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.

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