Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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BIDEN'S AMERICA FINDS ITS VOICE: Zelenskyy and his fellow Ukrainians have reminded Americans of the values and causes we used to admire in ourselves — the ardent hunger for freedom, the deep-rooted respect for equality and human dignity, the willingness to fight against brutal authoritarians who would crush the human face under the heel of their muddy boots. It is as if Ukraine and Zelenskyy have rekindled a forgotten song, and suddenly everybody has remembered how to sing it. Zelenskyy was not subtle about making this point. He said that what Ukraine is fighting for today has echoes in what so many Americans fought for over centuries. I thought of John Adams, Frederick Douglass, Theodore Roosevelt, George Marshall, Fannie Lou Hamer, the many unsung heroes of the Cold War. His words reminded us that America supports Ukraine not only out of national interest — to preserve a stable liberal world order — but also to live out a faith that is essential to this country’s being and identity. The thing that really holds America together is this fervent idea. Finally, Zelenskyy reminded us that while the authoritarians of the world have shown they can amass power, there is something vital they lack: a vision of a society that preserves human dignity, which inspires people to fight and binds people to one another. The lust for power, which leads to tyranny and subjugation, has been with us since we began to walk upright on two legs. And it will be with us long into the future. But these "Strongmen" are actually exhibiting weakness; a flaw in their character that drives them to dominate others. We have to (constantly) make the cost for such behavior higher than the benefit. De oppresso liber, forever.
https://www.wral.com/biden-s-america-finds-its-voice/20641310/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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ANOTHER YEAR WITHOUT MEDICAID EXPANSION AND THE BODY COUNT GROWS: Since 2014, in a mean-spirited display of antipathy and partisan spite toward former President Barack Obama, legislative leaders forced a ban on Medicaid expansion. They continue to ignore the pressing needs and look for excuses to avoid doing the responsible thing. North Carolina remains one of just 11 states yet to expand Medicaid since the federal government agreed to assume almost all the cost. Since the 2014 ban on Medicaid expansion, the state has left more than $40 billion in federal funding in Washington. Meanwhile federal taxes being paid by North Carolinians are helping pay for Medicaid expansion in Arkansas, Louisiana, Utah, Indiana and most recently, South Dakota – all overwhelmingly Republican states. The money is just one “cost.” For North Carolina families it has meant: 4,240 to 15,200 deaths of loved ones who weren’t able to get the lifesaving care they needed. 110.458 women haven’t been able to get breast cancer screening mammograms. 236,500 diabetics have gone without medication. 118,000 jobs, that would have been created because of the infusion of federal funds, have gone wanting. Meanwhile, health care costs are skyrocketing. I recently had a CT scan that was critical in determining I did not have any cancerous growths, and it fell into the gap between two limited benefit plans I carry through my job. $5,300 may be a drop in the bucket for some, but for the rest of us, it's crippling. Fix this now, dammit.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-another-year-without-medicaid-expansion-lives-still-at-risk/20629439/

NC Supreme Court pulls the plug on Voter ID

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A transparent attempt to suppress the African-American vote:

The North Carolina Supreme Court on Friday struck down a state voter identification law, ruling that Republican lawmakers acted unconstitutionally to minimize Democratic voters’ power with a law that intentionally discriminated against Black voters.

“We hold that the three-judge panel’s findings of fact are supported by competent evidence showing that the statute was motivated by a racially discriminatory purpose,” Associate Justice Anita Earls wrote for the majority in the 89-page ruling. “The provisions enacted … were formulated with an impermissible intent to discriminate against African American voters in violation of the North Carolina Constitution.”

No doubt Republicans will crank out another bill to take its place, but the NC House will be able to sustain Governor Cooper's inevitable Veto of such. Barring any Legislative shenanigans by the GOP, which we can (must) also expect. Walking on this anti-democracy high-wire is becoming exhausting, to say the least. They also put the final nail into the coffin for the NC GOP's last gerrymandering effort, setting the stage for another map-drawing fiasco:

Shake-ups hit NCDP after dismal election results

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Hopefully some energetic and savvy folks will step up:

North Carolina Democrats were optimistic about their chances in the midterm elections. But following disappointing results, party insiders are dwelling on missed opportunities, and a party shake-up is underway. Meredith Cuomo, who had served as the North Carolina Democratic Party’s executive director since 2019, said Saturday in an email to party officials that she had stepped down from the state party’s top staff position. She moved into an advisory role on Dec. 1.

Digital Director Lillian Taylor is serving as state party’s interim executive director while the party searches for a permanent director. The party also announced that it was laying off nine staff members due to financial constraints, a move that’s not uncommon in the wake of elections.

Does this mean the incessant fundraising e-mails might be approaching abatement? Just kidding. But seriously. As far as recruiting new candidates (if you have trouble taking a hint, that was me emphasizing what I view as the most critical reform we need), some good ideas are percolating:

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