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MARCH 2011 | EXALT DALLAS 1


contents MARCH 2011

EXALT

Group President –Executive Editor Alvin Brown

Vice President, Creative

34

Robert Comradd Jr.

Vice President, New Market Development Michael D. Batiste, Sr.

Vice President, Digital and Mobile Development Dana Comradd

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS & COLUMNISTS Shandra Ward, Leonard Pitts Jr., George Curry, Mary Sanchez, Jenifer Calabria, Hope Turnbow, Gaille Devereaux, Dr. Kiki Hurt MD, Amanda Blackwood, Gina Serpe, Claudia Rosebaum, Tesha Clemnons, Violet Blue, William H. Frey, Evelyn Davis, Tracy Dixon.

Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins is serious about the business of public safety

EXALT DALLAS * EXALT HOUSTON 7557 Rambler Road., Dallas, Texas 75231 214.497 7358 Papers are divisions of the Exalt Publishing Group™ Exalt Dallas cannot assume responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts and photographs.

ADVERTISING

8 30

DEPARTMENTS 4

Publisher’s Message The Urgency Of Now

5

A Reflection on the Presidency of Barack Obama

6

Calendar Janet Jackson in Austin thiis April

7

Business Across Texas ONLY ONE VASE of Beaumont

8

Business Profile The Butler Enterprises, LLC

ON THE COVER

9

Fashion The Spring 2011 Line of Tracy Reese

34

12 Home Décor

Designing with Pattern [ By Shandra Ward ]

14 Health & Fitness

Learning about Asthma

15 Aromatherapy

Make it part of your everyday routine [ By Deborah Long Chambers ]

16 Commentary with George Curry Don’t Let Others Define Us

18 Automotive

The 2011 Jaguar XJ 385

Assuring the right taste with food and wine

22 Love and Common Sense 23 Words from the Heart 24 What is Propofol? 27 Travel

2 EXALT DALLAS | exaltpublishinggroup.com

Gun Rights

17 Commentary with Leonard Pitts Jr.

21 Food

Ann Williams

9

[ By Gaille Deveraux ]

[ By Hope Turnbow ]

[By Dr. Kiki Hurt, MD]

The Bahamas Beckons

30 THE MAGIC OF DANCE

The Dallas Black Dance Theatre enters 35th season. [Photos by Richard Rodriguez.]

ADMINISTRATION Business Manager - Joann Rembert Credit Manager - Simone Rodgers Technology Manager - Martin Simon Office Coordinator - Theresa Berry

CIRCULATION Circulation Director - Bill Watson Subscription Manager - Danielle Patterson

MARKETING

Dallas County District Attorney CRAIG WATKINS [ Photography by Peter Arnold ]

40 Our World

The Growing Problem of Road Rage

44 Legal Matters

The Good, Bad & Ugly of Co-signing [ By Attorney Bobbie Edmonds ]

46 Commentary by Mary Sanchez 47 Facebook Notice

How safe is your private information?

48 Real Estate

Things you should know when buying a home [ By realtors Evelyn Davis and Tracy Dixon ]

52 Road to 2012

What President Obama must do to get re-elected.

55 Books and Guns

Texas preparing to allow college students and teachers to carry guns on campus.

Marketing Director - Sharon Baldwin

To advertise: North Texas, Exalt Dallas 214-497-7358 Southeast Texas: Exalt Houston 713.294.1330 Printed in USA

in Exalt

Advertise

Cass Butler

Account Executives - James Rembert Advertising Assistants - Frank Jones, Samantha Pouncey

The Publication of Choice for Dallas-Fort Worth Professionals

• Publication targets politics, business, lifestyle, self development, entertainment, health and spiritually. • Reach progressive professionals each month in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metro

To place your ad in the upcoming April issue of Exalt Dallas, call 214-497-7358 or reach us by email at advertising@exaltdallas.com.

MARCH 2011 | EXALT DALLAS 3


publisher

A Reflection on the Presidency of Barack Obama

I

analysis:

The Urgency of Now BY ALVIN BROWN, GROUP PRESIDENT

We've heard all the talk, read the studies and yet still fail to inspire our people to bring about a desired change in our community. It is sort of like going to Church on Sunday morning where everyone you touch on the shoulder is your brother and sister. But when you arrive home, most don't even know your neighbor's name. So, we feel good while hearing the Word, but fail to practice it when out of earshot of the pastor. Folks, our community has been in meltdown mode for a number of years and the sooner we recognize that no one is coming to save us, but us, the better off we become.

at minimum, an opportunity to generate it. Most in our poorer communities lack both; especially in a political climate that allows large corporations to outsource much needed jobs to foreign soil; I know this if the “free” enterprise system. How does one nourish the promise of the American Dream when banks will not lend to minority business owners? And checking my credit to determine if you can hire me! Of course my credit is challenged if I'm out of a job for a long period of time. Why aren't our politicians up in arms about this grave overreach and damaging hiring practice that mostly affects minorities.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to

remind America

of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.

T

he Souls of a unified Black folk came together to remember the historic suffrage and modern struggle that bind them.

Health Care: A large percentage of health issues in Black America stem from stress related to the aforementioned lack of education thus leading to a lack of employment; This often leads to a lack of health insurance; limited visits to the doctor; mental health issues. Drugs & Violence: We understand that "Just Say No" has not worked. Although we know that if ever practiced it will be the silver bullet that will end most community woes. I recognize that institutionalized issues are at play. However, the choice of indulgence of drugs, violence, crime and gang affiliation is still ours.

Teen Pregnancy, Abortion and Planned Parenthood: What is more important than keeping a close eye on the actions and relationships of our young children? We have the creativity to write best-selling books, top box office A system of accountability and support need to be movies and plays, run fortune 500 corporations and even ascend in place, as were in past years. If my mother was not to the White House. But all that collective creativity and talent home, my neighbor had permission to report on my can't devise a plan to get our community back on track? Those of behavior. We need to enlist our village to take care of -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I Have a us with the resources have to find the passion along our personal our children. In my opinion, there is something wrong Dream, August 1963 journey to reengage the issues of those left behind. We must unwith issuing condoms and injecting birth control shots derstand that words are but a beginning, action and commitment to 13 and 14-year-olds. This sends a dangerous mesof resources, including your time and yes, some of your money, is needed. sage that parents are alright with these sexual possibilities at such a young age. And what of the bearer of gifts, this Trojan Horse if I may, bringing the gift There are several key areas of concern facing our community, I'll list a few of of condoms in one hand while recommending “just in case” abortion options in them below. Please select a topic and I encourage your positive and constructhe other? Clinics with Planned Parenthood affiliation are the leading providers tive dialogue. The "I Like" button is a nice way to support things that we apof legalized abortions in the nation --250,000 per year. prove on facebook, but we need to hear from you. Pick a topic and share how things can be better in each area. Share your perceptions and knowledge of Some 80% of their locations are in minority communities. It appears that Planned the problem and offer solutions --the only way this works is that WE engage. Parenthood has realized a need to really assist Black & Hispanic families with Submit your ideas and each month Exalt Dallas will share them with our Dallastheir unplanned pregnancies. I guess white teens are not getting pregnant these Fort Worth metro readership. days. Let's not forget that the founder of this organization Margaret Sanger was an avowed racist with the agenda of ridding society of the poor and less desirEducation: At the high school level state testing is found to be culturally biased ables. I’m not making this up folk. Please research my every word. against minority students; as a by product, job opportunities have dried up without a diploma or professional certification; and their still is a need for more If you want to add other topics to the discussion, be my guest. Submit your minority teachers and the public schools remain drastically underfunded. Ree-mails to: abrown@exaltpublishinggroup.com. E member all the job training programs of the 70s? We are now in the Information Age where computers and software rules. Where are the affordable skills trainLet's talk with the agenda to talk less and do more. ing programs. Obtaining education is paramount. Economics -- plain and simple, in a capitalist system you must have capital or 4 EXALT DALLAS | exaltpublishinggroup.com

think the greatest gift that the presidency of Barack Obama gave to Black America Ellison so powerfully coined, Invisible. Whereas, not only does White America choose was a timely remembrance that we all came from the same struggle. And many not to see you, the class of wealthy Blacks also choose not to. As the slaves were being emancipated, one white of authority said to another, will quickly state that we did not need him to make us aware of our history. But I counter that we did need him to evoke a collective sense of it in this contemporary ‘what shall we do with these freed slaves? The other man said to him, ‘Nothing. We do moment. O.J. Simpson’s trial spoke to the fact that Black America was tired of seeing nothing with them.” Sadly today segments of Black America live with this silent creed in their hearts. If Blacks lynched or wisked away to prison merely because a white accuser said they were guilty. However, Barack Obama’s rise to the highest office in the land awoke in we choose not to educate our children, then who will? If we choose not to create jobs many, and instilled in others an unimaginable swell of pride. You observed this by in our communities, then who will? If we choose not to regain control of raising our watching the tears roll down the faces of billionaires like Oprah and homeless African- children, then who will? No more must we lament the antiquated rhetoric of “Well, you Americans alike. The Souls of a unified Black Folk came together to remember the know that’s the way things are today.” Not true. Things are as you have them to be; as historic suffrage and modern struggle that bind them. We needed that badly as the you plan them to be and as you demand them to be. So let’s take this Black History Month and reflect upon our many problems as a accomplishments of many Blacks have separated them from their less fortunate or uninspired brethren. Each day is not a day to take a politically correct shot at President people and never miss an opportunity to collectively seek and implement solutions. Obama, but to look upon him in thanks as a living, breathing reminder that the only For the answer to growth of a better Black America does not rest squarely on the way Black America change for the better, is that it change itself. Case in point, you shoulders of President Obama, but on the talents, inspiration and hopes of all of Black have a Black president and can still only see subtle changes. This says the problem is America. mostly systemic and we should not lean to the presidency as a cure all. Truth be told, some of us with resources are using them unwisely. For example, why give millions of dollars to a university that is already adequately funded? This is not to say that scholarships are not important, but do you know how much hope and opportunity can be created in a community with millions of dollars? And the next time you’re popping a bottle of $16,000 bubbly, think for once that the price of that exquisite liquid, could change the lives of several families. And on the other end of the spectrum, some are choosing to drop out of school, use drugs and engage in a life of crime --doing exactly as the system was designed – to allow underachievers an opportunity to remove 7" themselves from a place of relevancy in society. Regulating themselves to as Ralph

4.625"

P

ay close attention to the "Urgency of Now" that Dr. King refers to in the historic I Have a Dream speech. That hour is upon us with our every precious breath. As Dr. King addressed a nation that had come severely short in its adverse and appalling treatment of Black Americans, it is time for Black America to also speak those words to itself. Black babies are being aborted at an alarming rate, 25% of Black males are caught in the criminal justice system, unemployment is systematically set up to keep a segment of the unemployed more unemployable (Credit checks to determine if you are employable) - drugs and violence are destroying our youth and families, minority students are dropping out of school for reasons too many to list here, the main focus of some politicians today is simply to get re-elected. There is no more of an urgent time for Black America than today.

By Alvin Brown, Group President

STROKE TARGETS BY COLOR. Know where you stand. The odds are African Americans are twice as likely to suffer a stroke as white Americans. Beating the odds isn’t about winning, it’s about living. You have the power to end stroke. 1-888-4-STROKE / StrokeAssociation.org Photographed by Sean Kennedy Santos MARCH 2011 | EXALT DALLAS 5


Across Texas

A Look at Small Business Outside of Dallas-Fort Worth

Ice Cube After selling millions of albums with N.W.A’s Straight Outta Compton during the late 80s, Ice Cube went on to expand his talents to television and the big screen. Maintaining a music career that has spanned two decades, the Cube is still a force on the mic. Mar 1 7:00 pm House of Blues 2200 N Lamar St Dallas, TX 75202

Janet Jackson in Texas Miss Jackson returns in trademark “Nasty” style in what is surely one of the most anticipated tours of 2011. March 3 Hidalgo, TX State Farm Arena Apr 3 Austin, Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater

Dallas Black Dance Theatre II Mar 4-5, 2011 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm Latino Cultural Center 2600 Live Oak Dallas Black Dance Theatre II returns to the Latino Cultural Center for the 11th Annual Spring Fiesta Series. Performing new choreography from Millicent Johnnie, plus exciting new works set by new DBDT II Director, Nycole Ray, the evening is sure to leave those in attendance mesmerized by the beauty and grace of DBDT II’s stage presence.

Big Boi

Business: Only One Vase, Beaumont, TX. * Owner: Anne Williams Exalt Dallas: What inspired the launch of your business? Anne Williams: Only One Vases was purely an accident. I began painting vases when I lived in Arizona. I had vases that were stacking up around the house. For a while I would throw them away. Then one day as I was watching one of those “you can paint” classes on TV, I quickly realized that I would never be a canvas artist. So as frustration settled in I put my brushes in a glass vase; and with the Arizona heat in rare form, the water evaporated pretty quickly leaving nothing but dry paint stuck to the inside of the glass. This was the beginning. Exalt Dallas: To make every vase unique takes a lot of creative energy; what is your creative catalyst?

Dallas Black Dance Theatre Dancing Beyond Borders Performance Series. Mar. 9, 2011 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm The intimate, quaint and personal feel of Fort Worth Scott’s Theatre will be the setting for Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s annual Dancing Beyond Borders Performance Series. Audience members will feel the intensity and power of each dancer as they perform ballets from nationally recognized choreographers.

Anne Williams: I paint according to my mood. There really isn’t a design pattern or anything, it just depends on the way the paint and my music flows together when I get into my own little world. Exalt Dallas: Can I purchase vases via your website? Anne Williams: Certainly. In addition to placing orders online, customers can also customize the vase with colors, size and shape. The website is www.onlyonevases.com. E

Big Boi Mar 13 35 Conferette Festival -Denton

Address ONLY ONE VASE 1455 Calder Ave Beaumont, TX 77701 http://www.onlyonevases.com Call (409) 454-2216

Raphael Saadiq Mar 15 7:30 pm House of Blues 2200 N Lamar St Dallas, TX 75202

I paint according to my mood. ...it just depends on the way the paint and my music flows together...

Raphael Saadiq 6 EXALT DALLAS | exaltpublishinggroup.com

Nominate A Business for Exalt Across Texas If you know of a small business outside of Dallas-Fort Worth that has a unique product or service, please e-mail Alvin Brown at abrown@exaltpublishinggroup.com. Please include name of business and owner(s), city and phone number.

Ice Cube MARCH 2011 | EXALT DALLAS 7

| Across Texas

Janet Jackson

business

Dallas Events for March


| The Butler Enterprises

{fashion

business Throughout her high school and college days social planning extraordinaire Cassandra (Cass) Butler was always at the head of the class when organizing student activities or a weekend get-together with friends. Upon leaving college one would think the young woman with amazing people skills would slide right into an event planning position. Such was not the case. “It’s funny”, Butler begins to explain. “It wasn’t a matter of me knowing what I wanted to do at the time; I really fought this for many years. But, planning, hosting and marketing have always been in my background for more than 20 years. It was just a matter of time before I answered my true calling.” Her transition into the owner and creative director of one of DallasFort Worth’s fastest growing events planning companies, The Butler Enterprises, would wait awhile. With a background in Business Management and Marketing, Butler has worked in corporate America and for a major media company. But not only did she feel the glass ceiling closing in; the recession also hit hard, causing domino effects in many work environments. “Although my job was secure, others around me were losing theirs as the company scrambled to save money,” she recalled. “They were downsizing positions, but also adding additional work loads to remaining employees. And all of a sudden I found myself doing four jobs, but only receiving compensation for one.” After three years on this overly demanding regiment that included many broken promises of raises and a lesser work load, Butler determined that this was the most opportune time for her to become a business owner. “With the Guidance of GOD, the financial and emotional support of my husband, my last day employed with corporate America was in December 2009. One month later the Butler Enterprises, LLC, was founded,” she proudly stated. The company provides a full range of social event planning services including venue selection, decor, event set-up, catering, photography/ videography, entertainment, transportation, invitations & printing and Music (Live or DJ). Butler expressed that client satisfaction is her company’s number one goal. “We plan and design your event from beginning to end based on your specifications, no event is too big or too small. We clearly take the headaches out of planning and on-site management of an event. All the client has to do is show up and expect to have a great time.” The Butler Enterprises also showcases local events throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex with a specialty for All-Inclusive Activities for Couples, including their staple event Because I Love You, where couples come together anytime of the year simply to celebrate their love. No need to wait for Valentine’s Day with this organization. And in the event that you are a holiday traditionalist, the company has a social event planned around each holiday including Valentine’s Day, Easter, Spring Break, Memorial Day, Mother’s Day and the 4th of July. Butler also shares the upside and challenges of being a business owner. She enjoys bringing a concept to fruition. “There is not a greater feeling than to see my ideas manifest in living color,” Butler thankfully exclaims. “The smiling faces of clients and of people who enjoy the events are priceless. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Chances are the Butler did it this time Local business taking event planning from ordinary to extraordinary

Tracy Reese Unveils

By Alvin Brown, Exalt Dallas

FLORAL PRINTS & SPRING WHITES ARE IN!

The biggest challenge according to Butler is to get event attendees in the mindset of purchasing tickets in advance. “Because nearly all of our events are catered, the RSVP advance pay model works best for us,” she explains. “It allows us to know well in advance how many we are expecting and how much food and drink to prepare. The Butler Enterprises is not a “pay at the door” business. What normally will happen on the day of event, people show up and there is no room.” The Butler Enterprise events are promoted on its website at least three months in advance. Those who purchase tickets early will normally experience a price discount. To stay abreast of all of the latest activities offered by the company, visit their website at: www.TheButlerEnterprises.com. You can also contact Cass Butler at 817.925.0783. E

8 EXALT DALLAS | exaltpublishinggroup.com

Top to Bottom: Cass Butler, owner and founder of The Butler Enterprises, LLC has the company on a fast track for success. Couples enjoying November’s Because I Love You in Dallas and New Years Eve at Sneaky Pete’s in Lake Lewisville

W

SPRING 2011

ith an innate desire to create beautiful things, Detroit native Tracy Reese headed for Manhattan in 1982 to attend Parsons School of Design where she received an accelerated degree in 1984. Upon graduation, Reese apprenticed under designer Martine Sitbon while working for the small contemporary firm, Arlequin. Returning to New York, Reese worked at some of the industry’s top fashion houses, including Perry Ellis where she was the design director for Women’s Portfolio.

In 1998, Reese launched her eponymous collection to rave reviews. Perfect for the modern woman, Reese’s debut showcased ultra-feminine pieces layered with intelligent nostalgia, charm and luxury; a distinctive look that the designer has since become known for. The designer’s second line, plenty by Tracy Reese, was introduced later that same year. A bohemian, ethnic-inspired collection that is of-the-moment, yet never trendy, Plenty by Tracy Reese comprises pieces that unite myth and modernity with a rock-and-roll twist. The collection is both eclectic and adventurous, featuring Reese’s signature detailing. In 2007 Reese was inducted as a board member of the CFDA; and over the past decade, the Tracy Reese name has become synonymous with frothy dresses and print driven

heirloom fare that women across the globe can’t get enough of. Reese’s eye for detail and extensive knowledge of color, fabric and form continue to be evident each season as she consistently reveals timeless, wearable looks that evoke sophistication and elegance. Reese’s approach is deliberate, combining modern craftsmanship with vintage flair, creating a look that is clearly her own. Both Tracy Reese and Plenty by Tracy Reese have expanded into several brand categories. Tracy Reese footwear, handbags and belts feature ladylike silhouettes in luxurious leathers with exquisite detailing; while the whimsical, feminine MARCH 2011 | EXALT DALLAS 9


{fashion

{fashion

Bright colors, unique prints and intricate patterns define Tracy

Reese, plenty and frock!

L to R: • Tree Bark Abstract contrast strapless,Black Hair Calf messenger bag • Waves & Orchids pintucked peasant, Bright Navy tweed mini skirt, Baby Cheetah Hair Calf messenger bag • Nude caped shift • Black/Ivory Tribal Stripes jersey strapless w/ borders • Auburn/Saddle Brown open back cowl- Saddle Brown safari short • Black Fan Floral shirt dress

and eclectic, plenty brand now includes a home collection and candles. Reese added a third collection to her line up, frock!, comprised of fun and flirty occasion dresses that easily transition from day to evening. In the spring of 2006, Reese opened her first Flagship Boutique located at 641 Hudson Street in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. A gorgeous 2200 square-foot space that is as colorful and feminine as her designs, the shop offers the full Tracy Reese experience including her apparel lines, accessories and home goods. Tracy Reese has become a mainstay in the fashion industry as she continues to develop a strong design philosophy by staying true to her specific point of view. Reese has collaborated with several top brands including Sally Hansen, Hue and most recently, a line of footwear, plenty by Tracy Reese for Keds, debuting in spring 2009.

10 EXALT DALLAS | exaltpublishinggroup.com

Bright colors, unique prints and intricate patterns define Tracy Reese, plenty and frock! A consistent fashion favorite among industry insiders, celebrities and fashionistas alike, Reese crafts finely detailed looks that make a statement and are easy to wear, garnering the attention of the nation’s top media. Reese’s designs have been spotted on Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Carrie Underwood, Emma Roberts, Vanessa Hudgens, Katy Perry and most recently, First Lady Michelle Obama. Tracy Reese, plenty and frock! are sold nationwide in top department stores and specialty boutiques including Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Anthropologie and Scoop as well as retailers throughout Europe and Asia. E

To order Tracy Resse online visit www.tracyreese.com MARCH 2011 | EXALT DALLAS 11


{home décor

{home décor

C

hoose a pattern theme and repeat it throughout the space. If you have a sofa and matching chairs with rectangle arm shapes, consider using more rectangles in the form of floor lamps, vases, ottomans or as accents in wall décor. You can still incorporate other patterns, but by following a pattern theme, your entire room will have a balanced feel. Pattern can be found in various forms, such as flatware, fabrics, furniture, accessories, dinnerware, flooring and so on.

Creating a stylish interior involves more than just mixing and matching colors. The premise of pattern usage in interior design is an essential part of the end result. Patterns are noticeable on fabrics. Most people overlook the natural patterns in the shape and placement of furniture. All objects possess patterns, whether they are stripes, square, circular, or a combination of shapes. Consider patterns that are suitable to the style of your home. Bold patterns and vibrant colors would work well in contemporary spaces. These patterns would not work so well in a French country style home. For an even design transition, repeat the patterns that already exist in your home’s architectural elements. The ways in which pattern can be applied range from practical to eccentric. Add accessories to emphasize the patterns created by your furniture placement. For example, place a tall vase on a low table and create a pattern that draws the eye upward. In the same approach, use throw pillows with checks, stripes or circles to add a geometric element to the flowing pattern of a sofa. Create pattern with repetition when decorating your walls. For a stylish look, hang an odd number of rectangular picture frames side by side. To draw the eye to a particular picture, hang a picture in a prominent area on the wall and gradually place smaller pictures on each side to draw the viewer’s eye to the main picture. From the conventional to the unexpected, pattern inspires successful and truly personal decorative schemes. Have fun fusing patterns into your interior décor projects. Even though there are general rules of using pattern in your interior decor, the object is to do what makes you feel good about the look of your home. General Guidelines for using pattern in your interior décor projects: •

DesigningwithPattern By shanDra WarD

Pattern is a way in which we strive to create order. To use pattern is an art and can be more difficult than it may seem. The following info provides ideas and information you need to design a stylish and livable home using pattern with confidence and finesse.

• • •

• • •

Complex patterns that use several colors and diagonal, crisscrossing lines are busy for your eye. They can liven up a large area, but it may be overwhelming for a small room. Vertical lines add height to a short room, or add more height to a high ceiling. Horizontal lines add space, width to an area. Remember the size and scale of your space.  The larger the space, the larger the print, the smaller the space the smaller the print.  Yet adding a large print to a small area can give you a feeling of grandeur. The same grouping or pattern used throughout an area can draw together a wide open plan. It will create a flow and sense of continuity. Colors affect how we see patterns.  High contrast patterns create an energetic feeling and colors close in value create a more subdued environment. Texture affects color. Rough textures will absorb light while smooth textures will reflect light.

Shandra Ward is the author and creator of Signature Style, a design and lifestyle blog site.  She has two degrees in interior design, an extensive background in art and design, and leads the design firm Signature Design Studio at www.shandraward.com. She has also contributed her design knowledge to “Visions Fine Art” and “Bread & Butter Epicurean” magazines.  If you would like to stay up to date on all things design, you can follow Shandra on her blog site, Signature Style, www.signaturestylestudio. biospot.com. Twitter @SignaturStyle, join her Facebook page at Shandra Ward Signature Design Studio, or e-mail at shandraward@att.net. E

12 EXALT DALLAS | exaltpublishinggroup.com

Bold patterns and vibrant colors would work well in contemporary spaces.

MARCH 2011 | EXALT DALLAS 13


| FITNESS

{aromatherapy

health

Breathe Easier When You

Know More

About Asthma

Courtesy of the Center for Disease Control (CDC)

Did you know that 1 in 10 Americans has, or has had asthma at some point in their lives

?

Most people don’t die from asthma, but there is concern for African Americans because asthma is more likely to cause death. The reason for this disparity is not known. But there are asthma control techniques to help people manage their condition successfully. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers this important advice to everyone with asthma – have an asthma action plan and exercise it. The CDC has a variety of information that patients and health-care providers can learn more about asthma. What is asthma? Asthma, a disease that affects your lungs, is the most common long-term disease of children, but it also affects adults. Each day, 30,000 people have an asthma attack, 1,000 are admitted to the hospital, and 11 people die. Asthma causes repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness and nighttime coughing. What is an asthma attack? An asthma attack happens in your body’s airways, which are the paths that carry air to 14 EXALT DALLAS | exaltpublishinggroup.com

your lungs. During an asthma attack, the sides of the airways in your lungs swell, and the airways shrink. How is asthma diagnosed? Asthma can be hard to diagnose, but regular physical checkups that include checking lung function and allergies can help your health-care provider make the right diagnosis. During a checkup, your health-care provider will ask whether you cough a lot, especially at night, and whether your breathing problems are worse after physical activity or during a particular time of year. Health-care providers will also ask about other symptoms such as chest tightness, wheezing, and colds that last more than 10 days, and if anyone in your home has or has had asthma or other breathing troubles. How is asthma treated? Your health-care provider will help you make an asthma action plan and stick to it. He or she may recommend a combination of medication, environmental changes and behavior modification. Not everyone with asthma has the same needs, and your needs may change as you get older, so it’s important to get regular check-ups. What triggers asthma attacks? It’s important to learn what triggers your asthma attacks so you can avoid the triggers whenever possible and be alert for a possible attack when the triggers cannot be avoided. Below are some of the common triggers:

Environmental tobacco smoke Parents, friends, and relatives of children with asthma should try to stop smoking and avoid smoking near a person with asthma or in their house or car. Dust mites - Dust mites are in almost everybody’s home, but they don’t cause everybody to have asthma attacks. Use mattress covers and pillow case covers, avoid down-filled pillows, quilts, or comforters and remove stuffed animals and clutter from your bedroom. Clean blinds and curtains on a regular basis. Air pollution - Pay attention to air quality forecasts on radio and television and plan your activities when air pollution levels are lowest. Mold - Get rid of mold in all parts of your home. Keep the humidity level in your home between 35 and 50 percent. In hot, humid climates, you may need to use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier or both. Fix water leaks, which allow mold to grow behind walls and under floors. Other triggers - Strenuous physical exercise; strong emotional states some medicines; bad weather such as thunderstorms, high humidity, or freezing temperatures; and some foods and food additives can trigger an asthma attack. Allergens such as pet dander, pollen, mold or cockroaches may also trigger attacks. E

For More Information:

Call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) or visit http://www.cdc.gov/asthma.

How to make

Aromatherapy

part of your daily routine

T

he best defense against disease is to create an atmosphere to rid your personal space of bacteria and viruses. Aromatherapy is one of the most natural ways to achieve and maintain a healthier environment. When incorporated as a part of your daily routine it can lead to faster healing of skin abrasions, fewer colds, faster relief of tension headaches and many other ailments.

Aromatherapy is a natural, noninvasive approach that assists the body’s natural ability to balance and maintain itself through the use of essential oils. Many of these oils have been used for therapeutic purposes for nearly 6,000 years. The ancient Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used them in cosmetics, perfumes, and drugs. Essential oils were also commonly used for spiritual, hygienic, and ritualistic purposes. Essential oils are natural extracts obtained from aromatic plants. They have antiinflammatory, pain relieving and anti-bacterial properties. More recently, René-Maurice Gattefossé, a French chemist, discovered the healing properties of lavender oil when he applied it to a burn on his hand caused by an explosion in his laboratory. He then started to analyze the chemical properties of essential oils and how they were used to treat burns, skin infections, gangrene, and wounds in soldiers during World War I. In 1928, Gattefossé founded the science of aromatherapy. By the 1950s massage therapists, beauticians, nurses, physiotherapists, doctors, and other health care providers began using aromatherapy. Aromatherapy did not become popular in the United States until the 1980s. Today, many lotions, candles, and beauty products are sold as “aromatherapy.” However, many of these products contain synthetic fragrances that do not have the same properties as essential oils.

By Deborah Long Chambers

The positive effects of Geranium, Rosemary and Lavender Aromatherapy involves both the inhalation of soothing aromas and the dermal absorption of aromatic plant essences. As tissues relax, circulation is improved. Improved circulation allows the body to function more efficiently, thereby creating the best defense to disease and unhealthy environments. Circulation, particularly in the hands and feet, can be a problem for the aging. Geranium blended with base oil can be used as an effective body rub to strengthen and support the circulatory system. Rosemary essential oil can be used to encourage concentration and focus. Fresh rosemary has a pleasant aroma that stimulates as well as provides healing to the bronchial passages. Eucalyptus has long-been known to provide relief to blocked sinuses. It is also an effective disinfectant that can even be used in the laundry! Getting a good night’s sleep plays a major role in a good health maintenance routine. Lavender actually causes your brain to trigger the production of serotonin, the body’s natural response to relaxation. Lightly misting sheets and pillowcases with true (not synthetic) lavender linen water before retiring almost assures a restful sleep with a refreshed morning wake-up. These are a few of many natural ingredients aromatherapy can incorporate into the everyday maintenance of your health. The important point is that it is completely natural. In today’s world of synthetic and similar smelling products, natural products equip the body to win the battle against disease and discomfort. In conclusion, whereas aromatherapy is widely recognized as an effective form of therapeutic healing, it is not intended to replace the treatment of a licensed medical practitioner. Deborah Long Chambers is a Certified Aromatherapist and CEO of Designs for Living Comfortably. Her website is www.lingingcomfortably.com. To reach her for more information on aromatherapy products or services, call (972) 501-9470. MARCH 2011 | EXALT DALLAS 15


| GUN RIGHTS

Define Us

Racial & Ethnic

i d v i D e

By LEONARD PITTS JR.

As Maryla Korn, a survivor from Washington, D.C., once told the Washington Jewish Week newspaper, ``Maybe by talking and telling our stories, we can restrain another little monster from coming up. How can you not talk?’’ Her words stand in stark contrast to the responses I once received from two black women when I asked them to describe a lynching they witnessed in 1930. ``I try and put that behind me,’’ said Sarah E. Weaver-Pate. ``I’d just rather forget that.’’

Over Gun Rights

``Why bring it up?’’ snapped Clara Jeffries. ``It’s not helping anything. People don’t want to hear it.’’

By George E. Curry

C

Israeli school kids, it turns out, often visit the death camp as a means of understanding the genocide that decimated their people. Learning this left me, not for the first time, impressed with the way Jews have institutionalized Holocaust education. A subject that was considered largely taboo into the 1970s has since become the object of manifold museums, memorials and oral histories.

Every January we hear Martin Luther King’s great speech. Every February, school kids dress up as black inventors or social leaders. But there is in us -- meaning the African-American community -- a marked tendency to avoid the grit, gristle and grime of our history. The telling of those stories is neither institutionalized nor even particularly encouraged. It is time for that to change. olumbine High School. The Washington, D.C. sniper. Northern Illinois University. Virginia Tech. Red Lake Indian Reservation. Chicago school children. And recently, Tucson, Ariz. In dramatic ways, shooting deaths have horrified, mesmerized and confounded Americans. Yet, an increasing number of people say it is more important to protect the rights of citizens to own guns than to limit those authorized to carry lethal weapons.

In a September survey, the Pew Research Center found that 50 percent of Americans favor protecting the right to own guns over the adoption of stricter gun control laws. There were important racial and ethnic distinctions. Non-Hispanic Whites favor gun rights by a margin of 54 percent to 42 percent.

Looking back on how Black communities have changed for the worse, two factors stand out more than any others: the widespread use and sale of illicit drugs and the accompanying gun violence. Even how we settle disputes among ourselves has radically changed. When I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, if I got in a fist fight with a guy, at worst, we might have a rematch the next day. Over the years, however, things have changed. Instead of settling disputes by duking it out, it is far more likely that one of the parties will try to settle the feud with a gun. Today, elderly people are not exempt from armed robbery and churches don’t stand a prayer of a chance of being off-limits to scoundrels. The negative impact of guns has impacted other aspects of our communities, such as making adults less willing to exercise their authority over wayward young people for fear of being assaulted or killed. Led by the National Rifle Association, the gun lobby has been very successful depicting gun ownership as not only a right but a necessity. They argue that in addition to being able to have a weapon to protect one’s home, citizens need to be able to carry concealed weapons on us as if we were still in the wild, wild west. That attitude has been fueled by hot rhetoric that somehow, the federal government is the enemy of the people.

I sat down intending to write a different column. I was going to blast Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour for his remarks about the so-called ``Citizens Councils,’’ which were popular in the South beginning in the 1950s. ``Up north they think it was like the KKK,’’ he said last month in an interview with The Weekly Standard. ``Where I come from it was an organization of town leaders. In Yazoo City they passed a resolution that said anybody who started a chapter of the Klan would get their ass run out of town.’’ It’s a benign, misleading picture sharply at odds with the historical record. The Citizens Councils -- originally the White Citizens Councils -- served the same purpose social conservatism often does today: to give racism intellectual and moral cover and provide a camera-friendly alternative to the brutish ignorance of the Klan. But their mission was never in doubt.

Jared Lee Loughner, who went on a Jan. 8 shooting rampage in Tucson, legally purchased his semi-automatic pistol. And he was acting lawfully when he concealed his weapon at a public rally held by U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). Loughner crossed the line, however, when he pulled his weapon and killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Giffords.

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

However, people of color hold opposite views. Among African-Americans, two-thirds – 66 percent – favor control of guns, compared to 20 percent who favor giving preference to the right to own guns. Among Hispanics, the gap was even larger, with 75 percent favoring tougher gun control laws and only 21 percent giving the edge to gun owners. Considering the national tragedies that the nation has witnessed, often via around-the-clock coverage on cable television, I am somewhat surprised by the shift in public opinion toward the rights of gun owners. What is not surprising is that people of color are not part of that trend.

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According to Gallup, the polling firm, “Almost half of Americans say they perceive the federal government to be an ‘immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens.’” That figure has risen from 30 percent in 2003 to 46 percent in 2010. Forty-eight states have laws that permit citizens to carry concealed firearms in public, usually after obtaining a permit from local or state law enforcement authorities. Last year, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law a bill that allows most adults to carry concealed firearms without a permit except in such sensitive areas as schools and airports. Only two other states – Alaska and Vermont – have similar laws.

``The Citizens’ Council is the South’s answer to the mongrelizers,’’ crowed one pamphlet. ``We will not be integrated. We are proud of our white blood and our white heritage of 60 centuries. . . . We are certainly not ashamed of our traditions, our conservative beliefs, nor our segregated way of life.’’

Guns advocates cite the Second Amendment as upholding their right to own guns. It reads: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Which is hardly consonant with the impression Barbour leaves, but let that slide. The governor, after all, is hardly unique. Like Glenn Beck saying conservatives authored the civil-rights movement and Civil War apologists claiming slavery did not cause that conflict, he is part of an appallingly audacious conservative effort to rewrite African-American history.

An article in the University of California-Davis Law Review [Winter 1997] by Carl T. Bogus titled, “The Hidden History of the Second Amendment” provides an interesting perspective. “The Second Amendment was not enacted to provide a check on government tyranny; rather, it was written to assure the Southern states that Congress would not undermine the slave system by using its newly acquired constitutional authority over the militia to disarm the state militia and thereby destroy the South’s principal instrument of slave control,” he wrote. Of course, that perspective is rarely expressed by historians. Bogus thinks he knows why: “The Second Amendment’s history has been hidden because neither James Madison, who was the principal author of the Second Amendment, nor those he was attempting to outmaneuver politically, laid their motives on the table.” According to Bogus, the trend of states relaxing their gun laws is not only dangerous, as we have seen in Arizona, but based on a flawed reading of the Second Amendment. E

George E. Curry, is former award-winning editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine. He is a regular contributor of NNPA News Service, keynote national speaker, moderator, and media coach. Mr. Curry can be reached through his web site, www.georgecurry.com You can also follow him at www.twitter.com/currygeorge.

Jews have endured a similar experience, as seen in their struggle against Holocaust deniers. African Americans must respond as the Jews have. We must bear witness.

We must claim our remembered passages. It is in those passages that a people define themselves.

The energy spent blasting Barbour could more productively be spent starting an oral history project at church. Or bringing elder speakers into schools to share segregation memories. Or encouraging children to visit and mark the crucible places of their ancestors. Or . . .? We must claim our remembered passages. It is in those passages that a people define themselves. And Barbour’s sugarcoating of African-American history offers a stark reminder: If we don’t tell our stories, someone else will. Leonard Pitts won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary for his twice-weekly syndicated column, which appears in more than 200 newspapers, and has won numerous other journalism awards. Born and raised in Southern California, he now lives in suburban Washington DC with his wife and children. E E-mail Leonard at lpitts@MiamiHerald.com or visit his website at www.leonardpittsjr.com

MARCH 2011 | EXALT DALLAS 17

commentary | DEFINING US

commentary

S Don’t Let Others

ix years ago, I went to Auschwitz. I remember being surprised at the number of Israeli school groups there, some literally wrapped in their national flag.


2011 Jaguar XJ’s 385

Like the original XJ, the 2011 Jaguar XJ enters the lineup at a transitional period in the automaker’s history. Coming off the brand’s sale to India’s Tata, the new XJ is the second volley in lead designer Ian Callum’s all-out effort to radically change the styling direction of the storied British brand. With a swagger entirely its own, the XJ looks to build on the momentum of the successful XF and help catapult Jaguar’s re-launch into a higher orbit.

The Range

Interior

EPA Fuel Economy

Body styles: Sedan Engines: 5.0L V-8, 5.0L supercharged V-8 Transmissions: 6-speed automatic Models: Base, Supercharged, Base/Supercharged Long Wheelbase Supersport

Leather heated and cooled power front seats are standard on the XJ, as are heated rear seats. Jaguar’s updated navigation and entertainment system is also standard, along with driverconfigurable virtual gauges and automatic climate control.

Base: 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway Base/Supercharged LWB: 15mpg city/23 mpg highway Supersport: 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway

All that remains of the previous XJ is its frame. Both inside and out, the new model is hardly recognizable as the heir to a nameplate that’s now four decades old. As iconic as the XJ’s style had become, Jaguar felt a fresh start was needed. It may look nothing like the XJ you know and love, and those blacked-out C-pillars may be a bit offputting, but it’s unquestionably a Jaguar.

What’s New

While the XJ is missing a few luxury features that have become standard in its class, classy touches like its programmable digital gauges and the expertly executed circular air vents more than make up for it. The XJ’s combination of solid road feel and handling prowess, more than adequate power from its 5.0-liter V-8 engine options and dynamic new exterior design should prove to be a winning combination.

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Everything above the aluminum frame is new on the 2011 XJ. Sleek, modern styling is matched with much-improved handling and powerful new 5.0-liter V-8 engine options. Inside, a stylish new cockpit awaits with high-tech digital gauges, supple leather and copious space even on short wheelbase models. A high-powered Supersport model remains in the lineup for the enthusiast.

Exterior Every inch of the 2011 Jaguar XJ is new and a complete departure from the car it replaces. Though it shares a familial resemblance with the new XF, its sleek headlights, vertical taillights and blacked-out C-pillars are completely unique.

Performance & Handling The 2010 Jaguar XJ’s 385 horsepower 5.0L V-8 is plenty powerful and offers the best fuel economy of the range, but drive a model with the supercharged 5.0-liter V-8, in either 470 or 510-horsepower trim, and you’re likely to be addicted. Despite its size and heft, the XJ is surprisingly connected to the road and offers sporty handling that arguably matches the best in its class.

Safety Front and side airbags are standard for the driver and passenger on the XJ. Side curtain airbags for both front and rear seat occupants are also standard. Dynamic safety features include standard Traction and Stability Control.

| 2011 Jaguar XJ

| 2011 Jaguar XJ

Courtesy of Motor Trend

moving up in class

automotive

automotive

The car for the person

You’ll Like •

Look-at-me styling

Great steering

Sporty handling

Configurable digital gauges

Top-notch interior

You Won’t Like •

Supersized dimensions

Tight rear headroom

Some odd styling elements

Missing some high-tech features

FEBRUARY 2011 | EXALT DALLAS 19


food | WINE

By Jenifer Calabria

Avoid the pitfalls of

wine & food

T

he whole purpose for finding good wine and food pairings is simple. Since wine can change the way your food tastes and vice versa, you want to pick a combination that will make the whole dining experience a pleasurable one.

What can happen?

At best, you will find a combination that makes both the wine and the food taste better together than they ever would by themselves (a phenomenon you have to experience for yourself to believe).

Overpowering – a strong wine will overpower a delicate dish (and vice versa) creating an unpleasant balance.

At worst, you will find a combination that makes an otherwise great wine or entrée completely unpalatable. You may like garlic toast, and you may like ice cream, but you eat them both at the same time and I think you get my point.

Advertising Costs When a new business becomes ready to open its doors, there is no guarantee that customers and profits will come flooding in. For the word has to get out in order for people to know about the place and build interest in it. The best way to do this is through advertising, which is another considerable expense for the entrepreneur, who may already be feeling the pressure of financial strain. The good news is that the money being spent to publicize the new business can be regained through a tax deduction. According to H&R Block’s website, advertising to promote a business is tax deductible. This includes the cost of newspaper, radio, television or online advertising. It also includes the printing and distribution of flyers and business cards. If it is meant to promote the business, then it is likely tax deductible.

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Insurance Premiums Depending on the type of business you start, there are going to be different insurance requirements. This may include a general liability insurance policy and content insurance, among others. You will have the chance to recoup these expenditures through a tax deduction. Any insurance payment meant to protect the business against losses can be considered an operating expense and is therefore deductible. According to H&R Block, any advanced payments for the insurance policies are only deductible in the year in which they apply.

Taxes:

savings for your new business

| finance

Starting a new business requires a good idea, confidence, courage and a considerable amount of investment in most cases. In addition to the expense of forming and operating a new business, there are the taxes that the business owner is required to pay as well. However, there are some ways to reduce what you have to pay in taxes following the first year of being in business. Knowing these deductions will save the new business owner a great deal of money that would otherwise go straight to Uncle Sam.

business

Reduce the amount of taxes you pay by knowing what can be deducted when you open a business.

Before I start mentioning guidelines and pairings I must first express my opinion about rules and wine. Taste is more art than science. Just because something tastes good or bad to you, does not mean that they will taste bad to others.

Here are a few of the things that can occur when wine and food are consumed together: Amplified or Diminished Traits – sometimes the acidity, sweetness, or tannin in wine can be amplified or diminished by certain foods.

Transferring Flavors – the wine can seem to transfer some of its flavors into the meal and vice versa. New Flavors – sometimes flavors that are not present in either the wine or the food are perceived when consumed together. (Sometimes these are unfavorable metallic or medicine flavors) Don’t Forget the Sauce – Sometimes a strong tasting sauce or seasoning is more important than the meat itself. Again, the art of wine and food pairing is a very personal thing. Experimentation is the best way to figure out what works for you. Many of the wine of the month clubs will have suggested food pairing information related to that month’s selections. E

Good Luck!

Some suggested wine and food pairings: Red Wines Barberra Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Pinot Noir

COGS If your business is a manufacturing facility or you sell products to customers, the cost of goods you sell, or COGS, is tax deductible, according to BusinessKnowHow.com. Since the business must first buy the raw materials or products in order to sell the products to others, the total amount of the sales is not pure income and is therefore not taxable. This is an itemized deduction that will require the business owner to keep up with records of purchases. Labor And Utility Costs The money spent on labor and utilities even before you open the doors is tax deductible as an operating expense. The money spent to pay all of the employees or contract laborers as well as the monthly bills for water, electric and gas may be deducted from the amount of taxable income for the business.

Take the suggestions for what they are worth, but don’t be afraid to bend the rules to your liking. If it tastes good to you, that’s all that matters. Although, if you’re planning a dinner party, it’s usually best to play it safe and stick with combinations that have proven to be favorable among a wide group of people.

pairings

Syrah or Shiraz White Wines

Recommended Foods, Sauces, etc. Pizza, Lasagna, Lemon Chicken, Pasta Steak, Lamb, Roasts, Dark Chocolate, Duck

Tomatoes, Fish

Grilled Meats, Barbeques, Chicken Duck, Salmon, Tuna, Beef Sroganoff, Lamb

Sweets Very Spicy Foods

Peppered Red Meats, Sausage, Stews, Barbeques

Fish

Recommended Foods, Sauces, etc.

Salmon, Grilled Chicken, White Creamy Sauces, Veal Chinese, Swiss Cheese, Pork, Ginger, Foie Gewurztraminer Gras Chardonnay

By Lee Morgan

Avoid Sweets

Pinot Grigio

Creamy Sauces, Turkey, Shrimp, Veal

Riesling (Dry) Sancerre

Chicken, Shrimp, Lobster, Smoked Trout Trout, Goat Cheese, Shellfish, Sea Bass

ore art than sci m s i ence ste a T

Avoid Very Spicy Foods Light Foods Tomatoes, Spicy Foods Sweets Sweets

MARCH 2011 | EXALT DALLAS 21


“Fooled Around And Fell In Love” [Originally by Elvin Bishop]

Power of Love The age-old mystery of the

By Gaille Devereaux

I must have been through about a million girls I’d love ‘em and I’d leave ‘em alone I didn’t care how much they cried, no sir Their tears left me cold as a stone But then I fooled around and fell in love I fooled around and fell in love Since I met you baby I fooled around and fell in love I fooled around and fell in love Free, on my own that’s the way I used to be Ah, but since I met you baby Love’s got a hold on me It’s got a hold on me now I can’t let go of you baby Gaille Devereaux is a Dallas-based freelance writer.

Heart

Words

from the

{words from the heart

{love & common sense

   

One Still Day As a child born in the early 60’s I remember the excitement of riding the city bus down TOWN. Having parents with such pride, the shame of sitting on the back of the bus was shielded when we were AROUND. It must have been hard for my mother to explain to us in a very prideful WAY, that some of the places we wanted to ENTER were not places people of our character STRAYED. My, was that a clever way for her to explain that AWAY. Even as young child I could see the heartbreak on her face as she cleverly worded it that DAY. As parents we try to shield our children from harms WAY. But just like yesterday I can remember this one very troubling DAY. It was as if the earth stood still for a moment in TIME. April 4th 1968, the day MLK’s life was taken was such a horrific CRIME. Not only did we loose a leader, but we lost a FRIEND. We lost someone who knew our struggles and placed his own life on the line to DEFEND. I remember running inside the house when it seems the world let out screams and HURLS. The sight of my mother holding her heart was terrifying to me, a timid young GIRL. Too hurt to speak of what happened she simply pointed at the old BLACK & WHITE. That’s when I saw him lying there as still as the shallow winds of NIGHT.

I recently pondered this mysterious emotion that we call love, the song “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” came to mind.  There is no university course that allows one to advance, organize or major in the art of love before stepping into real matters of the heart.  Often, you bump along, mostly minding your own business (in a manner of speaking, just fooling around ) and suddenly  you veer off on an unplanned detour into the most confusing emotional state that a person can experience --you’ve found yourself in love. I can only imagine the choice words that poor Tom Tom will endure.   People will continue trying to simplify a phenomenon that is complex by nature.  Think about it, love is not successfully achieved until there is a significant measure of falling.  Picture it.  Falling.  Love should come with

As

22 EXALT DALLAS | exaltpublishinggroup.com

a bucket filled with ice, marbles and bananas. I say this because you are first upright with a clear mind and then somehow you end up flat on your back, face or rear end.  It would not be so bad if falling was the end of it, but oh no; while you fumble to find your legs, you have no idea that you have also lost your head, for it rolled in the nearby bushes during the fall.  So now, love has rendered you headless with only the ability to feel with your heart and gut. And this is where most of us get in trouble – no longer having the ability to reason. The power of love I say.   This is the one area where males and females share similar indignities. Don’t let them tell you anything different. Matters of the heart will cause the strongest man or the most beautiful woman to wave the white flag. 

Trust me, it is most undignified to stare zombie-like into space wondering where the time in your work-day has gone. And whether it is welcomed or unwanted attention, being in love can sometimes make stalkers out of many whom thought they were rational people. Your observation of the person of your affection can sometimes come as close to illegal as the law will allow. That darn love is very powerful. But after all, let’s remember that we are talking about a person that has lost their head. Let’s face it -- falling in love can seem unfair and at times cause you to act unreasonable.  During this process your heart is light and your belly is filled with pangs.  Love does not ask permission to invade your space and comes with no guarantee.  But without love, without love, without love what else could remind us that we are indeed only human?  Happy “falling “ everyone. E

I knew in my heart this was a man who millions followed from beginning to END. I also knew the lost they felt knowing Dr. King would never speak AGAIN. That’s when my mother took my hand and said HOPE, I want you to continue to WRITE. Continue to scribble your thoughts on paper each and every NIGHT. If only one man listens that is one your words have TOUCHED. And in that simple message you will have passed on so very MUCH. E

Hope Fontenot Ozen is a Beaumont-based poet, spoken word artist and motivational speaker. She is also an engineer that works as a Quality Systems Supervisor for American Electric Technologies Inc. E-mail Hope at turnbowh1965@gmail.com.

Hope L. Turnbow Copyright© Hope

MARCH 2011 | EXALT DALLAS 23


really

What is Propofol? Propofol is a drug used to induce unconsciousness. Its effect is almost instantaneous - within 30 seconds. It is administered through a bolus injection or intravenous drip. As an injection, it causes a complete state of unconsciousness that can last about 10 minutes. A Propofol drip, however, takes longer than 10 minutes to wake up from and requires that a patient be monitored continuously to make sure he or she does not stop breathing. If Mr. Jackson was being administered a Propofol drip to induce sleep, he would have needed hyper vigilant monitoring of his vital signs and breathing every five minutes.

Is Propofol addictive? No. Propofol is not addictive and has no withdrawal symptoms. However, in some cases patients with trouble sleeping may experience a mental addiction to the drug to induce sleep.

Is Propofol dangerous?

In

the nearly two years since Michael Jackson’s death, questions still remain unanswered. Key among these is simply, what happened and why. I’ve practiced medicine for over a decade. A critical care anesthesiologist by training, I use Propofol, the drug involved in Mr. Jackson’s death, on five to six patients daily. My mission is saving lives through education, and, in that vein, I write to help both patients and the medical community understand how Propofol may have contributed to Michael Jackson’s death and why it should not be feared.

 

What happened?

{

Michael Jackson

24 EXALT DALLAS | exaltpublishinggroup.com

A medical professional administered Propofol to Mr. Jackson and observed him having difficulty breathing. Without oxygen, Mr. Jackson’s heart eventually stopped. Even if the heart had slowed down or stopped, administering a chin lift and oxygen should have easily restarted Mr. Jackson’s heart—if he was being properly monitored.

Analysis by Dr. Kiki Hurt, MD

{analysis

{analysis

{ killed

Who

In and of itself, Propofol is not a dangerous drug but it is one that requires hyper vigilance. Propofol must be administered by a medical professional trained to handle irregularities in patient breathing and blood pressure while under its effect. Consequently, Propofol is dangerous when used by medical professionals that are untrained in the use of the drug and have limited knowledge of how to mitigate side effects such as a drop in patient blood pressure and a lack of breathing.

Why was Propofol being administered to Mr. Jackson?

system, could have led to his death.

Why was Michael Jackson being put to sleep by medical professional untrained in the use of Propofol and its side effects? He shouldn’t have been. From what we have also learned, the medical professional charged with Mr. Jackson’s care was untrained in the use of Propofol or its side effects. Propofol should only be used in a hospital or in a surgery center under the direction of a medical professional familiar with use of the drug and qualified to handle complications from possible respiratory arrest.

What happens when someone starts to die from Propofol? When someone begins to die from Propofol they stop breathing and no oxygen gets to the heart. The heart, in turn, slows down and eventually stops. Respiratory arrest leads to cardiac arrest. Alternatively, the patient keeps breathing but Propofol lowers blood pressure to a level where no blood is getting to the heart and brain.

Could Michael Jackson have caused his own death? Absolutely. The effects of Propofol only last about ten minutes. Patients should be completely awake and normal within 10 to 20 minutes – unless, of course, Propofol is mixed with other drugs such as Valium or Xanax. Mr. Jackson could have most certainly caused his own death.

From what we’ve learned in the time following Mr. Jackson’s death, Propofol was the drug of choice that the medical professional charged with Mr. Jackson’s care chose to use to induce his sleep each night.

What would it have taken for Mr. Jackson to still be alive if he received too much Propofol?

Why would a medical professional administer Propofol to induce sleep each night?

The single most important thing a medical professional untrained in the use of Propofol or its side effects could have done to save Mr. Jackson’s life was not to take the job in the first place. Short of this, having a qualified anesthesiologist on hand when using the drug continuously is a must. E

They shouldn’t. The drug only last ten minutes, thus to induce sleep for a full night you have to provide ongoing infusions.

What dose of Propofol would it have taken to cause Mr. Jackson’s death? Even 25 mg of Propofol, particularly if there were other drugs in Mr. Jackson’s

Dr. Kiki Hurt Dr. Kiki Hurt is a personal health consultant and founder of LifeLessonsMD, a comprehensive wellness program that provides medical expertise and knowledge to help people lead healthier and happier lives. An author and board certified anesthesiologist, trauma critical care anesthesiologist, and internal medicine physician, LifeLessonsMD grew out of a more than two-decade career spent studying the management of acutely of acutely dying patients. Dr Kiki Hurt is a board certified critical care physician, internal medicine physician, and anesthesiologist. Dr. Hurt trained in Internal Medicine at Lutheran General Hospital in Park, IL, Anesthesiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Critical Care Medicine at Northwestern University,  Chicago, Illinois.  She received her medical degree at Rush Medical College in Chicago, and studied advanced training in Cardiac  Trans-Esophageal Echo  at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. A member of the American Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologists (www.ascca.org) and the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists (www.scahq.org), Dr. Hurt has appeared on numerous Internet and radio shows. Dr. Kiki Hurt currently resides in both Chicago and Los Angeles. www.hurtmd.com MARCH 2011 | EXALT DALLAS 25


KEY HEARING IN THE DEATH OF MICHAEL JACKSON

The Many Islands of the

Bahamas

1 The children saw everything. It emerged during testimony that Michael’s two oldest children, Prince and Paris, watched as Murray frantically attempted to revive the pop star in his bedroom. Head of Security Faheem Muhammad told the court that the children were came to the room and watched from the doorway as Murray performed chest compressions on the open-mouthed, open-eyed Jackson. At one point, according to Muhammad, Paris was “on the ground on her hands and knees and she was crying.” Eventually, common sense prevailed and someone stepped in to escort the traumatized children from the room.

| bahamas

By Gina Serpe and Claudia Rosenbaum, courtesy of eonline.com

travel

Key revelations of last month’s hearing of Dr. Conrad Murray

By Amanda Blackwood

2 Murray had never performed CPR before. During the frantic ensuing efforts to revive Jackson, according to the testimony by Muhammad, the doctor was “in a panicked state asking, ‘Does anyone know CPR?’” “I looked at [the bodyguard] because we knew Dr. Murray was a heart surgeon, so we were shocked,” Muhammad said, adding that after Murray began to breath into Jackson’s mouth, he paused to tell the men, “you know, this is the first time that I give mouth-tomouth, but I have to do it because he’s my friend.” 3 Murray allegedly tried to cover his tracks. The timeline of Jackson’s death has been well-trodden, but it emerged in court this week that when it became clear there was a problem, Murray waited a full 21 minutes before calling 911, at which time he failed to tell paramedics that he had administered propofol. During that time, instead, in addition to attempting to revive Michael, he phoned Jackson’s personal assistant and sent off several text messages. Former P.A. Michael Amir Williams testified that Murray asked him to leave the hospital and return to Jackson’s home in order to remove “some cream that he wouldn’t want the world to know about.” Williams also said that Murray asked him to hide evidence Jackson had taken sedatives, and asked another security guard, Alberto Alvarez, to assist in removing pill bottles and medical paraphernalia from the room (Alvarez testified to the same behavior). Williams refused to leave the hospital to help Murray, and in fact told the doctor that police had confiscated his keys to get out of the situation. However, he was suspicious enough that he phoned the security at the Jackson house and asked that they not let Murray back into the building. 4 Murray wanted to go for the jugular. Literally. Paramedic Richard Senneff took the stand this week to discuss the hectic ambulance ride which transported Jackson, whom Senneff said was wearing pajamas and a shower cap and looked “like a hospice patient,” to the hospital. Senneff testified that Murray was “sweating,” “spinning,” “hyperkinetic,” and “multitasking at a high rate of speed” while he was in the home, and reiterated that the doctor failed to disclose any of the medications he had put Jackson on. He also said he had a “gut feeling” that Murray wasn’t telling the truth, and that when he went to pick Jackson up off the floor—where Murray had been conducting chest compressions—his body was already cold to the touch. En route, it fell to Senneff to hook Jackson up to an IV, though the paramedic was unable to find a workable vein in either arm. Murray asked him to insert a central line—a catheter inserted in the neck or chest—though the paramedic had neither the training nor equipment to do so. Senneff said that while it was quite clear Jackson was dead, he was uncomfortable calling a time of death on such a high-profile individual and that Murray also urged him against doing so. Instead, Jackson was transported to the hospital, where ER doctors made the call. Dr. Richelle Cooper testified that Jackson was clearly dead as he was being wheeled into the ER, but wasn’t yet sure why as Murray’s account of the morning already failed to add up. 5 Murray had a curious way of mourning. Everyone mourns differently, but according to Williams’ testimony, Murray dealt with the news of Michael Jackson’s death pronouncement by announcing he was hungry and subsequently leaving the hospital to get something to eat. According to Williams, he never returned. When deputies later showed up to begin questioning Murray, no one was sure of his whereabouts, so Williams simply handed over Murray’s phone number. The Los Angeles County Coroner ruled Jackson’s death a homicide and said that he died on June 25, 2009 from acute propofol intoxication. Prosecutors argue that Murray is at fault for what they’ve deemed “an extreme deviation from the standard of care.” For his part, Murray has pleaded not guilty to the involuntary manslaughter charge. If convicted, he faces four years in prison.

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a

vacation to the Bahamas has always sounded like paradise on earth; but did you know that when you travel to the Bahamas you aren’t just going to one island, but many.

The Bahamas consists of nearly700 islands. One can travel from one end of the Bahamas to the other and experience well known media darlings such as the Grand Bahamas, Eleuthera, Exuma and the Abacos. On the other hand, there are more that 600 uninhabited small islets and cays, which are very small and sandy islands formed on the surface of coral reefs. As you can imagine, being only fifty miles off the Florida Coast, the Bahamas are very much an American playground; indeed many of the islands’ tiny villages are similar those found on the coast of Massachusetts, only

the palms and sands suggest a difference. An escape to the Bahamas has long been popular with sailors because of calm waters, cool trade winds and pleasant climates generated by the Gulf Stream, which is also the reason that there are so many large fish and abundance of other marine life in the area. In fact, many sportsmen travel to the Bahamas just to fish. No getaway in the Bahamas would be complete without spending time either snorkeling or scuba diving. The Gulf Stream is again responsible for the sheer underwater delights which include spectacular shoals of fish which congregate around the reefs. The Bahamas’ reefs represent more than five percent of the coral reefs total in the world. You will never tire of this underwater fantasy. And it is no secret that the beaches of the Bahamas may be its biggest attraction. No trip

would be complete without sinking your bare feet into the pink sands of Harbour Island and Eleuthera. I recommend that you take an unforgettable tourist flight from island to island and get a bird’s eye view of the amazing white sands, green islands, coral keys, turquoise sea, and lovely small villages. When back on the ground, why not hire a bicycle and explore an Island. There is an endless list of activities that one can engage in on these treasured islands. And by all means do stay at one of many world class properties and hotels that line the islands, most offering tennis fine dining and golf on beautiful championship courses. Also enjoy the tremendous shopping and if you like to gamble, then the awesome casinos await you and your lucky rabbit’s foot. A jaunt to the beautiful Bahamas will bring you pretty close to paradise on earth. E MARCH 2011 | EXALT DALLAS 27


D

ata regarding car accidents involving cell phone use and/or texting while driving has been limited in the past. But it’s slowly becoming available to the public. The information on this page reflects the most current 2007 and 2008 statistics regarding cell phone usage and text messaging during car accidents. While the popularity of mobile phones has grown enormously in the past two decades, it’s still unclear how greatly cell phone calls and texting contribute to car crashes. What is clear is that talking on the phone and texting behind the wheel both lead to distraction, and driver inattention is the leading cause of car accidents. In 2008, at any given moment, more than 800,000 Americans were texting, making calls, or using a handheld cell phone while driving during the daytime. With distracted driving killing nearly 6,000 Americans in the same year, it’s no mystery that cell phone use is risky for drivers. More and more states continue to enact cell phone driving laws to combat these risks. However, with research about the effects of texting and handheld usage still so young, it has yet to be seen just how much these laws will protect drivers.

Teen Driver Cell Phone and Texting Statistics

Talking on a cell phone causes nearly 25% of car accidents.

One-fifth of experienced adult drivers in the United States send text messages while driving.

In 2008 almost 6,000 people were killed and a half-million were injured in crashes related to driver distraction.

At any given time during daylight hours in 2008, more than 800,000 vehicles were driven by someone using a hand-held cell phone.

Despite the risks, the majority of teen drivers ignore cell phone driving restrictions.

4 out of every 5 accidents (80%) are attributed to distracted drivers. In contrast, drunk drivers account for roughly 1 out of 3 (33%) of all accidents nationally.

Talking on a cell phone while driving can make a young driver’s reaction time as slow as that of a 70-year-old.

Texting while driving is about 6 times more likely to result in an accident than driving while intoxicated.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of teenagers admit to talking on their cell phones behind the wheel, while 13% admit to texting while driving. (Note: Because this information was given voluntarily by teens, actual cell phone use numbers may be much higher.)

A study of dangerous driver behavior released in January 2007 by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. found that of 1,200 surveyed drivers, 73% talk on cell phones while driving. The same 2007 survey found that 19% of motorists say they text message while driving.

Fourty-eight percent (48%) of young Americans from 12-17 say they’ve been in a car while the driver was texting.

In 2005, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 10% of drivers are on handheld or hands free cell phones at any given hour of the day.

Fifty-two percent (52%) of 16 and 17-year-old teen drivers confess to making and answering cell phone calls on the road. Thirty-four (34%) admit to text messaging while driving.

A study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Motorists found that motorists who use cell phones while driving are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.

In 2007, driver distractions, such as using a cell phone or text messaging, contributed to nearly 1,000 crashes involving 16- and 17-year-old drivers.

In 2002, the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis calculated that 2,600 people die each year as a result of using cell phones while driving. They estimated that another 330,000 are injured.

More than 60% of American teens admit to risky driving, and nearly half of those that admit to risky driving also admit to text messaging behind the wheel.

According to the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, drivers talking on cell phones are 18% slower to react to brake lights. They also take 17% longer to regain the speed they lost when they braked

Each year, 21% of fatal car crashes involving teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 were the result of cell phone usage. This result has been expected to grow as much as 4% every year.

Of cell phone users that were surveyed, 85% said they use their phones occasionally when driving, 30% use their phones while driving on the highway, and 27% use them during half or more of the trips they take.

Almost 50% of all drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 are texting while driving.

84% of cell phone users stated that they believe using a cell phone while driving increases the risk of being in an accident.

Over one-third of all young drivers, ages 24 and under, are texting on the road.

Teens say that texting is their number one driver distraction.

The majority of Americans believe that talking on the phone and texting are two of the most dangerous behaviors that occur behind the wheel. Still, as many as 81% of drivers admit to making phone calls while driving.

The number of crashes and near-crashes linked to dialing is nearly identical to the number associated with talking or listening. Dialing is more dangerous but occurs less often than talking or listening.

Studies have found that texting while driving causes a 400% increase in time spent with eyes off the road.

Of all cell phone related tasks - including talking, dialing, or reaching for the phone texting while driving is the most dangerous. A truck driver dialing a cell is 5.9 times more likely to crash.

A trucker reaching for a phone or other device is 6.7 times more likely to experience a truck accident.

For every 6 seconds of drive time, a driver sending or receiving a text message spends 4.6 of those seconds with their eyes off the road. This makes texting the most distracting of all cell phone related tasks. E

Sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.,

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Car Accidents Cell Phone Statistics

Cell Phones, Text Messaging, and Car Accident Information for All Drivers

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MARCH 2011 | EXALT DALLAS 29


Magic

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Ann Williams

The

Dance of

By Alvin Brown, Exalt Dallas

A Magical Beginning

The aforementioned quote by 18th Century poet and writer Johann Wolfgang sums up the spirit and accomplished life of Ms. Ann Williams, founder and creative director of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre (DBDT). She is a woman whose lifelong actions has provided many youth an opportunity to empower themselves through the magic of dance One only has to listen but a moment before finding yourself enthralled in that same magical journey as Ms. Williams reminisces about her first trip to a Dallas opera in 1949. Remembering it as if was yesterday, Mrs. Williams fondly speaks of her undeniable excitement watching her mother mail the registration form for the school trip that would one day change her life. “My mother bought a pretty little dress and took me to the beauty shop, which was so exciting. When my schoolmates and I arrived at theatre the sight of the dancers, vivid colors and captivating stage decorations just blew my mind,” She she recalled. “It was truly a first impression that will live with me forever. This was a big deal for a little girl growing up in this era, especially a little Black girl.”

The Formative Years Ms. Williams would go on to graduate from Prairie View A&M University and became the first African-American to earn a Master of Arts Degree in Dance and Related Arts from Texas Woman’s University. She holds a certificate in Arts Management from Texas A&M University, received an honorary Doctor of Humanities from Northwood University, and in May 2008 was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy in Dance from TWU. She served six years on the Texas Woman’s University Board of Regents. She is a 2002 inductee into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame; and in April 2005, she was honored at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. as a part of the Masters of African-American Choreography series. The Kennedy Center series holds a special place in her heart, because it was recognition from her peers and also announced that the little girl that found so much magic in single ballet in 1949 had become one of the world’s best in the field of dance.

Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace and power in it. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Dallas Black Dance Theatre enters 35th Season

Ms. Williams started her teaching career in Dallas at the John Henry Brown School (now Billy E. Dade) under Dr. Billy Dade. She taught in the Richardson School District (Hamilton Park High School) for five years. In 1968 she went to Bishop College and established the school’s first dance department. It was through a $3 million Ford Foundation grant where the Dance, Music and Theater Departments formed the Fine Arts Lyceum and brought

Dancers are Bravita Threatt and Christopher McKenzie, Jr. Photography by Richard Rodriguez

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MARCH 2011 | EXALT DALLAS 31


After maintaining this pace for more than two years, Williams soon realized the inspirational service her dance group provided to the African-American community. The children could now see their dreams of becoming a dancer, choreographer, music director and even stage production manager, manifested through people that looked like them. As the company evolved into semi professional status, Williams organized it as a 501c3, obtained a board of directors and immediately drew support from the City of Dallas, State of Texas, NEA and other corporations. Over the next five years following their conversion to a non profit, the dance company morphed into an international treasure, having performed for 2.5 million arts patrons and 1.5 million children worldwide The countries that the Dallas Black Dance Theatre has performed include Mexico, Austria, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Bermuda, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Peru, Canada, Japan, Uganda and Great Britain.

No one said the road would be easy Before one gets the idea that the road to international acclaim has been easy, Ms. Williams is quick to let the world know that achieving your dreams often come with barriers; some you see up ahead and others that blindside you. “Certainly we experienced growing pains as any small to mid-size organization. “For us early on, as well as today, raising funds, bringing in choreographers and costumes, production costs and paying union labor cost, are always barriers to overcome,” said Williams. “Currently we consider ourselves a full business performing arts institution with array of supporters; but as with any creative endeavor, the mind is always in production mode. In other words if we can afford it, then we can perform it.” She reiterates appreciation of the efforts of the City of Dallas, citing that it has been instrumental to keeping the Dance Company stable throughout the years. As she ponders the question of navigating the Theatre through past difficult times, her thoughts turned to a conversation that he once had with dear and late friend Mr. Alvin Ailey of the famed Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She recalls that Mr. Ailey asked ‘what did she want for her group.” Her reply was to be as large and as famous as his. His reply explained Ms. Williams, ‘Don’t do that. What ever you do avoid growing to the size of my company.’ “At first I did not understand until he explained that the larger you are

To keep up with demand and continue to serve its local community, Ms. Williams formed Dallas Black Dance Theatre II, the second performing company of Dallas Black Dance Theatre. This semi-professional company consists of 12 aspiring artists from around the nation. The 37 year old Dallas Black Dance Academy is the official school of Dallas Black Dance Theatre and offers classes (3 levels each) in ballet, jazz, tap and Liturgical disciplines for ages 4 and up. DBDT’s academy  offers classes four evenings per week and Saturdays during the school year and summer. The academy trains 400 students per week in year-round classes. In January 2008, the former Moorland YMCA became the first permanent home for DBDT’s rehearsal studios, training classrooms, and administrative offices. DBDT’s permanent home and performance facility in the Arts District the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre also marked a new era for the oldest, continuously operating professional dance company of Dallas.

In other words if we can afford it, then we can perform it

Dallas Black Dance Theatre collaborates with the Dallas Theater Center to present The WIZ

{feature

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artists Maya Angelou, Alex Haley, Dance Theatre of Harlem and The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater to the college and Dallas community. While working at Bishop College as director of the dance program Ms.Williams was asked to consider the formation of a dance company for adults. She eventually would take them up on the idea and began the company with six members, all teachers in the academy. “I joke all the time that the teachers became jealous over all the fun our youth were having,” Williams chuckled. “We were basically a community performance group, but as more people saw us, the more we were in demand.”

Theatre lovers are advised to hold on to their hats, as the wonderful adaptation The Wiz blows in to Dallas from July 8-August 7, 2011 at the Potter Rose Performance Hall, Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre. Directed by Kevin Moriarty, the Wiz is a musical with music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls. Based on the book by William F. Brown, it is a retelling of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in the context of African American culture. It first opened in Baltimore, MD in 1974. Ann Williams’ dream of dance is evolving into an endless masterpiece. Partnering to bring classics such as the Wiz makes a resounding statement that she will stop at nothing to assure that the Dallas Black Dance Theatre presents world class performances and to show community youth that the world can be opened to them through the magic of dance. Famed lecturer and author Dale Carnegie once wrote, “One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon--instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.” For more than 35 years Ms. Ann Williams has shared her full bloomed roses with the world, namely the Dallas Black Dance Theatre. She is a woman that firmly believes that life is for those that want to live it; and she is living it to the fullest; and we are all blessed because of her lifetime commitment to dance. E

Founder and Artistic Director, Ann Williams (C) and Melissa M. Young, Associate Artistic Director (standing far left) shown here with the multitalented dancers of The Dallas Black Dance Theatre.

DALLAS BLACK DANCE THEATRE NOTABLE HIGHLIGHTS Represented the USA at Expo ’92 in Seville, Spain Dallas Black Dance Theatre performs for 1996 Olympic Festival in Atlanta, Georgia being the first and only Texas arts organization to ever be invited to be an Olympic Cultural Olympiad participant.

Dancers: Richard Freeman, Jr. and Nycole Ray.

the less work you will have, explained Williams. “ Now I fully understand. People simply cannot afford to move and accommodate 15 to 20 performers.” Turnover can also affect a company such as the Dallas Black Dance Theatre simply because of the tremendous talent that comes through its doors. Several members have gone on to work with the Dance Theatre of Harlem and Debbie Allen’s cast of Fame “When you have immensely talented people there will be turnover,” Ms. Williams began.”Some will dance for a year, and then assume they are ready to head to New York, which can sometimes become a graveyard. There are many talented dancers and chorographers walking Broadway Avenue unemployed. Often, it takes a while to find the perfect situation to enable one’s success. Last year was such a year for us. We had a talent overhaul, which always offers the exciting challenge of working with new people.”

32 EXALT DALLAS | exaltpublishinggroup.com

Today’s Dallas Black Dance Theatre When Ms. Williams founded the dance company in 1976, the performing arts landscape was dominated by non-minority organizations. The birth of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre provided a needed cultural balance to the city’s overall arts landscape. The atlarge community has come to accept and respect the efforts of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre; so much that the Company has collaborated with the Dallas Opera, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center. “I think that going forward such collaborations are key to the survival of smaller, more diverse performance arts organizations,” Williams expressed.

Designated an “American Masterpiece Touring Artist” by the National Endowment for the Arts. Celebrated the opening of Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s new headquarters in Dallas’ downtown Arts District in 2008 Dallas Black Dance Theatre receives 1998 invitation from South Africa’s Minister of Arts, Culture and Sports as featured guest for South Africa’s largest festival and to perform educational programs in the cities of Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria and Soweto.

Under the Direction of Executive Director, Zenetta Drew, the management of DBDT is composed of a 50 member Board of Directors whose primary responsibilities are fundraising and fiduciary oversight. A professional administrative staff of nine full-time staff is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company.

MARCH 2011 | EXALT DALLAS 33


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]

crime

Photography by Peter Arnold

]

A man with zero tolerance for

{cover

{cover

Craig Watkins

MARCH 2011 | EXALT DALLAS 35


Dallas County District Attorney

Craig Watkins

By Alvin Brown, Exalt Dallas

Since

taking office in 2007, Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins has fast-tracked this all important department into a fair and efficient model of how justice should be pursued. With a zero tolerance for miscarriage of the law, Mr. Watkins has every criminal in Dallas County on high alert. A native of Dallas, he was educated in the local public school system, received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Prairie View A&M University and a Juris Doctorate degree from Texas Wesleyan University School of Law. He is a member of Friendship-West Baptist Church, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., Prairie View A&M University Alumni Association and is affiliated with several professional and civic organizations. Mr. Watkins has received numerous honors and awards for his outstanding legal and community accomplishments. Among them: Dallas Urban League Torch Award One of Eclipse Magazine’s “Super Lawyers” January 2007 Featured in the March 5, 2007 issue of JET. Featured in the May 2007 issue of Ebony Magazine as one of THE EBONY POWER 150 as the next generation of African-American leaders. Featured in the September 2007 issue of Texas Monthly

36 EXALT DALLAS | exaltpublishinggroup.com

Innovative strategies as the new DA in Dallas County garnered him local, national and international attention from CNN, ABC’s “Good Morning America,” German TV, Dallas Morning News, New York Times, Washington Post, L. A. Times and the Chicago Tribune.

shine

will y r o t is h e v e li e b ly u I tr of the k r o w e th n o t h g a positive li y’s Office. e n r o tt A t ic tr is D Dallas County

 He and wife Tanya have three children — Chad, Cale and Taryn. He recently spoke with Exalt Dallas’ Group President Alvin Brown, offering a candid view of his role, policies and direction of the Dallas County DA’s office. Brown: You’ve brought a passion and fairness to the District Attorney’s office that many have not seen in a long time. It appears that not only are you serious about public safety, but equally serious about making sure that your office operates with the highest integrity. Why is the integrity of the office so important? Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins: The integrity of the District Attorney’s (DA) office is important because without it, the citizens that we represent lose credibility in the criminal justice system as a whole. When citizens see that we have allocated resources to investigate legitimate post-conviction claims of innocence and when necessary exonerate wrongly convicted individuals, they are more likely to believe the DA when we present a case to a jury and ask that they find the defendant guilty, because we have restored credibility in the system and they have faith in us. They know that this administration is committed to justice and the truth, not just getting a conviction. Brown: For years, minorities have been at odds with the perception that the police are their friends, and thus making it very difficult to prosecute crime that may occur in their communities. How do you convey that your office is truly here to help them stay safe? And if they do work with your office are there methods to protect them if they work with law enforcement? Watkins: The best way to address this real issue is to actually implement the true philosophical approach of law enforcement. It is simply convicting the guilty and freeing the innocent. Over time the perception changes. Within this changed perception the intended consequence of creating a world-class District Attorney’s office comes full circle. We see it firsthand each day through our jury pools. Traditionally, certain ethnic groups and economically disadvantaged citizens are uncomfortable with law enforcement; this tradition, at least in Dallas County, is changing with every exoneration and every legitimate conviction. Brown: When the public sees indictments against officers for abuse, cold cases being solved such as Robert Tracy Warterfield, are you basically saying that your office has zero tolerance for crime, whether it’s your own or the general public? Watkins: Yes, we do have a zero tolerance for crime. Additionally, Dallas County is fortunate to have some of

the finest police officers in the state of Texas. However, no one is above the law. When law enforcement officers are accused of violating the law and abusing their oath to serve and protect citizens, if found guilty of the alleged offense they have to be held accountable for their actions just like anyone else. While the DA’s office obviously works closely with law enforcement as it relates to prosecuting cases, we are not a rubber stamp for police agencies, nor do we believe in turning a blind eye when officers abuse their power. Nevertheless, it is rare that this happens and when it does, those officers are the exception and not the rule. Brown: On the other hand a case such as Kenny Wiggins, where a 43-year-old is sentenced to 99 years for robbery, some may consider that extreme – does your office recommend sentences of this severity? Watkins: We look at every case individually and typically when a jury sentences a defendant to a lengthy prison sentence, it is due to the information they are privy to during the punishment phase of trial where the defendant’s previous criminal history as well as behavior during any prior periods of incarceration is explained in detail. If a jury concludes that an individual is likely to continue a life of criminal activity and reject opportunities for rehabilitation or reform, then it is not uncommon for that jury to assess a long prison sentence to protect the citizens by keeping this individual off the streets as long as possible. Brown: When a new coach takes over an NFL team, he normally cleans house to assure loyalty from his staff, does this comparative apply to the personnel changes in your office? Watkins: Employees serve at the pleasure of the District Attorney and can therefore be offered the opportunity to resign or be terminated at-will. Beyond that, we do not comment on personnel matters. Brown: The issue of controlled communication was also attempted by Bill Hill, the former DA, what did you both see that begged for a tougher policy in this area? Watkins: First, let me clarify that our media policy has not changed. Since I first took office in 2007, our staff has always been required to seek approval from the public information officer or administration prior to speaking to any media. The only thing we did differently at the beginning of this year was to have prosecutors acknowledge in writing that they had received and read the media policy. Secondly, I cannot speak for the prior administration, but it is necessary to make sure our media policy is enforced to protect the integrity of the process. As prosecutors, we have an ethical responsibility and are prohibited from trying cases in the

media or disclosing details on pending cases that are not part of the public record. Brown: People watch television shows such as Law & Order and believe they understand the workings of your office. How much of this job is about law and how much about politics? How complex is the inner workings of an effective DA’s office? Watkins: Unfortunately, politics play a major role in District Attorney’s offices. The goal however, is to maneuver in such a way as to not jeopardize the criminal justice process. It is a very complex situation that in some instances creates perceptions that are very hard to explain to the general public. I do foresee over time that our justice system will void itself of politics and operate strictly from the standpoint of protecting the Constitution. Brown: When you think of how far law can take one in life, attorney, judge, district attorney and Supreme Court Justice, what advice do you have for youth that want to pursue law as a career? Watkins: The best decision I ever made as a young man was to get a law degree. The opportunities are endless. I would encourage any young man or woman with an aspiration to make a difference and a positive impact on society to consider law school. Brown: How much has the Innocence Project meant to you? Watkins: We have worked with multiple innocence organizations over the last four years and in many of Dallas County’s exoneration cases, it was their initial efforts that brought the cases to our attention for reinvestigation by our Conviction Integrity Unit. With 25 exonerations in the last 10 years and likely more to come, it is obvious that innocence groups across the country are necessary and provide an invaluable service to the wrongly convicted. Brown: Into your second term you have gained many supporters and critics. At every level of employment there are often internal rumblings, sometimes outright gripes, but overall how do you feel about the direction you’re leading the District Attorney’s office? Watkins: With change there is always a struggle. If I were not going in the right direction and making a positive impact then there wouldn’t be critics. The critical analyses of my office give me indication that we are moving forward and in the right direction. I truly believe history will shine a positive light on the work of the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office. E MARCH 2011 | EXALT DALLAS 37


| CELL PHONE LEGISLATION

public policy | CELL PHONE LEGISLATION

public policy

Texas Cell Phon Phone

&

Laws Legislation

T

exas legislation news: At least four bills addressing texting and driving have been filed for the 2011 session. Two new distracted driving laws are in effect: one banning teen drivers from using cell phones and text messaging devices; the other prohibiting drivers from using handheld cell phones in school crossing zones.

San Antonio’s ban on texting and driving is now in full effect. Ticketing began Jan. 14, 2011.

National Trends

Text messaging and cell phone use while driving are bigger problems than five years ago, Texas motorists say. 85 of drivers interviewed said text messaging was worse, while 80 percent agreed that cell phone use had become a bigger problem than a half decade ago. (The Texas Transportation Institute interviewed 1,167 motorists at Texas Department of Public Safety Driver License Offices in fall 2010.) Supporters of a ban on handheld cell phone use while driving outnumber opponents by a two-to-one margin. Aggressive driving ranked with distracted driving as a danger cited by the drivers.

A jurisdiction-wide ban on driving while talking on a hand-held cell phone is in place in 9 states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Utah, and Washington) and the District of Columbia. Utah has named the offense careless driving. Under the Utah law, no one commits an offense when speaking on a cell phone unless they are also committing some other moving violation other than speeding.

San Antonio’s ban on texting and driving became law Oct. 15, 2010, with a 90-day warning period that ended in mid-January 2011. The City Council gave final approval to the distracted driving ordinance on Oct. 7. Fines of up to $200. Councilman Phil Cortez pushed through the ban. Basically, drivers are permitted to make phone calls with wireless handheld devices, but nothing else. The University of Texas at San Antonio plans to enforce the city law on campus as well.

Local jurisdictions may or may not need specific state statutory authority to ban cell phones or text messaging. Several of the many localities that have enacted restrictions on cell phone use include: Oahu, HI; Chicago, IL; Brookline, MA; Detroit, MI; Santa Fe, NM; Brooklyn, North Olmstead, and Walton Hills, OH; Conshohocken, Lebanon, and West Conshohocken, PA; Waupaca County, WI; and Cheyenne, WY.

The use of all cell phones while driving a school bus is prohibited in 19 states and the District of Columbia.

State Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, prefiled SB 119 for the 2011 legislative session, seeking a ban on text messaging and driving while vehicles are in motion.

The use of all cell phones by novice drivers is restricted in 28 states and the District of Columbia.

• Learners permit holders are prohibited from using handheld cell phones in the first six months of driving.

Missouri City’s ban on texting while driving went into effect June 1, 2010. Law applies when vehicle is stopped. Fines up to $500. The city posted traffic signs stating: “No Texts Emails or Apps While Driving.”

Text messaging is banned for all drivers in 30 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, novice drivers are banned from texting in 8 states (Alabama, Indiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia) and school bus drivers are banned from text messaging in 2 states (Oklahoma and Texas).

• Drivers under the age of 17 with restricted licenses are prohibited from using wireless communications devices.

College Station’s City Council considered a ban on texting and driving, but decided to see what emerged from the 2011 legislative session.

• School bus operators prohibited from using cell phones while driving if children are present.

Stephenville has banned text messaging and use of handheld cell phones while driving. The City Council considered a plan to ban all cell phone use by motorists, but rejected it during the April 6 voting. Fines will be up to $200.

Current prohibitions:

• Drivers prohibited from using handheld devices in school crossing zones. Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, Galveston, El Paso, Missouri City and Stephenville have enacted local distracted driving laws. 2011 distracted driving legislation: Texas Senate Bill 46: Would prohibit drivers from using wireless communication devices to read, write, or send a text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle unless the vehicle is stopped. (Zaffirini) SB 119: Seeks to outlaw use of handheld wireless devices to read, send or compose text messages while driving in Texas, unless the vehicle is stopped. (Uresti) House Bill 103: Would ban drivers from use of wireless communication devices to read, write, or send a text message while operating a motor vehicle unless the vehicle is stopped. Provides for increased penalties of up to $400 if the driver is in a school zone. (Martin Fischer) HB 243: Text messaging outlawed for all drivers of motor vehicles. Includes IMs and e-mail. (Craddick)

38 EXALT DALLAS | exaltpublishinggroup.com

Distracted driving notes:

The table below shows the states that have cell phone laws, whether they specifically ban text messaging, and whether they are enforced as primary or secondary laws. Under secondary laws, an officer must have some other reason to stop a vehicle before citing a driver for using a cell phone. Laws without this restriction are called primary. The laws in Arkansas and California prohibit police from stopping a vehicle to determine if a driver is in compliance with the law. Clearly, that language prohibits the use of checkpoints to enforce the law, but it has been interpreted as the functional equivalent of secondary provisions that typically state the officer may not stop someone suspected of a violation unless there is other, independent, cause for a stop. 1

El Paso prohibits texting and talking on a cell phone while driving in city limits. The City Council approved the ban on March 9 and it went into effect May 1, 2010. Hands-free cell phones OK. Fines up to $500. El Paso already outlawed use of handheld cell phones in school zones. Galveston has banned text messaging while driving within city limits. Fines up to $500. The City Council voted to outlaw texting for motorists on Jan. 14 and the ban went into effect immediately. League City’s plan to ban texting and handheld cell phone use while driving has been put on hold. The city attorney cited “legal issues.” Arlington’s City Council refused to consider a ban on text messaging while driving.

2 In Louisiana, all learners’ permit holders, irrespective of age, and all intermediate license holders are prohibited from driving while using a hand-held cell phone and all drivers younger than 18 are prohibited from using any cell phone. Effective April 1, 2010 all drivers, irrespective of age, issued a first driver’s license will be prohibited from using a cell phone for one year. The cell phone ban is secondary for novice drivers age 18 and older.

In Oklahoma, learner’s permit and intermediate license holders are banned from using a hand-held electronic device while operating a motor vehicle for non-lifethreatening emergency purposes.

3

Utah’s law defines careless driving as committing a moving violation (other than speeding) while distracted by use of a hand-held cell phone or other activities not related to driving. E

4

MARCH 2011 | EXALT DALLAS 39


By Charles Montaldo

Our Biggest Fear as Drivers:

Statistics tell us that most all of us have been involved in an aggressive driving experience either as the victim or the aggressor at some point in our lives. Aggressive driving and road rage is on the rise and according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAA) it is one, if not the top concern for many drivers today. AAA reported that, “at least 1,500 people a year are seriously injured or killed in senseless traffic disputes.” The following includes excerpts from a report issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Characteristics of Aggressive Driving: The words, “aggressive driving,” emerged during the 1990s as a label for a category of dangerous on-the-road behaviors. The category comprises:

• Following too closely • Driving at excessive speeds • Weaving through traffic • Running stop lights and signs Aggressive driving occasionally escalates to gesturing in anger or yelling at another motorist, confrontation, physical assault and even murder. “Road Rage” is the label that emerged to describe the angry and violent behaviors at the extreme of the aggressive driving continuum.

Graduating From Traffic Violation to Criminal Offense: The NHTSA defines aggressive driving as, “The operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.” An important distinction is that aggressive driving is a traffic violation, while road rage, aside from the yelling and gesticulating, is a criminal offense.

Contributing Factors To Aggressive Driving: E

40 EXALT DALLAS | exaltpublishinggroup.com

Experts suggest many reasons for the increase in aggressive driving and road rage. • Sociologists suggests it is due to the break down in our society’s sense of community and a disintegration of shared values.

• Psychologists point to the intoxicating combina tion of power and anonymity provided by motor vehicles.

• Traffic engineers tend to believe the problem is due to inconsistent driving speeds among travelers.

Traffic Congestion: Traffic congestion is one of the most frequently mentioned contributing factors to aggressive driving. Drivers with low tolerances for traffic delays might respond by following too closely, changing lanes frequently, or becoming angry at anyone who impedes their progress.

Running Late: Some people drive aggressively because they have too much to do and are running late for work, school, their next meeting, lesson, soccer game, or other appointment. Many otherwise law-abiding citizens often justify speeding when running late, almost as they would a medical emergency. Speeding because one is running late to pick up a waiting child or getting an elderly parent to a doctor’s appointment is often deemed as okay in the minds of even some of the safest drivers.

Anonymity: A driver can develop a sense of anonymity and detachment when insulated within the privacy of a vehicle. Tinted windows further detach drivers, aiding to the misconception of being an observer of the surroundings, rather than a participant. The anonymity for some may provoke antisocial behavior unseen in other normal interaction they experience with others. Combine this with having the power of a motor vehicle and the knowledge that it is unlikely they will ever be seen again by those they offend and the result can be extreme rudeness and even turn an otherwise nice person into a dangerous, raging individual.

istics of modern society.

It does appear that civility and respect for authority has decreased, the trend epitomized by the phrase, “I’m just looking out for number one.”

Habitual Or Clinical Behavior: Most motorists rarely drive aggressively, and some never at all. For others, episodes of aggressive driving are frequent, and for a small proportion of motorists it is their usual driving behavior. Occasional episodes of aggressive driving might occur in response to specific situations, such as speeding and changing lanes abruptly when late for an important appointment, when it is not the driver’s normal behavior. Among the chronic aggressive drivers there are those who learned the driving style and consider it appropriate, and others who may have learned to drive properly, but for whom the behavior is an expression of illness. Clearly, it is a matter of degree and not all anger is uncontrolled, or even inappropriate, that is, it is not the anger, but what a person does about it that matters (e.g., anger that motivates a person to call the police when encountered on the road by an obviously impaired or dangerously aggressive driver). However, chronic anger, habitual or persistent aggressive driving, and especially a pattern of confrontation on the road, must be considered manifestations of pathology, in addition to violations of the law. E

Summary If it seems that there are more cases of rude and outrageous behavior on the road now than in the past, the observation is correct, if for no other reason than there are more drivers driving more miles on the same roads than ever before.

Disregard for Others and for the Law: Much has been written about the erosion of shared values and respect for authority, variously attributed to the fragmentation of the extended family, increased individual mobility, media influence, and other character-

MARCH 2011 | EXALT DALLAS 41

| ROAD RAGE

| ROAD RAGE

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automotive

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Robert Comradd is driven by passion and determination to help not only himself, but also others to be successful. As a member of Toastmasters, Mr. Comradd has won several awards, including Best Speaker and Best Table Topics. At the age of 50, Mr. Comradd has overcome many obstacles in his lifetime. He is now ready to share his inspirational story with others to help motivate them to succeed. Mr. Comradd, a proud father of three, inspired his children when he graduated from Remington College at the age of 44. He later returned in 2007 to give a commencement speech to the graduating class entitled, “Finishing the Race.” Mr. Comradd’s message is to never give up in the face of adversity, but to finish the race. Along with motivating others, he also encouraged his three children to finish college and develop their own businesses. Raised by a single mother in the small town of Ferriday, Louisiana, Robert endured both financial and emotional hardships. Never one to give up, he joined the military in an effort to better his family. Mr. Comradd left the military shortly after fighting in the Gulf war, but he found it difficult to find civilian employment. It was at this momen he realized that taking control of his destiny would be his best route to success. He earned a degree in Electronics and started Comradd Co., a motivational company in which he inspires success. Robert’s inspiration comes from his mother’s active involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. Under her guidance, Robert and his sister integrated the Lower Elementary school in Ferriday, LA. Further inspired by the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Mr. Comradd knew that he wanted to continue his dream in making a difference. Availability: Available as a Motivational Speaker/Personal Consultant Speaking Fee/Honorarium: Call for details. Media Interviews: Call for details. Contact: Robert Comradd, Sr. 817.503.7136 comradd58@sbcglobal.net www.comradd.com

Affiliations:  • State Bar of Texas • Oklahoma Bar • Association National Bar • Association Dallas • Bar Association • J. L. Turner Legal Association

MY CONTACT Address: 1341 W. Mockingbird Lane, Suite 960W, Dallas, TX 75247 Phone: (214) 819-3020 Fax: (214) 819-3022

Mobile: (214) 502-6360 Paul E. Hamilton is a Dallas,

Out of law school, Paul worked for two years in Oil & Gas, Commercial and general Insurance Defense litigation in the Oklahoma City area.  He moved on to served three years as a Prosecutor in the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, where he excelled in criminal trial work as well docket management and working with crime victims.  In 1993, Paul again embarked on a successful Civil Trial Practice.  Over the years, he has successfully advised and counseled several large multi-national corporations and companies, as well as represented their interests in both federal and states courts. Giving back to the community that has served him so well, Paul has served on several nonprofit and charitable boards in the Dallas area.  He frequently volunteers for local charitable causes, and currently works with the Communities In School program in the Richardson Independent School District, as a mentor/tutor for first graders at the Forest Lane Academy.

For more information or a FREE CONSULTATION , please contact Paul at peh@pehlegal.com. The Law Office of Paul E. Hamilton, PLLC 1341 W. Mockingbird Lane, Suite 960W (214) 819-3020 Office | (214) 502-6360 Mobile (214) 819-3022 Fax | administrator@pehlegal.com

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His presence enters the room before he does. Whether he is wearing denim, slacks or a tailored suit with a crisp clean dress shirt with a tie knotted to perfection – his demeanor reflects his class, confidence and swagger. All it takes is a glimpse of his well groomed beard or the scent of his fragrance to tell that a man of impeccablecharacterhasenteredthe room. Mostlikelyheissomeonewhose refined style creates a dramatic image of ability and reliability that sticks with you, even when he’s not around.

Bar Admission: Texas 1989, and Oklahoma 1988

MARCH 2011 | EXALT DALLAS 43

| DALLAS ATTORNEY PROFILES:

Author | Motivator

Education: J.D., University of Oklahoma, M.S., Amber University, B.B.A., University of North Texas

Texas native with 22 years of experience in the practice of law in courts throughout Texas and Oklahoma.  Mr. Hamilton grew up in Garland, Texas, and was educated in the Garland Independent School District, where he studied hard and excelled.  Following graduation, he went to the University of North Texas, where he earned the Bachelor of Business Administration Degree with an emphasis in Personnel Management and Organizational Behavior.  Following his undergraduate studies, Paul went on to earn his Master of Science Degree in Human Relations & Business from Amber University, and his Juris Doctorate Degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law.  All the while, growing up with very modest means, Paul worked to finance his education, to make ends meet, and to assist his family.

legal matters

Robert Comradd, Sr.

Hometown: Dallas, Texas

Paul Hamilton

ABOUT MYSELF Name: Paul E. Hamilton


legal matters

If you are asked to co-sign for someone and you do not have the financial means to pay for it if the loan goes bad, don’t do it. You must fully understand that you are obligating yourself for the entire debt, if the other person does not pay it. Always review your personal finances and investigate the possible circumstances prudently before co-signing for a relative, significant other or associate. Consequently, your credit rating can be adversely affected as a result of negligent behavior of the primary debtor.

| BOBBIE EDMONDS

The Good, Bad and Ugly of

Co-Signing By Bobbie Edmonds, Attorney

The good part of co-signing is that you help someone get a much needed or desired product; which is often a car, a bank loan, furniture or appliance. At this point everyone is all smiles. However, the smiles can quickly turn to frowns when you start to receive calls asking you to repay the loan, because the person you tried to help did not keep their end of the bargain. The creditor can demand payment directly from you and if payment is not made, you can be sued along with the primary signer. If you fail to file a written answer or counter claim to the lawsuit within the time allotted by law, the judge may render a default judgment against you severally or jointly along with the co-debtor. This judgment could include the balance of the debt due with pre-judgment and post judgment interest, plus attorney’s fees and costs. Depending on the type of judgment, the creditor may commence post judgment collection procedures, which could include seizure and sale of your non-exempted properties to satisfy the judgment. Generally, your homestead is exempted. And please do not be bamboozled into thinking that a creditor will release you from a co-signed contractual obligation. They simply will not. Unless there is absence fraud, duress or some other legal defense, you are stuck with the debt. Ironically, some are naïve and

believe promises to release them from the obligation shortly after the credit has been granted. This is not true. Read the contract thoroughly and pay particular attention to the default and attorney’s fees provisions before you sign it.

the amounts you had to pay. Reason being, the family court judge cannot alter the original contract between you and the creditor even though the decree may address the division of debt. Talk to a lawyer about your specific situation.

Make sure that your name is listed second as a co-signer on the contract and payment book. There are instances wherein the primary debtor’s name is not placed on the contract because of poor credit. In such a case, you may be listed as the sole purchaser instead of a co-signer; and thus are obligated for the debt. If both names are on the payment book and the primary co-borrower does not pay, you will be harassed by the creditor and their collection company to pay. Caveat: Do not cosign unless you are confident that you will not be left holding the debt.

Control your emotions

Common co-sign scenarios (1) Parent and Child: Often a parent cosigns with their adult child to get a car, truck or apartment. The child promises to pay the debt and months later fails or refuses to pay leaving the parent holding the bag (2) Unmarried Couples: An unmarried person co-signs for his or her mate and later breaks up; one of them is left in debt. (3) Grandparent and Grandchild: A grandparent cosigns for a grandchild and the grandchild fails to pay, then the grandparent must pay. This often leaves the grandparent under financial duress, as most seniors live on a fixed income. (4) Married Couples: Texas is a community property state and either of you can be pursued for the debt during the marriage and subsequent to a divorce. You may have a right to sue the default ex-spouse for recovery of

Tempers can often boil over as a co-signed agreement goes bad. With your good credit on the verge of being damaged or destroyed, be mindful not to take matters into your own hands. These efforts to recoup losses can sometimes disintegrate into physical force. Beware the consequences of your actions. It is wise to seek the advice of an attorney to protect your rights before you do something that could forfeit your legal advantage. In summary, I’m not a big proponent of cosigning. But in the event that you enter into such an arrangement, know that the risks are many. They include: Increased debt ratio, possibility of negative reporting on your credit file, paying for an item not in your possession, possible harassment by collection agencies, possibility of being sued in a court of law if the debtor does not pay and risk of your property being seized in post judgment collection. Whereas the risks far outweigh the positives, ultimately the choice is yours. But I reiterate, THINK LONG AND HARD and please read the fine print before you enter a cosigned contract. If you have a legal question call 817.332.6501, fax 817.332.6599, email Attorney Bobbie Edmonds at goodverdict@msn.com or visit her website at www.goodverdict.com. The Law Offices of Bobbie Edmonds is located at 100 East 15th Street, Suite 410, Fort Worth, Texas 76102.

Nuggets of Wisdom The Garbage Truck Law

One day a woman hopped in a taxi going to the airport. While driving in the right lane a black car suddenly jumped out of a parking space directly in front of the cab. The taxi driver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car by inches. The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling. The taxi driver just smiled and waved, he was really friendly. When asked why he did not tear into the crazed driver that nearly r sent he and his passenger to the hospital. This is when the taxi driver taught his passenger The Garbage Truck Law. He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they’ll dump it on you. Don’t take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don’t take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets. The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. Life’s too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don’t.

44

hat you w t n e c r pe Life is ten percent y t e in n d n make it a take it! EXALT DALLAS | exaltpublishinggroup.com how you

MARCH 2011 | EXALT DALLAS 45


{community

Inequality American Education is the Achilles’ Heel of

Facebook

Gives Apps Your Phone Number & Address, No Opt Out

By MARY SANCHEZ, Courtesy Kansas City Star

achievers, student achievement on the whole is higher. Inequality is America’s Achilles heel. Class level still matters greatly when it comes to student achievement. No Child Left Behind has made that infinitely clear. I realize this is hardly rocket science. Turning it around will be. Consider that the U.S. fell from being ranked No. 2 to No. 13 in college graduation rates between 1995 and 2008, the report said. This wasn’t because our rates necessarily declined, but other countries charged ahead. If we applied ourselves to solving the class disparities in our education system, our overall position could rise again. That would require significantly boosting diploma rates in four years for blacks (46 percent), Hispanics (44 percent) and Native Americans (49 percent). Nationally, our high school graduation rate now hovers near 69 percent. The U.S. rate peaked in 1969 at 77 percent.

E

The report’s executive summary noted: “Governments need to create education systems that are accessible to everyone, not just a favored few; that are globally competitive on quality; that provide people from all classes a fair chance to get the right kind of education to succeed; and to achieve all this at a price that the nation can afford.”

nough with the Sputnik talk. Seems like every time a report comes out showing how far behind their global peers our children are in their studies, all the Serious People intone about the 1957 kick in the pants that touched off the space race. But the talk always rings hollow. It doesn’t get anybody moving. The latest shocker came with the results of the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, which showed students in Shanghai well ahead of the global pack. The study tested 15-year-olds from 65 member nations in math, science and reading. (China wasn’t assessed as a whole, but Shanghai, Hong Kong and Macao were separately.)

Obviously, the American public school system is far ahead of those of other nations where dense poverty and paternalistic attitudes toward female students keep whole swaths of children out of school. But those countries aren’t our main competitors. Educating workers to do jobs that cannot be “digitized, automated and outsourced,” is the goal, the report accompanying the rankings said. The workers that will be in high demand are those educated to lead knowledge-

“Governments need to create education systems that are accessible to everyone, not just a favored few.”

The United States ranked 24th, the middle of the pack. Cue the cliches ... “Fifty years later, our generation’s Sputnik moment is back,” declared President Barack Obama.

based economies.

“Wow, I’m kind of stunned. I’m thinking Sputnik,” Chester E. Finn Jr., who served in Ronald Reagan’s education team, told The New York Times.

So skip Sputnik. Here is a reference point more likely to resonate with the Twitterbrains of our Facebook nation. Oprah.

Faced with the new rankings, Britain, France, Germany and other nations announced plans to study and overhaul their educational systems. The U.S. pretty much shrugged. And some began searching for faults in the analysis.

Oprah is fond of using the imagery of pebbles and rocks. She invokes the idea that when God (substitute your own supernatural power, if necessary) needs to get your attention to a situation, he first throws little pebbles. “Hello, anyone home?”

Every time such figures are released, some Americans content themselves to do a little math. They subtract the inconvenient students. Take out underachieving minority students, they say, and we’re not doing so badly. True, white and Asian students have vastly better graduation and achievement rates than African American and Hispanic students do. But if you want to know the biggest problem in the U.S. education system, it’s this: inequality. Tucked into news stories about the testing was the finding that the highest achieving school systems in the world were the ones where social class tends not to predict student achievement. Think about that. In countries where students from all social and economic backgrounds are well represented among highest academic 46 EXALT DALLAS | exaltpublishinggroup.com

The small stones are annoying, but easily brushed away reminders to change course. The longer a person doesn’t pay attention, the bigger the rocks become. Finally, the genuinely clueless get a brick upside the head. Whap! Pebbles, we’re at pebbles. And not enough of us are bothered. Not yet anyway. E To reach Mary Sanchez, send e-mail to msanchez@kcstar.com.

BY VIOLET BLUE | ZDNET

F

acebook recently rolled out new permissions that give applications access to individuals’ addresses and phone numbers. So if you use any app, like a game, the window you must click to allow it access to your profile (so you can use the game) now gets more personal info about you than ever before. There is no way to opt-out. As you can see above, all personal data is being treated as if it were of the same value. So if you want to play FarmVille (and Zynga wants addresses and phone numbers from this point forward), you have to grant Zynga permission to the home address and phone number in your profile. If you don’t want to let them have access, no farming for you, pal. This is for all apps who decide to implement this new “feature” for developers, including ones that might be malicious. Or opportunistic app developers who try and land-grab as much data as possible to sell to third parties. I think it is the equivalent of handing your ID to an anonymous telemarketer somewhere in the world. Ever order something and had your address or phone number sold? With Facebook’s value through the roof, you can bet your privacy they’re going to monetize your dearest data. In a way, if you’ve shared it with Facebook, you already have. The new screen (above) is the dialogue box in its new form. One big problem is that people have been trained to click through this screen; the box now says it’s sharing the information but it does not really look any different than it did before. For people already overwhelmed by Facebook (like your kids and your grandma) it will be easy to miss. Also, because the new window doesn’t say sharing address and phone number is a new thing, users are likely to think that on signup for CityVille that this is normal and all their friends have done it, and since their friends are not currently experiencing problems then everything must be fine.

Is Facebook capitalizing on the “everyone is doing it” mentality? The real answer to that is a question: when have they not? Don’t forget that with Facebook, people are made to use their real names and real information. Inexperienced social network users are likely to put their address and phone numbers into their profiles simply because the form fields are there. And that social conditioning, which many are taught, is what you are supposed to do with forms. While most young girls grow up knowing that you don’t give your number (or address!) out to strangers or put it online, most guys are likely to not get at first glance why this is the significant breaking of a social personal safety rule. What’s worse, it’s on a commercial and institutional level. Our kids need to be taught that it’s not okay to give your number and address to strangers online. I’m talking to you, Facebook. I’m sure it will be fine. I mean, it’s not your credit card data. Oh – wait. This reminds me of how Google’s Eric Schmidt responded in a CNBC interview when asked about regular people sharing information with Google as if the company were a “trusted friend.” His reply was basically that if you didn’t want people to know it, you shouldn’t share it online. I’m guessing Facebook feels the same way. Some people are saying that making the barriers of access zero-tonothing for apps and their developers to your home address and phone number is a recipe for disaster. That it is a violation. Some app makers and developers are happily commenting on the Facebook announcement saying, “Thanks! Really needed this!” Other people are saying like it’s ‘crying wolf’ by privacy nerds, and are arguing that since most apps don’t “need” this data, and that we shouldn’t worry about it. Which camp are you in? E FEBRUARY 2011 | EXALT DALLAS 47


Matters By Evelyn Davis and Tracy Dixon

What you need when

buying a home in

today’s market

W

hen buying a home it is surprising that many are not informed on how the process truly works. Your credit score is paramount to this process if one is to obtain a low interest rate. That is not to say you cannot buy a home with less than perfect credit, but fair to excellent credit score is tremendously helpful. Below we list everything a home buyer will need. When purchasing a new home, you should know why you really want to make this step and what the key advantages to home ownership are. Our list includes tax breaks, equity predictability, freedom and stability for an individual or family. Other important things to know or you need when preparing to purchase your home: * Know where you want to live * Have consistent employment * Know the condition of your credit * Know if it’s a Buyer’s or Seller’s market * Know what you can afford * Based on your credit and price of the home you desired,    Know how much money you will need in advance

48 EXALT DALLAS | exaltpublishinggroup.com

And finally here is a list of professionals that will assist you through this process. Of course it goes without saying that you will need a realtor. You also need: * Mortgage Broker/Banker * Seller * Title Company * Inspector * Appraiser * Underwriter Now that you are equipped with information to help you buy your dream home, know that it is a great time to buy. One of the best kept secrets today is that the real estate market is making an amazing recovery. E Real Estate Matters is a monthly column written by licensed real estate professionals Evelyn Davis, New Home Specialist with New Home Information Center and Tracy Dixon of The Michael Group, LLC. To learn how both can assist you or to submit questions for Real Estate Matters, email Evelyn Davis at icansellhomes@yahoo. com and Tracy Dixon at icansellhomes@gmail.com.

Latest Census show decline in immigration and gains for

{census report

{real estate

Real Estate

Texas William H. Frey, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution

W

hat does the 2010 Census population count tell us that we didn’t already know?  Perhaps not a lot!  The final population figure of 308.7 million was almost exactly what was estimated over a year ago, and the interstate reshuffling of 12 congressional seats, mostly from the Frostbelt to Sunbelt, have been largely predicted by the experts. Still, there are some nuggets that are worth noting: The late decade immigration slowed — The major headline from the Census is that we just experienced the lowest decade growth, 9.7 percent, since the Great Depression. For most of the industrialized world, nearly 10 percent decade growth is nothing to sneeze at. But after the 13 percent growth we enjoyed during 1990s, and the 52 percent growth since 1970, this is a number worth studying carefully. The reason for this decline is largely due to falling immigration numbers. During the 1990s, immigration added about one million people a year.  But it declined for a few years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and especially with the post-2007 recession.   When the Census Bureau projects our population to reach 400 million by 2039, it assumes annual immigration approaching 2 million a year.  By this decade’s end, we fell well short of that. Population mobility slowed, as well — Mobility within the country mattered too. Migration between states hit historic postwar lows over the past three years due to the double whammy of the recession and the mortgage meltdown. This put the brakes on what could have been a bigger haul, in terms of seats in the House of Representatives, for the Sunbelt, particularly for boomthen-bust states like Florida and Arizona. Texas was in the right place at the right time — Texas increased its population by more than 20 percent and gained four new congressional seats, more than any other state.  It led the nation in numeric growth for the first time. Previously, California held that honor after the last eight censuses.  

Texas’ relative growth advantage rose since the onset of the recession. As growth rates of Sunbelt high flyers like Florida, Arizona, and Nevada plummeted over the past three years, Texas held its own due to its relative immunity to extreme housing and job market downturns.  It also benefited from the relocation of Hurricane Katrina evacuees from Louisiana. That may have cost Louisiana a House seat, the only Sunbelt state to lose a seat, which will become a pickup for Texas. Sunbelt gains are shifting inward — States in the South and West have consistently gained population and political clout from their Northeast and Midwest counterparts over several decades.  Since the 1980 census, the Sunbelt held a majority of people and congressional seats.  It now represents 60 percent of the population and will hold a 263 to 172 advantage in the 113th Congress.  Yet the focus of change within the Sunbelt has shifted with the last two censuses as population has dispersed. From the 1950 to 1990, three states, California, Texas and Florida, accounted for two thirds of the gains the Sunbelt made in congressional seats. But in the 2000 Census, these three states commanded only five of the 12 Sunbelt seat gains. This time, six of the 12 new Sunbelt congressional seats were elsewhere. For the first time since statehood, California did not gain any seats, while Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Washington each gained one. In fact, if the mid-decade bubble-induced migration from California to these more affordable neighbors had continued, the Golden State might have actually lost a seat.  Hispanic population gains will be important, especially in “Purple” states — Hispanics played a major role in the new growth in the Sunbelt, indicating the potential for increased political clout. Based on Census estimates, Hispanics accounted for more than 60 percent of Texas’ post-2000 growth, about half of the growth of Florida, Arizona and Nevada, and substantial contributions in other states.  The immediate translation of population representation into voter representation may take some time, since many Hispanics are too young or are not yet citizens.  

Yet they can make a more immediate difference in “Purple” Sunbelt states. In 2008, Obama won Nevada and Florida largely because the Hispanic voters were a large enough segment to make a difference in an otherwise close election. The same can be said for Senator Reid’s re-election in Nevada last November. While it may be a while before Democratic–leaning Hispanics can do this in the deep Red state of Texas, they can tip the balance more immediately in some of the rest of the Sunbelt. Cities may do better than we thought — In contrast to other cities, Washington, D.C. has the privilege of getting its population counts reported first, along with the states. The good news is that the District of Columbia showed its first decade population gain since 1950, topping 600,000. This could be a preview of similar good news for other cities.  The Census usually does better than intercensal estimates at counting city populations, and the 2000 Census showed unexpected population upticks for many cities, including Chicago and Boston. This time there is another reason to expect a good showing. The end of decade migration slowdown kept people from moving to the suburbs and allowed them to give cities a second look. The census results to be released later this year will tell us how well cities did. The Census is the only true national benchmark for determining the size and distribution of our population. It’s probably unfortunate the 2010 Census was taken in the midst of a severe recession and an unprecedented migration slowdown.  We need to view its results with this in mind. It is likely that when the economy picks up, immigration and national growth will follow.  In that case, Texas will have greater competition for people and jobs within the Sunbelt, and cities will show usual patterns of ups and downs. But the broader trends of a country moving to “new” Sunbelt states, driven heavily by Hispanics and other minorities, will surely continue even more strongly in the next decade. This is certainly fodder for creative thinking about how they will affect the politics and economics in what appears to be the nation’s next frontier. E

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Conservation Block Grant] statute and [State Energy Program] statute and regulations have no prohibitions on federal funds being used to benefit churches/faith based institutions. As long as the activity to benefit churches/faith based institutions is an approved, eligible activity pursuant to the [relevant statutes and regulations,] it may be funded by either program.”

Faith-Based Partnerships

“O

Under Obama and Bush

bama stimulus pours millions into faith-based groups,” read the title of a December 3, 2010, Politico article. It reported that $120,000 in stimulus funds (funds made available by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009) went to Christian Churches United of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to pay for food and shelter for local homeless people, and $277,000 was awarded to the Chicago-based Inner City Muslim Action Network for a green-jobs program. To promote energy efficiency, stimulus funds bought an Indiana church a new heating and cooling system and new windows for a church-related school in Wyoming, according to Politico. Overall, at least $140 million in stimulus money has gone to faith-based groups, Politico said. The Politico piece raised an important question: Almost ten years after President George W. Bush opened the first White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and two years into the presidency of Barack Obama, is there any difference between these administrations’ policies and practices on partnerships with community organizations, both religious and secular? Executive orders signed by Obama and Bush provide some fodder for this discussion, as does Politico’s reporting and data available at the recovery.gov website, the website that tracks spending of stimulus money. These materials reveal that there are many points of continuity between the two administrations on these issues but also some crucial differences.

Continuity Both President Obama and Bush have said the government must allow religious organizations to compete on an equal footing with secular organizations for federal social service funds. Spot checks of information on recovery.gov suggest that this policy is being observed. For example, one component of stimulus funding was aimed at preventing individuals and families from becoming homeless and at helping people who are already homeless. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development granted $621,187 to Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, for these purposes, and it in turn made sub-awards to seven Pennsylvania nonprofits that were selected on a competitive basis. As Politico noted, these| exaltpublishinggroup.com nonprofits is Christian Churches United of the Tri-County Area 50 one EXALTofDALLAS

(CCU), whose goal is “to provide assistance to many more people in need than one church could provide on its own.” The organization is supported by area churches but is separately incorporated from them. CCU received a subaward of $120,623 to provide services to people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Dauphin County also made six sub-awards to other nonprofits for these purposes, some with explicit religious motivations and others that articulate their goals in secular terms. (Politico did not discuss grants made to secular groups in its story, but information about religious and nonreligious organizations that receive stimulus funds appears on the recovery.gov website.) The Obama and Bush administrations also have declared that religious organizations may retain a religious name and mission, select board members on a religious basis, and provide federally funded social services in buildings containing religious art, scriptures, and symbols. These policies aim to ensure that religious organizations are able to maintain their religious identities even as they deliver some governmentfunded services. Further, both administrations appear to have implemented similar policies regarding government grants for capital improvements of buildings used for religious purposes, including houses of worship. According to the Politico story, Castleton United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, received stimulus funds to install a new heating and cooling system. These funds were part of the Energy Efficiency and Conservative Block Grant Program, a program that helps American cities, states, and counties, reduce their total energy use. The federal Department of Energy made a grant to the state of Indiana for this and related purposes, and the state then used a competitive process to award grants to 60 small businesses, health care facilities, institutions for higher education, and nonprofits for energy efficiency upgrades to their facilities. In addition to Castleton United Methodist Church, other non-profits that received subawards include an animal shelter, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Indiana, a day care center, a food bank, a museum, and another church. Politico says EPA officials notified religious groups that, although “there ha[d] been some uncertainty and erroneous information” on the issue, “the Recovery Act has no prohibitions on the use of Recovery Act funds being used to benefit churches/faithbased institutions.” This guidance was based on advice from the general counsel’s office in the Department of Energy, which also said: “The [Energy Efficiency and

Change By Melissa Rogers, Nonresident Senior Fellow Brookings Institute

Continuity and Change:

Like Bush, Obama also appears to have allowed churches and other houses of worship to seek direct federal social service funds. And, at least thus far, the Obama administration has permitted religious groups to make religion-based decisions regarding government-funded jobs, a policy former President Bush implemented widely. While then-candidate Obama promised to make changes to this policy once in office, and the White House has said it is reviewing these issues, the administration has so far left in place all of the policies the Bush administration developed on these issues, including a Department of Justice opinion and a provision in an executive order and associated regulations.

At the same time, an executive order President Obama signed on November 17, 2010, makes some important reforms of the Bush rules. This new order amends an executive order President Bush signed in 2002, and it applies to all federally funded social service programs. The changes the new order makes can be lumped into three broad categories. First, the 2010 order clarifies some matters the 2002 order had left somewhat murky. In recent years, there’s been confusion about whether providers could use government grant money to pay for counseling involving religious instruction, for example, or mix religious content into programs funded by government grants. The 2010 order makes it clear that direct aid cannot be used to pay for explicitly religious activities, meaning activities involving overt religious content such as prayer, worship, and proselytizing. It also calls on an interagency group to provide guidance on ways to cleanly separate any privately funded religious activities from a program subsidized by direct government aid. At the same time, the 2010 order emphasizes that religious providers are welcome to compete for government social service funding and maintain a religious identity as described above. Another concern the new executive order sought to address was the fact that the 2002 order had said beneficiaries couldn’t be required to “actively participate” in religious activities. This language did not make it clear that beneficiaries could not be required even to attend religious events or services. The 2010 order ends the ambiguity. It says beneficiaries have a right to refuse “to attend or participate in a religious practice.” Given some confusion about the rules that apply to subawards of federal funds, the new order also emphasizes that church-state standards and other standards apply to subawards as well as prime awards. In other words, subgrantees and subcontractors are subject to the same rules that apply to the nongovernmental organizations receiving grants and contracts, such as requirements that programs funded by direct federal aid must be separated from privately funded activities that are explicitly religious. The second type of change the 2010 order makes is that it sets forth a number of key religious liberty mandates that had been missing from the 2002 order. It states, for example, that beneficiaries have the right to an alternative provider if they object to a provider’s religious character, and that beneficiaries must be given written notice of their religious liberty rights at the outset. Similar rules have applied to federally funded substance abuse and mental health programs for years. This part of the new executive order is modeled on rules drafted by the Department of Health and Human Services during the

presidency of George W. Bush in response to statutory requirements. The Bush administration, however, rebuffed requests to extend these rules to all federally funded social services. The Obama administration has acceded to them. The 2010 order requires the government to monitor the programs it funds to ensure that they are following church-state rules, but it must do so in ways that avoid excessive church-state entanglement. It also makes it clear that decisions about awards of federal financial assistance have to be free from even the appearance of political interference and that such decisions must be made on the basis of merit, not religious affiliation or lack thereof. The third kind of change the 2010 order makes is that it mandates greater transparency and uniformity in this system. Grant and guidance documents must be posted on the web along with lists of nonprofits receiving federal social service funds. The 2010 order also creates the first interagency working group devoted to developing uniform rules on these and other issues. This group will propose a set of changes and additions to federal policies and practices that are necessary to fulfill the terms of the new executive order. In addition to the terms mentioned above, other tasks the interagency group has been given include developing instructions for peer reviewers and drafting policies regarding training for governmental employees and nonprofit providers on these rules. This is the first time these important issues have been mentioned in an executive order. In almost every case, the Bush administration was pressed to make changes like these, but it refused to do so. At the same time, it’s important to note that reforms set forth in the 2010 executive order have the backing of a group that includes some who supported the Bush initiative as well as some who opposed it. The president brought this diverse group together under the auspices of a newly created Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and the 2010 order is a direct response to many of the Council’s recommendations. Finally, a change that falls outside the context of executive orders is worth noting. The approaches of the Bush and Obama administrations appear to be significantly different in terms of the attention they have given to nonfinancial partnerships with religious and secular nonprofits, partnerships in which funds do not flow from the government to a nonprofit. According to Bush White House materials, “[t]he guiding principle” of its faith-based and community initiative was that “faithbased charities should be able to compete on an equal basis for public dollars to provide public services.” The Obama White House has continued financial collaboration with religious and nonreligious groups to serve people in need, but it has also placed heavy emphasis on non-financial partnerships aimed at accomplishing the same end. These include collaborations in which the government equips religious and secular groups with information about ways citizens may access needed government benefits and situations in which faith-based and other community organizations round up volunteers for after-school mentoring at public schools.

Conclusions Some points of continuity between the Bush and Obama policies make good sense. For example, while the government should never favor religiously affiliated groups in the competition for social service funds simply because of their faith ties, it should allow them to seek such funding along with secular groups. The government works with a wide range of nongovernmental organizations to achieve secular ends in the social service arena. If faith-based organizations wish to compete for government funding and are willing to abide by the relevant constitutional and other rules that apply, they should be welcome to

seek funds available to other nongovernmental groups. Federal social service funds are not gifts to the nonprofits that receive them; they are critical supports for people who are suffering, supports many nonprofits supplement with other services they subsidize themselves. One county official who administers the homelessness program mentioned in the Politico story told me he was “amazed at the number of people who are displaced and homeless [or] nearly homeless [these days] who have never relied on any form of public or government assistance in their life.” These people have lost their jobs, and they have been unable to get new ones. Counties don’t care whether the nonprofits receiving these grants are religiously affiliated or not, the official said. They simply look for organizations with strong track records, the capacity to manage government grants, and the ability to keep people off the street. At the same time, the Obama administration has wisely taken much-needed steps to create more clarity, transparency, and constitutional compliance in the rules governing these partnerships. Its new executive order is a major achievement, and the administration deserves great credit for asking a diverse group of experts to seek consensus in this area and for implementing many of this body’s recommendations. Consensus measures are more durable and help to minimize time spent in litigation and to maximize the time and energy we spend serving people in need. These reforms demonstrate appropriate respect for the Constitution and for the hard-working social service providers that don’t have time to learn an entirely new rulebook every four to eight years. Also, the Obama administration’s emphasis on nonfinancial as well as financial partnerships is a welcome point of departure from Bush administration policies. Nonfinancial partnerships present far fewer constitutional issues and risks for religious integrity. Indeed, many religious bodies that have no interest in financial collaboration are open to cooperating with government in nonfinancial ways. These alliances have the power to do as much good as financial partnerships. Still, more reforms are needed regarding the rules governing financial partnerships, reforms aimed at protecting religious autonomy and equal opportunity in federally funded employment. Churches and other houses of worship are special kinds of religious institutions, and the government often does and should treat them specially. Houses of worship should be required to form separate corporations in order to receive direct federal social service funds as a way of insulating them from government regulation and lawsuits; protecting their unique legal status, including the special exemptions these core religious bodies enjoy; and maintaining an appropriate separation of church and state. Further, government officials certainly should be engaged with both religious and nonreligious nonprofits that wish to work with the state to improve their energy efficiency. When determining appropriate ways to do so, however, these officials must consult not only the text of federal statutes and regulations but also First Amendment precedent. And while religious organizations should have full freedom to make religious calls regarding jobs subsidized by tithes and offerings, taxpayers are right to expect to be able to compete for positions created by government grants without regard to their personal religious beliefs or lack thereof. Thus, the Obama administration should undo Bush policies that broke with a long and proud tradition of equal opportunity in federally funded jobs regardless of religion or creed. E In sum, at this point, the Obama administration’s policies deserve a mixed verdict. Its continuation of certain Bush administration policies is troubling, but it has also retained some sensible policies and made key reforms that will benefit people in need and strengthen our cherished tradition of religious freedom.

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ROAD TO 2012

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he magician that resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is still pulling rabbits out of his hat nearly two years after his improbable election in 2008. President Barack Obama was indeed the right man at the right time for America’s toughest job. Mr. Obama has withstood ongoing battles with expected GOP rivals while also taking friendly fire from his own party. After last November’s Midterm election catapulted Republicans to power in the U.S.House of Representatives, pundits were already eulogizing this young president. However, rising from the flames like the mythical Phoenix, the president signed into law another controversial piece of legislation that many said would never get done –Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010, allowing gay and lesbians in the military to openly express their sexuality. Farther endearing himself to this powerful voting bloc, the president recently declared that a federal law against gay marriage is unconstitutional. The Obama administration’s impressive list of legislative accomplishments will be hard for Republicans to overcome in 2012, especially since the GOP is not known as the party of No. Below is a partial list of those legislative successes. They include:

back to the

White House By Alvin Brown, Exalt Dallas

• • • • • • • • • •

FDA Food Safety Modernization Act James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010 Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Contrary to what his critics would have you believe, President Obama’s assumed reelection bid is gaining momentum with each major bill he inks into law. His political prowess and nimbleness have made him a juggernaut heading firmly towards 2012. It would be truly be surprising if a majority of voters do not reward him with a second term. A true intellectual, Mr. Obama brought us what we needed most --a common sense approach to government based on fairness and practicality; and yes he also brought the renewed hope that America could be better. Somewhere I read that “he that has good health has hope; and he that has hope has everything.” The hope of the president is in motion; the economy is rebounding, the auto industry is leveling and the banks are back in business. Albeit, we still have some challenges with job creation, real estate market and the deficit. The bottom line is that president and his administration inherited a nation shattered into many pieces; can you imagine how long it would have taken to put Humpty Dumpty back together? It is not realistic to expect that a country with so many ailments could be cured in one

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term. Take into account all that he has encountered and over the next two years he still must face looming battlegrounds of immigration, social security and how best to manage military involvement in Afghanistan. And for his critics from the left, President Obama has always been a centrist and wants to draw ideas from both sides of the fence, whether liberal or conservative. He realizes that neither party is going to render the other obscure the other; and that government has to be in motion to properly function for the American people. If you recall the great speech he delivered at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, the president’s ideology will forever be incased in that viewpoint. “It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, Gay, Straight, Disabled and Not disabled. AMERICANS have sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states. We are and always will be, the United States of America.” History and contemporary events tell us that these words do not point to the America of today. There has been and still exists a vast disparity between the wealthy and poor, as well as discrimination against minorities and other cultural groups. And yes we once disagreed so passionately that it led to the Civil War. But when Mr. Obama delivered those words in 2004, he spoke as a man that embodied the vision of what America can become, not what it is. The GOP’s main problem heading towards 2012 While we understand the GOP’s strategy to oppose every major position the president brings forth; their biggest problem is that most Americans are identifying personalities such as Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as the face of the party. Neither would stand a chance to move independent voters in a head to head battle against the president. In short, while the Republicans also have good ideas, they must carefully choose who will present them. Keep in mind it is early and no one has officially declared presidential intentions. However, the current list of GOP potential challengers may also include a who’s who list of former and current governors including, Mitt Romney, Mike Hukabee, Tim Pawlenty and Haley Barbour of Mississippi. Even Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and business guru Donald Trump have been mentioned; although neither look strong enough to seriously challenge President Obama, who will enter the 2012 race equipped with four years of intense Oval Office experience and a slew of major legislation signed into law. The president only has to layout a clear vision for the country’s military involvement, convince us that the massive deficit will somehow correct itself as a consequence of his party’s aggressive spending, create mechanism s that ticks the job market upward and tackle the coming immigration battle head on; if these issues are handled well, there is no reason a majority of Americans should not reward him with four more years. Sounds like a lot to hang one’s hat on I know, but given his steady hand under intense pressure thus far; I believe this president can pull it off. E

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Political Tidbits By Exalt Dallas Political News

Straight Party Voting Straight Party Voting allows a voter to select all the candidates of a specific political party with a single ballot. A bill to eliminate straight party voting  in Texas was recently read and referred to the House Elections Committee. Advocates of the practice argue that it saves time and is much better for seniors that may have failing vision. Critics counter that single ballot voting is responsible for the Primary victory of South Carolina’s Alvin Greene (D), who eventually lost in the general election after his past criminal history and glaring lack of ideas for South Carolina were exposed. As most recent elections show, so-called straightticket voting has been transformed from a convenient voter luxury to a tool that helps Democrats and Republicans win elections and build their party bases. Proponents of HB 638 contend that allowing voters to press one button to finish out a partisan ballot is bad for democracy and skews elections that, without the practice, would have had a different result. “We’re not England,” said state Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, pointing out the British system of voting along party lines. “Straight-ticket voting is a detriment to our system and not the way it was designed to be.” Wentworth, as he’s done unsuccessfully in previous legislative sessions, has prepared a bill that would outlaw straight-ticket voting in Texas, one of 16 states that allow voters such an option. The proposal has long odds, since members of both parties are fond of allowing voters the ease of completing their ballot in one motion and then going home. “We’re in favor of giving voters an option, not taking options from voters,” said Chris Elam, a spokesman for the Texas Republican Party. The Democrats will certainly have an advantage in the 2012 Presidential Election as it is assumed that President Barack Obama will be on the ticket and is again expected to generate record voter turnout.

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Ever wondered how the Constitution can be changed? The U.S. Constitution can be amended in two ways, both spelled out in one sentence that makes up Article V. They end with the same requirement: a minimum of 38 states must ratify the amendment. The simpler way is for two-thirds of both chambers of Congress to approve the amendment. The other route is a constitutional convention, a national meeting to consider amendments that must be called if 34 states ask for one. None of the Constitution’s 27 amendments were approved via a constitutional convention. Excepts taken from an article written by Aman Batheja | The Fort Worth Star-Telegram

School board elections set for May 14 Dallas County Schools Board of Trustees to hold elections for Precinct 1 and 4 Individual Districts to also elect trustees Schools in Dallas County are accepting applications for Board of Trustee positions. Across the county elections will be held May 14. The deadline for submitting an application for school board positions is 5 p.m. Monday, March 14. Write-in candidate deadline is 5 p.m. March 21. A drawing for positions on the ballot will be held at 8 a.m. March 22. Early voting will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 2-7, from 1 to 6 p.m. May 8 and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 9 and 10. Election Day voting will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 14. One can vote early at any voting site in Dallas County. However, on Election Day voters must cast in their own precinct. E

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