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Here’s another one from the “You can’t make this stuff up” Department at the North Carolina General Assembly. Today, at 10:00 am in the Legislative Press Conference Room, the N.C. Retail Merchants Association will kick off a canned food drive to help feed the state’s poor and hungry citizens.

“What’s so strange about that?” you might ask.

Here’s what: 

The N.C. Retail Merchants Association is the exact same lobby group that is helping to spearhead the legislature’s mean-spirited and unprecendented attack on the state’s already inadequate unemployment insurance benefits program!

You got that? Last week, a lobbyist for the group was a featured speaker at an employer-sponsored press conference to tout the legislation and characterize the state’s workers as lazy and undeserving of benefits — even though the jobless outnumber the stock of available jobs three-to-one. Today, the same group will issue a plea for average citizens to cough up some canned food to throw at those same out-of-work families (and then stand by and bask in the glow of the positive P.R. the event will produce).

Truly amazing.

 

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“Never let the facts get in the way of a good story” — this appears to be the motto not just of Fox News, but of one of Fox’s most obsequious local outlets, the Raleigh-based John Locke Foundation.

Check out, for instance, this post from yesterday afternoon on “The Locker Room” blog. The story is about some township officials in a Philadelphia suburb who want a local woman to get a permit ( a permit that costs a lot of money) before she hands out food to hungry kids from her home. Sounds like a classic case of officious government bureaucrats messing with private charity, right?

Well, it may well be (though one has to wonder if the Fox/Locke people would be yelling if the poor kids were lining up next door to Art Pope’s house and trampling his roses rather than doing so in a lower income, minority neighborhood), but here’s the interesting part: The Locke post inaccurately gives the impression that the food is from private donors. Read More

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The AP has a thorough story this morning on Rep. George Cleveland’s’s statement that “We have nobody in the state of North Carolina living in extreme poverty.” In it, reporters Martha Waggoner and Gary Robertson shine a little more light on what lies behind Cleveland’s weirdly distorted view of reality.

They quote Cleveland as follows:

“I’m sure there are hungry people in North Carolina, but to say they are living in extreme poverty in North Carolina, I think that’s an overstatement.”

This actually explains a lot. According to Cleveland, Read More

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If you’re lucky enough to be among the North Carolinians who can look forward to a delicious Thanksgiving feast this week, be sure to check out this new report from the N.C. Budget and Tax Center first.  The report includes a county-by-county table  that documents the rise in unemployment and Food Stamp participation since the onset of the Great Recession.