Original Commentary

Original Commentary

Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

As voter ID falls again, Republicans are still confusing predator with prey

Say one thing for Dan Bishop and his nihilistic pals in the Republican Party: They see the farce in New Year’s resolutions.  Resolutions come in shiny and new, be-tuxed and coiffed, and scuttle out the club’s emergency exit in the mid-morning light, face a mess. So why bother? 

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

A lost decade: Ten ways in which conservative policies have grievously harmed North Carolina

At the dawn of the new decade, not everything is worse in North Carolina than it was ten years ago when conservative ideologues assumed power. For some pockets of the population, the past decade has brought a measure ...
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Editorial Cartoon Top Story

Policy Watch’s Top 10 editorial cartoons of 2019

Enjoy some of John Cole's top editorial cartoons of 2019, as we look forward to more of his creativity at Policy Watch in 2020.

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Other Voices Top Story

The betrayal that is the ‘Silent Sam’ deal

When leaders of the N.C. Council of Churches two years ago adopted a policy statement entitled “Confederate-themed monuments: Time to reassess,” the statue known as Silent Sam still faced north in a prime spot on the Chapel Hill campus of the nation’s oldest public university.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

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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Progressive Voices Top Story

After Silent Sam settlement, UNC has lost the benefit of the doubt

Last December I condemned the UNC–Chapel Hill Board of Trustees (BOT) proposal to literally enshrine the confederate statue “Silent Sam” on campus. Defying belief, a year later I’m now condemning UNC’s $2.5 million payment so that the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) can do exactly that.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Trump administration’s destructive cuts to food assistance will harm 700,000 Americans

The Trump administration recently revealed how it is going to take away food from nearly 700,000 Americans. This is the first time the administration has succeeded in three attempts to downsize the food stamp program. Food Stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) offer benefits to 39 million...

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Could this be the worst policy proposal of 2019?

Nine years ago in this space, Policy Watch reported on one of the most consistently pernicious aspects of the “North Carolina Education Lottery”: the issue of chronic, even addictive, lottery play by vulnerable people. As was reported at the time (“Hope and hard luck: Poor counties lead state in per capita lottery sales”) and again in 2012 (“Prosperity seen as a scratch ticket away in poorest counties”), per capita lottery sales overlapped to a large and disturbing degree with the state’s map of impoverished neighborhoods.

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Other Voices Progressive Voices Top Story

Sen. Phil Berger sidesteps an inconvenient truth about NC teacher pay

Despite having voted to expand the economics and personal finance curriculum in the state’s high schools, North Carolina Senate leader Phil Berger fails to apply basic principles of these subjects when touting supposed accomplishments in teacher pay in his November 25 op-ed in Raleigh’s News & Observer, “Yes, Republican tax policies are working in North Carolina.”

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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

After Republicans’ latest gerrymandering low, now is the time for your outrage

It may be difficult to say how you are feeling this morning, two mornings after a Superior Court panel — facing the impending launch of the 2020 election cycle — choked down another GOP-manipulated map for North Carolina congressional districts.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Eight errors and omissions of the 2019 legislative session

Well, that appears to be a wrap. The 2019 legislative session that commenced way back in January and dragged on in desultory fashion for months past its usual adjournment date finally petered out a couple of weeks back. Now, barring some new and unforeseen holiday season power grab – something that’s always a possibility for legislative leaders who maintain only a passing interest in quaint concepts like notice, public input and process – the honorables have absented themselves from the state capital until mid-January.

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