A new watchdog shows its teeth

Dix TRO heralds a welcome sea change in the debate over mental health, developmental disabilities and substance abuse

There are a lot of wonderful groups and individuals in North Carolina who work in the world of mental health, developmental disabilities and substance abuse. For decades, a variety of doctors, nurses, therapists, family members of patients, care providers, housing providers, advocacy groups, journalists and patients themselves have worked hard to reform and modernize our public systems for serving these vulnerable populations.

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Misleading numbers about the social safety net

The far right’s latest ill-informed complaint about human services spending

–Raleigh’s News & Observer ran a “Point of View” column this past week by a staffer over at the state Republican Party annex known as the J.W. Pope Civitas Institute. According to the author, North Carolina social “safety net” spending is out of control. Here’s the gist of his flawed reasoning:

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The far right denies that there’s an affordable housing shortage

Consider the following basic difference between modern progressives and the market fundamentalist right.

For most progressives, the world is a complex and imperfect place in which humans struggle to address the problems that confront them – both individually and collectively. In this worldview, society makes use of public and private structures (government and the market) as part of an ongoing effort to build a better, freer, healthier, and fairer world.

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Pesticide task force comes up short

State Ag Commissioner helps block real protections for farmworkers

As a general political rule, there’s nothing inherently wrong with compromise and incremental change. Compromise, after all, is embedded in the very DNA of the American system of checks and balances and incremental change is often the best that advocates for the poor and the marginalized can realistically expect – especially when battling powerful vested interests.

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