Weekly Briefing

Weekly Briefing

Top Story Weekly Briefing

Hurricane Florence: Another powerful reminder that we can stick together or sink separately

On June 6, 1944, the day of the great Allied Forces D-Day invasion of France, many historians agree that something unusual in the annals of war occurred on the beaches of Normandy. Despite a host of errors and setbacks – landing in the wrong places, being pinned down initially by murderous enemy fire...

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

The dirty half dozen: What you need to know about all six proposed constitutional amendments

The 2018 midterm elections are upon us and North Carolina voters will soon pass judgment on, among many other things, an unprecedented raft of six constitutional amendments. The proposals include:

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Ethics officials must take a close look at Superintendent Mark Johnson’s iPad purchase

If you missed it last week and care at all about the subject of ethics in government, please take a few minutes to read Policy Watch reporter Billy Ball’s investigative report on the recent $6 million iPad purchase that state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson completed earlier this summer.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Desperate times for the Right lead to desperate measures in Washington and Raleigh

To say that these are extraordinary political times for our state and nation is to put things rather mildly. Across the country, open, high-level conversations about the President of the United States’ serial dishonesty and possible involvement in illegal – perhaps criminal – activity are as common as complaints about the infernal summer weather.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Fine print putsch: The North Carolina GOP provokes a constitutional crisis

Surely there must be a line somewhere. Surely, there must be a point at which the language that is slated to appear on the state ballot with respect to a proposed constitutional amendment bears so little relationship to what the amendment would actually do, that the courts simply must step in.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Meaningless or dangerous? Hunting and fishing constitutional amendment raises huge questions

The highest profile public policy debate in North Carolina in the summer of 2018 revolves around the controversial decision of state legislative leaders to place a package of six constitutional amendments on the November ballot. Just yesterday, all five living former governors of the state...

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Attention Chinese capitalists: Clean up your North Carolina hog farms

The issue of international trade – particularly with the world’s largest nation, China – has been much in the news of late. In Washington, the Trump administration continues to pursue a controversial trade war with China that it claims will bolster the U.S. economy, but which many analysts of varying ideological stripes view as distinctly unhelpful.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

When the future of the country is at stake, civility may have to suffer for a while

There’s been a lot of talk in various circles of late lamenting the demise of “civility” on the American political landscape and the degrees of rancor and hostility that are so regularly on display. According to this narrative, “polarization” and the growing dearth of “centrists” are at the root of the problem.

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Defending Democracy Top Story Weekly Briefing

Expect anything different?

The lawless leaders of the General Assembly prepare to do once again the thing they do best It’s always tempting to open each and every commentary about the North Carolina General Assembly in 2018 with that most ubiquitous of modern pop culture phrases: “You can’t make this s(tuff) up.”

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Defending Democracy Top Story Weekly Briefing

Just say “no”

The easiest way to push back against NC’s rogue General Assembly is to vote against all six proposed constitutional amendments Like Congress and most modern American state legislatures, the North Carolina General Assembly is not a popular or respected body.

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Defending Democracy Top Story Weekly Briefing

Why we must fight Trump’s new Supreme Court nominee

Donald Trump’s ongoing effort to remake the federal courts in his own extreme image is something that ought to cause enormous concern for all caring and thinking Americans. As veteran court observer Nan Aron of the national Alliance for Justice recently put it:

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Defending Democracy Top Story Weekly Briefing

Could slate of constitutional amendments backfire on the Right?

For more than a year and a half now, the appalling reality of the Trump presidency and the profound threat it poses to American democracy have combined to spur thousands upon thousands of North Carolinians to lend their time, talents and money to a burgeoning movement that is commonly referred to as “the resistance.”

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Defending Democracy Top Story Weekly Briefing

Torrent of constitutional amendments provide exclamation points on a dreadful legislative session

A short-timer. In the military (and many civilian workplaces too) a short-timer is someone who is nearing the end of his or her term of service. Often, the term is used pejoratively to describe individuals who shirk new or difficult tasks as they cruise toward the exit door. In the political realm, however, there are occasions in which short-timers pursue an opposite tack.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Late session chaos: Lawmakers send a flood of bad bills to Cooper (and it could get worse this week)

“I’m speechless.” So began the heartfelt lament of Rep. Verla Insko (D-Orange) late last Friday afternoon as the veteran representative—a rare lawmaker of deep intellect and genuine compassion for the less fortunate in our society—rose to address yet another backroom deal on a matter of complexity and importance that would make life appreciably worse for a group of our society’s lowliest citizens: mentally ill prisoners.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Conservative leaders go with corporate power over human wellbeing (and even property rights)

It usually happens a few times every legislative session: at some point during their annual stay in the state capital, North Carolina lawmakers come to a bellwether moment or two at which they provide a full expression of who they are and what they stand for. Sometimes, these moments are about race...

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

A moment of extreme danger for NC public schools

There have been a lot of regressive education policies that have emanated from the North Carolina General Assembly in recent decades. Even prior to the Republican takeover that commenced in 2011, many Democratic leaders had already embraced the flawed conservative idea that our schools and students were struggling in many places because they were too “soft” and lacked sufficient “competition.”

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