Monthly Archives: January 2009

KATIE COURIS HANGING OUT WITH LIL WAYNE AND OTHERS!

SHE’S A VERY BUSY LADY THESE DAYS ON CBS!

Imagine what might have happened to Katie Couric a couple of weeks ago if she hadn’t kept her briefing books straight. Tuesday she interviewed Lil Wayne, bowling with him and inviting
the rap superstar to watch from the control room as she anchored the “CBS Evening News.” Wednesday she talked to President Obama. Thursday she did reported news outside on a frigid night overlooking the Hudson River landing site of a damaged jet, and anchored a report on former President Bush’s farewell to the nation. Then she flew overnight to Los Angeles, where she spent time hanging out with Justin Timberlake, on Friday. The collision between music and politics came because of a pre-Grammy Awards special Couric is hosting on Wednesday (9 p.m.
EST). Besides Timberlake and Lil Wayne, featured artists are Katy Perry and Taylor Swift.
The Grammys air Feb. 8 on CBS, directly after a “60 Minutes” edition in which Couric has the first interview with Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who guided stricken U.S. Airways
Flight 1549 to that safe Hudson River landing. Couric’s been on a nice run lately, at least in part because she and CBS seem to have recognized the futility of keeping her to 20 minutes of reading news each night. “When Katie is seen as having diverse talents, as she does, everybody wins,” says Susan Zirinsky, executive producer of the Grammys special.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE EMAIL THE FBI AND TELL THEM WHO THEY WANT TO KILL?

IS THE SUSPECT A SERIOUS GUY OR JUST STUPID?

A southwestern Colorado man who said he’s from Andrews, Texas has been indicted on charges of threatening to kill President Barack Obama.
The U.S. attorney’s office says 20-year-old Timothy Ryan Gutierrez also threatened to blow up the Mall of America in suburban Minneapolis.
The man said the threat against Obama was a prank. He turned himself in yesterday. He’s being held without bond and will appear in court this afternoon.
It’s not known if he has an attorney. Gutierrez faces one count each of transmission of threats and falsely threatening to use explosives. Authorities claim Gutierrez e-mailed the FBI eight days before Obama’s inauguration saying: “I’m going to assassinate the new
president of the United States of America.” The indictment says a second e-mail threatened to blow up the mall. He said he didn’t have a job in Texas but “played with computers” by taking them apart and putting them back together. Andrews is located 33 miles northwest of Midland.

DID HPD INSIDERS TRY TO HIDE THE TRUTH ABOUT RED LIGHT CAMERAS?

DO YOU BELIEVE THE CLAIMS MADE ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT?

A Houston Police Department official asked the authors of a study of red-light cameras installed in Houston to alter certain aspects of the study in order to affect its outcome, according to documents in an open records lawsuit. The controversial city-commissioned study showed traffic accidents doubled at the 50 intersections monitored by 70 cameras in the first year after they were put in.

According to an e-mail included in the lawsuit, an HPD official asked Bob Stein, a Rice University political science professor and one of the report’s authors, in April to rule out accidents if they
occurred more than 100 feet from the intersection. Randall Kallinen, a lawyer who represents ticketed drivers in court, also said that documents he obtained indicated the department attempted to rule out crashes that did not involve a red-light violation.

Either of those steps would be more likely to lead to results showing the cameras reduced crashes, Kallinen said. HPD’s request was refused by the study’s authors. Attorneys fighting to end Houston’s 2-year-old red-light camera program seized on the documents — released after an open records lawsuit they filed against the city — as evidence the study was tainted by a purposefully skewed methodology.

ANOTHER RECORD YEAR FOR EXXON!

FOURTH QUARTER EARNINGS DOWN!

Exxon Mobil Corp. on Friday reported a profit of $45.2 billion for 2008, breaking its own record for a U.S. company, even as its fourth-quarter earnings fell 33 percent from a year ago.

The previous record for annual profit was $40.6 billion, which the world’s largest publicly traded oil company set in 2007. The extraordinary full-year profit wasn’t a surprise given crude’s triple-digit price for much of 2008, peaking near an unheard of $150 a barrel in July. Since then, however, prices have fallen roughly 70 percent amid a deepening global economic crisis.

In the fourth quarter alone crude tumbled 60 percent, prompting spending and job cuts in an industry that was reporting robust, often record, profits as recently as last summer. With piles of cash and diversified operations, the majors like Exxon Mobil have fared better than many smaller oil and gas companies, but Friday’s results show no one is completely insulated
from the ongoing malaise.

Irving, Texas-based Exxon said net income slid sharply to $7.8 billion, or $1.55 a share, in the October-December period. That compared with $11.7 billion, or $2.13 a share, in the same period a year ago, when Exxon set a U.S. record for quarterly profit. It has since topped that mark twice, first in last year’s second quarter and then with earnings of $14.83 billion in the third quarter.

Revenue in the most-recent quarter fell 27 percent to $84.7 billion.

50 YEARS AS AN EDUCATOR TO OUR CHILDREN IN THE COMMUNITY!

BILLIE JO JOHNSON ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT!

In her 50 years of service at HISD, Billie Jo Johnson has been an outstanding and successful educator. She began working for the school district in 1959, was a teacher for more than 14 years and worked her way up to principal of HISD’s Thompson Elementary were she served for more than three decades.

After half a century, Mrs. Johnson is retiring. Her last day on the job will be tomorrow, Friday, January 30, at HISD’s Central Region Office (812 W. 28th, 77028) when she will say her farewells to colleagues.

“To me, Billie Jo Johnson is a wonderful example of integrity, character, grace, and charm,” said HISD’s Central Region Superintendent Adriana Tamez. “Her essence has made her such a blessing to HISD for the past 50 years. Her tireless efforts as educator and leader to do what is right for kids is a superior model for anyone who aspires to be a champion for children. I have been honored to work with her and regard her not only as a colleague but a friend.”

Mrs. Johnson knew she could make a difference in others’ lives at a very young age. She was only 12 years old when she organized children in her neighborhood to give up their Saturdays for a three mile walk to the public library, since their elementary school had no library. She later became high school Valedictorian and went on to pursue a bachelor and master’s degree from Texas Southern University. But growing up during the Civil Rights Movement was not easy.
“We sat in the back of the buses or had to stand if the bus became too full,” said Johnson. “I remember that my mother knew to carry food when we left home because there may not be a sandwich shop that would sell us something to eat.”

In 1970, Ms. Johnson became the first African-American teacher to receive the Outstanding Young Educator Award. She was working as a fourth grade teacher at HISD’s Lockhart Elementary and was selected over hundreds of teachers district wide. The principal of the school at the time said to a local newspaper, “Mrs. Johnson is an energetic and imaginative teacher.”
Her energy and imagination later took her to Thompson Elementary in 1975. There she would spend the next 33 years obtaining major goals, such as piloting a Gifted and Talented Program, increasing parent involvement, and collaborating with the community to build two new schools. Thompson also became the first energy-saving LEED school in the district under Mrs. Johnson’s administration. One of her most exciting moments, she says, was earning a “Recognized” rating for the school.

“I remember dancing the ‘Harlem Shuffle’ on the school’s roof as I had promised to the students,” said Johnson. “It was easy to climb up the roof, but not that easy to climb down.”
Now that she’s retiring, at age 71, Mrs. Johnson plans to help her church school enhance the instructional programs and increase enrollment. She also wants to travel.
“I want to visit New York City,” said Johnson. “And I also want to continue learning, maybe I’ll get my Ph.D.”

THE PRESIDENT BECOMES A JEDI KNIGHT!

WHAT TOY WOULD YOU TURN THE PRESIDENT INTO?

Barack Obama may be one of the most idolized political figures in recent memory. Literally.

Toy figurines in all shapes and sizes are popping up everywhere. Some toys depict the president as an action hero a la Jack Bauer. Others give him a more artsy treatment. There’s even the Sock Obama and Sock TheBiden, for those who are fans of the classic sock monkey.

Last week Michelle Obama expressed anger over likenesses of her daughters, Malia and Sasha, being turned into Beanie Babies. It seems, as the president has said throughout his campaign, his children may be off-limits, but he’s not.

RESHONDA TATE BILLINGSLEY AND REGINA KING TO WORK TOGETHER!

WAY TO GO IN THE MOVIE BUSINESS RESHONDA!

Here’s an excerpt from a Black Enterprise article…

In an effort to adapt a 360-degree business model that connects all of their platforms, CodeBlack will begin shooting the movie adaptation of the book Let the Church Say Amen by popular fiction author ReShonda Tate Billingsley. CB Entertainment will then release a gospel soundtrack and stage play later that year in conjunction with Amen, which will be actress Regina King’s feature directorial debut.

“We’re going into the live entertainment business in much the same way that Disney does the High School Musical movies and then takes the show on the road,” Clanagan says.

“We look to find properties that already have a base and a following. It makes it much easier to market the movie, the play, and the soundtrack because people will already be familiar with her other works. If we can tap into her base it gives us a broader audience to market the properties.”

GINA WILLIAMSON GETS A SECRET DONOR WHO IS SENDING HER TO NEW YORK WITH $17,000!

THE POWER OF TELEVISION AND THE KINDNESS OF HOUSTONIANS!

The sweet sounds from Gina Williamson’s violin first caught the attention of our FOX 26 camera on Tuesday. Armed with her instrument and a dream of the silver screen, the 22-year-old actress has been playing on Houston street corners for months to pay for drama school.

Williamson was one of the select few to be accepted into the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. But when her father was laid off, her dream all but died. Tuition is more than $19,000 a year.

Her story tugged on the heartstrings of Fox 26 viewers as the calls and e-mails poured in with people wanting to help.

“It’s really cool to realize that people will just reach out to people they’ve never met,” said Williamson.

A local foundation, which wishes to remain anonymous, wants Gina to stop fiddling around with her violin, and donated more than $17,000 towards her tuition!

“When he said that I was kind of like, huh? Like, I don’t even think it’s hit me yet,” she said.

There is one condition to the generous donation. Once she makes it big she’ll donate the money back so other people with dreams can be helped.

“It’s the least I could do,” said Williamson.

Williamson’s story also resonated with Bellaire business owner Katie Koenig, who chipped in with $1,000 donation.

“It’s fun to make money, but it’s more fun to have the money to give to someone who needs it,” said Koenig.

And Williamson needs it now! Classes start on Wednesday in New York.

The generosity from Houston is something Williamson will never forget and has given her even more reasons to dream big.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, if you’re rich, poor, black, white, skinny, fat, you can do whatever you want,” she said. “Thank you Houston, Texas!

HISD COULD MAKE OUT LIKE A BANDIT IF THE ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE PASSES!

ABE SAYS HE ALREADY KNOWS HOW HE’S GOING TO SPEND PART OF THE $300 MILLION DOLLARS!

It’s a windfall that could have a major impact on the Houston Independent School District.

Officials with HISD have learned they stand to gain nearly $300 million if the economic stimulus package is approved. The districts superintendent says he’s never seen any district get that much money at one time.

Click here to see the full video story by FOX 26’s Isiah Carey.

But HISD Superintendent Abe Saavedra already has plans on how to spend the money in the district where there are aging schools. He says $100 million will likely be earmarked for new construction.

Saavedra says he’s also looking to create new programs for disadvantage youth and to expand on the dropout effort in the district.

Gayle Fallon with the Houston Federation of Teachers says the district will make out like a bandit with the stimulus package. Fallon says with all the money potentially heading to HISD teachers should get a raise.

The nation’s economic stimulus package has already passed the House. Now it’s must go through the Senate next week before approval.

BLACK ACTIVISTS DENOUNCE CONTROVERSIAL NEWSPAPER ADVERTISEMENT!

MAYOR WHITE: IT WASN’T MY INTENTION TO COMPARE MYSELF TO KING OR OBAMA!

The flap isn’t over just yet. “Who in the hell do you think you are?” are the words that are coming from some community activists in Houston Thursday.

The comments are directed at Mayor Bill White, whose campaign for Senate purchased an ad that placed him in between Dr. Martin Luther King and President Barack Obama in the newspaper the Houston Defender.

Click here to see the full video story by FOX 26’s Isiah Carey.

The advertisement ran during the King holiday and inauguration week.

Derrick Muhammad with the Ministry of Justice has asked African Americans to throw away the ad and is demanding an apology from the mayor.

But White’s campaign staffers say Defender employees created the ad and an aide to White approved it.

Houston Defender publisher Sonny Messiah Jiles has maintained all along while the ad was designed by her staff the Mayor’s handlers approved the advertisement. Jiles also says if she had to do it again she wouldn’t have approved the release.

Early Thursday afternoon Mayor White met with the press to issue a statement. The three-term mayor apologized for the ad, adding he was not attempting to compare himself to Obama and King. He went on to say he’s asked his staff to be more sensitive when it comes to purchasing advertisements representative of him.

Quanell X asked how could White even buy the ad when he did not publicly endorse or support President Obama when he was running for the Presidency!

What do you think?