Civil Rights Report Reveal Educational Disparities
Republican Defiance Defined by Map
SCLC President Dies at Age 57
SIGNING THE DEBT DEAL - President Barack Obama signed the $2.1 trillion deficit reduction deal Tuesday that Congress hurriedly passed this week to avert failure to raise the federal debt ceiling, and the government falling into default. Now that that's over, Obama can celebrate his 50th birthday today, August 4 [WHITE HOUSE PHOTO]
DEBT DEAL MAY HIT BLACKS HARDEST
By Cash Michaels
The federal debt ceiling has been raised; a deficit reduction deal has been reached; America’s AAA credit rating is secure (though on shakier ground); and the national crisis is over.
But many observers say while that may be good news for the country as a whole, for African-Americans and the poor, the drama of constantly struggling behind the economic eight ball may have just become even worse.
“This deal is a sugar-coated Satan sandwich,” charged Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, the Democratic chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, after the US House Monday passed the $2.1 trillion measure, which was subsequently ratified by the Senate on Tuesday and promptly signed into law by President Obama.
“You’ve got a little bit of sourdough on one side of the sandwich for poor people and then you have some onions for people who are on unemployment benefits and realize that’s not going to be in the deal,” Rep. Cleaver told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday, lamenting that beyond budget cuts, there were no closing of Big Oil tax loopholes or revenue increases for the rich in the agreement.
“The pain is not shared by everyone,” says Stella Adams, longtime fair housing advocate. “Those who are most able to support the country were not asked to do anything.”
And if the Republicans have their way, going into the 2012 presidential elections, there will be no tax increases, meaning that the nation’s social safety net is at serious risk, observers note.
For African-Americans, that’s not good
“We have to make sure that in the future, that it’s the Democrats that don’t give any more than they’ve already given,” Adams says.
With a worsening unemployment rate of at least 16 percent (compared to the national jobless rate of 9.2 percent at press time Wednesday), and an anemic median net worth in 2009 of $5,677 (a substantial drop from 2005’s $12,124, and a far, far cry of the estimated average $113,148 net worth in 2009 of white families), the last thing struggling black families need is a drastic reduction in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Though those federal entitlement programs seem safe for now in the aftermath of the debt ceiling deal, there is no question, observers note, that in order to reach serious deficit spending reductions, they will have to be reformed in the near future.
Reform during a time when many blacks have lost their most valuable wealth asset, namely their homes, and will no longer have access to programs designed to promote home ownership to low-income families, says Adams.
“The impact of this will be devastating for generations of African-Americans in the future,” she continued.
How did blacks, and particularly upper-and middle income African-Americans lose their homes during the 2005-2009 Great Recession? Adams say many fell victim to predatory lenders who fooled then into signing up for low-cost sub-prime loans on the front-end, that soon ballooned into more-than-they-could-afford on the back-end.
Wells Fargo, the nation’s largest home mortgage lenders, is now being sued by the US Justice Dept., according to Salon.com, “for allegedly preying upon African-American borrowers during the housing bubble and steering them into high-cost sub-prime loans.”
“When you look at the amount of wealth that [we have lost]…we have doubled the gap. It’s higher than it’s been in 25 years,” Adams says.
BENEFIT BIRTHDAY GALA FOR MRS. MURRAY’S NEW SCHOOL
By Cash Michaels
Editor’s note - On Saturday, August 6th, the community will come together to honor Mrs. Margaret Rose Murray, and her invaluable half century of work in this community, during her 80th Birthday Gala and Community Appreciation Banquet, The Grand Ballroom of the Raleigh Convention & Civic Center, 6 p.m. in Downtown Raleigh. Proceeds go to help Ms. Murray’s nonprofit culinary school. For more information, contact Bruce Lightner at 919-833-1676.
For the Triangle community, it’s a chance to celebrate the dedicated life and work, not to mention the 80th birthday of one of it’s most beloved business and civic leaders, Mrs. Margaret Rose Murray - an 80th birthday gala at the Raleigh Convention Center this Saturday.
“I love her. She’s a great woman,” said singer Eve Cornelious.
“Mrs. Murray and family are outstanding citizens and neighbors,” added Marvin Cobb on Facebook.
But to the woman who is being honored for more than five decades of selfless service to the community and state, the gala is also the opportunity to fully establish her non-profit Marrkens Development Center, located at Mrs. Murray’s 1214 East Lenoir Street facility.
The center, according to its website, will provide, ‘… a holistic approach to providing academics, business and cultural enrichment to students and their families.”
Its first focus will be a culinary arts program that trains students in proper and healthy food selection, and preparation. Rhonda Muhammad, a former public school educator and Mrs. Murray’s daughter, will oversee the program.
Saturday’s birthday gala is doubling as a fundraiser to purchase the necessary equipment for the culinary arts venture.
“It’s an outgrowth of our fifty years of work in striving to fulfill the needs of those who are underserved and overlooked,” Ms. Murray told The Carolinian recently, indicating that Marrkens will target teens and adults, ages 17 and up, needing advancement. “Teaching and training that they so desperately need…. [so] they can be much more productive in society.”
It is an educational venture that few have any doubts Ms. Murray can accomplish. She is already revered for operating The Vital Link is Crosslink Private Schools in both Southeast and Southwest Raleigh. Founded in 1964, they are early, elementary and middle grade education facilities where black children are taught not only their ABC’s and 1,2, 3’s, but also about important figures in black history, to give young students pride, and help develop healthy self-esteem. So successful have the Vital Link schools been since they were opened over forty years ago, that former students have grown up to marry, and then later send their children there to get the same education.
Those who have known the Baltimore native throughout the years, can testify to Mrs. Murray deep commitment not only to education, but human rights and youth development.
Margaret Rose Murray studied education at Morgan State College in the 1950’s, and earned an associate degree from Knox Business Institute in 1955. In later years, Mrs. Murray would earn degrees and certification in early childhood education, in addition to a Master’s Degree in African-American history from Virginia Theological University.
Marrkens Development Center, named in part in honor of her late husband and lifelong partner, Imam Kenneth Murray-Muhammad who died in May 2005 at age 78, is yet another extension of the dream Mrs. Murray and her husband had together to serve since they arrived in North Carolina from Baltimore, Maryland in the late 1950’s.
“He was a quiet leader, but a powerful leader,” Mrs. Murray recalls, adding that the magic of their over half-century together was that they never insulted each other’s intelligence, or took one another for granted.
Murray-Muhammad always lovingly called his wife, “Ma.”
The couple married as teenagers, though their families initially disapproved. In a 2005 interview with the News and Observer, Mrs. Murray said after 57 years, “I don’t think it was a mistake.”
“Brother Kenneth,” as he was known then, was the first to bring the teachings of the Nation of Islam (NOI) to North Carolina in 1957, with the intent of opening schools and mosques in the African-American community. All he had was $20.00 in his pocket, but Murray-Muhammad was a brilliant man who knew how to work with his hands, and make a lot out of nothing.
“Boy that was a venture,” Mrs. Murray, who joined her husband a year later, recalls. “It was really a venture.”
The Murrays came up in the NOI in the 1950s and sixties along with Minister Louis Farrakhan, Min. Wallace D. Muhammad, and later, a young brash boxing heavyweight champion of the world, Muhammad Ali.
Bro. Kenneth was an accomplished businessman, jazz musician, and talented artist who took time to paint pictures in his shed near his home. As a minister of the Islamic faith, Imam Murray-Muhammad was also the first Muslim to voluntarily counsel prison inmates in the state.
In later years, the couple would go one to produce the popular community affairs radio program, “Traces of Faces and Places,” which began in 1980 on the now defunct WLLE-AM, switching in 1998 to 88.9 WSHA-FM, where it currently broadcasts every Saturday morning from 9-11 a.m. The Murrays also established the Business Building Society to help black businesses grow in the community, and the Green Light Pages, a directory of black businesses for the community.
Mrs. Murray has also devoted over 30 years to volunteering to mentor young women incarcerated at the NC Correctional Institution for Women. Known to them as “Sister Deen,” Mrs. Murray has counseled hundreds of women there, many of whom served their sentences, and left prison to lead more productive lives.
And in the midst of it all, the couple raised three children - Rhonda, Kenneth Jr. and Isaiah.
In September 2009, Mrs. Murray was proudly inducted into the Raleigh Hall of Fame for her many contributions to the community. She has worked for many causes, including the O. A. Dupree Scholarship Fund, the Garner Road YMCA, and “Save Our Shaw” University campaign. Mrs. Murray has been the recipient of numerous community service awards, including UNCF Fundraising Award, and the Raleigh Women’s Center Rosa Parks Award.
If Mrs. Murray has a distinctive trademark, besides her joyous laugh and bright smile, it is the sign-off to her popular radio program every week.
“There is an art to living,” she tells her audience, “and the foremost part, is giving.”
STATE NEWS BRIEFS
PAY COMPENSATION TO VICTIMS, RECOMMENDS EUGENIC TASK FORCE REPORT TO PERDUE
[RALEIGH] The state’s Eugenics task Force has recommended in a preliminary report to Gov. Beverly Perdue that the surviving victims of North Carolina’s forced sterilization program be compensated and provided mental health care. A final report is due next February. An estimated 3,000 victims out of the original 7600 are still alive. State sponsored sterilizations on poor blacks and whites, mostly females, took place between the 1920’s and mid-1970’s. Gov. Mike Easley apologized to the victims on behalf of the state in 2003. Compensation could range from $20,000 to $50,000 each, though it’s not clear how the Republican-led NC General Assembly will respond.
STATE CHARTER SCHOOLS NOT ENTITLED TO PUBLIC FUNDS, NC APPEALS COURT RULES
[GREENSBORO] Charter schools in North Carolina must provide their own funding for buildings and classrooms, and are not entitled to public capital funding that goes to public schools, ruled NC’s Court of Appeals this week. State lawmakers did not intend for charter schools to receive capital funds, the ruling continue, so charters must use their own resources. Seven charter schools had sued to be appropriated funds other than operating expenses.
UNC TARHEELS APPOINT FIRST BLACK HEAD FOOTBALL COACH
[CHAPEL HILL] After a year of controversy and an NCAA investigation, UNC - Chapel Hill fired Tar Heel head Football Coach Butch Davis, and hired as interim Coach Everett Withers, who was serving as UNC’s defensive coordinator. Withers thus becomes the first African-American head coach in UNC history. The Charlotte native’s pay is now bumped up to $360,000 for the year, and will take over the weekly TV and radio shows. If the Tar Heels do well under Coach Withers, officials say he could get the job permanently.
TRIANGLE NEWS BRIEFS
“GANG ACTIVITY IN WAKE COUNTY” COMMUNITY MEET SEPT. 1
The South Central Wake County NAACP sponsors, ‘gang Activity in Wake County: Recognizing the Signs & Breaking Their Bonds,” a community forum exploring the issues surrounding gangs and gang violence, Thursday, Sept. 1, 7 p.m. at St. John’s AME Church, 3001 Tryon Road in Raleigh. Presenters include members of the Raleigh Police Dept. and the Wake County Sheriff’s Dept. This event is free and open to the public.
SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER’S BROTHER CHARGED IN ALLEGED RAPE CASE
Chris Tedesco, 25 of Garner, was arrested and charged with allegedly raping his girlfriend in her home last weekend. The estranged younger brother of Wake School Board member John Tedesco is charged with first-degree kidnapping, two counts of second-degree rape, second-degree sexual offense, felony breaking and entering and misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon. According to police warrants, Tedesco broke into his girlfriend’s apartment last Friday night, held a knife to her throat, and then repeatedly raped her into Saturday. John Tedesco told a local TV station that he has been estranged from his younger brother for some time.
SALES TAX HOLIDAY WEEKEND IS HERE
Better take advantage of this weekend’s sales tax holiday weekend while you can, because Republican lawmakers are already talking about possibly repealing it next year. It’s the annual event parents eagerly look forward to taking advantage of back-to-school sales, and not having to pay sales tax. Items exempt from sales tax include clothing and school supplies at $100.00 or less; school supplies at $300.00 or less; computers of $3,500 or less; computer supplies at $250.00 or less, and sports equipment of $50.00 or less. It all starts Thursday night at midnight through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday August 7.
CASH IN THE APPLE
By Cash Michaels
OPRAH’S MAG AND OWN IN TROUBLE - Ever since the Queen of talk, Oprah Winfrey, left her historic syndicated TV show over a month ago, it has been downhill on her other fronts. Her OWN Network, a cable channel partnership with the Discovery Channel, has not been doing well since its January debut. It takes anywhere from 3 to five years to successfully launch a cable channel, but because this one has the Oprah stamp, folks have been watching it carefully to see if her tremendous national audience would shift their allegiances from her daily show.
They haven’t, and that’s because Oprah’s fans love her, but not necessarily what she endorses. The Oprah’s Book Club and charity work is one thing. They were all direct outgrowths of the Oprah Winfrey Show, so they made fans feel closer to her.
But OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) is more of a “these are the shows and movies that Oprah likes, even though she’s barely in them.”
Apparently, that’s not good enough to garner good ratings.
So Ms. Winfrey has had to fire the previous CEO, and take over the job of running OWN herself. She said recently that the job was “10 times harder than doing my daily show,” but she’s committed to the task to make it work. Oprah says the dumbest thing anyone can do is bet against her.
Then there’s Oprah’s longtime “O” Magazine, which is in supermarket racks across the nation. By all measures, O has been a successful magazine, but because of the bad economy, it has reportedly lost upwards of 31 percent of its advertising. To be fair, newspapers and magazines across the board have lost significant advertising since the recession, so Oprah just has to work through it like everybody else.
MSNBC KEEPS RACHEL - I guess Keith Olbermann isn’t too happy this week. Word is that MSNBC, his old haunts until last January, has extended his protégé’Rachel Maddow’s contract for her 9 p.m. program until 2014. That puts her out of reach for Olbermann, who now raises hell on Current TV with his popular “Countdown” program.
Now that Keith is the main man over at Current TV (channel 413 on Time Warner Cable), he’s slowly but surely building the prime time team to compete with MSNBC and Fox. One of his prospects is Cenk Uygur of the Young Turks online. Uygur was ditched by MSNBC a month ago, and replaced by the Rev. Al Sharpton at 6 p.m, who has been doing a bangup job.
I watch and enjoy Rachel and Keith. Maybe, one day, they’ll be together again on the same channel. But for now, please hand me the remote control.
HALPERIN IS BACK - Assuming that he has used the past month to judiciously wash his foul mouth out with soap, Time Magazine’s Mark Halperin is off suspension this week, and has returned to MSNBC as a political analyst. You’ll recall that Halperin got kicked off the air June 30 after he called President Obama the gutter slang for the male sex organ on live TV.
If it were up to me, he’d be off the air for the rest of his life, because that wasn’t the first time Halperin has demonstrated a vicious distain for Obama. He called the man the equivalent of a female sex organ back in 2008 on XM satellite radio. He got away with that then. Halperin will definitely be watching his filthy mouth now!
GREEN LANTERN SEQUEL - I haven’t seen it (I did take my daughter to see “Captain America” last week and it was cool), but I hear that “Green Lantern” wasn’t that good, and as a result, it didn’t make much money. But that apparently hasn’t stopped Warner Brothers from announcing that a sequel is in the works. Probably won’t hit the screens until 2013. Meanwhile, back in the Marvel Comics universe, “The Avengers,” the film featuring Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, the Incredible Hulk and Agent Nick Fury, is filming now for release next year. Folks just love their comic book movies.
I’m one of them.
THE DEAL AND THE PRESIDENT - Based on what we’ve seen in Washington over the past couple of months, apparently extortion works.
How sad….for US!
The Congressional passage this week of that crazy deficit spending reduction bill not only helped to raise the federal debt ceiling, thus saving the country from default (for now), but it also proves an age old axiom that power concedes nothing without a demand. In fact, let me give you the whole quote from abolitionist Frederick Douglass:
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
So why is this important? Because President Obama and the Congressional Democrats just proved it to the letter.
The radical Tea Party movement may be anarchists, but they’re not dumb. They operate in a straight line to your face, and IN your face, and they don’t care what you think or feel about it. They want what they want, and pity the poor fools who get in their way.
I’m not admiring these people, mind you. A laser beam-like commitment to a purpose and goal is admirable, just as long as it’s carried out in a manner that doesn’t claim innocent people. That’s what made the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott so historic. The point for freedom was made without bloodshed. Today, however, collateral damage is considered just a part of doing business.
The right-wing Tea Partiers quick rise to power within the past two years is because they ignored the mantra of peaceful protest. They’re in their own world. You can’t buy them off with anything. They feel they even have the right to bring a gun to a presidential speech. Their will is stronger than ours.
As the old Borg from Star Trek used to say, “Resistance is futile.”
That’s true…to a point.
And that “point” should have stopped at the White House gates. While the radical Tea Party members of Congress who swept the November 2011 elections were ready, willing and able to pull the trigger aimed at the heads of their leaders and the American people in their outlandish and outrageous threat to bankrupt the country, there was one person who NEVER should have been intimidated.
And that’s the president of the United States.
Before I go on, let me make it clear one more time that I love President Obama, voted for the president, and will be voting for him again.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t, or won’t, voice my objections to his policy positions when I think they run contrary to the campaign promises he made to the nation.
To put it all in a nutshell, the Tea Party knew who they were rolling, and how to roll them. They made the atmosphere so toxic, so dangerous, that they literally even scared their own Republican leaders. They took the measure of their Democratic opposition in the House, and they definitely took the measure of Pres. Obama, who they hate with a vengeance.
“The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
Translation - the Tea Party was going to push their issue not just to the brink, but beyond, no matter what the cost. The only way to stop them was to render them ineffective.
So how should the president of the United States have handled it?
For starters, given how crazy this group has proven itself to be since the summer of 2009 when they rallied against Obama’s healthcare reform (bringing guns to town hall meetings, etc.), VERY seriously!
The only thing folks like these respond to, is power of equal or greater force. They had to be treated like a foreign power threatening war. In order to get their attention, you had to first get their respect by throwing them off course. Make them start thinking, and while they’re thinking, put tons of public pressure on them in layers.
That wasn’t done.
Secondly, given their argument about too much spending and a ballooning federal deficit, countering their argument with a serious plan (not proposal) from the White House that accomplished what they were asking for, but in a more sensible fashion that the American people could understand. How? By telling Americans that these people are threatening your social safety net if they win. Going on the road with that message, on TV. Making sure that citizens understand the stakes at risk if these cretins win.
That wasn’t really done either.
What made the situation worse was when Republican leaders decided to use the Tea Party as an effective weapon to neutralize the president and the Democrats. If lies and falsehoods were drops of rain, the Republicans would be rowing to work everyday in arks.
So President Obama was up against a lot. But after all, this is what comes with the job. He realized the risks, but decided to try and soft-soap his enemies.
Unless you plan to lower the boom at some point, bad move.
At each and every point that Obama thought he was close to a deal with Republican House Speaker John Boehner, the Republicans walked away. Interesting strategy - make the president look like he’s dealing in bad faith.
So where was the president’s strategy, because clearly his sparkling personality and bright smile were not getting the job done.
The bottomline here is that Barack Obama was always playing the games based on the rules the Republicans and Tea Party were dictating. The president of the United States should be the one setting the name of the game.
The Tea Party had their hands around Speaker Boehner’s neck at all times, and the president did little to loosen them, thinking that at the end of the day, they’d give him at least a teaspoon of what he wanted. Obama was shocked that being willing to slash Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to the tune of $4 trillion wasn’t enough to move the Tea Party to let go of closing tax loopholes for the wealthy.
He should not have been.
So at the end of the tax, the Tea Party got most of what they wanted, and demonstrated to everyone how they plan not only to deal with this president, but also run him out of office.
Obama has to realize that he can’t play games with these people. He has to find their sweet spot, and napalm it so that their arrogance begins to crack. This is a fight for power, and it calls for better focus and bigger commitments. The president doesn’t like to be partisan (he really doesn’t), but in this climate, he’s going to have to clearly define the other side for the American people earlier in the game (not the week before a debt ceiling default), and move forcefully to advocate for what he knows is right until the Tea Party comes to its senses. If ever!
So the Tea Party won this one, and they now have the blueprint on how to win more. Question is will Pres. Obama be better prepared next time?
Or will he still waste time appealing to their better….demons?
I hope not!
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.