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Why won’t that uncaring Joe Biden just snap his fingers and lower gas prices?

Hint: It has something to do with the realities of a market economy “In less than a year, Joe Biden has crippled our domestic energy production,” Adam Laxalt (a Republican candidate for a Nevada U.S. Senate seat) tweeted last week. “We’re feeling the effects of Democrat (sic) leadership right now every time we go to the gas pump,” reads a recent fundraising missive from the Nevada Republican Party.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Right-wing extremism hits new lows but “responsible” conservatives remain largely silent

These are, by any fair estimation, divided times in our country. Especially since the onset of the pandemic, the level of venom and bitterness that’s gripped millions of Americans is a sometimes-frightening phenomenon to behold. This troubling reality has clearly been fueled at times by the relative anonymity provided by internet, but it’s also the case that many of those voicing and spurring on aggression, hatred, and even physical violence are only too happy put their names and faces out there.

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Environment News Top Story

Interior Department calls for oil and gas leasing updates, but not ending production

The U.S. Interior Department recommended increased fees for oil and gas exploration on federal lands as part of a long-awaited report released Friday that environmental groups said didn’t go far enough in limiting fossil fuels and Republicans derided as an attack on domestic producers. The report, ordered by President Joe Biden during his first week in office, focuses on fiscal reforms...

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Monday numbers: DOT budget includes $5 million for unmanned aircraft systems

The new state budget, signed into law by Gov. Cooper, the General Assembly included a raft of one-time appropriations of varying sizes that feature extremely vague descriptions and very few details as to the specific purpose for which the funds are to be used. For example, in the Department of Transportation budget, General Assembly allotted a $5 million grant to a Winston-Salem nonprofit known as AeroX for the "development of an urban advanced air mobility system."

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

Immigration protections in Biden’s social policy bill face a new test in the Senate

WASHINGTON — Nearly 100 House Democrats are pushing the Senate to expand immigration protections in President Joe Biden’s massive social spending and climate bill, and advocates say that it may be a last opportunity for years to advance any reform.The letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Dick Durbin of Illinois, urges the Senate to include in its version a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people—something the Senate parliamentarian already has rejected twice in the bill, known as the Build Back Better Act.

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News Top Story

Beyond partisan takes, ‘The Vote Collectors’ shows how the McCrae Dowless scandal was inevitable

In November of 2018, a blue wave brought election victory to Democrats in North Carolina and across the country, sparking a Republican backlash of dubious voter fraud claims. Though those claims were largely false, a genuine - and genuinely strange - election fraud story did emerge.

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News Top Story

How paid leave, a tax cut for the rich and more could get axed from Biden’s social policy bill

WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats cheered on the floor of the U.S. House after approving President Joe Biden’s massive social spending and climate bill. But a major struggle lies ahead in the coming month in the U.S. Senate, where Democrats cannot lose any votes within their party if they are to send the so-called Build Back Better measure to Biden’s desk.

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Other Voices Top Story

In the face of sustained legislative neglect, it’s up to the courts to rescue North Carolina’s public schools

In the rough and tumble realm of politics, it can be a hard call as to whether someone is standing firm on worthwhile principle or simply obstructing out of plain old bullheadedness – perhaps because it plays well among some voters. So let’s consider the example of North Carolina’s legislative leadership and its prickly response to a judge’s order in the epic Leandro school funding case.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Ruthless and relentless: NC GOP election rigging continues apace with new voter suppression bills

You’d think, at some point, the folks who lead the North Carolina Republican Party might experience just the tiniest twinge of sheepishness. Indeed, one can at least imagine a conversation in which, upon being presented with the latest demand to draft yet another voter suppression bill, a still marginally idealistic young aide might muster the gumption to speak up.

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Education News Top Story

Veteran NC educator, school integration pioneer recognized with state’s highest civilian honor

North Carolina Award recipient Dudley Flood reflects on a lifetime of combating segregation and improving public schools At age 90, Dr. Dudley Flood, an education trailblazer who helped North Carolina’s public schools to integrate, can easily recall attending an all-Black high school.  It was more than 75 years ago in tiny Winton, a town of fewer than 800 residents in Hertford County. 

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News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at efforts to help NC renters and landlords during the pandemic

With the legislative session winding down, members of the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations turned their attention last week to how federal dollars have been flowing to help landlords and renters hard hit by the pandemic economy. While the state's Housing Opportunities Prevention Eviction (HOPE) program got off to a bumpy start, distribution of funds has improved significantly since the spring.

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Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

In defending Paul Gosar, Republicans show just how scared they are

Veteran journalist and one-time Republican laments the extremism that's overtaken his former party What does it say about a political party that defends a member as toxic and repulsive as Paul Gosar? What does it say that 207 of the 210 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives...

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Law and the Courts Top Story

In Georgia, testimony concludes in trial of men accused of killing unarmed Black jogger, Ahmaud Arbery

Black pastors flock to courthouse from across the country as prosecutor pokes at credibility of man who fired fatal shots The lead prosecutor in Travis McMichael’s murder trial hammered him Thursday for contradictions and failing to take steps to avoid the deadly confrontation that ended with him shooting Ahmaud Arbery on a suburban Brunswick street in February 2020.

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

General Assembly sends new state budget to Cooper for final approval

Despite concerns, most Senate and House Democrats vote to approve $25.9 billion plan  The first complete state budget in nearly three years will give teachers and state employees raises retroactive to July 1, spend nearly $1 billion to expand broadband, and billions more on new buildings.

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Defending Democracy Original Commentary Other Voices Top Story

Court challenge to voter ID amendment demands unbiased “referees”

Imagine that you are a basketball player. You show up at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Dean Dome or PNC Arena and your opponent’s three-point line is about six feet closer to the hoop than yours is. You probably think, “OK that’s weird,” but then you go looking for the referee to tell them about the rigged lines. You find the referee sitting in your opponent’s locker room, smiling and laughing with one of the players.

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Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

NC State officials say troubled chemistry building has been found safe, but scientists who work there question testing

After a series of tests at N.C. State’s Dabney Hall, home to the Chemistry Department, the school’s Environmental Health and Safety office is saying concerns expressed by staff, faculty and students about air quality are overblown. But chemistry and safety experts in the department say the methodology of the tests was faulty and still show concerning levels of chemical compounds in areas where they shouldn’t appear — including offices where no chemicals are used or stored.

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