Tuesday, November 28, 2017


By Cash Michaels

            TAKE BETTER CARE OF YOURSELF -  Now that the Thanksgiving leftovers are almost gone, please allow me to offer the following.
            Recently I heard someone speak with pride about eating something that was "low-calorie," and how this was "good" for them in their quest to lose weight.
In my mind, given my personal experience, I immediately questioned that, because, and most people I'm sure KNOW this... just because something is "low-calorie" DOES NOT mean it is healthy or good for you!
"Low-calorie" ice cream is NOT healthy if it still has the sugar, butter fat, and what ever else they put in it to make it taste good (usually the more fat they put in ice cream, the better it tastes).
The same with diet soda. Less calories DOES NOT mean it’s good for you. In fact, it seems like it's almost every month we hear of a new study telling us to drop diet sodas from our diets...and with good reason. The fake sugar makes us drink more of it, and now studies are suggesting cognitive problems later on in life.
But put all of that on the side for a moment...the reason why I’ve learned to ABSOLUTELY NOT buy into the diet craze anymore is because, again in my opinion AND personal experience over my 61 years, we, as Americans, have it all wrong.
Most of us (men AND women), seek to lose weight because of vanity. C'mon, you KNOW that's true. We want to look better in our clothes, and feel better while doing it. We spend hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars on everything from tummy-tucks to facelifts....you name it! 
No, not you specifically, but you know there are folks who have the means who are vane enough to spend whatever it takes, just to "look" better, hoping that if they do, they'll automatically "feel" better, because then the world will more readily accept them as "normal," and not fat, or sloppy, or even "ugly."
Yeah, I get that this is human, but that's NOT because GOD wants it that way. We've convinced ourselves that that's the way it should be.
I once worked with a gospel radio announcer who was obese, and understandably hated that fact that he was absurdly overweight! But he was also a very popular gospel radio announcer who hosted a lot of local gospel concerts...where, because of his celebrity, he met a lot of women who loved his voice and personality, but were turned off when they saw him.
That bothered him so much, that he went and got an operation to staple his stomach smaller so that he wouldn't consume so much food, thus ultimately losing a lot of weight, and he did.
He slimmed down, looked much, much better, and all of a sudden, homeboy had this female and that female coming by the radio station almost every day to TAKE HIM out to lunch! The stomach stapling turned homeboy into a playboy!
Oh,...did I mention that he was married with a WIFE...and TWO CHILDREN!
Here's a man, who got on the radio daily, telling folks to obey the Lord, read their Bibles, pray for the "sick and the shut-in," everything good gospel radio announcers do, and he's losing weight for the sole purpose of feeling "better" about himself so he can play around behind his wife and two kids backs!
Now, that is an extreme case that I know personally, and it's not to say that any of you would do the same thing for the same reasons. I hope not, ESPECIALLY if you're married with children! But that doesn't mean that those of us who ARE overweight (and even though I've lost 50 LBS over the past five months, look and feel better, I STILL consider myself at least 25-30 LBS overweight) don't also feel some sense of inadequacy, or even inferiority.
I’ll get more into this next week! GOD bless!


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            If you are in need of Medicare, or would like to sign up for 2018 coverage per Obamacare, you need to hurry because the deadline to enroll for both health insurance programs is fast approaching.
            The enrollment deadline for Medicare is Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017.
            According to Medicare.gov, the official U.S. government site for Medicare, Medicare, “…is the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant, sometimes called ESRD).
            Medicare is broken into different parts. Medicare Part A covers hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care and some home health care.
            Medicare Part B covers medical insurance for certain doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies and preventive services.
            Medicare Part C are various health plans (also called Medicare Advantage Plans) offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide Part A and Part B benefits.
            Medicare Part D offers prescription drug coverage, offered either through Original Medicare, insurance companies or private companies approved by Medicare.
            Again, if you’re 65, o about to turn 65, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week to find out more. The enrollment deadline is Thursday, Dec. 7th. Also visit  www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan before Dec. 7th.
            In North Carolina, SHIIP (the Seniors Health Insurance Information Program) can help with all questions about Medicare. Call 1-855-408-1212, or visit www.ncshiip.com.
            For those under age 65 and still seeking affordable health insurance starting January 2018, the shortened open enrollment period for Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, ends on Friday, Dec. 15th - two weeks from now.
            According to published reports, an estimated 2.28 million people have signed up between Nov. 1st, and Nov. 18th. That’s more than the 2.1 million who enrolled in 2016 for 2018 coverage.
            Observer say the public response has been remarkable, even though the Trump Administration cut the advertising and outreach by 90 percent, hoping to encourage people not to signup. At the end of the enrollment period on Dec. 15th, the total number could still fall behind last year’s figures because the enrollment period was cut from three months to just 45 days.
            And in order to qualify for federal tax subsidies to offset the rising cost of health insurance premiums, those seeking to apply should go online to www.healthcare.gov. An estimated – 496,420 residents -  85% of those insured by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBS) through the ACA are eligible for what are known as Advanced Premium Tax Subsidies (APT).
            The average ACA health insurance premium is calculated at $662 per month, but after the APT subsidy tax credit kicks in, comes down to just $129 per month, and in some cases, as low as $87 a month.
            For more information, call the NC Dept. of insurance to speak to a consumer specialist at 1-855-408-1212. Remember, the deadline to enroll for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act is Friday, Dec. 15th.


            Rome, Italy is over 4,600 miles away from Raleigh, NC, but when it came to “Moral Mondays,” the massive yet peaceful demonstrations held in North Carolina’s capital city, and led by the former president of the NCNAACP, no distance was too far as far as admirers attending last week’s international conference on labor at the Vatican were concerned.
            “I was …surprised by how many leaders from around the world had been inspired by Moral Monday, the moral revival last year, and the Poor People’s Campaign plans,” Bishop Dr. William Barber, leader of the social justice group, “Repairers of the Breach,” said by text from the Vatican last week.
            Dr. Barber was one of 300 participants from around the world attending the conference which addressed the conditions of working people, and the working poor.  Representing the upcoming Poor People’s Campaign in the United States, Dr. Barber’s social justice reputation from the 12 years he led the NCNAACP preceded him, with an invitation already given him to attend and preach at another world gathering about labor rights and the poor in Liverpool, England next June. He has also been invited to Brazil next year.
            As a birthday present, Dr. Barber took his mother, who had turned 84 the week before, along with his wife and one of his son, all part of  an eight-person delegation.
            In an exclusive telephone interview from Washington, DC Monday, Dr. Barber recalled two days of ”…long. intense eight-hour days…” of deeply committed religious and labor leaders working together. From countries like France, Sudan, England and others, Dr. Barber said he was greeted warmly by all.
            Even the Vatican guards saluted him because of his title of  “Bishop.”
            During his presentation at the conference, Dr. Barber said, “Rightfully, the Pope has noted at the start of the twenty-first century that religious leaders must play a leading role in the struggle for justice in dialogue with all social and political actors. We must articulate a way of thinking that brings together the complexity of the current situation and proposes an action strategy for the construction of a just society. Not only is democracy at stake, but the wellbeing of world itself.”
            Later in his remarks, Bishop Barber continued, “I believe Pope Francis’ call for a moral vision of the common good connected to a call for solidarity within the labor union economy and ethos is most important. I join you today as President of Repairers of the Breach and Co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival in the United States. We have identified five areas--five moral diseases that must be addressed if we are to be a people able to address the common good, promote the general welfare, and ensure the common defense, with liberty and justice for all.  We must address systemic racism, systemic poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy, and the immoral narrative of extreme religionism.” 
Before he left, Dr. Barber was satisfied with how his presentation was accepted by other religious and labor leaders.
            “Many of the points that we raised were in the final document produced by the conference as a guide to the way forward,” he texted.
            And what about that much anticipated Thanksgiving Day meeting between Dr. Barber and Pope Francis that was scheduled during the two-day gathering? It got cancelled at the last minute,” Barber says.
            “Up until 4 p.m. yesterday the Pope was scheduled to come and be with us,” Bishop Barber texted last Friday. “[But] we were informed around 4:15 p.m. that due to challenges around his trip to Malaysia, and other world events (like the mosque [terrorist] shootings in Egypt), he had to change [his plans].”
            “[The Pope] sent a personal note to us and a papal letter,” Dr. Barber added.
            Indeed, Pope Francis this week is walking a fine, and some say diplomatically peril less line during is visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh. Myanmar has cracked down on Rohingya Muslims in what some are calling an “ethnic cleansing.” Reports say villages are being burned and women and children are being raped, as over 600,000 refugees have fled to Bangladesh.
            But before he left Italy, Pope Francis issued a letter at the conclusion of the international conference. In that papal letter, the Pope warned of “the money god” that leads to the exploitation of the working poor globally.
            “Work must serve the human person,” Pope Francis said, not the other way around.” He added that “…every worker is the hand of Christ who continues to create and do good.”
            Even though Dr. Barber wasn’t able to personally meet the Pope as he had hoped, he was able to present one of the Pope’s cardinals with gifts for His Eminence from the United States – a small stone from the home of North Carolina civil rights leader Ella Baker, and sand from the Rio Grande [River] where Barber walked with families traveling to see relatives from Mexico they had not seen in years.
            Beyond the conference, if there was one consolation, Dr. Barber wrote, it was that one of the cardinals [from Ghana] he exchanged personal information with promised to visit with the bishop in North Carolina upon his next visit to the United States.
            On Monday in Washington, DC, Dr. Barber, who is co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, which will commemorate it’s 50th anniversary in April 2018.
            Editor’s Note – you can red Dr. Barber’s Vatican presentation at https://thecashjournal.blogspot.com/p/bishop-william-j-barbers.html


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Friday, Dec. 1st, is the deadline set by the federal three-judge panel for court-appointed Special Master Nathaniel Persily to turn in newly redrawn redistricting maps, presumably correcting voting maps redrawn by the Republican-led General Assembly last August that judges found “serious concerns” about.
            But that hasn’t stopped Republican leaders from blasting the judges, Persily, and the entire redistricting process.
            “We believe that our original maps that we passed in 2011 and our current maps that we passed [in August] following this mandate fully comply with the law,” NC House Speaker Tim Moore told the Moore County Republican Men’s Club during its monthly luncheon Nov. 20th at the Country Club of North Carolina, as reported by The Pilot newspaper. “The new maps we adopted several months ago were based on what the federal courts told us we had to do. For example, ‘don’t take race into account.”
            And on Oct. 24th, House Majority Leader John Bell IV (R-Craven) told a Republican gathering Oct. 24th at a Wayne County country club, “When you talk about corruption, let me tell you something; did you ever see the plaintiffs and the judges hanging out with each other?”
            A recording of his remarks also had Bell saying, “I feel that they’ll actually, the Supreme Court, will agree with us.”
            Last week, Speaker Moore sang the same High Court tune about what to expect next after the federal three-judge panel expectedly rules against Republican legislative leaders.
            “We’re going to fight it all the way up [to the US Supreme Court] because at the end of the day, these are the maps of the people of North Carolina,” Moore told the Republican Men’s Club. “Those elected by the people of North Carolina have voted to draw these maps in compliance with the law as we understand it.”
            Speaker Moore continued that the three-judge panel had no business appointing a special master in the first place.
            “The three-judge panel wasn’t sure we complied so they appointed what is called a ‘special master’ … to go in and look at our districts and say how they could have been drawn better. What it looks like to us, No. 1, there aren’t many changes, and the changes that he made, it almost appears that the map drawer took race into account,” Moore said.
            “I don’t, and we do not as leadership, believe that, No. 1, the court should be delegating its authority to decide a question of fact or question of law to some independent individual, to some professor from California, to draw the maps. What we believe they should do is say they think we did it wrong and show us where we did it wrong.”
            One of the problems Moore and other Republican leaders have is that the three-judge panel actually hasn’t ruled on GOP lawmakers August maps, though the court did indicate that several of the voting remained racially packed, like 28 districts which the US Supreme Court ruled were unconstitutional per the 2011 maps, while several other districts were illegally changed unnecessarily.
            A recent News and Observer analysis of the special master’s redrawn maps to be submitted Friday show that Democrats would have an easier time defeating Republicans in four House races, and two Senate races.
            One particular Senate District 28, currently represented by Sen. Gladys Robinson (D- Guilford), would shift Republican Sen. Trudy Wade over to compete against her in Greensboro. But Robinson would have an advantage.
            The three –judge panel is reportedly slated to hold a hearing on the Special Master’s report and maps on January 5, 2018 in Greensboro. Observers say expect republican legislative leaders to announce
an appeal to the US Supreme Court by February, 2018, right before candidate filing for the 2018 primary elections.

By Cash Michaels

            [DURHAM] On Monday, Nov. 27th, a section of the Interstate 85 Highway in Durham was officially named after famed African-American historian Dr. John Hope Franklin.
            The “Dr. John Hope Franklin Highway” was dedicated at the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham, with dignitaries including Gov. Roy Cooper, Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-12-NC) and state Sen. Floyd McKissick, Jr. (D-Durham) in attendance.
Former U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx declared the stretch of highway between Cole Mill Road and U.S. 70 Bypass in Durham after Dr. Franklin before he left office.

            [RALEIGH] Former three-term state House member Linda Coleman, a Democrat, officially threw her hat into the ring to run for the Second Congressional District seat currently occupied by Republican incumbent Rep. George Holding. Ms. Coleman, who previously mounted two failed attempts at running for lieutenant governor, made her announcement from the south grounds of the Old Capitol Building. The former school teacher said her campaign will focus on improving education, the economy, and affordable health care. Filing for the 2018 primaries are scheduled for February.

            [DUNN] The Harnett County NAACP is demanding the firing of a Dunn police officer after a local television station aired a five-year old police dashcam video, showing a female officer kicking a handcuffed black male motorist after a brief car chase. WRAL-TV showed a 2012 dashcam video of the female, identified as Lt. Cary Jackson, kicking  the suspect, identified as Seneca Jackson, after he exited his vehicle, got down on the ground, and was handcuffed by a male officer.
            “At a press conference this week, Harnett County NAACP Pres. Carolyn McDougle, asked why the video was only coming to light now, five years after the incident. She blasted Dunn city officials for doing nothing about the officer. The Dunn city manager says the matter is being investigated, but would offer no statement directly addressing what the video shows.


Thursday, November 16, 2017


                                               BISHOP DR. WILLIAM J. BARBER II


            In an exclusive interview, Bishop Dr. William J. Barber II, currently president of Repairers of the Breach, a nonpartisan, nonprofit social advocacy group, has confirmed that he and a delegation of  “moral, workers rights, anti-poverty and ecological justice advocates…” will be meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Thanksgiving Day.
            Dr. Barber gave his permission Sunday for the news of his Vatican visit to be released now. He received the invitation from the Vatican last September, along with invitations to visit England and Africa to join other labor and workers’ rights advocates.
            “[The Pope] wants to bless this movement, and meet with other activists from around the world who are fighting against poverty,” Barber said then, indicating that he would give his permission for it to be revealed in November.
Dr. Barber, who officially stepped down in October after 12 years as president of the NCNAACP, will be part of a two-day conference attended by social justice advocates from countries like Canada, Senegal, Italy, Ireland, Tunisia, Ghana, Brazil, and the United States, among others.
It’s no doubt that Dr. Barber’s involvement in the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1968 Poor’s People’s Campaign caught the attention of not only national, but international social justice leadership, like Pope Francis, who is world reknowned for his personal and official advocacy for the poor.
Just last Sunday in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church, celebrated a special mass for poor people on the first World Day of the Poor, eating with 1500 from Italy, Poland and France.
The pope also denounced those who express indifference to the plight of the poor, calling such behavior “ a great sin.”
"It is when we turn away from a brother or sister in need, when we change channels as soon as a disturbing question comes up, when we grow indignant at evil but do nothing about it," Pope Francis said. "God will not ask us if we felt righteous indignation, but whether we did some good."
Dr. Barber’s organization, Repairers of the Breach, “…seeks to build a moral agenda rooted in the framework that uplift’s our deepest moral and constitutional values to redeem the heart and soul of our country,” it says on it’s website.
“Our deepest moral traditions point to equal protection under the law, the desire for peace within and among nations, the dignity of all people, and the responsibility to care for our common home.”


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            The lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the Covington V. State of North Carolina has announced that she will run for the NC Supreme Court in 2018.
            Anita Earls, founder and executive director of the Southern Coalition for Justice,  told supporters and reporters gathered in front of State Democratic Party headquarters in Raleigh Nov. 15th that she, “…passionately believe in the importance of the right to vote, and that an independent judiciary is crucial to the balance of powers necessary to maintain democratic government of, by and for the people.”
            Earls is already known as one of the most dynamic civil rights attorneys in North Carolina, if not the nation. She has consistently worked with the NCNAACP and other social justice groups, challenging the Republican-led NC legislature’s voter suppression laws, and unconstitutional voting districts, as later determined by the federal courts.
            North Carolina’s civil rights community was one hundred percent behind Earls’ announcement.
            Anita Earls is a tremendous jurist, a profound litigator and deeply committed to the principles of justice for all,” said Bishop William Barber, former president of the NCNAACP. “She has been a champion for the full constitutional protection of women, minorities, blacks, the poor and entire human family.”
            The current NCNAACP president, Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, concurred.
            I don't know of anyone more committed to bending the arc of the universe toward justice than Attorney Anita Earls.” Rev. Spearman said. “Whenever I have been in her presence to hear her offer legal opinions, insights or otherwise, the contributions of Attorney Earls have been like a plumline -  ethically balanced and judiciously centered.
“Hers is a superior legal mind.”
One of the NAACP attorneys who has been in the trenches with Attorney Earls over the years has had a front row seat to witness her legal prowess, and deep commitment to justice.
“Without a doubt, Attorney Earls is a Constitutional Law scholar,” says NCCU Law Professor Irving Joyner, chair of the NCNAACP Legal Redress Committee. “She possesses the intellectual breadth of knowledge and the judicial demeanor necessary to ensure North Carolina citizens that she will be an impartial arbiter of the many rights and privileges which citizens entrust to our appellate courts to decide.”
 “Her ascension to the Supreme Court will be a loss for the many citizens who encounter Civil Rights and Constitutional law issues, but her expertise is needed on our State's court,” Prof. Joyner added.
On the day of her announcement, attorney Earls had already garnered the endorsements State senators Angela Bryant and Floyd McKissick, Jr., Congressman and former Associate NC Supreme Court Justice G. K. Butterfield, Linda Wilkins-Daniels, chair of the African-American Caucus of the NC Democratic Party, and former NC Gov. Jim Hunt.
“…[T]he qualification I hope voters will most evaluate is whether I can fairly and faithfully apply the law equally to everyone whose case comes before the Court,” Earls said during her Nov. 15th press conference. “ I believe my record demonstrates that I have an unflinching dedication to the principle of equality before the law.  I ask for your support in November 2018…”
Earls has served on the North Carolina Board of Elections, She’s taught at Duke University, UNC – Chapel Hill, and the University of Maryland.
If Earls were to win a seat on the state’s highest court, she could conceivably join incumbent associate justices Cheri Beasley and Mike Morgan, making for three African-Americans on the NC Supreme Court at one time.
The Republican-led state Senate is leaning towards changing the rules governing judicial elections in 2018, having Supreme Court justices serving only two-year terms, instead of the customary eight. That means everyone on the court now would have to run for re-election in 2018.


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Just over three months from now, the North Carolina NAACP, this time led by it’s new president, Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, will hold it’s next Historic Thousands on Jones Street Moral March and People’s Assembly on Saturday, February 10th, 2018 in downtown Raleigh.
            According to the civil rights organization, “HK on J,” as it’s more commonly known, is made up of a coalition of “…more than 125 North Carolina NAACP branches, youth councils and college chapters from across the state, and members of over 200 other social justice organizations.
            In previous years, upwards of over 100,000 participants marched across downtown Raleigh to rally in front of the state Capitol on the Fayetteville Street Mall.
            Next February, Rev Spearman the promised the largest turnout “…since our inception [12 years ago].”
            Spearman added that the NCNAACP will go on a statewide tour of local NAACP branches over the next several weeks to promote the HK on J People’s Assembly, and mobilize participants.
Consequently, such a tour will also give Rev. Spearman the opportunity to introduce himself as the new state conference president.
“There is no better time to accelerate our resistance, than it is right now!”  the NCNAACP leader told reporters, while surrounded by branch and conference members.
“It is time to resist, insist and persist,” Spearman continued, adding that a lot of time over the next couple of months will be confronting the “recent attacks [by the Republican-led NC General Assembly] on the independent judiciary, which more broadly speaking is another frontal attack on we, the people,” Rev. Spearman declared.
Spearman went on to charge that the attacks on the state’s judiciary have been going on since 2011, and, “…it actually puzzles me that a roguish government such as ours, be allowed to continue making unjust laws, issuing oppressive decrees,…and withholding justice from we, the people.”
“We must hold them in contempt,” Rev. Spearman continued, rhetorically asking if GOP lawmakers continue legislating against the will of the people, and succeed in co-opting the courts, citizens will have nowhere to turn for legal relief.
“We must rise up and resist,” the NCNAACP president demanded, reminding all that no less than the US Supreme Court declared that the 2011 redistricting maps instituted by the Republican-led legislature were unconstitutional, and yet were used at lest six times for legislative elections since.
“They have no business legislating on our behalf,” Spearman declared, to applause. He said the only way to stop them was to make sure that citizens got out on Election Day 2018 and vote.           


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            The special master appointed by a federal three-judge panel several weeks ago to redraw redrawn legislative maps submitted by the Republican-led NC General Assembly in August, has finished a first draft of his maps, and is now asking both plaintiffs and defendants in the Covington v. State of North Carolina case to review them, and offer their observations or criticisms now, prior to the court’s Dec. 1st deadline for completion.
            The federal court rejected the previous maps because it has “serious concerns” about at least nine voting districts were still legally problematic. The court appointed Stanford University Law Professor Nathaniel Persily to first review the redrawn maps, and if he concurred with the problems, redraw them to remove any racial gerrymandering or other unconstitutional features.
            On Nov. 13th, Persily issued his preliminary maps for both House and Senate Districts.
            According to Persily’s report accompanying the draft maps, “…the Court has ordered the Special Master to redraw Enacted 2017 State Senate Districts 21 and 28 and State House Districts 21 and 57 in order to remedy those districts’ violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. It has also ordered redrawing of Enacted 2017 State House Districts 36, 37, 40, 41, and 105 because the General Assembly, in redrawing those districts in the 2017 Plan, may have violated the provision of the North Carolina State Constitution prohibiting redistricting more than once a decade.”
            Of particular concern to African-Americans on the state Senate side was the manner in which the GOP has redrawn Senate District 28 in Guilford County, currently represented by state Sen. Gladys Robinson (D-Guilford).
            In September, Sen. Robinson expressed frustration that her district was unnecessarily drawn as a majority-minority district.
The courts specifically looked at my District 28 and commented on its composition.  Republicans are intent on protecting Senator Trudy Wade (a white Republican from Guilford) for whom they created a district by packing 28.  I expect that the only remedy will be in the courts.”
Per his proposed redrawing of Senate District 28, Special Master Persily writes, “…the Court struck down the 2011 version of Senate District 28 and continues to harbor constitutional concerns as to racial predominance with regard to the district’s 2017 configuration. As expressed in the Special Master’s draft plan, the newly configured district is a compact district -- almost a perfect circle… The newly drawn district is contained almost completely within the city (CDP) of Greensboro, and is made up of whole precincts.”
At press time, neither plaintiffs attorneys nor Sen. Robinson had a reaction to the Special Master’s redrawing of the district to relieve the “stacking and packing” of black voters there, so they wouldn’t influence electoral races in surrounding voting districts.
In order for Persily to meet his court mandated deadline of Dec. 1st, he has ordered both plaintiffs and defendants in the case, “…to submit to the Special Master proposed objections and revisions to the Special Master’s Draft Plan by November 17, 2017.
 “In particular, the parties are encouraged to include in these submissions suggestions as to how incumbents shall be unpaired without degrading the underlying features of the plan, as specified in the Court order,” the Special Master’s Order continued. “The parties shall also then specify any disagreements they have as to which incumbents are seeking reelection in 2018. Reply briefs shall be submitted by November 21, 2017… In their replies, the parties are encouraged to identify which proposed changes of the plaintiffs and defendants, if any, are jointly supported by the parties.”



Monday, November 13, 2017


By Cash Michaels

            FELLAS...DON'T DO THAT!– I’m pretty sure you’ll agree that ever since women and actresses started pointing fingers at Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, accusing him of all sorts of sundry sexual assaults many years ago when they were just beginning in the entertainment business, the proverbial damn has broken wide open, and all of a sudden, almost every male celebrity out there has been accused of sexual assault of some sort.
            From Mr. Sulu from “Star Trek” (actor George Takei) to former President George H. Bush (yes, the wheelchair-bound George Bush), to even the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Oscar winning actor Kevin Spacey, star of Netflix’ “House of Cards” has literally been cut out of his next movie, “All the Money in the World,” which is due out on Dec. 22nd. All of Spacey’s scenes in the movie are being reshot with actor Christopher Plummer. This has never happened before.
            And all because Spacey admits to trying to seduce a young 14-year-old male actor over 30 years ago.
            No one is making light of this. The issue of sexual assault by celebrities and powerful men in both Hollywood, Washington, DC, and yes, even way down in Alabama, where the Republican candidate for the US Senate, a former state Supreme Court Justice named Roy Moore, allegedly molested or attempted to molest teenage girls while he was a 30-year-old assistant district attorney.
            Oh, and did I mention that comedian Bill Cosby is scheduled to be retried April 2, 2018 for allegations that he drugged a woman not his wife, many years ago, and had sexual relations with her without her consent? He was originally scheduled to be retried this month after a hung jury in his first trial last June.
            Boy, is he lucky the darn thing has been postponed for a couple of months. Lord knows finding a “fair” jury in this muck, even in Pennsylvania, would be near impossible.
            The fact of the matter is this crime has been going on in our country since the beginning of the nation. Powerful men, imposing themselves sexually on young, defenseless females, either at work or at school. Yeah some females dress provocatively, but that is NEVER a reason to sexually assault them them.
            We all learned from the infamous Mike Tyson rape case. The heavyweight boxing champ went to the room of a beauty contestant after hours, apparently by invitation. But after things got hot and heavy, she said “no,” but Mike apparently wouldn’t take no for an answer, and he raped her.
            Mike was sent to prison for his crime, and that’s when we all learned that no matter when, NO means NO!. Basketball superstar Kobe Bryant learned the same lesson years later, except that thanks to some skilled attorneys, he only paid some money, and lost some commercial endorsements.
            Its as simple as this – men have to learn how to respect women in this society. A consensual relationship is one thing. As long as folks are OK with each other, there are no issues.
            But the #metoo women of today are sending a message loud and clear – KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF, AND RESPECT ME, OR ELSE!



By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Nov. 10, 1898 – The day heavily-armed white supremacists in Wilmington attacked the African-American community at the behest of leaders of the North Carolina Democratic Party, killing many, forcing others to flee their homes and businesses, and overthrowing the local city government at gunpoint – the only coup de ta in American history.
            The attack ushered in the racist Jim Crow era, not only across the state, but across the South, for almost a century afterwards.
            Last weekend, 119 years after that fateful, but historic date in North Carolina history, the people of Wilmington, black and white, came together again for their annual 1898 Massacre Observance Program sponsored by the New Hanover Chapter of the National Black Leadership Caucus, this time at Mt. Olive A.M.E. Church.
            Among the many speakers was Wilmington native state Rep. Rodney Moore (D – Mecklenburg), and after giving a historical accounting of how the white supremacists over a century ago used violence and discriminatory laws to cripple the black community, Moore then likened that to what many of his Republican colleagues in the NC General Assembly have been doing in recent years with voter suppression, unconstitutional redistricting, and other political tools to hold the African-American community back.
            “Even today, brothers and sisters, the spirit of Jim Crow lives in modern day North Carolina,” Rep. Moore said midway through his prepared remarks.
            “The white supremacists of the Democratic Party of 1898, have morphed into the North Carolina Grand Old Party of today,” Moore continued. “Today, they use voter suppression schemes like voter ID, cutting early voting days, and trying to make it harder for people of color, the elderly, and our youth to cast their ballots, and exercise their most fundamental right, as citizens of this state and nation – the right to vote.”
            Responding to expressions of agreement from the audience, Rep. Moore continued, “They have made a mockery of the electoral gains that African-Americans have made by using a redistricting scheme that has packed and stacked black legislators into majority-minority districts, insuring a permanent minority.”
            “They have continued to cut funding for education, refuse to expand Medicaid to cover over 500,000 citizens of the state, who badly need access to affordable [health] care, and lifesaving services,” the Mecklenburg state representative continued.
            “They continue to propose regressive tax policies that have the effect of what I call, “Robin Hood in reverse.” They take from the poor and the most vulnerable, and to give tax breaks to the rich and well-to-do in our state.”
            “We are living in a modern-day America, where there continues to be unequal justice in our courts. Police brutality against people of color is still being perpetrated in our communities. We give our political loyalty – 96 percent of the time -  to one party, while not having a presence in the other to challenge for real change and recognition of the critical issues that face African-Americans, from either side.”
            “We need to learn the political game so we can start winning. We are not players because we do not understand the rules. This is unacceptable in 2017. It’s time to wake up. Time is truly running out!”
            Then Rep. Moore switched gears, and asked what are African-Americans doing to support each other in Wilmington, and elsewhere?
            “Are you supporting opportunities for black businesses to flourish in our cities?” he asked rhetorically. “Are we actually participating in the public policy debates in our cities that shape and structure our lives on a day-to-day basis?”
            Stressing the importance of local elections, like city council and school board elections, Rep. Moore urged the African-American community to get more involved, and make more of a difference in their present and future.
            “We have to be inspired to go out [and vote] every election cycle,” Rep. Moore said. “It’s time to wake up. It’s time to wake up.”

By Cash Michaels

            As the US Senate begins debate, and the full House votes this week on the new GOP tax reform package Pres. Trump and Congressional leaders have been pushing, with mixed results thus far, both of North Carolina’s African-American Congress members have made it clear to count them in the opposition.
            U.S. Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12) and Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1), in scathing statements, don’t see Republican tax plan as helping the taxpayers who need the relief the most – the middle-class - and fear that, once again, the rich will be the primary beneficiaries if the plan is passed.
            “The Ryan-McConnell tax plan isn’t tax reform, it’s a tax cut for the wealthy that leaves working families behind,” said Congresswoman Adams. “This bill, cobbled together by Republican leadership under the cloak of darkness, repeals key deductions that families depend on such as medical expense, student loan interest, state taxes, and personal exemptions, to pay for a 15% tax cut for corporations. To make matters worse, this plan borrows from our future by adding $1.5 trillion to the deficit in the next decade, saddling future generations with more debt. This plan is bad for the middle class; I urge my colleagues in the House to stand with American families and vote against this disastrous plan.”
            In a letter last week to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, Rep. Adams outlined her district’s tax priorities, citing making education affordable, “…safeguard retirement investments, promote entrepreneurship, and protect cultural institutions.
            All of the above are critical, Rep. Adams says, to “…create a pathway for the middle class.”
            This plan is a one-sided measure that provides cuts for corporations on the backs of the middle-class,” said Congresswoman Adams. “Millions of hardworking families and local businesses need real tax relief but the GOP plan falls short. We cannot afford the partisan antics that have plagued this conversation any longer.”
Both the House and Senate have differing plans they hope to have passed before Thanksgiving next week, so that Pres. Trump can sign a compromise measure into law before Christmas, a timetable most observers consider extremely hopeful at best.
            Republicans tout their tax plan helping middle-class families with expanding the child care tax credit, lower income and corporate tax rates.
            But Democrats aren’t so sure other details of the proposed tax plan wouldn’t do more harm than good.
            Congressman Butterfield took to the House floor, last week, to voice his dissention to the so-called “Tax cuts and Jobs Act.”
            In a statement, the First District congressman said, While the GOP gives multi-trillion dollar tax giveaways to the wealthiest and corporate America, Republicans are destroying key tax benefits for middle class families.
·       Rep. Butterfield blasted the fact that if passed, the GOP tax plan would dismantle state and local tax deductions, thus “…imposing an unfair double tax on middle class families, driving down home values, and endangering local governments’ ability to fund law enforcement, schools and health services.” 
The GOP tax plan would also eliminate student loan interest deductions and
·       lifelong learning credits – “…destroying a key deduction for young graduates and workers getting the job training they need to succeed in the 21st century economy, while preserving special giveaways for the wealthiest.”
And if all of the above wasn’t concerning enough, Rep. Butterfield says, the GOP
·       tax plan would also eliminate medical expense deductions – “…destroying a key deduction claimed by nearly 9 million American households, which helps families with children with disabilities, long-term care needs, a need for expensive fertility treatments, and many others,” and impose new limits on mortgage interest deductions – “…assaulting the dream of middle class homeownership in communities across America.”
Both representatives Butterfield and Adams also railed against the fact that
 Republican leadership has scheduled no public hearings, keep much of the details of the tax reform plan out of public view until the last minute, and kept Democrats at arms-length so that there cam be no collaboration in constructing the bill.
            Rep. Adams demanded better.
            “This is absolute no way for Congress to legislate,” she told Speaker Ryan in her Nov. 9th letter. “I urge you to return to regular order and conduct Congressional business in a manner befitting American dignity and encourage good legislation.”


            [WILMINGTON] The Fayetteville-based chemical company already under investigation for allegedly released the toxic chemical Gen x into the Cape Fear River, the New Hanover County drinking water supply, now has to answer for an apparent spill last month of dimer acid fluoride, which, once it touches water, is transformed into the equivalent of Gen X. Chemours, the DuPont subsidiary under fire, has ten days, by order of the NC Dept. of Environmental Quality, to explain how much of the chemical was spilled into the Cape Fear, and for how long, or else face stiff fines. Regulators determined the spill after levels of Gen X in their testing spiked.

            [DURHAM] Despite earlier reports from a defense attorney that all felony charges against the seven protesters who toppled a statue of a Confederate soldier on August 14th, the Durham District Attorney countered that claim, stating that those felony charges are staying in place. DA Roger Echols said that three of the 12 people charged had charges dropped against them last week, but seven of the remaining defendants will face more court proceedings on Dec. 5th.

            [ROCKY MOUNT] James Moore, once a deputy police chief in Wilmington, has announced that he is retiring effective jan.1, 2018 as the police chief of Rocky Mount. He has served as chief in Rocky Mount since 2012. During his tenure, Chief Moore oversaw a five-year decline in overall crime in the city, the longest continuous drop on record.