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Back in 2016, presidential candidate Donald Trump promised that Mexico would pay for his proposed border wall. Turns out Mexico wasn’t interested, so Trump eventually resorted to declaring fake emergencies and illegally misappropriating money from the military budget.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020
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The John Bolton I experienced at Duke’s Dave and Kay Phillips lecture series Monday wasn’t what I expected. My impressions of the former National Security Adviser were that he was highly opinionated, sometimes blunt and caustic, a highly intelligent policy wonk who was equally articulate. I saw and heard the intelligent, articulate Bolton, but also a strategist who could be charming, a bit humorous and coy, at the same time serious and knowledgeable about world politics. He is obviously a student with positions that venture beyond what most of the sold-out crowd at Page Auditorium had considered.

A recent Pew Research Center survey finds that only half of American adults think colleges and universities are having a positive effect on our nation. The leftward political bias, held by faculty members affiliated with the Democratic Party, at most institutions of higher education explains a lot of that disappointment. Professors Mitchell Langbert and Sean Stevens document this bias in “Partisan Registration and Contributions of Faculty in Flagship Colleges.”

“The killers came by streetcar. Their boots struck the packed clay earth like muffled drumbeats as they bounded from the cars and began to patrol the wide dirt roads. The men scanned the sidewalks and alleyways for targets.”

Tuesday, February 18, 2020
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In 2018, Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order on climate change that, among other things, established a goal of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions in North Carolina by 40 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2025.

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Pete Buttigieg is still a long shot to win the Democratic nomination, let alone the White House. Despite surprisingly strong showings in both Iowa and New Hampshire, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., could struggle as the race turns to states where minority voters play much larger roles.

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The Democrats who impeached President Trump knew they did not have a prayer of removing him from office. But they also knew impeachment might have another effect — to weaken the president and reduce his chances of winning re-election in November.

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The Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary are history, and soon it won’t be about expectations anymore, it will be about winning votes — and delegates. That will include a popular platform, great debating skills, presidential gravitas and a degree of charisma, which a catchy slogan can only enhance.

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President Donald Trump’s latest budget contains some conservative proposals to save the taxpayers’ money. But it relies on an unconservative practice — one that North Carolina’s legislature has wisely chosen not to use.

Now that both Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and former Vice President Joe Biden have left New Hampshire with possibly mortal wounds, who would benefit most if they dropped out? The conventional wisdom holds that a Warren implosion would help her fellow progressive, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., while a Biden implosion would aid the so-called moderates — former mayors Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, and Mike Bloomberg of New York, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. Yet Sanders may stand to gain from exits by both Warren and Biden.

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Have you been watching the presidential debates on TV? Falling viewer numbers indicate a growing number of us are tuning out and turning off these slickly produced spectacles that are dull, unhelpful, ill-conceived and poorly executed.

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Idiot conservatives were doing the idiot thing this week, screaming “racism!” in response to an old tape of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg defending stop-and-frisk, one of the policies that drove New York City murder rates down to Mayberry levels. They weren’t being ironic.

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There’s a lot of great news for President Trump in the wake of his impeachment trial. His Gallup approval rating is at 49 percent — an all-time high for his presidency — but even more stunning is that 63 percent of Americans now approve of the way Trump is handling the economy. That is the highest economic approval rating for any president in almost two decades.

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Lisa Murkowski told her fellow senators that President Trump’s conduct in the Ukrainian affair that led to his impeachment was far from perfect. “The president’s behavior was shameful and wrong,” said the Alaska Republican. “His personal interests do not take precedence over those of this great nation.”

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James Carville, the political consultant, once said, “Good campaigns focus relentlessly on the two M’s: money and message. And money comes first, because without it you can’t get across your message.”

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“A More or Less Perfect Union” is a three-part series, produced by Free to Choose Network, that will air on various PBS stations across the nation starting in February. The documentary is a personal exploration of the U.S. Constitution by Justice Douglas Ginsburg, who served on the U.S. Court of Appeals D.C. Circuit and is now a senior justice on the court.

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North Carolina’s unemployment rate averaged 3.9 percent during 2019. For economists, that rate signifies “full employment” (the nation is at full employment, too, and our state’s rate is not significantly different from the nation’s).

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Nicholas Sarwark is father to four pre-teen children. In his response to the State of the Union, delivered on behalf of the Libertarian Party (which he serves as national chair), he mentions that each of them are in debt to the tune of $70,633.

Democrats' drive to impeach and remove President Trump was destined to fail. But more than fail, it has backfired on them — strengthening Trump for the 2020 campaign and increasing his odds of winning a second term.

At their January meeting, the UNC Board of Governors lamented problems resulting from not having a state budget. Without pointing fingers of blame they urged Gov. Roy Cooper and the legislature to “move swiftly to approve the budget that funds nearly $800 million in key education projects.” UNC President Bill Roper pleaded with state leaders not to make the UNC System collateral damage in this year’s political standoff.