Monday, June 24, 2013




By Cash Michaels

            With the state Senate now poised to pass voter ID legislation into law next week, and a court case challenging what critics say was a racially-gerrymandered redistricting map drawn by Republicans ongoing, Tuesday’s 5-4 US Supreme Court decision crippling the 1965 Voting Rights Act was considered yet another blow to civil rights by many North Carolina and national figures.
            “[Tuesday’s] decision by the United States Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder delivered a devastating setback for civil rights in America,” said Stacie Rouster, spokesperson for The Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonpartisan legal group which fights racial discrimination. “The Court ruled that the coverage formula in Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional for purposes of identifying the jurisdictions that must submit voting changes for federal review (preclearance) before they can be implemented.”
Royster continued, “The Court did not find the Section 5 preclearance requirement itself unconstitutional, but the ruling appears to bring federal review of voting changes under Section 5 to a halt until Congress enacts a new coverage formula.”
Politically, most observers agree, getting the current divided Congress – with a Republican-controlled House and Democrat-led Senate – to even agree what must be done to meet the High Court’s ruling would be impossible. As far as the GOP, which has been pushing voter ID laws in over 30 states (including North Carolina) is concerned, the US Supreme Court is a gift, allowing new voter restrictions and racially gerrymandered restricting lines to stand with little worry over US Justice Dept. challenge.
State Sen. Tom Apadoca [R- Henderson] told reporters Tuesday it was the green light  the NC Senate had been waiting for. Beyond voter ID, Republicans want to shorten the early voting period, end same-day registration, end “Souls to the Polls” Sunday voting for African-Americans, and penalize parents whose college-age children vote at their schools instead of at home.
"I guess we're safe in saying this decision was what we were expecting," Sen. Apodaca told reporters.
Both President Obama and US Attorney General Eric Holder expressed “deep disappointment,” and challenged Congress to immediately address the High Court’s concerns.
            “I am outraged with the Supreme Court’s decision to declare as unconstitutional Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act,” NC Congressman G. K. Butterfield [D-1-NC] said in a statement.  “The decision will lead to less protection for minority voters in covered jurisdictions.”
            “It is an absurd remedy for the Supreme Court to expect Congress to redefine the coverage formula to prevent discriminatory voting changes,” Butterfield continued.  “The Republican House majority has shown its disdain for civil rights laws.  It is unreasonable to believe Congress will act in good faith and in the spirit of the Court’s decision.  And so, the result of this decision will be a complete gutting of Section 5 which will embolden state efforts to enact discriminatory laws and procedures.”
            Rep. Butterfield concluded, “The Court should have implemented an interim formula that could be used until Congress enacts a formula that is constitutional and protects minority communities from vote dilution.”
            Congressman Butterfield’s North Carolina colleague, Rep. Met Watt [D-12-NC] of Charlotte, was equally outraged.
            “My colleagues on the Judiciary Committee and I helped build a voluminous legislative record of over 15,000 pages that we believe more than justified reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and extension of the preclearance requirements of Section 5 of the VRA,” Watt said in statement Tuesday. “Today, the activist majority on the Supreme Court has taken the unprecedented step of taking over a uniquely legislative function in disregard of the extensive work of the legislative branch and substituting their own judgment for that of elected representatives.  The decision overturning Section 4 of the VRA leaves millions of Americans vulnerable to discrimination in the most fundamental right of citizenship—the right to vote.  I am deeply disappointed by the result they have reached and its impact on minority voters as well as the precedent they have set for disregarding the factual and political judgment of elected Members of Congress.”
            Randy Voller, chairman of the NC Democratic Party, agreed.
            “This is a sad decision for those who have fought so hard and sacrificed so much to ensure all Americans, regardless of race, have free and fair access to the ballot box,” Voller said, “The Court’s decision to send this critical component of the VRA to a Congress muddled in gridlock due to Republican extremism is an affront to voting rights in this country.  Democrats will continue to oppose political efforts that erode the right to vote from Republican leadership in the General Assembly and in the halls of Congress.”
            Benjamin Jealous, president/CEO of the national NAACP, also chimed in.
            The Supreme Court just aided and abetted those who seek to suppress our right to vote,” Jealous said in a statement.
“The Supreme Court's decision is extreme, and simply unconscionable. At least 31 states are considering laws to make it harder to vote by restricting early voting periods, enacting harsh voter ID laws, and instituting the modern day equivalent of poll taxes.”
            Jealous continued, “The target for these discriminatory laws is clear: communities of color, and young, women, elderly, and disabled voters. The extremists responsible for these laws probably think today's ruling is a big win. They are smiling ear to ear as they read the Supreme Court's decision.”

By Cash Michaels

            North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act – a unique law which allowed those on death row to challenge racial bias in their sentencing - is now officially dead.
            Gov. Pat McCrory quietly signed the repeal of the measure, recently passed by the Republican-led NC General Assembly, last week.
            "Nearly every person on death row, regardless of race, has appealed their death sentence under the Racial Justice Act," McCrory, a Republican, said in a statement. "The state's district attorneys are nearly unanimous in their bipartisan conclusion that the Racial Justice Act created a judicial loophole to avoid the death penalty and not a path to justice."
But by signing the repeal, the governor may have opened a legal can of worms which some experts say could keep the issue in the courts for some time.
Passed in 2009 and signed into law by then Gov. Beverly Perdue, a Democrat, the Racial Justice Act, one of only two laws of its kind in the nation, allowed judges to change death sentences to life-in-prison-without-parole if evidence of prosecutorial racial bias was determined.
The law, which was later gutted by the Republican-led NC General Assembly in 2011, was bolstered by a study from the University of Michigan which proved that statistically racial bias indeed played a role in North Carolina’s capital punishment cases over several years.
District attorneys across the state disputed the findings, denying that blacks were more likely to get the death penalty if they killed whites, even at least one UNC study showed exactly that.
In addition, at least four death row inmates have been released from prison after DNA evidence proved their innocence. Supporters say they were convicted because they were black, and if it wasn’t for conclusive DNA evidence, they would have been wrongly executed.
None of that mattered, however, when Republicans took complete control of the Legislature and the Governor’s Office in 2012, and it wasn’t long before the Racial Justice Act was targeted for repeal.
            Senate Bill 306, sponsored by state Sen. Thom Goolsby [R-New Hanover] and passed by the General Assembly before Gov. McCrory signed it into law, not only repeals the Racial Justice Act, but effectively restarts the death penalty in North Carolina for 152 inmates on death row. Executions had been placed on a de facto moratorium since 2006 because of legal issues over the role of medical personnel who assisted in the needle injections.
            But Section 5(d) of the law speaks directly to the Racial Justice Act, stating, “…this section is retroactive and applies to any motion for appropriate relief filed pursuant to Article 101 of Chapter 15A of the General Statutes (the Racial Justice Act) prior to the effective date of this act. All motions filed pursuant to the Article 101 of Chapter 15A prior to the effective date of this act are void.”
            In effect, any pending cases before a North Carolina under the Racial Justice Act are supposed to be vacated. 
            In Cumberland County, a Superior Court judge last year reduced the death sentences of four black convicted murderers under the Racial Justice Act to life in prison after it was determined that prosecutors deliberately attempted to keep blacks off of the juries, and made negative references about African-Americans in their notes.
            Under the repeal, even though the state Supreme Court is supposed to review those cases, they are now legally considered void. In fact, all 153 convicts on death row – 53% of which are black - have filed claims under the Racial Justice Act.
            The repeal cancels those as well.
But many legal experts say that can’t happen.
"To me, it's a violation of due process," Mark Rabil, director of Wake Forest University law school's Innocence and Justice Clinic in Winston-Salem, told Reuters News Service. "I don't really know what the legislature thinks they've done with our money other than buy a lot more litigation."
            “I think there’s going to be intense years of litigation over this,” state Rep. Rick Glazier [D-Cumberland] told The New York Times.
            Attorney Irving Joyner, law professor at North Carolina Central University’s School of Law in Durham, says the legal standard of “ex post facto,” which means, “ a law intended to apply to crimes or events that took place before its passage,” is unconstitutional according to the US Supreme Court.
            “The government cannot take away rights that have already been given and exercised by individuals,” Prof. Joyner says. “It can make laws for the future, but not for the past. So what the governor and the Legislature seeks to do is clearly unconstitutional. Those inmates who have already filed claims, and those claims are pending, cannot be legislatively prevented from pursuing evidence that would support those claims.”


            The first seventeen protesters, including NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber, who were arrested during the first Moral Monday demonstration at the NC legislature on April 29th, had their court dates Monday set for September 23rd and 30th on charges of trespassing, among others. The protesters pleaded not guilty, saying that they had a right to be on public property. They said their charges should be dismissed. Meanwhile, during the eighth Moral Monday demonstration Monday, 120 more demonstrators were arrested, bringing the total thus far to over 600 arrests.

            The filing period does not begin until July 5th at noon, but at least one candidate for the Wake School Board is already up and running. Nancy Caggia, a registered Republican, has already filed papers with the Wake Board of Elections to begin campaigning for the District 9 seat currently held by Republican Bill Fletcher, who was selected by the board to fill out the remaining time after board member Debra Goldman left a few months ago. Caggia says she’s been a school volunteer and advocate for 14 years. Thus far, Fletcher has not indicated whether he’ll run for that seat.

            Do Durham Public Schools suspend black and disabled students at disproportionately high rates? That what the US Dept. of Education’s Office of Civil Rights is officially looking into, thanks to a complaint filed against DPS by Advocates for Children’s Services, and the Center for Civil Rights Remedies last April. The complaint alleges that14.1 percent of black students were suspended from school in the 2009-2010 school year versus just 3.3 percent of white students. In that same school year, 17 percent of disabled children were suspended versus just 8.4 percent of non-disabled students. A DPS spokesperson said that the school system is “fully cooperating” with the feds in their investigation.


            [RALEIGH] Compared to the rest of the nation, the well-being of children living in North Carolina is not improving, says a new study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. One in four children live in poverty, and the state ranks 35th out of 50 states, the report, finds. Based on 2011 data, one in three children live in families without full-time employment. Less children are covered by health insurance now than in 2005, and more teens are not in school or working a job than in 2008. The report does list some improvements in the areas of less low-weight babies, less teen deaths, and less teens who abuse drugs or alcohol, by overall, observers say they expect the well-being of North Carolina’s children to worsen under the policies of the Republican-led legislature, which has slashed unemployment benefits and denied over 500,000 poor people Medicaid.

            [RALEIGH] As of July 1st, North Carolina drivers will pay their vehicle registration renewal and property taxes together. The new system is designed to streamline county tax collections, and increase revenues, officials say. Currently, drivers get two separate bills – one for the county for the vehicle tax, the other from the Division of Motor Vehicles for the registration renewal. The NC General Assembly passed the law changing the system in 2005, and counties have used the passed eight years to prepare for the change-over. The first drivers to get the combined bill will be those due in September. Those bills will arrive in July.

            [GREENSBORO] For the fourth consecutive month, North Carolina’s unemployment rate dipped slightly, this time to 8.8 percent in May. But it’s all not good news. According to the NC Commerce Dept’s labor and Economic Analysis Division, the state still lost approximately 5,900 jobs last month, and with the summer months here, the prospect for job growth doesn’t look good, say analysts. Tourism in the state is doing its part, with the leisure and hospitality sector generating over 6,300 jobs.

By Cash Michaels

            CONGRATS, HEAT! – I’ll say this for LeBron James and the Miami Heat…they sure know how to keep things interesting! But that’s why, for the second year in a row, they are once again World Champions. LB, Dwyane Wade and the crew kept us all on the edge of our seats last week for Games 6 and 7 against the powerful San Antonio Spurs, barely winning Game 6 in dramatic fashion in overtime, and then coming back to take command in Game 7 over a heartbroken “Timmy” Duncan, Tony Parker and the Spurs.
            I must say, though, that all the way from Coach Greg Popovich to Duncan to Parker and others, the Spurs organization is a class act. Not only did they play clean and fair, but they were the epitome of good sportsmanship. Almost never were there any flagrant fouls, any player confrontations, and we even saw opposing players pick one another up off the ground on occasion.
            And when the Heat won the title, we saw both LeBron and Dwyane Wade give strong embraces to Coach Pop, a sure sign of love and respect, and a reminder to all of us that as hard as we fight, there must be respect.
            Without a doubt, the Miami Heat, coached magnificently by Erik Spoelstra, certainly earned their championship this year, having had to go through tough young teams in the Chicago Bulls and the Indiana Pacers, only to then fight for their lives for seven games against the San Antonio Spurs.
            This was truly an NBA Finals to remember.
            Congratulations to LeBron and the crew. Now get some rest!
            EARTH, WIND AND FIRE NEW ALBUM – One of the great joys I have as a father is introducing my youngest daughter, KaLa, to some of the best “old school” music in history. Without question, Earth, Wind and Fire – one of the greatest soul groups of the 1970’s-80’s is among that number.
So imagine my excitement upon hearing that after eight years, the “elements” return with a brand new album titled, “Now, Then & Forever” coming this September. Phillip Bailey, Verdine White, Larry Dunn, and of course, Maurice White, are all back with fresh material. It took two years to produce this work, and the first single from it is titled, “My Promise” (listen to it on Youtube at, an uptempo ditty that certainly takes us back to some of what EWF does best.
We’re glad they’re back, and can’t wait to hear Earth, Wind and Fire’s new album. We haven’t had any REAL black music around here in a long, long time.
            PAULA, PAULA, PAULA – Lots of talk ever since the Food Network canned Southern cooking belle Paula Deen last week after revelations from a court deposition that Deen allegedly engaged in using racial slurs towards her black employees, among other tawdry things outlined in the leaked document.
           I love Deen’s excuse, that she is a product of growing up 60 years in the South (she’s a native of Savannah, Georgia). If that’s her excuse for saying racist things like wanting to have all black waiters at her dinner functions, then Paula Deen is a sadder case than I first thought.
          The bottomline line is that what the Food Network did by firing her is fine…for the Food Network. They did not want to associate their brand with someone who clearly is still living in the old 1950’s South. The company said it didn’t tolerate racism of any sort, and wasn’t about to start to now, and they didn’t care what Paula Deen’s fans thought about it. So they immediately took her TV shows off their air.
          On Monday, Smithfield Foods, Inc., where a lot of folks get their hams and bacon, tossed Deen to the wolves as well, dropping her brand from their line of meats.
          Bravo! Now Deen is fighting to save her empire, and is running around apologizing and making excuses of inexcusable behavior.
          Let her grovel for a little bit. Somebody like Fox News will make a home for Paula Deen. Heck, she could cook for Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity.
Indeed, I suspect that Deen is capable of giving those two some good old “home” cookin’, if you know what I mean!
           THE SNOWDEN AFFAIR - If you’ve been following the Edward Snowden affair – the American contractor who leaked important National Security Agency information in an attempt to reveal how the United States government keeps track of terrorist telephone and internet communications, then you know that it has gotten way out of hand. Snowden first escaped to Hong Kong, then to Russia, and then flew off to Cuba and parts unknown. Some call him a hero for exposing how the US is allegedly violating everyone’s constitutional rights (I don’t agree), while others call Snowden a traitor who should be tried and convicted (I do agree).
When Snowden released the NSA classified info, he did so to the Washington Post and The Guardian Newspaper in Great Britain. The reporter for The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald, has been running around, talking about what a great guy Edward Snowden is, and how close he is to him.
Well on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, host David Gregory asked Glenn Greenwald a really simple question – "To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn't you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?"
            Greenwald bristled at the question, saying it was  “…pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies."
            Actually, it was a very good question, Glenn. I’m not so sure you and Bro. Snowden did anybody any favors by revealing classified NSA information to our enemies so that they know how we keep tabs on their activities. If you wanted a debate on the Patriot Act and the methods used to gather intelligence on terrorists, I think there were other ways of doing so without putting Americans at risk.
            What Edward Snowden did was against the law, and he will be tried for his crimes. Why shouldn’t you join him? Being a journalist doesn’t give any of us the right to break the law and put the lives of millions of others at risk.
            So yeah, I agree with David Gregory…maybe you should be on a plane to Cuba too. At the very least, you could keep Eddie Snowden company.
            DOWNEY BACK FOR “AVENGERS” 2 & 3 - The Marvel Comics movie nation got great news last week. Actor Robert Downey Jr. has signed on to appear in “The Avengers 2” and “The Avengers 3,” the next two sequels in the blockbuster Marvel superhero series. There had been some question as to what Downey would do after starring in the recent “Iron Man 3,” which has down over $1.2 billion in box office around the globe. Last year’s “The Avengers” still holds the global blockbuster crown. What Downey has not down, however, is signed up for anymore “Iron Man” films, though it is expected that he’ll do at least one more.  The actor is 48 years old and says there’s only but for so long he can reasonably continue to put on the iron suit. Agreed, but I’m sure, given the mass worldwide base that he has, and the tens of millions he’s made thus far, Downey will find a way to squeeze himself into that suit beyond just “The Avengers” for at least one more picture.
             Please make sure you tune in every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. for my talk radio show, ''Make It Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM, or online at And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my blog, ‘The Cash Roc” ( I promise it will be interesting.
Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Columnist Cash Michaels was also honored by the NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009, and was the recipient of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP’s President’s Award for Media Excellence in Sept. 2011.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian in your life. Bye, bye.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013



By Cash Michaels

“BEHIND THE CANDELABRA” – Last weekend while still recuperating from a case of bronchitis (boy you don’t want to get that in this weather), I had a chance to watch some free HBO (we get Showtime on our system).
I had always wanted to see the controversial movie about legendary pianist Liberace titled, “Behind the Candelabra,” starring macho leading men Michael Douglas (“Traffic,” “The Streets of San Francisco”) and Matt Damon (“The Bourne” and “Ocean’s 11” trilogies).
This movie would be calling on Douglas, who portrayed Liberace, and Damon, who played Liberace’s boyfriend Scott Thorson, to kiss each other, and then some. Not something I ever watch, but to see what all of the fuss was about per this movie, directed by famed director Stephen Soderbergh (“ The Ocean’s 11” trilogy), I was willing to put up with it.
Well the faux gay affection aside, I was quite pleased with the well-acted production and great storytelling. Liberace was a Midwesterner who made it big on the American music scene during the 1950s, 60s, 70’s and 80’s, dressing up in outlandish, yet stylish outfits, and commanding top dollar in Las Vegas and television as one of the greatest pianists of all time.
But “Lee,” as his friends would call him (as family called him “Walter” because that was his real first name), kept his double life of gay sex and other indulgences a secret, inviting young men who he was attracted to into his world, only to tire of them and get new ones.
Such was the case with Scott Thorson, as portrayed by a hunky Matt Damon. The two are together for six years, during which time Liberace treats Thorson like a prized possession, even ordering plastic surgery for Scott just so that he could look just like the famous singer.
The relationship all begins to fall apart when Liberace can’t control his sex drive, and Thorson gets hooked on drugs. The two take a hard split, nasty headlines follow, and Scott is kicked out of Liberace’s world, replaced with a younger blond male paramour.
In the end, though, a dying Liberace calls Scott one last time to say goodbye. The maestro is dying of AIDS (his manager tries to hide it from the press).
What I like about the film is that it could have been one big gay soap opera, but it wasn’t. Both Douglas and Damon give tremendous performances, making you care about these two men, but also being shocked by what they considered to be normal living with no rules.
Soderbergh said no American movie company would touch the film for distribution because the story was “too gay.” Happily HBO came along, because this complicated film deserves to be seen.
So if you enjoy good performances, and can put up with a scene or two which may jolt your sensibilities, check out Michael Douglas and Matt Damon in “Behind the Candelabra” on HBO. It’s worth watching.
NO “MAN OF STEEL”  - Even though it made $125 million domestically on its opening weekend, I’m not hearing good things about the latest Superman movie titled, “Man of Steel.” No question that it’s got great special effects. But story-wise, many of the top critics agree that the flick is a downer, lacking a sense of humor on any level. It’s no wonder that the movie theater doesn’t sell Prozac with the popcorn.
Check out this one of many critical reviews which put its finger on the problem:
Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly: "'Dark Knight'-style makeover never quite comes together. Sure, Superman is still faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive. ... But he's been transformed into the latest in a long line of soul-searching super-brooders, trapped between his devastated birth planet of Krypton and his adopted new home on Earth. He's just another haunted outsider grappling with issues."
The reference to “Dark Knight-style makeover” is key, because one of the producers of “Man of Steel” is Christopher Nolan, the producer/director of the “Dark Knight” Batman trilogy.  Nolan, who is a fine director, made that series as dark as possible, and it fit, though I’ll admit that I couldn’t stand the last film, “The Dark Knight Rises,” which was so humorless it was like chewing on dry bones.
The second in the Nolan Batman trilogy, “ The Dark Knight,” was great only because the incredible Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker was so skillfully over-the-top that Nolan couldn’t lose.
There is no one in “Man of Steel” with the acting chops of the late Heath Ledger, thus, the film suffers.
That kind of flick I rent from Redbox, not pay ten bucks to see at the theater. So sorry, “Man of Steel,” but you will miss my money!
IS HOWARD U IN TROUBLE – Black academia is abuzz with the rumor that Howard University in Washington, D.C. is in bad financial shape, and could close in three years. So said Renee Higginbotham-Brooks, Howard U Board Vice Chair, in an April 24th letter to fellow board members, which was leaked to the press, creating a firestorm.
“In three years, Howard will not be here if we don’t make some crucial decisions now,” Higginbotham-Brooks wrote, warning that current school leadership and management, in addition to lackluster fundraising, must change.
Part of the problem, which is impacting HBCUs as a whole, is that now that standards have been raised, many black students are not getting the scholarships and loans they once were, thus cutting into black college enrollments.
Obviously, the chairman of the Howard U Board, Addison Barry Rand, counter his board VP’s dire assessment, saying in his own letter that it was “unduly alarming.” Rand assured that the school was, “…academically, financially and operationally strong.”
We’ll see.
Make sure you tune in every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. for my talk radio show, ''Make It Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM, or online at And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my blog, ‘The Cash Roc” ( I promise it will be interesting.
Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Columnist Cash Michaels was also honored by the NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009, and was the recipient of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP’s President’s Award for Media Excellence in Sept. 2011.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian in your life. Bye, bye.
                                                      US REP. MAXINE WATERS


by Cash Michaels

            Saying that she was “proud of you for what you are doing,” California Congresswoman Maxine Waters hailed the NCNAACP-led “Moral Monday” movement, which has attracted thousands of diverse participants, and gained significant national attention in recent weeks for its nonviolent demonstrations against what it calls “regressive” Republican policies.
            “The ‘Moral Monday’ protests, originally organized by the NC NAACP, demonstrate what people around the country should be doing to these right-wing Republican efforts to eliminate the fundamental elements of a free and fair society,” Rep. Waters told those gathered last Friday at the NC Legislative Black Caucus Foundation Scholarship Dinner at the Sheraton RTP in Durham.
            “Y’all ought to invite the [Congressional] Black Caucus to come down here and march with you on ‘Moral Mondays,’” Waters then joked. “I just have a feeling that people are going to be coming from everywhere.”
            “What’s happening here in North Carolina today, you recognize some of the same old [Republican] tricks,” Rep. Waters said.
            “Moral Monday…you’re doing the right thing.”
            Noting that the NC Republican Party now holds the Governor’s Mansion for the first time in twenty years, and a super-majority in the state Legislature for the first-time since Reconstruction, Rep. Waters said, “They have fought to rollback every people-centered progressive policy this state has ever enacted,” including cutting unemployment benefits and the education budget, and refused to expand Medicaid to over 500,000 poor North Carolinians in need, among other policies.
            “Same old tricks. New strategies. No poll taxes, don’t have to count how many jellybeans in a jar. Just reduce the early voting periods, end Sunday [voting] and registration. Play tricks with redistricting. But here in North Carolina, you are leading the way,” Waters said.
            “You’re revitalizing the spirit of resistance. You’re demonstrating leadership and courage with the “Moral Monday” response. In light of the hard right-shift of North Carolina’s legislature, I cannot be more proud and enthusiastic by the way you have responded,” Waters applauded.
            “The people of North Carolina are pushing back.”
            During the seventh “Moral Monday” demonstration last Monday, 84 more demonstrators were arrested, bringing the seven-week arrest total to 480. On “Witness Wednesday,” the NC NAACP led student protestors from across North Carolina to the State Capitol to challenge Gov. Pat McCrory to veto, “…some of the most regressive bills being passed by the NC General Assembly.”
            The eighth “Moral Monday demonstration has been already announced for June 24th, with buses, once again, bringing hundreds of people from across the state, expected.
Waters said that Democrats in the US Congress are faced with, “…the same ultra-conservative Tea Party-led Republicans, who are in the majority, and are attempting to use that majority to dismantle government as we know it.”
            She lamented the cuts to programs like Head Start early education programs as a result of GOP-supported sequestration on the federal level. Waters called cuts to Head Start and education, “ a lack of vision.”
            She said given the extent of the conservative Republican agenda that Democrats have to face, they can’t only fight it through legislating, but must also “…do it in the streets.”
            “We’re all going to have to do what you’re doing here. We’re going to have to join with the people of this nation and say we’re not going to take it. We’re not going to allow this country to go backwards.”
            Rep. Waters, who has served in Washington since 1991, a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, and is the most senior of the twelve African-American women currently serving in the US Congress.
Hailing the historic work of the NAACP in its struggle for civil rights, Waters said despite all of America’s social and racial progress, it cannot be said yet that the nation is, “…a more fair, more tolerant, more accepting and more equal society.”
            “It would be like putting lipstick on a pig,” Waters quipped, noting the deep political diversions spurred by the conservative Tea Party movement, and the refusal of Republicans in Congress to work with Pres. Obama.
            “There are forces out there that intend on eroding the gains we have fought and dies for,” Rep. Waters added.
            The California congresswoman noted the “tremendous gains” made in voting rights in North Carolina which allowed the state to vote for the election of President Obama in 2008, gains that are now being rolled by a Republican-led NC General Assembly which has passed a voter ID law which many say will suppress the black and youth vote.
            “The mean-spirited right-wing conservative Tea Party, leading public policy, creating new laws and regulations, and they’re advancing pretty fast…and are so evident here in North Carolina’s Republican legislature, and we’ve got to deal with it,” Rep. Waters said.
            “And you are dealing with it.”
            Rep. Waters lauded the work of North Carolina’s Democratic delegation, including congressmen David Price (4th District); G. K. Butterfield (1st District) and Mel Watt (12th District), who has been nominated by President Obama to head up the Federal Housing Agency.
                                                  L to R: Daughter, Ronnise, Rev.Dr. Ronald Owens & wife, Gwendolyn

The New Pastor of Durham Church Returns Home to North Carolina

                   Bishop William DeVeaux Makes a New Appointment to African Methodist          
                                                            Episcopal Church

Durham, NC--- Reverend Ronald Owens preached his inaugural sermon as the new Senior Pastor of St. Joseph A.M.E. Church, Father's Day Sunday, June 16, 2013.  Owens has returned to his North Carolina roots,  as a native of Morganton, NC, he received his license to preach in 1980 at Willow Tree A.M.E. Church, Morganton, North Carolina of the Western North Carolina Annual Conference. Rev. Owens was ordained an Itinerate Elder in 1985 in the Augusta Georgia Annual Conference, in the 6th Episcopal District. He has achieved a Master of Divinity degree from the Interdenominational Theological Center in Psychology of Religion, Pastoral Care and Counseling in 1993, and his Doctorate of Ministry from Columbia Theological Seminary, 2013. 

His doctoral  project, "Leading A Wounded Congregation To Mission Engagement", is the mission he will bring to the St. Joseph A.M.E. Church congregation. "My desire is for the Church to join God in the reconciling power of renewing relationships with one another and the community. We will reach out as Jesus said, 'to the least of those who have been overlooked or ignored.' "

Rev. Owens' inaugural sermon was entitled, "Honoring Mature Christian Fathers", the sermon was sprinkled with the history of Father's Day, along with lots of humor centering around family life. His emphasis on parental and family relationships, showed evidence of him being a licensed clinical pastoral counselor, and being the founder of the non profit organization, RELATIONSHIPS MATTER.

 Owens is certified in Sexual Harassment Prevention Training and Crisis Intervention. He has trained care providers in grief and suicide prevention. His ministry is one of reconciliation and the healing of souls. He is a retired U.S. Army Chaplain, having reached the rank of Major and being of service for 21 years.

Prior to being assigned to St. Joseph A.M.E.Church of Durham, NC, he was the Senior Pastor of New Bethel A.M.E. of Lithonia, Georgia, since 2006.

Rev. Owens is married to the former Gwendolyn Rakestraw. He and his wife are the parents of three children, Ronald, Karawn and Ronnise, and have four grandchildren.



            [RALEIGH] More than 20 advocacy groups and nonprofits from across North Carolina are calling on Gov. McCrory and legislators to take action on behalf of the more than 70,000 out of work North Carolinians who are at risk of being pushed over the unemployment cliff on July 1.
The groups, which included the NC Justice Center and the NC NAACP, sent a letter to the Governor and North Carolina lawmakers Tuesday, asking them to reverse the damage done by House Bill 4, which cuts North Carolina’s unemployment benefits beginning on July 1. After that date, individuals who are looking for work will be abruptly cut off from the benefits they rely on to pay their rents and mortgages and to feed their families. North Carolina will also become the only state in the U.S. to lose the Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program (EUC). Earlier this year, Republican lawmakers cut jobless benefits in an effort to pay back a massive federal loan to the program.

            [DURHAM] Numerous activities in North Carolina are ramping up to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of seminal civil rights history. This Sunday, June 23rd in Durham, crucial local civil rights history will be discussed at 3 p.m. at the Durham County Main Library on Roxboro Street. “Civil Rights Spring of 1963” will detail the struggle to integrate the Bull City’s theaters, restaurants and institutions.
            In Raleigh and across the state, civil rights organizations are joining to sponsor ten buses which will travel to Washington D.C. August 23rd-25th to commemorate the 50th anniversary on the historic March on Washington, where, in 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous, “I Have a Dream” speech. Anyone across the state who is interested in attending can email or call 919-834-6264.

             [RALEIGH] The first North Carolina governor of the 20th century has died. James Holshouser, 78, passed Monday after a longtime illness. Holshouser was elected in 1972, serving one term, and setting the state up for two-party politics. He was known for trumpeting policies addressing education, health care and job creation. Holshouser supported black business creation, and the development of Soul City in Warren County. Both Democrats and Republicans spoke of Gov. Holshouser's legacy fondly. At press time his burial service had not been announced.



            In the midst of Moral Mondays, a group of noted college professors from Scholars for a Progressive North Carolina will speak out about the current state of politics in North Carolina during, “ Scholars Speak Out On the Destructive Course of the NC General Assembly,” Friday, June 21st, 7 to 9 p.m. at Martin Street Baptist Church, 1001 East Martin Street in Raleigh. The professors will give their brief overviews, and then answer questions from the audience. The event is free and open to the public.

            Despite pressing needs, both the Raleigh City Council and Wake County Commissioners passed new fiscal year budgets this week that raise some fees, but no new taxes. The Raleigh City Council passed a $707 million budget that raised the solid waste fee by one dollar, and rates for water and sewer services. Wake County Commission approved a $983 million budget that left the property tax rate untouched for the fifth consecutive year, gave public schools $344 million, $115 for public safety, and $190 million for public health. Both budgets begin July 1.

            By 5-3 vote, the Raleigh City Council this week approved putting a $75 million transportation bond referendum before voters this fall. However no details were forthcoming on exactly what the bond would fund. Officials say they will flesh those at a coming June 24th meeting.

GOP OBJECTS TO NEW WAKE SUPT. - Even before new Wake Schools Supt. Dr. James Merrill could offically say "hello," the Wake School Boatrd's two Republicans - Deborah Prickett and John Tedesco - voiced their opposition, saying they preferred Dr. Ann Clarke from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Observers say expect Prickett and Tedesco to remain critical of Merrill after he takes over in August. [file photo]                                 

Special to The Carolinian

The Wake County Board of Education voted June 18 to appoint Dr. Jim Merrill as superintendent of the Wake County Public School System, effective August 1.
Merrill, a former Wake County Associate Superintendent of Finance and Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources began his career in 1973 as an English teacher, spending a total of 16 years in Wake County. Merrill is currently Superintendent of the Virginia Beach City Public Schools, the third largest school division in Virginia.
"I am both excited and honored to be chosen as the next superintendent of the Wake County Public School System. This system has a legacy of high student achievement, a community that supports its schools, and is viewed as a leader in the state and the nation," Merrill said. "We shall continue to herald our student successes and push each child to his or her next level of accomplishment."
Board Chairman Keith Sutton said, “Dr. Merrill outlined an impressive program of growth for Wake County schools, and brings with him the skill set and institutional knowledge to lead the state’s largest public school district into a new era.”
Prior to his service in Virginia Beach, Dr. Merrill served six years as superintendent of the Alamance-Burlington School System.
Dr. Merrill has earned numerous accolades and awards, including the 2005 North Carolina Superintendent of the Year award and the 2013 Virginia Superintendent of the Year honor. He has also been elected to the Executive Committee of the Governing Board of the American Association of School Administrators. The UNC-Greensboro School of Education awarded him the Outstanding Achievement Award and the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education honored him with its Distinguished Leadership Award. 
Dr. Merrill was a Morehead Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill, earning a bachelor’s degree in secondary English. He earned his master’s degree in education administration from Appalachian State University and his doctorate from UNC-Greensboro.
Dr. Merrill will become the 9th superintendent of the Wake County Public School System since the merger of the city and county school systems in 1976.

LAWMAKERS SUPPORTING "MORAL MONDAYS" - As the number of "Moral Monday" protesters at the NC General Assembly grows, so do the number of Democratic state lawmakers supporting their cause against the regressive policies of the Republican legislature. Here, state Sen. Earline Parmon (right) and state Rep. H. M. "Mickey" Michaux Jr. (left) - two members of the NC Legislative Black Caucus - applaud during a recent Moral Monday gathering [photo courtesy of the NCLBC]

Tuesday, June 11, 2013



STATE NEWS BRIEFS 6-13-13           

            [RALEIGH] From a high-profile article in the New York Times this week, to MSNBC talk show hostess Prof. Melissa Harris-Perry the week prior, the NCNAACP-led “Moral Monday” movement has been capturing national interest, and drawing attention to the conservative policies of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and the GOP-led NC General Assembly. Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the NCNAACP and leader of the Moral Monday movement, has also been a guest on MSNBC’s “All in with Chris Hayes” and on “the Tom Joyner Morning Show.” Observers say the national spotlight on what’s happening in North Carolina politically is important because what was once considered a progressive state that voted for Pres. Obama in 2008, has now become a test-tube for conservative policies, and could be a symbol for the nation if not confronted. On Wednesday, eight protesters were arrested, including local officials from Durham, Rocky Mount, Greensboro, for violating building rules after protesting commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of NAACP leader Medgar Evers.

            [RALEIGH] If the Senate Judiciary Committee has its way, not only would North Carolinians no longer have to apply for a pistol permit from their local sheriff’s department when they want to buy a handgun, but those with conceal handgun permits would be able to into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, and onto the campuses of public schools and universities, as long as they’re locked in their cars. All of this is in a Senate rewrite of a state House omnibus measure revising gun rights in North Carolina. The Senate version cleared committee Tuesday, and was headed to the Senate floor for a vote. If passed, it would be sent to the House for ratification.

            [RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK] Published reports say “hundreds” of employees with IBM in North Carolina received layoff notices Wednesday as part of the technology company’s massive restructuring plan. Even though the company had not issued a formal announcement of the layoffs at press time Wednesday, a spokesman did confirm that a “resource action” was taking place involving layoffs. IBM is estimated to have 17,000 employees in North Carolina.


            Former Wake School Board Chairman Ron Margiotta, in an apparent move to gum up delicate negotiations with Wake’s next schools superintendent, has told the News and Observer that James Merrill, currently the supt. of Virginia Beach City Schools in Va., will be the choice announced next week. Merrill was one of three finalists interviewed two weeks ago. No one has confirmed Margiotta’s story, but critics say it seems apparent that Republican board members John Tedesco, with whom Margiotta was very close with, or Deborah Prickett, told the former board chair what was going on. Margiotta may be motivated to torpedo Merrill out of retribution, critics say, because his own choice for supt., Tony Tata, was fired 18 months after Margiotta hired him by this Democratic board. A formal announcement is expected next week.

            Monsignor Tim O’Connor, who led many parishes in Raleigh’s Catholic Diocese, died June 9 of undisclosed causes. He was 66. O’Connor was known as a man of passionate faith and great theological insight. He spent 40 years in the priesthood, much of it in North Carolina. Services for Monsignor O’Connor will be held Friday, 10:30 a.m. at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Cary.

            There is little doubt that there are deep divisions in the NC Democratic Party hierarchy, and they’re becoming more pronounced. Nina Szlosberg-Landis, a major fundraiser and the first vice chair of the state party, has resigned, citing differences with Chairman Randy Voller. In addition there are reports that Ellen Stankiewicz, the former Finance Director for the state, has filed an EEOC complaint against Chairman Voller after she was terminated in May. She alleges being harassed and “physically” bullied. Add to this a vote of confidence vote scheduled by the Democratic Executive Committee in August, and a controversy about Voller allegedly using the party’s credit card on a personal trip to Las Vegas recently. Voller says this is all part of the transition of things since he took over party leadership several months ago.

By Cash Michaels

            If state Republican lawmakers are indeed “ignoring” the massive protests which have taken over the NC Legislative building on Jones Street for the past six Monday evenings, they’re not doing a very good job of it.
            Governor Pat McCrory was quoted at last weekend’s GOP Convention in Charlotte as charging that many of the thousands of demonstrators who have been protesting what they consider repressive policies from the Republican-led NC General Assembly, were “outside agitators” from out-of-state.
            A quick check by WRAL-TV of the over 350 protesters who have been arrested thus far and taken to the Wake County jail shows that 98 percent are indeed North Carolina residents.
            Only eight were from beyond North Carolina.
            House Speaker Thom Tillis [R- Mecklenburg] has told reporters that he was willing to sit down with protesters quietly to discuss their differences, but when asked to do a few weeks ago, is seen on video walking quickly from a public area in the Legislative Building where protest leader Rev. William Barber is calling out to him to stop and at least say hello.
            Some say that’s a perfect example of the GOP leader “ignoring” the protesters. Others, however, say the video shows Tillis actually “running scare,” especially when the camera follows him all the way to his office, where he turns and finally answers the cameraman by saying he has an important meeting to attend, before closing the door.
            But perhaps the worst example of state GOP lawmakers “ignoring” the increased statewide and national pressure that is being brought as a result of the growing “Moral Monday” movement, is the controversial op-ed written a few days ago by state Sen. Thom Goolsby [R-New Hanover].
            Titled, “Moron Monday: The Radical Left Just Doesn’t Get It,” Goolsby puts all pretense of “ignoring” the Moral Monday movement to rest when he writes:
            The circus came to the State Capitol this week, complete with clowns, a carnival barker and a sideshow. The “Reverend” Barber was decked out like a prelate of the Church of Rome (no insult is meant to Catholics), complete with stole and cassock. All he was missing was a miter and the ensemble would have been complete.
Several hundred people – mostly white, angry, aged former hippies – appeared and screeched into microphones, talked about solidarity and chanted diatribes. It was “liberal theater” at its best. Just like having a honey bun and double espresso for breakfast, the impact of it all left the participants jittery and empty in the end.
Never short on audacity, the Loony Left actually named their gathering “Moral Monday.” Between the screaming, foot stomping and disjointed speeches, it appeared more like “Moron Monday.” The gathering was supposed to influence legislators. However, no one thought to bring out any senate or house member from either party.
            In point of fact, several members of the NC Legislative Black Caucus not only endorsed Moral Mondays weeks ago, but actually appeared during some of the rallies, including last Monday when NC Congressman G. K. Butterfield [D-NC-1] also attended and spoke to lend his support.
            Later in the piece, Sen. Goolsby, who is the sponsor of the repeal of the NC Racial Justice Act which has now been passed by both the state Senate and House, criticized the Moral Monday movement for not holding the Democrats accountable when they were in control of the General Assembly.
            But the very fact that the NCNAACP has been holding massive HK on J Coalition demonstrations for the past six years when Democrats were in power, disproves Goolsby’s contention.
            Critics also note that Sen. Goolsby’s personal attack on Rev. Barber by putting his religious title in quotes, as if to suggest that Barber really wasn’t a man of the cloth, was clearly inappropriate.
            For his part, Goolsby has defended his remarks, saying that it was all meant to be humorous. But others, including fellow New Hanover County lawmaker Rep. Susi Hamilton, have blasted him for showing contempt, and not displaying the dignity of his office.
            NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber, the target of some of Sen. Goolsby’s jabs, was also not pleased.
            These kind of comments, if true, expose how the ultra-right can't defend their policies,” Rev. Barber wrote in a statement. Truth is we did critique and challenge Democrats.  But the issue here is their (tea party - far right) policies are so extreme and immoral (some of them would exclude Ronald Regan who was surely no liberal Republican) that when exposed it makes them respond in a frenzy of vitriolic words because they cannot show how their policies are added value to the good of the whole.”
             “The power of Moral Monday is that it shines a light on attitudes and actions that might have otherwise gone on without the public knowing the effects the damage and the attitudes of those behind the efforts to deconstruct the progress of our state,” Rev. Barber continued. “We will pray for this Senator and others like him, and we will continue to protest his and all others actions that immorally seek to take and or roll back constitutional rights, civil rights, voting rights and opportunities that seek the uplift of all people.”

By Cash Michaels

            African-Americans in North Carolina are among those in over 20 other states who still face various forms of housing discrimination, according to a new report from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and Urban Institute.
            The report, titled “Housing Discrimination Against Racial and Ethnic Minorities 2012” found that even though, unlike years ago, “Blatant acts of housing discrimination faced by minority homeseekers continue to decline in the US, …more subtle forms of housing denial stubbornly persist,” according to HUD News.
            “African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians learn about fewer housing options than equally qualified whites,” the HUD News report continued.
            HUD tested the housing markets in over twenty states, and over thirty cities.
            Here in North Carolina, the Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point housing markets were tested to determine the level of racial housing discrimination.
            Other housing markets include New York, California, Georgia, Texas and Michigan.
            Per the HUD report, key findings determined that black renters who contacted real estate agents about recently advertised housing units learned about 11 percent fewer available units, and were shown roughly 4 percent fewer units than whites.
            African-American homebuyers who went through agents about recently advertised homes for sale are informed about 17 percent fewer available homes and are shown 18 percent fewer units.
            Real estate agents and rental housing providers recommend and show fewer available homes and apartments to minority families, thereby increasing their costs and restricting their housing options,” HUD News reports. “The study concludes this is a national, not a regional phenomenon.”
            “Fewer minorities today may be getting the door slammed in their faces, but we continue to see evidence of housing discrimination that can limit a family’s housing, economic and educational opportunities,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.  “It’s clear we still have work to do to end housing discrimination once and for all.”
            According to HUD Urban Institute researcher Margery Turner, the subtle forms of discrimination evident in this study “are very difficult for victims to detect. To detect housing discrimination today, HUD and local fair housing organizations need to conduct proactive testing, especially in the sales market, where discrimination appears higher than in the rental market.” 
            Among the measures of change over the most recent decade, only discrimination for availability of the advertised unit has declined,” the HUD report says. “Black renters today appear less likely than a decade ago to be told that advertised units are unavailable.”
The HUD report continues, “The Urban Institute, which conducted the study, employed a “paired testing” methodology in which researchers compared the treatment of white and minority homeseekers in a nationally representative sample of 28 metropolitan areas. * Of the more than 8,000 paired tests, two trained individuals (one white and the other black, Hispanic, or Asian), contacted a housing provider to inquire about a unit randomly selected from recently advertised homes and apartments.  The two testers in each pair were matched on gender, age and family composition and assigned the same financial characteristics.  With each tester presenting as unambiguously and equally well qualified to rent or buy the advertised unit, testers independently recorded the treatment they experienced, including information about all the homes or apartments recommended and shown. 
            To download the full report, go to

By Cash Michaels

            HAPPY FATHER’S DAY  - Once again one of the proudest days of the year for me is coming up this Sunday, and that’s Father’s Day.  I am the proud “Papa” to two lovely, intelligent and very talented young ladies – Tiffany and KaLa. Though they are twenty-years apart, both have made me very proud with their accomplishments thus far, and the direction in which they are both going.
            And that’s what makes Father’s Day so important, in my opinion. Being there to see the lessons of then and now bear fruit for the future. Nothing means more to me than to cheer my children on, and watch them grow and succeed.
            Nothing puts a smile on my face more than to tease them about one day getting married and having their own children, and watching them handle the same stuff I had to handle with them.
            Tiff is an adult, so seeing her go forward with confidence in whatever she does makes me proud of how hard she’s worked over the years. Has she made mistakes? Of course. But in speaking with her, it’s clear that she’s also learned from those mistakes, and is prepared to go eve further in life.
            I can’t wait to see what the ceiling is for this extraordinary young lady.
            And as for KaLa, who is my youngest, everyday is an exciting new chapter to spend with this gifted child. And make no mistake, I have no interest in having my 10-year-old growup too fast. I’ve seen that happen in other people’s children, and the result is none too pretty.
            I guess the thing I love most about being KaLa’s father is teaching her about the “old school” and watch her grasp it. There isn’t a whole lot of originality these days, so anytime I can show KaLa some of the REAL stars of stage, screen and song (she loves entertainment), I do so so that she can learn from the best.
            So there is no job I would trade for being a father. It is a scary job, because your first instinct as a man is to love, then protect and provide. When your children aren’t with you, you naturally worry, and pray that GOD is extending His blessings and protection over them.
            But it is also a rewarding and fulfilling job, because the good things you share with your children, no matter what their ages, come back in delightful and surprising ways. Ways which warm your heart forever, and make you realize what the true definition of manhood really is.
            So fellow fathers, this Sunday is our day. I hope you and your family have a blessed one, and honor you for being a man who loves his children, and always tries to do what’s right by them.
            If this is YOU cuz, then Happy Father’s Day!
            NO FUN BEING SICK -  It has dawned on me that over the years, when I’ve been seriously sick, I’ve written about it. Don’t ask me why. Guess psychologically, writing helps me deal with it better. I’ll have to go back over those files and reread those columns.
            One thing’s for sure, I don’t like the idea of being helpless and at the mercy (or worse) of others. It just isn’t in my nature. Maybe one of the reasons why I’m a mean sicky. Yeah, I admit it. When I’m not feeling well, go visit grandma in the next state, or else.
            Since last week, I’ve been suffering with a bronchial condition that was getting a lot worse than better, which meant I was forced (and I DO mean forced) to finally go visit a doctor nearby this week. Afterall, I have very important work I have to catch up on (especially this weekend), so that meant getting better in a hurry, or go through another week of this aging fat body trying to muster the strength to fight off something that could easily lay me out down and out for some time.
            So after cancelling a lot of appointments (something I hate doing because I honor my commitments), I just took it easy for a few days.
            One of the things I get to do when I’m laid up like this is watch a lot of movies I’ve missed lately because of lack of time.
            Boy, did I do some serious catching up.
            “Django Unchained”; “The Gangster Squad”; “Jack Reacher”; “The Expendables 2”; “Lincoln”; and “Alex Cross.”
            One thing I noticed after watching these highly touted films days in a row – movies today sure have weak endings.
            The studios build these flicks up, and then whimp out with some weak and implausible endings that don’t do justice to the great stories they’ve been telling. Why is this?
            Probably the worst offender, in my opinion, was the anemic ending to “Django Unchained,” starring Jamie Foxx. I actually liked the movie more than I thought I would, and you knew that Django (Foxx) would triumph in the end, but it was so simple, so unrewarding.
            The same with “Jack Reacher,” starring Tom Cruise. Good story three-quarters through, but the last fifteen minutes of the films felt like the writers had no idea how to bring it all to  successful conclusion.
            We all knew how “Lincoln” ended, but I could help thinking that Steven Spielberg stole a page from the classic film “King of Kings” – the story of Jesus Christ – in the manner a speech by President Abraham Lincoln took the film out. Still, it was a nice touch, and Daniel Day-Lewis certainly deserved his Best Actor Oscar for the role.
So folks in Hollywood, the next time I’m laid up sick for a few days, and decide to rent a few movies, please, I beg you, make the endings as good as the rest of the flick. It’s the least you can do given what you charge at the box office these days (which is why I love my buck-twenty movie rental).
PAM’S CD – Rarely do I plug someone’s music in this column, primarily because there’s very little today I can recommend as being any good. But I must that WNCN-TV newsanchor Pam Saulsby has a new CD album out called “Welcome Home,” which is a superb collection of songs devoted to our brave men and women serving in the military.
Indeed, part of the proceeds from the CD will go to Fisher House at Camp Lejeune in Fayetteville.
Fisher House provides room and board for the families of wounded soldiers, at no charge to those families during their medical stay.
Pam, being a US Army brat, has a deep regard and respect for members of the military, and wanted to give back in a special way to thank them for their service. The title track, “Welcome Home,” is on iTunes now, and the entire nine-song CD, which includes covers all-time classics like “Let’s Get It On” and “Get Here” is forthcoming.
Support this project, and thank you, Pam, for sharing your talent with us.
OPRAH’S GIFT – Chalk television mogul Oprah Winfrey up as the largest donor to the new National Museum of African-American History and Culture, signing a check for $12 million this week. Winfrey, who now runs the OWN cable channel after years on TV with her famous syndicated talk show, previously donated $1 million to the cause. Her big donation this week will got towards construction of a theater at the museum, which will be named after her. The museum is scheduled to be finished in 2015 on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Good going Oprah!
JUSTICE FRYE – Starting this Sunday, UNC-TV will present a three-part series in its “Biographical Conversations” programs featuring former NC Supreme Court Chief Justice Henry Frye, the first African-American  to serve in that post. The program airs at 6 p.m. on Sunday June 16 (part 1) 23rd ,(part 2) and 30th (part 3).
This a a great man, and this should be a great series.
Make sure you tune in every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. for my talk radio show, ''Make It Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM, or online at And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my blog, ‘The Cash Roc” ( I promise it will be interesting.
Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Columnist Cash Michaels was also honored by the NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009, and was the recipient of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP’s President’s Award for Media Excellence in Sept. 2011.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian in your life. Bye, bye.