Weekly Briefing

Weekly Briefing

wb-incomegrowth
Featured Articles Weekly Briefing

The Right pushes another whopper about the NC economy

Why recent conservative claims about state income growth are flat out wrong

It’s understandable (and perhaps even a little poignant) that some on the right have been trying so hard of late to put a positive spin on the state of the North Carolina economy. If there’s even the tiniest snippet of encouraging economic news out there these days – anywhere – you can rest assured that conservative politicians and “think tankers” will seize upon it, gather round it and hold it aloft like ancient cavepeople celebrating the discovery of a shiny ingot.

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edsupport
Featured Articles Weekly Briefing

An election year switcheroo on public education

After bashing teachers and public schools for years, the Right suddenly and dramatically changes its tune

Last week, one of the most prolific conservative voices on Twitter when it comes to North Carolina policy and politics (he’s authored more than 33,000 “tweets” in recent years that often echo and promote takes of various Art Pope Empire employees) posted a disturbing and remarkably cynical comment. Here’s what he said in response to another social media participant who had questioned the logic of how North Carolina pays teachers and touted a recent essay by the North Carolina Justice Center’s Kris Nordstrom entitled “Why NC is not measuring teacher pay properly (and how we should do it)” :

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WB-907
Featured Articles Weekly Briefing

It’s not too late for the U.S. Senate to do its job

The facts of the Merrick Garland nomination still demand action (and indicate that it may still be possible)

“Better late than never.”

It’s an unfortunate aspect of modern American politics that this simple little aphorism of compromise and common ground is frequently derided and discarded as the language of “losers.” In today’s hyper-partisan world of supersized egos, pitched ideological battles and “winner take all” government, it’s frequently seen as a sign of weakness for politicians to admit an error and reverse course or for their opponents to accept such a change with grace and understanding. It’s better to plow ahead (or to accuse the other side of a “flip flop”) and score points with one’s political base – or, at least, so goes the thinking in some circles.

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sm-12-7-2015
Fitzsimon File Weekly Briefing

Attempting to undermine the legitimacy of the courts

Conservatives channel their 1960’s obstructionist roots on voting rights

A few weeks back, North Carolina’s most powerful conservative political financier, Art Pope, offered a highly critical take on the insurgent presidential candidacy of Republican nominee Donald Trump. As Time magazine reported, Pope said the following at a Koch Brothers donors’ summit: “I don’t think we’ve seen anything like this since George Wallace.”

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TANF-4002
Featured Articles Weekly Briefing

A major failure for conservative policymaking

One of the greatest strengths of President Franklin Roosevelt – especially in the early days of his first administration when he was conducting what amounted to lifesaving CPR on the American economy (and maybe even preserving the nation’s experiment with democratic government itself) was his candid willingness to try new things. Though he is often castigated by conservatives and lionized by liberals for having birthed the New Deal and the idea that the federal government has a duty to combat poverty, FDR was, at heart, a genuine pragmatist.

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Featured Articles Weekly Briefing

The Olympics of right-wing whoppers

NC pols and advocates hit some medal-worthy new lows

With so much attention being paid to the presidential race and the reliably controversial comments of one of the major party candidates in recent weeks, it’s been tough for state-level politicians and advocates to break through and garner much attention for their own inane comments. Like the badminton and trampoline athletes at the Rio Olympics who find themselves constantly overshadowed by the likes of Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps, these hard right North Carolina voices are no less serious about their work and over-the-top reactionary views; it’s just a matter of a crowded election year news environment in which there’s only so much mainstream media coverage to go around.

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Gerrymandering
Featured Articles Weekly Briefing

The path to reviving our democracy

Three essential steps to reform and restore faith in North Carolina elections

With the climax of the mostly unpleasant and conflict-ridden 2016 election cycle just 90 days away, many North Carolinians are feeling rather cynical and disillusioned these days.

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sm_5292014
Featured Articles Weekly Briefing

Now do you understand why the courts are so important?

Fourth Circuit decision on voting rights should convince progressives, once and for all, of the need to fight for good judges

In some ways, it’s not surprising that American progressives – even activists – are prone to be blasé or MIA when it comes to the selection of federal judges. After all, it’s one thing to get fired up and become an activist over who gets elected president or even to rally for or against a controversial law. It’s quite another, at first blush anyway, to devote one’s time and passion to the matter of who serves in that most staid and aloof of public institutions – the federal judiciary.

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NC Poverty Research Fund
Featured Articles Weekly Briefing

“Radicalized concentrated poverty”

Disturbing new report on NC’s largest city is a must read for those who care about our state and its future

The city of Charlotte – bustling with activity, rapid growth and construction cranes and soon to be within shouting distance of a million residents – may seem an odd place to feature in a new report on poverty. The authors of “Economic Hardship, Radicalized Concentrated Poverty and the Challenges of Low Wage Work: Charlotte, North Carolina” acknowledge this truth right up front in their just-released study.

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Featured Articles Weekly Briefing

Making our state and nation “safe again”

Despite claims in some corners, big talk, limiting rights and ever more killing machines are not the answer

The recent horrific episodes of murder and violence that have struck the western world have clearly sent shockwaves through the body politic. Whether it’s in the United States, France or any number of other nations, millions of people are rightfully horrified at the senseless killing and understandably fearful that they or someone they love might somehow fall victim – be it to a law enforcement officer with a racial or ethnic bias or a suicidal killer with a twisted worldview. Add in the festering divisions of race, religion and politics that afflict our society these days (and that the killings have helped accentuate) and it’s no surprise that so many people feel a profound sense of anger and sadness and a deep desire for normalcy and “safety.”

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Featured Articles Uncategorized Weekly Briefing

Missing a chance to send a message at a time of national crisis

Governor McCrory swings and misses on the police violence issue

The phenomenon of brutality and misconduct by law enforcement officers toward average Americans (especially young African-American men) is, of course, nothing new in the United States. For a tragically high percentage of people of color, regular confrontations with police are a regular and often terrifying fact of life. In some large American cities, there are so many cases of police misconduct that some lawyers devote their entire practices to representing victims or defending police. And needless to say, the phenomenon of law officers being targeted by criminals goes back to the beginning of civilization.

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Featured Articles Weekly Briefing

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse

The NC Senate pushes a bevy of last minute constitutional amendments to lock in the state’s decline

The conservative revolution in North Carolina: It’s been such a whirlwind for so long now that it’s easy to lose track of how far and fast we’ve fallen and how extensive the damage has really been.

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mr_331-2016
Featured Articles Weekly Briefing

How North Carolina is REALLY doing

Why we need to rethink how we measure success and progress

With the 2016 election campaign in full swing, much of the political debate in North Carolina right now centers on how the state is faring economically. According to the conservative politicians currently in power and their defenders in the right-wing advocacy groups, the picture is rosy and getting better all the time.

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Featured Articles Weekly Briefing

McCrory vs. Obama

Much of the current political debate in North Carolina boils down to competing views of the Governor and the President There’s a well-known maxim used in many walks of life that “victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat ...
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gun-sculpture
Featured Articles Weekly Briefing

Encouraging signs of life in the movement for sane gun laws

The gun lobby still rules, but its decline is increasingly easy to envision

For the millions of Americans who spend their days online or monitoring their smart devices, the arrival of news alerts regarding “active shooters” or “multiple victims reported shot” have become so commonplace in recent years that they sometimes produce scarcely a raised eyebrow. That is unless, of course, the alert recipient has some reason to feel a connection to the venue of the shooting or the people impacted.

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nctabor-ff
Featured Articles Weekly Briefing

The HB2 of state budget and tax policy ideas

If you think things are bad now for NC, wait till you see what might be coming next at the General Assembly

The damage to North Carolina’s economy, brain power and overall wellbeing from HB2 is rapidly spreading and accumulating. What started out as a handful of canceled entertainment events is fast becoming a bona fide all-purpose disaster for North Carolina that will impact the state for years to come. As one astute commentator noted last week in Raleigh’s News & Observer:

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