Politicians who hate government give government a bad name

Ronald Reagan, considered a secular saint before, during and after his two presidential terms by many in the Republican Party, an actor-turned-politician who also served as California’s governor, was famous for his stated disdain of the thing he spent much of his life doing: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”

Of course, his administration’s tax cuts were plenty helpful for high earners, but it certainly made for a catchy sound bite. And it became a guiding philosophy for his, and now Trump’s, Republican Party.

And that brings us to the culmination of the effort to paint any government acting competently with a dash of compassion as evil — Texas, the Lone Star State that went it alone. We all saw how that worked out. When a cold snap broke the state, exposing glaring failures in everything from its independent energy grid to its power and water systems, the state’s leaders were either ghosts — escaping to Mexico for a vacation, in the case of Sen. Ted Cruz, or to Utah, where state Attorney General Ken Paxton traveled — or defiant apologists.

Seeking environmental justice: the impact of climate change on communities of color

The recent extreme climate event in Texas slammed many cities and towns throughout the state, but — as is the case in many natural disasters — communities of color were most affected. This has been a trend in the country, with many of these communities still feeling the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey – as well as man-made disasters such as the Flint, Michigan, water crisis. What is the cause of the disproportionate impact, and what policies can reverse this pattern?

Chrishelle Palay and Justin Onwenu join this episode of Equal Time. Palay runs the HOME Coalition, a nonprofit that advocates for equitable recovery from natural disasters, while Onwenu is an environmental justice organizer for the Sierra Club and an appointee to the DNC’s Environment and Climate Crisis Council. With host Mary C. Curtis, each discusses the issue of environmental injustice not only in Texas, but across the country, and why long-standing inequities demand grassroots activism and change in local, state and federal policies.

POLITICAL WRAP: U.S. COVID Deaths Nearing 500,000; Texas Power Grid

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Another grim milestone nearing, as the U.S. prepares to reach 500,000 COVID deaths.

The latest as health officials stress the battle is far from over and remind the public to remain vigilant.

And a week of no power for many in the Lone Star State.

While Texas is the only state to have its own power grid, what are the vulnerabilities for North Carolina and the rest of the country?

Our political contributor Mary C. Curtis gives us her take in the video above.

How America’s original affirmative action is still going strong

George W. Bush used to joke about it, his mediocre record at Yale, his less-than-diligent efforts throughout his educational career. So many laughed along at every bit of the persona he played into – the incurious certainty, the attempts to pronounce “nuclear” and the confident attitude throughout it all. But few questioned his right to take that place at Yale, another at Harvard and the privileged path that led to the White House.

That is how America has always worked, with the rich and the ones with the last names that matter usually stepping to the front of the line. It’s a system that has overwhelmingly benefited whites and males and, to look at the boards of Fortune 500 companies, still does.

Yet, you don’t see the righteous indignation or a spate of lawsuits to rid higher education of the curse of legacies. Voices are rarely raised to demand that elite colleges and universities take the thumb off the scale for families with a fat checkbook or a name on a campus building. There is not a suggestion that “they” don’t belong.

When Abigail Fisher was refused admittance at the University of Texas, she didn’t think that because she didn’t earn her way into the top 10 percent of her high school class — a bar that in Texas would have gained her automatic admission – that just maybe she should have studied harder.

The Supreme Court’s post-racial fantasy

That was then, this is now. The reasoning behind the Supreme Court’s ruling this week striking down key parts of the Voting Rights Act uses considerably more words, but that simple phrase pretty much says it all. To accept that conclusion, though, one has to accept that America is as post-racial as some have insisted since the election of President Obama.