Billy Ball Commentary

Billy Ball Commentary

Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

Mark Johnson’s wasteful reading test saga continues

When North Carolina officials put a stop, at least for the time being, to a badly mishandled contracting process for a new K-3 reading test operator Tuesday, it’s as if they read the writing on the wall.

...
Read more 0
Billy Ball Commentary Defending Democracy Top Story

In N.C., the last days of gerrymandering can’t come too soon

Today we wait. We wait for the judges, who retired to their chambers weeks ago in the Common Cause v. Lewis case, a case that asserts political gerrymandering is a betrayal of the “equal protection” provision of the North Carolina constitution.

...
Read more 0
Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

In the age of social media, Donald Trump’s bigotry blooms on the Internet

The notion that social media is a funhouse mirror, distorting our features beyond recognition, is not a new one. But there is a case to be made, in our hyper-politicized country and state...

...
Read more 0
Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

In the IStation saga, Mark Johnson’s failings get a big stage

If North Carolina Superintendent Mark Johnson ever fizzled in his lustrous perch in DPI’s corner office, his sharpest critics surmised, he would be failed by his extraordinarily limited bona fides. After all, when it comes to Johnson’s background – two years in a Charlotte classroom via Teach for America...

...
Read more 0
Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

The big scam: Why North Carolina should dump virtual charter schools

Linger long enough in Raleigh’s legislative lagoon and you’ll find there are three kinds of lawmakers: The pragmatists: Take a photo if you spy one of these. Theirs is an isolated, lonely caucus, and their agenda is a more nebulous sort. Find the logic, find the rationale for a proposal and you may have an ally here.

...
Read more 0
Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

What else is in the mysterious Hofeller files? A few (satirical) ideas…

Between his work for Republican redistricting leaders in the N.C. General Assembly and the Trump administration, the late mapmaker Thomas Hofeller could have been privy to a veritable legion of party secrets, many of them none too flattering to our political leaders.

...
Read more 0
Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

Amid the budget showmanship, North Carolina’s budget will surely suffer

North Carolina’s legislative leaders have finally – in one big, bursting feat of Houdini-like showmanship – liberated themselves from truth and context. Their mastery of the mummers play was a revelation Tuesday, in their ruefully insincere keening that we, at this late budgetary hour, have arrived without input from Gov. Roy Cooper –

...
Read more 0
Billy Ball Commentary Original Commentary Top Story

Dear North Carolina lawmakers, can the budget theatrics

There’s a scene in “The West Wing” – liberals’ sweaty, Emmy-hording ode to progressivism – in which President Bartlett, facing a budget bait-and-switch from his erstwhile Republican nemeses, shuts down the government. Bartlett – a hopelessly fictional hero, ...
Read more 0
Billy Ball Commentary Defending Democracy Top Story

The case of the vanishing budget: How N.C.’s secretive budget “process” is bad for the public good

If, in this precise moment, you’re wondering where North Carolina’s multi-billion dollar budget is, the same one that sets crucial policy and spending parameters for state agencies, that dictates classroom funding levels for 1.5 million schoolchildren, that sets pay levels for thousands of state employees, retirees and teachers, it’s in the same place it’s always been.

...
Read more 0
Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

A eulogy: For the abortion bill whose supporters dared not speak its name

Sometime in the latter hours of debate over an abortion bill that North Carolina Republicans insisted was not about abortion – even as the words “abortion” and “abortion victims” were uttered some fourteen-thousand times Wednesday – Speaker Tim Moore descended from his perch at the forefront of the state House chamber to debate.

...
Read more 0
Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

Lawmakers misfire with plan to expand NC’s ill-conceived voucher program

“Governor Cooper is failing when it comes to helping minority students. Don’t let him take away your Opportunity Scholarships,” reads the Raleigh billboard, the latest conservative spittooning of the Democratic governor. Sounds heinous, if true, but the truth is truly, extraordinarily, squishy in this instance.

...
Read more 0
Billy Ball Commentary Original Commentary Top Story

Damn the politics, impeach Donald Trump. Now.

When Yoni Appelbaum, a senior editor at The Atlantic, wrote in March that President Trump should be impeached, perhaps, for the writer, some doubt remained even then as to the president’s ultimate guilt or innocence. “Impeachment is a process, not an outcome,” he wrote. “A rule-bound procedure for investigating a president, considering evidence, formulating charges, and deciding whether to continue on to trial.

...
Read more 0
Billy Ball Commentary Original Commentary Top Story

Teachers to march again in Raleigh, but some lawmakers seem to be missing the message

We know Sen. Phil Berger, perhaps the most powerful lawmaker in North Carolina politics, can speak. If there’s a piece of legislation in the last five to ten years that advanced without the Big Berger’s caustic input, I can’t name it.

...
Read more 0
Billy Ball Commentary Original Commentary Top Story

After sweeping order, an end to coal ash in NC? All bets are off.

North Carolina’s coal ash problem didn’t begin in February 2014, when a corrugated pipe at a Rockingham County Duke Energy facility vomited 39,000 tons of coal ash and about 27 million gallons of contaminated water into the Dan River. The documented dangers of the coal byproduct predated even a one billion gallon spill in Kingston, Tennessee, six years prior, a spill large enough to fill thousands of Olympic swimming pools.

...
Read more 0
Billy Ball Commentary Original Commentary Top Story

On Medicaid expansion, John Kasich is unchained in North Carolina

John Kasich insists he’s a free man. Free from politics? Free from partisanship? Free from Trump? Certainly not free of ambition – the former Ohio governor all but acknowledged last week that he hasn’t ruled out another run for president.

...
Read more 0
Billy Ball Commentary Original Commentary Top Story

Change comes again to the UNC system, but not to the Board of Governors

Everyone’s taking a powder in the UNC system these days. Everyone, it seems, but the powerful individuals on the UNC Board of Governors, an onerously large pack of political hellraisers and right-wing combatants who’ve sullied the “crown jewel,” North Carolina’s decorated and bedeviled university system.

...
Read more 0

Send this to a friend