Energy exploration, teacher compensation, DMV modernization, and puppy protections are just a few of the items topping Governor Pat McCrory’s list of priorities 2014. McCrory and his cabinet sat down with the media this morning to outline his goals for short legislative session that begins in May. You can watch the full press conference on WRAL.com .
Governor McCrory continues to stand by his decision not to expand Medicaid. But an article in The New York Times  this morning details how Medicaid expansion has cut the number of uninsured West Virginians by one third.
Waitresses, fast food workers, security guards and cleaners described feeling intense relief that they are now protected from the punishing medical bills that have punched holes in their family budgets. They spoke in interviews of reclaiming the dignity they had lost over years of being turned away from doctors’ offices because they did not have insurance.
Unfortunately, as Think Progress reports :
…unlike West Virginia, many of the poorest and sickest states in America have rejected the Medicaid expansion, leaving more than 5.3 million low-income Americans in a coverage gap.
On the subject of those living near poverty, wrap your mind around this stat: The 85 richest people on Earth now have the same amount of wealth as the bottom half of the global population. That’s according to a new report by Oxfam International .
Here’s one of the take away messages from the Los Angeles Times :
Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, said he’s not surprised by the Oxfam report and others showing increased inequality between rich and poor.
“As long as we maintain high rates of unemployment, I don’t see any prospect of reversing this situation,” Baker said. “The only time where workers in the middle and bottom of the wage distribution were able to achieve sustained gains was in the late ’90s when we had low unemployment.”
He’s less concerned with measures of wealth, which have been inflated by stock market gains and could reverse with a market downturn. But he noted that income growth for poor and middle-class Americans has lagged behind that of the rich in the last three decades.
On the lighter side, Mother Jones details the standard American diet in 3 simple charts .
Fast Company offers five reasons to never eat lunch at your desk again .
And finally today, we’ll bypass the Boss  and share instead a duet featuring Robert Downey Jr. and Sting. Who knew the Iron Man could sing?