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Opinion Roundup: Grappling with extremism

Posted September 8

Dozens of people stood in solidarity with the Charlottesville victims Sunday night in Durham during the Vigil for Racial Justice and Equality.

Friday, Sept. 8, 2017 -- A roundup of opinion, commentary and analysis on the challenges college campuses are facing after Charlottesville, the aftermath still being felt by Hurricane Matthew victims, the complexity of citizens' attitudes toward pre-K to 12 education and more.

POLITICS & POLICY
EMILY BAUMGAERTNER: After Charlottesville, Colleges Vow to Do Something. But What? (New York Times analysis) -- Universities are grappling with a dramatic spike in white supremacist activity on their campuses, forcing them to weigh competing priorities: safety, free speech and diversity.

Gen. Lee was right (Fayetteville Observer) -- Robert E. Lee’s wisdom endures and may even be growing more relevant. As we continue to ignore his advice, we go farther astray. The great Confederate general strongly opposed the creation of monuments glorifying the Civil War and its participants. The statues, he believed, would only prolong the feelings that supported our country’s most divisive and bloody war.

TAFT WIREBACK: Legislators file controversial redistricting plan (Greensboro News & Record analysis) -- A lawyer for the state Legislature tells a federal court the plan is blind to "racially polarized voting."

MICHAEL LI & ALEXIS FARMER: What is Extreme Gerrymandering? Understanding how extreme partisan gerrymandering works (Brennan Center column) -- In the type of extreme gerrymandering being challenged in Whitford (and in partisan gerrymandering cases in North Carolina and Pennsylvania), a political party uses its control of the process to artfully craft maps that lock in an outsized share of seats. For an example of this type of gerrymandering at play, take a look at North Carolina.

TRAVIS FAIN: Two NC Congressman back out of anti-gerrymandering brief (WRAL-TV analysis) -- Just what happened is unclear, but on Thursday U.S. Rep. Walter Jones joined U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows in saying his name was added to the brief by mistake.

Get going, Congress (Greensboro News & Record) -- For once, President Donald Trump and congressional leaders got something done this week.

The worst thing for the far right? Sunlight (Charlotte Observer) -- From DACA to Obamacare, Americans recoiling at worst of Donald Trump and conservative thinking.

RICHARD CARVER: HB2-repeal law faces amended legal complaint (Winston-Salem Journal analysis) -- The plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit over House Bill 2 filed a fifth amended complaint targeting the new law that repealed much of the state’s divisive transgender restroom law. The plaintiffs are four LGBT North Carolinians and members of the ACLU of North Carolina. The complaint is the first legal update since May 1.

CARA LOMBARDO, LAURA STEVENS & SHAYNDI RAICE: Amazon Seeks Prime Location for Its Second Headquarters (Wall Street Journal analysis) -- Amazon plans to open a second headquarters somewhere in North America that will house up to 50,000 employees and cost $5 billion to build and operate.

RICK SMITH: Who are the other top contenders for Amazon HQ2? (WRAL-TV/TechWire column) -- Speculation is rampant over what metro areas hold the most allure for a second Amazon headquarters and the project's $5 billion investment along with 50,000 jobs. Here are some leaders, based on media and other reports.

SHAYNDI RAICE: As Cities Look to Lure Amazon, Tax Breaks May Be Key (Wall Street Journal column) -- Bids to be home to Amazon’s second headquarters will likely include hefty tax incentives, but the returns on such deals are often difficult to calculate and can leave taxpayers on the hook for decades.

Factbox: Amazon Lays Out Preferences for Second Headquarters Site (Reuters analysis) -- Amazon.com Inc on Thursday dangled the prospect of as many as 50,000 jobs and billions of dollars in direct and indirect investment to communities vying to host its second North American headquarters.

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
SUSAN LADD: As Hurricane Irma bears down, Matthew's victims still await help (Greensboro News & Record column) -- Nearly a year after Hurricane Matthew, North Carolina has been shortchanged and seemingly forgotten.​

JEFF HAMPTON: Virginia businessman claims ownership of newly formed "Shelly Island" (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot column) -- No, neither North Carolina nor the National Park Service owns the island formed earlier this year, says Dare County's manager.

CATHERINE KOZAK: Conservation Effort Spares Ecology, History (Coastal Review column) -- The N.C. Coastal Land Trust has borrowed $4.85 million and purchased for conservation nearly 1,000 acres in Bertie County, an ecologically significant site that may be where survivors from the Lost Colony settled after leaving Roanoke Island.

JOSEPH BEBON: Dominion Energy Virginia plans new solar option for customers (Solar Magazine column) -- Dominion Energy Virginia has announced plans to offer residential and business customers the opportunity to “go solar” even without investing in solar panels on their rooftops. These customers will be able to have a portion of their energy needs met by community-based solar facilities fed directly into the Dominion Energy grid.

EDUCATION
FERREL GUILLORY: Huge education enterprise gives rise to complex public opinion (EdNC column) -- As traditional-calendar schools opened across the land, the U.S. Census Bureau distributed school enrollment data that serves as a reminder of the large size of the American education enterprise. Simultaneously, Phi Delta Kappan magazine published its annual PDK Poll showing the complexity of the issues and the attitudes of citizens on pre-K to 12 education.

LIZ BELL & ALEX GRANADOS: The highs and lows of school performance grades (EdNC analysis) -- The State Board of Education received good and bad news when they heard data on the latest release of the School Performance Grades yesterday. The number of As and Bs received by the 2,478 schools measured in the release increased, while the number of Ds and Fs decreased. However, the number of schools and districts that qualify as low performing increased since the 2015-16 school year.

ALEX GRANADOS: Principals in the policy spotlight (EdNC column) -- The latest sessions of the General Assembly have highlighted the issue of principal pay. While teacher pay has long been a subject of intense scrutiny by the legislature, principal pay has not been addressed. For years, North Carolina has ranked second to last in the states and Washington, D.C., for principal pay.

Wilson can make school supply drive a smashing success (Wilson Times) -- A Wilson business is going the extra mile to help Wilson County schoolteachers stock their classrooms with supplies — and it’s an effort we can all pitch in to support. Brewmasters has begun its third annual Adopt-A-Classroom drive​​.

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