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vegan lunch for linksYour Thursday edition of Lunch Links starts with a few interesting news items.  Governor Pat McCrory told MSNBC  Wednesday that the voter suppression law he signed earlier this year was “much ado about nothing,” which will come as a surprise to all the people who will find it more difficult to vote in the next two elections.

And former Governor Jim Hunt told a crowd at a fundraiser in Greensboro this week that he believes the speculation that McCrory and the General Assembly will find the money to give a teachers a small raise next year ahead of the November elections by making deeper cuts to the already strapped university system. Lovely. Read More

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The latest chapter in the refusal by conservatives to consider the implications for the North Carolina coastline of the projected sea level rise comes from the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences.

The Indy reports today that museum officials won’t allow a documentary on the subject to be shown at the museum’s Science Cafe.

The nonprofit group N.C. Coastal Federation had hoped to bring the film to the museum’s Science Café, a weekly discussion of science and technology issues, in January. It is scheduled to show at UNC-Wilmington and the N.C. Aquarium in January.

According to emails provided by the museum, director Emlyn Koster wrote that “we want to engage the public, marshal the progress of our unique learning-rich setting and take advantage of our collaborative network, rather than focusing on an hour-long film in a theater.

He added that the museum needs to “ensure an objective science-centered approach.”

Hmm.  A science-centered approach?

If you want to hear the truth about sea level rise and what it means for North Carolina, join NC Policy Watch next Wednesday for a Crucial Conversation luncheon with Dr. Robert S. Young, Professor of Geology and Director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University

 

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National news has been dominated today by President Obama’s decision to allow insurance companies to continue  to offer plans that would have been canceled by Affordable Care Act.

But the problem with the cancellation of plans is not as cut and dried as you think. Economist Dean Baker addressed that very topic earlier this week in a column that is worth your time to put the current debate in some needed context. Here is the crux of Baker’s point.

First, it is important to note that the ACA grand-fathered all the individual policies that were in place at the time the law was enacted. This means that the plans in effect at the time that President Obama was pushing the bill could still be offered even if they did not meet all the standards laid out in the ACA.

The plans being terminated because they don’t meet the minimal standards were all plans that insurers introduced after the passage of the ACA. Insurers introduced these plans knowing that they would not meet the standards that would come into effect in 2014. Insurers may not have informed their clients at the time they sold these plans that they would not be available after 2014 because they had designed a plan that did not comply with the ACA.

However if the insurers didn’t tell their clients that the new plans would only be available for a short period of time, the blame would seem to rest with the insurance companies, not the ACA. After all, President Obama did not promise people that he would keep insurers from developing new plans that will not comply with the provisions of the ACA.

 

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Governor Pat McCrory’s decision to appoint the controversial A.L. “Buddy” Collins of Forsyth County to a two-year term on the state Task Force on Safer Schools continues to draw criticism from across the state.

Collins was appointed to the State Board of Education by McCrory earlier this year over the objection of Equality NC and other human rights groups because of his anti-gay reputation and homophobic statements.

The decision to appoint Collins to a safe schools task force only adds insult to injury. Equality NC today called on McCrory to reconsider that decision and John Grooms with Creative Loafing in Charlotte also weighed in to oppose the offensive appointment.

Last week, McCrory announced the appointment of John Locke Foundation staffer Dr. Troy Kicker to the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission. The Lockers have repeatedly called for the abolition of the commission.

If you have any doubts about McCrory agreement with, or at least unwillingness to challenge the far-right, his recent appointments ought to dispel them.

 

 

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One of the most interesting columns over the weekend was the piece in Charlotte Observer by a doctor, who along with his wife—also a physician, took the course that is required to receive a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Both are gun owners and recreational shooters and their take on the class is fascinating, especially the advice from the instructor on how and where to store their weapons.

Perhaps most shocking, though, was the advice we received from a practicing law enforcement officer regarding the storage of firearms: under the bed, preferably loaded. I’m not kidding. Fifty or so families, many of whom we must presume have children in the home, walked out of that classroom with the understanding that the proper way to store your guns was in a location that is within reach of a child, and loaded. No gun safe. No trigger lock. Across the United States in 2008-09, according to the FBI, we lost more preschoolers to guns (173) than officers in the line of duty (89).

Yikes.