Economic improvement, and surrender on the Hill
Unemployment fell in 86 of North Carolina’s 100 counties in May, according to figures  released Friday by the state Employment Security Commission. While some of the hiring was seasonal, it’s worth noting that 11 of the state’s 14 metros had an increase in job growth.
That’s good news, especially as the U.S. Senate appears ready to admit defeat and move on  after Thursday’s rejection of a bill to reauthorize several expired domestic aid programs, including extended unemployment benefits.
Financial reform by July 4th
House and Senate negotiators have settled on the final shape of legislation meant to rein in Wall Street. The bill does not break up the nation’s largest firms. But Politico  has a good run down on what the 43-member conference committee did come up with after their marathon, all-night session. 
For those who aren’t financial gurus, the Washington Post has an easy to follow interactive graphic  about the problems and how the landmark legislation tries to solve them.
President Obama hopes to sign a final bill by July 4th.
To keep the Gulf oil spill on the front burner, we thought we’d share the Columbia Journalism Review’s  take on BP sending its own “journalists” to the region – offering their own blend of in-depth coverage.
If you missed it Thursday, Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker talked with WPTF’s Bill Lumaye about the need to bring together a group of education leaders and attorneys to review the school board’s move toward an assignment policy that would place students in schools as close as possible to where they live.
“…this board has gone out of its way to say that diversity is not going to be one of its values…”
You can hear the full interview (starts around the :55 mark) here .
Speaking of LuMaye’s show, NC Policy Watch’s own Rob Schofield will be on the program this afternoon at 4:00pm.
This weekend on Chris Fitzsimon’s radio news magazine News & Views, he interviews Rep. Brad Miller  about FMAP funding and financial reform. Peace College political science professor David McLennan  and Larry Lessig , co-founder of Change Congress, also join Chris in the studio.
The LA Times has a nice profile on Edith Shain, who died earlier this week. Shain became an accidental celebrity when Alfred Eisenstaedt snapped this iconic photograph of her in 1945.
Ironically, Shain waited until 1980 to reveal she was the nurse in that amazing Life photo.
Advice from Steve Jobs
Some new iPhone 4 owners are having issues with poor reception. Steve Jobs has a message for you: Stop hold the phone wrong. No kidding .
Finally for my colleagues who can’t get enough of the World Cup, this next link is for you.
Supermodel Heidi Klum showcased her musical abilities this week playing the vuvuzela horn  on Jimmy Fallon’s late night show.
Note that Team USA plays Ghana tomorrow at 2:30pm (ET).
Go USA! And enjoy your weekend!