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Updated: 9 min 46 sec ago

Virtual charter schools expected to get approval from NC this week

Wed, 02/04/2015 - 09:34
The State Board of Education will be making its final decision about whether to give a green light to two online-based charter schools that hope to open their (virtual) doors this fall. It seems all but certain the state board will approve the schools, where students from kindergarten through high school work from home computers ...

State of the State: One position McCrory has to stake out tonight to be taken seriously

Wed, 02/04/2015 - 08:13
Maybe Gov. Pat McCrory will continue to cruise along as the state’s ribbon-cutter-in-chief in 2015 and leave all the real governing decisions to legislative leaders for yet another year. It’s certainly conceivable that he could eke out reelection next year by pursuing such a strategy so long as urban areas of the state continue to ...

Lack of paid sick leave for workers: Another reason Tillis should be for hand washing rules

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 16:39
If the simple and undeniable fact that lots of humans fail at basic hygiene procedures without reminders and rules isn’t enough to convince Senator Thom Tillis of the need for “burdensome” hand washing rules in restaurants (see the post below), here’s another fact that you would think would be persuasive: the widespread lack paid sick ...

Optional handwashing for restaurant workers? Tillis says he wouldn’t have a problem with it

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 13:38
In a question and answer session with the Bipartisan Policy Center on Monday, North Carolina U.S. Senator Thom Tillis told the audience that there are too many government regulations. To illustrate his point, Tillis recounted a conversation with a constituent in his home district at a local Starbucks where an employee was exiting the bathroom. ...

McCrory in no hurry to help wrongly incarcerated brothers

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 11:22
Governor Pat McCrory doesn’t seem to be in much of a hurry to help two Robeson County men, half-brothers railroaded and wrongly incarcerated for 30 years for crimes they did not commit, even though they are now destitute, unable even to pay their water bill. The News & Observer on Sunday detailed the plight of ...

Walking to work, 21 miles a day

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 10:43
Here’s a glimpse of life in Detroit, far from us in North Carolina, but where the circumstances may ring familiar for thousands also trying to figure out how to get to work without much reliable transportation around. James Robertson, a machine operator from Detroit, works 23 miles from his home, in a metropolitan area where ...

Transportation Secretary Tony Tata’s very public second life

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 09:33
How does the leader of one of the nation’s largest transportation departments with 14,000 employees and a $4 billion budget find the time to be a prolific author of “thriller” novels and a regular military policy commentator for national media outlets? Are North Carolinians receiving adequate loyalty and dedication to the job for the $136,000 ...

When conservatism turns to paranoia: Rand Paul channels his inner John Birch

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 07:56
In the mid-20th Century, conservatives fulminated about the “monstrous commie plot” of water fluoridation. Today, sadly, there appears to be a modern day equivalent of this imaginary bogeyman. According to a rather disturbing story in this morning’s Charlotte Observer, Kentucky Senator and presidential wannabe Rand Paul has endorsed the dangerous idea that childhood vaccinations should ...

Civil rights groups, education scholars join fight challenging North Carolina’s school voucher law

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 23:10
Civil rights groups as well as a long list of academic scholars have joined the fight to end the state’s new school voucher law, which allows families to use taxpayer dollars to send their children to private schools over which the state exercises almost no oversight. The opponents of school vouchers, who filed amicus briefs with ...

ICYMI: Reporter Mandy Locke on wage theft and the “misclassification” of workers by employers (full video)

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 15:34
If you weren’t able to attend NC Policy Watch’s Crucial Conversation with Mandy Locke, investigative reporter for the Raleigh News & Observer, that full program on worker misclassification is now available online. Locke was joined by Raleigh businessman Doug Burton, President and Owner of Whitman Masonry. Burton is one of the numerous North Carolina employers ...

Huckabee’s gay bashing hits a new low

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 15:00
If crazy ol’ Keith Olbermann was still hosting is MSNBC news and commentary show these days, you can bet that former Arkansas Governor-turned-semi-permanent-Presidential-candidate Mike Huckabee would be a strong contender for the today’s “Worst Person in the World” award. As Associated Press reported yesterday via WRAL.com: “Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on Sunday said being ...

Calm before the storm at the U.S. Supreme Court

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 11:41
Things at the U.S. Supreme Court may seem a bit quiet right now, with conferences and oral arguments not scheduled to start up again until later in the month, but don’t let that lull you into a sense of calm. Once the justices reconvene, all hell could break loose, with same-sex marriage, Obamacare, lethal injection and redistricting among ...

Yet another editorial pans offshore drilling proposal

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 08:56
Yet another in a growing list of editorial pages has weighed in against the Obama/Tillis/McCrory plan to open up the coastline of North Carolina to offshore oil and gas drilling. This morning it’s Raleigh’s News & Observer. Here’s the excellent conclusion: “President Obama’s motivation for supporting offshore drilling is complicated. The clearest reason appears to ...

Cartoonists skewer “religious freedom” bill

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 06:00
In case you missed it over on the main site, here is John Cole’s excellent cartoon for February 2. It obviously speaks for itself. And if such images exposing the state leadership’s strange obsession with who people love appeal, be sure to check out Dwayne Powell’s cartoon this morning in Raleigh’s News & Observer entitled: ...

A-F school grades are coming

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 16:29
Next week, the Department of Public Instruction will release for the first time letter grades for each school in North Carolina. The letter grades will largely represent how well a school’s students performed on standardized tests at one given time (that will be 80 percent of the grade), and, to a lesser degree, how much students’ performance ...

Forty years of evidence about EITC effectiveness is a terrible thing to waste

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 14:18
Forty years ago, President Gerald Ford signed into law a tax policy that would support working families earning low-wages. That policy, the Earned Income Tax Credit, would later be expanded under President Ronald Reagan. Today, it has proven to be a powerful anti-poverty tool supporting the economic security of more than 30 million Americans in ...

Celebrate Fred Korematsu

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 13:43
Today should be a national holiday. No, not because of EITC Awareness, although the post below this one highlights that important issue as well. Because of Fred Korematsu, who was born on this day 96 years ago. Korematsu was born in Oakland, Calif., but his U.S. citizenship didn’t keep him from being arrested for refusing ...

Happy EITC Awareness Day… to those fortunate enough to live in states that haven’t eliminated this vital credit

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 13:29
Today marks a little known “holiday”: Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day. The IRS-led national event is intended – as the title implies – to spread awareness about this modest but vital tax credit and make sure that all qualified workers receive it. The day is as much about educating people as to what ...

Boosting morale at DENR … with collector coins

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 08:36
When the former Secretary for the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources sought a way to boost employee’s morale last summer, his agency ordered up several hundred commemorative coins engraved with both his and the agency’s name. The environmental agency spent $1530 in June buying 500 coins engraved with former DENR Secretary John Skvarla’s ...

Jim Crow 2.0: Berger’s “religious freedom” bill

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 07:56
Greensboro News & Record columnist Susan Ladd does a great job of skewering state Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger’s ridiculous “religious freedom” for magistrates legislation today in this essay. “It’s appalling that the first order of business for our state legislature would be to reinstate Jim Crow. Or should we call it James Crow? ...

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