CASH IN THE APPLE 9-11-14
By Cash Michaels
ALWAYS REMEMBER – Today is the 13th anniversary of the devastating terrorist attack on our nation, resulting in the destruction of the first World Trade Center in New York, and the crash of United Flight 93 in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11th, 2001.
It’s the one day in our history, beyond perhaps Dec. 7, 1941, the “day of infamy” when the Japanese empire attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, that it didn’t matter what your race, gender or politics were – we were all Americans.
We have long lost that sense of shared citizenship, except when there is a national tragedy, the horror of which brings us together for at least a short while before the politicians begin running their mouths.
It is a shame and disgrace that those who have vowed to do us harm could care less about our differences. All they see is an “evil” society they feel they must destroy, and they don’t make any of the distinctions we take the trouble to point out.
So maybe one day we, as Americans, will learn to come together, and do what’s right for all of us. Maybe we’ll learn to work harder at solving our problems and tolerating our differences, instead of finding ways to further enflame our disagreements, and work harder to destroy one another.
On this tragic 13th anniversary of one of the most painful days in American history, I think it is just so sad that we aren’t better Americans.
RAY AND JANAY – By now I’m pretty sure you are absolutely sick and tired of seeing the inside-the-elevator video from last February of now former NFL Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice punching out his then fiancée, Janay Palmer. It was a vicious, brutal and heartless act. Yes, there was an argument, and yes, a lot could be said about her hitting him and spitting on him. Couples do fight. But at the end of the day, using restraint, NOT hauling off and almost killing her with one blow, was clearly wrong on the part of Ray Rice, and he’s paying for that now for sure.
When TMZ.com originally published the first tape showing the immediate aftermath of the Ray and Janay incident, it was shocking to see him literally dragging her prostate body out of the elevator. She had been knocked cold, and he showed absolutely no remorse, care or concern. Ray just let her lay there on the cold ground as a hotel employee came over to see what was happening.
Was Janay still breathing? Did she have a pulse? Could she come too? Rice didn’t seem to even realize that what he did was so monumentally wrong. He just acted as if what happened was par for the coarse when you mess with him, never mind the aftermath.
Putting both tapes together this week gave us the complete crime, and it was much, much more than we were led to believe by Rice, Janay, the Baltimore Ravens and the NFL. How do I know? Because there is no way Rice would have received only a two-game suspension if the sheer brutality of the tapes had been appreciated.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell swears that he saw the elevator tape for the first time Monday when the world saw it, and was so appalled that he immediately suspended Rice from the league, and urged the Ravens to cancel Rice’s multi-million dollar contract, effectively firing him.
No one in their right mind believes that Goodell went about handling this whole, putrid scandal in an honest and above board way. From the very beginning, he cut every corner possible to protect the NFL, and the NFL’s bank account. Ray Rice was one of the league’s top stars. Even something like almost killing his then fiancée wasn’t enough to exhibit some forthright decency.
Heck, Goodell even made Janay take full responsibility for “making” Ray knock her out at a press conference.
So now the nation has domestic violence once again on its long to-do list when it comes to needed discussion. But before we “discuss,” please pray for the health, safety and sanity and Janay Rice.
She should leave Ray, but she won’t. She feels trapped, and she has a child to care for. She needs help, and a lot of prayer
JOAN RIVERS – Celebrities came from all over to pay tribute to the late Joan Rivers last weekend in New York, who died at age 81 after something went really wrong with a throat surgery she was having.
Many remember Rivers as a pioneer who impressed the likes of late-night talk show king Johnny Carson, and was indeed in line to succeed him before the two had a falling out after she got her own show without him. She was a brash, biting comic, but was mostly harmless and entertaining in the scheme of things.
But in her later years, Joan Rivers became disgusting, harsh and racist. She made crude remarks about blacks, handicapped people, and apparently anyone she didn’t like, and when she got called on it, Rivers would hide behind the weak façade of her harsh rhetoric only being “a joke,” and that those who didn’t like it needed to get over it.
Saying that we “already had a gay president and his name is Barack Obama”; or calling First Lady Michelle Obama a “tranny”, meaning a transgender person, or, after mentioning former First Lady Jackie O, to quip that “now we have Blackie O” was way, way, way beyond the pale. They were brutal, unwarranted attacks, but Joan Rivers didn’t care.
She’s gone now, and GOD rest her troubled soul. For us to enjoy her “jokes” w had to agree with her jokes.
We did not.
We did not.
THE PRESIDENT’S CHARGE – On this 13th anniversary of 9/11, our nation is once again concerned about terrorism and war, as Pres. Obama went on television to share with the nation and the world his plan to defend against the emerging terrorist group Islamic State (or ISIS or ISIL).
These are those who have criticized this president for not being gung ho about going back go war, or not anxious to send in American troops at the drop of a hat. They normally have a political agenda to try to destroy this president anyway.
But then there are those who know that this president is trying his best not to make the hasty mistakes that have been made in the past that have gotten us into conflicts that we really had no business getting into.
Some say this president has no guts. Others say he has plenty of brains and common sense, and is using both to make sure that we don’t make the same mistakes of the past.
I’m with that last group. Go forward, Mr. President. Intelligent Americans are with 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.waug-network.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.
TRIANGLE NEWS BRIEFS 9-11-14
CREEDMOOR MAYOR WON’T RUN IN 2015
This week, after serving the community as both an appointed and elected official for 25 years, Creedmoor Mayor Daryl Moss announced this week that he will not run for re-election in 2015. “ We have built a strong organization, everyday striving to reach great heights to accomplish everything that we can for our community,” Mayor Moss wrote in a letter. “From my perspective we have done some really good things for Creedmoor. I make this announcement now to give those interested in public service ample time to decide and prepare to run for the office of mayor.” Moss called Creedmoor “…the best place in America.”
ST. AUG U FIRES HEAD FOOTBALL COACH COSTA
When the Mighty Falcons of St. Augustine’s College hit the football field this weekend, it will be without head Coach Michael Costa. Costa, who had been with the school for 12 seasons, was abruptly fired earlier this week. Costa was one losing game into his 13th season when the axe fell. Athletics Director George Williams said the school decided to go in another direction with its football program. Published reports say there was controversy about the football program’s budget being cut as part of the campus-wide austerity measures the school has put in place. “We appreciate what Coach Costa has done for the team and Saint Augustine’s University,” Williams said.
WCPSS PROBES TEACHER’S SCHOOL LIKE “CONCENTRATION CAMP” REMARKS
The Wake County Public School System is investigating what many consider to be damaging remarks by a Fuquay-Varina High School teacher in an online article comparing the school to “…a concentration camp dedicated to the spiritual death of those imprisoned imprisoned behind these walls.” The teacher, Ray Fournier, has apologized for that, and for also writing that conditions at the school have also allegedly made two female students gay. Fournier justified his writings on his Christian beliefs, and urged Christian parents to home school their children. School officials are trying to determine if Fournier violated the system’s school employee code of ethics. If so, he could be dismissed.
STATE NEWS BRIEFS 9-11-14
4TH US CIRCUIT APPELLATE COURT TO HEAR VOTER ID CASE SEPT. 25TH
[CHARLOTTE] Several weeks ago, a federal court judge in Winston-Salem did not agree that voter restrictions made law by the NC General Assembly would “irreparably” harm anyone’s voting rights in the November elections, and refused to stop them until a full trial in 2015. But the Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals has set Sept. 25th in Charlotte to hear the emergency appeal arguments of the NCNAACP, League of Women Voters, and the US Justice Dept., among others, urging the court to hold the midterm elections under 2012 election laws. Supporters of the new voter ID laws say they will help prevent voter fraud, though very little has been proven to exist.
DHHS SECRETARY JUSTIFIES AWARDING $6.8 MILLION NO-BID CONTRACT
[RALEIGH] Once again state lawmakers were probing the administration of Secretary Aldona Wos at the state Dept. of Health and Human Services this week during a committee hearing, and the focus was on a no-bid, sole-source $6.8 million contract given to a firm of “turnaround consultants” hired to quickly fix problems with North Carolina’s Medicaid program. Wos said because of the work of Alvarez and Marsal, Medicaid finished in the black, instead of at a deficit. Lawmakers, however, questioned the cost, wondering if the state was paying much more than it actually had to. Wos said the money was well spent, given the understaffing at DHHS.
CANNON DEFENSE TEAM WANTS SENTENCING DELAYED
[CHARLOTTE] The defense team for former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon has filed a motion in federal court wanting the scheduled Sept. 25th sentencing postponed to Oct. 13th so that a New York city psychiatrist can testify on Cannon’s behalf. Defense attorneys James Ferguson and Henderson Hill say the psychiatrist is one of the many character witnesses they want to testify. They say because of a prior engagement scheduled for Sept. 25th, Dr. Richard Dudley will be unavailable until Oct. 13th. Mayor Cannon, elected last November, was arrested in March after an FBI sting operation nailed him on public corruption after taking bribery money. He faces 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
HAGAN FAILS TO RALLY BLACK
VOTE IN FIRST DEBATE
By Cash Michaels
Why did the Hagan for US Senate campaign ignore the opportunity during last week’s televised debate to signal to black voters that she needed their support, especially after enraging many the week before by criticizing Pres. Obama when he visited the state?
The first of a possible three US Senate debates last week between incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican challenger NC House Speaker Thom Tillis (a third has been scheduled for late October, but there’s word that Hagan may not take part), was characterized by neither candidate being able to clearly define themselves, or do serious damage to their opponent. Thus the verbal counterpunching sustained no real political injuries that could be capitalized on.
That means, many observers agree, that Sen. Hagan, the incumbent, allowed Speaker Tillis to establish himself as a valid alternative to do her job. Even though the latest polls show Hagan currently with a slight lead, if she fails again in the second debate on Oct. 7th to put daylight between her last five-and-a-half years in office, and what Tillis says he would bring to the table if elected in November, Hagan could very well lose her seat.
And yet, faced with the very real prospect of being outspent and outgunned by a moderate Republican candidate who not only has the overwhelming support of powerful conservative groups across the nation, but Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who has vowed to campaign for Tillis, Sen. Hagan did not use her first televised debate appearance to sure up a key component in her base of support – the African-American vote, which is seen as weak.
While Hagan did touch on Speaker Tillis overseeing laws passed in the NC General Assembly which cut the state’s education budget by $500 million, and failed to expand Medicaid to over 500,000 poor North Carolinians, those issues were generic enough to negatively impact a broad cross-section of the state’s citizens.
But glaringly, Hagan failed to nail Tillis for his key role in passing what many critics say are the most repressive voter suppression laws in the nation, laws that even the US Justice Dept. has said in court are designed to target African-Americans, and limit their voting rights through the requirement of voter photo ID, and the elimination of Sunday and straight ticket voting, among other restrictions.
Forcefully holding Tillis’ feet to the fire during the debate on his leadership in enacting voter suppression laws currently in federal litigation, would not only have forced him to defend his actions and the law, especially with the still unproven GOP charge of voter fraud being “rampant,” but it would have given Hagan the appearance of championing the cause of voter rights for all North Carolinians – especially African-Americans – in the face of alleged Republican tyranny.
It would have been the one issue Speaker Tillis wouldn’t have had a strong reply for.
But instead, Hagan ignored the opportunity to telegraph to North Carolina’s strong Democratic base of African-American voters that she was with them, and that she needed their support once again.
In some political circles, Hagan’s mistake could be seen as political malfeasance. Both The New York Times and The Washington Post have recently reported that if Democrats in the South can deliver the black vote, then Democratic senatorial candidates could beat back strong GOP challenges for the midterms, and the US Senate will stay in Democratic hands.
But those Democrats, especially Sen. Hagan, have to ask African-Americans for that support, and then excite the base to get it. Can she do it?
Black voters have mightily helped Kay Hagan before.
After serving ten years in the NC Senate representing Guilford County, the Shelby native ran to unseat then popular Republican US Sen. Elizabeth Dole in 2008, the same year that Dole’s Democratic Senate colleague from Illinois, Barack Obama, mounted his historic bid for the White House as the nation’s first black president.
The Obama campaign generated huge excitement across the nation during the nail-biting primary races against Hillary Clinton, and that excitement came to North Carolina in May 2008 when, in dramatic fashion, Obama defeated Clinton, essentially clinching his bid for the Democratic nomination.
During the 2008 general election, the Obama campaign was able to attract large numbers of African-Americans, college students, women and the elderly to vote in large numbers during early voting. That meant that other Democratic candidates like Hagan, considered to be a moderate Democrat, also benefitted from those votes.
Indeed on Election night November 2008, Kay Hagan, helped substantially by the plethora of black voters attracted to the polls by the Obama campaign in North Carolina, actually totaled more votes than he did in the state.
Hagan’s defeat of Elizabeth Dole, who was seen as a powerful national conservative figure, was huge.
But it wasn’t long after Sen. Hagan took office in January 2009 that she ran afoul of the black community when she fired, without explanation, two black staffers from her office.
On the plus side, years later, Hagan took up the cause of having the black veteran US Marines of Montford Point, NC honored with the Congressional Gold Medal for their brave service. She then championed a bill to help black farmers, who had their lands taken from them by the US Dept. of Agriculture decades ago, share in a $1.25 billion federal settlement.
Sen. Hagan also expressed support for helping historically-black colleges and universities, but that good work was countered by Hagan dragging her feet on supporting Pres. Obama’s Affordable Care Act to provided cheaper, more comprehensive health insurance coverage for struggling Americans.
Even though the ACA was badly needed, Hagan equivocated on her support, fearing that Republicans would tag her with its initial shortcomings and problems.
And in 2012, Sen. Hagan ‘s office, despite letters of support from other Democratic office holders to then-Gov. Beverly Perdue, urging her to issue pardons of innocence to the Wilmington Ten, ignored repeated requests to also publicly support the cause.
Gov. Perdue did ultimately pardon the Ten, but Sen. Hagan was not among the numerous state and congressional lawmakers who helped to make it happen,a nd to this day, has not said why.
Hagan’s “moderate” rating in the US Senate maybe attractive to conservative North Carolinians, but it has left a bad taste in the mouths of many progressive and African-American Democratic voters, a hurdle she has tried to tackle with meetings across the state with black clergy and others.
Indeed the Hagan-Tillis race is considered among the hottest of all of the US Senate races in November which could decide the balance of power in Congress. With 35 of the 100 Senate seats up for midterm election – 21 held by Democrats - there are a handful of Democrat-held seats that are considered by most political experts as vulnerable, and likely to fall to the Republicans, possibly giving them the majority in the US Senate, and ultimately total control of Congress. The GOP-led House has already given Pres. Obama fits, and has been stopping his agenda at every turn.
The Hagan–Tillis race is seen as the most prominent when it comes to Democrats in trouble. In a state where the president’s poll numbers are weak, Tillis and his supporters have been trying mightily to taint Sen. Hagan as a strong supporter of Pres. Obama, voting for his policies 96 percent of the time, and thus being responsible for policies like the unpopular Affordable Care Act, among others.
In an effort to put distance between herself and the president, hoping that would make her more attractive to North Carolina’s substantial right-leaning registered independent and undecided voters, Hagan, like many other Democratic candidates across the nation, has openly criticized Obama, particularly two weeks ago when he came to the state to address a military veterans’ convention in Charlotte.
Hagan’s goal was to separate herself from the recent Veterans Administration scandal where there were allegations of long waits for medical treatment at VA hospitals, and inadequate facilities. She touted her own credentials as a moderate who has always been in full support of the military and those who have served, and chided the president for the administrations mistakes and ‘not earning the last trust” of military veterans, even though Obama was to address the veterans about his reforms.
But in doing so, Hagan also angered many of the state’s black voters, who felt that openly criticizing the president right before he arrived in the state was disrespectful, especially when there was still a question of whether she’d allow herself to be seen greeting Obama at the airport.
Hagan ultimately did, with the president giving her a warm kiss on the cheek. The Republicans immediately tweeted the picture, seeking whatever political gain the Hagan campaign originally feared.
Most observers believe that a kiss on the cheek is the closest Hagan will allow Pres. Obama to get to her. She is not expected to ask him to come back to North Carolina to campaign for her.
Going into the second debate, Senator Hagan will have her work even further cut out for her. Speaker Tillis will be better prepared after his first experience, and will be going for the jugular in an effort to slice her lead in the polls going into November.
If Hagan doesn’t do or say something to excite black Democratic voters to show up in November for her candidacy, especially since the name “Barack Obama” will not be on the ballot to attract them and help her, then the chances of her being re-elected to a second term as North Carolina’s junior US senator will be slim, to none.