Tuesday, August 27, 2013





                               NC ASSOCIATE JUSTICE CHERI JUSTICE

By Cash Michaels

Saying that some of the lawsuits now being filed against controversial legislation by the NC General Assembly will eventually come to the NC Supreme Court, NC Associate Justice Cheri Beasley urged the community, and particularly young people, that they “…must care about, understand and know the people serving you on the highest court in the state of North Carolina, because we cannot afford to get it wrong.”
“The work that [the NC Supreme Court does] affects your lives each and every day,” Justice Beasley assured attendees Saturday during a keynote address before the Seventh Annual Wendell-Wake County NAACP Youth Council Banquet in Wendell.
“I thank God today because I know a better day is coming,” Beasley continued, “but in the meantime, in only God’s way, we’re going to go through some things. There are people who are suffering; people who are losing their homes; who don’t have employment…no healthcare, [and] an assault on education systems. We’ve got to care.”
Republicans currently hold the majority on the state Supreme Court.
Beasley, who has been on the state’s High Court since December 2012, did not go express an opinion, which she is prohibited from doing, about any of the controversies involving restrictions on voting or abortion rights that have emanated from the Republican-led state Legislature.
But the state court’s newest justice did make it clear that she, like many, was concerned, and that the NAACP, of which she is a life member, should remain vigilant.
“We need you to be the resources in the community so that other folks won’t get it wrong,” Beasley said.
“There’s too much at stake.”
Justice Beasley praised the youth members of the Wendell-Wake NAACP for their commitment and promise to the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, and Ms. Mary E. Perry, branch youth advisor and former president, for keeping them on track, and involved.
“I know you have school, you have your activities and social lives, but you really have decided that this is the time in your lives that you must be committed to doing what’s right.”
“We are going to hear more from these young people,” Justice Beasley said, adding that they know that “We must keep God first.”
 “They’re bright, and they’re talented,” she continued. It is in times like these that we count on young people to break new ground.”
“We need you,” Justice Beasley said, “we need you now.”
Justice Beasley’s remarks to young African-Americans were considered unique, given that fifty years ago this week, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his now legendary, “I Have a Dream” speech at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, there were no blacks serving on any Supreme Court in the nation – state or otherwise.
            Indeed in North Carolina’s case, Justice Beasley noted that all five African-Americans who’ve ever served in the state’s 200-year history of High Court are still living – justices Henry Frye, James Wynn, Patricia Timmons-Goodson, G. K. Butterfield, and now, Beasley.
Justice Beasley is the newest member of the state’s High Court. She was appointed by Gov. Beverly Perdue in Dec. 2012 to serve out the remaining term of former Associate Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson, which ends in 2014.  If Justice Beasley runs for election next year, she will be mandated to serve only three more eight-year terms, retiring in February 2038.
Prior to Gov. Perdue’s appointment, Beasley served as an Associate Judge on the NC Court of Appeals, where she was elected to in 2008. That made Judge Beasley the only African-American female elected to a statewide office in North Carolina without the benefit of incumbency or appointment of a governor.
            Prior to that, Judge Beasley served for nearly ten years as a District Court judge in the Twelfth Judicial District, originally appointed by Gov. Jim Hunt in 1999.


            [CHARLOTTE] In an effort to keep track of the impact of the new restrictions on voting recently passed by the Republican-led General Assembly, the NC NAACP has announced that it has setup, in association with the Advancement Project of Washington, DC, a voter suppression hotline. The number to call for those voters who need assistance if they run into trouble at the polls during future elections is 1-855 – 664-3487. Lawyers from the Advancement Project will be on the other side taking calls. The NCNAACP said it also has lawyers researching why the Watauga County Board of Elections disqualified Elizabeth City State University student Montravias King from running for City Council, ruling that he was not a resident because he lived in a dorm room. That Republican-led board also removed the early voting site from the ECSU campus. The state Elections Board is scheduled to take up King’s appeal on Sept. 3rd.

            [RICHMOND, VA.] In what experts say is a “rare move,” judges on the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals blasted federal prosecutors in North Carolina Eastern District for withholding exculpatory evidence from defense witnesses. In their ruling, the judges found at least three cases of “discovery abuse,” saying that the cases “raises questions regarding whether the errors are fairly characterized as unintentional.” The judges want the US Attorney’ Office to meet with them about the problems “and discuss improvement of its discovery procedures.” They say if the problems persist, there could be “sanctions or disciplinary options.”

            [DURHAM] Former NC State Rep. Ken Spaulding has announced that he is running for governor in 2016, being Gov. McCrory’s first announced Democratic opponent for re-election. Spaulding, 68, a Durham attorney, is the son of Asa Spaulding, who once served as president of NC Mutual Insurance Co. “The taxpayers and voters are looking for a reasonable alternative to the extremist positions and actions taken by the governor and his legislative majority,” Spaulding, 68, said in a statement. Thus far, only state Attorney General Roy Cooper is seen as also vying for governor in 2016.


            Candidates for Raleigh mayor, City Council and the Wake School Board will take part in a candidates' forum Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. at Martin Street Baptist Church Family Life Center, 1009 East Martin Street in Raleigh. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be available. This event is sponsored by the Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association, the Voter Education, Phi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Alpha Theta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., NC Black Women’s Empowerment Network and the Raleigh-Apex NAACP.

            The AdvancED school accreditation agency has now closed the books on all complaints against the Wake County Board of Education, saying that it has fixed all concerns, and has become more transparent. The board has satisfied all governance issues that began three years ago when the Republicans took over the majority and the NCNAACP filed the first action. AdvancED later dismissed a complaint by the conservative Wake County Taxpayers Association after Supt. Tony Tata was fired last September. AdvancED even congratulated the now Democrat-led school board for its “significant progress” since it’s February 2011 special review.

            Raleigh City Council members of the council’s Law and Public Safety Committee discussed the incident last weekend when police suddenly stopped a charitable organization from feeding the homeless in Moore Square Park.  Officials say they were only enforcing an ordinance that’s been on the books for sometime. The confusion arose because groups have been able to do so for the past six year without problem. However planned downtown development, in addition to complaints from local businesspeople, have put pressure on officials to deal with the homeless issue. Mayor Nancy McFarlane vowed that a solution would be found to satisfy all parties.

By Cash Michaels

            LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER – After hearing and seeing so much positive talk about, I decided to take time to go see “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” last weekend, starring Forrest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey.
            In my opinion, it is certainly worth the time and attention, with Oscar-worthy performances from not only Whitaker and Winfrey, but an impressive cast.
            The story, as you by now know, is based on a Washington Post story about about White House butler Eugene Allen, who served under eight presidents. The film is loosely based on Allen’s life, with the main character, renamed “Cecil Gaines” and portrayed by Whitaker, being the son of Georgia slaves who runs away, learns how to serve in restaurants and swanky hotels, and finally makes his way to the White House. Gaines lives through various pivotal events in the civil rights movement, and each president he serves deals with them.
            Whitaker gives superb breath and honesty to his role as a negro happy to be a house (n-word), but as he grows older, learns to stand up for his rights, and demand equality.
            Gaines’ eldest son, Louis, ably portrayed by the talented British actor David Oyelowo, helps in that process by seeing things from the outside of the White House, and becoming intimately involved in the civil rights struggle, becoming more militant by the day, and building a wedge between himself and his father. The two are at odds for most of the film, but towards the end, as they both grow older, come back together.
            Oyelowo’s challenge (besides covering his substantial British accent), is to grow up in front of us and mature as a young activist, which he does.
            That leaves some of the heavy lifting to talk show queen Oprah Winfrey, who hadn’t acted for 15 years before taking the role of Gloria Gaines, the wayward wife of Cecil. She smokes, she drinks, she fornicates, and cares nothing for the White House because it takes her man away from home more times than not. And yet, there is a strain of decency and love for family that allows us to embrace Gloria, especially when she faces the challenges of raising her two boys, sending one off to college, and another off to fight in Vietnam.
            The world is changing radically for Cecil and Gloria, but they stick together through it all.
            Winfrey is not a stage-trained actress, and yet, as she did in Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-nominated classic, “The Color Purple,” Winfrey delivers such a natural performance that you never see the seams of her acting showing.
            The rest of the actors, with few exceptions, do stellar work, from Cuba Gooding Jr. and Lenny Kravitz as White House butlers, to Robin Williams, Liev Schreiber and Alan Rickman as presidents Eisenhower, Johnson and Reagan respectively.
            And Jane Fonda does a great turn as First Lady Nancy Reagan as well.
            The film was written by Danny Strong, who won Emmy Wards for writing  the HBO movies “Recount,” about the 2000 Florida presidential voting controversy and “Game Change,” about Gov. Sarah Palin’s role in the 2008 presidential race.
            With such strong material and excellent actors, it would take a visionary director, indeed, to pull it all together, and that Lee Daniels does.
            He is the Oscar-nominated director who produced “Monster’s Ball,” which won Halle Berry an Academy Award for Best Actress; and he directed “Precious,” which won two Oscars.
            Daniels loves to dabble with explosive stories, and with “The Butler” (his names was officially added to the title when Warner Bros. caused problems claiming that it had a 1916 film by the same name) he gets plenty of dynamite.
            Daniels recreates all of the fire and passion of the civil rights movement, showing us both sides of the coin – those in the community, like Cecil Gaines, who felt “negroes” were moving too fast; and those like his militant son, Louis, who felt the time had come for justice, no matter the price.
            From the Greyhound bus carrying Freedom Riders being attacked, to the Black Panther Party and the assassination of Dr. King, Daniels helps us relive these traumatic moments in  time with skill and depth. And he puts it all in the context of the Gaines family.
            I enjoyed “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.” To me, this was fine and timely moviemaking that will be heard from come Oscar time.
            HOMEBOY MAKES GOOD – Bolton, NC is a small town of 800 folks a few miles from Wilmington, and yet, one of it’s own is on top of the literary world right now. Poet-novelist Jason Mott, an alumnus of UNC – Wilmington, has just released his new novel titled, “The Returned,” and it has become an instant hit.
            The story of a small town called Arcadia, NC, where the dead eight-year-old son of an elderly couple return to them fifty years later alive, Motts book was immediately optioned by actor Brad Pitts production company, and next March, will be an ABC TV series starring Omar Epps (for TV, the book will be renamed “Resurrection.” Don’t ask me what was wrong with “The Returned.”)
            Mott is traveling the country on tour promoting his book, and says though he’s spent over the past 12 years writing poetry and struggling, to have this success is a blessing.
            The book was released this week. We wish this homeboy well. Hear my interview with him next week on my radio show, “Make It Happen,” Thursday at 4 on www.myWAUG.com.
            THE GODFATHER OF SOUL – A new movie about the life of soul singer James Brown is scheduled to start filming in Mississippi soon, and actor Chadwick Boseman, who portrayed Jackie Robinson in the fine film, “42: The Jackie Robinson Story,” is set to play the Godfather of Soul. One of the producers of the film is Rolling Stones’ lead man Mick Jagger, and the director is Tate Taylor, who brought us, “The Help.”
            Let’s see how this will turn out, shall we?
            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.

Monday, August 19, 2013




COMMEMORATING THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY - Buses carrying hundreds of people from North Carolina, will join thousands of others from across the nation going to Washington, DC, beginning Saturday, August 24th through Wednesday, August 28th, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech to over 250,000 participants on the National Mall. President Obama is scheduled to deliver remarks on August 28th [Photo courtesy US Navy]

By Cash Michaels

            Emboldened by the new voting restrictions passed by the Republican-led General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory last week, college students in North Carolina are now not just saddled with finding a new way to vote since their college IDs will not be accepted at the polls.
            In some parts of the state, they’ll be lucky to be able to vote at all.
            That’s because local county boards of election, now dominated by Republicans, are passing new restrictions on college student voting that critics say will serve to as an attempt to deter young voters from the polls in upcoming elections.
            Why? Because young voters in North Carolina traditionally vote Democratic, an advantage, observers say, the GOP wants to eliminate to maintain their legislative grip for years to come.
            House Bill 589, the voting omnibus bill that Gov. McCrory signed last week, not only cut the two week early voting period virtually in half, and instituted voter photo ID, but also required several forms of identification of college students who didn’t already have North Carolina issued identification, like a driver’s license.
            The bill also eliminated the pre-voter registration program which allowed 16 and 17-year-old high school students to register to vote, just as long as they would be 18 before the next election.
            That move also slashed the prospect of a steady stream of young Democratic voters for future elections, further suppressing their votes.
            But now, in areas around the state where college students make up a significant voting population, GOP-dominated local election boards are voting to shut down early voting sites, consolidate voting precincts forcing hundreds of voters to deal with one site instead of three, and in an extraordinary case in Elizabeth City, disqualify an Elizabeth City State University senior from running for City Council, ruling that he has no legal residence in the city because he lives in the university dormitory.
            The student, Montravious King, has been living and voting in Elizabeth City since 2009. But Pete Gilbert, the local chair of the Pasquotank County Republican Party convinced the local Republican-led board of elections on Aug. 13th to disqualify King, and promised to come back to have every student living on ECSU’s campus disqualified from voting for the same reason.
            King, 22, is appealing that decision to the Republican-led state Board of Elections, whose members were appointed by Gov. McCrory.
            Gilbert is encouraging other Republican Party county chairs across the state to take a page from his playbook, and go after disqualifying dorm-living college students in their respective counties.
NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber, during a news conference in Elizabeth City Tuesday, called the local board of elections “an anti-democratic cancer” that needed to be investigated for its role in targeting King and other ECSU students in the denial of their voting rights.
Barber also noted that legally, it is the board of elections, not King, who is breaking the law.
In 1972, both the US and NC Supreme Courts ruled that college students of legal voting age had the constitutional right to participate in local elections where they are living while attending school. So the ECSU case is certainly headed to court under that premise.
Black students at Winston-Salem State University are keeping a close eye on what’s happening at ECSU. Recently, Ken Raymond, the chair of the Republican-led Forsyth County elections board indicated that he would push to have the early voting site on WSSU’s campus closed down, simply because he had heard rumors that professors were allegedly giving extra credit to students who voted.
No evidence was ever presented to back up those claims.
That Raymond backed off having a vote on the site shutdown this week as he had earlier promises, saying that it was too early to consider such. But given the make up of the board, critics know that a vote can be taken at any time.
And then there’s the city of Boone in Watauga County, where Appalachian State University is headquartered.
This week, the GOP-led county board of elections voted to eliminate the early voting site on the campus of ASU and force all early voting into one hard to get to location for ASU voters.
The meeting was contentious as citizens protested.
Afterwards, the Watauga County BOE chair had the board meeting minutes changed so that the contentiousness would not be reflected.

New Report Finds an Active School-to-Prison Pipeline in the Wake County Public School System
Special to The Carolinian Newspaper

RALEIGH, N.C. – Students exhibiting minor misbehavior may find themselves suspended and on a pathway to the delinquency and criminal systems if they attend Wake County public schools – particularly if they are African-American, have a disability, and/or are economically disadvantaged – new research shows.

In just the 2011-12 school year alone, the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) handed out 14,626 suspensions, thousands of which were for so-called Level 1 offenses such as attendance issues and “noncompliance.” And in a system where only 24.7 percent of the student population is African-American, more than 60 percent of the suspensions fell on black students.

The research, distilled in a new report entitled, “The State of the School-to-Prison-Pipeline in the Wake County Public School System,” was released on August 19, by Advocates for Children’s Services (ACS), a project of Legal Aid of North Carolina. The report is based on data from the 2011-12 school year, the most recent year for which data is available.

“This is the most comprehensive school-to-prison pipeline report ever produced about a school district in North Carolina,” said Jason Langberg, an attorney for ACS and a co-author of the report. “What we found in reviewing thousands of pages of public records and analyzing extensive data was that the WCPSS does not have a comprehensive, coordinated approach to preventing misbehavior and intervening when it occurs.”

A spokesperson for WCPSS had no comment Monday because they had not read the report yet.

Some key findings of the report include:

 - Long-term suspension rates in WCPSS were among the highest in North Carolina, in part due to the district’s severe shortage of alternatives to suspension (e.g., restorative justice, community service, and mandatory counseling).

 - The district had a severe shortage of school psychologists, social workers and guidance counselors, with ratios well below national recommendations.

 - The alternative schools and programs within the WCPSS are highly segregated, low-achieving and punitive.

 - The WCPSS had a massive security presence in its schools – including a Security Department staff, private security guards, and law enforcement officers – yet security personnel lacked adequate training, limitations and accountability, and inconsistencies existed among schools.

 - Arbitrary suspension recommendations from an inadequate Code of Conduct are leading to inequitable applications. Nearly all long-term suspensions are recommended to extend through the end of the school year, so two students who commit the same offense may receive vastly different suspension periods depending on when they committed their offense.

Particularly troubling was the finding that the WCPSS is funneling students, particularly students of color, directly into the juvenile delinquency system at increasing and alarming rates. During the 2011-12 state fiscal year, school-based delinquency complaints increased by 23.5 percent from the previous year, with nearly three-quarters of those complaints being filed against African-American students.

“This report provides a clear overview of the state of school discipline in Wake County,” said Matt Ellinwood, a policy analyst at the Education & Law Project of the North Carolina Justice Center. “While some progress has been made in recent years, it is apparent that the WCPSS and districts across the state continue to adhere to punitive school discipline policies that are counterproductive in terms of improving student achievement and behavior rather than implementing research-based practices designed to prevent misbehavior and support the education of at-risk students.”

The report also found that while alternative education programs can be effective in managing students with academic or behavioral issues and can combat the school-to-prison pipeline, such programs in the WCPSS often work counterproductively. All WCPSS alternative schools operate as racially-identifiable, high-poverty schools. African-American students comprise 71.5 percent of the population and more than 75 percent of students come from economically disadvantaged families. The suspension rate for these alternative schools in the 2011-12 school year was almost 12 times the rate at the district-wide level, with 11.7 suspensions per 10 students. All alternative settings reported significantly lower end-of-grade (EOG) and end-of-course (EOC) exam passage rates than at the district-wide level. At the lowest end of the spectrum, only 5.1 percent of Longview school students demonstrated proficiency on all EOG exams, only 23.7 percent of students were proficient on all EOC exams, and only 10.5 percent of students graduated on time. For students suspended from a traditional school seeking an alternative learning environment, the WCPSS’s alternative programs fall short in providing adequate support and services.

Although the WCPSS has a massive security network (private security guards, school resource officers, WCPSS security staff, off-duty law enforcement officers and law enforcement officers who come onto campus for investigations), the report found there were few guidelines and accountability mechanisms in place. The lack of such accountability is troubling, given the reported increase in school-based delinquency complaints and the history of security personnel using TASERs, pepper spray and excessive force in Wake County.

Moreover, North Carolina is the only state that treats all 16- and 17-year-olds as adults, so any time a school-based complaint is filed against a WCPSS student over age 16, the student goes straight into the adult criminal system. In an attempt to increase safety and security, the WCPSS is instead sending students directly into a school-to-prison pipeline.

“The data unfortunately show that the WCPSS still too often relies on pushing its most high-need students into low-performing alternative schools, out on the streets via suspension, or, at alarmingly increasing rates, straight into the court system,” said Jennifer Story, an attorney for ACS and co-author of the report. “We hope that this report will educate stakeholders about current problems and best practices and stimulate necessary dialogue and action.”


            [GREENSBORO] If state leaders were looking for good news from the July unemployment numbers, they didn’t get it. The jobless rate for the state crept up to 8.9 percent, one-tenth of a percent higher than June, according to the state Dept. of Commerce’s Labor and Economic Analysis Division. That ties North Carolina with Rhode Island in having the third worst unemployment rate in the nation, behind Illinois and Nevada – both with 9.5 percent. The national jobless rate in July was just 7.4 percent. North Carolina did add over 8,200 jobs last month, but that was offset by over 5,300 government jobs lost. Local jobless figures will be released August 28th.

            [CARRBORO] Saying that her energies now are best spent helping Democrats across the state get elected, State Sen. Ellie Kinnard [D-Orange] announced her resignation from her Senate seat Monday, effective immediately. Kinnaird, 81, served nine terms in the NC Senate. She is seen as a liberal stalwart who fought for women’s rights, and the rights of the poor. Kinnaird added that she would work to ensure that all who need voter photo identification, per the new law, will have them.

            [GREENSBORO]  Former Guilford County Commissioner and NCNAACP Pres. Melvin “Skip” Alston has announced that he’s stepping down as chairman of the financially beleaguered International Civil Rights Center & Museum on Sept. 16th. Alston, however, will remain as a voting member of the governing board. Alston is a cofounder of the civil rights museum, which is the historic F. W. Woolworth store where four NC A&T University students challenged segregation laws in February 1960. Alston said his decision to leave is based on his business interests, and probable candidacy in 2014 for a state or federal office. A longtime figure of controversy in Greensboro, editorials in both The Greensboro News & Record, and the local African-American newspaper, The Carolina Peacemaker, virtually demanded that Alston leave the museum board as to not damage its progress.


            A black assistant Durham Police chief has filed an EEOC complaint against Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez alleging racial discrimination for being passed over for promotion to Deputy Chief. Asst. Chief Winslow Forbes alleges in the three-page complaint that Lopez passed over him because he had complained about the chief’s negative treatment of black officers in 2011 and 2012. Forbes has 25 years with the DPD. At presstime, there was no response to the complaint from Durham city officials.

            Wake County parents can now keep up with their children’s 2013-14 bus route, and any changes. WCPSS has now posted that information at http://www.wcpss.net/parents/transportation/routes-and-stops.html. Just click on your child’s elementary, middle or high school, and the listing of bus stops per route number will appear. Parents are asked to bring their children to the bus stop in the morning at least ten minutes before its scheduled pickup.

            The six honorees to be inducted in the Wake County Public School System Hall of Fame have been announced by the Wake Educational Partnership, to be awarded on Oct. 3rd at Marbles Kids Museum. Those to be recognized include former Wake Supt. Bill McNeal; Ann Goodnight on behalf of SAS Institute; community leader Sherry Worth; businessman Zach Clayton; David West, a graduate of Garner High School who now plays for the NBA’s Indiana Pacers; and Elizabeth Grimes-Droessler, WCPSS arts administrator. Special lifetime awards go to former Wake Supt. Dr. Robert Bridges, and former Raleigh Mayor Smedes York.

By Cash Michaels

            THICKE VERSUS GAYE – When the person who should be sued, sues first in order to keep from being sued, then you know that something is wrong somewhere.
            By now you know about the “reluctant” lawsuit filed by performer Robin Thicke against the family of soul singing legend Marvin Gaye to keep them from suing him because his monster summer smash hit, “Blurred Lines” sounds very, very close to Marvin’s old dance hit, “Got to Give it Up.”
            Being from the old school of disco DJ music, the first time I heard “Blurred Lines,” the first thing I said to myself was,” Hey wait a minute, that’s Marvin Gaye!” And when I saw Thicke’s video, I was certain I was listening to a more contemporary version of Marvin’s great classic.
            I even told my daughter, KaLa. She, of course, dismissed my contention that something was rotten in Robin Thicke-ville, but all of that changed when Thicke, along with “Blurred Lines” co-writers Pharrell Williams and Clifford Harris Jr., filed suit August 15th in a Los Angeles federal court against Marvin’s family, as well as Bridgeport Music, Inc., who owns the music to Funkadelic’s portfolio of hits.
            Apparently folks at Bridgeport believe Thicke & Co. allegedly ripped off one of their songs, “Sexy Ways.”
            In Thicke’s pre-emptive lawsuit, he alleges that Marvin Gaye’s family – specifically his three children Marvin III, Frankie and Nona – don’t even have standing regarding “Got To Give It Up” (meaning they had nothing to do with the song), let alone that he did not rip it off.
            But you have to love how Thicke’s lawsuit opens. Get a load of this:
            Plaintiffs, who have the utmost respect for and admiration of Marvin Gaye, Funkadelic and their musical legacies, reluctantly file this action in the face of multiple adverse claims from alleged successors in interest to those artists.
            There are no similarities between plaintiffs’ composition and those the claimants alleged they own, other than commonplace musical elements. Plaintiffs created a hit and did it without copying anyone else’s composition.
            Well that remains for a court of law to decide. Attorneys for the Gaye family and Bridgeport Music had not filed a response to Thicke’s lawsuit by presstime Tuesday, let alone file a lawsuit against him actually making the claims, but they’re coming.
            The reason why this case is so fascinating is because it raises the question,” How much of someone else’ intellectual property can you use without their permission?”  Thicke alleges that he and his crew didn’t use any of Marvin Gaye’s song, and yet clearly there are definitive elements of “Got To Give It Up” in “Blurred Lines” that cannot be by accident.
            Don’t get me wrong…it can happen, and has with other songs in the past. But in this case, it’s not likely. Marvin Gaye was a towering performing artist who defined a generation with his musical genius. It’s simply hard to believe in the process of producing “Blurred Lines” that somebody didn’t hear the similarities and say something.
            That is, unless they did it deliberately.
            We’ll see.
            MSNBC FOLLIES – I will be the first to admit that being a television programmer can’t be an easy job. You’ve got to compete with other channels and stations, and figure out a way to not only attract the largest audience possible, but then hold that audience for the longest period of time possible. That’s what advertisers want, and ultimately how money is made.
            That said, there are some things even I knew wouldn’t work programming-wise over at MSNBC.
            When evening talker Ed Schultz was moved out of his 8 p.m. weeknight slot to the weekends a few months back, and replaced by super-sharp wonker Chris Hayes, I knew it wouldn’t work.
            Schultz, a hardnosed “every man” whose claim to fame was standing strong for the middle-class and the working man, had an undeniable edge and in-your-face style that was the perfect counter to Bill O’Reilly over at Fox News.
            But the suits at MSNBC had decided that the best way to counter O’Reilly was with someone intrinsically smarter. Problem was while Hayes is indeed sharp, he can also be too analytical, which is what always made him a good guest for ten minutes.
            But as host of an hour-long show, that wears thin fast, because there’s little personality to carry the intellect. Schultz was never an intellectual, but he did have personality and common sense, and that combination made his show fun to watch.
            Well apparently the wheels came off the master plan, because Hayes’ ratings at 8 p.m. have been gut-awful (even Anderson Cooper on CNN is beating him), and it’s affecting the rest of the prime-time lineup, which includes the brilliant Rachel Maddow (still the star of MSNBC) and Lawrence O’Donnell.
            So this week it was announced that as of August 26th, Ed Schulz will move his show to 5 p.m. weekdays, and Chris Matthews’ “Hardball” will be seen only at 7 p.m. (It had been seen both at 5 and 7 p.m.). MSNBC suits hope that “Hardball’s” single-showing audience at 7 will give Chris Hayes’s 8 p.m. show more of a boost.
            That’s not going to work. Hayes is Hayes. What would make much more sense is to move Ed Schultz back to 8 p.m. where his audience loves him most, and move Hayes to 5 p.m. But that won’t happen (for now) because that would be an admission that MSNBC was wrong to put him in the 8 p.m. nightly spot in the first place.
            So let’s see what happens, shall we?
            OLBERMANN – Keith Olbermann’s brand new ESPN2 weeknight show, “Olbermann” premieres Monday August 26th. From what I see, Keith is back in shape after a disastrous run at Current TV, and before that MSNBC. And the fact that he kissed and made up with ESPN is novel in and of itself, given to how folks simply hated the man there when he was top talent dog during the 1990’s. But even his detractors admit that KO is a great writer, and knows how to handle himself on camera better than anybody else. His bad attitude has always lost him jobs, but his skill as a commentator and interviewer has always saved his fanny.
            Who knows, after ESPN fires him again, perhaps Keith will kiss and makeup with MSNBC…. in about a hundred years!
            CONGRATULATIONS – Lots of folks doing great things of late, deserving
 a shoutout.
            Congrats to director Lee Daniels and the cast of “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.” Indeed there is Oscar buzz already about stellar performances by Forrest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Robin Williams, and the list goes on.
            Congrats to filmmaker Spike Lee for surpassing the $1.25 million fundraising mark for his new film on Kickstarter. Thanks to contributions from fans, Lee will now be able to make the movie he wanted to make about….blood?
            Congrats to former television journalist Allison Stewart on her new book, “ First Class: The Legacy of Dunbar – America’s First Black Public School.” The former MTV and MSNBC anchor writes about the legacy of Dunbar High in Washington, DC, and shares stories from some of its early graduates (good work, Allison).
            AND FINALLY… - I don’t know what businessman and Def Jam rap music producer Russell Simmons was thinking when he posted a video of black history icon Harriet Tubman having sexual relations with her white “massah,” but the righteous backlash from folks like Spike Lee, Julianne Malveaux and the NAACP convinced him to take the blasted thing down, that he clearly was not in his right mind. Simmons has apologized, and word is he is working on a more constructive and inspiration video about the great Harriet Tubman.
            But what in the world was he thinking?
            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.

Monday, August 12, 2013


 (Here is the full schedule of march on Washington activities - http://www.nnpa.org/many-events-planned-for-march-on-washington-by-george-e-curry/)


SUING THE GOVERNOR - As members of the NC NAACP listen, Pres. Rev. William Barber announces that the civil rights has filed suit against Gov. Pat McCrory and the state for enacting what the NcNAACP calls "voter suppression" laws designed to minimize black voting strength. [Cash Michaels photo]

By Cash Michaels

            On Monday, when Gov. Pat McCrory signed House Bill 589, the controversial Voter Information Verification Act, he said in an op-ed published in The News and Observer, “The common sense election reforms I just signed into law will protect the integrity of one of the most precious rights guaranteed in our state constitution, the right to vote.”
            But the ink from the Republican governor’s signature was barely dry before a litany of progressive civil rights groups, led by the NCNAACP, were lining up at the federal courthouse door, filing separate lawsuits to stop what they say are unconstitutional “voter suppression” measures to impose unwarranted voter photo ID, and end same day voter registration, Sunday voting, straight-ticket voting and pre-voter registration for 16 and 17-year-olds.
“The NC NAACP, on behalf of all our branches and members, filed a complaint, along with (92-year-old) Mrs. Rosanell Eaton, and other plaintiffs including Mrs. Carolyn Q. Coleman and Mrs. Mary Perry soon to be added, against the Governor of North Carolina in Middle District Federal Court,” Rev. William Barber, president of the NC NAACP, told reporters during a press conference Tuesday at the group’s Durham headquarters.
            “The legal challenge is filed by the North Carolina NAACP; strong and knowledgeable North Carolina attorneys Adam Stein and Irving Joyner; The Advancement Project, a premier national civil rights organization led by Atty. Penda Hair; and the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis, along with Atty. Jamie Phillips and Atty. Al McSurely,” Rev. Barber continued. “It charges that the law violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which bans voting procedures that discriminate on the basis of race, color, or membership in one of the language minority groups. The suit also challenges the law under the 14th and 15th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.”
            This bill is not just about voter ID requirements,” Rev. Barber maintained.  “It is 57 pages of regressive, unconstitutional acts to rig and manipulate elections through voter suppression. Our lawsuit will show how this voter suppression bill in its many eerie elements, revisits the tactics of Jim Crow in the 21st century are a form of what we have called for months “James Crow Esquire” tactics because each suppression tactic has a disproportionate, disparate, and discriminatory impact especially on African Americans and other minorities.  This act of the Legislature and Governor is about race, an outright attempt to manipulate voting and the result of voting through suppressing the African American vote and the votes of others that expand the electorate in ways not often favorable to the support of a narrow and extreme political agenda.”
            Mrs. Rosanell Eaton, 92, told reporters that what the Republican-led NC General Assembly had done in passing the voter restrictions bill was “evil.”
            The NCNAACP weren’t the only ones hauling Gov. McCrory into court. The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina, and the Southern Coalition for Justice also filed suit, agreeing that what McCrory indeed did was aid and abet voter suppression.
            The suit specifically targets provisions of the law that eliminate a week of early voting, end same-day registration, and prohibit "out-of-precinct" voting,” a statement from the plaintiffs states. “[Our suit] seeks to stop North Carolina from enacting these provisions, arguing that they would unduly burden the right to vote and discriminate against African-American voters, in violation of the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”           
            The statement continued, “During the 2012 election, 2.5 million ballots were cast during the early voting period, representing more than half the total electorate. More than 70 percent of African-American voters utilized early voting during the 2008 and 2012 general elections.”
"This law is a disaster,” said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project. “Eliminating a huge part of early voting will cut off voting opportunities for hundreds of thousands of citizens. It will turn Election Day into a mess, shoving more voters into even longer lines.”
            Vocal opposition to Gov. McCrory’s signing of the omnibus elections bill in the state was swift and fierce.
            “Once again, the Republicans have come up with a solution in search of a problem.  But this time, they’re going after our very freedom,” said NC Democratic Party Chairman Randy Voller. “With Governor McCrory signing the voter suppression legislation passed last month by the extremists in Raleigh, we now know they will literally stop at nothing to tighten their hold on their perceived power.”
            Chairman Voller continued, “What we will see upon the enactment of this legislation is an increase in the number of hours North Carolinians spend voting, further disenfranchising working families from participating in our elections.  Also, many of our seniors and economically disadvantaged won’t be able to successfully complete the process for obtaining a government identification card.  At a time when more and more people are feeling frustrated by the inaccessibility and ineffectiveness of government, I believe, as do a majority of North Carolinians, that we need to increase access and strengthen our electoral system. Instead, the Republicans have chosen to do the exact opposite.”
            State Attorney Gen. Roy Cooper, seen as one of the most probable Democrats to challenge Gov. Pat McCrory in 2016, started a Change.org petition drive last week to urge McCrory not to sign the measure.
            This regressive elections law restricts voting, allows more corporate money into politics and reduces public disclosure for special interests looking to influence elections,” Cooper said in an email sent to supporters from his re-election campaign.  “Plus it cuts short the time for early voting and stops those who go to the wrong precinct from casting provisional ballots. And on and on.”
            I urged the Governor to veto and more than 17,000 of you joined me in just four days,” Cooper continued. “Though I’m appalled that the bill is now law, I am encouraged by your response.”
            US Sen. Kay Hagan [D-NC] immediately wrote to US Attorney General Eric Holder - who has already vowed to fight racially discriminatory voter suppression laws in the aftermath of the US Supreme Court crippling the 1965 Voting Rights Act – asking him to step in.
“I am deeply concerned that H.B. 589 will restrict the ability of minorities, seniors, students, the disabled, and low and middle incomes citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote,” Sen. Hagan wrote. “I strongly encourage the Justice Department to immediately review North Carolina House Bill 589 and take all appropriate steps to protect federal civil rights and the fundamental right to vote.”
            US Congressman G. K. Butterfield [D-1-NC] also sent an urgent missive to A.G. Holder, asking him to, “…take swift and decisive action by using any legal mechanisms at your disposal to protect voting rights for North Carolinians. 
            Like you, I have fought my whole life for equity in voting,” Butterfield’s letter to Holder continued. “ I spent my entire legal career advocating for civil rights and helped to expand rights for minorities.  Now, as a Member of Congress, my fight continues.  I simply cannot stand idly by and watch overtly discriminatory and racially motivated initiatives go unchallenged.  I am outraged.”
            “I strongly urge you to utilize any and all legal avenues at your disposal to fight this horrible law that turns back the clock on a generation of progress for voting rights.” 
North Carolina’s election law controversy made national news as well, attracting national attention.
            Barbara Arnwine, president and executive director of the Washington, DC-based Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, charged that North Carolina’s new law could “disenfranchise” voters of color.
            “By signing HB 589 into law, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has enacted our nation’s most damaging voter suppression law in recent years,” Ms. Arnwine said.
“Indeed, this bill is a hit list of voter suppression tactics, not just a photo ID bill. It threatens to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters and will likely have a particularly devastating impact on African Americans, Hispanics and other minority communities in the state.”           
Black conservatives, however, cheered Gov. McCrory.
"I'm thrilled to see that North Carolina is joining the brigade of states enforcing voter ID," said Horace Cooper, co-chairman of Project 21, a conservative black think tank sponsored by the predominately-white conservative National Center for Public Policy Research. "Voter ID is constitutional and legal and, as the evidence demonstrates, it encourages real Americans to cast their vote knowing they won't be displaced by ghosts, convicts or illegal aliens."
But possible 2016 presidential hopeful, Democrat Hillary Clinton, doesn’t see it that way.
In a speech before the annual American Bar Association Monday, the former First Lady and Secretary of State told the audience that the elections bill Gov. McCrory signed into law, “…reads like the greatest hits of voter suppression.”


            Wake District Attorney C. Colin Willoughby has determined that trying all 924 arrested Moral Monday demonstrators would be a bit of a strain on the county court system, so he’s offered them a deal. If they each do 25 hours of community service and pay a $180.00 fine, his office will dismiss all charges. Because the charges stem from peaceful civil disobedience, Willoughby says “deferred prosecution” is the most appropriate legal solution. Several have already accepted the deal, but many more have as of yet to attend their first court date. A spokesman for the state Republican Party blasted the deal, however, saying that it is not sufficient punishment and will not stop future Moral Monday protests.

            The east and westbound lanes of the I-440 Beltline are being patched over night in preparation for the massive $130 million I-40/I-440 construction project which will begin in 2014. The patchwork began this week near the Rock Quarry Road exit.  That nighttime work will continue each night from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., NCDOT officials say.

            Wake School Board member Bill Fletcher is a moderate Republican who is running to retain the District 9 seat he was appointed to earlier this year. On some occasions, Fletcher votes with the Democrat majority, and that seems to be a problem for the Wake Republican Party, which now backing conservative GOP’er Nancy Caggia to replace Fletcher on the board. Fletcher supports the board majority’s diversity policy, and is sometime at odds with its two other Republican members – Deborah Prickett and John Tedesco. Fletcher says he doesn’t need the Wake GOP endorsement to retain his seat.


         [RALEIGH] Two men wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to several years in prison, have settled lawsuits against the State Bureau of Investigation totaling $12.5 million. Greg Taylor of Wake County spent 17 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, will receive almost $5 million from the state and its insurance company.  Floyd Brown of Anson County will see $7.85 million after spending 14 years in Dorothea Dix Hospital after he was falsely convicted of murder. NC Attorney Gen. Roy Cooper says both men were victims of SBI misconduct. ““It’s always wrong when innocent people are jailed for crimes they didn’t commit, no matter who is at fault.”
         [RALEIGH] State Supt. of Public Instruction June Atkinson says despite a record high 82.5 graduation rate, standardized test scores for the state’s public school students will fall, primarily because new Common Core tests have been introduced. Atkinson says the drop occurs anytime new standards are administered. Meanwhile controversy erupted earlier this week when House Majority Leader Paul “Skip” Stam, a Republican, told the News and Observer that Atkinson “should stick to her own knitting” and work to improve public schools. Stam’s intemperate remark was in reaction to Supt. Atkinson proposing that private school students take the same tests as public school pupils.

         [GREENSBORO] Thanks to sever cuts to the UNC System budget by the Republican-led Legislature, 13 of the system’s 16 campuses are already planning for layoffs. NC A&T University Chancellor Harold Martin has announced that at least 50 employees there may be laid off as a result of less funding this budget cycle. UNC – Greensboro Chancellor Linda Brady said she was still deciding at presstime what positions would be eliminated.  Notices are expected to go out over the next two weeks.

CASH IN THE APPLE for 8-15-13
By Cash Michaels

HISTORIC TIMES – It’s hard to believe that many of the battles our forefathers and foremothers fought over a half-century ago we’re still fighting now. As we are about to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. forever stirred the nation with his “I Have a Dream” speech, it is a pitiful shame, indeed, that we must talk about how far we have fallen back, instead of how we have risen since that crucial time in 1963.
The official themes of that ’63 march were “jobs and freedom.” Segregation was still the law of the land in many southern states, and people of color sought opportunities to learn and work.
And when it came to freedom, it was clear that the color of one’s skin determined their worth, and the level of respect in this society then.
So what has changed? As recent events have taught us, if you’re a black male in this society, you can still be shot down like a dog, unarmed, and if the killer is of another, more favored race, then your death is but a technicality.
Even the black president that this nation has elected twice now is still the subject of racist vilification, having been called just “47 percent black” at a recent rally in Arizona because of his mixed heritage.
And of course, North Carolina recently passed potpourri of voter suppression laws that were immediately challenged in court the moment the governor signed them into law this week. The clear goal is to minimize the number of poor people of color and young people from casting their ballots because they’re most likely to vote against Republican policies.
So there is no question in my mind that our nation has let Dr. King down by allowing the forces of division to literally turn the clock back on the progress we have made. Right-wingers in power really don’t mind that you call them racists to their faces, because as far as they’re concerned, you’re not really a citizen, you’re a moocher.
Didn’t Mitt Romney make that clear last year?
But they feel that they have a solid lock on things, grinding Congress to an absolute halt so that nothing can be moved forward to help the economy, and more importantly, President Obama cannot claim credit for anything.
And they have most of the GOP-led state legislatures locked up to, passing repressive laws to keep the rich in control, and the poor under the boots of those who are enjoying denying them basic human rights.
So we have our work cut out for us folks. It wasn’t supposed to be like this fifty years after Dr. King’s iconic speech, we were supposed to have indeed ‘overcome’ so that our children wouldn’t have to go through this.
We failed, an now we have to retrench, recapture that spirit, learn from our history, unite in our communities and with likeminded people of goodwill, and take back our nation, and the promise that Dr. King saw for all of us.
If we fail again, then we are doing our children, and their children, an extraordinary injustice for generations to come.
And remember, this is why you have a Black Press, and why you MUST support this African-American newspaper. We, along with the Black Church, have been your voice, your rock in times like these, and we continue to be such today.
But we need your support. You don’t want to know what the world would be like without your community black newspaper.
Support the Black Press, and thank you!
A GREAT GESTURE – When I saw this Orlando Sentinel story online, I smiled. The Florida A&M University football team recently invited Tracy Martin, the father of Trayvon Martin, to come and speak to the team to lend words of encouragement and inspiration. On top of that, Martin will participate in the coin-toss of the Rattlers’ season opening game against Mississippi Valley State on Sept. 1st.
And on top of all of that, Tracy Martin has been made Honorary Captain of the team.
FAMU Rattlers’ Coach Earl Holmes told the Sentinel that he invited Mr. Martin to come speak to the team. “He came out and he was very, very encouraging ... [He] got a standing ovation from our guys. He talked about just persevering and told the guys to keep on pushing through the hard times. The message he shared with the kids was very positive and they were very responsive.”
Coach Holmes continued, ““At the end of the day, whether it’s good, bad or indifferent, a parent lost a child. He can live through us and we’re going to push on for him,” Holmes added to the newspaper. "That was very, very powerful meeting and a powerful message he gave to the kids. You could see it ... the guys' eyes just lit up.”
With all of the BS that we see and hear in the media these days, especially where it involves the tragedy surrounding the murder of young Trayvon Martin, it is indeed encouraging to see one of our major HBCU’s reaching out to the Martin family, embracing them on behalf of the entire community, and empower them to help save other young lives.
Hats off to FAMU, Coach Holmes, the Rattlers football team, and of course, to Tracy Martin and his family.
This was a good thing, indeed!
AL JAZEERA AMERICA LINEUP – You haven’t heard much about this yet because it hasn’t hit the air, but the new Al Jazeera America cable news channel that is replacing what once was Current TV sounds like it is shaping up to be something worth following. It’s scheduled to make its debut on August 20th.
Thus far AJA is signing up an extremely diverse lineup of veteran TV journalists that is quite impressive – from Soledad O’Brien, Ali Velshi and Joie Chen from CNN, to David Shuster, John Viqueira and John Seigenthaler from MSNBC, and Antonio Mora from ABC News, among others.
Keep in mind that AJA is owned by an oil-rich foreign interest based in Qatar-based corporation in the Middle East, so it will be interesting to see the editorial bend of its American news network. Conservatives here seem to feel that AJA’s Middle East counterpart was friendly with terrorists, something AJA officials strongly deny.
By the way, AJA is still negotiating with Time Warner Cable, so it may be a while before you see it if you are a TWC customer. It is expected to reach 48 million American homes, and it likely to be light on commercials in its first few months.
SPIKE HITS A MIL – If you’ve been following the saga of filmmaker Spike Lee attempting to raise $1.25 million per his online Kickstarter campaign for his new film, here’s the latest. As of presstime Tuesday, Lee has raised just over $1 million thus far, so he hasn’t far to go.
The director of such classics as “Do the Right Thing”, “Malcolm X” and “Inside Man” began the Kickstarter campaign after seeing other Hollywood stars raise millions for their projects in just days. Some have criticized Lee for it, saying that he should be using his own money for his project, but Spike counters why shouldn’t he raise the funding like others have.
We’ll let you know when Spike hits his goal, and we’ll also tell you what his new film will be about!
EXPENDABLES 3 WITH BANDERAS AND GIBSON – Add my man, Antonio Banderas, and actor Mel Gibson (who used to be somebody before he started spouting racist stuff) to the growing cast of Sly Stallone’s successful action franchise, “Expendables 3” which will be filming shortly for a 2014 release.
News was made recently when Stallone told his now former buddy, Bruce Willis, to get lost after the star reportedly demanded four million dollars a day for four days of work. Stallone offered three mil, and when Willis, who had been the previous two films, rejected it, Sly went out and hired Harrison Ford of “Indiana Jones” fame.
Then he got on Twitter and called Willis "GREEDY AND LAZY . . . A SURE FORMULA FOR CAREER FAILURE."
A simple, “Thanks, but no thanks,” would have been fine by me.
So with Banderas and Gibson (of “Lethal Weapon” fame) joining the likes of Wesley Snipes, Jackie Chan and Nicolas Cage, among others, this should be an interesting shoot. My goodness, what else can they blow up?
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.