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.


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