Original Commentary

Original Commentary

Top Story Weekly Briefing

A moment of hope and light in a dark and violent winter

January has been yet another warm month in North Carolina and across much of the rest of the nation. After a brief and sharp holiday week plunge, temperatures have consistently felt more like mid-March – or, at least, what mid-March used to feel like. And while a globally warm winter certainly has some temporary advantages – especially for people living on the street and those trying to cope with temporarily inflated home heating costs – it’s hard not to be struck with a profound sense of unease at the rapid change afflicting the Earth's biosphere.

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Editorial Cartoon

Emissions.

Read the story that inspired this John Cole cartoon. ...
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Original Commentary Other Voices Progressive Voices Top Story

No, guns do kill people. And the solution is glaringly obvious

The United States has averaged more than one mass shooting per day since January 2022, but elected officials refuse to act. My Nhan, 65, immigrated to the United States from Vietnam in the 1980s, and made her home in California’s San Gabriel Valley, in a community called Rosemead. Her niece, Fonda Quan, said she was ready “to start the year fresh,” and celebrate with her friends, according to the CBC. She never got the chance.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Watchdog or lapdog? New GOP court filings test the independence and legitimacy of the NC Supreme Court

There are many factors that go into building and sustaining a strong and healthy democracy: free, clean and transparently funded elections; inclusive suffrage; freedom of speech and association; an independent news media; predictable and reliable law enforcement; and an absence of widespread corruption. Oh, and at least one more: a strong and independent judiciary that prioritizes protecting citizen rights.

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Editorial Cartoon

UNC’s Prohibition on Compelling Speech 

Click here to read the story that inspired John Cole’s latest cartoon. ...
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Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

Veto showdowns and voter ID: Democracy will be on the defensive again at the legislature in 2023

The N.C. General Assembly gathered on Jan. 11 amid trappings of ceremony and good cheer to kick off its 2023 session. Then reality reared its head: At least in the state House, the majority party apparently intends to play rough. Democrats in the minority are left to wonder if their Republican counterparts see them not as duly elected colleagues with whom they may disagree over this bill or that, but as enemies to be muzzled and marginalized.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

North Carolina House Republicans advance a new kind of bathroom bill

It’s been almost seven years since North Carolina Republican lawmakers and then-Gov. Pat McCrory hastily concocted and enacted House Bill 2 – the infamous “bathroom bill” that targeted transgender people for ignorant, mean-spirited, and altogether absurd discrimination, while simultaneously making the state the target of numerous boycotts and countless late-night TV one-liners. The bill was later repealed, of course, but its legacy – as an embarrassment to be forgotten as quickly as possible...

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Job #1 for the 2023 General Assembly: ending easily preventable deaths

State government has scores of vitally important roles to play in modern North Carolina. The list of agencies and missions is a long one. At a basic level, however, government’s most important task is – or at least ought to be – protecting the lives and health of the state’s residents. And so, while state lawmakers obviously have numerous priorities to weigh and debates to have during the 2023 legislative session that convenes tomorrow, one extremely efficient path for prioritizing their work, fulfilling their most basic duty, and making the state a measurably better place would be this: ending easily preventable deaths.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

A New Year’s resolution for North Carolina: Overhaul the state’s cruel and archaic criminal sentencing system

Gov. Roy Cooper delivered some welcome holiday presents recently to a handful of people who had served long sentences in state prison. Six were granted clemency and an early release, while four others who’d previously served long sentences received full pardons. All 10 appear to have turned their lives around and more than paid their debts to a state in which criminal penalties – particularly those that relate to drug possession and sales – are incredibly severe.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

The most impactful agricultural story of 2022

Whew… what a year. If you closely follow ag doings, you know there’s plenty to talk about. If not, well let me get you caught up. First, three stories that fall just a wee bit short of the most impactful agricultural story of 2022.

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Editorial Cartoon

The bottom line.

Learn more about the story that inspired John Cole’s cartoon here. ...
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Editorial Cartoon Top Story

Year in review: Our top editorial cartoons of 2022

For going on two decades now, NC Policy Watch has been fortunate enough to be able to feature the expertly crafted, frequently hilarious, sometimes disturbing, and always thought-provoking commentaries of one of the nation’s top editorial cartoonists, John Cole. While it would be worth your time to look through all of John’s contributions to Policy Watch from the past here are some his best entries from 2022.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

A holiday wish list for North Carolina pols and their pals

Well, the season of giving is upon us again, and while it’s clear that North Carolina ethics statutes prevent public servants and other “covered persons” from receiving any gifts that might influence their official actions, the law includes a number of – nudge-nudge, wink-wink – exceptions, so one hopes that perhaps there is a way to make the following list a reality. For Senator-elect Ted Budd: A collector’s edition set of official Donald Trump superhero trading cards.

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