Archive for September, 2009

Students Teach Game Design Through Mentoring

Posted in Black Interests with tags , , , , on September 27, 2009 by Gary Johnson



In the “Be The Game” program, high school students mentor peers and use game design as a tool for teaching Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). The program’s high tech bus travels to locations where tech facilities are not available.

Click on the link to see the video made by the George Lucas Educational Foundation Edutopia which shows a dramatic alternative to traditional education.

The Information Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program was established by the National Science Foundation in direct response to the concern about shortages of information technology workers in the United States. The ITEST program funds projects that provide opportunities for both school-age children and teachers to build the skills and knowledge needed to advance their study and to function and contribute in a technologically rich society.

A project by guided by Dr. Kevin Clark of George Mason University, “Game Design Through Mentoring and Collaboration,” is a partnership with McKinley Technology High School in Washington, DC and is designed to teach high school students video game design, and in turn, allow mentoring opportunities for these students to teach middle school students. The project incorporates Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) content, with and emphasis on career and educational paths.

The students also work with scientists and experts to design and build educational games that can be utilized by other students and teachers.

The program targets traditionally underrepresented students from the Washington, DC area with the vision of being a model for other distance learning efforts.  The program introduces fundamental concepts of Information Technology (IT) as students develop human animation, multimedia authoring and rapid game prototyping using 3D tools.

This is a “hands-on” program with a strong emphasis on non-traditional approaches to learning and the intensive use of information technologies such as: web-based programming, GIS, architecture, database management, motion capture, LAN network management.

In 2009, the partnership expanded with the addition of Gary A. Johnson Company & Associates, LLC (GAJCO). The company developed a 4-week leadership academy for prospective student mentors with a focus on leadership, mentoring, STEM careers and business etiquette.

In the summer of 2009, Be The Game, LLC and Gary A. Johnson Company & Associates, LLC sponsored several Wii Learning Events for the DC Public School System’s Parent Family Resource Center and the DC Department of Parks and Recreation. These program are scheduled to expand in 2010.

What Can You Do?

We want to duplicate this effort in cities around the country.  We need funding to expand our efforts.  If you can help with funding, networking, mentoring and/or volunteering, contact us at

For more information click here to view an informative presentation or click on the link below:

AARP Event

Click Here To See Student Mentors Teach AARP Members Computer Skills and Social Networking (Facebook and Twitter) On Technology Bus

Click here to see more picture of the technology bus.

The Bridge: The Obama Conundrum

Posted in Barack Obama, Black Interests, Politics with tags , on September 26, 2009 by Gary Johnson


By Darryl James

I said it during the presidential campaign and I said it when Barack Obama was elected.

His election will be used to polarize a nation, rather than unite it.

Although more of us are smarter and beyond racism than we used to be, there are still corners of racism that will hold on with tooth and nail to a world they are comfortable with.

That world is a world where Blacks and whites are bifurcated in language, culture and living quarters.

And the conundrum Obama represents is both good and bad.

It’s good because Obama’s existence is forcing racism to be played out in the most public manner possible on the world stage, which means that more people with open minds and hearts can see how ignorant and ugly racism is and so move away from pretending that it does not exist.

It’s bad because all of the venom held by the confused angry racists is beginning to boil to the surface once again.

Those of us who paid attention and who have working brains understood the schism between the young progressive whites who supported change and the backwoods redneck dirt farmers who refuse to move beyond outdated ideas of Black people.

And the dirty, dirty media plays a great role in fanning the flames by overemphasizing and beating discussions to death.

But what all of those things create is an atmosphere where the entire world can see that America is still very much focused on race and racism. No matter who denies it or pretends that it isn’t a major issue, America is not “Post-Racial.”

This nation has made a major symbolic move, but it is still sullied by the angry jackasses who are driven by their hatred.

Most of the anger stems from the same place that always provides anger—the pain of lower and middle class white America.

The recession hit the nation hard, but was taken more to heart by whites than any other group. This group traditionally holds the belief that they are more American than anyone else, and accordingly, should benefit more and suffer less.

Unfortunately for them, the current tide of change did not discriminate and ravaged communities all across racial lines. That ravaging has left many whites angry, feeling desperate and looking for someone to blame.

Ushered into the White House on a tide of desired change that followed changes in society, particularly the nation’s demographics, President Obama is now the icon for change, and for many angry, frightened whites, the icon for all that is wrong with America.

His iconic existence facilitates the anger of those angry whites who ignored the eight years of wanton warfare and economic depravity waged by George W and facilitates singular focus on the rapid changes sought by the nation’s first Black president.

Hiding behind Obama’s pursuit of health-care reform, frothing racists claim that Obama will usher in socialism and dictatorship and so liken him to Adolph Hitler, of all people.

But anyone with a working brain can see the opposition is more directed at Obama the Black man, and not really at any policy.

A cursory examination of Obama’s health care policy pursuits reveal distortions and outright lies by opponents who clearly oppose the man and not the policies.

These same people show up to rally against health care plans as well as Obama’s bailout programs, which curiously extend on the bailouts Bush initiated.

After all, where were these people when Bush was grinding the nation and the world economy into the ground?

Curiously silent.

So, it confuses me when I hear anyone—Black, white or otherwise—refer to America as “Post-Racial.”

From what I can see, race and racism are in the forefront like never before.

And really, that’s part and parcel of the Obama Conundrum.

While the first African American President represents change, to some Americans, he also represents everything that is wrong and ugly about America.

He represents change because a great deal of people of all colors had to come together to get him elected. Frankly, many of us never thought we would see the day.

But he also represents everything wrong and ugly, for the throngs of stupid Americans who have begun to raise him as a scapegoat for all that has gone awry, using his image to fill the rosters of hate groups and to fuel hateful racist activities, while claiming that there is no more racism because of his election.

As for the Blacks who are raging against Obama, they are no different than the bonehead Negroes who opposed Dr. King and who supported Reagan and both Bushes. These self hating ignorant Negroes come out of the woodwork in order to disagree with things that frankly, don’t exist.

However, it should come as no surprise to anyone that whites at the lower end of the economic strata would start to show their racist stripes. These are the same people who have traditionally promulgated racial strife.

And, if we take a look at who voted for Obama (younger whites) and who now believe that they are under siege (older whites), we begin to understand why racial strife is re-emerging.

Our current economic climate has been harsh to older white men who have seen their unemployment rate hit nearly twice that of the national average, while Blacks and Hispanics have not even come close to setting records.

To the frightened, angry white man, people of color are to blame, particularly those Black people who “took their jobs.”

Of course no person of color has literally taken the jobs of older white men.  This is simply the code of the racists who want to lead the white brigades against the men of color who now have the potential to make them the real minority and, in their minds, take over the country with the election of a Black president.

And of course they are speaking and acting in code. The strongest taboo in America is to admit to racism. America has spent more than forty years denying that the vestiges of racism have a strong toehold on pockets of the nation.

But what else would explain the upsurge in hate groups and the sudden widespread interest by older whites in the minutia of national policy?

It’s like watching a sporting event where one team scores, yet the announcer says that the other team is playing hard and leading the game.

We saw this with the beating of Rodney King, where an entire nation and a jury refused to see the beating of a Black man by a group of white men.

It’s an ugly game of smoke and mirrors.

The nation is being polarized and the first Black president is being stuck right in the middle of controversy that he did not create and is not addressing.

The same groups of people who coalesced around Obama to put him in office will have to continue to stand together even as they are being pulled in many directions by fractured interest groups.

They must deal with some confounding puzzles.

In order for the nation to become truly “Post-Racial,” it must finally deal with its racist legacy.

That’s a major part of the Obama Conundrum.

Darryl James Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.” Now, listen to Darryl live on every Monday from 8-10pm, PST. View previous installments of this column at You can reach James at

Let’s Talk About Prostate Cancer: An Interview with Harold P. Freeman, M.D.

Posted in Health & Fitness with tags , , , , on September 20, 2009 by Gary Johnson


Harold P Freeman, M.D., is the President and Founder of The Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention in New York City and Founder of The Harold P. Freeman Patient Navigation Institute. He is also the Senior Advisor to the Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and Director of the NCI Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities. Dr. Freeman is a past National President of the American Cancer Society. He served for 11 years as Chairman of the U.S. President’s Cancer Panel. Dr. Freeman pioneered the Patient Navigation Program.

Dr. Freeman recently took time out of his busy schedule to answer questions for this very important interview.

Black Men In  Dr. Freeman, you are the Senior Advisor to the Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and former Director of the NCI Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities.  What is the number one health risk affecting black men?

Dr. Harold Freeman: Although the number one health risk affecting black men is smoking related disease such as lung cancer, prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in black men.

Black Men In  What are the risk factors for prostate cancer?

Dr. Harold Freeman: One of the main risk factors associated with prostate cancer is older age. Men over the age of 65 are more likely to get prostate cancer than younger ages. Changes in the prostate or genetic changes may also increase a man’s risk for prostate cancer. Having a family member such as a father, brother, or son can increase risk as well.

Black Men In  What are the symptoms?

Dr. Harold Freeman: There are no symptoms associated with early stages of prostate cancer. Some symptoms associated with later stages of prostate cancer mainly include urinary symptoms such as frequent urination, painful urination, trouble urinating or a weak urine flow. Other symptoms include difficulty having an erection, blood in urine or semen, and frequent pain in the back, hips, or legs.

Black Men In  What are the incidence and mortality rates for black men?

Dr. Harold Freeman: The incidence rate of prostate cancer among African Americans is 232.8per 100,000 men with a mortality rate of 51.1per 100,000 men. These rates are in comparison to an incidence rate of 163.1per 100,000 and a mortality rate of 23.6 per 100,000 for all men regardless of race.

Black Men In  What is some of the latest research on prostate cancer?

Dr. Harold Freeman: A recent study conducted by researchers at the National Cancer Institute found that a common genetic variation may be involved in developing prostate cancer. This study was one of the first to explain the biological mechanism underlying the difference in risk among individuals. Information about this study is available at

Black Men In  Why do black men have higher incidence and mortality rates?

Dr. Harold Freeman: It is not known why African American men have a higher incidence of prostate cancer. It is thought that higher prostate cancer mortality rates among African American men may be mostly due to late diagnosis and treatment.

Black Men In  Where do black men go for additional information on prostate cancer?

Dr. Harold Freeman: For more information, African American men may visit or call 1-800-4-cancer to speak with a specialist regarding prostate cancer.  Through the website and phone number, men can order free publications about prostate or other cancers.

Black Men In  What’s the official word on prostate cancer screening?

Dr. Harold Freeman: There is still some uncertainty regarding prostate cancer screening. Ongoing clinical trials are trying to determine whether prostate cancer screening reduces the number of deaths from this disease. The most important message is that men—and African American men in particular—speak with a physician regarding prostate cancer screening options.

Black Men In  Can you talk about the importance of the NCI’s Patient Navigation Program?

Dr. Harold Freeman: NCI’s Patient Navigation Program aims to develop interventions to reduce or eliminate cancer health disparities and test their efficacy and cost-effectiveness. Patient navigators eliminate barriers to timely screening, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The principal barriers are: financial (such as lack of insurance); communication barriers; medical system barriers (such as lost results, failure to get timely consultations); and fear, distrust and emotional barriers. This program is important in the quest for standard, equal care for all.

Publisher’s Note:  Thank you James Alexander, of the Multicultural Media Outreach Team of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Office of Communications and Education, Office of Partnerships and Dissemination Initiatives.

You can stay current and get the latest updates from the NCI Twitter page located at

The Voice In The Wilderness

Posted in Barack Obama, Black Interests, Guest Columnists, Politics on September 18, 2009 by Gary Johnson


By Raynard Jackson

In the week since Congressman Joe Wilson’s display of ignorance, the issue of race, once again, has spun out of control.  So, I will try to add some sanity to the debate.

But first, let me lay the foundation for my argument.  Without question, you can disagree with President Obama without being a racist.  But, what does describing Obama as a Nazi have to do with healthcare?  What does calling him a liar during a joint session of Congress have to do with healthcare?  How does calling him a socialist, fascist, or communist, further the healthcare debate?  So, you would think that if this debate was about healthcare, the signs would read, “how will you pay for your plan, how will it be implemented, or what if I don’t want your plan?”

I expect some in white America and most of those in the Republican Party, to ignore the racial nature of the attacks on the president.  They suffer from cognitive dissonance, which is simply the inability to see what you don’t believe.

But, I am furious and will not forgive the spineless, politically tone-deaf, weak Black Republicans for their deafening silence on this issue! Or should I say, their refusal to acknowledge the existence of race as part of the issue.

I am very troubled and disappointed in Michael Steele’s characterization of this issue as “a distraction.”  Armstrong Williams says of South Carolina Congressman and Majority Whip, Jim Clyburn, “Some days, I just shake my head at Mr. Clyburn, because the things that come out of his mouth are more entertaining than lucid.”  Maybe we are seeing two different people.  Clyburn rarely talks, but when he does, he is very measured and thoughtful.  Remember, Clyburn is the one who told Bill Clinton to “chill” when he tried to inject race into the South Carolina primary last year.

Why do Black Republicans refuse to speak out and denounce the race baiting emanating from the Republican Party?  Saying the Democrats do the same thing is no refutation.  We are supposed to be a party of principles and just because our opponents engage in certain behavior does not mean we must reciprocate.  We are better than that.

It’s not enough to denounce Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton when they play the race card..  Other than Colin Powell and myself, can you name another prominent Black Republican who has consistently taken principled stands on issues of race within our party?

I am embarrassed by the Black Republicans I see on the talking head shows on TV.  Can someone explain to me the sign at last week’s poorly attended rally in D.C.:  “Bury Obamacare with Kennedy?”  To add insult to injury, the signs were paid for by a Catholic, pro-life group.  I guess it’s OK to inflict further pain on the Kennedy family as long as it’s in the name of God.

After Joe Wilson’s outburst, how many Blacks did John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mike Pence, Mitch McConnell, or Jon Kyle meet with to discuss this issue?  I can tell you emphatically, NONE!

The Republican Party is totally tone deaf when it comes to issues of race.  The Blacks they would reach out to are so out of touch with our community that they are worthless.  They are more concerned with being liked and invited to a meeting rather than making the party uncomfortable with the truth.

How can any Black not be offended and infuriated with the language and signs that refer to our president?  When protesters say they want to take their country back, who is “their”?  Take “their” country back from whom?  That’s the biggest problem with the Republican Party—they want to take our country back.  We should be looking forward, but it’s difficult to do that when those in the party want to go back(wards)!

Why won’t Black Republicans admit the obvious?  These are the whites who are terrified at the changing demographics of this country.  They feel like “they” are losing control of “their” country and want to go back(wards) to the good ole days!  This is the real issue.

If the issue is ONLY about healthcare, cap and trade, and the size of government, then why the signs of Obama as a witch doctor, him with a Hitler mustache, or with a bone in his nose?

Black Republicans need to stand up and educate the Republican Party on the way these scenes are internalized within our community specifically and the country in general.  Most Black Republicans have little connection with our community, therefore they don’t get the benefit of the doubt.  When will Black Republicans speak out about the dearth of Blacks on Congressional staffs, at the NRSC, NRCC, the RNC, on campaign staffs?

I would love to be able to write about other issues, but I can’t remain silent in the midst of such vile behavior by Republicans.  The Secret Service is having fits about the security of our president and staffers at the White House are on edge every time the president leaves the building.

Now, I know how the Apostle John felt in John 1:23:  “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said Isaiah the prophet.”

I have been at the table in these private meetings when there were just a few Blacks in attendance.  I have seen how a lot of Blacks will allow people to say very offensive things without raising any objections.  So, if you, as a Black, condone this behavior towards our president or don’t object to it in these meetings, you may get invited to a reception and be told that you are articulate, and a good conservative; but what do you think they really think about you when you are not at the meeting?

I am just the voice of one crying in the wilderness.

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-based political consulting/government affairs firm.   You can listen to his radio show every Saturday evening from 7-9:00 p.m.  Go to to register and then click on host, and then click on his photo to join his group.


Posted in Barack Obama, Black America, Sports News with tags , on September 16, 2009 by Gary Johnson

Joe WilsonAdrian Fenty

Rep. Joe Wilson and DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty

By Harold Bell

Congressman Joe Wilson’s (R-S.C.) recent outburst on the House floor is just the tip of the iceberg of racism in America.  He yelled “You lie” during a speech by President Barack Obama as he tried to explain his position on health care reform to Congress.

Former President Jimmy Carter said, “The outburst by Joe was based on racism and rooted in the fears of a Black President.”

I totally agree some white folks in America just won’t get over the fact that a black man is the President of the United States.

The white media is leading the charge.  You can count on one hand the Talking Heads on cable television when discussing the President of the United States who will use words like “Mr. or President.” You would think they were talking about one of their drinking buddies at the local bar.

Racism is a lot like alcohol, people can usually hide their true feelings until they have had one too many drinks.  The alcohol gives them a comfort zone to be who they really are and the truth comes to light.  Racism has that same intoxicating effect.

For example; friends and family defending the actions of Joe Wilson were heard to say “There is not a racist bone in my dad’s body he does not even laugh at distasteful jokes.” Alan Wilson is an Iraq veteran and is running for the office of State’s Attorney.

Former South Carolina Democratic Chairman and long time friend Dick Harpootlian said, “I think Joe’s conduct was asinine, but I think it would be asinine no matter what color of the President.  I don’t think that Joe’s outburst was caused by President Obama being African-American.  I think it was caused by no filter being between his mouth and his brain” that is the effect racism has on a true racist.

I would like to make one think perfectly clear about racism in America white folks don’t have a patent on it, some of the biggest racist in America are black.  The list is too long for me to name all of them.

In many cases we are our own worst enemy.  This is true of those who are black and think they have made it in America because they have two-dollars more than their brothers and sisters.  They often refuse to reach back and pull someone else along.  They are too busy being “Exclusive instead of Inclusive.”

Essence Magazine in its August 2009 issue published a story titled “Black Women behaving badly.” The story revealed the back stabbing and petty envy and jealousy taking place in the Boardrooms of Corporate America, Hollywood studios, on Capitol Hill, beauty parlors and in black families among sisters and brothers.  It is no different among black men.  It is an all too familiar story.

Where do our black children look for their heroes and role models in a Racist and Player Hating America?

NBA pioneer and superstar Spencer Haywood once told me “If a child has to look beyond his dinner table for his heroes, they are in trouble.”

NBA Hall of fame player Charles Barkley once shouted for everyone to hear “I am not your child’s hero and if I am you as parents are doing a piss poor job in raising them.”

This column was inspired not only by a guy named Joe, but by a recent e-mail I received from a friend.  Attached to the e-mail was a video of a young man making a presentation during Black History Month 2008Johnathan McCoy looks to be 10 years old.

His presentation was related to the black community’s disparaging use of the N-word.  He reminds the audience that they are descendants of Kings and Queens and they are not economically, politically or socially disenfranchised as some would have us to believe.

He closed the program by singing his version of the Negro National anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” My friend was really and truly inspired by little Jonathan’s presentation and performance and I was also.

She said, “This young man is awesome.  He keeps hope alive.” I thought to myself ‘One out of two ain’t bad.’

It should not be some LITTLE Jonathan’s responsibility to keep hope alive it should be some BIG Jonathan’s keeping hope alive.

In 2009 our children are looking for us to lead them and not for them to lead us.

There are blacks in positions of leadership who are making it very difficult for our children to see blacks in leadership roles.  For example:  The Nation’s Capitol is the SEAT of power in America.

We have a Black President and Black Mayor sitting in those seats but DC still has one the worst public school systems in America.  A black President may be new to the landscape, but we have had black Mayors and a non-voting representative in Congress for decades and nothing has changed for our children.

Washington, DC has one of the worst public school systems in America.  What makes it even more difficult is that black children across the country are dropping out of school at alarming rates (50%).

The Black President and Black Mayor see their kids off to the best schools Monday through Friday.  In the meantime inner-city children whose parents are not the President of the United States and Mayor of the Nation’s Capitol attend the worst schools.  Leaders must lead by example!

How many times have you heard a politician use the sound bite while running for office “Children First?”

To make sure our children continue to fail the Black Mayor hires an Asian woman by the name of Michelle Rhee to head a predominantly black school system.

Ms. Rhee had no administrative background experience on her resume.  The Mayor tries to hide her lack of  experience and skills by naming her to a newly created position titled “Chancellor.”

The Chancellor’s duties, reminds many of the duties of “The Turk” one the most feared men in the NFL during the pre-season.  He receives the names of the players cut by the coach and hand carries them the pink slip.  Players are often found hiding in their closets and under their beds when he knocks on the door.  Ms. Rhee strikes that same kind of fear among DC school teachers.  She is known as “The Hachett Woman” of the DC government (closing schools and firing teachers).

Ms. Rhee recently passed the pink slip and removed the black Principal at all black historical landmark Spingarn High School (total enrollment 2 Hispanics).  She replaced him with a Hispanic principal who can barely speak English.

We at (Spingarn alumni) sit on the sidelines and act like the “Three Little Monkeys.”  Hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil.

I wondered where the Spingarn Alumni was during this upheaval.  Probably some where having a party over here and picnic over there!

Historical Langston Golf Course sits directly across the street from Spingarn.  As a youngster growing up and going to school on the 24th Street Benning Road NE corridor I watched Legendary black athletes like boxing champions Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson play golf at this historical landmark.  Pro golfers like Charlie Sifford, Lee Elder, Jim Thorpe and Jim Dent made the course their home away from home.  Jim Dent still stops by when he is in town to give golf clinics for the children.

Long time black residents and golfers have successfully segregated themselves from the golf course.  They can be found hanging out there  Monday through Friday but disappear as the weekend approaches!  Asians, Hispanics and white golfers take over the course on the weekends, is this Volunteered Slavery?

In my life time I have been an eyewitness to the march across the Selma bridge, three little girls blown up in church, the lynching of Emmett Till, civil rights activist Medgar Evers shot down in his driveway, the bodies of three civil rights workers found in a Mississippi swamp, the assassinations of a President and his brother, Martin Luther King, and Malcom X.  And we are still singing We Shall Overcome and trying to keep hope alive?

Did those brave men and women sacrifice their lives to watch a black Mayor hire a white female police chief and her second in command a white female.  He hired a Hispanic to lead the DC Recreation Department with an interpreter by her side–“No speak English!”

Mayor Fenty does not have one black woman or man heading any department in his administration.  What was once “Chocolate City” is going vanilla in a hurry.  The new flavor of the Fenty administration is vanilla.

The DC City Council is the worst I have ever seen, it is the blind leading the blind.  They can’t even see the Washington Metro Rail system needing an overdue overhaul from top to bottom.  Instead of them saving lives before the accidents and crashes, they are seen at the crash sites pulling the bodies out after the fact, over and over again.  GM John Catoe and the Metro Board allow bus drivers to have three major accidents a year before they are suspended!!!

In Prince George’s County, Maryland, County Executive Jack Johnson and State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey are just as bad or worst.  They recently claimed they could not find the murder of a young black man who was executed KKK style (broken neck) in an Upper Marlboro jail cell.  His cell was in a secured part of the facility with guards and cameras.  There is something is wrong with this picture!

Last but not least are “The Pimps in the Pulpits” of our churches.  They are like roaches, once they gain entry they are hard to get rid of.

Churches are the NEW liquor stores in the black community.  There is now one on every corner and business is so good some pimping preachers have two churches.

Have you checked out your church lately, I checked out my church?

My great-grandfather laid the first brick to build Mt. Airy Baptist Church in 1893.  The historical landmark is located at North Capitol and L Streets in NW Washington, DC.

The Bell family is no longer involved in the day-to-day activities of the church. Bell family discord is the primary reason. When my great-uncle the Rev. Earl Tyler died we allowed one pimp after another to take over.

Several years ago one preacher and several deacons were seen on the television evening news being led out of the church in handcuffs.

I recently attended Mt. Airy for a funeral and discovered little has changed.  The church has a new pastor by the name of Rev. Larry B. West.  He is a slick talking pimp in the making.  Someone needs to tell him, “It is best to be thought a fool than to open his mouth and remove all doubt.”

There are still too many of us talking Godly but not acting Godly—meet Rev. West.

Black folks are still looking for love and God in all the wrong places.

Racism, Joe and the man in the mirror continue to be our biggest enemies.

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do and say nothing.–Albert Einstein

About the Author

Harold Bell

Harold Bell is the Godfather of Sports Talk radio and television.  He is a sixth generation Washingtonian, youth advocate and pioneer in radio and television sports talk shows in DC.  Harold was the first black to host and produce a sports special in prime time (1975) on NBC WRC TV-4 (The Original Inside Sports). Harold has dedicated the last several decades to securing the rights of citizens and protecting children through his organization Kids In Trouble, Inc.

Kanye West

Posted in Black Interests, Music and Video Releases with tags , , , , on September 15, 2009 by Gary Johnson

By Gary A. Johnson


When it comes to celebrities, I have always cautioned people to be careful in their assessments.  In most cases, we really don’t know these people, we only know what we see and what they portray to the public.  For example, for years many people believed that Whitney Houston was a Cinderella type of princess, until we saw the Bravo network’s reality TV series “Being Bobby Brown.” That train wreck of a show had many Houston supporters doing a double take on who was the negative influence in that relationship.

Enough of that, let me get back to Kanye West. His behavior is a combination of jack ass, diva and spoiled brat.  Now I don’t know if he’s all of the aforementioned, however, this is what he appears to be in public.

West, who has a history of throwing temper tantrums seemed contrite and apologetic the day after his outburst at the MTV Video Music Awards. He sat next to Jay Leno Monday on the debut of  The Jay Leno Show (TJLS) and apologized.  I’m not buying the televised apology. It was difficult for me to determine his level of sincerity.  West told Leno:

“So many celebrities, they never take the time off. I’ve never taken the time off to really — you know, just music after music and tour after tour. I’m just ashamed that my hurt caused someone else’s hurt. My dream of what awards shows are supposed to be, ’cause, and I don’t try to justify it because I was just in the wrong. That’s period. But I need to, after this, take some time off and just analyze how I’m going to make it through the rest of this life, how I’m going to improve.”

Taylor Swift appeared on the ABC daytime show “The View,” today and reported that she had not been contacted by West.  Shortly thereafter, West called “The View’s” studio in an attempt to apologize.  After the show, Swift told ABC News Radio’s Andrea Dressdale “Kanye did call me,” in an interview taped after the show.  “He was very sincere in his apology, and I accepted that apology.”

This is the fourth time West has apologized for his conduct at the VMAs, and based on his track record, it won’t be his last.

Kayne West appears to be a very talented and spoiled brat.  He knows when and who to pull these little “I Need More Attention” stunts on.  What do you think would have happened if he pulled that stunt at the Source or Soul Train Music Awards shows?  I cannot imagine Kanye West snatching the microphone from Missy Elliott. Moments later, someone would be leaning over waving smelling salts across his nose and yelling:  “You just got knocked the f&*k out!”  Kanye West may be a lot of things, but being dumb is not one of them.  If anything he’s a savvy publicity whore.

Kanye knew he could “Bogart” a 19-year old female country/pop artists.  I didn’t see Kanye taking the stage during the recent BET (Blacks Embarrassing Themselves) award.  Again, I don’t know this dude, but when I look at his total body of work since he bursts on the scene as a solo act about 6 or 7 years ago, this guy appears to have a massive ego.  I heard a line from comedienne Joan Rivers that applies to Kayne West.  Joan once said of a rival, “He’d give himself a hickey if he could.”

West took his outburst abroad, and failed as an American ambassador during the 2006 MTV European Music Awards. West stormed the stage after his “Touch the Sky” video lost to Justice and Simian’s “We Are Your Friends,” suggesting  his video deserved to win instead because it “cost a million dollars and Pamela Anderson was in it.”

The social networking sites, most notably Facebook and Twitter have blown up talking about this incident.  Many comments have taken a racial tone.  Our friends at The Grio have a detailed post about the racial overtones that have appeared online concerning this incident.

Photo credit: (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

GJHeadShot Gary Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In Blog. Gary is also the author of the new book“25 Things That Really Matter In Life.”

THE AUDACITY OF HELP: Obama’s Economic Plan and the Remaking of America

Posted in Barack Obama, Money/Economics with tags , , , , on September 11, 2009 by Gary Johnson

Reviewed by Gary A. Johnson

Audacity Cover

What a timely book.  The Audacity of Help by John F. Wasik is one of the most comprehensive books about Barack Obama’s Economic Plan and his vision for America.  Wasik is no slouch.  Unlike many so-called experts, Wasik is uniquely qualified to write this book having spent time studying and following President Obama for years.

Given all of the media attention to the President’s economic plan and the distortions and misrepresentations about the President and his policies, The Audacity of Help is a comprehensive and yet easy to understand breakdown of Barack Obama’s economic plan and challenges for America.

The Audacity of Help is like reading a history book.  The author provides charts and blueprints about packages passed by Congress and allows you to understand the bills and what they really mean.  Wasik also takes a look at how the President’s policies will affect health care, education, the environment and taxes.

Each chapter is clearly structured to show “what Congress passed,” and “who benefits most,” on issues such as Unemployment Insurance Benefits, COBRA, Home Energy Credits, Early Childhood Education, and more.

This book is no joke.  It deals with issues that matter to all Americans.

For me the best part of the book are the thought-provoking questions.  These questions forced me to think about the impact these policies will have on my family now and in the future.  For example:

  • How will it stimulate the worst economy in a generation?
  • Who will gain?
  • Who will lose?
  • What are his plans for reviving public education, small business, the environment, credit reform, health care, homeownership and entitlement programs?
  • Which industries will benefit?
  • What new jobs will be created?

This book appears to leave no stone unturned as it also compares the President’s plan with the New Deal.

Honestly, reading the book I felt as if I was studying toward an economic degree and liking it.  And I hate math and economics, but I could not put this book down.  The current economic climate and the author’s knowledge about the economic plan are a great match.

When President Obama took office, banks were severely impaired, companies were cutting pensions, and market disruptions and unemployment left more than 45 million people without health insurance or retirement security.

The book end asking the $64,000 dollar question:  Who will pay?

The soaring national debt begs the question:  How will this money be paid back?  According to author Wasik, the Obamanomics mission will ultimately lead to President Obama being judged on how well his can restore and maintain prosperity.  Or in other words, how will he remake or preserve the American Dream.

If you want to understand what is going on with our country’s economy, THE AUDACITY OF HELP: Obama’s Economic Plan and the Remaking of America (Bloomberg Press, August 2009), is a must-buy.

Check out Get Ready for “Son” of Stimulus Plan by John F. Wasik, on our main site’s “Money Talks” page.

About The Author

John F. Wasik As the award-winning author of 13 books, John Wasik has spoken to crowds from coast to coast on investing, retirement and protecting your money. As a personal finance columnist for Bloomberg News, the world’s third-largest news service, his columns reach 400 newspapers on five continents and have appeared in The Financial Times, International Herald-Tribune, Washington Post, Orange County Register and other papers in Canada, Europe, Japan, South America and Africa.

“You Lie!”: Wrong and Disturbing Behavior That Must Stop

Posted in Barack Obama, Black Interests, Gary A. Johnson, Politics with tags , , on September 10, 2009 by Gary Johnson


September 10, 2009

Something terribly wrong and disturbing has been happening along the political landscape in this country since Barack Obama was elected President of the United States of America.  It all came to a head last night in a highly disrespectful outburst during President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress when South Carolina Republican Congressman Joe Wilson yelled, “You lie!”

Wilson apologized to the White House soon after the speech and again Thursday, but did not back away from the issue that prompted his outburst saying, “People who have come to our country and violated laws, we should not be providing full health care services,” he said.

His heckle came after Obama said extending health care to all Americans who seek it would not mean insuring illegal immigrants.  The House version of the health care bill explicitly prohibits spending any federal money to help illegal immigrants get health care.  So Wilson is either ignorant of the facts or a liar.  Which is it?

In Wilson’s district, many voters said the heckle wouldn’t affect their support for him. Some said they wished more politicians would speak their minds — but most said they wished it hadn’t happened.

It would not surprise me if some of these people are out waving the flag and yelling, “This is America!”  “I’m an American.”  “We Want Our Country Back!”

Let’s stop the madness.  Do these misguided Americans understand that heckling the President of the United States is UN-AMERICAN?

Whatever happened to respect for the Office of the President? I can’t prove what I’m about to say, but I’m going to say it anyway.  I believe Joe Wilson would have kept his comments to himself if the President addressing Congress last night was white.

Joe Wilson retired as a colonel in the South Carolina National Guard after 31 years.  His four sons have served in the military.  This makes his outburst against the nation’s Commander-in-Chief even more disturbing.

Let’s look at this from another angle.  Could you publicly call your boss a liar at the company staff meeting and feel confident that you would have your job the next day?

It appears that there is a growing and disturbing segment of our population that feels that it is acceptable to challenge this President at every turn even if it means disrespecting the Office of the President.  This must stop!  There are too many uninformed and misguided “whack jobs” who will interpret this behavior as a signal that they can say and do anything they want when it comes to anything President Obama says and does.

There are things happening on this President’s watch that many of us have never seen or heard in our lifetime.  The lies, distortions and misrepresentations about this President’s policies, questioning his birth and showing up with loaded assault weapons at venues where the President is scheduled to speak are all part of a very disturbing pattern of behavior laced with race.

Yeah, I said it—race.

President Obama has accepted Wilson’s apology saying that he is ready to bury the hatchet.  “I’m a big believer that we all make mistakes,” the President told reporters Thursday when asked about Wilson’s “You lie!” outburst.  “He apologized quickly and without equivocation, and I’m appreciative of that,” Obama said.

Sen. John McCain was a guest on CNN’s Larry King Live last night.  When asked about the Wilson incident, McCain said Wilson’s outburst was “totally disrespectful — [there’s] no place for it in that setting or any other and he should apologize immediately.”

This is not to say that the President and his policies are all sound.  The growing deficit and lack of specifics about policies are a concern for this commentator.  However, this is the United States of America and historically past Presidents have never been treated like President Obama.

Wilson’s House web site crashed after he was identified Wednesday night as the heckler and he took a lot of criticism on his Twitter page for breaching protocol.  House rules expressly prohibit lawmakers from calling the President a “liar” or accusing him of “lying.”

Comedian and entertaining broadcaster Rush Limbaugh was upset that Wilson apologized.  On his radio show today Limbaugh said, “That was a blatant lie. I’m gonna tell you something. I’ve — one of the things that’s really irritated me all morning and last night, was listening to Republicans, even after Wilson has apologized — and I wish he had not. But he’s apologized, and even after he’s apologized, members of his own party are all over television denigrating him.”

This behavior, if left unchecked will start a disturbing pattern of behavior including some that is race based.

The bottom-line is that all citizens of the United States should respect the Office of the President.

GJHeadShot Gary Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In Blog. Gary is also the author of the new book“25 Things That Really Matter In Life.”

Fall Check Up

Posted in Barack Obama, Politics with tags , on September 10, 2009 by Gary Johnson


By Raynard Jackson

President Obama has been in office almost 9 months, so I have decided to give him a presidential check up.

He ran the closest thing to a perfect campaign that I have ever seen.  The campaign was disciplined, focused, and well managed.  But, since being sworn into office, neither he nor his team has displayed any of these qualities.

The administration seems to be all over the map and has done a horrible job with message control.  Let me illustrate with his push for healthcare reform.

The administration has made two strategic mistakes with healthcare.  The first mistake was to leave the actual writing of the bill to Congress.  The Democratic Congress is far more to the left than the country, therefore the bill they produced reflects that reality.  Obama should have given the Democrats his bill and allowed them to give their input.  After this, he could have reached out to Republicans; then put the matter to a vote (with or without Republican support).  You always want a bipartisan bill on an issue of this magnitude, but given the Democrat’s numbers in Congress, they didn’t have to have support from across the aisle.

The second mistake was that President Obama has expended an inordinate amount of political capital thus far, with nothing to show for it.  By Obama taking a laissez-faire approach to this legislation, he lost control of the debate.  This forced him to give yet another speech on healthcare last night before a joint session of Congress.

I thought his speech was a very effective speech, but I don’t know if it changed many minds—it may have stopped the hemorrhaging.  He may have energized his base who has felt dejected as a result of the pummeling Democrats have taken during all the August town hall meetings.  But, I don’t see many Republican members of Congress changing their positions as a result of this speech.

I think everyone can agree on the goal of Obama’s efforts, but the devil is in the details.  For example, let’s look at the tweny-somethings.  They decide they don’t need insurance because they are young and healthy.  How will the government know they do not have medical insurance?  If they are to be fined, who will enforce and collect the fine?  How will the government know that they have not paid the fine?  Will they be put in jail if they refuse to pay?

I am more concerned about the implementation of Obama’s plan than I am at the plan itself.  This is a principled argument that I think Republicans can win on.  Focus on the huge, new beau racy that would have to be created to implement such a bill.  I have heard no discussion of this issue from Republicans.

Obama will get some form of health care passed this fall.  But, will he have any political capital left for other issues ( cap and trade, immigration)?  My answer is a big unequivocal no.  The Democrats will be defined by whatever version of healthcare reform they get.  This will be their signature issue going into the 2010 elections.  Assuming the economy picks up by next year, Obama and the Democrats will be judged by this one piece of legislation during next year’s election.

If Obama really wants to be a transformational president, he must be more hands on and not be afraid to display a little LBJ in his dealings with the Democratic Congress.  So, my diagnosis of the Obama presidency thus far is inconclusive.  I am awaiting the results from the lab and the MRI of his final healthcare proposal.  But, if he is not more hands on his bill will be DOA.

P.S. Most of this column was written prior to the president’s speech last night, but I have to comment on the despicable behavior of South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson (R-2nd).  The president stated that those who are in the country illegally would not be covered by his plan.  Wilson shouted very audibly, “You Lie!”  Wilson subsequently issued an apology and spoke to White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.  Suffice it to say that Wilson should submit his resignation by the close of business.  This outburst had nothing to do with the healthcare debate and everything to do with the race of occupant of the White House!  Every American should be embarrassed by Wilson’s actions.  I am curious to see the response of the Republican leadership in Congress, as well as Michael Steele as chairman of the party.

RaynardJackson Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-based political consulting/government affairs firm.   You can listen to his radio show every Saturday evening from 7-9:00 p.m.  Go to to register and then click on host, and then click on his photo to join his group.

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