Thursday, December 15, 2011


NEW FIRST FAMILY PORTRAIT - Taken Sunday, December 11, the White House last week released this brand new family portrait of President Obama and First Lady Michelle, along with their two daughters,  Malia (2nd from left), 13; and Sasha (right), 10. [WHITE HOSUE PHOTO]

By Cash Michaels

             MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY KWANZAA - We’re actually writing this on Dec. 16th because the staff has Christmas week off (thanks boss). So allow us to wish your family a very Merry and Blessed Christmas, and a peaceful and thought-provoking Kwanzaa.
            All of us deserve a period of peace, a chance to refuel for the coming new year, and beyond. So we hope and pray that GOD continues to covet your family and loved ones during this holiday season.
            CONDOLENCES TO BYRON - About two years ago, I was just about to leave the old Wal-Mart in Cary when I heard a lady’s voice call out, “Hello, Mr. Michaels.”
            I looked over, and saw this lovely lady old enough to be my mother, sitting on a bench near the inside entrance, smiling at me. So I went over, and as I got closer, the lady introduced herself as Byron Pitts’ mother.
            That’s Emmy Award winning Byron Pitts of CBS News, and “60 Minutes.”
            Clarice Pitts had recognized me from 2008 when her son introduced us at a Triangle Association of Black Journalists banquet where Byron was the keynote speaker.
            Byron and I knew each other from 2007, when he came to my home in Cary to interview me for the CBS Evening News in the aftermath of the Duke Lacrosse alleged rape controversy. That interview never aired (wonder why?), but Byron and I had a good conversation.
            And on the night that I met his mother at the TABJ banquet, he mentioned in his speech how he used to work for The Carolinian Newspaper. I remember writing about that in this column the following week.
            So seeing Mrs. Pitts again was a pleasant surprise, and we had a nice chat before wishing each other well, and I proceeding to my car in the lot.
            That was the last time I saw Mrs. Pitts.
            So when I got word this morning (Dec. 16th) that Byron’s mother had died, I was naturally saddened. She was a very nice lady, but more than that, she was a strong and committed black mother.
            Just so that there’s no misunderstanding, the difference between regular moms and many African-American mothers is that black mothers have to do all of the expected things any mother is expected to do for their children, but also have to prepare them for the reality of racism in the world, and fight like hell for them when that racism targets their child.
            The battle to build the self-esteem of a black child in a world that is so, so ready to snatch it away, is the province of strong black mothers and fathers. Those of us who had them, know what I’m talking about.
            And those of us who love and care for our children, know what our parents went through.
            In Byron’s case, if you read his 2009 autobiography, “Step Out On Nothing,” you’ll discover that after his parents separated when he was twelve, Clarice Pitts had to work two jobs in Baltimore to support her son.
            But she also had to help her son overcome debilitating stuttering, and being functionally illiterate.
            Byron couldn’t read, but Mrs. Pitts got him through by insisting that if he wanted to play football in school, he had to get at least a B in all of his subjects.
            Byron did, went on to college, and in 1998, he joined CBS News.
            Byron’s mother saved his life. Of this, there can be no doubt.
            That’s why Clarice Pitts is more than a great mom. She is a champion, a symbol of good strong black mothers everywhere who stood by and guided her child to success, and  the very top of the news business.
            Her story reminds me so much of my mother, and her courage.
            I was proud to meet Byron’s mother. On behalf of my family, and I’m sure all of his colleagues, I offer our condolences to Byron’s family during this time of grief.
            FINALLY - Now that the Republican Presidential Debates are over with (thank goodness), I’m thoroughly convinced that the GOP are in serious trouble when it comes to locking in a candidate. If Romney, Gingrich, Paul, Bachmann, Huntsman and Santorum can’t handle each other, them how are they going to handled someone skilled like Barack Obama. Even the most recent polls show the president beating each one of them handily.
            Don’t get me wrong, the president is in a weak ditch right now, and will pretty much stay there as long as the economy is in the tank. But at least he’s in fighting mode now, and calling the Republicans out for their scare tactics.
            As 2011 draws to a close, and an exciting 2012 beckons, there can be no doubt that when the smoke clears, next year’s presidential election will be a nailbiter, and ultimate war.
            I hope you’re ready!
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.

by Cash Michaels

            It was a year of great loss, and great political showdowns. And as it draws to a close, the nation, and the African-American community are left to wonder what it all means for the future of the nation, and the world.
In this second of three parts, we look back at 2011, the highs and lows that impacted all of us through a black perspective, to see what it all means as we also look ahead to what promises to be an extraordinary and historic year in 2012, when North Carolina becomes the first and only state ever to host the re-nomination of an African-American as president of the United States.

On Sunday evening, May 1, President Obama shocks the world by announcing that US Navy Seals have captured and killed Al Queda terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden in a compound in Pakistan. Americans celebrate in the streets, while Bush Administration officials, who failed in seven years to even locate bin Laden, try to take credit.
The NC Legislative Black Caucus and the NCNAACP decry the massive budget cuts to education and social services by the GOP-led General Assembly. Durham Rep. H. M. Mickey Michaux accuses the Republicans of “the total destruction of public education.”
Days later, saying that North Carolina is a “state in emergency,” Rev. Barber and other NCNAACP members are arrested at the General Assembly building for disrupting the state House while it was in session.
Weeks after tornadoes ripped the campus of Shaw University, classes have been cancelled for the remainder of the Spring Semester, and hundreds of volunteers assist in massive cleanup efforts. Classes at hard-hit St. Augustine’s College have not been cancelled, as cleanup efforts proceed there as well.
President Obama, under fire for not doing enough to alleviate high unemployment in the African-American community, meets with members of the Congressional Black Caucus at the White House.
The Martin Luther King Memorial Foundation announces plans for the Wash., D.C. dedication for August 28.
After 25 years, Oprah Winfrey ends her groundbreaking syndicated TV talk show, now devoting full time to her OWN cable channel.
Garner’s Scotty McCreery wins “American Idol.”
Reports say that federal officials will seek indictments against former Sen. John Edwards for using funds from his 2008 presidential campaign to pay off his mistress, Rielle Hunter, who was pregnant with his child.
The GOP-led New Hanover County Public School Board votes 5-2 to close D. C. Virgo Middle School, and make application to convert it into a charter school academy.
D.D. Garrett, long time Pitt County NAACP leader, dies at age 96.
Shaw University students begin summer session classes five weeks after tornadoes tear up their campus.
Princeton University Professor Cornel West calls Pres. Obama “a black mascot” and “black puppet” of the rich.
Members of the Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association say they want President Dan Coleman out.
US Postal officials want to close the Century Post Office in downtown Raleigh to save money, but are urged to reconsider.
Parents tell officials with the US Dept. of Education’s Office of Civil Rights during a hearing at Martin Street Baptist Church that they fear the Republican majority of the Wake School Board will create new high poverty schools with their neighborhood schools policy.
District 4 Wake School Board member Keith Sutton says he wants the Democrats to take back control of the board during the October elections, adding that it would return “civility” to that body. Meanwhile the board votes 6-2 to cut 174 clerical positions in the system to save $5.4 million.
District 3 school board member Kevin Hill announces he’ll seek a second term.
Meanwhile Wake Supt. Tata allows the public to weigh in on the incomplete “green” and “blue” student assignment plans. Tata says he prefers the blue school choice plan, though it’s far from finished.

The NY Times reports that North Carolina is just one of many states under Republican legislatures trying to implement voter ID laws that will restrict black voting rights.
After weeks of speculation, NY Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner finally admits that he conducting inappropriate relationships online with women for three years - both before and after his marriage. It all blew up in Weiner’s face when a picture of a man’s bulging shorts was sent from his Twitter account, and he began lying to the media about whether it was him, and whether he actually sent the picture. Weiner, a staunch liberal, soon stepped down.
The NC House passes a resolution honoring the life and memory of former State Auditor Ralph Campbell Jr.
Former imprisoned Black Panther Geronimo Pratt dies at 63.
A defiant GOP General Assembly passes a $19.7 billion budget, complete with steep cuts in education, and defies Gov. Perdue to veto it.
President Obama visits Durham’s Cree, Inc., says US economy will recover.
Veteran civil rights activist Benjamin Chavis, one of the original Wilmington Ten, says he may move back to Granville County to challenge conservative Democrat Rep. Jim Crawford in the 2012 elections.
The Dallas Mavericks defeat LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals to win the championship.
Conservative GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, who has already raised eyebrows saying that he would not appoint a Muslim to his Cabinet if elected, refuses to be referred to as an African-American, saying he preferred, “American.”
Former MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann moved his popular “Countdown” program to Current TV.
Several victims and victims’ relatives went before the Governor’s Eugenics Compensation Task Force, telling their heartfelt stories of being sterilized by the state when they were children.
First Lady Michelle Obama, on a trip to South Africa, visits former South African President Nelson Mandela.
NCSU Wolfpack basketball great Lorenzo Charles, who tipped in the basketball to win the 1983 NCAA Championship, died when the charter bus that he drove crashed on I-40. He was 47.
Gov. Perdue vetoes the Republican-backed voter ID and abortion laws, saying that they would take North Carolina backwards.
The General Assembly releases its redistricting maps, which “stacks-and-packs” black voters into a few minority-majority districts, thus leaving Democrats vulnerable to Republican defeat for the next decade.
Wake Supt. Tata calls for then hiring of more black teachers for a system where just over 50 percent of the enrolled 143,000 students are nonwhite.
Education Week magazine reports that of the fifty largest public school systems in the nation, Wake County had the third best graduation rate in the nation at 78.2 percent, while Charlotte-Mecklenburg had the 30th best.
Democratic Wake School Board members Dr. Carolyn Morrison and Dr. Anne McLaurin announce that they will not seek reelection to their respective seats.
Former interim Wake Schools Supt. Donna Hargens is hired to lead the Louisville, Kentucky public schools, despite doubts about her expressed by the local NAACP there.

State Democrats and the NCNAACP blast the Republican redistricting maps, and promise litigation.
Winston-Salem State University cuts eleven full-time employees due to mandated state budget cuts. Others schools in the UNC System also trim their workforce and cancel programs.
Amid national anger, the jury in the Casey Anthony renders not guilty verdict in the murder of her two-year-old daughter, Caylee.
The Republican-dominated US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia sent a previous Kinston, NC lawsuit challenging Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act back to Federal District Court in North Carolina, ruling that plaintiffs have the right to challenge the constitutionality of the VRA. The case, titled LaRoque v Holder, evolved from the US Justice Dept. not approving a 2009 Kinston voter referendum to change from partisan to nonpartisan city elections for City Council, saying that doing so harmed the rights of black voters. Several plaintiffs sued the Justice Dept., but a federal judge dismissed it, citing lack of standing and cause of action. But a three-judge panel on the DC Circuit Court reinstated the lawsuit, sending it back to federal court.
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, which owns Fox News, closes its British newspaper, “The News of the World,” after it is alleged that reporters for the paper hacked into the private cellphone records of citizens, celebrities, murder and kidnap victims, and their families. The British government opened an investigation.
Wake Superior Court Judge Howard Manning Jr. rules that the Republican-led General Assembly denied 67,000 poor, at-risk pre-kindergarten children their Constitutional right to a “sound, basic education” by cutting education funding to their program.
Former US Sen. John Edwards is indicted for alleged felony campaign finance violations in connection with payoffs from Edwards 2008 presidential campaign to his mistress, Rielle Hunter after she gave birth to his child. He is set to stand trial in October.
The Republican majority NC Senate overrides six of Gov. Perdue’s vetoes. The GOP in the state House fall short in their efforts to override Perdue’s veto of their voter ID law.
St. Augustine College is sued by a student who alleges he wasn’t allowed to graduate because he criticized the school on Facebook for not canceling classes in the aftermath of the April tornadoes.
President Obama is repeatedly rejected in his efforts to reach a budget deal with Republicans in Congress to stave off defaulting on the national debt ceiling before August 2.
The Pew Research Center releases a startling report documenting US Census data showing how the wealth gap between whites and blacks has widened to “an historic high,” writes the Washington Post, with whites holding a net worth 20 times larger than that of African-Americans.
The NCNAACP meets with Wake Supt. Anthony Tata about the emerging student assignment plan, urging that diversity be a factor.
The Carolinian is the first to report that black Republican Venita Peyton may challenge District 4 Democrat Keith Sutton for his Southeast Raleigh Wake School Board seat as the candidate filing period begins.

After nailbiting battles with Congressional Republicans, President Obama signs a $2.1 trillion deficit reduction deal on August 2, thus allowing the national debt ceiling to be raised, and averting a crisis of the federal government not paying its bills.
Gov. Perdue’s Eugenics Task Force recommends in a preliminary report 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.
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.
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.
After just eleven months on the job, Shaw University President Dr. Irma McClaurin is asked by the Shaw Trustee Board to step down. Reports say her leadership style didn’t match the university.
Rev. Lent C. Carr II, one of six candidates for Raleigh City Council District C seat, is taken off the ballot by the Wake Board of elections after he is sentenced in federal court to seven months in prison for violating the terms of his parole per a 2000 fraud conviction.
As predicted by The Carolinian, black Republican Venita Peyton does file to run against District 4 Democratic Wake School Board member Keith Sutton. Other Democrats who’ve also filed for Wake School Board include Christine Kusher, Prof. Jim Martin, Susan Evans and incumbent Kevin Hill. Board Chairman Ron Margiotta, who is opposed by Evans, is the only incumbent Republican running.
California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, during a town hall meeting in her district, tells the Republican Tea Party to “…go straight to hell!”
Civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton is named host of “PoliticsNation” on MSNBC.
Singer/songwriter Nick Ashford of popular duo “Ashford and Simpson,” dies of cancer in New York.
The controversial film, “The Help,” about black maids in a Southern town during the 1960’s, stuns critics by reaching number one at the box office, grossing as of December 2011 an astounding $169, 224, 625 domestically, with an additional $30,100,00 in foreign markets.
The dedication of the MLK Memorial is Wash., D.C. is postponed to October due to Hurricane Irene.
Hurricane Irene hits North Carolina’s Outer Banks and parts of the east hard, with over 1100 homes destroyed, and tens of millions in damaged across the region.
Libyan leader Col. Moammar Khadafi is overthrown by rebel forces, and is on the run.
Enrollment in Wake Public Schools shoots to 146, 657, 3,368 more than last year.

NNPA STORIES -  Philly to host Urban League Convention in 2013


            [WASH., DC] Sen. Kay Hagan [D-NC]  hailed the awarding of a $70 million federal grant to North Carolina to improve the state’s early childhood education programs. We have long understood in North Carolina that our investments in education cannot wait until kindergarten or first grade,” said Hagan in a statement. “This grant will allow our state to continue the remarkable progress we’ve seen through programs such as Smart Start and More at Four.” $500 million in grant money from the US Education Dept. and US Dept. of Health and Human Services went to nine states, including North Carolina.

            [DURHAM] Based on court testimony that a SBI agent allegedly gave “false testimony” in his case, novelist Michael Peterson was granted a new trial , and released from prison on bond last week after eight years. Peterson was convicted in the 2003 for the Dec. 2001 murder of his wife, Kathleen Peterson, who was found dead in their Durham home at the bottom of a staircase. Peterson has always denied he killed her, and no murder weapon was ever found. Questions raised about blood evidence in Peterson’s case led to questions about his conviction.

            [GREENSBORO] Thanks to a dramatic reduction in infant mortality, the 2010 death rate for children in North Carolina was the lowest on record, according to state Child Fatality Task Force. There were 58 deaths per 100,000 children in the state (ages 17 and younger), compared to 67 child deaths per 100,000 in 2009. The lower number of child fatalities due to auto accident and suicide also contributed to the low rate, officials say. Infants younger than one year comprised two-thirds of the deaths in 2010, state figures show.



            You can tell by the increased number of cars on the road that North Carolina’s capital city is growing, and now the US Census confirms it. Raleigh is now the 43rd largest city in the nation, beating out Miami, Fla.  Raleigh’s population grew by 46.2 percent since 2000, making it 403, 892 in 2010. Raleigh beats out Miami, FL; Cleveland, OH; Tulsa, OK and Oakland, CA.

            When PNC Financial Services Group purchased RBC Bank earlier this year, it also claimed the right to replace the name on the RBC Center in West Raleigh. As of March 2012, the home of the NC Wolfpack and Carolina Hurricanes becomes the PNC Center. The Centennial Authority approved the name change last week. The arena, which opened in 1999, holds 19,000 seats, averages 150 events annually, and attracts an estimated 1.5 million people a year with sporting events, shows and conventions.

            Another sign that North Carolina’s economy could be improving. Homes sales in the Raleigh-Durham market were up by 11 percent in November over this time last year. Almost 1170 homes were sold, according to Triangle Multiple Listing Services. Experts credit a continued trend in growing homes sales since last year was due to the federal homebuyer tax credits, which ended in June. Prices, however, are 11 percent lower than a year ago.

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