As the Fourth of July, that most patriotic of American holidays, approached last week, Bill O’Reilly and Charles Krauthammer on Fox News ginned up the specter of a patriotism crisis in the country.
Two 5-4 decisions last week on the final decision day of the Supreme Court's term dealt with issues that illustrate the legal consequences of political tactics by today's progressives. One case demonstrated how progressivism's achievement, the regulatory state, manufactures social strife, and can do so in ways politically useful to progressives. The other case arose from government coercion used to conscript unwilling citizens into funding the progressives' party.
As often happens at the North Carolina General Assembly, the new fiscal year has begun with the House and Senate not yet finished with a budget-adjustment bill. Medicaid funding, teacher compensation and a few other issues continue to divide the two chambers.
It was the summer of 1969 the first time I came here, two months shy of my 12th birthday.
As the 2014 election cycle draws to a close, few states have drawn so much national attention as North Carolina, thanks to the tight Hagan-Tillis race, the dramatic turn in state government from blue to red, and our status as a presidential swing state in 2008 and 2012.
For longtime residents of the state, however, national attention is nothing new.
In a sun-dappled square decorated with scores of entrants in the community's Halloween scarecrow contest, a balky sound system enables, if barely, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate to exhort a few hundred people, mostly supporters, to urge neighbors to vote to reduce Sen. Harry Reid to minority leader. The exhorter is David Perdue, a glutton for punishment who has been campaigning incessantly for 15 months and may be doing so for two more.
Who are North Carolina’s public intellectuals?
Over the years we have been blessed with influential and thoughtful people whose wise commentaries about the state’s concerns often moved public opinion.
The early morning paramilitary-style raids on citizens' homes were conducted by law enforcement officers, sometimes wearing bulletproof vests and lugging battering rams, pounding on doors and issuing threats. Spouses were separated as the police seized computers, including those of children still in pajamas. Clothes drawers, including the children's, were ransacked, cellphones were confiscated and the citizens were told it would be a crime to tell anyone of the raids.
When Argos Therapeutics president and CEO Jeff Abbey talked about his company’s decision to come to Durham last week, he offered this anecdote:
““(We knew) we made the right decision when we got the whole company together and told them we would be in Durham … and this cheer went up from all 90 people.”
Barack Obama lost Kentucky in 2012 by 23 points, yet the state remains closely divided about re-electing the man whose parliamentary skills uniquely qualify him to restrain Obama's executive overreach. So, Kentucky's Senate contest is a constitutional moment that will determine whether the separation of powers will be reasserted by a Congress revitalized by restoration of the Senate's dignity.
Howard Fuller was back in North Carolina last week promoting his new book, “No Struggle, No Progress: A Warrior’s Life from Black Power to Education Reform.”
One of the wonders of this political moment is feminist contentment about the infantilization of women in the name of progressive politics. Government, encouraging academic administrations to micromanage campus sexual interactions, now assumes that, absent a script, women cannot cope. And the Democrats' trope about the Republicans' "war on women" clearly assumes that women are civic illiterates.
I’ve met Michael Burbidge, the bishop of the Catholic diocese of Raleigh – which encompasses Durham – a couple of times. He regularly reaches out to media in his diocese. He’s personable, measured, eager to listen and clearly a caring individual.
In the homestretch of the Senate race between incumbent Kay Hagan and challenger Thom Tillis, the disclosure that Hagan’s family profited from the 2009 stimulus package she voted for has drawn a great deal of attention.
Wretched excess by government can be beneficial if it startles people into wholesome disgust and deepened distrust, and prompts judicial rebukes that enlarge freedom. So let's hope the Federal Communications Commission embraces the formal petition inciting it to deny licenses to broadcasters who use the word "Redskins" when reporting on the Washington Redskins.