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Given that this is Election Day in many places around the state and nation,  it’s fitting that Raleigh’s News & Observer editorializes this morning against one of the great threats to fair elections in our country — namely, the vast sums of “dark money” being dumped into buying elections at all levels by fat cat special interests like the infamous Koch Brothers.

Athough the latest news stems from developments in California, this is not just a far-off problem for North Carolinians. As the editorial notes:

“The Kochs’ reach extends to North Carolina, where Americans for Prosperity, a group they started, has been orchestrating ads against Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, who’s up for re-election in 2014. The campaign is gratuitous and hooked to an obscure issue, the carbon emissions tax, something few people are familiar with. It presents, however, an opportunity to attack a Democrat. Read More

Not that you were likely losing any sleep about the well-being of the plutocrats running the American economy, but just in case you were wondering,  Think Progress reports this morning that  the Wall Street types are in the money again.

“2012 was the second most profitable year in Wall Street’s history, with banks making north of $140 billion. Wall Street’s bonus pool, while not yet back to the heights it achieved before the financial crisis, is growing again, and the average cash bonus hit $121,900.

This is part and parcel of a longer trend on Wall Street, which has seen pay skyrocket as the financial industry was deregulated. According to Bloomberg News, Wall Street’s bonus pool has nearly quintupled since 1985, growing from $4 billion to more than $20 billion (in constant dollars).”

Read and weep at the whole story by clicking here

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Art Pope 3This time, it’s from the editors of the online site Too Much – a  project of the Program on Inequality and the Common Good of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Policy Studies,

Not surprisingly, the subject is State Budget Director, Art Pope. Today, Pope is featured in the “Greed at a glance section” of the Too Much newsletter.

“Sometimes you just have to do the job yourself. Art Pope, a billionaire who owes his fortune to a discount store network his daddy built, certainly thinks so. Pope has spent over $40 million in recent years gerrymandering North Carolina, and the state this winter sports for the first time in over a century a GOP governor, a conservative state Supreme Court majority, and a GOP-dominated state legislature all at the same time. But Pope isn’t resting. He had himself appointed state budget director. Last week his budget priorities made national headlines. In North Carolina, a state with America’s fifth-highest jobless rate, lawmakers have now slashed maximum weekly unemployment benefits from $535 to $350, cut the number of benefit weeks allowed, and denied 39 percent of the state’s 438,000 jobless special federal aid . . .

Food-Twinkies No MoreThere have been a number of stories in recent days implying that the demise of Hostess was somehow the result of unreasonable demands from workers. Here, however, are a couple of stories that debunk that narrative.

In the first (“No cupcake: Workers turn down bad deal from Hostess”), Dean Baker at the Center on Economic and Policy Research points out that the management team with whom the workers were attempting to negotiate were basically a bunch of predatory knuckleheads.

In the second (“Hostess blames union for bankruptcy after tripling CEO’s pay”), the folks at Think Progress provide more disturbing details.

 

 

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If you’re among the many people who found themselves looking up at the TV in recent days and saying to yourself “what the heck?”!” as Donald Trump’s creepy mug flashed across the screen at the end of a Macy’s Christmas season ad, know that you’re not alone. Nearly a half-million people have already signed a petition calling on the giant retailer to tell the dim-witted plutocrat that he’s FIRED!

If you’re interested in learning more about the story click here. You can sign the petition by clicking here.