Weekly Briefing

The NC GOP’s copycat crusade against voting rights continues

BY: - June 21, 2022

It’s a familiar childhood scene – perhaps even from your own. A group of cool, older kids engages in some kind of rebellious action or expresses a shared opinion on an issue of perceived import and soon thereafter, a younger sibling or friend, trying hard to keep up, attempts to mimic their behavior or statements. The younger kid never gets it quite right, or often, even fully grasps the substance of the subject matter, and their behavior will likely be barely acknowledged by the older ones...


Incremental GOP moves on guns, Medicaid and pot are promising and maddening at the same time

BY: - June 14, 2022

A lot of things have been happening in the world of policy and politics of late that, not all that long ago, seemed fairly unimaginable. In Washington over the weekend, a group of 10 Republican U.S. senators, including North Carolina’s Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, came together with a group of Democrats to announce an important agreement on gun safety legislation. Though extremely modest in scope...


Yes, let’s do talk about ‘rights’ in public education

BY: - June 7, 2022

American politicians have a fondness for bestowing grandiloquent titles on the legislation they sponsor. It’s not enough to describe merely and accurately what a bill does; there needs to be a catchy acronym or inspiring and propagandizing headline built in that will make the bill harder to vote against. Remember the U.S.A. Patriot Act (which stood for “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism”)?

Make no mistake, it’s the guns that make us different

BY: - May 31, 2022

It’s hard to remember now, but three-plus decades ago when the phenomenon of steroids as a performance enhancing drug for athletes first burst upon the American public’s consciousness, there were those who initially defended the practice and/or denied that it provided users with an unfair advantage. After Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson’ astonishing world record victory in the 100 meter finals of the Seoul Olympics...

Governor’s office must do much better on hurricane recovery

BY: - May 24, 2022

As most voters have shown they understand, Roy Cooper has been one of the best governors in modern North Carolina history. He’s a skilled lawyer, pragmatic politician, and a caring and committed progressive who believes in human rights and building a fairer and more equitable and sustainable society. He’s no saint – no one would ever expect such a thing – but in comparison to many of the cynical and on-the-make charlatans and hatemongers...

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Another Election Day that most North Carolinians will sit out

BY: - May 17, 2022

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.

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

BY: - May 10, 2022

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.

The last best chance for North Carolina’s public schools

BY: - May 3, 2022

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?


Curbing gun violence: another plea for finding common ground

BY: - April 26, 2022

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.


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

BY: - April 19, 2022

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


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

BY: - April 12, 2022

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.

North Carolina should follow California’s lead on hog farming

BY: - April 5, 2022

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.