Martha Brock's blog

Citizen by Bob Geary

from a column in the Independent Weekly by Bob Geary:

Which brings me to the subject of Saturday's "Moral March on Raleigh," which I hope will be massive and a fitting renewal of last year's electrifying Moral Monday protests.

Aside from the wonderfully diverse crowds, the best thing about these events is the re-energizing of the progressive movement—and the claiming of the moral high ground.

Transportation plan fails to include people with disabilities

Vicki Smith of Disability Rights NC wrote this for Progressive Pulse

The NC Department of Transportation recently released a plan for the state's transportation needs looking forward to 2040. The plan "focuses on the policies and programs needed to enhance safety, improve mobility, and reduce congestion for all transportation modes." Transportation is moving 'something' from one place to another. And in much of the plan the "something" that is being transported is people. So the plan talks about personal mobility, how people travel from one place to another. But it almost entirely ignores the needs of one group, people with disabilities.

Help wanted at NC DHHS

I was on LinkedIn and a couple of job openings popped up. Interesting in that both are for jobs at NC DHHS and both are for top level executive jobs. First is for Ricky Diaz's job of Director of Communications, so not very surprised at that. The other is for Director of Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Both report to the Secretary Aldona Vos. Guess they are at least doing a job search for jobs like Ricky's now. That is progress, right?

Fannie Flono: 'You get what you pay for' in Aldona Vos

From the Charlotte observer a column about NC DHHS and its Secretary Aldona Vos:

You get what you pay for.

That’s the conclusion many in this state might have come to about Dr. Aldona Wos, secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, whose wealth allows her to work for the state for a salary of $1 a year.

She eschewed the $135,000 that GOP Gov. Pat McCrory offered her when he took office last January.

With a year under her belt, Wos seems to be overpaid at that buck a year

.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/01/30/4652849/fix-food-stamp-other-problems.html#.UusTjvRDuSo#...

Sad, but true.

Opinion: ''Snowmageddon' that hit Atlanta

from the Charlotte Observer 3 questions rasied by the gridlock and dire consequences of the lack of mass transit from suburbs into downtown Atlanta during this week's snowstorm:

Is the changing nature of how people live, work and play reducing the chances that the next few stages of Charlotte's development will mirror Atlanta's descent toward the dark side of the suburban sprawl equation? I've attended a number of local and regional conferences recently in which major Charlotte developers (most recently SouthPark builder Johnny Harris) have stressed that many in the younger generation of workers/consumers simply aren't as attracted as their parents were to the idea of living in far-flung suburbs. They want to live near the urban core, with walkable neighborhoods, street-level retail and mass transit at the ready. The South End makes the obvious case in point.

Great coverage of the State of the Union and its significance

From the Washington Post today, thorough analysis of the State of the Union and the risk President Obama is taking.
...

THE PROGRESSIVE RESPONSE TO OBAMA’S SPEECH: Dem Rep. Raul Grijalva, the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, laid out the liberal response in an interview with Rachel Maddow. The focus was on Obama’s assertion that he will exercise executive authority to spur the economy:

Everything You Need to Know About the State of the Union Address

Everything You Need to Know About the State of the Union Address: The Atlantic--David A. Graham
President Obama is expected to lay out a modest agenda for the year ahead, calling on Congress to collaborate with him—but he's prepared for the likelihood it won't.

Google providing Journalism Fellowship

The upcoming deadline for the Google Journalism Fellowship is this Friday, Jan. 31.

This fellowship offers you the chance to work with a nonprofit journalism organization during the summer and to spend your final week with Google. A stipend covers your expenses and travel.

Journalism Fellowship – Google

In an effort to help develop the next crop of reporters working to keep the world informed, educated and entertained, we have created the Google Journalism Fellowship. As a company dedicated to making the world’s
information easily accessible, Google recognizes that behind many blue links is a journalist and that quality journalism is a key ingredient of a vibrant and functioning society.

Sen. Burr co-sponsors healthcare bill repealing ACA

From The Hill:

Three senior Senate Republicans on Monday proposed an alternative to ObamaCare that would replace “job-crushing” federal mandates with a voluntary system led by the states.

The legislative blueprint from Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) would eliminate all of the healthcare law’s federal rules, including the unpopular requirement to purchase insurance under the threat of penalty.

But the GOP proposal, known as the Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility and Empowerment (CARE) Act, would also weaken one of ObamaCare’s most popular provisions, by giving insurers an opening to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.

British spies snooped on YouTube and Facebook--NBC News

UPDATE from NBC NEWS:

LONDON — Documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden suggest that spy agencies have a powerful ally in Angry Birds and a host of other apps installed on smartphones across the globe.

The documents, published Monday by The New York Times, the Guardian, and ProPublica, suggest that the mapping, gaming and social networking apps that are a common feature of the world's estimated 1 billion smartphones can feed America's National Security Agency and Britain's GCHQ with huge amounts of personal data, including location information and details such as political affiliation or sexual orientation.

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