Rob Schofield

Rob Schofield

In some ways, there’s nothing new or terribly surprising when large bureaucracies — be they government agencies or big corporations – are revealed to be plagued by waste and malfeasance. Humans and their institutions being as they are, flawed and prone to foibles like incompetence, greed, sloth, overpromising, and favoritism; such revelations have been a constant in the American experience since prior to the country’s founding.

A few years ago, I reserved a room at the North Carolina Association of Educators Building in Raleigh for a large public luncheon. When our team arrived a half hour before the event to get set up, however, we encountered a troubling surprise.

Several years ago, while driving in Raleigh to what was then a regular, weekly breakfast with my (now deceased) mom, I found myself at a stoplight, briefly shouting and shaking my fist in what, I later realized, could have appeared to reasonable observers to be a moment of angry road rage.

If you’re not among the 7% or so of Americans who were expected to file for an extension, Tax Day 2022 has come and gone.

Life as a public school teacher in North Carolina has never been a walk in the park or a path to easy prosperity. Though the job has always been enormously challenging and of supreme importance, the pay and working conditions have — in part because teaching was for so long generally viewed by our sexist society as “women’s work” — always been below par. Indeed, for those teachers not lucky enough to have decently compensated spouses or partners, second jobs have long been common and many other indices of middle class life (like owning a home) elusive.

As the dire worldwide climate emergency makes ever clearer, humans have much urgent work to do when it comes to dramatically reducing fossil fuel emissions. Even with rapid and ambitious action, the effects of global warming will  worsen in the decades ahead and the best-case scenarios will be largely about minimizing harm.

You’ve undoubtedly seen the headlines by now: North Carolina’s perpetually controversial Lt. Governor, Mark Robinson — a man given to frequent public bouts of anti-Semitism and homophobia — has become enmeshed in yet another political storm of his own making. This time, the subject is abortion.

Sometimes, when discussing important topics of public policy, it’s useful to dispense with all the talk of data and budgets and legal fine print and get down to what really matters: the impact on human beings.

 

The idea of compulsory school attendance for children is not a new or radical one in modern society. The World Bank reports that, of the globe’s nearly 200 recognized nations, only a tiny handful fail to mandate school attendance.

It seems certain that one of the contributing factors in the disastrous calculus that led Russian dictator Vladimir Putin to believe he could get away with his murderous and criminal invasion of Ukraine was his perception of weakness and division in the United States.

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