NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Affecting NC public policy through informed, energetic and progressive conversations.
Updated: 2 hours 17 min ago

A small bit of good news to start your week

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 07:30
There’s still a long way to go in transforming our criminal justice system into what it needs to be. Indeed, the lead editorial in Sunday’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer reminded us that the ongoing assault on North Carolina’s court system by the General Assembly and Governor McCrory is as absurd as it is ...

Employment picture improves, but jobs deficit, sluggish growth endure

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 14:48
State officials report that North Carolina gained of 17,200 jobs in October, dropping the state’s overall jobless rate to 6.3 percent. Governor Pat McCrory issued a statement Friday saying with those gains North Carolina has now recovered all of the jobs lost during the Great Recession. Economists acknowledge that the number of payroll jobs are ...

Judge orders state lawmakers to begin producing emails and other documents in voting law cases

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 12:26
What were state GOP lawmakers’ intentions when they enacted House Bill 589, one of the most restrictive voting laws in the nation? That’s the question the groups challenging the law want answered by legislators they served with subpoenas last December, asking for emails, letters, reports and other records used when pushing for voting law changes in 2013. ...

Our built environment and the challenge of bringing food to the table this holiday season

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 11:16
As our minds turn to food in preparation for Thanksgiving, there continue to be too many North Carolinians who struggle to bring food to the table each and every day. For these families, a lack of resources represents the greatest challenge in ensuring nutritious meals are available but another factor is access and proximity to ...

Most inane local response to President’s immigration announcement?

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 10:30
The list is no doubt long and growing rapidly — be sure to check out this morning’s edition of the “Friday Follies” for more — but the always-entertaining (if rarely intentionally) State Senator Andrew Brock has to be a leading contender in the category of “most inane response by a North Carolina politician” when he ...

The President gets real on immigration reform

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 08:13
There were lots of compelling moments in the President’s speech last night on immigration policy. Especially during the moments in which he appealed to the better angels of our nature with powerful rhetoric and Biblical citations, Obama reminded us of why he can be such an inspiring figure to so many Americans. For example: “Are ...

Obama’s immigration plan draws mixed response; McCrory open to legal action

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 22:59
President Barack Obama’s plan to sidestep Congress and order his own action on immigration,  sparing as many as 5 million people from deportation is drawing a mixed response: “With this latest executive order, President Obama is making new law by bypassing Congress. I’m already discussing with other governors a long-term solution to immigration reform as ...

Some, but not all, salary information disclosed by Wilmington-area charter schools

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 16:00
As has already been reported, the Charter Day School group of public charter schools run by a private company has turned over much of the salary information. Both the Wilmington Star-News and ProPublica, a national investigative journalism non-profit, have reports out about what was missing from the disclosures. Roger Bacon Academies, the company owned by ...

Don’t get shut out – reserve your tickets for our 10th anniversary celebration

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 14:07
Holiday Season and the hubbub that comes with it are almost upon us so don’t wait too long to get your tickets for the upcoming NC Policy Watch 10th anniversary celebration. Please join our three co-hosts – former Governor Jim Hunt, Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue and Capitol Broadcasting CEO Jim Goodmon – Monday, December ...

More good news on solar power in NC

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 12:28
There’s yet another promising report out today about the prospects for solar power in North Carolina. The authors find that the state could quite easily generate 20% of its electricity from solar power by 2030. Indeed, as the map at left shows, North Carolina has the potential to produce more than 30 times as much ...

Distortions from the Right on Medicaid expansion hit a new low

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 11:15
Sensing building momentum for the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act that would both cover hundreds of thousands of uninsured low income North Carolinians and bolster the state’s economy with billions in federal dollars, right wingers appear to have launched a new campaign of propaganda and distortion. A prime example is this article ...

Cartoon controversy?

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 07:22
NC Policy Watch cartoonist John Cole — who , by the way, is always expressing his own opinions and voice in his work — drew the cartoon at left describing the impending change in the leadership of the state Democratic Party this week. This provoked some critical emails from defenders of the outgoing chief, Randy ...

President offers preview of immigration announcement

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 16:27
Post by The White House.

Two “must reads” today on Fracking rules and prayer in a public school

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 15:46
There are two excellent reads over on the main Policy Watch site today that you should check out if you haven’t already. #1 is this excellent and sobering analysis of North Carolina’s new fracking rules and the shortcomings therein by Sarah Kellogg of of the environmental advocacy group Appalachian Voices. As Kellogg writes before outlining ...

What the election results mean for progressives

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 14:16
The three guest speakers who joined Chris Fitzsimon at today’s NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation luncheon delivered mostly optimistic messages about the long-term electoral prospects for progressives in North Carolina in the years ahead. For a variety of reasons — history, voter attitudes on the issues, improved organizational structures to name a few — Tom ...

Hundreds of schools provide school meals free of charge to all students

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 09:12
This school year, high-poverty schools across North Carolina will provide breakfast and lunch meals at no cost to students. As part of a laudable effort to eliminate child hunger, nearly 650 public schools have adopted a universal meal program that ensures that every child receives two nutritious meals each day and show up to class ...

Another day, another humiliation for the Governor

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 08:05
At some point, it’s got to rankle Pat McCrory. The man has been Governor of the state and, effectively, the head of a party with huge legislative majorities for nearly two years now, but when it comes to making laws and policies, he might as well be, well, the Mayor of Charlotte. Lest anyone think ...

Common Core replacement commission: Show us the money!

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 15:56
The state commission charged with reviewing and replacing the Common Core State Standards seems to be losing some of its momentum. Meeting for the third time since their appointment, commission members acknowledged Monday that without a dedicated budget it would be near impossible to bring in experts and accurately assess what benchmarks students should master. ...

This statistic on gun violence floored me

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 13:27
Last year nearly 18,000 people died in the world from terrorism. This was a record high. That figure includes all deaths by explosives along with every other means terrorists use to commit violence. This statistic also includes the entire world population of 7 billion people. It tracks violence in war zones, failed states and other troubled ...

Data tools for policymaking: The Opportunity Index

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 13:10
Facts matter in policymaking. A growing number of data tools are available to help inform policymakers and the public of local conditions and trends so that policies to respond can be data-driven and achieve better, efficient results.  The latest tool is the Opportunity Index released annually by the Opportunity Nation and Measure of America.  This ...