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?’”

No comments:

Post a Comment