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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

U.S. Black poverty rate: 27.8 percent

The U.S. Census reports today that using three-year averages (2009-2011), the U.S. poverty rate was 15.8 percent using the supplemental poverty measure and 15.0 percent using the official measure.
Supplemental poverty rates were higher than the official measure for all race groups and for Hispanics, with one exception: blacks, who had a supplemental poverty rate of 25.7 percent and an official rate of 27.8 percent.
“There are several important differences between the official and supplemental poverty measures,” said Kathleen Short, a U.S. Census Bureau economist and the report’s author. “For instance, the supplemental measure uses new poverty thresholds that represent a dollar amount spent on a basic set of goods adjusted to reflect geographic differences in housing costs. The official poverty thresholds are the same no matter where you live.”
There are 15 states or equivalents for which the supplemental rates were higher than the official statewide poverty rates: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Virginia.

Even though supplemental poverty rates were lower for children and higher for those 65 and older than under the official measure, the rates for children were still higher than the rates for 18- to 64-year-olds and people 65 and older. The 15.5 percent supplemental rates for 18- to 64-year-olds was not statistically different from the 15.1 percent rate for people 65 and older.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Australian energy policy review set for November 19

Wind farms and turbines are renewable sources of energy.  (Photo by Steve Fareham -
The International Energy Agency's (IEA) review of Australia's energy policies will take place Monday, November 19 in the capital city of Canberra. The presentation will address issues related to climate change and focus on Australia's use of coal, fossil fuels, water and renewable energy.

In 2000, Australia was considered the highest emitter of greenhouse gases per capita in the developed world and at a high risk of affecting climate change, according to Economist Nicholas Stern of the the London School of Economics. As of October 2010, there were 52 wind farms in Australia.

This presentation in Australia follows yesterday's release of IEA information which predicted the United States would become a net exporter of natural gas by 2020 and would almost be "self-sufficient in energy, in net terms, by 2035."

To view a video on IEA's World Energy Outlook, go to:,33413,en.html

Monday, November 12, 2012

Was Andrew Carnegie a U.S. citizen?

Library of Congress photo
"Teach a man to be a good citizen and you have solved the problem of life.”Andrew Carnegie

As I watched the History Channel's "Men Who Made America" last night, I was intrigued by references to the life of steel industrialist Andrew Carnegie who immigrated to America with his family and later became the richest man in the world.

November 25 marks what would have been the 177th birthday of Carnegie, an immigrant from Dunfermline, Scotland who was also known as the "Star-Spangled Scotsman” and died in 1919 in Lenox, Mass.

It appears that had Carnegie lived during the time of Donald Trump, he would have some explaining to do over whether he was a U.S. citizen, and this controversy did come up during his lifetime but was swept under the rug.

Some claim that Carnegie never became a U.S. citizen. According to a 2005 biography done by Nicholas P. Resetar, "There is no evidence of Carnegie ever becoming naturalized as a U.S. citizen...'' According to David Nasaw who wrote the book "Andrew Carnegie," the multi-millionaire claimed he lost his naturalization papers and actually became a citizen at age 50, a year before he married Louise Whitfield Carnegie who was a native of Manhattan, N.Y.

The New York Times ran an article on October 25, 1888 claiming that Carnegie was a U.S. citizen through the process of naturalization. Read the document at and decide for yourself.

James Bryce with Carnegie (public domain photo)
Carnegie never let the fact that he was born outside the U.S. deter him in helping to create a better America. The Carnegie Foundation is actively working towards comprehensive immigration reform, working through its "Strengthening U.S. Democracy" program, Federation for American Immigration Reform, NumbersUSA, and the Center for Immigration Studies.

©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved

Friday, November 9, 2012

Southerners for Sandy to hold relief drive for hurricane victims

Georgia State Representative Joe Heckstall, Democrat from District 62, is sponsoring a "Southerners for Sandy" relief drive Saturday, November 10 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at Starbucks, 3507 Camp Creek Parkway, in East Point, Ga. 

Free coffee will be given with each donation of canned foods, cereal, rice, beans, and pasta.

Heckstall, a native New Yorker, is partnering with Georgia State Senator Donzella James, State Representative-Elect LaDawn Blackett Jones, Capitol City Bank and Trust Company, Carmike Cinemas, Wayfield Foods, the American Red Cross, the Georgia Association of Black Elected officials, the Concerned Black Clergy of Metropolitan Atlanta, and Carol Blackman of Majic 107.5 to accept non perishable items, cash donations, and blood for the victims of the hurricane.

For more information, call 404-656-0220.

(Photo from Ga. House of Rep. website)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Why is Georgia a RED state, and what can be done to change it?

"…Georgia was a Democratic stronghold in presidential elections until
1964 and the passage of federal civil rights legislation. Democratic
candidates continued to be popular in state and local elections until
the 1990s. Since 2000 the white majority has supported the Republican
Party, which has majorities in both houses of the legislature, and
more recently, control of all statewide elective offices." Wikipedia
– History of Georgia

During our 2008 school board race, the numbers were wrong, so we lost! I learned a lot about politics, though. (Photo with Beverly McMurray taken by Kurk Johnson)
As soon as Obama was re-elected, I started getting calls from my
Democratic friends in Georgia who were looking ahead to 2014, trying
to figure out who they could get to run for office in local and state
races. As you know, Georgia goes along with other Southern RED states
and didn’t re-elect President Obama. Locally, Cobb School Board Member
Alison Bartlett lost her seat after one term; PSC Candidate Steve
Oppenheimer lost his statewide race; and State Senator Doug Stoner
lost after redistricting.

Some blame Democratic defeats in Georgia on the fact that there’s no
rallying point. One frustrated voter said, “There’s no passion or fire
in Georgia Dems. The Right Repubs get supported because they have the damn Rebel Flag (history) they get behind. The Dems don't have one thing
they can all use as a lightning rod for solidarity.”

Georgia Democrats also are not powerful enough to help folks get jobs.
I remember a friend of mine years ago telling me that Repubs. in
Kentucky offered him a job only after he agreed to become a member of
the Party and donate 10% of his wages. I myself have asked Democrats
to hire me to do pr work or to help me find a job to no avail. This is
a major downfall of the Georgia Democratic Party – the inability to
help the unemployed find jobs.

“Major downfalls of the Georgia Democratic Party are inabilities to
manufacture a rallying point, find the right messengers and message,
broaden its circle of voters, and help the unemployed.”

Moving forward to the next election, Democrats in Georgia are going to have
to enlarge their circle, concentrate on issues facing more Georgians,
and help EACH OTHER get some jobs in order to turn the state BLUE in
2014-16. Stoner, Bartlett, and Oppenheimer lost which is sad, but
that is because the DEMOS in Georgia either did not read census data,
depended too much on their OLD base of voters to vote and volunteer,
didn't choose the right message and messenger when backing candidates,
or did not use social media to get out the vote!

Then there's history. Repubs in GA are politically powerful because
they have position, money, youthful volunteer teams, numbers, strong
TeaPartyers, and candidates with good names. They also have something
they are still fighting for: the rebel flag and the conservative confederate mindset.

According to CNN, Georgia along with Texas and Arizona, can turn BLUE
if it gets right with young, African American, Latino, Asian, and
college educated women voters.

In a MSNBC interview between Al Sharpton and Obama’s Senior Political
Advisor David Axelrod, it was noted that Democrats were able to win
nationally because they had the right message and messenger, thousands
of dedicated volunteers, confidence, shared responsibility, verifiable
trust, and worked on the premise that actions matter. Obama won
because he enlarged his circle of participants in the political
process which was based on Jesse Jackson’s National Rainbow Coalition
after his first presidential campaign of 1984.

Axelrod said that going forward, the Obama Administration's priorities
will be building a first class educational system, promoting clean
energy, creating good jobs, ending the Afghanistan War, building our
nation’s infrastructure, solving fiscal problems, and making immigration
reform happen very soon.

He described Obama’s leadership style over the last twenty years as
never too high or low. “He’s the first person to get up and move
forward, he keeps his eye on the ball and sees long term, he presses
forward on his goals and helps others to do so; but most importantly,
he is an idealist who sees politics as more than a game…and wants to
make people believe that opportunities for a better life do exist."

Georgia Democrats can learn a lot from Obama’s win. The time to begin is now.
©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.   

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Breaking news: Riot on Southern campus follows Obama win

It seems that racism has raised its ugly head in Mississippi where students protested last night on the Ole Miss campus. Romney is said to have won Mississippi by 55.4% but lost the national presidential election.

For more info., go to:

Obama, the Defier, wins!

Obama still has work to do but with our help can move the world forward. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)
In 2008, Barack Obama surprised the world by becoming the first African African president of the United States. Some said that would never happen because he had a handicap - he was a black man living in a country built on racism. Some said his first win was a fluke and did everything humanly possible to dethrone the Defier.

Last night, their plan failed.  Obama and his team of campaign workers and voters boldly won a second term, resisting criticism and vowing to lead America into greatness again.

Obama, the Defier, didn't win last night by himself. Democrats ran a post modern, pro democracy campaign, using technology and diversity to its fullest. They kept their base and expanded it with forward thinking and by reiterating that the United States stands for inclusion.

Romney and the Republicans lost because of their pompously elitist divisiveness and inability to realize the love others share for Our President. They sold Obama short. They should now have a greater respect for Obama and must use this respect to help turn this country's economy around.

We are still praying for President Obama. We are still praying for our nation which is more than soil in Blue and Red states...but people who care about each other and are dedicated to a government invested by its citizens.

May our President, our political leaders, and our people move forward into a better day!

Email message from Obama early this morning:
"I'm about to go speak to the crowd here in Chicago, but I wanted to thank you first. I want you to know that this wasn't fate, and it wasn't an accident. You made this happen. You organized yourselves block by block. You took ownership of this campaign five and ten dollars at a time. And when it wasn't easy, you pressed forward. I will spend the rest of my presidency honoring your support, and doing what I can to finish what we started.   But I want you to take real pride, as I do, in how we got the chance in the first place. Today is the clearest proof yet that, against the odds, ordinary Americans can overcome powerful interests. There's a lot more work to do. But for right now: Thank you. Barack"
©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.    

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cell phones at polls problematic

Voters casting ballots via electronic voting machines in Marietta, Ga.
Many young voters have been recording their vote with cell phone cameras despite a law prohibiting taking pictures in polling places. Some say that since a paper verification is not possible with electronic voting machines, they are taking photos of the ballot as some proof of their vote. Others are just doing it because they want to make "cool" Facebook postings.

Most voters taking these pictures are unaware they are breaking the law unless they are caught and told about it by poll watchers, for there are no signs in polling places prohibiting photographs.

Poll Manager Lamont Paul in Cobb County, Ga. said that taking a picture of your vote with a cell phone camera is not a verifiable alternative, and it is definitely against the law. "People have come in and tried to take pictures of their children voting for the first time," said Paul.

Again, the 2006 Georgia Code, Section 21-2-413 states:
No elector shall use photographic or other electronic monitoring or recording devices or cellular telephones while such elector is within the enclosed space in a polling place.
Additionally, Section 21-2-414(e) specifically bans the use of a cell phone or other communications device once a person has been issued a ballot or is inside the voting booth.  Taken together, these two sections indicate that you are violating the law if you record your own vote with a cellphone photo. The law, however, does not say what will happen to you if you take a picture of how you voted.

Voters preparing to vote at Addison Elementary School in Cobb County, Ga.
In a memo signed by David Hankerson, Cobb County Manager, "...the law also states that the Poll Manager, in his or her discretion, may allow the use of photographic devices in the polling place under such conditions and limitations as the election superintendent finds appropriate, so long as no photos are allowed of a ballot, a machine face while a voter is voting the ballot, or of an electronic elector's list."
Members of the media can take photos of people voting as long as the poll manager agrees and voters being photographed do not protest. Media also are not allowed to take pictures of the ballot, a machine face, or an elector's voting list.
©2012 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hurricane Sandy had no effect on October employment data

Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 171,000 in October, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 7.9 percent, according to a report just released by the U.S. Department of Labor. 

Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, and retail trade over the month.  Thus far in 2012, employment growth has averaged 157,000 per month, about the same as the average monthly gain in 2011 (+153,000).

"I would note that Hurricane Sandy had no discernable effect on the employment and unemployment data for October," said John M. Galvin, Acting Commissioner of Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"Household survey data collection was completed before the storm struck the East Coast, and establishment survey data collection rates were within the normal ranges nationally and for the affected areas," Galvin said.

Other information worth noting in the report was the number of involuntary part-time workers declined by 269,000 to 8.3 million in October; this follows an increase of 582,000 in September.  On net, involuntary part-time employment has changed little over the past 3 months.

Also, the labor force increased by 578,000, and the labor force participation rate edged up to 63.8 percent in October.  Total employment, as measured by the household survey, increased by 410,000, while the employment-population ratio was little changed at 58.8 percent.

For more information, go to:

Obama will win by 79%???

Nate Silver's 538 blog in the New York Times is predicting that Barack Obama will win the U.S. Presidential election by 79 percent.

Read about his polling at:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Employment up 158,000 in private sector

ADP jobs report good news for Obama
Private sector employment increased by 158,000 jobs from September to October, according to a leading provider of human capital management solutions, in collaboration with Moody’s Analytics.  The report, which is derived from ADP’s actual payroll data, measures the change in total non-farm private employment each month on a seasonally-adjusted basis.

Large, non-farm businesses, not small businesses, hired more people during this time period, adding 81,000 employees. Manufacturing, however, lost jobs.

 • Industry Snapshot
• Construction 
• Manufacturing  
• Trade/transportation/utilities 
• Financial activities 
• Professional/business services