Monday, August 12, 2013


 (Here is the full schedule of march on Washington activities -

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 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 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.

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