Tuesday, August 30, 2011


               Congressional Black Caucus Stands for Jobs in Black Community

                College Student Anxiety on the Rise

                 Fall of Libyan Leader Raises New Concerns

By Cash Michaels
An analysis
             “…the audacity of winning has given away to the timidity of governing.”
                                                                                         Arianna  Huffington
                                                                                         November 3, 2009

            As President Barack Obama prepares to deliver a major address on Sept. 7 before a joint session of Congress on how he hopes to improve the faltering US economy and generate more jobs, a dark, looming question remains.
            Is he willing to fight for what he proposes?
            “We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend. And we honor those ideals by upholding them not when it's easy, but when it is hard,” Pres. Obama once said upon accepting the Nobel Peace prize in December 2009.
            The operative word here is “fight,” because many of his critics, and ironically many of his supporters - especially in his own party -  question the president’s threshold of gravitas, and willingness to confront political adversaries not only to defend his governing principles, but advance his public policy positions.
            To fight for those issues voters overwhelming determine are of primary importance, win or lose, is the mandate of most publicly elected officials, especially the most powerful of them all - the president of the United States. The American political process, by design, is a tug-of-war between conflicting electoral mandates, usually resulting in a hard fought compromise where both sides have given some ground in order to attain a reasonable result for all..
            The Barack Obama who ran for president in 2008 promised voters he would “fight” for health care reform, more jobs and improvements to education, and they elected him.
            “If we think that we can secure our country by just talking tough without acting tough and smart, then we will misunderstand this moment and miss its opportunities,” said candidate Obama on August 19, 2008.
            “…[T]he campaign team, and the candidate, not only had the audacity to win but was able to keep that audacity alive, day in and day out over the long nearly-two-year slog of the campaign …,” Arianna Huffington of the online The Huffington Post, wrote in 2009, later adding that by doing so,  the campaign had also, “…shown the Obama White House the way forward.”
But the Barack Obama who took over the White House in 2009, in an effort to pacify recalcitrant conservative Republicans hellbent in destroying his historic presidency, tried to conquer Washington with a peaceful personality and penchant for pragmatism, instead of raw political power when needed.
 “President Obama is a leader,” White House adviser David Plouffe, who managed Obama’s 2008 campaign, told The Huffington Post. “He did not run to occupy the Oval Office but to lead from it, and many times that means playing a bad hand as effectively as possible.”
However, critics counter, whatever “bad hand” the president has had to play, was the direct result of his reluctance to fight for a stronger hand in the first place. In his dealings with the Republicans on the debt ceiling crisis or the two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts, they always essentially walked away with “98 percent,” according to GOP House Speaker John Boehner, of what they ultimately wanted, seemingly laughing all the way to the bank while the president made excuses for what he was left with.
The result - today, one year away from would should have been an assured re-election, a struggling President Obama is at his weakest ever. A frustrated American public - increasingly disenchanted with dysfunctional government and a spiraling economy -  is demanding a new direction for the nation, and partially blames the president for a lack of leadership.
            Critics, based on the president’s track record thus far, are even more blunt. They say Obama doesn’t know how to really lead, because he doesn’t know how to fight as a leader.
            Indeed, there is evidence, they say, that Obama doesn’t want to fight at all, which is why he ultimately settles for much, much less than he, himself, has promised.
            It’s something those who have been following Barack Obama long before he ever announced for president in 2007 had been saying, and warning anyone who would listen, about.
             “We haven't yet seen what a Barack Obama would fight for in a public debate, and it's something I'd like to see,” once wrote liberal Democratic strategist Matt Stoller, a constant critic of Barack Obama.  “I'd like to see him enter the contest, and in all likelihood get crushed for being a go-along-get-along politician.”
              “Only then can he become a great Senator or President, after he realizes that it's not about being liked by everyone, it's about being a principled human being.”
            Stoller wrote that about Obama in 2006 in an online piece titled, “Why Barack Obama Should Run for President.” It was one of many pieces accusing the then promising politician of always seeking the path of least resistance.
            Something that few people realized when a fiery, young, oratorically brilliant Barack Obama took to the campaign trail in 2008, with crowd-pleasing phrases such as, “We’re fired up and ready to go,” and “I will fight for you.”
            "I feel such an obligation to [my supporters]," Obama is quoted as once telling Plouffe during the campaign. "They believe in me. In us. In themselves. What keeps me going day after day? Besides a clear sense of why I am running for president, it's them, our volunteers. It is a special thing we've built here and I don't want to let them down."
The question is, as President Obama slowly becomes candidate Obama again for the 2012 re-election bid, will he continue to promise voters that he will fight for them?
            And more importantly, now that the president has a record of doing anything but, will they believe him, and re-elect him?
            Obama’s fellow Democrats opine about his reluctance to stand strong against the Tea Party Republicans on issues such as raising the debt ceiling and protecting entitlement programs such as Medicare. True, of late, Obama took a tour through the Midwest recently, chiding the powerful right-wing faction of Congress for blocking any budget compromises that didn’t cut federal spending to their liking.
            But the president urged citizens to punish Tea Partiers for their stubbornness - citizens who overwhelming elected the Tea Party to Congress in the first place last November - instead of also saying that he will also take them on from this point forward.
And the Congressional Black Caucus has now gone viral and very vocal with its criticisms of the president’s seeming unwillingness to directly address chronic unemployment in the African-American community, which, at almost 17 percent officially, is virtually twice the national average.
The White House counters that the president is sensitive to the plight of his strongest base of support, but must be sensitive to the plight of all Americans equally, lest history’s first African-American president be accused of playing favorites in times of crisis.
            There is no question that President Obama has accomplished more in the first two years of his presidency than most commander-in-chiefs get done in an entire four-year term. But he had Democratic control of Congress from 2009 to 2011, and even so, willingly compromised strong positions on federal stimulus and health care reform just to attract bipartisan support with the Republicans.
            For instance, despite consistent urgings from top economists to make his $787 billion stimulus package even bigger in order to properly jumpstart the sinking economy when he took office in 2009, Pres. Obama further weakened the package by making a third of it tax cuts, not only to appease opposing Republican Congressional leaders, but hopefully win their support.
            They still refused.
            And after pushing hard during his historic 2008 presidential campaign for a public option as the centerpiece of his revolutionary health care reform initiative, Obama willingly bargained it away for the prospect of getting support from the major pharmaceutical companies.
The same “Big Pharma” industry candidate Obama blasted in 2008 for previously cutting deals with Republican George W. Bush’s White House to protect its massive profits.
There are many who allege that one of the reasons why Obama seems “weak” or “indecisive” to some, and isn’t willing to fight for core liberal Democratic principles, is because he, in fact, is not a liberal.
There is no question that the Harvard University trained Barack Obama is not a weak or indecisive man, having come up in the legendarily tough Chicago political machine as a state senator, and then Illinois US senator. And certainly the 2008 presidential campaign proved Obama’s resilience when he had to defeat an evercharging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.
But, as Connexion, an online alternative lifestyle publication posited last December, Obama is actually more centrist in his politics, more concerned with attracting moderates of both parties, plus as many independents as he can get.
Connexion wrote - This does not mean that President Obama is a Republican, or anything close to a Republican. The Republican Party is not conservative, it is extremist. But as the Republican Party has drifted farther and farther to the fringe, much of the establishment Democratic Party has intrepidly moved into the ideological space the Republican Party abandoned. The Republicans lead this movement to the right, and the Democrats follow, taking the political center with them and leaving the traditional left ever more disenfranchised, disenchanted, and politically alienated. The problem with Barack Obama isn't that he is worse than establishment Village Democrats, the problem is that he is one of them. He didn't change Washington, but he is changing what some who consider themselves liberal or progressive are willing to tolerate, accept, and even support.
            Indeed, long before Obama took office, the Democratic Party had been long accused of bowing to the whims of the feisty Republicans by the progressive/liberal faction. Thanks to President Bill Clinton, the party moved further center during his eight years as president, in an effort to reclaim the Congress and the White House.
            Obama’s “hope and change” campaign after eight years of Republican President George Bush seemed fresh and new to voters who were hungry for change. Obama promised to “fight for the middle-class,” but interestingly, said very little about fighting for poorer communities, even though his candidacy, because of his unique biracial background and experience growing up poor, implied that he knew their needs.
            What was not known was the tension between candidate Obama, and traditional black leadership, many of whom harkened from the 1960’s civil rights movement.
            Obama did not want to fight the old “black versus white” battles that still permeated the political landscape, even within the Democratic Party. He wanted to rise above it, bring together powerful coalitions of young, old, grassroots, business, university-educated and multi-cultural communities, add on a plethora of people who had never voted before, and win the presidency on a platform of positive change.
            Observers still laud the brilliance of perhaps the most successful political campaign in American history, but also counter that running a campaign, and governing a nation, are two totally different challenges.
            President Obama, almost three years into his first term, has found that out, having tried mightily to negotiate his way through unyielding Republican opposition to his policies.
            So now that summer is over, and the political season is back in bloom next week when the president addresses Congress about creating more jobs, will Barack Obama now forcefully challenge Republicans to work with him or else, as candidate Obama once promised?
            Or will President Obama plead with a GOP leadership that has already declared their goal of destroying his presidency, even if it further brings the nation down?
            The time for Barack Obama to fight, observers say, is now, or never.


            Sandra Dubose-Gibson, Mrs. Black North Carolina 2011, is marking Alopecia Awareness month in September by traveling the state, screening her personal documentary, “Project Liberation: My Alopecia Experience” in public libraries. Dubose-Gibson has alopecia, a baldness disease, and was the first bald woman ever to win Mrs. Black NC. The screenings are free and open to the public, and group discussions will take place afterwards.
            For Raleigh, a screening will be held Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 6:30 p.m. at Cameron Village Regional Library; in Wilmington on Saturday, Sept. 24, 1:30 p.m. at the New Hanover County Main Library; and in Durham, Thursday, October 20, 6:30 p.m. at the Durham County Main Library. For more information call 919-610-5420.

            The Triangle area’s jobless rate ticked up slightly from June’s 8.1 percent, to 8.2 percent in July, according to the NC Employment Security Commission. That’s good news overall because the area jobless rate is less than the state’s 10.1 percent. Experts say cuts in state and local government are hurting North Carolina’s economy.

            Despite the controversies, apparently more parents are sending their children to the Wake County Public School System. When the first day of school convened August 25th, 146,657 students - 3,368 more than last year - were enrolled. The final, official count for this school year will be taken on the 20th day of classes. Wake Supt. Anthony Tata says the system has hired 82 new teachers so far this year.




[OUTER BANKS] Over 1100 homes were destroyed, and over $70 million in damage done - not counting crop losses - thanks to the devastation done by Hurricane Irene in North Carolina last weekend, says Gov. Perdue, but resilient North Carolinians will recover as they have many times before. Fortunately, Irene was not the Category 3 storm that forecasters had predicted when it hit the Outer Banks and a good part of eastern North Carolina, but it still caused massive flooding, power outages to over 400,000 people, and downed trees from Wilmington to Raleigh. NC Highway 12, which connects the barrier islands, was sliced in several places by the storm and could be damaged again, state engineers say.
There are at least six known dead in the state, several of whom died when trees fell on their homes. Perdue said despite the destruction, the costs of which are still being tallied, North Carolina’s beaches will be open for Labor Day this weekend.

[RALEIGH] If citizens want to donate to help those struck by Hurricane Irene, they can send those donations to NC Disaster Relief Fund, 20312 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC, 27612.  Citizens can also make credit card donations online at www.ncdisasterrelief.org.

[RALEIGH] In the aftermath of destruction from Hurricane Irene, a faltering economy and a rising jobless rate, Republican lawmakers in the GOP-led NC General Assembly intend to vote for a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in North Carolina when they return to Raleigh the week of Sept. 12. The session is geared toward passage of at least seven constitutional amendments, but Republicans may also try to override Gov. Perdue’s voter ID law veto. At a press conference Tuesday, state House leaders said North Carolinians want a total ban on same-sex marriage, even though NC law already defines marriage as only between a man and a woman.

By Cash Michaels

THE COMMON CAUSE OF SAFETY - Without mentioning the name of the fine organization or event, last Saturday I was supposed to get an award, and I was very much looking forward to attending to receive it too. I have great respect and admiration for their work, so to be honored for my work in journalism by them was indeed an honor.
But earlier in the week, as weather forecasters fine-tuned their predictions of where Hurricane Irene might hit - namely North Carolina - and when, my old journalistic sense, let alone common sense, took over.
The event would be taking place right in the midst of the storm.
Having lived and worked in North Carolina for over 30 years, I’ve come to know hurricanes quite well, thank you, having lived through Hugo, Fran and Floyd particularly. I know how unpredictable they are, and can be, and I certainly know the devastation they can cause.
So thirty years have taught me to never second-guess a hurricane that just happens to be in the neighborhood. I don’t think there’s a weatherman or woman worth their salt who would disagree with that axiom.
So on Friday, the day that North Carolina began feeling the coming wrath of Hurricane Irene in earnest, having not heard about any change in plans or postponement about the event, I began to email. Friday was a rough day already because even though I live in Wake County, the absolute center of the state and 150 miles from the coast where Irene was supposed to make landfall, my thirty years in NC told me it didn’t make a difference.
In 1989, Hurricane Hugo, a category 5 storm, sent powerful winds from the coast all the way to Mecklenburg County in the west, downing trees, cutting power and blowing out office windows.
In September 1996, Hurricane Fran - packing 115 mph winds - shocked everyone in North Carolina when it made landfall in Wilmington, and marched straight to Raleigh. The results - 79 mph winds and eight inches of rain punishing every inch of Wake County with power outages and severe flooding for days. People were lined up, both in well-to-do North Raleigh, and in low-income Southeast Raleigh, for bottles of water and loaves of bread. We were all forced to live like cavemen with no electricity for several days.
No weatherman predicted all of that for Raleigh.  At least 24 people in the state died, at least $2.3  billion in damage done.
I almost lost my life during Fran when my blood sugar shot up over 800, and my then-girlfriend angrily forced me to go to the hospital (you know we hard-headed black men simply refuse to go to the doctor when we know something is wrong), where I was kept for three days until they got my sugar back down. Had I waited, the doctors told me I would have been dead by that weekend.
Then there was Hurricane Floyd in September 1999. Ask the good folks of the town of Princeville, the oldest black incorporated town in the nation. What Fran did with wind three years earlier, Floyd did with rain, sending devastating floods to Princeville, virtually almost wiping the town off the map. Even in Raleigh, Crabtree Valley Mall had to shutdown because the nearby creek flooded the entire area. Six billion in total damage to the state.
So past experience told me that when the weatherman yells “hurricane” in your state, unless you live all the way in the high mountains of Asheville, you listen careful, and take all of the required precautions.
Last Friday, because I have a young family, and not knowing for sure what havoc Hurricane Irene would cause, I spent the day in preparation. Even made my eight-year-old, KaLa, sit down and watch the local hurricane coverage so she could understand and appreciate the seriousness of the impending situation.
Earlier in the week, we didn’t feel the earthquake that Raleigh and the rest of the Triangle felt. It just didn’t shake where we live. But Irene would be different, and I wanted to make sure that my little one understood, and was emotionally prepared for a possible power outage, or worse.
She definitely got the message when leaving the supermarket at 4 p.m., Irene’s rains and wind began, and thunder cracked loud and too close for comfort in the parking lot.
And through it all, I beseeched the organizers of Saturday’s event to realize that just because Irene was projected to concentrate primarily on our coast, didn’t mean that we couldn’t be affected in Raleigh.
As past experience proved, there simply weren’t any guarantees. Hurricanes cause violent storms, and violent storms, as we know only too well around these parts, can spawn deadly tornadoes. Lots of rain and strong wind gusts topple trees. That can cause power lines to go down.
I shared this with the organizers, but I also shared something that was all too obvious.
The event was scheduled for 5 p.m. On Friday forecasters were saying we would be feeling the worst of Irene between 4-11 p.m. Many, if not most of the people attending the event, were elderly, and they would be driving. And they would be coming not only from all parts of Raleigh, but all parts of Wake County as well.
To ask them to drive in darkened, and potentially perilous conditions, where one snapped tree branch could mean losing control of a vehicle on a rain-soaked road, was a bit much in my book.
To their credited, the organizers emailed back that they were now reconsidering, and within a few hours on Friday, they made the wise decision to postpone the event to a later date.
Fortunately, in Raleigh, while there were strong wind gusts, downed trees and power outages along with rain heavy at times, there was nothing compared to what happened on the Outer Banks, where the wind and flooding were devastating.
But every person who would have attended was safe at home, and off the road, as it should be.
I now anxiously await their rescheduling.
I shared this story because what I did last week was really no different, to a lesser degree, from what trained, experienced weather people were doing all last week, and for that matter, have been doing for many, many years.
Using their wealth of experience to assess the latest information available about an impending threat - a threat assessment - and imparting that information contextually to the general public so that we can take all necessary actions to protect ourselves and our families.
The organizers may have saved a life Saturday by making their decision. We’ll never know f erring on the or sure, but that’s the likelihood. And during a weather emergency, even when the threat seems miles away, there is rarely anything wrong with erring on the side of caution when lives could be on the line.
I salute them for doing so.
SILLY PEOPLE - Judging from the way folks have jumped all over the National Hurricane Center in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, I truly, but sadly think that we are all losing our minds.
Last week, the NHC forecasted that Hurricane Irene was a category 3 storm, with the potential of growing to a cat 4, posing a dangerous threat not just to North Carolina, but the entire Eastern seaboard. All of their available information confirmed this possibility, and broadcasters here and as far away as New York City warned their audiences accordingly.
So what happened? Irene indeed had a devastating impact from North Carolina, to New York (where the entire city was shutdown), and even on to New England, causing flooding, power outages for over 4 million people, historic flooding in parts of New Jersey and Connecticut, at least 40 deaths (6 here in NC), and an initial estimate of some $7 billion dollars ($70 million of that in NC).
But folks complained that Irene “was no monster” as they were told it could be.
So they’ve been mocking the media and the forecasters ever since. Indeed, the next hurricane that is supposed to tear through these parts could now be ignored because some people feel all the media does is hype the potential for severe weather.
In other words, if the media reports the potential of sheer devastation, folks say they want to homes blow off their foundations, buildings toppled, high flooding for miles, and a death toll in the hundreds, all so that they can go, “WOW!”
What freakin’ IDIOTS!
As any weather forecaster will tell you, you can have the best information possible in predicting what a storm could do, and yet, because there are so many unforeseen variables that can intercede at the absolute last second (Hurricane Hugo sending powerful winds to an unsuspecting Charlotte in 1989 is a prime example), it is almost impossible to put an ironclad certainty on it.
After all, hurricanes are NOT manmade.
Thus, we can only use the best information to predict what they’re going to do, and then warn you about the probabilities and possibilities so that you and yours can ably prepare.
That’s what I did with my family last week. On Saturday, we spent an uneventful day together a the wind howled and the rain fell, ready for anything to happen.
It didn’t, and for that, we are very grateful, given all of the trees we live around.
So should I be mad that the forecasters forced me to take extra precautions to protect my wife and young child? Of course not. If anything, it was a good dry run for the rest of the hurricane season (which ends in November). Why should I be mad about that?
But to some people, the media, for their own “evil and greedy” purposes, got everybody all worked up just so that the supermarkets and housing supply stores could make a killing.
Mind you, some of these same people pay other people to give them the best guesses possible about which stocks will turn a profit, but when it comes to saving life and limb, they feel cheated when something bad doesn’t happen.
If you’re one of these silly people, you need to check yourself. If you’re forced to interrupt your life, just so that you can save your life, then so be it. The forecasters work as hard as possible to get it right with an inexact science.
And the reporters who put their lives on the line, with families at home, to broadcast from dangerous locations during the height of a powerful storm, aren’t risking life and limb for hype. They’re trying ton report the facts as they see them. All of them should be commended, and told how much we appreciate their courage and dedication to bringing us the news.
Everything isn’t a conspiracy, folks. Sometimes, especially the most trying moments in life, it is what it is, and the best that it’s going to get. Our job is to deal with it, even if, in the end, it falls far short of what was predicted.
How else are we going to deal with the real thing when it gets here? And who will we blame when we are NOT told about the full extent of a dangerous emergency headed our way?
The same folks we’re mocking now. How silly!
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.

Monday, August 22, 2011


By Cash Michaels

            Republicans don’t like it. Conservatives can’t stand it. And Fox News has made it clear that they won’t tolerate it.
            But African-Americans here in North Carolina, and across the nation, are giving Congresswoman Maxine Waters the big “thumbs up” for telling the conservative Tea Party - seen by many to be a right-wing radical arm of the Republican Party - to, “…go straight to hell!”
            “Well, that is where the Republican Tea Party is going, [and] it is going to be crowded in that little ol’ hand basket,” remarked Wes, one of many who commented on FaceBook this week about the incident at The Carolinian’s request.
            Another Facebooker remarked that “Congresswoman Waters was far too kind.”
Still another said, “I think she should apologize…for not saying it sooner.”           
And Annette E. chimed in, “All of the racist comments that they have been making, and they want her to apologize for that!”
Indeed, of the nearly one hundred responses The Carolinian got on FaceBook, none were critical of Rep. Waters, supporting her leadership in standing up to what they see as determined right-wing opposition to President Obama, and their issues.
On the congresswoman’s own FaceBook page, however, opponents blasted her.
Is THAT what you call "Liberal civility"????,” wrote John C. “You call this providing leadership? RESIGN, MADAM!”
Another critic, Victor B, wrote, “She should deal with the hate, violence in her own constituent's neighborhoods, and Broken families, and fatherless kids, and The results of years of Democrat policies in the Black Community,, this is nothing to do with Tea Party, but they need a scapegoat rather then focus on their own dysfunction!”
Clearly, Rep. Waters’ rhetorical declaration of war with the Tea Party has further enflamed the political rhetoric in Washington, D.C. and the country.
It was last year that the national NAACP created a firestorm when it passed a controversial resolution accusing the Tea Party movement with using “racial epithets,” “engaging in explicit racist behavior” and “displaying signs and posters intended to degrade people of color generally and President Barack Obama specifically.”
And just this week on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” former NAACP Board Chairman Julian Bond was asked about racism and the Tea Party.

       NPR HOST: Some people read into the Tea Party's almost neuralgic reaction to      government spending, a sense that white people figure black people benefit disproportionately from federal programs. Do you suspect a racial subtext to that whole argument?
            BOND: Absolutely. And I'm not saying that all of the Tea Party members are
      racist. Not at all. I don't think anybody says that. But I think there's an element of
      racial animus there and the feeling that some white people have that these black
      people are now getting something that I'm not getting and I should be getting it, too.

Clearly, with a floundering economy and rising unemployment, the feelings are 
      becoming more frayed in the nation as poll after poll shows Americans are increasingly
      losing faith in President Obama, the Congress, and the country’s overall direction. 
          Waters, a veteran California Democratic representative known for challenging the
      powers that be, made her controversial remarks last Saturday during a black community
      summit in Inglewood, California.
During pointed remarks about how joblessness in the African-American community
      nationwide is at least 16 percent - twice that of white Americans - an angry Rep. Waters
      assured the audience that she and the Congressional Black Caucus were willing to take
      on their Republican colleagues in the GOP-led US House, and the small faction of GOP
     Tea Party House members who caused the country’s recent debt ceiling crisis.
     “I’m not afraid of anybody,” an angry Rep. Waters told the audience. “This is a tough
     game. You can’t be intimidated. You can’t be frightened. And as far as I’m concerned,
     the Tea Party can go straight to Hell!”
            As the cheering crowd jumped to their feet in rousing applause, Waters added that she was willing to help the Tea Party get there too!
            The reaction from across the political spectrum was quick, and predictable.
            Leaders of major Tea Party groups, like the Tea Party Patriots, blasted Rep. Waters’ remarks, and called on President Obama to publicly condemn them. They also invoked the widely reported story that Vice President Joe Biden, during a closed meeting with House Democrats during the debt-ceiling crisis, allegedly referred to Tea Party members of Congress as “terrorists.” They also alleged that some Democrats have also called them “hostage takers” for being publicly willing to allow federal government to go into default on its fiscal obligations by refusing to raise the debt ceiling.
            Tea Party members of Congress say they are only carrying out the mandate of the voters who elected them in last November’s stunning midterm elections, where Republicans won 60 seats to claim the majority.
            But even before Rep. Waters’ sharp declaration, African-Americans were appalled with racist statements about the president, and bigoted signs at Tea Party rallies, that sent the clear message that right-wing America is actively seeking to “take back their country” from President Obama and his multi-cultural supporters.
            When you have conservative radio talk show host Tammy Bruce, who calls the first lady trash, when you have Glenn Beck, who says [Pres. Obama] has a hatred of white people, when you have Sherri Goforth, who worked for the Tennessee GOP state senator, who sends an e-mail out depicting the president like a spook, does not apologize initially because of the racism e-mail…what you have here, you do have individuals who have a problem with this,” journalist Roland Martin told CNN in 2009.
            It’s not just Rep. Waters who says the Tea Party has gone too far. Even North Carolina’s Democratic congressman are calling out the right-wing for their hardball tactics.
            “I think the Obama Administration has underestimated at every stage how extreme and uncompromising they are,” Rep. Brad Miller [D-NC-13] told The Carolinian several weeks ago. “The Tea Party began with kind of a coalition of all of the  most extreme right fringe groups.”
            “There is no compromise in that, and they believe they have a set of beliefs that have very little to do with reality,” Rep. Miller continued. “They don’t let reality intrude too much into what they believe.”
            Last spring, Rep. G. K. Butterfield [D-NC-1], told The Carolinian he knew what would happen once the Republicans took over Congress last November.
            “When we campaigned in 2010 we tried to warn our citizens that if the Republicans became the majority that they would just reign tyranny over our communities, and that is absolutely true,” Butterfield said. “ The Tea Party Republicans control the Republican caucus in the House. There’s not but 87 of them who’ve come to town, but those 87 are very loud and very vocal, and very demanding. Right now it seems that these 87 are really controlling the agenda that the Republicans are putting forward.”
            “Rep. Butterfield continued, “ Their agenda does not include low-income people, it does not include minorities, and certainly it does not include those of us who live in rural communities.”
            Butterfield added that the Republican majority in Congress has two objectives - to both discredit President Obama and make sure that he’s defeated in the 2012 elections; and also to cut federal discretionary spending.
            Thus, the reason why the Congressional Black Caucus has recently been urging President Obama, sometimes in stark and highly critical terms, to stand up to the Tea Party members of Congress, and fight hard for the issues on which he was elected.
            Rep. Waters blasted the president last week for failing to address black unemployment specifically, and allowing the Tea Party to effectively walk over him.
            “The Tea Party discovered something,” she told an audience in Atlanta, Ga., one of three locations where the CBC held a job fair. “That is if they organize, if they talk loud enough, if they threaten, if they register to vote and elect a few people, they can take over the Congress of the United States. They called our bluff and we blinked. We should have made them walk the plank.”

            OUR CHILDREN'S PRESIDENT - In the rancor that has seized political discourse in Washington, D.C. and across the nation, it is easy to forget that this is the first generation of children to grow up knowing an African-American president. But they also see how many in the nation disrespectfully treat President Obama. How will this affect them in the future? [White House Photos]

                                                        REP. MAXINE WATERS

                                               STATE NEWS BRIEFS

            [OUTER BANKS] If computer projections hold, North Carolina’s Outer Banks may bare the brunt of Hurricane Irene, classified as a category three storm at press time Wednesday morning, packing winds of at least 115 mph. While the Triangle and other central counties may get only rain and some wind, officials have been advising residents and tourists on the Outer Banks to begin evacuating now before Saturday/Sunday’s expected landfall. In Wilmington and all throughout the coast, heavy damage from wind and flooding is also expected. Gov. Perdue advises all citizens to prepare for the worst, and listen to all advisories and warnings.

            [CHAPEL HILL] A 5.8 magnitude earthquake that shook buildings and people from Toronto, Canada to North Carolina, did little damage, but scared millions of people on the East Coast who’ve never experienced an earthquake before. The quake centered in the town of Mineral, Va. - just a few miles outside of Richmond - reverberating to cities like Washington, D.C and New York to the north, and Raleigh and Wilmington to the south. There were some reported damages to various buildings. No deaths or injuries were reported.
            [CHARLOTTE] North Carolina Democrats are wasting no time beating the drums for the Democratic National Committee 2012 Convention, where President Barack Obama will be renominated to run his second term. On September 6, one year to the 2012 convention date, Democrats will hold a “year out” rally at Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena. DNC Chairman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx are expected to be among the dignitaries attending. The event is free and open to the public.



The sixth and last in a series of Positive Youth Development workshops will be held at Martin Street Baptist Church tonight, August 25, from 7PM until 9PM. The workshops have been designed to solicit positive input from the community, including youth from 5-18, on ideas that will lead to better choices for young people. This final session will report the results of the interviews and surveys from many people and organizations serving the community and will set the stage for other actions planned for the next four months. The event is free and open to the public and refreshments will be served. Call 833-6394 for more information.

            Hillsborough Street is in for yet another upgrading as a new 125-room hotel is planned for across from the NC State University Bell Tower. Targeted between Enterprise Street and Maiden Lane, the new facility will also have retail shops and a fancy restaurant. The property on which the new hotel will be built is owned but the NCSU Endowment Fund. No word on when construction will begin, or a projected completion date.

            The journalism and advocacy of the late Louis Austin, founder, publisher and editor of Durham’s black community newspaper, The Carolina Times, will be examined during a discussion about his life and work Sunday, 3 p.m. at the Durham County Main Library. Admission is free and open to the public. The event marks the digitalization of The Carolina Times past editions from 1937-1943, and 1949-1950 available online at www.durhamcountylibrary.org. Click on North Carolina Collection, and then The Carolina Times Online.

                                          NICHOLAS ASHFORD AND VALERIE SIMPSON

By Cash Michaels

           ARE WE LISTENING? - Let's see...so far this year we've had torrential rains and flooding, recordbreaking heatwaves, tornados, an earthquake, and on Sunday, a hurricane.
           Think GOD is trying to tell us something?
           IT'S OFFICIAL - Starting Monday, Rev. Al Sharpton is the official 6 p.m. host on MSNBC. Sharpton will host "PoliticNation," a show fashioned around the civil rights activist's beliefs and insight. Rev has been hosting that hour as a guest host since June, and has done a great job, despite criticism from black journalists and white liberals. And he's been getting good ratings, which is what ultimately counts.
          Live long and prosper on the air, Rev.
          NICHOLAS ASHFORD - His words and music brought passion and artistry to the world of song. With his lovely and talented wife, Valerie Simpson, Nick Ashford wrong some of the all-time Motown hits in the 1960’s and 70’s that we’ll never forget - “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “You’re All I Need to Get By” and “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” for artists like Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.
            And of course, when the husband-and-wife team went on their own to perform in the 80’s, Ashford and Simpson had powerful hits like, “ “Solid” and “Is It Still Good To You.”
            Nick Ashford was forever young with his falsetto voice, long hair and slinky form. He died Monday in New York at the age of 69. He suffered from throat cancer.
            We’ve truly lost one of the greatest contributors to our history and culture.
            Thank you, Nick Ashford.
“THE HELP” - This one is for the books.
            Rarely does a film come out out’s first weekend as number two at the box office, and then come back the following weekend as number one. But that has indeed happened with ‘The Help,” the story of a group of black housekeepers during the 1960s.
            During its first weekend, “The Help,” starring the talented Viola Davis, shocked everybody by coming in second, grossing just over $20 million. By last weekend, its second weekend in theaters, “The help rose to number one, grossing enough to reach the $71 million mark.
            For a film that has no violence or sex or ridiculously hyper teenagers screwing all day to speak of, that is amazing.
Contrast that to the over-hyped, “Cowboys and Aliens,” which came out a month ago, cost over $163 million to make and promote, and to date, has only earned $88 million. “The Smurfs,” which came out exactly the same weekend, has grossed $117 million. “The Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” out only three weeks, has already grossed over $133 million.
            And, of course, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2,” continues to print money after six weeks with over $366 million at the box office.
            So “The Help” is definitely the surprise hit of the summer. Almost made me wish I put my “Obama in NC: The Path to History” out there this summer. I would gladly take $71 million easy.
            I haven’t seen “The Help” yet, and may wait until it gets to DVD. But despite the controversy about the film and subject matter, you can’t argue with success, can you?
WHAT’S THE GROSS TO DATE - Just out of curiosity, how much have some of the biggest movies this summer to date grossed at the box office since they opened.
            According to Box Office Mojo.com, “Captain America: The First Avenger” did well at $164,747,643 domestically as of August 21. Combine the foreign box office, and worldwide Cap has cha-chinged a whopping $311,747,643. That is decent considering the film cost $140,000,000 to produce.
            Contrast that with “Green Lantern,” which costs $200 million to produce, but only grossed $115,601,139 at the BO here, and $194,201,139 worldwide. That means the flick has LOST MONEY, and it will take a while for it to turn a profit once it can crawl beyond the $200 mil mark. But Warner Bros. has faith. The studio has already announced a sequel.
            THE KING MONUMENT - This weekend, provided Hurricane Irene doesn't change things, thousands of people from across the nation, if not the world, will gather in Washington, D.C. for the historic unveiling of the monument honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
            I won’t be there because of a prior commitment, but I look forward to the day, after all of the crowds have left, when I can take my young daughter by the hand, and see this magnificent piece of art for ourselves. Lord knows we need the vision and wisdom of Dr. King now more than ever before.
            Almost similar to the turbulent 1960’s, ours is a nation that is literally at each other’s throats right now. The right-wing is steadily seizing power legislatively here in North Carolina, and across the land. People are fed up, and elected leaders have never looked weaker or more impotent.
            Maybe, just maybe, having this extraordinary King monument - crafted by a Chinese man in the spirit of diversity Dr. King surely stood for - will calm hearts and inspire common sense and goodness.
            I know, I know…I’m dreaming. It will take much, much more to bring peace on Earth and goodwill towards men.
            Unfortunately, much more!
            MAXINE - California Rep. Maxine Waters has struck the battle cry forward to 2012, offering to help the right-wing Tea Party to go “straight to hell!” As I’ve written in a story for this newspaper, African-Americans wholeheartedly agree. They want someone to fight for their issues, and they see the Tea Party as a direct enemy. They want leadership that walks the talk.
            That should be a signal to other black elected officials. You don’t have to condemn anybody to hell, but you must stand up, and stand strong on the issues that matter.
            Thanks, Maxine. We can always count on a strong black woman to tell it like it is!
            CAN’T HELP THEMSELVES - Some (though far too many) of these Republicans and Tea Partiers really can’t help themselves, can they?
            The wife of a freshman Republican New Jersey Assemblyman Pat Delaney reportedly sent an email to the state Senate campaign of Carl Lewis, the former Olympic champion, saying, in part, “Imagine having dark skin and name recognition and the nerve to think that equaled knowing something about politics.”
            Given that there was no other way to explain such a hateful missive other than racist, Assemblyman Delaney resigned his seat to avoid putting his children through,”…a hurtful and embarrassing public spectacle involving their mother.”
            Of course, there have been dozens of racist statements and actions by Republican lawmakers and the Tea Party ever since President Obama took office in 2008, and in each case, folks have said they didn’t mean it, or it was an accident, or it was only a joke or they apologized only to those who were offended.
            I’ve had to deal with some of these folks, even on the white liberal side of things. While the case could be made in some circumstances that there are some blacks who are too, too quick to scream racism (I’m not one of them, which means when I identify racism, you know I’ve put the facts through the test), the case is also well-documented that many whites are far to ready to dismiss racism when they see it. Unless the perpetrator is wearing a sheet in front of a burning cross at the time they utter or wrote said racist quip, his or her fellow morons are quick to dismiss it, seeking to redefine what real racism is. This way, they THINK they are removing what they believe to be the only weapon they can be nailed with.
            Needless to say, some of these same outliers have also engaged in the “reverse racism” game, being trigger-happy ready to accuse ANY person of color who says something they don’t like as being racist against them and all “right-thinking” white people.
            It’s a political defense mechanism to mask the fact that they really are racists themselves, are proud of it, and feel that it’s perfectly normal, because “God” knew what he was doing when he made them “superior.”
            Yeah, right. I’ve had that one pulled on me so many times I’ve lost count. And when they do pull it, I have to laugh because folks know that’s not me, and all it is is a desperate attempt to smear.
            It does hurt, however, when I see other people of color, whom I know personally to be decent, GODfearing people, falsely accused of being racist. You want to fight the dastardly liars for their racist slander, because all they’re trying to do is stop the movement towards what’s right.
            What’s more distressing is when these same cretins pretend to be a friend to the very community of color they seek to destroy, and have the nerve and gall to invoke GOD’s name in their efforts.
            And the evil just keeps on coming.
            So the next time you hear or read some foolishness like this, remember, the people simply can’t help themselves.
            But we MUST help ourselves, by not allowing them to stop us in the struggle for justice!
            ANOTHER PHENOMENOM: Earlier I referenced the unusual situation with the movie, “The Help,” and how it has grown to be the number one movie in the land from its initial opening as number two.
            Well the same thing has happened in television, and it is weird as all get out.
            The show is CBS’s monster hit “NCIS” starring Mark Harmon and Rocky Carroll. In case you’ve never seen the show, which is starting its ninth year on Tuesday, September 20, it’s about an investigative team that probes crimes involving US Navy and Marine personnel.
            Here’s what’s weird. “NCIS” premiered on CBS in September 2003, and during its first season on the air, the hour-long program averaged audiences between 10 million and over 14 million viewers.
            Not great, but not bad either. Those number s got “NCIS” to Season 2, where audiences averaged between 13 million and 15 million viewers. All of a sudden, the show has built a solid base to grow on.  You have to figure that it can carry that degree of viewership for at least another two years, and then start to slack off by Season 5.
            But look what happens. Season 3 - between 15-18 million. Season 4 - 13 to 17 million. Season 5 - 13 to 18 million. Season 6 - 16 to 19 million. Season 7 - 15 to 20 million.
And Season 8, which just concluded last spring, 17 to 22 million.
“NCIS” is actually getting more popular going into its ninth season on the air than it’s ever been in the previous eight. That’s unheard of. Mind you, shows like the original “Law & Order” and “Gunsmoke” reached their heyday early, leveled off, and settled into a comfortable for many years, not really growing audience, but not building new audience either. If “Law & Order” still routinely delivered 13 million people a week to NBC, it would still be on the air.
But NCIS is way, way different. With the exception of “American Idol,” “Sunday Night Football” and “Dancing With the Stars,” no weekly TV show today constantly delivers virtually 20 million viewers a week.
And more importantly, no show is still growing in audience nine years after it first premiered.
“What makes “NCIS” work are the close relationships on the show between the characters, and the excellent writing and performances. Thus far the show has aired 186 episodes, which means with 24 episodes slated to air this coming TV season, NCIS will have reached its 200th episode with no signs of slowing down.
That is truly remarkable. At some point, the producers will have to decide to cut the cord. They already have plenty of episodes for syndication that will make them hundreds of million of dollars for a lifetime. That decision will be coming within the next two years for sure so that the producers can start making real money beyond the CBS licensing fees.
Indeed, even though “NCIS” also has the distinction of having been aired only in its Tuesday night at 8 p.m. time slot since its inception, CBS, at some point, is not going to want to pay higher fees to keep the show on its air. Higher fees eat into profits. And since “NCIS” is owned by CBS/Paramount, then it will make that decision to end the show as soon as its bean-counters say, “Time to make pure profit.”
CBS/Paramount can easy sell “NCIS” into syndication for at least $2 million per episode to TV stations. Times over 200 episodes, that could be over $400 million from just one cable network like USA Network, which is currently running “NCIS” episodes, as well as on its sister cable network, Cloo.
So pay attention to the economics of television, because the suits at CBS are going to have to make a decision at some point real soon. “NCIS” is probably a very expensive TV show to produce per episode, perhaps $2 million per. Right now, being the highest rated drama on TV and certainly a consistent top ten program, the rates for a 30 second ad is probably $500,000 per at least, so it makes money.
But what happens when the stars that make that show successful decide they want more come contract time? You know they want a piece of the big action before the show ends?
That’s why Chris Meloni, who played Det. Elliot Stabler is no longer on “Law and Order: SVU” after 12 years. NBC decided to cut costs and get cheaper actors to replace him (Mariska Hartigay is still with the program, but in a limited capacity this season). “SVU’s” audience flattened some time ago, so judging on what it does this season, it could die by the end of the 2011-2012 season.
But not “NCIS.” I give it ten years before we start hearing some rattling about closing up shop. Ten years. By then the show would have gone over 250 episodes. And why not. The show has already spawned a spinoff, “NCIS: Los Angeles” (which I can’t stand). So it’s replacement is already in place.
So watch what happens.
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, August 16, 2011




CHAVIS SPEAKS TO YOUTH - Civil rights activist Benjamin Chavis admonished black teenagers Saturday during a teen summit in Wilmington to strive for knowledge, and work hard to uplift their community. Chavis, who was one of the 1970's Wilmington Ten who were sent to prison for a crime they didn't commit, says he will move back to North Carolina from Florida shortly to run for the NC House seat in Granville County [Cash Michaels Photo]

NCNAACP CHALLENGING GOP REDISTRICTING MAPS - NCNAACP President Rev. William Barber, seen here Monday during a press conference on the steps of St. Paul's AME Church in Raleigh, says the Republican-led NC Legislature's redistricting maps are racially-biased and will be challenged in court. Read more in the State Briefs [Cash Michaels Photo]

WHAT HAPPENS NOW AT SHAW? - As a Shaw University student intently listens, Shaw Board of Trustees Chairman Willie Gary assures those gathered Monday that the historically-black university will be "better than ever" in the aftermath of President Irma McClaurin's controversial departure last week. Gary announced that former interim President Dr. Dorothy C. Yancy will return in September to lead the school. [Cash Michaels Photo]

By Cash Michaels

            Did money from wealthy conservative industrialists Charles and David Koch (pronounced “coke”) - money that has been documented to fund opposition against President Obama, and for the Tea Party movement, and the campaign of controversial Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker - indirectly help fund the campaigns of the four Republicans who won the majority on the Wake County Public School Board in 2009, and dismantled Wake's socioeconomic diversity policy?
            And will money from the libertarian billionaire brothers, whose politics swing to the extreme right, indirectly find its way into the coffers of this year’s school board GOP candidates, including Southeast Raleigh’s Venita Peyton.
            A controversial new eleven-minute video titled, “Why the Koch Brothers Want To End Public Education,” produced by Robert Greenwald for Brave New Films, alleges that Koch brothers dollars indeed helped to fuel the 2009 Wake School Board Republicans, with the goal of resegregating Wake Public Schools, increasing the number of high poverty schools after dismantling the system’s socioeconomic diversity policy, and ultimately privatizing the school system once the white population deserts it.
            Professor Walter Farrell, of the UNC - Chapel Hill School of Social Work, also says yes, and has been keeping a close eye nationally on who is donating to conservative candidates for office across the board, and why.
             “Yes for the Wake School Board and the NC Legislature,” he told The Carolinian. “I am including them in an article I am currently developing for publication.”
            “I have reviewed the campaign finance reports of elected officials across the country--minority and majority--whose elections have been bankrolled by the Koch Bros. at every level: school board, State Assembly and Senate, U.S. House and Senate.”
            Officials with the Tea Party-backed Americans for Prosperity refute the film’s contention that AFP bankrolled the 2009 GOP Wake candidates at all, let alone with money funneled from the Koch brothers.  It is a well-established fact, however, that area businessman and one-time state lawmaker, Art Pope, did contribute $15,000 to the candidates.
            Pope sits on the national board of the AFP, and AFP is funded, in large part, by the Koch brothers, as is the Tea party movement.           
Dr. Farrell says he’s reviewed the same campaign reports that the producers of the film relied on, and he’s clear that there is a Koch brothers’ connection.
He says the industrialists have a “strategy of public school re-segregation throughout the nation” by bankrolling conservative candidates.
“They do so directly and indirectly thru their numerous 527s and in collaboration with their conservative multi-millionaire and billionaire colleagues (including local millionaires Pope and Robert Luddy) who attend their biennial retreats in Palm Springs, CA and special meetings in Vail, CO,” Dr. Farrell wrote.
Professor Timothy Tyson of Duke University has also been following the money in recent Wake political campaigns.
“The main thing is be sure to check all the various committees,” he told The Carolinian. “My opinion, frankly, is that there is big funny business going on in those committees--they give each other money, they give to Candidate X who gives to Candidate Y, etc. Also, of course, they give lovely untraceable cash.”
Dr. Farrell also alleges that District 4 Wake School Board candidate Venita Peyton, a Republican, will also see Koch brothers’ money funneled to her campaign.
“The Koch Bros., et. al. and their allies are also funding the campaign of local black serial candidate for public office, Venita Peyton, who was put in the race against [Democratic incumbent] Keith Sutton in order to dilute efforts to upend the Republican majority,” Farrell maintains.
Peyton has not responded to a recent Carolinian request for comment. But on Monday, The News and Observer’s WakeEd blog  reported that, “…it looks like …Venita Peyton is willing to throw around some cash to take on incumbent Keith Sutton.” Peyton filed paperwork with the State Elections Board “withdrawing her plan to spend less than $1,000 in the District 4 race.”
Peyton already has the endorsement of the Wake County Republican Party, and is likely to get other conservative thumbs up.
Last spring, long before the Brave New Films video came out, Dr. Farrell published a paper titled, “Inching Towards ReSegregation and Poverty Concentration in Wake Schools.”
            In the paper’s first paragraph Farrell wrote, “The Wake County’s Public School System is the latest urban district targeted for dismantling and privatization, an initiative begun under the administration of [Pres.] Ronald Reagan when tuition tax credits were proposed as a solution to the challenges of urban education.”
            Later in that research paper, Farrell wrote, “Although the debate has focused on the elimination of Wake’s socioeconomic diversity policy, the real objective is the dismantling of public education as we know it.  This will be achieved via the removal of the cap on charter schools and the establishment of publicly-funded vouchers that can be used at private and religious schools--legislation introduced by newly chosen North Carolina Assembly Majority Leader, Paul Stam.”
            Indeed, those bills were introduced in the  Republican-controlled NC Legislature, but the GOP backed off passage after Democrats and their supporters raised their ire.
            Farrell continued, “This is the publicly stated plan of local, multi-millionaire businessmen, Art Pope and Bob Luddy, who are largely responsible for the election of the Wake School Board majority and of Republican majorities in both houses of the North Carolina Legislature.
“Pope and Luddy are aided in their quest by the billionaire Wichita industrialists, Charles and David Koch, who also fund candidates in school board, city council, county commission, state legislative and federal races throughout the nation to advance their privatization and anti-union agenda.  (They funded the recent attacks on collective bargaining and public education in Wisconsin.),” Farrell’s paper continues.
“A casual review of campaign finance reports for the Wake County School Board and the NC Legislative Republican majorities reveals significant contributions from Luddy, Pope, Koch brothers-controlled political action committees, and their corporate, pro-privatization of public education allies throughout the nation,” Dr. Farrell added.
To allege that the Koch brothers would even have an interest in local public schools issues isn’t really a stretch. Many people forget that in 1980, David Koch ran for vice president of the United States.
            According to a August 2010 expose’ titled, “The Billionaires Bankrolling the Tea Party,” The Times columnist Frank Rich wrote, “…his campaign called for the abolition not just of Social Security, federal regulatory agencies and welfare but also of the F.B.I., the C.I.A., and public schools — in other words, any government enterprise that would either inhibit his business profits or increase his taxes.”
Last February, US News  and World Report writer Peter Fenn wrote, “They funnel money through 501c3 tax-exempt foundations, and they give money to other foundations, lobbying organizations, and right wing think tanks. They have PACs; they support candidates. Only a small portion of what they control do they divulge."
            Fenn continued, “…the Koch brothers have personally given over $2 million to candidates over the last 12 years, their PAC has contributed $8 million to candidates, and they have spent $50 million on lobbying.”
Just last week, an online publication called “The Nevada View” published a story titled, “Is Koch Brothers Money Killing Nevada’s Schools?” In the piece, reporter Angie Sullivan tracked the Nevada Policy Research Institute to a master list of the State Policy Network, a national network of conservative think tanks. The concern was that local conservative think tanks were having undue influence in the Nevada Legislature concerning public school policy, and getting their funding from outside the state.
            A close look at the foundations funding the local Nevada conservative think tanks show that the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation was a key contributor.
            Two of the SPN member think tanks in North Carolina are the John Locke Foundation and the John William Pope Civitas Institute, both in Raleigh.
            And one of its many associate members is Americans for Prosperity Foundation.
            All three have been recipients of Koch brothers’ largess and generosity.
            And all three have weighed in heavily, both against Wake County’s previous student socioeconomic diversity policy, and for the Wake School Board’s neighborhood schools policy that would keep black and Hispanic students in their own neighborhood high poverty schools.
            Just this week, Republican Wake School Board Chairman Ron Margiotta, who is close to Pope and Luddy (used to serve on Luddy's private school board), and hired the Civitas Institute to conduct orientation for new Wake School Board members, maintained that he will not support the suggested “blue” school choice plan if it sent black and Hispanic students back to suburban schools, just like the previous student diversity policy did.

By Cash Michaels

            With the Shaw Marching band in tow, attorney Willie Gary, chairman of Shaw University’s Trustee Board, told students Monday on the steps of the campus chapel that despite its problems, the beleaguered historically black university still offered them, “…one of the best educations you can get anywhere in this nation.”
            Many would agree that the quality of instruction at Shaw is not at question, and never has been during the school’s 146-year history.
            But throughout that same history, particularly in recent years, the quality of Shaw’s leadership at times, and its management of the school’s fiscal affairs, has raised disturbing questions about its stability and future.
            Even Gary, a high-powered attorney and alumnus who gives GOD and Shaw University the glory in the same breath, admits that some of those questions are legitimate.
            “I am not proud of the fact that we haven’t had, over the last two years, stability,” Chairman Gary told The Carolinian in an exclusive interview last week. “But you’re going to have some of these tough times. You can’t get around that.”
            Getting “around that,” is one thing, supporters of the school say.
            Properly managing the plethora of problems that haunt the South’s oldest historically black institution, is quite another.
 The sudden “mutual” dismissal last week of Shaw’s 15th president, Dr. Irma McClaurin - the school’s third president in as many years - only further illustrated what many in the Shaw family say is a much needed top-to-bottom restructuring of leadership and purpose there.
Starting with the Trustee Board.
“The Board of Trustees must bear the brunt of this debacle,” wrote Julius H. Cromwell, Shaw Class of ’58, in a letter to the editor in The News and Observer August 12.
“They have lost the respect, confidence and trust of alumni, friends, donors and other supporters of the university,” Mr. Cromwell continued. “I venture to say that board members who are religious leaders and those who run their own businesses would dare not run their organizations the way they have governed Shaw University during the past 15 years.”
Even The News and Observer weighed in with an editorial titled “The ship of Shaw,” saying, “…the university is in serious need of strong, able leaders on its campus adjacent to Raleigh's downtown core…,” later adding that,” All those who value Shaw as a partner in the vineyards of higher education want to see good candidates step forward and wise decisions made.”
Many in the Shaw University family agree.
“We feel that the managerial problems that brought about this abrupt shift are the result of a systemic lack of oversight by the Board of Trustees and Human Resources,” wrote the Save Our Shaw Committee, a group of Shaw alums and former professors last week.  “We believe that in the best interests of the University, these two entities should be restructured.”
The group recommended that any changes bring about “equity and due process to all members of the institution, and accountability and transparency regarding the administrative execution of Shaw’s mission.”
The complaints aren’t just because of the embarrassing McClaurin episode.
It was May 28 of last year when The N&O reported that the head of Shaw’s national alumni association demanded that the board of trustees “step down or be dismissed” in light of allegations of, “…conflict of interest, fiduciary responsibilities, adverse interest and commitment.”
The problem? Many of the trustees, including Chairman Gary, had allegedly not followed through with their personal monetary commitments to the school, which was swimming in at least $20 million in red ink.
"We can no longer stand by and allow Shaw to appear to deteriorate due to poor judgment,” wrote then Shaw Alumni President Emily Perry in a May 14, 2010 letter to Chairman Gary.
            "Now is the time for a new board of trustees that can effectively attend to the fiduciary responsibilities of Shaw," Perry's letter continued. "We cannot afford the continued mistrust, negative news media coverage, hostility, calls, faxes and letters."
But in an exclusive interview with The Carolinian last week, a day after Dr. McClaurin stepped down, Chairman Gary defended the school, and his board leadership, against any suggestions that a drastic change was needed.
“Well I think that’s flat out ridiculous, and you can print that,” Gary said by phone. “Shaw has been in existence for over a hundred years, and we’ve survived, and we’re going to survive for the next 100 years.”
The chairman continued that like any other business, Shaw has gone through “tough times” throughout its history. But Gary bristled at allegations of a conflict of interest leveled last week by WTVD-TV concerning his brother, Freddie Gary, who owns an insurance agency in Florida that has been doing business with the university for years.
“He has saved Shaw University thousands, and hundreds of thousands of dollars. And if you check his giving, he has given back the money he’s made in premiums in record numbers,” Gary insisted.
“A conflict of interest means you failed to disclose something,” the chairman continued. “My brother has been writing that insurance now for ten or fifteen years. He’s been giving to Shaw for ten or fifteen years. He’s been saving Shaw money for ten or fifteen years.”
“How are you going to have a conflict of interest with someone who is saving the university tons of dollars?” Gary continued. “Are you saying that because he is a black man that he shouldn’t be doing business with Shaw University?”
Gary also insisted that Shaw was not, “…behind in one single bill,” with alumni giving up, though overall fundraising is down.
“We take lemons at Shaw, and make lemonade,” Chairman Gary continued, adding that Shaw has more scholarly student-athletes graduating in the CIAA than any other school with at least an average 3.0 GPA.
 And he was also quick to note the football, tennis and women’s basketball CIAA championships the school recently won.
“So I think Shaw University is doing a helluva job for the community,” Gary said, adding that this year will see the largest freshman class than ever before.
“We’re not perfect, but we’re not pitiful. We’re moving!”
In the interview, Gary confirmed, as The Carolinian exclusively reported last week, that Dr. McClaurin’s inability to raise significant funding during the course of her almost one year on the job “was a factor” in her dismissal (he also conformed that the trustee board terminated her contract), though Gary conceded that she had to deal with a “tough economy.”
            Money not raised might not have been much of a factor if it weren’t for the large sums of money spent, sources say. McClaurin reportedly was earning $225,000-a-year on a five-year contract, plus travel expenses and a gated home owned by the school.
            But Dr. McClaurin also spent thousands, and really raised eyebrows, reportedly, when she submitted a budget for her October installation ceremony in the neighborhood of over $330,000.
            Former Shaw trustee Cornell Adams of New Jersey seemed to confirm that spending at the school in general, and McClaurin’s spending in particular, were key reasons why he left the board in July after serving three years.
“There was no accountability for funds,” he told The N&O last week after the president stepped down. “I didn’t like the situation. From the chairman down to the rest of the board, there weren’t too many people happy with her. There were people wanting her out of there, including myself.”
            That, plus McClaurin’s degenerating campus relations with students and faculty (who protested against her last April after she fired four veteran professors) - even after all of her hard work in making sure the Shaw campus was ready for students after last April’s devastating tornado damage - put the nail in her coffin just 11 months into her tenure.
            Chairman Gary said that in the interest of Dr. McClaurin’s “mutual” agreement with the board, he would not go further in detail, other than to say that “For Shaw University, it was just not working out.”
            But the chairman did not deny any of The Carolinian’s reporting on why McClaurin left.
            On Monday to applause, Gary announced that Dr. Dorothy C. Yancey, the former interim president of Shaw from 2009 to 2010 preceding Dr. McClaurin’s arrival, would be coming out of retirement, and returning to lead the institution for the next two years. Yancy, widely respected for her leadership at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte and ability to raise tons of money, worked to restructure $31 million of Shaw’s debt during her brief tenure.
            “She loves Shaw University,” Gary told The Carolinian last week.
            The stability in leadership that Dr. Yancy brings will hopefully have a calming affect on the business and philanthropic communities who may be tentative in giving money to Shaw until they see some reassuring signs.
            Gary also assured at Monday’s on-campus press conference that the case of the four Shaw professors who were fired by Dr. McClaurin last March, reportedly without cause, will get another look, and he hopes for a reasonable resolution.
            “This is not a funeral,” Gary continuously said to the crowd Monday, adding that, “We’re doing better today than we have in the past five years.”
             “This is a celebration.”


            [RALEIGH] Continuing its battle with the policies of the Republican-led NC General Assembly, the NCNAACP has publicly sided with Gov. Beverly Perdue in her recent Executive Order mandating that the pre-education program for at-risk four-year-olds be fully-funded as court-ordered by Wake Superior Court Judge Howard Manning Jr. The budget passed by Republican lawmakers cut funding by 20 percent to the program, charging fees to poor families. "Apparently the radical right-wing forces in the General Assembly have the illusion that Judge Manning's ruling is only a suggestion," said Rev. Dr. William J Barber, II, President of the NC NAACP.”
            On Monday in another matter, Rev. Barber, joined by NAACP chapter presidents from across the state, vowed that the state’s oldest civil rights organization would fight the three redistricting maps ratified by the Republican Legislature, saying that they illegally “stack and pack” the black vote into contrived majority-minority districts, thus limiting black voter support for white Democrats in competitive battlefield districts.
             “Because everything we fight for - equal protection under the law, educational equality, economic justice, access to healthcare - are all directly impacted by voting,” Rev. Barber says,  “…we must fight any attempt to suppress, segregate, isolate, or steal the power, necessity, and potential of the black vote!”

            [FAYETTEVILLE] The number of female homeless military veterans is growing because more women are serving their country, published reports say. But many of those homeless vets are in North Carolina, and the services and resources they need are in short supply, officials say. Approximately 90 female homeless vets live in Fayetteville, official say, but those are only the ones that they know about. Many are not in the system seeking assistance. Women account for 3 to 4 percent nationally of all homeless veterans, the National Coalition for the Homeless says.

            [RALEIGH] Nine residents of Wake County have been charged with felony voter fraud, but not because they assumed someone else’s name and registration during the 2008 presidential elections. The nine allegedly voted twice under their own monikers, which is against the law. All were registered Democrats. The NC Republican Party tried to exploit the situation by saying this is why a voter ID law is needed in North Carolina, but Democrats quickly shot down the notion, saying that having a voter ID law requiring photo ID would not have prevented the crimes.

By Cash Michaels

           GREAT AFRICAN-AMERICAN HERITAGE FESTIVAL - Spent the weekend with the family in Wilmington to both attend and participate in the 2011 Southeastern NC African-American Heritage Festival, sponsored by the Wilmington Journal.
            Despite cloudy skies and a few raindrops now and then, Saturday’s session at the Robert Strange Park from A.M. to P.M. was absolutely fantastic. I made it my business to attend the Teen Summit at 9 a.m., where a host of local community leaders, and special guests civil rights activist Benjamin Chavis ( a homecoming for the former Wilmington Ten member) and rapper Petey Pablo, spoke to the many young people there about life and responsibility to community.
            The messages were great, and I was especially impressed with the host, “Big B” from local radio station Coast 97.3, for keeping it real, honest and constructive for the young people. Having worked in black radio in the old days, it did my heart well to see a young brother with the mic push education, responsibility, and just plain old good common sense.
            I emceed the festival along with Big B, and was very impressed with the crowds and the community spirit. All of the vendors and the business sponsors were top notch. The musical acts were impressive. And of course, all of the hard, hard work of the Wilmington Journal crew, led by Shawn Thatch and Bernice Johnson, was evident and off the chart.
            So congratulations to publisher Mary Alice Thatch and company for a wildly successful black heritage festival this year. My prayers are that the entire community - from the mayor and county commissioners, to the business community, to the little boy and girl around the corner - will continue to support this effort year -in and year-out!
            So see you next year.
            ONE OF MY FAVORITES - Last week I produced one of my favorite episodes of my hit radio show, “Make It Happen,” heard in the Triangle on Power 750 WAUG-AM, and everywhere on Power750.com Thursday’s at 4 p.m.
            It was a favorite because I ran three of my best celebrity interviews ever with the great singers Anita Baker and Phyllis Hyman, and a great humanitarian, actress Esther Rolle from the TV sitcom, “Good Times.”
            What I loved about all three interviews - taped between 1984 and 1986 - was the happiness and joy all three ladies exuded, as well as deep insight and caring for her community. The show took my listeners back to happier times (compared to now) when the art of good conversation was something we all looked forward to.
            So between now and August 25th, if you want a free download podcast of “Make It Happen” featuring Anita Baker, Phyllis Hyman and Esther Rolle, just go to http://www.yousendit.com/download/YTY5K2VzTkwwMEh2Wmc9PQ, and download all four segments in order to either your computer, iPod or iPad, and enjoy.
            More than happy to share that with my readers and listeners free of charge. And make sure you listen live every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Power 750 WAUG-AM or Power 750.com.
            GUESS WHICH ONE? - For someone who was literally the last one to the party when it came to social media, I swear I’m swimming in it now. First thing in the morning (after I check on my child, of course), I’m online checking overnight emails, headlines and FaceBook entries.
            Admittedly, when I’m not working, I spend a lot of time on FaceBook because I love the give-and-take with all of my FB “friends.” Sometimes we share favorite songs or movie clips. Other times, we argue, fuss or fight (I’ve lost a few thanks to fights over Pres. Obama, Casey Anthony and “colored” Republicans). We also share news articles, videos. Photos and birthday wishes.
            Last week, in the midst of all the craziness in the news, I started a poll on FaceBook to see which Denzel Washington movie was everyone’s favorite. Needless to say, the three top Denzel movies of all time, according to my unscientific FB poll of last week, were  #1 “Malcolm X”; #2 “Mo’ Better Blues”; and #3 “Glory,” for which Denzel won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award in 1990.
            Funny, how the one film Denzel actually won the top Best Actor Oscar for, 2001’s “Training Day,” where he portrays a rogue corrupt cop, never even made the list.
            I may do another FB poll later this week after I finish up all of my other work. Social media…put in the proper hands, it can be blessing, not a curse, to mankind.
            In other words, it’s cool!
            9/11 TENTH - The tenth anniversary of 9/11/2001 is fast approaching. It’s one of those landmark dates when all Americans alive on that fateful day when the United States was attacked by terrorists will remember where they were, and what they were doing.
            Beyond the tremendous loss of life - both at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, as well as United Flight 93 which crashed in Pennsylvania on its way to destroy either the White House or Congress - was also the staggering loss of unity. For a few precious moments afterwards, Americans of all stripes and political persuasions came together, not only to heal, but rebuild.
            The fact that the president of the United States then was a Republican didn’t matter. The fact that we were all part of the American family did.
            But it wasn’t long before politics and disunity reared its ugly head, and fearful citizens were at each other’s throats again.
            And our leaders stood by, and did nothing about it.
            So hopefully next month, even if it’s just for a day, maybe, just maybe, Americans will find a scant reason to come together again. The last time we seemed to for a brief moment was when we got word that Osama bin Laden, the 9/11 mastermind, had been captured and killed.
            And that unity and jubilation lasted for just a minute.
            I know this is only a wish, if not a prayer, but I hope something can come out of this sacred tenth anniversary that can be lasting for us all.
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.


            Venita Peyton, the erstwhile Republican candidate for five public offices over the past 20 years without a win thus far, has been endorsed for the Wake School Board District 4 seat by the Wake County Republican Party. Peyton, 55, is attempting to unseat incumbent Democrat Keith Sutton, who has the backing of the Wake Democratic Party in the nonpartisan Oct. 11 race. Other Wake GOP endorsed candidates include incumbent Ron Margiotta in District 8; Heather Losurdo in District 3; Cynthia Matson in District 5 and Donna Williams in District 6. Eric Squires, another Republican candidate in District 3, did not get the Wake GOP endorsement.

            Thus far, the only published schedule of Wake School Board candidate debates comes from WakeUp Wake and the League of Women Voters of Wake County. The five candidate forums, all at 7 p.m., are : Sept. 8, Hudson Memorial Presbyterian Church, 4921 Six Forks Road (District 6); Sept. 14, Church of Nativity, 8849 Ray Road (District 3); Sept. 15 at Walnut Creek Wetland Center, 950 Peterson Street (District 4); Sept. 21, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh, 3313 Wade Avenue (District 5); and Sept. 27; Carey C. Jones Community Building, 308 Holleman Street, Apex.

            The Wake County Elections Board is scheduled today to decide whether to remove the name of Rev. Lent C. Carr II from the Oct. 11 ballot in the race for the Raleigh City Council District C seat currently held by Councilman Eugene Weeks. Carr was sentenced in federal court last week to seven months in prison for violating the terms of his parole per a 2000 fraud conviction. Six candidates in all are vying for District C seat.