Monday, February 15, 2016



By Cash Michaels

            HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY, KALA -  Yep, got so busy last week with multiple screenings of “Pardons of Innocence: The Wilmington Ten” and trying to meet deadline and deadline, I just plain old forgot to wish my youngest daughter, KaLa, a Happy Birthday in my column last week. Normally, I try to do that in the days leading up to the Feb. 14th date, but this year, I missed it.
            My bad. Outside of the fact that I’m getting old, I just turned 60, KaLa knows I’m old, plus started getting sick early last week (either select one or combine them all), I have no excuse.
            Mind you, I didn’t forget KaLa’s birthday. I just forgot to write about in the week leading up to it. For if I did, I would have written how very, very proud my youngest daughter has made for all of her 13 years. She’s a top middle-school student, just accepted into the National Junior Honor Society (congratulations, Sweetheart); a budding, talented artist, an emerging writer….all of that, and a beautiful young lady as well.
            Yep, that’s what I would have written last week if my feeble old mind didn’t fail me in my 60th year of life.
            So I guess I’ll just have to make up for it when KaLa turns 14. Hopefully God will allow me the blessing of having lived another year to be able to be here to see it happen.
            But just in case He doesn’t, I love you AND your older sister Tiffany, Sweetheart, and I extremely proud of both of you!
            I SWEAR – I swear I didn’t realize that Beyonce was doing a tribute to the Black Panther Party, or making any statement about police brutality during her star-smacking performance at this year’s spectacular 50th Anniversary Super Bowl halftime show.
            Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s my advancing age. Maybe I was just so mesmerized by all the great legs, sexy dancing, tight black outfits and pyrotechnics, that I just never realized that there may have been a theme involved.
            So you’ll imagine my surprise when I saw all of the next day hoopla from conservatives like former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani who blasted Beyonce for her “outrageous” attack on the police.
            "This is football, not Hollywood, and I thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us, and keep us alive,” a clearly incensed Giuliani told a welcoming Fox News Channel the following day.
            Mind, this is a Republican former NYC mayor who had no problem with his police officers fatally shooting innocent black people in the name of keeping everybody “safe.”
            Personally, while I certainly understand families coming together to enjoy the Super Bowl national pastime and not expecting to see much news controversy during the course of the game, I defy anyone, especially Mayor Giuliani, to be absolutely certain of what they’re going to see during the course of  Super Bowl halftime show. No one’s been able to do that for years, and look at all of the surprises that have come down since.
            But there’s an even more important principle at work here, and perhaps Rudy Giuliani has heard of it. It’s call …Freedom of Speech.
            As a world-reknowned creative artist, Beyonce has the right to use even the biggest entertainment venue on the face of the planet, namely the Super Bowl halftime show, to make any social statement she wants. And the way our country works is, if the audience doesn’t like her message or performance, they don’t to purchase her music.
            So far, there’s no indication of that happened.
            Trumped again, Mr. Giuliani. Better luck next time.
            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 And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my blog, ‘The Cash Roc” (
           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.

COLD PROTEST - Demonstrators braved the bitter cold Saturday during the Tenth Annual Moral March/Hk on J People's Assembly in Raleigh [Photo courtesy of Clayton Henkel, NC Policy Watch]

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Assuming the North Carolina March 15 primaries go forward without delay, the NC NAACP wants at least 5,000 poll monitors spread across the state to ensure that the new voter photo identification rules are carried out fairly, according to Dr. Rev. William j. Barber, president on the NC NAACP at last Saturday’s Tenth Annual Moral March on Raleigh/People’s Assembly.
            Led by the NC NAACP and the Forward Together Movement, well over 5,000 demonstrators braved the freezing temperatures to march down the Fayetteville Street Mall in downtown Raleigh to the steps of the state Capital, where speaker after speaker addressed issues like immigration, improving education and the state providing more affordable healthcare for poor families.
            The March 15th primaries, moved up from the traditional May because Republican lawmakers wanted North Carolina to play more of an early role in help selecting the party’s nominee for president, will be the first time since the 2013 state law requiring voter photo ID that it will actually be in force.
            The NCNAACP/Forward Together Movement have always called voter ID a violation  of constitutional rights, given that all that is legally required  is for a voter to be 18 years of age and an American citizen. A federal court just heard testimony in a federal suit against Gov. Pat McCrory and the state Legislature, regarding voter ID, and the new requirement that those without one must  fill out a “reasonable impediment” excuse in order to cast a provisional ballot, which could still be challenged and thrown out.
            In his remarks before the Moral Marchers, Rev. Barber reiterated that the NCNAACP will continue voter restriction laws in the courts, and in the streets.
            “The fight for voting rights is personal for me,” Rev. Barber said, recounting how his family has had to fight for them all of his life. “And it is a battle that we will not turn back from now.”
            The vote is at the “heart of our democracy,” Barber said. “This is why we’re so concerned, when politics is more a struggle over money and manipulation, than a struggle over of ideas.”
            Rev. Barber said when politicians suppress the vote, they want the people to become “slaves to their decisions without citizens having the ability to register their discontent at the ballot box.”
             “Any politicians who try to suppress the vote are committing a crime against democracy,” Barber charged, who then blasted the Republican-led state Legislature for “stacking and packing” black voters into the First and Twelfth Congressional Districts, a move the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has now ruled to be unconstitutional, and lawmakers are scrambling to fix by Feb. 19th for the March 15th primaries.
            When you want decrease and suppress voter participation so you can rule by default; when you draw racially motivated redistricting political maps that segregate black voters and disallow black and white people and Latino voters from coming together to elect candidates of their choice. That’s a crime against democracy! And we must fight back!” declared Rev. Barber.
            “We suggest [lawmakers] repent now and begin keeping their promise to protect and defend the Constitution,” Barber continued. He rattled off a laundry list of what he called repressive law that have made it easier to purchase a gun than to vote; hurt the state’s environment; and made it harder for the unemployed to find work.
            “We have come to serve notice, that we will unleash every political, legal, and moral strategy that we can to create the New South.  We will not go back,” Rev. Barber said.
            “The more you try to suppress the right to vote, the more we will register and vote,” he continued.  “You can’t stop the people.  We will win.  You can’t stop the flow of democracy.  You can’t take government of the people, by the people, from the people. You can’t stop truth. You can’t stop justice. You can’t stop right.  We will rise up. It’s on now.”


JUSTICE SCALIA DEAD - On Saturday, funeral services will be held for US Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (left, seen here with his colleague, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas). Scalia died at a Texas ranch February 13th. He was 79.

By Cash Michaels

            While the legal world continues to mourn the unexpected death of US Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and honor his legacy and service on the nation’s highest court from 1986 to his passing February 13 during a trip in Texas, there are many who believe that the record of the 79-year-old conservative jurist, especially when it comes to issues of race, deserves an honest accounting.
            When it came to cases involving civil rights, voting rights or affirmative action, Justice Scalia, put on the court by Republican Pres. Ronald Reagan, was a staunch opponent who voted in opposition every time.
            One of those making that assessment, and who knows Justice Scalia’s record well, is attorney Irving Joyner, law professor at North Carolina Central University’s School of Law.
            I take exception to the repeated reframe in the news media that Antonin Scalia was the greatest, or was among the greatest justices who ever served on the U.S. Supreme Court,” Prof. Joyner, a noted expert in criminal law who has been teaching at NCCU since 1982, says. “He was no greater than were Thurgood Marshall, William Douglas or Earl Warren. On some issues, clearly, Scalia was the "darling" of conservatives, right wing and states rights adherents.”
 “Scalia was skillful in using his knowledge of pre-civil war and English common law history which supported his notion of "originalism" that he successfully argued in his interpretation of what he considered to be the constitutional intent of the founding fathers. On many of these points, he was correct, since the founding fathers must be heralded for constructing its concept of a nation which was created solely by and for white people. This view became the law of the land in the infamous Dred Scott opinion in which the Supreme Court determined that Africans, free or slave, had no rights which whites were obligated to respect. The view of "original intent" was used repeatedly by Scalia to argue for his application of states’ rights.”
Prof. Joyner continued, “Scalia's notion of "originalism" or being faithful and obedient to the intent of the framers did not extend to his interpretation of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments (the “Reconstruction amendments “ after the Civil War which abolished slavery, granted equal protection and bestowed the right to vote to freed slaves). These were constitutional enactments which he disagreed with and did everything in his power to undermine and destroy. These three amendments speak boldly to the rights of African Americans and were enacted after the civil war for the express purpose of providing equal protection for African Americans and other minorities. In cases in which the rights of minorities or disfavored groups are at issue, Scalia was regularly on the side of denying them their fundamental rights.”
The conservative justice’s philosophical agenda aside, Prof. Joyner did give Antonin Scalia some credit for his decisions in the area of criminal law.
“To be honest, Scalia did author some ground-breaking decisions in the criminal law and criminal procedure areas of law,” Joyner says.  “He is to be commended for these decisions in which some fundamental rights of criminal defendants have been protected and expanded. For these few progressive decisions, which subjected him to discomfort by conservatives, he should be commended and applauded.”
The record is clear that Justice Scalia was not a friend of African Americans and often spoke of them publically in a dismissive and derisive  manner,” Prof. Joyner concludes. “This attitude and political leaning were particularly apparent in his decisions and dissents in voting rights, environmental justice, LGBT and school desegregation cases. Thus in the minds of conservatives and right wing zealots, he was a hero of sort.”
“For African Americans, racial minorities and members of disfavored groups, he was a caustic, arrogant and insistent opponent. May he rest in peace.”

By Cash Michaels

            Assuming that there is no stay from US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, will North Carolina’s newly configured congressional maps, scheduled to submitted to the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals for review Friday, pass muster in time for the upcoming March 15th primaries?
            It’s anyone’s guess, apparently. Indeed, if there is one thing that’s clear, it’s that everything about North Carolina’s scheduled March 15th primaries is unclear, especially since absentee voting has already begun. New maps are being devised based on non-racial criteria developed by a special legislative committee in time for a vote on Friday.
          Ever since the appellate court’s Feb. 5th ruling that the First and Twelfth Congressional Districts were unconstitutional because race, not political affiliation, was the primary factor in their configuration, and had to be immediately redrawn, Republican lawmakers have been trying to figure out how best to either stay that court order, or at least look like they’re complying until they have no choice.
            Very clearly the Republicans, who redrew the congressional and legislative voting district lines in 2011 after they took over the majority in the NC General Assembly, do not want give up the electoral advantage they gained by “stacking and packing” black voters in two wildly configured congressional districts, the First and the Twelfth, critics say. Doing so allowed the GOP to remove black voters from otherwise competitive predominately-white  congressional districts, thus allowing Republican candidates to dominate white Democrats during elections.
            Critics of the current district maps – in force for the past two election cycles -  point to North Carolina’s current congressional delegation of ten Republicans and three Democrats in a state where Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008 and Republican Mitt Romney won in 2012.
            Add to all of the unforeseen confusion the untimely death of US Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia last weekend right after the High Court had been petitioned by state lawmakers to stay the lower court order, and very little is clear until Friday.
There is no indication that Scalia's vote would make a difference in the decision regarding a stay,” says Irving Joyner, law professor at North Carolina Central University’s School of Law in Durham. “Chief Justice [John] Roberts [who hears emergency requests from the US Fourth Circuit] can make this decision without consulting with other members of the court, although his practice has been to consult the full court when stays have been requested in other voting rights cases.”
Lawyers for the plaintiffs filed their arguments Tuesday with the US Supreme Court as to why the appellate court order should not be stayed. “Simply put, a choice between forcing millions of North Carolinians to vote in yet another election under the unconstitutional enacted plan, and taking the administrative steps necessary to hold a constitutional election in 2016 — including delaying the congressional primary election as necessary — is no choice at all,” wrote Marc Elias, plaintiffs’ attorney.
If Roberts doesn’t issue a stay before Friday, then the appellate court order stands, and the state is compelled to submit newly drawn maps by Friday. If the chief justice does consult the full court, and it comes back 4-4 with Justice Scalia gone, then the same result applies.
However, if Roberts were to answer state lawmakers’ prayers and stay the lower court order on his own, that means the March 15th primaries would proceed under the current maps.
That would not please the NCNAACP, which hasn’t gotten very far with its own state court challenges to the 2011 redistricting lines.  The civil rights organization has applauded the appellate court order stemming from a federal lawsuit filed by three independent plaintiffs in the First and Third Districts, and this week, blasted “extremist” Republican legislative leaders for wasting literally half of the two-week deadline period they were given to redraw the two unconstitutional districts doing nothing, only to follow-up in the final week with hearings,  and a two-day joint session today and Friday.
“These hearings are cynical attempts to create the impression that the redrawn maps had no significant public opposition,” charged Rev. William Barber, president of the NC NAACP. “ In short, the extremists are producing a farce, now that their maps have been called absurd.”
Barber wants the March 15th primaries pushed back to May, where they originally were before this year. He added that waiting until the week of to first hold statewide hearings, and then meet Thursday and Friday without getting public input on the newly configured maps was “evidence that our extremist leaders continue to act in bad faith.”
If Republicans leaders were hoping to use statewide hearings Monday that were abruptly called for last Friday afternoon after 5 p.m. with little public notice as a cover, it may have backfired. According to published reports, those who agreed with the appellate court’s decision to strike down the First and Twelfth districts outnumbered the opposition 2-1, with many blaming lawmakers not only for the maps, but the confusion caused by moving up the primaries by two months.
State lawmakers reported began redrawing the maps Tuesday considering the testimony drawn from Monday’s hearings. Unless the US Supreme Court says otherwise, the NC General Assembly is scheduled to convene today and Friday for votes on the new maps.


            [RALEIGH] For state Rep. Deborah Ross; Spring Lake Mayor Chris Rey; Durham businessman Kevin Griffin and retired military officer Ernest Reeves of Greenville will all faceoff for their first televised debate to be seen statewide on Thursday, Feb. 25th at 7 p.m. WRAL-TV in Raleigh will broadcast the half-hour debate, and feed it other television stations statewide. All four Democrats are vying to unseat one-term Republican incumbent US Sen. Richard Burr.

            [CHAPEL HILL] The internal financial controls at UNC – Chapel Hill were found to have “significant misstatements and omissions” according to recent examination by state Auditor Beth Wood. Errors were found in several cash accounts and financial aid revenue statements. “Without these error corrections and inclusion of all required statements and disclosures, users of the financial statements could be misinformed about the University’s financial condition, including sufficiency and flexibility of resources, asset performance, debt management and operating results,” the audit stated. UNC officials blame changing over to a new accounting management system for the errors.

            [DURHAM] The goal was to be briefed on the latest efforts to combat cancer at Duke University and indeed find a cure. The group was known as the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force and it was headed up by someone who has a vested interest, and an official mission do to whatever is necessary to help in that effort – Vice Pres. Joe Biden. So last week, the vice president, who lost his adult son, Beau, to brain cancer last year, came to Duke, and pledged whatever federal government assistance would be needed in reaching the goal for a cure as promised by Pres. Obama in his last State of the Union address.



            Because of Monday’s inclement weather  which cancelled classes throughout the Wake County Public School System, officials have selected Monday, April 25th as the school makeup day for traditional calendar students, but this Saturday, February 20th as the makeup day for tracks 1, 3 and 4 students in year-round schools.

            New student discipline data shows that black students are more likely to be arrested on campus, or be suspended from school. According to 2014-15 data, black students were 69 percent of all court referrals, and almost twice as likely to be arrested for theft and fighting. Add to this information showing African-American students were 63 percent of school suspensions that same year, and school officials say they want to find solutions to stop the growing trend, hoping not to have to always call law enforcement to intercede in school problems. Officials say on the bright side, school suspensions are down from what they were five years ago.

            Orange County authorities have now dropped all charges against Shaquille Oneill Davis, 22, in the Dec. 25th driveby shooting death of one-year-old Maleah Williams of Chapel Hill. Davis had been charged with attempted first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. The child died three days after being shot in the head. Two subsequent suspects charged with first-degree murder in the case remain in custody.


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