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STATE NEWS BRIEFS
STATE GOP “GROSSLY INSENSITIVE” TO BLACKS,
SAYS SEN. MCKISSICK
By Cash Michaels
If Republican leaders in the state House and Senate wanted to rile black state lawmakers, the governor, and even the NC NAACP, by all accounts they’re doing a good job.
In fact one frustrated state senator says Republican leaders are “grossly insensitive to African-Americans.”
The GOP-led NC General Assembly was uniformly blasted after the state Senate voted to override Gov. Beverly Perdue’s earlier veto of their anti-Racial Justice Act bill in special session, and the state House, not having enough votes to follow suit, instead sent the measure to committee, and called a midnight session, voting to stop dues check-off for teachers statewide affiliated with the NC Association of Educators.
House Speaker Thom Tillis, who maintained that the midnight session was constitutional, further added that cutting off dues funding to the NCAE - a political nemesis that has opposed the Republican majority in the Legislature - was simply denying a special privilege to a “special interest.”
But critics, like Sen. Floyd McKissick (D-Durham), chairman of the NC Legislative Black Caucus, said this was just the continuation of efforts by the state GOP to grab power, and weaken the Democratic Party by targeting its strongest base - African-Americans.
“I think [the GOP’s] message is very clear. They’re grossly insensitive to African-American interests in this state,” Sen. McKissick maintained, pointing to Republican-sponsored bills to establish voter ID to suppress the black vote (vetoed by Gov. Perdue); shorter One Stop/Early voting to one week and eliminate Sunday voting; redistrict black voters to fewer voting districts, and gut the Racial Justice Act (also vetoed by the governor) which allowed convicted felons in capital murder cases to prove racial bias, if any, before sentencing.
But Sen. McKissick is particularly steamed about the way black members of the Perdue Administration and General Assembly staff have been treated by the Republicans.
“Last year, Marilyn Chism, an African-American, was abruptly ousted as head of the General Assembly’s Fiscal Research Division. A move apparently made for no other reason than to flex their political muscle,” McKissick wrote in a press release last week.
“Recently Lynn Holmes, an African-American who serves as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for the Division of Employment Security in the Perdue Administration, has been unfairly targeted by Republican leadership, which referred to her as “an embarrassment” and “incompetent,” Sen. MsKissick continued.
Because Holmes failed to appear at a Dec. 7 Revenues Laws Study Committee meeting, GOP lawmakers, like Sen. Bob Rucho of Matthews, “were incensed” wrote Mark Binker in his blog in the Greensboro News and Record. So they did something unusual.
They subpoenaed her to appear at their January meeting, “a rare move” signaling that GOP lawmakers were upset, Binker wrote.
When Holmes appeared for the committee meeting last week, she was sworn-in under oath, something that no other witness had to do who spoke to the committee that day.
Sen. Rucho maintains that Holmes was treated differently because she heads up a “troubled agency,” but, “You can be assured it wasn’t because she’s black,” he told Binker.
And as for McKissick’s racial contention, Rucho said he was “full of hot air.”
Sen. McKissick maintains that the Republican behavior is due to their zeal for establishing their power for the next decade.
For her part, Gov. Beverly Perdue, in a special teleconference with the Black Press last Friday, blasted Republican leaders in the state House not only for holding the midnight meeting and vote against NCAE, which “appalled” Perdue, but also for their billion dollars in “devastating cuts” the state’s public education budget in their last legislative session last summer.
“In the dark of the night, while every child in the state should have been tucked in and sleeping, [I] watched this General Assembly take revenge against North Carolina’s school teachers, who actually had the courage to stand up, and oppose those devastating cuts to education and the children.”
Perdue, who has indicated that she is running for a second term this November, said that she “will continue standing up” against the GOP education cuts, and fight for more funding.
Even NCNAACP President Rev. William Barber issued a statement decrying the Republican midnight tactic.
“The current leaders of the General Assembly believe they can hide their shameful acts in the darkness of the night. They need to know we are watching. No amount of darkness will mask the disgraceful acts they continue to carry out,” Rev. Barber said.
“Under the cover of darkness, in an unscheduled late-night legislative session, the ultra-conservative Republican leaders in the General Assembly used trickery and distortion to attack North Carolina's teachers...” Barber continued. “This unannounced session was intended to take advantage of the fact five Democrats were absent due to illness, deaths in the family and foreign travel and that as the night dragged on other members had to leave due to illness or age.”
We will continue to fight against these regressive forces that are trying to take North Carolina backwards,” Rev. Barber assured.
TRIANGLE NEWS BRIEFS
WAKE SCHOOL BOARD GOES FORWARD WITH SCHOOL CHOICE PLAN
Despite calls to postpone by Great School in Wake Coalition and the NCNAACP, the Democratic majority Wake School Board Tuesday, based on assurances by Supt. Tata and his staff, agreed to allow the new student assignment school choice plan to go forward for the coming school year. There was concern about creating more high poverty schools if immediate changes weren’t made, by Tata assured that his staff will closely monitor, and make changes where needed.
FORMER “DURHAM TEACHER OF THE YEAR” A GUEST AT THE STATE OF THE UNION
An African-American history who last year was Durham’s “Teacher of the Year” will be attending Jan. 24th’s “State of the Union” address in Washington, D.C.. At the invitation of NC Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1), Jason Jowers, an administrator at Hillside High School in Durham, will be attending President Obama’s address to the nation before a joint session of Congress. Jowers previously worked at the Southern School of Engineering, where he won Teacher of the Year honors last May.
FORMER UNC BOARD MEMBERS OPPOSE TUITION HIKE
Over 20 former members of the UNC Board of Governors have signed a petition in opposition to the current board approving tuition increases at several UNC campuses throughout the system. The petition says such increases will “make these institutions inaccessible to many qualified young men and women and breach the moral and constitutional duties of our state to all of our citizens." A vote by the board is scheduled for next month.
STATE NEWS BRIEFS
EUGENICS TASK FORCE RECOMMENDS $50,000 FOR STERILIZATION VICTIMS
[RALEIGH] Gov. Beverly Perdue’s Eugenics Task Force has recommended that survivors of the state’s forced sterilization program receive $50,000 in compensation for their years of pain and suffering, and an apology. Those affected wanted at least $1 million each from the state, but realized that the new offer may be the best they can get. House Speaker Thom Tillis says he backs compensation, and will setup a House committee to further consider the matter. Approximately 1,500 to 2,000 victims, many of whom were sterilization as young children between 1929 and 1974, are said to be living out of an estimated 7,600 affected.
FORMER TUSKEGEE AIRMAN, NCCU DEAN STEWART FULBRIGHT, DIES
[DURHAM] The first dean of the Business School at North Carolina Central University, Dr. Stewart B. Fulbright, who also held the distinction of serving as one of the distinguished Tuskegee Airman of World War II, died in Durham on Jan. 1. He was age 92. Dr. Fulbright, a Springfield. Mo. native, enlisted in the US Army Air Corp in 1941, one of 1,000 black soldiers trained to be pilots in Tuskegee, Ala. Fulbright, a second lieutenant, flew B-52 bombers for the balance of the war. In 1947, he joined North Carolina College in Durham (now NCCU), later becoming the founding dean of the School of Business. Dr. Fulbright retired in 1982.
DEMOCRATS FIGHTING GOP REDISTRICTING WANT MAY PRIMARIES PUSHED BACK
[RALEIGH] Democrats legally challenging the redistricting voting maps the Republican-led NC General Assembly developed have asked a judge to delay the May primaries so that their arguments can be fully heard. The state Attorney General Office, representing the Legislature, counters that the primaries should proceed under the new maps on-time, and arguments about their merits can be had later. At issue is whether the state and congressional maps “stack and pack” black Democratic voters into as few as minority-majority districts as possible, thus allowing Republicans to dominate in swing districts they can easily win. Democrats want primaries delayed until July 10, with filing taking place on April 27th. There was no ruling from the three-judge Superior Court panel hearing arguments.
CASH IN THE APPLE
By Cash Michaels
NEW “24” - For those of us who have missed our favorite action TV series, “24” since it went off the air in 2011 (or was it 2010?), good news.
Star Kiefer Sutherland, who portrayed Special Agent Jack Bauer, says filming for the much awaited “24” theatrical movie will begin in April, with a release date of sometime in 2013.
So wait for it.
Meanwhile today, as you read this, is the first day of filming of the new “Star Trek” movie starring Chris Pine as Captain Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Mr. Spock, and Zoe Saldana as Lt. Uhura. It is the sequel to 2009’s monster hit, and is also due in theaters in 2013.
REPUBLICAN PRIMARIES - Let’s see, so far we’ve been through the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primaries, and thus far we’ve seen just about every Republican candidate, with the exception of Jon Huntsman (who is really a Democrat, but just doesn’t know it) shown their ugly racist side.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum wants to stop black people from using other people’s money
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich wants to “…go to the NAACP Convention, and explain to the African-American community why they should demand paychecks instead of food stamps (a couple of weeks ago, Gingrich wanted black kids to learn the meaning of work by scrubbing school bathrooms).
Texas Congressman Ron Paul still can’t explain how racist writings got into his newsletter that he published, but wants everyone to believe that he never read.
Of course, Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s family “Niggerhead” retreat can’t be forgotten.
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is out of race now, but she had her run-ins with race to, calling where President Obama lives with his family the “Gangsta White House.”
Talk about dog whistling to the racist Tea Party right.
What gets me is that if the presidential wannabes feel so secure in uttering this mess in Iowa and New Hampshire, then what garbage will these GOP’ers be spewing to the “good ole boys” when they get to South Carolina for the primary next?
Remember how this works…. during any primary, be it Republican or Democrat, candidates run to the extreme of their parties in order to attract the true-believers to their campaign.
But when the general election comes, those same candidates run back towards the political center in order to attract the most voters, on top of their party supporters. That means they have to tone the extremist rhetoric down.
At least, that’s the way it’s supposed to work. But given how much the fractured Republicans want to get Pres. Obama out of the White House, this may be a general election unlike any other in American history. Oh yes, 2008 was different because of the candidacy of Democrat Barack Obama, but this year is more so because of the candidacy of President Obama.
And North Carolina will catch a lot of that attention since we will be making history by hosting the re-nomination of the first African-American president in history.
So, as you watch these GOP primaries, which may have already picked the winner by the time the South Carolina primaries are over, listen carefully for the racial dog whistles - coded verbal messages to Tea Party types to gain their votes and support.
I promise you that that kind of foolishness will be very prominent during the general election as well.
The question is what are YOU going to do about it when it comes time to vote in November? What will YOUR answer be to this kind of blatant disrespect and foolishness?
Keep reading this newspaper for information and perspectives on the issues.
No, Pres. Obama isn’t perfect, and yes, he could be doing more to help higher than high black unemployment in this country, no doubt. But given the alternatives that are vying for his office, NONE OF US have the luxury of sitting this election out. ALL OF US MUST BE HEARD this November, or else Lord knows what kind of future we will have in this nation.
It’s YOUR choice…think about it…but not for long. There’s work to do!
TRUTH AND POVERTY TOUR - Next week I’ll be traveling along with Rev. William Barber and a host of other NCNAACP officials documenting their “Truth and Poverty Tour” through parts of North Carolina.
As the nation takes time next week, once again, to honor the life and legacy of slain civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I think it is more than appropriate that we also take the time to remember the “least of these,” not in terms of humanity, but of subsistence.
The question is asked, “Why aren’t we hearing any of our politicians, including the president, talking about helping the poor anymore. The last to really do so was former Sen. John Edwards during the 2008 presidential campaign. Edwards’ “Two Americas” address about how this nation can’t possibly succeed unless it collectively does more to help its struggling citizens, was powerful. And had Edwards not been also busy screwing around and fathering babies, he might still be championing the cause even today.
No one has touched the subject since, and that’s sad.
So I salute the NCNAACP for heading up this tour next week. The goal is not only to reveal to the state that North Carolina has its poverty pockets that have needed attention for decades, but also force those running for office this year to address the issue during their campaigns.
I will be documenting the tour next week for our newspapers, my radio show, “Make it Happen” on Power 750 WAUG-AM, and for a film.
We hope to have striking stories for our readers and listeners to learn and understand. So look for those stories in two weeks.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MUHAMMAD ALI - Next week, one of my favorite fellow Capricorns, former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali, will be celebrating his 70th birthday. I had the chance to meeting Ali, one of my favorite human beings, at least three times, and cherish every moment. The fact that he has been with us 70 years is extraordinary. I hope and pray that the champ is with is for another 70 years, and beyond, if not in body, certainly in spirit. He truly is, and always will be, “The Greatest.”
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.
KING HOLIDAY TO FOCUS ON FUTURE
Special to The Carolinian Newspaper
There will be numerous Martin Luther King events throughout the Triangle and all are appropriate in acknowledging the great service and sacrifice by a modern day disciple to humanity.
The longest running and most consistently executed King Holiday Observances in the Triangle have been sponsored by the Raleigh Martin Luther King Celebration Committee. This January marks the 32nd consecutive year of the Raleigh MLK Committee's efforts in North Carolina's Capitol City. The Raleigh MLK Committee's 2012 holiday events are described below.
Fittingly, the first event is designed to recognize and reinforce the impact Dr. King had on society. In doing so, community citizens will gather and school age children will place a wreath beside the statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The 2012 MLK Wreath Laying Ceremony will be held on Friday, January 13, 6:00 PM at the Martin Luther King Memorial Gardens in Southeast Raleigh.
On Monday, January 16th, 7:00 AM the 32nd Annual Martin Luther King Triangle Interfaith Prayer Breakfast will be held at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel, Research Triangle Park. This year's keynote speaker will be the dynamic motivator and the area's top female corporate executive, Mrs. Cynthia Marshall, President, AT&T of North Carolina. There will be a few "surprises" during this early morning program.
At 9:00 AM in cooperation with the Triangle United Way will be the Annual Martin Luther King Day Of Community Service were hundreds of citizens will do volunteer work on various projects throughout the Triangle area.
The 32nd Annual Martin Luther King Memorial March will assemble at 10:00 AM on the grounds of the North Carolina State Capitol and depart at 11:00 AM through downtown Raleigh. The theme for this year's celebration is "From The Dream to Reality .... Economic & Social Equality ... More Work To Be Done" All citizens interested in marching will be welcomed. No registration required.
Following the March will be the 32nd Annual Martin Luther King Noon Ecumenical Observance held at the Progress Energy Center For The Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh. An energetic preacher, The Reverend Nelson Johnson, Executive Director of The Beloved Community Development Center in Greensboro will keynote.
The day concludes with the 32nd Annual Martin Luther King Evening Musical Celebration, 5:30 PM at the Progress Energy Center For The Performing Arts. Headlining this observance will be the blockbuster national recording artist Ernest Pugh from Fort Washington, Maryland.