Tuesday, March 26, 2013





            [ROCKY MOUNT]  No African-American has ever been appointed a federal District Court judge in the Eastern District of North Carolina, and the NCNAACP wants that changed. The civil rights group is lobbying Republican US Sen. Richard Burr [R- NC] to join with Democratic US Sen. Kay Hagan, also of North Carolina, in submitting a list of African-American candidates to Pres. Obama for his consideration. NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber says he has tried to meet with Sen. Burr about this matter for the past five years, and even sent three certified letters to him that went unanswered. Barber says that while Hagan has met with the NCNAACP, Burr has refused. Barber vows that if Sen. Burr continues to refuse, the NCNAACP will deliver list directly to the president.  No word from Sen. Burr’s office on whether he will meet with the NCNAACP.

            [RALEIGH] State Senate Bill 306, which seeks to restart capital punishment in North Carolina and repeal what is left of the gutted Racial Justice Act, is moving forward in the state Legislature after the Senate passed it on Wednesday, and sent the bill, sponsored by Sen. Thom Goolsby [R-New Hanover] to the House. If it becomes law, the measure would speed up the legal cases that have stopped the death penalty in North Carolina since 2006, and completely take the Racial Justice Act, which stopped racially-biased death penalty cases, off the books. The NCNAACP blasted the bill, saying that, “To know the system is racially biased and yet proceed without addressing these issues is to engage in the sinful act of state sponsored murder…”

            [WASH., DC] US Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) announced her support for same-sex marriage equality this week, a day after the US Supreme Court heard arguments on whether California’s Proposition Eight ban against gay marriage was constitutional. Hagan said, “We should not tell people who they can love, or who they can marry.” A decision by the High Court is expected in June.

            As the US Senate takes up gun control legislation today, cities across the nation, and in North Carolina, join in a “National Day to Demand Action,” sponsored by Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Moore Square Park, 200 South Blount Street in Raleigh, gun violence survivor Kim Erickson Yaman and Jen Geurin Ferrell, founder of Forward Americans, lead a candlelight vigil against gun violence. The public is invited to attend.

            Students from across the 16-campus UNC System demonstrated at the state Legislature in Raleigh Wednesday against a Republican proposal to cut “one or two” of the campuses in a budget-saving move. The NC Student Power Union, the group organizing the demonstration, said it opposes the proposal, in addition to the over $130 million that Gov. Pat McCrory cut from the UNC System in is budget proposal last week. McCrory also wants to raise tuition for out-of-state students by over 12 percent.

            A teacher’s assistant at Leesville Road high School has been arrested and charged with four counts of having sex with a female student there. Javon Lerail Walker, 25, was arrested after school official caught wind of the alleged relationship, and called Raleigh police to investigate. He is under $200,000 secured bond in the Wake County jail. Walker was hired last September.


By Cash Michaels

            The chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party says if state Democrats stand any chance of taking back the NC General Assembly in 2014, they have to start organizing, fundraising and strategizing now, even though the recently drawn redistricting maps, favoring Republicans, makes it difficult.
            “To be a Democrat and to believe in our values, you have to be involved every day, and in every election,” Chairman Randy Voller told the Power 750 WAUG-AM program, “Make It Happen” during an interview that airs today.
             “We need to actually get involved this fall in local and municipal elections, elect people who believe in our values, believe in community-building, believe in holding people accountable …on the issues that matter to us”
            Voller, who said the GOP redrew the voting districts so that the Republicans could pick their voters, not for the voters to pick their politicians, continued,” And we’re going to have to get involved next year, starting in the primaries, all the way through the general [elections], and continue to do that.”
            Voller, who also serves as mayor of Pittsboro, says Democrats may not be able to take back both the state House and Senate in one election cycle, so Democrats must devote themselves to slow, incremental change over the next 2 to four years in order to gain back control.
            “We’re going to have to win this back over a couple of cycles,” he says.
            That means holding the Republicans accountable for all that they’re doing now that Voller and others believe is turning the clock back on the tremendous progress that was made by the Democrats when they were in control.
            “You can be a surgeon and use a scalpel, or claim to be a surgeon and use a meat cleaver,” he maintained.
Chairman Voller says he’s leading a state party that is working for more jobs, expanded business opportunities and prosperity for all through thoughtful investments and good policies, while the Republicans are the party of austerity, cutting government to the bone so that the wealthy can benefit more.
            “These are tricky times with what’s going on at the General Assembly,” Voller said.  “I think they refer to it as, “The nightmare on Jones Street.”
Since the Republican-led NC General Assembly went into session two months ago, North Carolinians have seen the expansion of Medicaid denied to 500,000 poor citizens, the Earned Income Tax Credit for working families repealed, the estate tax on the wealthiest North Carolinians repealed, and unemployment benefits severely slashed.
            Policies now being discussed include lowering the corporate and personal income taxes on the wealthy while extending state sales taxes to 130 more services, including legal services. Experts say that shifts the tax burden from the wealthy to the working class.
            Repealing what's left of the NC Racial Justice Act, the 2009 law signed by Gov. Beverly Perdue to stop racially-biased death penalty prosecutions, and also re-instituting capital punishment (which is currently under legal challenge), is also on the GOP legislative menu. 
            Republicans are also seriously discussing closing “one or two” campuses in the 16-campus UNC System as a cost-saving measure. Most likely on the chopping block is either one of the smaller historically-black universities in the system, or UNC-Pembroke.
            Chairman Voller says it is a contradiction for the Republicans to be giving tax breaks to the wealthy in the state, but continue to cut education for the neediest students.
            The prospect of closing a UNC HBCU has been broached before, but now that the Republicans have majorities in both legislative houses, there’s little doubt they can do it if they want.
            Plus GOP state lawmakers are suddenly attempting to micro-manage certain cities and counties that have apparent Democratic leadership.
            Republicans are taking the Charlotte – Douglas Airport from the city of Charlotte, and putting it under a regional authority, even though no one requested the change.
            GOP legislators are also changing ownership of Asheville’s water system, again, without request.
            “It’s a perpetuation of a rural-urban divide…,” Voller says, noting that many GOP rural lawmakers are the ones targeting these Democrat-controlled urban areas, believing that there won’t be a lot of political damage to them to do so.
            “They’re bigfooting our cities,” Voller says. “This is about power and control. I don’t think it has anything to do with what’s best for our citizens.”
            And a bill that would remove ownership of school properties from the school board, and transfer it to the county commission board, is speeding through the Legislature for passage. The measure will affect every county in the state, even though it began as a retaliatory effort by Republicans against the Democrat-led Wake School Board after Supt. Tony Tata was fired.
            The tension between the Wake Board of Education and the Wake Board of Commissioners has also spawned another Senate bill that would change Wake’s nine-district school board elections and shorten the terms of all five Democratic members in order to allow Republicans to retake the board. That measure is on a slower track in the state Senate.
            “It’s purely political,” Chairman Voller says.
“I don’t know why a legislator feels that the minute they are elected, that they have to go up there and release a smorgasbord of ideologically-run legislation,” said Voller. He adds that while Republicans claim Democrats did the same things when they held power, it’s not true that they managed power in the same, heavy-handed way.
            State Sen. Dan Blue (D-Wake), when he served as House Speaker in the 1990s, always made sure he gave the Republican minority a meaningful place at the table to give their ideas a fair hearing.
            That runs counter to the legislative process today, where the Republican majority rushes key pieces of legislation through committees without allowing for much input from opposing views.
            GOP lawmakers’ recent appointments to the UNC Board of Governors, for example, were virtually all Republicans, sparking cries from Democrats for “more balance.”
            “It was incredibly partisan, and if there was a Democrat in the group, I’m not aware of it,” Chairman Voller said.
The practice is so bad that when the Republicans do allow a deliberative process, as with the recent voter photo ID hearings, Democratic critics charge that’s it’s only for show and to cover their bases in case they’re taken to court.
There are reports that several moderate Republicans in the Legislature are concerned with the rapid pace and scatter-shot nature of lawmaking by their party.
            On Tuesday, for example, when the state Senate passed a bill that would essentially renege on the $68 million lease deal the NC Council of State made with the city of Raleigh last December to turn the Dorothea Dix campus into a park, Wake County’s two Republican senators, Neal Hunt and Chad Barefoot, voted against it, saying that though they disagreed with the deal because they felt the state was being cheated, they still supported the park concept and believed a contract is a contract.
            A large turnout of Dix Park supporters during a public hearing Monday helped both Hunt and Barefoot, made up their minds to side with the supporters, and Chairman Voller says citizens and Democrats need to do more of the same heading into 2014.
            “I think the [Republicans] are essentially playing with people’s lives, and  lot of people are going to be hurt. This is mean-spirited and ill-advised,” Chairman Voller says. “People are getting tired of this, and you’re going to see a shift back.”

STUDENTS AGAINST VOTER PHOTO ID - A delegation of Shaw University students with state Rep. Yvonne Lewis-Holley (D-Wake) at the recent House Elections Committee hearings on voter photo ID [photo courtesy of Common Cause NC]

Students from local HBCUs oppose Voter Photo ID
Masac Dorlouis
Special to The Carolinian

Students from Saint Augustine’s and Shaw University usually view each other as rivals, but both put their quarrels aside on Tuesday, Mar. 12, to come together and voice their concerns on the impact of a voter ID bill.
Many were in attendance for the first public hearing regarding the idea of passing a photo voter ID law, hosted by the Republican House Leadership. All members of the public and organizations who have long opposed this bill were given the opportunity to share their concerns.
Johna Mitchell and Malcolm Richbourg—students at Saint Augustine’s University—as well as Nathan Weeks—Shaw University, sacrificed time during their spring break to illustrate how such a law would make it harder for students, in particular, to vote.
“Out of the 12 months in a year, I spend only one back in Maryland,” Nathan Weeks said. “Is not my Maryland photo identification suffice?”
 A voter ID bill adopted by the General Assembly but vetoed by Governor Beverly Perdue in 2011 allowed for public university ID's to be used but not ID's from private colleges and universities.
These students were accompanied by several others who came to participate in the voter ID civic activities.
There was an educational meeting on voter ID that began at 1:30 PM at First Baptist Church. Once the meeting hosted by a collaboration of community organizations such as the NC NAACP, Blueprint NC, and Democracy Matters ended, everyone in attendance marched in procession to the front lawn of the NC General Assembly where a public display of opposition took place.
When asked why he felt it was important to attend the hearing, Arthur McKoy, a student at Shaw University responded, “In the end it does not matter who we vote for, it matters that we have the right to do so. We should not have to fight scratch and claw for what is promised to us by the fifteenth amendment, but we are here ready to fight.
Editor's Note - Masac Dorlouis is the college campus coordinator for Common Cause NC, a non-profit, nonpartisan issue advocacy group.

By Cash Michaels

            HAPPY EASTER – We hope everyone and their families enjoy the Easter holiday this weekend. Easter, of course, has a special meaning in the Christian church, that Jesus Christ rose from the dead after his crucifixion. It is a story of hope and redemption for us all.
            So no eating too much, and no calling into work Monday morning complaining of a tummy ache. And ladies, Lord have mercy, be careful with those wide, wide, wide brim hats. I can’t see the preacher when you wear those things.
            GUN CONTROL – I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, a community which cannot protect its children, especially the youngest of the young, isn’t worth fighting for.
            Recently we’ve been hearing sad and tragic stories of literally babies being fatally shot by young punks who have no value for life. A six-month old child in Chicago, fatally shot repeatedly as she innocently sat in her father’s lap in a mini-van, just because of some gang squabble.
            At her funeral, the minister said, “She deserved better.”
            Every child in our community who has lost their lives to gun violence deserves better, a BETTER, safer community, but we as a community have done precious little to stop the scourge of gun violence.
            What are we doing? Who do our streets belong to? Where are the men in our communities to ensure that people can walk the streets safely?
            The police, you say, where are the police? Well first of all, are you working with the police to make your streets better, and if not, why not?
            Secondly, unless the police actually live on your block, they can’t be there 24/7, but the neighbors on you block are. They see things. They know things. But if they are coming together to do anything, then guess who owns your community?
            Certainly isn’t you!
            It’s one thing when teenagers get into a raging gun battle in our neighborhoods. It’s totally unacceptable and must be stopped.
            But when innocent, defenseless babies are being blasted to death by cold-blooded murderers – I don’t care what their age or color may be – then we’ve gone far, far beyond anything even close to tolerable.
            And yet we seem to surrender ourselves to tacit tolerance when we hear about the next gun tragedy, and the next, and the next. It seems as if nothing shocks us anymore. Nothing moves us to want to do anything to stop the madness, cease the slaughter of our youngest, on which we’ve placed most of our hopes and dreams.
            We’ve accepted it. It’s no wonder we even show up at the funerals of these dead babies who have been taken from this earth by other “children’ who look just like them.
            March in the streets all you want protesting the police “Stop and Frisk” program, where blacks and Hispanics are exclusively targeted by the cops to be stopped on the street and searched for weapons just because they’re there.
            I agree that it’s unconstitutional and wrong. I agree with all of that. But when we as a community don’t bother to even lift a finger to do something to stop the wanton slaughter of our own, then we’ve opened the door, like it or not, to the police and anybody else, to come into our neighborhoods and do what they want.
            We complain about it, but what are WE doing to combat the problem?
            This is serious. How can we demand that others respect our community, respect our rights, when we don’t have the courage to respect ourselves enough to protect our own streets, our own children?
Having a gun in your own home is not enough.
Working together to make sure that there is a blanket of security and safety in your neighborhood and community, THAT’S what we need more than ever.
And it’s what our children so desperately deserve.
Just don’t think about it, DO IT!
WILL, WILL, WILL – I like actor Will Smith. Most of us do, since many of his movies always seem to be box office smashes. He’s likable, has loads of charm, and at times, like in “Ali,” has put forth extraordinary performances.
But this latest nonsense of his, about he not wanting to do the movie “Django Unchained” because he “needed” to be the lead, is embarrassing to say the least.
As you know, “Django” starred Jamie Foxx, who continues to amaze me with his versatility in dramatic roles ever since he won a Best Actor Oscar a few years back for “Ray” (the story of singer Ray Charles). It is the fictional story of a slave who is looking for his wife.
Director Quentin Tarantino says when he wrote the story, he had Will Smith in mind originally for the role, and approached him with it. Smith originally said he turned it down because of a schedule conflict, but all of us knew there had to be more to it than that, especially given Will’s repertoire of science fiction and fantasy flicks like “Men in Black” and “I Am Legend.”
Rarely does Will do anything that requires real acting, and “Django would have required exactly that.
So now that the film has been successful, and been honored with Oscars, what does Will say? He didn’t do it because he wouldn’t have been the star?
Bull! Will didn’t do it because he was afraid. Smith has enough big box office hits under his belt where he can afford to do one flick where he’s not making funny faces or stupid jokes.
It’s called ACTING, Will, not signifying! So what if Leonardo DiCaprio (who by the way, DID NOT MIND ONE BIT that he wasn’t the “lead”) is playing the villain? If you can act, and have strong crew with you (like Samuel L. Jackson, who ALSO was not the lead), then you make YOUR part shine.
To put yourself above the story, above the material, is beyond silly, and selfish!
This was not a good call, Will. You certainly have the right to pick your projects, and give your reasons for doing some and not others.
But to come out and say you didn’t take a role because you were not the lead, tells me you need to be brought down to Earth by something or someone fast! Some of the most memorable roles in movie or television history have been done by fine actors and actresses not in the lead.
Apparently being a fine actor is not what you seek, Will.
By the way, I understand your next flick is one where you and your son are stranded on a deserted planet?
Good going, Will, good going!
HATING DIONNE – Recently it was reported that legendary singer Dionne Warwick has filed for bankruptcy in New Jersey, owing over $10.7 million in penalties and interest on back taxes, but having only $25,500 in assets. Warwick, 72, says the back taxes were due to financial mismanagement by a former manager.
Some folks have been hating on Dionne, saying that she once made great money, lived the good life, and now is paying the price for it. They don’t believe that her finances were mismanaged.
My question is, “Who did this woman hurt or kill?” Why are folks gleeful that this once superstar is down on her luck?
No, Ms. Warwick is not a member of my family, nor a personal friend. Yes, I adore her music, and always have. But that has nothing to do my feeling that she doesn’t deserve to be ragged just because she’s now down on her luck. Does that mean we should always treat people who properly earned their own money this way when they get old and have lost it all? Are we so smug just because we’re still getting Social Security or a pension?
I pray that Dionne is able to settle all of this, and live out the rest of her days peacefully.
Actually, I wish that for anyone in the same boat, which could be any of us.
MACHO ANDERSON – I must admit, while I watch Anderson Cooper from time to time on CNN, he’s not one of my favorite journalists. In fact, I could go through life without ever seeing another Anderson Cooper report, and be fine and dandy.
But I have to hand it to him, last Sunday on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Cooper did something I could never, EVER see myself doing in a million years – go scuba diving looking for crocodiles in an African river.
Heck, I use to fear walking to a South Carolina restaurant at night while vacationing for fear that alligators from a nearby river would be out at night along the path (several of the locals told me that was the case).
Cooper went diving in the caves at the bottom of a river in Botswana, looking for crocs, and finding several, even coming face-to-face with a few with nothing more than a steel rod in his hand. Based on what we saw onscreen, the encounters were close, yet all the crocs did was look long and hard at Anderson, decide he might not taste that good, and then skirt off.
Still, the fact the Cooper went down in those dark caverns, not being able to really see clearly (as clearly as when he went diving a year ago with great white sharks), is worthy of note. What got me was when he had to turn his head away from the crocodile to talk to the camera over his shoulder as the massive creature watched him from about eight feet away.
I could never turn my head in that situation, let alone be down there in the first place.
So Anderson Cooper, you, sir, have my admiration. No question, you have more brass than I ever imagined.
Now let’s see how good you are with the Republicans in Congress. That will take real courage!
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.myWAUG.com. And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my 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 19, 2013


By Cash Michaels

            If there was a surprise in Gov. Pat McCrory’s first state budget released Wednesday, it was $10 million to help compensate the victims of the state’s forced sterilization program. A surprise because it was a project that former Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue was committed to, and House Speaker Thom Tillis, a Republican, got passed in the House last year before the GOP-led state Senate turned its collective back, refusing to even take up the matter.
            Will the Legislature, which even when Democrats were in control refused to compensate the eugenics victims, deny them again?
            Indeed, how much of Gov. McCrory’s  $20.6 billion – which gives state employees and teachers a one percent raise and puts more money in early childhood education – may already dead-on-arrival in the Republican General Assembly that has already made it clear that the poor will be getting the short end of the legislative stick, remains to be seen.
            For instance, McCrory put more money in his budget to hire 1800 more teachers. Something state lawmakers may have a problem with given how they previously slashed $1 billion from the education budget.
            The governor’s over 320-page budget proposal is chock full of the expected. He cuts $142 million from the UNC System, devotes $7.2 million to re-establish drug courts; and cuts the budget of the state Health and Human Services Dept. to help offset past cost overruns in the state’s Medicaid program.
            McCrory also devoted $77 million for state information system upgrades, and $300 million for general maintenance and repairs to state buildings, with $50 million of that going to UNC System campuses.
            But according to Alexandra Sirota, director of the NC Budget and Tax Center, the moderate Republican governor’s first budget, devised by conservative deputy budget director Art Pope, isn’t as bad as expected, though there are concerns.
            Governor McCrory released a budget …that falls short of returning us to pre-recession levels but does expand investments in critical areas,” Sirota said in a statement. “The budget assumes that available revenues will remain the same as collections under the current tax system. The Governor is therefore able to expand investments in certain areas by reducing spending in others, and relying on tuition increases and other fees.”
            Sirota adds that McCrory doesn’t lay out much by way of tax reform, though he apparently signs off on the Legislature’s repeal of the estate tax, so how future revenues will be raised remains an open question if lawmakers go through with eliminating the personal and corporate income tax.
            Published reports say legislators are looking to raise revenues by applying taxes on 130 services currently not taxed, thus shifting the burden to the state’s poor and middle-class.
            McCrory’s budget raises tuition at UNC System schools for out-of-state students, but freezes it for in-state attendees.
            Sirota does note that the governor fully funds Medicaid with an additional $575 million; invests $52 million in pre-kindergarten programs, allowing 5,000 additional at-risk children to enroll; and gives retirees a one percent cost of living increase in their benefits.
            Democratic consultant Jeanne Milliken Bonds raised concerns about the big $142 million cut to the UNC System, which McCrory earlier criticized for relying to heavily on liberal arts education rather than vocational training. But he also cut the budget for the state’s community college system by $37 million as well, where most of that training takes place.
            “Expect larger cuts from the [Republican] NC General Assembly,” Bonds says, adding that the governor’s cuts to the Rural Center and biotech were also “troubling.”
            Bonds sees the Medicaid funding as “smoke and mirrors,” and says hospitals may file suit if approved.
            The governor’s budget also repeals the NC Public Campaign Fund, which allows voters to check off funding for nonpartisan candidates like judges.
            McCrory’s Center for Safer Schools, which he unveiled Tuesday in response to the December Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, will be funded with $625,000, something Bonds calls “a redundancy” because ‘the program already existed under the old juvenile justice program established by former Gov. Jim Hunt.
            “Smoke and mirrors for hiring people and putting out fluff,” Bonds said.
            Other aspects of Gov. McCrory’s budget includes closing five prisons; eliminating two days per week at state historic sites, and not adding anymore debt.
            McCrory was already behind the eight ball with social activists for signing GOP bills that slashed unemployment benefits and stopped the expansion of Medicaid to 500,000 more poor people in the state.
            He is expected to also sign the repeal of the Earned Income Tax Credit, which benefits the working poor.
Reaction from Republican legislative leaders was welcoming.

            "Gov. McCrory’s refreshing new leadership and hard work has produced a balanced budget proposal that exercises fiscal discipline and keeps state government spending within its means," Senate President Pro tem Sen. Phil Berger of Rockingham said in a statement. "His emphasis on paying off our debts and repairing our critical infrastructure reflects a vision and commitment to the long-term fiscal health of our state."
            State House Speaker Thom Tillis of Mecklenburg County was just as pleased.
            "Many aspects of Gov. McCrory’s budget are much-needed and long overdue, and I am especially glad to see the inclusion of the Eugenics Compensation Program," the GOP leader said.
            Whether the state House will pass a eugenics compensation bill again, and whether the state Senate will reject it, again, remains to be seen.
Randy Voller, chairman of the NC Democratic Party, blasted the governor’s budget, and challenged him to stand up against what the Republican-led General assembly might do to it.
            “What we’re seeing with this budget is the Republican Party’s continued commitment to austerity policies for North Carolina and for our nation.  This is a status-quo budget that continues to tax the poor to feed the rich,” Voller advised.  “When push comes to shove, will the Governor be able to stand up to this radical, reactionary legislature or will he continue to serve as their rubber stamp—as he has when it comes to slashing unemployment benefits, rejecting health care expansion and increasing taxes on our middle and low-income hardworking families?”  Voller concluded.


            In commemoration of the 48th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday March to Selma, Alabama, the Raleigh-Apex Branch of the NAACP will sponsor a “Silent March for Voting Rights,” this Sunday, March 24. The march will depart Martin Street Baptist Church, 1001 East Martin Street in Raleigh, at 3 p.m., and march to the MLK Memorial Gardens. There will be silent prayer there, and return to Martin Street Baptist Church for a voters rally. Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the NCNAACP, will be the keynote speaker at 4.pm. Dr. Earl C. Johnson is the pastor.

            It should be no surprise that the number one metropolitan area in the nation for the fastest growth in the last year is North Carolina’s Capital City, Raleigh, according to Forbes Magazine. An analysis of US Census figures has Raleigh’s population at 1.2 million people, a jump of 47 percent since 2000. In the past five years, residents from across the state, and areas like Montgomery County, Maryland and Queens, NY have relocated to Wake County, the report says.

            Former Wake School Board member Bill Fletcher was sworn-in Tuesday to finish out the unexpired term of Debra Goldman. In interviews, Fletcher, a Republican, made it clear that he did not approve of County Commission Board leaders seeking state legislation to takeover school system properties, or change school board elections so that Republicans could take back the board by 2014, thus shortening terms of board Democrats. Meanwhile the board adjusted the bell schedules for 17 schools including Walnut Creek Elementary, and set the dates on March 25, 26 and 27 for community input in the search for a new superintendent. Go to http://www.wcpss.net/superintendent-search/public-input.html for the complete schedule.


[KINSTON] In an act of protest, all three members of the Lenoir County Board of Elections resigned Monday because the state elections board refused to approve the termination of the Lenoir County elections director. State BOE Executive Director Gary Bartlett said the tension between director Dana King and the Lenoir Board did not require her dismissal, though he did place her on probation until December 1. County leaders now must appoint three replacements by July 1st.

            [RALEIGH] If state Senate President Pro tem Sen. Phil Berger has his way, teachers in North Carolina will no longer receive tenure, and will have to work harder for merit pay. Known as Senate Bill 361, Berger, a Republican from Rockingham, says this is part of the education reform overhaul he intends for North Carolina in an effort to boost student grades and teacher performance. Good teachers would get four-year contracts, not tenure, under Berger’s plan. Teachers not meeting the bill would receive smaller contracts. Teachers will be evaluated, and received bonuses if merited. There’s no doubt that Berger’s plan will pass the GOP-led Senate. How the state House, also led by Republicans, will handle it is yet to be seen.

            [CHARLOTTE]  NC House Speaker Thom Tillis (R- Mecklenburg) now says that despite his previous reasoning for the need for voter photo ID, that while, “there is some evidence of voter fraud, …that’s not the primary reason for doing this.” Tillis made that remark last Saturday on MSNBC when confront with proof that voter fraud in the state is virtually nonexistent. Tillis says people are concerned about the “risk of fraud” and voter ID would restore “confidence in government.” Critics say it is an attempt to suppress the votes of the poor and people of color. The House voter photo ID bill is expected to be introduced within the next two weeks.

                                                 JUDGE GEORGE R. GREENE SR.

By Cash Michaels

            He was a historymaker as the first African-American ever to be elected to the Wake County District Court bench in 1974.
            He was also a fierce civil rights advocate, and a rascally man who spoke his mind, no matter who didn’t like it.
            But above all, Judge George R. Greene Sr. was known as a fair practitioner of the law who had a special place in his heart for the common man.
            Judge Greene, who had retired from the Superior Court bench in 1995, died last Sunday at age 82.
            Greene is a legend at the Wake County Courthouse, and many an attorney, like Geoff Simmons, knew him, liked him, and revered him.
            Judge Green called himself a ‘black red neck,’” attorney Simmons told The Carolinian. “Every year when he could, he would have a free cookout at his house for the community - black and white. He had country music and all kinds of refreshments. White people loved him as much as blacks because he did not see color. He was the first black to integrate the Wake County Bar Association. He loved being fair and creative He knew that District Court should not be that tough because you did not deal with felonies. He loved to go fishing and hunting. He was a good old boy.”
            Born in 1930 in Nashville, NC, George Greene, the son of teachers, graduated Shaw University in the 1950’s and was the only African-American in his class at UNC – Chapel Hill Law School. He left law school to serve in the Korean War, coming back to graduate and pass the state bar in 1957.
In 1960, when black students at Shaw University and then St. Augustine’s College were being arrested for challenging Raleigh’s segregation laws, Greene, a noted civil rights attorney, represented them for free, noting the courage and sacrifice the young people exhibited.
            “George Greene knew what discrimination was all about, and he knew he had to be a role model for young black lawyers,” attorney Simmons said. “He told me to never forget your roots but always try to build bridges. He was an icon. Some people thought he needed to be taken down a peg. But he never tried to get even. He told me that the best revenge was to love well. He taught me to always hold your head high and be of service and you will always be OK.
            Greene remained in private practice until he was elected to Wake District Court in 1974, breaking the color barrier there. In 1988, Greene became a Superior Court judge.
            Judge Greene’s style in the courtroom, by all accounts, was folksy and unconventional. He railed against the strict and stuffy protocols that the judiciary had customarily followed, preferring, instead to turn his sessions into true “people’s courts,” even to the point of saying provocative things from the bench, and leading the courtroom in Christmas carols.
            It would be an understatement to say that Judge Greene’s colorful court performances rubbed some of his colleagues the wrong way. He was twice censured in 1991 and 1995 for harsh remarks during trials that, in the opinion of the state Supreme Court, made his, “…conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the judicial office into disrepute.”
            But Judge Greene’s friends and supporters, like attorney Geoff Simmons, saw a man who said what he thought, and was willing to let the chips fall where they may.
            “I tried a case before Judge Greene one time when a black bus driver was charge with kidnapping,” Simmons recalls.  “A white female NC State student got on the wrong bus. The local CAT bus driver, a black fellow, would not let her get off at the Wolfline stop and called police, and he was charged with a felony.”
           “The courtroom was packed with bus drivers and people from all over the city.
People thought the driver would go to jail and lose his job,” Simmons continued.
Judge Greene heard the evidence, and dismissed the case to the surprise of many. He said this was a case of overreaction. The bus driver is still driving for the city of Raleigh. He could have gone to jail if there had not been a judge like Judge Green. He was not afraid to do the right thing. He was a strong and good black man that never saw race, just the facts with compassion.”
             Public viewing is scheduled for today, Thursday, March 21st, from 12 noon to 9 p.m. at Lea Funeral Home in Raleigh.
Judge Greene’s funeral is planned for Friday, 12 noon at First Baptist Church, 101 South Wilmington Street in Raleigh. Visitation begins at 11 a.m. he will be buried at Hillcrest Cemetery on Garner Road in Raleigh.
          Judge Greene is survived by his wife, Ruby Powell Greene, of the home; daughters, Ava Greene Bedden (Dana) of Irving, TX, Willa-Jo Michelle Greene of Beltsville, MD, and Karen Greene Braithwaite (Marcel) of New York, NY; son, George Royster Greene, Jr. of Raleigh; brother, Rolland Greene of Rural Hall, NC. He is also survived by five grandchildren: Daniel T. Davenport, Avanna D. Davenport, Diana T. Bedden, Georgia Marie Braithwaite and Tiberius C. Braithwaite.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made "In Memory of Judge George R. Greene" to Shaw University, Office of Institutional Advancement, 118 E. South St., Raleigh, NC 27601.
NNPA STORY - http://www.nnpa.org/news/lead/education-chief-schools-failing-black-students-by-george-e-curry/


HONORING THE GOVERNOR - On March 14th in Washington, DC, former NC Governor Beverly Eaves Perdue, seen here in between Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chavis (left) and Mary Alice Thatch, publisher of the Wilmington Journal, was honored by the National Newspaper Publishers Association with its annual Black Press Week Torch Award. Gov. Perdue was recognized for her courage in granting pardons of innocence to Dr. Chavis and the rest of the Wilmington Ten. [Photo courtesy of Afrique Kilimanjaro of The Carolina Peacemaker]

NNPA HONORS NCNAACP PRES. REV. BARBER - Rev. William Barber, president of the NCNAACP (left) poses with George Curry, editor-in-chief of the NNPA, and Harvard Law Prof. Charles Ogletree, after the NNPA Foundation honored Rev. Barber last week in Washington, DC for his work in pardoning the Wilmington Ten. Also honored for their Wilmington Ten pardons work were  attorney James Ferguson and NCCU Law Professor Irving Joyner [Photo courtesy of Afrique Kilimanjaro of The Carolima Peacemaker]

By Cash Michaels

            ROLAND MARTIN OUT AT CNN – Big changes at CNN with new head honcho Jeff Zucker at the helm. He’s already found a graceful way of getting rid of one of the best journalists in the business, Soledad O’Brien.
            Now CNN commentator Roland Martin, informed us this week that after six years, April 6th is his last day at the Cable News Network. Martin still has his TV1 show on Sunday mornings, his nationally syndicated column and his appearances on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, so he’s not hurting for work.
            But CNN offered Martin the broadest audience possible, allowing him to share the stage with powerful political figures, so his brand has definitely taken a hit. That’s not6 to say an MSNBC or Fox News couldn’t pick Roland up, but unless they’re really hurting for a black commentator, it’s not likely to happen.
            And yet, I could see MSNBC make room for Martin, given the excellent job they’ve done in bringing top black talkers onboard. Martin brings an audience with him, and MSNBC has made no secret that it wants to build on the tremendous African-American audience that it already has.
            So who knows? I just hope that the folks at CNN know what they’re doing, for unless there’s a major news story every day, just changing faces isn’t enough to build ratings on.
            We’ll keep pour eye on CNN’s progress, if any.
            KEITH SETTLES – Reports are that Keith Olbermann has settled his $50 million lawsuit against former employer Current TV. The former host of MSNBC’s “Countdown” quit Current a year ago after he and management had a serious falling out. Previous to that, Keith spent ten years at MSNBC driving folks there crazy.
            Reports now are because Keith can’t get a job right now (his legendary temper, despite his genius and high ratings, have made him radioactive), his attorneys used that as a bargaining chip to force the settlement.
            Here’s the sad thing, Keith may not be on TV in a permanent job for some time, and that, indeed is sad, because he is a talented man and commentator. He’s doing some stints on the baseball cable channel, but essentially Keith is out of work.
            I hope that changes. We missed him during the 2012 elections, and we need his commentary going forward.
            So behave, Keith.
THE JOB – Since I’m big on documentaries, I strongly suggest, if you have Showtime, that you take time to watch, “The World According to Dick Cheney,” a riveting account of perhaps the most powerful vice president in this nation’s history.
            And one of the most ruthless.
            Of particular note is the part about how Cheney and his then “boss,” President George W. Bush, got us into the Iraq War exactly ten years ago this week.
            The record is now very clear that Bush, Cheney, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, and the rest of the administration, lied past the point of no return to the American people and the world in order to get us into war with Iraq.
            Even a man I admire greatly, then Secretary of State Colin Powell, went before the United Nations, and, with the CIA’s help, laid out lie after lie as “evidence” as to why we needed to attack Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
            And so while the president of the United States and his crew were lying to the world, and the nation was preparing for war, what did we in the media do to hold the accountable?
            Shamefully go along with it.
            If we in the news business knew then what we know now, we certainly should have sounded the alarm. But instead, the major news operations in this nation, afraid of being tagged as unpatriotic by the country, took every dry bone that the Bush Administration threw to us, and ran as fast as we could to report it as honest news.
            And none of it was true, except that innocent Iraqis and American soldiers were dying…for nothing.
            That’s a strong statement, and in no way am I saying that the brave men and women, who wore the uniform and went into battle, did so without honor or bravery. All of them who served, and were either injured and killed, did so believing that they were stopping a foreign dictator from harming the world with, as their commander-in-chief told them, “weapons of mass destruction.”
            They had no way of knowing that they were being lied to, and as a result, many did die, and were severely injured.
            Certainly most of the blame lies with the Bush Administration. They constructed the deadly fairy tale, got Congress to sign off on it, and dared the media to prove them wrong, threatening to brand the media unpatriotic if they did.
            And it is because of that that this nation’s media must also share a good deal of the blame as well.
            With the exception of liberal talk show legend Phil Donahue, who was ultimately kicked off of MSNBC in 2003 because he was singlehandedly challenging George Bush’s war; and the Knight-Ridder News Service, which was cranking out stories calling into question the president’s reasoning for going to war with a country that posed no threat to us, no one else had the courage to look deeper.
            It was journalistic malpractice of the highest order. Vice President Dick Cheney would go on NBC’s “Meet the Press” with the late Tim Russert, lying his crooked heart out about uranium from Niger being used to develop a nuclear bomb in Iraq, and the usually tough Russert allowed it to happen.
            That’s one of the reasons why independent publications have exploded on the Internet. There is a blatant distrust of the establishment media for a whole host of reasons, but our failure to do our due diligence in reporting what was really going on in the lead up to the Iraq War stands out for its historic proportion, and astounding lack of courage.
            It’s something we’ll never live down.
            Nor should we.
             FLIGHT – Finally, I got the time and the chance over the weekend to see Denzel Washington’s boffo Academy Award nominated performance in the movie “Flight.” The one thing that has always impressed me about D-Man is that he’s always looking to stretch his repertoire. He’s played cops, doctors, union soldiers and military men.
But his performance as a drunken drug addicted airline pilot in “Flight” is one of his most varied, bravest and tortured. His character, Whip Whitaker, is a profound liar who pulls off a miraculous landing of a crippled jet while he’s under the influence of drugs and alcohol. For the rest of the film, he’s running from authorities, and the truth about himself.
The film clearly is one of Denzel’s most controversial, and his decline into drunken and drug-induced stupor is played to the max.
The only problem with Denzel’s performance is that it had to happen the same year Daniel Day-Lewis portrayed President Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s epic “Lincoln.” It would have been a major, though well-earned upset if Denzel beat Day-Lewis in the Best Actor Oscar category.
Instead, Denzel’s portrayal will go down through the ages as one of his greatest ever. At the young age of 60, D-Man has many, many more still in him.
That’s the most exciting part of all.
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.myWAUG.com. And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my 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.