Monday, February 6, 2017



            IMPORTANT LESSONS – Needless to say, we could continue to write a multitude of columns about the nonsense going on in Washington, D.C. about our new president, and how he is bent on causing one constitutional crisis after another. But this column, something else has grabbed our attention.
            Last week, Black Entertainment Television, more commonly known as BET, presented three nights of the outstanding mini-series titled, “The New Edition Story,” about the famous all-male 1980s R&B group from the projects of Boston that topped the charts with classic hits like “Candy Girl” and “Mr. Telephone Man.”  The mini-series was surprisingly honest about what happened to the young group when they first started out, and how not knowing the business cost them and their families dearly.
            Ordinarily I don’t watch anything with my daughter unless I’ve seen it first (for obvious reasons), but in this case, despite the constant cussing, and one or two lewd scenes with scantily clad women (offers the perfect opportunity to stress more productive life options to your 14-year-old), I wanted my youngest to see it so that she would understand that behind all of the glitter and glam, is a cutthroat business that eats talented people alive if they just listen to the hype, and just pay attention to what’s in the contract.
            Though other movies and TV shows have been done on the same subject in past years, it was important for today’s young audience to see and understand basically the same old story with a new perspective, and “The New Edition Story” delivered on all accounts. It didn’t look cheap like past BET productions, and the storytelling and performances were top-notch. And because of that, BET raked in 4.4 million viewers on the first night, it’s largest audience in five years. For cable TV, 4.4 mil for any program is considerable.
            We bring all of that up because the quality of the program obviously attracted and kept a large audience, which a show has to do in order to reach people and make a difference. The lessons learned from “The New Edition Story” for my young daughter and everyone else watching were invaluable.
            First, never get caught-up in the hype. Always listen closely to what’s actually being said, and not said, and how. When someone seems to be trying just a little too hard to sell you on how good and wonderful something is, that should tell you that there is much that they’re not telling you. That’s why, where and when you can, hire an attorney expert in contract law to go over any proposed deals or offers BEFORE you sign ANYTHING. Folks get to thinking that it’s all right to trust family or old friends, and once in a while that may turn out to be true. But more times than not, any time someone wants to run a successful con over someone they know well, family an friends are exactly the ones first in line. After all, who else can you sweet talk so easily?
            A second lesson is to make sure that EVERYTHING is in writing, so that when problems emerge (and trust me, they WILL emerge) you already have a contingency in place to protect your interests. Don’t let something become legal, and you have nothing in writing to prove your case in court before a judge or jury.
            A third (and probably most important lesson) to remember is to know your value. If someone thinks you’re important enough to try and run a snow job over, then that means you have something they want. Know what that is, and make them pay you for its value. Or else you will always sell yourself cheap, getting virtually nothing in return for what you really bring to the table.
            Those are just three of the lessons that “The New Edition Story” taught young viewers last week, and yet, I guarantee you there are hundreds of thousands of young people going into sports, entertainment, or even business, who have know idea what a dog-eat-dog world they’re getting into.
            Hopefully, with more brutally honest programs like “The New Edition Story,” they will.


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper has made good on his promise to appoint a diverse Cabinet to help him run state government for the next four years. But if a letter from the state Senate to one of Cooper’s most prominent Cabinet officers is accurate, Republican leaders seem bent on embarrassing the governor’s appointees long before they are sworn into office.
            As previously reported, Gov. Cooper has appointed eight of ten Cabinet officers, with several agency heads being African-American:
            Machelle Sanders, Department of Administration
            Erik Hooks, Department of Public Safety
            Michael Regan, Department of Environmental Quality
            Larry Hall, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
            Gov. Cooper also selected Col. Glenn McNeill of Reidsville as the new commander of the NC Highway Patrol. McNeill was previously director of training.
Perhaps the most prominent of these is former state Rep. Larry Hall (D- Durham), who was appointed by Gov. Cooper to be secretary of the NC Dept. of Military and Veteran Affairs in January.
            However, thanks to a new law passed in December by the Republican-led legislature to counter Cooper’s election, all Cabinet appointments by the Democratic governor must first be vetted by a state Senate committee during confirmation hearings, similar to the US Senate. In effect, the state Senate can dump any of Cooper’s Cabinet appointments it chooses with  negative recommendation, according to the law.
            As promised, Gov. Cooper is fighting the measure in court, asking a three-judge panel Monday to stop the hearings, arguing that they are “unconstitutional.” But Republican legislative leaders counter that the state Constitution gives them the right to vet the governor’s Cabinet choices, though that “right” has not been instituted for several decades.
            Dated Feb. 6th, the hand-delivered letter to Acting Secretary Hall from the N.C. Senate notes the legislative and constitutional authority under which Hall was required to appear before the Senate Committee on Commerce and Insurance on Feb. 8th at answer questions.
            Presumably the other seven Cabinet appointees received the same letter, though their confirmation hearings are scheduled before the Senate committee on different dates.
            While we do not expect the meeting to be adversarial, you will be asked questions relating to your experience, potential conflicts of interest and your willingness to follow the law,” the Senate letter continued. “While each member has discretion in selecting the questions he or she asks, we are providing to you a more detailed idea of what we expect will be potential areas of discussion.”
            Then, among the attached “Potential Areas of Inquiry for Gubernatorial Nominees,” beyond qualifications, Hall was asked about potential conflicts of interest, including “Employment Relationships, Outside Commitments During Service,” “Impact of Prior Employment/Activities,” “Political Contributions” and “Legal Actions.”
            Democrats in the state legislature are not pleased with what they see as an unnecessary exercise in attempting to exert some control over the executive branch.
            Confirmation of the governor’s appointments is at best retaliatory action as an act of pure deviance, just because one has the authority to do so,” says state Rep. Evelyn Terry (D- District 71 - Forsyth). “Cabinet level positions are not "sand lot games." It involves real people with real needs and ought not be taken lightly.
            State Sen. Paul Lowe (D- Forsyth) was also outraged.
            " It is a shame that an appointee of Mr. Larry Hall's stature who has been a champion of veterans and issues that affect them has to go through this confirmation process,” Sen. Lowe said. “It appears that the majority party is playing politics.  I would question why this process is just beginning with a Democratic Governor.”
             On Wednesday, press reports indicated that a ruling from the three-judge panel considering Gov. Cooper's petition for the Senate confirmation hearings to be put on hold had been granted, even though nothing had been formally issued early that day.
             NC Senate pro-ten Phil Berger (R- Rockingham) issued a terse reaction, saying "In a gross misreading of the Constitution and a blatant overstep of their constitutional authority, three Superior Court judges attempted to dictate to the legislature when it could or could not hold committee meetings and what it could or could not consider in those meetings."
             "This unprecedented move would be like the legislature telling a judge what jurors to pick to decide a case. Judges are not legislators, and if these three men want to make laws, they should hang up their robes and run for a legislative seat. Their decision to legislate from the bench will have profound consequences, and they should immediately reconvene their panel and reverse their order."
              The ruling means the hearing for Acting Sec. Larry Hall was postponed. A preliminary injunction hearing is set for Friday to possibly extend the postponement until trial, which is scheduled in early March.


from contributed reports

            This Saturday, February 11th at 9 a.m., the opening rally of the 11th Annual Moral on Raleigh & HK on J People’s Assembly begins at Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium, 2 East South Street in the capital city.
            According to a press release from Rev. William Barber, president of the NC NAACP and convener of the event, “This year, the Moral March on Raleigh will focus on our moral duty to stand against the repeal of the life-saving Affordable Care Act, the legislative tyranny of our extremist-led General Assembly, the racist and unconstitutional gerrymandering which undermines the vote of all North Carolinians, the anti-family, anti-worker, and anti-LGBTQ hate bill 2, and the extremism and lies of Trumpism, which undermine our Democracy at the federal, state and local level.
“Donald Trump and his administration have undermined our Democracy and democratic institutions by making regressive federal appointments and inviting white nationalists into the White House. They have demonized our immigrant and Muslim brothers and sisters by building a wall on our Mexican border, pushing through an Executive Order which effectively bans many refugees and Muslims from our country, and blaming Latinos for voter fraud that does not exist.”

Join the "I #MoralMarch" Social Media campaign on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! Take a picture or post of video of yourself or your organization explaining why you #MoralMarch. Use the hashtag #MoralMarch and #MoralResistance and mention us @ncnaacp. Stand up, speak out and let the world know why YOU #MoralMarch!
Please arrive at 8:30 AM to have time to walk from your car to the gathering location. People will be travelling across the state and nation to attend the Moral March. There will be traffic coming into Raleigh.

There are parking garages all along Wilmington St. There will be trams transporting people from parking garages to the gathering location on South St. 

- for New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick counties, to reserve tickets, please contact Eden Avery at 910-409-1877 or
Time/Location: Depart from the Wilmington Steinmart Lot (Oleander/Independence) at 6:15 a.m. and from the Rocky Point Food Lion at 6:45 a.m.
Price: $20 a seat
Sponsor: New Hanover NAACP

After you register your vehicle for parking at, you will receive more information regarding parking.

There will be interpreters available to assist Spanish-speakers. If you need Spanish interpretation, please check in at the information table to the right of the stage during the opening rally. 

There will be sign language interpreters available at the Moral March on Raleigh.

Wear your organizational shirt and bring your signs and banners. Banners should be about voting rights. Do not bring signs with profanity or partisan language. Wear warm clothes and good walking shoes! It will be cold. 

There will be 2 trams available for people with disabilities and the elderly to ride from the initial gathering place on South St. to the stage on Fayetteville St. There will be seats available in front of the stage. The trams will also be used to transport people back to the bus drop-off on S. Salisbury St.  

For more information, go to -

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            [RALEIGH] Unless the Republican-led NC General Assembly repeals the infamous HB2 “bathroom law” soon, the NCAA could move all of its college championship games away from the stat for the ne3xt six years, according to a letter to state lawmakers from NC Sports Association. Such a move could cost North Carolina upwards of $250 million. Since the law was passed almost a year ago, numerous entertainment concerts, conferences and sporting events have been cancelled, costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue. Gov. Roy Cooper has chastised the legislature, saying that Republicans can join with Democrats to repeal the law immediately. GOP leaders counter that Cooper should push Democrats to repel the law only with certain conditions.

            [RALEIGH] The North Carolina attorney general has joined with 16 other states in opposing Pres. Donald Trump’s ban on immigration from seven Islamic countries. NC Atty. Gen. Josh Stein formally joined a federal lawsuit filed against the Trump Administration by the state of Washington, calling the Muslim ban unconstitutional because it’s based on religious bias. Pres. Trump counters that his ban is in the interest of national security to protect the nation from terrorism.

            [CHAPEL HILL] A water treatment problem at the OWASA plant, followed by a massive water main break, forced Orange County residents last Friday to resort to using bottled water for drinking, cooking and bathing until the dual problems could be resolved. Officials say a million gallons of water was overfluoridated, making it usable. But when an emergency water supply from Durham was tapped into, the water main broke, causing further headaches. The crisis caused the campus of UNC- Chapel Hill to close, and forced the UNC Tar Hells to move their Saturday game to Greensboro. Service was restored by Sunday.


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