Monday, October 31, 2016


By Cash Michaels

            NAILBITER – With less than a week to go, our long, national nightmare will soon be over.
            Even though Democrat Hillary Clinton is leading in most polls (though an ABC News/Washington Post poll had her trailing Republican Donald Trump by one on Tuesday), it is safe to assume that Nov. 8th Election Day will be filled with surprises, one way or another.
            For instance, here in North Carolina, while the latest Elon University poll out Tuesday sees the presidential race as a virtual dead-heat at 42 percent, a WRAL-TV Survey USA poll has Trump with a substantial 51 to 44 percent lead.
            The fact is the polls are all over the place. That means we can all only count on the poll that really matters, and that’s how we all really vote. Trust me, there is a huge difference between someone interrupting your dinner to ask you how you’re going to vote, versus you making the effort to take yourself (and significant other) down to the REAL polls, and casting a REAL ballot for whomever you choose.
            That leads me to how the news media have covered this presidential election.
            It really hasn’t been easy to be a reporter covering the ridiculousness of what is supposed to be a dignified exercise in our republic’s democracy. For more than the past year, Trump has turned the political world on its head with beyond borderline pronouncements about Mexicans, muslims, and of course, women.
            And then, of course, controversy just seems to follow the name “Clinton,” and Lord knows, whether it be about her private email server at home, or alleged double deals at the Clinton Foundation, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has always seemed to be facing new questions about her honesty and integrity that have turned a number of people off, despite her undeniable intellect and political acumen.
            So reporters have had to cover two partisan nominees who are intensely disliked, and do so in the most fair and balanced way possible.
            The problem has been while Trump romanced the press to the point where cable stations were just throwing free TV time at the billionaire because more Trump meant higher ratings, we failed to really look into his business and personal dealings until he was well on his way to the White House. And when something disturbing did crop up, Trump proved to be like Teflon for a while, ducking and weaving earth shaking controversies with ease.
            How many times have you counted Trump out, and he wasn’t?
            One can say the same for Hillary. The Wikileaks revelations and the FBI reinvestigation into her private server to determine if she ever mishandled classified information have gnawed at her campaign relentlessly, but she too, kept standing strong. The press was faced with how much to hit her with, and when.
            It wasn’t easy.
            If all of you found yourselves beyond disgusted by all of this, that’s completely understandable. The question is, who will be our next president, and will that person be so badly wounded by this controversy-ridden campaign that he/or she will be unable to effectively lead?
            That’s why if you haven’t voted already, make it happen. Because even after the election, there will be a lot we’ll have to sort through as a nation.


(WASHINGTON, DC.) With the election only days away, a new national poll shows that Black American voters overwhelmingly plan to vote for Hillary Clinton as their choice for President of the United States. Their choice is influenced by concerns about high quality, affordable education, income inequality, jobs, the economy, race relations and racial justice. 
The National Black Voter Poll found a high degree of engagement by registered black voters in the election, with 96% of respondents saying they will cast ballots.  The same number said their friends also intend to vote. Nearly all respondents in the survey said they voted in both the 2008 and 2012 elections.
Taken together, the data predict a high voter turnout among Black American voters in the November 8, 2016 election and a strong preference for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.
A substantial majority (89%) indicated they will vote for Clinton, and two-thirds (67%) said they strongly favor Clinton.  Another 23% declared “moderate support” for her.  A slightly higher percent (74%) said they have “overall favorable feelings” for Clinton, compared to 2% who said they had favorable feelings for Trump.
When asked “Do you think Donald Trump is a racist?” 84% responded, “Yes.”
In contrast to feelings toward the current election year’s candidates, 90% of respondents said they have “overall favorable feelings” toward President Barak Obama.
Findings are based on a national random sample of more than 900 voters from 22,000 telephone calls made between October 21 and 30, 2016 by researchers in a joint National Newspaper Publishers Association - Howard University poll.  This was the first national-level scientific study focused exclusively on voters who identify as African American, Afro-Hispanic or other black identity.
The goal of the research was to develop a profile of Black American voters in a year when race is believed to be a defining factor in the outcome of presidential and congressional races.
The vast majority of respondents in the survey identified as Democrats.  To the question “In general, do you think of yourself as Democrat, Republican, or something else?” 82% of respondents said “Democrat” and only 2% said Republican.  Another 16% said they are either “Independent” or “Other” (9% and 7%, respectively). 
A large majority of respondents (87%) identified high quality education as an influence in their decisions, and a nearly equal percent (84%) pointed to concerns about college affordability as a factor. 
Other concerns shaping decisions were the economy and jobs (85%), race relations and racial justice (84%), and income inequality (82%). 
When asked about where they obtain their information about political candidates, nearly half (46%) said from local TV news, and another fourth (24%) said from cable stations.  Approximately a fifth (18%) said they rely on black newspapers for information about elections.
Revelations of new FBI probes into Hillary Clinton’s emails occurred in the midst of the research, prompting researchers to compare participant responses to candidates before and after this news. They found that favorable feelings toward Clinton rose slightly and those toward Trump were cut in half. 
The sample of more than 900 registered black voters was 70% female and 30% male.  When considered alongside the 96% who said they voted in the previous two elections and also plan to vote on Nov. 8, black women show they are at the forefront of social change and political history in the United States, by voting to elect the nation’s first black and now its first female president. 
A majority of respondents said they had attended college (73%), and were 56 years of age or older.  Millennials between the ages of 18-35 accounted for 11% of the sample. 
Those surveyed were nearly equally split between employed and not-employed (53% and 47%, respectively).  Of those employed, 30% said they were federal employees, and 18% said they were union members.  Of those not employed, 78% were retired and 22% were unemployed.   Nearly half (48%) of respondents said they are married and most (84%) have a religious affiliation (a strong majority of those Christian).
The research was conducted using social science survey methods at Howard University.  Research findings, however, do not necessarily reflect the personal views of the researchers, the faculty or administration of Howard University, or the members of the National Newspaper Publishers Association. 

Principal investigators on the interdisciplinary Howard research team included Dr. William Spriggs, Department of Economics; Dr. Terri Adams and Dr. Rubin Patterson, Department of Sociology and Criminology; Dr. Lorenzo Morris, Department of Political Science; and Dr. Carolyn Byerly, Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies.  Principal liaisons from the NNPA included President and CEO Dr. Benjamin Chavis, and Chairman of the Board Denise Rolark Barnes.

By Cash Michaels
An analysis

            No matter which newspaper you read, or news cable channel you listen to, the consensus seems to be the same – whomever wins North Carolina in next Tuesday’s hotly contested presidential election, wins the presidency.
            The Tar Heel state is considered such a crucial battleground because it has rewarded both Democrats and Republicans each a presidential victory since 2008, and the most recent statewide polls between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton are so tight going into the November 8th general election, that it is considered a bellwether for the rest of the nation.
            "North Carolina is a very purple state,” NC Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-NC-2) told CNN. “I know sometimes it gets lumped into the category of 'red state' but it really isn't. It's very diverse and the population and the demographics are changing."
            The state is home to forty percent registered Democrats, 30 percent registered Republicans and 30 percent registered unaffiliated voters. It is home to hot controversies like the House Bill 2 law, which many see as denying transgender citizens their civil rights, controversial police shootings, and the overturning of the state’s voter suppression law, which the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals recently dismantled, saying that the Republican-led law targeted African-American voters with “surgical precision.”
            Indeed, the Tar Heel state is home too much of the liberal versus conservative public policy battles that seem to embody the larger controversies in the nation today.
            There’s no question the Clinton and Trump campaigns see North Carolina as a much sought-after 15-electoral-vote jewel on the road to 270. Hardly a week has gone by since September when there hasn’t been either a Clinton or Trump surrogate, if not the candidates themselves, campaigning from one end of the state to the other. Just Wednesday of this week, President Obama made his third campaign visit to stump for his former secretary of state. Last week, his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama made an electrifying joint appearance with Clinton in Winston-Salem.
            “It’s a must-win,” Eric Trump, the GOP candidate’s son, told a Charlotte television station in August. “It's a place we're going to spend a tremendous amount of time.”
            Meanwhile both Trump, and his vice presidential running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, have made multiple visits to North Carolina over the past two weeks alone, and with good reason. The Republican Party is strong in North Carolina, and throughout presidential electoral history, it has been reliably conservative in electing the top of the ticket by wide margins from Richard Nixon in 1968 to George W. Bush in 2004, the only detour being in 1976 when peanut farmer and Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, temporarily broke the North Carolina mold.
            Barack Obama’s 14,777- vote squeaker over John McCain in 2008 created shockwaves, showing that a progressive Democrat could win in the South again with the right coalition of African-Americans, young people, and women. In 2012, President Obama lost North Carolina to Republican Mitt Romney by just 100,000 votes statewide, though he won re-election overall. While the black vote turned in strong numbers, a dip in Obama’s white voter support created the North Carolina deficit.
            But observers noticed subtle changes to the state’s voting population, even though the Republicans were in command of the governorship and the state legislature. North Carolina’s urban centers of Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh were growing with more moderate and progressive out-of-state residents, while the state’s mostly rural enclaves were shrinking in population. Democratic strategists saw the population shift as something they could exploit, while Republicans surmised that rural and small town voters, who tend to be older and more conservative, in eastern North Carolina particularly, were dependable enough to stay in the fold.
            Thus, we’ve seen the Trump campaign focus on areas like Kinston, Wilmington and Greenville, while Hillary Clinton has focused on cities like Charlotte, Raleigh and Winston-Salem to draw college students, African-Americans, and of course, women. Each campaign vying to cultivate where it thinks North Carolina strength is.
            The result – polls in the last several months that have shifted back and forth between Trump and Clinton, illustrating a phenomenon analysts believe is still happening. North Carolina is becoming more of a mid-Atlantic state like Maryland, and less of a Southern state like South Carolina. Thus the tension that many analysts suggest makes North Carolina a must-watch state on election night.
            North Carolina could be the state where the presidential contest has the biggest effect on down-ballot elections, influencing key races from U.S. Senate to governor and other critical races that could dramatically change the political direction of the state,” states the online magazine Facing South. “What makes North Carolina unique in 2016 is the number of close races where coattails from the presidential election could tip the balance. For example, North Carolina is the only state in which races for president, U.S. Senate and governor are all rated "toss-ups" by the Cook Political Report
            Add to that the fact that so far, North Carolina’s early voting numbers since Oct. 20th show Democrats turning out in larger numbers than Republicans (black female Democrats lead all other Democratic groups), but Republicans are expected to dominate on Nov. 8th, and its anybody’s guess who will win the state. The latest Elon University poll issued Tuesday shows the race too close to call between Clinton and Trump in North Carolina at 42 percent each. If there is one bit of encouraging news for Democrat Clinton, however, it’s that according to the polls, her support among African-Americans was solid, with 100 percent saying that she has their vote over Trump.
            Blacks are 2 of ten voters in North Carolina, while whites are 7 of 10, according to the most recent US Census figures.
           Pres. Obama comes back to North Carolina again on Friday to campaign for Hillary Clinton in Fayetteville and Charlotte. Civil rights hero Congressman John Lewis [D- GA] campaigns for Clinton in Charlotte today.


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            The NCNAACP is suing three counties in federal court alleging that they are illegally cancelling voter registrations because of alleged changes in addresses, in violation of the federal National Voters Registration Act (NVRA). With less than a week before the Nov. 8th general election, and with early voting ending on Nov. 5, voting rights advocates are calling the alleged practice yet another attempt at black voter suppression.
            The civil rights organization filed both a lawsuit and an application for a temporary restraining in the US District Court for the Middle District for North Carolina against the state Board of Elections on Monday.  At press time, a hearing was scheduled for federal court in Winston-Salem Wednesday.
            According to the application for a restraining order put forth by the NCNAACP’s attorneys, the NVRA “…protects Americans’ fundamental right to vote by…requiring that states meet certain requirements before cancelling a voter’s registration on the basis of a change in residence. Specifically, states must either (1) receive written confirmation from the voter that he or she has moved to a different residence outside the county, or (2) send a prescribed notice to which the voter fails to respond, and then wait for two federal election cycles in which the voter does not vote. Only after written confirmation, or notice, no response, and the two-cycle waiting period, may a state proceed with removal from the voter registration rolls.”
         The application continued, “The NVRA also protects access to the franchise by prohibiting any systematic program to remove voters from the rolls within 90 days of a federal election.”
            The NCNAACP alleges that the boards of Elections (BOEs) in Moore County, Beaufort County and Cumberland County “…have cancelled thousands of voters’ registrations on the basis of an alleged change in residence. Those purges of voter rolls resulted from proceedings that were triggered by challenges filed by private individuals, based on a single mailing returned as undeliverable. In most cases, these cancellations of registrations were supported by no other evidence—and none were supported by written confirmation from the voters of any alleged change in residence or compliant with the NVRA’s notice and waiting-period provisions. In many cases, the North Carolinians purged from voting rolls through these proceedings still reside at the addresses where they are registered, or have moved within the same county and remain eligible to vote there. Nonetheless, single items of returned mail have resulted in cancellation of their registrations,” the complaint states.
            And it has been determined that the majority of voters being removed from the county election rolls are African-Americans. At least 4500 voters have been purged, 3900 of them in Cumberland County alone.
The state Board of Elections counters that those local boards are following state statutes that authorize private citizens to challenge voter registrations on the basis of returned mailings. The state BOE confirms that “…thousands of voters have been challenged in the past three months on the basis of returned mail…” The NCNAACP is not only asking for a temporary restraining order to immediately stop the local BOEs from purging black voters before the Nov. 8th general election, but also a permanent injunction to restore the voting registrations of all of those purged.


            [MOORESVILLE] Republican Sen. Richard Burr over   has now apologized for telling a group in Mooresville recently that he was surprised that a magazine about guns didn’t put a bullseye over Hillary Clinton’s face. Burr, who is running for re-election in a tight race against Democratic challenger Deborah Ross, issued an apology only after a recording of his remarks were sent to CNN and broadcast. “The comment I made was inappropriate, and I apologize for it, Burr said in a statement.

                  [RALEIGH] Amid weeks of cajoling from leading Democrats that a special session of the state legislature has to be called to deal with the mounting costs of Hurricane recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, Gov. Pat McCrory is finally on the same page with his critics that the $12-18 million currently in the state disaster relief fund is hardly enough to help citizens who’ve suffered through flooding, high winds and loss of their homes and businesses in over 40 counties. McCrory says he’ll call the special session next month, and will also ask the federal government and Congress to providing relief funding.

                  [GOLDSBORO] Almost a month after Hurricane Matthew ravaged much of eastern North Carolina with high winds and destructive floods, at least 250 people are still living in shelters, state officials say. FEMA [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] admits that it has had trouble finding housing for the displaced. FEMA has been able to give some families money to rent places to live, and it might end up bringing in mobile homes to help others.


                                                      JUDGE LINDA STEPHENS
                                                   JUDGE MARGARET EAGLES

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer
Two veteran jurists are vying for the NC Court of Appeals, promising to vigorously, but fairly, uphold the law if elected.
Wake County District Court Judge Margaret Eagles has presided over civil, criminal and family court cases, in addition to serving as one of two judges in the Abuse, Neglect and Dependence Courtroom. She is also the lead Domestic Violence judge in Wake County.
The daughter of former NC Appellate Court Chief Judge Sidney Eagles, Margaret Eagles, analum of Needham Broughton High School, Wake Forest University and Campbell University School of Law, didn’t intend originally to study law. “I enjoyed doing volunteer work and helping those who were less fortunate. Then, after working as a loan officer at the State Employee’s Credit Union, I knew that the best way I could continue to serve the hard working people of North Carolina was through the practice of law. “
Eagles started her legal career as a judicial clerk for Justice George Wainwright on the NC Supreme Court, working on appeals in criminal and civil cases. As an Assistant Attorney General, she represented the state in environmental enforcement litigation and in criminal appeals in the NC Court of Appeals. In private practice, Eagles was a civil litigator, handling numerous jury trials in District and Superior Courts.
            Among the many judges Judge Eagles admires most are former NC Supreme Court Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson “for her consistent judgment and consummate professionalism,” former Judge Martha Geer, and of course, her dad former Chief Judge Sidney Eagles, “…not only because he is my father and I love him, but because I respect his work on the Court, his true belief in the system and the grace and courtesy he shows to everyone he encounters. “
            Judge Margaret Eagles takes pride in the work she’s done.
            “I worked alongside the Administrative Office of the Courts and multiple stakeholders to implement remote electronic filing of complaints for emergency domestic violence protective orders from Interact, our local rape crisis and domestic violence agency.   I am the co-chair of the Wake County Domestic Violence Task Force and a member of the Wake County Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team.”  
“I am dedicated to the rule of law,” Judge Eagles  says, “am steadfast in my respect to the public trust and committed to impartiality for all who appear before me as a district court judge, and would continue to do so if elected to the NC Court of Appeals. If elected, I would continue to treat all parties in the same manner, regardless of who they are or who represents them.”
            Judge Linda Stephens is running for re-election to NC Court of Appeals. The first in her family to graduate high school, she is an alum from the University of South Carolina, and earned her law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.
             “I see the law as a great equalizer in society,” Judge Stephens says. “The law should treat everyone equally and never discriminate based on some portion of one’s identity.  In practical life, we all know that there is implicit bias in the law and the way it is applied, but I have always aimed higher than that.  I have always worked toward fairness and equality, as promised by our Constitution.”
            In her long career, Judge Stephens was named one of the top 50 female attorneys in North Carolina by Super Lawyers Magazine, and listed among the Best Lawyers in America during the last eleven years she was in private practice. She has won numerous awards for her hard work ethic, and ha served on the state appellate court for over ten years.
First, I believe in adhering to my oath of office,” she says, “ in other words: to uphold the Constitutions of my Country and my State; to uphold the laws of my State when they are consistent with the Constitutions; to follow the law in every case to reach the result the law requires even when that result is different from my personal beliefs.  My record indicates I have faithfully adhered to that oath.”
Second, over the past 10 years, I have worked collaboratively and cohesively with my colleagues who are from a different political party.  Political ideology has never affected my interest in or ability to work with another colleague on the Court of Appeals.,” Judge Stephens says.
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