Weekly Briefing

Weekly Briefing

Top Story Weekly Briefing

Personal responsibility phonies: Conservative pols’ griping about baseball team’s dismissal is sadly emblematic

No modern politician ever got in trouble with their constituents by complaining about the way a hometown sports team was treated by officials. Especially in recent decades, griping about unpopular official rulings has become the default position for public figures looking to curry favor with voters.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

The legislature’s secret energy bill: For our children and grandchildren, we simply must do better

In these divided, tumultuous and, occasionally, frightening times we inhabit, one powerful source of shared solace and hope for people of all identities and beliefs is this: we humans love our children and grandchildren. We may differ sharply on countless social, political, religious and ethical issues, but when it comes to our kids and their future, there is precious little to distinguish two gay parents...

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“Divide and conquer” politics: Thom Tillis’s infamous directive to the GOP still resonates a decade later

It’s a common phenomenon for well-known politicians to become associated with, or remembered for, an inspiring or infamous utterance. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” “Ask not what your country can do for yourself. Ask what you can do for your country.” “Mr. Gorbachev: tear down this wall.” “I am not a crook.” And this doesn't apply just to presidents.

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At the state GOP convention in Greenville, Donald Trump’s fade to black continues

He’s baaaack. Well, sort of. Former President Donald Trump emerged from his self-imposed Florida/New York internal exile this past Saturday evening by delivering a typically rambling and narcissistic speech at the 2021 North Carolina Republican Party convention in Greenville. It was his first such appearance since leaving the White House in January.

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White Americans can handle truth about the nation’s history

When Europeans first came to the Americas in the middle of the last millennium, scholars estimate that there were roughly 60 million indigenous people here. And while the actions and motivations of those who immigrated to this hemisphere obviously ran the gamut, there is simply no denying that the impact on the native population was catastrophic.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Message laundering: How the far right is getting its dirty work done at UNC

There are a lot of reasons to be outraged by the recent preposterous decision of UNC-Chapel Hill leaders to deny academic tenure to acclaimed journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and instead hire her as a contact employee. First, of course, is the fact that Hannah-Jones, who was recently appointed to fill the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism at UNC’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media, is uniquely and supremely qualified for the job.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

State House advances new and cynical effort to whitewash North Carolina’s troubled history

To those who ever harbored any doubts about how truly blatant and virulent the racism and white supremacy were that dominated North Carolina’s culture, law and politics well into the 20th Century, Pulitzer Prize winning author David Zucchino’s most recent book, Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy is a “must read.” Here’s a way to get an inkling of just how grim the reality was that Zucchino describes in his painstaking account of the brutal insurrection that was perpetrated against the multi-racial government of what was, at the time, North Carolina’s largest city:

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Echoes of Trumpism continue to dominate at the General Assembly

While his serial dishonesty and corruption, criminal negligence in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and complicity in a failed coup d’état clearly combined to make Donald Trump one of the worst presidents in American history, one has to hand the former chief executive one thing:  the man continues to inspire slavish loyalty from his blinded followers.

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NC GOP leaders attempt to gerrymander the truth

If there is a Forrest Gump of the modern North Carolina political right, it would have to be Dallas Woodhouse. No, Woodhouse isn’t a slow-talking simpleton with a big heart. To the contrary, he’s a skilled, colorful and fast-talking political operative with lots of experience in messaging, P.R. and driving the news.

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Steps we must take to begin to stop the killing

There’s no doubt that serving as a law enforcement officer in most parts of modern America is an extremely difficult and often thankless job, or that most of those who serve are good people doing fine work. Unfortunately, this doesn’t change the fact that our nation is mired in a terrible vicious cycle right now in which people of color – usually, but not always, young men – are being repeatedly and wrongfully killed or terrorized by white cops.

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Stop the bleeding: The last thing North Carolina needs right now is another round of big tax cuts

If you’re an American of a certain age, you may remember one of the zanier TV comedy sketches of the late 20th Century in which the great Steve Martin joined some of the early "Saturday Night Live" cast members in the role of “Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber.” If your memory has faded or that was before your time, don’t fret, you can always find it online or catch a more modern iteration (though sadly, not for laughs) over at the North Carolina Genera Assembly... ...

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HB 2 redux? NC lawmakers again buck science, human rights advocates and corporate America with attacks on transgender rights

It’s been almost four years now since North Carolina’s Republican legislative leaders capitulated to global economic pressure and effectively admitted the error of their ways by agreeing to repeal the infamous anti-transgender law known as HB 2.. And while the agreement that Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore cut with Gov. Roy Cooper at the time was far from complete or satisfactory...

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North Carolina’s incredible shrinking state budget

Cooper’s modest spending proposal illustrates how far we’ve fallen Gov. Roy Cooper proposed a new two-year state budget a couple of weeks back and, as is almost invariably the case, critics and politicians on the right quickly issued statements of criticism and condemnation.

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Election fraud? Trans athletes? Term limits? Rudderless GOP flails wildly in search of issues

Say what you will about Donald Trump, but there was a cynical, P.T. Barnum-like genius to his brief and catastrophic run at the apex of American politics. The man obviously has no deeply held beliefs or political philosophy beyond a commitment to self-promotion and personal enrichment, but like so many other skilled con men throughout history, he could sell stuff – most notably lies and half-truths designed to manipulate audiences.

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Original Commentary Top Story Weekly Briefing

Violence against AAPI community highlights five hard truths about racism and how we should respond

These are especially difficult times in the United States when it comes to matters of race and ethnicity. Thanks in part to former President Trump’s disgraceful and cynical tolerance and encouragement of white supremacists, race-based hate crimes have spiked in recent years. Attacks on Asian Americans and Pacific islanders in particular – like the horrific murders that rocked Atlanta last week – are up dramatically.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

America needs to make it easier for everyone to vote. NC can and should help

It comes as little surprise that politicians have long generally favored voting rules that they have perceived as being beneficial to themselves and their allies. In the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, racist white Democrats in the South concocted convoluted rules to suppress the votes of African Americans who generally favored Republicans – the party of Abraham Lincoln.

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