Other Voices

Other Voices

Progressive Voices Top Story

Ban weapons of war. Now.

Thirty-two seconds. That’s how long it took for the madman responsible for the carnage in Dayton, Ohio to shoot 26 people, killing nine, including his sister, and wounding 17 more before he was killed by police.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Guns, the budget and gerrymandering highlight NC’s political dysfunction

It can’t have escaped many folks’ notice – even those, bless their hearts, for whom the really big news involves the onset of football season – that our political systems these days feature a whole lot of wheel-spinning and gear-grinding in the face of epic challenges. Psychopaths toting massacre-model firearms stalk public gathering places and wreak carnage on innocent people who happened to be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time...

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Progressive Voices Top Story

In a nation beset by massacres, there’s only one side to be on

I have nothing particularly new, trenchant or poignant to say on our great, intractable gun debate, the latest slew of firearm massacres or our bigoted president’s dangerous rhetoric. My past thoughts on the numbing frequency of mass shootings and guns are here, here and here.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Puerto Rico’s youth teach the world a lesson in democracy

Just like every other Puerto Rican in the world, I could not sleep on Tuesday night, July 23. I sat in my bed looking at live feed from Old San Juan, thinking how the people of this tiny and humble island might have just taught the world the greatest lesson in democracy.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Good money after bad: NC’s mushrooming appropriations to fake health clinics

Soon after I began working at NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina in 2016, I found myself explaining to someone our concerns about anti-abortion fake clinics (aka “crisis pregnancy centers”) and the tax dollars they were receiving. “How much are they getting?”

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Pardon me if I’m skeptical of Treasurer Folwell’s motives in the current State Health Plan debate

There’s been a great deal of heat but not a lot of light in recent weeks surrounding state Treasurer Dale Folwell’s “Clear Pricing Project” for the State Health Plan (SHP) – an initiative that has led physicians and hospitals to leave the plan in droves. Here are some important truths about the issue that have not been widely reported – much less understood by many of the state employees whose lives stand to be disrupted. 

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Trump refugee proposal takes the nation in precisely the wrong direction

A recent news story in Politico reports that Trump administration officials are considering dramatically reducing refugee admissions in the next fiscal year to a figure between 3,000 and 10,000, or perhaps, even as low as zero. This proposal is antithetical to what should be our American values, and deeply distressing to me on a personal level.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Will NC run with Supreme Court’s gerrymandering punt?

You have to wonder: What would U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. tell that proud North Carolina gerrymanderer David Lewis if they ever came face to face, just the two of them? OK, we can imagine the cynical answer. He’d tell his fellow conservative...

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Dear Sen. Tillis: Eastern NC needs you to take action on the climate crisis

Throughout North Carolina, the start of summer means late-night barbecues, well-earned vacations from work and breaks from school. But as we know all too well, this time of year also marks the start of hurricane season. Last year, ...
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Progressive Voices Top Story

Watching Trump hold forth on the Fourth? No thanks.

Here’s one set of eyes and ears that won’t be fastened on President Trump’s speech on July 4 at the Lincoln Memorial. The aural and visual blackout has nothing to do with politics or ideology, though Trump’s policies and politics are 18th Century leftovers, at best. Everything a president says, good, bad, even ungrammatical, is important to the nation and the world. Forget that he lies, misrepresents and dissembles.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

The border is here: Fear-based immigration policies are wreaking havoc in NC

As images of the humanitarian crisis unfolding at the U.S. southern border continue to horrify every person with a pulse and Trump administration policies fail to ameliorate the crisis in any way, North Carolina policymakers seem intent on bringing the crisis home. Last week, the state Senate approved House Bill 370, a proposal that would force sheriffs to comply with every “detainer” request...

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Lawmakers bring forth another bad budget for kids

House and Senate leaders released their compromise budget proposal Tuesday. With a few exceptions, the proposal fails to include important funding and policy changes, including Medicaid expansion, that are sorely needed to help children and families thrive in North Carolina.   Here’s a quick rundown of what we’re most concerned about:

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Progressive Voices Top Story

After outcry, Superintendent Mark Johnson tries to put a lid on reading program controversy

Last week I published a blog post detailing how NC Superintendent Mark Johnson ignored the recommendation of a committee of educators and made the unilateral decision to award the contract for a K-3 reading screener to a company called Istation. According former DPI employee Amy Jablonski, who headed the evaluation committee, Johnson’s selection of Istation disregarded the Request for Purchase (RFP) evaluation team’s advice that North Carolina schools should continue using the mClass screener which has been in place since 2013.  The change means moving from a model in which children read one-on-one with their teacher to one where their interaction is with a computer.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

How N.C. lawmakers spin local teacher supplements to pad teacher pay

This simple graphic is proudly shown on the Sen. Phil Berger-enabled propaganda website www.ncteacherraise.com. There are a lot of “spun” numbers and claims on this website that are easily debunked with more context and clarity. That figure as it stands...

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Progressive Voices Top Story

How North Carolina budget proposals undercut “Raise the Age” reforms

North Carolina was the last state in the U.S. to end the automatic prosecution of juveniles of 16 or older as adults when in 2017 the NC General Assembly passed the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act (JJRA). As a result, 16 and 17 year olds charged with non-violent crimes on or after December 1, 2019 will be considered to be under the jurisdiction of the juvenile justice system, pursuant only to specific exceptions.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

State budget negotiators can and should choose a better path

The recent proposal from state Senate leaders for the next two-year state budget compromises North Carolina’s future by underinvesting in our communities while prioritizing the special interests of a select few. As House and Senate leaders confer on the final budget, let’s be clear that a different path — one that involves smart investments and better outcomes — is possible.

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