Tuesday, May 7, 2013






            A Raleigh couple has been charged with feloniously abusing their four-year-old child by tying her to a baby gate with zip ties at their home. Gerald Swinehart, 26, and Marlaine Coffey, 26, of S. East Street, had to be extradited from Florida. They fled in March when the child was taken from their custody by child protective services. Coffey had taken the child to Duke Hospital with suspicious injuries, which included the father allegedly kicking the child, which prompted a probe. Swinehart, who was released from prison in 2010, is in the Wake County jail in lieu of $100,000 bond, while Coffey is under $50,000 bond.

            In a rare unanimous vote Tuesday, the Wake School Board passed a $1.3 billion proposed budget for the upcoming 2013 -14 school year. If the Wake County Commission Board approves of the school board’s $327 million requested funding, then that would be an increase of $8.3 million over last year. There are no layoffs, and the cost of a new high school in Rolesville, and an estimated 3,000 more students is covered. The proposed budget must be submitted to the wake county Board by May 15th for approval.

            Shaw University has signed a strategic alliance memorandum (SAM) with the US Small Business Administration today, signifying, “…a joint effort by the University and SBA to promote small business through education and community outreach. The signed SAM will allow both entities to work closer together to ensure small minority business interests are adequately addressed in the area. Shaw Pres. Dorothy Yancy said, “The SAM agreement is a tremendous opportunity for Shaw students to learn more about entrepreneurship and to one day develop their own businesses that will contribute to the nation’s economy.”


            [GREENSBORO] Rosalind Fuse-Hall, former an executive assistant at North Carolina Central University and currently an interim executive director at Florida A&M University, has been selected as the new president-elect at Bennett College for Women in Greensboro. She succeeds interim President Esther Terry, who took over last year after the departure of Julianne Malveaux. Fuse-Hall has 25 years of experience in higher education, and once served as associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC Chapel Hill. A public reception for Fuse-Hall is in the planning.

            [FAYETTEVILLE] Five-year-old Shaniya Davis was sexually assaulted, and then suffocated to death, testified the medical examiner Wednesday during the trial of Mario McNeil, the drug dealer charged with kidnapping, raping and then murdering the little girl in November 2009. The child’s body was found along NC Hwy 87 on the Lee-Harnett county line six days after the child’s mother allegedly sold Shaniya to McNeil to settle a drug debt. McNeil reportedly led investigators to the body in the brush, falsely believing they would take the death penalty off the table at trial. McNeil was seen on video at a motel getting into an elevator holding the child before she died.

            [RALEIGH] Gov. Pat McCrory wants the state personnel laws changed so that bad state employees can be terminated faster from their jobs. “We're looking at …the state personnel act and legislation that would give us more flexibilities, including new (ways) to help promote and give incentives to employees who are doing good jobs and at the same time deal with employees who aren't doing good jobs,"McCrory said at the end of the Council of State meeting Tuesday. A Senate bill is already being considered to update the 60 year-old law, and another measure is expected to move through the state House. The State Employees Association of North Carolina calls moves to change the law “risky.”

"WHY WE FIGHT!" - As a young protester holds up a placard, Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the NC NAACP points out the various issues the civil rights group is fighting for that they say are at risk with the Republican-led NC General Assembly. Rev. Barber told an audience at Martin Street Baptist Church Tuesday that more civil disobedience at the NC General Assembly is coming. Thirty protesters were arrested Monday. [Cash Michaels Photo]

By Cash Michaels

            In the aftermath of their second nonviolent protest at the NC General Assembly Monday night, which resulted in nearly 30 arrests, the NCNAACP has announced not only that it will continue to demonstrate against “repressive” Republican policies inside the Legislative Building every Monday evening to come, but will also travel to the home districts of at least 20 Republican state lawmakers, registering people to vote, and pointing out how the GOP is hurting the state.
            Some of the counties scheduled include New Hanover, Mecklenburg and Wake.
            Meanwhile, in a letter to the media, the leader of a Tea Party funded group accused the NCNAACP of carrying out “a political bomb threat” with their peaceful demonstrations, adding that they could lead to “riots.”
             Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the NCNAACP, told approximately 200 supporters at Martin Street Baptist Church in Raleigh Tuesday evening that they will continue to fight against what he called “repressive” laws and policies coming out of the Republican-led NC General Assembly.
Rev. Barber said the Bible instructs Christians, “…to correct the king when the king forgets his place,” thus, the reason why demonstrators, who also have a constitutional right to do so, have held Republican state lawmakers and the governor accountable for their policies.
Those GOP policies have included cutting unemployment benefits, not extending Medicaid to 500,000 people, and establishing voting restrictions for the purpose of suppressing African-American and youth votes.
Just this week, the state House passed a measure which would allow firearms on college campuses and in bars, something that the president of the UNC System and business owners begged Republican lawmakers not to do. The House also passed new income restrictions on the families of pre-kindergarten children in an effort to cut down on the number served.
Barber said the GOP policies are hurting the poor, the unemployed, the afflicted and the children of the state.
Rev. Barber also blasted the GOP leadership for meeting with right-wing lobbyists in private, but refusing to meet with the NCNAACP or the people negatively impacted by their policies in public.
“When they meet with [conservative financier] Art Pope but refuse to meet with the people of North Carolina, they’re violating the Constitution,” Barber said to applause. “We have a right to instruct, and this General Assembly needs instruction.”
Rev. Barber also blasted conservative ministers, some of them black, for loudly criticizing personal sexual morality like same-sex marriage, but saying precious little when it comes to social injustice which hurts the poor and downtrodden.
“In the face of 30,000 poor children losing their pre-school, where is your voice now?” Rev. Barber said, calling it “hypocrisy.”
Barber said the NCNAACP will announce every Friday what they’re going to be doing in terms of civil disobedience the following Monday, in an effort to draw more support, and put increasing pressure on legislative leaders.
He promised, “We will challenge them in court, and we’re going to organized.”
During the last week in May and first week in June, Rev. Barber said supporters will be taking a bus tour across the state to visit the district “where some of the people who’ve written some of this regressive legislation live.
The list includes New Hanover, Onslow, Craven, Pasquotank, Nash, Pitt, Beaufort, Wilson, Wake, Cumberland, Moore, Robeson, Alamance, Forsyth, Union, Cleveland, Mecklenburg, Buncombe, Catawba, Vance, Sampson, Wayne and Lenoir counties.
“We’re going with the truth, and we’re going to educate the voters, giving them the tools so that they know how to instruct the General Assembly, we’re going to register folks to vote, we’re going to make folks upset, we’re going to let them know that they cannot sit down at this moment, they have to stand up,” declared Rev. Barber.
The multi-racial, cross-generational coalition that the NCNAACP is leading is building week-by-week, and gaining national attention.
            On April 29th, approximately 50 people, including several ministers from across the state, engaged in peaceful civil disobedience at the Legislature. Seventeen of them were arrested and taken to the Wake County jail. Two days later, five students from North Carolina State University were also arrested after engaging in a similar protest.
            Last Monday, approximately 80 people, including several college professors and five elderly women known as “Raging Grannies” sang songs and prayed in front of the state Senate Chambers as Capitol police warned them to desist and leave the building. When the group refused, 27 of them, including Rev. Barber, his 20 year-old son, William Barber III, and Rev. Kojo Nantambu, president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg NAACP, were arrested and taken to the Wake County jail.
            Earlier in the day, Dallas Woodhouse, the state director of the NC Americans for Prosperity, issued a letter to the media asking them not to cover the NCNAACP Monday demonstration after the civil rights group alerted its followers as to the place and time.
            Let’s be clear,” Woodhouse wrote, “The NAACP has sent a mass communications message encouraging law-breaking. By definition, sending out mass communications, encouraging law breaking, could result in many things including violence. Do they know that everyone they have encouraged to break the law, will stop at “civil disobedience”?
            The NAACP is encouraging political bomb threats,” Woodhouse continued in his missive to the media. “Are you going to cover them without noting the purposeful pre-planning and mass call for law-breaking?”
            “It is not my job to tell you how to cover news events,” Woodhouse continued. “I would urge you in the name of safety to stop glorifying these events, as it is unwise to treat organized law-breaking, as spontaneous events when they are not.”
            Woodhouse had also accused the NCNAACP of a “political bomb threat” on Twitter to a Democratic consultant. Sources say she took his tweet to the Raleigh police, and they warned Woodhouse of using language in public that could trigger a Homeland Security probe.
            Rev. Barber said Woodhouse’s letter to the media was just an attempt to get media attention, and a sign that he’s afraid the NCNAACP’s message is getting through.
            “Because we’re right…,” Rev. Barber declared, “… we will not turn back.”

By Cash Michaels

            HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY – It’s that time of year again when we begin to honor the two most important people in our lives – our parents. Without them, not only would we not be here, but we wouldn’t be who we are.
            And it is only fitting that Mother’s Day come first this Sunday. The incredible strength and dignity it takes to bring a life into this world, and then to love, teach and nurture it, is beyond description. Our mothers always have, and always will be our best friends in life.
            I know mine was before she passed in January 2009. I may not have understood fully what she was doing or why she was doing it while I was a young man growing up in the bad section of Brooklyn, NY, but by the time I became a husband and father myself late in life, I came to appreciate her more and more.
            Today, I’m fortunate enough to have a wife, Markita, who is also a fantastic mother to my youngest daughter KaLa, and stepmom to my oldest, Tiffany.
            So Happy Mother’s Day this weekend to you and your family. Give her her day of thanks and love for an impossible job well done.
HAPPY GRADUATION – College graduations have already begun in the state, with more coming this weekend. So we just want to congratulate all of our community’s college graduates, and wish you super well in your futures. It is tough out here in the real world, but keep you head up, and move forward with prayer, and a plan.
You’ll get there.
`“IRON MAN 3” – Make no mistake, after “The Avengers” last year, “Iron Man 3” was going to make crazy money no matter how bad the script was. And it has.
Even before the film, starring Robert Downey Jr once again as the irrepressible millionaire industrialist Tony Stark, premiered last weekend in North America to the tune of a $175 million – the second best weekend opening in movie history (“The Avengers” hold that top spot) – everyone was waiting with baited breath to see it.
So its success was never in doubt.
The question was, “What would it do with its success?”
The answer, RUIN IT!
Oh yes, “IM3” has extraordinary special effects, is funny as all get out in many scenes, and of course, has the extra added attraction of having the most charismatic movie star on the planet, Robert Downey Jr., in the lead role.
But NONE of that is any excuse for producing a film whose story has the right idea, but horribly the wrong execution.
Now I’ll admit that I’m a stickler for good stories and good storytelling. All the charm, comedy and special effects in the world mean nothing to me if you have your characters doing and saying things that add up to complete nonsense.
And if your story is badly paced, and unfolds in a way that, quite frankly, insults my intelligence.
That’s why “The Avengers,” written and directed by Joss Whedon, was so great, and today is considered the standard of superhero movies. It did the exact opposite of “IM3” and gave folks their money’s worth.
“IM3,” despite all of its attributes, still finds a way to cheat its audience.
Technically, the film is a followup to what happened to Stark/Iron Man after “The Avengers,” and how the experience of fighting celestial aliens and his near death affected him.
Cool, I get that. Good premise.
But the film starts in 1999, when a pre-Iron Man Tony Stark is hanging out with a female scientist, and tells some kooky guy with long hair named Aldrich Killian, who believes he’s made a great scientific discovery, to effectively “get lost” by going up to the roof and waiting for him there.
Apparently the brush off so emotionally crippled Killian that he spends the next 13 years perfecting his experiment, and plotting to get back at Stark.
So we spend a better part of the opening on this mess, and thus, no Iron Man for a while.
We finally get to the present day to see what Stark is going through emotionally, his anxiety attacks, his tension with his lady love Pepper Potts (played by remote-control now by Gwyneth Paltrow), his new and improved ability to control his IM suit with just a thought, and the army of Iron Man robots he’s created so that he can now sit back, and relax while his many IM suits can do the fighting and rescuing for him.
Meanwhile, a terrorist named “The Mandarin” (ably played by Oscar-winning actor Sir Ben Kingsley) is making trouble, setting off explosive people (bomb people, if you prefer) around the globe. One of those bomb people nearly kills Stark’s right-hand man, Happy Hogan. So now Stark gets huffy, goes on TV, tells the Mandarin “You’re dead, pal,” and then tells the Mandarin via news media WHERE HE LIVES AND TO COME GET HIM!
This would be cool if Tony Stark’s girlfriend, Pepper Potts, DIDN’T LIVE AT THE SAME ADDRESS, FOR GOODNESS SAKES!
So when the Mandarin’s helicopters show up, and blow Stark’s cliffside mansion to smithereens (great special effects, by the way), you have to ask yourself, “Is the rest of the script this dumb?”
Yes, and I won’t go any further with details.
On a scale of ten, I give “Iron Man 3” six-and-a-half Cash Apples. The only reason why I don’t give it just a flat five is because most of the film was made here in Wilmington and North Carolina, created lots of jobs and opportunities, and is a boon to our state’s film industry…you know the film industry the Republicans in the NC General Assembly are about to destroy with a bill to end tax credits to the movie and television industry.
But otherwise, I see “IM3” as a wasted opportunity in the Iron Man/Avenger series. To be fair, “Iron Man 2” was interesting, but also suffered from weak storytelling.
The blame for “IM3,” in my opinion, goes to writer/director Shane Black. This is the guy who created the characters in the popular “Lethal Weapon” series starring Danny Glover and Mel Gibson as LAPD detectives Murtaugh and Riggs. With “Lethal Weapon,” you could get away with a lot of disjointed storytelling because the characters were so compelling and entertaining, half the time you really didn’t care what the story was.
But you can’t get away with that with science fiction, Shane Black, and certainly not with Iron Man.
Will Robert Downey Jr. do “IM4?” No question. The money is too tempting, and he can’t make it doing anything else (forget Sherlock Holmes, Robert).
But will we continue to get the poor quality of storytelling? It’s possible, and also probable.
Joss Whedon is now finishing the script to “The Avengers 2,” and that’s due in 2015.
I pray that will be worth the wait!
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.

CLEVELAND HERO - Cleveland resident Charles Ramsey tells a local reporter how he came upon a one of the three missing women who were kidnapped a decade ago, pleading for him to free from the house where they had been held captive. The woman, Amanda Berry, called police, and soon all of the women, and a child, were freed, and three suspects arrested. Ramsey is being hailed as a hero for helping Berry. [File photo]

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