Tuesday, October 22, 2013





 The public has until Monday, Oct. 28th, to weigh-in on how the state of North Carolina should handle claims by those who were victims of the state’s infamous forced sterilization program , otherwise known as eugenics.
            The NC General Assembly set aside $10 million to compensate an estimated 1,800 eugenics victims – mostly poor white and black women from 1929 through 1974. Many have already died. Thus far only 146 have been located. Family members of those who have deceased are not eligible for payments.
            Claims for payments will be administered by the NC Industrial Commission, and payments will be made starting in June 2015.
            Public comments may be sent to Abigail M. Hammond by email at abigail.hammond@ic.nc.gov, by fax to 919-715-0282, or by mail to 4336 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-4336.

By Cash Michaels

            DON’T FORGET LYNNETTE’S MAHALIA JACKSON SHOW – Don’t forget, mark it down, this Sunday, Oct. 27th, 4 p.m. at Lincoln Park Holiness Church at 13 Heath Street in Raleigh, Lynnette Barber sings gospel legend Mahalia Jackson In Concert.
            I told you last week that this is an event not to be missed. If you enjoy great gospel music like they used to do in the old days (when folks really knew how to sing), then you simply can’t afford to miss this one.
            Lynnette’s rendition of Mahalia Jackson songs is spot on. It’s the second time that she’s done this show at Lincoln Park Holiness Church, where she’s been a member of the past 27 years. It was a big hit then, so Lynnette is bringing it back again.
            You may recall last week that I wrote that Lynnette is singing the theme to the NNPA/CashWorks HD Production documentary presentation of “Pardons of Innocence: The Wilmington Ten.” So you know she has to be the best if we have her opening our film.
            So don’t hear about it the day after. Make sure you’re there to see it for yourself. Lynnette Barber sings Mahalia Jackson In Concert, this Sunday, Oct. 27th, 4 p.m. at Lincoln Park Holiness Church, 13 Heath Street in Raleigh.
            There is no admission charge, but feel free to bring a little somethin’ to put in the plate. You won’t be sorry!
            And, in case, you’re wondering, why am I pushing this program so much? Because when I know that a talent from our community is THAT good, I want you to know it too, and SUPPORT that talent!
            GOODBYE, IRONSIDE – The show never really had a chance. Last week, NBC announced that it was canceling the new show, “Ironside” starring Blair Underwood. It was a remake of the old 1970’s Raymond Burr series about a police detective paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair while he and his team solve crimes.
            The original “Ironside” lasted on NBC for at least five years.
            Underwood’s new “Ironside” only made it on the air for three weeks before the plug was pulled, and mercifully so. Coming after the still powerhouse, “Law and Order: SVU,” “Ironside” was pulling the kind of ratings you only see on the Paint Drying Channel.  To say the audience didn’t buy is an understatement.
            Raymond Burr was an old, stodgy white guy whose wise demeanor and considerable girth made him perfect to play someone who was wheelchair-bound.
            Blair Underwood is still a sexy black actor who has a lot of action left in him. It was very hard for audiences to accept him solving crimes from a wheelchair, let alone knocking out bad guys and going cuddles (or more) with the ladies.
            Besides, there wasn’t anything special about the crimes he was solving, plus, “Ironside” was competing with the everlasting CBS procedural “CSI,” which surprisingly still has some life in it.
            The other show NBC quickly cancelled was “Welcome to the Family.” Don’t ask me what it was about or who was in it. I don’t know, and now, never will.
            BIG FLOP – Wow! Every time I turned on my TV to watch something, I couldn’t get away from seeing that commercial from the film, “The Fifth Estate” over and over and over again. The film is about Julian Assange, the international activist and head of WikiLeaks who disclosed a good deal of US intelligence before hiding in a foreign government’s embassy to escape sexual misconduct allegations that he denies.
            Well, there have been a lot of flops this year, but apparently none bigger than “The Fifth Estate,” which on its opening weekend brought in only $1.7 million after debuting in over 1,500 theaters. That’s less than $1,000 per theater, and the flick between $26 million and $30 million to make, not counting production costs. That’s a poor return on the investment, folks. Looks like we won’t be seeing anymore more political thrillers based on real life events anytime soon!
            OH SAM – Have you seen that new Samuel L. Jackson credit card commercial where he actually says, “Damn”? It is the first time I’ve ever heard anyone use the word, “Damn” in a commercial. Check it out. It is funny!
            REPUBLICANS, FIGHT FOR YOUR PARTY – Monday I was in Fayetteville doing an on-camera interview with former Secretary of Correction Rev. Aaron Johnson for the upcoming film, “Pardons of innocence: The Wilmington Ten.” Rev. Johnson served on North Carolina’s Good Neighbor Council during the early 1970’s, and went to Wilmington in early 1971 hoping to end tensions between boycotting black high school students and white authorities. Johnson tells that story and more in his book, “Man from Macedonia.”
            After we finished what I think was an excellent interview, Rev. Johnson and I spent a few minutes talking politics, since he is a black Republican. I wanted to get his take on the recent federal government shutdown spurred by the Tea Party movement in Congress.
            As you know, the House finally agreed to a last-minute 90-day deal to reopen the government and stave off a default on the national debt last week right before the deadline. The 16-day stunt by the Tea Party ended up costing the United States economy $24 billion.
            Rev. Johnson is an old-school “Christian” Republican, and rightly so. He made it clear that he doesn’t not agree with the tactics of the Tea Party wing of his party, who have an admitted hatred of Pres. Obama and his policies. But even in the midst of all of that, Johnson still believes that African-Americans have a place in the Republican Party, and should join in order to help fight against the Tea Party.
            Johnson is earnest in his belief that if more blacks joined the GOP, the party of old white men would have to change its ways and start speaking to the community’s needs in earnest.
            He also talked about how, through the years, he has been maligned in the community for being a black Republican, particularly when he would run for local office. Rev. Johnson said it was unfair, but he also agreed that when party leaders screw up, that puts a burden on him and other black Republicans to have to address it in some fashion.
            Rev. Johnson admits that there are problems between the Republican Party and the African-American community, but he also makes clear that there have historically been problems between blacks and the Democratic Party as well. He holds firm that because the Democrats hold the lion’s share of black voters, the party still takes the African-American support for granted, and does little to speaks to our needs.
            And Rev. Johnson reminds all as to Republican Party support in Congress for the 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act. At a time when so-called “Dixiecrats” from the South stood against civil and voting rights for blacks, the Republicans stood firm for it, Johnson maintains. Indeed, things did not change politically until President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed both laws, thus losing Southern white males, who then went to the GOP, and have basically been there ever since.
            Rev. Johnson agreed that one of the vital things that is missing today is civil political discourse. One could argue that that’s because of the brutal echo chamber that is cable television, with its loud, combative TV talk shows on both the right and the left.
            Plus, the country is very angry, right now, fed up with everyone in Washington. Folks have taken sides, and instead of seeking compromise in order to make sure that the country is best served, they are digging in their heels, not giving an inch, and demanding to rule over the whole pot.
            This is not the way it should be, Rev. Johnson says. He maintains that he is not for Republican or Democrat, but for what is ultimately right, regardless of party.
            If only people could talk with each other, and to each other, again, and not at each other.
            Rev. Johnson and I may differ politically, but we do certainly agree on the desperate need for things to improve in our nation, and among ourselves as a citizenry. When we hate each other to the point of being willing to shutdown the government and hurt others, that shows that we all have a lot of growing up to do.
            Thank you, Rev. Johnson. It was great talking with you, sir.

         MAYOR CORY BOOKER WINS SENATE SEAT - Democratic Newark N.J. Mayor Cory Booker won a special election against a Republican challenger last week to finish out the term of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, also a Democrat. Booker is now one of two blacks serving in the US Senate, joining Republican Sen. Tim Scott from South Carolina. [file photo]

By Cash Michaels

            The long national nightmare that was the 16-day federal government shutdown is over, but according to North Carolina Democratic congressmen G.K. Butterfield and David Price, the reasons for it have not been solved, and the people behind it aren’t finished.
            Indeed, after costing the American economy over $24 billion and bringing the nation to the very edge of default on the national debt, Republican Tea Party members of Congress like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows say they’re only just beginning to fight what they say is the ‘evil’ of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (aka ‘Obamacare’), and runaway federal spending.
            The US Senate bill that the House begrudgingly passed last week to end the shutdown and stave off default on the federal debt ceiling is only a 90-day reprieve to buy time for Republicans and Democrats in Congress to come to a mutual budget agreement that cuts spending, but raises revenue.
            If they can get there.
            Rep. Butterfield [D-NC-1], who calls the shutdown a “unfortunate tragedy,” is not sure that they can.
            The federal government is running a $17 trillion debt, with a deficit between $500 billion and $1 trillion per year. Butterfield says there’s no question that something needs to be done to cut the deficit, and Democrats in the House, where the budget is devised, have been trying to work with the Republican majority on ways to cut the deficit without further hurting social programs that aid the nation’s poor.
            After the 2011 debt ceiling crisis, where House Republicans first refused to raise the federal government’s ability to pay its bills, Pres. Obama agreed $2 trillion from the budget over the next ten years in what has become known as sequestration.
            But weeks ago, when it was known that the debt ceiling was due to be raised again, House Republicans, spurred as always by their 40-member conservative Tea Party contingent who were elected to Congress to curb federal spending, demanded not only more cuts, Rep. Butterfield said, but also serious changes in the Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as “ACA” or “Obamacare”) that would effective cripple the health care program.
            “They are so loud, so mean and so vicious…they hate Pres. Barack Obama, they hate Obamacare and would do anything in their power to discredit the law and the man,” the First District congressman said.
            Indeed, published reports allege that one Republican House leader, during a meeting at the White House during the crisis, told the president that he couldn’t stand the sight of him.
            Butterfield said Democrats said no to the GOP demand, and the president stood firm that discussions about changing ACA was off the table until a continuing resolution (CR) to continue to fund the government had been passed without strings attached, and the debt ceiling raised.
            “We were very proud that he took this stand, and drew that red line in the sand,” Congressman Butterfield said.
            The 16-day near national catastrophe which followed, where House Republicans caved at the last minute to a Senate measure which reopened the government and temporarily raised the debt ceiling, was the result of national poll numbers showing the American public holding the House Republicans primarily responsible for the pain and grief being felt as a result.
            Rep. Butterfield says even though both the House and Senate are in conference now to try and reach some “grand bargain” agreement before the Jan. 15th deadline arrives, another confrontation could occur if both sides can’t see eye-to-eye by then.
            “Sequestration is still the law of the land, and every year (for the next ten years) a discretionary pot of money will be cut by some eight or nine percent. Why is that important? Because discretionary programs are what we depend on in the African-American community. Support for public education in low-income communities. It’s Headstart and daycare vouchers; its public housing and nutrition programs…everything we depend on in our communities,” Butterfield said. “And discretionary programs are under attack. The grand bargain is going to be very painful, and everybody is going to have to give up something,” meaning that the Republicans will have to bend on raising revenues, and rich people will have to pay more in taxes.
            ‘The path forward is that the Tea Party must go away, and the mainstream Republicans must defy the Tea Party element of their party,” Rep. Butterfield says, adding that jobs must be created. Private industry is sitting on $2 trillion that must be invested to expand the economy, and create those jobs.
            Butterfield says Republican House Speaker John Boehner “caved” to the Tea Party, thus allowing the shutdown crisis to occur, and he will never forget it.
            Butterfield says North Carolina voters need to pay closer attention to what is going on in Washington, discuss it, and then act when the 2014 elections come next year.
For his part, Fourth District Congressman David Price [D-NC-4] is focused on why, during the 16-day federal shutdown when federal workers were furloughed and funding for various federal programs stopped, that North Carolina was the only state out of 50 that would not step in to temporarily prop up vital social service programs like WIC (Women, Infants and Children), which provides food vouchers for poor families, and TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families), a Work First welfare assistance program.
            Only after a torrent of criticism did the NC Dept. of Health and Human Services find the funding to keep the WIC program going through the shutdown, but DHHS suspended TANF, maintaining that it could not do anything about it.
            Congressman Price was not pleased.
            “My concern was that North Carolina, alone among the fifty states, was putting its most vulnerable citizens at risk,” Price told The Carolinian during a phone interview last week. State officials had received assurances that no matter how long the federal shutdown took, that the federal funding per those programs would reimburse any dollars the state put out.
            But the McCrory Administration, as it did when it refused to extend Medicaid benefits to 500,000 poor North Carolinians, said that it didn’t trust that the Obama Administration would keep its word to pick up the costs.
            “It seems to me there was no reason for the state to cut these people off,” Rep. Price said, adding that thus far, the McCrory Administration has not responded to a letter he sent them asking for justification.
            “This is a script that we’re getting pretty familiar with, and it’s unfortunate,” Price said. “I defy anyone to show me an example where the federal government has reneged on its share of Medicaid.”
            “I just think the McCrory Administration, I have to conclude, they’re just making excuses. They don’t like health care reform, they certainly don’t like the president, …but to say that the reason is we don’t trust the federal government, hoping to play into that cynicism on the public’s part, I think is reprehensible.”
            Rep. Price acknowledged that the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), thus far, has been a rough one, with the www.health.gov website not properly functioning, frustrating millions of people hoping to take advantage of the health insurance exchanges in their states to get coverage at the cheapest rate possible.
            On Monday Pres. Obama acknowledged the problems, offered no excuses, and vowed to have the glitches fixed in a timely manner. House Republicans, who are vehemently opposed to the ACA, have called for hearings into the problems.
            Price indicated that with such an immense program, problems could be automatically expected in the very beginning. He said the healthcare program could have been much simpler if it were just Medicaid for everyone, or a single-payer system.
            But because the Republicans insisted in 2009 that the private insurance industry remain the primary provider of health care coverage, the ACA was designed accordingly, thus making it more complicated.
            Congressman Price says now thanks to the GOP opposition, in addition to the ACA website problems, it is now twice as hard to make it work than before.
            The Fourth District Democrat called the McCrory Administration’s refusal to allow Medicaid coverage to be extended to a half million North Carolinians, “…is really a disgrace to this state. I can’t put it too strongly.”


            [RALEIGH] Despite charges and lawsuits from the NCNAACP and other progressive groups, Gov. Pat McCrory and his attorneys deny that new restrictive election reform laws passed by the Republican-controlled NC General Assembly violate the constitutional rights of African-Americans. Attorneys for the state Monday responded to two of the three federal lawsuits filed against the state alleging that GOP lawmakers knew that voter ID and other laws they ratified would negatively impact black voters. McCrory says the “common sense” laws are designed to combat fraud. The NCNAACP counters that there is little evidence of voter fraud that requires voter ID.

            [RALEIGH] First it was bloated state salaries for two former campaign workers. Now it’s tens of thousands of dollars spent on bathrooms for his office and living quarters that Gov. Pat McCrory is having a hard time answering for. Published reports indicate that the Republican governor spent $19,000 in taxpayer money to remodel a small bathroom in his state office bathroom because of a “bad smell.” That news came on the heels of reports of McCrory canceling plans to renovate six bathrooms in the Executive Mansion at the cost of $230,000, after word got out that he accepted that bid because it was the lowest. At least $100,000 of the work would have included fancy d├ęcor. McCrory spokesperson Kim Genardo said the work was needed because of none of it was fixed by the previous governor, meaning Democrat Beverly Perdue. Because of the uproar, Genardo said the work and cost had been scaled back.

            [DUNN] Tea Party Congresswoman Renee Elmers [R-NC-2], who got in trouble with her conservative base for not initially supporting the federal government shutdown, and then got in trouble again for saying, “I need my money” when asked if she would do without her paycheck while federal workers were furloughed, is now seen as being vulnerable for re-election in 2014. Two Democrats have already announced that they will vie for her seat. Houston Barners, the owner of a business law firm in the RTP, announced this week that he seeks Elmers job. Barnes joins former state Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco in vying for the Elmers seat. Meanwhile, more trouble for the congresswoman. Dunn police are probing an apparent break-in at Elmers home, from where an AR-15 assault weapon was taken.


If you’ve lived in North Carolina for a while, you know to expect to see snakes crawling around starting during the spring when they come out of hibernation in time for mating season. But what many people don’t reason is that snakes of all stripes stick around even as late as October, looking for one last meal before going back into hibernation. A Raleigh boy was bitten by a copperhead snake this week near Glenwood Avenue, and had to be hospitalized. Experts say watch out for snakes in your surroundings in the coming weeks, and if you see any, leave them alone, and they won’t bother you.

            Durham Supt. Eric Becoats is in hot water with his superiors on the Durham Board of Education. First he was found to have used a Durham school bus and driver to chauffeur his family around in August. He reimbursed the school system and promised not to do that again. But now Becoats is found to have put thousands of dollars on his school system credit card. The Durham School Board met behind closed doors Monday and voted to terminate Becoats card. Becoats again reimbursed the system, and promised to do better in the future.

            Does the state of North Carolina owe you money? The best way to find out is to go to the NC Cash Booth at the NC State Fair and find out. The Unclaimed Property Division of the NC Dept. of the State Treasurer says there over $340 million in unclaimed money and property. During the fair’s opening weekend, over $100,000 was claimed. If you need more information, go to www.nccash.com.

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