Weekly Briefing

Weekly Briefing

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Another Election Day that most North Carolinians will sit out

Today is primary Election Day in North Carolina. Across our state, voters will make scores of important decisions about the future of our democracy. In many places, Democrats and Republicans will select the two finalists in a host of key contests – from the United States Senate to the state legislature to the state courts. In many others, where one party or the other dominates, today’s vote will effectively decide the outcome of the election.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

State must act ASAP to address facts uncovered in Policy Watch hurricane recovery investigation

In some ways, of course, there’s nothing new or terribly surprising when large bureaucracies – be they government agencies or big corporations – are revealed to be plagued by waste and malfeasance. Humans and their institutions being as they are, flawed and prone to human foibles like incompetence, greed, sloth, overpromising, and favoritism, such revelations have been a constant in the American experience since prior to the country’s founding.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

The last best chance for North Carolina’s public schools

A few years ago, I reserved a room at the North Carolina Association of Educators Building in Raleigh for a large public luncheon. When our team arrived a half hour before the event to get set up, however, we encountered a troubling surprise. To our alarm, we discovered that there had been a scheduling mix-up and the large room in question was occupied by a sizable assemblage of teachers who were in town for some kind of training session. Tables, chairs, and materials were scattered across the room. What to do?

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Original Commentary Top Story Weekly Briefing

Curbing gun violence: another plea for finding common ground

Several years ago, while driving in Raleigh to what was then a regular, weekly breakfast with my (now deceased) mom, I found myself at a stoplight, briefly shouting and shaking my fist in what, I later realized, could have appeared to reasonable observers to be a moment of angry road rage. In fact, the object of my ire was not some perceived slight from another driver.

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Five simple Tax Day truths the political right would rather you not consider

If you’re not among the 7% or so of Americans who were expected to file for an extension, Tax Day 2022 has come and gone. Congratulations! While no one really enjoys paying taxes, April 15 – or as was the case this year, April 18 – marks an important annual moment in the life of our democracy.../p ...

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Original Commentary Top Story Weekly Briefing

NC Department of Public Instruction pours more salt on teachers’ wounds

Life as a public school teacher in North Carolina has never been a walk in the park or a path to easy prosperity. Though the job has always been enormously challenging and of supreme importance, the pay and working conditions have – in part because teaching was for so long generally viewed by our sexist society as “women’s work” – always been below par.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

North Carolina should follow California’s lead on hog farming

As the dire worldwide climate emergency makes ever clearer, humans have much urgent work to do when it comes to dramatically reducing fossil fuel emissions. Even with rapid and hugely ambitious action, the effects of global warming will continue to worsen in the decades ahead and the best-case scenarios will be largely about minimizing harm. That said, the situation would likely be measurably worse today if it were not for the actions of one very important U.S. state: California.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

What’s really “wrong” when it comes to Mark Robinson and abortion

You’ve undoubtedly seen the headlines by now. North Carolina’s perpetually controversial Lt. Governor, Mark Robinson – a man given to frequent public bouts of anti-Semitism and homophobia – has become enmeshed in yet another political storm of his own making. This time, the subject is abortion. After an old story came to light about Robinson paying for an abortion more than three decades ago for his wife Yolanda prior to their marriage, the Lt. Governor – a fierce present-day opponent of abortion rights – took to electronic media to proclaim the decades-old action “wrong.”

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On an important anniversary, sound advice for North Carolina from a conservative Republican

Sometimes, when discussing important topics of public policy, it’s useful to dispense with all the talk of data and budgets and legal fine print and get down to what really matters: the impact on human beings. To his great credit, that’s what the former governor of Ohio, Republican John Kasich, did recently when he testified before a North Carolina legislative committee.

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An education free-for-all

NC’s complete lack of homeschooling oversight is a disservice to children and our state’s future The idea of compulsory school attendance for children is not a new or radical one in modern society. The World Bank reports that, of the globe's nearly 200 recognized nations, only a tiny handful fail to mandate school attendance.

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NC demonstration in support of Ukraine
Top Story Weekly Briefing

Putin’s war on Ukraine provides a powerful reminder to Americans: Maybe we’re not as divided as we had thought

It seems certain that one of the contributing factors in the disastrous calculus that led Russian dictator Vladimir Putin to believe he could get away with his murderous and criminal invasion of Ukraine was his perception of weakness and division in the United States. And, of course, it was not a completely unreasonable perception to hold.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

The message Americans need to hear at a critical moment in history (and that too many are unwilling to receive)

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, then-President George W. Bush famously prescribed a somewhat surprising course of action for Americans looking to do their part to combat the dark forces behind the terror: consumerism. Rather than lifting up concepts like shared sacrifice, self-reflection, or God forbid, slightly higher taxes to pay for the multi-trillion-dollar war he was about to launch, Bush told Americans to “Get on board. Do your business around the country....

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Masking the truth: If only Republican lawmakers really cared about our children as much as they claim to

To listen to North Carolina Republican lawmakers last week as they advanced a bill to end school mask requirements, it was hard not to be struck and even impressed by the passion that some of them displayed in expressing their love and concern for the state’s children. Multiple lawmakers talked of the terrible impact that the pandemic has had on children and the desperate need...

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

In our schools: ‘Yes’ to books, science, diversity…and discomfort

Public school book banning is back in the news. Yes, I know; it’s an amazing development in an era in which every imaginable form of explicit violence, sex, and hate speech resides just seconds away at our children’s fingertips. Research indicates that 95% of American teens have ready access to a smartphone and that more than 90 percent of kids play video games...

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

When it comes to gerrymandering, there simply must be a limit

Last week, the North Carolina Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the most recent batch of egregiously gerrymandered legislative and congressional maps fashioned by Republican majorities at the General Assembly. It should not have been necessary.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

When the market economy and public well-being clash

Controversial Greenville facility proposal provides latest reminder that what’s good for business is not always good for society There’s no doubt that when it comes to the generation of wealth and innovation, the market economy is one of the great inventions of modern human history. Legitimate arguments can and must be had about how much longer humans can keep up the pace of economic growth to which they’ve become accustomed...

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