Sunday, July 17, 2011


By Cash Michaels
Staff writer

            While legislative GOP leaders scoff, progressive groups like the NCNAACP, and even Gov. Beverly Perdue, are hailing a Wake Superior Court Judge Howard Manning Jr.’s ruling this week that blasts the Republican-led General Assembly for denying 67,000 poor, at-risk pre-kindergarten children their Constitutional right to a “sound, basic education.”
            "This case is about the individual right of every child to have the equal opportunity to obtain a sound basic education," Judge Manning wrote in his court order. "The constitutional right belongs to the child, not to the adults. Each at-risk four-year-old that appears at the doors of the…program this fall is a defenseless, fragile child whose background of poverty or disability places the child at-risk of subsequent academic failure.”
            "Judge Howard Manning's ruling …that the state budget, passed by ultra-conservative extremists in the NC Legislature, violates the constitutional rights of our most precious and vulnerable pre-kindergarten children, is a confirmation of what the NC NAACP and other progressive organizations have argued all along: the people running the NC General Assembly are breaking the law," said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the NCNAACP.
            Last June, the Republicans overrode a veto of their $19.7 billion budget that slashed funding for education, including the state’s More at Four pre-school program, by 20 percent, requiring the parents of students to copay at least 10 percent of their income to enroll their children.
            Republican lawmakers changed the name of the program; moved it out of the NC Dept. of Public Instruction and to the NC Dept. of Health and Human Resources; and also limited the enrollment of at risk children in the program to 20 percent. Judge Manning, a conservative Republican, said that was unconstitutional, and to close the program off to qualified students denied them their educational rights.
            "If the present plan is implemented as set out in the budget bill, several thousand at-risk four-year-olds who are eligible to attend…will not be provided with slots because of the limitations on their participation to 20 percent," Manning wrote in his order Monday.
            Gov. Perdue, still peeved by the stringent cuts to education by Republican lawmakers, applauded Judge Manning’s order, and then challenged state lawmakers to rework their budget to fix the problem.
            "The legislature must provide the at-risk children of North Carolina with the educational programs that will ensure they get off to the right start — and give them a real chance at success," said Perdue, a Democrat, in a statement.
            GOP leaders in the Legislature weren’t pleased, hinting that they may defy Judge Manning’s order, and keep the budget the way it is.
            "I am disappointed in today's order from Judge Manning,” said House Speaker Thom Tillis (R- Mecklenburg). “The court's ruling is unclear in key places and may be incorrect as a matter of law."
            But educational and progressive leaders agreed with Judge Manning.
            “Judge Manning’s order demonstrates that North Carolina’s at-risk pre-schoolers are more than just lines in a ledger sheet,” noted Chris Hill, Director of the NC Education and Law Project. “They deserve better than harsh cuts and an uncertain future.”
            "The frontal attack on public education waged by the current majority in the General Assembly passed an illegal budget in June of this year,” says NCNAACP Pres. Rev. Barber. “Judge Manning's ruling leaves no doubt that the General Assembly's adoption of the draconian budget not only broke the constitutional law but violated a higher moral law that promises all children the right to a sound, basic education no matter what race or socio-economic status they may be."


            [WINSTON-SALEM] The federal trial for former US Senator John Edwards has now been set for October. Edwards was indicted for alleged felony campaign finance violations in connection with payoffs from Edwards 2008 presidential campaign to his mistress, Rielle Hunter after she gave birth to his child. Judge Carlton Tilley says the case has been moving too slowly. He is willing to push the trial back to January if prosecutors are slow in turning over evidence to Edwards’ defense attorneys.

            [RALEIGH, NC] In less than one hour, the NC Senate last week, as promised, voted six times to override six vetoes by Gov. Beverly Perdue. At press time, the state House had yet to take up the same votes. While the Senate has a solid majority for the overrides, the state House has to count on at least three of the five conservative Democrats to join the Republican majority to do so. One of the bills Gov. Perdue vetoed that the GOP wants to override is the voter I.D. law.

            [DURHAM] For many, it was a blessing. Members of Greater Joy International Ministries of Chapel Hill Road, shocked drivers by giving away $6,000 worth of free gasoline Saturday morning. Approximately 400 drivers got $25.00 in free gas when they pulled up to one of the church sponsored gas stations. Drivers were also invited to join church members for a free breakfast at a biscuit restaurant. Members say this was their way of bringing their ministry beyond the walls of the church.


            For the second time in as many months, a Raleigh man has been arrested and charged for child pornography and molesting a child. Daniel Louis Jenkins, 46, is charged with taking indecent liberties with a child, in addition to first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and disseminating obscene material to a minor under age 16. Jenkins allegedly had a child undress during a poker game, and took pictures. He is also accused of touching the child, and giving her pornography. Jenkins was arrested on June 22 for third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor which allegedly took place between August 2008 and June 2009.

With just 170 days of water left, Durham residents are being urged to conserve what they can as high temperatures continue to pound the Triangle area. More than 5 million gallons-a-day were used last month, officials say, over 18 percent higher than in June 2010. Residents are being asked to limit water usage for lawns and outdoor plants. June, July and August are considered the heaviest water usage months.

            A student who graduated St. Augustine’s College last spring is now suing the historically black college because he was not allowed to participate in the graduation ceremonies. Roman Caple made national news when he was not allowed to march in the ceremony. In his July 8 lawsuit, Caple alleges the school blocked him because of negative remarks he reportedly made on Facebook about how school officials handled the April tornado emergency. The school says Caple hurt the college’s reputation with his remarks. Caple wants monetary damages, and the commencement ceremony he says he deserves.

By Cash Michaels

BIGOTED CAIN - I’ve deliberately held my fire when it comes to the GOP slate of presidential candidates, primarily because I don’t have anything good to say about ANY of them. Is that political bias on my part? No, just good hearing. I’ve been listening to these clowns, and other presidential wannabe clowns like Sarah Palin, and all I’m hearing is some of the craziest, most laughable right-wing nonsense that’s come down the pike in years.
But the Republican presidential candidate I’ve been paying particular close attention to, for obvious reasons, is Tea Party favorite, conservative radio host  and former Godfather Pizza CEO Herman Cain.
First of all, let’s be clear….when it comes to business, Cain has proven himself, so I have little argument with his record there. Whether you can successfully apply his business acumen to government, since those are two different animals, is debatable, but that’s what presidential campaigns are for - open debate.
But what presidential contests should NOT be about is bigotry of ANY sort, and on this, Herman Cain fall way, way sort.
As you know (or should know if you’ve been paying attention), Cain has gotten himself into hot water for saying if elected president (and it should be noted that will happen when pigs fly), he would NOT have any Muslims on his White House Cabinet.
Now to be fair, Cain, a “black man” as he likes to tout himself (and I’ll get to the relevancy of that in a moment) has tried to clarify his outlandish remark, saying that he did not say what I postulated about.
So he’s been running around trying to make what he meant clearer…without much success. For example, consider this moment from a recent BBC interview:
BBC: You said you wouldn’t have a Muslim in your cabinet two weeks ago. Is that still your position?
CAIN: That wasn’t a statement I made. Let’s get it right. I was asked if I would be comfortable, and my response was I would not be comfortable with a terrorist in my cabinet. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but a lot of the terrorists are Muslims, so I just have to be real careful about who I put in my cabinet.                                                                                                                       
So if I read Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain correctly, just because a person is a Muslim, means that person is most likely to be a terrorist. That’s as stupid as saying because a person is white, he or she is most likely to be a racist. Or because a person is black, he’s most likely to play basketball.
For the record, and this is common sense, the overwhelming majority of Muslims in the nation, and in the world, are NOT terrorists. They are decent, hardworking, GOD fearing people. Only a tiny number in a handful of countries misinterpret, and consequently misuse the Islamic faith for their terrorist deeds.
Just like in Kansas where there are a handful of so-called “Christian” believers who threaten and murder abortion providers. These nuts believe they’re doing GOD’s work, just like the Ku Klux Klan believed they were too.
            And yet, as a nation we’ve learned NOT to broadbrush whole religions because of the selfish and evil acts of a few. And we’ve been proven right.
            Proven right to everyone but Herman Cain, and apparently the small cadre of right-wing Tea Party morons he’s desperately trying to cater to.
            But Cain’s ignorance, and yes religious bigotry, has reached new heights this week.
            Apparently there’s a Muslim community in Murfreesboro, Tennessee that wants to build a new mosque. The townspeople oppose it. When asked about on Fox News Sunday,  Cain said he agreed with the townspeople, he opposes the building of a new mosque as well. Why? Because he says he wants to prevent the establishment of Sharia Law there.
            For the record again (with Republicans, you always have to find a place to work in the fact because Lord knows these folks are slim on any) Sharia Law is foundational to to Islamic religion, but so is the Holy Qu’ran. Nothing evil about it. It sets out a set of religious principles for living that helps followers be better servants of GOD.
            Guess what, we Christians have the same thing. It’s called the Ten Commandments.
            But what zealots like Cain are pushing is that Muslims are threatening to establish Sharia Law as part of American law in the United States. That’s a lie, plain and simple. But it’s also an effective political scare tactic to make folks believe that just because people of another religion live and worship in their city or town, that the rules governing their faith will be pushed to govern everyone’s lives.
            Here, read some of the claptrap Herman Cain said on Fox News Sunday.
            “Our Constitution guarantees the separation of church and state. "Islam combines church and state. They're using the church part of our First Amendment to infuse their morals in that community, and the people of that community do not like it. They disagree with it."
            And in Murfreesboro last week, Cain said, “"It is another example of why I believe in American laws and American courts," Cain said. "This is just another way to try to gradually sneak Sharia law into our laws, and I absolutely object to that.”
            This is fearmongering, plain and simple. It’s a bigoted, defensive tactic to divide people for political, if not personal ends. And it is disgraceful. It is even more demeaning because a so-called “black man” (Cain says he’s “blacker” than Pres. Obama, and that the president is afraid to face  a “real” black man” in 2012) is uttering these asinine beliefs.
            I get it that people will always be leary of the unknown, or things they do not understand. And yes, we should all be vigilant in an age where there are real terrorists who look to indiscriminately harm and kill anyone and everyone American.
            I get that.
            Problem is we can’t discriminate against an entire religion just because we’re afraid of what a few outlanders could do. Despite the ignorance of the Herman Cains of the world, we do have the constitutional guarantee of Freedom of Religion in this nation, and we’re better for it.
            And we also have the constitutional protections to make sure that no one religion wields undue influence over the nation (though it might not seem that way at times).
            So beyond being ignorant about a host of other issues (the Middle East, governance, etc.) the last thing American needs is a loudmouth ignoramus who thinks his bossy, know-nothing tone is going to get him to the White House.
            If Herman Cain is EVER elected president of the United States, I will lick the ground from here to Washington, D.C. PROMISE!
            Something tells both the ground, and my tongue, are more than safe.
            HONORING MS. MURRAY - If there is one person, apart from my own family, that I simply love and adore without question, it has to be Mrs. Margaret Rose Murray, who has been a stalwart of our community for virtually half a century. Ms. Murray is still going strong with her Vital Link is Crosslink schools, community volunteerism, and her weekly community affairs radio program, “ Traces of Faces and Places” heard every Saturday morning from 9-a.m. until 11 a.m. on WSHA-88.9 FM.
            That’s why on Saturday, August 6th, the community will come together to honor Ms. Murray, and her invaluable half century of work in this community, during her 80th Birthday Gala and Community Appreciation Banquet, The Grand Ballroom of the Raleigh Convention & Civic Center, 7 p.m. in Downtown Raleigh. Renowned jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal will provide the evening’s entertainment, and proceeds go to help Ms. Murray’s nonprofit culinary school. For more information, contact Bruce Lightner at 919-833-1676.
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 And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my new blog, ‘The Cash Roc” ( 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.

By Cash Michaels
An analysis

            If there was any question as to the Republican Party’s intent to not only maintain, but increase its dominance on the Wake County School Board in the coming October elections, state House Majority Leader Paul Stam blew it away recently when he wrote,” …this election represents a national litmus test in education reform. From the New York Times to the Washington Post, the Wake County School Board elections will be analyzed on a national scale.”
            Stam made those remarks in a June 21 fundraising letter for fellow Republican Ron Margiotta, chair of the GOP-led school board since they took over in December 2009. Stam hosted a fundraiser for Margiotta in Apex last week.
            While the Republicans are targeting at least three of the four open Democratic seats on the school board, it is Margiotta’s Apex-Holly Springs-Cary District 8 seat that is considered the most crucial. If the Dems hold onto their four open seats, and are able, somehow, to defeat Margiotta in his upper middle-class, predominately conservative District 8, then they regain majority control of the nine-member school board.
            The question is how much help will they get from both the Wake County Democratic Party, as well as the NC Democratic Party. By all accounts, neither one flexed a lot of muscle, or raised a lot money, during the disastrous 2009 school board race, when four rookie GOP candidates swept their races, joining Margiotta in taking over, and discarding the previous socioeconomic student diversity policy for their preferred neighborhood schools policy.
            Even though the school board elections are officially nonpartisan, that didn’t stop the Wake County Republican Party from raising money, and giving campaign guidance.
            After she was sworn in, Deborah Pritckett, one of the GOP victors, made sure she publicly thanked then Wake Republican Chair Claude Pope for all of his support and assistance.
            Pope has since stepped down, but his successor, Susan Bryant, has made it very clear that any true-red Republicans running this fall in Districts 3, 4, 5, 6 and Chairman Margiotta in the Eighth, can expect the same level of support in this campaign.
            “New Republicans are stepping up to run for school board positions this fall,” Bryant wrote in a recent edition of the county GOP’s newsletter, “Elephant Express.”  “Chair Ron Margiotta runs for re-election. More Republicans on the board will mean better schools.”
            Bryant urged readers to support Margiotta, and Heather Losurdo, running to unseat former board chairman Kevin Hill in District 3.
            Last week, Cynthia Matson, an anti-diversity Republican who headed up Assignment By Choice to oppose Wake’s busing for diversity policy ten years ago, announced last week that she will run for the District 5 seat currently held by Dr. Anne McLaurin, who is stepping down
            The announced Democrat for District 5 is NCSU Professor Jim Martin.
            Will Prof. Martin, along with District 4 Southeast Raleigh incumbent Keith Sutton; incumbent Hill in District 3; Democrat Christine Kushner running in District 6 to replace retiring incumbent Dr. Carolyn Morrison; and Democrat Susan Evans, who will oppose Margiotta in District 8, get the requisite fundraising support from the county and state Democratic parties?
            Published reports say they are, with Kushner reported doing quite well.
            The question is, how well is “well” given what happened in 2009, when the Republicans took control, and vowed to keep it?

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