CASH IN THE APPLE FOR 6-16-16
By Cash Michaels
TV SCREENS – Lots of controversial stuff we’re seeing of late on our TV screens. Hard not to have an opinion on some of it.
ORLANDO – They all deserved to live. Every one of Omar Mateen’s 49 victims in the deadliest mass shooting in recorded American history deserved to live out their young lives, free of discrimination, and certainly free of threat of death because of who they were, or where they chose to celebrate their lives.
They were American citizens, and no matter what anyone thought of them, they all had the right to live.
Apparently Mateen didn’t think so. Because he reportedly saw two men exchanging affections in front of him and his young son one day, instead of either ignoring it, or explaining it to the boy, Mateen – a mixed-up , angry terrorist wannabe – decided to take matters into his own hands and express his hatred of gay people the only way his feeble mind knew how – through deadly, senseless violence.
Let’s be clear about something … it takes a particular brand of coward to pack two fully-loaded firearms, one of them an AR-15 military assault rifle capable of firing multiple rounds of ammo in a clip, to a club where 350 unarmed men and women are partying and minding their own business, and start firing at will. Not much courage required for that behavior.
And yet, Mateen apparently felt that it was his duty to kill as many human beings as possible at the “Pulse” club in Orlando Saturday night. Somehow it made him feel…. more like a “man,” I guess.
Here’s the problem – there are plenty more Omar Mateens out there just waiting for their chance to explode and “prove” just how “manly” they are in a similar way. And because, despite all of the protestations of Pres. Obama, this country refuses to do anything to ban military assault weapons (as we once did under the Bill Clinton administration), weapons of war continue to flood our streets - legally and otherwise. And so every weekend, the streets of Chicago, Philadelphia and New York become war zones. And the body counts of our young people just keep on rising. And the National Rifle Association continues to insist that it’s every citizen’s right to get their hands on as many guns as possible.
And Pres. Obama continues to throw his hands up in frustration. The Republican-led Congress he’s stuck with refuses to do anything at all because it’s so deep in the NRA’s pockets.
And so it goes. This week Orlando. Last December it was San Bernardino. Before that a black church in Charleston. and a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. A college campus. An elementary school with young children.
They all had the right to live.
NO NAME – CNN’s Anderson Cooper refuses to mention the name of the killer, or show gis face, not wanting to give the monster any glory at all. That’s cool with me.
TRUMP’S SOLUTION – Needless to say, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has now reiterated his call to ban all Muslims from coming into the United States as a result of the Orlando massacre.
Like it or not, Trump does have a following here in the South and the Midwest – two areas where many whites believe this really isn’t their country anymore because they feel they don’t have “control.” Trump gives them that sense of control with his “Make America Great Again” mantra, and apparently the best way to accomplish that near trick is to throw the values most of all were raised on in the toilet. So we build walls instead of building bridges. And we treat women like second-class citizens instead of equal partners in our democracy. And of course, we fool ourselves into thinking that we’re keeping potential terrorists out of the country, when all we’re really doing is proving real terrorists right by acting like a nation with no sense.
Yep, there are a lot of folks who are buying what Trump is selling. The question is, are there enough of them to elect him the next president of the United States? We’ll see.
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.
WAKE, FORSYTH COVERED IN
HOUSE-PASSED EUGENICS BILL
By Cash Michaels
Victims of North Carolina’s notorious state sterilization program are now also eligible to be compensated by either Mecklenburg, Forsyth, Wake or Guilford counties if they were “asexualized or sterilized” under those counties authority, under a bill passed by the NC House Monday night.
But it’s nowhere near a done deal. There are looming questions involving where more counties will be added to those eligible, whether local county commission boards will use their discretion to pay eligible victims out of their county general funds and how much, and whether the NC Senate and House can agree on final details so that the bill can be made law. The measure that passed the House Monday differs substantially from the original Senate bill which passed in March 2015.
Almost 8,000 white, black and mostly poor female North Carolinians were falsely identified as “feeble” or “mentally retarded” by the state Eugenics Board from 1929 to the mid-1970’s, and involuntarily sterilized under state law. It was all part of the infamous eugenics movement of the early 1900’s that sought to “purify” the human race by preventing poor people from having children, thus minimizing what many in government felt were problem and needy populations.
In many of these cases, the local county health departments, acting as agents of the state, misidentified young women, and men, and even children as being mentally unstable, and in many cases, had these victims sterilized under false pretenses. Many of those still living tell how they had no idea what was done to them until they married and tried to have children.
In 2003, the state of North Carolina formally apologized for it’s eugenic program, but it wouldn’t be until ten years later that a law minimally compensating eligible survivors was enacted. Many of the survivors are scheduled to get a third and final payment totaling $45,000 in compensation.
However, those who were sterilized by their county, not the state, have not been compensated thus far, which is what the current bill passed by the state House addresses.
The measure calls for eligible counties with populations of at least 350,000 as of 2010, which is why Mecklenburg, Wake, Forsyth and Guilford ate noted. The bill’s sponsors say they want to wait until enactment before adding other counties, like New Hanover and Brunswick to the list.
If passed in it’s current form, SB 29 would give the four aforementioned counties until July 1, 2018 to develop and pass ordinances “…to provide for the compensation of qualified recipients asexualized or sterilized under county authority.” Those eligible have until December 31, 2019 to make a claim application, to the NC Industrial Commission.
Again, the counties would make payments from their local General Funds.
If an eligible claimant dies, payment is made to the estate.
Thus far, representative of the four local county commission boards have not weighed in on the measure by press time since it passed the House Monday night.
CONTROVERSY OVER STATE –RUN
By Cash MichaelsEDITOR
Should local low-performing schools be taken over by the state and run by for–profit charter school companies in hopes that a different approach will improve results, or should the state just give local school districts more resources to improve those schools and bring them up to par?
That is the debate now in the NC General Assembly over HB 1080 to establish the “Achievement School District (ASD),” a proposed pilot project where the state selects five of North Carolina’s lowest performing elementary schools, a superintendent is assigned by the state Board of Education to oversee that special district, and then choose a for-profit charter school company to actually run the schools under a five-year contract, with a possible three-year renewal.
The NC House passed its version of HB 1080 two weeks ago, so now it’s in the Senate Rules and Operations Committee, with no word as to when it will be reported out and hit the Senate floor for a vote.
Once a low-performing school has been selected for the ASD, the local school board has the option of either closing it, transferring it to the ASD, or adopt a recommended “principal turnaround reform model” for that school. A public hearing will be held in that local school district before a final determination is made by the local board.
The charter school operator will be responsible for hiring all staff under the direction of the special superintendent. Funding will come from both state and local coffers.
Needless to say, the political battlelines have been drawn, even though some Republican House members have voted against ASD, and at least one black Democratic House member, Rep. Cecil Brockman of High Point, is a co-sponsor of the bipartisan measure.
Rep. Brockman maintains that because urban and rural black children are, for the most part, poorly served by low-performing schools, that ASD offers an opportunity to dramatically change what has ultimately proven to be a broken model that no amount of additional funding has fixed. “[The schools] have failed black students,” Brockman insists.
But there is controversy about whether the ASD model does indeed work. The inspiration for the bill is the ASD in Tennessee. The Tennessee model has produced, “mixed results” say researchers at Vanderbilt University, compared to pupils attending low-performing schools. Published reports indicate parents in the local school districts are not pleased with the state takeover, and oppose it bitterly.
Published reports add there is solid opposition from the Tennessee Democratic Caucus and the Tennessee Black Caucus. A bill has been introduced to do away with ASD there by May 2017.
The state of Michigan got out of the ASD business in February after four years, based on spiraling costs and little progress.
“It’s unproven at best,” Mark Jewell, president-elect of the North Carolina Association of Educators told House members considering the bill. NCAE prefers the state bolster failing schools with better trained, better paid teachers, stronger administrative leadership and better resourced programs designed to help struggling students.
Ironically, HB1080 also allows local school districts that transfer a school to ASD to then identify several low-performing schools and designate them for “innovation zones” or “iZones”, where public schools can run failing schools as charter schools, where the rules are not as stringent.
What little research there is shows that student achievement in iZone schools is much improved over ASD and standard low-performing schools.
Supporters of the ASD measure include the Raleigh-based conservative think tank, the John Locke Foundation, which says that the bill offers “promise of improvement” for the state’s low-performing schools.
But opponents, like Dr. Henry Johnson, former associate state schools superintendent at the NC Dept of Public Instruction, and Professor Andre Overstreet (retired) of the College of Education at NC State University, say based on the Tennessee results so far, there is very little “promise” to hope for.
“[ASDs] have a short history and little effectiveness research,” wrote Dr. Johnson and Prof. Overstreet in a recent op-ed. “They spend large amounts of public tax dollars on often sketchy private companies that collect significant fees. And there is no evidence that they work.”
TRIANGLE NEWS BRIEFS FOR 6-16-16
POLICE, COMMUNITY CLEANUP MINI-PARK NEAR FATAL SHOOTING
Several Raleigh police officers, workers with the city’s park and Rec Dept. and neighborhood volunteers came together Tuesday morning at the Bragg Street Mini-Park in South Park to clear leaves and fallen branches in a show of unity in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of Akiel Denkins by a Raleigh officer last February. Since then, at the requjest of the community, Raleigh police have increased foot patrols in the neighborhood in an effort to improve relations.
WAKE PRINCIPAL SAYS ARREST WAS “MISTAKE” BY AUTHORITIES
The principal of West Cary Middle School claims that authorities mistakenly arrested her last weekend because of a stolen license plate on her car she had no knowledge of. Nikia Davis was arrested RDU International Airport and charged with possession of stolen property. Davis says she has no idea how the stolen plate got on her car, and she has owned the vehicle for six years.
DEMONSTRATORS PROTEST CONDITIONS AT DURHAM COUNTY JAIL
An estimated eighteen people demonstrated in from of the Durham County Administrative building Monday night, calling for “people’s” investigation into alleged poor conditions at the Durham County jail. In a press conference prior to the County Commissioners meeting, speakers said improvements were needed in the food served inmates, their treatment by guards, and the conditions by which medical treatment is administered. They also alleged that prisoners were allowed to practice their religious beliefs. The Durham Sheriff’s Dept. has gotten a federal assessment of jail conditions, and says that it is now acting on 33 recommendations from that study.
STATE NEWS BRIEFS FOR 6-16-16
GUN PERMIT APPLICATIONS RISE IN ORLANDO AFTERMATH
[GREENVILLE] The FBI says it happens after every well publicized mass shooting – the number of gun permit applications goes up primarily because people want to prirct themselves, and also want to obtain a firearm beforr the laws get sgtiffer. In Pitt County, the Sheriff’s Department there says the number of gun applications there has exploded since the Orlando massacre Sunay, where 49 people were killed at a nightclub, 53 injured. There have been numerous local vigils commemorating the victims held in Raleigh, Durham, Carrboro and throughout North Carolina.
TWO NORTH CAROLINIANS AMONG ORLANDO MASSACRE VICTIMS
[ORLANDO, FL] Among the 49 victims in the Orlando “Pulse” Club fat; shooting tragedy, two North Carolinians friends say were building promising lives for themselves. Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33, was a graduate of East Carolina University and sang lead vocals for the band, Frequency, in the Orlando area. He was known for being “kind-hearted, funny and passionate.” Tevin Eugene Crosby was a graduate of West Iredell High School in Statesville. He studied business administration at Strayer University South and was working in Michigan.
TRUMP RIPS OBAMA DURING GREENSBORO VISIT
[GREENSBORO] Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump ripped into President Obama Tuesday evening, “telling a packed house t the Greensboro Coliseum that th president was doing a “hell of a terrible job” when it came to fighting terrorism and managing immigration. Trump did take time to praise North Carolina Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, whom Trump said was doing “a fantastic job.” McCrory endorsed the billionaire industrialist weeks ago. Trump has flamed controversy for saying tat all Muslims should be banned from coming to the US. Twenty protesters were escorted from Trump’s rally.