Weekly Briefing

Weekly Briefing

Original Commentary Top Story Weekly Briefing

Stunning statistic shows how North Carolina is a national leader…in cruelty toward families in need

North Carolina legislators have provoked a lot of head-scratcher moments in recent years, but here’s one that has to be near the top of the list. Last week, state senators of both parties advanced a bill out of the Senate Health Care Committee that would allow parents on Medicaid, who temporarily lose custody of their kids, to keep their coverage so they can more easily get drug or mental health treatment. This makes obvious sense for numerous reasons.

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Ham-handed power play at Fayetteville State symbolizes Trumpism in action

Near the end of one of the late 20th Century’s most outrageous and over-the-top action films – director John McTiernan’s 1988 Die Hard – an exchange takes place between a hostage portrayed by Bonnie Bedelia and her captor, a supposed political terrorist played by the late, great Alan Rickman, whose murderous takeover of a Los Angeles office building has been exposed to be merely a big money robbery...

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Disaster in Texas is a reminder of the greatest threat to our freedom

Americans have always been, in many respects, an optimistic and forward-looking people. Ours, happily, is not a nation overly obsessed with settling old international scores and grudges or constantly addressing perceived slights from past adversaries. One flip side to this admirable tendency, however, is what frequently amounts to a short collective memory.

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A dark day for the party of Lincoln

Censure of Richard Burr marks another step in the decline of the GOP It's easy to forget sometimes, but political parties usually evolve over time. For much of its early history the Democratic Party was – particularly in the South – the home of racism and white supremacy.

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On the economy, the Biden team shows the way

President’s economic advisor charts a course that NC leaders should mimic The dog days of the winter of 2021 are here. The pandemic continues to cast a dark and frightening pall over the nation as the death toll approaches a half-million and vast swaths of the population remain unemployed, uninsured, unvaccinated, and uncertain about how to pay for groceries and rent.

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Five simple truths to keep in mind about the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines

Last summer, the idea of a COVID-19 vaccine still seemed as if it might be a fanciful idea that could be years away. Today, just six or so months later (and less than 60 days after the first vaccine received approval for emergency use from the Food and Drug Administration), not only do we have multiple vaccines being deployed, but nearly one in ten Americans has already received at least one vaccine shot.

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Defending Democracy Top Story Weekly Briefing

Donald Trump’s misdeeds were much more than “distractions”

Why several things must happen before our nation can "move on" As you've probably already noticed, there's a problematic narrative being spun by a number of conservatives in the aftermath of the Trump presidency and it goes like this: Trump's lack of success in the White House wasn't so much about any fundamental flaw in his agenda or its basic purpose; rather, it was the result of him allowing unnecessary "distractions" and personal foibles to get in the way.

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Reasons for hope and optimism as a new administration takes office

There are a lot of reasons that all Americans – at least those willing to think and pay attention– should feel a profound sense of hope and optimism as a new presidential administration takes the helm of the ship of state this week. Perhaps most obvious is the simple fact that we’re not where we were four years ago at this moment: watching the assumption of power by an administration for which chaos, corruption and credible questions regarding its loyalty to the nation would quickly become hallmarks.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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