Tuesday, May 28, 2013




            [FAYETTEVILLE] At presstime Wednesday, the jury in the Shaniya Davis murder case chose the death penalty for the five-year-old child’s convicted murderer, Mario Andrette McNeil. McNeil, a drug dealer, was convicted last week of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, sexual offense of a child, human trafficking and sexual servitude. He was acquitted of first-degree rape. Prosecutors on Wednesday told the jury that McNeil deserved to die. McNeil offered no defense. Prosecutors said he had displayed no remorse for his crimes. The jury got the case at 12:20 p.m., and by 1 p.m., delivered its decision.

            [RALEIGH] Despite the best efforts of advocates for the original law, a state House panel on Wednesday passed a repeal of the 2009 Racial Justice Act, sending the measure on to the NC House or ratification. The law, before it was gutted in 2011, allowed defendants in death penalty cases to challenge any racial bias on the part of prosecutors in capital punishment cases. Republicans weakened the law in 2011. When the GOP took complete control of the Legislature this year, the state Senate passed the repeal measure sponsored by Republican New Hanover Sen. Thomas Goolsby. The House is now poised to ratify the repeal, and send it to Gov. McCrory for his signature.

            [RALEIGH] A controversial measure that would provide monetary vouchers to parents to take their children out of public schools and send them to private institutions has passed a state House committee, and at press time Wednesday, looked likely for passage on the House floor. Opponents say the bill drains much needed funding from public schools. Others say the move is a political ploy by Republicans to slowly dismantle the state’s public school bureaucracy. Advocates counter that the measure offers parents, particularly poor parents, school choice. Statistics show that children who attend private schools with vouchers don’t do any better than children who stay in public schools.

THE FINALISTS - The three finalists for Wake Schools superintendent - Dana Bedden, Ann Clark and James Merrill - answered questions during a community forum at Memorial Auditorium on Tuesday. Wake School Board members reportedly chose one of them Wednesday, and will formally announce their choice at next Tuesday's meeting in Cary. [Cash Michaels Photo]

By Cash Michaels
An analysis

            In August, one of three finalists who collectively impressed Wake County school system board members, personnel, students, as well as citizens this week with their respective experience and vision, will officially take over as the next superintendent.
            The choice that Wake School Board members reportedly made Wednesday afternoon between Supt. Dana Bedden of the Irving Independent School District in Irving, Texas; Supt. James Merrill of Virginia Beach City Public Schools in Virginia Beach, Va.; and Deputy Supt. Ann Clark of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public School System in Charlotte, will be formally unveiled at next Tuesday’s board meeting.
            Most observers The Carolinian spoke with after Tuesday night’s finalists community forum at Memorial Auditorium agreed that Bedden, Merrill and Clark were all impressive in their answers to audience questions, and the range of expertise they all displayed on a wide variety of education issues.
            “They were all very impressive,” said Dr. Robert Bridges, former Wake Schools superintendent.
            What was also very apparent after Tuesday’s forum was that whichever finalist is ultimately chosen, that person will unquestionably have more qualifications and experience for the job than the man they’re replacing – former Wake Supt. Tony Tata - a retired US Army brigadier general who had no classroom experience when he was hired by secret process by the then Republican majority in 2010.
            Republicans then made clear that they did not want an educator to head the school system, but rather someone with business or military experience. Under Supt. Tata’s leadership, both the school choice student assignment plan and the school bus transportation scheme to go with it proved to be disastrous, leaving thousands of students both not in the schools their parents wanted them in, or school bus service to even get there.
            In addition, Supt. Tata, a well-known Tea Party sympathizer with strong loyalty to the previous Republican board leadership, openly attacked Democratic board members when implementation of his school choice strategy fell apart.
Tata, now serving as secretary of the NC Dept. of Transportation under Republican Governor Pat McCrory, was fired by the Democratic majority of the Wake School Board last September after a tumultuous eighteen months. Dr. Stephen Gainey, who took over as interim Wake superintendent after Tata’s termination, is leaving the system to take another superintendent’s position July 1st.
An acting superintendent will takeover until August, when one of the three finalists will be installed.
            Tuesday evening, Wake School Board Chairman Keith Sutton said the community leaders and citizens have responded positively to the wide-open process the board instituted in rolling out the three finalists to everyone, and allowing them to meet people and express their views.
            Sutton added that he hopes the hiring of the new superintendent allows the Wake School Board to have a fresh start rebuilding trust and support in the community.

By Cash Michaels

            BLACK MUSIC MONTH – June is Black Music Month, but one question – where is Black Music today? Where are all of the “great” black artists of today? I am searching for the answer, because as far as I’m concerned, the folks who are producing black music today aren’t producing much of anything at all.
            And that’s real sad!
            THE PRESIDENT’S DILEMNA – To say that President Barack Obama has been “catchin’ hell” lately is an understatement. The press are mad with him because of the Associated Press/Fox News monitoring scandals; the Republicans are, have, and always will be mad with him for everything from Benghazi, to the IRS scandal, to Obamacare, to …well, just being him.
            And some black people, who have supported this president solidly in the last two presidential elections, seem to be upset with him for “lecturing” them during his recent commencement address at Morehouse College. Apparently every time Obama gets before a black audience, he feels obligated to read us the riot act about raising our children right, getting a good education, and fathers staying home with their families.
            There’s a school of thought out there that Obama is really talking to us, but simply assuring white liberals that he’ll never pass up the opportunity to tells us what they are so desperate to say to us themselves, but wouldn’t dare.
            The bottomline is Pres. Obama clearly didn’t bargain for a lot of this going into his second term. No, he wasn’t expecting wine and roses, especially with the Republicans still commanding half of Congress and raising cane in the other half. But to have everyone angry at him at the same time is not something he planned on either.
            What all of this acrimony does is create a climate where it’s hard for the president to move on much. He still wants to accomplish something, still wants to cut a deal with the Republicans to further cut government spending and move the economy forward (good luck on that), but with scandal after scandal brewing, his ability to use the power of his office is somewhat crippled.
            Mind you, the president’s personal poll numbers remain remarkably good. A majority of the American public still likes Barack Obama personally. They just don’t like some of his policies.
            Here’s my take – this president is one of the toughest I’ve ever seen in the job. More importantly, I’ve learned to trust him for the most part, even though there are some things that he’s done, or at least been responsible for, that have driven me up the wall (especially when he allowed the Republicans to use him for batting practice).
            Pres. Obama should keep his head up, make clear to the American people, as he started to last week, that his administration will do whatever it takes to keep the country safe from terrorist attacks, and take the fire from all quarters as long as he is doing everything necessary to save American lives.
            In my opinion, there is a good reason why a man who hates war as much as President Obama does, is slow to wind down the war in Afghanistan. There is a reason why he sees the need to maintain drone strikes in Pakistan, even though innocent civilians have been hurt or killed.
            And there is a reason, though many civil libertarians have been outraged, that the Obama administration has targeted American citizens in foreign lands who are allegedly working with terrorists to kill Americans here at home.
            I have to believe, because this far I’ve seen little reason not to do so, that Barack Obama is operating in the best interest of the nation with some of the controversial things his administration has done. I believe so because unlike Ronald Reagan, or George H.W. Bush, or George W. Bush, Barack Obama, like Bill Clinton, is not tied to some good ole’ boy cabal that is using him to get Middle Eastern oil. He is very much the outsider, and always will be.
            That tells me Obama is doing what he feels is right, not what his so-called “friends” are telling him to do.
            Now am I comfortable with the IRS targeting political groups?
            No, certainly not (though a lot of those Tea Party groups are a phony as a four-dollar bill).
            And am I comfortable with the US Justice Dept. grabbing the phone records of the Associated Press in search of the leaker of sensitive information concerning an evolving bomb threat aboard an US bound international flight?
            No, but I understand why it happened, and wished Justice officials had gone to a judge to approve the grab.
            And finally, do I have a problem with the government targeting Fox News reporter James Rosen after he got a State Dept. official to sneak classified information out to him, NOT because it was important to reveal per the national interest, but solely because, according to court documents, Rosen simply wanted an exclusive to break with the on conservative news network to further bash the Obama Administration with?
            Actually, no I’m not, and here’s why. The guy who got the classified documents for Rosen has been charged for doing so. But Rosen, who was once the target of a criminal probe, is not.
            Let me ask you. If the average American citizen asked a State Dept. employee to smuggle classified information to him, that citizen would also be charged.
            If a foreign national asked a State Dept. employee to smuggle classified information to him or her, that foreigner would definitely be prosecuted, and many rightfully have.
            But if a reporter does the same thing, all the Washington press corps has to do is raise their voices, and he gets off scott-free? And before folks start bringing up the Pentagon papers and other instances of the press reporting based on government documents, remember the difference here. In those cases, the documents were already gotten, and just simply brought to the press.
            Rosen actually asked a government employee to get classified documents for him specifically. As a citizen and a reporter, I have a big problem with that, and I know many of my “esteemed” colleagues will not be pleased by that.
            As I’ve said before, while I understand that government can be overzealous in keeping secrets from the public, the press can be overzealous as well in wanting to reveal everything it can about what the government is up to.
            If something the government is doing is a clear violation of established law or policy, then I’m all for shining as much light on it as possible.
            But if no such tension exists, and revealing a government operation puts lives at risk, or compromises an on going need for secrecy to protect sources, then I’m not interested in reporting the information. I never want to hurt the innocent with my reporting.
            Rosen just wanted a big scoop for his jive time “news” network. Serving the “public good” was never a consideration on his part, and certainly not on the part of the clowns who run Fox News, and keep Hannity and O’Reilly in their cages.
            So while the president and Us Attorney General Eric Holder are catching much flak for the Rosen affair, I don’t have a problem with it given the facts that are known thus far.
            Well some will say, “You should stand up for James Rosen and Fox News’ First Amendment right as a news gathering organization.”
            Fox…a “news gathering organization”…really?
            I’ve never seen them EVER stand up for other news groups. In fact, they’ve done nothing but ATTACK other journalists they consider to be “liberal.” So please forgive me if, when Fox’s hands are caught in the cookie jar, I’m not leading the bandwagon in their defense.
            So Mr. President, keep your head up, and do what’s needed to keep us safe. And on behalf of all of us Americans who enjoy staying alive, thank you.
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.
 Zimmerman’s Attorney Seeks to Discredit Trayvon Martin

By George E. Curry
NNPA Editor-in-Chief
 WASHINGTON (NNPA) – After an effort this week to delay, George Zimmerman will on trial as scheduled June 10 for the second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin in Florida, and it is clear from court filings that part of the defense strategy involves depicting the 17-year-old dead Black youth as a troublemaker and pot head.
On Tuesday, a Florida Circuit Court judge denied Zimmerman’s defense motion to mention young Martin’s alleged drug usage, suspension from school, text messages or past fights during opening statements. But if the defense can show relevance during the course of the trial, Judge Debra Nelson said she might reconsider.
Judge Nelson has also denied a defense request to take jurors to the scene of the shooting.
Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty.
Martin, unarmed, was shot to death in Feb. 2012 by Zimmerman, a volunteer neighborhood watchman, in Sanford, Fla. Martin, a Miami native, was visiting the area in central Florida with his father at the time and was returning to a residence after walking to a nearby convenience store. Zimmerman, 29, has tried to portray Martin as the aggressor, despite ignoring instructions from a police dispatcher that he not follow the youth in the rain. He has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
Mark M. O’Mara, co-counsel for Zimmerman, filed a motion last Thursday seeking court sanctions against the State Attorney’s office for not turning over evidence that he said might help Zimmerman’s defense.
According to the motion, the State of Florida had ignored previous defense filings seeking any evidence that might reflect favorably on Zimmerman or negatively on Martin in preparation for going to trial.
In his petition, O’Mara said, “The State was fully aware at that time that there was information resident on Trayvon Martin’s cell phone, including pictures of Trayvon Martin in possession of at least one weapon, pictures of marijuana plants, pictures of Trayvon Martin smoking marijuana, pictures of marijuana blunts, and texts discussing, securing or purchasing firearms, and bragging about being involved in fights, etc.”
According to documents released by defense attorneys, prosecutors recovered a photo of an African American holding a Smith & Wesson handgun from Martin’s cell phone. It was not immediately clear whether the person holding the weapon was Martin. A second photo shows the handgun and a clip on top of a soiled mattress.
The defense is also seeking to introduce a photograph of Martin, dressed in a white undershirt, giving two extended middle finders to the camera.
In addition to other photos of marijuana, the defense also wanted to introduce certain text messages recovered from Trayvon Martin’s cell phone. Some of the texts are related to Martin being suspended from school for fighting and his mother’s decision to kick him out of the house.
“My mom just told me I gotta mov wit my dad,” said a message sent in Nov. 2011. “She just kicked me out:(.”
A text message from his father said, “Show them that you a good kid and you want positive things around you. Be a big brother and not a DONKEY…LOVE DAD.”
Prosecutors asked Circuit Judge Nelson to forbid the defense from introducing the texts. But O’Mara, Zimmerman’s lawyer, said: “If they had suggested that Trayvon is nonviolent and that George is the aggressor, I think that makes evidence of the fighting he has been involved with in the past relevant.”
Per Judge Nelson’s ruling, those text messages will not be referenced in the defense opening statements, but if they are proven relevant during the trial, te judge said she will reconsider their use.
Attorneys for Martin’s parents, who are divorced, said in a statement:  “Is the defense trying to prove Trayvon deserved to be killed by George Zimmerman because (of) the way he looked?” they said. “If so, this stereotypical and closed-minded thinking is the same mindset that caused George Zimmerman to get out of his car and pursue Trayvon, an unarmed kid who he didn’t know.”
After the judge’s rulings Tuesday, Martin’s parents were pleased, accusing Zimmerman of putting their dead son on trial.
NOTE – this story was updated by Cash Michaels
The Legacy of Freedom Symposium Complements Exhibit
                The exhibition Freedom Coming, Freedom for All, open through June 16 at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, will be complemented by The Legacy of Freedom Symposium on Friday and Saturday, May 31 and June 1. The free symposium examines President Abraham Lincoln’s reasons for issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, the resulting constitutional amendment that abolished slavery, and the overall impact of the change on legal and academic communities.
            The symposium will include a guest speaker, panel discussions, freedom songs, and historical re-enactments, followed by Q&A sessions. Symposium hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 31 and 9 a.m. to noon on June 1. To register for the symposium, visit www.ncfmp.org.
            The Legacy of Freedom Symposium is sponsored by the North Carolina Freedom Monument Park and the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
May 31 Symposium Highlights       
Friday’s lineup includes a keynote address by United States Congressman G.K. Butterfield, two panel discussions and a dramatization. 
Congressman Butterfield of Wilson had a 30-year legal career as a civil rights attorney, a North Carolina Superior Court Judge and North Carolina Supreme Court Justice before he was elected to represent North Carolina’s First Congressional District on July 24, 2004. 
A panel discussion will center on implications of the Emancipation Proclamation on the nation, “free people of color,” enslaved individuals and American Indians. Panel participants are scholars Dr. Jeffrey Crow, Dr. Valerie Johnson and Dr. Freddie Parker. 
 Another panel discussion, The Process of Freedom, will focus on the long, arduous road for the fight for freedom and its complications during the 20th century. Participating scholars are Dr. Reginald Hildebrand, Dr. Karl Campbell, Dr. David Dennard and Dr. Blair Kelley.
June 1 Symposium Highlights
Saturday’s program opens with choruses of freedom songs.
A panel discussion titled Human Rights and the Constitution will be moderated by attorney and North Carolina Central University professor Irving Joyner. Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley, North Carolina Superior Court Judge Milton F. “Toby” Fitch, and retired North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Willis Whichard will discuss how the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment led to freedom and the process of securing constitutional rights for all.
            The exhibit Freedom Coming, Freedom for All is presented by the North Carolina Freedom Monument Park and the North Carolina Museum of History. The exhibit features the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which is on loan from the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
            Major sponsors of the exhibit are PNC; North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina; North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company; Mechanics and Farmers Bank; News & Observer; Radio One; Spectacular Magazine; and Epiphany Public Relations of N.C., LLC. Additional  support is provided by National Archives; North Carolina Department of Resources; North Carolina African American Heritage Commission; State Archives of North Carolina.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013




By Cash Michaels

            In a shocking report released just last week, despite clear signs that North Carolina is in an economic recovery, African-American unemployment in the Tar Heel state was 17.3 percent – one in six black workers - during the fourth quarter of 2012.
            Overall during that same period, the state’s rate was 9.2 percent (compared to 7.8 percent nationally).
The bad news doesn’t stop there. According to the Economic Policy Institute report, “Unemployment Rates Are Projected to Remain High for Whites, Latinos and African-Americans,” not only is the NC black jobless rate a full 3.3 percentage points worse that the estimated national black unemployment rate of 14.0, but it also gives the Tar Heel state the fourth highest rate of African-American joblessness among the top 24 states with significant black populations in the nation.
            Only Michigan (18.7%), New Jersey and Illinois have greater, though not by much. Louisiana, at 9.5 percent, had the lowest.
            Interestingly, black unemployment hovered between 17 to 20 percent between the first quarter of 2010 through the first quarter of 2012, hitting a high of 20.1 percent in the third quarter of 2011.
            But the news gets even worse. In North Carolina, white unemployment during that same period stood at 6.7 percent 9in the fourth quarter of 2009, it was a high 9.5 percent). Because blacks and Hispanics are most likely to live in impoverished areas of the state, their unemployment rates are expected to be high.
            But researchers say even there, there is a huge discrepancy. While blacks without work in North Carolina register at 17.3 percent, Hispanic unemployment is only slightly larger than white joblessness.
            The Latino unemployment rate in North Carolina stands only at 7.4 percent, almost a full 10 points less.
            “African-American families [in North Carolina] continue to bear the brunt of that pain,” write Mary Gable and Douglas Hall in the Economic Policy Institute report. They maintain that the racial jobless disparity has maintained since the “Great Recession” that hit the nation starting in 2007, and continued on for the next five years.
            The black rate has been two-and-a-half times that of whites in the state for at least the last three years, the report continues.
            So why is this happening?
            The Economic Policy Report states that federal and state budget cuts have disproportionately impacted black and Hispanic families in the state. Many African-Americans, over-represented in state, county and city public-sector employment, lost those jobs during the recession when government began cutting back.
            That one factor has apparently affected blacks more than Latinos, who were not as prominent working in the public sector.
            Add to that that blacks and Hispanics are most likely to live in areas of North Carolina where industry is in the decline, like the east where poverty is near 20 percent, if not more, and the case for high unemployment begins to stack up.
            North Carolina has had the second highest loss of manufacturing jobs since 1995, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
            Allan Freyer, public policy analyst for the NC Budget and Tax Center in Raleigh, says the NC General Assembly is making the dire unemployment situation for African –Americans worse by cutting off funding to nonprofit economic development groups that help create jobs in black and rural communities.
            State Rep. Garland Pierce [D-Hoke], chairman of the NC Legislative Black Caucus, agrees.
            Earlier this week, the NC Senate released its 2014-2015 proposed budget plan,” Rep. Pierce said at a press conference Wednesday. “Components of the budget eliminated funding for organizations including the Community Development Initiative, the Institute for Minority Economic Development and Land Loss Prevention. Now is not the time to eliminate funding for programs that are providing resources for job creation in our state’s most economically distressed communities.”


            [WILMINGTON] By  3-2 vote, New Hanover County Commissioners this week , using a rare and obscure state law, ousted fellow commission board member Brian Berger. Berger had reportedly been displaying erratic behavior that some commissioners felt threatened the safety of county employees. In March, Berger aggressively approached Gov. Pat McCrory, wanting him to read some documents. Commissioner Jonathan Barfield voted against outing his colleague, suggesting that it would have been fairer to put a public referendum on the November for him to be voted off by the citizens. Barfield said the people of his community helped to elect Berger, and they should be the ones given the choice to take him off.

            [RALEIGH] The NC Senate has released its tax reform plan, and as expected, it lowers the personal and corporate income tax, while extending the sales tax to food, medicine, and other products and services not currently being taxed. The state House has also released its proposed tax reform package for the upcoming budget year, and it also extends the sales tax. But unlike the Senate version, it limits the tax to services associated to items that are already taxed, like delivery of major appliances. Gov. McCrory says he isn’t ready with his tax reform ideas, but is in consultation with both Houses on what they’ve put forth.

            [CHARLOTTE] The Charlotte Bobcats are one of the worst teams in NBA basketball, if not in all of professional sports. But some people think changing the team’s name might change things. One of those people is owner Michael Jordan, who announced on Tuesday that he has submitted an application to the National Basketball Association to “bring the buzz back,” and hange the name back to the Charlotte Hornets, the moniker it had before the original Hornets moved to New Orleans. Now that the New Orleans Hornets are changing their name to the Pelicans (apparently their owners feel a dramatic name change is in order as well), Jordan says the way is clear. If approved by the NBA, the Bobcats will officially become the Hornets in the 2014-2015 season.


             To the dismay of the Republican minority, three career educators are finalists to become the next superintendent of Wake County Public schools. Supt. Dana Bedden of the Irving, Texas Independent School District; Deputy Supt. Ann Clark of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools; and Supt. James Merrill of Virginia Beach, Va. City Schools. All three will participate at a public forum next Tuesday, with the full board possibly voting the next day. Chairman Keith Sutton says all three are outstanding, and could easily fill the spot. Interim Supt. Stephen Gainey is scheduled to leave Wake Schools at the end of July. Republican board member John Tedesco said he prefers a candidate with more business experience than educational experience. Tedesco was a big supporter of Tony Tata, the retired US Army General who had scant educational experience, and was fired after only 18 months because of numerous system snafus, and personal attacks on board members.

            In an effort to stave off the catastrophe with school bus scheduling which occurred under former Supt. Tony Tata, Wake County Public Schools will hire 104 more school bus drivers for the fall to ensure that all bus routes are adequately covered. Last September, thousands of parents were angered by school buses that either showed up dramatically late, or not at all in some instances. Wake has 848 full-time bus drivers to cover 920 buses. The extra hires will ensure that any absences are adequately covered.

            The parents of seven Enloe High School students arrested by Raleigh Police last week and put on suspension for allegedly taking part in a water balloon fight, want their children allowed to return to class immediately. At a press conference Tuesday night sponsored by the Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African-American Children, the parents say their children are losing valuable class and preparation time for end-of-year testing. CCCAAC Pres. Calla Wright sent emails to school board members requesting a meeting to discuss the issue. At press time, no meeting had been set. A school system spokesperson says the students were suspended for ignoring a warning not to engage in disruption, and were arrested for allegedly causing the disruption.


FIRST OKLAHOMA TORNADO VICTIM - Published reports say 9-year-old Ja'Nae Hornsby, a third grader at Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, OK, was one of the first victims when a deadly tornado, packing winds of 200 mph, smashed through Moore on Monday, killing at least 24, and injuring hundreds. Ja'Nae's family remembered her as "always happy, always smiling." President Obama has promised that the federal government will do whatever is necessary to rebuild Moore. [file photos]

By Cash Michaels

            MEMORIAL DAY – Let us not forget those who gave their lives for this country, not just on the battlefields of foreign lands, but right here on our soil, during the civil rights movement, to ensure that all of us would be free and treated equally.
            Let us remember them all this weekend.
TRAGEDY IN OKLAHOMA – Certainly our hearts and prayers go out to all of the victims and their families of Moore, Oklahoma in the wake of Monday’s deadly monster tornado, which, as of press time, claimed at least 24 lives, and injured over 200 others.
            According to published reports, at least nine of the dead were children, many of whom were trapped in their elementary school as the storm, with 200 mph winds, smashed through buildings like toothpicks, leaving a stunning path of destruction and misery.
            It is never easy to see the innocent suffer so terribly. By all accounts, the good people of Moore, OK are just like folks here in North Carolina, or anywhere. Decent, hardworking, love and care for their families, church going, community minded. I’ve seen online some cynics write how could GOD allow something like this to happen, and then they proceed to bash Him.
            That’s dumb. They never stop to think that the Bible is replete with disasters that have served as lessons for all of us to learn from. Some of us just refuse to pay attention to the lesson.
            And these cynics also ignore the many, many miracles where GOD has saved and spared lives against all odds. Rarely do you hear these loudmouths say a word about that, or if they do, they’re quick to credit something or someone else.
            The bottomline is as Americans, we almost demand to learn our most valuable lessons the hard way, so there are times in which GOD grants us our wish in spades.
            There has been a lot of tragedy of late. Bombings, shootings, and natural disasters. You would think we would learn by now.
            Perhaps GOD is trying to tell us in the most dramatic way we’d pay attention to in this day and age (any day an age really). It’s apparent, after Hurricane Sandy, the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary, and now the monster tornado in Moore, OK, that we’re not listening.
            For instance, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, a Republican, has historically been opposed to voting for disaster relief when tragedy strikes other states. Now that disaster has once again struck Oklahoma, you’d think Coburn would want to make sure that the good people of his state get as much relief as soon as possible.
            You’d be wrong.
            Sen. Coburn don’t want a dime of disaster relief for his state unless it is offset by cuts in the federal budget elsewhere. So if the feds come up with $1 billion for Oklahoma, for example, Coburn wants a bil cut from some program(s) before his folks get it.
            Conservatives pride themselves on being “sensible” and “practical,” and are probably lauding Coburn as being a “good steward” of the public’s tax dollars.
            I call Coburn “coldblooded.” When people are in need, you deal with the emergency at hand, and sort out the details later. Of course you watch what you spend, which is why we have Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials in charge, but you don’t let political philosophy get in the way of helping people in dire need.
            So I hope and pray that Sen. Coburn is never in direct need of assistance. I’d hate to have him fall victim to the kind of coldblooded Neanderthal thinking he’s displaying right now.
            And then there’s Kevin Durant of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder. Durant has been a resident of Oklahoma for five years, and has fallen in love with the state and its people. It broke his heart to see the destruction. So not only is he back in OK visiting hospitals and doing what he can, but Durant, through his foundation, has donated $1 million to the relief cause, and has challenged other big pocket folks to match it – all to help the victims of the tornado and their families.
            I’ll take a Kevin Durant over a Sen. Tom Coburn any day.
            But in the meantime, please give to the American Red Cross for Oklahoma online at http://www.redcross.org/ok/oklahoma-city.
            And pray, for Lord knows we get our share of natural disasters in North Carolina as well.
THE GOVERNMENT AND THE PRESS – I’m going to take this on at length next week, because while I agree that government intrusion into freedom of the press is a serious issue given all that we’ve been hearing of late about what the Obama Administration has been doing to the Associated Press and Fox News, there is also a strong argument that can be made about protecting national security at all costs.
I’ll get into that at length next week.
I DON’T CARE ABOUT JAY-Z AND BEYONCE’ – I realize that they are the king and queen of popular music right now, and literally everyday there something in the press about Beyonce is pregnant again this, and Jay-Z denies it that, and the two had no business in Cuba this, and on and on and on.
            But I’ll be brutally frank with you…I DON”T GIVE A ^%E%^E!
            I don’t. Beyonce is a beautiful woman, and a very talented one at that, no question. But I don’t particularly like her music (Ok, “Single Ladies” was cool, but that’s it).
            And as for her hubby, Jay-Z, yes, I have to hand it to him for being a sharp business mogul, with one foot in the rap music world, and the other in high finance. But that doesn’t mean I need to know what the brother is up to 24/7.
            Now, is my ranting and raving going to make a difference about how much these two show up from now on? Of course not. But I did want to be on record registering my rant and rave, so that when you all finally get tired of seeing them, I can honestly say, “Hey, I was first!”
            And the beat goes on…
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.

AGAINST TURNING THE CLOCK BACK - As one of hundreds of protesters holds a sign behind him, Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the NC NAACP, prays with the people before going into the NC Legislative Building Monday evening. Rev. Barber, and 56 others were arrested and taken to jail, the four Monday in row they've done so. [PHOTO COURTESY OF DIMILMEDIA]

By Cynthia Gordy
Special to The Carolinian from the Advancement Project

More than 600 supporters gathered outside the North Carolina General Assembly on Monday, cheering on 57 individuals who engaged in civil disobedience during recurring statewide “Moral Monday” protests as a part of what is being called the Forward Together Movement. Organized by the North Carolina NAACP, this week’s action led to the arrest and jailing of college professors, students, ministers, anti-death penalty advocates, a member of the Board of Education for Durham Public Schools and a 92-year-old woman. They joined a group of more than 100 other North Carolina residents who had already been arrested and jailed in three previous protests.

“This leadership wants to make our state a place of deeper stratification and inequality – and it’s not accidental or na├»ve; it’s premeditated,” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President of the NC NAACP. “Here in North Carolina we are seeing a fast march backwards toward as much unequal treatment as people will allow. We are here to say we will not allow it, and we will not go back.”

As Barber pointed out, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis is a national board member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative organization that drafts model legislation for state lawmakers to copy and spread nationwide, while Governor Pat McCrory is advised on state budget issues by conservative businessman Art Pope. Among an avalanche of other measures, the Governor and General Assembly have passed and introduced bills this session to:

·      Reject federal funding to expand Medicaid to cover 500,000 North Carolinians without health insurance
·      Slash state unemployment benefits and rejected federally-funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation to 170,000 laid-off workers 
·      Take away the right to vote from people with felony convictions after they have completed their sentences
·      Restart the death penalty in North Carolina and repeal the nationally renowned Racial Justice Act
·      Cut funding from public education to provide vouchers for private schools
·      Raise taxes on 900,000 poor and working people while cutting taxes for 23 millionaires
·      Cut personal and corporate income tax while raising taxes on groceries, prescription drugs and many services that would disproportionally hurt poor people

“You have to always be careful when there are economic hardships because there are people who will play on the fears of regular folks in order to pass extremist legislation – and always the most marginal will be at risk,” said Rev. Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, associate minister of St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church in Durham. He got arrested on Monday to protest the legislature’s dismantling of the Racial Justice Act of 2009, which allowed death row inmates to appeal their sentences on the grounds of racial bias in the court system.

“I’m here to represent the 27 percent of children in Durham who are now living in poverty,” said Leigh Bordley, a member of the Board of Education for Durham Public Schools, who got arrested to speak out against a bill that would provide vouchers for private schools. “I want to ask members of the General Assembly, ‘What path do these children have if they continue to take resources away from these children and give them to private corporations?’”