Monday, June 19, 2017


CASH IN THE APPLE for 6-22-17
By Cash Michaels

            HEROES – What a strange world we live in. On Wednesday of last week, a crazed gunman (don’t know what else to call him) went to a public park in Alexandria, Va. with a loaded automatic weapon with the intent of killing every Republican he could find.
            Apparently he knew that several Republican US congressmen and their aides were practicing for a charity baseball games scheduled for later on in the week.
            This madman was plotting a massacre, and it is only by the grace of GOD he wasn’t able to succeed.
            That “grace” came in the form to two members of Congressman Steve Scalise’s security detail – US Capitol special agents Crystal Griner and David Bailey.
            Both Griner and Bailey are 32 years of age, and African-Americans. And both are credited with, according to the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Donald Trump, president of the United States, and not to mention various witnesses on the scene, with risking their own lives to save the lives of several congressmen and their aides when they drew their weapons and began firing at the gunman in an effort to draw his attention away from the helpless politicians dressed in baseball gear, with only baseball bats as their protection against a crazed gunman with an automatic weapon.
            How ironic, indeed, that two people Republican congresspeople normally pay little attention to, and in fact, do little by way of helping their communities, are the ones who risked themselves as professionals, and human beings, to save their lives.
            Agent Griner was shot in the ankle as she engaged the gunman. David Bailey, an alum of NCCU, twisted his ankle in the melee, yet still kept his weapon trained on the clear threat that hunted the congressman.
            Both Griner and Bailey are young people in their early thirties. She wears her hair in cornrows and is said to be married to another woman. Bailey got a degree in physical education during his time at NCCU and is said to be a man of good character who loves ketchup.
            Both come from a community that Republicans, as a party, led by President Trump, has tried to hurt by disenfranchising the African-American vote, ending Obamacare, and cutting public education funding.
            So it is truly a blessing that Special Agents Bailey and Griner survived all of that in their younger years, and applied themselves enough to rise to the level of competent law enforcement professionals whose skills and devotion to service ultimately saved the lives of some of the people who regularly pass laws to cripple their community.
            It is also ironic that Republicans rarely have anything good to say about African-Americans unless it involves sports, the military, or coming to the defense of a brainwashed black Republican.
            In this instance, the GOP were unabashed in their praise of Bailey and Griner as “heroes.” That’s because the Republicans could not deny the ugly truth – without those two black US Capitol police officers, thei bacon would have been fried for sure.
            No, I’m NOT making light of what was clearly a very, very dangerous situation where upwards of 25 or more lives could have been lost. Those two officers are indeed heroes, not only top those Republicans, but the American people, and certainly to the black community, because they positively represented all of us when it counted the most.  Both Bailey and Griner are college educated, and obviously committed to ideals greater than themselves. They are excellent examples for other young people to follow.
            But most importantly, Bailey and Griner are heroes because others saw the value of investing in their education and upbringing.
            That’s what pains me about this story. We could have many. Many more young people of the high caliber of David Bailey and Crystal Griner if only the powers that be realize that investing in our communities, through education and economic development is the way to do it.
            This the Republicans understand that now, or will it take another near death experience for them to finally realize it?



By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            As of June 14th, beyond the US military, the nation has celebrated two new American heroes who not only reminded us of what true bravery is in the face of certain danger, but also of the constant threats our elected officials face in what many agree is a very divisive, corrosive atmosphere.
            On the morning of June 14th, US Capitol Police special agents David Bailey and Crystal Griner, rushed into the line of fire when an angry gunman, armed with an automatic weapon and reportedly searching for Republicans to kill, began firing his weapon at a public park in Alexandria, Va. Where several GOP members of Congress were having baseball practice for a charity game later in the week.
            When it was all over, the gunman was killed, but not before he had shot and wounded at least three others, included US House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La).
            Rep. Scalise is still in a Washington, DC hospital recovering from a bullet wound to the hip that once had him in critical condition.
            In a speech on the US House floor later that morning, Speaker Paul Ryan, calling Bailey and Griner “heroes” said, “We are, as ever, awed by the tremendous bravery of the Capitol Police. “I expressed our profound gratitude to them. It is clear to me, based on various eyewitness accounts that without these two heroes — Agent Bailey and Agent Griner — many lives would have been lost,” Ryan added.
            Special Agent Crystal Griner, 32, who was shot in the ankle, is known as a “high achiever” scholastically and former basketball standout for Hood College in Frederick, Md.. Her former chief at the US Capitol Police said she exuded “confidence and dedication.”
US Capitol Special Agent David Bailey, 32, is a 2007 alumnus of North Carolina Central University in Durham, from where he earned a BS degree in physical education, and was also a member of NCCU Student Government. He reportedly attended high school in Maryland.
            Bailey has reportedly been a US Capitol police officer since 2008, and an administrator at US Fish and Wildlife before that.
             Bailey reportedly twisted his ankle during the shooting, and he was released from the hospital that Wednesday afternoon.
            In a statement issued June 14th by Interim NCCU Chancellor Dr. Johnson  Akinleye, David Bailey is said to have “…bravely put his life on the line to protect and serve the community. This example of “Truth and Service” comes as no surprise to his professors who knew him to be an engaged and empathetic student who was committed to excellence.
            Those who knew Bailey as a student at NCCU recall a young man who cared about people, always kept himself physically fit, and always had a close eye for detail, an important attribute that serves him well as a law enforcement officer.
            NCCU Professor David Nass remembers teaching Bailey in “Motor Skills in Games” in 2004, and that he had the “highest grade in the class.”
            “What stood out about David Bailey was his attention to detail and his preparation,” Prof. Nass recalls. “He was the kind of personality you or I would want to teach our child.”
            Another professor at NCCU, Virginian Politano, said that David Bailey was a “good student” with  a 3.5 GPA in her course. She remembers Bailey as being “outgoing and personable”, and liked by everyone. Bailey was involved in campus organizations.
            “He was a good guy; always wanting to help other people,” Prof. Politano said.
            Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1), is an alumnus of NCCU, and says he’s knows David Bailey. 
            “He’s an heroic brother. I’m very proud of David” Rep. Butterfield said Tuesday by phone from Washington, DC. “I’ve known David for the past eight or nine years since he came on the [US Capitol Police] force. I know him in a very special way because both he and I are graduates of North Carolina Central University."
            Rep. Butterfield added there aren’t that many black officers on special leadership detail on the US Capitol Police force, so African-American members of Congress instinctively bond with the few who are, checking with them routinely to make sure they’re alright.
            “We’re proud of ‘em,” the former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus insisted. “We have fought to get them these opportunities in the leadership detail.”
Butterfield said he’s always been impressed with how professional and dedicated Bailey is, and while he didn’t know Crystal Griner as well, has always been very impressed with how professionally she carried herself while on the job.
            Referring to the June 14th shootings, Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC-12) said all members of Congress are “really shaken” by the assassination attempt. She believes the time has come for more “good guys” like David Bailey and Crystal Griner to provide better security for her and her congressional colleagues.
            “It could have been any one of us,” she said Monday by phone from Charlotte.
 Long before the events of June 14th, Rep. Adams told her staff to consider any nasty phone calls or letters received in their offices as “threats” and report them accordingly. That afternoon, Adams released a statement:
“Today’s shooting is a tragic reminder of the rising animosity and tensions in our country.”
“One of the things I think Congress has the responsibility for is setting the right tone, because if we don’t, then the community outrage is going to get out of control,” Adams says, acknowledging that other black congresspeople have also gotten threatening calls and letters as well.
Rep. Al Green (D-Tx) is most prominent on the list, ever since he announced that he was sponsoring a bill to present articles of impeachment against Pres. Trump.
“We just have to be a little more diligent about safety and security,” she continued, noting that the days of not making mandatory security arrangements at public events is over. “I am very concerned, not just for myself, but my staff.”
Rep. Adams also cautioned that Congress has to do a better job protecting itself, but all Americans, especially when it comes to limiting the sale of guns.
One of the last shooting incidents involving a US Capitol police officer from North Carolina took place in July, 1998 when Officer Jacob Chestnut was killed at the US Capitol building when a gunman entered the security screening area and opened fire, killing Chestnut instantly, and also a detective. Officer Chestnut was the first African-American to be laid in honor in the US Capitol Building. Then Pres. Bill Clinton delivered his eulogy.
By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            There is a reason why Republicans in the NC General Assembly vigorously defend “stacking-and-packing” black voters into a handful of so-called “majority-minority” voting districts when drawing congressional and legislative maps for North Carolina, even though the US Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled the practice as unconstitutional racial gerrymandering.
            A reason that Law Professor and Constitutional scholar Michael Curtis of Wake Forest University School of Law doesn’t buy.
            Republicans maintain that they are complying  with the mandate of the 1965 Voting Rights Act to create districts where black voters have the ability to elect congressional and legislative representation of their choosing.
            So several wildly constructed districts were created by the Republican majority where black registered voters comprised at least fifty percent or more of the voting population.
            “ It all sounds like [Republicans] are wonderful and concerned with the rights of blacks, doesn’t it,” Prof. Curtis asked rhetorically? “But the NCNAACP, black legislators, and a bunch of other sued about it, and say that’s not the real story.”
            In virtually every one of the districts the NCNAACP and others have challenged, the candidate of choice of black voters was winning without a majority black district,” Curtis continued. In those districts, blacks were less than 50 percent, but joined in coalition with white voters to elect candidates of their choice.
            State Republicans, however, illegally and unconstitutionally twisted this reality.
            Instead of creating minority opportunity where it did not exist (as the 1965 VRA required), the (Republican) mapmakers drew districts where opportunity had been flourishing — where black voters, though the minority, had been consistently electing their candidates of choice…” reported Sharon McCloskey in May 2013 for NC Policy Watch. “[Republicans]… simply added more, pulling black voters across precinct, district and county lines to reach that 50 percent mark and beyond, up as high as 57 percent, and leaving whiter districts in their wake.”
            As a result, the 1965 Voting Rights Act was actually used as a “gerrymandering device,” Prof. Curtis said, an excuse to move African-American voters out of key voting districts where they could normally would influence legislative and congressional races.
            Curtis says state Republicans violated the NC Constitution when composing the 2011 legislative maps, ultimately making the legislative districts just about the worst in the nation. He maintains that the adoption of an independent, nonpartisan redistricting commission is the best answer for the future.
            What will happen now isn’t clear. A three-judge federal panel has ordered all sides in the legal dispute over the legislative maps to submit arguments as quickly as possible so that a hearing can be held and a determination as to when new maps are redrawn, and possible special elections are held.
            A federal trial scheduled for next week in Greensboro challenging the 2016  congressional maps has now been postponed to an undetermined date.
            And on Monday, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear a case challenging Republican partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin next fall as going too far, a case that many legal experts believe could have major ramifications for the nation, and especially North Carolina.



            [RALEIGH] Teachers would get a 3.3 percent raise, while state employees would see a flat $1,000 more in their paychecks. Tax cuts for individuals and corporations will wait until 2019, and another $100 million will go to Hurricane Matthew relief. This are just some of the headlines from the proposed 2017-2018 budget spending plan state House and Senate conferees unveiled late Monday. Both houses are now expected to pass the proposal, an send it to Gov. Cooper, who wasn’t pleased with the final product. No word yet on whether he will veto it. Cooper wanted more money for education.

            [CHAPEL HILL]  UNC-Chapel Hill says the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has donated $1 million to help low-income students to attend the public university, and the institution is planning to raise another million dollars from private donors in order to combine the funds, and expand the number of students helped. The foundation is named after the former owner of the NFL’s Washington Redskins.

            [GREENVILLE] Pitt County District Attorney Kimberly Robb sys she has scheduled a meeting with representatives of the Governor’s Office to discuss the findings of her recent review of the Dontae Sharpe case. Supporters of Sharpe say he was falsely convicted of murder and imprisoned for 20 years. “At the request of Dontae Sharpe’s lawyers, my office has conducted an in-depth review of the murder case against him. After examining the relevant police reports and witness statements, reading over court records from all prior hearings, and interviewing relevant parties to the case, we have scheduled a meeting with representatives from the Governor’s office on Thursday to discuss our findings. Out of respect for his office, we will not make a public statement on the results of our investigation prior to that meeting,” a statement from Robb’s office said.  On Monday evening, the Rev. Al Sharpton joined NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber and the Sharpe family in Greenville demanding that Dontae Sharpe be released.


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