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Thursday, July 26, 2012

FDA recommends approval of drug for diabetics with vision problems

Genentech today announced that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) voted unanimously to recommend approval of Lucentis® for treatment of diabetic macular edema (DME).

DME is an eye condition in people with diabetes characterized by retinal swelling and blurred vision. It is a major cause of vision loss and blindness estimated to affect more than 560,000 people in the United States. The current standard of care for DME in the U.S. is laser surgery, which primarily serves to slow the progression of vision loss and help stabilize vision.

Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes which has become the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults aged 20-74.

“The committee’s recommendation is an important step towards the goal of helping to redefine the standard of care for Americans with diabetic macular edema,” said Hal Barron, M.D., chief medical officer and head, Global Product Development. “There has not been a major development in the treatment of DME for more than 25 years, and we look forward to the FDA’s decision.” 
Lucentis was first approved by the FDA for treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in 2006 and for macular edema following retinal vein occlusion (RVO) in 2010. Lucentis was discovered by Genentech and is being developed by Genentech and Novartis for diseases or disorders of the eye.
Among Americans aged 40 years and older, more than 4.2 million have diabetic retinopathy, according to the 2005-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. It has also been estimated that up to 10 percent of people with diabetes will get DME during their lifetime. 

Judge not nor seek vengeance

Although I was raised in the Christian faith, it is sometimes difficult to remain true to Jesus' and his apostles' teachings, especially in times of crisis.

After personal assaults and mass murders like the one in Aurora, Colo. occur, we must remind ourselves that Christians are admonished to not judge or seek vengeance.

Romans 12:19 says, "Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord."

Also, Mathew 7:1-6 states

1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what
measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. Mk. 4.24
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but
considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of
thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then
shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
6 ¶ Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls
before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again
and rend you.

Let us be mindful of what God has called us to do.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Disabled Americans count for 1 in 5 people in U.S.

Tomorrow marks the 22nd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act which guarantees equal opportunity for people with disabilities in public accommodations, commercial facilities, employment, transportation, state and local government services and telecommunications.

“On this important anniversary, this report presents a barometer of the well-being of this population in areas such as employment, income and poverty status,” said U.S. Census Bureau demographer Matthew Brault.

As of 2010, 57 million Americans lived with disabilities in the United State, representing 19 percent of the civilian, non-institutionalized population.

Statistics conclude that:
8 percent of children under 15 have disabilities.
21 percent of people 15 and older have disabilities.
17 percent of people 21 to 64 have disabilities.
59% of people 15 to 64 with severe disabilities receive public assistance.
50 % of adults 65 and older have disabilities.
48% of adults 15 to 64 with severe disabilities receive government health coverage.
41% of people 21 to 64 with a disability were employed.
31 million people 15 and older have difficulty walking or climbing stairs.

This information was taken from the report," Americans with Disabilities: 2010" which presents estimates of disability status and type. To access the report, go to:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mills, president of Ghana, dies suddenly

Mills met with Obama in March 2012. Obama's father was a native of Kenya.
Ghanaian president John Atta Mills has died. Although he had been suffering from throat cancer, his death is reported as a sudden one. Mills turned 68 years old three days before his death and is survived by his wife and son.  He did not complete his first term as president. 

Mills received a Bachelor’s Degree and Professional Certificate in Law and earned a PhD in Oriental and African Studies from the University of London at the age of 27. Dr. Mills was selected as a Fulbright Scholar at Stanford Law School (USA).

President Mahama
The Vice President, John Dramani Mahama, was immediately sworn in as the new president upon Mills' death. Mahama has a BA Degree in History and obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Communication Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon. He also undertook further Postgraduate Studies in Social Psychology at the Institute of Social Sciences in Moscow, Russia in 1988. 

At the time of this posting, Mills' official presidential website still displays "happy birthday" wishes. There were also the first lady's remarks from a speech yesterday at the opening ceremony of the 2012 International Youth Fellowship (IYF), World Youth Camp, at Tema. The remarks from Dr Ernestina Naadu-Mills advised young people in the country to desist from acts that could breed chaos. 

"All over the world, especially in Africa, the youth have been used to engineer hostilities, typically during election periods and Ghana is not different at all," she said.
Former Ghana 1st Lady Mills with Michele Obama
A statement released from Mills' office said, "It is with a heavy heart that we announce the sudden and untimely death of the president of the republic of Ghana."

In his meeting with President Obama in March, Mills said the following about his country, which is rich in gold, diamonds, and oil: 

"...if you come to Africa, our people are yearning for only one thing -- improvement in their daily lives.  And there can be no development without peace, which means that we should do the things which will ensure that there is peace and that there’s no room for conflict.

"The United States has been a model, and I’m happy that we are cooperating with one another on all kinds of fronts and they are yielding results...So I assured the President that we have elections this year, but we are going to ensure that there is peace before, during, after the election, because when there is no peace, it’s not the elitists who will suffer, it’s the ordinary people who have elected us into office.

"...We will go back with happy memories.  And of course, this will also reassure our people that the kind of cooperation we started -- from our first President -- is growing from strength to strength."

Photos of Dr. and Mrs. Mills with the Obamas and Dr. Mills' remarks taken from White House website. Picture of Mahama taken from Ghanaian presidential website.

Menticidic James Holmes: a possible defense

Clock tower in Denver - no Batman symbol in the sky on July 19, 2012
"This is just something you can't erase." Corbin Dates, witness to Aurora, Colo. shootings

Could James Holmes be a "Manchurian Candidate" brainwashed by the government who was doing research in changing history by altering time?

Some things stick out in regards to James Holmes' alleged shooting of moviegoers on July 20, 2012.

1.  Holmes received a phone call before shooting his victims. Can the cellphone company confirm this, and if so, who was on the other line?

2.  Holmes received a government grant of about $26k from National Institutes of Health to study neuroscience. What specifically was he studying, and what were his findings?

3.  Holmes received experience researching "temporal illusions" or the ability to change the past. What conclusions were reached, or was he still doing research on a personal level? What do Terence Sejnowski and John Jacobson have to say about Holmes' research?

4.  Why did President Obama fly out to Denver three days after shootings to personally access the situation?

Scary decide.

©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Caped-crusader Batman a no show in Aurora's dark night

No bat sign in Denver sky July 19, 2012
Ten miles from downtown Denver, city officials in Aurora, Colo. didn't shine the bat symbol into the sky early Friday morning when a real life Joker entered a movie theater to act out his macabre tale of terror. I woke with the television I had left on all night blaring the news that 12 people were dead, shot down in cold blood by someone who had planned evil since May. Perhaps the character with a schizophrenic sense of humor wanted to see if a hero would step in and save the day. No one did.

No one could have imagined that 20 minutes into a blockbuster, much heralded movie someone would unleash real tear gas, rounds of bullets, and fear in such a place. This horrible shooting seemed like an advanced level of some zombie video game, too awful to contemplate and separate reality from surrealism.

I was happy to hear that my husband, on a five day business trip to Denver, had not ventured out to the suburbs to catch a glimpse of the Dark Knight's unfolding. Perhaps the only thing that saved him was the knowledge that he would have to get up early in the morning after watching a movie at 12:01 a.m. and would find it difficult to be alert at work. He was already suffering from altitude sickness... God works in mysterious ways.

I wonder will the movie goers who came out alive get a refund or a raincheck.

Quiet, downtown Denver on July 19, 2012
©2012 Photos by Kurk Johnson. Article by Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Atlanta Centennial Olympics remembered

Do not use without permission.
Golden gymnast performs at 2006 memorial celebration of Olympics held in Atlanta.
Today we celebrate The Games of the XXVI Olympiad, unofficially known as the Centennial Olympics, which took place in Atlanta from July 19 to August 4, 1996. A record 197 nations participated in events held in venues in and around Atlanta, Ga.

The only other cities hosting the Summer Olympic Games held in the U.S. include St. Louis in 1904 and Los Angeles in 1932 and 1984.

Here are some memories from the 10th year anniversary celebration held in 2006.

Billy" Payne (l) and Kurk Johnson at 2006 event.

William Porter "Billy" Payne was president and chief executive officer of the the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG).  Payne is presently chairman of the Augusta National Gold Club. Kurk Johnson, a native Kentuckian, worked as a technology consultant for the Dressage equestrian events. Johnson is presently a performance engineer at Travelport
Carl Lewis
"Olympian of the Century" and track and field great Carl Lewis won 10 gold Olympic medals and retired after the 1996 games. A dominant sprinter and long jumper, Lewis became an official supporter of Ronald McDonald House Charities in 2007. In 2009, Lewis was nominated a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Janet Evans
A four-time Olympic gold medalist in swimming, Janet Evans is presently a motivational speaker and business woman. 

Do not use without permission.
The Hon. Shirley Franklin and guests at 2006 Olympic event

Even though Bill Campbell was mayor of Atlanta in 1996, former Mayor Shirley Franklin presided over the commemoration ceremony in 2006. Franklin currently serves as a member on the board of directors for Delta Air Lines.

©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Women for Obama campaign seeks volunteers in Georgia

"We cannot sit this one out. We can’t let this country fall backwards because the rest of us didn’t care enough to fight." President Barack Obama 

Obama For America Regional Field Director Linda Olsen is asking volunteers to participate July 28th at 10 a.m. in an event in the Georgia Freight Depot in Atlanta, 65 Martin Luther King Jr Dr SE, Atlanta, GA 30303

The event is also part of the Woman for Obama campaign. "We need dozens of volunteers, women AND men, who can help with a myriad of tasks including signing people in, manning the merchandise table(s), assisting VIPs and others to their designated areas, runners, and whatever else we may be called upon to do.   

"Please ask all of your family, friends and neighbors if they'd be willing to help provide logistical support for this event."

To learn more about the event and to sign up to be a volunteer, call Olsen at 770-594-5455 (h) or 503-680-4294 (c), or contact her via email at

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bad economy causing mental disturbance outbreaks

Nature is abundant with beauty and hope.
As more news comes out concerning FED Chief Ben Bernanke's view of the world's economy and the financial status of alleged shooter Nathan Van Wilkins are revealed, it may be time to ponder how experiencing anxiety and fear as a result of economic stressors can be mitigated.

Turning to God is one answer. Understanding that the world economic situation is not something individual citizens can resolve is also important.

Personal financial woes are hitting everyone now. Even the pseudo rich are being affected by the continuing economic downturn, including former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield who just walked away from a mansion he paid $20 million for which the bank repossessed and resold for $7.5 million.

Banks are calling folks on the 2nd day of the month, telling them they are delinquent on their unpaid mortgages if not paid on the 1st, probably because the banks themselves are finding times tough because they have been hit by fines for fraud themselves.

Unemployed college graduates are wondering whether their American dream will ever be realized while student loan payment statements continue to arrive in the mail. Middle age workers are wondering how they will retire and be able to stay in houses they have called HOME for decades.

Religion and affinity with the downtrodden, though, doesn't necessarily make things better when you're at your wits end.

According to the Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health and the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership, one should relax when it seems personal financial situations are getting the best of them.
  1. Take charge of your immediate environment. If you're troubled by media coverage and conversations about the worsening economy, change channels, turn the page, or excuse yourself from the conversation.
  2. Plan for the future as much as you can. Learn a new skill. Take a class about something that interests you. The more action you can take, the more in control you'll be and the less stressed you'll feel.
  3. Get some form of physical exercise. Play ball, take a walk or ride a bike.
  4. Get some fresh air. Just sitting by an open window or outside in the sun can refresh you.
  5. Talk to someone you trust. Let them know how you’re doing. Ask for help if you think you need it.
  6. Understand and be honest about your limitations. Try not to take on more responsibilities than you can handle.
  7. Find a reason to laugh. Read a funny book. Watch a funny program on television.
  8. Get involved in something outside of yourself. Volunteer your time.
  9. Allow yourself a treat, but watch your diet. Make sure you’re not indulging too often in anything that’s bad for you.
  10. Find a way to relax. Practice meditation or yoga, get a massage, pray, light a scented candle, read a book, etc.
Prayer does help. I've tried it. Telling yourself that everything will work out also helps. This age will also pass away. Like my mama used to say, "Bad times don't last always." Keep on moving forward - you have no other choice. Look to the hills.

Psalm 121 - David's Song of Ascent
121 I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
8 The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.

©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Black conservatives: what are they up to?

Who are the leading Black conservatives in the U.S. today, and what do they hang their hats on when it comes to raising money?

Seems like one single thread runs through their agendas: race-baiting, Obama-bashing, and Red-state-style politics.

Massie as shown on Project 21 website
Probably the best known Black conservative is Herman Cain who had to pull out of the presidential race when former girlfriends and alleged sexual abuse informants ratted on him.

Another self proclaimed conservative who happens to be African American is Mychal Massie, producer of the Internet commentary "The Daily Rant." His donation button options are $5.00 for Patriot level to $50.00 monthly for Leadership status.

(Wow, why hadn't I come up with that...)

Massie is also National Chairman of the conservative Black think tank, Project 21-The National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives; and a member of its parent think tank, the National Center for Public Policy Research.

Recently I received an email entitled, "Why I Do Not Like The Obamas" by Massie.  The message charges that Massie has contempt for our President. I went to Massie's website to see if he actually said things presented in the email, for when you click on the words, it takes you to a nice picture of Barack Obama.

Yes, on February 22, 2012, Massie did write the article and posted it to his website.  See for yourself, and determine how you will respond. By the way, some of Massie's other rant's re: Obama include “Nero In The White House” and "Presidents Don't Chest Bump And First Ladies Don't Hump The Floor." 

To read more of Massie's rantings, go to:

Non-copyrighted photo from Project 21 website - July 17, 2012.
©2012 Article by Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

What's up with the Libor scandal?

Today was the day that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was suppose to update the U.S. Senate Banking Committee on how government spending and tax hikes could affect the economy, markets, and unemployment.

Bernanke also was pressed to comment on what has become known as the "Libor scandal," known as financial market fraud.

Writing an editorial on July 14 in The Guardian, Naomi Wolf suggests that fraud in global financial institutions is rampant and that government regulators, including U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, are part of an out of control problem.

"It is very hard, looking at the elaborate edifices of fraud that are emerging across the financial system, to ignore the possibility that this kind of silence – 'the willingness to not rock the boat' – is simply rewarded by promotion to ever higher positions, ever greater authority. If you learn that rate-rigging and regulatory failures are systemic, but stay quiet, well, perhaps you have shown that you are genuinely reliable and deserve membership of the club," Wolf stated.

The "Libor scandal" refers to a series of fraudulent actions connected to the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). The scandal swirls around Barclays Bank which has been fined a combined total of $360 million by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice along with fines totaling £59.5 million by the Financial Services Authority.

Barclays International is a leading global wealth manager headquartered in the UK, with total client assets of £164.2bn reported in 2011. Barclays provides international and private banking, investments management, fiduciary, and brokerage services. Barclays is a powerful institution, operating in over 50 countries and employing over 140,000 people.

According to the Federal Reserve, Libor is "a reference interest rate published by the British Bankers' Association (BBA). The BBA surveys a panel of major banks daily and asks each bank to provide the interest rate at which it believes it could borrow funds unsecured in a particular currency and for a particular maturity in the wholesale money market in London. The published rate is a trimmed average of the rates obtained in the survey.", ranks Barclays fourth on the list of the world's top banks, behind Germany's Deutsch Bank, France's BNP Paribas SA, and China's Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Limited.

Authentic Models, Inc. wins visual display award

One of our favorite permanent showrooms in Atlanta's AmericasMart has won the Visual Display Award (VDA).  Authentic Models, Inc.'s showroom is one of twenty-nine exhibits receiving the award at this year's 2012 Gift & Home Furnishings Market. Award winners are determined by independent design and retail visual merchandising experts.

Authentic Models, Inc. features the global elegance of an old world library including European map prints, architectural details, and worn antique glasses. Some items featured in the showroom are beautifully handcrafted ship and airplane models. Product categories include furniture, lighting, nautical, flight, museum, globes and kids accessories.

The company was created more than 40 years ago in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Its collection, available only through dealers, is inspired by the age of exploration, maritime history, and cartography. Product focus is based on both the eclectic and aesthetic, at bringing "history and nostalgia to life."

AmericasMart Atlanta is the nation’s only global wholesale marketplace housing the world’s single-largest collection of home, gift, area rug and apparel merchandise. This year's Gift & Home Furnishings Market ends July 18.

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

Bernanke speaks before Senate Banking Committee

FED Chairman Ben Bernanke gives opening reports in his Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to Congress - read his remarks...

Bernanke will return Wednesday to deliver additional information on the world economy.

EMBODI: Deltas empowering black males

Members of the Montgomery County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. are mentoring minority males through its Empowering Males to Build Opportunities for Developing Independence (EMBODI) program in Maryland, USA.

Chair-lady Sharon Roper Jackson says her group is committed to community outreach, professional accomplishment, and academic success. "This is our third year for stimulating minds, creating relationships, and fostering academic excellence with the core of 15 males who actively participated in our monthly three-hour program events," Jackson stated.

Other participating Montgomery County organizations include the public schools system, Omega Psi Phi-MUNU,  E.G.O.S. and "Take Flight, Inc." (male mentoring non-profits), the State Attorney General's Office, Unity Christian Foundation, Inc., GapBusters Learning Center, Inc., The Finest (teen performance troupe), Voices vs. Violence, Giant Foods, LLC, and the police department.

"We are very proud of our EMBODI young men, parents, and non-profits that supported this year's participants," Jackson said.

EMBODI is a national Delta program designed to refocus attention and service on the plight of African-American males. According to their national website, "Both informal and empirical data suggests that the vast majority of African-American males continues to be in crisis and is not reaching its fullest potential educationally, socially and emotionally."

To learn more about this organization's efforts in Montgomery County, contact Ms. Jackson at

Monday, July 16, 2012

Inventories up, sales down for U.S. businesses

The U. S. Census Bureau reports today that total business end-of-month inventories for May 2012 were $1,578.4 billion, up 0.3 percent (+/-0.1%) from the prevsious month. U.S. total business sales were $1,245.2 billion, down 0.1 percent (+/-0.2%)* from last month.  For more information, go to:

It has also released information on computer and Internet use at Home for 2010. The Current Population Survey (CPS) School Enrollment and Internet Use Supplement (SIPP) has been collecting data on computers and Internet use periodically since 1984. SIPP data on this subject have been collected since 1998. For more information, go to:

Sunday, July 15, 2012

AmericasMart Icon Honors event celebrates industry leaders

The 2012 Icon Honors awards ceremony, which showcased global innovation in the gift and home industry, was held in the Atlanta Marriott Marquis Atrium Ballroom, July 14 at 8 p.m. Exclusive partners for the event were the Gift & Home Trade Association (GHTA) and Sandow Media, an innovative company that engages consumer and business platforms.

Host and AmericasMart President/COO Jeffery Portman, Sr. was joined onstage by hostess and former CNN Anchor Lynne Russell.  "We are family," Portman said of the 800 ticketed attendees in the room. "We are more alike than different," he said while also giving praise to his father, John Portman, Jr. who started AmericasMart Atlanta 52 years ago. Portman said the awardees were "champions who create the future."

Do not use without permission.
Wolski on sidelines with Johnson
Producer Chris Wolski (l) of Chris Wolski Presents supplied the entertainment. "I have been managing entertainment for AmericasMart since 1983."  He said Tony Bennett and Tom Jones were also great hits at previous AmericasMart events. 

The night's main acts, singer/guitarist Kenny Loggins and comedian Jeff Foxworthy, were great at making the crowd dance and laugh.
Do not use without permission.
Kenny Loggins and band performed at Icon Honors ceremony.
Some of the night's award winners included:
* Sferra, luxury bedding, bath, and fine linens;
* Backyard Safari Company/Sunny-Side UP Gardens, egg carton gardens for kids;
* Jura-Capresso, Inc., espresso and combination coffee makers; 
* EyeDoll Chatter, scented organic makeup kits for teens; 
* Gracious Me, an eclectic collection of home décor;
* Bigger Box, a social buying system that helps retailers survive in the market; and
* GoodWeave, seeking to end child labor in the carpet industry in Nepal, India, and Afghanistan.

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

Black Arts Festival ends in Atlanta

King Tut by Elliott Jordan
The National Black Arts Festival (NBAF) culminates its 2012 focus on African American culture in Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park. The festival is "renowned worldwide for showcasing exhibitions, theater, music, and cultural programs for the entire family," according to the organization's website.

Sunday, July 15, at 8 p.m. will end three days of Classic and Nu Soul performances from the music stage. There was also a Children’s Education Village, free HIV screening, and the Publix Healthy Cooking Pavilion.

The event was presented by the Coca Cola Company and each year has many national sponsors.

For information on next year's festival, go to

Thursday, July 12, 2012

American traders go global at AmericasMart Atlanta

Janelle Potier enjoyed serving heart healthy salads.
   People behind products

Although we would like to find ourselves inundated with "American Made" products in America, only a few traders at AmericasMart 's summer EXTRAORDINIQUE show sport the MADE IN AMERICA label.

Some exhibitors that we sought out are artists, writers, jewelers, and chefs who happen to be very savvy in their techniques of producing and marketing unique, quality products to be enjoyed worldwide.

First, let's start with good food...something that everybody needs. Grassroots marketing of locally grown products was showcased in AmericasMart's demonstration kitchen featuring Chefs Chris Hall (l) and Ryan Turner from Local Three Atlanta Kitchen and Bar. The chefs treated attendees to a refreshing salad with watermelon cubes and blackberries, risotto, and corn purée. 

"Since my wife is a Chemistry teacher, I have become familiar with the Maillard reaction," said Chef Hall, referring to the process he demonstrated which is a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars requiring heat.

Chris Hall (l) and Ryan Turner were chefs in the AmericasMart kitchen which featured home grown ingredients.
The demonstration showcased Georgia olive olive, southern pecans, and goat cheese from Alabama. "This is very good," said one satisfied taster. 
Next, let's get busy with educating the next generation. Two writers - one from Bloomingfield, Mich. and the other from Bingham, Mass. - have different opinions on whether kids should be seen and not heard.
Brainard self publishes books.
Beth Brainard's Good Idea Kids, LLC has just self-published a great "Miss Manners" book. "I started as an image consultant teaching corporate etiquette and social skills, and then it occurred to me that if the folks I was consulting had learned manners at a younger age, it would be I set out to write a book on manners for kids."

Brainard's "Soup Should Be Seen, Not Heard," is based on her premise that, "the responsibility for building a civil society goes to the parents, and they are really the customers for my book. Kids will like the book because it's fun and not stuffy," Brainard said. "My 35 year old son will be here on Saturday to prove that what I wrote works!"
Sherr contends kids say suprising things.
The other writer is Andrea Sherr who has compiled funny things kids have written anonymously and posted on her website. The book is entitled, "Heard on the Playground" and is based on the fact that kid's mouths "don't do quiet."

"Just when you think you have heard it all, something else funny comes along," Sherr said. The book is also illustrated by children. "I love what I do because it makes people smile," Sherr said. After AmericasMart, she plans to continue marketing her book in hospital gift shops and children's boutiques.

And speaking of quirky, there's Billy the Artist who wins the crazy marketing award! Sponsored by Enesco, he brought curious customers in from the outside with his skintight costumes and bags and wowed clients once inside the showroom with his Swatch watch collection.
Marketers dressed in "Billy the Artist" costumes lured customers into showroom.
"My art is urban primitive pop art," said Billy who painted a 30x 40 foot mural live while being animated to music in the Piazza San Marco, Venice. "It's all about creating your own reality and letting people see who you are through your art while having fun, " he said. Billy lives in New York City but was born in Cleveland, Ohio.

Billy the Artist was available to draw black and white art on personalized shopping bags.
Next, take a look at American made jewelry - one from precious metals and pearls; the other created lovingly from antique buttons. Tracy Arrington creates in Orlando, Fla. "My jewelry has a contemporary and classic look," Arrington states. "Although I have worked with various goldsmiths across the country, my muse was Sydney Lynch from Nebraska...I've always been amazed and inspired by the beauty in her work."

Arrington designs jewelry from precious metals.
"My jewelry is fresh, well made, at a fair price point, supports the national economy, and is a look that people find attractive," she stated. Arrington's creations sport 14k gold filled and sterling silver circles and freshwater, free forming, keshi pearls bought from American suppliers. "Design visions just pop up with several different variations in my mind, and then I sketch very quickly," she says of her creative process.

Buttons make pretty jewelry!

Then there's Susan Davis and her "Grandmother's Buttons. "We have a button museum where we showcase our jewelry made out of buttons," Davis said who sells buttons in 800 stores. "Each piece has an antique button or cabochon."

Davis has been making her jewelry for over 27 years and employs 18 people in and around St. Francisville, La.  It is a family owned business. "We have buttons from President Washington's makes the product more meaningful when you're buying from friends," she said of her American made handicrafts. 
Rick and Dave Gauntlett carry on a family tradition.
Brothers Rick and Dave Gauntlett of Barrington, R.I. are carrying on their late stepfather Ron's idea of making a car and truck ornament business successful.

Their company is "grillie" which they say offers better and more durable products than bumper stickers. Plus, they are made in the good 'ole USA. Their original clay sculptures are cast in metal and polished to perfection.

"Don't believe folks that say they can't find American made products," said Dave. "Just look harder or come to the 'Made in America' section at shows like this."  The Gauntletts have gone from hunting, fishing, and sailing motifs to their best selling stripped bass. Altogether, they sell 100 unique ornaments and are starting a new collegiate line.  "Please check out our website,, for more info," Rick said.

Twenty-four year old Shawn Button and Tyler Bender of Los Angeles, Calif. started Zero Gravity in their living room. "We started designing cases for laptops, tablets, and smart phones because I needed a cool iPhone case," said Button who originally hails from Philadelphia.

Button and Bender make products to suit their needs because the marketplace didn't offer what they wanted.
This graphic design graduate works about 80 hours a week on Zero Gravity's design and sales management, and he doesn't like to give out printing process secrets. "We sell internationally and make unique products because we're more creative than the next guy," Button said.

Ben Torrens of Holdingford, Minn. said half of the inspirational products he sells in his Think Pray Gift business are made in the U.S. "Our mission statement is to provide unique gifts to inspire thought and prayer in everyday life," Torrens said. He operates the business with this wife, Holly. Their growing customer base is New Age religious believers, however, "Our products appeal  to anyone who plants prayer into their daily life."

Torrens takes an order from Holden.
Customer Belinda Holden from Poplarville, Miss., who owns The Other Side Gift Shop, gave her testimonial on the products sold by Think Pray Gift. "I like these products because they're new and different. I was first introduced to the line in Ohio and now am able to purchase it at AmericasMart." 

AmericasMart is the wholesaler's marketplace.
©2012 Photos by Tomi Johnson and Daniel Johnson.  
Article by Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Breaking News: AmericasMart Atlanta opens new wing in Building 2

A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held Thursday, July 12 at 4 p.m. at AmericasMart. It announces the Grand Opening of the Building 2 WestWing, 7th Floor Corridor.

AmericasMart is the wholesaler's marketplace. Stay tuned tomorrow for more coverage on events and how American made goods are being marketed at AmericasMart.

Evander Holyfield surrenders estate to JP Morgan Chase

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Huge picture of Holyfield once displayed in his basement.
It's one thing to walk away from a three bedroom house, but having to move out of a mansion is a crying shame!

Once featured on the cover of Sable Sportsman magazine, Evander Holyfield, the ONLY five-time world heavyweight champion, lost his battle with the bank which foreclosed on the $20 million property and sold it for $7.5 million. 
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Holyfield joins the list of other homeowners who have lost thousands of properties because they were unable to pay lien holders. It is estimated that during his lifetime as a boxer, Holyfield won over $250 million.

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Holyfield sits in his former bowling alley.
The Holyfield mansion in past years had not only housed his family, over-sized furniture, two pools, an indoor bowling alley overlooking a basketball court, and two ballrooms, but it also was the venue for many events that raised money for politicians.  

Photos in this posting were taken in 2002 when Holyfield hosted a fundraiser for now Congressman David Scott. The event also featured Scott's brother-in-law, Hank Aaron, and Andrew Young.  

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Holyfield posed in his basement with fundraisers in 2002.
At this writing, it is unclear where Holyfield's next residence will be, but it is not likely he will own another home on Evander Holyfield Boulevard in metro Atlanta.

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Two features of the property are the domed ceiling...

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...and a hallway which featured trophy/belt cases.

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

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cobb EMC Tripper Sharp to address new direction of board

Tripper Sharp, one of the newest directors on Cobb EMC's board, will speak at the monthly meeting of Cobb Alliance for Smart Energy, Tuesday, July 10 at the Rib Ranch, 2063 Canton Road in Marietta. Social hour will begin at 6 p.m. followed by the program at 7 p.m.

Sharp was one of the plaintiffs in the five-year long lawsuit of the embattled co-op.  After becoming a candidate for a director's slot in the 2012 election, he won and became one of the co-op's newest board members. The community will be able to hear his stance on the oversight of Cobb EMC's affairs going forward.

Cobb EMC owns power plants, dams, wires, and distribution lines. 

For more information about the meeting, contact David Carlson at 813-390-7067. 

Irby petitions Georgians to expand Medicaid and health exchange

J. Ian Irby is asking Georgia citizens to sign a petition asking State representatives, senators, and Governor Nathan Deal to implement the Affordable Care Act. The petition on is sponsored by Civic Action.

According to the petition, "Some states in the South are refusing to implement two common-sense provisions in the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"). Georgia cannot join them, or it will place its citizens at a severe disadvantage and lose any status it still retains as the gateway to the New South."

The state-level components of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (PPACA, "Obamacare") are common-sense ideas that will benefit all Georgians, the petition announcement states.

To learn more about the petition and to sign it, go to:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

WikiLeaks publishes Syria Files

Photo credit: New Media Days / Peter Erichsen
Continuing to fulfill its self imposed mandate to expose global corruption, WikiLeaks began publishing the Syria Files today. These Files contain some two million emails from Syrian political figures, ministries and associated companies, dating from August 2006 to March 2012.

Stories derived from the files will appear in Al Akhbar, Al Masry Al Youm, ARD, L’Espresso, Owni, and The Associated Press was removed from the list last month.

"The material is embarrassing to Syria, but it is also embarrassing to Syria’s opponents," said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. "It helps us not merely to criticise one group or another, but to understand their interests, actions and thoughts. It is only through understanding this conflict that we can hope to resolve it." 

"This extraordinary data set derives from 680 Syria-related entities or domain names, including those of the Ministries of Presidential Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Information, Transport and Culture," WikiLeaks stated on its site.

The organization maintains that as many as 15,000 people could have been killed in Syria in the last 18 months. "The Syria Files shine a light on the inner workings of the Syrian government and economy, but they also reveal how the West and Western companies say one thing and do another."

WikiLeaks is an investigative journalism media outlet which accepts and publishes information from anonymous sources. It provides breaking news on torture, transparency in government, and abuses by cults and religious organizations.

WikiLeaks claims that as a result of its journalism, "aggressive retaliation" from Bank of America, VISA, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union has ensued. Founder Julian Assange is presently seeking refuge inside the Ecuadorian Embassy, and Bradley Manning has been detained without trial for two years.

To learn more about the publishing of files, go:

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