Opinion roundup: Aug. 30, 2016 -- Elections, renewable energy, schools, HB2, science and politics

Posted August 30

State early-voting plan should heed court ruling (Fayetteville Observer) -- Facing fourth down and long yardage, as many as a third of the state's county boards of elections decided to punt. The receiver will be busy.

State has huge untapped source of energy (Wilmington Star-News column) -- North Carolina has the potential to gain $2.7 billion in new capital investment, nearly 24,300 construction and maintenance jobs, and a multitude of related industry-service jobs. How is that possible? By taking advantage of one of our most overlooked, yet very abundant, energy sources: biogas. Those statistics reported by the American Biogas Council represent an enormous opportunity for North Carolina to harness methane from our agriculture, landfills, wastewater and food waste. If fully realized, this biogas energy could power nearly 500,000 homes.

All teachers are important (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Kudos to the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education, which stepped in when needed, voting last week to ensure that every teacher in the district would get a raise of some kind,

HB 2 is going to fail (Greensboro News & Record) -- Friday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder adds another reason why Gov. Pat McCrory should stop defending House Bill 2. Its legal foundation is weak.

Let's keep politics out of science (Wilmington Star-News) -- Scientists might be a bunch of wooly-headed liberals, but they also have this annoying habit of being right. Sea levels have been rising pretty much as Duke's Orrin Pilkey said they would a quarter century ago. Doctors said cigarette smoking caused lung cancer and heart disease. That was bad news for North Carolina's tobacco industry, but as more folks quit smoking, tobacco-related lung cancer and heart disease rates plummeted. Many politicians seem to think that reality is consensual. If your craven opponents say X equals Y, you find your own bunch of mouthpieces, label them experts and have them declare that, no, X equals Z. These days, that’s a good way to win an election, but can be costly to make government policy this way. We need facts, genuinely unbiased facts. This Collaboratory will be a major test for the new UNC president, Margaret Spellings. Let’s hope she gets it right.

State better move cautiously on takeover (Winston-Salem Journal) -- It’s not certain, but there’s a good chance that the state legislature will be taking over one of our schools next year and adding it to its new Achievement School District, which is designed to target five low-performing elementary schools in the state for takeover by charter school operators, the Journal’s Arika Herron reported recently.

Benefits of naloxone outweigh drawbacks (Wilmington Star-News) -- We've been seeing a lot of comments back and forth in The Buzz about use of the drug naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan. Some critics say that by reversing the effects of an overdose, naloxone encourages opioid users to keep abusing the drugs.

African-Americans hear Trump loud and clear (Roll Call column) -- It’s so refreshing to know that Donald Trump cares about me. I was in that Charlotte crowd when he made one of his first outreach efforts to African-Americans. Because the supportive Trump fans gathered in the portioned-off section of the convention center included few actual African-Americans, he could very well have been talking just to me when he said Democrats and Hillary Clinton have totally taken African-American votes for granted. “What do you have to lose by trying something new?” he asked.

N.C. sex-offender law needs some fine tuning (Fayetteville Observer) -- Protecting our children from extreme danger is one of our most solemn obligations. And protecting them from sexual predators needs to be among our highest priorities.


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