CASH IN THE APPLE FOR MAY 28, 2015
By Cash Michaels
GOODBYE, B.B. - Years ago, I was asked to mc a blues concert at Raleigh's Memorial Auditorium. Headlining the show was the great B. B. King. I'll never forget he was supposed to be presented the key to the city on stage by a city official. Problem was that city official was so drunk, he was slurring his words as he handed B.B. the honor. King was so put off, he looked at me onstage and asked in the microphone for everyone to hear, "Is this the key to the city, or the key to the city's liquor closet?' OUCH! I felt so bad I looked for the escape door on stage to get off. But B.B. King was a nice man to work with that night. We have lost one of the true legends of music, who died last week at the age of 89.
Now we hear the sad news that two of his children are alleging that he was poisoned by his manager to takeover his estate. I find this hard to believe, especially given that B.B. King was reportedly estranged from his children, and none of them were at his bedside when he died. Plus, he didn’t put any of them in his will, which further smells. Now, all of a sudden, they don’t want his closest aides to get any of his money. A criminal investigation is underway, and we’ll know in a few weeks what the toxicology tests say on the body, but here’s another situation where a star’s estranged children want a parent’s money in death, but apparently did little to earn that parent’s love in life.
MEMORIAL DAY – I hope everyone had a safe and joyous Memorial Day weekend. And make no mistake, I’m 100 percent honoring the brave men and women, past and present, who have taken up arms to defend our nation against the enemies who sought, and still seek, to destroy this nation, and the promise of freedom, justice and equality that it holds.
But I also insist on Memorial Day, to honor and pay tribute to those who never picked up a weapon of any kind, but instead, stood strong for that same freedom, justice and equality our men and women in uniform fought so far for on distant shores. But these other heroes I commemorate fought hard and sacrificed for freedom right here at home, marching, demonstrating, standing up to oppressive laws that historically denied Americans their rights as citizens and human beings. How can we possibly forget these brave Americans, who demanded equality, and were successful in bringing about some measure of it through blood, sweat and tears.
Now it could be said that many of these people are rightfully honored during the federal and state holidays commemorating the work of civil rights champion Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and I wouldn’t argue that, except for one thing – we spend 90 percent of that time remembering the man, and then the movement.
How about including the courage of the entire movement for freedom, justice and equality with the courage of battle? Tell me why, convince me that the people who got on buses to ride through the segregated South back in the 1960’s, only to be pulled off and beaten by other American citizens because they threatened a segregated un-American way of life, weren’t courageous knowing that they were taking their lives in their hands.
And refused to fight back with violence because the integrity of their cause was so important to the future of this country.
Tell me that we don’t owe those heroes whose shoulders all of us stand on today a great debt of thanks?
Of course we do. From this day forward, let us continue to honor those who went to war for their bravery and sacrifice, but let us also honor those who paid dearly for freedom right here by standing up top homegrown tyranny.
In my heart, they will always be commemorated.
RAVEN’S MOUTH – I’m sure you’ve heard by now that former “Cosby Show” darlin’ Raven Symone is angling for a job on ABC-TV’s daytime girl talker, “The View”, which has been suffering in the ratings ever since Barbara Walters retired a few months ago.
Apparently the producers of “The View” like what they see – good ratings every time mixed up Raven shows up and opens her “I’m not African-American” mouth. So unless there are secret photos of her doing something that would get us all in trouble, Ms. Mixed Up most likely has the job.
And it’s a shame really. Instead of hiring a young black woman who could be entertaining, but also offer sharp, insightful perspective on the days events, ABC wants to hire a loudmouthed brat who thinks she’s so special, she’s too “good” for labels. Thus, the idiot statement to Oprah recently not to call her an African-American because she has nothing to do with Africa.
And when a Spanish TV host said that First Lady Michelle Obama looked like she could have starred in “Planet of the Apes,” instead of standing up and defending history’s first black First Lady, Raven get’s on “The View” and says that some people do look like animals.
So now ABC wants somebody who has no common sense on the air just to pull a crowd. In other words, folks will tune in just to see if Raven will say something stupid, not because they respect her.
That’s the opposite of why they tune in to hear what host Whoopi Goldberg. They know the outspoken Whoopi will say something outrageous because Whoopi is known for speaking her mind. But Whoopi is mature enough to know how to be outrageous, yet make a cogent point. Doesn’t mean you agree with her, but at least she’s coming at you from the credible, thus, you respect her point of view.
Raven is going to deliberately be the class clown, the joke. Bad enough she’s stupid enough to disrespect her people and community, but now she’s going to dis herself, and act like it doesn’t matter.
That’s called a darn shame where I come from. Oh yes, Raven will have her supporters, probably folks as dumb as she is. They’ll maintain that raven isn’t dumb at all because she’s getting paid. Well if willfully shilling your self-respect is worth “getting’ paid” to you, then go right on with Raven, if you can get it.
Let’s see how she ends up, shall we?
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 FOR 5-28-15
NATIONAL ROSENWALD SCHOOLS CONFERENCE JUNE 17-20 IN DURHAM
A national conference on the history and preservation of Rosenwald school buildings is scheduled to be held in Durham June 17-20. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is hosting the 2015 National Rosenwald Schools Conference to help restore and re-use classic buildings that once housed African-American schools in the 1920’s throughout the South. Rosenwald Schools are on the National Trust’s list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. Go to www.rosenwaldschools, or call 843-266-2044 to learn more about the conference. Deadline for online registration is June 10th.
POLICE ARREST DURHAM COURTHOUSE CLERK IN ALLEGED DRUG DEAL
Based on a tip, Durham County Sheriff’s investigators staked out the Durham County Courthouse parking deck on April 15th, and caught court clerk Meghan Dempsey allegedly involved in a drug deal with a man later identified as Domini Speed of Durham. The episode was caught on parking deck surveillance cameras. Heroin was allegedly found in Dempsey’s car at the deck, while Speed was caught with both drugs and cash. Both have been charged with possession. Dempsey has been terminated from her job.
UNC BOARD OF GOVERNORS ELIMINATE 46 DEGREE PROGRAMS
In another controversial move, the UNC Board of Governors last week voted to eliminate 46 educational training degree programs at various system campuses. The move comes after reviews of several programs that reportedly had low enrollments. Many of the degrees will now be now consolidated into other major concentrations. Officials say in recent years there has been a substantial drop in the students pursuing education.
STATE NEWS BRIEFS FOR 5-28-15
POLICE OFFICER CHARGED AFTER ILLEGALLY PASSING STOPPED SCHOOL BUS
[CLINTON] A Clinton police officer is in hot water after he was seen allegedly passing a stopped school bus in his patrol vehicle. Video from the bus confirmed that Lt. Robert Dalton was driving when his vehicle allegedly passed it at 7”30 a.m. on the morning of May 15th. He was issued a citation six days later by the NC Highway Patrol, and is expected in traffic court on July 28th. Lt. Dalton is also the subject of an internal police department probe about the matter.
NCAA ISSUES ANOTHER “NOTICE OF ALLEGATIONS” TO UNC
[CHAPEL HILL] Just when the smoke seemed to be clearing from the previous athletic program scandal at UNC – Chapel Hill, comes another NCAA investigation, according to published reports. Last week the NCAA delivered a “Notice of Allegations” to UNC, most likely concerning allegations of “paper classes” that allowed athletes to pass courses without ever attending classes or taking tests. The document is under review, and is scheduled to be made public shortly. UNC Chancellor Carol Folt and Athletics Director Bubba Cunningham said in a joint statement that they take the allegations “very seriously” and would be responding to the NCAA within the 90-day deadline.
NCDMV NOW ISSUES SINGLE LICENSE PLATE STICKER FOR CAR REGISTRATION
[RALEIGH] No more double stickers on your North Carolina license plate giving the expiring month and year for registration. For now on, a single gray sticker in the upper right-hand corner of your license plate will do the job, meaning that the Highway Patrol won’t be able to just look at color anymore to determine who is and is not in compliance. State officials say the change will save money in the long run for NCDOT. The two-color system had been in use since 1976.
MCCRORY DELAY ON PARDONS
HURTING INNOCENT PAIR
By Cash Michaels
It has been almost nine months since Henry McCollum and Leon Brown, two half brothers, were proven innocent and freed after spending over 30 years in prison, and yet Gov. Pat McCrory still hasn’t issued pardons of innocence for either.
"Yesterday, I was heartened to see the convictions of Henry McCollum and Leon Brown vacated by the court," said McCrory in a Sept. 4, 2014 statement after the two black men were cleared of a 1983 Red Springs rape and murder they were falsely convicted of. "My office has a process in place to review applications for pardons of innocence. If they apply, we will begin reviewing their applications as soon as they are received.
While it is normal for the Governor’s Office of Executive Clemency and the governor’s chief counsel to review the case files of those who apply for the various levels of pardons granted by a governor – a power only he has – it is unusual, observers say, that it should take as long as it has for McCrory to act.
Indeed, in just three months, it will have been a year since their release.
Without those pardons of innocence – which would legally certify that both men were innocent of the crimes they were falsely convicted of, even though their convictions were vacated by a judge, they cannot legally collect compensation from the state for the many years they’ve spent in prison.
With IQ’s ranging in the 50’s and little formal education, both men have been deemed mentally disabled since their youth. At their advanced ages, the prospects of both men being able to earn decent livings for themselves is beyond probable.
“If the governor called me, I would tell him the reason why I need his pardon: I would tell him I deserve this pardon,” McCollum told The New York Times earlier in March. “I did 31 years in prison for a crime I did not commit. I could have given up a long time ago and told the state to kill me.”
“It is simply a disgrace,” said Chris Fitzsimon, political commentator and writer for the progressive NC Policy Watch, in an April 20 posting on the “Progressive Pulse” website. “McCrory’s office received the [pardons of innocence] applications 221 days ago, and nothing has happened.”
Fitzsimon’s April posting continued, “ The News & Observer reported two months ago that McCollum and Brown were unable to pay their bills and were relying on donations from friends and supporters to survive. At one point their water was turned off because they couldn’t afford to pay for it.”
Neither man even knew how to drive a car when they were released, according to The NY Times.
On May 11, The Charlotte Observer published an editorial titled “31-year wait for justice is enough,” noting that once the governor issues the pardons of innocence, under law both McCollum and Brown would be eligible for up to $750,000 “…for having their entire adult lives wrongly taken from them, So far all they’ve received was $45 each when they left prison.”
At the time of his release, Henry McCollum had been North Carolina’s longest serving death row inmate.
The editorial went on to recount how investigators for the NC Innocence Inquiry Commission spent five-years looking into the 1983 rape and murder of an 11 year-old Red Springs girl that both men were ultimately convicted of while they were teens. Based on that new investigation, DNA evidence was discovered actually linking the victim to a serial rapist who had been convicted of a similar crime nearby during that time.
“The Robeson County district attorney, Johnson Britt, ..agreed the brothers should be exonerated,” The Charlotte Observer May 11th editorial continued, noting that there was now no “credible evidence” against them. “Superior Court Judge Douglas Sasser declared them innocent. They were freed the next day. None of that is good enough for McCrory, who has launched his own investigation.”
The paper then quoted a statement sent from the governor’s general counsel, Bob Stephens, to NC Policy Watch.
“This is a thorough and detail-intensive process, and it takes time to complete,” Stephens wrote. “We review evidence, transcripts, and other reports connected to the case. Interviews of relevant parties are also conducted.”
The Observer editorial concluded by calling Gov. McCrory’s followup investigation “unnecessary” and taking way too long. “He needs to wrap it up and let McCollum and Brown get on with the lives the state unconscionably took from them.
Last March, Ryan Tronovitch, a spokesman for McCrory, told The NY Times, “Our extensive review is ongoing, and we need to ensure that we have gathered and considered all relevant information as part of our process. While we can’t put an exact time frame on when a decision will come, this is a top priority for Governor McCrory, and he has made that abundantly clear to those involved.”
The Carolinian submitted a written request for comment to the governor’s press office Wednesday regarding the status of McCollum and Brown’s pardons of innocence applications, but received no response by press time.