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Regions cast different votes

If Republican Thom Tillis were running for the U.S. Senate from the state of North Piedmont, he’d be clearly favored to defeat incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan. Alternatively, if Hagan represented the state of Trianglia, she’d be such a shoo-in that we’d all lose interest in the race.No, I’m not pining for a breakup of my native state (if back in the land of my ancestors, I’d have voted to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom). I’m delighted that Nort...

1 days 3 hours ago | | | Email

Registration deadline nears for N.C. voters

Voting in Scotland dominated the headlines recently, with Scottish citizens casting ballots to determine the fate of their independence. Closer to home, North Carolina voters will be going to the polls in November to elect a whole slate of candidates — but only if they are registered to vote by Oct. 10.This year the voter registration deadline is even more important than it has been for the last few election cycles. That’s because same-day voter registration, which prev...

2 days 3 hours ago | | | Email

Seven under-recognized bad decisions by the General Assembly

Most of the heated debate this fall about the decisions made by the folks in charge of the General Assembly for the last few years has focused on a handful of big issues, funding cuts to public schools, new restrictions on abortion services, lower benefits for unemployed workers, the refusal to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, the rush to allow fracking for natural gas in North Carolina, and tax cuts that primarily benefited the wealthy and large corporations.Those we...

3 days 3 hours ago | | | Email

State raised school funding

Just before Labor Day, the publicly available polls of likely voters had incumbent U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan roughly tied with Republican challenger Thom Tillis. Since Labor Day, the polling average has shifted about three points in Hagan’s direction.How come? The main cause, it seems, is that Hagan and her allies have vastly outspent Tillis and his allies on TV ads since Labor Day — and the claims in those ads, on education funding, have both pulled some swing voters into Ha...

6 days 3 hours ago | | | Email

Polls show tight race for U.S. Senate as election approaches homestretch

Elon University released its latest poll results on Sept. 15, which took the pulse of North Carolinians on a wide range of subjects and political figures. The numbers from North Carolina’s U.S. Senate contest are surely the highlight, but there are some other interesting findings in the poll as well.To satisfy the horse-race enthusiasts though, the Elon Poll shows incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan leading her Republican rival, current N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis, 45 perc...

7 days 3 hours ago | | | Email

The mentally ill are better off in jail

If anyone you love is mentally ill God help you, because the odds of getting adequate help elsewhere are about as good as winning the lottery. I speak from experience. My brother is bi-polar.Even with better diagnostic tools, improved treatment techniques and advanced medications we aren’t much better off than in the 1800’s, when we locked the mentally ill in attics and families were too embarrassed to talk about relatives with such illnesses. Dorothea Dix convinced Nor...

8 days 3 hours ago | | | Email

Workers gain from freedom

When governors and state legislatures make their economies freer — through tax relief, regulatory relief, and labor-market reforms — who stands to benefit?According to labor unions and other left-wing pressure groups, the answer is obvious. Only business owners and wealthy people prosper under smaller government. Confiscatory taxes, redistributive spending, and pro-union laws are needed for everyone else to enjoy real gains in income and living standards, they say.

9 days 3 hours ago | | | Email

The McCrory subplot in the Senate race

The heated battle between for a U.S. Senate seat from North Carolina between incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan and her Republican challenger, state House Speaker Thom Tillis, has unfolded as most political observers expected.Tillis is trying at every opportunity to tie Hagan closely to President Obama, whose approval ratings are underwater in the state, a situation that’s not unusual for most incumbent presidents halfway through their second term in office.That’s ...

10 days 3 hours ago | | | Email

New lessons from old wars

At the end of a two-day conference about World War I at UNC-Chapel Hill, I asked a leading military historian what approach he would recommend to the United States to deal with the challenge of ISIS.I will tell you about his response in a minute.The World War I conference was one of a series of planned events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of that Great War and to learn what lessons might help us deal with present day challenges.

12 days 3 hours ago | | | Email

We may never know how much our children are learning

The headlines sounded great. 56 percent of our students passed their end of grade tests, compared to just 44 percent last year. A more thorough reading reveals the 11-point gain was a result of educators relaxing the scoring scale, making the tests easier to pass. It left us questioning whether we will ever know how well our students are performing.

13 days 3 hours ago | | | Email

Rush to war

A shadowy terrorist group with Dark Ages savagery and Digital Age media savvy beheads two journalists and posts a video. So – 13 years to the day after 9/11 – we’re off to war!Talking TV heads spin us into a frenzy. Democratic and Republican politicians race to the cameras to out-hawk each other. John McCain and Lindsay Graham talk tough. Old Reliable Dick Cheney warns us that we’d better get back to his war that worked so well over the last decade. Rick Per...

14 days 3 hours ago | | | Email

Absentee voting underway for this year’s election

Voting has officially begun in North Carolina for the 2014 general election.At least it has for voters planning to cast their votes using a mail-in absentee ballot. Those wishing to vote in person will have to either wait until early voting starts on Oct. 23 or until Election Day on Nov. 4.For those wishing to vote by mail though, you can now request an absentee ballot from your county board of elections. And for those who have voted mail-in absentee in the past, it̵...

15 days 3 hours ago | | | Email

Consensus requires solid data

North Carolina’s public schools have just released end-of-grade and end-of-course test scores for the 2013-14 school year. You may have heard something about them, particularly from districts eager to claim a large increase in the share of students who test at or above grade level.It’s a good example of why you shouldn’t believe everything you hear.

16 days 3 hours ago | | | Email

Pathetic reactions to startling injustice

The release from prison this week of Henry McCollum and Leon Brown, two Robeson County half-brothers wrongly incarcerated for 30 years for a rape and murder they did not commit, has made national and international news and reignited the debate over the tragically flawed capital punishment system in North Carolina.It has also prompted curious reactions from top state officials.McCollum spent his 30 years behind bars on death row, awaiting his execution for the rape and mu...

17 days 3 hours ago | | | Email

‘Most moderate’ and ‘Kay’: Do words make a difference?

First of all a warning: I am a Democrat. You cannot trust a partisan commentator to give an objective report on a political contest like a debate between candidates for the United States Senate.Now that you’ve been warned, here are two observations about last week’s first debate between current Senator Kay Hagan and her challenger, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis.1. Who is the “most moderate”?

18 days 3 hours ago | | | Email

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