Archives

Uncategorized

Maybe a lot of you are already aware of this remarkable story, but I confess that I just found about it today.

Florida prosecutors are trying 12 year-old Christian Fernandez as an adult for the murder of his two year-old brother. I’ll say that again: prosecutors are trying a 12 year-old — a boy born in1999 — as an adult. The boy, who was himself born to a 12 year-old mother and has endured a dreadful life of abuse, faces life in prison. Read More

Many on the modern far right would have us believe that human nature and society are essentially immutable — that we are all slaves to social “laws” bequeathed by Milton Friedman and/or the Almighty and there is nothing we can do to collectively, intentionally improve the world (other than to get out of the way of “the invisible hand”).

Fortunately, reality continues to intervene and remind us of myriad ways in which forward-thinking humans continue to intentionally and collectively improve the world. Read More

Uncategorized

The good folks at Toxic Free NC have a new, short (about six minutes) film out about two inexcusable phenomena that continue to plague the modern food industry in North Carolina: 1) the continued use of young children in one of the nation’s most dangerous occupations, and 2) the ongoing failure of state officials to enforce laws designed to protect farmworkers and their families from pesticide exposure.

The film is called “Overworked & Under Spray” and it’s worth a few minutes out of your day. There are no sensational revelations or tragic, tear-jerking moments; it’s just a group of average North Carolina kids talking about something that our state continues to allow to happen so that we can all save a few pennies on our sweet potatoes, cucumbers and cigarettes.    

Would that the state’s do-nothing Commissioner of Elevators would get off of her behind and maybe, for the first time in anyone’s memory, do something meaningful about a worker safety issue.

Respected economist and early-childhood expert Timothy Bartik has a great post on why investing in high-quality early childhood programs is a smart, effective strategy to improve local economies and create jobs.

The whole post is short and well worth reading, but here are his top five reasons for local business leaders and policymakers to support investments in early childhood programs:

  1. Human capital is the key local competitive factor for businesses that is not readily portable.
  2. Human capital matters not just to my individual business, but to building regional clusters of businesses.
  3. Early childhood education is one of the most cost-effective methods of developing better local worker skills.
  4. Early childhood education is particularly good at increasing soft skills, which are of great importance to businesses.
  5. A large percentage of early childhood education participants will stay in the same local economy as working adults.

This is from a statement released this morning by the folks at Action for Children:

“(Raleigh, N.C.) — North Carolina ranks 38th in key indicators of child health and well-being, according to data released by the Annie E Casey Foundation in its 2011 KIDS COUNT Data Book. The state fell from 37th in 2010. 

The 2011 Data Book paints a picture of mixed progress for North Carolina children. In a state that consistently receives high marks as business-friendly, more children and families now face greater risk of economic insecurity as a result the recession. Indicators of well-being, which typically lag behind economic indicators, have yet to capture the full impact of the recession, and may not do so for a number of years. Read More