Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


CONGRESS, DO YOUR JOB: REIN IN TRUMP'S EXCESSES: Bombs – very real explosive devices – are being delivered to the homes and workplaces of the United States’ most prominent leaders. Rather than focusing on assuring the safety and security of the American people, President Trump lies about who’s to blame. Instead of directly contacting former public servants to assure them the government is taking all possible steps to protect them and capture those responsible, the president’s further inflaming the public discourse. The toxic divide-to-conquer campaign is fomented by a president who leads a dysfunctional executive branch of government. It is not understatement, given this evidence, to say the safety and security of the nation is at risk. His toxic brand of politics brings out the worst in Americans.

VOTE LIKE YOUR CHILDREN ARE WATCHING, BECAUSE THEY ARE: When we talk about Kavanaugh, for example, kids are listening to how we discuss consent and agency and women. When we let careless stereotypes slip out, our kids may end up carrying that with them to the school hallways. They’re sponges, for better or for worse. One way we can take advantage of their sponginess is by bringing them with us to vote this fall. Early voting began Oct. 17, and the Durham County Board of Elections website will tell you when and where you can go — and even how to do same-day voter registration! Sample ballots are also available on the website. This election is really important. In Durham, we have a choice to make. After showing our desire for a new district attorney and a new sheriff in May, we now have judicial elections to consider. Durham as a community is resourceful and wealthy, with the ability to take care of our neighbors and friends. This should lead to us to ask: Why are we criminalizing poverty? Why do we find jail deaths acceptable? Why do we let rising home prices force our neighbors out, producing astonishing eviction rates?

WHEN SCHOOL DESEGREGATION MATTERED IN CHARLOTTE: On Oct. 8, 1984, President Ronald Reagan made a campaign stop in Charlotte, just weeks shy of his landslide re-election victory. During his stump speech, Reagan brought up busing for school desegregation, labeling the program a failure that “takes innocent children out of the neighborhood school and makes them pawns in a social experiment that nobody wants.” The previously raucous crowd of Charlotteans fell silent. What Reagan clearly didn’t understand was that the Charlotte community took enormous pride in its integrated schools. The next day The Charlotte Observer published an editorial entitled, “You were Wrong, Mr. President” and rebuked the president in a powerful statement in support of school desegregation: “Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s proudest achievement of the past 20 years is not the city’s impressive skyline or its strong, growing economy. Its proudest achievement is its fully integrated schools.”

VOTING IS NOT JUST OUR RIGHT, IT'S OUT JOB: The election of Barack Obama shocked America in many ways. One major way was it showed the power of the African-American vote. African Americans came out in numbers not previously seen in a presidential election. Since that day, we’ve seen Voter I.D. laws proposed, one of which is shamefully on the ballot in our state; the number of days for early voting cut;and people purged from voting rolls. These measures are not being proposed or carried out to better our election process. There is no voter fraud; there aren’t millions of people in the country illegally flooding the polls. How can having more days to ensure that as many Americans that are eligible to vote get a chance to, be a bad thing? Unless, one doesn’t like what those votes may be, because those votes may remove certain folk from power, because those votes decide elections and elections have, let’s say it together, consequences.

SHAKING MY FAITH IN AMERICA: Now I must wonder: If Pittsburgh isn’t safe for Jews, if Squirrel Hill isn’t safe, if the Tree of Life isn’t safe, what place is? Without diminishing anyone else’s suffering and death, it’s a sad fact that the Jews often are the canaries in the coal mine of social and political collapse. So, what does the bloodshed in the Tree of Life mean? It is a sign that hatred of The Other is poisoning our public life. It’s always been a vivid strain in America, stimulated by the stress of immigrant waves, but one we have overcome time and again. Although we often honor it in the breach, our founding idea remains: that each person here is precious and born with unalienable rights. Now, political enemies in America deny each other’s humanity. It is a sign that communications can foster something less than understanding. Social media allows us to be connected but also caricatured as propaganda in campaigns of dehumanizing division. It is a sign that President Trump’s remorselessly cynical, jungle-style vision of how to conduct business and politics is ripping apart a society already under the stress of generational, demographic, technological, economic and social change.


NANCY CORSON CARTER, PHD: WE NEED TO ACT NOW ON FOSSIL FUELS: Re: “14-year-long oil spill verges on becoming one of worst in US history,” Oct. 23. Read this article and weep. An oil spill triggered by a hurricane in 2004 is deemed unfixable and threatens to keep dumping up to 700 barrels of oil daily into the Gulf of Mexico until 2100. The Trump administration’s response? Throw our coastal resources, including the increasingly hurricane-vulnerable Atlantic coast, open to oil and gas exploitation. The World Health Organization finds that 7 million die from air pollution each year; fossil fuels cause much of this, especially coal. America can never be “great again” if we keep investing in ecocide. We need to act now with all our compassion, our intelligence, and our resources to restore the viability of life.

DIANE FOUST-HUBBARD: MCCASKILL BRINGS COMPASSION, SENSIBILITY TO SENATE RACE: I would like to tell you about Bill McCaskill who is running for the N.C. Senate. I have known him for several years now and I know that he is an honorable and honest man. Bill worked in Child Protective Services in Randolph County for more than 30 years. In those years, he has saved many children from abuse and, at times, even death. He has great compassion for children and for the “least among us.” He believes that a good education is the basis for a good life and that a child’s formal public education should start at 3 years old and be implemented by teachers and schools that are fully funded, well maintained and safe. He wants to bring some sensibility back to North Carolina government by implementing a fair, non-partisan commission to oversee redistricting in our state. He believes that voters should be able to fairly choose their representatives via the voting process, rather than letting the representatives choose their voters through gerrymandering. Bill McCaskill will serve all North Carolinians and not just a few wealthy donors. He will do so with honor and dignity. I hope you will give him the opportunity to serve all of us as our N.C. senator. I believe he will do an excellent job for Randolph County and for North Carolina.

MARY RODRIGUEZ: HERE'S WHY YOU SHOULD VOTE AGAINST THE GOP: Public schools: N.C. Republicans have continually cut the public school budget, giving money instead to religious and charter schools, which are not held to the same high standards. Public schools are becoming unable to sustain the level of quality that allowed generations of North Carolinians to attain economic self-reliance. Democracy: Republicans have taken gerrymandering to unconstitutional proportions, depriving citizens of political representation. Republicans now propose to amend the constitution so that the legislature controls the judiciary. Following election of a Democratic governor, the legislature took legal and illegal steps to eliminate the powers of the governor. The Founding Fathers created three branches of government to prevent abuse of power. The N.C. legislature is now attempting to amend the state constitution so that this balance of powers is eliminated. Environment: Republicans have cut the Department of Environmental Quality’s budget in half, severely affecting its ability to carry out its mission; repealed electronics recycling, allowing release of lead and mercury; taken away citizens’ rights to protect themselves from hog farm waste; and called for oil drilling off the coast.



From the dark side

UNC Professor Michael Jacobs is this week's loser for endorsing tyranny:

Six proposed constitutional amendments are on the ballot. Two are controversial within the Republican Party, which authored them. One shifts the power to nominate members of the state Board of Elections and Ethics to the legislature (the governor would choose from a list provided by the legislature); the other gives the legislature a role in filling judicial vacancies.

The other gives the Legislature a whole lot more than a "role" in filling judicial vacancies, it gives Republicans 2/3 of the committee who selects candidates, of which the Legislature chooses two of those Republican-approved candidates to "present" to the Governor. By the time said Governor gets his turn in choosing, the ideology of that future judge has already been determined by other people.

If "Professor" Jacobs is in the habit of leaving out such critical information in the classroom like he does in the Op-Ed pages, god help those students.

If I had not chaired a commission that was at the vortex of former Gov. Pat McCrory’s blitzkrieg to preserve executive powers, I would vote differently on the Board of Elections amendment. Having served in the executive branch in Washington for President George H.W. Bush, my inclination would be to leave things the way they are. But my experience in North Carolina is testimony as to why a single person, with tentacles in political matters that can impact them personally, should not control independent boards and commissions.

And again, what Jacobs fails to tell readers: The NC Supreme Court agreed with McCrory, that Republicans in the NCGA had usurped his appointment powers. Also, I'm not sure the good perfessor really understands what the word "blitzkrieg" means. If he had used that in reference to what Republicans in the Legislature had done to take away McCrory's previously established powers, that word would have worked nicely. But as it is written, it proves Michael Jacobs really doesn't know what the hell he's talking about:

So lawmakers created an independent commission of nine people to oversee the cleanup process. The House and Senate were each allotted three seats, as was the governor, who had the authority to select the commission chair.

Prior to the GOP taking control of the General Assembly, the appointment of board and commission members was split equally between the two branches. Half by the Legislature, half by the Governor. And the Legislative half was again halved between the two houses, usually 2 from the House, 2 from the Senate.

But Republicans wanted more control, especially when Bev Perdue was Governor. So they modified that to 3-3-3, giving themselves an overwhelming majority. On boards and commissions that (in many cases) exerted some authority over Executive Branch agencies.

A blatant power grab, and this naive nonsense does nothing to change that:

I asked each of the six commissioners appointed by the legislature which lawmaker had sponsored them and what expectations, if any, had been communicated. To a person, every commissioner said they were not selected with any conditions whatsoever.

You know what? If they left out even half of the amount of information you left out in this laughable essay, I'm not surprised you didn't find any "evidence" of manipulation.


Doesn’t even have the good sense to be embarrassed by his partisan pandering. Sad.

Jacobs isn't really a "Professor"

You've made the mistake of many people when looking at op-eds by those on the nutcase right.

If you'll notice, the N&O (and Jacobs himself) were very careful not to actually mention his position at UNC-CH. He's a "Professor of the Practice".

A "Professor" is a title given to individuals, almost always on tenure track, that achieve that distinction through teaching, service to the university, and, most importantly, prooving their research chops through peer-review publications.

"Professors of the Practice" are basically working professionals who teach one or two classes part-time. They've usually not done any peer-reviewed research and have no real connection to the university they work for (or academia) beyond the one or two classes they teach.

A more accurate name for people like Jacobs would be "Guest Instructor". Unfortunately, universities made a big mistake a long time ago by starting to use the "Professor of the Practice" title for these "hired gun" types of part-timers that are basically hired to give students a chance to network for potential jobs.

Conservatives often throw around the word "Professor" and play up the fact that someone is teaching somewhere as some kind of credential for an extremist writing op-eds to make it appear that they must know what they're talking about since they're a "Professor". John Hood is a prime example.

If you run into one of these fake "Professors", be sure to note that in your critique of what they're saying.