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Immigration & Immigration Reform: Myths versus Facts

    Myth: Reform would give 20 million undocumented immigrants legal status, claimed Eric Bolling on Fox News (Your World, 1/29/13).
    Facts: The Pew Research Center shows that there were 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. in 2011, down from the high of 12 million in 2007—the last year of Bush II’s second term (1/29/13), and the number has fallen lower because of the tight job market. Of the entire U.S. population, undocumented immigrants constitute 3.7 percent.

McCrory puts NC workers' safety at risk

Stacking the deck against worker's compensation claims:

This summer, a small note in the General Assembly's final budget bill reclassified the Industrial Commission's 22 deputy commissioners, turning them from career civil servants into at-will employees who will either be reappointed or let go. The lives and careers of these administrative law judges were placed directly into the hands of the commission's chair, a young McCrory appointee named Andrew T. Heath. The first group of deputy commissioners will be let go on Feb. 15, 2015, and have already begun to be replaced by more pro-business-minded Republicans.

"There's an effort being made on a state level to get conservative and pro-business people appointed to commissions and for the commissions to be an advocate for reduction of benefits," says Steve Embry, a veteran workers' comp lawyer and president of the Workplace Injury Law and Advocacy Group.

A safe workplace doesn't just magically appear, there are certain outside influences that drive it. OSHA wields a pretty heavy statutory stick, but the agency simply doesn't have the resources to monitor more than a small percent of workplaces each year. Insurance companies, however, are a totally different overseeing animal. And the more worker's compensation claims your company forces them to pay out, the more involved the insurance company gets in your operation. As such, if a tainted Commission rejects many/most workplace injury claims, nothing will change to reduce those injuries. The system isn't perfect, but with a useless Secretary and Board of Labor, and a mere 3% labor union membership rate, it's all workers have left. Or did have, anyway

Daily Dose: Haters gonna hate

I made the mistake this morning of reading comments on Tim Cook's coming out news in the New York Times. While there were plenty of positive comments, most seemed motivated by a combination of disdain, dismissal, or even hatred. It hurt my soul.

This is the thing that worries me most about North Carolina today: Thom Tillis' divide-and-conquer mindset has gone mainstream. From Amendment One to Medicaid to the gutting of environmental protections, Republican policy seems to start with ridiculing and then demonizing vast sectors of our population. If you are a young woman whose success in life hinges on being able to terminate a pregnancy, you are a murderer. If you are a gay man in a 30 year relationship and want to marry, you are a pervert. If you are a poor person working three jobs with no benefits and no hope, you are a taker. If you are a black man, you are a criminal.

There will always be extremes to contend with in each of these areas. Some people are perverts. Fraud does exist in our welfare system. Some black men are criminals. But most people are not perverts. Most poor people don't try to game the system. And most black men are not criminals. The extremes are, by definition, not the norm. They are a gross and destructive stereotype being perpetuated by conservative Republicans to further the economic agenda of concentrating wealth among the elite. The only other explanation I can think of is even more frightening: they are devoid of empathy and wallowing in hate.

Two-thirds of the General Assembly earn a failing grade on the environment

Two-thirds of the General Assembly Earn a Failing Grade on the Environment
Legislators take the state backwards on environmental initiatives

Raleigh, NC- Today, Environment North Carolina released its 2014 legislative scorecard, and the results don’t bode well for our state’s environment.

“From fast-tracking fracking to failed action on coal ash, legislators showed their true colors this session, and it’s clear that their priority is not protecting North Carolina’s air, water or open spaces,” said Dave Rogers, Field Director with Environment North Carolina.

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