Progressive Voices

Progressive Voices

Progressive Voices Top Story

Making the 2020 election, safe, fair and efficient: Now is the time to act

Members of the North Carolina House and Senate, resolutely confronting the deadly and disastrous coronavirus pandemic, have offered up shining examples of just what friends are for. Friends are there to rescue you as you are about to commit a major blunder – a blunder betraying long-held principles and maybe even helping some people who aren’t campaign mega-donors. The House, taking its cue from Speaker Tim Moore, agreed it would be a good idea – at least while the virus continues to cut its swath...

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COVID-19 Other Voices Progressive Voices Top Story

Trump order puts workers in meat and poultry processing, other essential industries in harm’s way

Frontline workers’ health and safety took another hit last week, after new Trump administration rules put meat and poultry processing workers at increased risk. This week COVID-19’s grim toll crossed 60,000 deaths. Over the past several weeks, the epidemic has ravaged workers in essential industries, from warehouses to grocery stores to meatpacking plants. Forced to work shoulder-to-shoulder without access to adequate, or in some cases, any protective gear, hand sanitizer, paid sick days, frontline workers across dozens of essential worksites are contracting and dying from COVID-19.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

The pandemic and North Carolinians battling drug addiction

COVID-19 is making community alternatives to incarceration more important than ever before Much important attention is focusing on how the COVID-19 pandemic is gravely affecting people who are incarcerated in U.S. jails and prisons, a crisis that is worsening daily. There are also very serious concerns about justice-involved people who are living in the community during the pandemic, and are at particularly high risk.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Former longtime AP reporter: Trump defamation suits pose a chilling prospect for the press

In the long and dubious history of nasty presidential politics, the anti-Trump attack ad that the pro-Democrat super PAC Priorities USA paid NBC affiliate WJFW-TV in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, to televise in America’s 134th largest market seemed tame enough. The 30-second spot uses rapid-fire audio snippets of Trump dismissing the seriousness of the nascent but fast-growing COVID-19 outbreak from late January through late March while an on-screen graph ticks increasingly upward as U.S. cases exponentially multiply. In one snippet, Trump appears to dismiss the virus as “a hoax.”

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Progressive Voices Top Story

While COVID-19 spreads, Trump and McConnell prioritize packing the courts

The United States joins the rest of the world in struggling through a public health emergency, the likes of which few alive have ever seen. Not since 1918 has a pandemic taxed our health care systems, and stressed our economies, in such extraordinary ways. One would expect key leaders such as the President of the United States and the Senate Majority leader to focus like a laser on protecting the American people. Yet, President Donald Trump and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have decided to focus, instead, on packing our federal courts with dangerous and unqualified conservative ideologues.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Assistance for incarcerated people discharged during the pandemic: The humane and constitutional thing to do

As local, state and federal officials race to arrange for the discharge of sick, elderly and non-violent incarcerated persons in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its swift spread through correctional institutions, a big question arises: must there be discharge plans for these men and women to help protect their health and that of the public? It’s been more than four decades since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that that the Constitution entitles people held inside jails and prison to necessary medical care.

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Defending Democracy Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

Now is the time to act to protect the integrity of the November election

When members of the N.C. General Assembly reconvene tomorrow – presumably wearing masks and taking all the other recommended precautions to stay safe and help foil the spread of COVID-19 – they’ll confront an unprecedented tangle of complex and crucial issues. Normally – yes, what we wouldn’t give for some normality – legislators’ main chore this spring would be truing up the proposed state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Even before North Carolina and the rest of Planet Earth got whacked with a viral pandemic, however, that budget exercise was going to be messy. There was no proposed budget to true up because of a legislative standoff with Gov. Roy Cooper.

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COVID-19 Progressive Voices Top Story

Local COVID-19 survivor: Pandemic shows need for action, policy changes

As noted by President Obama last Tuesday, “pandemics have a way of cutting through a lot of noise.” We’ve seen just that in the past week, as experts across the country have used emerging data to illustrate that COVID-19 is not some “great equalizer” as initially mythologized, but rather has exacerbated America’s severe and longstanding disparities along lines of race and class. While recognizing these disparate impacts and structural inequities is a great first step towards progress, we must not let it be the last. Let’s prove that we’ve learned something from this crisis by doing something about it.

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COVID-19 Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

Federal COVID-19 checks: What they mean and who might get left out

Much has been made of the direct cash payments included in the CARES Act passed by Congress to provide relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. Providing emergency aid was the right move, but this step alone won’t solve the financial challenges facing North Carolina families or pull the state out of a rapidly deepening economic hole.

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COVID-19 Other Voices Progressive Voices Top Story

Making a bad situation unbearable: A state prison inmate’s wife explains the toll COVID-19 is taking

I am exhausted. Just like everyone else, I'm worried and scared about my family's safety. I'm the mother of a beautiful child with a physical disability and the caregiver to a parent with Alzheimer's. I'm doing everything that is recommended to protect them, and then some. But I am powerless when it comes to protecting my husband, and so is he.

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COVID-19 Progressive Voices Top Story

COVID-19 pandemic makes clear it’s time to rewrite some basic rules

As we all confront the ripple effects of the an unprecedented pandemic throughout North Carolina, we should pause to acknowledge the fundamental lesson that our fates are intertwined. And we should not let this moment pass by without demanding that public leaders put people and communities first as they craft solutions to our public health and economic realities.

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COVID-19 Progressive Voices Top Story

We must act now to prevent an epidemic in North Carolina’s prisons and jails

What will happen when COVID-19 reaches our local jails and prisons in North Carolina? Without a change to state policy, we fear the worst. Many facilities are already overcrowded and have inadequate living conditions. But with the new ...
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Progressive Voices Top Story

The time to fix NC’s broken unemployment insurance system is right now

Experts say it is a certainty that there will be an economic slowdown as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Businesses will see demand for their goods and services decline as a result of people isolating or quarantining themselves or having to stay home with schoolchildren and infected or otherwise vulnerable family members. Businesses will experience disruptions to their supply chains of goods and products as a result of challenges with interstate and global trade. Workers will be laid off or not be able to come to work. Income losses could be catastrophic for families and communities and only serve to deepen the economic harm.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

The global, national and local impacts of Trump’s war on reproductive freedom

We all know there’s a lot at stake in this crucial political year, including a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body. All politics may be local, but the impact is global. The Trump administration, from Day One, has been systematically dismantling human rights and cultivating a culture of discrimination that doesn’t stop at our borders. One of President Trump’s first acts was to impose the Global Gag Rule, which bans non-governmental organizations that receive U.S. funding from using their own funds to advocate for, share information on, or offer abortion services.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Reproductive freedom is in the cross-hairs this week at the Supreme Court

On Wednesday of this week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear its first abortion rights case since the Trump administration and a sharply divided U.S. Senate combined to empanel the high court's first solid anti-abortion majority in the modern era. The confirmation of the hyper-partisan and ultraconservative Brett Kavanaugh to the Court in October 2018 appears to have provided the fifth vote anti-abortion interests have been looking for – one that could potentially overturn 1973’s Roe v. Wade decision and roll back the reproductive freedom that has been guaranteed to at least two generations of Americans.

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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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