Original Commentary

Original Commentary

Progressive Voices Top Story

Courts rightfully unswayed by GOP’s voter ID push

The North Carolina General Assembly’s Republican majority is down to what looks to be its last-ditch defense of the voter ID law it rammed through at the tail end of 2018: Stop complaining because it could be worse! That was the thrust of the argument mounted by GOP legislative chiefs as they tried to fend off yet another lawsuit accusing them of discriminating against African-American voters to gain an advantage at the polls. News flash – it isn’t working. Again.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

The meddlers behind the mess in the UNC system

Tim Moore is looking for a “gold parachute.” That’s the news that Policy Watch reporter Joe Killian confirmed in an exclusive story last week. Two members of the East Carolina University Board of Trustees and three members of the UNC Board of Governors (BOG) confirmed to Killian that North Carolina’s three-term...

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Progressive Voices Top Story

The spiritual practice of grocery shopping

After a few months of unemployment I was going stir-crazy so I got a job as a cashier at a local grocery store, one of many in the region. I learned several lessons of the grocery business: Remember the code for bananas (4011) even if you forget all others. Keep one hand scanning the soup can while you pick the second up from the cart so things go faster. Remember the Thursday 5% senior discount or there’s hell to pay. Multi-task or die—you must be socially engaging while keeping your hands moving as fast as physically possible. I was great at the social engagement but stumbled on codes and scanning. One day a customer gave me flowers because, he said, I clearly was having a bad day. I was trying so hard that I didn’t even know it.

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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

After latest court setback, Tim Moore and the GOP must drop their voter ID con

Say this for North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore and his surrogates, they are determined con artists.  After a unanimous state Court of Appeals panel dealt the GOP their latest voter ID defeat Tuesday, Moore seemed more like a desperate salesman pitching a broken vacuum than the speaker of North Carolina's House of Representatives in his scathing rebuttal.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Yes Virginia (and North Carolina and all the other states), the global environmental crisis is an existential threat

The lengths to which conservative ideologues and members of the Trump cult will go in order to avoid admitting the urgency of the global environmental crisis grows more and more remarkable and disturbing. For decades, groups and individuals on the right – many of them directly funded by the Koch brothers and other fossil fuel plutocrats – denied that global warming was even happening. You remember these claims from the early part of the century:

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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

Greg Lindberg, the man who knew too many

For a man who knew everybody, Greg Lindberg might seem in the coming days like a man who knew nobody. And at this point, perhaps he doesn’t. Lindberg, the indicted financier tied up in a widening bribery scandal, is so intimate with federal investigators’ sonorous tones and heavy breathing upon his shoulder he can tell you what their agents had for lunch (my guess is roasted chicken, white rice, steamed cauliflower and a half-gallon of black coffee; these are not the sort to dally with extraneous carbs).

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Progressive Voices Top Story

The N.C. Supreme Court must stop racism in jury selection

The evidence that racism is infecting the selection of juries in North Carolina is clear and unmistakable, despite the federal law that says it’s illegal. On February 3, 2020, the North Carolina Supreme Court heard argument in two cases that provide the state a historic opportunity to remedy its longstanding failure to enforce civil rights law barring race discrimination in jury selection.The question now is whether the Court will act on the cases before it and begin to fix this problem.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Perfecting corruption: Latest campaign news shows how far and fast our politics have fallen

As time goes by, it becomes increasingly difficult to believe that President Richard Nixon was forced to resign from office – ultimately by his fellow Republicans – because of his corrupt political acts and those of his aides. For instance, one of the key (and at the time shocking) revelations of the Watergate investigation was that the 1972 Nixon reelection campaign (which came to be known by the highly appropriate moniker of “CREEP”) had employed a “dirty tricks” unit.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Leandro funding recommendations: Much lower than reported, readily affordable

Despite the alarm and denial with which they have been greeted in some circles, the recent recommendations of a national education research group to the presiding judge in North Carolina's 26-year-old Leandro education finance lawsuit are quite reasonable and within the state's capacity to readily implement. Indeed, according to national experts, North Carolina doesn’t have to break the bank in order to finally begin meeting its constitutional obligation to provide every child with a good education.

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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

On impeachment, N.C. deserved a Mitt Romney. We got Thom Tillis and Richard Burr instead.

Mitt Romney is, in this moment, the Republican that Americans and North Carolinians deserve. But he is not, of course, the Republican that most of us received.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Allegations of electronic eavesdropping at Department of Public Instruction deserve to be taken seriously

Allegations are swirling that unknown persons at the Department of Public Instruction intentionally monitored personal text messages of a retired director.  If true, the activity could constitute a violation of North Carolina’s statute governing interception of electronic communication.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Vote with your feet this Saturday

It’s hard to believe, but the 2020 presidential election process is in full swing. The Iowa caucuses kicked things off last night and four weeks from today is “Super Tuesday” – the day on which presidential primaries will be held in North Carolina and 15 other locations. Within six weeks, well over half the delegates to the two major political party conventions will have been selected and, amazingly, we could well know who the Democratic challenger to President Trump is likely to be before spring officially arrives.

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