CASH IN THE APPLE
By Cash Michaels
ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY - April 22 marks one year that I started my radio show, “Make it Happen” on Power 750 WAUG-AM in Raleigh, and Power 750.com online every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m..
Juggling two newspapers, video production, television and a new blog recently, a weekly radio program has allowed me to share other aspects of my journalism with the community that they can followup on in either The Carolinian or The Wilmington Journal, both of which I credit every week at the opening of the show.
Doing the show also allows me to remain sharp in my radio skills, and reach a different audience weekly.
It can be a bear putting the shows on each week, but for someone who has it in his blood to share the stories and insights that are most important to the community, it has also been a joy. So thanks to my audience in the Triangle, in Wilmington and elsewhere for supporting the show for the past year. This afternoon my special anniversary show guests are famed Democratic Party activist, CNN commentator and current Democratic National Committee Interim Chairwoman Donna Brazile; and Congressman G. K. Butterfield [D-1-NC], and, among others.
Listen in this afternoon at 4 p.m.
IN WILMINGTON - Next Tuesday evening, I’ll be back in Wilmington to moderate, “What Should Education Reform Look Like in New Hanover County?” a community forum sponsored by The Wilmington Journal and the Community Boys and Girls Club of Wilmington, 901 Nixon Street, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.. For more information contact Christal Reynolds at (919)871-1084.
A MATTER OF DEGREES - It is stunning to think that on Saturday, April 16, 2011, ANY of us living in the torrent of tornadoes that swept through North Carolina could have died. The dangerous storms took particular paths, but those paths weren’t necessarily predetermined.
There were some neighborhoods, like mine, that were hit with strong winds and truckloads of rain. A tree here, a limb there, scary, loud and it was basically all over. And yet, if the storm in my area had just shifted one degree, my house and my family would have been in peril.
The same is perhaps true for you, if you think about it. Why did the house down the block get demolished, and yours didn’t?
That’s the way it was for all of us on that day. Wherever you were, you had to wait and wonder, “How bad is this going to be?” Watching minute-by minute coverage on WRAL-TV and WTVD-TV, amazed at how the TV stations and their Doppler radar are able to track storms and tornados literally block by block, only added to the suspense.
Our case was particularly interesting. Our eight-year-old daughter, KaLa, had been dropped off a birthday party while the weather was fine. But once the storms began, the wife and I found ourselves trapped at our home as the storm made its way through our neighborhood.
That meant we couldn’t leave to go get her. As a father, being separated from my youngest during a time of danger is against everything I believe in. And since they weren’t answering the telephone at the birthday party, that only compounded my angst about her safety.
So you can imagine, once the storm cleared, how quickly we jumped in the car and headed to the party to retrieve KaLa. Fortunately, all was well. In the midst of the storm, the children were all having fun, and were well looked after.
My baby girl had no idea.
But when we got home and turned on the TV, KaLa’s bliss was soon over.
Slowly but surely the reports of extraordinary destruction were coming in. The Lowe’s Home Improvement store in Lee County where the roof was literally ripped off half the building as customers were rushed go safety in the back of the store.
The Stonybrook Mobile Home Park in North Raleigh, where three children were crushed to death after a tree fell on the closet where they were hiding for safety. A fourth child died days later.
The campuses of both Shaw University and St. Augustine’s College hit hard by the storm.
And the many, many homes in poorer counties like Bertie, that were blown away by the winds and rain, taking many lives with them.
Twenty-three lives in all.
Watching the people who lost everything on television, tears in their eyes, but thankfulness in their souls as they all said to a person, “I’m just thankful to be alive.”
That’s why it strikes me that those of who never really came close to having our roofs blown off, or a tree crash into our living room, or a giant limb crush our car, should be just as thankful to GOD.
By just a matter of degrees, and by the golden grace of GOD Almighty, goes any one of us. The next time, it could be different.
So for those of us who were spared, let us indeed be thankful. And let us do what we can to help those who weren’t. I went to the campus of Shaw University and saw the damage. Saw it in the neighborhood surrounding the campus too, where power was out, power lines were lines were down, and neighbor was helping neighbor.
I also visited the neighborhood where St. Augustine’s College resides, which also suffered substantial tree damage and power outages.
What both communities have in common is they’re older black communities, where many of our older citizens live. It may be many days before they get that tree limb off the roof, or power restored.
Time for ALL of us to come together in our communities, and help the least of us pull through. Make sure they have enough food and personal products to stay healthy.
We face a lot of issues as a community, but survival in the face life or death struggle must be priority one.
Remember, it is just by degrees that I’m not writing about you, or me, or ours.
Just by degrees, and that’s close enough.
LAST WEEK - Last week was perhaps the very first time I’ve ever missed writing for an edition of this newspaper, but it was for good reason.
I was suddenly stricken with a bout of “shingles,” a painful pre-chicken pox virus that attacked the left side of my face and eye, that slowly but surely got more gruesome and problematic. Imagine having your worse toothache on your face. Those of you who have had shingles know exactly what I’m talking about.
The condition was so disorienting, I couldn’t think. And as for seeing, it was only with one eye as the left one was swollen “Rocky”-style. Add to that the high fever I was running as times (106 at one point), and immediate loss of appetite (I lost 10 lbs. when it was all over), and it was just all I could do to keep it all together.
I’m told that in the old days, folks with shingles were so physically tormented that some even committed suicide. I understand.
Luckily, I had two great doctors - Dr. Allen Mask and Dr. Edwin Swann
- to guide me through the torment. I followed their instructions to the letter, and relief was in days, not weeks as is normally the case.
But even with the direction of those two giants, my wife and daughter were the absolute champs in seeing me through. They realized just how sick I was, knew I wasn’t strong enough to work through it (as I normally do), and were there for me 24/7 through it all.
That’s the value of family, folks, and I’m thankful that mine was there for me when I needed them.
I’m not fully recovered yet, but unlike last week when I couldn’t function at all, I’m back in the saddle.
It’s one thing feeling so sick you can’t work.
It’s another thing feeling sick and useless.
Thanks to both my bosses at the The Carolinian and Wilmington Journal for hanging in there with me. They knew when I said I couldn’t work that it had to be serious.
SPECIAL NOTE - Next week I’ll be big time busy, not only traveling to Wilmington for a community forum on schools, but taking part in two more forums about education. On Thursday, April 28 from 7 - 9 p.m., the Franciscan Coalition for Justice is hosting the first of a three-part series called, “Conversations on the Common Good: Wake County Schools.”
The theme that evening will be “Informing” and I will be sharing the stage with T. Keung Hui, education reporter for The News and Observer.
The location is the Fellowship Hall, Catholic Community of St. Francis of Assisi, 11401 Leesville Road in Raleigh.
Then on Friday, April 29 at 10 a.m., and again at 2 p.m. during the Sixth Annual NC Black Summit, I’ll be one of the panelists for a discussion on education at the Raleigh Sheraton Capital Center in downtown.
Look forward to seeing you…somewhere?
Make sure you tune in every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. for my talk radio show, ''Make It Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM, or online at www.Power750.com. And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my new blog, ‘The Cash Roc” (http://thecashroc.blogspot.com/2011/01/cash-roc-begins.html). I promise it will be interesting.”
Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association, by Cash Michaels, honored this year as well by NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian your life. Bye, bye.
TRIANGLE NEWS BRIEFS
MANGUM INDICTED IN BOYFRIEND’S STABBING DEATH
Life has just gotten more serious for Crystal Mangum, the woman at the center of the infamous Duke lacrosse alleged rape case. A Durham grand jury has indicted Mangum for the stabbing death of her boyfriend, Reginald Daye. Durham police were called to the couple’s apartment after reports of a domestic dispute to find Daye repeatedly stabbed. Mangum was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. Daye died in Duke Hospital days later. Her current bail is set at $300,000.
NC APPELLATE COURT CONFIRMS THAT WAKE SCHOOL BOARD VIOLATED OPEN MEETINGS LAW
In a unanimous ruling issued this week, the NC Court of Appeals agreed with a lower Wake Superior Court ruling that the Republican-led Wake School Board violated the state’s Open Meetings Law when it limited public access to its March 23rd, 2010 meeting. But the Appellate Court also agreed not to reinstate the lawsuit against the school board by supporters of the old socioeconomic diversity policy, saying that the violations have been since remedied. On that date, board leaders issued tickets to limit the public in attending the school board meeting, instead of moving to a larger available room.
RALEIGH GET TOUGH ON OVERDUE PARKING FINES
If you’re parked legally in downtown Raleigh, but are overdue in paying a past parking ticket, don’t be surprised to find a boot around your tire until you pay up. That’s one of the new tougher rules the Raleigh City Council adopted Tuesday in order to make up for a $1.4 million shortfall in parking fine collections. The council also agreed to getting overdue fines out of state tax refunds if they’re $50.00 or more, and also put holds on vehicle registrations. Officials say the weak economy and an increase in debt service payments are just some of the reasons for the shortfall.
SOUTHEAST RALEIGH HIT HARD BY TORNADO FORCE
By Cash Michaels
Days after its extraordinary destruction, areas of downtown and Southeast Raleigh are still recovering from the force of the killer tornados that have left 24 dead across the state, and tens of millions of dollars in lost homes and properties.
Among the dead, four Latino children who were severely injured at the Stony Brook North Mobile Home Park in North Raleigh when a tree fell on the trailer home they had huddled in for safety during the April 16 storm.
The youngest was just six-months-old.
Less than 4,000 people in Wake County - including Garner and Zebulon - remained without power as of late Tuesday, says Progress Energy.
On Tuesday, President Barack Obama, as expected, declared the parts of North Carolina that had been hit federal disaster areas. Teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had been in the state since Sunday assessing the damage.
In Bertie County, one of the state’s poorest, twelve people are known to have been killed. Governor Beverly Perdue, who declared at least 22 counties affected disaster areas, urged all North Carolinians to help their affected neighbors with food, clothing, and even temporary shelter if need be. A NC Disaster Relief Fund has been setup to accept donations.
Weather forecasters believe that at least 25 “super-cell” tornadoes were spawned that ravaged parts of the state.
In the poorer, older neighborhoods bordering downtown Raleigh, large trees and tree limbs were blown down on almost every other block making many impassable. Many of the power lines were also down as a result of the limbs, and utility poles were snapped in two. Brick chimney tops were reduced to rumble. Steel fences were collapsed like playing cards. Pieces of roofs were ripped off.
Not since Hurricane Fran of 1996 had the downtown and Southeast Raleigh areas seen so much damage.
“[The tornado] took a very narrow path,” Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker told The Carolinian Sunday, adding that though only one percent of the city was affected, it will take two to three weeks to get the damage cleaned up.
“Very destructive,” Meeker said.
On Sunday, the day after, neighbors were out in the streets, moving what tree limbs they could, and running extension cords to homes without power in a effort to keep refrigerators operating and lights operating where they could.
The sound of buzz saws filled the air as workers cut heavy trees to get them off of crushed cars and out of roadways.
In Southeast Raleigh, two of the African-American community’s anchor institutions, Shaw University and St. Augustine’s College, were hit hard by the Saturday storms, forcing officials at Shaw to close the crippled campus for the remainder of the spring semester, and send students home.
Dormitories on campus had their windows blown out. Two one-hundred year-old trees were uprooted out of the ground by the James Cheek building. The roof of historic Estey Hall had been ruptured. The roof of the Willie E. Gary Student Center had been blasted open while students had been eating. Before it collapsed, the stunned students got out without injury.
On other parts of the campus, some Shaw students were injured, but not seriously. The night of the storm, school officials fed students at Golden Corral in Garner. Some used Southeast Raleigh High School as a shelter to sleep and be safe. Cleanup crews began operations that night sweeping up glass and boarding up windows, and were still working well into Sunday.
“Major damage,” Shaw President Irma McLaurin told The Carolinian Sunday as various officials, including US Sen. Kay Hagan, Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker and Wake County Commissioner James West, among others, surveyed the destruction.
Insurance, federal aid and private donations are being counted to restore the campus. Shaw alums are already using social media like Facebook to raise funds and awareness ton help their school.
As some students seemed shocked by the destruction of their campus, others were moving out of dorms with boarded up windows blown out by the storm. Seniors will return to town on May 7 for graduation, otherwise no final exams will be conducted.
“We could not, in fact, have students around,” Dr. McLaurin said. “We still have hanging branches we’re afraid are going to fall. So the main thing is to get them out.”
“I don’t think any of us had any idea of the extent of the devastation,” McLaurin added.
The same could be said about St. Augustine’s College cross town in the Oakwood section, where large trees collapsed on buildings and cars across campus, causing extensive damage. Power was out for most of the campus until Tuesday when classes resumed. Some students were upset that, despite the disrepair, Dr. Dianne Boardley-Suber, president of St. Aug’s, decided to keep school open.
She challenged St. Aug students to deal with the temporary difficulties brought about by the devastation to the campus, and vowed that they would learn from it.
BRAZILE URGES BLACKS TO SUPPORT OBAMA, PROTECT GAINS
By Cash Michaels
The interim chairman of the Democratic National Committee says the nation, and specifically the African-American community, has to stick with President Barack Obama and the Democrats during these tough times to “keep the country safe and secure.”
But in an exclusive taped interview Tuesday with the weekly radio program “Make it Happen” on Power 750 WAUG-AM/Power 750.com for airing this afternoon, top Washington insider and CNN/ABC commentator Donna Brazile also admitted that there have been times over the past two years when she didn’t necessarily agree with some of the president’s policies.
“Look, I haven’t always been pleased with the president of the United States,” the renowned Democratic Party strategist and interim DNC chair said. “I’ve had times when I’ve had to differ with the president. Whether it’s been the housing policies or the firing of [former USDA official] Shirley Sherrod, or just recently, giving the Republicans the opportunity [during the recent 2011 budget negotiations] to write their own narrowly-based social agenda on the [Washington] D.C. budget where I live, I’m not always in the cheerleading section.”
“Sometimes I’m on the sidelines, sometimes I like to be right there on the field getting a little dirty with the rest of them. But the bottomline is I’m proud to be a Democrat, I’m proud to be an American, [but] more importantly I’m proud to say that Barack Obama is my choice for president in 2012,” Brazile said.
It’s the kind of frank, pull-no-punches talk that Brazile, 51, is known for. The first African-American ever to run a major political party’s bid for president when she took the reins of then Vice President Al Gore’s 2000 campaign, the Louisiana native has earned the title of Washington powerbroker, serving as DNC vice chair; managing her own DC consulting firm, hitting the talk and keynoter’s circuit at colleges and universities across the nation; and now chairing the Democratic National Committee until Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, is officially voted in, which is expected to happen shortly.
But right now, Brazile’s passion is supporting the president, and making sure that both he and the Democrats are successful when Obama runs for re-election in 2012.
“The country is still in the throes of a very critical economic downturn,” Brazile told WAUG-AM. “While we’ve seen 13 months of promising job growth, Pres. Obama is committed to see that every American who is looking for a job will be able to find work in his/her hometown.”
Balancing spending cuts with “revenue attractions” in the midst of a slow economic recovery has to be a “balanced approach to getting our fiscal house in order,” Brazile maintains, countering the popular Republican mantra that America as “a spending problem, not a revenue problem.”
The poor and middle-class have definitely been hurt during the recovery, so government must do all it can to make them whole, as much as possible, Brazile says, particularly through job growth.
Brazile says the president “is committed to make sure that the federal government lives within its means,” and will make well thought-out cuts to the budget where needed.
But Republicans, per their plan to drastically cut the federal budget through Medicare/Medicaid, education, affordable housing and other vital programs, while simultaneously giving millionaires and billionaires generous tax cuts, threaten the government’s social safety net where its needed the most. The trend is already being seen in local and state governments across the nation, and Brazile says Americans must take note, and then take action.
Brazile also urges communities to support Pres. Obama’s insistence on “winning the future” through investing more in education, and for individuals to improve their own educational opportunities to better prepare themselves for upcoming challenges and opportunities.
“If you’re living on the margins; if you’re living without the means to dip into your savings account, then the recession we’ve just experienced will have a devastating impact on communities of color,” Brazile says, maintaining that communities should not be “pitted against each other” in times of great struggle.
Politically, recent polls show President Obama’s support in the African-American community softening to 85 percent from the high nineties, and white voter support dropping to the mid-30’s. Brazile believes if the economy and employment continue to improve going into 2012, Pres. Obama will win white voters back.
Don’t expect Republicans to help the cause, however. Real estate tycoon Donald Trump, star of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice,” has mounted a surprising strong pre-presidential campaign rooted in the highly-discredited, yet explosively divisive birther movement that President Obama isn’t an American citizen. Almost half of Republicans polled believe the “Where’s Obama’s birth certificate?” question has merit, and Trump has virtually to the top of the crowded 2012 GOP presidential potential candidate heap by pushing the cause everywhere and anywhere he can find a camera or microphone.
“Donald Trump is running for the Republican nomination by sing a divisive issue that most Republicans …believe is absolutely ludicrous,” Brazile said, adding that, for now, he should be taken seriously, given his resources and ability to garner the press. Still, if Democrats are on their game, and not distracted by Trump or anyone else, they’ll do well, she says.
Brazile urged black leaders throughout the community to either active, or get active to both educate and mobilize these during these difficult times. She also said that she’s looking forward to the 2012 Democratic National Convention coming to Charlotte in September 2012, and says that North Carolina is key towards Pres. Barack Obama reclaiming the White House.
But only if Democrats mobilize to vote in greater numbers than before.
“The United States of America is marching forward in the 21st Century,” Brazile declared. “We’re not going back”
“We’re not going back.”
W-ed-WE NEED TO WAKE UP NOW!
Alright, the self-induced snooze since the 2008 presidential elections are now officially over. We actually wish it was over before last November’s disastrous (for Democrats) 2010 midterm elections, but precious little we can do about that now.
The Republicans are slowly, but surely and literally, turning the clock back in this state and nation, to the point that if they’re successful, you’ll wake up one morning a year from now shocked to discover that you have less rights than you think you do right now.
Let’s put all of the disgusting foolishness about the “Where’s Obama’s birth certificate?” movement to the side for a movement, shall we? That’s just a piece of the puzzle, a puzzle to disenfranchise our community and all right-thinking people somewhere in the neighborhood of …FOREVER!
Case in point - you already know how the Republican-led majority in the NC General Assembly is working to make voter ID’s mandatory in the state of North Carolina. Their reason? Alleged voter fraud, something there’s very, very little of not just here, but across the nation.
But one thing there is plenty of here, and that’s Hispanic voters, voters that are more likely to vote Democratic because of all of the anti-immigration legislation the GOP has been pushing of late. Best way to keep the Latinos from voting with African-Americans and liberal whites is to impose a voter ID law under the guise of preventing voter corruption that literally doesn’t exist.
But hold on, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Now we find that Republicans in the NC Senate have introduced SB657 - the “Voter Integrity” bill. If this little ditty is adopted, not only does it eliminate same-day voter registration, a key component to empowering all eligible North Carolinians to register and vote, but also:
** Ban Sunday or “Souls to the Polls” voting in North
** Eliminate early voter registration for 16-17 year olds
** Limit the early voting period to 8-9 days.
** Limit the available day time hours of early voting locations.
Just in case you weren’t aware, Barack Obama only won North Carolina in the 2008 presidential election because he was able to bank over 100,000 votes beyond Republican John McCain in the two weeks prior the Nov. 4, 2008 election.
Obama won North Carolina by just 14,000.
Now the GOP wants to severely early voting as best as they can.
Then comes everybody’s favorite subject - birtherism.
Thanks to real estate tycoon/TV star Donald Trump, this ignorant caldron of hate is alive and well as he continues to churn it in his drive for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
But that’s a distraction.
What’s more important to look at are the extraordinary number of states, Georgia and Louisiana being two them, that are pushing some sort of birther bill ultimately
directed at keeping President Obama’s name off their respective ballots. At least ten states are now entertaining birther bills. Arizona actually passed one, but that state’s Republican Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed it, saying that requiring presidential candidates to show their circumcision records was “a bridge too far.”
So make no mistake, all of this activity, in addition to the union-busting efforts in states like Wisconsin and Ohio, wouldn’t be happening if the GOP weren’t determined not only to stop Barack Obama from being reelected, but shutting the Democratic Party down once-and-for-all, and they see their chance to do that in their drive to take back the White House and the US Senate in 2012, not to mention a few more governorships and state legislatures to complete their absolute majorities.
We knew some of this was going to happen when the Republicans won the 2012 midterms.
The challenge now is to make sure it doesn’t happen again in this fall’s 2011 local elections, and next year’s bigger-than-big 2012 presidential election, when Pres. Obama faces reelection.
So the question remains, what are we going to do to stop this nonsense, this brazen attempt to limit our rights?
We have to wake up first, and wake up NOW!