END THE PARTISAN GAMES, DRAW LEGAL VOTING DISTRICTS NOW: It is time for the North Carolina General Assembly to face reality. They are being ordered to create new legislative and congressional districts. For the third time this year the U.S. Supreme Court has taken North Carolina’s lawmakers to task, unanimously ruling they relied too heavily on race to illegally draw the state’s legislative districts. Simply put, the current districts are unconstitutional. The court should give the state a deadline and provide specific criteria to be followed for drawing the new districts. If the legislature will not follow the guidelines, the court should draw the districts itself. Additionally, the court could also ask for public input to help with the new districts.
TRUMP/RUSSIA PROBE NOT ABOUT POLITICS, BUT NATIONAL SECURITY: All Americans should be alarmed by this week’s reports about Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election — and by much more. Yet the country is divided. Some Americans don’t believe this happened, or don’t want to know, or say it doesn’t matter. These people are taking their cue from President Donald Trump, who has refused to acknowledge any hostile Russian activity. Trump, however, rather than support these investigations, has seemingly tried to derail them. He fired FBI Director James Comey May 9 and the next day met in the White House with Russia’s foreign minister and U.S. ambassador, telling them he had taken the pressure off by getting rid of Comey.
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, NC BUDGET NEGOTIATORS PERPETUATE A CULTURE OF NEGLECT: Out of sight of the taxpayers whose money they’re spending, North Carolina’s legislative leaders are cutting deals and making compromises about most important issues facing the citizens of our state: the quality of schools, access to decent health care, competing in the national and global economy and providing an infrastructure that promotes prosperity and a good quality of life. The force driving the legislative leadership is continuing massive tax cuts to those, particularly large corporations, that need it least. This misguided priority has left the state’s greatest needs neglected. If legislators worked as hard at imposing a plan to help North Carolinians as they do at promoting an ideology, we’d all be better off.
DOES OUR LACK OF EDUCATION SPENDING REFLECT OUR VALUES? Finland is a homogenous country that practices social democracy, so it is difficult to make direct comparisons in test scores. However, we can compare how Finns express their values and common vision in education with North Carolina. The Finnish values are clearly visible in the educational practices we saw. What does North Carolina value and how are those values put into practice? Based on the actions of the General Assembly since 2010, it doesn’t appear to be public education and it’s not joy for our youngest citizens. Our per-pupil spending ranks 43rd in the nation, and that is unacceptable. I believe most North Carolinians prioritize a better investment in public education, one that reflects our belief in the power of education to change and improve all of our lives. It’s a smart investment that would pay amazing dividends.
NO CASE FOR SENDING MORE TROOPS TO AFGHANISTAN: Even by the grim markers of the 16-year war, the recent car-bomb attack in the Afghan capital of Kabul, which killed at least 90 people, was a grave and stunning setback in the fight against global terror. Coming as strains are appearing in the Trump administration’s relations with America’s NATO partners, the attack underscores the west has few good options in improving Afghan security over even the short-term, raising the stakes for continuing a military presence that helps feed the insurgency. The Trump administration needs to consider carefully what could reasonably be accomplished by sending up to 5,000 additional U.S. troops to the country, because a compelling case has yet to be made that the return on the investment of money and American lives would be worth the risk.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
THEODORE ZIOLKOWSKI: CARRY CONCEALED GUN? YOU SHOULD GET A PERMIT: Permitless carry is about as dumb and dangerous as having each and every teacher and administrator in a public school carry a weapon each and every hour they are at work. If passed, this bill would make it easy for those with criminal or violent histories, teenagers and people with no firearms safety training to carry hidden loaded handguns in the places our families frequent every day. It would also make North Carolina one of the few states where it is legal to carry a concealed handgun in public without a permit. We do not need fewer regulations, we need more and stronger laws in regard to who can own and carry a gun, and where in public they can carry them.
GERALD GIBBS: TRUTH AND JUSTICE ALWAYS THE WAY TO GO: As a proud American, I’m for truth, no matter who says it. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against. As to “Truth”: Trump/Republicans market they’re better jobs creators than Democrats. But a simple comparative analysis of pertinent data over the past 40years exposes an indisputable reality. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals our last six presidents added 65.5 million jobs: the Democrats facilitated 44 million of those jobs and Republicans 21.5 million. The Clinton Administration alone facilitated 23.1 million jobs. Republicans Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43 generated 21.5 million jobs together. Fact: the Clinton Administration produced 1.6 million more jobs than the past three Republican presidents combined.
NANCY HALLORAN: FACT-RESISTANT HUMANS AREN'T BEYOND SAVING: Once again Janice Wangard (letter, June 5) is on her righteous pedestal, spewing ignorance like soot from a coal-fueled power plant. This time it’s about the Paris climate accord as a vehicle that perpetuates global warming as a liberal Democratic hoax created to destroy the United States as we know it. She gives no reason the liberals would want to do that — they also have to live here. I could waste my time giving her a few scientific facts about climate change and what it will eventually do to our planet or mention that the only two countries not signing the accords were Syria and Nicaragua. One of her most blaring misrepresentations is that the U.S. is ahead of the rest of the world in dealing with climate change. Unfortunately, Ms. Wangard falls into the “powerful new strain of fact-resistant humans who are threatening life on Earth” described by Andy Borowitz in a 2015 article.