Cash Michaels, Obama Watch Analyst On Imhotep Gary Byrd's Show, Stricken By Stroke

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Cash Michaels

[Publisher's Commentary]

Cash Michaels, a member of the "Obama Watch" weekly program on Imhotep Gary Byrd's radio show on WLIB- 1190AM has suffered a stroke.

Cash reports that he has incapacitation on his left leg and some impairment on his left arm. Cash won't be joining our regular discussions for a few weeks as he rehabilitates and recovers.

He will be badly missed while away from the show.  He's editor and chief reporter at The Carolinian Newspaper (Raleigh) and also a documentary filmmaker.

I've enjoyed working with Cash Michaels. We had many famous loud arguments --some would say outbursts-- on the show.  We'd often go at it, shouting our opposing positions, even over the voice of the show's host, Gary Byrd.

Cash is based in North Carolina and it's a good thing we all called in for the show by phone. Had we all been in the studio, maybe we would have jumped at each other and forced Byrd to become a referee.

We were both passionate about politics and followed local, national and global news closely.

Cash often took the position that I was unwilling to criticize President Obama even when he had made wrong political or strategic decisions. Many listeners agreed with him. I remember a caller on the show once claimed that if Obama ordered me to run into a burning building I would do so without any questions. I recall responding: "Only after you run in first caller!"

Many callers also agreed with my position that Obama was operating against long odds, including Republican lawmakers, including racist ones, who were determined to undermine him. Many wished him ill -- they shared Rush Limbaugh's view when he famously declared before Obama was sworn into office: "I hope he fails."

I had also been a leading critic of the Obama administration on it's abysmal policies towards Libya and Syria.

Eventually, Cash and I developed a friendship and this is what triggered it for me. One day, after one of our heated exchanges, a caller who identified herself as an elderly lady said Obama Watch was the most informative program in the country but that she had come to the painful decision to tune off -- she was turned off by our arguments. We were also setting a bad example for young people.

That caller woke us up. The show wasn't about who sounded smartest between Cash and I; it was about offering the best analyses and information to the listeners and allowing them to form their own conclusions.

From then on, even when Cash and I disagreed --which we continued to do so -- the tone was respectful. We would allow the other person to finish making their points rather than cutting each other off. There may have been one or two other outbursts; those were exceptional, not the norm.

When we stopped shouting at each other, we listened to what the other person was saying. I found myself agreeing with Cash more than when we were busy yelling and not listening to each other.

We actually became friends and on several occasions Cash had me call into his radio show in North Carolina as a guest commentator on national and international politics. I learned from Cash and I hope he also picked up something from me.

Meanwhile over the years Obama Watch had developed loyal listeners. Two brief incidents --and there are dozens more-- illustrate the point:

Once while walking on Broadway near 96th Street in Manhattan and talking on my mobile phone a stranger interrupted me. "Excuse me brother, I just wanna shake your hands," he said. "You don't know me. You're Milton Allimadi and I listen to you and Cash Michaels and Bankole on Gary's show. I recognized your voice while you were speaking on the phone...."

On another occasion I was having lunch at a Spanish restaurant on Madison Avenue near 34th Street when I noticed a lady with a male companion staring at me. As I was walking out she leapt to her feet and grabbed my hands. "Milton Allimadi. I listen to you and Cash Michaels on Obama Watch every week on Gary Byrd and I remember you from Like It Is..." she said, referring to the late Gil Noble's show on ABC TV. "Oh, that's my husband," she added, without letting go of my hand. (The husband did not seem amused at all especially when she added that some Sundays when they dine out she tells her husband to hurry up eating so they can get home in time for the show's start).

Just over one week ago, my world was jolted when I received a Facebook message from a friend of Cash's about his stroke and hospitalization.

Even in his condition, from his hospital bed, Cash, the consummate and serious journalist, had instructed his friend to inform me about his condition so I could let Gary Byrd know that he would not be on the Obama Watch show last Sunday.

Early during the week I was elated when I got a message via Facebook from Cash Michaels himself.

This is part of what he wrote:

"Milt, thanks for the love and support. Means a lot, and I will be back..." he wrote.  "Please tell Gary, and thanks. GOD has spared me with this stroke."

He added that "it was a stroke that incapacitated my left leg, slightly impacted my left arm, but spared my mind and rest of body. It also revealed a troubling heart condition as well. So I will be rehabbing for the next few weeks, but I will be back."

Obama Watch started during the 2008 presidential election. The "round table" initially included me, Herb Boyd, Bankole Thompson, senior editor at The Michigan Chronicle, and Cash Michaels. Boyd later started appearing on another one of Byrd's shows and left the three of us as Byrd's regular guests.

Others who frequently join us are: Rep. Gregory Meeks; veteran journalist George Curry; and Prof. Gloria Browne-Marshall, who covers the U.S. Supreme Court and also writes for The Black Star.

I urge everyone who has been enlightened by the analyses Cash Michaels brings to Obama Watch every week and who care about him to send him well wishes, prayers, cards, letters, and any support in small or big envelopes, as he battles to heal, via:

Cash Michaels, PMB -216 (Private Mail Box 216), 2054 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary, NC 27518

Personally, I also send the brother my love and well wishes to his wife, daughters, and extended family as they help to nurse him back to health.

See you back on Obama Watch brother Cash Michaels!


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