HAVE REPUBLICANS CHANGED NC FOREVER?
By Cash Michaels
When she vetoed the Republican-led Legislature’s $19.7 billion budget last Sunday, Gov. Beverly Perdue charged it moved North Carolina “backwards;” “ tears at the very fibers that make North Carolina strong:” and would result in “generational damage” because it substantially cut education, health care services and law enforcement.
While GOP leaders vehemently disagreed with Perdue’s doomsday assessment of their lawmaking this General Assembly session, they made no bones, as they overrode her veto this week, that they were forcing the state to finally “live within its means.”
But beyond the dramatic fiscal reforms the Republicans have now imposed, they’ve also overhauled North Carolina’s election laws, weakened medical and business liability, and increased the tax burden on low-income families by eliminating the earned income tax credit.
All of this, and the GOP haven’t even unveiled their redistricting plans or amendments to North Carolina’s Constitution.
After less than six months in office, Republican lawmakers have radically changed what many prided as a moderate Democratic legacy of progress, into an evolving Republican model of conservative austerity - both fiscally and politically.
The budget a frontal attack on civil rights, economic justice and education,” said Rev. William Barber, president of the NCNAACP in a statement Tuesday. “The people of North Carolina do not support this budget. Yesterday a Public Policy Polling poll found that only 23% of North Carolinians support the budget while 41% oppose the budget. The opposition to this budget crosses party lines, with independents and moderate voters holding negative opinions of the budget.
30,000 jobs across the state could be lost as a result, Rev. Barber continued.
“We can't claim to want to help people change their lives for the better when we remove all the support systems. That is why we continue to state: This budget is bad. This budget is immoral. This budget is wrong. This budget is not good for North Carolina,” Rev. Barber said.
“It’s a sad day for North Carolina,” opined Jeff Shaw, director of Communications for the NC Justice Center, a progressive nonpartisan, nonprofit issues advocacy group.
“We’ve had a long tradition of investing in the vital public structures that have made our state prosperous now, and in its future. This budget now turns its back on that,” Shaw continued. “This sets our state back decades.”
Adding that “it’s going to take a long time to win back what we’ve lost today,” Shaw said the state’s ability to adequately and appropriately look after the poor and elderly, and its children, has now been seriously hampered.
Shaw says people should be “humbled and shamed” by what’s just occurred. In education, where hundreds of teachers and teaching assistants across the state are already being pink slipped because of state budget cuts, per pupil spending has been sliced so much, North Carolina will be 49th out of 50 states, below Mississippi and South Carolina.
And it’s not just money. The GOP has also now eliminated the Personal Education Plan statute, which had previously mandated that educators develop a personal plan for academic achievement for children at risk of failing school. The “PEP” as it was called, didn’t cost any money, yet the Republicans eliminated it.
Shaw says as a result, many at risk students of color will not get the extra help they need to succeed in class.
“They got rid of it for apparently no reason,” Shaw said.
In health and human services, rural and inner city communities will see vital cuts to medical services. Republicans also weakened safety and liability regulations for businesses, and emergency room doctors, cut funding to law enforcement agencies, and eliminate much-needed drug treatment courts.
In the criminal justice system, where the repeal of the NC Racial Justice Act would allow prosecutors, once again, to exploit race in capital murder cases in order to guarantee convictions when the victims are white, and the defendant are black.
And then there are the measures to require voter ID, shorten One Stop Early Voting, eliminate same day voter registration and Sunday “Souls to the Polls” voting, create partisan judicial elections, stop public funding of elections, and allowing corporations to give money directly to party headquarters that could end up in their political operations.
All of that, in addition to the Republican redrawing of the state’s voting districts map, due to be unveiled by the end of the month, that could pack black voters into majority-minority districts, thus making it easier for white Republicans to pick off white Democrats. The US Supreme Court has outlawed the practice, but the GOP plans to submit their plan to federal District Court in Washington, D.C., where they hope a Republican federal judge will see things their way.
Changes to North Carolina’s otherwise successful elections process that critics say are designed not only to suppress black and Hispanic voter turnout in 2012 when President Barack Obama runs for re-election, but also make it harder for Democrats to take back state and Congressional seats lost during the November 2010 midterm elections.
“Based purely on their actions on the laws that they’ve passed, you’d have to say that they want fewer people voting; fewer people working; they want those people who are working to have low, menial labor low-wage jobs or be extremely wealthy, and have no room for the middle-class; they want fewer state services to help the sick, the poor and those who have been historically disadvantaged; and they want to be able to do this without having to answer to the public,” said Shaw. “It’s a vision that I don’t think any reasonable North Carolinian should get on board with.”
WAKE SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATE SLATE TAKING SHAPE
By Cash Michaels
With the July candidates filing period looming, and the need for immediate campaign cash growing, the slate of candidates vying for five open Wake School Board seats this October is steadily taking shape.
But thus far, there is every indication that even if Democrats retain all four current seats, it’s that fifth seat, the one occupied by Republican School Board Chair Ron Margiotta, that seems unlikely to change unless Democrats find a strong, well-funded opponent for the one-term incumbent.
Two Democratic incumbents - Dr. Ann McLaurin of District 6, and District 5’s Dr. Carolyn Morrison - have already announced that they will not be returning, leaving their respective districts wide open for new blood, Democrat or Republican.
If Democrats fail to even retain their current four minority seats, the board’s five-member Republican majority could lay claim to a super-majority with at least one or two seats, making them virtually unstoppable in their drive to bury student socioeconomic diversity in the grave once and for all.
With Supt. Anthony Tata pushing adoption (though he denies it) of the controversial “blue” controlled school choice plan which he will formally present to the board next week; the recommendation that the school system’s administrative hierarchy be restructured; and with Chief Academic Officer and former interim Supt. Donna Hargens leaving to take over as superintendent of the Jefferson County School system in Kentucky, the next school board will be dealing with dramatic changes that may or may not enhance Wake’s academic reputation, which has taken a serious hit since the Republicans took over in 2009.
The candidates, thus far, all promise to fight for progress.
Keith Sutton, the board’s District 4 representative from predominately-black Southeast Raleigh who was appointed in 2009, formally announced this week that he is a candidate to serve again for the next four years.
“Since earning the privilege of filling an unexpired term nearly two years ago, I have had a front row seat as a full participant in the inner workings of developing and maintaining the policies and procedures needed to administer and continually build a quality educational system,” Sutton, a Democrat, said in his announcement.
The incumbent joins fellow Democrat, District 3’s Kevin Hill, the former school board chair, who also announced for re-election two weeks ago. Hill’s opponents are conservative Republican Heather Losurdo, and independent Jennifer Mansfield - both neighborhood school advocates.
In the short time that he’s been on the board, Sutton counts among his accomplishments helping to maintain a school-based assignment system; reform of the school system’s disciplinary policies to allow more flexibility for administrators; helping to develop partnerships with the business community; and fighting not only to ensure a “sound, basic education” for every child in the system, but supporting a budget “that protects the classroom.”
Sutton, who also serves as a Victims Advocate Liaison for the NC Governor’s Crime Commission, says if elected, his top priority would be pushing to close the academic achievement gap; ensuring that per pupil spending provides the requisite resources for good learning; and recruiting and retaining quality teachers for the classroom.
Thus far, there are rumors, but no official word that Sutton will face an opponent - Democrat or Republican - for his seat.
Christine Kushner, long-time schools advocate, writer and policy analyst has announced that she will run for the Wake School Board District 6 seat currently held by Dr. Carolyn Morrison. “My goal is to bring thoughtful and practical leadership to the Board of Education,” Kushner said. She has served in numerous policy and volunteer leadership positions with Wake Public Schools for the past 11 years, including working to lower the achievement gap.
Prof. James Martin, an instructor at NC State University, has also announced that he is a candidate for the District 5 seat being vacated by Dr. Anne McLaurin.
“I bring extensive educational experience, having taught students of all levels at NC State for seventeen years,” Martin says on his website. “I have served in multiple elected leadership positions in faculty governance. My leadership and educational experience will be invaluable to ensure we effectively educate our students, equip excellent teachers and administrators, and effectively obtain and responsibly utilize resources.”
At press time Wednesday, no Republican candidates had announced for Districts 4, 5 and 6.
District 4’s Keith Sutton said he expected a Republican challenge, if for no other reason, to keep him from substantially campaigning for any of the other three Democrats in the race thus far.
Also at press time, no Democratic candidates had announced to try and unseat District 8 Republican Ron Margiotta in Apex.
CHARLOTTE DNC CONVENTION COMMITTEE TAKES SHAPE
TRAUMA, PTSD ESPECIALLY HIGH FOR BLACK VETS
WON'T REST - President Obama, seen here meeting with Memphis, Tenn. officials recently about their floods, came to Durham Monday saying he would not rest until every American "had a good job." The president visited Cree, Inc., a light manufacturing company that used federal stimulus funding to expand and hire more workers [White House photo]
OFF TO SOUTH AFRICA - First Lady Michelle Obama, seen here promoting physical fitness with children at the White House, flies to South Africa next week to help improve the quality of life there for that nation's young people. She will talk about education, among other issues. [White House photo]
STATE NEWS BRIEFS
NORTH CAROLINA’S ECONOMIC RECOVERY SLOW, BUT STEADY, SAY ANALYSTS
[CHARLOTTE] It’s not as fast as many are accustomed to, but economists at Wells Fargo say North Carolina’s economic picture is slowly but surely recovering. Historically, the rebound is faster after an economic downturn, they add, but not this time because manufacturing companies have found ways to increase productivity without necessarily hiring more people. The Triangle area, with a 7.9 percent unemployment rate, seems to be recovering the fastest of all of the state’s metropolitan areas, experts add. The state jobless rate is 9.7, while the national rate is 9.1.
CHAVIS MAY CHALLENGE CRAWFORD FOR GRANVILLE HOUSE SEAT
[OXFORD] Veteran civil rights activist Benjamin Chavis, one of the original Wilmington Ten, says he may move back to Granville County to challenge conservative Democrat Rep. Jim Crawford if he voted for the $19.7 billion Republican budget override Tuesday night. Crawford, along with four other “blue dog” Democrats, did vote for the measure that many say cuts funding to schools and social services. Gov. Perdue vetoed the budget last Sunday, saying that it would take the state backwards, and hurt education. The state Senate voted Wednesday to override Perdue’s veto, thus making it law.
PRESIDENT OBAMA VISITS DURHAM, SAYS ECONOMY WILL RECOVER
[DURHAM] Assuring that America’s economy is steadily improving, President Barack Obama flew to Durham’s Cree, Inc. Monday to meet with his Jobs and Competitiveness Council, and announce a plan to train 10,000 engineers a year. Obama said Cree, a lighting manufacturer, is a prime example of American small businesses innovating and hiring more workers. Obama added that he won’t rest until every American “has a good job.”
TRIANGLE NEWS BRIEFS
SEXUAL DISEASE RUMOR CAUSE OF MULTIPLE SLAYINGS, REPORTS SAY
Anger over possibly contracting the Herpes virus allegedly resulted in Brinton Marcell Millsap taking his gun, shooting three women in a car along Durham’s NC 54 in RTP, and then killing himself, published reports say. Millsap, 23, reportedly had relations with one of the women the weekend before. Relatives say when he heard the rumors, the otherwise mild-mannered former athlete was enraged. Reportedly one of the other women in the car had started the false rumor.
LOUISVILLE NAACP CALLS HARGENS “VERY WEAK”
This week, the Jefferson County School Board in Kentucky selected Wake County Schools Chief Academic Officer Donna Hargens as its new superintendent. But according to the Louisville Courier-Journal, last week the Louisville NAACP interviewed Hargens and found her “very weak” and “tap-danced around the entire issue of desegregation…never answering questions.” The civil rights groups call to start the search over again was rejected by the school board chairman. Even the Courier-Journal, in a June 9 editorial, called Hargens and another finalist “woefully inadequate.” Hargens, who also served as Wake’s interim superintendent last year, starts in Louisville Aug. 1.
TRIANGLE HOMES SALES DRAG 27 PERCENT IN MAY
Home sales in Wake, Durham, Johnston and Orange counties in May dropped 27 percent from the same time last year, reports say, reflecting a struggling economy that is woefully slow to recover. Just over 1500 homes found buyers, according to the Triangle Multiple Listing Services. Prices have dropped too, down 9 percent from 2008 to an average of $233,500.
CASH IN THE APPLE
By Cash Michaels
MORE SLEAZY FOX NEWS RACISM - With the 2012 presidential election just 17 months away (true, true…count them on your fingers) there is no question that all of President Obama’s enemies will start pumping up the personal and racial attacks in hopes that enough people will be motivated to go to the polls hating the man.
We could always automatically count on Limbaugh on radio, and Hannity and Beck (who is leaving at the end of this month) for this on Fox News.
But now we have a new, lesser-known player in the fold, and if disgusting is the low-level he’s been shooting for, he made it there in spades.
His name is Eric Bolling, and he stars in a right-wing rant show nightly on Fox Business Network, the sister cable network to Fox News, called, “Follow the Money.”
Here’s the setup - Fox Business was launched a few years ago to compete against the highly successful CNBC business cable channel. So far, the two dogs in the alley and the cat hiding from them are the only viewers Fox Biz actually has.
The channel even put toilet mouth Don Imus back on TV after he paid for his sins with those racist remarks about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team so that the cabler could get some attention.
So far, no luck.
Fox Biz has scheduled some of the “stars” from Fox News, like Juan Williams, to slide over every now and then for a chat, but that really hasn’t moved the audience meter.
So when all else fails, restore to racism, and that’s what Eric Bolling has been doing.
Bolling’s convenient black target as aforementioned, President Barack Obama, and here are some of the unfortunate slurs Bolling has thrown at the Commander-in-chief: “chuggin 40’s” while on his trip to Ireland last month; calling the Obama White House “Hizzouse,” “Hizzy" and “The Big Crib”; and guests of the president to the White House “hoods.”
And apparently Bolling didn’t like it when the president of the African nation of Gabon, Ali Bongo, visited Obama at the White House recently.
"So what's with all the hoods in the Hizzy?" Bolling complained last week on his show. "A month after the White House hosted the rapper Common, who glorifies violence on cops, the president opened his doors to one of Africa's most evil dictators.”
The chyron under video of Obama chatting with the black African president read, “Hoods in the House.”
When members of the press howled racism at this, Bolling jumped on Twitter with the response, “The Bongo family has extorted billions in oil money from his nation … meanwhile 1/3 of Gabon lives on $2 per day," Bolling wrote on Twitter. "And I'm a racist?"
Look, Bolling, a conservative loudmouth, can’t stand Obama. I get that, and that’s, quite frankly, his right. He doesn’t like the president’s policies. Understood.
And apparently there are credible reports of widespread corruption on the part of President Bongo and his family, so much so that when ABC News tried to interview the man on his recent visit here, his aides were vehemently against it and pushed the cameras out. Apparently when an African president’s family lives lavishly, while the people of his nation struggle to earn $2 a day, it’s not something Pres. Bongo wants to talk about.
And by the way, at Bongo’s meeting with President Obama, he was told he needs to clean up his act on corruption.
But even with all of that, there’s no reason for Eric Bolling or anyone else to act like a racist thug on TV just because he has a problem with two black leaders.
Is Bongo allegedly corrupt because he’s black?
Is President Obama, in the eyes of some, a bad president because he’s black?
Of course not.
So why bring their ethnicity into your criticism, unless, of course, what you’re really saying is that you have a problem with black people period, unless they are black people you tolerate? That clearly is the truth in Bolling’s case, and I suspect in Limbaugh’s (who is close to Justice Clarence Thomas) and Hannity (who loves negroes, but hates “Black” people).
In short, Mr. Bolling clearly has a white supremacy problem. Why else incorporate black stereotypes in his commentary? Barack Obama is a dignified, highly educated and accomplished man. Neither he nor First Lady Michelle Obama do anything to shame the office, so why shackle either one with black stereotypes if you’re going to criticize them?
Answer, because people like Bolling et al are so racist, they simply can’t help themselves.
My problem is apparently Fox News, which owns and runs Fox Business, has no problem with Bolling displaying his ignorance on the air. You would think that after the soon-departing Glen Beck got on Fox News and called President Obama a racist, literally, that the suits over there wouldn’t tolerate that nonsense again.
Apparently I was wrong. Apparently racism towards Obama is good for ratings, or at least building ratings. And that’s what Eric Bolling needs, a bigger audience by contriving a controversy to satisfy his bosses at Fox.
This is the epitome of disgusting because it lays it all out very clearly not only the attitude of many of these right-wingers in the media, but right-wingers in the nation PERIOD! Oh yeah, liberals watch these shows too, but they’re not approving of these racial stereotypes.
And the bad, if not sad part of all of this is that neither Bolling, nor his bosses, nor anyone else on his side of the political tracks, sees anything wrong with this. I’d have great respect for Republicans if a few prominent leaders came out and condemned Bolling, Limbaugh, Hannity and others, but they won’t.
Those clowns are doing the GOP’s work for them, keeping the fire and hatred of Obama and black people hot so they can get away with implementing policies that us struggling. They see the election of Barack Obama to be something they should have, notice what I’m about to say now, NEVER allowed, and the GOP intends to use it to strengthen their grip on this nation.
They’re already doing it. In Congress, and in state legislature after state legislature, including our own. Severe cutbacks on education, social services, Medicare/Medicaid funding, you name it. Yes the country is financially broke, but that’s because the Republicans and Wall Street broke it, and then are working hard against the president in his efforts to fix it.
Don’t believe me?
The only way we can steadily come out of the economic hole we’re in is to infuse more financial stimulus into the nation’s economy. The first stimulus two years ago was too small, with a third of it going to tax cuts. A larger one is needed now.
Don’t believe that?
Look at the auto industry. When Obama took over two years ago, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler were going belly up fast. Millions of jobs were about to be lost.
Despite the opposition and criticisms of the Republicans, Obama gave the Big Three automakers loans after they restructured their companies.
Today, not only is the auto industry flourishing, but they’ve paid back those government loans ahead of schedule.
Millions of jobs saved. Proof that stimulus works.
And that’s the reason why the Republicans will not allow it to work again. Screw the nation, they are focused like laser beams at stopping and defeating President Obama.
Thus, all of the racial hysteria of Eric Bolling, Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck and others. They know a fair fight won’t do it, so they resort to what works, racist scare tactics. “A black militant terrorist criminal is destroying our nation an we have to stop it!” the righties are saying.
If President Obama were Italian or Irish, do you thing Bolling would be using ethnic slurs to criticize him? Of course not!
Wake up, community. The worst hasn’t gotten here yet, but thanks to Eric Bolling, a sad replica of a human being, indeed, we know it’s well on its way.
BOLLING UPDATE - As we went to press, apparently the heat got too hot for Mr. Bolling. On Monday evening of this week, Bolling said the following:
“On Friday, we did a story about the president meeting with the president of Gabon," Bolling said. "We got a little fast and loose with the language, and we know it's been interpreted as being disrespectful, and for that, I'm sorry. We did go a bit too far."
Yeah, if I’m not mistaken, Glen Beck “apologized after calling Pres. Obama a racist. In both cases, Fox got pressure from enough folks to realize that there is no justifying…that is until the next time!
MIRIAM THOMAS - For those of you who remember Miriam Thomas, who got to the Raleigh-Durham market at the same time I did in the early 1980’s, there is no question that she made us proud at the anchor of WTVD-TV news for many years. Miriam was, and is, the epitome of class and professionalism.
About ten years ago she left WTVD, and moved back to her hometown of Montgomery, Alabama with her husband and children. There she did consulting work, and also served as a tour guide at the Dexter Avenue Church where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once pastored.
Two weeks ago we learned that Miriam suffered a stroke, and had been hospitalized. News account indicated that it was a minor one, and that she was starting to recover her short-term memory.
All of her friends and colleagues here wish Miriam and her family well. May she make a speedy, but complete recovery.
LEBRON - The Miami Heat - Dallas Mavericks NBA Finals series was a good one, and congratulations to the Mavs for winning the championship in six.
One of the things that disturbed me, besides Miami’s inability at times to do what they did so well in the playoffs leading up to the finals, was the way the sports press pounced on LeBron James.
No, I don’t know why LeBron was never Superman again after game two of the finals. He’s been accused of not being able to handle the fourth quarter pressure.
But I do know this - LeBron is only 26 years old. He’ll learn from this, and be a better player. He’ll develop a stronger game, and learn how to be more of a team player.
Miami will win championships with LeBron James.
It will just take time, time he has to give himself.
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.