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Op-ed: College student “die in” protest a hopeful sign in race relations

Wed, 12/10/2014 - 15:04
John Deem, the Senior Editor of a suburban Charlotte community newspaper called the Lake Norman Citizen wrote a thoughtful opinion piece this week about a “die in” protest that Davidson College students conducted during their community’s recent Christmas festival to protest the nation’s epidemic of police killings. (He also took the photo at left.) One ...

Drunken lawyers, missing Supreme Court plaintiffs, and high-cost punishment

Wed, 12/10/2014 - 13:23
What can you do with a drunken lawyer?  Last night Georgia executed Robert Wayne Holsey,  a man of questionable intellectual capacity convicted for killing a sheriff’s deputy in 1995 — despite the fact that his court-appointed lawyer failed miserably in his defense and admitted to drinking up to a quart of vodka in the evenings while ...

Yet another encouraging report on the growth and potential of renewable energy

Wed, 12/10/2014 - 11:51
In case you missed it, the good people at Environment North Carolina released another very encouraging report last week on the growth and potential of renewable energy — this time focusing on wind. The report is entitled “More Wind, Less Warming: How American Wind Energy’s Rapid Growth Can Help Solve Global Warming” and it’s worth ...

Metro areas see recovery strengthening, still have long way to go

Wed, 12/10/2014 - 09:34
North Carolina’s metro areas have been the location of the strongest job growth since the Great Recession.  But as the October 2014 county data released yesterday demonstrate, the improvements for metro areas have been insufficient to make up for the lost ground during the Great Recession. Instead, 13 of the state’s 14 metro areas still ...

North Carolina’s senior senator embarrasses himself and the state

Wed, 12/10/2014 - 08:33
It’s nothing new for Senator Richard Burr to express embarrassing views or to engage in inexplicable political behavior, but the senator’s comments yesterday on the horrific findings in the new report on the CIA’s un-American torture program hit a new low. As you can read for yourself here and here, the torture report details a ...

Lawmakers struggle to find the right recipe for Medicaid ‘stew’ (video)

Tue, 12/09/2014 - 19:58
North Carolina’s General Assembly reconvenes five weeks from now and it’s becoming clear that House and Senate Republicans are divided on the best approach for Medicaid reform. At Tuesday’s meeting of the  Joint Legislative Oversight Committee of Health and Human Services, House members backed away from a Senate’s plan that would allow out-of-state, managed-care companies ...

Review of UNC systems centers and institutes set to begin tomorrow (with list and agenda)

Tue, 12/09/2014 - 16:11
A working group of UNC’s Board of Governors will be meeting tomorrow and Thursday to hear presentations from 34 centers and institutes from across the university system. This week’s meetings is part of a system-wide evaluation of academic centers and institutes by the board of governors, and a final report will make recommendations about whether ...

Vigil to mark second anniversary of Newtown tragedy this Thursday evening

Tue, 12/09/2014 - 14:49
As today’s Fitzsimon File explains in detail, not a whole lot of good things have happened on either the gun violence or mental health fronts in North Carolina during the two years since the unspeakable tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut: “The National Alliance on Mental Illness released a report this week ...

A solution to inequality and stagnant nonprofit fundraising: Cap CEO pay

Tue, 12/09/2014 - 12:22
The good people at Too Much Online - a newsletter put out by the group have an interesting and provocative idea that would seem guaranteed to improve the image of  America’s nonprofit community (which has been suffering from depressed contributions of late) and help combat the nation’s runaway inequality: cap nonprofit CEO salaries. “Jack ...

Recent police controversies: Another byproduct of tax cut mania

Tue, 12/09/2014 - 08:31
The issue of young men of color dying in police custody has been dominating the national news of late and rightfully so. Millions of Americans in many cities — mostly people of color — live in fear and/or distrust of the police in their communities and this is not a recipe for a healthy society. ...

“Choose Life” license plate case on hold at U.S. Supreme Court

Mon, 12/08/2014 - 15:10
For several weeks now, the state’s “Choose Life” license plate case — pending for potential review at the U.S. Supreme Court — has been scheduled for consideration by the justices during conference and then relisted for a later date. It now appears, though, that consideration of the case will be on hold while the high ...

Another important, “as promised” success for Obamacare

Mon, 12/08/2014 - 14:08
Reporter Dylan Scott at Talking Point Memo has the details of another wonky but important way that the Affordable Care Act is succeeding in holding down health care costs: A key provision of the Affordable Care Act that was designed to keep insurers from overspending on administrative costs or else be forced to rebate premiums ...

Another very disturbing story about water pollution in NC

Mon, 12/08/2014 - 11:44
If all of the coal ash leaking into the state’s various waterways isn’t enough to get you steamed at the state’s  leadership for eviscerating our environmental regulations and regulators, here’s another story that might put you over the edge — it comes from Dan Besse of the League of Conservation Voters and Charlotte’s public radio ...

On our 10th Anniversary – 10 of our favorite John Cole editorial cartoons

Mon, 12/08/2014 - 09:58
As we mark our tenth anniversary, we thought we’d share this week’s very special editorial cartoon on the Progressive Pulse along with ten of our all-time favorites by the talented John Cole. If we happened to miss one of your favorites, let us know in the comment section below!  

Editorial: Time for a new direction at DENR

Mon, 12/08/2014 - 08:30
As Clayton Henkel reports below, even national news media have taken note of the embarrassingly cozy relationship between Duke Energy and North Carolina’s environmental regulators. Of course, federal prosecutors have too. If ever there was a time for the state’s governor to signal a new direction and put the public ahead of polluters, now’s the ...

ICYMI: ’60 Minutes’ examines coal ash spill at Dan River

Mon, 12/08/2014 - 07:33
Duke Energy Chief Executive Lynn Good, Governor Pat McCrory, and the Southern Environmental Law Center’s Frank Holleman all weighed in on coal ash disposal during Sunday night’s 60 Minutes. Click on the image below to watch the full segment with Leslie Stahl, which is now archived at

UNC Board of Governors narrows review of centers down to 34 for possible closures (with list of centers)

Fri, 12/05/2014 - 16:05
The University of North Carolina’s board of governors has narrowed its probe of centers and institutes for possible closures down to 34 groups. The Republican-led state legislature paved the way for up to $15 million in cuts in last year’s budget by requiring that the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors and campus leaders ...

Attorney General not joining Gov. McCrory in lawsuit over President’s immigration order

Fri, 12/05/2014 - 15:19
North Carolina will not be joining Gov. Pat McCrory as a plaintiff in the multistate lawsuit filed earlier this week challenging President Barack Obama’s recent executive order on immigration. McCrory signed on to that lawsuit in his capacity as governor and without the apparent support of his attorney general. Seventeen states and three other governors are ...

Just in: Innocence Commission sends Sledge case to judicial review

Fri, 12/05/2014 - 14:36
According to WRAL, the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission has found that 70-year-old inmate Joseph Sledge’s claim of innocence in two Bladen County murders is supported by sufficient evidence to warrant further review for a three-judge panel. Sledge, who has been behind bars since 1978 after his conviction for those murders, has steadfastly maintained his innocence ...

McCrory, Duke, coal ash in national spotlight Sunday night

Fri, 12/05/2014 - 13:32
Try as some people might to wish North Carolina’s massive coal ash problem away, it isn’t going anywhere soon — either physically or politically. Another chapter will begin to unfold this coming Sunday evening when the CBS news magazine show 60 Minutes  examines the situation. According to the Charlotte Business Journal, Duke CEO Lynn Good will ...