Darlene Cates (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape) Injured and in ICU

3Prayers, love and support go out to my friend, Darlene Cates, who would have been the first guest on my new radio talk show.  Darlene is best known for her role as “Mama Grape” in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.

Darlene suffered a fall a few days ago and broke both her femurs, according to her daughter, Sheri.  She remains in ICU at the time of this post.

Personally, Darlene means a lot to me.  My mother always admired Darlene’s role in her most famous move because the character “Mama Grape” reminded her so much of her own mother.

I contacted Darlene after my mother passed away to tell her how much joy she brought to my mother’s last days—watching her movie over and over again.  And, we became friends ever since.

But, there is so much more to Darlene than that one movie – despite it’s success and Darlene’s success in so many other things.

Darlene is a fighter and a champion.  Despite some physical setbacks and some personal attacks from a few radio morning DJs – Darlene looks and finds the good and the best in people.  A quality I have yet to master and an attribute I deeply admire in her.

Cates has a kind heart and her spirituality and faith in God has brought her through many tough times.  I wish her all the best and my thoughts are with her. 

You don’t often find good people in this world: Darlene is definitely a treasure.  

Get well soon and please find comfort knowing this world is a much better place because of you, your advocacy and your commitment to your faith

(Updated at 10:38 May 19)

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World Trade Organization Says American’s Don’t Need To Know Where Their Meats Come From

4In a nutshell, that’s what the WTO said when it struck down the United States appeal over country-of- origin-labeling.

But – the fear is that Canada and Mexico will now strike back with billions of dollars in tariffs.  Tariffs that will more than likely hurt the American economy and the families that depend on manufacturing.

The North American Meat Institute likes the WTO ruling—they plan to lobby Congress hard to repeal the labeling effects altogether. 

Check out the whole dispute here:


Read what the WTO wrote in the appeal process:

Article 21.5 https://docs.wto.org/dol2fe/Pages/FE_Search/FE_S_S006.aspx?Query=%28@Symbol=%20wt/ds384/ab/rw*%20not%20rw2*%29&Language=ENGLISH&Context=FomerScriptedSearch&languageUIChanged=true#

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Ed Tech Company That Received Millions in RTTT Funds Shuts Down

George Fisher:

This is a good article. The company Thinkgate (a Charlotte based company) was paid millions in Race To The Top Money.  Yet, they close their doors a year after moving to North Carolina.

Originally posted on Lady Liberty 1885:

Education Tech company, Thinkgate LLC, shut its doors this past week.

The company was located in Charlotte, North Carolina and provided a number of services to the North Carolina and other states. The company moved their headquarters to North Carolina just over a year ago.

Just six months ago, Thinkgate hired a new controller and moved into brand new office space in downtown Charlotte.

My gut reaction to this news — is this the start of an education version of Solyndra?

According to Washington Post, Thinkgate was paid by some states with Race To The Top funds:

An education technology company has folded after receiving millions of dollars in federal Race to the Top funds to provide online assessments and other services to school districts.

Charlotte-based Thinkgate LLC shut down last week, according to state education officials in Ohio and Massachusetts, two states that used Race to the Top money…

View original 555 more words

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North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, “I’m running for Governor.”

NC Atty Gen. Roy CooperIn a packed room in Greensboro, North Carolina – the State Attorney General, Roy Cooper, told a crowd of Democrats that he will run for Governor against Republican Pat McCrory.

Cooper spoke to Democrats gathered to elect new district officers saying, “I talked it over with my wife and we came to a decision.  I can beat this man (Pat McCrory).  There it is – I’m running for Governor.”

Cooper sited his reasons saying, “…it’s terrible what the Republicans are doing to local governments.  That’s got to stop.”

He also said that the Republicans ran on low taxes but for many working families in North Carolina, taxes have gone up. 

A key moment, and one that will probably resonate throughout his campaign – which he says he will officially announce later in October, was when he said, “I’m working with Governor Jim Hunt, our education governor, to turn North Carolina around.” 

Cooper got applause when he said of the Republican supermajority, “this is the worst legislation I’ve seen in my lifetime.”

The Attorney General was speaking to a crowd of devoted Democrats – but one message may have landed on deaf ears when he said, “ as you elect your new people today – you can fuss and fight all you want, but we gotta walk out this door working together.”

There was some contention in the hall between fellow Democrats Chris Srgo (the Director of EqualityNC) and Bill Franklin (6th District Chair candidate) when Franklin went up to shake Srgo’s hand.  Srgo made some comments and turned his back.

Srgo, along with Ryan Butler (the LGBT Caucus President and apparent Council of Review Chair for the NCDP) were at the convention in support of  Jillian Brevorka – the other candidate for the NC06 Chair.  She was the eventual winner of that race over Franklin.

The question now becomes can Cooper sidestep the NCDP and brand himself as the leader of North Carolina Democrats? 

If today was any indication, I think he canCooper has a fire in his belly for this race and I think he wants to beat Pat McCrory for the right reasons.   Now, if we can just get Goodwin House to stay out of the way.

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Bill Franklin Running for 6th District Chair – The Voice We Need In This Environment

Bill FranklinSay what you will –Bill Franklin isn’t a pushover or a yes man.  He speaks his mind – and if something is wrong with the Democratic Party – Bill points it out.

Over the past ten years, Franklin has served at the local and State level—and he’s seen it all: the good and the bad.

But, in my opinion, that’s not a reason to vote for Franklin as a District Party Chair.  There are many good Democrats who have worked hard for the Party—most never get recognized or even thanked for that matter: they do it quietly and behind the scenes.

Bill would get my vote because he’s a fighter and he stands up for what he believes is right.  He’s got the guts to make the stand—and that’s good enough for me.

We need Bill Franklin for another reason also: we need to show the Democratic Party in North Carolina is really inclusive.

There—I said itOur Party likes to “pretend” we’re a big tent and all are welcomed but the simple fact is that just isn’t the truth.

The LGBT population in North Carolina is less than 4% but collectively they control close to 40% of the NCDP.   That not inclusion – that’s pandering.

Senior citizens vote in large numbers in North Carolina – but they’ll have only 9 seats going to the DNC from this State.  

And, while we’re at it—apparently someone forgot to tell the the NCDP we have Hispanics in the Tarheel State—the NCDP is only sending 5 to represent that segment of our population.

Bill FranklinI have noting against the Young Democrats or the LGBT community—I fight the good fight as we all do for equality.

But, we don’t need to fill every elected NCDP seat with YDs (some with agendas I won’t address here) or LGBT members just to prove the point that we’re not anti-gay. 

Franklin is qualified and he knows how to run an organization.  More importantly, he knows how to work with people—but he’s not going to let others run over him either—which in this environment is a good quality to have.

There was a rumor floating around last week that if Bill Franklin ran for Chair and won – a donor (who I won’t mention) would stop giving to the district and the candidates.

As far as I’m concerned that’s a major reason to elect him right there.  This pay to play politics has gotten completely out of control and the elected officials we have in the Legislature are scared to put an end to it.

We need Bill Franklin in our corner because frankly I’m tired of all the pussies we’ve elected so far.

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Why Janice Covington Has A Right To Be Pissed At The LGBT

The backstory to the Charlotte Observer article from May 3rd.

Janice CovingtonWhen a preacher got up before the Charlotte city council on March 2, 2015 and said Janice Covington was “a man in a dress [who] walked out of the women’s bathroom” that was only the middle part of a story that started many months earlier.

Video of bathroom incident.

The nondiscrimination ordinance started – according to Covington – over a local community college issue regarding a transgender student in a restroom.

If truth were to be told—that whole issue should and could have been handled as an administrative internal matter—as most things of that nature are.

But, it wasn’t—it escalated.

Scott Bishop with HRC – MECK Pac, went before the Charlotte city council and the administration and worked out a complex nondiscrimination ordinance with four different parts.

Before it was over, Equality NC and the state Democratic LGBT got involved to offer support (sigh).

Over the past few months, I’ve talk to a few lawyers who actually looked at the ordinance and who understand state and federal statutes. 

Most say that although those organizations had a perfect right to pursue their cause—it was much ado about nothing.  Most of the language already exists in one form or another in other areas of the law.

Except for Ordinance #4: BATHROOMS

There are no state or federal laws – pursuant to accommodation of choice based on gender identity.   In North Carolina it’s left up to the municipalities—and that probably is a good thing.

When HRC found out they didn’t have the votes to pass the ordinance—they wanted to throw out the bathroom clause.  But, it was too late—the media and conservative organizations had already gotten wind of the issue and the firestorm was afoot.

From the very beginning, Janice Covington told HRC and the supporters of the nondiscrimination ordinance it wouldn’t pass and the votes weren’t there.  “I told them they were going about it the wrong way,” she told me in a telephone conversation.

“I went to every council member—I know them all—and I talked with them individually.  I knew the votes weren’t there from the way they answered my questions.”

Originally, Covington wasn’t even invited to speak at the pubic comment hearing before the city council on March 2nd.   But, when she made international news as the first transgender to run for NCDP Chair—her presence almost became a necessity—especially in light of another candidate who ended up being elected calling her ‘a man’ at a candidate forum.


Even though the city council voted down the ordnance—Janice didn’t stop.  “I do business in that building—I needed to know what to expect the next time I went in there and needed to use the restroom,” she said.  “I’m 67 years old and have medical issues that cause me to go to the restroom more often—I can’t help that.”

Covington wrote letters to the city in an effort to get them to clarify their position on bathroom issues within city buildings as it relates to gender identity. 

And, as stated in the Charlotte Observer article—the response was favorable to her. But, it goes beyond that on many levels and it points to the failure of the LGBT community and how they relate and communicate with their transgender brother and sisters.

Janice Covington has been an activist for transgender rights for over 30 years—longer than some LGBT leaders have been alive; she knows a thing or two about getting things done in politics.

But, not once did anyone from HRC, the LGBT community or Equality NC ever reach out to activity engage her and solicit her opinion and consultation.

In fact, I have followed this story from the beginning and I would go so far as to say they purposefully shied away from her.

It was Covington who cleared the air regarding the Charlotte bathroom issue—not Equality NC, not HRC and not anyone in the local or state LGBT movement. 

Had they worked with her from the beginning—it would have caused less headache, less attention (or was that the aim all along) and it certainly would have been less expensive.

This is yet another example of LGBT activist saying one thing and doing another.  

Janice will be hosting her own syndicated radio talk show beginning mid May on www.AmericaTalkland.com  hosts

Janice was recently awarded the Rosa Parks Award for her activism.  She was appointed to the North Carolina Democratic Party delegate selection committee to the 2016 DNC convention. She was elected to serve as a State Executive Committee member and is a Mecklenburg county precinct chair.  

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Who’s Running For North Carolina’s 3rd District Chair?

After everything that has gone on in that district over past six months – the question should be who  would want it?

I got a message yesterday saying that Chris Hardee, the ousted, then reinstated, discredited then reappointed former Chair of that congressional district is running again for that seat.

But, I’m also hearing his 1st Vice, Betsy Leech has thrown her hat into that cesspool of downeast Democratic politics—mostly, I’m told out of anticipation that Patsy Keever’s claims to the Executive Council who reinstated Hardee were true: that he wasn’t planning on running again—she intended to hire him as a district coordinator but wanted his name cleared.


Wouldn’t it be great that instead of the same suspects the third congressional district was able to elect someone completely different.  Someone with the guts and the political acumen to work for real Democrats and make a difference for the 750,000 people who live in eastern North Carolina.

The convention and election is May 16th – and I’m sure the same cast of characters will be on hand to sink the Democratic Party further into the electoral abyss.

2But, I’m told there are others running – Erik Anderson, who I’ve come to respect and admire.  He ran the closest race against incumbent Walter Jones in recent history—even at the expense of Chris Hardee.

He’s a tested and true Democratic leader and he would do eastern NC proud.

Another on the list – as an email implies is 2014 congressional candidate Marshall Adame.  Adame has 3made mention that he will be at the convention on May 16 and he will make a speech.  What that speech might be—I have no idea.  But, I bet it will be interesting. 

There is certainly no one on the face of this planet I admire any more than Marshall Adame.  He literally gave his life for this country as a Marine and diplomatic appointee. 

If I had a dollar for every person who has told me they now wish they had voted for Adame instead of Patsy Keever—I’d never have to work another day in my life.  But, sadly, that wasn’t the case—he fell short in his bid for NCDP Chair.

But, this story isn’t about Keever, the NCDP or her shortcoming –which are many as she flies back from San Francisco this weekend having gathered with  her fellow state Chairs.

It’s about 16.5% of eastern North Carolina living in poverty—it’s about the lack of jobs and wonderful teachers who need more pay to make ends meet.  It’s about Medicaid expansion and the lack thereof causing people to literally die.  Remember the closing of Pungo.

I’m not putting all of that on the NC 03 Chair.  But, we need an organizer who can bring and support good Democrats to the election cycle and help them win elections: NOT WORK BEHIND THEIR BACK AND AGAINST THEM.

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