Tuesday, July 31, 2018



            [DURHAM] Officials with the Durham Public School System, and Jordan High School
are investigating a student-athlete’s racist video found online. Published reports say the unnamed student plays football and lacrosse at the school, and also is seen making sexist remarks about women, as well as uttering a racist slur. The student also makes references to Pres. Trump. Students at Jordan high are demanding that he not be allowed to play for the school’s teams. Principal Susan Taylor assured those concerned that she is working to address the matter, and that intolerance is not something that will be allowed at Jordan High.

            [RALEIGH] First Republican-legislative leaders called a surprise special session last week to two ensure that a Democrat-led commission was not allowed to alter any of the language of the six proposed constitutional amendments that they passed during the. Regular session that ended in June. Now, the sole Republican member of that panel, Paul Coble, the General Assembly’s Legislative Services Director, sent a letter to Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, chair of the three-member Constitutional Amendment Publication Commission, telling her that he would not attend any meetings with her or state Attorney General Josh Stein until after state lawmakers override Gov. Cooper’s veto of their measure, which is apparently expected to take place on Saturday. A livid Sec. Marshall now accuses Coble of “politicizing” the situation, saying that he’s now deliberately holding up their work.

            [RALEIGH]His most famous work of art, “The Sugar Shack” became famous when featured on the 1970’s black sitcom, “Good Times,” and a Marvin Gaye album cover. His name was Ernie Barnes, a Durham native who played NFL football for five seasons before retiring to pursue his first love – art. A collection of Barnes’ work, artifacts and memorabilia are now on display at the NC Museum of History from now until March 3rd, 2019. Barnes died in 2009 at the age of 70, but many who grew up admiring his artistry agree that his legacy, through art, lives on.


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            He may not be president of the NCNAACP anymore, but that doesn’t mean Rev. Dr. William Barber II is far from the bedrock, grassroots freedom - fighting that has become his trademark.
            Having completed his national 40-day “Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for moral Revival” – where his new organization, Repairers of the Breach, picked up the mantle from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s original 1968 Poor People’s Campaign highlighting the battle against poverty, racism, and militarism, Dr. Barber has made it clear that all efforts now must be directed toward empowering people, especially the poor, to be heard at the ballot box come Nov. 6th for the midterm elections.
            “The electorate can be inspired and organized to vote for higher ground,” Barber told Time Magazine last November. “Voting rights and voter suppression still must be challenged. Deeper organizing with intentional goals must be engaged in the black and brown community to broaden the base. There must be an effort to organize in the so-called red counties around moral and justice agenda.”
            But above all, the nation’s rampant poverty must be addressed, Dr. Barber continued, noting that the states with the highest poverty rates and working poor in the nation are in the South.
            “As the original Poor People’s Campaign proposed, the Reconstruction we need now must be the work of rejected stones — a fusion coalition of those directly impacted by racism, poverty, environmental degradation and the war economy,” Barber continued. “Only by linking up and asserting our moral authority as children of God can we shift the moral narrative in this nation and build a movement that will challenge whoever is in power to become the “more perfect union” we aspire to be.”
Dr. Barber’s leadership continues to be recognized not just across the country, but around the world.
            Last year, he was invited to Vatican City, with other global social activists, to meet the Pope.
            In June of this year, Dr. Barber addressed 2000 trade union delegates from 130 nations at the UNI World Congress in Liverpool, England. During that visit, he was honored with a place on the International Slavery Museum’s Black Achievers Wall.
            Dr. Barber’s portrait was placed alongside previous honorees actor Paul Robeson and author James Baldwin.
            Barber accepted the high honor on behalf of the social justice movement.

                                                              ATTY ANITA EARLS
                                                       NC JUSTICE BARBARA JACKSON

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Make no mistake, political observers say, North Carolina Republican legislative leaders have no intention of allowing another Democrat on the state Supreme Court again, without doing everything within their power to stop it.
            The GOP is still kicking itself for the 2016 debacle that led to the election of Associate Justice Michael Morgan to the state’s High Court in 2016, leading to 4-3 Democrat majority on the seven-member court when justice Morgan replaced a Republican justice.
            Now Republican Associate Justice Barbara Jackson is running for re-election in November against Democrat challenger Anita Earls, a renowned civil rights attorney.
            Fearing a much anticipated “blue wave” of Democrat votes November 6th, the Republican-led legislature passed a law which mandated that the Republican candidate’s name appears first on voter’s ballots, apparently believing that most voters don’t know who the judicial candidates are, and will automatically choose the first name listed that they see.
            This, in concert with ending the long-held practice of making judicial races nonpartisan several years ago, so that “R” and “D” appear right after the candidates’ respective names, gave the Republicans, they apparently felt, an advantage on Election Day.
            Atty. Earls was not impressed.
“I think the games the General Assembly has been playing with the name order on the ballot …I don’t think that’s going to get them what they need,” she said during a recent telephone interview. “I do think it’s going to be so important for voters to be informed about the candidates.”
But about those “R’s” and “D’s” behind candidates names – GOP lawmakers became alarmed when a former Democrat switched political parties to run for the state Supreme Court as a Republican, thus possibly splitting the GOP vote, and allowing Democrat Earls to win.
Determined that that could not be allowed, during the special session held just last week, the Republican majority passed a measure disallowing the second Republican candidate from being identified as a Republican on the ballot, saying that he changed party affiliation less than ninety days prior to the registration deadline.
So now, though Justice Jackson and atty. Earls will be identified as Republican and Democrat respectively on the November ballot, the second Republican candidate, Chris Anglin – who insists he’s not a Democrat plant in the Supreme Court race – will not be identified by party. Indeed, so suspicious of Anglin was the GOP, that they openly called him “the enemy.”
Justice Jackson denied knowing anything, or having anything to do with the Republican effort to help her win reelection, but atty. Earls blasted yet another GOP attempt to thwart her candidacy.
“For over 30 years, I have worked in our legal system to ensure all voters have fair representation and equal justice under the law,” Earls said in a written statement. “The politicians in the legislature continue to attack the independence of our courts and try to rig the system so they can stay in power. North Carolinians deserve a fair election free from partisan games and meddling.”
But there is one more card that Republican legislative leaders are rumored to plotting to play.
The NC Constitution allows the legislature to expand the state Supreme Court from seven to nine seats, all serving eight-year terms. Democrats currently hold four of those seats on the seven=member court, but if Justice Jackson should win her re-election over Democrat Earls, the GOP-led legislature, which has scheduled itself to return on November 27thafter the November 6thelection, could very easily add those two High Court seats. And if the public approves the constitutional amendment allowing lawmakers to take over the governor’s judicial appointment powers, they could appoint two Republicans to the state Supreme Court, observers say, automatically giving the GOP a 5-4 majority, and assuring a friendlier High Court when controversial partisan cases come before it.
Gov. Cooper can’t veto this or any other the five other constitutional amendments on the fall ballot, but he did veto the law disallowing Chris Anglin’s party affiliation on the ballot.
At press time, legislative Republicans were prepared to override that veto when they reconvene in First Extra Special Session Thursday morning.


Tuesday, July 24, 2018


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            When his nomination to become a special superior court judge, pushed back to the very end, was finally heard by the North Carolina House on June 28th, Bryan E. Beatty, an African-American, and former State Bureau of Investigations director and former NC Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety, was referred to in clearly unflatteringly terms by his House Republican sponsor on the floor as “…a former employee of the state Department of Justice.”
            That, and apparently a House Republican Caucus meeting earlier that morning that the House had to recess for shortly after ratifying two white judicial nominees, is how Gov. Roy Cooper’s nomination of Sec. Beatty went down in partisan, and some say “racial,” flames.
            And thus far, not one Republican House member has come forward to say why, even when asked for this story.
            Black leaders and state Democrats are calling how Beatty was treated “pettiness at an all-time high,” not only for it’s racial implications, but clear evidence of animus towards yet another Democratic governor. 
            “[It was]…quite blatant,” remarked Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the NC NAACP.
            “It was shameful and disrespectful,” echoed Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford)
For his part, though he was upset with how he was treated, Sec. Beatty, who has over thirty years law enforcement experience with the state, refuses to theorize why Republican majority lawmakers in the House voted down his judicial nomination, 65 – 47, without stated reason.
            “Yes, I was very surprised, and disappointed when they voted not to confirm,” the Salisbury native said in an exclusive phone interview last week.
Beatty says Gov. Cooper asked him personally in May if he would consider serving as a special superior court judge, with a five-year term, and if so the governor would nominate the former secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety to fill a vacancy created in March. But Cooper warned that the legislature had the final word.
Beatty accepted, and on May 23rd, the Governor’s Office officially announced that Beatty, along with Chief District Court Judge J. Stanley Carmical of Robeson County – a white male – and Chief District Court Judge Athena Brooks of Buncombe County – a white female and a Republican – were judicial nominees. A letter was sent to Republican legislative leadership formally nominating the governor’s picks.
            “These nominees bring extensive experience in our justice system to these new roles and are highly qualified to serve as Special Superior Court judges,” Gov. Cooper said in a statement then.
            Two of the three nominees were interviewed by the House Rules Committee, the Senate Nominations Committee, and the Senate Judiciary Committee just prior to their nominations being voted on June 28thin the House {Judge Brooks couldn’t make the Senate Judiciary Committee interview). 
            Beatty recalls each committee being “very cordial, very supportive.”
            All three were to be confirmed by separate House Joint Resolutions, sponsored by Republican Rep. David Lewis of Harnett, who is Rules Committee chair, and also heads up the House’s controversial voter ID and redistricting efforts.
            On the morning of June 28th, according to an archived recording of that House session, after a glowing introduction by Lewis on the floor, Both Brooks and Carmical were confirmed by wide margin votes (Judge Brooks’ confirmation vote was unanimous). 
But strangely, Beatty’s nomination was skipped over and never mentioned.
            In fact, shortly after Brooks and Carmical were ratified, Speaker Moore immediately announced, “Members, we’re going to take a very brief recess, and we’re going to come back at 11 a.m.” 
            Moore added that the Republican majority leader Bell told him that the Republican members “…need to caucus.”
            When the House session reconvened, Sec. Beatty’s nomination was finally introduced as the very last bill to hit the floor.
But instead of giving the usual glowing appeal to support a measure he sponsored, the House archival recording actually shows Rep. Lewis downplaying Beatty’s accomplishments and qualifications to be a special superior court judge, calling the former state secretary and Cabinet officer, “…a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Law, and a former employee of the North Carolina Dept. of Justice, the State Bureau of Investigation, NC Dept. of Crime Control and Public Safety, and most recently, a commissioner of the NC Utilities Commission.”
After noting that the governor has nominated Beatty to fill one of the three vacancies for special superior court judge, Rep. Lewis ended in low-key delivery with a lackluster, “I recommend him to you.”
Lewis’ introduction of Beatty’s nomination was so lackluster, that House Democratic Minority Leader Darren Jackson immediately took the floor, and spoke “wholeheartedly” about Sec. Beatty’s background and qualifications, including that he once served as an SBI agent, graduated law school, in private practice, assistant state attorney general, state inspector general, deputy attorney general, director of the State Bureau of Investigations, secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety, and finally served on the state Utilities Commission.
“He’s extremely well-qualified,’ Rep. Jackson concluded.
But to no avail. Without any objections from the Republican House majority, Beatty’s nomination was sounded voted down.
Thirteen Republican House members were asked early Monday by email to explain why they voted against Bryan Beatty’s judicial nomination. None of them – including Rep. Lewis and Speaker Moore – responded to our request for comment.
“What the Republicans did behind closed doors was a disservice,” said Sen. Erica Smith (D – Bertie), char of the NC Legislative Black Caucus. It was definitely something that was unprecedented.”
Beatty says he understands why “people are upset…why they would be that way.”
He added that he “was ready to serve,” and lamented that there is a superior court vacancy that has gone unfilled.
And if Gov. Cooper called again and asked Bryan Beatty to come out of retirement to serve in another appointed position, Beatty said, “Oh yeah. Whatever the governor needed me to do.”


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Attorneys for a 29-year old black man have filed a civil complaint with the NC Industrial Commission in connection with the April 4thbrutal beating and mauling he received at the hands of two NC State troopers, and a Wake County sheriff’s deputy and his K-9 dog.
            Kyron Dwain Hinton, through his attorneys, is holding the NC Dept. of Public Safety responsible for the actions of the two troopers – Tabitha Davis and Michael Blake on the night of April 3rdin Raleigh.
            Both have been indicted on felony assault charges, and subsequently have been fired.
            Their supervisor, Sgt. R. W. Goswick, was placed on administrative leave after audio from a police dashcam at the scene captured him urging the two troopers to cover the beating up.
            "[Sgt] Goswick told them specifically what to put in [their reports],” a Wake Superior Court judge said during a June hearing. “Ordered them. If you listen to his order, his order didn’t tell him to write the report. His order was 'this is what we're going to put in the report, everybody agree on that', essentially.”
            The Wake Sheriff’s deputy, Cameron Broadwell, was not named in the complaint because he works for a county agency. He was also indicted by a Wake County grand jury on May 15th, and is on administrative duties until further notice.
            Dashcam video from the night of April 4th showed at least two North Carolina State troopers, and a Wake County Sheriff’s deputy with a K-9 dog attacking Kyron Dwain Hinton.
            Hinton, the video shows, was unarmed, even though officers at the scene were told that he had a gun before they arrived. No gun was ever found.
            Hinton sustained a broken nose, fractured eye socket, and several dog bite injuries after the encounter, and spent three days in the hospital before being transported to the Wake County jail. Charges against him were eventually dropped.
            Defense attorneys for the troopers also petitioned for Kyron Hinton’s medical records to be kept intact, trying to build a case that he had a mental disorder, and
history of drug use. Advocates for Hinton says he suffers from PTSD.
            The complaint filed Tuesday morning with the NC Industrial Commission alleges that the two troopers filed to detain the unarmed Hinton in a manner that would have minimized injuries.
            The complaint also alleges that Trooper Blake had already been accused of using excessive force in 2015, and again in 2016, and again in yet another incident involving a Raleigh motorist, just a week before the Hinton incident.


            [RALEIGH] Fearing that a Democratic-led panel responsible for ballot language would somehow tinker with how their six proposed constitutional amendments would be worded during this November’s midterm elections, the Republican-led General Assembly reconvened briefly Tuesday to pass HB 3, which would limit ballot captions only to “CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT” with no further explanation beyond what the original bill reads.
            The second bill passed would strip a Republican state Supreme court candidate of his party affiliation on the ballot because he was a former Democrat who changed parties just before entering the race,. The GOP feared that he would take votes away from the incumbent Supreme court candidate. Attorney Anita Earls is the Democrat in the race.

            [DURHAM] After being notified by the American Bar Association that it was “significantly out of compliance” with established ABA standards after it logged low student passage rates, forcing former dean, Phyliss Craig-Taylor to step down after six years, the ABA has granted the School of Law at North Carolina Central University it’s accreditation. The school put forth a plan to raise admission standards and reduce the incoming freshman class. It also appointed former Judge Elaine O’Neal as an interim dean.

            [RALEIGH] As is across the nation, law enforcement officials say white supremacist gangs are growing in size and violence in North Carolina. According to a spokesman for the NC Department of Public Safety, it is an “unexpected” trend, the rise of white racist groups across the state, and it’s being closely monitored. The spokesman added that they are not sure “what’s causing it.” One group officials have their eye on is called “Bound for Glory.” Other, more established groups, like the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan nation, are also on the rise again, primarily in state prisons.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018


by Cash Michaels
contributing writer

            North Carolina’s two African-American congressional representatives have joined the worldwide condemnation of President Donald Trump’s lackluster performance alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin during a joint press conference in Helsinki, Finland Monday, July 16th.
            Their reaction is key, because both Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12) and Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1), have come close in the past, but have not joined other members of the Congressional Black Caucus in calling for Trump’s impeachment.
            Now, in the aftermath of the president publicly doubting his own intelligence agencies’ view that Russia did indeed interfere with the 2016 presidential elections, despite indictments against twelve Russian agents for hacking into the Democratic National Committee computers in an effort to undermine candidate Hillary Clinton, there may be a change of mind.
            “President Trump’s press conference was an international disgrace and a complete failure,” blasted Congresswoman Adams afterwards in a statement. “Trump blatantly turned his back on his own Director of National Intelligence, the CIA, and the FBI by siding with Putin. Failing to hold Putin accountable for his attack on our country’s electoral system is unacceptable and illogical. His actions are a betrayal to our nation. Trump’s unprecedented alliance with Russia is a major threat to our national security and we can no longer stand for it.”
            Congressman Butterfield was just as outdone.
            “President Trump chose to align himself with, and defend a violent autocrat who ordered a cyber attack on the US and our democracy, instead of standing with the American people, our own intelligence community, and our international partners,” tweeted Butterfield Tuesday.
            But Rep. Butterfield  shifted the target of his ire towards congressional Republicans, challenging them to take action against the titular leader of their party.
            “Republicans must decide whether to protect and defend America, or embrace President Trump and Russia. It’s just that simple.”
            No doubt that Congressman Butterfield, and his Democratic colleagues in the US House and Senate, hope to use Monday’s presidential debacle effectively against the GOP in the upcoming fall midterm elections. Political observers were predicting a Democratic “blue wave” of voters, frustrated with the daily controversies and investigations surrounding the president, to wash-in November 6th, and effectively “wash” the Republicans out of both the House and Senate, handing Congress back to the Democrats.
            Butterfield made it clear in his last tweet that either the GOP deal with Trump, or ultimately pay for their inaction.
            “Every day Congressional Republicans refuse to act, they become more complicit in Donald Trump’s unraveling of America’s values and institutions,” Rep. Butterfield concluded.
            Some Republicans, led by Sen. John McCain, have rebuked Trump, but thus far, no action has been taken.

                                                             SEN. ERICA SMITH
                                                                SEN PAUL LOWE
                                                                     SEC. BEATTY

by Cash Michaels
Special for NCBPA newspapers

            State Sen. Erica Smith (D-Bertie), chair of the NC Legislative Black Caucus, has now weighed in, on behalf of the NCLBC, on the growing controversy over the Republican-led legislative majority rejecting Gov. Roy Cooper’s nomination of former Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety Bryan Beatty, an African-American, for a special superior court seat on June 29thas the short session was ending.
            “Secretary Beatty has an outstanding background of service to our statesmen.” Sen. Smith said in a statement Monday. “It is appalling that the GOP supermajority refused to appoint him as a special superior court judge without any explanation. This is not only an attack against Governor Cooper but all of us.”
 “Secretary Beatty was voted out with no explanation whatsoever. The North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus fully supports Secretary Beatty and calls for the GOP to reconsider this appoint,” the NCLBC chairwoman continued. 
Beatty was also a former director of the State Bureau of Investigation, and a graduate of UNC – Chapel Hill Law School.
The Senate Judiciary Committee, one of three state legislative committees Sec. Beatty appeared before and cleared in consideration for the judicial seat, is co-chaired by three Republicans – Sen. Tamara Barringer (Wake); Sen. Warren Daniel (Burke); and Sen. Shirley B. Randleman (Stokes).
            There are 21 members in all on that panel – 6 Democrats including Sen. Paul Lowe (Forsyth), Majority Leader Dan Blue (Wake), Sen. Floyd McKissick, Jr.(Durham), Sen. Terry Van Duyn (Buncombe), Sen. Jeff Jackson (Mecklenburg) and retired Superior Court Judge Milton “Toby” Fitch, Jr. (Wilson); and 12 other Republicans.
            In an interview this week, Sen. Lowe maintains that no one on the committee said anything negative about Secretary Beatty’s nomination after he was questioned, and it passed unanimously.
            “[The committee passed his nomination] with flying colors,” Sen. Lowe recalls. “Everyone thank him for his service…the whole bit.”
            In fact, Lowe recalls, while the white male judicial nominee from Lumberton also passed committee muster “with flying colors,” the white female judicial nominee didn’t attend that committee meeting at all.
            But when it reached the joint session of the legislature on June 29th, the Republican majority in both the Senate and House voted Beatty’s nomination down without explanation.
            “It was extremely disappointing ….the way [Republicans] addressed it in the joint session, was to not address it all,” Lowe opined. 
            The Forsyth County Democrat said the main reason clearly was because Beatty was one of Gov. Cooper’s judicial nominees. But the GOP lawmakers did ratify Cooper’s other two judicial nominees for special superior court seats – a white male and white female.
            So why was Beatty – the only African-American of the three – turned down? No Republican has given a reason why on the record, but Sen. Lowe says, “ I think that was part of a plan for fear that, you know, somebody might pull a race card out…”
            Lowe maintains that last part is speculation on his part, but still, to many, what Republicans did, and how they did it, speaks yarns.
            NCNAACP Pres. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman called the GOP rejection of Sec. Beatty “…quite blatant.” Ford Porter, Gov. Cooper’s spokesperson, blasted legislative Republicans for “…working to inject partisan politics into our courts…,” especially after the GOP also circulated a flier with the pictures of twelve judges and justices – three of them black – and all appointed by Democratic governors, titled, “WHEN GOVERNORS IGNORE THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE.”
Speaking on behalf of the NCLBC, Chairwoman Sen. Erica Smith maintained, “Our courts must represent North Carolina.”


            [RALEIGH] State Rep. Grier Martin (D-Wake) joined the chorus of both Democrats and Republicans in severely criticizing Pres. Trump’s performance in Helsinki, Finland, where Trump dismissed the findings of his own intelligence community in favor of appeasing Russian Pres. Vladmir Putin. “.@realDonaldTrump,don’t come back. You are not worthy to stand on American soil made free by the sacrifices of men and women better than you,” Martin tweeted. He is a 28-year military veteran of the US Army Reserves. Republicans, defending the president, accused Martin of trying to further divide the country with his remarks.

            [BLADEN COUNTY] State health officials are scheduled to begin testing some of the residents living near the Chemours’ Fayetteville plant that produces the controversial chemical Gen X. Officials are looking for at least 30 neighbors to volunteer to submit blood and urine samples. The federal Centers for Disease Control will conduct the analysis. There is a concern that Gen X, which was found in the Cape Fear River drinking water supply, could cause cancer.

            [RALEIGH] State Dept. of Public Instruction Supt. Mark Johnson has ordered his top staff members to report only to him, and not to the State Board of Education, as they normally would do as well. Johnson, who has been in a power struggle with the board since he was elected in 2016, wrote a July 2 letter saying, ““With the 8 June 2018 North Carolina Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of Session Law 2016-126, I am now exercising my authority under that Act to manage administrative and supervisory personnel of the Department. Accordingly, I am changing your position appointment from “dual report” to reporting [only to the Superintendent directly] or [to the Superintendent through the Deputy State Superintendent]. The change in your appointment is effective immediately,” Johnson wrote.


Tuesday, July 10, 2018



        [RALEIGH] On Monday, Gov. Roy Cooper signed HB 335, which restores early voting on the last Saturday before the November 6thelection. That’s good news for African-American voters across North Carolina who, statistics show, traditionally come out in heavy numbers to vote on the last early voting Saturday. Cooper had vetoed the previous early voting measure passed during the recent Short Session that had eliminated last Saturday early voting. That veto was overridden, but Republican legislative leaders had a change of heart, given the prospect of being taken to court again, and passed HB335. However, that bill only pertains to this fall’s election, and specifically Saturday, Nov. 3rd.

         [WINSTON SALEM] Adam Bloom is out of a job, all because he personally questioned the right a black woman had to use a private community pool on the Fourth of July. What Bloom didn’t know was that the woman, Jasmine Edwards, is a resident there, and she and her son had every right to use it. When the police arrived, they determined that, and told Bloom that when she proved that she had a card to swipe to get in. A video of the incident went viral, and now Bloom, accused of racial profiling, is out of a job. He now says he didn’t mean to. The company he worked for apologized to Mrs. Edwards.

        [RALEIGH] Looks like North Carolina isn’t just the “Good Roads” state (or used to be), but also the “good driving state,” according WalletHub’s recent 100 “Best and Worst Cities to Drive in” list. Of the top ten “best” cities, Raleigh was #1, Greensboro #4, Winston-Salem #6 and Durham #7. Charlotte came in at #19. WalletHub says it used “key indicators of driver friendliness” to make up the list. The worst city to drive in is Detroit, followed by San Francisco, Oakland, Philadelphia and Seattle.                


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            As expected, Pres. Donald Trump’s nominee Monday to replace the outgoing Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, U.S. Appellate Judge Brett Kavanaugh, 53, of the D.C. Circuit, was controversial even before his name was confirmed in White House East Room.
            The Republican National Committee praised the conservative jurist, saying in a statement shortly after the announcement, “President Trump nominated a strong defender of the Constitution and champion of the rule of law to the Supreme Court. Judge Brett Kavanaugh has proven his commitment to protecting the rights of all Americans through a distinguished career on the D.C. Circuit and his lasting service to our nation.” 
The GOP statement concluded, “Judge Kavanaugh is the best choice to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy and Senate Democrats must put partisan politics aside and vote to confirm him to the Supreme Court."
Even Project 21, a black conservative group, hailed Judge Kavanaugh.
"This is a judicial grand slam! As someone familiar with Judge Kavanaugh's record, I can say that – though the left may be upset – those who love our Constitution will be thrilled," said Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper, a former professor of constitutional law at George Mason University and senior counsel to congressional leadership.
At least one of North Carolina’s two black congresspeople, however, was not impressed.
“The nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a complete non-starter,” blasted Congressman G. K. Butterfioeld (D-NC-1). “In nominating Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump has selected someone with views well outside the mainstream.  Given the cases the Court will weigh in on in coming years, the integrity of the Supreme Court and the lives of millions of Americans will be directly impacted by this pick.  I have deep concerns about Brett Kavanaugh's nomination, and I will remain actively engaged in the Senate’s confirmation process.”
Attorney Irving Joyner, law professor at North Carolina Central University School of Law in Durham says Kavanaugh, who has sided with the National Rifle Association in various opinions, and has a political history in Republican administrations, is exactly who Trump needed to keep the High Court’s conservative majority in control for the next generation.
“Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a solid right-wing conservative judge who has had a long tenure on the appellate court and a history of conservative interpretations of the Constitution and federal laws,” Prof. Joyner, who is also chair of the NCNAACP’s Legal Redress Committee said. “It will be difficult to find flaws in his credentials, but his judicial philosophy is horrible for African Americans, other racial minorities, poor people, women and the progressive agenda.” 
“Many of the hard fought and won civil rights cases and the racial progress, gender equality and equal protections that many people have thought to be cemented in the law are now in jeopardy. The religious right wing and other ultra conservative forces should be overjoyed with this pick, but, if confirmed, future decisions by Judge Kavanaugh will be bad for our communities,” Joyner continued.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez also weighed in.
“Judge Kavanaugh should not be allowed anywhere near our nation’s highest bench, he said in a statement. “Let’s be clear: a vote for Kavanaugh would be a vote to rip health care from American families and deny women their constitutional right to make their own health care decisions.”
             "We know exactly why Kavanaugh was chosen,” Perez continued. “President Trump himself said that overturning Roe v. Wade and gutting the Affordable Care Act would be litmus tests for his Supreme Court nominee, and Kavanaugh fits the script.”
            Prof. Joyner of NCCU School of Law urged Senate Democrats, and grassroots progressive groups, to mount a fierce battle against Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
            “This appointment should be vigorously resisted, but even if it is defeated, those who wait in the dugout for further appointments from this ultra conservative mindset will pose the same dangers as Judge Kavanaugh,” Joyner said. “With the choices that Trump collected for himself, they were all equally antagonistic to civil rights, racial justice and the development and growth of a level and progressive playing field for all people.”

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            The president of the NCNAACP is not pleased that a joint session of the Republican-led NC legislature, before it adjourned its Short Session on June 29th,  rejected one of Gov. Roy Cooper’s choices for a special Superior Court seat without apparent reason.
            Former Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety Bryan Beatty, an African-American, was the only one of three candidates put before state lawmakers for their consideration that they rejected.
            The other two – Chief District Court Judge J. Stanley Carmical (white male); Chief District Court Judge Athena Brooks (white female) were approved.
            Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the NCNAACP, called the rejection without reason, “…quite blatant.”
            “I mean the measures to which these guys [GOP lawmakers] are going now, and the things that they’re doing, is just an extension of the extreme things that are happening, and how “45” [Pres. Trump] is just opening up things for people to do whatever they can do without any [remorse],” Dr. Spearman continued.
            “I mean just outright in your face.”
            There was little question about Sec. Beatty’s qualifications for the judicial seat, Beyond serving as secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety, the Salisbury native also served as director of the State Bureau of Investigation for a period, and a commissioner on the North Carolina Utilities Commission.
            Beatty is a graduate of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law.
            Beatty had appeared before three different legislative committees, and, sources say, was never negatively reviewed once, never faced any opposition.
            “This is yet another instance of Republicans working to inject partisan politics into our courts,’ said Ford Porter, Gov. Cooper press spokesman, noting that GOP lawmakers had no problem confirming Republican former Gov. Pat McCrory’s staffer Andrew Heath as a Special Superior Court judge before he left office.
            Though he hadn’t see it at the time of the interview, Dr. Spearman was also outraged by a poster, apparently circulated by Republican lawmakers on the last day of the Short Session, titled, “When Governors Ignore the Will of the People,” which pictured 12 judges and former judges -  three of them black - who were all appointed by NC Democratic governors: former state Supreme Court Associate Justice G. K. Butterfield (now a congressman); former NC Supreme Court Associate Justice James A. Wynn, Jr. (now a US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals judge); and Superior Court Judge Vince Rozier, who was appointed by Gov. Cooper in 2017.
            “The code words are usually that they ant the “best judges,” Dr. Spearman quipped in reaction.
            “And you know who the “best” are!”


Monday, July 2, 2018



            [RALEIGH] The 2018 Short Session of the NC General Assembly ended June 29th, but no matter how the Nov. 6thmidterm elections turn out, the same state lawmakers will be back for at least one more lame duck session to write laws based on whichever of the six NC constitutional amendment referenda pass during the election. This gives current Republican lawmakers a chance to set in constitutional stone the laws most important to them if the Democrats take over the state House or Senate, or both. Democrats argue that no new laws should be passed prior to the January 2019 long session, but of course, Republican leaders aren’t listening.

            [RALEIGH] NC Dept. of Public Instruction Supt. Mark Johnson announced last week that 61 positions were being eliminated from the state education agency, affecting some 40 employees and 21 vacant positions in Educator Support Services, which focuses on low performing schools throughout the state, and Information Technology.  The cuts were required by the legislature, which slashed 6.2 percent of the agency’s funding.

            [ZEBULON] People are hailing the selfless act of a 36 year-old man who saw a young child drowning in the water at Little River Park in Zebulon, and without hesitation, jumped in and save the 8-year-old boy, only to then drown himself. Jeremie Earp is now being called a hero for giving his life for a child he didn’t even know, his friends are saying. Meanwhile, the child he rescued is said to be doing well.

                                                   JUSTICE ANTHONY KENNEDY
                                              REV. DR. T. ANTHONY SPEARMAN
                                               NCCU LAW PROFESSOR IRV JOYNER

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Nothing has sent more shockwaves across the political spectrum this midterms election season than the unexpected announcement U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy – who many considered a moderate swing vote on the nine-justice High Court on issues of civil rights, abortion and education – would be retiring on July 31stafter 30 years, allowing Pres. Trump to chose his second conservative justice this term, and definitely swinging the Supreme Court to the right.
            Trump is expected to announce his nomination on Monday, July 9th. Senate Democrats have vowed to do everything they can to block the nomination, but procedurally, there’s not much that c an be done, and Senate Republicans promise to take up the nomination before January.
            Progressive groups believe that once Trump gets his choice on the High Court, canon law like a woman’s right to choose via Roe v Wade will be overturned, in addition to other civil rights laws.
            Here in North Carolina, NCNAACP Pres. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, like others in the civil rights community across the nation, was not pleased by the news,
            “The retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's "swing vote" is certain to have a far reaching and devastating impact on people of color,” Dr. Spearman said in a statement. “It will prove once and for all just how "social" justice actually is in this nation. With his nomination(s) #45 will cure the blindness of justice for generations to come, pull the rug of yet another check upon the power to oppress from beneath us and American law will be outlawed for all the world to see.”
Nominated by President Ronald Reagan in 1987, Justice Kennedy, 81, is
 considered the most powerful member of the High Court precisely because no one knew just how he was going to vote on a case before the Court.
            In terms of civil rights, Kennedy has been a strong proponent for gay rights and gay marriage. In a 2000 decision, he agreed that hate crimes should allow racial intent to affect sentencing, and he upheld that a suspect should be read his/her Miranda rights upon being arrested.
            And even though, he wrote the 1986 majority opinion upholding Michigan’s ban on affirmative action in college admissions, Justice Kennedy did say that “…the consideration of race in (college) admissions is permissible,” as long as the voters don’t say otherwise.
            Irving Joyner, law professor at the North Carolina Central University School of Law, and chair of the NCNAACP Legal Redress Committee, says Kennedy will be deeply missed.
            “Many rights, which citizens enjoy today, will be curtailed and the protections presently provided to African Americans and other minorities by past Civil Rights decisions and statutes are in immediate and imminent danger of being repealed or significantly diminished,” Prof. Joyner warned.
            “These are serious times for African Americans,” Joyner continued. “We can expect the immediate enactment of more repressive laws by state legislatures and the "right wing" zealots will be emboldened. That projection is especially relevant here in North Carolina where this General Assembly, which is already illegally constituted, will likely seek to impose more restricted voting restrictions on African Americans, other racial minorities and women.”
            And NCNAACP Pres. Spearman urged citizens to be proactive, starting now.
            “Start calling your senators now and demand that the process for selecting the next Supreme Court justice be careful, deliberative and conducted with bipartisan support,” Dr. Spearman said. “Demand that the process not begin until AFTER the next Senate is seated in January and not before.”

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Some have criticized it for its haste and keeping important legislation close to the vest, then springing it at the last minute with nary a hearing or debate. Other have criticized the 2018 NC Legislative Short Session for trying to codify long held agenda items Republican could not pass as state statute without the courts getting involved, into the state Constitution.
            But one thing is for certain, many observers note, is that Republican legislative leaders continued not to be friendly to the state’s African-American community.
            First, the state House passed changes to the early voting law, inexplicably eliminating the last Saturday before Election Day, and requiring all early voting sites to remain open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., effectively forcing many counties not to open as many because of lack of volunteer staffing.
            Eliminating the last early voting Saturday was seen as a direct slap-in-the-face to African-American voters, because it traditionally is the most popular early voting day for them to come out.
            Only after the bill was sent over to the state Senate did cooler heads realize that it might be too easy for a court to see what the House had done, and that the last early voting Saturday was restored. After the House finally complied, the law goes into effect this October.
            Black Democrats in both the House and the Senate fought mightily against the constitutional amendment placing voters to approve voter ID, details to be filled in later.
The 2013 voter ID law passed by the Republican-led General Assembly was struck down in 2016 in federal court as being directed towards suppressing the black vote with “almost surgical precision,” but that didn’t Republicans from passing this referendum question for the November elections, hoping that if citizens say “yes,” lawmakers can come back on November 27thin Special Session, and design another voter ID law to their liking.
            On Friday, both the state House and Senate went into special joint session to decide which of Gov. Roy Cooper’s nominations as Special Superior Court judges they would confirm. 
            Gov. Cooper nominated three – a white male, a white female, and Bryan Beatty, an African-American who has previously served as a commissioner on the NC Utilities for ten years, and director of the State Bureau of Investigation, and secretary of the state Dept. of Crime Control and Public Safety.
            Beatty had appeared before three different legislative committees, and, sources say, was never negatively reviewed once, never faced any opposition.
            Republican lawmakers, who hold the majority, voted Bryan Beatty’s nomination down without explanation.
            “This is yet another instance of Republicans working to inject partisan politics into our courts,’ said Ford Porter, Gov. Cooper press spokesman, noting that GOP lawmakers had no problem confirming Republican former Gov. Pat McCrory’s staffer Andrew Heath as a Special Superior Court judge before he left office.
            And finally, Republicans allegedly “…hung fliers around the General Assembly…with the names and faces of [three] prominent African-American judges and attacked them by name, “ according to Robert Howard, communication Director for the NC Democratic Party.
            Indeed, a picture of the flier shows 12 current and former NC judges, three of them black. 
Current Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1) is pictured, with the caption noting that former Gov. Mike Easley appointed him to the NC Supreme Court in Feb. 2001, as well as a Superior Court judge. The flier also shows Superior Court judge Vince Rozier, who was appointed by Gov. Easley in 2017, and current US Fourth Circuit Judge James A. Wynn Jr., who was first appointed by Gov. Hunt to the NC Supreme Court in 1998, the appointed to the NC Court of Appeals in 1999.
            The title of the flier – “WHEN GOVERNORS IGNORE THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE.” All of the judges and former judges on the flier were once appointed by Democratic NC governors.
            The NC Republican Party was asked to comment on the flier, but no comment was forthcoming by deadline.