Monday, November 7, 2011


RAPPER/ACTOR HEAVY D DEAD AT 44 - Talented performer Heavy D, who wrote the theme song to the hit TV show "In Living Color," produced rap hits like  'Now That We've Found Love," and costarred in several TV shows like "law and Order: SVU, collapsed outside of his Beverly hills home and was pronounced dead at the hospital. He was 44. No cause of death had been determined at press time[file photo]

By Cash Michaels

            With the re-election of Wake School Board member Kevin Hill Tuesday night, the voters of Wake County made their message clear - “We want our school board back.”
            “This is a great night,” Congressman Brad Miller [D-NC-13] told The Carolinian. “We turned the clock back fifty years” he said, referring to the Republican school board takeover of 2009,  “then we [reset the clock] to 2011 again.”
            By a 52-48 percent District 3 runoff victory, Hill trounced Republican-Tea Party challenger Heather Losurdo, a conservative candidate whose right-wing views, controversial background, and racial opinions about President Obama, Muslims and illegal immigrants helped to doom her candidacy from the start.
            The race drew national attention from US Education Secretary Arne Duncan, National Public Radio, the national NAACP and MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show” which hailed Hill’s win as defeating the current Republican-led school board’s efforts to resegregate Wake Public Schools.
            And Hill’s big win also got kudos from NCNAACP President Rev. William Barber, a staunch adversary of the current GOP-led board.
            “It is our great hope that after these elections, the single focus of Wake County School Board is to set an example not only for North Carolina but for the nation that all children deserve a high quality, constitutional, well-funded and diverse public education,” Rev. Barber, who went to jail twice opposing the GOP-led board, said in a statement Tuesday evening.
             With Hill’s dramatic runoff victory after a month of partisan kitchen sink-like attacks from the Republican Party, the Tea Party, and even fellow Wake School Board member Republican John Tedesco, Tuesday night’s win completes a stunning Democratic five-seat election sweep of the school board which started Oct. 11th with the defeat of Republican Wake School Board Chairman Ron Margiotta in District 8.
            Because Hill was just 51 votes shy of garnering the 50 percent lead over his three Oct. 11th challengers, he and Losurdo, who got 40 percent of that vote, were required to runoff Nov. 8th.
            Now, with a 5-4 solid Democratic majority on the board, Hill joins District 8’s Susan Evans (who unseated Margiotta); District 6’s Christine Kushner; District 5’s Prof. Jim Martin, and District 4-Southeast Raleigh representative Keith Sutton, who trounced Republican challenger Venita Peyton 81-19 percent, in changing the divisive course of the Wake County School Board.
            “This means the children can depend on the stability that this new board will provide for them in the future,” Lindy Brown, former Wake County Commissioner, said.
            “This new school board will be working to make sure that all kids will get a good education,” said NC Rep. Rosa Gill [D-Wake-33], a former Wake School Board chairwoman who had Kevin Hill as her vice chairman.
            Wake Democratic Party Chairman Mack Paul, who made sure that all five Wake School Board races were well funded and adequately staffed to get out the vote, said the two toughest districts were 3 and 8 because the Republicans redistricted both to assure GOP victories there.
            At least 1500 Democrats had been drawn out of District 3 - North Raleigh, and yet, Kevin Hill still won by 900 votes.
            It was a relieved, visibly happy Hill, who smiled and cheered with over 60 supporters at Milton’s Pizza in North Raleigh. Though a Democrat, Hill’s campaign was as apolitical as possible, addressing only his vision of where Wake Public Schools should be going.
            Hill never said anything negative about Losurdo, except to compare their work experiences for voters to evaluate.
            While there were numerous questions about Losurdo’s admitted history as a waitress in a New Orleans strip club, tour in the US Air Force, personal bankruptcy and work “overseeing” business loans in North and South Carolina, Hill’s  35-years in the classroom and as principal, left little doubt about his qualifications.
            Several so-called “527 groups” that legally play no role in political campaigns, but do, using their own money, campaign for and against candidates, spent tens of thousands of dollars on both sides of the Hill - Losurdo contest, battering the opponent with oft times untrue charges.
            When asked by The Carolinian, after his victory was clear, what did he have to say to those who vehemently opposed him, Hill said, “It’s time we come together for our children.”
            Hill’s supporters, upon hearing his answer, loudly applauded and cheered.
            “The over 600 volunteers that were out there shows that the folks feel strongly about our schools in Wake County and our children,” Hill said.
            Hill says he hopes that his election means that all nine board members will come together and “work as a team, take politics back off the table, and try and make decisions that are best for all kids and all schools”
            He also promised not to let Wake’s children and their parents, or the people who supported him, down.
            When asked about who he believes should be the new Wake School Board chairman as of December 6th when the new Democratic board members are sworn-in, Hill, Tuesday night, said he didn’t have time to even think that far.
            Hill briefly served as chairman in 2009 after then-Chairwoman Rosa Gill left to fill-out the unfinished term of NC House District 33 Rep. Dan Blue, who moved over to the state Senate.
            After Tedesco and three other conservatives swept the 2009 elections and were sworn-in, Hill was removed as chairman in a power play by Republican Ron Margiotta and the new GOP majority.
            Right before the meeting, Margiotta reportedly told Hill not worry about anything, only to apologize after the meeting, saying he couldn’t stop the other GOP members. Both Hill and former WCPSS Communications Director Mike Evans confirm that account.
            Hill, and Sutton, who was pleased with his Democratic colleague’s win, are the longest serving board members of either party, with Sutton, who was appointed to take Rosa Gill’s District 4 seat, being on just a few months longer than the Republicans.
            Theoretically that would mean that Hill would be returned to the chairman’s seat, since he’s not only served since 2007, but has roughly 35 years of teaching and administrative experience under his belt.
            Hill has not said that he wants the gavel, and neither has Sutton. No doubt they, and the other board Democrats, will discuss the matter prior to December 6th.
            Ironically, the bigger decision in terms of board leadership maybe whom the next board vice chairman will be.
            Almost certainly it won’t be current Vice Chair John Tedesco, a partisan, divisive figure who has traveled the state, speaking to groups about instilling “Tea Party values” into public education.
            It was a bitter John Tedesco, after Heather Losurdo conceded defeat Tuesday night, who tried to maintain a stiff upper lip as an instant minority board member, when he told reporters, “We'll see if they can show me a vision that's worth fighting for. If we're moving forward, I'll work with either [Chairman Hill or Sutton]. If they want to go back, then I'm going to put up a fight."
            “You may have one or two who may want to do things differently,” Rep. Gill said, “but if the majority of them focus on doing the right thing for kids, then you’re going to see a well focused board.”
            Tedesco may very well lead the loyal opposition on the board in efforts to disrupt policies he doesn’t like, but other than perhaps heading up a committee, observers agree that the District 2 representative’s days of leadership on the Wake School Board are over.
            Yet, whomever the Democratic board chairman may be, as a symbol of trying to mend fences and heal deep wounds left by the Margiotta regime, may want a Republican vice chair.
            But it would have to be one committed to board consensus, not consistent partisan 5-4 votes. A Republican board member willing to work for compromise on contentious issues.
            One committed, during the 2012 presidential election year,  to lowering the partisan political temperature on the board for the next four years.
            Those qualities leave out District 1 member Chris Malone, who, second only to Tedesco, is a vocal partisan who preferred to openly mock the board’s Democratic majority, and is leaving anyway to run for the state House in 2012.
            It may also leave out District 7’s Deborah Pritchett, who memorably thanked the Wake Republican Party for its help in her 2009 election, and never wavered in her loyalty to Chairman Margiotta and Tedesco.
            That leaves former Vice Chair Debra Goldman of District 9.
            The embattled Ms. Goldman stood up to her Republican colleagues a year ago when they tried to ram a 16-zone neighborhood schools assignment plan through, voting with the Democratic minority to stop it. She also exposed the Margiotta/Tedesco plot to reassign thousands of African-American children from predominately white suburban schools back to Southeast Raleigh.
            For those actions, Chairman Margiotta, Tedesco and Malone openly ostracized Goldman, vowing to target her during her re-election, thinking that they could hold the GOP majority for at least two terms.
            And while there’s evidence that Goldman has worked her way back into the good graces of her Republican colleagues (her vote allowed Tedesco to become vice chairman after numerous deadlocks months ago), she may now realize the value of board consensus, and working with the Democratic majority.
            If there is a Republican vice chair, that person, if they seek consensus, will have a hard time wowing the likes of Tedesco and Malone, if not Prickett.
            The Democratic majority, beyond fixing Supt. Tata’s “blue” school choice student assignment plan to ensure that no more high poverty schools are created, and that low performing students have access to high performing schools, also have to prioritize the removal of several acts by the current GOP board.
            First, they must cancel any contract the board has with the conservative Civitas Institute, the right-wing think tank funded by conservative activist Art Pope that was hired to train new Wake School Board members. Their services are clearly not needed now.
            Secondly, the board must cut ties with Thomas Farr, the right-wing former NC Republican Party attorney who served as “in-house counsel” to the Republican board majority. Farr was brought onboard specifically to do battle with the NCNAACP when it was clear that the civil rights organization would haul the school board into court if it resegregated the schools.
            And thirdly, the board must address the immediate crisis at Walnut Creek Elementary School in Southeast Raleigh.
            Having opened only last August, the $25 million elementary school is already over 77 percent free-and-reduced-lunch student population; over 52 percent low-achievers, well over 100 students beyond its 800-student capacity, and is operating over $1 million beyond the budget of comparable wake elementary schools.
            If the school continues with these high poverty problems that have emerged after only three months, it will be a disaster, critics maintain, and be exactly what Kevin Hill campaigned against.
            The victory of the new Democratic majority also means teachers and administrators, once again, will be listened to, as well as parents, in the decision-making process, something many complained was not happening under the current GOP-led board.
            And as for Supt. Anthony Tata, the retired US Army brigadier general whose Tea Party leanings and disrespect for President Obama, along with his scant experience in public education, are well documented, his future with Wake County Public Schools is in his hands.
            Tata was hired a year ago next month on a three-year contract, and thus far, his only accomplishments have been to produce a new school assignment plan that still needs work, create two single-gender leadership academies, and allow himself to be used for political purposes by GOP members of the board.
            Hill says he had no interest in seeing Tata go, but the ultimate decision will be Tata’s.

DEATH OF A CHAMP: One time boxing heavyweight champion of the world, "Smokin" Joe Frazier (center) died Monday of liver cancer. He was 67. His fiercest opponent, Muhammad Ali, called him a great champion [photo by Akira Kouchiyama via Wikipedia]


            [DURHAM] For years it was thought that inner city youth were more into illegal drug usage than their white middle-class counterparts in the suburbs. But a new Duke University study of young people in all 50 states proves just the opposite. “The rate of substance-related disorders among African American youths is significantly lower [than whites]," study author Dr. Dan Blazer of the Duke's Department of Psychiatry, says. The study was done from 2005 to 2008. Confidential federal surveys of 72,561 young people between the ages of 12 to 17 were done. Nine percent of white adolescents, less than the percentage of black kids, said they had either drug abuse or dependency. Overall, 37 percent of all youth surveyed used drugs or alcohol in the study’s most recent year.

            [SPRING LAKE] The brother of NC Rep. Marvin Lucas was killed Monday morning when a semi tractor truck collided with his tractor on a road. Robert Cecil Lucas, 70, was driving the tractor because he was legally blind and didn’t have a driver’s license.  His family says he may have been going across the road to get some gasoline.

            [CHARLOTTE] Over 7600 poor whites and blacks were the victims of North Carolina’s forced sterilization program between 1929 and 1974. But thus far, only 34 have been confirmed to have survived, even then though the state believes that at least 1500 are still alive. Gov. Beverly Perdue is expected to act on the recommendations of her NC Justice for Sterilization Victims task Force for compensation for those confirmed, and House Speaker Thom Tillis says he wants to empanel a committee to further study the issue.


Attention Wake County residents! The Courtney Johnson Community Center will be handing out FREE children’s coats this Saturday from 11a-5pm. The address is 1801 Proctor drive Raleigh, NC 27610. Keep your child warm for the winter. One coat per child, please.

            Try to panhandle anywhere in Wake County as of Dec. 1 without a permit, and you’ll be in trouble.  County commissioners Monday passed a new ordinance mandating permits with photo ID’s for panhandling. The permits are free and are available at county office sites. Raleigh and Garner already have permit ordinances.

            Two cases of absentee ballot mishandling have the Wake Board of Elections investigating. In Knightdale, 20 ballots were mailed from the karate school of a candidate for mayor there. Three ballots were thrown out, and officials are looking into a campaign worker who collected them. It is illegal for anyone other than a close relative to handle ballots before they are sent to the BOE. In Morrisville, a town council candidate signed ballots as a witness, then took the ballots to deliver. That is illegal. Both cases have been sent to the Wake District Attorney’s Office.


                                  BLACK MARINES TO GET CONGRESSIONAL MEDALS  

By Cash Michaels

“IN LIVING COLOR” RETURNS - Without a doubt, one of my favorite television programs of all time is the 1990’s black comedy show, “In Living Color.” Produced by Keenan Ivory Wayans, and starring the crazy Wayans family, “ILC” was funny, funky, imaginative and daring. It ran from April 1990 to May 1994.
This show absolutely pushed the envelope, but it had quality writing, and extraordinary comedy performances by notables like Jim Carrey and Jamie Foxx (before they became megastars), along with up and coming dancers Jennifer Lopez and Rosie Perez. It is not a stretch to say that many of the comedy sketches and characters are today considered classics.
“Homey the Clown,” “Fire Marshal Bill,” and absolutely my favorite of all, “Men on Film” with Damon Wayans and David Alan Grier portraying two gay film critics who just don’t know how to stop.
Needless to say, the Fox Television Network kept a close eye on the show, and there were always running gun battles with the censors. So much so that Keenan Ivory Wayans left the show in its fourth season, as did a number of its other stars. The show has since been seen in reruns on BET, MTV, VH1 and Centric.
Now comes word that Fox is bringing “ILC” back in two 30-minute specials with a whole new cast, and with Keenan Ivory Wayans producing and hosting. That should be interesting to see what they come up with during a presidential election year.
I’m looking forward to it.
NETWORK TV SHOWS IN TROUBLE - OK, it’s been two months now since the new fall season, and the emerging picture is getting clearer and clearer as to which shows will see the ax.
They’re called “bubble” shows, meaning that their chances of staying on the air could go “POP” any minute.
The network with the most bubble shows is the network with the least number of hits - NBC. In fact, they haven’t had a hit show in years. So now, shows (and don’t feel bad if you don’t even know their names, it just proves you’re not watching them) like “Community”…”Parks and Rec”….”Harry’s Law” (which I like)…”Prime Suspect”…and even “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” are struggling to pull 8 million viewers.
You’ll recall that the first show of the season to get the ax was NBC’s “The Playboy Club.”
On CBS, all three “CSI” franchise shows are getting real long in the tooth, and dropping audience. Look for at least one of them get cast off rerun Heaven.
On ABC, “Pan Am,” the 1960’s show about …about…well I guess what it was like to work for the airline company before it went bellyup, may find itself grounded by season’s end if its numbers can’t take flight.
And on Fox, the dinosaur show, “Terra Nova was never a good idea, even if it was produced by Steven Spielberg. Take it off, already.
So don’t be surprised if after the November sweeps, you start hearing about midseason shows coming on faster than you can say, “After these messages.”
SO LONG, SMOKIN’ JOE - In my young life, I’ve had the distinct honor of meeting three-time World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali.
The first time I was introduced to the larger-than-life champ in 1986, he took one look at me, got that devious look on his face, and them mumbled, “You look like Joe Frazier,” before putting up his dukes, and starting to play fight with me.
I’ll never forget that.
But I’ll also never forget that to Ali, Joe Frazier, out of all of the great champions Ali ever faced in the ring, was the toughest challenge he ever had in his life.
Ali and Frazier were responsible for three of the most exciting heavyweight boxing matches in the history of the sport, including the 1975 “Thrilla in Manila,” where Frazier’s corner team wouldn’t let him out of the corner for the 15th round because Ali had beaten the poor man to a pulp.
But Frazier, who had a vicious left hook, had beaten Ali pretty badly too, though he didn’t win.
Ali respected him for that.
The two had it in for each other. It was personal at times. Frazier made the mistake one time on ABC -TV to make a joke about sending Ali to the hospital in their previous fight. Ali didn’t like it, and called Frazier “ignorant” for even bringing it up.
Joe didn’t like that, got up from his seat with a startled Howard Cosell watching on, and the next thing you know, Ali and Frazier were wrestling to the ground while the stage crew were trying to break them up.
It got personal, and Joe never liked the fact that Ali was always quicker with the lip than he was with the fists.
But the two men had great respect for one another. They made history together.
They were the “Greatest”…together.
That’s why it was sad, indeed, when boxing champ “Smokin” Joe Frazier died Monday at age 67 of liver cancer.
The press, and many fans, have always blamed Ali for being vicious towards Frazier, calling him “the gorilla” for their last fight, and making fun of him.
But people forget that Frazier first disrespected Ali by publicly calling him “Clay,” his birth name, instead of “Muhammad Ali,” Ali’s Muslim name from his chosen religion of Islam.
Ali took great offense to Frazier’s disrespect, and made him pay for it dearly in the ring, and out. It is only recently, some 40 years after their March 1971 historic first fight, that the two buried the hatchet, and became friends.
Joe Frazier was a great champion, indeed. Our condolences to his family. Smokin’ Joe will be missed.
OBAMA THE WARRIOR - Finally, finally, FINALLY! President Barack Obama has gotten the message, and isn’t paying the Republicans and Tea Party folks any mind. He is finally tired of wasting his time with these GOP folks in Congress, all of whom have admittedly conceded that they’ve been playing the president for a fool when he trusted them enough to act like adults, and hash out a deal on balancing the budget, among other issues.
The Republican-led Congress has now rejected the president’s American Jobs Act, in whole and in pieces, at least three times. Funding that could have created jobs to fix roads and bridges, defeated because of partisanism.
Obama, now in full campaign mode, has been traveling the country, holding the GOP accountable for not lifting one finger to do anything about jobs. He’s signing Executive Orders to go around Congress to get things done. He’s openly challenging the Republicans to meet their obligations to the American people to help save this economy.
I like it. Obama needs to stay at battle stations for the next year, for one year from this week is the country goes back to the polls, and decides whether to keep Barack Obama in the White House, or elect one of eight Republicans who, thus far, have failed to impress even their own base.
So stay the warrior, Mr. President, stay the warrior.
COLORED REPUBLICANS, PLEASE -  “Colored” Republicans (CR), defined as Republicans of African-American descent who routinely enjoy bashing their own people for that well-earned pat on the head from GOP handlers like Ann Coulter (“Our blacks are so much better than their blacks”), are in absolute heaven that one of their own, Herman Cain, is leading the weakest field of Republican presidential wannabes ever.
So needless to say, they are very protective of him, even though the evidence is piling high that Cain’s alleged behavior back in the 1990’s as president of the National Restaurant Association was less than gentlemanly and professional.
We saw more troubling allegations this week, added on to the three  (at least) we’d already known about. Indeed the woman was alleging sexual assault by Cain. He maintains that he’s the victim of a witch hunt.
We’ll see.
To the CR, this is their chance to shine and show that the Republican Party has a colored person worthy of being president of the United States as well.
Actually they do have an African-American who is immensely qualified, but former Secretary of State Colin Powell made up his mind a long time ago that he isn’t running. Short of Powell, the CR have jack.
Why am I being so hard on the CR? Because, just like Herman Cain, these people have displayed a profound disrespect for black people, and especially President Obama.
They, like Cain, have no problem calling black people who don’t agree with their right-wing politics “brainwashed” and “on the plantation.” They come a crawlin’ with these sob stories about how the mean old nasty Democrats once didn’t return their phone call, so they’re going to be lifelong Republicans from now on.
When President Obama was elected, instead of heralding the great achievement, even though they may disagree with his politics, colored Republicans instead mocked Obama, saying that he really wasn’t “black” because he had a white mother.
Even Cain has played the race card on the president, saying that Obama was “…never part of the black experience in America,” and isn’t “a real black man.”
Only a colored fool would boast something like that. When prominent politicians
and celebrities of color start talking loud about how they’re “blacker” than someone else. It’s mainly for the benefit of other folks who love to hear that garbage.
            And when Herman Cain stands up and proudly announces that he is a “Koch Brother of another mother…,” to the delight of the right-wing Tea Party, you know that he’s playing to the big money crowd, not the regular folks.
            So CR, have your fun for now. But know that black Democrats aren’t doing one thing to stop or hurt Herman Cain. In fact, black Democrats would love nothing better than to see Cain square off against President Obama in 2012, just to shut the man up. If he were respectful of the president and his community, an not so willing to turn his back on those who are struggling to make it in this society, then black Democrats might feel differently. But Cain is enjoying the coldblooded conservative role he’s adopted fro himself. It has taken him “far,” if you call far the top of am low-level heap.
            But let’s be clear, Herman Cain will NOT be the GOP presidential nominee for 2012. That’s something everyone but Cain is pretty certain of.
            So blame whom you wish, CR. In the end, the best Herman Cain can hope for is being guest contributor on Fox News, and playing second fiddle to the likes of Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly isn’t saying much, is it?
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. Columnist Cash Michaels was also honored by the NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009, and was the recipient of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP’s President’s Award for Media Excellence in Sept. 2011.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian in your life. Bye, bye.

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