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North Carolina’s recent wintry weather has helped give rise to a lot of pent up activity this week. Tonight at 7:00 pm for instance, is an excellent event at the Duke University Center for Documentary Studies entitled “Organizing the South: How a Southern Workers’ Movement Can Change the Nation.” Click here for more information and here to watch the video livestream tonight.

And speaking of not-to-be-missed events, be sure if you get the chance to check out the Raleigh showing of “Inequality for All,” Robert Reich’s powerful new movie about America’s modern economy. The event will be held on Tuesday, February 18 from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at William Peace University’s Browne-McPherson Music Building. Parking is free on campus. Click here for more information.

And speaking of the exploding inequality of the modern economy, check out economist Dean Baker’s essay from over the weekend in which he explains how America’s inequality hasn’t occurred by accident or simply as the result of the talent and hard work of the top 1%. To the contrary, as Baker explains, it’s happened “by design.”

And speaking of things that are exploding, the Duke Coal Ash disaster continues to be the biggest story in the North Carolina policy world. Read More

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For some people any government spending is full of “waste, fraud, and abuse”. For these people no matter how the government operates, no matter how we spend our tax money, there is “waste, fraud and abuse”.

One of the things I have learned is that there is always ‘waste and abuse”, and probably a little “fraud” in the way any organization from the largest corporation to the smallest not for profit, from small town governments to big states. If we spent the time to get rid of all of the “waste”, we would be “wasting” time making certain we weren’t “wasting” money, which means we would be “wasting” money.

We need to be sure that the money is spent the way we want it to be- creating jobs- not enriching the same contractors and companies who have done business with the governments forever. We need to be less concerned about traditional “waste, fraud, and abuse” and more about making certain that the money does what it is intended to do – take care of the average American, give people good jobs with liveable wages.

So as federal, state, and local governments spend our economic stimulus money, we need to hold the governments accountable. The stimulus spending must live up to the accountability that President Obama and Governor Perdue have promised. We need to ask how the money is being allocated, who is getting contracts and subcontracts.

Take the time to ask the questions. Go to the websites– www.recovery.gov, www.ncrecovery.gov and see if what shows up on the web matches what you see in your community.