Tuesday, January 31, 2012


STRUGGLING TO SURVIVE - As Rev. William Barber and others listen, Charlette Clark, resident of Washington in Beaufort County, tells about her struggles to make ends meet, despite her poverty. Clark's testimony was one of many during the Jan. 19-20th Truth and Hope Poverty tour through NC. [Cash Michaels video still]

Because of the stunning announcement by Governor Beverly Perdue that she will not seek re-election, look for the first part of The Carolinian’s series, “Poverty in NC” in next Thursday’s edition. The multi-part series is based on research, plus the sights and sounds of the recent Truth and Hope Poverty Tour through NC.” Don’t miss this insightful series of reports, starting next week.

Gov. Perdue Appoints Judge Leon Stanback as Interim Durham DA

RALEIGH – Gov. Bev Perdue Wednesday appointed retired Superior Court Judge A. Leon Stanback to serve as interim District Attorney for Durham County.

“Judge Stanback has served North Carolina and the Durham community with distinction as a prosecutor, parole commissioner and Superior Court judge,” Gov. Perdue said. “He is the ideal person to bring strong leadership to the district attorney’s office at this challenging time.”

Judge Stanback served as a Superior Court judge for the 14th judicial district beginning in 1989 until his retirement in 2009. His distinguished legal career includes his private law practice and his service both as a member of the North Carolina Parole Commission and as an assistant district attorney in Guilford County.

Judge Stanback replaces Durham District Attorney Tracey Cline, pending a judicial hearing to remove her from office, which is scheduled for Feb. 13th.

Cline was suspended last week by a judge for “habitual intemperance and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice” in her efforts to remove Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson from hearing criminal cases.
                                                                     -30 - 

By Cash Michaels
An analysis

            Wanted - a Democratic candidate for North Carolina governor who can go toe-to-toe with announced Republican candidate Pat McCrory, and win in the crucial November elections.
            Needed - a Democratic gubernatorial candidate who can raise tons of money quickly, and consistently, to fuel a no-holds-barred campaign, but who could also excite the base of the party enough to ensure a strong November turnout, and help President Barack Obama win North Carolina, the site of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, again in his re-election bid.
            And by “the base” of Democratic Party, we mean its most loyal supporters - African-Americans.
            This is the extraordinarily tricky electoral formula state Democrats have to devise, and they don’t have much time to do it. In the aftermath of Gov. Beverly Perdue’s shocking announcement last week that she will not run for re-election to a second term, Democrats are scrambling to find an ample replacement, one who can unify the party across racial and economic status lines for what is shaping up to be one of the hardest fought gubernatorial battles in the state’s history.
            What will make it so is that, for the first time in over a century, Republicans control both houses of the NC General Assembly. That gives McCrory, the former mayor of Charlotte who announced his second bid for the governor’s seat this week, extra firepower to make his case that conservative government is best for North Carolina.
            So the behind the scenes wrangling is on in Democratic circles, and powerbrokers are weighing in on who could best lead the party to victory.
            The backroom movement suggests that, so far, none of the announced candidates or would-be Democratic candidates are seen as having the perfect pitch needed to lead.
            Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton wasted no time after Gov. Perdue issued her stunning noon decision, to announce that he wanted her job. And last Saturday, state House Rep. Bill Faison (D-Orange) officially confirmed the worst kept secret of the past six months - that he also wants to be the next governor.
            Faison even put $500,000 of his own money in a campaign fund several weeks ago to not only prove he was serious, whether Gov. Perdue decided to run for re-election or not, but to apparently scare off any other contenders, knowing how hard it is to raise money in a struggling economic climate.
            Thus far, however, there is scant evidence that either Faison or Dalton have caught fire with the state’s Democratic base or leadership.
            Published reports say that party insiders are asking former UNC System President Erskine Bowles, a Charlotte investment banker who also served as President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, to consider running for governor.
            Polling by Public Policy Polling of Raleigh suggests that of all of the many possible candidates, Bowles ranks the strongest.
            There was even an open “Dear Erskine” letter in the Charlotte Observer this week, asking the businessman to take the plunge because, “In momentous times, people of great talent step up to serve.”
            Bowles, who admits that what he lacks in charisma (he failed in two tries at winning a US Senate seat), he makes up for with hard work, ties to the business community and knowing how government works, is reportedly thinking about the offer. His national profile is high after co-chairing Pres. Obama’s Simpson-Bowles government austerity committee, which made strong recommendations on cutting the federal budget to lower the deficit.
            To many insiders, Bowles total package of experience both as a businessman and a government leader makes him anything but a typical “tax and spend liberal” that McCrory and the Republicans are sure to batter a Democratic candidate with.
            “A source close to Bowles said he would be surprised if Bowles did run this year for the governor's seat, since he "has no interest in being a politician again," reported The Hill, an online Washington, DC publication. However, Bowles has not denounced the prospect.
            But if there’s one flaw that Bowles definitely has that put a crimp in his getting the total support of the state’s Democratic base, it’s his continuing tension with African-Americans.
            That tension arose during Bowles’ bid for the US Senate over a decade ago when it was reported that he held memberships in country clubs that did allow African-Americans as members. Only when high profile opportunities like serving in the Clinton Administration came along did Bowles relinquish those memberships.
            When questioned about it then, Bowles apologized for the seeming hypocrisy, and assured that blacks that he harbored no racial prejudices.
            The issue never reared its head again since.
            Still, Erskine Bowles would need something to help improve his image with the African-American community, which will turn out in heavy numbers in November to support Pres. Obama, but not necessarily during the May primaries to support Bowles.
            The answer, some observers say, could be with another high profile politician whose name has been mentioned for governor.
            State Sen. Dan Blue.
            Blue, a veteran state lawmaker and the first (and only) African-American to ever serve as speaker of the NC House, would definitely, in the minds of many, attract strong support from black voters statewide.
            There is no question as to Sen. Blue’s decades of legislative experience, or leadership. He currently serves as chairman of the Duke University Board of Trustees.
            But, as proven during his 2002 run for the US Senate, Blue would have a problem raising the tens of millions required for an adequate war chest to stave off the McCrory-Republican Party campaign machine, which ha promised to pour millions into vicious attack ads against Gov. Perdue had she not decided to bow out.
            That is why, some Democratic insiders tell The Carolinian, that the team of Erskine Bowles for governor, and Sen. Dan Blue for lieutenant governor is the best ticket imaginable.
            Both men are considered political moderates, with Bowles probably more so than Blue. Both men have good records in government, and both have been successful in the private sector - Bowles as a top Charlotte investor; Blue as partner of a prestigious Raleigh law firm.
            The tandem, even though they would have to win their respective nominations separately, would draw strong across-the-board support from the Democratic base in November, including from African-Americans, and give Pres. Obama a fighting chance to win North Carolina again.
            Blue has said that he has "gotten a few calls" and "is listening" to ideas about running for either governor or lt. governor," but made it clear that he is not "actively seeking anything."
            Translation - if you want me, make it work for me in fundraising, etc.
            Bowles, with his connections to deep pockets across the nation, will have no problem with fundraising. So his only problem will be having the will to run, and lead.
            But the question remains, can the deal be made? Can Bowles and Blue, who faced each other during the 2002 Democratic US Senate primary, come to an understanding of what Blue’s role would be in a Bowles Administration if they won?
            If even a Bowles-Blue candidacy is possible may not be answered until filing begins for the May primary on Feb. 13th. Unless one, or both men announce beforehand that they’re not interested in running, the tantalizing possibility remains the Democratic Party’s best option going into November.
            Without the black vote, Democrats might have to write off the governorship, along with the state Legislature, for at least the next four years, if not more, observers say.
            For her part, Gov. Perdue, who issued her announcement not to run for re-election, says she will now devote the rest of her term in office to traveling the state, fighting to improve education.
            On Saturday in Greensboro, Perdue called her decision not to run “ a very personal family decision.”
            “I did not want to be seen as someone who was partisan, who was trying to divide and use this as a wedge to win re-election” Perdue said. “It is much more important to me than being governor, this fight for education.''

Perdue continued, “It's time we stop the extreme unnecessary cuts to public schools, community colleges and universities in this state. Our economic future is at risk. This is not partisan. This is not about politics. I am going to go to every town, every county,” she said.
“I am going to take this on the road and get right in people's faces.”
            Everyone from President Obama, to NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber applauded Gov. Perdue for her service, and devotion to the people of North Carolina. There was no question that Perdue wanted to spare her family the onslaught of political attacks coming from the Republicans, who have fought her tooth-and-nail because she’s vetoed their cuts to education and attempts to install voter ID.
Perdue’s political adversaries, like Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis, mocked her decision.
Does anyone really believe Governor Perdue's reason for deciding not to seek reelection?” Tillis asked on his Facebook page? “Leaving the office of chief executive so that she can have greater influence? I searched the Internet all the way to the end and I did not find a single example where surrender was the key to winning any war.”

SOUL TRAIN'S DON CORNELIUS FOUND DEAD - Published reports Wednesday say that Don Cornelius, producer/host of the classic black dance TV program "Soul Train," was found dead in his Sherman Oaks, California home of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head. A police investigation is ongoing. Cornelius, who hosted the show from 1971 to 1993, was 75.


            [DURHAM] Saying that “all eyes are on the state of North Carolina…,” National NAACP President/CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous says that he will take part in Feb. 11th’s Sixth Annual HK on J People’s Assembly March and Rally. Jealous, who joined NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber, and about 60 other NAACP members and representatives from partnering groups, says citizens need to join the march to stand up to the repressive policies of the conservative-led NC General Assembly that erode democracy. March participants assemble at Shaw University on South Street in Raleigh at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11th.

            [RALEIGH] Former Wake School Board Vice Chair John Tedesco has announced that he will indeed be a Republican candidate for state superintendent for Public Instruction in the May primary. Tedesco is best known as the controversial mouthpiece of the former Republican majority on the Wake School Board. He says, if elected in November, he’d tackle the state’s high suspension rate and poor test scores. Tedesco would have to first get by at least two other candidates in the GOP May primary.

            [FAYETTEVILLE] An African-American judge who prosecutors tried to have removed, is now considering whether to grant the first appeal under the controversial NC Racial Justice Act. After hearing arguments, Superior Court Judge Greg Weeks must now determine whether Marcus Robinson, 38, should get the death penalty for the 1991 murder of a 17-year-old teen who was kidnapped, robbed and fatally shot in the face. Robinson claims there was racial bias in his jury selection. Prosecutors deny it. If Judge Weeks finds evidence of such, then Robinson will be sentenced to life without parole.


            Tonite, Feb. 2, the NCNAACP and Great Schools in Wake Coalition are sponsoring a community mass meeting on the new Wake student assignment plan, 6 p.m. at Martin Street Baptist Church, 1001 E. Martin Street. If you have concerns about how the new plan will affect the quality of school your child attends, then come to this meeting tonite. For more information call 1-866-NC-NAACP.

            In an effort to provide more families with advocates and to reduce the number of students who are pushed out of schools, the Push Out Prevention Project (POPP), an initiative of Advocates for Children's Services of Legal Aid of North Carolina, is starting a series of free legal clinics in Wake County. The first clinic will take place on Monday, February 20, 2012 (a teacher workday) from 4pm-7pm at Neighbor to Neighbor, 1200 S. Blount St., Raleigh, NC 27601--two blocks south of Shaw University. Families can attend any time between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm to speak with someone immediately--it's a walk-in clinic.
            POPP attorneys provide free legal advice and representation to students who are from low-income families and U.S. citizens, and who have been:
                    - denied enrollment in a public school;
                    - experiencing academic failure (ex., I's and/or II's on the EOGs
                      or EOCs);
                    - suspended or expelled;
                    - denied adequate special education services;
                    - mistreated by a school resource officer (SRO);
                    - discriminated against based on gender, race, national origin,
                       and/or religion; and/or
                    - experiencing other major problems in school.
            For more information contact attorney Jason Langberg at 919-226-0051 ext. 438, or email at JasonL@LegalAidNC.org.


By Cash Michaels

            BLACK HISTORY MONTH - Well, welcome to Black History Month, that special time of year when we’re all supposed to learn more about our history and culture. As the recent excitement over the film “Red Tails” proved, there is still interest about African-American history. And there are so many stories in our history that have as of yet to be told.
            Most importantly is that we place a premium on making sure that our children discover, and embrace our history, so that they may cultivate a sense of pride and place in this world. As a parent, it is rather fun to show my youngest that everything she sees as “new” really is quite old, but just in new packaging.
            So enjoy the discoveries, and make sure you leave yourself open to learn a few new things yourself.
            We have a proud history, and it time, not just in February, but all year round, that we take the time to discover it.
NCIS 200TH - For all of you NCIS fans (and that’s about 20 million of you every Tuesday night on CBS) and important milestone for February sweeps - the 200th episode of the crime drama.
Titled, “His Life Through His Eyes,” the episode brings back most of the important people in Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ life when he’s cornered during a robbery at a local diner.
As I’ve written before, NCIS stands out because after nine years on the air (it debuted as a series in Sept. 2003 after being a special episode of JAG in April of that year), the show is still growing in audience, making it the number one watched drama on television.
So congrats to series star Mark Harmon and the cast and crew. I’m sure Harmon, who is way in his sixties now, will want to call it quits sooner or later (his contract is up soon), but for now, as long as he enjoys it, we enjoy it.
GOV. PERDUE - No question many of us are still trying to digest last week’s bombshell news that Gov. Beverly Perdue will not run for a second-term. Her statement, claiming that the Republicans weren’t interested working together in the best interests of North Carolina, told only half the story.
            There is also no question that the state’s GOP, being the “warm and cuddly” public servants we all know and love, were ready to unload perhaps the most vicious anti-Perdue campaign imaginable, complete with false attacks (they’re famous for that, you know) on the governor and her family.
            The indictments against some of her campaign operatives from the 2008 election would have only made the situation even bloodier.
            I don’t blame Beverly Perdue for deciding that none of this was worth it. As a leader of history, the first woman ever to serve as governor of North Carolina wanted the office only to do one thing - make life better for all North Carolinians.
            Her passion, being a former school teacher, was education, and during her one-term in office, she strived mightily to ensure that every child in this state got the opportunity to learn, and grow. Perdue hasn’t the job yet, which is why she has pledged to travel the state, fighting for educational improvements, and the children she cares for so much.
            Were mistakes made during her term? Certainly, and the criminal indictments against some of her campaign advisers didn’t help much. And even though Perdue came into office with low poll numbers (before she did anything to earn them), she still continued to hold her head up high, and move forward to attract jobs to the Old North State.
            Indeed, the bad economy in North Carolina was the fly in the buttermilk for Gov. Perdue. As the nation, and indeed the world, was struggling to stop the economic bleeding, Perdue was working diligently to improve our picture, and attract as much opportunity for business investment as possible.
            The conservatives like to complain about the business incentives and tax breaks the state traditionally offers in order to attract more businesses here. But the righties never have a good answer for how do you attract corporations, and the high number of jobs they create, with no incentives, while other states, and even nations, are offering the store to get them in a highly competitive economic environment.
            Gee, when you have your choice of jobs, would you choose the one that offers a flat salary, or one that offers salary, bonus and benefits?
            Perdue knows the answer to that, as most sensible people do. You give a little to get a little. These companies know states like North Carolina are hungry for jobs and growing their tax-base. They aren’t stupid, but apparently the Republicans would like for them to be.
            Indeed, there were issues where the Republicans leading the state Legislature wish North Carolinians would be more stupid about, like their attempt to repeal the Racial Justice Act, or implement a voter ID law.
            Gov. Perdue stood up to them, vetoing their attempts, and warning them not to try it again.
            The state GOP cut a billion dollars from the state education budget, and the governor fought them tooth and nail again, telling them that they’ve cut too much. She is now calling for the General Assembly to pass a half-cent sales tax increase dedicated specifically to education. And though Republican leaders have already called the proposal “dead on arrival,” Gov. Perdue has promised a fight to end all fights to stop the massive cuts in local school budgets.
            There are a lot of folks who don’t like Beverly Perdue, for one reason of another. Exactly why, quite frankly, I’m not sure. While I haven’t always agreed with her, I’ve always found her to be dynamic, knowledgeable, and full of fire to get the job done, whatever the challenge.
            During the 2008 campaign, Perdue pledged to do something about the victim of NC’s forced sterilization program. Today, in the midst of a national spotlight, a task force she appointed has made recommendations for compensation, and even the Republican leadership held a forum in Charlotte Wednesday to determine what the best course would be.
            When Wake County Public Schools were in the grips of a wayward right-wing-led school board, determined to turn the civil rights clock back to separate and unequal, the governor publicly hailed the efforts of the NCNAACP to oppose the board, and never wavered until the Democrats reclaimed control.
            Perdue signed the Racial Justice Act into law in 2009, saying that while she was still strongly in favor of the death penalty, the evidence was clear that race historical determined who saw the hangman’s noose in NC, and who didn’t, and it was time that stopped.
            She defended a woman’s right to choose, and other issues important to the women of this state.
            And again, Perdue has fought for education, and vows to continue to do so in her waning months.
            So Beverly Perdue’s chapter in NC history is closing, but there’s something there we can all be proud of. Contrary to what the Republicans are saying, it was a brave deed on her part deciding to step away from the partisan politics, and instead, work for a better North Carolina.
            All people of good will wish Gov. Perdue all the best, and say “Thank you” for all that she’s done.
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. 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.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


POVERTY IN NORTH CAROLINA - A resident of Scotland Neck, in Halifax County, tells NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber about the severe lack of jobs, opportunities and decent housing in the poor black section of town, and wonders if it's by design. Halifax was one of six impoverished northeastern NC counties visited last week during the two-day Truth and Hope Poverty Tour through North Carolina [Cash Michaels video stills] 


By Cash Michaels
An analysis

            Editor’s Note -For the next few weeks, The Carolinian will report on the issues surrounding persistent poverty in North Carolina. Based on research, and the two-day tour through six counties last week, our stories will explore why there is poverty in our state, and what is, and is not being done to address it. Our goal is not only to bring awareness of this issue to our readers and community, but also to challenge our elected officials to do something substantive about the tremendous need for economic and social equity in our state.

            There were tears, frustrations and angry voices.
            Anger, because they have been conveniently forgotten, and ignored.
            Frustration, because those in poverty, in rural and inner city North Carolina, ask why there are no jobs in the low-wealth counties where they live? Why are the monthly electric bills to keep their families warm during harsh winters, so high, and getting higher? Why is funding for much needed social service programs being cut by both the state and federal governments?
            And tears, because in the richest, most powerful nation on the face of the planet, there are those, and their children, who are relegated to a vicious cycle of persistent poverty and despair, with next to no substantive relief in sight.
            To add insult to injury, they ask, why do politicians enjoy falsely accusing the poor of being lazy, and not wanting to work, a charge observers say is disgraceful, at best, after hearing of a 74-year-old woman in Hertford County who still drives a school bus for low pay and no benefits, just so that she can provide for her invalid husband.
            Or the small black community in Beaufort County which, until recently, had to make do without water and sewer services.
            Those were just some of the piercing questions, and realities that greeted last week’s first leg of the Truth and Hope Poverty Tour through six of North Carolina’s most impoverished northeastern counties - Beaufort, Washington, Edgecombe, Hertford, Pasquotank and Halifax.
            It is no accident that many of these low-wealth counties are along or near the historic “Black Belt,” the string of Southern segregated counties where slavery predominated in the 1700’s, and poor blacks became the dominate population
            Led by the NCNAACP; the NC Justice Center; the UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity and the NCCU Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Change, the two-day tour not only convened several town hall meetings where over 1300 lower-income residents and activists gathered to emotionally and vividly tell their stories of struggle, but also provided opportunities to visit some of the impoverished neighborhoods, to see and hear first-hand from the residents themselves, what life is like.
            “We mean, through this modest effort, to illuminate and highlight these barriers, these moral and social transgressions - not simply through data and statistics, and documents and reports - but through the words and voices and protestations and hopes of those most directly affected,” UNC-Chapel Hill Prof. Gene Nichol, director of the UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity, said.
            "We met and talked with parents who can't afford healthy food for their children, homeless men without a place to sleep, and a host of people who struggle to meet even the most basic needs," said Rev. Dr. William Barber II, President of the North Carolina NAACP. "No one can look at these faces and not agree that we must begin the long, hard, necessary and righteous work of changing this harsh reality for the good of the whole in our state and nation."
            In the embattled town of Scotland Neck - where over fifty percent of its estimated 2,000 residents are living below the federal poverty standard - there was evidence that the local government has done very little since last August’s Hurricane Irene to remove downed trees and other damage in some of the poorer neighborhoods where substandard housing already reigns.
            But when former Scotland Neck Mayor James Mills and Rev. Barber took reporters, cameras, students, attorneys, ministers and activists on a walking tour of the blighted area, all of a sudden crews appeared with heavy equipment to clear trees and debris that had been rotting on homes and properties months ago.
            An estimated 17 percent of North Carolinians are classified as living in poverty - $22,000 a year for a family of four - according to state figures. At least 40 percent of African-Americans living in the state’s northeastern counties are considered poor.
            Across the state, nearly one in five North Carolinians lived in poverty in 2010, with one in four black North Carolinians struggling in impoverishment with a 17.4 percent unemployment rate, according to the NC Justice Center.
            In addition, 40.2 percent of black children in North Carolina lived in poverty.
            The stories of struggle were gripping. Residents, not able to find work in their town or city or county, having to get transportation to neighboring counties, or even over the NC-Virginia line, to just look for employment, let alone find it. Small towns, having to turn of water service to elderly residents because they can’t pay the bills due to their fixed incomes. Homeless shelters, providing space for only twenty, when at least a thousand in that area really have nowhere to go.
            “If we're serious about a North Carolina with real opportunity and prosperity for all, we have to address the legacies of neglect, isolation and racial discrimination that has a continual effect on our state's communities of color," said Melinda Lawrence, executive director of the NC Justice Center. "It's long past time we stopped the chronic underinvestment in rural communities and communities of color across North Carolina."  
Just this week, the NC Justice Center’s NC Budget & Tax Center - one of the tour’s sponsors - reported that at least ten of North Carolina’s counties had “high poverty rates over three decades.”
            “20 percent or more of 10 North Carolina county populations lived in persistent poverty, which is defined by both the percentage of people living in poverty and the period of time that the poverty rate has remained high in a geographic region,” the report stated.  “Persistent poverty was concentrated in the eastern region of the state, the report finds, where counties had little diversification of employment, fewer adults and teachers with advanced degrees, a lack of affordable, adequate housing, and poor access to health care.”
            The BTC report continued, “As of 2000, there were 10 counties in North Carolina that could be defined as “persistently poor”:  Bertie, Bladen, Columbus, Halifax, Martin, Northampton, Pitt, Robeson, Tyrrell, and Washington counties.”
            The BTC report added that those ten counties  “…had high poverty rates every year for three decades, according to U.S. Census data from 1970-2000.”
            “Living in a community of persistent poverty limits the opportunities of residents, and represents a challenge to not only regional economic development but the state’s overall economic growth,” Alexandra Forter Sirota, director of the NC Budget & Tax Center and author of the report, is quoted as saying. “When generations of communities cannot access tools and systems that support mobility and prosperity, it becomes difficult for these areas to reduce the economic hardship of their residents.”
            Ms. Sirota continued, “The lack of wealth, few employment opportunities and a crumbling opportunity structure in these communities makes it difficult for local governments to overcome the legacy of persistent hardship and provide pathways to mobility.”
             “State policymakers must utilize placebased solutions to support economic opportunity across the state and level the playing field for all communities,” Sirota said.


            Yet a third Republican Wake School Board member has announced possibly abandoning ship now that the Democrats are firmly in control. Debra Goldman, a former Republican vice chair of the board who fought against her GOP colleagues for a short while before returning to the fold, has announced that she is “nearing a final decision” on seeking higher office. In a press release earlier this week, Goldman said it was Gov. Perdue’s sales tax increase proposal that spurred her to consider running, though she hasn’t announced what she’ll vie for. Her GOP colleague, John Tedesco, is expected to announce his candidacy for state superintendent today. Another GOP board member, Chris Malone, has announced he’s leaving to run for the state House.

            The news is not surprising that the statewide jobless rate dipped below 10 percent in December, given the rise in retail employment for the holiday season. But what is new is that this was the first time that unemployment fell below 10 percent in the past six months.  December’s jobless rate of 9.9 is seen as a “moderate sign of improvement,” according to official with the state Division of Employment Security. At least 29,400 jobs have been added since December 2010, officials added. The national jobless rate is at 8.5 percent.

            If your phone rings, and your caller ID displays a number with a “876” area code, don’t bother to answer. Police say it’s a Jamaican telemarketing scam designed to convince you that you’ve won prizes, and have to wire money in order to collect. The elderly are particularly vulnerable to this deception, officials add. The NC Dept. of Justice advises you to never give your Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers to anyone who calls you on the phone, or emails you. Ignore high pressure sales pitches. Never pay any money to collect a prize; never sign any papers or contracts without first having them checked out. Contact the NC State Attorney General’s Office at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM for more information.


       Six major Wake County agencies will participate in a massive coordinated outreach event designed to listen to underserved southeast Raleigh families and connect them to educational and support services on Saturday, Feb. 4.

THE EVENT: Positive Youth Development Day, hosted by the City of Raleigh's Positive Youth Development Task Force led by Octavia Rainey

WHEN AND WHERE: Tarboro Road Community Center at 121 North Tarboro St., Raleigh, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

WHO'S INVOLVED: Raleigh Police Department, the City of Raleigh Parks and Recreation Department, Wake County Human Services, the Raleigh Department of Community Services, Wake County Public School System and others. 

OUTREACH COMMUNITIES: Positive Youth Development Day is targeted to serve families and youth from the College Park/Idlewild communities, the Thompson/Hunter area, and the neighborhoods surrounding Roberts Park.


            [CHARLOTTE] The Republican speaker of the NC House, and state Rep. Earline Parmon of Winston-Salem, will co-sponsor an information session Feb. 1 in Charlotte on the history of North Carolina’s infamous forced sterilization program. The meeting is part of the process in deciding what level of compensation the survivors of the state’s eugenics programs should receive. Gov. Perdue’s Eugenics Task Force recently recommended that victims be awarded $50,000 for their pain and suffering. Anywhere between  1500 and 2000 are survivors out of an estimated 7600, are said to remain.

            [GREENSBORO] Assuming that the courts allow the GOP-drawn redistricting maps to remain as drawn, Republican candidates for the redrawn Congressional District 13 seat currently held by Democratic Rep. Brad Miller, are already jockeying for position. Former US Attorney George Holding has announced that he will file on Feb. 15. His likely GOP primary competitors - Wake County Commission Chair Paul Coble; and Bill Randall, who ran and lost against Miller in 2010 - are yet to announce their filing dates. Miller is expected not to run in the 13th, but the newly-drawn 4th, where Democratic incumbent David Price is also up for re-election.

            [FAYETTEVILLE] For the next 120 days, Fayetteville police officers will not be allowed to ask drivers for their permission to search their vehicles based solely on their hunches. Critics say these so-called “consent searches” left the door wide open for racial profiling, and the Fayetteville City Council voted to have the action thoroughly evaluated before a permanent policy is approved and put in place. Critics say the two-month moratorium violates state and federal laws. But supporters say statistics show of the drivers that were stopped, three of every four were black. 

SINGER ETTA JAMES DIES - Soul singer Etta James, seen here at the piano with Muhammad Ali. died last week of leukemia in a Los Angeles hospital. She was 73. Read more in Cash in the Apple, page ----.

By Cash Michaels

TRUTH AND HOPE POVERTY TOUR - Thursday and Friday of last week, I had the unique opportunity to join the NCNAACP, the NC Justice Center, and other distinguished progressive organizations, activists, educators and students on the first leg of the “Truth and Hope Poverty Tour through North Carolina.
It was both extraordinary, and startling.
On Thursday, our bus, which left from in front of First Baptist Church in Raleigh early that morning, made stops in Beaufort, Washington and Elizabeth counties. On Friday the stops were Hertford, Halifax and Edgecombe counties.
Our mission was to listen to the people of these low-wealth areas, people who no one really listens to when it comes to their human needs of food, clothing, shelter for themselves and their families, and gainful employment.
In each and every vicinity, the faces, the voices, the incredible stories of struggle and strife, made your heart go out, and your head shake almost clean off.
As had been said many, many times during the two-day tour, how these families are able to “make it” from day-to-day, is incredible, about also shameful.
Not on them.
On us, as a society.
The 74-year-old woman who is still working in Winton, NC, driving a school bus, for little pay and no benefits, every day so that she can support her invalid husband.
The small community in Beaufort County that only now is getting water and sewer service.
The people living in poverty in the town of Scotland Neck, NC, who live in Civil War era shacks, can’t find work, and whose children are listless and lost because there is nothing constructive or instructive for them to do there.
The men’s shelter in Elizabeth City that can only house eight men, while over 1,000 each night are homeless, and looking for shelter, food, and to make a living.
The number of black mothers and fathers who openly cried in front of audiences as they confessed their shame of not being able to find work to feed their children, and give them the things that others have.
The complaint after complaint of high rents and even higher utility bills, eating away at what little incomes they get.
The lack of opportunity in many depressed counties and towns because large companies have packed up and gone overseas for cheaper labor.
The corruption of some local government officials who treat the poor of their areas like dirt.
The federal and state government cutbacks to these low-wealth, high poverty areas that have put mounting pressure on local governments to cutback on vital services.
The aging of small-town populations, increasingly on fixed incomes, and not able to afford utility rate hikes and rising medical costs for medicine and healthcare.
The men and women who suffering because no one will give them a chance to rebuild their lives after they’ve served their time for the mistakes they made in their youth.
This list could go and on, and believe it or not, I didn’t refer to copious notes taken or any audio or video recordings.
The stories are seared into my head and heart. The faces of despair and desperation, and lifelong frustration, are forever in my memory.
This tour, ably and heroically led by NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber, was an eye-opener, and in the opinion of this reporter at least, raised the question of why we have conveniently, and shamefully forgotten the plight of the poor in our state and nation.
You won’t find a politician or elected official utter the word “poverty” this critical election year, because, in the minds of many, saying ANYTHING about dealing with the needs of the poor spells raising taxes, and no one wants to hear that, do they?
Conservative politicians like to portray the poor and needy as “lazy” or “criminals.” It’s part of their tough guy “I’m all-American” act to impress the haters.
Kind of cowardly to beat up on poor people, if you ask me.
The bottomline is that during this most important election year, we have to make the issues surrounding poverty part of the political debate and discussion. And I’m not just talking about the Republicans.
Our president, Barack Obama, hasn’t really said a whole lot about addressing poverty in this nation, and yet, for many of the over 1300 people we met during last week’s Truth and Hope Poverty Tour, the first black president of the United States is seen as their only hope. Someone in the highest office in the land who looks like them, and should understand.
I believe that he does, but politically, can’t move a muscle as long as the Republicans are breathing down his neck, waiting for him to make a big mistake they can pounce on.
So since politics is part of the reason why the poor aren’t getting the much-needed help hey deserve, then ALL of us must work to change the politics…by INSISTING that poverty in the state and nation be addressed.
You notice how the Occupy Wall Street Movement has forced the discussion of wealth disparities to be part of the nation debate?
Then we should be doing the same thing. It is OUR responsibility, and the responsibility of ALL people of GOOD WILL, to stand up for the materially least of us. Our pastors should be preaching this word renewed, because the Son of GOD who they covet and embrace every Sunday certainly NEVER STOPPED advocating for the poor until the day He died.
So why have we, who proudly call ourselves “Christians?”
In the coming weeks, I will be writing a series of reports based on the two-day tour we took last week. I write these to inform our community, but I also write them in hopes that many of you will be spurred to action.
I honestly don’t know what to expect in terms of a response from my readers on this, so surprise me. Push the cause. Force our candidates for office, and those in office, to address poverty in this state and our communities.
Let’s do this, or else we really have very little to be proud of.
OSCAR NOMINATIONS - Some really tough competition this year as the Academy Award nominations were announced. Of interest to our readers, the motion picture, “The Help” - the story of the struggles of black maids in 1960’s Mississippi, earned a Best Picture nomination; Best Actress nom for Viola Davis; and Best Supporting Actress noms for Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain.
I predict that Spencer will get the nod. Davis is up against Meryl Streep and Glenn Close, two powerful actresses in their own right. But the fact that Davis earned her spot with these greats says a lot.
The Oscars air on ABC Sunday, February 26th at 7 p.m.
GOODBYE, ETTA JAMES - We lost a legend last week. Singer Etta James died last Friday at a Los Angeles hospital of complications from leukemia. She was 73.
Ms. James' classic soul and blues hits will forever span the ages. "At Last," perhaps her greatest hit ever, is considered a worldwide standard. "I wanted to be rare. I wanted to be noticed. I wanted to be exotic..." she once wrote in her 1995 autobiography, "Rage to Survive," explaining her unique style and flaming blonde hair.
One of my favorite Etta James is a serious cut from the late 1970's called "All the Way Down." It used to fill the dance floors at the discos I spinned at. 
It still could.
GOD rest, Etta James. You were truly one of the greats.
“AL” OBAMA - I thoroughly enjoyed, as many of you did, seeing President Obama at the world famous Apollo Theater last week, shocking everyone by breaking into song, and rendering a soulful presidential version of singer Al Green’s legendary, “Let’s Stay Together.” More shocking was that Rev. Green was RIGHT THERE to see and hear it.
I must give Pres. Obama credit; he still has the ability to surprise. Good job, Mr. President.
ART POPE - Last Sunday I was asked to debate conservative activist and GOP moneyman Art Pope. Yes, THE Art Pope, the same multi-millionaire who owns dollar stores specifically in the black community through his company, Variety Wholesalers, Inc., and who bankrolled at least 19 Republican legislative candidates in the November 2010 midterms, thus leading to the GOP takeover of both houses of the NC General Assembly.
The program we both appeared on was the Spectacular Magazine Radio Show, hosted by publisher Phyllis Coley and Gary Jones. It was a barnburner, and if you want to hear an edited version, just go to http://thecashroc.blogspot.com/2012/01/cash-michaels-debates-art-pope-on.html to download, and enjoy!
“RED TAILS” TRIUMPH - In case you didn’t know it, the film, “Red Tails,” a film inspired by the exploits of the historic Tuskegee Airmen, did bang-up business last weekend as the Number 2 movie in the land, grossing $19.1 million at the box office. Strangely enough, the film is not in foreign distribution yet, which is odd b because most major motion pictures these days open globally within days of each other so that they can make their costs back as soon as possible.
I’m not sure what the plan is for “Red Tails,” but it deserves to be a profitable motion picture. I saw it with my family last week, and it was good. Thank you George Lucas.
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. 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.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012



            More good news for the Chavis Park community. The Raleigh City Counsel Tuesday voted to more forward to build a new building for the Chavis Park carousel, is open to the public. The historic African-American community, which was once home to dilapidated public housing, now features new single-family housing and renovations to historic Chavis Park across the street. In the 1930s and 40s, blacks came from across the state to ride the carousel. The counsel approved a $1.8 million building contract, 26 percent of which will go to minority contractors. The project should be completed by the fall.

            Inmates at the Durham County jail were up and out Tuesday morning, literally, when a small fire in the dryer room vent at 3 a.m., forced jail officials to briefly evacuate the facility of prisoners and staff. Reportedly, the fire started in back of a dryer connected to a vent. The facility’s sprinkler system put the fire out before anyone was allowed back in.

            Over 2200 families, just in the first hour, went online Tuesday and began choosing what Wake County schools they want their children attending next fall, as the new registration system for Wake’s school, choice assignment plan began this week. Parents are now about to make various elementary, middle and high school choices, in hopes that they get their top pick. Democratic school board members were concerned that the plan may create more high poverty schools in the district. This selection round ends Feb. 24.


            [RALEIGH] Concerned that the $1 billion in cuts to education by the Republican-led NC General Assembly last year will hurt public education statewide, Gov. Beverly Perdue said Tuesday she will include a three-quarter cent sales tax to the budget she’s submitting to the Legislature to further stop “deep and unnecessary cuts” public instruction. Perdue the revenue generated would go specifically to the state’s school systems. “North Carolina has fallen to 49th in the nation in per-pupil funding. The legislature’s budget has hurt education at all levels – from pre-k all the way through higher education – and has led to higher class sizes and the loss of thousands of teacher and teaching assistant positions. And their budget forces even more teacher layoffs next year -- we must act to prevent these additional cuts." Republican leaders have already criticized the governor’s proposal, disputing that their budget cuts hurt education.

            [CHARLOTTE]  The Democratic National Convention is just eight months away, and already it’s making big news. Not only will event where the major political party will re-nominate President Barack Obama be shortened to just three days - Sept 4-6 - instead of the traditional four, but Obama will accept the nomination for a second term at the 74,000-seat Bank of America Stadium on Sept 6, not the Time-Warner Arena where the rest of the convention will take place. On Monday, Labor Day, Sept 3rd, there will be a special celebration of the Carolinas, Virginia and the South at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

            [GREENSBORO] Former NC Sen. John Edwards has “suffered three [heart] episodes” since December, which is why his federal trial for alleged campaign finance corruption has been delayed until March 26th, says NBC News, cited undisclosed sources. He alleged cause of the episodes are “irregular heart rhythms,” and the former presidential candidate is scheduled to have surgery for it next month,” NBC News continued. Reportedly, Edwards is prone to losing consciousness as a result. Edwards is charged with funneling campaign funds as hush money to his mistress after she had his baby.


By Cash Michaels

            The first two-day leg of the “Truth and Hope Tour of Poverty in North Carolina” is underway, with the first stops being Beaufort, Washington, Pasquotank counties today, and Hertford, Halifax and Edgecombe counties on Friday.
            Sponsored by the NCNAACP, the NC Justice Center and the UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity, the bus tour’s mission is to highlight economic and social inequalities in the state’s rural and inner city communities, and challenging public officials, business leaders and those seeking public office during this election year to address the issues of joblessness, decent housing, transportation and food for struggling families.
             “We want to shine the light of truth on the conditions of poverty and despair in North Carolina," said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, President of the NC NAACP. 
“The truth is,” Rev. Barber said, “government and the private sector have not adequately addressed the historical and structural causes of the deep poverty in Eastern North Carolina. Long before the Great Depression or the recent Great Recession, thousands of Black, White, Latino and Native American families lived on the edge of survival. The recent economic and ecological tornadoes that swept through Eastern N.C. just made the structural poverty worse.”
Some of the cities the tour is scheduled to visit include Washington, Roper and Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City.
On Friday the tour is scheduled to stop in Winton, Scotland Neck and conclude in Rocky Mount, before returning to Raleigh.
The Truth and Hope Poverty Tour is part of the Sixth Annual Historic Thousands on Jones Street March and Rally coming Saturday, Feb. 11th in Raleigh. This year’s theme is “Forward Together, Not One Step Back,” and will focus on creating more jobs; establishing quality, diverse education in the state’s public schools; and stopping regressive attempts to rollback voting rights. 
Editor's Note - The Carolinian will be aboard the tour for special coverage. Look for our reports in next week's Thursday edition.

PRES. OBAMA HONORS THE "RED TAILS": President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama address members of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen just before a showing of the new motion picture, "Red Tails," which details the exploits of the famous World War II all-black squadron [White House photo]

By Cash Michaels

            MISS YOU - Miss my Mom, who died today in 2009, while my family was halfway to Washington, D.C. for the inauguration of Pres. Barack Obama.
            Will always love, will always be grateful to, and will never forget you, Mom.
CONGRATULATIONS, OCTAVIA - As in Octavia Spencer, who won a Golden Globe Sunday night for Best Supporting Actress in “The Help.” Spencer played defiant black maid Minnie Jackson, who stood up against white racism in Mississippi during the early 1960’s civil rights movement. He costar, Viola Davis, lost to the formidable Meryl Streep, who took home a Best Actress Golden Globe for her portrayal of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in, “The Iron Lady.”
But Davis, who is expected to garner an Academy Award nomination for “The Help,” did win the 2012 Critics’ Choice award for Best Actress last week.
So the awards season is underway, and we will find out who the Oscar nominees are next week.
Spencer, Davis, and Bryce Dallas Howard (actor-director Ron Howard’s daughter), who also appeared in “The Help,” better be among the nominated.
“RED TAILS” - I plan to see this important piece of black history about the legendary Tuskegee Airmen this opening weekend. Yeah, George “Star Wars” Lucas put up the funding (bless him), but not only does it have an all-black cast, headed up by Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Terrence Howard, but the director, Anthony Hemmingway, is black, as is Executive Producer Chas. Floyd Johnson, who is also an EP on TV’s number one action-drama, “NCIS” on CBS.
But more importantly, many of our surviving Tuskegee Airmen are excited that their story is finally being told in a high quality production on the big screen. It is so important that America not forget the heroics of these brave fighting men.
And important that we don’t either.
SORRY TARHEELS - Boy did Florida State put a slap-happy spankin’ on the UNC Tar Heels last weekend, 90-57. The beating was so bad, Coach Roy Williams left the arena early, and five of his players on the court. Now Coach Roy he didn’t mean to do it (and I believe him), but it sure added insult to injury. This was the worst defeat in Williams nine-years at UNC.
One thing you can say about Roy Williams UNC teams…when they’re good, they are the best.
But when they are bad, nothing stinks up a place more.
Coach, get your troops in shape, my man. A few more performances like that, and you’ll be in the rocking chair next to Regis Philbin before you know it.
BUCHANAN AND MSNBC - Right-wing pundit Pat Buchanan hasn’t been on MSNBC since last October, when his racist new book, “Suicide of a Superpower” was published, and he went on media tours promoting stuff like “the end of white America”
Buchanan, once a lackey in the corrupt Nixon White House and failed presidential candidate, is an MSNBC contributor. But after he started becoming more and more racialized in his rhetoric, particularly when he called Pres. Obama “Your boy” on Al Sharpton’s show some time back, that’s when the clock began to tick.
At presstime, MSNBC President Phil Griffin was leaning towards dumping Buchanan for good, leaving him free to go frolic with fellow right-wing flamethrowers at Fox News at long last.
MSNBC has taken way too long to fumigating the place of Buchanan. With the highest black viewership of any of the cable news channels, MSNBC need to show Pat the door now, if they haven’t already done so by the time you read this.
NEWSWEEK’S IMPORTANT OBAMA QUESTION - This week, Newsweek Magazine asked a very constructive question on its cover - “WHY ARE OBAMA’S CRITICS SO DUMB?”
Remember, I didn’t ask the rhetorical question, Newsweek Magazine did. But I agree with the premise, and the answer, in my mind, is more than simple. As much as they’d like too, they can’t pin their stupid racial stereotypes on Barack Obama, and it bothers them to know end. And to make matters worse, these Tea Party-type have gone after First Lady Michelle Obama with names like “Mrs. Yo-Mama” and making fun of her backside and nutrition advocacy.
The president’s enemies are “SO DUMB:” because they are SO DESPERATE! They want nothing more than to get him out of office this fall, and they’ll do anything, or say anything to do it.
2012, as you know, is an election year, and you’re about to hear and see some of the most vicious, crass, untruthful load of BS flung towards this president EVER!
But it won’t work.
Make no mistake, the “Mr. Softy” we all criticized the president for being last year has given away to “Mr. Cunning” now that an election is near. Mitt Romney is going to get the GOP presidential nomination because Republicans see the former Massachusetts governor as their best chance to unseat Obama, and “…take our country back.”
We’ll see, Einsteins, we’ll see.
OUTRAGE - If anything proves that as a nation, we have lost our sense of honor and dignity, it is the images we saw last week of US Marines urinating over dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.
Suppose a police officer shoots and kills a suspect in the street, and then urinates over the dead body out in the open. Would that infuriate you? It darn sure should. We pay our law enforcement, to do their jobs, not exact revenge. And the reason why that is so important not only has to do with professionalism and honor - that behavior reflects badly on the rest of the corp - but because it sends a message to other nations that we look to not just defeat our enemies, but shame, disgrace and defile them as well.
The next time some terrorist takes pride in blowing up innocent American citizens, think about that. We foment the hatred that other nations have for us with such selfish, uncivilized acts. To do such an extraordinarily dishonorable thing is to open the door to an even greater reaction.
I, personally, am ashamed of the Marines that were pictured doing that, and now that there is an investigation, I hope the full weight of the military law comes down on them.
Some may disagree. Some may applaud those men for displaying the “appropriate” contempt for our combat enemies.
Fine. But don’t you dare say a bloody word come the next “Blackhawk Down,” when the dead bodies of American servicemen were dragged through the streets of Somalia in 1993 and mercilessly tortured by our enemies.
Don’t you dare!
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. 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.