Tuesday, May 31, 2011



            Well, they’ve gone and done it.
The conservative Republican majority on our New Hanover Public School Board has voted 5-2 to close our beloved D.C. Virgo Middle School. Now, not only will 180 students have to be shipped out to schools far from their neighborhoods, but the pride and legacy of one of two middle schools in the African-American community will come to an end.
What’s pathetic about the whole drama is those same “Conservative Five” look like complete hypocrites. For at least the past year we’ve had to swallow their blather about neighborhood schools and being educated in one’s own community, primarily because white parents in other parts of the city wanted their kids in their neighborhood schools, and our children out.
The result - the board majority cramming Virgo and Williston with so many free-and-reduced lunch children, a local Republican attorney had to warn the board that the NCNAACP would soon be knocking on its door with a federal complaint if it didn’t slow down.
White parents were happy, black parents dealt with it, and life went on.
That is until we got a new superintendent, and he decided that Virgo could serve better purpose as either a magnet or charter school in the 2012 school year. That meant those 180 kids have to give up their Virgo, and plan to make tracks to Williston, Trask, Noble or Holly Shelter middle schools.
Needless to say, our community isn’t pleased.
Dorothy DeShields, our only black school board member, joined by the board’s only Republican with consistently any sense, Elizabeth Redenbaugh, challenged the board’s conservatives to explain the logic, given their past insistence on neighborhood schools.
Why is it so important for the school board majority to have neighborhood schools everywhere except in the black community?” she asked. “Why are the wishes of some groups more important than the wishes and desires of other groups? Why can't they show some semblance of fairness?''
Yeah, why Ed Higgins, Janice Cavenaugh, Derrick Hickey, Jeannette Nichols and Don Hayes?
Our NHC NAACP President Deborah Dicks Maxwell took it a step further.
“This disgraceful and purposeful displacement of the 180 primarily minority students with such short notice evidences the utter disregard and lack of respect certain board members have for certain constituents,” she said. “Why are 'neighborhood schools' so important for some children but not for others?”
Still waiting Higgins, Cavenaugh, Hickey, Nichols and Hayes.
And former NHC NAACP President James Hankins told us if ever there was a time for the community to think “recall election,” this is it.
“Is there enough interest among the fair minded taxpayers in New Hanover County to recall the five uncompromising board of education members?'' the retired educator asked.
The Journal agrees with DeShields, Maxwell and Hankins, but it can’t be our voice alone.
YOU must be heard!
Our community must come together in great and caring numbers to confront this challenge to our children’s education. Our leadership must hold an immediate town hall meeting, given the urgency of the moment, to clarify the issues, develop a plan of action, invite input, and then move forward.
We either must exhaust every avenue to stall or stop the closure of Virgo, or make sure that our children ultimate benefit from what replaces it.
In short, we must advocate for our children like NEVER before!
We’ve been down this road before in our community, the gray heads will tell you.
The closing of Williston Senior High School in 1968 - one of the best high schools in the entire state of North Carolina - despite all of the strife and protest, was a crushing blow to our community that has never been forgotten.
Even then we asked “Why?,” and got the same stiff arm we’re getting from these school board miscreants today.
The bottomline is Wilmington’s African-American community should not accept the closing of Virgo, not without a major, all-out fight. Ask yourself, of all of the middle schools the board could have closed for its next charter or magnet, why choose one in our community, given that we have only two? Why not close one in the suburbs?
Because their white constituents would give them almighty hell, THAT’S why!
The school board believes African-Americans can’t politically hurt them or their vote.
Are they wrong? Can they just do what they please to our community and our children?
There’s some talk of the Virgo site being used as an urban prep academy, but why can’t we have that AND keep Virgo open?
We see what’s going on around us at the state Legislature, Congress, and certainly our local school board.  Conservative Republicans have gone wild, acting as if they don’t have to answer to anybody for what they do.
For our children, and their future, let’s prove them wrong!
Let’s fight for Virgo!

Kevin Hill


Hill Announces Run for Reelection in
District 3 Board of Education Race

He was first elected to the Wake County Board of Education in October 2007 and is currently an adjunct instructor of education at NC State University’s College of Education.  Hill served as vice-chair from June 2008 through June 2009, and chair from June 2009 through December 2009.

“I believe now, more than ever, that our Wake County Board of Education needs strong, progressive, and experienced leadership to help take our school system and our students to new levels of achievement,” said Hill, whose background as a teacher and principal in the Wake County Public School System is well known, as are his advocacy for a quality school system and a quality education for all students.

Hill says his  top priority for the Wake County Public Schools is to do everything possible to challenge every student at every school in our system.  As a Board of Education member, he says that ensuring strong academic achievement for all children at all schools begins with strong academically-focused leadership, policies, and practices that reflect this commitment.

With the current movement to develop a new student assignment plan, much is at stake for our students and parents, not to mention Wake County as a whole.  Hill says his  goal is to continue to provide leadership and balanced perspective on the Board of Education.  While the new assignment plan is finalized and implemented, Hill says he will work to ensure that the new plan is implemented with fidelity and a true commitment to achievement.

“It is important to develop a plan that respects parents’ wishes for their children, while also using our limited facilities and resources to their best potential.” says Kevin.  He continues, “the resulting plan must be transparent and free from politically-motivated controls so that all families are treated fairly in the process.”

Developing a new student assignment plan is but one of the many critical tasks the Board of Education faces.   Hill says he will  work to refocus Board efforts to support identifying research driven staff development for teachers and to seek needed funding to ensure equitable program offerings throughout Wake County.  Finally, he will work diligently to protect and increase needed funding for schools in District 3.

Serving on the Board of Education requires the ability to understand complex issues that balance the needs of all citizens in Wake County including students, parents, taxpayers, business owners, and other community organizations.  Hill says he's keenly aware that nearly 70% of the citizens in Wake County do not have children in the public school system.  He feels that it is important to understand that our schools benefit everyone in Wake County, not simply the students and parents who attend them.

Hill says he's passionate about preserving our education budget, which has been declining (on a per pupil basis) from both state and local sources, for several years.  We currently have amongst the lowest per pupil spending in the state and country.  He believes that, even in difficult times, we must remember that investing in education will drive the long-term economic engine of Wake County, not to mention the future possibilities for our children currently in our schools.

Hill  believes that the key to making complex decisions is in seeking community input as part of the process, including public comment at Board meetings and public hearings, PTA/PTSA concerns, input from teachers and administrators, and finally, through outreach efforts to our underrepresented students and parents.  While taking all concerns into consideration, final decisions must be data-driven, transparent, and with the needs of the school system in mind.  Hill says making decisions based on facts and evidence increase the likelihood that our schools are efficiently run and ultimately create financial benefits for everyone in Wake County as a result of a greater return on investment in education.


Special to the Carolinian

 With a symbolic act of civil disobedience on Tuesday, May 24, 2011, the North Carolina NAACP State Conference and a coalition of faith, civic and other organizations stepped up a mounting campaign to challenge “extreme right-wing policies” throughout the state. Reverend Dr. William Barber II, president of the North Carolina State Conference, and several faith and community-based leaders were arrested after a session of the North Carolina House during which they gathered to protest sweeping budget cuts to education and social services.
“These types of cuts only serve to hurt the middle class and the poor and will not make our nation better,” remarked NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “The courage of Reverend Dr. Barber and the other leaders who were arrested shows the unyielding resolve that we must all exhibit to protect America’s promise for hard working North Carolina families.”
During the May 24th legislative session, Rev. Barber and a multiracial group of six other faith and civil rights leaders were handcuffed and arrested in the gallery of the North Carolina General Assembly after vocalizing their disapproval of a spending plan that would drastically cut critical funding to education and social services.
“What doth the Lord require?” Rev. Barber asked the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives Thom Tillis.
Tillis answered by ordering the arrest of N.C. NAACP President Barber and six other NAACP and the HKonJ Emergency Coalition.  Tillis ordered the small General Assembly Security Force to arrest Rev. Barber, Rev. Curtis Gatewood, Rev. T. Anthony Spearman, Rev. Kojo Nantambu, Rob Stephens, Tim Hodges, and David LaMotte from the N.C. Council of Churches.
Tillis had, apparently, made a decision to close House debate before 4pm which was the same time the well-publicized Emergency Call to Action rally set to start a few yards from the House Gallery.  Despite the arrest, scores of NAACP and other activists still led the 350-person rally in a spirited speak-out against the extremists’ massive budget cuts to public schools, human services, 45,000 workers’ unemployment benefits, and direct attacks on the voting rights of people of color, students and older people.
“North Carolina is in a state of emergency,” stated Barber. “The civil, education, economic, and voting rights of North Carolina citizens are under a frontal attack by ultra-extreme, right-wing elements who want to return our state to the dark days of division, segregation and economic despair.”
The leaders were released the following morning and vowed to continue to advocate for smart policies and budgets that will protect the rights of all North Carolinians.
             “Our state can do better than the direction we are headed,” added Barber. “The State of North Carolina has come too far to take a step back. The North Carolina NAACP and members of the HKonJ coalition will continue to organize, educate and empower communities across the state to keep moving North Carolina forward.”
The HKonJ is a statewide coalition of labor, faith, civic and civil rights organizations. Last year, the coalition organized a demonstration of over 8,000 people to oppose attempts to resegregate the schools and march for job creation policies and equal protection under the law.
This week, the NC Senate came back from the Memorial Day weekend break restoring funding for 13,000 teaching assistants, but requiring local school districts to cut approximately $120 million collectively from their budgets, which would still result in the layoffs of hundreds of teachers and their assistants. Gov. Beverly Perdue called the GOP budget, which is expected to be voted on this week, “a charade.”
In addition to the budget cuts in education and human services, the North Carolina General Assembly is also considering a voter ID bill that would disenfranchise poor and minority voters, repealing same day registration, as well as holding up 45,000 unemployment benefits for eligible workers. In Wake County, the local board just rolled back support for a highly-touted socioeconomic-based student assignment program that prevented segregation in the district.
“The actions of the right wing-led legislature on May 24th are emblematic of the attempts across the country to decimate the rights of average citizens and working people. From Florida to Wisconsin, Missouri to Arizona, we are seeing a coordinated attempt to turn the clock back on our nation’s progress. The NAACP will not sit idly by with so much at stake,” said Jealous.
The North Carolina NAACP and HKonJ plan to launch a 20-county tour across the state to ensure citizens are aware of the devastating effects the budget cuts will have on their lives and the lives of their children.
Pres. Jealous also decried death threats against Rev. Barber’s life, and that of Pres. Barack Obama, saying that they would not be tolerated, and called on the SBI to investigate.
On Wednesday, the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and bipartisan women from across the state held press conferences in support of the North Carolina NAACP and the HKONJ People's Coalition.
"It is a shame when people use ideals such as family values simply as campaign slogans to incite  their base and then come to Raleigh and pass legislation that has the potential to destroying  families," says Michelle Laws, Chapel Hill/Carrboro NAACP Branch President and District 8 Director, representing the HKonJ Coalition. 
Cash Michaels contributed to this report.

By Cash Michaels

            Editor’s note - In recent months, members of the Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association have raised serious questions about the direction of the esteemed civic organization, and the leadership of its president. In this week’s Part 1 of The Carolinian’s examination, we look at those questions, including if the RWCA is being crippled as an effective community organ for progress.

            To hear Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association President Daniel Coleman tell it, he has “…boldly taken the first steps in leading the organization to new levels of awareness and involvement in the civic, economic and political arenas.”
            “The president, past and present, has always executed the duties of his office with diligence, honor and integrity,” Coleman wrote in a published letter to the editor of The Carolinian newspaper last week, though he mistakenly dated his missive “March 25, 2011.”
            “Our organization has moved forward over the last five years under the leadership of our current president,” Pres. Coleman, referring to himself, later continued, “and has embraced change.”
            To several of the RWCA’s veteran members, however, Coleman’s “change” is not only misrepresenting the proud 79-year-old Southeast Raleigh community group, but holding it hostage to his personal and political agenda.
            They point to Section III of the organization’s constitution which states, “All power herein granted is founded upon and derived from the will of the membership of the Association.”
Traditionally, the RWCA has proven to be the most potent political arm of black power in Wake County for decades. An endorsement from its political action committee (PAC) has elected many a mayor, governor and even US senator.
But with both the crucial 2011 Wake School Board elections just four months away, and the critical 2012 presidential elections just over a year down the road, disgruntled members today say the RWCA is already seriously behind the curve in needed planning and preparation that is not being done.
            “[Pres. Coleman] has not given the membership an opportunity to have a voice,” veteran RWCA member Doris Burke, told The Carolinian. “He’s doing things, and hiding behind the executive committee.”
            “I think the major dilemma is the membership has put forth a platform in terms of its recommendations, and those recommendations are not being carried out by the president,” adds member Michael Leach.
            When asked why that is, Leach said of Coleman and the RWCA membership, “ I think we have different political and philosophical views.” The result, Leach adds, “... is a great deal of discomfort and mistrust.”
            The complaints don’t stop there. Members say beyond Coleman as president, there is no vice president that they know of; they have no idea what funds the organization has from their membership dues because they haven’t gotten a treasurer’s report, nor political action committee report on contributions, in months; and they also have little idea who serves on the executive committee.
            Apparently the organization’s website, which Coleman personally maintained, www.raleighwakecitizensassociation.org, no longer exists either. Key in the website address, and a page comes up saying the domain name “is for sale,” giving further information on where to go to purchase it.
            Last September, Coleman was directing people to go to that RWCA web address for the latest data from the Wake County School System.
            And to top it all off, Coleman has canceled every monthly meeting for the past three months. The RWCA meets every third Thursday of the month. Technically, its next meeting should be the 23rd of June. But, as of press time early Wednesday, Coleman has yet to advise his membership if it is meeting, and what the agenda will be.
            “What kind of organization can go three months without having a meeting?” Ms. Mary E. Perry, another veteran RWCA member, asked rhetorically. “The RWCA is too old, and too viable to the community, to allow Danny to do what he’s doing!”
            “Danny thinks he is RWCA,” Perry added.
            “It has been a one-man show ever since he’s been there [as president],” Ms. Burke concurred. “If he doesn’t want something to happen, it don’t get on the floor.”
            Last week, after speaking with various disgruntled RWCA members on and off the record for months, The Carolinian emailed Coleman requesting an interview, either by phone or submitted written questions, about the allegations to balance the record.
            Rejecting both options, Coleman instead sent a misdated letter to The Carolinian that didn’t address why he’s held no meeting in the previous 90 days (which was specifically asked in the interview request), but instead, touted his leadership of the organization in a new direction.
            Coleman has refused to answer questions posed about his RWCA leadership before.
            In June 2009, The Carolinian exclusively reported how Coleman’s handpicked RWCA political action committee canceled a special call meeting to choose a candidate for the open state House District 33 seat when he did not like the person who won the organization’s straw poll. That meeting was delayed two days so another candidate could be nominated.
            Coleman, in response to a member’s emailed complaint, said the bylaws prohibited a special call meeting on two days notice, even though that’s literally what the RWCA did not once, but at least twice before to nominate candidates, as documented by The Carolinian then.
            Realizing that the RWCA president wasn’t telling the truth, the member wrote Coleman, ““Personally and unequivocally I find that to be a dishonorable way of treating our friendship...”
            An angry Coleman warned the RWCA member, “If I were u I would be careful about attacking the few friends u do have, especially me.”
            Coleman refused to explain his actions then, instead writing another of his letters.
            In his off-the-subject letter to The Carolinian last week, Coleman touted the RWCA’s “new era” under his leadership.
            “We have sought to increase the negotiating power of this organization by becoming more active in discussions with organizations and individuals of power across the board,” the RWCA president wrote, noting that at his invitation, people like Ron Margiotta, the Republican chairman of the GOP-led Wake School Board; Republican Wake School Board member John Tedesco; and former Wake Republican Party Chairman Claude Pope, among others, have come before the RWCA to speak.
            Coleman continued, “The new era of the RWCA is unfolding with a new paradigm in place, the foundation of which has been laid by the leadership of all past presidents, the current president and the unflinching loyalty and dedication of the members of the RWCA.”
            Apparently the “unflinching loyalty and dedication” of the RWCA membership has its limits.
            Members accuse Coleman of taking public positions on issues in the name of RWCA, like the Wake School Board’s neighborhood schools policy, contrary to the long held, well-known membership support for the old student socioeconomic diversity policy, which the GOP-led board dismantled last year.
            That was clearly evident last September when outraged RWCA members angrily tore into Coleman in front of school board member John Tedesco, whom Coleman personally invited to speak, and the press, for writing letters to the editor published by The News and Observer clearly in support of neighborhood schools and the Republican board majority.
            One RWCA member, Bruce Lightner, even called for a vote of no-confidence in Coleman on the floor, but the audience was so angry, they forgot to follow-up.
            “Articles that Danny Coleman writes, come from Danny Coleman,” Ms. Burke said. “They don’t come from the organization.”
Members tell The Carolinian that they want to vote Coleman out now, and, as Ms. Burke said, “Move on.”
            She and others add that Coleman knows that, which is why, they say, he’s been canceling monthly meetings, and sidestepping the confrontation.
            By his own admission, Coleman has been president for the past five years. The RWCA Constitution provides that all RWCA officers, including the president, “…shall be for two (2) years and until their successors are duly elected and installed.”
            The RWCA Constitution adds that, “Officers shall be elected at the first regular meeting in November of every off numbered year…”
            No one The Carolinian has spoken with remembers an RWCA election for president in 2009, but they all say they badly want one now.

Click on Title


            With 9,000 more unemployed people than the month before, the Triangle jobless rate in April jumped back up from 7.5 percent to 7.9 percent. That .4 hike is not expected to disappear when the jobless rate for May is released by the NC Employment Security Commission later this month. Experts say there is clear evidence that the economy in the Triangle is slowing down.

            After intense lobbying by Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker, several federal judges and two local congresspeople, US postal authorities say they are reconsidering closing the Century Post Office in downtown Raleigh in July. Officials slated the facility to close because of dropping mail volume. Meeker said with the closest post office a mile away, shutting down the Century unit isn’t wise.
            Cary played host to one of the most unique events in sports last weekend - the National Black Heritage Championship swimming meet. The three-day event attracted African-American swimming teams from across the country, and an estimated 900 swimmers. The event was started nine years ago by six couples who sponsored the NC Aquablazers Swim Team. Not many blacks were represented in the sport then, and experts say 70 percent of black children do not know how to swim. One hundred swimmers participated in the first Black Heritage swim meet.



            [GREENVILLE] A civil rights pioneer who opened doors for others in the business and political world is gone. Denison Dover “D.D.” Garrett died of a heart-related condition last weekend. He was 96. Born in 1915, Garrett was the first African-American man to be elected to the Pitt County Board of Commissioners. He was also the county’s first black realtor and certified public accountant. He led the Pitt County NAACP for over 20 years, and was still active in the state NAACP conference. Garrett was an alum of North Carolina Central University. Those who knew say Garrett was a strong leader who fought hard for equality.

            [RALEIGH] The Republican-led General Assembly is cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from the state’s public education budget. Will the cuts encumber a child’s constitutional right to a “sound, basic education?” That’s what Wake Superior Court Judge Howard Manning Jr. wants to know, and that’s why he’s call for a hearing on the matter June 22nd in Raleigh. Manning is the judge in charge of the Leandro case that alleged poorer NC schools systems were underfunded proportionately compared to the wealthier counties like Wake.  The hearing is in response to motions filed by the Hoke County Board of Education, and the Asheville City Board of Education.

            [RALEIGH] Shaw University students returned to classes just over five weeks after a tornado swept through the campus and forced the school to suspend the spring semester two weeks early. Approximately 400 students were cleared to begin classes last Monday, with another 200 awaiting clearance.  The 600 enrollment compares to the approximately 700 students who were registered for the 2010 Summer Semester. Shaw did not open student housing for the Summer Semester, but Saint Augustine’s College partnered with Shaw to offer housing to Shaw students.  Shaw is providing shuttle buses to and from the nearby Saint Augustine’s campus. “Our Summer session is underway and very successful,” said Shaw University President Dr. Irma McClaurin.  “Now we turn our attention to the Fall Semester. Freshmen arrive on August 12.  Our doors are open and we will be ready to welcome students back to the classrooms and dorms.”

By Cash Michaels

BELATED CONGRATS - Last week we had to go to press before Garner High School student Scotty McCreery won “American Idol” as the nation’s newest singing sensation. So all we could do was wish him well.
A week later, we can belated join the rest of North Carolina, and the nation, in saying, “Congratulations, Scotty!” This 17-year-old has a great voice, great style, seems to have had a fine upbringing, good family, and a solid foundation to go far.
So this week, we can absolutely say that we wish Scotty the very, very best in his newfound career.
Knock ‘em dead, Scotty, and watch those young girls who love to hang around.
They’ll rob ya blind!
COUNTDOWN TO “COUNTDOWN” - June 20th is the day Keith Olbermann, who left MSNBC last January, returns to the air with his unique and biting wit, yet insightful commentary. Keith’s new home is cable’s Current TV owned by former Vice President Al Gore, and the name of the new show - “Countdown with Keith Olbermann.” Apparently MSNBC wanted to get rid of the troublemaker so bad, they never bothered to trademark the name of his show. It will air weeknights at 8 p.m., with reruns at 11 p.m. and 2 a.m.
Current TV is channel 413 on Time Warner Cable.
For more, go to http://current.com/shows/countdown.
NBA FINALS - I haven’t watched an NBA game, let alone the playoffs, and let alone the finals, for years (OK, I just remembered that I did sneak a peek or two at Los Angeles and Boston once in a while). The quality of player and the professional standards have been tanking ever since Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Earvin “Magic” Johnson left the game.
I’m even willing to sentence my hometown team, the NY Knicks, to a life prison term. These guys suck. But so do a lot of other teams. The Los Angeles Lakers, the recently dethroned 2010 NBA champs, have Kobe Bryant, and that’s it. All of the other Lakers are would-be, could-be, but ain’t never gonna-be.
But a funny thing happened on the way to this year’s NBA Finals. Teams with real talent like Miami, Dallas, Oklahoma City and Chicago stepped up, and all of a sudden the NBA was fun to watch again. Even though Miami and Dallas dispatched the Bulls and the Thunder respectively in rather convincing fashion, it still wasn’t easy.
So here we are at the NBA Finals, with the Miami Heat - featuring my man, Dwyane Wade and his partner in crime LeBron James - against the erstwhile Dallas Mavericks with the man of steel, Dirk Nowitzki. This is being written before Game 1 Tuesday night, but let there be no doubt that these two outstanding teams will definitely give us a great show.
But the great show will be based on some of the attributes that used to spotlight the NBA when it was at its best - strong defense, exciting smart offense and bedrock teamwork.
All three have been sorely missing from the NBA for years, and devoted fans have deserved better. Well now it’s here, and not a moment too soon.
The NBA used to be the stuff of glory. That can happen again with the Heat-Mavericks series on ABC-TV.
I know I’ll be watching.
And I suspect I won’t be alone.
PIPPEN, ARE YOU NUTS? - At the risk of turning this into a sports column, I can’t sit idly by while Michael Jordan’s number one wing man, Scottie Pippen, makes a Bulls-backside of himself.
Last week, while on ESPN radio, Pippen, who played alongside the great Jordan on the multi-championship Chicago Bulls during the 1990s, opened his trap with the following rubbish:
“Michael Jordan is probably the greatest scorer to play the game. But I may go as far as to say LeBron James may be the greatest player to ever play the game because he is so potent offensively that not only can he score at will but he keeps everybody involved. You have to be on your Ps and Qs on defense. No guy on the basketball court is not a threat to score with LeBron James out there. Not only will LeBron dominate from the offensive end as well, but he’s also doing it on the defensive end which really makes him the complete package. He’s able to get in those passing lanes, shoot those gaps and create transition opportunities where he is pretty much unstoppable.”
Clearly Pippen has been sipping his cough medicine with a straw.
LeBron hasn’t so much a said hello to championship Number One with any team yet.
Scottie and Michael have dusted off six championships, and the one thing I absolutely remember about MJ is not only his ability to score, which he did prolifically, but playmake. Jordan made the Bulls look good because he knew how to get the ball to them as teams would double up on him.
And Jordan would play some hellaxious defense too.
Michael Jordan was, and is still, considered the best player ever to suit up for the game because he was a complete player who knew when to take over a game to put the proverbial dagger through the heart of the other team.
It’s bad enough that Chicago is still licking its wounds from being thrashed by LeBron and the Heat last week.
For one of their cherished sons, Scottie Pippen, to prove undeniably that the mind can go at any age, must be sickening.
So sorry, Scottie. LeBron is a great player, but he has to get by Dirk and the Mavs these finals in order for us to even consider the conversation.
And don’t give us that, “I played with Jordan, stuff. Obviously, Scottie, you weren’t paying attention.
DR. CORNEL WEST - Last October, I had the honor of interviewing Princeton University professor of Religion Dr. Cornel West about a lot of subjects, including how he felt about Pres. Obama. West told me that he had deep concerns about the president’s policies as it relates to the African-American community and the poor. Dr. West told me that he felt Pres. Obama hadn’t done enough for either by way of policy, even though he got a lion’s share of support from both groups.
At the time I couldn’t disagree with Cornel West. Though we love the president and his family, and are very proud of him, at the same time what do we really have to show for it by way of public policy that firmly addresses the 17 percent unemployment rate in the black community, or the drastic cuts Obama made to his own budget on services to the poor (like home heating assistance to the elderly)?
These are objective observations and questions, not personal criticisms, and as a people, we have to mature to know the difference, for at the end of the day, if we invest our votes into a presidency, no matter what the color, we have every right to expect good public policy that speaks to our needs out of it.
But recently, Dr. West, while maintaining his public policy criticisms of the president, has now added a new and distasteful wrinkle.
West is now personally attacking the president, calling him a “black mascot” and “black puppet.” That’s going too far, and can only serve to backfire badly on West, a man who commands much love and respect in the black and progressive communities.
Yes, Pres. Obama should be applauded for his policies that work, and held accountable for the policies that don’t. If he is not keeping his campaign promises, then absolutely Obama should be called on the carpet.
But the president’s personal upbringing is not up for discussion. I’ve had to nail several negro Republicans for that mess, so I can’t just let Cornel West get away with it either.
I love Dr. West dearly, and always will, but he has to stay on policy when he goes after the president. Never personal.
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.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


MLK Memorial Foundation announces plans for August 28 MLK Memorial dedication

Malcolm X Grandson Decries Marable Biography on 86th Birthday Observation


OPRAH SAYS “GOODBYE” - After twenty-five years as the “Queen of talk shows,’ Oprah Winfrey signed off of her successful nationally syndicated talk show on Wednesday, tearfully thanking her millions of fans around the world. Winfrey will now concentrate her time on developing her fledgling OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) on cable television, and may even star in a Broadway play.

NCNAACP Pres. William Barber

“O’BAMA” SAYS CHEERS IN IRELAND - President Barack Obama tips a brew in an Irish pub during his visit to Ireland earlier this week. The president and First Lady visited a village were ancestors of his late grandfather grew up. He was welcomed warmly, and joked that he was part of the family there.

By Cash Michaels

            Saying that North Carolina was a “state in emergency” because of drastic budget cuts by the Republican-led General Assembly, the president of the NCNAACP and six others openly challenged NC House Speaker Thom Tillis, a Republican, to meet with them, interrupting a House session at the Legislature Tuesday.
NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber, NCNAACP Second Vice President Rev. Curtis Gatewood, and five others were arrested by state Capitol Police and charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and second-degree trespassing. All seven were held in jail overnight, and released on $12,500 bond Wednesday morning at 2 a.m.
            The “State in Emergency Seven,” as they’ve been called, chanted, “ Fund education, not incarceration,” and “save our children, don’t cut education,” stopping House proceedings.
            In past weeks, Rev. Barber has blasted the Republican-led state Legislature for “draconian” cuts to the budget that would detour hundreds of millions from public education K-12 and cut the UNC System by as much ad 15.5 percent.
            The proposed cuts would eliminate 20,000 jobs across the state, including thousands of teachers and teachers’ assistants.
            The NCNAACP leader decried GOP measures that would cripple One Stop Early Voting, repeal the NC Racial Justice Act, and require citizens to display a voter ID at the polls.
            Barber was also critical of GOP leadership blocking federal unemployment benefits to at least 45,000 out-of-work citizens in an effort to force Governor Beverly Perdue to comply with their budget cuts.
            Perdue has refused, blasting the GOP for making the unemployed “hostages,” and has promised to veto any budget bill she disagrees with.
            According to a NCNAACP press release about the incident, “Barber and the other leaders were on their way to a mass rally in the Legislative Auditorium, attended by over 350 people from across the State.  When Barber and the other leaders were dragged out of the legislative chambers, and off to jail,  other HKonJ and NAACP leaders stepped up and led a People's Hearing where over 30 North Carolinians gave short reports on how the budget bills and direct attacks on public services to the poor and disenfranchised will devastate their families and neighbors.”
The NCNAACP press release continued, “Tillis later told the protesters that they needed to show more respect for "my house."  Several protesters reminded him that this was the People's House--this is "Our House," they said.”
            "I think it's sad that Rep Tillis said it's his house," Rev. Barber told reporters after bonding out of jail. "It's not his house, it's the people's house, and the people will be heard."
            In a release from his office Tuesday, Speaker Tillis said, “Today’s disruption was one of the most disrespectful displays I have witnessed during my tenure in the House of Representatives. It was a clear violation of the rules of the House, and those rules will continue to be enforced to ensure safety and dignity in the people’s House.”
Tillis told reporters Wednesday that Rev. Barber owes “his chamber,” according to press reports, for disrupting House proceedings the previous day. He said he will not meet with Barber now because of the Capitol police investigation into the incident, but may meet with other representatives of the NCNAACP.
            Previously, Tillis alleged that a meeting had been set with Rev. Barber, but that the civil rights leader had canceled. Barber alleges that he has requested a sitdown with Tillis and the GOP leadership at least three times, and had been rebuffed each time.

            Published reports said state Rep, Larry Womble (D-Forsyth) went to the Wake County jail Tuesday night to make sure Rev. Barber and his colleagues were all right. Womble reportedly told reporters that he supported what Rev. Barber did.
            "The cuts that the General Assembly is calling for, at least on the Republican side - education, health care and jobs - will affect North Carolina in a very negative manner," Womble told The News & Observer. "I think (Barber) is trying to call attention to this. I believe he is justified."
            Those arrested and charged with Rev. Barber include Rev. Curtis Gatewood, HKonJ Coordinator; Rob Stephens, Associate Director of the Anti-Death Penalty Project; Rev. Kojo Nantambu, President of Charlotte NAACP; Timothy Hodges, Past President of Johnson County NAACP; David Lamotte, NC Council of Churches; and Rev. T. Anthony Spearman.
            Rev. Barber has previously participated in acts of civil disobedience when he and others protested during two Wake County Public School Board meetings in April and July of last year. On both occasions, Rev. Barber was arrested and charged with misdemeanor trespassing.  No court dates have been set.

By Cash Michaels
An analysis

            If Wake School Board District 4 school board member Keith Sutton is correct, and the board adopts either of the two proposed student assignment plans Supt. Anthony Tata unveiled this week, then low-performing schools with significant free-and-reduced lunch populations could be a thing of the past.
            “Those plans take into account the use of student achievement in determining how we assign students,” Sutton, who represents predominately-black Southeast Raleigh on the board, told The Carolinian last week. “So, we will not have free-and-reduced lunch anymore.”
            “Those days are gone.”
            But it maybe a bit early to pop the champagne corks. The proverbial “blue” and “green” Wake assignment plans are admittedly nowhere near finished, and may not be until late June. Feeder patterns for both middle and high schools have yet to be determined, hindering parents who have gone online to figure out what would work best for their children.
            Both plans are touted as offering student achievement, stability and proximity, in compliance with the board’s neighborhood community-based schools policy.
            The reaction to the incomplete presentations at the school system’s website has ranged from confusion to anger, with some parents commenting that Tata should have not have presented anything if it wasn’t ready.
            Tata counters that the two plans are only “samples” to give parents an idea of how each student assignment could work, as opposed to would work. The public’s input will be factored into any final details and fine tuning before the plans are presented to the board in late June.
Touted as the best of nine proposals that Supt. Tata’s task force developed after the Republican-led Wake School Board failed to do so all last year, the plans offer two rather simple alternatives.
            Parents either get school choice or school predictability.
            The blue plan, based in part on the school choice model of Massachusetts consultant Dr. Michael Alves, offers parents an array of school choices in which they can enroll their children.
            The green plan offers base school assignments according to a family’s address, so every child automatically has a school assignment.
            Four of the five school board Republicans like the blue plan because of the choice feature. They say it gives parents the power to decide, not the school system.
            Debra Goldman, the fifth GOP board member, has not indicated her choice of late, but in the past she’s been insistent on parents having a base school assignment.
            Three of the four Democrats on the board are open to either the blue or green.
            District 4’s Keith Sutton, the fourth Democrat, prefers the green plan.
            “I think that it just makes sense that we assign students based on their address. It just makes sense that if you’re after a stability and proximity model, then you want an address,” he said.
            Sutton added that his problem with the blue school choice plan is management, given Wake’s size and 143,000 student capacity.
Sutton added that using student achievement as a tool could ensure that the proper resources equitably go where they are academically needed, contrary to high poverty school situations where low-performing, high poverty students are dumped in a failing school with scant resources and second-class administrative support.
Many of the proponents of neighborhood schools are bashing the green plan, saying that it isn’t much different from the old socioeconomic diversity plan’s node system of assigning students.
There will be several public hearings on the proposed plans next week, and they’ll all start at 6 p.m..
The will be nine hearings, one for each school board district.
On Tuesday, hearings will be held at the high schools of Enloe, Millbrook and Athens Drive. On Wednesday - Panther Creek High, and on Thursday - Wake Forest-Rolesville, Garner, Sanderson, Cary and Holly Springs.


            District C Raleigh City Councilman Eugene Weeks has announced that he intends to run for election this fall to the seat he was appointed to last year. Weeks, a long time civic and community activist, was selected by the City Council in October 2010to serve out the unexpired term of Mayor Pro tem James West after West went to the Wake Commission Board. Councilman Weeks says he has served the citizens of Southeast Raleigh as an advocate for improved city services and economic development.

            Facing evidence and press reports of a prior criminal record, an embattled Durham County Magistrate who had been suspended, has now resigned. Magistrate Sam Biers issued a letter of resignation, claiming that he is a victim of false reports. “"As a result of the scurrilous and false complaints against me, I am forced to resign as a State of North Carolina and Durham County magistrate and freely state that I will never apply for a North Carolina magistrate position again," he wrote. Biers was accused of having a false birth date on his employment application to hide a prior criminal history in Michigan.

            The tough economy has forced one of the world’s most prominent technology companies to lay off a number of employees at its Research Triangle Park headquarters, and other locations. IBM reportedly handed out pink slips to workers in its hardware and global business divisions. Other cuts are in New York, Minnesota and California.



            [CHAPEL HILL] Published reports say the US Justice Dept. will seek criminal indictments against former Senator John Edwards for alleged misuse of campaign funds during his 2008 presidential campaign. The two-time presidential hopeful allegedly use campaign funds to pay off his mistress, Rielle Hunter. Edwards, 57, may seek a plea bargain to avert a trial.

            [WILMINGTON] Rarely is the crime rate rarely is the crime rate something to brag about, but that’s what port city officials are doing. According to the latest FBI crime statistics, between 2009 and 2010, rapes and robberies and assaults in Wilmington dropped by an impressive 11 percent, the lowest since 1998. Mayor Bill Safo credited the Wilmington Police Dept. for its work. Nationally, violent crimes dropped just 5.5 percent.

            [RALEIGH] If a new bill in the Republican-led General Assembly is made law, the state superintendent of Public Instruction will have real authority, and the Legislature will have more control over the state Board of Education (SBOE). A House committee passed a measure Wednesday that would float a public referendum for voters on the May 2012 ballot to change the state constitution. Those changes include making the state superintendent chair of the SBOE; give the supt. more authority; give the Legislature four appointments to the SBOE and the governor eight, and shorten the SBOE terms for members from eight ears to six. Democrats oppose the bill, saying Republicans simply want more control over the state Dept. of Public Instruction.


By Cash Michaels

            GOODBYE OPRAH - It has been an historic 25 years that all ended Wednesday in solemn fashion.
            Oprah Winfrey said goodbye to the millions of fans of her daily syndicated talk show around the world. The Monday and Tuesday “surprise” spectacular shows from the United Center in Chicago were nonstop excitement with stars and tributes galore (good job, Oprah producers). We may never see anything like it again.
            To see much of the emphasis on Winfrey’s philanthropy and love of education was particularly touching.
            And Wednesday’s final moments, with Oprah dedicating the show to her tremendous fans, were heartfelt.
            No matter what you think of Oprah (and she is a controversial figure in the black community, given her billions and influence), you cannot deny her power and influence. She is not only the most powerful black woman in entertainment, but the most powerful woman in show business…PERIOD!
            Now Oprah has to make her Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) cable channel, which opened shop five months ago, as successful as her brand. It is struggling right now, so much so that Oprah fired the CEO.
            We have no doubt that “O” will turn it around, and we should be proud of all that Oprah Winfrey has accomplished.
            GOOD GOING, SCOTTY - This is being written before the new American Idol is crowned, but all of us here in the Triangle are very proud of Scotty McCreery of Garner for the fine performances he’s delivered making his way to the very top this season as a finalist. Scotty is a student at Garner Magnet Middle School.
            CHICAGO CODE - I like good, tough cop shows, so when Fox premiered “The Chicago Code” last February, I was pleased with what I saw in the pilot.
            Towards the middle of the show’s run, the plot - about a black female Chicago police superintendent’s efforts to bring down a corrupt black Chicago City alderman (masterfully played by Delroy Lindo) - the stories got soft, and the show lost viewers.
            But the last three episodes, including last Monday’s season finale, was edge-of-the-seat stuff. Problem is the suits at the Fox Network didn’t want to wait that long, and canceled the show on May 15.
            It’s a shame because “The Chicago Code” definitely has more life in it, and deserves more than one season to get its full footing. Jennifer Beals, who made the classic 1983 flick, “Flashdance,” portrayed Chicago Police Superintendent Teresa Colvin, and Irish actor Jason Clarke as Det. Jared Wysocki (this guy hides his accent well).
            These talented actors deserve another bite at the apple. I hope one of the cable networks - TNT or USA - pick up this fine show.
DELUSIONAL - I won’t use her name, because her Facebook messages to me were not public. But the words, thoughts and feelings of this conservative Republican female are instructive. What this woman wrote to me after I appeared on WRAL-TV’s “On the Record” last weekend was as ignorant as her right-wing politics has proven to be.
            What I found even more fascinating is that because I expressed a pretty widely held view (I’ll tell you what that was in a moment), I was the one, according to this woman, spewing “hate and anger.”
            Here’s the background.
            As you know, the Republicans in the state Legislature passed a bill blocking unemployment benefits extension to now 45,000 workers who need the money desperately, not because there is a problem with the system, but rather to force Gov. Beverly Perdue to agree to a 13 percent from her proposed budget spending levels.
            In effect, governor, if you want these people to get their money, you’ll do what we tell you. Perdue, naturally, vetoed the bill.
            On WRAL-TV’s “On the Record,” I called what the Republicans did not good governance, but “hostage-taking.” I went on to say that it was “unconscionable” what the GOP was doing, and all it was was hardball politics.
            Another nefarious term for what the Republicans have done is blackmail.
            In my opinion, most sensible people would agree. In fact, Rep. Carolyn Justice, a Republican from New Hanover County, told her hometown paper she’s urged her leadership to release the money and find another way of dealing with the governor.
            And Rep. Justice said she isn’t the only Republican who feels this way.
            So I’m not the only one who feels that a very serious line has been crossed here by the Republicans.
            But apparently that conservative Republican woman who emailed me on Facebook, let’s call her “June,” saw things a bit differently:
            “I wanted to respectfully talk with you about your comments on "On the Record" tonight. I am very frustrated that Republicans are being blamed for this when Perdue is the person who vetoed. It is interesting that Republicans are accused of Hostage situation when Democrats have put us in that position for years. It is difficult to see the other side of the "elephant". It is unfortunate that Democrats cannot see that this is what has been done to the others of us for years.”
“Just because we want fiscal responsibility, all Republicans are not hard hearted and against human rights. But we are fed up with government waste!”
            Naturally, after looking “June” up on Facebook to see exactly who I was dealing with, I responded:
            Ma'am, respectfully, but Gov. Perdue didn't target 37,000 (now 45,0000 working people) and use them as bargaining chips to get her way. The Republicans did. Perdue has to face the fact that they have majority in the Legislature, and will use it.
And the GOP has to realize that she has veto power, and will use that.”
“For the Republicans to exploit innocent people who've done nothing wrong...IS WRONG! If the Democrats had done the same thing, I would be twice as hard because they're supposed to know better!”
“We can't have government by hostage-taking. The Republicans are playing politics, trying force the governor to do what they want.”
“You are supposed to be a woman of Christian faith. Is this how Jesus would have us conduct our business? If Democrats have done everything wrong, does that justify what the GOP leadership is doing in holding up those benefits for those families?”
“This is wrong! I called it what it is. Hostage-taking! What the GOP is doing is criminal to those workers! The voters, especially the Christian ones, will remember.
Have a good evening!”
            “June,” not surprisingly, not only wasn’t pleased, but accused me of calling her names:
            Whatever happened to loving your neighbor? As your neighbor, I believe I am the one who has been held hostage by huge government spending. At least I try to understand the other point of view, but you are spewing hatred. My Christian faith tells me to love my neighbor, and treat others the way I would want to be treated.”
“That doesn't always mean opening the government purse. I do believe the people should receive their benefits, but Gov. Perdue is quite capable of revoking her veto. Don't you think we were "held hostage" in your words by Democrats for all of those years when they were doing things we didn't like-like swindling their way into a state education lottery that -surprise, surprise- gives less than it should to education? Why are you so blind that you cannot see another person's point of view WITHOUT calling names?”           
            Mind you, this woman calls me “blind,” but I’m the name caller. So I responded:
            “Ma'am, "loving your neighbor" doesn't mean denying hard working people unemployment benefits THEY PAID INTO THE SYSTEM! Just because injustice may have been done to you (and I'm sorry about your experience) DOES NOT mean others should be treated unjustly as well.”
“I can't believe you would want people to do business with YOU in this fashion - threatening other innocent people just to strong-arm you to do what they want, regardless of how right or wrong that something may be.”
“Is THIS the new GOP justification for cutting the size of government? And you can actually sleep at night knowing hard working people who want to work badly are being denied funds they PAID INTO THE SYSTEM just because someone wants to play political games with the governor?”
“Excuse that kind of behavior if you want, ma'am, but good Christian decency won't allow me to condone hostage-taking!”
“This isn't question of fairness, but of decency! Wrong, is WRONG, and I won't hide behind the false front of "fairness" when I see absolute injustice.”
“I'm sorry you don't, or can't, agree”!
Believe it or not, “June” and I went on and on.
I don’t deny that the Democrats have certainly made their share of mistakes in governing, but when have they pulled the mess that the state GOP is pulling now? Those benefits are federal dollars, NOT state, so the money isn’t the issue.
When we govern by blackmail, when we govern by hostage-taking, not caring that we’re directly hurting tens of thousands of innocent families, we’ve lost our moral compass.
If the Dems were ever to pull this stunt, it would be NO justification that the Republicans did it first!
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.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


By Cash Michaels

            Wake School Board member Keith Sutton wants to see the Democrats retake the majority on the controversial nine-member Republican-led board during this fall’s October elections, and he wants to be one of them.
            That means board Chairman Ron Margiotta, the only Republican on the ballot, would have to lose his second-term bid for re-election in his Apex District 7 area, which would be tough indeed.
            “I would like to see the Democrats retake the majority,” Sutton told The Carolinian Wednesday, assuring that unlike in the past, when Democrats were accused of not listening to citizens and being arrogant - something the Republicans in charge now are repeatedly accused of - a Democratic majority would now bend over backwards to listen, and be responsive so that civility could return to the school board.
            On the other side, Margiotta, who ushered in the board’s neighborhood schools policy when four other conservative Republicans joined him on the board in 2009, has said they are targeting at least two of the four Democrats who are up for re-election in 
            The goal - to claim an overwhelming GOP majority on the board to push through more of the political policies they believe their constituencies want.
            Even if it ultimately means the racial resegregation of Wake’s public schools.
            Sutton, who has already begun fundraising for his election campaign, says given the mounting issues facing the school board, more research must be done before policies are adopted, something that the current Republican majority doesn’t like to do.
            If Margiotta were to lose in District 7, and the board’s four Democratic seats - including Sutton’s - remained unchanged, then Sutton believes more positive changes, minus the well publicized acrimony that has negatively characterized the Wake School Board since the GOP 2009 takeover, would be evident.
            Wanting to see that happen means Sutton proving to his District 4 constituents that he deserves four more years representing them, he says.
            “I’m a proven leader, and experienced leader. I know the issues, particularly as they relate to our community,” Sutton told The Carolinian.
            He also said he also has little problem with the new Wake School Board redistricting map, which will govern school elections in the county for the next ten years.
            Each of the nine school board districts had to be redrawn to compensate for the population growth in Wake since 2000. With an approximate 900,000 people living in the county now, each voting district is required to have at least 100,000 people living in them, based on the most recent US Census figures, plus or minus 5 percent.
            Despite vigorous calls by the nonpartisan League of Women Voters and the advocacy group Great Schools in Wake Coalition for the redistricting map developed by conservative attorney Kieran Shanahan’s law firm to be redrawn because of alleged “errors,” the school board approved it Tuesday by a 5-3 vote.
            Sutton is satisfied with how District 4 was redrawn, allowing him to keep the basic profile of his Southeast Raleigh district. He was critical, however, of the process, feeling that Shanahan should have at least given the board two redistricting maps so that comparisons, and possible informed changes could be made, and greater public input considered.
            Regarding next week’s release by Wake Supt. Anthony Tata of two proposed long-term student assignment plans for the system for public comment, Sutton says he prefers the one that depends on home addresses and base schools, over the other which is more of a school controlled-choice model.
            Sutton says student achievement is a key factor in both plans, noting that the days of considering a student’s free-and-reduced lunch poverty status could be over in school assignments. If true, that won’t affect Walnut Creek Elementary School in Southeast Raleigh, however, which opens in August with a student population of 81 percent F&R, and over 50 percent classified as “low-achieving.” Sutton says because the long-term plan won’t go into effect until 2012-2013, Walnut Creek won’t be affected now.
            Sutton says he wouldn’t be surprised if he has a Republican challenger in District 4 this fall, saying that he doesn’t expect to be allowed to walk back into the seat.
            “At the least, they would want to tie [my] resources up, and keep me from campaigning for some [other Democrat on the board],” Sutton said.
            Filing for candidates is late July.



By Cash Michaels

            The NCNAACP and the HK onJ Coalition is calling on all activists across the state to come to the NC General Assembly Legislative Auditorium at the Legislative Building on Jones Street next Tuesday at 4 p.m. to “protest and pray” against what some are calling “Draconian” policies about to be passed by the Republican-led General Assembly.
            “Tea Party extremists seized the Republican Party and declared war on African-Americans, poor people and other minorities,” Rev. William Barber, president of the NCNAACP, said in a statement this week, later declaring North Carolina to be a “state in emergency.”
            Based on the state House budget which cuts hundreds of millions from K-12 public education statewide and the UNC System, and proposed laws repealing the 2009 NC Racial Justice Act, limiting the state’s One Stop/Early Voting period, eliminating same day registration and “Souls to the Polls” Sunday voting, and requiring picture voter ID at the polls, Rev. Barber claims that “jobs, voting rights, schools, health care, racial justice and public services are under attack.”
            “Ultra-conservative legislators continue their frontal attack on civil rights,” Rev. Barber alleged regarding House GOP efforts to repeal the Racial Justice Act through House Bill 615. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Subcommittee B held a hearing and vote on the measure to ultimately send it to the House floor.
            The Racial Justice Act allows a felon convicted of a capital crime to challenge the prosecution if he believes that race played a role in his prosecution.
            Rev. Barber released an email from Republican Rep. Stephen LaRoque of Greene County to a constituent:
            “I am proud that I had the opportunity to co-sponsor HB-615 which I hope will effectively and literally repeal the so-called "Racial Justice Act"...One problem we have is that we don't execute the convicted murderers quick enough...”
            The LaRoque  email outraged Barber, especially since at least three black inmates on North Carolina’s death row have been released from prison in the past few years because DNA proved that they didn’t commit the crime, and were the victims of biased prosecutions.
            “While most North Carolinians are committed to ending Racial Injustice in our state, the Tea Party-backed leadership in the NC Legislature wants to dismantle a law that only begins to address racism in our court system,” Rev. Barber said.
            The state civil rights leader urged Gov. Perdue to veto the repeal if it gets to her desk for her signature.
            The NCNAACP, in a joint statement with Democracy NC, a nonprofit public policy group, is also calling what the state GOP is doing in requiring voter IDs  and crippling the One Stop/Early Voting law as “Unbelievable.”
            “A bill filed by Republicans in Raleigh would make Sunday voting ("Souls to the Polls") illegal in North Carolina,” wrote Rev. Barber and Bob Hall of Democracy NC.              “Conservative state legislators also plan to reduce the length of the Early Voting period, end Same-Day Registration, and make everyone show a government-issued photo ID when they vote,” the joint letter continued.
            “Make no mistake about it: these voter suppression proposals are a direct response to the historic turnout of empowered, informed and motivated African-American and young voters in 2008.”
            Both groups are urging citizens to involve their churches in protests, and call their state lawmakers to voice their concerns.


As Blacks Languish, Whither Go Civil Rights Groups?

STORY HERE - http://www.nnpa.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=5512&Itemid=82




STORY HERE - http://www.nnpa.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=5493&Itemid=82

President Barack Obama meets with the Congressional Black Caucus in the State Dining Room of the White House, May 12, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)



            In the wake of news that the US Postal Service plans to close the 134-year-old Century Post Office in downtown Raleigh due to low mail volume, Mayor Charles Meeker is leading the fight to keep it open. Meeker has enlisted the aid of several federal judges and area congresspeople, in addition to the downtown business community. The postal service says a smaller post office a mile away can handle the volume, but Meeker rejects that claim, saying it doesn’t make sense.

            In an effort to save $5.4 million, the Wake School Board Tuesday voted 6-2 to slash 174 clerical positions in the school system, including 19 secretarial positions in the central office, and at least one secretary at each school. Seventy-nine open positions throughout the system have also been eliminated. The move is preliminary, based on whether the NC General Assembly passes an 8.8 percent cut in public education funding. Additional personnel cuts, this time in custodial services, may be next, school officials say.
            One of the nation’s top African-American banks has thus far started the year in the black. Mechanics and Farmers Bancorp, the parent company of the Durham-based Mechanics and Farmers Bank, has posted a $306,000 first quarter profit. That’s dramatically up from a year ago when the first quarter profit was just $76,000. Officials credit lower payments to the US Treasury Department on stimulus money loaned.



            [BURLINGTON]  An Alamance County commissioner accuses the African-American community of turning its back on neighborhood violent crime in the wake of the fatal shooting death of a 13-year-old girl in Durham last week. Commissioner Tim Sutton told WBAG radio Monday that blacks “are afraid to confront” people who engage in crime in their backyard.
            “Do you think for a moment — I’ll just be blunt about it — do you think for a moment whites would let people do that without saying you’re going to face me or you’re not going to be able to do it,” The Times News newspaper reports Sutton saying during the “Talkline” show. “We are going to take you or you’re going to take us. I don’t think we’d let it happen.”
            When told that color should have nothing to do with the issue, Sutton is quoted as responding, ““I think the black community turns their back on stuff. They’re afraid to confront the people that are doing it, and it’s socioeconomic. If you don’t have a man in the house, if you have — you know — divorce rates or no-married rates that are what they are I guess maybe you don’t have anybody to confront these people that are doing it.”
Sutton was challenged to apologize for his statements by Michael Graves, the head of Concerned Citizens of Alamance County.
“Mr. Sutton is the representative of all people in this county, including the ones he degraded in his racist, insensitive and false remarks, regardless if he got their vote and regardless of their race,” Graves wrote in the email to the chair of the Alamance County Commission Board. “We the Concerned Citizens demand an immediate apology from him and a condemnation of Commissioner Sutton by this board.”
Sutton has refused, accusing Graves of being biased because the commissioner is a conservative. Graves wanted the county commission to censure Sutton, but because his remarks were nit said during a board meeting, that can’t happen. Graves will attend the June 6th board meeting to challenge Sutton.
Commissioner Sutton maintains his remarks were not racist.

            [CARY] Amid all of the controversy surrounding the Wake County Public School System, there is good news. Farmington Woods Elementary School in Cary has been named the Number One magnet school in the nation by Magnet Schools in America. The school was awarded $2500.00 and the Elementary School of Excellence Award.


By Cash Michaels

            “COMMON” SENSE - The story is simple. Fox News doesn’t get high ratings praising President Barack Obama. The Republican Party needed something to throw water on Obama’s stunning victory in the assassination of terrorist Osama bin Laden.
            So Fox and the GOP cook up that phony “Common” poetry slam non-controversy.
            The claim? That Common, one of the cleanest and most creative rappers around, hardly gangsta, was supportive of two black cop killers in his music, and thus, didn’t deserve an invitation by the First Lady to perform at last week’s White House poetry slam.
            Given that the Obamas already had “two strikes” against them with their prior relationships with Pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright and former 60’s radical William Ayers, the fact that they would invite Common to the White House was, in words of Fox hosts Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly “outrageous.”
            Boy were they hoping to stir up a white hornets’ nest with this one.
            But it didn’t work.
            Common never said he supported cop killers. He said he felt the two in question did not get fair trials.
            Bottomline is despite their great, yet ignorant efforts, Fox and the GOP failed to get any traction, and the Obamas wisely ignored the whole thing, and went on with their poetry slam without a problem.
            I’m sure the right-wing will try to find something else to hang around the president in time for the 2012 election.
            Just as long as common sense triumphs, let them try on.
“FREEDOM RIDERS” - If you saw the extraordinary two-hour PBS documentary “Freedom Riders” Monday night, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of black and white civil rights leaders risking their lives challenging the segregation of interstate bus travel in the South, then you’ll fully understand the following - these were REAL Americans.
            Young people, again black and white, willing to put their very lives on the line during the early 1960’s for the cause of nonviolence, allowing white racists to pull them off buses and beat them bloody, in order to make the moral point that America must live up to the true meaning of its creed that all men (and women) are created equal.
            In this day and age, we rarely see this kind of courage and devotion. I mean no offense to our brave military men and women, but to knowingly go into harm’s way WITHOUT a weapon, for the expressed purpose of ensuring that someone different from you can enjoy the same constitutional rights that you do, is an extraordinary sacrifice.
            I wonder where that is today. I wonder who is willing to step forward and challenge America to be better than it has been to the poor and communities of color?
            And where are the real young leaders of today? Who is willing to stand up strong, and give real voice to the issues that matter?
            I don’t know. But I do feel some comfort that once upon a time, fifty years ago, we had such leaders.
            And I’m so proud, as an American, that we did.
            If you haven’t seen “Freedom Riders,” go to the PBS website and order the DVD.
            You’ll be proud too.
RUNNING RIGHT-WING INTERFERENCE - The other day I heard some moron radio host say that it’s going to be hard for Republicans to criticize President Obama going into the 2012 presidential elections because everything they say about him will be interpreted as being racist.
            Case in point - arch-conservative Newt Gingrich calling Obama a “food stamp president.” Gingrich denies that what he said was racist, noting that because of the bad economy that Pres. Obama has yet to fix, million of out of work Americans are now on food stamps.
            One just might be temped to give the Republican former House speaker a pass, except when you come across this other Newt ditty about the first black US president from last September:
            “What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]? That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior."
            Now the pretense has been shot to hell. For Gingrich to misuse Obama’s African father’s Kenyan heritage to foment some kind of “Mau Mau” terrorist fear in white America, can’t be anything BUT racist AND stupid.
            And yet, people like Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly swear that “all the left is trying to do it make it harder for the right to criticize Obama.” O’Reilly then uses Donald Trump’s asinine rant that if Obama stopped playing so much basketball, maybe the country would be in better shape.
            And don’t forget the ten ton hint from Trump that the president wasn’t smart enough to write his own books, nor get into Harvard University without affirmative action.
            The right-wing wants the license to say stupid, cruel and yes RACIST stuff like this, without drawing fire, without being called on it for what it is.
            Well that’s not going to happen. The president has had to endure the kind of insults and degradations that no other president in history has had to.
            We need to continue to stand up for our president, be aware of the games and code words that are being used to portray the president racially, and expose it all for what it is.
            Can’t do it alone here. Our community has to be fully engaged to combat this madness.
            PAY ATTENTION, NOW - I really, REALLY hope you and yours are keeping tabs with all of these issues affecting our state and nation (if not our cities and counties). The Republican Party is so busy trying to turn the clock of progress back to the stone age, literally, it’s hard to keep up with all the crazy stuff they’re trying to pass under the cover of law.
            And make no mistake about it, the GOP are trying to do it all on the backs of poor people and the elderly. Imagine trying to pass a deficit cutting bill in Congress that will give seniors government vouchers so that they will buy their own health insurance, WHEN NO INSURANCE COMPANY WANTS TO SELL THEM ANY!
            This, my friends, is the Republican Party’s solution to Medicare. Even other crazy Republicans are running away from this nonsense like a bad smell. But don’t think some of them won’t still try to shove it down our throats.
            This is why you must support the Black Press. We are your vital source of news and perspective and enables you to arm yourself with the facts to make critical with. Our community is being targeted. The operative question is, “What are we going to do about it?”
            This is our children’s future that’s at stake here. What we do, or don’t do, to combat the nonsense that’s going on determines what quality of life they’ll have.
            So thank you for supporting this black newspaper, and please, urge others to do so as well. It’s our one vehicle towards finding out not only what the issues are, but what African-Americans all of the state, nation and world are talking about and dealing.
            In these very trying and pressing times, we need each, in order to work with one another.
            Stay connected with the Black Press.
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.