Monday, March 27, 2017




            HANKERCHIEF, REPUBLICANS? – No, I don’t read the Bible as often as I should, but that doesn’t mean I don’t remember some of its basic tenets.
            One of the most relevant beyond “Love thy neighbor” and “Thou shalt not steal,” is “You reap what you sow.”
            While you’re at it, tack on a companion tenet – “do unto others as you would have things done unto you.”
            Having said all of that, then given the past two months since Pres. Donald J. Trump has taken office, one has to wonder if the Republicans read their Bibles less than I do, cause Lord knows those clowns don’t remember any of it.
            Lessons in human compassion and decency seem to be completely lost on The Donald and his boys. You could also add some common sense and basic intelligence to the mix as well.
            What is not in any short supply, it seems, is arrogance, dishonesty, and a false sense of superiority. These people believe actually think they can drink the water they think they walk on.
            However, given what we’ve all seen, again within the first two months of the Trump presidency, it is quite clear that these hypocrites can’t even run their noses, let alone run the country. Their ineptitude  is only surpassed by their arrogance, and eclipsed by their dishonesty.
            After all, just how many lies have Trump and the Republicans told the American people since the November elections? Everything from millions committing voter fraud to Pres. Obama personally tying two tin cans together in order to illegally “wiretap” Trump’s telephone calls, it’s all been shoved down our throats with reckless abandon. And of course, if anyone, like the “left-wing” news media, dare to uncover any of it, then they are called “the enemy of the American people.”
            So, is it any wonder why when Trump and the House Republicans last week failed to repeal and replace Obamacare , and FAILED, I might add, in SPECTACULAR fashion, folks overwhelmingly jumped for joy? That have seven long years, and over 60 worthless House votes to repeal Pres. Obama’s signature law, Republicans fell flat on their collective faces last week when they just couldn’t agree with each on how to do it?
            And to add insult to injury, White House aides to Pres. Trump, allegedly acted like thugs in trying to strong arm conservative Republicans to pass the repeal and replace bill the president liked, or else?
            And to add even more insult to injury, leaks from conservatives who met Trump telling the press that he didn’t have the foggiest idea about what was really in their repeal and replace health care bill, and didn’t seem to care either.
            These are the people who did everything they could to win (and some allege colluded with the Russians to steal) the election in 2016, just so that they could have total control of running the country. Well, just like the panting dog who finally catches the truck, now what are you going to do with it?
            Thus far, I’m not impressed. And I’m even less impressed when I see Republicans wailing on TV about how they failed, and now look weak and foolish. Makes you want to find a hankerchief to hand to these clowns so that they can dry their crocodile tears. But I can’t find one right now.
            Here, with toilet paper do?

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            The state Senate minority leader says he is “confident” that the US Supreme Court will affirm a federal three-judge panel’s ruling last August that North Carolina’s 2011 redistricting maps were unconstitutional because of racial gerrymandering, and that there will be a new map drawn, and special elections held this year.
            State Sen. Daniel T. Blue, Jr. {D-Wake] made that observation during a town hall meeting he conducted in Raleigh March 23rd. What made the Democrat Senate leader’s remarks pertinent was that that three-judge panel ruled last year prior to the 2016 elections, further ordering that the NC General Assembly redrawn the 2011 maps by March 15th, and special elections be held by this November, with primaries in late August, early September.
            But US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily blocked that order in January after Republican state lawmakers petitioned for an emergency stay. Subsequently, nothing has been heard from the High Court since then, leaving both state Democrats and Republicans anxious.
            Republican legislative leaders say the 2011 redistricting maps are legal and constitutional, therefore there should be no redo, and special elections are not needed before the regularly scheduled 2018 NC legislative elections.
            “[We]… are grateful the U.S. Supreme Court has quashed judicial activism and rejected an attempt to nullify the votes of North Carolinians in the 2016 legislative elections,” said Senate President Pro tem Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Tim Moore (R – Cleveland) in a joint statement then.
         Democrats, however, disagree. They say the three-judge federal panel found that 28 of North Carolina’s House and Senate districts around Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Greensboro, Durham, Raleigh and Fayetteville, along with rural areas in eastern North Carolina, were drawn in violation of the US Constitution, which prohibits the use of race as a primary factor in redistricting. Democrats further claim that the Republican legislative majority deliberately “stacked-and-packed” black Democrats into as few majority-minority districts as possible, thus illegally diluting black voting strength in predominantly white voting districts, so that Republicans could dominate in surrounding districts and easily win those elections.
            “I’m confident, and most of the lawyers who practice in this area [of law] …are confident that the [US] Supreme Court, when they look at the case, because it has been appealed up there, will uphold the findings of the federal court that this is unconstitutional,” Sen. Blue said last Thursday in Raleigh, adding, “The case law says they have no choice.”
            One of the reasons for Sen. Blue’s confidence, he said, was when the US High Court sent a case back to Alabama, which was the case which opened the floodgates on this and gave us the legal authority to bring these lawsuits, it was a 5-4 majority. The comforting fact was that [Justice Antonin] Scalia, who died, was in the minority, so there still is a five-vote majority, 5-3 now. Even if  [Pres. Trump nominee Judge Neil] Gorsach is confirmed, there still is a 5-4 majority.
            “I really think that the ultimate decision that comes from the United States Supreme Court, very well could be a 7-2 decision, or maybe even an 8-0 decision, because redistricting was so bad and so egregious in North Carolina, that anybody who studies these maps and looks at their background…[sees] clearly that they are unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment - equal protection under the law.”
            Time is getting tight, however, for new maps to be drawn, and special primaries, and November elections, to be scheduled. Still, Blue holds out hope the High Court won’t wait much longer to decide, and the 2011 “unconstitutional” redistricting maps will be mothballed.
“We think that that’s going to be changed, and that will then change the veto-proof majority. [in the NC General Assembly],” Sen. Blue said. “It will make the governor more relevant because his statewide impressions and opinions on things will then make a difference.”


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            In words that echoed across the Democratic Party, newly appointed Deputy Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), told the annual meeting of the New Hampshire Democratic Party Saturday that the party should continue to challenge Republicans not only in Washington, D.C., but especially in the state legislatures and governorships.
            We can't just say it's all about Trump,” Rep. Ellison told the gathering, later adding that the fight to “literally save the nation” was just beginning. “We've got to have a higher vision than just winning an election. When we set our sights as, really, agents and champions for the American people, people start feeling the flow."
            The DNC deputy chairman will be pleased to know that here in North Carolina, among those agreeing with him is his brother, Eric, chairman of the Forsyth County Democratic Party.
            “In the past nine years, we have lost over 950 seats, and we’re talking about state Houses, governors, in addition to the congressional seats,” Chairman Ellison, who is also a Winston-Salem attorney, said.  “North Carolina is the best example of where state governments are in a position to do just as much harm, if not more, than our federal government,” an obvious reference to the GOP-led North Carolina General Assembly, and its controversial laws like HB2, and court-cases seeking to take power away from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.
            “We do need to call out the Republican Party when they put out false news, when they put out statements which are lies, when they put out policies that they say are helping the American people, when they are not,” Ellison said. ”I wholeheartedly believe that we need to bring that fight, and need to bring that hard.”
            No question that Chairman Ellison sees Republican policies as a major hurdle towards adequately addressing the needs of the grassroots, but he cautions that fighting those policies should not be confused with fighting Republicans. Ellison says the Democratic Party exists to serve all people, and it must do a better job of getting that message out.
            “When we ignore whole sections of Democrats, we aren’t competing,” Ellison continued.
            “We work on behalf of all citizens, of all workers, so we don’t want to pick fights with people just because they’re Republicans. We do want to pick a fight, and wage a war for the best ideas for the citizens of Forsyth County, North Carolina [and the nation],” he said. “We’re fighting the fight of ideas and policies, and what’s best for working class people and the working poor.”
            Ellison said Democrats need to “stick to our high ideals, stick to our high value in democracy…but we do need to compete smarter, and better.”
Acknowledging that there are “right-wing zealots who just want to destroy government,” he also noted that there are “moderate, reasonable Republicans” who could join with Democrats to bring about constructive change.
            Ellison pointed to the schism that occurred last week when ultra-conservative GOP House Freedom Caucus members refused to go along with President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan on the repeal-and-replace for Obamacare, forcing Ryan to pull the bill because of insufficient Republican support.
            Now some moderate Republicans say maybe they can work with moderate Democrats to accomplish mutual agendas, like improving roads and bridges in the nation’s infrastructure.
            Chairman Ellison agrees that such a partnership could work, though he’s not clear on whether North Carolina moderate Republicans are ready and willing.
            “There is an opportunity for us to have reasoned, debatable, government and democracy with reasonable Republicans,” he said.
            “Once we take the Democratic Party back to the communities which we represent, back to grassroots organizing, we will win. There are more registered Democrats than Republicans in Forsyth County, in the state and the nation. We have to engage those people in democracy, [because] when citizens sit on the sideline and don’t participate, we get people like #45 (Trump) elected president.”
            “If we do what we’re supposed to do,” Chairman Ellison concluded, “…we win – period!”


            [WINSTON-SALEM] Two African-American members of the Winston-Salem City Council – Derwin Montgomery and James Taylor – have announced that their company, Chronicle Media Group LLC, has purchased the Winston-Salem Chronicle, the city’s oldest community newspaper serving the black community for over 40 years.  The purchase is scheduled for completion in May, 2017. Mr. Taylor has been named publisher, commencing when the sale is completed. The Chronicle was founded by Ernie Pitt in 1974. The new owners promise to continue the legacy of the Chronicle started by the Pitt family 42 years ago.

            [PRINCEVILLE] Residents of the small predominately black Edgecombe county town first founded by slaves were told Monday night to raise their homes two feet above flood plain in order to prevent future flooding. The town leaders of Princeville say doing so will help spare the kind of mas destruction experienced during Hurricane Matthew last year, and Hurricane Floyd in 1999. While residents aren’t required to raise their homes according to state standards, not doing so could raise their home insurance rates. Residents, however, are frustrated that more isn’t being done to safeguard the Tar River from overflowing its banks, causing the flooding.

            [RALEIGH] According to the latest population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Raleigh-Cary Metropolitan area is one of the fastest growing areas in the nation, with more than 1.3 million people. Based on figures from 2016 ending last June 30th, that’s 2.5 percent more than the previous year. That made the Raleigh metro area the 14th fasting growing in the nation, and the fastest growing in North Carolina, outpacing Charlotte, which came in second.

            [RALEIGH] At press time Tuesday, the NCAA gave the NC legislature until 12 noon today to repeal the controversial HB2 “bathroom law,” that prevents transgender people from using public bathrooms contrary to their birth gender, or various NCAA sporting events in the state until 2022. An Associated Press report earlier this week projected that the state could lose $3.7 billion in business for the next 12 years if HB2 is not taken off the books. The law marked its first anniversary last week with hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue from cancelled concerts, sporting events, and employment. Republican state lawmakers have steadfastly refused to repeal HB2, blaming Gov. Cooper for the delay. Cooper has indicated, however, that he is willing to compromise.


Monday, March 20, 2017




By Cash Michaels

            THE YEAR IS 2017  - Yep, ten years from now. And all of us, now ten years older, look back with amazement and ask ourselves, “What the heck were we thinking when we elected Donald Trump president of the United States?”
            Oh, don’t worry, I get it….most likely if you’re reading the Wilmington Journal, you didn’t vote for Trump back in 2016, ‘cause you knew what was coming.
            That is, if you voted for president in 2016.
            It is all such a bad memory now. That crazy rich man who kept making up stuff so that folks wouldn’t pay attention to what he was really doing, namely getting us into wars and conflicts he had no business getting us into. Boy was the Donald surprised to realize that Kim-Jong-un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea, is crazier than Trump was, and actually meant what he said when Kim promised to send a missile to Mar–a-Largo, Trump’s Florida retreat.
            Luckily the US intercepted the thing, so Trump still had someplace to play golf while the Congress was investigating him for impeachment. Afterall, Trump had to know that sooner or later, those videos of him from that Russian hotel he stayed at during that 2005 business trip were going to see the light of day. It’s just a shame (for him, at least) that those videos were released right before he announced that he was going to run for re-election. Boy, I would have loved to see him try that “Make America Great Again” garbage again, especially with unemployment zooming sky high on his watch; inflation hitting at double-digits; the crime rate tripled; civil rights violations all over the place, and even Republicans filling the streets in protest because no one could get decent health care anymore.
            All of that was ten years ago in 2017, when Pres. Trump was high on the hog…for a short while anyway. I mean, it is still truly amazing that as many Americans bought his “strong leader” act as they did. After all, the man lied and lied and lied like falling rain back then, no matter how many congressional hearings they had. And no amount of threats to take his Twitter account away stopped him from giving federal investigators all the evidence they needed to for Democrats to start impeachment proceedings against him in 2019.
            Yes, it was certainly glorious when the Dems took back the Congress – both houses. It took them a long time, but they finally found their mettle after being pushed around and profoundly disrespected after so many years. But at least they were able to reverse some of the damage done by Trump and the Republicans in the previous Congress.
            Now, more Americans have affordable health care than ever before, Meals on Wheels has been up and delivering food to the elderly and needy again for the past several years, and it took seven nominees to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions after he was forced to step down, but at least he was somebody who cared about civil rights and religious liberties.
            Muslims and Mexicans can breathe easier once again.
            It is a shame, however, that years after that blasted wall at the Mexican border was finished, Pres. Trump finally admitted that he always knew that Mexico would never pay for it.
            Yep, the Donald Trump era was ten years ago. Here’s hoping that we never make that mistake again.
            But let’s all get behind Pres. Obama, and give her all the love and support she deserves. I, for one, am glad that she got so sick of watching Trump and his foolish-ness, that she changed he mind, and with the support of her husband and family, decided to run in 2020 and defeat Pres. Mike Pence, who had to take over when Trump was drummed out of office.
            Folks really got fed up with his “good ole’ boy” act, and limp excuses that he really didn’t know what was going on in the Trump White House.
            So now Pres. Michelle Obama has finished her first term, and going on to her second. Her husband is on the United States Supreme Court, and her oldest daughter is a senator from Illinois.
            The year is 2027, and all is right with the world once again.


Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from
( - Chuck Berry, who died Saturday, March 18, was held in such high esteem as the father of rock n roll that rock royalty often played backup in his bands.
At Berry’s 60th birthday celebration in St. Louis, Eric Clapton, and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, huge stars in their own right, backed Berry as he sang and duck walked across the stage while the audience danced in the aisles or in their seats.
The late John Lennon, co-founder of the Beatles, who sang from time to time with Berry, paid him the ultimate tribute when he said, “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry.”
The 90 year-old Berry died Saturday at his home in St. Charles, Mo.
“We are deeply saddened to announce that Chuck Berry, beloved father, grandfather and great-grandfather, passed away at his home today (Saturday) at the age of 90. Though his health had deteriorated recently, he spent his last days at home surrounded by the love of his family and friends,” according to his website.
On October 18th, his 90th birthday was supposed to be a celebration. He said he would release in 2017 his first album in 38 years. The album consists of new songs he had written and produced. He planned to dedicate the album to Thelmetta, his wife of 68 years. The release date for the new album, simply titled “Chuck,” has not yet been announced.
A signature guitarist and a prolific songwriter, Berry wrote songs about fast cars, women and the gifted, like the subject of one of his greatest hits, “Johnnie B. Goode.”  The song’s lyrics said Johnnie B. Goode never learned to read or write so well, but he played the guitar like “ringing a bell.” In the song “Nadine,” she drove a coffee-colored Cadillac.
During Berry’s long career, he was imprisoned twice for income tax evasion and a conviction for violating the Mann Act, which involved taking a 14-year-old girl across state lines for illicit purposes. The Mann Act also was used against heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson in 1912 and architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1926. The charges were dropped against Wright but Johnson was convicted.
Charles Edward Anderson “Chuck” Berry was born October 18, 1926, in St. Louis. His parents were grandchildren of slaves.
Martha Berry, his mother, was one of the few black women of her generation to gain a college education. His mother was a school principal, and his father, Henry Berry, was a contractor as well as a deacon at the Antioch Baptist Church. Chuck Berry was the fourth of six children born to the couple.
He attended Sumner High School, a private institution that was the first all-black high school west of the Mississippi. For the school’s annual talent show, Berry sang Jay McShann’s “Confessin’ the Blues” while accompanied by a friend on the guitar. Although the school administration bristled at what they viewed as the song’s vulgar content, the performance was an enormous hit with the student body and sparked Berry’s interest in learning the guitar himself, according to his biography.

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            “Twenty years I’ve been trying to prove my innocence [of murder]…I didn’t do it. I wasn’t there. I can’t explain why people say what they did or why they lied. Only God can.”
                                                                                                          The late Darryl Hunt,
                                                                                                exonerated of murder in 2004,
                                                                                            after over 19 years in prison.

            It was just over a year ago, March 13th, 2016, when Darryl Hunt, 51, the innocent man Winston-Salem held deepest in its heart, was found dead in a pickup truck.
            After being exonerated 13 years earlier for a murder it took almost 20 years to prove he didn’t commit, Hunt, who was reportedly dying of cancer, and frustrated with the struggles he encountered after being released from prison, took his own life, police say.
            Those who knew Hunt say had he lived, had he continued to advocate for those falsely locked behind prison walls like he once was, he would have found no surprise in a recent report by the National Registry of Exonerations that showed in 2016, North Carolina had the fifth highest number of prison exonerations in the nation at eight (the state has had just 36 exonerations since 1943).
            And of those eight, six of them were African-American.
            It is hard to stem the tide of racism that leads to such unjust actions like the incarceration inequality …until we come to terms with our “shame” as a nation,” Rev. Stephen McCutchan, retired pastor of Highland Presbyterian Church in the city, who also served at chairman of the board of the nonprofit Darryl Hunt Project for Freedom and Justice, Inc., says. “Our shame causes us to become defensive and seek to justify our mistreatment of others who are different from us.”
            “Darryl, by his lack of bitterness from having been horribly mistreated and misjudged, and his devotion to assisting other prisoners as they tried to transition out of prison, gave us a model of good emerging from evil,” Rev. McCutchan continued. “Unfortunately many saw him as both Black and Muslim, and couldn’t listen to the freedom of God [that spoke] through him.”
            The Hunt case fueled the movement in North Carolina years ago that put the state’s criminal justice system under even greater scrutiny than ever before, creating the environment that spawned the Innocence Commission, and the Racial Justice Act in 2009 (before a Republican-led legislature repealed in 2013).
            But civil rights attorney Irving Joyner, chair of the NC NAACP’s Legal Redress Committee, says the numbers show that more must be done now.
            For decades, many North Carolina's prosecutors have used illegal means to obtain convictions against people who were innocent, poor and defenseless. The statistics show that most of these innocent victims were African Americans who did not have the resources to challenge their prosecutions and were prohibited by North Carolina law from obtaining vital information, prior to trial, which would have assisted in their defense of tainted charges and, as a result, defendants had to encounter "trials by ambush,"” Joyner, who also teaches at the NCCU School of Law in Durham, says.
 “African Americans, who were not able to afford competent legal counsel, were the predominant victims of this process because they were unable to properly defend themselves. In recent years, this illegal process was reformed and allowed for discovery of the prosecutors' records, which documented these abuses and misconduct, and thus allowed illegally convicted individuals to test the illegally used evidence in court.”
Atty. Joyner continued, “The use of these reformed procedures produced evidence to support claims of misconduct by several prosecutors, and African Americans were the primary beneficiaries. To this day, the prosecutors who were responsible for these abuses have never been punished, which encourages prosecutors to continue to conduct prosecutions in illegal, unconstitutional and unethical manners. As a result, there is a need for additional reforms in order to insure that African Americans and others will be fully protected by our constitutions and laws.”
“Our criminal justice system is broken,” says Rev. William Barber, pres. of the NC NAACP, which is demanding the release of Dontae Sharpe of Greenville, whom they say was falsely convicted of a 1994 murder. “We need serious reform because incarceration of innocent people is criminal.  If we are fifth highest in the nation, this begs the question how many others are innocent but incarcerated.


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            In a continuing effort to force the Republican-led NC General Assembly to back-off, if not repeal various “extremist” laws and measures, the NC NAACP Tuesday rallied supporters from across the state at the Legislative Building in Raleigh, lobbying lawmakers to work with them, or else.
            The “or else,” according to Rev. William Barber, president of the NCNAACP, could be thousands of chapter members and supporters returning to Jones Street in a few weeks, and conducting a mass sit-in at each legislator’s office.
            “They’re really trying a political coup,” Rev. Barber told his gathering on the Halifax Mall behind Legislative Building, noting how laws are being considered to remove traditional powers from Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper; allow concealed guns on college campuses; and makes it illegal to be a whistleblower if employees see injustice or fraud.
 “We may have to go in there again, and some of us are thinking about having a mass sit-in, where we sit-in every room, every hallway…all the sidewalks…and if they want to arrest us, they’ll have to arrest 5,000 people.”
            That’s considered nonviolent “direct action,” organizers say. But there are important steps, like educating lawmakers on the issues, and negotiating with them. Barber also stressed that before any direct action, there must be “self-purification” so that demonstrators are acting with righteous purpose, not their egos.
            Several weeks ago the NCNAACP, joined by national NAACP Pres. Cornell William Brooks, called for a national boycott of North Carolina if GOP lawmakers continued draw racially gerrymandered voting districts, and did not repeal HB2, the notorious “bathroom law” which not only targets members of the LGBT community, but also restricts municipalities’ ability to raise their minimum wage ordinances.
            The state NAACP also announced the filling of a bill that would call for special legislative elections to be held now because the current legislature is “unconstitutional.” The civil rights groups adds that because the Fourth Circuit US Court of Appeals ruled last year that because the 2011 legislative map was unconstitutional due to racially gerrymandered districts, then the legislature elected based on that map was unconstitutional.
            A federal court ruled that lawmakers were to redraw the map by March 15th, and have special elections planned beginning in September, however that ruling was appealed to the US Supreme Court, which has not ruled either for or against as of yet.
            There are also bills that the NCNAACP supports passage of, including HB303 – the Voter Freedom Act, which would protect North Carolina voters from being improperly challenged during the 25 days prior to an election; HB233 –the “Ban the Box” law which will help formerly incarcerated individuals qualify for employment without initially divulging their previous criminal history; and also HB13, which provides greater flexibility in class sizes and would prevent mass teacher layoffs in programs such as art, music, physical education and languages.


            [RALEIGH]  If Pres. Donald Trump’s proposed budget is passed, millions of federal dollars for public television and radio stations in North Carolina will be cut, published reports say. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting received $445 million for the current fiscal year, with PBS and NPR stations in North Carolina getting at least $6 million each. That’s anywhere from seven to 22 percent of their individual operating budgets. Right now, there is a national campaign to urge Congress not to pass the president’s budget cuts for public broadcasting.

            [RALEIGH]If a new bill is passed, high school students statewide will no longer have to take state-sponsored final examinations in various subjects. A state House committee Tuesday approved eliminating final standardized testing for high school students, allowing teachers to develop their own final exams. Certain end-of-grade tests required by federal law would remain.

            [RALEIGH] Investigators are still mulling through the ash and debris left in the wake of an enormous fire last weekend that totally destroyed a five-story, $51 million apartment complex under construction in downtown Raleigh. Several surrounding buildings were damaged by the intense heat and flames. At press time, the cause of the fire had not been determined. There were only minor injuries reported, and no casualties.

            [RALEIGH] A freshman student at St. Augustine’s University was fatally shot late Monday in Washington, DC while making a music video with friends, authorities say. The victim was identified as 19-year-old Ayana McAllister. Reportedly, she was with friends making the video when shooting began, with at least one bullet fatally striking her in the crossfire, while another female was grazed. Ms. McAllister was a native of DC. Police are still investigating.