Progressive Voices

Progressive Voices

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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One in seven NC drivers has had their license suspended. Many of them don’t even know it.

In North Carolina, 1.25 million people – one in seven adults – has a suspended driver license. That alone is a massive public problem. After all, driving is “a virtual necessity for most Americans,” as the U.S. Supreme Court has noted, and there are few communities where a resident can get to work, school, or everyday errands without a car. But what is even more troubling is that many of these people may not know it.

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These are the people who suffer because of NC’s stubborn refusal to expand Medicaid

Two weeks ago, the North Carolina General Assembly returned to Raleigh for what was supposed to be a special session on health care. Unfortunately, rather than addressing the lack of health coverage that is hurting our working families and advancing solutions that will help our rural hospitals, legislative leaders instead focused (unsuccessfully) on overriding Governor Cooper’s seven-month-old budget veto. The failure of our lawmakers to create a solution to close the coverage gap, is simply unacceptable.

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Other Voices Progressive Voices Top Story

47th anniversary of Roe v. Wade – A tipping point away from reproductive freedom?

As we commemorated the 46th anniversary of the historic Supreme Court decision Roe v Wade last year, our thoughts were on what may happen at the U.S. Supreme Court. Two thousand nineteen was the first full year of a high court firmly stacked with justices ideologically opposed to abortion, two of whom were appointed by a president who sees overturning Roe v Wade as a key to his re-election.

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Federal court is right to keep NC’s discriminatory voter ID requirement sidetracked

A long road remains to be traveled before North Carolinians find out whether they’ll have to show an identification card, with photo, in order to vote in next fall’s pivotal elections. Did we say pivotal? Try crucial, momentous, fateful — take your pick.

But this much now seems more or less certain:

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Five ways NC lawmakers can make a down payment on a better decade

North Carolina’s legislative leaders return to Raleigh next week with the opportunity to make a down payment on the obligation they have to North Carolinians, an obligation to smooth the pathway so we can all move forward over ...
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Why are there so few stories about Trump’s health and sexual harassment scandals?

In the past few days, President Trump may have stumbled into a war with Iran and was accused by yet another woman of sexual harassment. If you haven’t heard about the former, you can quickly remedy that by ...
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The Leandro report is out. The future of public education in North Carolina starts this week.

For over two decades, North Carolina has systematically violated the constitutional rights of its children by failing to ensure the universal opportunity to a sound basic education enshrined in the now-famous state Supreme Court ruling inLeandro v. State. On Tuesday, a non-partisan expert report was released identifying the state's current education shortcomings and policy solutions, presenting a once-in-a-generation opportunity for all of us – students, teachers, parents, advocates, and policymakers – to do right by kids in North Carolina.

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