What websites do you visit every day?

This year we want BlueNC to be a more valuable resource for people in search of insights and information. One simple way to do that is to operate as a point guard, sharing content smoothly and purposefully.

Right now, we have a short list of North Carolina-focused "Places to Think" under the Right Rail. What sites should be added to that list?

We also want to create a new list of what might be considered "essentials." What sites should be on that list?

This is your chance to help set the agenda.

Pretty please?

Corporate manipulation of public policy

Bloomberg connects the dots on ALEC-inspired state legislation:

Ellington’s bill started life as a set of bullet points that at least two telecommunications companies recommended to a state legislator in Utah in 2001. On the fourth attempt, it passed in North Carolina this year. Incumbent telcos have shown a pattern of promoting these bills and rewarding the state legislators who sponsor them. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), is the hub from which these bills emerge.

It's an extensive article, but well worth the read. It's also a great platform to discuss some points from a little side project I've been working on for a friend.

Charter schools' spending varies in the Mecklenburg area, per-pupil outlays ranged from $6,194 to $15,157

I am a product of public education in North Carolina: my high school graduating class was the first one to go all twelve years under court ordered busing here in Mecklenburg. I also graduated from Central Piedmont Community College, Appalachian State, and UNC-Charlotte ... so I know firsthand that NC has a very good public education system from kindergarten to college.

I don't dismiss the value of charter schools but I do have a problem with for-profit entities running them.

Sexting for good

Kids still have questions about sex that aren't getting answered in schools.

Sex education is a thorny subject for most school systems; only 13 states specify that the medical components of the programs must be accurate. Shrinking budgets and competing academic subjects have helped push it down as a curriculum priority. In reaction, some health organizations and school districts are developing Web sites and texting services as cost-effective ways to reach adolescents in the one classroom where absenteeism is never a problem: the Internet.

The BlueNC frontpage team for 2012

When it comes to all things progressive, 2011 pretty much sucked. Tea Party Republicans went on a rampage, with business interests and religious fanatics taking the public agenda in a stranglehold. Decades of North Carolina progress swirled down the toilet in a single legislative session under Thom Tillis' leadership. Will 2012 be more of the same? Not if we can help it.

Is the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA) Now Law, Or Not?

Is the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA) Now Law, Or Not?

According to GovTrack.us, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 ("NDAA") was presented to Predator Odrona for signature on 21 December 2011:

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-1540

Today is 31 December 2011 - ten days later - and as of 8:00am ET it is STILL posted as "pending":

http://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/pending-legislation

Here is how a bill supposedly becomes law:

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