Search This Blog

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Who is getting hired???

Preliminary reports from the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) five city job tour are being compiled at the same time the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is about to release information on unemployment. "Although the government does not give a profile of WHO is getting hired, it does release data on the industries which are hiring," said Steven Rondone, economist at Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

Andy Phelan, media director with U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson's office, (D) 4th District, said although CBC officials are still compiling data, preliminary estimates show, "from the Atlanta job fair, one company hired more than 60 sales reps, AT&T hired an engineer and one sales rep. The information is still coming in at this time."

Phelan said participants at CBC job fairs included:
Los Angeles - 10,000
Cleveland - 3,200
Detroit - 4,200
Atlanta - 4,500
Miami - 5,500

According to BLS, "Persons are classified as unemployed if they do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the prior four weeks, and are currently available for work."

Being employed is defined as "the total number of persons on establishment payrolls employed full or part time who received pay for any part of the pay period that includes the 12th day of the month" and does not equate to being told you have been hired.

©2011 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Atlanta WingChun to hold self defense seminar

An open, hands on, martial arts seminar concentrating on kung fu will be held Saturday, September 17 between 4 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at Marietta Martial Arts, 2145 Roswell Road, Marietta, Ga. Participants must be at least 12 years old to attend, and martial artists from all styles are encouraged to take part in the training.


Paul Wang from Berkley, Calif., U.S. head instructor for the International Academy of WingChun® (IAW), will lead the seminar. Wang is a private student of Grandmaster Klaus Brand of Germany, founder of the IAW. Brand awarded Wang the WingChun® Diploma Teaching Certification, making him the most highly qualified IAW representative in North America.

The seminar will be followed by additional training in escrima and combat fighting techniques on Sunday, September 18 between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Grandmaster Klaus Brand

The organization will also hold an end of the year seminar with Grandmaster Brand on Saturday, December 10, between 4 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. The seminar will again be held at Marietta Martial Arts. Advance reservations are recommended.

This will be Brand's second visit to Atlanta. “It is becoming increasingly apparent that self defense is a necessity, and our methods of counter attack are very proficient,” said Brand. “One must train to defend as well as increase self confidence in physical abilities. The Chinese mastered the art of self defense centuries ago, and we’re building on that philosophy.”

The IAW has branches in Africa, France, Germany, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Atlanta WingChun, the only IAW branch on the U.S. East Coast, is led by Instructors Kurk Johnson and Ayron Johnson. “This will be intense, hands on training. We suggest you be ready for a real workout and willing to learn techniques that will help you succeed if confronted with physical aggression,” Kurk Johnson said.

For more information and to make reservations for one or both seminars, call 678- 453-8119, or visit the website at http://www.atlantawingchun.com/index.html. For videos of this fighting style, go to http://www.atlantawingchun.com/media.html.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

MLK's greatest speech: Opposition to War in Vietnam

Even though the festivities to install the national monument in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were canceled this weekend in Washington, D.C., I pause today to contemplate the full message behind one of King's most poignant sermons, "Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam." Some of his pronouncements about war monies being taken from social programs ring true today and should give conservatives something to ponder and others specific marching orders.

Delivered far after King's "I have a Dream" speech on August 28, 1963 and his Nobel lecture delivered on December 11, 1964, King gave his message at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on April 30, 1967. His was a bold move, for those previously in his camp began to criticize him for not sticking to civil rights issues and crossing the line into human rights. Less than one year later, King was assassinated.

King began his remarks by quoting Dante: "The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality. There comes a time when silence is betrayal."

Unfortunately, the way our country and the media are being operated today is worse than it was in 1967 when the unemployed and poor people are at issue. To listen to the speech, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b80Bsw0UG-U. For a full transcript, go to http://www.husseini.org/2007/01/martin-luther-king-jr-why-i-am.html.

©2011 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Poetess Willie Mae Crump kicks off inspirational book tour

The public is invited to the signing of a stirring book of poetry entitled “Rhymes for Reasons: A Personal Journey of Prose and Prayer” written by Willie Mae Reid Crump. The event will take place on Sunday, September 25, 2011 at 1 p.m. at Allen Temple AME Church, 232 Arnold Mill Road in Woodstock, Ga. Attendees will be able to purchase personalized, autographed copies. The signing begins a poetry reading and book tour throughout the U.S.

Crump, 68, whose signature mark is a butterfly, exhibits her own metamorphic change through poetry. She said it has been a long journey to her home in Roswell, Ga. from her birthplace of Pelzer, S.C. where a language arts teacher gave her the confidence to write.

“What the caterpillar thinks is his life’s very ending, the butterfly knows that it is just the beginning,” are lines from poetry which mark Crump’s latest adventure. “I think of that in terms of me,” Crump said. “It is just the beginning for me.”

Crump’s voice is lyrically sweet, and her 92 pages of poems are written from inner joy. “This book uplifts the spirit, encourages the heart, enlightens the mind, and brings enjoyment to the soul,” said Rev. Carl A. Moore, Sr., senior pastor of Allen Temple AME Church which is hosting the event.

Over a 25 year span, Crump felt compelled to write poems for birthdays, funerals, calls to ministry, anniversaries, and other special occasions. Friends encouraged her to get published so others could be blessed while reading her prose.

A strong church leader and community volunteer, Crump often makes gift baskets for the sick and includes poems in card form which have become tidbits for her new book. “One of my most heart-wrenching poems was written for my mother’s home-going,” Crump said. “She really loved my poems.”

This word weaver’s rhymes flow easily. They are highly descriptive, uncomplicated yet emotional, and devoid of hidden meanings. They are truly delightful as is the tenor of her performance of them. “The way the English language is written, you can make almost anything rhyme,” Crump continued. Kindness and honesty are her specialties as is storytelling.

“I grew up in rural South Carolina right outside Greenville. I loved words. I was placed in an oratorical contest in the 11th grade, and I won. That gave me a boost, and I thought I might have some potential! I could write poems easily. It was never cumbersome or difficult.”

Crump said it is very important to be positive, especially in these times. “The world is in such a state of disarray. People are so involved in their own lives that you have to encourage yourself.” She is strongly rooted in the Word of God and knows where her strength originates.

She did not write the standard query letter to publishers but decided to take the self-publishing route. She stepped out on faith after attending a Spiritual Gifts class. “What a testimony you can give to unbelievers,” is from one of her favorite poems in the book.

Dr. Yvonne Beckles-Thomas said of the book, “In a world rife with struggles, this book of poems will give people a chance to step away and remember that with God, life can be simple and good.”

Crump is a witness to the power of God’s favor, hard work, and creativity. Her next venture is a children’s book based on a squirrel she loved and helped tame with the help of her siblings while growing up.

For more information on this event or to schedule a book signing and poetry reading, contact Ms. Crump at 770-993-0594 or via email at lcrumpjr@bellsouth.net.

Photos from the event - ©2011 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Muslims for Life" blood drive invites all on September 11

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is launching “Muslims for Life,” a nationwide campaign to honor the victims of 9/11 on its 10th anniversary and uphold the message that Islam values the sanctity of life. During the month of September, they will hold blood drives at all mosques and prayer centers in the United States in collaboration with other community organizations. Their goal is to collect 10,000 units of blood which can help save 30,000 lives.

A local blood drive will be held on Sunday, September 11 at the Mosque at 6113 Oakbrook Parkway, Norcross, Ga. from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The public will be allowed to enter the Mosque for this event.

"The reason for this blood drive is to show fellow citizens of this country that
we love America as much as any other individual," said Mahmooda Rehman, president of the organization's Women's Auxilary. "Our faith teaches us to be loyal to the country you live in. What happened on 9/11 was barbaric. We will defend this country with our lives if need be. We welcome any individual with open arms to our Mosque, and it will be a great honor for us," she said.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a religious organization, international in its scope, with branches in over 195 countries. This is one of the most dynamic Muslim communities in modern history, with worldwide membership exceeding tens of millions.

The Community is an embodiment of the benevolent message of Islam in its pristine purity. The Community endeavors to exert a constructive influence of Islam through social projects, educational institutes, health services, Islamic publications and construction of mosques, despite being bitterly persecuted in some countries. Ahmadi Muslims have earned the distinction of being a law-abiding, peaceful, steadfast and benevolent community.

For more information on this campaign, go to http://muslimsforlife.org/ or call Rehman at 404-395-3213.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Who is Bernie Sanders? Could he beat Obama?

by Tomi Johnson...Cornel West recently stated in a Democracy Now! interview that he could endorse a "Bernie Sanders-like" candidate for president to run against President Barack Obama in the 2012 election, but doubted whether Sanders would run.

Who is Bernie Sanders? Bernard "Bernie" Sanders, U.S. Senator from Vermont, is a Jewish, democratic socialist who ran as an Independent. According to his website, "He is the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history." Sanders was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006 after serving 16 years in the House of Representatives.

On August 2, Sanders voted NAY on the Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to S. 365, an act to provide for budget control.

Last Thursday, Sanders and eight other senators called upon the president to safeguard the health of families by standing strong against efforts to weaken the Clean Air Act. "We are disturbed by media reports that a number of industry groups are urging the administration to set a weak ozone standard, or to avoid setting a new standard at all," the senators wrote. "Polluters are ignoring 40 years of data demonstrating that clean air investments are good for public health and the economy."

On February 15, 2010, "Bernie Sanders: The Most Disappointing Senator" was posted on the Bullshit Philosophy website. In it, Kevin stated, "He (Sanders) seems more concerned with maintaining cordial relations with the Democratic Party than with supporting progressive policies. Like most progressives in Congress, he talks a good game but doesn’t really follow through on it."

To learn more about Sen. Sanders, go to: http://sanders.senate.gov/.

©2011 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Hope and Unity Rally rescheduled


According to Georgia Politico, "Due to Governor Deal’s restrictive policies regarding rallies at the State Capitol, we have moved the date to MONDAY, AUGUST 22 at 9 a.m. Website being updated now… tell your friends!"

For more information, go to www.hopeandunityrally.com.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Today's factoid: Frederick Douglass was a banker!


Frederick Douglass was not only an orator and abolitionist, but he was also President of the Freedman's Savings Bank in Washington, D.C.

The online release of the Frederick Douglass Papers is made possible through the support of the Citigroup Foundation and the Library of Congress. For more info, go to: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/doughtml/doughome.html.

©2011 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Mountain Park Fitness launches weight loss program

Ever wonder why so many people are overweight? Maybe they have not found the right weight management or exercise program. Maybe it's too hot to run outside! Maybe they need access to a fitness gym 24/7. What to do?

Do not use without permission.

Mountain Park Fitness 24/7 will introduce its new Thin & Healthy’s Total Solution® program at a health and wellness party as part of a Grand Opening celebration. The event will take place at Mountain East Community Church, 5365 Five Forks Trickum SW in Lilburn, Ga. on Saturday, September 10, 2011 between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. There will be prizes and giveaways, including free facials, body sculpting advice, and participatory Zumba demonstrations.

Do not use without permission.

“I began my fitness training over 23 years ago and was tagged with the nickname ‘Ironman’ because my hobby was lifting weights,” said owner Alan Woodward. “Positively changing lives has been my passion.”

Woodward says his company’s new initiative is focused on metabolism retraining, movement, and motivation. The program is a system for permanent weight loss. Woodward, a Stone Mountain resident and former volunteer firefighter, knows the potential for people to become healthier and more productive.


The program is facilitated by licensed coach and sports nutritionist Taylor Blake. “Our goal is to help thousands of people,” Woodward concluded. “We will be using our life success plan as a tool to accomplish weight loss in an ethical, safe way.

“There is also a fun factor to our program; it is not boring,” Woodward said. Whether you want to lose 50 or 150 lbs., goals are set during the beginning session. “You will reach your goal through persistence.” Participation in the program costs $15 - $20 per week.

Do not use without permission.

Mountain Park Fitness 24/7 is located at 5385-N Five Forks Trickum Road, Stone Mountain, Ga. For more information, contact Alan Woodward at 770-381-0077 or visit the following websites: http://mountainparkfitness.com AND http://www.thinandhealthy.com/.

©2011 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Economist gives solutions to end unemployment crisis

by Tomi Johnson...Dr. William "Sandy" Darity of Duke University has a solution to end unemployment - a federal job guarantee program.

“The key idea of the federal job guarantee is to remove the threat of unemployment for all Americans,” said Darity. “I think a proposal of this type is closely related to MLK's social justice and antipoverty agenda that postdated the open accommodations dimension of the civil rights movement.”

Professor Darity responded to my post on paid volunteerism on August 9. He gave his unemployment recommendations to the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Budget and Deficit Commission in February 2011. He also published “A Direct Route to Full Employment” in the Review of Black Political Economy in July 2011.

Darity said he developed solutions to unemployment three years ago. He is presently Research Professor of Public Policy Studies, African American Studies and Economics at Duke University and Cary C. Boshamer Professor of Economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"Robert Reich came close to advocating just such a proposal in his commentary on Tuesday, and Charles Peters has a piece on Slate arguing for a resuscitation of the WPA. Maybe momentum will build for genuine federal jobs program," Darity said.

Here are some main points from Darity’s plan:

Establish a National Investment Employment Corps


The nation faces an ongoing and sustained employment crisis. To address the crisis, the federal government should establish a job guarantee program for all adult citizens. The National Investment Employment Corps should offer all citizens 18 years of age and above an employment guarantee at a minimum salary of $20,000 with $10,000 in benefits, including medical coverage and retirement support.

An upper bound estimate of the expense of the program can be established by putting all 15 million persons unemployed at the peak levels of unemployment at the current crisis at a mean salary of $40,000, inclusive of materials and equipment per worker, with $10,000 in benefits. The total compensation package would amount to $750 billion which is less than the first $787 billion stimulus package and considerably less than the first phase of the bailout of the investment banks estimated at $1.3 trillion. This initiative would be far superior to the indirect incentive effects of stimulus measures because it would constitute a direct mechanism for job creation.

Establish job banks

States and municipalities can conduct an inventory of their needs and develop a job bank of tasks that require performance giving priority to the most urgent. This could include the construction, staffing and provision of high quality preschools, computer repair, upgrade and maintenance, sanitation workers, flood and other disaster service workers in hospitals and schools, and the extension, repair and maintenance of the public transportation infrastructure, e.g. roads, bridges, and dams.

To read more about Darity's plan, go to: http://www.springerlink.com/content/h1310q6327813743/ or watch his video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVyIMo_wQuU.

If you would like to comment about Dr. Darity's plan or have a plan of your own, please email tomimot@gmail.com

©2011 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Buyers beware: banks still offering home equity loans during bad economy

From how I view recent economic news, it appears that banks are able to get money cheap, but many consumers should still beware! Some banks are not doing any car loans, but are instead trying to squeeze what little equity a homeowner may still have from his home investment by making 3.3% interest loans that can be used to purchase a car, make home improvements, etc.

Not only is the bank still making a lot of money off these types of loans, but they still basically own the home should the borrower default or go bankrupt.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, "... if you agree to a loan that's based on the equity you have in your home, you may be putting your most valuable asset at risk. Homeowners-particularly elderly, minority and those with low incomes or poor credit-should be careful when borrowing money based on their home equity. Why? Certain abusive or exploitative lenders target these borrowers, who unwittingly may be putting their home on the line. Abusive lending practices range from equity stripping and loan flipping to hiding loan terms and packing a loan with extra charges. The Federal Trade Commission urges you to be aware of these loan practices to avoid losing your home."

©2011 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Paid volunteers needed

Save the country by first paying unemployed people who are volunteers, and then outlaw unpaid volunteerism! I know this will make some retirees who volunteer everyday at homeless shelters and hospitals mad, but it is economically disastrous to not pay people who are working and have those needing work remain unpaid.

(Photo courtesy U.S. Dept. of the Treasury - http://www.treasury.gov/SitePolicies/Pages/privacy.aspx- Images and text appearing on this web site may be freely copied.)

This plan has not been proffered by anyone else, and I take all the credit for believing this is one way to help solve the debt and unemployment crisis our country faces.

How many volunteers led the "Yes I can" Obama movement all across the U.S.?  It was rumored that about 6 million volunteers helped get Obama elected. Most of them were unpaid. 

Just stop and think about this for a moment...if volunteers (especially those working in political campaigns) were paid, more income taxes could go into government coffers and we could lessen the amount paid out in unemployment checks. If more volunteer jobs became paid opportunities, how would that positively affect the economy, social services, retirement income, etc?
  
In 2010, there were 63 million volunteers. In 2011, there were 14 million on unemployment rolls. Why should volunteers take away jobs from those who need them and taxes from the government coffers when "We, the people" are in such debt?

Employees can be held accountable for their work. Volunteers are unpaid worker bees that have good intentions but are a drain on the economy.

"Everyone should be paid, and paid well," said Maya Angelou in the 1970s. A living wage is better than none. Let's "volunteer" to change things.

If you want to become a PAID volunteer, call 770-565-6379, or email your resume to tomimot@gmail.com.

©2011 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Stone Mountain Park to hire snow mountain workers

Snow Mountain at Stone Mountain Park in Georgia is hiring people 18 years old or older who are willing to work weekends and extra days during a holiday period. They must be able to work outside in a winter environment; be super, over-the-top friendly and enthusiastic. Please have them email name, phone number to referral@stonemountainpark.com no later than November 1, 2011. Hiring will begin no later than December 1.

Employees must work the entire Snow Mountain season, between November 22 through February 20.   There are two shifts for Snow Mountain: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. All wardrobe items will be provided for you including a coat, hat, shirt, gloves, pants, socks and boots. You will be working in the snow.  It will be COLD AND WET in this manufactured snow. 

Keep a smile and you may be the one we hire!

---Gregory Goode

Monday, August 8, 2011

Treasuries drop more than stocks; idea to reduce unemployment - outlaw volunteerism

Beware the dangers of speculation!

(Treasury Sec. Tim Geithner talks with people after speech.)
Although major media has reported that stocks dropped dramatically while treasuries remained strong, the figures suggest otherwise.

According to CNN Money, today the Dow fell 5.6%, NASDAQ plummeted 6.9%, the S&P fell 6.7%, but U.S. treasuries had the largest hit - 8.6%.

It is unclear what this will mean to the U.S. and global economies.

Others are looking for President Obama to do something, but one wonders what the president can do to make the stock market and treasuries rebound. Stocks are risky, sort of like gambling, and maybe this is a wake up call to the rich that they should steer clear of the market right now. The poor and the unemployed do not have to worry about losses to their 401k or stock portfolios. The homeless are not worried about mortgage interest rates.

Meantime, I have a new and copyrighted plan to put Americans back to work: eliminate volunteer jobs and offer them to the unemployed. Asking folks to work for free is akin to slavery anyway and leaves one job closed that could have been filled by a person needing living wages. 
©2011 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.


President Obama responds to unemployment emergency

I faxed President Obama a letter asking him to declare an emergency on black unemployment. Here is the message I received from him.

The White House, Washington
August 3, 2011

Dear Friend:

Thank you for writing. I have heard from many Americans who are losing their jobs and struggling to pay their bills. Every day, I meet with my economic advisors to make sure we are doing all we can to create good jobs and to help Americans support their families and pursue the American dream.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was the first step to spur job growth and ease the pain of unemployment. This landmark law has saved or created millions of jobs here at home in industries such as alternative energy, health care, and construction. By extending and increasing emergency unemployment compensation and increasing access to health insurance, my Administration has also provided relief to millions of unemployed Americans, and has helped improve our Nation's economic outlook. Additionally, I signed legislation that will help small businesses -- the engine of growth on Main Streets across our country -- thrive, grow, and hire by providing them with tax breaks and better access to credit.

However, many Americans are still struggling to find employment and provide for their families. To assist workers looking for jobs, I signed into law the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act, extending unemployment benefits beyond what existed in the Recovery Act. To restore desperately needed assistance to Americans who lost their jobs in the recession, I also signed into law the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2010, as well as an extension of COBRA benefits.

My Administration is also helping Americans return to work by emphasizing job training in industries that cannot be outsourced. Recently laid-off workers receiving unemployment benefits have new opportunities to pursue higher education and job training programs, including easier access to Pell Grants. To encourage job creation in the United States, I am replacing tax laws that send jobs overseas with new incentives to create them here at home. Available assistance can be found online at http://go.usa.gov/aU7 or www.Opportunity.gov.

Together, we can help more Americans find and keep good jobs and enjoy a healthy standard of living. To find an employment center near you, select your state at: www.dol.gov/dol/location.htm. For information on benefits and opportunities for those seeking employment, I encourage you to visit: http://go.usa.gov/aUA. For career resources, call 1-877-872-5627 or visit: www.CareerOneStop.org. While it will take time to turn our economy around, I am confident that, working together, we will emerge from this crisis stronger than before.

Thank you, again, for writing.
Sincerely,
Barack Obama

Thought for today: Spiritual regeneration needed

"The most important thing for the world today, in my opinion, is a spiritual regeneration which would reestablish a feeling of good faith among men generally. Discouraged people are in sore need of the inspiration of great principles. Such leadership can be the rallying point against intolerance, against distrust, against that fatal insecurity that leads to war. It is to be hoped that the democratic nations can provide the necessary leadership."

---George C. Marshall, 1953

http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1953/marshall-lecture.html
(Photo/artwork by Tomi Johnson. ©2011 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

S&P downgrades U.S. credit rating

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and staff watch the Senate vote to raise the debt limit on Tuesday, August 2, 2011. U.S. Treasury photo.

Standard & Poor's, a McGraw Hill company, downgraded the U.S. credit rating late yesterday after putting the nation on credit watch in July.

For full details, go to S & P's Global Credit Portal at:
http://www.standardandpoors.com/servlet/BlobServer?blobheadername3=MDT-Type&blobcol=urldata&blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobheadervalue2=inline%3B+filename%3DUS_Downgraded_AA%2B.pdf&blobheadername2=Content-Disposition&blobheadervalue1=application%2Fpdf&blobkey=id&blobheadername1=content-type&blobwhere=1243942957443&blobheadervalue3=UTF-8

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Happy Birthday to our President!


Happy BDay, Mr. P.

Thank you for being the inspiration my family needed over the past year. Thank you for being the catalyst that helped save our home, retrained us, and got us affordable health care. You are appreciated.
LUV,
The Johnson Family
Marietta, GA

(Photo is screenshot of Carmen Miranda from the trailer for the film The Gang's All Here)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Budget Control Act of 2011 and student loans

If you were recently caught up in the wrangling and discontent over the budget ceiling bill but still do not understand House Amendment S 365, now known as the Budget Control Act of 2011, go to this website for full text:
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112s365eah/pdf/BILLS-112s365eah.pdf

(President Obama talks to students in Boston. Photo from White House website.)

Looking past the trillions of dollars in discretionary and budgetary authorities allocated by the new bill and changing of "food stamps" to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), one thing that immediately caught my attention deals with the student loans section on page 69. This bill terminates "the authority to make interest loans to graduate and professional students" and deems them "ineligible to receive Federal Direct Stafford loans."

I talked to Michael in the White House press office who urged me to email my questions. I have specifically asked, "How will this affect professional student's abilities to procure advanced degrees, especially poor and minority college graduates who are considering returning to school because they cannot find employment?"

As soon as I receive a response, I will post.

©2011 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Rally for "hope and unity" to happen at Georgia Capitol

The Democratic Party of Georgia will be partnering with several affiliate organizations for a Hope & Unity Rally at the Georgia Capitol at 206 Washington Street in Atlanta on Monday, August 15 at 9 a.m.

Organizers say the rally will "unite Georgians who have been sidelined by our state’s republican legislation: policies that are against public education, against workers and anti-middle class."

Participants are asked to bring signs and flags not attached to sticks or poles and to carpool or take MARTA public transit.


"It is imperative to have a good turnout for this event," said Cobb Democratic Women President RuthE Levy. "I urge everyone to participate."

The event is primarily for those who are facing HOPE Scholarship cuts, educators fed up with furloughs, union members wanting to protect their rights, and others wishing to unite for human rights, dignity, and equality.

For more information, go to: http://www.hopeandunityrally.com/.

©2011 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Hazards and scarcity of summer jobs for youth

The summer months provide many young people opportunities to earn and learn, but in certain occupations, summer jobs can result in injury and sometimes even death, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Division of Information and Marketing Services.


From 2003 to 2009, a total of 401 workers between the ages of 16 and 20 were fatally injured on the job during the summer months. This comprises about a third of the 1,239 fatal injuries in this age group for all months during this 7-year period.

Of the fatalities involving younger workers during summer employment, about a third occurred in construction and extraction occupations. This occupation group accounted for a considerably higher percentage of fatal injuries for 16 to 20-year-olds than for workers aged 21 and over in the summer months.

The occupations accounting for the second and third largest shares of 16-20 year old worker fatalities during summer months were transportation and materials-moving occupations (14 percent) and farming, forestry and fishing occupations (12 percent). The unemployment rate for young men was consistently higher than that for young women between July 2007 and July 2010.

During the summer, employment in industries that generally hire more men than women (such as construction and manufacturing) has declined more than employment in industries that tend to employ more women than men (such as education and health care). Unemployment among white youths tended to be below that of black and Hispanic youth, as has been typical of their older counterparts. Unemployment among all youth groups was up markedly between 2007 and 2010.

The best things in life are free!


While walking the dog, my husband came upon a fig tree in a neighbor's yard. The neighbor said he could take all the figs he could carry. What a wonderful gift! Figs are plentiful this time of year, but are expensive in grocery stores and farmer's markets.

According to Wikipedia, "Figs are one of the highest plant sources of calcium and fiber and rich in copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin K. Figs have a laxative effect and contain many antioxidants."

References to figs and fig trees are plentiful in the Bible, in both New and Old Testaments. The Olivet Discourse includes Jesus' descriptions of the end times associated with figs. Jesus curses a fig tree in the New Testament, but in the Gospel of Thomas, he advises that mountains can be moved if two people make peace with each other in a "single house."

(Photo by Tomi Johnson. ©2011 All rights reserved.)