Tuesday, March 27, 2012


By Cash Michaels

            A national anti-same-sex marriage group with conservative leanings was allegedly plotting to pit African-Americans and gay people against each other this year for the expressed purpose splitting the black Democratic vote, and passing legal bans on gay marriage, a Washington, DC-based online newspaper reports.
The alleged plot would have definite relevance here in North Carolina, where the Republican-led General Assembly has placed on the May 8th primary ballot a controversial state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage titled “Amendment One.”
Several black Democrats in the NC House voted with conservative Republicans to put Amendment One on the ballot, even though North Carolina already has a law on the books clearly defining marriage in the state as between a man and a woman.
Conservatives hope to exploit the black church’s traditional opposition to homosexuality as a wedge issue to fracture an otherwise formidable political coalition among blacks, gays and Latinos come the May primaries, observers say.
            In the March 27th edition of The Hill, the story, “Gay marriage opponents reveal political strategy in secret memo,” alleges that, “An internal memo from the National Organization for Marriage [NOM] was part of a cluster of documents unsealed Monday by a [Maine] federal court…[was] marked “confidential” [and] included a detailed passage entitled “Not a Civil Rights Project.”
            The Daily Beast, another online newspaper, reported, “What the secret memos reveal is a well-funded group eager to exploit racial divisions and even use children against their parents in an effort to roll back legal gains for gays and lesbians—not just in the United States but around the world. “Our goal is to use a victory in the U.S. to launch a global movement to reverse the tide on cultural and legal respect for core family values like marriage,” it says.
            “The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks  - two key Democratic constituencies…,” the secret memo began.
            It went on to detail a strategy where NOM would “recruit African-American spokesmen to speak out against gay marriage, then organize a media campaign around their objections [to gay marriage as a civil right],” The Hill reported.
            The strategy memo continued, “Provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots. No politician wants to take up and push an issue that splits the base of the party.”
            “Fanning the hostility raised in the wake of [Proposition 8] is key to raising the costs of pushing gay marriage to its advocates, and persuading the movement’s allies that advocates are unacceptably overreaching on this issue,” the memo continued.
            “Consider pushing a marriage amendment in Washington, DC; find attractive young black Democrats to challenge white gay marriage advocates electorally.”
            The NOM memo even plotted ways to manipulate Latino voters to oppose same-sex marriages, and ultimately defeat President Barack Obama’s “pro-gay agenda” in the November 2012 elections.
            Even though the president has worked to end the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy in the military, and recently came out against North Carolina’s “Amendment One” because he believes it to be discriminatory, Obama has been tepid at best when it comes to actually endorsing same-sex marriages.
            He says that he’s “evolving” on the issue, those Obama does favor domestic partnerships.
            And yet, the NOM memo, noting a “$20 million strategy for victory,” schemes to join with the conservative “American Principles Project” to “expose Obama as a social radical” on issues like gay marriage and pornography, according the online site, “Buzzfeed.”
            The NOM documents were turned over to federal court in Maine as part of an investigation into whether the group was following federal campaign laws.
            Brian Brown, president of NOM, released a statement in reaction to the memo disclosures, saying, “The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) was formed in 2007 and has worked extensively with supporters of traditional marriage from every color, creed and background. We have worked with prominent African-American and Hispanic leaders, including Dr. Aveeda King, Bishop George McKinney of the COGIC Church, Bishop Harry Jackson and the New York State Sen. Reverend Rubén Díaz Sr., all of whom share our concern about protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
            Brown continued, “Gay marriage advocates have attempted to portray same-sex marriage as a civil right, and the voices of these and many other leaders have provided powerful witness that this claim is patently false. Gay marriage is not a civil right, and we will continue to point this out in written materials such as those released in Maine. We proudly bring together people of different races, creeds and colors to fight for our most fundamental institution: marriage.”
            Former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond told The Hill the NOM memo, “… confirmed a suspicion that some evil hand was behind this.”
            “I would not be surprised to find this group and its filthy hand in crafting this situation,” Bond continued.
            Here in North Carolina in February during the Historic Thousands on Jones Street march and rally, Rev. William Barber, president of the NC NAACP, said that while people may have their personal opinions about the gay lifestyle, citizens can’t allow legal discrimination to become part of the state’s constitution, because if that’s allowed towards one group, then the next constitutional amendment will be against another group deemed politically vulnerable.
            Other black religious leaders were not pleased as well.
             “If the success of the National Organization of Marriage’s movement depends on stirring up resentment between communities, it might want to rethink its strategies, said Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, director of People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council, in a statement.
            “African American men and women of faith are not a political football to be tossed around in a cynical game of resentment and division. We, like all Americans, struggle thoughtfully with issues of faith, family and politics. Anti-equality activists such as NOM consistently attempt to use a deeply cynical ‘wedge’ strategy to divide African Americans and the gay community, playing up what are now old and tired clichés. In the long run, this strategy will falter as African American and LGBT communities continue to work together for equal justice.
             “I celebrate as more and more African American clergy engage in AAMLC’s Healing Grace dialogues and work to confront and overcome stigma, prejudice and homophobia in the Black Church. We continually seek to help and not harm, love and not hate, reconcile and not separate, unite and not divide -- and it's working.
            “NOM’s explicit attempt to drive a wedge between the LGBT community and African Americans is deeply offensive,” Min. Malachi concluded, “and it exposes the depravity of their politics.”

By Cash Michaels

            Progress in the Trayvon Martin case is proceeding, says NAACP President/CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous, because communities all across the nation are making it clear that they want to see justice done in the shooting death of the 17 year-old unarmed Florida teenager.
            Meanwhile this week saw right-wing media, led by Fox News and various conservative websites, attempting to smear Trayvon Martin with reports of bad school behavior, numerous suspensions, and photos of a much older teenage than previously seen. Martin’s parents blasted the conservative pushback, saying that after “murdering” their son, forces are now  also trying to kill his reputation.
            With a Seminole County grand jury being impaneled April 10, and investigators from the state and Florida governments interviewing witnesses who heard the violent confrontation between Trayvon and his killer, the call for justice nationwide is getting louder.
            NAACP Pres. Jealous says the pressure must continue.
            “The situation in Sanford remains tense because George Zimmerman is still at-large,” Jealous said, referring to the 28-year-old neighborhood watch vigilante who fatally shot young Martin Feb. 26th in Sanford, Fla. “That is the number one objective of the NAACP and [Trayvon Martin’s] family - that Zimmerman is brought to justice, see his day in court, and justice is done.
            Zimmerman had remained in hiding since the Martin case exploded in the media two weeks ago. His father has already secured a defense attorney to represent the shooter.
            In an exclusive interview with The Carolinian Newspaper during his visit to the 59th Annual NAACP Southeast Regional Conference in Raleigh last weekend, Jealous said while a lot has been accomplished by young Martin’s parents and their attorneys, black leadership, black media and others in building pressure on Florida officials and the US Justice Dept. to probe more, they haven’t turned the corner yet.
            “That work is happening because people like your [readers] and our activists, have raised their voices across the country and around the world, saying that it’s time for George Zimmerman to be brought to justice,” Jealous told The Carolinian, “… and it is time for justice to work in Sanford.”
Jealous spent much of last week in Sanford, rallying protesters to demand the arrest of shooter Zimmerman, and the removal of Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee, who vigorously defended his department for not charging or arresting Zimmerman after the shooting, later releasing him because he claimed self-defense under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law.
Lee was forced to “temporarily” step down after he got a vote of “no confidence” from the Sanford Town Council last week.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott appointed a special prosecutor to oversee the state’s investigation into the matter because the Seminole County prosecutor had a conflict of interest. It was later determined, through recent press reports, that the Seminole prosecutor rejected a determination by the lead Sanford Police investigator in the Martin case that Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter because of “lack of evidence.”
That investigator, Det. Chris Serino, filed an affidavit the night of the shooting, standing by his contention that Zimmerman’s version of events - namely that Trayvon Martin, armed only with a bag of Skittles and can of iced tea, attacked and tried to kill Zimmerman with his bare hands before he was fatally shot  - didn’t hold water.
Police ultimately released Zimmerman after questioning, saying that he killed in self-defense per Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.
Marches of outraged citizens in cities all over the nation, ranging from hundreds to the tens of thousands in some cases, including in Raleigh this week and in Wilmington this weekend, have demanded Zimmerman’s immediate arrest.
But those defending Zimmerman stepped forward this week, saying that they’re convinced that the grand jury evidence will show that the 28-year-old neighborhood watch captain was truly defending himself against a Trayvon Martin who jumped him from behind, punched Zimmerman in the nose, and then repeatedly banged the man’s head against the sidewalk, causing a bloody nose and cuts to the back of Zimmerman’s head.
The 911 call where someone is heard screaming before a shot rings out and the screaming stops - Zimmerman’s defenders contend that it is he who is crying for help, not Martin.
Indeed one of those defenders, Joe Oliver, an African-American former journalist who once worked for CNN and WRAL-TV in Raleigh, said in several media interviews that young Trayvon may have tried to wrestle Zimmerman’s 9mm gun away from, thus causing it to go off, killing the teen.
There is no known evidence thus far that lends credence to that version of events.
 On the political side, this week also saw Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum blast Pres. Barack Obama after the president, seeking to comfort the parents of Trayvon Martin, said if he had a son, “he’d look just like Trayvon Martin.”
Gingrich and Santorum, both of whom trail GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney badly in the polls, accused Obama of being racially divisive, a charge the White House immediately dismissed.


            [RALEIGH] Declaring that the battle is on to stave off Republican attempts at voter suppression through restrictive voter ID laws, delegates to last weekend’s NAACP Southeast Regional 59th Annual Civil Rights Advocacy Training Institute in Raleigh vowed to protect the vote during this crucial election year. During the “This Is My Vote” rally and Town Hall Meeting last Saturday, NAACP leaders from Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and host state North Carolina were told by NAACP President/CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous that the key to economic and social empowerment is the vote, and they must protect it at all costs.

            [CHARLOTTE] A conservative blogger’s attempt at lampooning Pres. Obama’s support for North Carolina’s upcoming Amendment One referendum to ban same-sex marriage, went too far on the conservative John Locke Foundation’s website last week, and was forced to resigned. Tara Servatius, a former Charlotte area radio talk show host, posted a picture of Pres. Obama in a sleazy dress with boots, sitting in the grass eating KFC chicken out of the bucket on her blog on the JLF’s “Meck Deck” site, where it remained for two-days before it was exposed.
            John Locke Foundation President John Hood, who apparently didn’t know what Servatius had posted, was informed by a reader, and immediately had the lurid illustration removed from the site. On his Facebook page, an embarrassed Hood apologized, saying not only did he disagree with the illustration, but didn’t think it made a very good argument for Tara Servatius’ case. Hood says Servatius resigned the next day before he could fire her, which he said he intended to do. Hood apologized to NC NAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber, who he spoken with after the incident. Ironically, as a result of the controversy, Hood this week came out against the Republican-sponsored Amendment One, saying that it would hurt all marriages.

            [RALEIGH] Barbara Pullen-Smith, the long time director of the NC Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, resigned last week amid reports that her office was being investigated for an alleged “misuse of funds,” according to published reports.
            Reportedly, an internal audit revealed missing funding from a statewide community health program. The State Bureau of Investigation is now looking into the matter, an interim director has been assigned, and the current grant process has been stopped. Officials say a new grant application process will begin within a month.


            Former US Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice is scheduled to speak at Duke University on Tuesday, April10, officials there say. The 4:30 p.m. event is free to the public at Duke’s Page Auditorium, but tickets will be required. Dr. Rice was the second woman, and first African-American woman in American history to hold the post under President George W. Bush, from 2005 to 2009. The 66th secretary of state is a controversial figure, having been involved in the planning for both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

             Our of the US Census Dept’s 486 officially designated urban areas, Raleigh was 21st among the fastest growth from 2000-2010, the federal agency says. Raleigh added more than 343,000 residents during that time, 63.4 percent jump, totaling to approximately 885,000. Reportedly, Charlotte grew even faster among urban areas with at least 1 million in population. The Queen city urban area grew 64.5 percent during this century’s first decade. Overall, North Carolina is second in the nation for the largest rural population.

            The town of Chapel Hill is now the first in the nation to ban the use of cellphones while operating a vehicle with the town limits, as of June 1. By a 5-4 vote, the town council Monday voted to outlaw the practice in an effort to limit car accidents resulting from drivers not paying attention to the road as a result of talking on the phone. The ban includes hands-free device as well. Drivers are allowed to make emergency calls. The fine is $25.00 for violating the ordinance.

Politics Fuel Debate on Gas
By George E. Curry

Republicans are so intent on defeating President Barack Obama in November that they have accused him of deliberately raising the price of gasoline.
Obama pointed out the ridiculousness of that argument during a recent news conference. Replying to a question from Ed Henry of Fox News, Obama said: “Ed, just from a political perspective, do you think the president of the United States going into re-election wants gas prices to go higher?” Obama said. “Is there anybody here who thinks that makes a lot of sense?”
But Republicans and journalists employed by conservative news organizations are not the only people blaming the president for high gas prices, which are hovering around $3.80 a gallon, a 29.5-cent increase over the past month.
A CBS/New York Times poll this month found that 54 percent of Americans believe the president “can do a lot about” gas prices. Consequently, Obama saw his job rating drop from 50 percent in February to 41 percent this month, a period that coincides with rising gas prices.
Republican presidential contenders are also pointing the fingers at Obama, with Newt Gingrich promising policies that would bring gas down to $2.50 a gallon.
Without mentioning Gingrich by name, White House Press Secretary said, “Any politician who says that is lying.” He explained, “That strategy does not exist. It is a simple fact that there is no such plan that can guarantee the price of oil or the price at the pump.”
The reality is that gasoline prices are set on the world market, not 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Center, the cost of crude oil accounts for 76 percent of the price of a gallon of regular gas. Refining costs and profits are responsible for 6 percent, distribution marketing and retail costs add another 6 percent and taxes contributes another 12 percent.
As Steven Mufson writes in the Washington Post, “Today’s oil prices are the product of years and decades of exploration, automobile design and ingrained consumer habits combined with political events in places such as Sudan and Libya, anxiety about possible conflict with Iran, and the energy aftershocks of last year’s earthquake in Japan.”
FackCheck.org dissects the numbers game.
“The president said that [oil] imports declined last year to less than 50 percent of U.S. consumption, while the Kentucky senator (Mitch McConnell) warned that the U.S. imports 60 percent of our oil. McConnell was talking about total imports, while Obama was talking about net imports (total imports minus exports). Both can claim to be correct, but the EIA [Energy Information Administration] sides with Obama’s match when gauging U.S. dependency on foreign oil.”
Writing on her Facebook page, Sarah Palin accused President Obama of “allowing America to remain increasingly dependent on imports from foreign oil regimes in dangerously unstable parts of the world.”
FackCheck.org noted that the U.S. imported 2.3 million barrels a day from 13 countries in the Middle East in 2012, down from 3 million barrels a day in 2008. There was an 8 percent decline
in imports from Africa.
“The U.S. actually imports more petroleum from our northern neighbor, Canada, than it does from any other country,” the fact-checking organization stated. “And Canada does not appear on the State Department’s list of ‘dangerous or unstable nations.’ Nor do Venezuela, Russia, Angola, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ecuador, the Virgin Islands or Kuwait, which are all in the the top 15 countries from which the U.S. imports oil and other petroleum products.”
This is the kind of perspective largely missing from news coverage of the issue, according to Media Matters, the watchdog group. It reported, “In total, 63% of those interviewed or quoted on gas prices by cable outlets were political figures (including politicians, strategists, White House officials and campaign advisors), and only 13% were economists or oil industry experts.”
Americans tend to have short memories. Gas was $1.89 when Obama first assumed office. But just six months earlier, it was $4.11 under President George W. Bush, according to GasBuddy.com.
Republicans, with a ”drill, baby, drill” mentality, have attacked President Obama for not issuing enough permits to drill. However, the drilling-rig count is twice as high as it was in 2009.
In his weekly radio address last Saturday, President Obama said gasoline prices are part of a larger issue.
“The recent spike in gas prices has been another painful reminder of why we have to invest in this technology,” he said. “As usual, politicians have been rolling out their three-point plans for $2 gas: drill, drill, and drill some more.  Well, my response is, we have been drilling.  Under my administration, oil production in America is at an eight-year high.  We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs, and opened up millions of acres for drilling.”
He continued. “But you and I both know that with only 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices – not when we consume 20 percent of the world’s oil. We need an all-of-the-above strategy that relies less on foreign oil and more on American-made energy – solar, wind, natural gas, biofuels, and more.”

Deryl Dedmon, 19, charged with capital murder in the June 2011 death of 47-year-old James Craig Anderson in Jackson, MS, pleads guilty to murder and committing a hate crime, Wednesday, March 21, 2012 in Hinds County Circuit Court. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File

Miss. White Men Plead Guilty to Hate-Fueled Killing of James Anderson
Victim’s Family Requests Prosecutors to Not Seek the Death Penalty
by Zenitha Prince
Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper

Three Mississippi men who ran down and killed a Black man last June pleaded guilty to federal hate crimes March 22, one day after one of the defendants pleaded guilty to the slaying in state court.
Dylan Butler, 20, Deryl Dedmon, 19, and John Aaron Rice, 19, all of Brandon, Miss., admitted to conspiring to commit and committing a hate crime, as well as to a months-long campaign of terror against Blacks that began in April 2011 and culminated June 26 in the death of James Craig Anderson, a 47-year-old auto plant worker.
“This is really a case about a group of racist thugs who made a sport of targeting vulnerable African Americans in Jackson and attacking them without provocation simply because of the color of their skin,” Thomas E. Perez, the assistant attorney general for the U.S. Justice Department’s civil rights division, said in a statement.
“On a number of occasions they drove around Jackson looking for African-Americans to assault,” Perez continued. “Jackson is a venerable community, however, for these defendants Jackson was ‘Jafrica’ [and] African Americans were subhuman.”
In admitting his crime, Dedmon said he and friends were partying in the town of Puckett, Miss. when they decided to find a Black person to harass. Around dawn, they found Anderson in the parking lot of a Jackson hotel. Butler, Rice and others stalled Anderson until Dedmon arrived, when they proceeded to punch and beat the victim.
Then came the scene that rocked the nation. Caught on a hotel tape which received widespread attention, Rice, Butler and others in a white Jeep Cherokee are seen leaving the parking lot at around 5:05 a.m. Seconds later, Dedmon’s green Ford F-250 backs up and then plunges forward, knocking down and driving over Anderson.
Several people cried during the recounting. Later, Dedmon asked the victim’s family for forgiveness.
“As I stand before you today, I am a changed man. I am a godly man. God has showed me to see no colors. God showed me that we are all made in the image of God so we are all based on the same thing,” he said. “I do not ask y’all to forget, but I do ask y’all to forgive.”
The victim’s family has not made any public comments about the case, but asked prosecutors not to seek the death penalty for Dedmon because they oppose capital punishment, according to Reuters. They have nevertheless filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Dedmon in civil court.
Dedmon received two life sentences on the state charges. He and his co-conspirators face up to five years in prison on the federal conspiracy charge, and could receive life sentences on the hate crime federal charge.
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves set sentencing for June 8. Officials said the investigation is ongoing and more arrests may be imminent.

By Cash Michaels

            CONGRATULATIONS SHAW UNIVERSITY LADY BEARS - Have to give a shout out to the Lady Bears of Shaw University, the new NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Champions! We’re proud of you!
THE PUSHBACK HAS BEGUN - Those of us who have been around the block a few times, could have told what was going to happen after the Trayvon Martin case exploded into the national spotlight.
            Forces for the admitted shooter, George Michael Zimmerman, have mounted a sizable public relations counter offensive. Zimmerman, 28, who, as of this writing, remains free having never been arrested since the fatal Feb. 26 shooting of the unnamed black teen, maintains through spokespeople that he killed young Trayvon in self-defense after confronting the black youth walking through the Sanford, Fla. gated community, where he was staying.
            Martin, as you know, was coming back from the store after purchasing a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea.
            A Seminole County grand jury is scheduled to hear evidence in the shooting death during an April 10 proceeding. A special prosecutor appointed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott has taken over the investigation.
            You need to be aware of what the game plan for the Zimmerman team is to save his behind, because right now, the man can’t even walk the streets, especially with the New Black Panther Party putting a $10,000 bounty on his head.
            Simply put, in order for Zimmerman to get any sympathy beyond the Fox News- Geraldo Rivera-National Rifle Association crowd, young Trayvon Martin has to be dehumanized. He has to be made to be what America would normally see him as - a dangerous young black male not worthy of living if we can help it.
            All of those pictures of Trayvon playing with a baby, posing for his football and basketball teams, skiing with the family…. in effect, being a normal American kid, all of that has to be replaced with stories of Trayvon being violent, or short tempered, or threatening, or lying, or being intimidating, or yes, even allegedly using drugs.
            That last item was leaked to the media Monday, forcing Trayvon’s parents to confirm that the teen had been suspended from school in Miami for ten days because an empty plastic bag with marijuana residue reportedly found in his book bag by school officials.
            Trayvon’s mother was forced to send him from Miami to Sanford (near Orlando) to serve out the ten-day suspension with his father at his father’s fiancée’s house.
            That’s why Trayvon was in Sanford, and that gated community there to begin with.
            That revelation gets a big “SO WHAT” considering that the Associated Press confirms that Trayvon had no criminal record, or record of violence. That doesn’t mean the revelation isn’t troubling, because no one’s child should have ANYTHING related to drugs on their person.
            But that news has literally nothing to do with George Zimmerman actions on the night of Feb. 26th. Nor do any further reports about Trayvon being seen allegedly drawing graffiti at school, or anything else of a nonviolent nature.
            Clearly, Zimmerman’s forces have coordinated a campaign to make white America (and consequently the media) fall out of love and sorrow for Trayvon, and empathize more with Zimmerman, who does have alleged violence in his history, who has been arrested, and is reportedly short-tempered to a fault.
            That’s the PR war you’re seeing and hearing right now. And sources within the Sanford police department - now headed up by a black police captain after the white police chief was forced to step down last week - are leaking stuff about Trayvon to muddy up his image.
            Add to Zimmerman’s team pushing the story that Trayvon was trying to kill Zimmerman, and right-wing media digging into the dead child’s Twitter and Facebook accounts for dirt, and you have a full-fledged war here.
            I hope you’re ready for all of this. The people who are doing this don’t think they’re racists. All they’re doing, they believe, is defending what America is supposed to be all about - “true” Americans fighting for the “values” that we’re all supposed to share.
            That’s funny. I thought that’s what Trayvon Martin’s parents were doing - fighting for the truth, and trusting our criminal justice system to find it.
            Gee, silly me.
            JOE THE BLACK ROBOT - If Joe Oliver, the black spokesman for George Zimmerman who made the media rounds on Sunday and Monday not only defending his friend of six years, but casting aspersions on Trayvon Martin by suggesting that he may have grabbed the gun making it go off - blame the victim in other words - seems like a well-oiled, extraordinarily practiced communicator, there’s a reason.
            Oliver is, as we say in the business, a “ringer.” Go to Youtube, enter his name, and pull up all of the CNN video with his name on it.
            You’ll see a young man with hair on his head and no beard, diligently anchoring the CNN Weekend News from the mid-1990’s.
            His name was Joe Oliver…. the same.
            My problem with Oliver now coming back into the spotlight to defend his friend is that no one on TV is reminding us that this guy use to work in media (I betcha if Dan Rather left TV for a few years, and came back as the spokesman for something or someone else, every TV, radio and newspaper outlet would make sure we knew that homeboy was once an anchor for CBS News.
            So why can’t we know that now?
            What also bothers me is that when a representative - paid or unpaid, and we don’t know which one Oliver is given the tremendous amount of money expended to fly and drive him around to all of the media outlets Sunday and Monday - goes public insisting that the guy he’s defending is really of good character and judgment, how in the ham sandwich do we know that the spokesman is of “good character and judgment?”
            Joe Oliver, a professional presenter well-trained as a black man to sell information to predominately white audiences, did exactly that this week, “sell” white audiences that his “friend” George Zimmerman, is really the innocent victim in this sad and tragic saga.
            But beyond his CNN days, what else have we not been told about Joe Oliver? Has he gotten into any trouble since he left the news business? How is he making his living these days?
            To just throw a well-spoken black man at the world and hope that his charm and good looks will save the day without having to answer any tough questions beyond the ones Oliver rehearsed for, is diabolical at best.
            But guess what? It worked! No one asked Oliver anything about him.
            That’s horrid journalism.
            There’s a reason why, when we all hear information that we don’t trust, the first thing out of our mouths is, “Says who?” Based on where that info is coming from, we’re able to determine the veracity of what we’ve been just told.
            If it’s The Carolinian or Wilmington Journal, no problem.
            Fox News or Breitbart.com, get away from me.
            Thus far, Fox News is backing Zimmerman, because the National Rifle Association and the ultra right-wing are backing Zimmerman.
            So we really need to know what side Joe Oliver is on…beyond George Zimmerman’s?
            Keep your eyes wide open for whatever is to happen next, because it could be anything!
            REV. SHARPTON - Lots of controversy about civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton being a primary partisan advocate for Trayvon Martin’s family, while still hosting his daily TV show, “PoliticsNation” on MSNBC.
            Pundits and media critics like Howard Kurtz of the online “Daily Beast” are crying out loud that MSNBC is breaking journalistic protocols by allowing Sharpton to take part in stories he’s reporting on during his show.
            This is not like a newsperson, like say Brian Williams of NBC News, reporting on the Trayvon Martin case, and then leading a rally for Trayvon. That clearly would be wrong because Williams primary job is to report the news for NBC.
            Rev. Al Sharpton’s primary job for MSNBC is to be Al Sharpton. That means TV host, political analyst, and black presence on the air, and not necessarily in that order.
            And as Rev. said when there was controversy about him getting the gig in the first place, there are no journalists hosting shows on MSNBC after 6 p.m., so what’s the problem?
            No I will admit that his situation is unique, but MSNBC, the number two cable news network behind the crud at Fox News, is daring to push the issue in its race to be number one.
            I say, “Go for it,” but be careful. Rev should not take part in political campaigns. That’s what got former MSNBC’er Keith Olbermann in a whale of trouble two years ago. There would be no excuse for that.
            Rock on, Rev. We’ve got your back.
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, March 20, 2012



By Cash Michaels

            The spokesperson for the embattled YWCA Board of Directors confirms that it was advised it faced criminal liability if it continued to operate beyond Feb. 29th.
            More importantly, it was at the mercy of grants and proposals that were promised, but never came.
            Maria Spaulding, board spokesperson and immediate past president, confirmed exclusively to The Carolinian Wednesday that they were advised by their CEO on Feb 27 as to how dire the 110-year-old YW’s financial situation was, and of the three possible options that were on the table, the board decided that shutting down by Feb. 29 was the best.
            “All of our advisers…indicated to us that we needed to cease operations immediately,” Spaulding said. “We knew at the time that we were going to be legally liable. That was a consideration for me. I knew that there was going to be the legal liability of the board for the indebtedness that occurred, but I…don’t think I thought about the personal liability that it brought as much as the fact that we really were not able to, in a short period of time, to rally enough support to pay off and continue to operate for a few more days.”
            “We really didn’t have much of a choice.”
            But Ms. Spaulding, whose two-term tenure as board president ended last November, also admits that the board was caught by surprise as to the depth of the YW’s financial straits, even though their 2009 financial filing shows their debts far exceeded their fundraising even then.
            Additionally, the board, Spaulding confirms, knew things were so tight last October, that several employees were laid off last fall. And yet, because the board was assured that certain grants that had been applied for would be coming through in a timely fashion, it depended solely on that saving the day, instead of developing options for what should happen in the event that the grants didn’t come through.
            A month ago, when it was clear that there would be no grants to the rescue, Spaulding said the board had no choice.
            “For years, the organization has operated on waiting for grants and proposals to come in, and we were given the list of grantees and proposals that were current, and that we were awaiting a response from” Spaulding told The Carolinian. “We were hoping that that would supply us with the necessary financials to be able to make some further commitments, but also to do some more specific eliminations for those areas that were not producing revenues, or did not have revenue resources.”
            “We have just never been in this much debt before,” she added.
Ms. Spaulding said the YW board “feels very strongly about how unfortunate it is that we’ve had to discontinue services…and are especially concerned about the situation it has put our employees in, and continued indebtedness we have with other members of the community that have provided services to the Y.”
She called it a “very undesirable position to be in.”
            Spaulding did acknowledge the tremendous support expressed from all areas of the Raleigh and Southeast Raleigh community to the plight of the YWCA. The board has met with various community and institution leaders over the past week to find a way not only to satisfy hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, but to restructure the Y into a self-sustaining entity that can feasibly provide some of the enriching services it historically did for the community’s seniors, young people and general population.
            Tuesday night, Spaulding and the rest of the YWCA board met with several of the displaced employees it had to lay off. The workers were apologized to for the turmoil that has happened in their personal lives as a result of not being paid, and they were promised that they would be paid for wages owed, as soon as the board can identify a way to do that.
            Olivia Robinson, a spokesperson for the displaced workers, told The Carolinian Wednesday that she trusts the board at its word that it will find a way to compensate them, even though both she, and Ms. Spaulding, agreed its unknown how long it will take, given that the Y is reportedly in hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.


Supreme Court Decision on Affordable Care Act Will Have Major Health Care Consequences for Racial and Ethnic Minorities
Stubborn Disparities Highlighted in Newly Released Fact Sheets
WASHINGTON, DC – In advance of the upcoming arguments in the Supreme Court case on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the nation’s broadest civil rights coalition is releasing a set of fact sheets outlining the importance of the ACA to minority communities.
Building on its amicus brief defending the law filed with coalition organizations, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights collected data from a variety of sources supporting their argument that the ACA advances equal opportunity for millions of Americans. 
The burdens of costly health care are not distributed evenly. Rather, they fall disproportionately on disadvantaged populations, which are more likely to experience higher rates of unemployment, to have jobs that do not provide health insurance, and to have lower incomes that put higher insurance premiums out of their financial reach.
“These are more than just numbers on a page,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “Together these statistics paint a macabre portrait of minority health in this country. And when compounded with the financial implications of enormous medical debt – poor credit, bankruptcy, lost wages, and unemployment – it becomes clear that this case is about more than health care, it’s a battle over fundamental civil and human rights.”
The fact sheets highlight disparities in health care access and health of racial and ethnic minorities, including:
  • Racial and ethnic minorities are much more likely to be uninsured than Whites. They constitute about one-third of the U.S. population, but make up more than half of the 50 million people who are uninsured.
  • Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders account for more than 50 percent of all Hepatitis B cases in the United States.
  • Compared to the general U.S. population, American Indians are 638 percent more likely to suffer from alcoholism, 400 percent more likely to contract tuberculosis, 291 percent more likely to suffer from diabetes, 67 percent more likely to have pneumonia or influenza, and 20 percent more likely to suffer from heart disease.
  • Hispanics have the highest uninsured rate of any racial or ethnic group in the U.S. They are nearly three times as likely as non-Hispanic Whites to be uninsured.
  • 44 percent of African Americans delay or forgo routine and preventive care.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.

            Shaw University’s CIAA champion Lady Bears advanced to the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Final Four Semifinals for the second year in a row after defeating Pittsburg State University, 61-58. We have a wrapup on how the No. 2 seed Lady Bears did in next week’s edition. 

By Cash Michaels

            The US Justice Dept. and a Seminole County grand jury are now doing something the Sanford, Fla. Police Dept. didn’t - fully investigate the circumstances surrounding the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
            The fact that the shooter was cleared on the spot and never arrested, has outraged the nation.
            National NAACP Pres. Benjamin Todd Jealous joined with the Seminole County NAACP Tuesday night during a church rally in Sanford, in calling for the firing of Sanford Police Chief William Lee, who has maintained that his department has done nothing wrong.
            “We will stand our ground as our ancestors did," Jealous told the overflow crowd of 400 at Allen Chapel AME Church Tuesday. "We will stand up as we have before and we will ensure that justice is carried out here in Sanford. We will ensure that all of our sons and daughters wake up and feel safe in Sanford. We will ensure that there is a new chief in Sanford."
Undoubtedly civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton, who has vowed that there will continue to be “a sustained national presence” in Sanford until a federal investigation commences and an arrest is made, will also call for Chief Lee’s head during another planned rally in Sanford later there this evening.
            Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of people across the nation, and here in North Carolina, are demanding in online petitions, social networking sites, and public demonstrations, that the man who killed Trayvon Martin be brought to justice.
            Martin, an African-American, was shot to death by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, in a Sanford gated community Feb. 26th while walking back from a convenience store to his father’s house.
            The teen was unarmed, having only the candy and iced tea that he’d purchased.
            Only because Martin’s parents refused to accept the Sanford Police Dept.’s determination that Zimmerman, 28, acted in self-defense after fatally shooting the black teenager once in the chest, is this case now a national cause célèbre. As a result of their many media appearances on national cable and broadcast programs, the chilling 911 police tapes were released, capturing the sound of young Martin allegedly crying for help, and then in a stunning moment, being killed in a single gunshot.
            Those tapes, in addition to the release of Zimmerman’s initial call to 911 to report seeing Martin, who was wearing a hoodie, jeans and sneakers, walking in the complex, spurred an avalanche of reaction from the public and elected officials like Florida Congresswoman Corrine Brown, demanding that the case be taken out of the hands of Sanford police authorities, and given to the FBI.
            Sanford police say Zimmerman, who identifies as Hispanic even though his father says he’s half-white, alleges he was attacked by Martin after he followed the teen subsequent to calling 911. Because of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which allows a citizen to meet force with deadlier force if they believe their life was in danger, Sanford police say Zimmerman was in the right, an closed the case.
            But neighbors who heard the confrontation between the two tell a different story, saying that it was the black teen, not Zimmerman as he contends, who was screaming for his life, not knowing why a man with a gun was suddenly assaulting him for just walking the street.
            Press reports this week indicate that the teen was on his cellphone with his girlfriend at the time of the shooting. Phone records confirm according to attorneys representing Trayvon’s parents, that the teen was speaking to his girlfriend one minute after Zimmerman called 911.
            The girl, who has not been identified at the request of her parents, told the Martin family attorneys that Trayvon told her a man was following him. She says she told him to run, but he refused. She then said she heard Trayvon ask someone why was he following him, and she heard another voice ask, “What are you doing here?”
            The girl says she then heard what she believed to be a push, because it dislodged Trayvon’s cellphone, cutting it off.
            She says she never heard the subsequent gunshot, and when she called back repeatedly, she never got an answer.
            Sanford police never spoke to the girl, she confirms, even though they have been in possession of Trayvon’s cellphone ever since.
            "To me it proves that he wasn't walking around the neighborhood doing anything suspicious," Tracy Martin, Trayvon's father, told the "Today Show” on Wednesday. "He was on his way home. He had every right to have on his hoodie. It was raining. Why not put on his hoodie to prevent getting wet?"
            Police say they believed Zimmerman’s self-defense story, even though they did no background check on him on the scene, nor did they test him for alcohol or drug use. If they did, they would have found a mugshot and a 2005 arrest record for assaulting an undercover police officer, a charge that was later dropped.
            Witnesses complained that immediately after the incidents, interviewing officers tried to restate what they were told in an effort to bolster Zimmerman’s version.
Witnesses say that Zimmerman, not Martin, was the aggressor.
The Civil Rights Division of the US Justice Dept. is formally looking into the incident. Their determination will be whether Trayvon Martin’s civil rights were violated on the night of Feb. 26th. The focus of their probe will be whether the black teen’s race played a role in his shooting death.
Published reports this week suggest the answer lies in Zimmerman’s 911 call to Sanford police dispatch that night.
After being told by the 911 operator to stop following Martin, which Zimmerman admits on the call that he is, Martin family attorneys say an electronic clearing of the tape reveals Zimmerman saying “f--king coon” under his breath as he’s walking trying to find Martin.
If federal authorities confirm that to be true, then there can be justification for federal charges to be rendered, legal experts say. Indeed, unless the April 10 Seminole County grand jury determines otherwise, if Florida law continues to shield Zimmerman, it will take federal civil rights statutes to finally bring Zimmerman to a court of law for a jury of his peers to determine the truth.
Hundreds of thousands across the nation, both white and black, say they hope that happens, or else the killing of Trayvon Martin will haunt this nation.


            [SMITHFIELD] Almost five children a day die because of child abuse. On Saturday, April14, the Prevention of Child Abuse 5K Walk will kick off from the Neuse River Amphitheater, 298 S. Front Street in Smithfield from 8a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Pre-register at www.HandsofProtection.org. For more information contact Ronald or Carolyn Penny at 919-931-8898.

            [GREENSBORO] In an effort to make drivers licenses impossible to forge for identity theft, the NC Dept. of Motor Vehicles is expected to introduce new 3-D licenses early next year per their Next Generation Secure Driver License System. The new system will cut wait times at the DMV office, and provide better ID security for the state’s 6.9 million drivers, officials say.

            [CHARLOTTE] In a move to galvanize his support base in North Carolina, Pres. Obama has taken the unusual step of weighing in against the proposed constitutional amendment banning same sex marriages, more commonly known as “Amendment One.” The president believes the measure, which will appear on the May 8 primary ballot, to “be discriminatory,” Cameron French, the Obama NC Campaign’s press secretary says. “It would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples – and that’s why the President does not support it.”  


            As part of the 59th Annual NAACP Southeast Region Civil Rights Advocacy Training Institute, the NC NAACP will host the “This Is My Vote” Outdoor Rally and Town Hall Meeting this Saturday, March 24 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in the Raleigh Civic Center Plaza. The NAACP says this assembly is “…to challenge the racist attacks on minority voting rights across the South and remind us of the bloody fight to win minority voting rights.  "This is My Vote" will feature NAACP State Conference presidents from the NAACP Southeast Region.

            Last week it was a closed-door meeting with community leaders to garner support for recovery. This week, the Board of Directors of what was formerly the YWCA of the Greater Triangle met with 14 workers that were laid off when it abruptly shutdown operations and closed on Feb. 29th without warning. The board reportedly apologized to the workers when they met Tuesday, and explained the fiscal problems they were having. But no promises were made as to when the workers will get their back pay still owed. Public documents show the YW was in debt up to $500,000.

            More good news on the unemployment front. The jobless rate in the Triangle fell in January to 8.1 percent from December’s 8.4 percent, officials with the Division of Employment Security said. Observers say this report so far adds to a hopeful pattern of stronger economic recovery for North Carolina over the past year. The concern is that that pattern continues to grow, further lowering the state’s unemployment, instead of petering out like it did a year ago when the Triangle jobless rate was 7.9.

By Cash Michaels

            HAPPY TENTH ANNIVERSARY, MARKITA - I must say, I have to hand it to the woman who has been able to put up with me as a husband for the past ten years. I’m not an easy person to get along with…I know, I know. And now that I’m ten years older since we married on March 22, 2002 at the Wake County Courthouse (with a followup wedding ceremony on June 15, 2002 in our backyard performed by my good friend Rev. Paul Anderson), I know I’m even more crankier.
            And yet, Markita, my lovely wife of the past decade, has hung in there, “…for better or worse,” as they say. Have to give the woman I love and mother of my youngest, KaLa, credit. She is beautiful, devoted, smart and believes in family. Those combinations are very hard to find these days. She’s a great mom to KaLa, and a great stepmom to my oldest, Tiffany, who is off on her own.
            So for those couples who have 25, 30 or even 50 years of marriage together under your belts, be forewarned, Markita and I are catching up.
            Beloved wife of mine, thank you for ten great years together. I love you.
            Now strap yourself in for the next ten years, because I’m going to be crankier than ever!
            TRAYVON MARTIN CASE - As the proud parent of two beautiful children, my heart aches for the parents of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, the young man who was tragically shot to death Feb. 26th by a phony “neighborhood watch” volunteer.
            I say phony because anyone with an ounce of common sense knows real neighborhood watch volunteers NEVER carry guns.
            Maybe some pepper spray and cell phones in case they get into a bad situation. But to carry a deadly weapon in an official voluntary capacity would require training to know when, and when NOT to use it.
            George Zimmerman, the 28-year-old man who admittedly shot Trayvon, had no such training.
            Yes, Zimmerman had a license to carry, but he had no formal training that we’re aware of in knowing when, and when not to use a gun.
            Zimmerman also had something else we’re well aware of - a criminal record.
            That infamous picture of Zimmerman we’ve all seen in our newspapers and television screens? They call that a “mugshot” when they arrest you for allegedly breaking the law.
            Zimmerman was honored with one of those in 2005 when he was charged with assaulting a police officer. Imagine that? Apparently homeboy had anger management issues seven years.
            And allegedly still had them as recently as three weeks ago, when he went against a 911 operator’s directive to stop following Trayvon after Zimmerman called in a suspicious black male in a hoodie walking through the gated community at night there in Sanford, Fla.
            Zimmerman apparently decides that 9mm gun he keeps in is truck makes him a man, “man” enough to disobey a police directive, seek out the black male he saw, and confront him.
            Now we get to the interesting part - that black male that Zimmerman “knows” is up to no good in his neighborhood is a 17-year-old kid, visiting his father’s fiancee’s house the neighborhood. The kid has no criminal record, no problems we know of, and is just coming back from the store buying some Skittles and an iced tea. He is also apparently listening to music on earphones as he walks, but switches to a cellphone to speak to his girlfriend, because he realizes he’s being followed by some strange man in a truck.
            So far, Trayvon is carrying out his Constitutional rights -namely the right to walk down a street to a home he is visiting - just fine, thank you.
            Zimmerman, as the neighborhood watch guy, is actually on strong standing for a little while here. Because of a rash of local breakins, he does the right thing to call the Sanford police he sees somebody walking around that he doesn’t recognize as living there.
            We’ll give him that, because that what neighborhood watch volunteers do, monitor their area streets, and if they see something they’re not sure about, call the law enforcement professionals to check it out.
            That’s what should have happened, though I’m sure Trayvon wouldn’t have liked it. Zimmerman actually did that. No foul. It’s a gated community for a reason, namely to keep folks who don’t live there out.
            But when Zimmerman disregarded the police directive to stay away from the subject - a directive to make sure that no one gets hurt until police arrive on the scene to investigate - then that’s when EVERYTHING that happens next is George Zimmerman’s responsibility.
            Trayvon Martin did NOT break into a home or car.
            Trayvon Martin did NOT take a hostage.
            Trayvon Martin did NOT brandish a weapon of any sort.
            All the kid was doing was walking. All that needed to happen was for a police officer to stop him, question him, perhaps call ahead to the house to confirm Trayvon’s story, the drive him there to make sure everything is OK.
            The officer could even ask Trayvon for some Skittles while he’s at it, since that’s all he had.
            The absolute worse thing that could happen in that scenario is a police officer, with a gun drawn, order Trayvon to put his hands up and get on the ground, where he could be searched for a weapon.
            Like I said, Trayvon and his folks wouldn’t have liked it, but at least, unless something weird happened, he would have been safe.
            But George Zimmerman offered no options. He decides to be judge and jury, follows Trayvon, apparently catches up to him and challenges him. It is clear that the two had physical contact because neighbors calling 911 say they here a scuffle outside.
            A 17-year-old kid, unarmed and not a gang member, just coming back from the store, just wants to get where he’s going, not stop and mess with some strange man following him.
            Not unless he’s forced to, like being pushed or grabbed, and then thrown down to the ground.
            And it’s also apparent that Zimmerman didn’t have his gun out at first when he approached Trayvon, because if he did, the kid would have frozen.
            Trust me, I know from experience, when a strange has a loaded weapon pointed at you, time slows down, you hear your own heartbeat, and your mind starts asking a thousand questions a second. The last thing you do, if you’re a kid who’s never been through this before, is try to pull a James West on the guy.
            So what did we hear on the 911 tapes? A cry for help, an indication that someone recognizes that they’re in a fix they can’t get out of, and then a loud, sharp gunshot, at which point the loud wail IMMEDIATELY stops.
            That loud, pleading cry was Trayvon seeing Zimmerman’s gun pointed at him. That cry ends suddenly when one 9mm bullet pierces Trayvon’s chest,a nd perhaps his heart, killing him almost instantly.
            As best as we can tell, Zimmerman does nothing to administer aid to his victim, who is lying on the ground with a bullet wound to his chest.
            He just let’s Trayvon lie there. Zimmerman believes he’s done his job by ridding his neighborhood of someone who would have robbed somebody’s home, and threatened their safety.
            All Zimmerman has to do is claim the unknown black kid, who is sure to have a police record, no question, attacked him while all he was doing was being a good citizen who gets action.
            The kid is dead, Zimmerman is thinking, and its dark out here. The cops will believe his story.
            No problem. This is what the neighbors want.
            What George Zimmerman didn’t count on was the exact opposite was true.
            Though dark, too many witnesses heard enough to call the police, and captured the essential part of what Zimmerman did for the world to eventually hear.
            And Zimmerman also didn’t count of the Sanford police, in a effort to cover their own behinds, trying to coerce witnesses into backing up Zimmerman’s version of events, despite hearing something completely different.
            Finally, Zimmerman didn’t count on Trayvon’s parents, knowing deeply that whatever happened, their son was not at fault, pushing the envelope in making sure that the world knew what happened, and that the world would respond, through social networking and public demonstrations, that justice be done.
            The Sanford Police closed this case, but under tremendous public pressure, the state of Florida is now investigating.
            The US Dept. of Justice is looking into this as well.
            Now, all of a sudden, even though Zimmerman walked, thanks to the Sanford police and a crazy “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida that allows people to shoot each other dead, and claim self-defense with impunity, he now the most wanted man in America.
            Zimmerman may slide on state charges (a grand jury has been impaneled, but it may be just a way for the local prosecutor to wash his hands of a politically and racially explosive issue), but a federal investigation could establish that he believed any and every black male he saw was a potential criminal.
            I think they call that racial profiling.
            So let’s see how this plays out here. The people want to believe that their criminal justice system works for everyone.
            We’ll see, because right now, it better work for Trayvon Martin.
            If it doesn’t, then no black child in this nation is safe.
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.