Tuesday, September 2, 2014







By Cash Michaels

            THE TAN SUIT – If ever the Washington DC press corps has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that it wants to bring down this president, Operation Tan Suit is it.
            During his press conference last week while discussing the building threat of the Islamic terrorist group ISIS, Pres. Obama apparently stunned reporters by coming out in a tan business suit to take questions.
            The president of the United States wore a tan business suit to a White House presser. So what is the big darn deal?
            Apparently it was a very big darn deal to White House reporters, and they wasted considerable airtime and newspaper/online space focusing on it, while much more pressing issues burned around them.
            “President Obama Wears Tan Suit, Social Media Explodes” reported ABC News.
            “Obama’s Tan Suit Applauded By Fashion Industry” bellowed The Huffington Post.
            “Obama’s Beige Suit Becomes Talk Of Social Media” exclaimed CBS News.
            Oh, I really like this headline – “Twitter Nation Distracted By the President’s Tan Suit.”
            Now I know what my colleagues in the press will say – It wasn’t the fact that the president was wearing a tan suit, but the online reaction to his tan suit that made news. Fine, I got that, and my response? That online reaction deserved all of two paragraphs at the most, because this was not real news. I can see this foolishness making headlines at “Entertainment Tonight” or “Good Morning America,” but the New York Times and CBS News for goodness sakes? Really?
            The fact of the matter is folks act a if Pres. Obama has broken some kind of cardinal rule about how a sitting president should dress for a summertime White House press conference.
            It would surprise them to learn that Obama is the last of a long line of presidents who have decided to dress in something other than a charcoal coal suit, a blazing read tie and white suit for an official function. Indeed, if you check Yahoo’s image results going back to presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and now Barack Obama, you’ll find pictures of every last one of them in a tan suit doing something publically at the White House.
            All of them looked dapper, businesslike and in charge, and none of them, except Pres. Obama, according to the written record at the time, caused a major furor in the beltway because of their choice of attire.
            But when it comes to the tan president in the tan suit, all of a sudden silly headlines by the major media are in vogue.
            We have been keeping a close eye on how the media have been holding Pres. Obama to a different standard. Some of it is definitely racist, while some of it is purely partisan. All of it is grossly unfair.
            Indeed, in the midst of all of this, Pres. Obama is keeping his cool and focus on the plethora of considerable problems that have inundated his plate. And guess what? He gets criticized for even being cool under pressure.
            The president just can’t win, can he?
            No, we don’t agree with Pres. Obama on everything he’s done, but we do insist that he be treated fairly. It’s been over six years now, so this business of America getting used to having an African-American president is a bit old hat by now. That means the only reason why we’re still seeing this foolishness about the nation’s first black president is because there are twisted folks out there who simply refuse to let their anger and resentment go.
            To think that we have two more years of this. Lord save us!
            WOW, 50 – I spent part of last weekend watching old episodes of the 1960’s TV show, “The Wild, Wild West” starring Robert Conrad and Ross Martin. The show made its debut on CBS Television 49 years ago, airing on Friday nights at 7:30 p.m. (us oldtimers recall when Congress forced the networks to give local stations back a half-hour for expanded news and information years later, thus starting network prime time at 8 p.m. from then on). “TWWW” was a huge hit, as was other groundbreaking TV shows in 1965, Like “I Spy” starring Robert Culp and Bill Cosby; “I Dream of Jeannie” starring Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden, and “Get Smart” starring Don Adams.
            And all of you soap opera fans may recall that “Days of Our Lives” debuted on NBC in ’65 as well.
            So what’s my point? All of these shows mentioned will turn fifty years old in 2015, just like “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” “Gilligan’s Island,” “The Munsters,” The Addams Family” and “Gomer Pyle USMC” turned 50 this year.
            My further point? The fact that these shows came on the air when we were kids a half-century ago is scary. It makes me feel rather old. And yet, to be able to watch them all again takes me back to my childhood, when my mother didn’t have to worry about what I watched on TV, and the world seemed to be a simpler place.
            Oh, to be young again.
            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).
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.


            Accusing the League of Women Voters of a lack of “impartiality,” four Republican members of the Wake County Commission Board have refused to take part in any scheduled upcoming LWV candidates forums. Commissioners Paul Coble, Joe Bryant, Rich Gianni and Phil Matthews jointly issued a letter turning down an LWV invitation to participate, saying that, “ …we believe your group has a scope tat is too narrow to adequately preserve the impartiality of the setting need for a full and fair discussion of local issues.” An LWV spokesperson responded that the nonpartisan group has sponsored candidates’ forum for the past 15 years, adding that the LWV was “…both appalled and discouraged” by the “inaccurate accusations” of the four GOP commissioners. The LWV has forums scheduled for Sept. 17, Oct. 2 and Oct. 9 leading up to the Nov. 4th midterm elections.

            More trouble for the Durham Police Dept., as this time, one of its officers has been arrested and charged with assaulting a female. Office Michael L. Hodrick Jr. has been charged with the crime. He is currently on administrative leave with pay. No details about the alleged assault were available at press time. Hodrick is scheduled to make a court appearance on Sept. 17th.

            Residents of the crime-ridden McDougald Terrace public housing community took to the streets Aug. 31st, marching and demanding better police protection for their neighborhoods. They say violent crime in their area is enough to keep them indoors, even though they could still be victims of driveby shootings. They say they need to build an even stronger relationship with the police for increased patrols.



            [GREENSBORO] In the aftermath of the tragic police shooting of 18 year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., that midwestern town’s police force is now wearing body cameras. Apparently what happened there has also influenced the City Council of Greensboro, which is now scheduled to discuss the need to equip its police force with small portable video camera on their uniforms so that all encounters with the public can be recorded, and an accurate record is available in case further investigation of an incident is needed. Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan says part of the discussion will be whether video footage from a police body cam can be considered public record.

            [CHARLOTTE]  Former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon will be sentenced on a public corruption charge in federal court on Sept. 25h, court records say. Cannon, who was just elected to office last November before an FBI bribery sting netted Cannon in a $50,000 scheme last March, faces a maximum 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Observers expect that he’ll pull at least 63 months behind bars. Cannon has promised to help federal investigators with their ongoing corruption investigation.

            [RALEIGH] Acting Shaw University Pres. Dr. Gaddis Faulcon has accepted a one-year contract extension from the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of the historically black institution while the national search for a permanent president continues, a university spokesperson says. As of Sept. 1st, Dr. Faulcon’s title officially changed from acting to interim president, making him eligible for consideration to be chosen for the permanent position.


                                               MCCOLLUM AND BROWN

By Cash Michaels

            For the first time in over 30 years, Henry Lee McCollum and Leon Brown are  free men, thanks to DNA evidence proving that they had nothing to do with the brutal rape and murder of an 11-year-old Robeson County girl in 1983.
            Robeson County District Attorney Johnson Britt says that based on the new evidence, “ …the state does not have a case to prosecute.”
            "This case is a tragedy which has profoundly affected not only the lives of the people involved, but which profoundly affects our system of justice in North Carolina," said Leon Brown’s attorney, Ann Kirby, in a statement issued by the Center for Death Penalty Litigation in Durham.
            At press time early Wednesday, prison officials, acting on Tuesday’s release order by NC Superior Court Judge Douglass Sasser, opened the prison gates for half-brothers McCollum, 50, and Brown, 46, allowing them to taste freedom for the first time in over three decades.
            McCollum, the state’s longest serving death row inmate, has been housed at Central Prison in Raleigh since 1984, while Brown has been serving his time at Maury Correctional Institution in Greene County.
            The pair were falsely convicted of the September 1983 rape and murder of 11 year-old Sabrina Buie, whose naked body was found in a rural Red Springs soybean field with a bra around her neck, two bloody sticks, and a cigarette butt.
            The killer apparently stuffed the bra down her throat with a stick to suffocate her.
t was that cigarette butt, and the DNA found on it, that years after McCollum and Brown were forced to confess to crimes they didn’t commit, pointed to the real perpetrator.
            Teenagers at the time of the rape/murder, both McCollum, who was 19 at the time, and Brown, who was 15, were said to have the low IQs, and are deemed mentally disabled. Even though there was never any physical evidence connecting either one to the crimes, authorities forced them to confess.
            Their forced confessions, made with no attorneys or parents present as they were being yelled and screamed at by investigators, were the only evidence against them in the case, their defense attorneys told the court.
Both were initially sentenced to death, but that was overturned and the state Supreme court ordered new rails in 1988, only to have McCollum convicted again during a later trial and sent to death row, while his half-brother Brown was tried again and convicted of rape, being sentenced to life in prison.
            The real alleged culprit, Roscoe Artis, 74, is already in prison serving a life sentence for the rape and murder of an 16-year-old girl that occurred several miles away less than a month after Sabrina Buie’s. He is also connected with assaulting three other females at the time.
            In a prison interview with a defense investigator, Artis cleared the defendants, but denied killing Buie, even though he admitted coming in contact with her.
Lawyers for McCollum and Brown say beyond his DNA, his fingerprints were also determined to be on a beer can found at the Buie crime scene at the time. He also lived in close proximity to the soybean field.
And in an extraordinary event, just last month, a box of missing evidence from the case turned up at the Red Springs police station. That evidence is currently being tested.
            On Tuesday in a Lumberton courtroom, Judge Sasser listened to the daylong  evidenciary hearing as attorneys for McCollum and Brown from the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission presented their conclusive evidence of their clients’ innocence.
            After Judge Sasser delivered his decision to immediately vacate their convictions, declare them “in fact innocent,” and free the pair, their families and supporters in the packed courtroom cried and cheered, and their attorneys said that McCollum and Brown had to endure extraordinary suffering for the 30 years  they unjustly spent in prison.
            “We’ve waited years and years,” Henry McCollum’s jubilant father, James, told reporters after the judge’s decision. “We’ve kept the faith waiting on God to make the move.”
            He made the move, and they’re released.”
            Leon Brown’s attorney, Ann Kirby with the Center for Death Penalty Litigation in Durham, says the new decision is welcomed, but it comes 30 years too late.
            "This case highlights in a most dramatic manner the importance of finding the truth," Kirby said. "Today, truth has prevailed, but it comes 30 years too late for Sabrina Buie and her family, and for Leon, Henry, and their families. Their sadness, grief and loss will remain with them forever."


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