News

The Kure Beach Town Council was unanimous in its support Monday night of a resolution opposing offshore drilling and seismic testing off the Carolina coast. The adopted resolution read in part:

…exploratory and commercial drilling, extraction, and transportation of offshore oil and gas resources pose a significant risk of a spill, therefore, posing threats to tourist and seafood industries, the economy, the environment, and our quality of life in Kure Beach and other Atlantic Coastal communities…

The environmental group Oceana was quick to recognize the milestone on Twitter:
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Passage of the resolution by newly-elected Mayor Emilie Swearingen and her town council came a little more than two years after then-mayor Dean Lambeth signed a letter supporting seismic testing. Reports by the media indicate that letter was actually penned by a lobbying group backed by the American Petroleum Institute.

To read the full resolution opposing offshore drilling, click below:

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News

Across the state on Monday many people commemorated the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday with a day of service, volunteering their time with various community service projects.

Dr. Peter Morris, executive director of Urban Ministries of Wake County, joined us over the weekend to discuss the importance of engaging the community to advocate for those living in poverty.

Morris notes that while the economy has improved over the past year, many jobs are not paying a living wage, and many in our community do not have the healthcare they need.

Urban Ministries of Wake County provides food to more than 8,000 needy families and 9,500 children annually. The nonprofit’s Open Door Clinic provides in excess of 6,000 medical visits each year to uninsured adults.

“Of all the things we do, food insufficiency is the one that is on the rise,” explained Morris “Working people, working at the edge, just a little bit changes in that household – a bill here, a bill there – and they are not going to be able to  meet that food [need] for the month.”

Click below to hear Dr. Morris talk about the misconceptions of those living in poverty. A podcast of the full radio interview is available here:

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Commentary, News

LCS-400a1. Discrimination agreement required at voucher-eligible school

Burrow into Lee Christian School’s “lifestyle statements and covenant” –a wordy, contractual document requiring the signature of parents, school employees and students grades 6-12—and you’ll find this nugget:

“Gender confusion and dysphoria are ultimately the biological, psychological social and spiritual consequences of the human race’s fallen condition. This state of depravity affects all persons individually and collectively.”

If that’s not enough, the document—inked by a rural Lee County private school, which is eligible to receive public funds under the state’s controversial Opportunity Scholarship Program—goes on to make this declaration:

“Sexual relationships outside of marriage and sexual relationships between persons of the same sex are immoral and sinful. The depth of the sinfulness of homosexual practice is recognized, and yet we believe the grace of God sufficient to overcome both the practice of such activity and the perversion leading to its practice.”

Lee Christian, the document states, reserves the right to deny admission or expel a student should the “atmosphere or conduct within” the home on these issues run contrary to the private school’s beliefs. [Continue reading…]

Obama2. A remarkably productive seven years
Despite relentless, cynical and even paranoid opposition, President Obama comes to his final SOTU speech with a remarkable record of accomplishment

Sometimes, the emotions run so high that it’s hard to talk sense about Barack Obama. When the President was first elected back in November of 2008, many of his supporters (and even nonpartisans) viewed him as a potential national savior.

Here was a clearly brilliant man of remarkable skills and commitment who, at the relatively tender age of 47, had shattered a centuries-old race barrier, overcome the enormous political handicap of a “foreign” and “Muslim-sounding” name and become President at a time of enormous national crisis.

The parallels to the election of Franklin Roosevelt (who, at age 50, overcame the handicap of a grave physical disability to win election at another time of great national crisis) were obvious and plentiful. Indeed, there were many who yearned for and expected a similarly assertive and mold shattering presidency in which, like FDR, Obama would seize the initiative, never let it go and bring about an era of awe inspiring change. Others saw a version of Lincoln or even Reagan. [Continue reading…]

ff-1-12b3. The troubling lottery reality behind the Powerball fever

The lottery has been in the news nonstop for the last couple of weeks as the Powerball jackpot rose to almost $1.5 billion. There have been interviews with people buying tickets and quotes from store clerks selling them and even advice on what to do if you win, though the odds are decidedly against it, roughly one in 300 million.

The lottery industry loves it all of course, more excitement means more players and more cash for the companies who make the tickets and the machines.

State lotteries like ours in North Carolina like it too. Higher jackpots mean more media coverage and more sales and sales is the only way they judge success. One lottery official told the Charlotte Observer that it is indeed “an exciting time for us at the lottery.” [Continue reading…]

NCPW-CC-2014-08-21-SCOTUS-web4. Supreme Court term heating up

The U.S. Supreme Court opened the second part of this year’s term on Monday with argument in a case that challenges the high court’s support for public sector unions, considering in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association whether compelling non-union employees to pay their fair share of union fees violates the First Amendment.

But established Supreme Court precedent on unions is not the only body of law at risk this term; the underpinnings of reproductive rights, voting lines and affirmative action are all on the line in cases up for decision over the next few months.

Here’s a look at a few of the cases likely to frame the term.

The demise of public sector unions?

Since its 1977 ruling in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, the Supreme Court has upheld laws requiring public employees who don’t belong to a union to nonetheless pay their fair share of union fees to cover costs incurred for the collective bargaining from which they benefit.[Continue reading…]

MLK-35. Honoring Dr. King means more than words

Celebrations and ceremonies will be held across the state this weekend to commemorate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Monday is the official state holiday set aside to honor King’s life and accomplishments.

That means politicians of all stripes will be joining arms and walking behind banners and making flowery speeches honoring the legacy of Dr. King, part of it anyway. Gov. Pat McCrory will speak at a breakfast in Burlington.

If this year is like previous ones, most of the politicians will reduce King’s message and life to one speech, to one symbol, to one dream and they will water down that powerful call for racial justice.

In the “I have a Dream” speech that will be quoted from at dozens of podiums this weekend, King not only talked about his hope for a day when people are judged not by the “color of their skin but of the content of their character,” he talked about a southern governor standing in the way, his lips “dripping with the words of interposition and nullification.”

King was talking about Alabama Governor George Wallace refusing to obey a federal court order to desegregate the schools, citing states’ rights and Alabama’s sovereignty in nullifying a federal law he didn’t like.

Nullification is still in the news more than 50 years later… [Continue reading…]

Commentary, News

The sixth Republican presidential debate may have done little to alter where the candidates stand in the polls – with Donald Trump and Ted Cruz still the apparent front-runners ahead of the Iowa caucuses.

In North Carolina, Trump has been gaining support since last July, prompting some political pundits to wonder how Trump at the top of the ticket could impact down-ballot candidates in the general election.

“Trump has his supporters, but if you’re an establishment Republican and you’re given the option of Donald Trump or staying home, that’s a tough situation,” explained Meredith College political science professor David McLennan.  “Clearly, most people are not going to vote Democrat but you may just stay home, and I think that’s the real concern.”

McLennan believes a Trump candidacy could also create some uncomfortable moments for Governor Pat McCrory’s re-election bid, especially if McCrory finds himself having to defend or distance himself from Trump’s remarks.

McLennan joins Chris Fitzsimon this weekend on News & Views to discuss the latest in the 2016 presidential race and President Obama’s final State of the Union. Click below to hear a preview of their radio interview.
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News

The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP wants the state to be much clearer about the state’s new voter identification law and what will be required at the polls the year.

NC NAACP President Rev. William Barber told reporters Tuesday that the organization is distressed that the State Board of Elections is not doing more to let citizens know they can still vote if they don’t possess a photo ID card:

“What we’ve seen happening is at best disingenuous, and at worst, a cynical attempt to further suppress the vote,” said Barber.

Rev. Barber says brochures, print collateral, and any ads about the ID requirement in 2016 should prominently include an explanation of the “reasonable impediment” provision that would allow eligible voters to cast a ballot without a picture ID.  (Impediments could include a lack of transportation, family responsibilities, or even one’s work schedule.)

Click below to hear Rev. Barber discuss his concerns about how the North Carolina State Board of Elections is educating poll workers and voters about the election law changes.

The challenge over voter ID returns to federal court January 25th.

One stop early voting for our statewide primary begins March 3rd.

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