Archives by: Billy Ball

Billy Ball

About the author

Billy Ball, Managing Editor, joined Policy Watch in January 2016. In his 15+ years as a North Carolina reporter, he’s covered public schools, state and local politics, courts, the environment, criminal justice and immigration for publications like The Independent Weekly, The Sanford Herald andThe Monroe Enquirer-Journal. During that time, he’s won more than two dozen state, regional and national awards for his reporting and writing, including recognition for investigative reporting, commentary, and news features. In 2018, he won first place from the N.C. Press Association for political reporting. And his 2014 reporting on the death of Michael Anthony Kerr, which earned him a national award for “media impact” from The Media Consortium, exposed the mistreatment of a North Carolina inmate with mental illness in solitary confinement. His reporting led to ongoing reforms in how the state handles prisoners with a mental illness. Billy is a graduate of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism.
billy@ncpolicywatch.com
919-861-1460

Billy Ball's articles and posts

Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

Mark Johnson, state schools superintendent, finds comedy in one troubled school system’s tragedy

If North Carolina Republicans are confounded by the notion that every last one of them disdains public education—and, surely, not all of them do—they should tune into Mark Johnson’s bro huddle with right-wing talk show host KC O’Dea last Friday to see where a North Carolinian might get such a notion.

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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

Make no mistake. The budget failed because Republicans failed to compromise.

There is a temptation—and believe me, I understand it—to celebrate the fleeting nature of this week’s special session of the North Carolina state legislature as some sort of success.

Resist that temptation...

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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

How Trump’s lies may cost him during the Iran saga

Although he torches norms like a 10-year-old cooks bugs beneath a magnifying glass, Donald Trump is not the first American president to be compromised. In wartime, peacetime, or whatever it is we are calling this incendiary moment. As the journalist Eric Alterman explained in his 2004 autopsy of executive mendacity, “When...

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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

As voter ID falls again, Republicans are still confusing predator with prey

Say one thing for Dan Bishop and his nihilistic pals in the Republican Party: They see the farce in New Year’s resolutions.  Resolutions come in shiny and new, be-tuxed and coiffed, and scuttle out the club’s emergency exit in the mid-morning light, face a mess. So why bother? 

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Education Top Story

The lingering inequality of school discipline in North Carolina

Mark Robinson ostensibly addressed the Guilford County Board of Education, but the broad, barrel-chested man spent most of his two-minute speech in November booming at the audience instead. “Folks who sit in offices in high places and look ...
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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

After Republicans’ latest gerrymandering low, now is the time for your outrage

It may be difficult to say how you are feeling this morning, two mornings after a Superior Court panel — facing the impending launch of the 2020 election cycle — choked down another GOP-manipulated map for North Carolina congressional districts.

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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

How NC’s broken politics made a disaster of Medicaid again

Tuesday’s inevitable announcement of a delay in North Carolina’s Medicaid transformation is an unqualified disaster. We will labor over who to blame. Republicans will castigate Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who vetoed the “mini-budget” funding transformation in August. 

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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

Wallowing in the mire: The UNC Board of Governors hits another low

“The hymn in church yesterday,” Dan Gerlach, the embattled former ECU interim chancellor, tweeted Sunday. “‘All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well…’ And it will.” Whether you’re inclined ...
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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

North Carolina lawmakers: Time’s up to write an education budget, pay our teachers

Next week is Halloween. Shortly after that comes the holidays. Which is to say that the N.C. General Assembly is more than nine months into its deliberations in Raleigh, and they still haven’t delivered this squealing baby -- in other words, a budget that appropriately funds North Carolina’s 1.5 million public school children.

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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

Amid Trump’s lies, what to do about a problem like Facebook?

When the journalist Michael Kinsley wrote in 1984 that a gaffe “is when a politician tells the truth,” perhaps he saw the future. Kinsley could not, however, have foreseen our current political climate.

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