In wake of the hate crimes in Maryland and Oregon, self-protection becomes a priority

Should we bring a gun?

It’s not exactly the question you think would come to mind while planning a leisurely getaway. But as my husband and I packed for a long weekend of culture, Southern cuisine and a well-deserved rest, it was one we repeatedly and seriously asked ourselves.

Opinion: Of Shakespearean Lessons and Art That Makes Us Think

When Barack Obama burst onto the national stage and consciousness with his eloquent speech of unity at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, listeners delighted at its deliberate thoughtfulness — the flip side of the George W. Bush “everyman” style. (And yes, that the polished orator was the child raised without a father and the other had a lineage of political privilege was part of the irony and appeal of the shiny, new package.)

President Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, was, as everyone knows, the opposite of all that — a man of immediate reaction and few, sometimes incoherent and contradictory words, often strung together in 140 characters or less. Those who favored this new style eventually read the former’s quality of reflection as indecision, and compared President Obama, often unfavorably, to “Hamlet.”

All references to William Shakespeare are by design, as we again seem to be debating the relevance of the long-dead playwright, courtesy of a Public Theater production of his “Julius Caesar.”

GA and SC Special Elections

CHARLOTTE, NC –Republicans now hold all four congressional seats up for grabs in this Spring’s special elections.

Republican Karen Handel won Georgia’s 6th congressional district in Tuesday’s special election. The House race between Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff was the most expensive in history with a combined $50 million. Ossoff hoped to flip the long-held Republican congressional seat left vacant when Tom Price became Health and Human Services Secretary.  However, the victory margin was smaller than Republicans have maintained in the district in years past. This special election gained national attention because it was largely seen whether President Trump’s low approval ratings will impact the 2018 mid-term elections.

In South Carolina, Republican billionaire developer, Ralph Norman, won the 5th congressional district. Norman beat Democrat billionaire, and former Goldman Sachs tax adviser, Archie Parnell. The seat was previously held by Mick Mulvaney, who now serves in the Trump cabinet.

WCCB Political Contributor, Mary C. Curtis weighs in.

Donald Trump — the Affirmative Action President and His Enablers

House Speaker Paul Ryan offered the excuse “He’s just new to this” for Donald Trump after former FBI chief James Comey’s testimony that the president has done and said things that were inappropriate, even if they don’t turn out to be illegal. It sounded like something you would say in defense of a toddler who dives face-first into the birthday cake because he hasn’t yet learned what a fork is for.

President Trump is that guy — and it’s a guy 99 percent of the time — who doesn’t bother to read the book but tries to bluff his way through the oral report. Sometimes that guy is funny. When he is in a position to weaken long-held European alliances, jeopardize troops on a base in the Middle East or shred America’s safety net as well as ethical guidelines set by the founders in the U.S. Constitution, no one should be laughing. A “gentleman’s C” won’t cut it when so much is at stake.

 

Charlotte Talks on WFAE

A gunman opens fire at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, wounding five people, including Rep. Steve Scalise, the House Republican whip. A witness to the shooting, Greensboro Congressman Mark Walker, saw the incident as  politically-motivated, saying the gunman “obviously planned to kill many Republican members.”

In a follow-up to last week’s hearing with former FBI Director James Comey, Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The committee chairman, North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, told Sessions he had an “opportunity to separate fact from fiction” about Russian involvement in last year’s election.

Charlotte’s City Council unanimously passed a $2.4 billion city budget that adds police officers, but doesn’t include a property tax increase. And Mecklenburg County commissioners took a straw vote on Monday night, signaling approval of the county’s $1.7 billion budget plan, but decided to delay a decision on county funds for a possible Major League Soccer stadium.

As the number of homicides in Charlotte continues to grow, crime and public safety are becoming top issues in the city’s mayor’s race as Republican Kenny Smith blamed incumbent Democrat Jennifer Roberts for the city’s crime.

Mike Collins and our panel of reporters analyze the week’s top local stories on the Local News Roundup.

GUESTS

Tom Bullock, reporter, WFAE (@TomWFAE)

Glenn Burkins, editor and publisher, QCityMetro.com (@glennburkins)

Mary C. Curtis, columnist, Roll Call; contributor, WCCB News Rising (@mcurtisnc3)

Erik Spanberg, senior staff writer, Charlotte Business Journal (@CBJspanberg)

Breaking the 1,000-Word Barrier & Finding Support for the Journey at #Muse17

I managed to make The Muse and the Marketplace conference book fair by the skin of my teeth—or, rather, by an essay. While other conference presenters, novelists and non-fiction writers alike, celebrated one, two, three and more books, my chapter in Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox got me a corner of the table. But that’s OK, or so I learned at this year’s writing conference. Letting that lesson sink in was one reason I traveled to Boston for an enlightening and, as it turned out, soul-searching weekend.

Opinion: What Exactly Do Republicans Believe in Besides Trump?

When my parents were good Republicans — my mother a party activist, in fact — the label meant something entirely different than it does today.

It was the party of Lincoln, imagine that, and the GOP tolerated differences with a tent that was indeed big. You could be pro-civil rights and fiscally conservative, a working-class African-American family in Maryland, then, as now, a mostly blue state, and there was someone such as Republican Sen. Charles Mathias. With his streak of independence and loyalty to principle, he could represent you, your party and even those who didn’t vote for him.

But what does the GOP stand for in 2017? The answer, of course, is President Donald Trump, a man who changes positions and then contradicts himself.

Trouble in Paradise for Trump’s Inner Circle

WASHINGTON (AP) – Fired FBI Director James Comey’s highly anticipated congressional testimony is just a day away, and the White House and its allies are scrambling for ways to offset potential damage. President Donald Trump has been tight-lipped, telling reporters, “I wish him luck.” Comey’s testimony Thursday before the Senate intelligence committee could expose new details regarding his discussions with Trump about the federal investigation into Russia’s election meddling.

Meantime, White House sources say Attorney General Jeff Sessions was willing to call it quits if President Trump no longer wanted him to serve in that position. This comes amid alleged tension between The President and Sessions since the Attorney General recused himself from the Russia Probe.

Our political contributor Mary C. Curtis weighs in.

Opinion: African-American Women Call Out the Democratic National Committee

We crave the hard-to-get while ignoring the one who has stuck with us through thick and thin. In a letter to the DNC chair, a group of black women — activists, community leaders and elected officials — has accused the Democratic Party of falling into that too-often-true cliche. Who can blame them?

Shades of “Moby-Dick” in the narrative that took hold after the party’s 2016 losses, with white working-class males replacing the elusive white whale of Melville’s imagination. Will the results for the Democrats be just as tragic as Captain Ahab’s if the party doubles down on that strategy for election cycles to come?

 

Opinion: Democrats May Be Too Optimistic About 2018 Gains

The redrawn congressional districts in North Carolina turned out to be too racially driven for a Supreme Court dominated by conservatives — with Justice Clarence Thomas siding with the majority.

Who’d have thought it?

But the fact that it’s arguably a toss-up, in some judges’ reasoning, how much the Republicans in the state legislature used race or pure partisan advantage while doing their dirty work highlights how difficult it will be for Democrats to retake the majority in the House — Trumpian scandals and a proposed budget that hurts many in the GOP base notwithstanding.