This week may include “Black Friday” — the official start of the holiday shopping season — but for a growing number of retail workers in the U.S., a lot of days are increasingly dark as they try to make do on ridiculously inadequate wages. Take the workers at Wal-Mart, many of whom have about had their fill of the giant corporation’s predatory ways. Think Progress has the latest on the growing number of employee strikes hitting the world’s largest retailer across the country .
And speaking of fighting back against predatory corporations, here’s another bit of good news: Regulatory officials at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have given the banks they regulate a big “thumbs down” on usurious, triple-digit interest rate “payday loans. ” This statement from the consumer advocates at the Center for Responsible Lending explains .
And speaking of sometimes abusive relationships that could use dramatically improved public oversight, be sure to check out Ann Doss Helms’ article in Sunday’s Charlotte Observer  about North Carolina’s non-existent oversight of home schools. And as Chris Fitzsimon noted last week , many of the state’s private schools — schools that will be eligible to receive public funding next year via the new voucher program — differ little from home schools.
Meanwhile, in the good news department, check out this story from the Saturday Washington Post about what it was like for real, struggling people in Kentucky when they finally got their health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. If only Gov. McCrory and North Carolina legislative leaders could have been there to see it. And if only they could be forced to sit down and explain to thousands of individual uninsured North Carolinians why they’re not deserving of a similar opportunity.
And speaking of health care reform, for those in the Triangle area, the good folks at the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh will be holding a screening of Michael Moore’s still timely film, Sicko  next Thursday December 5 at 7:00 p.m.
And finally, in case you’re feeling any sense of stress about upcoming family gatherings this week and pondering how to prepare, reporters at The Onion have this helpful story  about one group of siblings’ chosen means of preparing to engage with Uncle Jack and Aunt Peg.