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 http://www.huduser.org/portal/publications/fairhsg/hsg_discrimination_2012.html.

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 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.

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