Tuesday, September 22, 2015







            BRAVO, VIOLA DAVIS – Let there be no doubt that Viola Davis is one of the most gifted, talented and versatile actresses of any color in the world today. So it was indeed fitting Sunday when she made history by becoming the first black actress in history to win an Emmy Award as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her starring role in ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder.”
            Now, to be clear, I’ve said before in this space that I stopped watching the series when it started showing what I considered explicit same-sex scenes. Nor something I’m comfortable with, and since it was clear that it would only get worse, I just stopped watching the show altogether.
            But I never had a critical thing to say about Viola Davis or her performance. It was good to see a black actress in a multi-layered role where she could be tough as nails and intellectually sharp one moment, and be extraordinarily vulnerable the next.
            Ms. Davis has always brought power to her many performances, as in “The Help” where she was nominated for an Oscar; “Get On Up” where she portrayed singer James Brown’s mother; and even many years ago on the old “Law and Order” TV show, where she would guest star as a defense attorney.
            And Davis has always brought dignity and vitality to her roles. So to have one of the best in the business finally recognized for her skill, is a proud accomplishment indeed.
            The fact that she took the time to thank other contemporary black actresses like Kerry Washington of “Scandal;” Taraji P. Henson of “Empire”; Nicole Beharie of “Sleepy Hollow”; and Academy Award winner Halle Berry, shows class and awareness. In her acceptance, Davis said what separated her from white actresses was opportunity. She didn’t have a lot to choose from when it came to roles, and when she did, the roles were limited to mostly stereotypical portrayals she had to make the best of in order to put food on the table.
            So Viola Davis, I don’t watch your show because it’s a little too raw for me, but I always have, and always will enjoy your tremendous work. Thank you, and we all look forward to more in the future.
            JEALOUSY – You know, jealousy is a pretty destructive thing. Jealousy, quite simply, can have you do stupid things. Ask actress Nancy Lee Grahn, who works on the ABC daytime soap opera “General Hospital.”
            Apparently Grahn, who is white, didn’t appreciate Viola Davis’ moving Emmy acceptance speech that lack of opportunity was the only thing separating most black actresses from their white counterparts. Grahn got on Twitter, and started blasting the black actress something fierce.
            “I’m a f-----g actress for 40 years,” she wrote. “None of us get respect or opportunity we deserve. Emmys not venue 4 racial opportunity. ALL women belittled.”
            Grahn went on to write some other choice tweets, saying that Davis has “made millions,” and “…has never been discriminated against.”
            Well, it didn’t take long for Viola Davis fans to respond to Grahn’s rants, calling her a “racist” to start, and working in some other choice cuss words. This happened from Sunday to all day and into the evening Monday. Finally Grahn tweeted her apologies, denying that she was a racist and maintaining that she was just a strong advocate for women’s rights and felt all hard working women deserve respect and praise. She just didn’t express that properly, Grahn maintained.
            “I’ve been schooled,” she wrote finally.
            Yes you have, my dear, yes you have.
            PRAYERS FOR QUINCY – The man I consider to be THE master of music, composer/producer Quincy Jones, was taken to the hospital late last week after complaining of shortness of breath. Jones’ publicist says the 82-year-old maestro is now fine (probably out by the time you read this).
            Quincy is unique to music because he just doesn’t hear music by notes, but actually “sees” music as artistic colors and shades of. Thus he produced some of the greatest music of all time, like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album in 1981 that took the world by storm.
            So let’s all say a prayer for the quick recovery of legend Quincy Jones.
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.

by Tazra Mitchell of the NC Budget & Tax Center
Special to The Carolinian Newspaper
An analysis

            [Editor’s note – this analysis, written by Tazra Mitchell, a policy analyst with the NC Budget & Tax Center in Raleigh, was released just as the NC General Assembly was in the process of ratifying its 2016 fiscal year state budget, and right before NC Gov. Pat McCrory signed it into law the following day.]

            Nearly 1.7 million North Carolinians struggled to make ends meet in 2014, according to new data released today from the Census Bureau, highlighting the need for a state budget that builds a stronger foundation of economic opportunity and addresses the uneven nature of recovery across the state.
Instead, it appears legislative leaders will pass and the Governor will sign a budget that pursues deep tax cuts, making it impossible to adequately invest in poverty-busting programs that would make it easier for people to build a secure future.
One in 5 North Carolinians struggled to afford basic necessities in 2014, living on less than $24,000 a year for a family of four. One in 4 North Carolina kids are growing up in families that can’t give them a good start to life because they make so little. Although there were small improvements between 2013 and 2014, the number of people struggling to pay the bills remains too high, and is holding back our economy and hampering Tar Heel kids’ futures.
The legislative leadership’s proposal to further cut income taxes that primarily benefit the wealthy and profitable corporations, while also expanding the sales tax to new services, would close the doors of opportunity. The tax plan will cause taxes to slightly go up, on average, for many people living in poverty, while blocking pathways to greater economic success like public schools—without boosting the economy or creating jobs.
Instead of making adequate targeted investments that will reduce poverty and build a stronger economy for all, policymakers are using the tax system and the state budget to bulldoze the infrastructure of opportunity
The new Census data shows North Carolina’s off-kilter economy and policymakers’ decisions to cut back on vital supports for working families are keeping poverty high, wages stagnant, and income inequality widespread.
    North Carolina’s poverty rate is 1.7 percentage points higher than the U.S. rate, and has the 12th highest poverty rate in the nation.
    The state poverty rate (17.2 percent) declined by seven-tenths of a percentage point over the last year but remains 20 percent higher than 2007 when the Great Recession hit.
    The state’s median income ($46,556) remained statistically unchanged, meaning there has been no progress in raising middle class living standards for the average North Carolinian since 2007.
    More than 7 percent of North Carolinians live in extreme poverty, which means they live below less than half of the poverty line—or about $11,900 a year for a family of four.
    Child poverty did not improve over the last year, and children continue to have the highest poverty rate (24.3 percent) compared to other age groups. One in 4 children live in poverty compared to 1 in 10 older adults.
    People of color are much more likely to struggle below the poverty line: 33.6 percent of Latinos, 27.9 of American Indians, and 26.5 percent of African Americans live in poverty while 11.6 percent of non-Hispanic whites live in poverty.
    Women face higher poverty rates than men, 18.6 percent compared to 15.7 percent, respectively.
North Carolina’s progress is hampered by fiscal policies that fail to build the foundation for North Carolina’s future economic success. State lawmakers have yet to rebuild what was lost during the recession. Throughout the economic recovery, they have either made deep cuts to or provided inadequate investments for early childhood development, public schools, the UNC System, and nonprofits promoting job and business development in the state’s economically distressed areas. These are key services that invest in people’s future and build a strong economy that offers all families the opportunity to thrive.
Lawmakers have also dismantled services that help people get back on their feet when they are struggling, including unemployment benefits, job training programs, and the Earned Income Tax Credit that lets parents keep more of what they earn so they can better avoid raising their children in poverty.
“North Carolina needs policies that create equal opportunity, rebuild entryways to expand the ranks of the middle class, and ensure that prosperity is broadly shared so that all North Carolinians can reach their potential,” said Alexandra Sirota, Director of the Budget & Tax Center.



            [WASH., D.C.] Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, was among the honorees Sept. 19th during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc.’s 45th Annual Legislative Conference Phoenix Awards. Dr. Barber was awarded the CBC’s Chair’s Award for his tireless work on behalf of defending voting rights in North Carolina, fighting for affordable health care, and securing pardons of innocence for the Wilmington Ten. He is recognized as the leader of the now multi-state Moral Monday Movement.

            [RALEIGH] It was the early morning hours of Sept. 18th when the NC House took the last step in passing the two-month delayed $21.7 billion budget for the current fiscal year. Amid protests from Democrats that the Republican-led process did not allow for much debate, and that education was particularly hit hard once again with cuts. Gov. McCrory, who had said earlier that he would not sign the budget because it further lowered taxes, in fact did sign it hours after it was passed.

            [RALEIGH] When NC Dept. of Transportation Secretary Tony Tata abruptly resigned his office last July, he said that he needed to spend more time with his family and pay greater attention to his writing career. But a new published expose in last Sunday’s News and Observer newspaper revealed that during his military career, Tata was investigated by the Army at least twice for extramarital affairs, which is considered a criminal offense in the military.  Tata reportedly admitted to the affairs, but was not formally punished. Tata, who was married to his first wife at the time,  reportedly confirmed the details to the newspaper, but added that the alleged affairs happened early in his military career. Tata was fired as superintendent of Wake County schools in 2011 when he clashed with Democratic board members.


            A quick thinking off-duty Durham Sheriff’s deputy jumped into an apartment complex pond late Sunday night when he heard children wailing for help. Deputy David Earp says his flashlight reveal two children drowning in five feet of water. He rescued two girls, one five-years old, the other three years-old. It was later determined that the children’s father, Alan Lassiter, 29, allegedly tried to kill his three children by throwing them into the pond to drown. The oldest, a seven-year-old boy, escaped. Lassiter has been arrested and charged with three counts of attempted murder. The three-year-old is listed in critical condition.

            Good news for unregistered voters during this current municipal election from NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber. “This may come as a surprise, but... due to ongoing legal wrangling, Same Day Registration during Early Voting and out-of-precinct voting on Election Day are in effect for the 2015 elections – at least until Federal District Court Judge Schroeder rules in the Monster Law case argued in Winston-Salem this summer. Same Day Registration is a critical, “fail safe” option for citizens who have moved across county lines, are new to the state of North Carolina, or have recently become eligible to vote – and who miss the 25-day registration deadline (Sept. 11th for the Oct. 6th election, and Oct. 9th for the Nov. 3rd election). To use Same Day Registration (only available during Early Voting), a voter must provide either a NC driver’s license or other government-issued ID, or a utility bill, bank statement or payroll stub to an election official at an Early Voting location. Until a court rules otherwise, same-day registration is still in effect for Early Voting.

            While St. Augustine’s University Falcon Head Football Coach Michael Morand continues to serve out his two-week unpaid suspension for undisclosed reasons during an investigation, two of his assistants are leading the 0-3 Falcons in his stead.  Assistant coaches Tim Chavous and Jonathan Kelly are trying to minimize further disruptions to the team. The team lost to Elizabeth City State University Sept. 19 by a score of 23-7.

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