Tuesday, November 5, 2013





By Cash Michaels

            VETERANS OF COLOR – Because we’ve just begin post-production work on our NNPA-CashWorks HD Productions documentary, “Pardons of Innocence: The Wilmington Ten,” I’m very vigilante about other quality productions that may come our way.
            That’s why we’re sharing this piece of news about “Veterans of Color,” airing on TV One on Monday, November 11th.
            According to the TV One press release:
             In honor of Veterans Day, TV One announced today the award -winning documentary, Veterans of Color, will air on the network Monday, November 11 at 1 PM/ET.
            Directed by Mark Parry, this compelling one hour documentary explores the untold stories of African American men and women who served in all branches of the United States military. These remarkable men and women were amongst those who stormed the beaches of Normandy, flew as Tuskegee Airmen, and served during the Korean and Vietnam Wars.  Through personal interviews, Veterans of Color uses 31 individual experiences and culminates them into one overall message of self-sacrifice and determination to fight for the liberties of all. 
            The film began as a partnership between The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) and The Veterans History Project, established by congress in 2000. What resulted was a captivating documentary which explores and preserves the personal accounts of U.S. Veterans. Veterans of Color was the official selection of the 2013 Roxbury International Film Festival, the 2012 Sarasota Film Festival and the 2013 Honolulu African American Film Festival.
            I have a special personal regard for the black men and women who proudly served their country during a time when clearly their country wasn’t interested in serving them. Anything that pays tribute to their sacrifice and bravery I’m more than happy to share with you. So watch “Veterans of Color” on TV One Monday, Nov. 11 at 1 p.m..
THE NATION IS HAVING A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN – I don’t think there is any doubt. It’s almost getting to be a shooter-a-week grabbing the headlines in this nation. And if it’s not that, then it’s another Republican politician caught on tape telling folks that President Obama needs to “…go back to Kenya.”           
Oh, and then, of course, it’s folks believing that everyone is in on the “joke” when they wear Trayvon Martin-got-shot costumes for Halloween, complete with bleeding gunshot wound.
Or how about that 22-year-old woman who still doesn’t understand why it was beyond bad taste to dress up for Halloween like a Boston Marathon bombing victim, compete with blood on her face, and bloody scars on her legs. The poor woman also doesn’t understand why she’s getting threats on her life, and that she lost her job.
I’m not saying that there haven’t been crazy, heartless people in our land before. Certainly our history is replete with them.
But since the election of our first black president, it seems like the nuts have freely come out from under the rocks, and the racists have yanked the sheets off, and proudly have shown their faces and opened their mouths, not caring what they’ve said, or what they look like saying it.
It makes you wonder exactly what direction our country, if not our world, is heading in, and what we can collectively do about it.
But do you know what’s crazier than all of these crazy people doing crazy stuff, sometimes hurting others? Our Congress not willing to do anything to solve the problem.
Clearly many of those deemed responsible for various shooting rampages are in serious need of mental health services. But they also need for their access to semi-automatic assault weapons limited, and yet our Congress, no matter how many the bodies, or even how young the victims, refuses to put strong federal legislation in place to ensure that those with serious mental issues can’t possible get hold of a weapon of mass destruction.
What’s crazier is that Congress hides behind the Second Amendment, the so-called “right” for Americans to bare arms, as an excuse for not doing anything at all about guns and mental health. The excuse of those who vehemently resist any gun control legislation is that the federal government is fully armed, so why shouldn’t the American people be.
And certainly the election of a black president further justified, in their minds at least, their convoluted reasoning for needing to be armed to the teeth.
Oh, and did I mention the conservative Republican Tea Partiers, and their willingness to destroy the nation with a federal shutdown and nearly defaulting on the national debt. It is beyond crazy to be willing to destroy your country just because you don’t get your way. Making people suffer just because you can is sadistic to say the least.
So there’s conclusive evidence, in my opinion, that our nation is having a collective nervous breakdown. No doubt. So what can we do about it?
Work hard to change Congress and our state Legislature, and pray harder.
Or else, we’ll begin accepting this stuff, and when we begin to do that, we are all in very bad shape.
            PROFESSIONAL BULLYING – Of interest this week have been the disturbing reports coming out of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins team about the alleged racial bullying of offensive lineman Jonathan Martin, who is black, by white teammate, offensive lineman Richie Incognito.
            Reportedly, things got so bad between the two that last week, Martin, a tackle in his second-year as a pro, left the team in disgust, claiming emotional issues. Folks began ragging Martin, saying that he was too soft and wasn’t tough enough for the rough locker room culture of professional football.
            A wuss, many were saying.
            But then this week, the racist tweets , allegedly from Incognito, surfaced, and now the picture is much clearer.
            If Incognito, a nine-year veteran with reportedly a bad rep for being a “dirty” player  around the league, indeed sent them, he clearly has a sick mind.
            Here’s a sample:
                        “Hey, wassup, you half [n-word] piece of [expletive]…”
                        “I saw you on Twitter, you been training ten weeks. (I want to) [expletive] in your [expletive] mouth…
                        “(I’m going to) slap your (expletive) mouth. (I’m going to) slap your real mother across the face (laughter).
                        “[Expletive] you, you’re still a rookie. I’ll kill you.”
            And now there is evidence that Incognito allegedly left a racist voice mail message for Jonathan Martin. That message forced the Dolphins to suspend Incognito indefinitely.
            That means this guy is off the team until the coach and suits can figure out how to get rid of him without paying him anymore on his contract.
            Martin is said to be with family trying to deal with all of this.
            I don’t blame him, and quite frankly, salute him for his courage and restraint in not taking an axe to the back of Incognito’s head while he was grubbing.
            And as for Incognito, he says he’s done nothing wrong, and that there are three things that can’t be hidden, “ The sun, the moon and the truth.”
            In my judgment, if this fouled-mouth clown has an excuse or a defense, it has to be one of the best we’ve ever heard.
            I just don’t think it exists.
            Do you?
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.


            [RALEIGH] If Gov. Pat McCrory is still focused on having North Carolina lead the South in business, he can’t be pleased. According to Site Selection Magazine’s 2013 state business ranking list, the Tar Heel state has dropped from the Number One ranking it had last year, now to second place. Georgia is Number One, rising from fourth place last year after improving its economic development programs, couple with low energy costs and improved logistics infrastructure. The rankings are determined by corporate executives across the nation.

            [RALEIGH] Teachers across the state staged “walk-in” events Monday to protest the Republican-led Legislature denying them raises in the last session, removing tenure, and cutting the state education budget. Gov. Pat McCrory said that teachers have “a legitimate gripe,” and the NCNAACP came out in support. But state Senate Leader Phil Berger wasn’t please. Berger issued a statement dismissing the walk-ins as being a political plot by the NCAE, whom he called “bullies.”

            [RALEIGH] Friends and former colleagues remember him as a brilliant, humorous political strategist who not only helped to build the modern-day North Carolina Republican Party, but successfully led Gov. Pat McCrory’s 2012 campaign to victory. Former NC Republican Party Chairman Jack Hawke, 72, died this week after an extended illness. Many also remember how Hawke, during the 1990 US Senate campaign between incumbent Republican US Senator Jesse Helms, and black Democratic challenger Harvey Gantt, sponsored “ballot security cards,” postcards sent to black Democrats across the state, warning them that if they if they were not properly register to vote in the precinct in which they lives, they were breaking the law and faced jail time. In fine print on the back of the postcard on the bottom were the words, “Paid for by the North Carolina Republican Party.” At the time Hawke said it was the GOP’s way to make sure that voters were following the law.  Others saw the tactic, which was eventually struck down in federal court, as a way to suppress the black vote through intimidation in order to help Helms beat Gantt, which he did. Hawke saw nothing wrong with the tactic.

By Cash Michaels

            In the aftermath of Gov. Pat McCrory saying “out of the question” to calling the Legislature back into Special Session to reconsider extending Medicaid to poor North Carolinians, the NCNAACP has announced that it won’t take no for an answer. It wants McCrory to rethink his rejection of millions in federal funds to cover the health insurance of hundreds of thousands in the state.
            In an “Open Letter to Governor McCrory by North Carolinians of Good Will,” to be delivered along with a petition signed by clergy statewide on November 27th, Rev. William Barber, president of the NCNAACP, along with Rev. Dr. Rodney Sadler of Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte; Elder Carrie Bolton of United Holy Church; and Rev. Dr. William Turner of Mount Level Baptist Church in Durham, tells the governor that, “…people of good will in North Carolina have seen the devastating impacts of the immoral policies of our state legislature, supported and approved by you.”
            Continuing that , “No matter which measure of human decency is used , our moral profile is a scandal,…your denial of Medicaid insurance to some 500,000 of our neighbors will cause many to be without health care.”
            “When this ideological policy goes into effect, it will result, according to some estimates, 2,000 of our North Carolina neighbors each year dying untimely, otherwise preventable, deaths,” Rev. Barber’s letter to Gov. McCrory continued. “We therefore implore you to accept the federal funds available for medical insurance for our half million neighbors which you rejected for ideological reasons at the beginning of your term.”
            Last spring, and again last week, Gov. McCrory said he rejected the Medicaid extension because the system was broken and in the red, and it made sense to fix it first, rather than get it further into debt.
            Rev. Barber also implored the governor to accept federal funds to provide unemployment insurance for 170,000 out-of-work North Carolinians,”…which you rejected for ideological reasons earlier this year.”
            McCrory said he cut the funding because the state was millions in debt to the federal government.
            “You have the power to address these two inhumane policies,” the letter to Gov. McCrory continued. “In less than 70 days their full fury will be felt by our neighbors, as they both go into effect on January 1, 2014. We respectfully request that you call a Special Redemption Session of the Legislature, and use your powers to guide them out of the ideological and moral dead-ends of these dumb inhumane policies. We would be pleased to celebrate with you, on the Moral Monday that falls on December 23, 2013, when you lead the state away from these acts of moral irresponsibility.”
            The open letter to Gov. McCrory ends with, “We pray you will uphold our constitution.”
            The NCNAACP asks citizens to sign the petition so that it, and the open letter to the governor can be delivered on Nov. 27th, the first night of Hanukkah and the day before Thanksgiving.
By Cash Michaels

            If Democrats were looking for signs that voters are anxious to put them back in office in 2014, the signs were there Tuesday evening where Democratic candidates did well in local races.
            In Durham, six-term incumbent Mayor Bill Bell, an African-American, easily won a seventh two-year term defeating conservative minister Rev. Sylvester Williams, 87 to 13 percent.
            In the Queen City, Democratic councilman Patrick Cannon, an African-American, defeated Republican Edwin Peacock III by just six percentage points in a city which is heavily Democratic.
            Greensboro echoed the same story, where  Democratic Councilwoman Nancy Vaughan defeated Republican incumbent Mayor Robbie Perkins with almost 60 percent of the vote.
            Wilmington saw incumbents win another term, the most prominent of which was Wilmington City Councilman Earl Sheridan, an African-American. Mayor Bill Saffo won a fifth term unopposed.
            The NC Democratic Party was pleased.
            “Tonight was a referendum on the toxic Republican agenda that has rendered public education unrecognizable, rejected healthcare for thousands of North Carolinians and overreached on local control of municipal assets,” NCDP Chair Randy Voller said.  “Democrats expanded our bench by winning critical races across the state by offering a sensible alternative to the fringe policies of the Republican majorities in Raleigh.  Voters sent a signal loud and clear that they’re tired of rigid ideology and they’re ready to elect leaders who will fight for the values of North Carolina and invest in our future.  Democrats will seize this momentum and now it’s all eyes on 2014 where we will re-elect Senator Kay Hagan and take back seats in the General Assembly.”
            Democrats also pointed towards controversial legislation coming out of the Republican-led NC General Assembly as a key reason why voters turned thumbs-down to Republicans.
            It wasn’t supposed to be this way,” wrote Ben Ray, Rapid Response director for the NC Democratic Party. “State and national Republicans made a show of their efforts in municipal races in general and Charlotte in particular, planning to use momentum as a springboard for their 2014 campaign against Senator Kay Hagan.”
            “At a time when candidates can't run fast enough or far enough from Raleigh's mess,” Ray continued, “ it's clear the Republican brand is still in tatters.”



            There are no new schools opening in Wake County for the 2014-15 school year, so according to Wake Supt. James Merrill, there may be no need for school reassignments then. Wake School Board Chairman Keith Sutton concurs. The base maps from the 2011-12 school year are still in effect. The board will take a vote on December 3rd. Meanwhile, the school board approved a resolution to send to the Wake Board of Commissioners to name the new CTE high school in honor of the late Vernon Malone. Malone, who died in 2009, was a former county commissioner, former school board member and a state senator when he died. The commission board must approve the naming because it owns the CTE building.

            The last two members of the Tea Party Republicans who took the Wake School Board by storm in 2009 participated in their last board meeting Tuesday evening. John Tedesco and Deborah Prickett said goodbye and were awarded plaques for their service. They both said that they were proud of their four years, even though much of it was shrouded in controversy over the attempt to establish neighborhood schools. The board now consists of one moderate Republican, one independent and seven Democrats.

            Crystal Mangum, the woman who in 2006 falsely accused members of the Duke Lacrosse team, has petitioned the court not to allow any reference to that case during her current murder trial in Durham. Mangum is charged with the murder of her boyfriend after allegedly stabbing him during an argument in April 2011. Mangum’s attorney filed several motions with the court, including that request. Mangum says it was a “medical error” that caused her boyfriend’s death.

By Cash Michaels

            If there is a key reason for all of the government dysfunction in both the state and federal government, it is partisan redistricting. When political majorities in state legislatures get to draw the voting districts every ten years, as they are required to do by federal law because of dramatic US Census shifts in populations, those majorities normally redraw those lines to ensure they stay in power for as long as possible.
            In other words, the elected officials pick the voters, instead of the voters rightfully picking the elected officials.
            To the victor goes the spoils? True. But the end result, specifically in a Republican-dominated NC Legislature and US House, are GOP lawmakers, elected in “bulletproof” districts that have been drawn to protect them against Democrat challenge, and thus lessening the likilihood of their being accountable to constituents beyond their political base.
            Next Wednesday, Nov. 13th from 7 until 8:30 p.m., a community meeting titled “End Gerrymandering Now,” will address the issue of establishing a nonpartisan redistricting panel that draws voting lines based only on experts and apolitical computer models that ensure a fair distribution of voters in any district, as opposed to gerrymandered districts that are politically inspired.
            Cosponsored by Common Cause NC, a nonpartisan issue advocacy group, and the Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association, the town hall has already traveled to cities like Wilmington and Greensboro, drawing good audiences. Next Wednesday at Martin Street Baptist Church in Southeast Raleigh, a panel discussion on establishing a nonpartisan redistricting panel takes centerstage, with state Sen. Dan Blue [D-Wake], former Wake Rep. Deborah Ross, and RWCA Pres. Rev. Earl Johnson, pastor of Martin Street Baptist, among others, discussing what North Carolina should be doing to bring about nonpartisan redistricting.
            Indeed, the work has already begun.
             In 2011, the NC House passed H824, setting up an independent, nonpartisan professional redistricting commission to develop both congressional and legislative voting maps every ten years. The measure passed the House 88 to 27, and was based on the successful model setup in Iowa in 1980.
            But the NC Senate did not concur, so the bill was never voted into law.
            Today, the issue has been reintroduced, this time as H606, the Non-Partisan Redistricting bill, sponsored by both Democrats and Republicans.
            With the Republicans claiming majorities in both the state House and Senate, there is no surprise that there is resistance on the GOP’s part to move forward on any measure that could prematurely cut short their hold on state government, especially with a Republican governor on board for at least the next three years, and possibly eight in total.
            But Jane Pinsky, director of the NC Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform, says not only here in North Carolina, but even in states where Democrats are in full control, making the redistricting process non-partisan and professional, devoid of any political influence, is critical towards making the state and nation’s democracy more accountable to its citizens.
            “In North Carolina, the way we currently do redistricting has generated a record number of court cases,” Pinsky says. “The courts have had to intervene in redistricting in North Carolina over twenty four times in over thirty years.
            That includes pending litigation now by the NC NAACP, NC Democratic Party, and other progressive groups against the Republican-led NC General Assembly for the most recent redistricting maps it drew up which created several majority-minority voting districts by “stacking and packing” black Democratic voters, thus taking them from more predominately white districts that are now leaning Republican.
            Pinsky says with a professional nonpartisan redistricting panel, that kind of partisan gerrymandering would not happen.
            For more information on the Wednesday, Nov. 13th “End Gerrymandering Now” community meeting at Martin Street Baptist Church, 1001 East Martin Street in Raleigh, from 7 – 8:30 p.m., call Common Cause NC at 919-836-0027. The event is free and open to the public.

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