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Opinion Roundup: Cooper and GOP getting along? Facts and the state of the Union and protesting offshore drilling

Posted January 31, 2018 8:10 a.m. EST
Updated January 31, 2018 8:23 a.m. EST

Gov. Cooper issues executive order on nondiscrimination

Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018 -- A round up of opinion, commentary and analysis: Cooper and GOP cooperation, fact-checking Trump, state of the N.C. economy, achievement gap for Southern schools, protesting offshore oil and gas exploration.


POLICY & POLITICS
Cooper, GOP legislators forge small, welcome alliances (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- A funny thing has happened in Gov. roy Cooper's first year of office. For whatever reasons, the GOP leadership in the General Assembly and Cooper have found it advantageous to work together – occasionally. Let's not get carried away here. Coop and Berger aren't exactly trading s'mores and singing campfire songs. But who would have thought the Democratic governor and GOP leadership would find common ground at all? And yet they have.

Rooting out racism (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Racism’s been on the rise across our country in recent months, so it’s not surprising that we’ve had some ugly incidents of it at two of our institutions of higher learning in the last few weeks. Good for officials at Appalachian State and Wake Forest universities for rightly sending the message that this manure won’t be tolerated. They confronted two students who insulted African-Americans and shamed many of the rest of us.

TRAVIS FAIN: Who is Greg Lindberg? NC GOP's new big-money donor described as nonpartisan 'bootstrap entrepreneur' WRAL-TV analysis) -- A Durham businessman dumped $3.3 million into state Republican causes last year.

LAURA LESLIE: Fake news? App will help State of the Union viewers sort out fact, fiction (WRAL-TV analysis) -- A project from Duke University aims to vet politicians' claims in real time and put the facts in the palm of your hand. FactStream got its first beta test on a national scale during President Donald Trump's State of the Union address Tuesday night.

Fact-checking Donald Trump's 2018 State of the Union speech (PolitiFact) -- President Donald Trump offered a rosy assessment of American life in his first State of the Union address — but several of his points were factually flawed.

FACT CHECKER: Speech used soaring rhetoric — and many dubious facts and figures (Washington Post) -- Here’s a roundup of the president's most dubious claims.

Fact-Checking Trump’s Address (New York Times analysis) -- Our reporters checked Mr. Trump’s claims on immigration, the economy, health care and more.

FactChecking Trump’s State of the Union (Factcheck.org) -- The president exaggerates his accomplishments in his address to Congress.

JOHN HINTON: Local professors offer mixed views on Trump's State of the Union speech (Winston-Salem Journal analysis) --Two local professors said Tuesday night that they generally liked President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech while another professor criticized Trump’s remarks.

Better Method to Draw Political Lines (Southern Pines Pilot) -- North Carolina politics has long held to the axiom “To the victor go the spoils,” especially as it relates to the drawing of political boundaries.

SUSAN LADD: Judicial redistricting is another coup by cartography (Greensboro News & Record column) -- Analysis of maps drawn by General Assembly's veto-proof GOP majority once again shows partisan advantage.

PAM LEVY: Millions of Voters Will Cast Ballots in November in Unconstitutionally Gerrymandered Districts (Mother Jones Magazine analysis) -- The blame lies with the Supreme Court. In Texas, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, Democratic plaintiffs have successfully convinced federal district courts that their states’ political maps unconstitutional. Those courts have ordered new maps to be drawn. But the Supreme Court has halted that process repeatedly, causing voters to be stuck in unfairly drawn districts for yet another election cycle.

EDWARD-ISAAC DOVERE: GOP leader confesses gerrymandering keeps them in control (Politico) -- A new Morning Consult/POLITICO poll found that just 27 percent of registered voters believe that Trump’s support will have a positive impact on Republicans running for Congress this year, and 40 percent believe he’ll have a negative impact. But Republicans will easily keep control of the U.S. House of Representatives, says Steve Stivers, chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee. The first reason, he says, is a factor everyone knows about, but which Republicans rarely tout out loud: “I think it starts with the congressional lines,” Stivers said, pointing to the successful gerrymandering after 2010. Later, asked whether that validates Democrats’ argument that Republicans have tilted elections to their advantage, Stivers shrugged off the criticism: “You can say that, but the people elected them.”

Tillis, senate should protect Mueller probe (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis should renew efforts to shield special counsel Robert Mueller from dismissal by his superiors at the Justice Department now that a report has surfaced that President Trump tried to have him fired.

​North Carolina agency opens online comment on monument move (AP news analysis) -- People can give written comments to a special committee assigned to make recommendations on a proposal to move three Confederate monuments on North Carolina's old Capitol grounds to a Civil War battlefield.

MICHAEL ABRAMOWTIZ: ECU economist says slow, steady growth will avert recession in 2018 (Greenville Daly Reflector analysis) -- With little chance of a recession in 2018, the Greenville and Pitt County economies are pointed in the right direction, including a modest but positive growth rate and a stable unemployment rate. But there are some warning signs worth paying attention to, according to the annual forecast from Rick Niswander, ECU vice chancellor for administration and finance.

EDUCATION
LISA PHILIP: NC, The South Called On To Accelerate Change For Vulnerable Students (WUNC-FM analysis) -- A group of education organizations is calling on states in the South to improve schools for all students and to do so at a faster pace. Their report out Tuesday identifies widening gaps in achievement between wealthy, white students and their black, Latino and low-income classmates.

MARY KATE MURPHY: Schools Issue Mobile Hotspots to Students Without Home Internet Access (Southern Pines Pilot analysis) -- The schools will track students’ test scores on year-end state tests to determine whether the program is effective.

LINDALYN KAKADELIS: Anti-charter report gets an ‘F’ in accuracy (Charlotte Observer column) -- Here we go again, as Duke professor Helen Ladd puts forward another “working paper” that conjures up select, inaccurate data to criticize public charter schools. This latest attack on charters, ginned up to argue – in Ladd’s own words – that public charters are “imposing an increasingly large fiscal burden” on district schools, is like a Sudoku of statistical data. There is no hypothesis, just an axe to grind. It is not peer-reviewed nor has its methodology been replicated.

HEALTH
JASON DEBRUYN: Tracking Opioid Prescriptions To Combat A Crisis (WUNC-FM analysis) -- Steve Pollard lives in Jackson Springs. It's in rural North Carolina near Pinehurst. About five years ago, Pollard hurt his back while on the job for a NASCAR team. Ultimately, he had surgery, but was let go from his job. Now, he works in IT for the world-famous Pinehurst Country Club. But, pain medication is still a big part of his life.

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
NEEL KELLER: Dare County asks for local drilling hearing (Outer Banks Sentinel) -- Move comes as opposition to federal offshore plan mounts

JOHN DOWNEY: Duke Energy grid connections show another strong year for N.C. solar growth (Charlotte Business Journal analysis) -- New solar was down 37% from its 2015 peak, but Duke Energy still saw significant new capacity added in 2017 — and could see more this year.

ED BECKLEY: Our Coast’s History - A WWII Outer Banks Spy (Coastal Review column) -- Carol Dillon of Buxton remembers the time during World War II when a mysterious visitor with a German accent arrived at the local post office to mail a suspicious package.

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