Author: Max Borders

  • N.C. Partisan Index (NCPI)

    Introducing: the North Carolina Partisan Index (NCPI) compares the political leanings of voters in each state house and senate district with the partisan voting tendencies of the state as a whole. The end result is a letter (D or R) followed by a number, indicating the extent to which each district leans one way or the other.

  • 2008: Year of the HSA Tsunami?

    When it comes to healthcare reform, health savings accounts (HSAs) are not a silver bullet. But they certainly help where politicians hinder. The trouble is most people don’t yet know what they are. When they learn, we may see an HSA tsunami.

  • State Has Made a Religion out of Recycling

    Cue music. Julia stared blankly from her jail cell. She thought about the bottle that landed her there… not what was in the bottle, the bottle itself. Julia didn’t get a DUI. She failed to recycle. Now she’s paying in hard time. Thanks to a new statewide law, these are the kinds of stories we may be hearing soon.

  • Green Energy: Bootleggers, Baptists & Politicians

    Got on your green-tinted lenses? Over the coming months, you’re going to need them. More stories about various new facilities being constructed around the state make for good ink. You may have already read about the Fibrowatt turkey-waste plant slated for Stanly County. Or the ethanol plant in Raeford. There are more coming. What do they have in common? They’re zombie industries created by coalitions known as “Bootleggers and Baptists.” Wait a minute -- Zombies? Bootleggers? Let me explain.

  • The Road to Reform

    South Carolina ranks second nationally in overall highway department performance, according to a study by UNC-Charlotte transportation expert David Hartgen. Although the comparison isn't exactly apples-to-apples, North Carolina ranks 31st. Maybe that's why Gov. Mike Easley's 21st Century Transportation Committee has been mulling over ideas for road reform in North Carolina. In the interest of mulling, I'd like to add my 10 favorite ideas to the suggestion box:

  • Healthcare Reform: A Compromise

    If someone was looking for a solid compromise on healthcare reform, they wouldn’t search in vain. But Democrats are going to have to abandon their Medicaid-for-the-middle-class crusade. Republicans are going to have to abandon tax protection for big business. That’s because critical healthcare reform is going to involve giving the American people exactly what they need: affordability, portability, quality and choice.

  • Community Colleges Test Citizenship, Rule of Law

    What does it mean to be a citizen? The stir about illegal immigrants attending N.C. community colleges forces us to confront this question head on. Despite all the rhetoric, those who would simply ignore the law for the sake of what they consider to be a nobler good not only undermine the rule of law, but what it means to be a citizen. And while voices charging xenophobia are growing louder, this issue is not about blood and soil. It is ultimately about respect for fundamental institutions.

  • Healthcare Reform: A Compromise?

    If someone was looking for a solid compromise on healthcare reform, they wouldn’t search in vain. But Democrats are going to have to abandon their Medicaid-for-the-middle-class crusade. Republicans are going to have to ditch Norquist-type pledges not to raise taxes. That’s because critical healthcare reform is going to involve giving the American people exactly what they need: affordability, portability, quality and choice.

  • Concord Speedway Deal: Legal Corruption

    Corruption need not come via bagged cash in bathrooms. It’s happening all around us. Just ask the people of Concord. To change the names and places of the players in the recent Concord-vs-Bruton Smith affair, you’d think it was another sordid event in some banana republic. But no. This is the America of hot dogs, Bud Lite, and cars turning left.

  • Wingbeat: North Carolina Could Change U.S. Healthcare

    Ever heard of the butterfly effect? The idea is that small changes in initial conditions can mean larger changes elsewhere in a system. A butterfly's wing beat in Raleigh, through complex cause and effect, can make waves in Austin or Alaska. The same can be said of our health care system — if we can find the wing beat.

  • Triangle: Leave Light Rail to Charlotte

    When Charlotte voters recently rejected a repeal of their transit tax, various interests in the Triangle started salivating. Despite having been passed over for federal funds in 2005, Triangle advocates are again becoming hopeful about light rail. Indeed, if you put your ear to the ground, you can here a rumbling at the end of the tracks.

  • Charlotte: Rethink Light Rail

    Linear thinking. It’s a euphemism used to describe an inability to grasp either the wider implications of a policy, or the complexity of a situation. I also happen to think it points to how a 19th-century mode of travel came to the Queen City in A.D. 2007. I’m talking about Charlotte’s fixation with light rail.

  • All About Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) – the Future of American Healthcare?

  • Coverage Isn’t Out of Reach

    I'm not afraid to admit it: I'm middle class. I never knew I needed help paying for my child's health insurance, but apparently I do. Other readers like me may also qualify soon for an expansion of children's Medicaid. Since I may not have to insure my little one, should I get an iPod? A new car? That's right: Congress' expansion of SCHIP means that families at 300 percent of the poverty level could get government-run health care. A family of four in North Carolina making over $60,000 a year would be eligible.

  • Let’s Rethink Light Rail

    Linear thinking. It’s a euphemism used to describe an inability to grasp either the wider implications of a policy, or the complexity of a situation. I also happen to think it points to how a 19th-century mode of travel came to the Queen City in A.D. 2007. I’m talking about Charlotte’s fixation with light rail. It’s supposed to take cars off of congested streets, be greener, and turn a town into a “world class city.” These seem like good things on the face. But at what cost?

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