Original Commentary

Original Commentary

Progressive Voices Top Story

Despite progress, more action is needed to end childhood lead exposure in NC

Here’s a welcome good news story about kids’ health and the environment: In North Carolina, public health officials have been working for more than 30 years to eliminate childhood lead poisoning – and have come very close to doing so. Child blood levels have dropped dramatically population-wide. Unfortunately, some pockets of high exposure still remain...

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A courageous judge taps the brakes on a rogue General Assembly

In case you missed it, there was an enormously important ruling issued last Friday afternoon by a Wake County Superior Court judge that ought to rekindle the public’s belief in (and support for) democratic, constitutional government. The case – NAACP and Clean Air North Carolina v. Moore and Berger – was originally filed last summer and it challenged the constitutionality of four of the constitutional amendments approved by the General Assembly during the final days of the regular 2018 legislative session.

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What was missing at Superintendent Johnson’s private education summit

There was much talk this week and last about state Superintendent Mark Johnson’s Tuesday night limelight, the “big” announcement you might have missed because you, like most of North Carolina, were not invited. Public education advocates buzzed with speculation, or was that trepidation?

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Demystifying abortion: How myths and stigma only feed attacks on Roe v. Wade

Many of us may remember the often very implausible notions we had of “where babies come from” when we were kids. And even as we learned more details when we got older, many of us still entered adulthood with only a partial understanding of the complexities of pregnancy, childbirth and sexual and reproductive health care.

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On its last legs: It’s hard to see a path forward for the Mark Harris candidacy

Just about anything can happen in American politics. Those who doubt this oft-demonstrated truism need only to turn their gaze a few hundred miles north to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to be reminded of just how possible it still is for seemingly inconceivable eventualities to come to pass. That said, it’s extremely difficult to see a path forward for Rev. Mark Harris in his candidacy to become a United States congressman representing North Carolina’s ninth district after yesterday’s state Board of Elections hearing in Raleigh.

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N.C. teacher: Superintendent Mark Johnson “revoked” my access to Tuesday education summit

Editor's note: Kim Mackey is a social studies teacher with Wake County Public Schools. She recently wrote an open letter to State Superintendent Mark Johnson, because she says her ticket to his special event this Tuesday had been "revoked." In an email, a copy of which was shared with Policy Watch, Johnson wrote that the event was "at capacity."

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Trump may be on the ropes, but ICE is building its own wall

Surely, it would be folly to suggest that ICE’s hardened reputation as a home-wrecker was earned by the Trump administration alone. Our bloviator-in-chief may be fond of the anti-immigrant dog-whistle, and his Quixotic obsession with a doomed border wall...

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Senator Phil Berger is just plain wrong

There’s an old maxim in American politics, usually attributed to former U.S. Senator and Nixon administration cabinet secretary Daniel Patrick Moynihan, that “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own facts.” Would that Moynihan were still alive today so that he could direct a reminder of this simple truth toward North Carolina Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger.

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Now is the time for NC to enact bipartisan gun violence legislation

The United States sees an average of 22,000 firearm suicides and 14,600 firearm homicides, including 300 deaths in mass shootings, each year. In at least 42 percent of mass shooting cases, shooters put up “red flags” – maybe even blatant threats on social media – before opening fire.

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Why North Carolina needs state leaders, not the Koch brothers, to save public education

Public education advocates in North Carolina are ablaze these days, after a report from The Washington Post in late January teased a nebulous plan hatched by the conservative Koch network to spend boatloads of cash on a massive, as-yet-unnamed, K-12 initiative in five states. If North Carolina is one of the five, state leaders and the Kochs are...

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Marching this Saturday in Raleigh: The moral (and effective) thing to do

There’s a vexing conundrum that frequently confronts movements for social justice when they’re trying to rally supporters to action. It turns out that the best and easiest times to spur people to action often coincide with the moments at which the movement is at its weakest and least able to effect real change.

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North Carolina’s leaders must come together on health care

Legislation introduced last week to expand Medicaid should be welcome news to the hundreds of thousands in North Carolina who currently can’t see a doctor when they need one. House Bill 5 was introduced by lead sponsors Reps. Gale Adcock, Carla Cunningham, Verla Insko, and Jean Farmer-Butterfield, and Senate Bill 3 was introduced by lead sponsors Sens. Ben Clark, Dan Blue, and Gladys Robinson – all Democrats. A Republican-led bill is expected soon in the NC House.

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