Today is the last day of the state government’s fiscal year, but a budget for the year that begins Wednesday is nowhere in sight.
And there seems little urgency in Raleigh to rectify that.
A few weeks ago, my wife, son and I – food-festival groupies -- dropped in on the Jewish Food Festival at the Levin Jewish Community Center on Cornwallis Road.
Sometimes it's difficult to live in a world that wants to be black and white, when in fact it's varying shades of gray.
When state lawmakers return next week from their unusual spring break, debate over the budget will take center stage as the House puts together its spending plan for the next two years.
In nearly three decades of writing a syndicated column on North Carolina politics and government, I’ve always received reader response. Back in the day, I’d get an occasional phone call or personal letter, but most of the response came in the form of letters to the editor. The reader would typically praise a point I made, or criticize it. Only rarely would there be an emotional outburst or personal attack.
The biggest news for me this year?
Not ISIS, not Obamacare, not gay marriage, and not even the earth-shaking tragedy in Charleston.
This year's big news is that there are no more peaches at the Auman farm in West End near Pinehurst.
"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing -- after they've tried everything else."
That's an observation widely credited to Winston Churchill, though it's one he may or may not have ever made. Whoever said it, the truth of the axiom has seldom been more obvious than now, as we watch the fall of the Confederate battle flag. It is too early to say whether this will prove lasting. But the signs certainly point toward a seismic shift.
A milestone was set in January. For the first time, Americans spent more on eating out than on eating in. We spent $50.475 billion eating in restaurants and other food outlets that month, compared to the $50.466 billion we paid for food in grocery stores and supermarkets.
Conservatives are dismayed about the Supreme Court's complicity in rewriting the Affordable Care Act -- its ratification of the IRS' disregard of the statute's plain and purposeful language. But they have contributed to this outcome. Their decades of populist praise of judicial deference to the political branches has borne this sour fruit.
Yogi Berra once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” With presidential vacancies in both the University of North Carolina and community college systems we may have reached such a fork. Further, there are persistent rumors that Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson will not seek re-election next year, so all three branches of our education system could be looking for top leadership. It’s an ideal time for serious examination of how we organize, fund and administer public education.
One of the joys of teaching is watching a student connect to a gift they did not know he or she had. In my 16 years as a teacher, I have seen this happen to people in their late teens and to people in their 80s. Some part of their soul opens up – a new space within them that they did not know was there, and they discover a new love for poetry, painting or (yes, this sometimes happens) theology. I have also watched as a person shuts off a part of their soul that they were just beginning to see. You can watch this happen on a person’s face, as they harden internally to refuse the possibility of knowing something new.
What will the new political year in Washington bring? According to some analysts, the new GOP congressional majorities tilt more toward “the establishment” and away from the Tea Party wing. According to others, however, the new majorities are the starter’s signal for a full-fledged campaign to “repeal” the Obama presidency and even impeach the President himself.
North Carolina's new fiscal year begins Wednesday, but government may wait months for a new budget.