Original Commentary

Original Commentary

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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COVID-19 Top Story Weekly Briefing

Prospect of bipartisanship on Jones Street is welcome, but only a first step in addressing NC’s needs

If you’d like to understand how utterly illogical and cruel the political right’s stance on closing the state’s lethal health coverage gap has become, consider the following two scenarios: 1) Wanda is part-time clerk at a convenience store who works the morning shift before heading off to clean houses in the afternoon. Recently, she has developed a fever, severe cough and other classic symptoms of COVID-19. After much agonizing (since she falls in the health insurance gap and lacks coverage), she decides to visit her local hospital emergency room.

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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 Top Story Weekly Briefing

Ignorance and cynicism in action: The “re-open” movement and the hypocrites helping to drive it

The personality of the typical American – often to their credit and occasionally to their benefit – is marked by a broad streak of what is probably best described as cussedness. Generally speaking, we don’t like to be told what to do and we can be a pain in the neck when someone tries. It’s actually not all that unique of a characteristic. Many a 20th Century revolutionary movement was based on the premise that it’s better to be poorly governed by one’s own people than wisely governed by a foreign power. This spirit also plays an obvious role in many of the world’s modern day political hotspots.

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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 Top Story Weekly Briefing

Let the people vote!

Health pandemic will put democracy itself at risk unless we act There are a lot of complex decisions to be made by American elected leaders in the coming weeks and months in responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Know-it-all commentators and internet trolls will try to push “simple” solutions or try to convince us that the whole thing is overblown and that we should simply suck it up and get back to work, but the truth is that societal recovery will likely be a frustrating painstaking process with plenty of difficult calls and gray areas.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

The troubling truth behind NC’s vaunted “surpluses”

It’s certainly nice that North Carolina entered the COVID-19 health pandemic with some cash in the bank. The combination of the legislature’s cheapskate spending priorities and the ongoing impasse between Gov. Cooper and GOP legislative leaders has left the state with as much as $3 billion that will be available to help plug the gaping new budget holes that will quickly emerge as recession grips the economy. In addition, the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund will enter a period of what figures to be unprecedented demand with an extra few billion on hand as well.

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COVID-19 Other Voices Top Story

Stories from the pandemic: A UNC grad student shares her experiences, hopes and fears

Like many others, I’ve spent the past few weeks in a state of constant worry: I’m afraid for my parents’ health, and that of my friends and family across the world. I’m afraid of a now-more-than-ever uncertain future. ...
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Top Story Weekly Briefing

The local Right dishes up more distinctly unhelpful talk about the public health crisis

It’s the sacred right of all Americans to complain about their government – even if they do so in destructive and nonsensical ways. As senator and former presidential candidate John Kerry put it a few years back in ...
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