Weekly Briefing

Weekly Briefing

Defending Democracy Top Story Weekly Briefing

Five important takeaways from last week’s assault on democracy

It’s been less than a week since a mob of traitorous criminals, directly incited by the President of the United States, carried out one of the most despicable acts in American history. Happily, in the hours and days that have followed, there have been some encouraging signs that finally, at long last, several powerful conservative voices who have long tolerated and abetted Trumpism have had enough.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

The pandemic: where things stand, what comes next and what we should have learned

The COVID-19 pandemic is obviously one of the worst events to have struck humanity in modern history. In the coming days, the global death toll will exceed two million – and that, of course, is just a part of the story. In addition to the human lives that it has taken directly, the virus has ruined or damaged the lives of millions more...

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

A holiday wish list for some notable NC politicians

At a very small risk violating North Carolina’s rather convoluted statutory ban on gifts to public officials, here is this year’s holiday wish list for some of our state’s most prominent political figures: For Governor Roy Cooper and Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen: The chance to make the announcement that each of them has no doubt been dreaming of for nearly a year...

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Vaccine miracle offers model for tackling another giant crisis

There are a lot of important lessons that Americans should glean from the mostly awful year that will soon and mercifully come to an end – some of them quite sobering. We must recognize, for instance, that we still have many miles to travel when it comes to conquering the nation’s original sin of racism and that the ground on which our democracy rests is not as rock solid as we long assumed.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

A fitting conclusion to two decades of neglect

In one of her final acts, outgoing NC Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry declines to help protect workers from COVID-19 It shouldn’t and doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Some things in the world of 21st Century policy and politics – President Donald Trump telling outrageous lies, Senator Phil Berger blocking the expansion of health coverage to hundreds of thousands of struggling North Carolinians, Senator Richard Burr always making sure to look out for Number One – are as predictable as the sunrise.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

When it comes to the pandemic, the NC political right should #StoptheStupid

#StoptheStupid. That little zinger of a Twitter hashtag drew national headlines in recent days after a Michigan Republican congressman named Paul Mitchell used it in a public plea to President Trump to cease his baseless, irresponsible and destructive claims about voter fraud in the 2020 election.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Five reasons NC progressives should remain bullish about their political future

There’s been a great deal of introspection and handwringing by North Carolina progressives in recent weeks in the aftermath of the election. After having spent much of the summer and fall reveling in the notion that the state was poised to issue a strong, across-the-board repudiation of Trumpism on November 3, the final results were, on many fronts, a disappointment.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

A vicious propaganda cycle is threatening our common well-being

Something strange happened in my neighborhood the other day. It was a warm and pleasant Thursday – the day on which a city sanitation truck arrives each week to empty the trash bins. The truck just didn’t come. A couple of days later, another equally strange thing occurred: our postal carrier didn’t make it to our neighborhood.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Offering an olive branch to Trump supporters

The hostile and profanity-laced emails started piling up in my inbox just minutes after NC Policy Watch sent out a special breaking news story this past Saturday to subscribers entitled “Biden elected nation’s 46th President.” For many, it was apparently enough of a spleen venting exercise to simply call the story “B___S___!” – sometimes repeatedly and in all capital letters. Others were somewhat more creative.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Five reminders to help keep you sane through the election and its aftermath

A lot of Americans are apprehensive and fearful right now. They worry that the toxic combination of a deadly and still out-of-control health pandemic and a closely-contested national election that offers such widely divergent visions of the nation’s future could lead to spiraling unrest and perhaps even armed violence.      These are not totally illegitimate concerns.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

What people are thinking a week out from Election Day

“Just make it end!” That’s what many Americans are thinking and saying right now about a lot of things: the election marathon, the pandemic, this calendar year, and for many, the whole toxic political era that the nation has endured in recent years. Such feelings are, of course, not universal.

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Original Commentary Top Story Weekly Briefing

NC should listen to teachers and resist the rush to reopen schools

It’s been seven months since the COVID-19 pandemic turned life upside down in North Carolina, but it feels like seven years. In just over 200 days, we’ve seen at least a quarter-million of our neighbors contract the coronavirus and 4,000 die. Nationally, more than 8 million people have become infected and 220,000 have perished. And, of course, these tragic statistics are far from the only gloomy news.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

The American lunatic fringe rears its ugly head

Image: Adobe Stock It would be silly to pretend that the United States is not currently experiencing an extraordinary, and extraordinarily challenging, historical moment. The impact of a virulent global health pandemic on a nation that was already sharply divided along several major fault lines – ideological, economic, racial, religious – has been significant. Add to this roiling stew a hotly contested national election that is widely perceived to be one of the most important in decades, and one has a recipe for discord on a giant scale.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Voters likely unmoved by competing Cunningham-Tillis personal revelations

It’s hard to believe today but it wasn’t that long ago that it was considered a possibly significant liability in Ronald Reagan’s campaign for the presidency in 1980 that he would become, at the time, the first divorced person to assume the presidency. Reagan clearly wasn’t the first president to have experienced something other than a completely happy and monogamous marriage throughout his adulthood, but somehow the idea that his marital problems were publicly known and not just the province of a nodding and winking D.C. press corps, was thought to be potential major liability.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

The anti-RBG: Amy Coney Barrett’s dark and regressive worldview

It’s been more than a quarter-century since Justice Clarence Thomas was confirmed to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Sadly, for Thomas and the country, however, the thing for which he remains best known – especially given his extremely infrequent contributions to the Court’s jurisprudence in the intervening 27 years – is his contentious confirmation hearing and the way it shined, for one of the first times, a national spotlight on the issue of sexual harassment.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

The time for polite dialogue with the political right is over

Supreme Court hypocrisy, effort to infiltrate progressive NC groups ought to be the last straws It should have been obvious to anyone paying attention as far back as the fall of 2000. It was during those grim days and weeks of raw and cynical political thievery that followed the Bush v. Gore presidential election that the modern, extreme, win-at-all-costs American political right fully announced itself as a movement with no time for quaint niceties like fairness, precedent and the rule of law.

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