News

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, has issued a statement on the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri following the non-indictment of the police officer Darren Wilson. Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, in Ferguson on August 9th.

Read the full statement here and click below to hear an excerpt of Barber’s remarks at a prayer and protest vigil at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church.

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Commentary
Ozone EPA

Image: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Good government can do a lot of to things to improve the quality of life for its citizens, but when you get down to it, making people healthier and safer is pretty much at or close to the top of any reasonable person’s list. That’s why the Affordable Care Act was and is, ultimately, for all its imperfections and corporate giveaways, a success. At the end of the day, more people will be alive, healthier and happier because of the ACA.

Happily, the same is also true of another important Obama administration initiative announced today: new rules to curb ozone pollution. As Newsweek.com reports:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday its proposal for a long-delayed regulation to curb ozone pollution, a human health hazard linked to asthma, heart disease, premature death, and an array of pregnancy complications. Read More

Commentary

Here’s your ridiculous claim of Thanksgiving week from a story by the Center for Public Integrity.  Dallas Woodhouse of the right-wing advocacy group Carolina Rising says the 4,000 ads the group ran praising Republican Thom Tillis during the recent U.S. Senate race were not political at all.

They were just about issues and happened to mention the Republican candidate running against Senator Kay Hagan in the most closely watched Senate race in the country. Gee, what a coincidence.

In August, Carolina Rising ran more TV ads than either Tillis or Hagan, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of data provided by Kantar Media/CMAG, an ad tracking firm.

Interesting thing though, the ads weren’t really political — at least not according to the group that paid for them

“You’re the one who said we participated in the election,” Dallas Woodhouse, the group’s president and founder, told the Center for Public Integrity. “Those are issue ads. Those are not political ads.”

Woodhouse, a former North Carolina state leader of Americans for Prosperity, a nonprofit affiliated with billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, maintains Carolina Rising  jumped in to defend Tillis after it became clear Hagan and the Democrats were going to attack him based on the policies passed by the state legislature.

The group, he added, was just carrying out its mission by boosting policies passed by the sitting speaker of the state House.

To the average viewer, Carolina Rising’s TV spots sure looked like political advertising. But under the law, they are really known as “electioneering communications.” That means they name a candidate and run inside a certain timeframe but don’t tell voters to vote for or against anyone.

And also under the law, Carolina Rising is not required to disclose who paid for the ads that influenced the election under the guise of “issue advertising.” And Woodhouse chooses not to. Read More

News

The N.C. Secretary of State’s office had a report out yesterday that found North Carolina residents are continuing a downward trend in their charitable giving.

The office, led by Elaine Marshall, a Democrat, monitors charities in the state and puts out a report each year about the how much of a charity’s incoming revenue goes to services and program and how much covers overhead costs.

In 2013-14, North Carolina charities received $21.4 million, a drop of 33 percent from the $32.2 million in donations that came in the year before. This year was also the lowest amount that’s been donated in the past four years.

It also comes as the effects of the recession continue to linger in North Carolina, and more families and residents are turning to charities for help.

Nearly one in every five families in the state aren’t making enough to cover their basic living expenses as the state’s manufacturing base has been replaced by low-paying jobs in the service and tourism industries, according to a  report published in June 2014 by the N.C. Justice Center’s Budget and Tax Center.

Employment levels have been on a slow climb out of the recession, and last month North Carolina finally saw its employment numbers match the number of jobs there were in the state before the recession began in 2008.

“Clearly, we are seeing that North Carolina households are still under a great deal of economic pressure,” Marshall said, in a written statement. “I thank everyone who is continuing to finds ways to support the non-profits out there that are trying to accomplish good works.”

The figures don’t cover all of charitable giving in the state – only those charities that use professional fundraising services, pay officers of the charity and raise more than $25,000. Educational institutions, churches and other religious groups and groups like volunteer fire departments also don’t have to report their information to Marshall’s office.

You can read the report here, and search to see what individual charities collected, and what went to overhead costs.

 

NC Budget and Tax Center

In December 2007, just as the Great Recession started, 62 percent of North Carolina’s working-age population was employed. As of October 2014, employment had fallen to 56.5 percent as measured by the employment to population ratio.

Despite the important milestone Employment Levels in USof replacing all the jobs lost during the Great Recession, North Carolina still has not reached pre-recession employment levels.

North Carolina is not alone. No state has reached its 2007 employment levels as measured by the employment to population ratio. Four states still have employment levels more than 10 percent below their pre-recession levels while just two states—Texas and Minnesota—have the smallest difference in employment with ratios less than 2.5 percent below December 2007 levels.