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A diverse group of more than a dozen North Carolina Christian pastors and theologians (including state NAACP President, Rev. William Barber) have authored an open letter to Rev. Franklin Graham and the broader evangelical Christian community in light of Graham’s recent controversial statements regarding (and rather tepid apology to) President Obama.

It is a long, powerful and obviously heartfelt letter. You can read it in it’s entirety by clicking here.

Here are a few passages: Read More

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President Obama signed the new payroll tax cut bill into effect last night — another piece of legislation that shows the Republicans in Congress are finally backing down at least a little bit on their market fundamentalist obstructionism.

One of the best and most under-reported aspects of the bill is a provision that encourages employers to promote work-sharing as an alternative to layoffs. Such programs have worked well in Germany and other countries.

One of the nation’s best economists, Dean Baker of the Center for Economic Policy Research, has been touting the concept for years and released the following statement in praise of the new law: Read More

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If you’re looking for an insightful, big-picture overview of the Obama administration’s 2013 budget plan, you would be hard-pressed to find a better place to start than a statement released this afternoon by the President of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Robert Greenstein.

Greenstein’s statement makes a key point that should put to rest some of the deficit hysteria that’s already accompanied the release of the new budget plan:  the Obama administration’s budget would stabilize the federal debt over the next decade through a balanced mix of spending reductions and additional revenues.

The whole statement is worth reading, but here are the top-line messages:

The President’s budget would, if enacted, make significant progress in reducing deficits, although policymakers would have to take further steps, especially for future decades.  Under its economic assumptions, it would achieve what most budget analysts, and all recent bipartisan commissions or panels, have identified as the crucial fiscal goal for the decade ahead — stabilizing the debt so that it no longer rises faster than the economy. Read More

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Our good friends at Think Progress are annoyed that NBC and the GOP are accusing President Obama of making a “class warfare” argument.

Here’s another take on the matter: If only that were true!

In truth, President Obama has been a model of middle-of-the-road civility, repeatedly bending over backwards to try and negotiate deals with right-wing ideologues who have zero interest in masking their commitment to class warfare (i.e. the kind that occurs when the wealthy attack and marginalize the middle class and the poor).

As many progressives have noted in recent years, one of the highpoints of Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency occurred when he delivered his famous retort to the nation’s plutocrats: “I welcome their hatred.”

In the final year of his first term, the President would actually do the country a great service if he would actually live up to this accusation by bringing a health measure of combative FDR-like populism to his governance and campaigning. He might even listen again to the following:

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It’s hard to believe the moment has FINALLY arrived, but it is upon us. Eight and a half years after George Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech, President Obama will come to North Carolina today to commemmorate the end of the war in Iraq.

It is, of course, a bittersweet occasion given the horrific loss of life and treasure and mostly non-existent improvements to the world’s political environment that have resulted from the war. America remains mired in Afghanistan.

But, for this one day, let’s be thankful for this important accomplishment and for all the military families around our state who will get to hug and hold their loved ones over the holidays and in the New Year.

Thank you, Mr. President, for delivering on your promise to make this day come to pass.