THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL BILL: The North Carolina General Assembly is where terrible ideas go to live forever. These horrible ideas, seemingly banished by court decisions, public revulsion or sheer stupidity, manage to spontaneously regenerate in the most unlikely places. Take the no-good idea of combining the state Board of Elections and state Ethics Commission. It was about a month ago when a three-judge panel said the legislature’s December extra-session attempt to merge the two boards was a very bad idea and amounted to an unconstitutional grab of the governor’s power. It is unfortunate that legislative leaders seem more concerned about tinkering with the administration of elections rather than working on ways to increase turnout and making it easier for those who are eligible to register and cast ballots.
MARCHING FOR SCIENCE NEXT WEEKEND: As a child of the post-Sputnik science boom of the 1960s, it seems odd to have to make these points today. But in the current political climate the need to make them is so pressing that thousands of scientists will gather in Washington, D.C., on April 22 to hold what is being called the March for Science. The message of the march is that science is the best means we have for creating the knowledge needed to solve our nation’s problems, and that to ignore or disparage science for short-term political or economic gain is foolish and self-defeating. The march aims not to politicize science but to protect science from being politicized in a damaging way.
TRUMP WONT TAKE CREDIT FOR MOAB UNTIL IT'S POLITICALLY SAFE TO DO SO: President Trump declined to say yesterday whether he ordered or even cleared the MOAB drop against an ISIS position in Afghanistan. But he was very proud of it. Trump was credited during his campaign for telling it like it is and for not being a politician. I'd say he's a very crafty politician, and this episode confirms that. To me it's obvious that the president should have given explicit approval for yesterday's action. Yet Trump would not say yea or nay. Why not? In case something went wrong. Remember the special operations raid in Yemen, in which Navy SEAL Ryan Owens was killed, others were wounded, an aircraft was lost and a number of civilians also died? Trump blamed "the generals."
5 REASONS IT'S EMBARRASSING TO BE FROM NC THIS WEEK: We love North Carolina, its people and its beauty. We do not love all its legislators. Every week, it seems, they do something to make our beloved state a national laughingstock. This week was no exception. In fact, it was worse than many others. Here are this week’s top five reasons to be embarrassed to be from North Carolina, ranked in order from head-shaking to jaw-on-the-floor. Five GOP House members this week filed a bill that would require UNC and N.C. State to leave the ACC if the conference ever boycotts the state again. New York this week stopped treating 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in its criminal justice system. That gives North Carolina the distinction of being the only state to do so. There are bills to raise the age here, as North Carolina should have done long ago. But they sit idly, having not even won a hearing in committee. Larry Pittman – you knew he had to be included in embarrassments to North Carolina – filed a bill this week to again make gay marriage illegal in the state. Larry Pittman, Part II. Not to be outdone by himself, Pittman later in the week compared Abraham Lincoln – perhaps America’s greatest president – with Hitler.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
JOE TOOLEY: US FOREIGN POLICY A MUDDLED MESS: We will not let Syrians into the United States by executive order. We are horrified and outraged at the sight of Syrian children and adults being gassed, suffering and dying from a chemical weapons attack. These are the very same people we are refusing to allow into our country. Then we bomb a Syrian military airport, which could be an act of war. There seems to be a lot of very muddled thinking about United States’ foreign policy and our role on the world stage. When will wiser minds prevail?
BONNIE S. BLEIWEISS: MOORE HAS NO CLUE ABOUT POOR: Regarding the April 11 news article “Medicaid expansion will have a rough ride in the legislature”: House Speaker Tim Moore thinks the working poor don’t need health care, instead he said that growing the economy is better for them. I must point out that these people work in low-paying jobs that will not change with an improved economy. Moore needs to get a clue and some compassion.
HOWARD AMMERMAN: LET'S ALL GUARANTEE MORE SPRINGS: I recently celebrated my 102nd birthday! How fortunate I have been to celebrate my birthdays in the spring of each year. I have lived though many springs and always marvel at flowers blooming, leaves fresh and green on the trees and the bees busy harvesting the nectar from blossoms. More than 1,200 chemicals are registered for use in the United States and are used in some 18,000 separate products sold under a variety of trade names – some of which are very toxic to pollinators like bees. I point to this one issue to make a larger point. President Trump seems oblivious to the need to maintain and even strengthen regulations that protect our environment – ones that protect us as well as the plants and animals we depend upon. Scott Pruitt, the individual appointed to head the Environmental Protection Agency, seems devoted to the ruination of the very agency he heads. This is reckless and a danger to us all and to this planet. I have lived long enough to see the changes in our climate. My time on earth is clearly shorter, but I hope everyone will join me in resisting efforts to assault our wonderful God-given earth!