wants to get into (many universities pressure students to choose their majors from the start). Many popular professions such as dental hygienists, veterinary technologists and others often only require community college degrees thus allowing a person to start their professional life earlier.

All in all, community colleges provide good alternative to those who, for one or another reason, are unable to attend four-year colleges but still want to get practical and useful education.


Movies and Their Impact on People

the-passion-of-the-christ-movie-poster-2004-1020194251Film industry plays crucial role in today’s economy, society, and culture.  Not only a source of employment and revenue for thousands of people, films are a major form of art, which can inspire, provoke debates and deep reflections, expose societal and other problems, open up new cultural horizons, and lead to future endeavors. Of course, not all movies necessarily become cultural phenomena, but many of them have big impact on their audiences and deserve the acclaim they receive from critics and/or people who come to value them.

Given the diversity of human condition, there are many subject matters, which can serve as a basis for a film. However, one of the riskiest decisions for any movie director is to make a film on a subject which is controversial, ideologically or culturally divisive, or unpopular with general audience. At the same time, such movies, when done right, can truly demonstrate their creators’ talents and instigate a meaningful discussion among moviegoers. Among some of the recent movies, which fall into this category, are such movies as “12 Years a Slave” and “Son of God.”

12-years-a-slave-quadThe movie “12 Years a Slave” has been released in 2013 and received three Academy Awards—Best Picture (Steve McQueen directed), Best Supporting Actress (played by Nyong’o) and Best Adapted Screenplay (screenwriter John Ridley). The movie, which depicts the life of Solomon Northup, a free man from Upstate New York who was abducted and sold into slavery where he spent horrible 12 years, was a huge success and made a lot of money (shot for a budget of about $ 20 million it earned, as of May 2014, over $56 million in USA and about $187 million worldwide). The subject of the movie is definitely a difficult one because it shows, unflinchingly and sometimes cruelly, the malice humans can inflict on one another and the depravity of slavery. However, at the same time it demonstrates the strength of human spirit and perseverance.

“Son of God,” released in 2014 is a movie based on mini-series “The Bible” which aired on History Channel and became quite popular. It was produced by husband and wife team, Mark Burnett and Romy Downey and depicts the life of Jesus Christ. The movie was widely promoted in the USA through church groups and Christian leaders and earned more than $59 million (as of May 2014). Inevitably, it was immediately compared to another Christian movie produced by Mel Gibson “The Passion of the Christ,” which was produced in 2004 and became one of the highest grossing movies in the film industry earning more than $600 million. While both movies are devoted to the same subject, i.e. Jesus Christ, they are very different in their style, message, and focus. While Mel Gibson’s movie concentrates on the last hours of Jesus’ life, “Son of God” covers the whole life of Jesus Christ. Both movies drew their followers and critics; however, most people agree that “The Passion of the Christ,” despite being very graphic and violent in its portrayal of Christ’s death, was a much more powerful and memorable

One of the marks of a great film is, certainly, the impact they have on people who have watched them. If the movie makes a person to learn something new, consider previously known issues from a different perspective, or allows one to open up his/her mind to new ideas and concepts— the movie can certainly be considered a success. Undoubtedly, “12 Years as Slave,” “Son of God,” and “The Passion of the Christ” have been such films.


Mid-Term 2014 Elections and Media Coverage: Do Big Money and Corporations Rule Politics?

Rupert_Murdoch_-_Flickr_-_Eva_Rinaldi_Celebrity_and_Live_Music_PhotographerOn November 4, 2014, American citizens are going to re-elect their representatives in Congress, where all 435 seats at the House and 33 out of 100 seats at the Senate will be up for grabs. Currently Republican Party controls the US House; 232 Republican seats, 201 Democrat seats, 2 vacancies; and Democratic Party, 53 Democrats, 45 Republicans, and 2 Independents control the Senate. In the Senate, Republicans need to gain six seats to obtain majority; in the House, Democrats need to get that much desired 218th seat in order to gain control. Given current political climate in the country, the upcoming elections are of great importance.

It is not a secret that many American citizens are disillusioned by the course the government has taken: for example, 2013 annual job approval rate for Congress of 14 percent was the lowest since Gallup started taking the poll in 1974. Similarly, Obama’s job approval rate was only mere 40 percent in December 2013. Divided nature of Congress—where Republican Party controls the House and Democrats control the Senate—is often to blame for inefficacy of American government. Practically every initiative proposed by either party is met with opposition from its political counterpart. The situation clearly manifested itself in October 2013 when the government shutdown over Obamacare showed that both political parties are predominantly driven by their ideologies instead of constructive concern for the well being and progress of the whole country.

Consequently, the 2014 elections will be instrumental in ensuring that Congress, instead of being torn by bipartisan bickering, might at last become productive and effective. As such, it is imperative that American people vote and unequivocally tell their government what is expected of it. However, therein lays a big problem. Special interests, big money, and powerful corporations, thus effectively shutting down the voices of ordinary citizens, contaminate political campaigns in the USA. In January 2010, Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission has declared that corporate political spending does not affect political representatives and has given corporations, labor unions, and other influential groups the same rights as to individuals to spend their money on political campaigns, including TV commercials, print advertisement, and such. Now, the big companies have means to effectively buy political campaigns and elected officials in order to promote policies advantageous to their corporate interests.120629_kochs_adelson_trump_ap_605

Moreover, American media is highly consolidated. For example, today, six major companies (Comcast, Disney, News Corporation, Viacom, Time Warner, and CBS) control most of the media in the USA, thus effectively managing what kind of information is available to people.  The same goes for cable, radio, and Internet, —which for all their seeming diversity—are in fact owned and controlled by just few large corporations. According to Common Cause Initiative, since 1990, the entertainment industry, including television, motion picture companies, music industry, etc., has put $283.5 million into federal elections. And in 2008-2010, about the same amount was spent by the industry on lobbying. In fact, Telecommunication Act of 1996, which lifted the limits of ownership, has had an opposite effect by allowing rich and powerful corporations to monopolize. As such, political ads, which run on TV, radio, and other media outlets, are often financed by big money and fail to provide unbiased views and diverse opinions.

It is of utmost importance to have access to true information regarding who, why, and how influences and finances political candidates and their campaigns. 2014 elections are fast approaching and American people need to act quickly.


Water, Food, Energy and Our Future

Microsoft Word - Perfect Storm Scenario and Nexus Thinking

Our planet’s population is growing each year and is fast approaching eight billion mark. Our climate is changing due to carbon footprint, which influences all aspects of our lives. As such, widespread concern whether natural resources which supply water, food, and energy for people will be sufficient enough to provide all the necessary means for life is well-grounded and timely. In recent decades, many people—including scientists, researchers, and public figures—have voiced their worries regarding the future of our planet and insisted that we must develop new policies which would stress the necessity of sustainable growth and development.

The idea that natural resources will get scarce as population grows is not new.  One of the most famous people who brought it to everyone’s attention was the Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834), an English scholar, cleric, and author. In his seminal work An Essay on the Principle of Population, he argued that while population grew geometrically, food supply grew arithmetically; thus, in the future, food supply would not be able to keep up with people’s needs. His work, while provoking a lot of criticism, nevertheless initiated vigorous scholastic debate for years to come and gave rise to many works devoted to the subject of population growth and its economic consequences.


In recent years, the concept of water-food-energy nexus introduces by Stockholm Environment Institute and supported by such renowned organizations as Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, International Food Policy Research Institute, Stockholm International Institute, World Business Council for Sustainable Development and others, steadily gained in popularity. To put it briefly, the nexus concept promotes integrated approach to securing water, food, and energy supplies across the globe. While it might seem that water, food, and energy belong to separate sectors, they are much more interconnected than previously imagined. As a result, the disturbance in one of the sectors will inevitably result in disturbances in the other two, which will lead to catastrophic consequences all over the world.

renewable, energy

As such, concerted efforts should be made in managing, developing, and governing various areas of water, food, and energy sectors by all world countries.Despite all the progress the humanity has achieved over the centuries, 550 million people in Asia and Pacific still do not have enough food; more than 600 million people in the world have no access to electricity; and about 55 percent of world population does not have access to clean and safe drinking water. At the same time, it is obvious that natural resources are not limitless and should be managed in a most efficient and productive manner, should not be overexploited, and should be sustainable. Consequently, water-food-energy nexus approach offers a wide variety of policies to achieve such an end. For example, these policies include an active promotion of green economy principles, increase of the productivity of various resources, use of waste as a resource in multi-use systems, integration of poverty alleviation and green growth, and stimulation of sustainable development through economic incentives.

Water Shortage

The need to build sustainable and green world economy is pressing. As such, people at all levels— be it individual, business, or country—must take steps to secure a future for our children.


Nature vs. Nurture: Perennial Debate

physical traits of parentsWhen a person looks in the mirror, he or she can easily see some of the physical traits inherited from their parents or other relatives such as eye color, shape of one’s nose and mouth, skin color, hair color, and so on. However, when it comes to psychological traits and character, the answer is not so easily found. Why our personalities are as they are? What factors contribute to each person’s character being one-way and not another? For years, researchers have tried to determine whether person’s character, individuality, and special talents are mostly pre-determined by genes or shaped by the environment a person grows up in.

Perennial Debate

The proponents of “nature theory” (known as nativists) stipulate that their genes largely determine people’s innate characteristics, personality, and abilities. As such, each of us has predetermined IQ, special talents, or inclinations, be they bad or good. While environment can make some difference, genes play a much more important role in shaping one’s personality and capacities. On the other hand, supporters of “nurture theory” (known as behaviorists) argue that their environment mostly forms people’s characters. As such, they believe that each person is born as kind of a “blank slate,” (or “tabula rasa” as introduced by philosopher John Locke) which gets “filled up” by one’s experiences, environment, and social determinants. Consequently, the environment can determine whether a person will grow up to be a success, for example in academic or creative field, or a failure. However, most people agree that both nature and nurture play somewhat equally important role in shaping one character, abilities, and personality.

Perennial Debate - how environment effects people behaviorThe debate regarding what makes us what we are is a significant one. For example, if one considers the problem of addiction (such as addiction to alcohol, drugs, or gambling) from the point of nativist, then it is clear that the research should be directed towards discovering specific genes responsible for such behavior and, if possible, manipulating them in order to cure people from their addictions. However, when one believes that environment is mostly responsible for people’s behavior, then the effort should be directed at providing stable and nurturing environment where these types of addictions are actively discouraged and disapproved.

Lately, the debate regarding nature vs. nurture came into limelight due to the discussion whether there is a gene responsible for people being gay. Given the pressure gay people often find themselves under, it is indeed important to understand the mechanism of homosexuality and whether it’s predetermined by one’s genetic make-up or societal factors.

Nature vs Nurture 4The relative importance of both nature and nurture is best understood when one considers twins. Both fraternal and identical twins have many more similar innate characteristics than other types of siblings. Still, if one is a believer of “nature” theory, identical twins who are reared in the same environment and exposed to the same social norms and culture should be much more similar in their personalities than they usually are. At the same time, when twins are brought up in different families and even in different cultures, they still share many common traits and talents.

Obviously, both hereditary and social determinants play crucial roles in shaping one’s character, abilities, inclinations, and personality.


Excessive Dieting and Exercising

Strict Dieting and Excessive Exercising: How Do They Affect Your Health?

Extream Exercising jwilliamsModern people live in stressful times. We are constantly barraged by new information, connected to our devices such as phones and computers, and have too little time for anything else except our jobs and household chores. Realizing the pressure of everyday lives, many people do their best to stay healthy by eating right, exercising regularly, and avoiding bad habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol. However, some people take their healthy habits too far by exercising excessively, adhering to very restrictive diets, or taking too many vitamins and different supplements. Many well-regarded studies have shown that such behavior, instead of making one healthier, might in fact harm one’s well-being.

The United States is a country with one of the highest obesity rates in the world According to 2013 UN report, it ranks second—after Mexico—with 31.8 percent of population being obese. Although in the last few years the obesity growth rate has slowed a little bit, it is still a very alarming issue. Many obese people suffer from a wide array of diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and generally bad health which negatively affect the overall economy of the country (lower productivity, higher health costs, etc). As such, it is a very positive development when a person decides to take control of his/her health and embark on a healthy lifestyle. However, one of the main rules one needs to remember is that everything is good in moderation.

For example, if a person eats a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet, he or she rarely needs to consume additional vitamins or supplements because all essential nutrients are already provided by food. According to Cynthia Sass, MPN, RD if one takes an excessive amount of such popular supplements as omega 3 fatty acids, iron, vitamin C, zinc, calcium, to mention just a few, he or she can seriously harm one’s health.

Man Drinking after ExerciseTo illustrate, high levels of omega 3 fatty acids can lead to weakened immune system, too much vitamin C and calcium can cause kidney stones, excessive zinc can cause many undesired effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, and lowering of bad cholesterol, and excessive iron can build up in tissues and organs such as heart and liver. Consequently, it is much better to commit to eating healthy combination of vegetables, proteins, and good carbs than risk overloading one’s system with unnecessary, and potentially hazardous, nutrients. Very strict diets also negatively affect peoples’ health by depleting their bodies of essential nutrients.

Another extreme behavior to which people become susceptible when trying to living healthfully is excessive exercising. Some people run every day for many miles, others enroll in such demanding fitness programs as CrossFit without being physically prepared for them, and third spend many hours at the gym. Once again, many researchers maintain that health benefits fall dramatically when person puts his or her heart and cardiovascular system under high pressure during strenuous and prolonged exercising. In fact, there are always stories when people collapse or even die when they run marathons, as was a case in Raleigh, NC when two people have died while running Rock’n’Roll half-marathon on April, 13, 2014. Usually, runners’ deaths are cardio-related, as it was in this tragic case.

While everyone should be mindful of their health and committed to eating well-balanced diets, exercising regularly, and avoiding bad habits—one also needs to remember that everything is good in moderation. – Becky Kospanova


Non-White Oppression

A Tale of Oppression And Suppression of Non White Americans

This story was inspired by a relative of an African American’s sibling’s plight of racism and injustice at the hands of raciest and oppressive law enforcement in southern sates by fabricated and illegally charging them with crimes they did not commit; which still happens to young men and women of color in America today. This creates a minimum wage work force all across urban areas of America. These tactics actually began during the early nineteen century and continues today.

Black Teen Agers

The main affect of this form of discrimination was and is to document and keep youngster of color Americans, from having the same chance to succeed in life as their young white male and female counter parts, simply by adding there names to the criminal systems for the rest of their life’s, even though they committed no crimes; all in a systematic attempt to control and denying many of them the opportunity to vote in elections and provide a low income work force.

Once they are labeled and wrongfully targeted, they are always looked at as criminals by society and that alone hinders their chance of landing top-level jobs and higher education at upper level Collages and Universities. It also keeps these victims in the lower income bracket. Many of these victims end up choosing a life of crime, drug and alcohol abuse as a result of the stigma of being a criminal that was wrongfully place on them early in life.

This systematic way of targeting people of color especially young men has been a mainstay conspiracy outline originally by the decedents of former slave owners nearly two hundred years ago, mostly in the south as a way to help provide a large pool of low wage workers available to southern landowners, after the civil war and the passing of the emancipation law. This conspiracy also has created the largest prison population of any country in the world, with seventy percent of the inmates being people of color, which again as records show also diminish the voting block for that population in favor of the controlling interest and are generally owned by those billionaire’s decedents of slave owners.

unanameergfCheap labor along with preventing voting rights now days or at the forefront of many legislators actions in congress today according to major media outlets, and is considered to be the driving force behind conservative agendas. Many state’s governments leaders allegedly are accused of gerrymandering senate and congressional districts maps in order to control minority voting by legislators, and is under investigation by the US Justice Department, mainly in the south prompted by the midterm elections of 2012. Several states maps were order to be redrawn by federal courts as a result that election according to Associated Press reports.

The GOP controlled house has refused to even consider voting on raising the minimum wage to $10 as requested by President Obama in order to keep their donors, happy and helps secure cheap labor for the corporations they own or control, while quietly approving bills that allow their donors to build more privet prisons.

In America, the prison system is a multi billion business just to house many of these young people who were unjustly force into a life of crime and drugs by the actions of those who swore to protect all citizens. These citizens were left with few outlets to succeed. Gerrymandering is a practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries to create partisan advantaged districts. The main incentive is to hinder people of color, which is also a way of enslaving people of color both young and old and should never be allowed to happen in America.

America was founded on the belief that all men are created equal as written in the constitution; which means everyone, not just those who were elected and vote on establishing unjust laws for their own benefit, or actions that just benefit their billionaire donors that ultimately allows those same billionaires the opportunities to buy elections.

When American politician and law enforcement personal are ultimately brought to justice for breaching the laws of Americans are found guilty of these atrocities, then and only then, can the oppression and suppression of young people of color be eliminated in America, and truly be the Land of The Free.


Handwriting a Dying Skill?

Is Handwriting Becoming a Dying Skill?

HandwritingFor centuries, the only way to communicate with people at distances or record one’s thoughts and experiences was to put things in writing. Although it might seem that writing had existed as long as humankind itself, it was certainly not the case. The history of writing is a long and fascinating one, starting with primitive drawings on the walls of caves and rocks and gradually developing all around the world in different forms such as pictographic, hieroglyphs, and finally to the earliest known alphabetical systems such as Proto-Sinaitic, Ugaritic, Egyptian, and Phoenician which were dated to about 3500-3000 years ago. Over the time, the materials for writing have changed, the writing instruments have changed, the subject matters have changed, but the enthrallment of people with writing itself has always been constant.

However, with the astonishing progress of technology in recent years, there is one form of writing that seems to be slowly eroding. It is writing by hand. Modern people are very much connected technologically and seem always to be e-mailing, tweeting, texting, instant messaging, etc. to each other. Surely, there is an occasional note or signature handwritten; but it is an undeniable fact that we all write less and less by hand. Is handwriting need to be preserved nowadays? For example, there is much debate regarding the need to teach our children to write in cursive. Many people argue that cursive, writing can be difficult for elementary level children to master and, as a result, might negatively affect their academic success.

Moreover, many school districts in the USA have voted in favor of teaching of keyboard typing skills than cursive writing. While children still write by hand at schools (though most of them print), they rarely write long compositions and mostly fill in blanks with few short sentences. I know this for a fact. My son, who is a seventh-grader and a very good student, almost does not write by hand. He does most of his work on computer (supposedly, this way school saves a lot of paper and trees), and as such he types at terrific speed but his penmanship is quite poor. Frankly, it saddens me.

Handwritten letters, notes, cards always bring so much more pleasure than anything typed. Somehow, knowing that a person took time to write by hand evokes closer feeling to a writer and the things he or she is writing to you. Not only that, but there were studies (quoted in Martha Stewart’s Living magazine article by Joanne Chen), that have shown, that when people write by hand, their hand movements make them remember the written things better and maybe even become smarter and more creative. For example, when one studies a foreign language, he or she will remember new words and language rules much better if they were written by hand (probably because it makes one to concentrate more than when typing).
Handwriting is gradually becoming more and more marginalized in today’s technology-obsessed world. However, it is a form of art which needs to be preserved because it is so human, personal, and expressive. – Becky Kospanova