Opinion Roundup: Aug. 14, 2016 -- Comeback or left out, GOP troubles, theme songs, the politics gets angry and mean
Posted August 14
Recession, it turns out, is still a big problem for N.C. (Fayetteville Observer) -- Gov. Pat McCrory campaigns for re-election on the contention that our North Carolina economy is very much on the upswing - a phenomenon that he calls the "Carolina Comeback." … Not so fast, economist John Quinterno says. At the behest of the think tank Think NC First, Quinterno analyzed the real numbers of jobs and pay, and he also put them into the context of the trends that were occurring at the same time.
Election prep gets more challenging (Southern Pines Pilot) -- When he wrote, “Between the idea and the reality, between the motion and the fact, falls the shadow,” poet T.S. Eliot wasn’t talking about last month’s action by a three-judge federal court ruling that threw out North Carolina’s voter ID bill. But he might as well have been.
SUSAN LADD: GOP leadership is state's biggest environmental disaster (Greensboro News & Record) -- Resignations of prominent staff and volunteers from the state’s environmental agencies and boards are the most recent indications of just how dire the situation has become in our regulatory agencies under Gov. Pat McCrory and a GOP-dominated legislature.
TIM WHITE: how the state GOP is going to kill itself (Fayetteville Observer column) -- North Carolina Republicans in the General Assembly have been like kids turned loose in a candy store, free to eat as much as they want. They've gone all-out for gluttony, making themselves and their state sick - over and over. And now some grownups have stepped in, with stern words for the overstuffed kids: They've got to pay for that gluttony. The grownups have mostly come from the federal courts.
Make local election board truly bipartisan (Greensboro News & Record) -- To guard against partisan decisions by election boards, they should be constituted more fairly, consisting of one Republican, one Democrat and one unaffiliated member. Nearly 30 percent of North Carolina registered voters are unaffiliated; they should not be excluded from serving on election boards. The state board should include an independent member, too. Everything to do with how elections are run in North Carolina is partisan, from redistricting to appointing precinct judges. Introducing some bipartisanship could instill confidence that decisions are made fairly. A good place to start is with our boards of elections.
Tone-deaf plan would surely cut black voting (Fayetteville Observer) -- This was just what the courts were talking about when they rejected North Carolina's voter ID law and the most recent state legislative redistricting.
Probe of McCrory administration's handling of water issue needed (Winston-Salem Journal) -- The McCrory administration has tried to chip away at the credibility of state toxicologist Ken Rudo, a highly respected scientist who did his best to warn residents who live near Duke Energy coal-ash basins about the potential danger of water from their wells. Now, Rudo’s boss, another fine scientist, has resigned in protest.
CELIA RIVENBARK - Theme songs to play as these notables enter a room (Wilmington Star-News column) -- We all should have a theme song when we enter a room. I am considering demanding that each time I step into an elevator, office lobby or, OK, my own living room, the music should immediately switch to my personal theme song. I didn’t actually have one until I read about Mariah but now I’ve adopted that Donna Summer classic: “She Works Hard for the Money.” Who can resist a little ‘80s disco, amiright?
Trump is making America meaner (New York Times column) -- Donald Trump is mainstreaming hate. Among any nation’s most precious possessions is its social fabric, and that is what Donald Trump is rending with incendiary talk about roughing up protesters and about gun owners solving the problem of Hillary Clinton making judicial nominations. The Southern Poverty Law Center issued a report documenting how Trump’s venom has poisoned schools across the country. It quoted a North Carolina teacher as saying she has “Latino students who carry their birth certificates and Social Security cards to school because they are afraid they will be deported.”
No walls are needed in eastern N.C. (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- Tuesday’s visit to Pitt County from Remedios Gomez Arnau, the new Mexican consul general for the Carolinas, was valuable and timely.
Are we getting the truth on coal-ash leaks? (Wilmington Star-News) -- Are state officials trying to pretend that pollution that could sicken and kill people really isn't there, regardless of the facts? It certainly looks that way. North Carolina in general, and Gov. Pat McCrory in particular, cannot afford this. The governor would be wise to appoint a non-partisan panel, with respected scientists, to re-evaluate the coal ash threat and the state’s response. And then he needs to clean house. Of course, come November, the voters can have their say on the governor’s handling of this issue.
GENE SMITH: Just keep smirking, and everything will be fine (Fayetteville Observer column) -- We can tell ourselves anything we please, but we can't turn reality on and off like a light switch simply by choosing to prohibit this methodology or disbelieve those data or ignore that recommendation or pooh-pooh this standard. I've never seen any proof that nature's laws suspend themselves just to spare humans, be they policymakers, business people or docile voters, the consequences of their own counter-scientific decisions. Nature is a great provider, but nature is nobody's mommy. That's one reason we need scientists - real ones. Just guessing, here, but recruiting good scientists probably grows harder each time word slips out about the chilly work environment that North Carolina is preparing for them.
State lawmakers, not FCC, should govern Greenlight (Wilson Times) -- Wilson city officials can continue to provide high-speed internet access to Wilson County residents, but the Greenlight municipal broadband service can’t add customers in adjoining eastern North Carolina counties, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled. While we understand and can appreciate city leaders’ dismay, we believe judges reached the correct conclusion in upholding a North Carolina state law over an FCC ruling. Elected state legislators, not appointed federal bureaucrats, should be the ones who make the call.
Stop seismic airgun blasting off our coast (Charlotte Observer column) -- President Obama blocked offshore drilling but could still allow seismic airgun blasting off North Carolina’s coast.
Choose a better way (Greensboro News & Record) -- A bill to create a nonpartisan redistricting commission was filed in the N.C. House of Representatives on Feb. 16, 2015.