Original Commentary

Original Commentary

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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Progressive Voices Top Story

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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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

In the impeachment trial, the fading credibility of Tillis, Burr and the Republican Party takes center stage

It was February 2011. I was a relatively young local government reporter and I will, if pressed, admit to being a bit starstruck that state Speaker of the House Thom Tillis stood right in front of me talking that year's budget standoff, although that gauzy feeling did not last long.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

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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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Hiding from the Constitution and common sense: The so-called “gun sanctuary” movement

Even before one gets to the heart of the matter – namely, a) constitutional law, and b) the dangerous message of lawlessness and violence the concept conveys – it must be stated that there is something fundamentally incongruous and just plain wrong about the idea of a “gun sanctuary.” Merriam-Webster offers multiple definitions for the word “sanctuary,” but none of them references the protection of human killing machines.

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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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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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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Five important reminders for a crucial year in American history

And just like that, another critical election year is upon us – maybe the most important election year in modern American history. For caring and thinking people who find themselves aghast at the greed, dishonesty, violence, phobias, and contempt for the common good and planetary wellbeing that are the hallmarks of the Trump cult, it sometimes feels as if the very soul and long-term prospects of the human species are on the line.

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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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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Legislature should seize rare opportunity for ideological common ground

The North Carolina General Assembly is back in Raleigh this week and, as noted in this space last Friday, there are some important reasons to be frustrated and concerned about this fact – not the least of which is the refusal of Senate and House leaders to tell the public what the heck is on the agenda.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

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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