OPINIONS^ tCtie Charlotte $o(t
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Betting on the
Gambling and politics.
Say the words in North Carolina these days and a lot of
people will wince, especially Democrats. Some of the tough
politicking that pushed the lottery through the legislature
last year looks worse and worse the more light tliat shines
on the process.
But thae might be some good news in the realm of gam
bling and politics for those North Carolina Democrats who
think their favorite son, John Edwards, has a good chance
to win the Democratic presidential nomi
nation in 2008. In fact, anyone who has
some extra money can make a lot more
money by betting on Edwards than they
could ever expect to win in the state lot-
tery-if Edwards wins the noniination.
Hei’e is how. For eveiy $6 that someone
‘iDets” on Edwaixis, he or she will win $100-
again, if Edwards wins the nomination. (Or
$60 would get you $1000; $600 biings back
$10,000, or $6,000 would give a $100,000
Ib make a “bet” on Edwards, go to the InteiTiet political
futures market firm, Intrade (www.intrade.com). Intrade
calls itself a “TVading Exchange for Prediction Markets,”
which means that it accepts wagers on the various possi
ble outcomes of political races and other news events.
The good news for Edwaixis “bettois” might not be such
good news for Edwards himself The low price for an
Edwards contract means that many other bettors do not
give him much of a chance.
On the other hand, if you wanted to bet money on Hillary
Clinton winning the Demoa*atic nomination, you would
have to put up about $43 to get the chance to win $100. For
a betting person, Clinton does not have nearly as much
upside as Edwards. A lot of people are betting on her.
' But for Edwards, Clinton’s hi^ price is not good news.
The smart money is betting on her.
However, there may be worse news for Edwards. The
price to bet on formei* Virginia governor Mai'k Warner is
about $24 for a chance to win $100.
One of Edwards’s appeals to Democrats has been his
claim to be the “southern” candidate, which could be
important because the only Democratic presidential candi
dates to win the popular vote since the 1960 election have
been Southerners. (Lyndon Johnson-1964, Jimmy Carter-
1976, Bill Clinton-1992 and 1996, and A1 Gore-2000)
Now, the political bettors are tellii^ us that Edwairis has
a challenger for the “Southern Candidate,” namely Mai’k
Warner, and that Warner has four times better odds to win
What about the chances of other Demoa’ats, in the eyes
of the political bettors? Here is a quick rundown fiom a
recent Intrade listing. These are prices for the chance to
A1 Gore-$5; Russ Feingold $4; Joe Biden $2.50; Bill
Richardson-$2.50; Evan Baj4i-$3.50; Barack Obania-$l;
There are lots of others. For a dime or two, you could win
$100 if Mike Easley should become the Democratic nomi
What about the Republican possibilities?
The political bettors favor John McCain. Tb get $100 if he
should win the Republican nomination, you would have to
put up about $35.
As in the Democratic race, the second strongest candi
date comes fixjm "N^iginia, Senator George Allen. His $100
bet would cost you about $28.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s bet cost about
$11 and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, about $7;
Condoleezza Rice, $4; Florida Governor Jeb Bush, $3;
Newt Gingrich, $3; Bill Frist, $3.
If you are looking for a North Carolina long shot on the
Republican side, you can buy a $100 contract on our
Senator Elizabeth Dole for 20 or 30 cents.
Finally, Intrade ofifers contracts on the party to win 2008
If you are willing to bet about $47.50, you can get $100 if
the Democratic candidate wins. If you want to bet on the
Republicans to win, it will cost about $51.
Are you tempted by any of these possible bets? A lot of
North Carolinians have learned never to underestimate
the political skills and attractiveness of John Edwards.
Some of them will surely bet on him at the “baigain” price
listed for his (x>ntracts.
But remember, most gambling in North Carolina is a still
D.G. MARTIN is the host of UNC-TV's North Carolina
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That dog won’t hunt
Dmijig a recent school board meeting, a series of speakers,
including this writer, addiessed the board on recommendations of
the corporate-appointed task force whose mission was the pro
posed re-structuring of CTiarlotte-Mecklenbmg Schools. And gen
erally, without exception, all speakers expressed opposition to pro
posals by the Task Force, although a few of these 21 proposals may
have some merit.
Nonetheless, upon review of all Task Force rec
ommendations, I have concluded, metaphorically,
that dog won’t hunt; that is, collectively, these pro
posals will do very little, if anything, to address
problems of crisis proportions within CMS, espe
cially in relation to blacks. Conversely, many of
these recommendations will do fai* more harm
than good for our Afiican American community
Perhaps the most dangerous of these recom
mendations is the requirement for at-laige elec
tions of board members, after a so-called robust
political contest within each district. Indeed and
obviously, this recommendation, if accepted, would destroy black
political representation that, already, is far too weak, probably pro
viding us with an all-white school board that controls a predomi
nantly black student body, presently around 44 percent of CMS
However, we blacks should accept the I'ecommendation that elec
toral districts should be I'ealigned to reflect growth and demo
graphic changes, but only as these demographic changes are mea-
sui'ed by the propoition of students attending CMS, providing
blacks with about 44 percent of schod board members, in contrast
to the present political under-representation.
Unfortunately, there aie many other proposals in this Task Force
report that should be rejected, categorically For example, the
granting of - charter-like — autonomy to certain high performing
(read: predominantly white) schools, when, in fact, it is the so-
called low performing (read: predominantly black) schools that
need greater autonomy, especially to provide our black students
with an Afiican-centered, genuine education, best defined as
wholistic development, which they are not receiving now within
Moreover, we should reject, categorically, the outsourcing of non
instruction services such as transportation, food service, and print
ing - a proposal that, predictably, will reduce, if not eliminate,
many service-oriented jobs presently held by blacks.
Most tragically, these task force recommendations do not
address many problems of crisis proportions within CMS that
impact negative upon Afiican Americans, as narrated and docu
mented by this author in “The Crisis and Challenge of Black Mis-
education in America: Confionting the Destruction of Afiican
People Through Euro-centric Public Schools” (2001). Apparently,
for example, the task force ignoi'ed the critically important insist
of Professor Roger Wilkins; that is, we can’t have equal outcomes
for children whose parents face dreadfully unequal economic cir
cumstances in this life. Bingo!
In essence, since race is a key factor in these unequal circum
stances in life, as well as within C!!MS, the corporate structure that
commissioned and paid big bucks for this task force, should have
mandated a focus on disproportionate black poverty in Charlotte-
Mecklenbuig, in coiyunction with attention to m^or, systemic
problems within public sdiiools, beyond govgnance. For example,
we need mqjor changes in our Euro-centric curriculum that,
presently and perhaps subconsciously, teaches black students to
worship white people while, also subconsciously, teaching blades to
Indeed, many black students are disconnected psychologically
fix)m CMS, devoid of a more positive sense of ethnic identity, a
mqjor factor in recurring disciplinary problems among our stu
dents - problems unheard of when we-blacks had greater control
over our students under the old segregated order. Indeed, our his
torically disadvantaged (read: sodo-economically ripped-off) black
students and parents have a critical need for an Afiican-centered,
truthful-genuine education again, which C!!MS is not providing.
Additionally, CMS has m^or race problems in relation to stu
dent tracking, especially since many blacks are tracked into dead
end courses or pregrams that impact adversely upon their educa
tion and chances for success in life. And there are many other
issues that cry out for attention: the failure to provide ongoing, pro
fessional, culturally relevant education for teachers, the use or
potential abuse of drugs, such as Ritalin, on students, a paucity of
blade teachers, especially males, within the system, etc, ad nause
Ib reiterate and generally, that dog won’t hunt, in relation to rec
ommendations of this Task Force. Therefore, we may antidpate,
that the more things change, the more they remain the same
unless and until all of us better understands the dictum of the late
Honorable Elyah Muhammad; that is, those who do not treat you
ri^t cannot be expected to teach you ri^t. Accordingly, we blacks
must accelerate our efforts to create alternative after-school and
weekend educational programs for our academically abused stu
dents and parents, while continuing to seek m^or reforms within
CMS, our tax-supported institution.
As author Randall Robinson has noted, in “Quitting America,”
(white) America will never tell our people’s story, fully or accurate
ly That we must do for ourselves. Amen!
GYASI A. FOLUKE is a non-traditional minister and CEO of the Kushite
Institute for Wholistic Development in Charlotte.
A journey with
By LaSonya Robinson
SPECIAI. TO THE POST
In the begimiing the emtli was without foim and
void, and darkness was on tlie face of tlie deep.
Broken down by the forces of hatied and evil oiu*
minds have been enslaved, om* fieedom to leam,
speak and write have been taken fiom us.
Blacks have endured mucli tortiue and punish
ment, fium freedom to slaveiy has truly been a joiu -
ney of struggles and challeiges. I can only imagine
the feeling of those who were mistieated with such
cruelty Slavery began several himdied years ago. it
was not until the end of the 14th century that
Europeans began to biing slaves into Euixjpe.
Both the Spanisli and Portuguese sailors were
exploiing tlie coast of Afiica tiying to establish trade
relations, they carried Afiicans to Eiuupe and made
servants of them. By the mid-15th century
Europeans were selling in tlieii' home mai'kets many
Afiican conunodities such as fi*uit, olive oil, gold and
Negro slaves, within a few years the slave tirade
During that time eight himdi'ed slaves wei'e being
to Portugal every yeai*, this made pi'epai'ation for the
New World, making slaveiy and tlie slave trade prof
itable. Fastened to a lifetime of slaveiy the voyage to
America weis a huge nightmai’e. Thero are lecoiris of
small ships carrying about foiu* himdi-ed slaves at a
time. Cliained together by twos, hands and feet, tlie
slaves had no room to be fi*ee or move about. The mil
lions of Afiicans being witlidrawn from their country
constitutes one of the most di'astic social rovolutions
in the annals of history
That is why black history today is so very important
to many We celebrate tlie past and present, victories
lost and won and the many adversities we had to
overcome. Harriet lYibnian, Rosa Parks, and Martin
Luther King just to name of few of oiu* gieat leadeis
that paved the way for oui* fiituie. Never foiget your
history for that is what has made us tough, strong,
courageous and bold. Black is beautiful, black is gold.
lASONYA ROBINSON lives m Charlotte.
truth to power
As the funeral of Cbretta Scott King wore on, there
was a sense in which I thou^it that she might rise up
fix)m the casket and ask where was the legacy to
which she and her husband had devoted their lives
being memorialized, because it sure wasn’t being pro
jected in that house. Then, as if to answer the ques
tion, Rev. Joseph Lowery stepped forth to do so. He
read a poem that was mostly celebra
tory of Coretta, but near the end he
said: ‘We know now there were no
weapons of mass destruction over
there, but there are weapons of mis
direction ri^t down here. Millions
are without health insurance, pover
ty abounds, for war billions more, but
no more for the poor.”
The furor over the statement
reached heights resembling what
might occur ifBin Laden is captured. Both CNN and
Fox news ran the Lowery statement, but edited out
the 18 seconds of standing applause that followed
them. National newspaper headlines aU over the
country questioned whether Cibretta’s funeral was
the place for ‘’political statements," similar to (^cago
IVibune’s header that read, ‘’when a pulpit turns to
There never has been a separation between politics
and the black church. Rev Lowery noted in a subse
quent interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News, the
statement by George H.W. Bush who said he had
“never had such an experience like this before” and
Bill Clinton cedled him one of the ‘’fit)zen chosen” fca*
But the remark was also profound in defining the
difference that existed for a long time between the
black religious experience and white churches, black
churches tended to ei^oy the black experience
because they were the m^or institution allowed by
the slave institution for so long. So, they ran social
services such as schools, health clinics and mutual
aid societies, but were also the base of the civil rights
movements and represented the community to the
dominant political structure.
RONAIJJ WAITERS is a professor at the University of
Maryland College Park.