Monday, June 4, 2012


By Cash Michaels

            The ball is in the state senate’s court now to compensate the victims of North Carolina’s 50-year eugenics forced sterilization program.
            The question is will the Republicans leaders there vote to pay, or just take the ball and go home? They’ve already indicated that they intend to adjourn their short session in two weeks.
            And unlike the Republican-majority NC House, which passed a $10 million measure this week compensating sterilization victims $50,000 a piece buy a 86-31 vote, the passion to do the same is reportedly not necessarily the same in the GOP-led Senate.
             Sources say that the state Senate has every intention of adjourning on June 19, and instead of having the House-passed eugenics measure debated as a stand-alone bill, Republican leaders may change it, possibly lessening the $50,000 payout, and stuff into their version of changes to the state budget.
            That tactic would force the House to either accept it, along with other Senate-approved changes to the budget adopted last year, or strip it out, meaning that the whole measure goes down to defeat.
            If that scenario plays out, it would be yet another crushing blow to survivors of the state’s eugenics program, which ran from the mid-1930s to the mid-1970s.
            Poor young girls - mostly white and black - and in some cases boys as well, were targeted by their local health departments as being “feebleminded” or promiscuous. Then, with the sometimes coerced permission of their parents, those children were sterilized so that they could never produce what authorities thought would be defective offspring.
            Even though North Carolina had long since stopped performing the forced sterilizations after the 1970s, it wouldn’t be until 2003, after the sordid history was revealed in a Winston-Salem Chronicle special series, that then Gov. Mike Easley apologized, and the NC General Assembly removed the law authorizing forced sterilizations from the books.
            In the nine years since, state lawmakers have dragged their feet on compensating survivors of the eugenics programs - which number approximately 1500 of the over 7,600 operations performed.
            Approximately 118 survivors have so far been identified.
            It was Gov. Beverly Perdue, however, keeping a promise made in her 2008 campaign, who pushed to have a state agency, and commission created to delve into the issue, find and confirm survivors, hold a hearing, and recommend to Perdue what a proper compensation package should be.
            House Speaker Thom Tillis [R-Mecklenburg], also expressing interest in resolving the eugenics issue, also held a hearing, and promised that House would take it up in the short session, which it has.
            Even though Tillis led the charge for passage on the bill, saying it was a chance for the state to make amends for the harm and pain it was responsible for, many Republicans voted against the measure, saying that people today aren’t responsible for the sins of the past.


[RALEIGH]  The State Ethics Commission is investigating the connection between two lobbyists caught in alleged sexual affairs with two of House Speaker Thom Tillis’ top aides, and who they were working for, published reports say. Of interest, were any state laws broken in terms of illegal gifts to the aides by the lobbyists. Tillis’ chief of staff Charles Thomas, and policy adviser Amy Hobbs, were forced to step down after it was revealed they were allegedly carrying on sexual trysts with lobbyists Jessica Hayes and Dean Plunkett respectively. If the commission determines that laws were broken, it could result criminal charges and fines.

[RALEIGH] Try as they have, House Republicans admit that they won’t have enough votes to override Gov. Beverly Perdue’s veto of their voter I.D. bill. Perdue blocked the measure last year that would have required all North Carolina voters to show a government-issued photo identification at the polls on election day. By the GOP are still committed to the idea, so House Speaker Thom Tillis says a new, softer voter ID bill that would only require some form of official ID like bank statements or utility bills, will be offered as a compromise. House Democrats counter that the measure would still be an effort to suppress the black vote come November, especially since there is hardly any evidence of voter fraud.

House Republicans are not giving up in their quest to override Gov. Perdue’s veto of their repeal last year of  NC Racial Justice Act. The 2009 law, passed by a Democratic legislature, allows defendants in death penalty cases to challenge possible racial bias of prosecutors. District attorneys across the state oppose the law. GOP House leaders now want to restrict the use of statistics proving racial bias to the county where the crime was committed, instead of statewide as the law currently provides. A state House judiciary committee, by a 8-6 vote along party lines, approved that change Wednesday. The bill, which is likely to pass, is also likely to face another veto from Gov. Perdue.


            A Wake grand jury has issued presentments to prosecutors to further probe the actions of a former judge, a practicing attorney and two legal assistants in their handling of several DWI cases. Former Wake District Court Judge Kristin Ruth, who stepped down from the bench several weeks ago after the SBI interviewed her, has maintained that she was allegedly misled by attorney James Crouch into changing the dates on at least a dozen of his DWI cases on appeal. Ruth was not authorized to do so since none of the cases came before her. Prosecutors will determine if indictments are warranted.

            Republican Wake School Board member Debra Goldman is a strong supporter of Wake Supt. Anthony Tata. So strong, in fact, that she’s nominated the retired US Army brigadier general for state superintendent of the year. Despite problems with his new student assignment school choice plan and growing tensions with Democratic board members, Goldman, who originally headed up the search committee when Tata was hired in December 2010, says he has earned the honor. Tata has only been on the job since January 2011. Goldman’s fellow board GOP’ers Deborah Prickett and Chris Malone, agreed with her.

No sign of superstar actor Robert Downey, Jr., but fans gathered near the Crossroads Office complex, and Weston Parkway in Cary this week to sneak a peek at scenes being shot for “Iron Man 3.” Officially, producers are calling the film “Caged Heat” and keeping details of the plot secret. That didn't bother the 40-50 fans that gathered as close as they could to see some action, and maybe luck up to see a famous actor. “Iron Man 3” is scheduled for release in 2013.

By Cash Michaels

            BLACK MUSIC MONTH - If you want to know what’s popular in music these days, just drive around with your nine-year-old daughter one day, listening to the radio.
            Lots of pop hits featuring artists, quite frankly, who can’t sing.
            But they’re selling CDs.
            One to take note of, however. The days of the great black singers are over.
            Gone are the Michael Jacksons, the Luther Vandrosses and the Whitney Houstons.
            And the once great singers that are still around are too old to make new records.
            So exactly where is today’s great black music coming from?
            That’s easy…THERE ISN’T ANY!
            Let’s be serious, who can you name from today’s generation of black singers who can hold a candle to treasured artists like Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye? Are there any James Browns or Smokey Robinsons out there? What happened to the great girl groups? The LaBelles, Supremes and Three Degrees.
            There’s one thing our generation could count on during the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, and that’s that we knew that each musical generation was creating more great artists, just by example.
            So when an Alicia Keyes or India Ari give all praise and honor to the masters like Stevie and Smokey, it’s because as children, they listened to the greats with amazement, and were inspired to learn their crafts.
            Today, what is there to learn from? There is very little, if any artistry out there for young people to emulate.
            It’s sad.
            It is also sad that the songs today are pure crap, undeniable garbage. There is no great songwriting. There aren’t any great, meaningful lyrics anymore.
            What passes for black music today is trashy rap. There is no advancement of the black music culture.
            What’s more, the formula for making good black songs seems to be exploited by folks like Disney and Nickelodeon, who are making a fortune creating teeny bopper TV shows with songs that easily could have passed for black pop30 years ago.
            And what is really funny (but sad) is listening to some of the new music on pop radio, and realizing that it really is old 80’s disco in terms of composition and beat. The proof is when the station decides to go “old school,” playing a song twenty or thirty years old.
            You really can’t tell the difference.
            That’s bad. That means that old music is definitely being recycled for today’s audiences.
            I bring all of this up because this is supposed to be Black Music month. June is supposed to be the time when we celebrate the rich history of black music, an take time to remember, if not discover, if not rediscover, the greats like Louis Armstrong, Dinah Washington and Count Basie.
            We should be sharing REAL music with our children. We should breaking out the old Motown tunes by the Temptations and Tammie Terrell.
            We should be insisting that our children memorize Aretha’s, “To be Young, Gifted and Black” as an anthem of cultural and educational excellence.
            And we should remind ourselves that the reason why the world embraces black gospel, funk, soul, pop, classic rap and of course jazz, is because they are all music of love. Some of the greatest black songs were written and produced by extraordinarily gifted white writers and producers like Carole King (who wrote Aretha’s classic “Natural Woman”) and the songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David (who penned many of Dionne Warwick’s greatest hits like “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” and “There is Always Something There to Remind Me?”)
            Instead, we’re allowing our music to die on the vine.
            So I don’t know what we’re going to do this Black Music month. We’re losing one of our greatest resources, and doing little to save it.
            Trust me, when our children hear and see our vintage music, it is like opening a whole new world to them.
            I know. I spent time on YouTube with my youngest daughter, watching old video clips of Gladys Knight and the Pips, Diana Ross, Wilson Pickett and others. It was pure delight watching her get into the classics.
            That is the timeless, boundless power of black music.
            Let’s do all we can to preserve.
            CONSERVATIVE STARS - I’ll admit that it bothers me a lot when I see a celebrity or star who I’ve enjoyed in past years, get involved in right-wing politics.
            Take Chuck Norris, for example.
            I loved his TV show, “Walker, Texas Ranger.” It had a lot of predictable action, and Norris’ character seemed to support diversity (remember his partner was black).
            But in recent years, Norris has been a strong supporter of conservative Republican politics. And of late, he was campaign for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the recall election Tuesday.
            Walker has proven to be one of the dirtiest politicians in the nation, but apparently that didn’t stop “Walker, Texas Ranger” from supporting him.
            It’s just disappointing, having a favorite star turn into a political jackass right before your eyes.
            Kelsey Grammar of “Frazier” is another one, along with Robert Conrad of the old “Wild, Wild West” TV show, which I simply loved.
            After a while, it’s hard to separate this actors from their political views, and you don’t want to watch anything their in, knowing that they make money from it.
            Maybe I’m just too sensitive to the politics of the time. Maybe it’s a feeling of some kind of weird betrayal, wanting to believe that these actors are just like their beloved characters.
            Either way, I’ve just freed up several hours in my future, because darned if I’ll be watching “Walker, Texas Ranger” anymore.
            HERMAN WINS - For all of his foolishness and double-dealing in the GOP presidential primaries, former presidential candidate Herman Cain wins.
            After being forced from the presidential race in shame months ago after his alleged past instances of sexual harassment came to the surface, the negro sellout conservative is now being rewarded with his own national radio show. It has been announced that libertarian Neal Boortz is retiring from his Atlanta-based nationally syndicated show, and that Cain will take over the show on January 21st, 2013.
            Why that day? Because it is Inauguration Day, when the next president of the United States is sworn-in.
            So unless his ratings hit the toilet (I hope), Cain, who hosted a local late night radio talker previously, will now join the ranks of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.
            To think that this man’s ignorance will be part of somebody’s daily radio diet is sickening beyond belief.
            At least this gives Herman an opportunity to make a daily fool of himself, just like Rush.
            WILMINGTON TEN PARDON PROJECT - The Wilmington Ten were nine young African-American males, led by the Rev. Benjamin Chavis, and one white female community worker, who stood up to racism in the New Hanover County Public School System in 1971 amid racial violence in Wilmington, NC. The following year, all of them were arrested and falsely charged, convicted and sentenced to a total of 282 years in prison for conspiracy in connection to the firebombing of a white-owned grocery store.
By 1977, the state's witnesses all confessed in court that they lied, and were paid by prosecutors. CBS' "60 Minutes" uncovered that most of the evidence used to convict the Wilmington Ten had been fabricated.
And in Dec. 1980, the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned all ten convictions.
But the state of North Carolina has never pardoned the Wilmington Ten.
On May 17th, 2012, attorneys for the Ten filed papers for pardons of innocence for the seven surviving members, and the three deceased, with NC Gov. Beverly Perdue's office, asking her to grant them.
Please join the national campaign to ask Gov. Perdue to grant justice, after forty years, to the Wilmington Ten. Please go to the Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project page on Facebook ( to learn more, and please sign our petition at
Make sure you tune in every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. for my talk radio show, ''Make It Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM, or online at And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my new blog, ‘The Cash Roc” ( I promise it will be interesting.
Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Columnist Cash Michaels was also honored by the NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009, and was the recipient of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP’s President’s Award for Media Excellence in Sept. 2011.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian in your life. Bye, bye.

When Blacks Stand Their Ground
by Charlene Muhammad
Special to the NNPA from The Final Call

Read more:

Former SCLC Chair Raleigh Trammell Convicted
By George E. Curry
NNPA News Service

Read more:

100 Days and Counting for Democrats
Party Leaders Say Charlotte Convention on Track
By Herbert L. White
Special to the NNPA from the Charlotte Post
With President Barack Obama is 100 days away from making his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, organizers marked the occasion with a pep talk.
National and local party leaders held a press conference Tuesday at Bank of America Stadium to update the convention’s progress and tout its goal of inclusion for the Sept. 3-6 event.
“As someone who has been involved in the convention from the very beginning, it’s hard to believe we have 100 days to go,” DNC Committee CEO Steve Kerrigan said. “There’s been so much we’ve accomplished since we got here with a small little staff of 12 people that’s now grown to over 100 people.”

Kerrigan was joined by DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Mayor Anthony Foxx and Karen Baldwin of Durham, an Obama For America volunteer for the launch of the “I’m There” campaign to encourage people to join convention activities in person or online. From the Labor Day Festival at Charlotte Motor Speedway to President Barack Obama’s acceptance speech at Bank of America Stadium, party leaders are looking to engage everyday folks.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to help host this year’s convention,” said Baldwin, a longtime community organizer who volunteered for Obama’s 2008 campaign. “We’ll be able to stand together as Americans and re-nominate for president of the United States.”
Foxx expressed confidence that North Carolina – which Obama carried in 2008 by a little more than 14,000 votes – will be a showplace for the world during convention week.

“The convention will be an incredible opportunity for North Carolina to demonstrate that we are a dynamic, diverse and vibrant state that has historically looked beyond the present to ensure that its people are stronger in the future,” he said.
Fort the first time, the DNC isn’t taking cash from corporations or political action committees for convention funding, putting responsibility on grassroots donors to foot the $36.65 million bill. Party leaders said Tuesday the DNC is on target to meet its goal of expanding its donor base.

“Democrats are fired up across the country and ready to work hard to re-elect Barack Obama president of the United States,” Wasserman Schultz said. “They know this convention is going to be unlike any in history and they’re thrilled Democrats made the bold move of putting our convention right here in the South because it shows that we’re dedicated to expanding the map and competing in states all across the country.”
Final touches have yet to be made to the convention program, but Kerrigan is pleased with its progress as September approaches.

“I can tell with certainty our planning is right on track,” he said, “but we have plenty of other milestones to reach in the final 100 days.”

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