Weekly Briefing

Weekly Briefing

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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Top Story Weekly Briefing

A truly Trumpian budget for North Carolina

Secrecy. Greed. Dishonesty. Self-dealing. Neglect disguised as concern. Contempt for democracy. If one were asked to describe the most notable hallmarks of the administration of President Donald Trump, it would be hard to come up with six more accurate characterizations.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

One simple, moral and business-friendly step NC lawmakers could take to boost the economy

There are a lot of important statistics that confirm just how out of whack the U.S. economy has grown during this modern Gilded Age we currently inhabit, but two factoids from a recent CNN story say an awful lot about where things stand: #1 – The U.S. unemployment rate just dipped to an 18-year low recently at 3.9%, and #2 – nearly 51 million American households (around 43%) don't earn enough to afford a monthly budget that includes housing, food, child care, health care, transportation and a cell phone.

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Defending Democracy Top Story Weekly Briefing

Process schmocess: Berger, Moore say 2019 budget changes have already been negotiated

For those who pay only periodic attention to the ins and outs of lawmaking in the North Carolina General Assembly, there was a powerful reminder last week of just how broken things are and how cloistered and detached the conservative powers-that-be in the state Legislative Building have become after several years of unfettered rule.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

It’s long overdue, but a vitally important reform movement is finally catching on

If there is a top lesson for caring and thinking people to glean from the first 16 months of the Trump presidency, it has to be the importance of not taking the basic premises of our American experiment for granted. Now that we have learned once more the hard truth that our nation is perfectly capable of electing a blatantly dishonest would-be despot possessed of only the most superficial grasp of constitutional government, the urgency of rededicating ourselves to the active protection of basic human and constitutional rights is quite clear.

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Defending Democracy Top Story Weekly Briefing

Heads up: Legislative leaders plot still more destructive power grabs

After having exercised seven-plus years of relentless, “take no prisoners” rule and with pollsters and pundits forecasting a tough election year for the allies of Donald Trump, you’d think that North Carolina’s legislative leaders might be in a mood to choose a slightly more moderate path during the upcoming legislative “short” session that commences May 16.

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Defending Democracy Top Story Weekly Briefing

Time for General Assembly official to stop playing games with public records

It’s been almost three years since state legislative leaders hired longtime conservative politician Paul Coble to run the day-to-day operations of the General Assembly as state Legislative Services Officer. After all that time, you’d think that Coble (who takes home well over $200,000 per year in salary and benefits) would have developed a basic grasp of one of his chief job duties...

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Defending Democracy Top Story Weekly Briefing

Grounds for hope, grounds for grave concern in the battle to defend our democracy

These are extraordinary times in the American experiment with representative democracy. In Washington, a buffoonish would-be despot occupies the highest office of the land and sullies it on an almost minute-by-minute basis in unprecedented fashion. This past Sunday, the editorial board of the New York Times felt obligated to publish a special, full-page editorial...

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Really? This is the best they can come up with?

After decades of propaganda and promises, the effort to privatize public schools in NC continues to fizzle Conservative ideologues may yet succeed in their longstanding effort to raze and remake American public education – what they often derisively refer to as “government schools.” After all, they’ve been at it for decades and show no signs of letting up.

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