Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


VOTERS NEED TO REJECT RUSHED, FATALLY-FLAWED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS: The people of North Carolina have learned very little about what is really in the unprecedented bundle of proposed amendments to the State Constitution. It’s not their fault. The little that is known gives every voter good reason to oppose these amendments and reject each one when they go to the polls in November. The fatal flaws are significant and strike at the fundamentals our Constitution is supposed to uphold. The amendments were concocted in secret. There’s been too little time for public examination, distribution of information and debate of changes that carry such permanence. Amendment advocates have been deceitful and dishonest. The Constitution is not a playground for partisan manipulation. Vote against all of the amendments and the legislators who pushed them. November can’t come soon enough.

ARE WOMEN SECOND-CLASS CITIZENS UNDER TRUMP? In another effort to pander to the minority of Americans who want to make abortion and birth control inaccessible, President Trump has again used women’s health to cynically play politics. His administration’s latest draft rule is designed to stop women from accessing the full range of reproductive health-care options under Title X, our nation’s birth control and reproductive health program. Title X provides funding to a nationwide network of social-safety-net clinics, including Planned Parenthood facilities, so these clinics can provide family planning and reproductive health care to people who don’t have adequate health-insurance coverage or access to other sources of health care. With seven in 10 Americans supporting access to legal abortion, the administration has to realize this is not a trade-off that the American public is willing to make.

EVEN US SUPREME COURT SAYS NC GOP GERRYMANDERING WENT TOO FAR: Amid the torrent of decisions coming from the U.S. Supreme Court the last few days, several concerned political and racial gerrymandering. The court’s decisions earlier this week seemed to signal plaintiffs would need to overcome a high bar to sustain claims of political or racial gerrymandering. So, it really says something when that court tells North Carolina Republicans they’ve gone too far in gerrymandering, as it did in Thursday’s ruling largely upholding state legislative districts drawn by a court-designated expert. Legislators should heed the high court’s message and immediately embark on enacting a truly nonpartisan system for drawing congressional and legislative districts. This shouldn’t be a challenging assignment, given the speed the legislature’s shown for nearly everything else it has done, particularly in recent days.

HORROR IN ANNAPOLIS WON'T DAUNT US: Fear of the sort of retribution that befell our colleagues in Annapolis, Md., on Thursday is a constant in journalism. Threatening phone calls, even more threatening emails and menacing visitors have been a part of this industry since the Hartford Courant began to publish in 1764. Reporters and editors live anxiously with the possibility that a crossed source or, as is the apparent case in Maryland, a person perceived to have been wronged will erupt and confront with more than piercing words. But nowhere has the threat to a journalist been more pronounced than when the man with the biggest megaphone stands up and derides news sources because he admittedly doesn’t like what he reads. President Trump has declared the news media to produce “fake news,” to be the “enemy of the state.” He types this on Twitter, yells it into microphones at campaign rallies and mentions it while walking across the White House lawn to his helicopter.

TRUMP PLAYS THE BLAME GAME, BUT WE SHOULD HAVE SEEN IT COMING: The news media recently reported that the Trump administration has directed the creation of tent cities on military bases to house the 100,000 migrants it has already arrested and expects to arrest at the southern border. Many of these migrants, fleeing violence at home, have used established procedures to request asylum but have been arrested instead. President Trump has publicly called these people “animals,” saying, in effect, that they are subhuman. Talk about blaming the victim. In some of his most ugly remarks, the president, in a televised White House ceremony, presented the so-called “Angel Families,” the loved ones of Americans killed by undocumented residents, fully intending to amplify his contention that all migrants are dangerous criminals in waiting. In blaming the migrants, he has made his followers the victims. The Angel Families’ stories are heartbreaking, but ABC News has reported that the president, in his remarks to the families, cited suspect figures extracted from a flawed 2011 government report on crime rates involving migrants and used the figures to concoct his own statistics.


PHILIP HAYDEN: THE NC LEGISLATURE IS ENABLING DISTRUST OF SCIENCE IN SCHOOLS: I’m troubled by J. Peder Zane’s dismissal of a recent League of Women Voters study in “For school choice, father and mother know best” (June 22). The unstated thread running through his argument is that actually, the N.C. legislature knows what is best for our children’s education. Our tax dollars pay for student scholarships to private schools. This deeply offends me. Furthermore, according to this recent study, over 100 fundamentalist Christian private schools receive 77 percent of tax dollars appropriated to these private institutions. Many of these schools use curriculum textbooks that teach the earth is but 6,000 years old, the Biblical creation story is literally true and the Grand Canyon was formed by the runoff from Noah’s flood. That students of these schools might lead rewarding lives with scientifically erroneous knowledge is not doubted, but we, by our silent assent, are actually promulgating these same religious views while producing a generation of Americans who distrust science. The N.C. legislature is cunningly hoping that we don’t realize this. So far, they seem to be right.

SOUTHEY BLANTON: WALKER SHARES RESPONSIBILITY FOR TRAUMA: U.S. Rep. Mark Walker is complicit in a litany of atrocities. I sat recently holding my five-month-old in my lap hoping she would fall asleep. Being on the baby night shift gives me experience in knowing exactly how to help her get to sleep when she is on the cusp of a 3 a.m. wake up. I know to keep her elevated just so and that letting her hold one of my fingers seems to settle her down. I spend a few extra minutes after I know she is out just sitting there because I know these moments are finite. As I sit here there are children Kit’s age being housed 1,000 miles from their parents in a former Walmart or a random foster home and soon to be on military bases. An ICE agent who has no idea how to hold a baby is standing there waiting for the shift to be over as infants shriek themselves hoarse. Children who can’t talk, who respond to touch and the voice of a mother or father wail. Babies who are still breastfeeding who need skin-to-skin contact from their mothers shiver in tin foil blankets. Kids who have committed no crime other than being born to a parent who wants to keep the child safe. And Walker, who could write one page to stop this and get enough votes to pass it does nothing. If you see him in public let him know that every child permanently traumatized is part of his legacy and what he will be remembered for this once he is voted out of office in November. Be ready. He will hem and haw because he wants to keep his job and knows that going against this administration results in tweets and a blow to his re-election bid. There have been zero promises of any of these children finding their way back to their parents but he doesn’t care. Only true monsters prey on the young and use them as bargaining chips. Who knew that when someone stops being a pastor they would pivot to the opposite side of morality so quickly?

SUSAN BOOK: LEGISLATURE'S REFUSAL TO PUT SCHOOL BOND ON BALLOT A SIGN OF APATHY: I walked the halls of the N.C. General Assembly on a quest to find out anything I could about the school bond. I learned what I suspected even before reading the article on the school bond. The bond was dead, and few in the halls of the legislature cared. North Carolina, I’m asking you to care. One of the biggest unresolved issues related to the class size mandate is space. While the school bond wouldn’t have been large enough to fix the mandate problem in Wake County, it certainly would have provided some relief. The school bond could have helped our crumbling schools in rural counties. If anyone was listening to the teachers they would know about rickety trailers, broken air conditioners, mold and leaking roofs. In fact, leaders at the May 16 march specifically asked for the school bond to go forward. So when the heating at your kids’ school dies, do me a favor and write Phil Berger. When another classroom gets infested, tweet at Tim Moore. Even more important, take a stand for public education in November. Our schools can’t afford any more apathy.



From editorials to opinions

including my own (recent) haphazard and badly worded attempt to inspire the News & Observer to use their power more forcefully, this is the most important thing I have read in the last month. And, with good reason.

"Congratulations. You got Trump - and lost your integrity" by Issac J. Bailey in his final column as a member of the Charlotte Observer editorial board.

Wow. That is an eye-opener

Or should be, if those Trumpers would actually read it. Just a taste, seasoned for the Christianistas:

You ignore the log in your eye by focusing on the speck of dust in the eyes of those with whom you disagree.

That’s why the image of God others see in you is not a comforter, but rather a hypocritical tyrant unworthy of the title Almighty.

You want grace for you and those you love while refusing to extend it to others.

You’ve let your suffering – real and imagined – harden your heart and callous your soul.

Also, I would *really* like a link to your LTE, because I seem to have missed it. Not my fault, I'm getting old. Like today, getting old...

Oh, nevermind

I just realized you were talking about your diary (which I commented on, no less). Like I said, getting old...

From the dark side

I believe this is the first time Cal Thomas has earned a spot in the loser's club:

The retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy from the U.S. Supreme Court is about to bring a 60-year battle to a head.

For decades the country has witnessed a fight between those who believe the Constitution speaks for itself and others who believe it says whatever the judges think it says, or even should say.

Thus revealing a fundamental misunderstanding of how the balance of powers is supposed to work.

When Congress and the various state legislatures go about the process of writing laws, they are supposed to use the Constitution as a guideline. Very often, they don't. Or in some cases, they actually are aware what they're doing is at odds with the Constitution, but they do it anyway in the hopes that conservative judges will be shy about calling them out, declaring their acts unconstitutional.

By the same token, private businesses often employ a team of lawyers that poke holes in established statutes, in order to exploit both the laws and their own employees or customers. And very often those two (business and Congress) work together to undermine previous laws and sneak around the edges of Constitutional protections.

The *only* check on that behavior, outside the voting booth, is the courts. Those (like Cal Thomas) who would criticize judges and justices for "interpreting" the Constitution (always) fail to inform readers why that is necessary: Because so many others in business and government make their own interpretations, when they pay attention to the Constitution at all, that is. And the level of complexity in judicial opinions is a direct result of how complex the arguments are. It really is that simple.

Already, the left is apoplectic. Fundraising letters are going out. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) sent one within minutes of Kennedy’s retirement announcement and Chris Matthews went ballistic on MSNBC, all but forecasting the end of the world as we know it.

A few examples will suffice to preview coming distractions from the central issue. Among the printable ones is this over-the-top comment by the Rev. Al Sharpton: “All civil and human rights are at stake.”

Journalist/author Molly Knight fired off this incendiary tweet: “How very cool of Justice Kennedy to pour kerosene on the current dumpster fire that is America. The Roe v Wade riots should provide fine entertainment for him in his retirement.” Riots?

That last word is indicative of the conservative mindset of today. The disbelief that stripping away a woman's right to choose, making her a prisoner in her own body, is something that people might just have a problem with. He doesn't get it, because he himself is so immersed in patriarchal misogynistic bullshit his reality got frozen in the late 1950's when he was a teenager.

Also, his ubiquitous reference to Al Sharpton should not go unnoticed as the racist dogwhistle it is. Seriously, if it wasn't for calcified conservatives like Cal Thomas, the good reverend would likely get no recognition at all these days.

President Trump and the Republican Senate have an opportunity to reverse decades of wrongful constitutional decision-making. From his list of 25 conservative candidates for Kennedy’s seat, he must choose a nominee quickly so the Senate can take it up before Democrats and their media allies can become fully mobilized.

Okay, that's one of the stupidest things I've ever seen written by one of you guys, and that's saying a lot. You talk about how important this choice is (to fix something you think needs to be fixed), and in the very next breath you say Trump needs to "quickly" choose that person. Even for an intelligent and thoughtful person, rushing such a decision would be unwise. But Trump is neither of those things. I guess an argument could be made a random, pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey choice would be safer for America than Trump actually thinking about it. But I digress...

The worst part of that little spiel was the observation it needs to acted on before Democrats get "mobilized." Translation: Before they can discover and alarm people about any negative aspects of a candidate, and demonstrate his or her disqualification. Because apparently "vetting" future Justices of the Supreme Court is now something to be avoided.

Dog help us...