Tuesday, February 28, 2012


By Cash Michaels

            The YWCA that has served Southeast Raleigh and the greater Raleigh community since 1901 at 554 East Hargett Street, closed unexpectedly Wednesday, to the shock of many in the community.
            When a Carolinian reporter called shortly after noon on Wednesday, an audibly emotional Bridgette Burge, one of the program coordinators for the Y, said they were desperately trying to find other community organizations to take over programs like the Golden Oaks for older adults, and after-school programs for teens.
            The nonprofit Y served as a center for community enrichment that promoted health and wellness, as well as events promoting culture, history and civic engagement for young and old.
            The national YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) is, “a women’s membership movement founded in 1858 to provide opportunities for women’s growth, leadership and power,” the organization’s official overview states.
            “Through dialogue, action and advocacy, the YWCA Greater Triangle brings together diverse groups of concerned citizens to address disparities in our community that still exist in health, education and economics.”
            The “mission” of the YWCA Greater Triangle, as the Hargett Street facility was most recently called, was its “dedication to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.”
            Sources say employees at the Y were allegedly told Tuesday night that Wednesday would be their last day, and that they were being laid off, and the facility closed.
            Sources also say that the employees were told that they would not be paid for their last days on the job.
            A call Wednesday to speak to Folami Bandele, the Y’s CEO, was not returned by press time.
            A call to YWCA USA in Washington, D.C. to speak with Robin Scullen, director of communications, was also not returned by press time Wednesday.
            Published reports indicated that the Y was undergoing financial difficulties that its board of directors was wrestling with as recently as two weeks ago. Part of the Y’s funding came from the United Way.

                                      REP. LARRY HALL [D-DURHAM]

By Cash Michaels

            A Durham state House representative says the Republican-led NC General Assembly,” …has set a record by having the meanest, most racist and most vicious policies towards the citizens of North Carolina…”
            State Rep. Larry Hall, Democrat representing Durham’s 29th House District, made those remarks during an interview several weeks ago right after the NCNAACP held a press conference promoting its Historic Thousands on Jones Street March and Rally, which was slated for Feb. 11th.
            Hall, like fellow Durham Representative H. M. “Mickey” Michaux, was lamenting what many, like the NCNAACP, have called the “…ultra conservative extremists in the General Assembly [putting] forward some of the most regressive public policy agendas ever."
            It was last year, in the midst of the debate over the drastic GOP cuts to the state’s education budget, that Rep. Michaux, another Durham Democrat, predicted that, “…we’re going to have a total destruction of our public school system as we know it today.”
            Add to that the controversial Republican redistricting plans that Democrats and the NCNAACP allege “stack-and-pack” black voters into a few voting districts, and Rep. Hall says the time has never been more important for citizens to pay deep attention to the issues, and what’s going on in their state government.
“ Clearly our General Assembly has passed a budget that the courts, time after time, have said is not constitutional, and does not meet the needs and responsibilities of the state of North Carolina,” Hall told The Carolinian. “They’re trying to do redistricting that I’m sure the courts are going to overturn, if not for this election, I’m sure for subsequent elections. And so, we’ll continue to have to fight them, and pull them dragging and screaming to do the right thing for North Carolina.”
            But why are the Republicans, who have also tried to implement voter ID and gut the NC Racial Justice Act only to be counteracted by Gov. Beverly Perdue’s veto pen, working so hard to change North Carolina?
“I think, in their opinion, or their efforts as we see them, is to create and reinforce the “two” North Carolinas - those who have and those who have not,” Rep. Hall said. “In their minds, those who don’t have anything, have too much, and those who have everything, don’t have enough. So, they’re taking away educational opportunities, taking away healthcare opportunities, and making it virtually impossible for most North Carolinians to be successful. Then they become a permanent underclass, and [the rich] will become the permanent overclass, and that’s the society [the Republicans] seek.”
            Rep. Hall also hailed Gov. Perdue, who recently announced that she will not run for re-election because of the “toxic” political atmosphere created by the Republicans.
            “I think she said it best when she talked about the fact that the opposition, folks who oppose education; folks who oppose services for those in need; folks who oppose the opportunity to go forward in the state, will use her as a vehicle to keep us from being successful,” Rep. Hall said. “So she’s stepping aside to help further the issues. She is still our governor, and will be for the next eleven months, and will be able to fight more so than ever.”

WIN FOR "THE HELP" - Octavia Spencer tearfully accepts her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "The Help"during Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony.

By Cash Michaels

            In January through six counties of northeastern North Carolina, there were stories of homelessness, joblessness, higher-than-normal utility rates, elderly citizens having to work for little pay and no benefits, children consuming diets that are crippling their health.
            This weekend, the southeastern leg of the Truth and Hope Putting a Face on Poverty Tour in North Carolina promises more of the same, and then some.
            Sponsored by the NCNAACP; UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity; NC Justice Center; the Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Change at North Carolina Central University; and AARP of NC, the tour will this time visit southeastern counties with some of the poorest communities in the state, if not the South, seeking to expose the pressing needs of these low-wealth areas, and urging elected officials and the business community to answer the call.
            "Our second leg of the Tour of Truth and Hope will take activists, academics, media and economists to places of poverty in Southeast North Carolina. This problem of structural and systemic poverty is complex," said Rev. William J. Barber, president of the NC NAACP. "It has many faces that we must dare to see if we're going to dream and have a hopeful vision to do better.  Maybe then we can develop a Marshall-type plan for North Carolina and model a progressive agenda for the nation. Individual charity alone will not address this problem.  The moral requirement of our Constitution and the moral underpinnings of the Biblical truths require more than a call to private charity.  They require a call to structural change and systemic reorientation." 
            As with January’s tour of six northeastern counties, the tour will conduct fact-finding town hall meetings to hear from those in poverty, as well as local leaders, and those who struggle to conduct the much-needed programs to help the needy.
            The tour will also visit hard-hit low-wealth neighborhoods to see what is, and what is not being done to improve the quality of life there.
            Leaving Raleigh’s First Baptist Church on Friday, March 2, a bus full of activists, reporters, foundation leaders, students and scholars will visit Greenville in Pitt County, Goldsboro in Wayne County, and the town of Faison in Duplin/Sampson County.
            Then on Saturday, March 3, the Truth and Hope Tour will visit Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Wilmington, and then travel to Navassa in Brunswick County to see the 600-acre site of intentionally contaminated land.
            Later that afternoon, the Truth and Hope Poverty Tour heads to Red Springs in Robeson County, and finally to Cumberland County at a designated location to be announced.
            “This is the southern half of the North Carolina Black Belt, where my ancestors helped liberate themselves from slavery, fighting with Abraham Galloway's Colored Brigades,” Rev. Barber says. “And then, instead of getting 40 acres and a mule, got tricked into signing sharecropping contracts that immediately re-enslaved them.  But tens of thousands of free men and free women joined [Pres.] Lincoln's Republican Party, moved to the larger cities in the area we are touring, and built grassroots fusion movements with white farmers and small land-owners and businessmen in Wilmington, and Fayetteville and Goldsboro, and other growing urban areas.”
              “For a brief period in the 1890's, they won both houses of the General Assembly, the Governorship, both US Senate seats and many county court houses.”
            Rev. Barber continued, “The former slave owners and their corporate allies, frightened by this initial effort to heal the breach, implemented a plan of homegrown terrorism in Wilmington, and other parts of southeastern NC.  Murdering scores of Black men on the streets of Wilmington, the largest city in the State, in November 1898, they engineered the only coup d'état in the United States. Thousands of African Americans and their white allies were traumatized by this divide and conquer tactics of the extremist and racist right-wing.  People were rousted from their beds, and were helped to get out of town and try to re-establish their lives in the poorest counties in the Southeast.” 
            “We will make the poor visible and lift the silence that surrounds this region,” Rev. Barber vowed.  “We will challenge those who make unjust laws, those who issue oppressive decrees.  We will protest those who deprive the poor of their rights.  And we will never turn back.”
            Editor’s note - The Carolinian Newspaper will be traveling with this Southeastern leg of the Truth and Hope Poverty Tour this weekend. Watch for our reports.

By Cash Michaels

            With the May 8th primaries quickly approaching, and the contested Republican redistricting maps looming large, candidate filings for those primary races ended on Wednesday with few surprises.
            In the race for governor on the Republican, if former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory thought he’d have the field to himself, he was sadly mistaken. McCrory faces four other suitors for the Governor’s Mansion including Jim Haney of Fayetteville; Jim Mahan of Denver; Charles Kenneth Moss of Randleman and Paul Wright of Dudley.
            None of McCrory’s GOP opponents are expected to defeat him for the nomination, or garner enough support to force a runoff.
            On the Democrat side, Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, Orange County Rep. Bill Faison and former US Congressman Bob Etheridge will also be facing primary opposition from lesser-known candidates. Gary Dunn of Matthews and Gardenia M. Henley of Winston-Salem had filed before the Wednesday cutoff.
            State Sen. Dan Blue of Wake County, though still hinting that he might join the race, ultimately did not file.
            On the libertarian ticket, Barbara Howe of Oxford has once again thrown her hat into the ring.
            The race for lieutenant governor is heating up on the Democratic side, with state Sen. Eric Mansfield of Fayetteville facing off against state Personnel Director Linda Coleman of Knightdale on the Democratic side. Meanwhile, on the Republican side, Wake County Commissioner Tony Gurley is competing against Dan Forest of Raleigh, Dale Folwell of Winston-Salem and Rep. Grey Mills.
            For state auditor, while Democratic incumbent Beth Wood has filed to run for re-election, three Republicans have filed so far to replace her.
            The most notable first-term Wake School Board member Debra Goldman of Cary. Joseph Hank Debragga of Raleigh and Greg Dority of Washington round out that GOP field.
            June Atkinson, the Democratic NC Supt. of Public Instruction, has filed to seek yet another term in office. In a surprise move, fellow Democrat Rep. Rick Glazier of Fayetteville, who announced that he was opposing Atkinson in the May 8 primary, changed his mind Tuesday, pulled out of the superintendent's race, and filed for re-election to his House District 44 seat.
            On the GOP side, Wake School Board representative John Tedesco of Garner has filed, as have Ray Ernest Martin of Cary; Richard Alexander of Monroe; and Mark Crawford of Montreat.
            Notable races for US Congress include District 2, where incumbent first-term Republican Renee Ellmers of Dunn is facing three challengers in the GOP primary. If Rep. Ellmers survives that, she will face one of two Democrats who have filed to run against her in the fall - Toni Morris of Fayetteville or Steve Wilkins of Southern Pines.
            In the District 4 race for Congress, US Rep. David Price has no Democratic opposition, so he will face whichever Republican wins the May 8th primary - George Frank Hutchins of Raleigh, or Jim Allen of Burlington.
            In District 7, Congressman Mike McIntyre of Lumberton also has no Democratic opposition. He will face one of three Republicans who have filed to oppose him - David Rouzer of Benson; Randy Crow of Kelly, or Ilario Gregory Pantano of Wilmington, who lost to McIntyre two years ago.
            In District 8, incumbent Democratic Congressman Larry Kissell of Biscoe will face-off against challenger Marcus Williams of Lumberton in a primary. The winner of that race will face one of five Republican challengers in the fall, including black conservative Vernon Robinson.
            In District 12, 10-term incumbent Rep. Mel Watt of Charlotte, a Democrat, will face attorney Matt Newton, who is reportedly a member of the Occupy Movement.
            In District 13, with Democratic incumbent Rep. Brad Miller stepping down, Bernard Holliday of Creedmoor, a Democrat, is seeking to replace him. He’ll have to get by one of two Republicans in the fall, former US Attorney George Holding of Raleigh, and current Wake County Commission Chairman Paul Coble of Raleigh.
            Per the state Legislature, incumbent Republican State Sen. Neal Hunt of Raleigh will be opposed for his District 15 seat by Democratic challenger Sig Hutchinson.
            In state Senate District 17, Wake Commissioner Erv Portman, a Democrat, will run being vacated by GOP Sen. Richard Stevens. Republican Tamara Barringer has filed for that seat as well.
            In the state House District 18, incumbent Rep. Suzi Hamilton, a Democrat from Wilmington, will face primary opposition in James A. Knox of Leland.
             In New Hanover County's House District 19, Republican incumbent Rep. Danny McComas has announced that he is stepping down after nine terms. Ted Davis Jr., GOP chair of the New Hanover Board of Commissioners, has filed to run for McComas' seat.
             In state House District 27, former Scotland Neck Mayor James Mills will compete in the Democratic primary against Michael H. Wray. The winner of that contest will face Republican Jessie Shearin in the fall.
            In Raleigh, it’s a Democratic Party primary rematch between District 33 incumbent Rep. Rosa Gill and challenger Bernard Allen II, both of Raleigh.
            In District 34, incumbent Democrat Rep. Grier Martin decided not to run against fellow Democratic incumbent Rep. Debra Ross after they were drawn into the same district.
            In the District 38 race, three Democrats are vying for that seat, including Abeni El-Amin, Yvonne Lewis-Holley and Lee Sartain, all of Raleigh. Former Wake County Commissioner Lindy Brown had announced that she was also filing for D-38, but decided not to, and has thrown her support to Lewis-Holley.
            For the NC Court of Appeals, incumbent Judge Wanda Bryant of Raleigh is challenged by Marty McGee of Concord; and incumbent Judge Cressie Thigpen of Raleigh must face Chris Dillion of Raleigh.
            For District Court Judge District 5 in Wilmington, incumbent judges J. H. Corpening II, Sandra Ray Criner, Richard Russell Davis, Robin Wicks Robinson and Jeffrey Evan Noecker are all vying for re-election.

By Cash Michaels

OCTAVIA - Congratulations to actress Octavia Spencer for winning a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for “The Help.” Spencer portrayed “Minnie,” an outspoken black maid in the early 1960’s who takes no lip from anyone.
As predicted, actress Viola Davis may have been favored, but she did not win an Academy Award for Best Actress for her starring role in “The Help.”  She was up against Meryl Streep, who was also heavily favored for her take as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the film, “The Iron Lady.” Streep took home her first Oscar in 29 years. She now has three.
We also predicted that “The Help” would not win Best Picture, and it didn’t. Hollywood, recently exposed as being overwhelmingly white male and up there in age, is very, very picky what kind of film it chooses to represent it as Best Picture, and “The Help” wasn’t it. Instead, “The Artist,” a film about silent movies in the 1920’s, won the honor, as well as for Best Actor and Best Director.
Back to Octavia, we’re so very proud of her. Kind of knew that Hollywood would never give two black women Oscars on the same night. But Davis and Spencer certainly have been honored repeatedly for “The Help” this season. The film has earned $169 million worldwide to date.
BILLY’S “SAMMY” CONTROVERSY - Surprisingly, there was some criticism of Oscar ceremony host Billy Crystal doing a blackface impression of the late entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. during the opening segment of the Academy Awards Sunday night.
If I had a criticism, it’s that the bit wasn’t funny. Otherwise, other people tweeted that they did have a problem.
What’s weird is that Crystal built a career on doing impressions, and Sammy Davis Jr., and Muhammad Ali are just two of them.
Neither has brought criticism from anybody before, but they were done a long time ago when Crystal was more popular.
Because he’s been out of the limelight for what seems to be a decade, a whole new generation of viewers didn’t get the joke, and thus reacted.
I would have preferred Billy’s impression of Latin actor Fernando Lamas. Even if younger viewers didn’t recognize the impress, Billy’s Spanish accent and “Yooooou looook maaarvelous!” would have better suited the skit.
Crystal’s not a racist. He’s just a talented old-time entertainer that many of today’s younger viewers have no idea about.
HELPING JAKI - On Friday March 2, a group of poets will be hosting a benefit reading for writer Jaki Shelton Green, who served as the first Piedmont Laureate for the Triangle in 2009 and has been a mainstay in the artist community for over 30 years. Jaki has been battling fibromyalgia and recently has lost use of her hands. This would be tough for anybody, but it is especially tough for a person who uses her hands so much to make a life.
Jaki needs help paying for alternative medicine treatments and we in her poetry family are trying to make some of that happen. Already, we have been able to get a recliner to her so that she can sit up and voice recognition software so that she can continue to write when she is able to sit up. Her publishing company is donating the proceeds from book sales for that night directly to Jaki.
Come out and support the event on Friday, 7 to 10 p.m. at The Wilmoore Cafe downtown on Wilmington Street. There is no cost for admission, but a donation for Jaki will be taken up.
MSNBC FIRES “UNCLE” PAT - There is this BS reaction to MSNBC finally showing conservative commentator Pat Buchanan the door after ten years. Folks like Fox News are saying liberal MSNBC is intolerant of conservative thinking, and thus got rid of Pat after the publication of his latest book, “Suicide of a Superpower,” panned as being blatantly racist for chapters titled, “The End of White America” and “The Death of Christian America.”
The management made it very simple, Pat’s book is racist and irresponsible, and while he has the right and freedom to discuss it anywhere else, MSNBC wants no association with him or the book.
And it’s no wonder. Buchanan has written many a book and column where his views on civil rights and black leaders have proven to be less than progressive.
In an interview with Rev. Al Sharpton on MSNBC last year, Buchanan referred to President Obama as “your boy” knowing full well what the racial connotation was.
In March 2008 essay on his blog titled, “A Brief for Whitey,” Buchanan wrote the following:
"America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known." Slave ships! Community! Salvation! What haven't we given these "folks"?
"We hear the grievances," Buchanan continues, “But where is the gratitude?"
And to think that none other than Juan Williams on Fox News tried to alibi this nutcase for just being a nice guy.
            Yep, MSNBC, I think you got this one right. Saying “Ta-ta” to Uncle Pat was not a bad decision at all.           
            MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY - For the past two weekends, something new and refreshing has graced our TV screens. A black woman, young, vibrant, and as sharp as nails with intellectual perspective hard to find on commercial television beyond Rachel Maddow.
            That’s why I’m so glad Tulane University Political Science Professor Melissa Harris-Perry, after some impressive stints filling in for Maddow and fellow TV talker Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC, now has her own show Saturday and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.
            Harris-Perry has roots here in North Carolina, having received her B.A. in English from Wake Forest University, and her Ph.D. in political science from Duke University.
            Mothers, if you want your daughters to see someone who has it together on the serious thinking department, tune into Melissa Harris-Perry weekends at 10 a.m. on MSNBC.
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.


            In a joint statement issued Feb. 24, Wake School Board Chairman Kevin Hill, Wake School Board members Christine Kushner and Susan Evans, Wake School Board Attorney Ann Majestic and Wake Schools Supt. Anthony Tata all said that Kushner and Evans have done nothing wrong or violated any board policies per any past association with the advocacy group Great Schools in Wake Coalition, and “Mr. Tata has apologized to these board members for suggesting otherwise.” Tata also admitted that he was wrong to publicly suggest that either board had done anything wrong, and will now work for a “positive working relationship.”

            Thirty demonstrators who joined the NCNAACP in protesting against the policies of the former Republican-led Wake School Board in 2010 are scheduled to begin their court appearances this Friday, March 2, and continue each Friday until April 13. Rev. William Barber, president of the NCNAACP, along with Pastor Nancy Petty of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church and Prof. Tim Tyson of Duke University, all charged with trespassing, are scheduled to appear Friday.

            The State Bureau of Investigation is looking into allegations by Wake District Attorney C. Colon Willoughby that Wake District Court Judge Kristin Ruth mishandled twelve DWI cases with “unauthorized scheduling” and “unauthorized handling.’ Judge Ruth is accused of changing the judgment dates for the cases, effectively shortening the license suspension periods. Judge Ruth, known for her extensive community service in child support cases, has retained legal counsel as the SBI investigates.


            The state of North Carolina paid tribute to the legendary Tuskegee Airmen Wednesday during a ceremony at the State Capitol Building. The original group of African American airmen and specialists were trained at the Tuskegee Institute and Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama during a time when the military was segregated. These men went to war and fought during World War II. Four of the original Tuskegee Airmen who now live in North Carolina, and their families have been invited to the N.C. State Capitol Building for this tribute. These men are also members of the North Carolina chapters of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.

            That great big tax refund you can’t wait to get once you file your taxes may already be gone, claimed by someone who has filed a tax return who has stolen your Social Security number, says the state Attorney General’s office. They’re getting at least 15 complaints a week from people who discover after they’ve filed their returns that their refunds have been paid out. Officials urge taxpayers to protect their personal information. The Internal Revenue Service urges all scammed taxpayers to contact the IRS as soon as they determined there’s a problem.

            [CHARLOTTE] High hopes are riding on both the Shaw University men’s and women’s basketball teams to once again, for the second year in a row, win the CIAA Basketball Tournament in Charlotte this week. The Shaw Bears carry a 20 game winning streak into the tournament as the #1 seed in the Southern Division. Their first game is 9p.m. tonight at the Time Warner Cable Arena. The Lady Bears are also the #1 seed in the women’s Southern Division.

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