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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Occupy Oakland set for another police confrontation

While nearly 400 protesters were arrested on Sunday, the deadline to disband Occupy Oakland demonstrations has passed. Many believe an all out battle between police and protesters is about to ensue.

What do the protesters want? Read their declaration below which was passed on 10/31/11 and is taken directly from their website :

"Occupy Oakland, in solidarity with the Occupy movement and with the local community, has established the principle of claiming for open use the open space that has been kept from us. We are committed to helping this practice continue and grow. Here in Oakland, thousands of buildings owned by city, banks, and corporations stand idle and abandoned. At the same time social services such as child and healthcare, education, libraries and community spaces are being defunded and eliminated.

"Occupy Oakland supports the efforts of people in all Oakland neighborhoods to reclaim abandoned properties for use to meet their own immediate needs. Such spaces are already being occupied and squatted unofficially by the dispossessed, the marginalized, by many of the very people who have joined together here in Oscar Grant Plaza to make this a powerful and diverse movement.

"We commit to providing political and material support to neighborhood reclamations, and supporting them in the face of eviction threats or police harassment. In solidarity with the global occupation movement, we encourage the transformation of abandoned spaces into resource centers toward meeting urgent community needs that the current economic system cannot and will not provide."

Monday, January 30, 2012

JOBS top priority at World Economic Forum

Ending its conference this weekend in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, business leaders at the World Economic Forum concluded that the international community should focus on promoting growth and creating jobs, particularly for youth. The annual meeting's theme was The Great Transformation: Shaping New Models.

“Jobs should be our number one priority,” declared Annual Meeting Co-Chair Vikram Pandit, Chief Executive Officer of Citi, in a session on the global agenda for 2012. Added fellow Co-Chair Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer of Unilever: “It is unacceptable that 200 million people cannot enter the workplace.”

To drive the new growth needed for full recovery from the recent global recession, governments have to provide the right environment, policies and leadership. “We believe that government should set up industry and other sectors for success,” said Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, who also served as a Meeting Co-Chair.

For Alejandro Ramirez, Chief Executive Officer of Cinepolis, the chief concern must be the widening wealth gap. “We need to reduce the income inequality we are seeing everywhere in the world that is increasing the backlash.”

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus, Chairman of the Yunus Centre, said that what the world needs today is visionary leadership. “We need to spend a lot more time ‘visioning’. Unless we have a vision, we are lost.”

World leaders weigh in
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for “more Europe”, with structural reforms, belt-tightening and greater labour market mobility necessary to underpin revival. Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, cautioned that Europe’s banking sector is entering a critical phase, with €230 billion of bonds due in the near future, even though assertive action by the ECB and Europe’s banks had so far been successful in averting another credit crunch.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda nevertheless offered his support, saying that: “Japan stands ready to support the Eurozone as much as possible.” Noda also mentioned that Japan is working with South Korea and India to try to prevent the sovereign debt contagion spreading to Asia.

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said: “No country is immune and everybody has an interest in making sure that this crisis is resolved adequately.” Timothy Geithner, US Secretary of the Treasury, agreed with the consensus forecast that the United States economy would grow between 2-3% this year, but warned that it could be set back by a prolonged crisis in the Eurozone.

In another extraordinary act of philanthropy, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced an extra US$ 750 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. “These are tough economic times, but that is no excuse for cutting aid to the world’s poorest,” said Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Gates Foundation. In a session on food security, Gates argued that he is “optimistic” about the daunting challenge of doubling food production by 2050 to feed a population forecast to hit 9 billion.

The World Economic Forum also launched a new initiative during the Annual Meeting to improve global resilience to major cyberrisks. “Partnering for Cyber Resilience” is a set of shared principles, signed and endorsed by chief executives of companies who recognize the interdependence of all organizations in combating cyberrisks and their role in contributing to a safer digital environment.

Other major issues addressed at the conference included Tunisia's new constitution, more trade instead of aid for Haiti, democratization of Myanmar, progress towards a common market in Africa, ensuring clean/sustainable energy supplies, and creation of a national women’s development fund to protect human rights and deliver improvements in education and healthcare for women.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Forum on Black Population to be hosted by Census Bureau and Urban League

The U.S. Census Bureau will host a forum with the National Urban League on the black population at Black Entertainment Television studios on Wednesday, Feb. 1, from 9 a.m. to noon (EST). This event will highlight statistics from the 2010 Census, providing a portrait of the black population in the U.S. Following the presentation, an expert panel will discuss the statistics and their implications.

Speakers will include Robert Groves, director, U.S. Census Bureau; Marc Morial, chief executive officer and president, National Urban League; Chanelle Hardy, senior vice president/executive director, National Urban League; Nicholas Jones, chief, Racial Statistics Branch, U.S. Census Bureau; Tallese Johnson, Racial Statistics Branch, U.S. Census Bureau; Kristal High, editor, Politic365; Margaret Simms, fellow and director, Low-Income Working Families project, Urban Institute; Roderick Harrison, Howard University professor, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies; Patricia Coulter, chief executive officer, Urban League of Philadelphia; Tracey Webb, founder, Black Gives Back Blog and Black Benefactors; Odis Johnson Jr., assistant professor, African American Studies, Maryland Population Research Center, University of Maryland; and Julianne Malveaux, president, Bennett College.

Black Entertainment Television Studios/Headquarters is located at 1235 W Street NE, Washington, DC. If you wish to attend, please register no later than the close of business on Monday, Jan. 30. RSVP required to enter premises. Please RSVP to

Federal Reserve states high unemployment rate still a major economic concern

The Federal Reserve released information this week stating that global growth was slowing and that the U.S. unemployment rate remains elevated. Additionally, the Reserve cautioned that growth in business fixed investment has slowed, and the housing sector remains depressed. Inflation has been subdued in recent months, and longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.

The organization's Federal Open Market Committee consistent with its statutory mandate seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The Committee expects economic growth over coming quarters to be modest and consequently anticipates that the unemployment rate will decline only gradually toward levels that the Committee judges to be consistent with its dual mandate. Strains in global financial markets continue to pose significant downside risks to the economic outlook. The Committee also anticipates that over coming quarters, inflation will run at levels at or below those consistent with the Committee's dual mandate.

To support a stronger economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at levels consistent with the dual mandate, the Committee expects to maintain a highly accommodative stance for monetary policy. In particular, the Committee decided today to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and currently anticipates that economic conditions--including low rates of resource utilization and a subdued outlook for inflation over the medium run--are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through late 2014.

The Committee also decided to continue its program to extend the average maturity of its holdings of securities as announced in September. The Committee is maintaining its existing policies of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction. The Committee will regularly review the size and composition of its securities holdings and is prepared to adjust those holdings as appropriate to promote a stronger economic recovery in a context of price stability.

Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Elizabeth A. Duke; Dennis P. Lockhart; Sandra Pianalto; Sarah Bloom Raskin; Daniel K. Tarullo; John C. Williams; and Janet L. Yellen. Voting against the action was Jeffrey M. Lacker, who preferred to omit the description of the time period over which economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate.

Info taken from Jan. 25th press release.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Euphoria from State of the Union speech turns to failed expectations in the light of day

(From President's speech, "An America Built to Last")

"Go, Barack, you tell 'em," melted into the feeling, "What could I have been thinking last night," as I stood in the Career Fair line the day after the President of the United States claimed that things were getting better, economically speaking.

"Many companies are refraining from making major hiring decisions until after the 2012 Presidential election," said Carl Walker, an employment counselor with the Georgia Department of Labor. "They are waiting to see how the election will impact their businesses, from a regulation and tax viewpoint." His message didn't make being unemployed more bearable.

The Career Fair, billed as a Diversity Hiring Expo, had hundreds of well-dressed, well-educated people waiting in line with high hopes of starting another job. My husband met the organizer who was making copies at Kinko's the night before the fair. "Know anyone looking for a job? Tell them to come to the Fair tomorrow. They will be hiring, no joke," he said. Instead, I was disappointed to find employers were only hiring for entry level positions, looking for military recruits and insurance sales people.

Oh, yeah, colleges and training companies were on the scene in full force, trying to get the already over-educated to sign up for retraining classes.

Boeing was giving out toy airplanes, mints, and ink pins. Home Depot was giving out bags with their name emblazoned on them for you to use at the grocery store. No one was available to talk about the status of recently posted resumes or the availability of management positions. Insurance agents were looking for people to sell "protection" or buy into long term investment accounts. The military was looking for young men and women and trying to find out where the next fair was going to be.

All the applicants were dressed for success, except for one woman who had left the sales tag on the bottom of her shoe where you could see it. She probably left it there in anticipation of returning the pair should she not land a job.

I believe these "fairs" are unfair because they give people hope that they may be blessed with a job based on their resume, experience, and personal appearance. Unfortunately, that doesn't cut it in today's job market.

"Job fairs really don't do anything," my daughter told me when I voiced my disappointment. "Job fairs are a waste of time," my son said. Both are under 30 and employed. And finding work at the employment office is just about the same scenario. I'm worn out from being let down.

And what do I think of Obama's late night exuberance now? One economist has already told me that he thinks Obama lacks courage and timidity, pushes notions of black dysfunctionality in stump speeches, fosters lukewarm jobs plans, is not meeting the needs of Americans in the current jobs crisis, and has a shallow or empty ethical core.

Something has got to give.

I would like to propose that we switch it up on taxes so we can take care of the deficit..let those who make over $1 million pay 33% in taxes, and those who make less pay 15%!

©2012 Article by Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Career Fair in metro Atlanta January 25

The 54th Atlanta Diversity College & Professional Career Fair will convene Wednesday, January 25 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Cobb Galleria Centre, Two Galleria Parkway Atlanta, GA 30339.

Professional dress and resumes required! Call 770-955-8000 to get driving directions.

This is your opportunity to meet with top quality employers seeking leadership and diversity in professional candidates like you! Be prepared for a possible interview!

Participating companies: The Boeing Company, The Home Depot, Coca-Cola, Allstate, AFLAC, Bankers Life & Casualty, Consort Institute, CompassionCare Hospice, DeVry University, Keller Graduate School of Management,, Georgia Department of Labor, MetLife Financial Group, Primerica Financial, ProvNet Strategies, Inc., The Art Institutes, Trinity Broadcasting Network, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, University of Phoenix, VIRTUOUS Career Services, Legal Sheild and more!

Companies wishing to recruit in Atlanta should call Jim Carter @ (770) 881-7620 ASAP. For additional career fair information or to preregister, visit:

Monday, January 23, 2012

The White House announces plan to employ 180,000 youth

The Obama Administration has announced its intention to launch before March 5, 2012 a Summer Jobs+ Bank, a one-stop search tool for youth to access postings for any participating employers seeking to reach them where they are online.

The search tool builds upon an open standard, the JobPosting schema and will include technical and promotional support by Google,, AfterCollege, LinkedIn and Facebook. The Corporation for National and Community Service has also released a new toolkit created in collaboration with the WHCCS and employers to support businesses and communities in their efforts to help young people become productive citizens and connect to greater opportunities.

“America’s young people face record unemployment, and we need to do everything we can to make sure they’ve got the opportunity to earn the skills and a work ethic that come with a job," said President Obama in a White House press release.

"This is an all-hands-on-deck moment. That’s why we’re launching Summer Jobs+, a joint initiative that challenges business leaders and communities to join my Administration in providing hundreds of thousands of summer jobs for America’s youth,” Obama said.

Three key ways organizations can engage are:

1. Learn and Earn: Provide youth jobs for the summer of 2012 in the form of paid internships and/or permanent positions that provide on-the-job training. Of the roughly 180,000 job commitments announced today more than 70,000 are Learn and Earn commitments
2. Life Skills: Provide youth work-related soft skills, such as communication, time management and teamwork, through coursework and/or experience. This includes resume writing or interview workshops and mentorship programs.
3. Work Skills: Provide youth insight into the world of work to prepare for employment. This includes job shadow days and internships.

More information about this initiative can be found at
Photo: White House - Obama on telephone in Oval Office.

Breaking News: Tracy Morgan collapses during award ceremony

30 Rock star Tracy Morgan has been hospitalized, and his condition is unknown at this time.

Last summer Morgan made his animation debut lending his voice for Jerry Bruckheimer’s G-FORCE, a combination live-action/CG film. Morgan starred as “Blaster,” one of the highly trained secret agent guinea pigs dispatched to save the world. The film opened number one in US box offices and was celebrated by audiences worldwide.

A milestone for Morgan was reached in 2009 with the release of his first book, a compilation of studied anecdotes and some of the more serious moments that shaped him and his career entitled I Am The New Black. With the success of his first book, he is currently beginning work on a full autobiography due out possibly as early as next year.

As a stand-up comic who has headlined across the country, Morgan was first introduced to television audiences in his role as “Hustleman” on the hit comedy series “Martin.” He went on to join “Saturday Night Live” in 1996 where he appeared for seven seasons and created such memorable characters as “Astronaut Jones” and “Brian Fellows.”

After leaving SNL, Morgan went on to star in his own comedy series “The Tracy Morgan Show” and voiced “Spoonie Luv” on Comedy Central’s “Crank Yankers.” Morgan currently resides in New York City.

Photo uploaded by Jamie jca, Author -Alex Erde from Scarsdale, United States 2008 Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Please forgive me while I'm sorting things out...

Just wanted you to know that I sometimes makes mistakes on my IPad...found out today that I need glasses...that may be the reason why I sometimes make spelling mistakes...know that I'm not perfect, but I am trying the best that I can to inform you of my thoughts ...will have my bifocals soon.
Tomi Johnson

Tuskegee Airmen signify passing the test

Tomi Johnson interviewed Col. Charles E. McGee (3rd from left), National President of the Tuskegee Airmen in 2002. Also pictured are Tuskegee Airman LeRoy F. Gillead, Col. Ralph W. Smith, and Captain Eugene W. Garges, Jr.

As the movie Red Tails hits theaters across the country, we remember that the famed Tuskegee Airmen and their instructors were heroes who shot down planes AND myths. Here are some comments and photos from these living legends from interviews I conducted in 2002.

Col. Charles E. McGee, Bethesda, MD, National President of the Tuskegee Airmen, talked about that era. “You had to take a physical examination and besides being physically qualified, you had to pass mental tests. Being colorblind would keep you out; in fact, we had a friend who went through the training and was able to get by until that final physical and didn’t receive his commission because he was colorblind. But those were standards for everybody, Black or White, set for pilots coming into the Army Air Corps in 1941 through 1946. It’s important that those who are captains, first officers, or engineers are qualified so that people who have their tickets punched and board an aircraft can feel comfortable.

“The Tuskegee Airmen experiment was the foundation for Black pilots of today because when that program started, there was a lot of thought that Blacks were not capable. It was that program that gave us an opportunity to prove or disprove a theory, and of course, we disproved the myth. It did bring about a change later, both in the attitudes of people and the policies of the Army Air Corps and the Air Force for using people based on their skills and ability, and giving them the opportunity to test rather than automatically saying because of color, origin of birth, or whatever, that they weren’t capable. That was a big change.”

Captain Eugene W. Garges, Jr., Manhasset, Long Island, NY, (Eastern Airlines) was a flight trainer for the Tuskegee Airmen and talked about the experiment and the participant’s aptitudes. “The color of your skin has nothing to do with your aptitude as a pilot. I always told everybody that. When people find out that I had been at Tuskegee, and asked me, ‘How were they?’ I said, ‘No different from anybody else.’ The Tuskegee Airmen proved what should not have had to be proven – that they could fly.

“I have one memory of when an instructor took a man up for his first flight in an AT6 and gave him a lot of acrobatics, and asked him if he could do that, and he said, ‘I’ll try’ and he did it as well as the instructor. And the instructor came down, went to the flight leader, and told him he had a student that could fly as good as he could. And he said, ‘Do you have a guy by the name of James?’ And it was Chappie James. He was a good pilot. My advice to young pilots is to stay in school and get all the education you can.”

Airman LeRoy F. Gillead, a native New Yorker, “Most people have no idea there were 14,612 Black and White civilian and military women and men in the Tuskegee experiment because only the 450 combat pilots get the recognition, which is just about 3%. The Tuskegee Airmen were not all Black; that is a misconception people have. All those people were part of this experiment that began with the civilian pilot training program in 1939. It had five phases – 2 civilian and 3 military components. I enlisted in the 2nd Army Air Corps at Mitchell Field in New York to go to Chanute Field in Illinois to get technical training and become part of the 99th Bomber Squadron. It began in the fall of 1939 at six Black colleges, from the fighter group to the bomber group. There were 1500 support people behind those 450 pilots that went overseas.

“Blacks were not allowed into the Army Air Corps in 1941. Two Black pilots flew, and they encouraged members of Congress to include Blacks in pilot training. There was resistance to it by Whites, so when they developed the plans to have a civilian cadre, the South didn’t want the Blacks to participate, so they couldn’t go to the South. They went to the Black colleges and to Harlem Field in Chicago. They were supposed to go from civilian to military pilot training. They did that for Whites, but there was a 15-month gap from when they allowed Blacks to get into it, until July and August of 1941. That was the first class of Black cadets, and they graduated in the winter of 1942. I became a navigator bombardier.

“Most of the Blacks who came out of the experiment worked for the government, not commercial airlines. I don’t personally know of any airline pilot who was a Tuskegee Airmen. I don’t think that happened. The number of Blacks in the commercial airline industry has only varied by 1 or 2% from whenever they started. It’s still a very small amount. The potential for pilots in America is diminishing, not increasing because of automation and the kinds of planes they fly. Now you see people flying smaller planes, and they can fly pilots longer. The potential of being a pilot is not an open field as say electronics, but pilots make good money. It’s like basketball…all these boys who want to play basketball can’t succeed. They got 10,000 trying to be Michael Jordan, but very few can do it.”

©2002 Photos by Kurk D. Johnson. All rights reserved.
©2012 Article by Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Gingrich's attack on media baseless, infidel powerplay

As always, Newt Gingrich continues to use his "I can do no wrong" aggressive arrogance to attack truth seekers instead of checking out the man in the mirror, instead of fessing up to deeds which many consider immoral breaches of trust.

In last night's Republican debate, when asked about possible infidelity and an "open marriage" request, Gingrich answered the question posed by veteran CNN journalist John King in this manner, "The destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media make it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office."

First of all, before taking a job in what Gingrich categorizes as the "elite" media, one has to sign a contract that demands professionalism, ethical behavior, and truthfulness. For instance, the Cox Media Group which owns the Atlanta Journal-Constitution requires reporters to sign a news staff policy agreement which includes, "Newspapers function as a watchdog on government and other institutions. This means we must adhere to a high ethical standard ourselves. We cannot hold others to a higher standard than our own. We must conduct ourselves and our business in a way that reflects favorably on us as professionals and the AJC as an institution devoted to the public good."

I'm sure John King had to sign a similar agreement. Political candidates, however, do not have to sign these types of agreements. When Gingrich was Speaker of the House, he took an oath to defend the Constitution. As required by Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution, "Members of Congress shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support the Constitution. Representatives, delegates, and the resident commissioner all take the oath of office on the first day of the new Congress."

Gingrich took the following oath, "I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."

When he got married, he also took an oath: "I, Newt, take thee, Candance (1st wife)/ Marianne (2nd wife), to be my lawful wedded Wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth." He agreed to remain faithful to his wives two times before he married his present wife who was his mistress. He asked wife #2 for a divorce soon after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

And if Newt becomes President, will he also take his oath lightly? My guess is that he will fall back into being as faithless a leader as he was an infidel in the bedroom.

The best way to win a war is not to start one. Don't start no S, won't be no S!

Photo by Gage Skidmore. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wal-Mart vs The Morons: debate on adopting corporate rules to run the government

UPDATE: On January 20, 2012, Sam's Club named Rosalind Brewer CEO, the first woman and first African American to hold this position. Brewer will report directly to Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke.

An email has been circulating suggesting that the federal government should be run like Wal-Mart, and that Wal-Mart executives should be hired to run the U.S. government. These facts could also be considered in trying to figure out whether a corporate executive has the credentials to run the national government. The pros and cons for this idea are mentioned below.

In 2000, Wal-Mart's assets totaled more than the GDP of 155 of the 192 countries in the world, with annual sales of more than $137.6 billion. Americans spend $36,000,000 at Wal-Mart every hour daily, equating to $20,928 profit every minute! Wal-Mart employs 1.6 million people, is the world's largest private employer. Wal-Mart is the largest company in the history of the world. Wal-Mart now sells more food than Kroger and Safeway combined and more food than any other store in the world. 90% of all Americans live within fifteen miles of a Wal-Mart. This lays the ground work for suggesting that MAYBE the guys who run Wal-Mart could fix the economy.

Some suggest that the President of the U.S. and all of Congress are corrupt morons who have led to the following debacles:
- U.S. Postal Service, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac are broken.
- The War on Poverty has been lost.
- The Department of Energy is an abysmal failure.
- Government run health care will not work.
- Veterans, children in poverty, the unemployed, and the homeless are increasingly suffering.

The EEOC is suing Wal-Mart over allegations of sexual harassment of female employees in Alabama. Nearly three-quarters of a million women work as "sales associates" in Wal-Mart stores. On average these women earn $6.10 per hour, or $12,688 per year if they are permitted to work full-time. This wage puts many of their families below the poverty level — half even qualify for federal assistance under the food stamp program.

Current and former employees in California are suing Wal-Mart for sex discrimination in pay, promotion, and compensation. This will be the country's largest sex discrimination suit against a private employer if it is granted class-action status.

Women who make pants in El Salvador earn 15 cents for each pair; Wal-Mart sells these pants for $16.95 in its U.S. stores. Also, contractors in El Salvador force workers to take pregnancy tests. According to Brandeis University Professor Ellen I. Rosen, women in Central America who make clothes for Wal-Mart live in shacks lacking running water or plumbing while women in China live nine to twelve to a room in government-provided dormitories. Some of Wal-Mart's workers in the U.S. spend their nights in trucks of motel rooms without cooking facilities.

Wal-Mart's health insurance plan excludes contraceptive coverage. A suit, which is seeking class action status, has been filed in Georgia regarding this exclusion.

The Maine Department of Labor ordered Wal-Mart to pay the largest fine in state history for violating child labor laws. The Department of Labor discovered 1,436 child labor law infractions at twenty Wal-Mart chains.

Lawsuits pertaining to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violations have been filed in Missouri, Arizona, California, and Arkansas.

Employees from Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Washington, Illinois, Iowa, and West Virginia have sued Wal-Mart for underpaying its hourly workers. Employees from Missouri and Kansas have filed class-action suits alleging "acts of wage abuse." These acts include neglecting to pay workers overtime, preventing rest and lunch breaks, and forcing them to "work off the clock."

A former employee in New Jersey reported being harassed and fired after telling his boss that he was undergoing a sex change. He won the case, and Wal-Mart was ordered to pay him $2 million.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has filed suit against the New Castle, Pennsylvania Wal-Mart for unfair labor practices. It alleges that Wal-Mart illegally discouraged workers of the Tire and Lube Express department from joining a union. The NLRB also filed a suit against the Jacksonville, Texas Wal-Mart for unfair labor practices. It alleges that Wal-Mart threatened meat cutters, interrogated them regarding their union sympathies, and fired those who are pro-union. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union has filed a complaint with the NLRB alleging that two workers were fired because of their union organizing activities.

Following a vote in favor of union representation by the butchers in Jacksonville, Texas, Wal-Mart announced that meat cutting would end at 180 stores.

In the video Behind the Labels: Garment Workers in U.S. Saipan, Wal-Mart is featured as one of the retailers which contract with "sweatshops" in Saipan for the manufacturing of garments sold in their stores.

Bloggers' notes:
The U.S. government is set up to protect the individual rights of ALL citizens and should be run as a democracy. Wal-Mart is set up to protect the interests of its stockholders and deals with profits out to make the most profit it can regardless of whether its employees are making a living wage. Wal-Mart may be customer friendly, as far as prices, but it leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to taking care of its own human resources as its many EEOC lawsuits suggest. If you compare Wal-Mart's pricing to other stores, you may find that its prices are the same or maybe only cents cheaper than other stores with better employee benefits and processes.

Also, Sam Walton's kids are multi-billionaires, according to Forbes Magazine, truly the top of the 1%! They and their stockholders are the ones who are living high on the hog at the disadvantage of their employees, many of them who are impoverished but possibly are happy to have a job, which provides some since of dignity, instead of living on food stamps which is probably worse.

As far as getting the best deal on food, this may not be the best food for the body. Wal-Mart has good food prices but a lot of food coming from outside the country, foods with a lot of preservatives and additives. As we age, we are becoming more cautious when it comes to these foods which could be killing us. It is probably better to eat less WALMART food and more nutritious foods and not stock up on canned foods and processed meats from Wal-Mart.

If you want a good deal on non-food items, go to Sears stores which are being liquidated as well as many others including some Bloomingdale's stores which are getting beaten by low prices of Internet stores, Wal-Mart, and Target which have taken a big chunk of their customer base.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

World Bank projects negative economic impacts on developing countries

According to a press release issued by the World Bank, developing countries should prepare for further downside risks, as Euro Area debt problems and weakening growth in several big emerging economies are dimming global growth prospects.
The Bank has lowered its growth forecast for 2012 to 5.4 percent for developing countries and 1.4 percent for high-income countries (-0.3 percent for the Euro Area), down from its June estimates of 6.2 and 2.7 percent (1.8 percent for the Euro Area), respectively. Global growth is now projected at 2.5 and 3.1[1] percent for 2012 and 2013, respectively.
Slower growth is already visible in weakening global trade and commodity prices. Global exports of goods and services expanded an estimated 6.6 percent in 2011 (down from 12.4 percent in 2010), and are projected to rise by only 4.7 percent in 2012. Meanwhile, global prices of energy, metals and minerals, and agricultural products are down 10, 25 and 19 percent respectively since peaks in early 2011. Declining commodity prices have contributed to an easing of headline inflation in most developing countries.

Although international food prices eased in recent months, down 14 percent from their peak in February 2011, food security for the poorest, including in the Horn of Africa, remains a central concern.
“Developing countries need to evaluate their vulnerabilities and prepare for further shocks, while there is still time,” said Justin Yifu Lin, the World Bank’s Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Development Economics.
Developing countries have less fiscal and monetary space for remedial measures than they did in 2008/09. As a result, their ability to respond may be constrained if international finance dries up and global conditions deteriorate sharply.
To prepare for that possibility, Hans Timmer, Director of Development Prospects at the World Bank, said: “Developing countries should pre-finance budget deficits, prioritize spending on social safety nets and infrastructure, and stress-test domestic banks.”
While prospects in most low-and middle-income countries remain favorable, the ripple effects of the crisis in high-income countries are being felt worldwide. Already, developing country sovereign spreads have increased 45 basis points on average and gross capital flows to developing countries plunged to $170 billion in the second half of 2011, compared with $309 billion received during the same period in 2010.
“An escalation of the crisis would spare no-one. Developed- and developing-country growth rates could fall by as much or more than in 2008/09” said Andrew Burns, Manager of Global Macroeconomics and lead author of the report. “The importance of contingency planning cannot be stressed enough.”
The full report and accompanying datasets are available at 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My appeal to Newt Gingrich to help me find employment

This message was emailed to Mr. Gingrich's office earlier today.

"Dear Mr. Gingrich,

Thank you for agreeing to help me find a job during last night's debate. I need a job making a living wage. Better yet, I need a job that will make me part of the 1% club of which you belong. I believe that I can do what it takes to make between $300k and $550k per year so I can be on a level playing field with you and the rest of your Republican friends. I will even settle for a job making 20% of those numbers so I can pay my bills and buy food. I have education and experience in public relations, marketing, political leadership, education, and project management.

Since you said you can help poor people find jobs, where can I fax my resume? If you or your staff don't respond, I will know that your remarks last night about helping African Americans find jobs were all a joke.

A legal U. S. citizen"

I urge others wishing to get assistance from Gingrich to email him by going to his campaign website. NOTE: Gingrich said he was going to help the poor learn how to get a job, but did not say he was going to make sure they became employed or give them a job himself.

Monday, January 16, 2012

MLK Day speaker compares King to Nehemiah and washing machine part

Stating that "morphed" racism has become subliminal, sinister, and subtle in the 21st century, the Rev. Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III was the guest speaker at the 44th Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. commemorative celebration held at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga.

After a score of sermonettes, political speeches, litanies, and songs, Rev. Haynes was introduced by MLK's youngest child, the Rev. Dr. Bernice A. King. "You know, when a preacher shows up without a bible, you know he has the word deep within him," King said.

Senior pastor of the 10,000 member Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, Haynes' message was to teach and preach on a theme which included a commission to act.

Haynes compared MLK to the biblical Nehemiah whose mission was to save his people and rebuild city walls which were forms of security in the ancient world. He said neither King nor Nehemiah were self centered. He said many successful people, however, are akin to pardoned turkeys living on Turkey Hill who have forgotten there are others who are suffering from mis-education, hunger, poverty, injustice, and disease.

"Like some people, the turkey who has been saved from slaughter and is kicking it with the rich and famous, forgets about folks in penal institutions," Haynes said. He continued that longevity in America is closely tied to a person's zip code.

"Nehemiah was the king's former cup bearer who resorted to prayer to rebuild walls," Haynes said.

Haynes also made many references to President Barack Obama. "He inherited a hot economy that was losing jobs, wars were being mismanaged...but together, we can make a difference, rebuild walls, heal our land." He urged people to organize and mobilize, even when "all hell is breaking loose."

Haynes also compared MLK to a washing machine's agitator which stirs up waters to get stains out. He said King agitated by speaking truth to power and was admonished for doing so by preachers in Birmingham, Ala. before he wrote his famous letter from jail.

He said King was angry and became agitated when he witnessed poverty, injustice, and Jim Crow apartheid in America. Like King, "Be not content to give out charity, but change policy," he said.

Haynes said King was a victim of identity theft. "You don't get killed or hunted by the FBI for dreaming. King was dangerous because he agitated to change public policy," he said. "He used the spirit of sacrifice for the greater good, like Nehemiah when he was governor.

"We must fight voter suppression, right education, spur economic empowerment, fight for the next generation, " Haynes continued. "God, please remember me with favor, for all I have done for these people...for people who can't pay me back," should be our cry.

"Favor, slap your neighbor, can't be equated with finance...we must have the power to overcome opposition and fulfill King's don't have to fly first class on an airplane to exhibit first class behavior," Haynes concluded.

©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Friday, January 13, 2012

How will top college in U.S. celebrate the King Holiday?

Forbes Magazine has named Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. the top college in the U.S. How will this prestigious institution celebrate the King Holiday? With a series of events highlighting quilt making, the life of the late civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, the screening of a slideshow entitled "Citizen King" as well as many other artistic and oratorical presentations.

On Sunday, Jan. 15, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., quilt artists Jeanne Marklin of Williamstown and Betty Warner of Connecticut will present “Unspoken Truth about Color: A Dialogue in Art Quilts about Racism” in the lobby of the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance. Twenty-four quilts will be featured, and light snacks and refreshments will be provided.

From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall, the Multicultural Center Change Series will present a lecture titled, “Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin.” Rustin was one of the first “freedom riders,” served as an advisor to King, and helped organize the 1963 March on Washington.

On Monday, Jan. 16, from 9 a.m. to noon, there will be a social change media project in Baxter Hall, Paresky. The project includes a film screening of Citizen King and a slideshow of activist, social, and cultural scholars of different social movements.

From 10 a.m. to noon, Williams College librarians Christine Menard and Mercedea Shriver will present “Understanding the Times and Reason for Movement: A Library Exhibit” in Baxter Hall, Paresky. They will provide historical documents, including national newspapers, magazines, record articles, and photos, available for checkout on site.

At noon, President Adam Falk and Muslim Chaplain Bilal Ansari will lead a moment of silence in memory of King and provide a few words on the importance of the day in Baxter Hall. Immediately following, selected essays and poems by 5th and 6th grade Williamstown Elementary School students will be read.

The museum exhibit “African Americans and the American Scene, 1929 – 1945″ will be open for display from 1:15 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Williams College Museum of Art. The exhibit looks at the role of African Americans in the visual and performing arts during the Great Depression.

From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., local speakers, educators, and activists will present “Continuing the Fight for Justice: Active Engagement in the Berkshires and Beyond” in Baxter Hall, Paresky. They will speak about their involvement with the Spruces mobile home park and the Occupy Movement locally. Students for Social Justice is organizing this programming.

At 7:30 p.m., Stewart Burns, coordinator of community engagement, will give a talk and lead a discussion titled “Breaking the Silence of the Night: Dr. King’s Call to Serve in 2012.” The event will take place in Paresky Theater.

Williams College is a private liberal arts college founded in 1793 which has an enrollment of approximately 2,200 students. The events are sponsored by the Williams College Multicultural Center, the ’62 Center, the Chaplains’ Office, Dining Services, the Center for Community Engagement, Williams College Museum of Art, and Sawyer Library.

Photo: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta holds book and toy drive for MLK holiday

In honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta is sponsoring a book and toy drive, and employees are collecting new children's books and stuffed animals to be donated to Scottish Rite Hospital.

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others'" was a quote made by Dr. King, and this drive is a display of our care and support," said LaTasha Hood - Adkins.

In 1998, Egleston Children's Health Care System and Scottish Rite Medical Center formed Children's Healthcare of Atlanta — one of the largest pediatric systems in the country. The new system had a single priority: children and families.

The donations will be made to children in the hospital on January 20, 2012. For more information, contact Ms. Adkins at 678-731-5650 or Jennifer Alicea at 678-731-5738.

World Energy Council predicts big challenges in China, India

Ministerial session in Doha, Qatar

In a report released in Qatar last month, the World Energy Council (WEC) announced that transport fuel demand in the next forty years will come mainly from developing countries such as China and India, where demand will grow by 200% to 300%. In contrast, the transport fuel demand for the developed countries will drop by up to 20%, mainly due to increased efficiencies.

The demand of the developing countries is expected to surpass that of the developed countries by the year 2025.

“It is evident that the transport sector is about to go through a radical change. The light duty vehicle sector in OECD countries will be almost completely transformed in terms of fuel mix, and we will see a pronounced shift of demand for transport fuels to the developing countries," said Prof. Karl Rose, Director of Policy and Scenarios at the World Energy Council.

"The effect of the penetration of new technologies seems to be less profound than many have predicted, mainly due to the exceptional growth in heavy transport demand,” Prof. Rose added.

Dr. Ayed Al-Qahtani, WEC Senior Project Manager of the ‘Global Transport Scenarios 2050’ project team said, “Our study reveals a particularly strong rise in demand for diesel, fuel oil and jet fuel which together constitute the bulk of transport market fuels. By 2050, the demand for these three fuels could increase by between 10% and 68%," Al-Qahtani said.

The consequences for the environment are significant. In 2010, the CO2 emissions from the transport sector were about 23% of global CO2 emission levels and emissions from cars were about 41% of total transport emissions.

WEC concludes the biggest challenge is for governments to provide sustainable transport for nine billion people in 2050, and to do that at the lowest possible social cost, i.e. minimum possible congestion, pollution, and noise generated by additional traffic and freight volumes.

The report is the culmination of over a year’s collaborative effort between a core team in WEC, 54 global transport and energy experts in 29 countries, two project partners, IBM Corporation and Paul Scherrer Institute, and the WEC member network.

Formed in 1923 with headquarters in London, WEC is the UN accredited global energy body representing more than 3000 organizations in over 90 countries. The full report can be downloaded from

Photo: Media and press gallery, WEC.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tavis Smiley's "Remaking America" forum to open in DC tomorrow

Broadcaster Tavis Smiley will lead a conversation on "Remaking America" Thursday, January 12, from 6:30 p.m.– 9 p.m. at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium in Washington, DC. The event will be free and open to the public.

The event comes on the heels of Smiley being fired from speaking at a MLK event over the weekend. It was reported that people who purchased tickets to the event did not want him to speak. Smiley and sidekick Dr. Cornel West have been criticized for being critical of U.S. President Barack Obama.

Thursday's symposium participants will discuss solutions for restoring America's prosperity and dissect the findings from a recently released White Paper from Indiana University on "the new face of the poor."

On the panel will be Cornel West, Princeton professor and author; Suze Orman, personal financial adviser; Michael Moore, Academy Award®-winning filmmaker; Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed; Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University Professor of Health Policy and Management; Majora Carter, Urban Revitalization Strategist; and Vicki B. Escarra, President and CEO of Feeding America.

The event will be broadcast live on CSpan. Admission will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 5 p.m. Self-parking is available on site. All attendees must register at

Photo: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

MSNBC suspends Pat Buchanan indefinitely

According to's Gabriel Rey-Goodlatte, MSNBC President Phil Griffin has confirmed that Pat Buchanan is suspended indefinitely because some of his ideas are not "appropriate for national dialogue on MSNBC."

In an email to members, Rey-Goodlatte said, " analysts say it's very unlikely he will be allowed back. This is a huge victory for everyone who cares about keeping hateful, racially divisive rhetoric and misinformation out of the mainstream media."

A political commentator, author, syndicated columnist, politician, magazine publisher, and former senior adviser to two U.S. presidents, Buchanan said that the MSNBC firing was due to a wave of criticism from groups with an agenda to have him silenced.

Rey-Goodlatte said MSNBC's decision came after her group as well as others demanded that Buchanan be taken off the air in October.

"For years, Buchanan has been pushing white supremacist ideology on national television. The network was likely hoping that the controversy would blow over if they kept Buchanan off the air for a while. As MSNBC remained silent, thousands of us flooded their offices with phone calls, demanding answers. Now, finally, they've broken their silence."

Photo credit: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Breaking News: Large earthquake occurs in Indonesia

Map courtesy of U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey

To track earthquakes around the world, go to:

School figures show 10-13 year olds largest group enrolled

Data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau (Oct 2010) state that 98.2 percent of 10-13 year olds are enrolled in school, followed by 14-15 year olds enrolled at 98.1 percent.

Of persons 25-54 years old, only 11 percent have not finished high school.

These national statistics describe a wide variety of student characteristics at all levels of school, from nursery to graduate. The tables provide information by age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, family income, type of college, employment status and vocational course enrollment.

For more information on school enrollment, go to:

CES features over 20,000 new electronics products in Las Vegas

Billed as the "Best in CES History," the Consumer Electronics Show opens today in Las Vegas.

This year's show is billed as "the most innovative show on record, with more than 20,000 new products slated to be announced this week," according to show organizers.

Here are some of the major announcements:

Tobii Technology showed new eye-tracking technology that allows users to scroll, play and navigate using their eyes and without touching a mouse.

OLPC announced the XO 3.0 tablet, a tablet for the world’s poorest children.

Vizio is introducing a line-up of laptops and desktops, including two Ultrabooks.

Nokia will debut the Lumia 900 smartphone, a Windows Phone with LTE support, to be sold at AT&T this spring.

Lenovo enters the television market by unveiling the K91Smart TV running Google's Android 4.0.

LG Electronics announced a variety of LED-based TVs with bezels under 5mm in width for a nearly all-picture look, as well as a 55-inch OLED TV.

Corning plans to introduce Gorilla Glass 2, a harder, thinner and more scratch resistant glass that could pave the way for the production of thinner and sturdier tablets and smartphones.

Intel plans to offer a slew of affordable Ultrabooks in partnership with HP, Asus, LG and others.

Parrot AR Drone 2.0, which was first launched at CES 2010, once again wowed attendees last night with better location and orientation sensors.

SolarFocus' Kindle e-reader case provides 50 hours of on-board reading light powered by a solar panel on the front of the case.

3M Touch Systems, a multi-user, widescreen touch table, allows for an impressive maximum 60 touch points and up to four split screens.

Since 1967, CES has been the launch pad for several major technology innovations. Follow CES at and through social media.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Never mind college, can you pass an employment screen?

Often the homeless are people who can not find a job because they can not pass employment exams or screens.

How many of you know people with college and Master's degrees who are unemployed? Keys to getting a job may not fit the old locks we once knew, those of passing the SAT, graduating from college, succeeding in panel interviews, and coming out clean after peeing in a cup.

Some are finding that you have to personally know the company president to gain employment; but more than ever, it's not who you know, but what exam or employment screen you can pass.

Now companies have implemented employment screening ranging from PMI certification exams, to Edison Electric Institute employment testing, to Validex LLC and General Information services. There are so many people out of work, some say, that we have to have a firm, institutionalized, weeding-out process!

Most would agree that some jobs should require special training and certifications, such as those needed in medical or engineering professions, but should a person with a college degree wishing to get a grocery cashier position have to take an exam to see whether they are employable or not?

What does that say about the college preparation process and the amount of money students go into debt in order to receive a college diploma? What does it take to make enough money to buy a loaf of bread these days, or must one resort to Bernie Madoff-like escapades?

Should a kid who made a mistake at age 17 and has a felony conviction because he could not afford a good lawyer be denied a job? Once a felon, you are convicted for life. Is this just another way to screen folks out of existence (genocide), for without a job, you are nothing! I know all about the line of making bad choices, but even Messiahs forgive.

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©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

AT&T hiring for Leadership Development Program

AT&T’s Business Sales Leadership Development Program (BSLDP) is actively hiring for Q1 2012 start dates. BSLDP selects top candidates from university and college campuses across the country and provides them with a unique opportunity to develop the critical selling skills and competencies for success in business-to-business sales.

Individuals who have graduated within the past three years will embark upon a well-paid journey of web based training, instructor led training, and practical sales application. For those who possess a passion and aptitude for sales, this program offers an accelerated track into a business-to-business sales career at AT&T.

New classes will be held each month beginning in January 2012 nationwide after completion of a 20 week training program in Atlanta.

BSLDP Required Qualifications:
Undergraduate degree (graduated within the past three years)
Strong academic performance and active involvement during school
Passion for business sales and an interest in a sales career at AT&T
Strong communication skills, problem solving, and strategic thinking attributes, unmatched work ethic, effective time management, multi-tasking, and organizational skills
Willingness to relocate for 20 week training assignment in Atlanta and to relocate nationally upon completion of program based on business needs
Related sales experience or cold calling a plus

Interested qualified candidates can find more information and apply through the following link: