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Friday, June 29, 2012

McDonald's opens trendy restaurant in Marietta, Ga.

When the old McDonald's was demolished, the community lost a  frequented eatery.
AJR, Inc. opened its new McDonald's store on the corner of Sandy Plains Road and Post Oak Tritt today in Marietta, only 3 1/2 months after a total demolition of the old store.  The rebuild replaces the 34 year old McDonald's, which had a Playplace for kids, with a more contemporary flare.

It took a superb project plan and exceptional workmanship to open the new McDonald's.
"Tony Raffa is the owner," said Deanna MacDonald, business consultant, "and the project manager was Barry with Venture Construction."  MacDonald says the new fast food restaurant is magnificently overseen by General Manager Evelia Herculano, Supervisor Paul James, and three assistant managers. Everyone was busy taking orders and handling satisfied customers.

Carol Kaminski, owner of Kaminski Jewelry, a well established business next door, said it was fun watching them tear down the old structure and raise the new one.  "They had the best workmen and did an impecable job cleaning up the mess," Kaminski said. "It was like watching a spectator sport."

Customers can order from two separate driveways.
One great feature is the dual order driveways that replaced the single line. For the grand opening, any size coffee is a buck!
©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Contempt of Congress: what it means for Holder

On yesterday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was found in contempt of Congress in the House of Representatives for not complying fully on a request made by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Holder is being compelled to release documents pertaining to the "Fast and Furious" investigation. 

What can happen now to Holder is questionable since President Obama has invoked Executive Privilege and because contempt citations are normally carried out by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia,  Ronald Machen, who answers to Holder, the Attorney General.

Under US Code: Title 2, 192, Refusal of witness to testify or produce papers, the person found in contempt "willfully makes default...shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 nor less than $100 and imprisonment in a common jail for not less than one month nor more than twelve months."

Early in U.S. history, some notable contempt of Congress measures occurred: the Robet Randal attempt to bribe South Carolina Representative William Smith in 1795; refusal of newspaper editor William Duane to answer Senate questions in 1800; and Nathaniel Rounsavell's refusal to release sensitive information to the press in 1812.

Since 1975, only four other people besides Holder have been found in contempt of Congress: Anne M. Gorsuch, EPA Administrator under President Ronald Reagan; Rita Marie Lavelle who was convicted on federal charges of perjury related to an investigation of the EPA known as "Sewergate"; and Harriet Ellan Miers and Joshua Brewster Bolten caught up in controversy concerning firings of U.S. attorneys.

Source: Wikipedia.
©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Insurance rebates coming to some customers

President Barack Obama made a statement at the White House minutes after presidential candidate Mitt Romney vowed to defeat him in November so he could repeal the Affordable Care Act, even though it has been deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court. Romney claims that it is still unfair to "tax" citizens for healthcare.

Instead, Obama said we should move forward, implement and improve healthcare, and not fight old battles.

Obama added that some insurance companies would be issuing rebates to some customers because of bonuses given to insurance executives that hiked up rates.  

He said that 250 million people will keep their present health insurance, but there would be no lifetime care caps or dropped coverages because of urgent medical conditions, and insurance companies would be required to deliver free preventative care. He said that dependents under 26 years old could remain on their parent's insurance plans, seniors would continue to receive prescription drug discounts, and states will come up with options to deliver affordable health care exchanges in 2014.

Obama said the Supreme Court ruling puts an end to discrimination against citizens who have pre-existing conditions and will give credits to help pay for premiums which may be unaffordable for some people. He said that by 2014, an additional 30 million people will become insured. This means that both citizens and insurance companies could win because of this decision.

"People who can afford it should pay for it!" Obama said. He said his entire focus on healthcare reform was "on it being good for the country" and for Americans. He mentioned thinking about Natoma Canfield, cancer victim, who had to surrender her health insurance. He said that Americans will "not have to hang their fortunes on chance" when it comes to healthcare.

"The highest court in the land has now spoke." Obama says now we must get America back to work. He said he was proud that "we had the courage to but this law into place."

SIDEBAR: During Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, he mentioned continuously how his mother, Ann Dunham, had to battle with insurance companies while she was dying from uterine cancer. Dunham surcumbed to the disease in 1995 at the age 52.
 ©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Obamacare is upheld by Supreme Court

In a 5-4 decision today with Chief Justice John G. Robert, Jr. writing the majority opinion, the Affordable Care Act was upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States.

At first reading, it was reported by CNN that the mandate had been struck down, but upon second reading, it was viewed as approved. To view the court syllabus, go to:

The original challenge to the law was made on July 26, 2011 with a case filed under THOMAS MORE LAW CENTER, JANN DEMARS, JOHN CECI, STEVEN HYDER, and SALINA HYDER, Petitioners, v. BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA, in his official capacity as President of the United States, et al., Respondents. The filing named members of the Obama Administration - Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner - as respondents.

The plaintiffs included the Thomas More Law Center, a nonprofit, public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Jann DeMars,  a headhunter at Movement Search & Delivery, LION in Detroit; John Ceci and Steven Hyder, attorneys practicing in metro Detroit; and artist Salina Hyder.

©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Breaking News: Supreme Court upholds healthcare mandate...

To read the official ruling on healthcare, go to recent decisions at:

The ruling is still being decided as we speak.

Supreme Court: Major players in landmark case

Plaintiffs in Affordable Care Act challenge case:
The Thomas More Law Center is a national, nonprofit, public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. According to its website, its mission is "to restore and defend America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values, and to preserve a strong national defense, and a free and sovereign United States of America."

Jann DeMars on her LinkedIn page is described as a Headhunter at Movement Search & Delivery, LION in Detroit. In a 2011 article in Politico, it is stated that she is suing the federal government because she feels "she doesn’t make enough money" to buy mandated insurance.

John Ceci is an attorney and counselor practicing law in Brighton, Michigan. 

Steven Hyder is an attorney practicing in Monroe, Michigan. 

Salina Hyder is an artist and owner of Art On The Water. Her works have been commissioned by several U.S. naval ships.

©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Supreme Court healthcare decision day...

Today is the day the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to issue a ruling on THOMAS MORE LAW CENTER, JANN DEMARS, JOHN CECI, STEVEN HYDER, and SALINA HYDER, Petitioners, v. BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA, in his official capacity as President of the United States, et al., Respondents. 

This is considered one of the landmark cases in U.S. history. The case was filed less than a year ago, on July 26, 2011.

In the case, respondents also listed include Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, United States Department of Health and Human Services; Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General of the United States; and Timothy F. Geithner,  Secretary, United States Department of Treasury.

According to the filing, "This case challenges Congress’s authority to require private citizens to purchase and maintain 'minimum essential' healthcare insurance coverage under penalty of federal law (hereinafter 'individual mandate') pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act." The Affordable Care Act was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010.

©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Congress honors Black Marines

Howard P. Perry, 1st Black Marine recruit
The United States' first identifiable Black Marines, better known as the Montford Point Marines,  received Congressional Gold Medals of Honor today, seven decades after the segregation ban was lifted that prohibited them from serving their country in the "Semper Fe" tradition.

These survivors did remain loyal, lived to tell their story, and received their medals in Emancipation Hall of the Capitol Visitors Center.

Generally presented to its recipients by the President of the United States in the name of Congress, Obama was on the campaign trail today.  The ceremony was overseen by Speaker of the United States House John Boehner (R-OH) who was teary eyed during the event.

"Too bad it took World War II to get us to this point," said one honoree who addressed the crowd gathered at the Capitol.

"The first black recruit to report to Montford Point arrived on 26 August 1942," wrote Gerald Astor in his book, "The Right To Fight: A History of African Americans in the Military."  Within three months, 600 were being drilled for combat. These men later became known as Special Enlisted Staff (SES).

Segregation in the U.S. military officially ended July 26, 1948 when President Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order 9981. This Order abolished racial discrimination in the armed forces and eventually led to the end of segregation in the services.

According to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, people receive this award for valor in action against an enemy force and is bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States.

Public domain photo of  Howard P. Perry by Roger Smith - The National Archives and Records Administration provides images depicting American and global history which are public domain or licensed under a free license.

©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Holding Holder in contempt supported by Congressman Price

Johnson interviewing Price in 2002
I called the D.C. office of Congressman Tom Price, the Republican representative from Georgia, and was told that he was in a meeting...that's what they all say...but talked to his Washington office representative, Grafton, who gave me the following statement: "I believe that Congressman Price supports the contempt proceedings and wants more evidence that would explain what appears to be a coverup."

Grafton pointed me to Price's website for more clarification in a press release issued on June 20. “It is deeply disappointing that the Department of Justice refuses to fully cooperate with the Oversight Committee in its ongoing investigation of ‘Fast and Furious.’  Attorney General Holder’s obstructionism can no longer be tolerated by this Congress, so holding him in contempt is absolutely justified,”  said Price who is chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee.

“For a president who promised his would be the ‘most transparent administration’ in American history, his actions regarding ‘Fast and Furious’ prove that politics has trumped principle.  President Obama has signaled to the American people that protecting his political appointees is more important than the pursuit of justice and accountability at the highest levels of our government,” said Chairman Price.

“The White House’s actions to shield these documents from congressional oversight further erodes the American people’s faith and confidence in this administration.  It raises legitimate questions about what involvement the White House had in either ‘Fast and Furious’ itself or the resulting investigation,” Price concluded.

According to the Daily Caller, several Democratic representatives will also be voting to hold Holder in contempt,  including Nick Rahall of West Virginia, Collin Peterson of Minnesota, Jim Matheson of Utah, and John Barrow of Georgia.

Holder, the nation's first African American attorney general, is also the first attorney general to ever be brought up on contempt charges. It is startling that this much time has been spent on the death of one border patrol guard which makes many believe that the resolution is an attack on the Obama Administration in an attempt to challenge the President's reelection.

Watch this controversy as it unfolds.

Photo by Kurk D. Johnson
©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

NAACP asks for support for Holder

Holder faces battle with Congress.
Hilary O. Shelton, director of the NAACP's Washington Bureau, is asking citizens to support Attorney General Eric Holder today as the U.S. House of Representatives moves to hold him in contempt of Congress.

"This unprecedented action is unwarranted and, quite frankly, nothing more than an attempt to distract and prevent him from continuing to enforce the nation's civil and voting rights laws," said Shelton in an email earlier today.  "Please call your representatives now..." 

Shelton said that her organization, "...supports accountability and transparency at every level. However, this crusade in Congress reeks of partisan politics."

The Congressional action is being undertaken because Holder has not turned over all documents asked for in relation to the Justice Department's involvement in the "Fast and Furious" program. "Fast and Furious" is detailed in a 2012 book written by Katie Pavlich entitled "Fast and Furious" Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up."

Terry was killed December 14, 2010.
In the book, Pavlich writes about the murder of Brian Terry, a U.S. border patrol agent who was killed by weapons believed to be sold by the Justice Department.  Pavlich has called "Fast and Furious" Obama's "MurderGate".

According to the NAACP, Holder has already turned over "thousands of pages of documents about the program and testified on the issue eight times in the past eighteen months."

Some people believe that if the flack over this incident is not resolved, it could affect the 2012 presidential election. Obama has asserted executive privilege over the probe into the case.

Eric H. Holder, Jr. became the 82nd Attorney General of the United States on February 3, 2009 when he was sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden.  Before that, Holder was a litigation partner at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington. He lives in D.C. with his wife, Dr. Sharon Malone, and their three children.

Photo of Holder: Public domain.
Photo of Terry: - un-copyrighted 6/27/12

©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Obama out to win Georgia; big events to happen

Democrats are aiming to turn Georgia BLUE in 2012. Obama lost the state to John McCain in 2008, but according to Georgia's 11th Congressional District Chair Don Wilson, the President is pushing hard to win the state this November.

The President hit Atlanta's hot dog haven, the Varsity, before moving to a fundraiser at Atlanta's downtown Westin Hotel where people are donating big money to see him.

Obama's visit is being sponsored by his Victory Fund which is raising money in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The race was close in 2008, with McCain/Palin getting 52.2% of the votes, and Obama/Biden receiving 47.0%. Georgia again has 15 electoral votes at stake. This is why Obama returned today, to turn up the volume on campaign contributions and solicit votes.

This Friday, June 29 from  7 pm – 10 pm, the Georgia Democratic Party will host a Jazz Lounge at the Democratic Party Headquarters, 763 Trabert Ave. NW in Atlanta. Lorenzo Sanford and Friends will be performing, and free food will be provided. General admission tickets are $25 each and include two free drink tickets. The hosting committee includes Dee Baldwin, Ken Britt, Malamin Darbo, Sen. Steve Henson, Jeff Kazanow, Steve Perkins, and Rep. David Wilkerson. Obama is not expected to attend this event.

To purchase tickets, go to:

©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Friday, June 22, 2012

African American leaders see hope instead of problems

Booker is Mayor of Newark, N.J.
When you think about leaders who are African American, of course you think of politicians and our president, Barack Obama.

Even though Obama's election to this prestigious office was a monumental event, several Black leaders are managing major organizations in the U.S.  Blacks are running some of the largest institutions in the world. This shows that Blacks are doing more than being housed in jail cells or living on the streets in America which is often portrayed in the media.

This week, Rev. Fred Luter, Jr. became head of the Southern Baptist Conference. Lee Saunders was elected president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.  They have just been added to the list of African Americans who have been elected to lead.
In 2011, The Root introduced its list of 100  influential Blacks. Corey Booker, Mayor, Newark, N.J., came in as No. 1.  Booker is also featured in the current issue of Leaders Magazine. (

In the magazine, Booker is interviewed concerning his bold vision. "If you see hope every time you open your eyes, then you can help, but if all you see are problems, that’s all there will ever be," Booker said. On The Root list, Booker is followed by movie mogul Tyler Perry, singer John Legend, hip-hop artist Jay-Z, and news anchor Soledad O'Brien.

Savoy Magazine's 2012 top 100 list of influential Blacks in corporate America are listed alphabetically on its website and includes CEO Herman Bulls of Public Institutions, Jones Lang LaSalle; Rhonda Mims, President of ING Foundations; Gerard Gibbons, President of U.S. Sales, UPS; and Dennis Maple, President of ARAMARK Education.  

Although they killed Martin, Malcolm, and Medger and criticize Jesse and Al, Black leadership is not dead. We move on to the higher calling of serving humanity, saving communities, and uplifting ourselves.

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

©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bullied grandmother on school bus pitiful sign of times

Here is my response to recent bullied school bus monitor in New York.

Happens all the time - on the bus, in the classroom, in the hallways - kids can be mean, but they "learn" how to BULLY people who are different instead of tolerance. It used to be about race and sex discrimination. Now it is boiling down to jeering those who are old and overweight. Somehow, picking on defenseless others is increasing their self-esteem.

We are losing the next generation. Some kids don't respect bus monitors, substitutes, classroom teachers, campus security, the administration OR parents/grandparents OR themselves. What do you expect when they see our soldiers peeing on dead bodies?

They do respect video game characters, vampire movie stars, and some drug dealers, though. 

©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

D.C. tops per pupil expenditures while test scores remain flat

The District of Columbia public schools spent $18,667 per student in 2010, which is the most of any state or state equivalent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The nation’s elementary-secondary public school systems spent an average of $10,615 per pupil in fiscal year 2010, up 1.1 percent from the previous year.

According to the Washington Post, school officials said "elementary test scores in the D.C. public schools remained essentially flat" in 2011 after falling in 2010," and "40 percent of the city’s 75,000 public school students" are now enrolled in public charter schools.

States that spent the most per pupil were New York ($18,618), New Jersey ($16,841), Alaska ($15,783), Vermont ($15,274) and Wyoming ($15,169).

States that spent the least per pupil were Utah ($6,064), Idaho ($7,106), Arizona ($7,848) and Oklahoma ($7,896).

Of the 50 largest school systems by enrollment in the U.S., New York City School District ($19,597), Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland ($15,582), Baltimore City Public Schools in Maryland ($14,711), Milwaukee Public School in Wisconsin ($14,038) and Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland ($14,019) had the highest per pupil spending in 2010.

To learn more about public school financing in the U.S., go to

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Prediabetics must watch weight, diet and exercise

Me hiding behind sunglasses
After hearing my friend talk about her chemo treatments and accompanying depression, and then talking to a woman at church about her multiple sclerosis diagnosis, I decided it was time from me to head to the doctor and see if some life changes were recommended for me.

I'm writing this in hopes that it will help someone else!

Meeting with a nutritionist after having blood work done, I found out I'm prediabetic and need to lose at least 15 lbs.

"People with elevated fasting blood sugars have an increased risk of developing diabetes," according to a Kaiser Permanente nutrition handout. "Fasting blood sugars greater than 99 mg/dl but less than 126 mg/dl are higher than normal."  Mine is 100mg/dl, and I've caught it just in time. I may not be able to make it onto a "big loser" television show, but at least I can feel better and live with fewer health issues.

What do I do now? Food choices are key. I don't think I'll be going to anymore "all you can eat" joints for a while unless I just eat fruits and veggies!
Healthy eating is the key to not becoming a diabetic as well as regular exercise.
Seriously, I will be dishing up healthy meals, exercising for 30 minutes 5 times a week, and expecting to lose at least 1 pound a week. Just before Thanksgiving, I should be back to normal! I never understood the food pyramid, but this information should help.

Above is my before picture taken at the Atlanta Zoo on Father's Day. I don't want to look like the elephant in the exhibit, and I don't want to develop diabetes. Check back later to see if I've reached my goal.

©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Armadillo in grocery store?

Here's a laugh for today.

While walking in the produce section of a local grocery story, I saw Gina carrying an armadillo. No, I didn't want to pet it since it had been reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that these cute beasts could carry zoonotic leprosy.

Fortunately, Gina was only having fun. Her armadillo is a purse!

©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

PNC Bank offers $500 for community projects

PNC Bank is introducing its Neighborhood Wishlist campaign, an exciting new community program that can help you make good things happen in your neighborhood.
Here's how it works:
1- Submit a project.
Tell them how you would improve your community for $500 or less. We'll choose up to 100 ideas to post on the Wishlist.

2- Spread the word.
If your project is picked, get your friends to vote for it. You'll need one vote for every dollar you ask for.

3- Make it happen.
If you reach your goal, PNC will give you up to $500 to turn your project into a reality.

The deadline is July 1. Submissions started June 18. Visit PNC's Facebook page
for more details and to apply.

Luter becomes first Black president of Southern Baptists

His name is Rev. Fred Luter, Jr., and he is now the president of the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S. Voting was held today.

Luter is senior pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, a 7,000 member congregation. According to the church's website, Luter came to the church in 1985 when it only had 65 members. He lost his home to flooding when Hurricane Katrina devastated the city, and the church also suffered extensive damage. 

Luter has been married to his wife, Elizabeth, for 25 years and is the father of two children, Kimberly and Fred Luter, III.

To learn more about Rev. Luter, go to the Baptist Press website at:

Toyota 100 Cars for Good Program has 25 winners

Toyota recently announced the first 25 winners of the Toyota 100 Cars for Good program, a national philanthropic program that is awarding 100 cars to 100 nonprofits over the course of 100 consecutive days. Winners are selected each day through public voting on Facebook at
Each day through August 21, five nonprofit organizations will be profiled on the 100 Cars for Good Facebook page. Registered Facebook users are able to vote once daily for the nonprofit they think can do the most good with a new vehicle. The organization with the most votes at the end of the day wins a new Toyota vehicle. The four runners-up each receive a $1,000 cash grant from Toyota.
“We are delighted to announce the first 25 winners of the Toyota 100 Cars for Good program,” said Jim Lentz, president and chief executive officer of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. 
“Toyota created the 100 Cars for Good program because we appreciate what a big difference a new car or truck can make for organizations working to improve lives and strengthen communities across America. It’s been very gratifying to put the public in the ‘driver’s seat’ to select the winning organizations," Lentz stated. 
Some of the winners include animal rescue non-profits, children's volunteer programs, and community services agencies.

Shell offers new incentives to customers

Besides using your Kroger card to save $.10 a gallon on fuel, Shell has announced a new initiative to help you save more at their pumps. According to Shell, the No. 1 selling gasoline brand in the U.S., it has partnered with Excentus, a market leader in cents-per-gallon loyalty programs. By signing up, you may never have to pay full price at the pump again.

Consumers in select markets can earn rewards through participating grocery stores, restaurants like Romano’s Macaroni Grill and more, and hundreds of merchants from the Online Mall including Bass Pro Shops,, and many more, plus special offers at select participating Shell stations.

The Fuel Rewards Network™ program – or FRN™ – offers multiple ways to earn rewards through everyday purchases of things like food, clothing and household goods which can be redeemed for fuel savings at participating Shell stations.

“Excentus is excited to introduce the outstanding savings potential of the Fuel Rewards Network program to consumers across the entire nation,” said Dickson Perry, Chairman and CEO of Excentus. “By teaming up with Shell, every single person who participates in our program will be able to set their own price for high-quality fuel simply by choosing to buy the things they normally buy through one of our participating retailers and programs.”
The program is FREE – just pick up a Fuel Rewards Network Card at any participating Shell station and activate it at to start earning rewards to save at the pump. Additionally, find Shell on the ‘On the Road’ tab on Facebook at or visit the Fuel Rewards Network program page at for more information.

Also, Publix Supermarkets has a coupon this week -  buy $50 in groceries and receive $10 off a $50 gas card. Offer expires June 20, 2012.

Child support payments average $430 in U.S.

Monthly child support payments in the United States averaged $430 per month in 2010, according to new U.S. Census Bureau statistics. That averages out to be less than $15 per day.
The statistics from Support Providers: 2010 show that 59 percent of the $41.7 billion in total payments were for child support for children under 21 ($24.4 billion), which was paid by 4.8 million parents. The remainder was paid to children over 21, parents, and other relatives or nonrelatives of the providers. Monetary support in 2010 was primarily for children, although it also included support for other nonhousehold members, such as parents or other relatives. Other highlights in the report:  

--About 85 percent of child support providers were male and 15 percent were female.
--Annual child support payments averaged $5,450 from male providers and $3,500 from female providers.
--About three of every four child support providers had some type of an agreement or court order for support.
--About six-in-10 child support providers paid support for one child, three-in-10 supported two children, and the remaining one-in-10 supported three or more children.
--About 2.1 million providers supported people other than their children younger than 21, with 32 percent of these providing support for their parents.

The data were collected from May through August 2010 in the Survey of Income and Program Participation. As in all surveys, the data are subject to sampling and nonsampling error. For further information on the source of the data and accuracy of the estimates, including standard errors and confidence intervals, go to <>.
Editor’s note: The statistics can be found at <>.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Black teachers get raw deal in Huffington Post's article

Johnson as Tubman in 2004 school play

"Ain't I a woman; ain't I a good teacher?"

A study of 8th graders in 198 Title I Texas schools conducted by a Black, University of Houston doctoral student was reported in the Huffington Post last week. The article was entitled, "Black Teachers Not the Best Choice For Black Students, Study Finds" but was changed to "Black Teachers May Not Be Best For Black Students, Study Finds" after complaints were made.


The article tends to give the impression that Black students do not necessarily fare better when taught by African American teachers. NO RESPECT! This article about the research is a stab at the qualifications, preparedness and teaching styles of Black teachers as well as their ability to "teach to the test" in order to help Black students achieve. Once you start insinuating that black teachers are inadequate for one group of kids, that puts into question their ability to teach any child. And we should all know where that open door could lead.

My own story
My first teachers were Black - my mom and dad. My maternal grandmother taught me how to sew. My nursery school teachers were all Black at Alabama A&M Normal College. My kindergarten teacher was Black. They all gave me an excellent educational foundation. My favorite teacher in college is Black. I am Black.

These teachers gave me a love for learning and such a respect for the profession. After noticing that my own  children's schools had no Black teachers, I decided to become a substitute teacher to change the complexion of their classrooms.  I thought teaching in middle and high schools would be a piece of cake since I was a former educational television producer, college English instructor, and Upward Bound teacher.

While a supply and substitute teacher in 15 schools in Cobb County, Ga., it seemed to me that I was not given much "respect" when it came to being taken seriously by the students or the administration. At first I thought some students were just trying to "get over" on "THE SUBSTITUTE," but then it appeared that I was only treated that way by a minority of students. Was I being too sensitive?

I worked hard for Cobb County Schools while my own three children were growing up, and I feel I went beyond the call of duty, even played Harriet Tubman in a play I wrote for Black History Month at McCleskey Middle School! I wasn't paid extra for the role I played, but volunteered because I thought I was doing something good for the betterment of the whole student body, not just Black students. But I had a special concern for Black students because I am ole school and am Black myself!

Teaching has its challenges. On one occasion, a high school football player, who I found out later was the son of a Black middle school principal, got a pass to the bathroom and never came back to class. Another Black special needs student said she had an appointment with the guidance counselor, and when I asked for her pass, she started acting a fool, and I had to call security. Another student who did poorly on an exam threatened me in the hallway and came back to the classroom afterwards. Thank God for those warning buzzers!

I wondered whether those students acted that way because they felt I wasn't qualified, or I didn't know the rules, or they saw me as a pushover. I wondered whether they just were not used to dealing with Black teachers in a predominately white school system, or whether they just didn't like me (respect me) because I was Black.

Whether they liked me or not, high academic standards are not measured by popularity or race, and research on issues revolving around achievement gaps should be approached with caution and thoroughly documented.

Asst. Principal Walter Hunt
Hunt's research
“As an administrator of a campus that fits the criteria of a Title I school, I wanted to look at minority student achievement in a low socio-economic environments, which can have a profound impact on campuses that are receiving federal funds.  So my focus was on the teachers,”  said Walter Hunt, a Houston-area assistant principal who performed the original research while a doctoral student at University of Houston’s Executive Education in Professional Leadership.

Hunt studied 2010 eighth-grade math and reading scores from the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) tests and compared scores of 8th grade African-American and Caucasian students with campuses of large and small percentages of African-American teachers.

“There has often been a preconceived notion that the staff make-up should resemble the student body population, and this has often directed recruitment and hiring efforts among building principals. At first glance, it would appear that teacher race doesn’t matter when addressing student achievement of minority students, but there are many layers involved when analyzing achievement of a middle-school student, such as racial identity, self-identity, age, involvement in school activities,” he said.

“In this particular study, I was surprised to see that the campuses with more African-American teachers did not have the highest African-American student achievement.  This just goes to show that having a positive impact on students is a complex, multi-layered process.”

Hunt himself deemed his research incomplete as evident by the university's press release. ( His study suggests next steps that include a broader examination of other middle school grades, as well as high school, that looks at the relationship between academic achievement of Hispanic students and the percentage of Hispanic teachers.  He also suggests a broadening of the study to include social studies and science TAKS scores.

“I think the program has helped to prepare me for the challenges that I will encounter as an educator in public education in the 21st-century,” Hunt said.  “The program’s design not only exposed me to research-tested theory, but focused on real-world application that is unmatched by other programs.”  

When asked about his opinion on the Huffington Post's analysis of the research, Dr. William Darity of Duke University wanted to know, "Did they control for the racial composition of the student body and the extent of racialized tracking in the schools?"

How do you feel about this issue? Please leave a comment.

©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Household net worth declines 35 percent

In 2011, North Dakota had the best economy in the U.S. according to AlterNet.
Although nobody likes hearing more bad economic news, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today that median household net worth declined 35 percent between 2005 and 2010, from $102,844 to $66,740. 

All educational groups also experienced declines. For example, those with a high school diploma saw their median net worth fall 39 percent and those with a bachelor’s degree experienced a 32 percent decline. “The overall decline in net worth reflects drops in housing values and stock market indices,” said Census Bureau economist Alfred Gottschalck.

The Bureau had a bit of good news, however. Excluding home equity, median household net worth increased by 8 percent between 2009 and 2010, from $13,859 to $15,000.

Last week, Duke Economist Dr. Sandy Darity urged those concerned about the economy to read two articles posted in the New York Times and The Mail Tribune.  "I think the article in the NYTimes three days ago on the collapse of household wealth in the aftermath of the Great Recession was pretty dramatic -- and worth extensive discussion," Darity said.

Links to the articles include:


Disclaimer: These data were collected in the Survey of Income and Program Participation. As in all surveys, these data are subject to sampling and nonsampling error. For further information on the source of the data and accuracy of the estimates, including standard errors and confidence intervals, go to <>. All dollar figures are in 2010 constant dollars.

©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Foreclosures in Atlanta very high

Metro Atlanta posted the second highest foreclosure rate among the 20 largest metro areas, with 9,677 foreclosures, or one in every 245 housing units. This was up 28 percent over May 2011 and 3 percent over April 2012. 

Georgia had 13,649 foreclosures, or one for every 300 housing units, in May. That was up 30 percent over May 2011 and 33 percent from April 2012. 

For more information on this subject, go to  

Original graphic: Attribution to "Brendel" , Wikipedia 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Third World Press celebrates 45th anniversary in September

Madhubuti with Johnson in 1978. Photo by Phil Groshong

The Chicago-based literary service, Third World Press, is celebrating its 45th anniversary this fall, and founder and publisher Haki R. Madhubuti has a message which has been edited for this posting.

Literature saved my life. Art (poetry, music, visual, dance, theatre, fiction and non-fiction) gave me a life. If I had not learned to read, and by extension embraced writing, critical thinking and listening (i.e. literacy in all of its various permutations), I as a poet and Third World Press would not exist.

I came to Black institutional development through Black street struggle and by recognizing early that institutions represent the strength of any community. In fact, a peoples’ development can easily be measured by the positively functioning institutions in their communities. Third World Press has been one of those institutions serving the nation for 45 years.

Some books published by Third World Press listed on its website.
As we approach our anniversary month in September, we are asking our readers and supporters to join our 45-Day Friendship Drive. Every week from Monday through Friday, from June to August, we here at Third World Press will be reaching out to our friends with messages about our authors, suggested readings and comments on current events. We are asking for a $45 donation to help Third World Press continue its mission to educate, promote literacy, and provide an institutional home for Black and progressive literature.

Please visit to join our 45-Day Friendship Drive, or just take a moment to send a check for $45 to: Third World Press, 7822 S. Dobson Ave.,(or P.O. Box 19730) Chicago, IL 60619; or call (773) 651-0700 to make a credit card donation today.

Thank you in advance for helping us to keep literacy and Black culture alive and maintaining one of the most significant independent Black institutions to emerge out of the 20th century into the bright possibilities of the 21st century.

For our children and more,

Haki R. Madhubuti
poet, founder of Third World Press
former Ida B. Wells- Barnett University Professor
at DePaul University and former University Distinguished
Professor at Chicago State University

Read my 2003 salute to Haki at

©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Georgia Rep. Wilkerson to host Candidate "Meet and Greet"

Georgia State Representative David Wilkerson (D) of District 33 is hosting a Candidate "Meet and Greet" on June 27 from 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. at the Ron Anderson Recreation Center, 3820 Macedonia Road in Powder Springs. Light refreshments will be provided at the event.  
“Meet and Greets give voters an excellent opportunity to speak one on one with elected officials and those running for office,” said Wilkerson. “The goal of the event is to help voters  ascertain how our leaders will work together to meet the challenges facing Powder Springs and the South Cobb area.”
Voters will be able to ask a large field of county commission candidates for a District 4 seat questions on issues ranging from zoning to economic development.  Candidates will include Lisa Cupid, Monica DeLancy, Ruth Negron, Michael Rhett, Connie Taylor, and incumbent Woody Thompson.
Also, school board candidates for Post 3 will share their thoughts on prioritizing the budget based on continuing expected revenue shortfalls and their plans to ensure all children receive a quality education. The candidates will include Bobby Allen, Karyn Harrison, and incumbent David Morgan.  
For more information on this and other upcoming events, please email or visit
©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Does Jerry Sandusky and other alleged child predators show signs of dissocial personality disorder?

The trial of former Penn State Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky brings the horrible issue of sexual predators to our doorstep and should make us pause to ask ourselves whether our children are safe with caregivers we trust. The answer is NO in some cases, and we must be just as vigilante in fighting child sexual abuse here as much as showing concern for the safety of children in war zones.

There are millions of  sexual predators in the U.S. Thousands are incarcerated, some are in mental institutions, and some are out there walking the streets or swimming with our children in summer camp. This is a fact in our country and a cause for alarm all around the world.

What should you do if you suspect that someone in contact with your child may be dangerous? Remove the child immediately from the environment, and contact your pediatrician and/or local authorities. You may be dealing with a person with an emotional problem that your limited Psychology 101 class didn't equip you to handle.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), millions of people suffer from dissocial personality disorders (DPD). People with this disorder are emotionally unstable, and people with this diagnosis should avoid any contact with children. PERIOD.

To find out who is registered as a sex offender in your state, search for your state's Sex Offender Registry and you will be able to view pictures, offenses, and other pertinent data on convicted offenders. Remember, however, some people with the symptoms of DPD are still out there looking for victims. 

The WHO's definition of DPD follows.

Personality disorder characterized by disregard for social obligations, and callous unconcern for the feelings of others. There is gross disparity between behaviour and the prevailing social norms. Behaviour is not readily modifiable by adverse experience, including punishment. There is a low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence; there is a tendency to blame others, or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behaviour bringing the patient into conflict with society.

Personality (disorder):
· amoral
· antisocial
· asocial
· psychopathic
· sociopathic

Original football graphic by C. John Chavis using GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation.

©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Girls need fathers: a Father's Day tribute

Tomi Johnson and her father
Father's Day is coming up Sunday, June 17, and all women should take a look back at their relationships with their fathers. This is a tribute to my father, Thomas Vivian Morris, who died in 1969.

Girls need fathers. No matter what your relationship, it is God's plan that fathers should care for their little girls. That means giving them love, advice, encouragement, and confidence for the future.

Every girl needs an agape loving father who unconditionally loves her. Even if she has brothers, or uncles, husbands, or boyfriends, nothing can replace the person who you have known as your father, whether he is your biological father or not. I know. My father died three months after my 16th birthday, too soon for me to really get to know him, but I have great memories.

My dad was not a deadbeat, and he spent as much time with me as he could, even though he was a college professor and businessman. He was a serious fellow, loved jazz, and didn't talk much.

My fondest memories are times we rode in his car when you didn't have to wear seat belts. I would ride on the armrest, put my small arms around his neck, and watch the dotted lines in the road. We would often stop at a roadside vegetable market and plug a watermelon to gauge its sweetness.

T.V. Morris was a botanist.
I would help him run after pigs in the peach orchard. I would eat raw corn that he picked from his cornfield. I would watch him look at the tag hanging from the Easter dress mom bought me at the department store and listen to him fumble with the change in his pocket.

I remember my father in twos. I remember him spanking me twice: once for loosing my new shoe in a drainage ditch and the other for mouthing off for wanting to go to church on a rainy Sunday.

I remember him failing off a ladder while painting the out building and failing off his riding lawnmower the same afternoon. I remember him crying two times: once at my great grandfather's funeral and again in a Vanderbilt hospital when he said he was afraid he would never see me again. I remember drawing fluid from his skin boils caused by radiation poison.  I remember feeding him his last spoonful of jello.

Our family on my 6th birthday
I guess what I love most about my father are the beautiful memories that have been stamped on my heart. They can be retrieved whenever I want to even though I can't bring him back.

FACTS ABOUT FATHERS from the U.S. Census Bureau: 
Estimated number of fathers across the nation. - 70.1 million
Number of single fathers in 2011 - 1.7 million
Number of stay at home dads - 176,000

©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Census Bureau releases capital spending report

The 2012 Capital Spending Report: U.S. Capital Spending Patterns: 2001-2010 has been released and can now be viewed by the public. The report provides a historical look at the capital spending patterns for structures and equipment by U.S. businesses with and without employees at the national level and for businesses with employees at the industry sector level. Data for this report come from the Annual Capital Expenditures Survey. To view the report, go to:

Monday, June 11, 2012

Dealing with pain, suffering, and cancer

I got a call from a friend today who is dealing with cancer. She asked me the question, "What do you do when nothing else can be done?"

I am sending out this prayer:

"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven. Please give us this day our daily bread, and please forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen."

I am also sending out this advice to cancer patients that was given to me by Wanda Brown of Versailles, Ky. whose mother and baby sister died from cancer:

1.  Get support from positive people instead of being depressed. Stay upbeat if you have a disease which has been determined curable OR terminal. Prolong your life by being positive. 

2.  Carry on business as usual. Try not to become immobilized. Don't drown in your own sorrow.

3.  God is in control, and He is the determinant of what happens in this world and the next. He wants what is good for you . Don't give up on yourself. Keep going.  

4.  Don't close yourself off from everyone. Rest when you are weary; then, get up and move.

5.  You don't know when the end will be. Medicine is not an exact science. Doctors sometimes know less about the body than the person in his/her own skin.

6. Pull yourself together and get some support! All is not lost. You are not alone!

Have a fruitful life. Be healthy in mind and spirit. But most importantly, be Happy!!!!

©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Vacationing in Munich, Germany

Dr. Michael Wilson, a practicing podiatrist with the Veterans Administration in Winston-Salem, N.C., and his wife, Sheila, have just returned from a vacation in Munich, Germany. Dr. Wilson is the author of the 2011 book, “Death of a Politician: One Man’s Run From Defeat to Victory” which chronicles his political campaigns.

Wingcom Watchdog asked Dr. Wilson to provide some details of his trip from an African American perspective.

Bakery on tour of Munich, Germany
We would wholeheartedly encourage any African-American to visit the city of Munich, Germany. Despite one rude guy at the airport, everyone else we came in contact with was very cordial and friendly. At no time did we feel threatened.

One neat thing we observed was that everyone waits patiently at the crosswalks until the light changes, and no one jaywalks! Another German oddity that deserves mentioning is that when drinks are served, even coffee, there are no refills. Also, soft drinks do not come with ice!

Despite the thrill of all signs and cultural sights of Munich, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that most Germans speak English fluently, having been taught since 3rd grade! Most signs are bilingual, with German and its English translation on the same sign.  As a result, we had no trouble communicating with anyone we came in contact with. A dictionary is not necessary if you are a visitor.

We could not understand all of the German TV stations, but we were able to latch onto CNN and TBS English speaking stations. The hotel was very comfortable, and the staff were very friendly and accommodating.

Street scene in Munich, 2012
Michael and Sheila Wilson at Munich's HR Cafe
As for seeing other Blacks on our visit, we saw very few, if any, Blacks in Munich. Although we were the only Blacks seated in the Hard Rock Cafe, we were very well received by the staff and received great service.  

One interesting item was that Munich was the birthplace of the Nazi Party. The tour of the Dachau Concentration Camp was a very sobering and historical experience. The weather was a bit cooler, and we had to wear jackets during the day. It rained every day. Another disadvantage of the trip was the poor showing of the Euro.  For example, one 100 Euro (dollars) is equivalent to only $73.  In short, your money does not go far, so you have to spend wisely. We made it easier by getting some Euros from AAA before our trip and also by securing a "money" debit card.

The subway and train stations were curious and interesting experiences. There is an 'honor system' in place where you purchase your ticket and simply walk into the subway - no turnstile, and no one checks to see if you paid.  Also, unlike large cities in the US, we saw NO police anywhere in the city.  OK, once in a while you saw a police car go by, and a couple of police in the train station, but amongst large crowds, no police anywhere to be seen.

The music and beer are great in Munich.
Although Munich is very safe, appears to be a great place to live, and it’s very easy for Americans to get a visa, the tax rate on everyone is very high (35%).  Also, as you know, there is a big problem with the European economy as a whole these days, but Germany is the most fiscally solvent of all of the countries in the Euro Zone today.

Again, we felt very safe at all times, and everyone spoke very fluent English. We most certainly want to return to Germany, possibly to another city next time.

Mike & Shelia Wilson