Opinion Roundup: Eclipse day is here
Posted August 21
Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 -- A roundup of opinion, commentary and analysis on the arrival of the solar eclipse, the release of the General Assembly's redistricting plans, the continued push for the removal of Confederate statues and more.
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
Here comes the eclipse (Fayetteville Observer) -- No rain, please. We’ve got an eclipse to attend. And so far, the forecasts look good. Let’s hold our breath for another day. It’s been a newsy summer, in good ways and bad, but much of the hype has been in the heavens, as the nation gets ready for view a rare solar eclipse that will track across the United States Monday from Pacific to Atlantic.
MARK WASHBURN: The eclipse: Doom is racing toward our very eyes (Charlotte Observer column) -- Solar event is an opportunity for people to state the very obvious.
Eclipsing turmoil for a moment (Hendersonville Times-News) -- Threats of nuclear war with North Korea. Neo-Nazis spreading hate, death and mayhem. Hundreds killed in a mudslide in Africa. Senseless, brutal terrorist attacks like the one Thursday in Spain. The past few weeks have been a time of relentless unrest. But on Monday, nature will put the problems of our present into perspective, if only momentarily, with the celestial show of the century.
BOB MOEN: Grand Teton park to escape Yellowstone's shadow for eclipse (Los Angeles Times analysis) -- Grand Teton is one of two U.S. national parks and 21 National Park Service-operated sites that the total eclipse will pass over. The other park is Great Smoky Mountains National Park spanning Tennessee and North Carolina.
More questions arising about the pipeline (Fayetteville Observer) -- As we draw close to the final approvals for the $5 billion, 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline, there’s a growing chorus of voices saying, “Hey, wait a minute — what about this?” We’re pleased that someone with some clout — someone who can issue necessary permits for the natural-gas pipeline — is listening.
JEFF HAMPTON: Hatteras Island business owners uneasy about lack of response from bridge builders who cut power (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot analysis) -- Hundreds have filed claims with PCL Construction using forms available on a website.
POLITICS & POLICY
LAURA LESLIE: House releases redistricting plan with few ‘double-bunkings’ (WRAL-TV analysis) -- The North Carolina House released its proposed redistricting plan scheduled to be up for its first floor vote Friday, Aug. 25th. Mapmakers managed to keep 112 of 120 current members in single districts.
Lawmakers find a new way to kick the poor (Fayetteville Observer) -- With the General Assembly back in town to attend to some important tasks — including redrawing our racially gerrymandered legislative districts — we hope lawmakers will also address some bad decisions they made in the state’s fiscal budget. Some of the short-changing of programs appears rooted in pure vindictiveness.
Celebratory monuments vs. objective historic artifacts -- the difference matters (Wilmington Star-News) -- With a movement afoot to remove Confederate statues from public spaces, it’s important to distinguish between monuments and places that are markers of history, and monuments and places that are objects of praise for a person or cause.
ERIC FONER: Confederate Statues and ‘Our’ History (New York Times column) -- They do not simply commemorate American history, as the president declared. They honor just one part of that past.
JENNIFER LEVITZ: Daughters of Confederacy ‘Reeling’ From Memorial Removals (Wall Street Journal analysis) -- Efforts by cities to remove Confederate monuments in the aftermath of Charlottesville has thrust the United Daughters of the Confederacy reluctantly into the fray because of the group’s almost-singular role in spreading these memorials.
Remove Confederate symbols of control, contempt (Elizabeth City Daily Advance) -- Two years ago, following the murder of nine black churchgoers in Charleston by a white supremacist who was inspired by Confederate imagery, many communities across the South, including this one, were forced to confront their own connection to the Confederacy.
From regret to sorrow (Greensboro News & Record) -- Three days after ugly words and uglier acts in Charlottesville, Va., claimed a life and shook the country, the city of Greensboro said it was sorry for its own tragic chapter in U.S. history .
Simple terms diminish monument debate (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- Loud voices have risen to label the statues that stand in front our courthouses as symbols of racism, sedition and hate. The story the voices tell is simplistic. The men the statues represent, the people who erected them and the people who honor them today are far more complicated.
SUSAN LADD: The heritage of Confederate monuments is hate (Greensboro News & Record column) -- Most Confederate monuments were erected during the Jim Crow era, not to memorialize the dead, but to intimidate the living.
PATRICK W. O’NEIL: Let’s be honest, monuments honor the Confederacy, supremacy (Fayetteville Observer column) -- Since the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the toppling of the statue of the Confederate soldier in Durham, defenders of Confederate memorials have made an interesting distinction.
JANINE BOWEN: Duke University removes Robert E. Lee statue from chapel entrance (WRAL-TV analysis) -- Duke University President Vincent E. Price on Saturday morning authorized the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue from the entrance of the Duke University Chapel.
RAJ ANDREW GHOSHAL: Durham's statue valorized white supremacy. We can do better (Capitol Broadcasting column) -- What should be done with Confederate memorials? Some argue that we shouldn't "erase history." They're right. Most Confederate statues belong where most Hitler statues do; in museums, where they can be appropriately contextualized.
CAMPBELL ROBERTSON, ALAN BLINDER and RICHARD FAUSSET: In Monument Debate, Calls for an Overdue Reckoning on Race and Southern Identity (New York Times analysis) -- A longtime mantra used by many defenders is being undercut by the embrace of Confederate imagery by white supremacists.
House leader: Lawmakers mum on Confederate monuments law (AP analysis) -- A high-ranking North Carolina House member says he's hearing no pressure from fellow Republican legislators to reconsider a 2015 law prohibiting the removal of Confederate monuments from government property.
JOYCE REEHLING: History of Traitorous Time Doesn’t Belong on a Monument (Southern Pines Pilot) -- Ronald Reagan famously called for President Gorbachev to “tear down this wall,” which was both a barrier and a symbol of the separation of East Berlin and the rest of the world.
Do we dare display the whole Civil War story? (Wilmington Star-News) -- The backlash has set in after Charlottesville as a new wave of cities have taken down Confederate monuments. We’re hearing the usual arguments, from President Trump among others: the statues are “heritage’” they remind us of the courage and honor of Southern fighting men; you can’t change history by pulling down a monument down, etc.
No moral authority if president a white supremacist (Elizabeth City Daily Advance) -- In President Donald Trump, we now have someone in the White House who, while not publicly stating a belief that white people are superior, has conducted himself in word and deed that can only lead us to the conclusion that he believes it.
GENE SMITH: This didn’t begin with President Trump (Fayetteville Observer column) -- Sen. Mitch McConnell spoke for millions when he denounced white supremacists and neo-nazis as foes of “American ideals and freedoms.” All of us, he added, “have a responsibility to stand against hate and violence” of the kind seen last weekend. Well, sure. But let’s come down to Earth long enough to wonder aloud what, exactly, it means to “stand against” these evils?
JOHN RAILEY: Seeing Charlottesville’s violence from a mountain of love (Winston-Salem Journal column) — I’m betting our future on a young couple that came together on a mountain of love high above the hell that was Charlottesville last weekend.
BROCK VERGAKIS: How Virginia voters could help decide the fate of Confederate monuments (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot analysis) -- Statewide elections this November in Virginia could help determine the fate of Jim Crow era Confederate monuments. Virginia law prohibits the removal of war monuments and memorials. Lawmakers will have an opportunity next year to decide whether to make it easier for local governments to remove them, to clarify the law to make it more difficult to do so, or to leave the law as it is.
Preserve our history; leave Wilson's war memorials standing (Wilson Times) -- There's a difference between Wilson's Civil War memorials and the statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia. That difference may not matter to those who want Confederate symbols mothballed, but it warrants careful consideration. Wilson's memorials don't glorify generals.
JOE PALAZZOLO: ACLU Decision Puts Spotlight on Guns at Protests (Wall Street Journal analysis) -- A decision by the American Civil Liberties Union to distance itself from groups that protest with firearms highlighted a clash of rights that has grown common as states have lowered barriers to carrying guns.
Arthur Finkelstein, Innovative, Influential Conservative Strategist, Dies at 72 (New York Times obit) -- Arthur Finkelstein, a reclusive political Svengali who revolutionized campaign polling and financing and helped elect a bevy of conservative candidates, including Jesse Helms, Lauch Faircloth, President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, died on Friday night in Ipswich, Mass., where he lived. He was 72.
Arthur Finkelstein, quietly influential GOP campaign mastermind, dies at 72 (Washington Post obit) -- Finkelstein was the first Republican elected to the Senate from North Carolina since the 19th century.
MARK BARRETT: Burr urges bipartisanship, but says Obamacare is different (Asheville Citizen-Times analysis) -- Getting legislation through the Senate these days requires reaching out to Democrats even though they control only 48 of its 100 seats, Sen. Richard Burr said. But afterward, Burr would not go so far as to say the all-Republican, closed-door process used to develop Senate Republicans' proposal to rewrite the Affordable Care Act failed because sponsors ignored that idea.
STEPHANIE CARSON: NC Health Centers Meet Needs of LGBTQ Community (Public News Service analysis) -- Community health centers across North Carolina meet the medical needs of a diverse population, many of whom aren't finding adequate care elsewhere. One such group is the LGBTQ community, and Western North Carolina Community Health Services has just received a $10,000 grant to help serve this population.
Stop the scourge (Winston-Salem Journal) -- The story of Madison “Maddie” Marini is heartbreaking and tragic. A bright, athletic, vivacious Stokes County resident, Marini was lost to a heroin overdose last year at 22.
LIZ SCHLEMMER: Enrollment At NC Teaching Programs Inches Back Up (WUNC-FM analysis) -- A five year decline in North Carolina students enrolling in teaching programs appears to be turning around. The UNC system saw a 16 percent uptick in education degree-seekers last year. One college of education is seeing gains in enrollment as students return this fall.
CELIA RIVENBARK: Getting all emotional about dogs (Wilmington Star-News column) -- Have y’all noticed the proliferation of “emotional support animals” lately? I used quotes because I think it’s possible a few of these are just dogs playing dress up, but I could be wrong.