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 Click on North Carolina Collection, and then The Carolina Times Online.

                                          NICHOLAS ASHFORD AND VALERIE SIMPSON

By Cash Michaels

           ARE WE LISTENING? - Let's 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, “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 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.

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