Number of posts: 20
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By Sue Sturgis:
Number of people killed by gun violence in South Carolina from 2001 to 2010 alone: 5,991
Percent by which that exceeds all U.S. combat deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined: 15
Rank of South Carolina among all states for aggravated assaults with a firearm: 2
For the rate of women murdered by guns: 4
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) unveiled a plan this week to automatically restore voting rights to people convicted of nonviolent felonies.
The move won praise from civil rights advocates who have long called for reform in the state, one of several with unusually harsh felon disenfranchisement laws.
“For too long, Virginia has been successful in implementing a law designed to target minority voters…
Date on which U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) launched a talking filibuster protesting John Brennan’s appointment as CIA director, and raising concerns about the Obama administration’s policy on the domestic use of unmanned aircraft known as drones against U.S. civilians: 3/6/2013
Hours Paul spoke before he was forced to stop for a bathroom break: almost 13
North Carolina could soon see a dramatic increase in the number of charter schools, with as many as 150 of the public-private hybrids opening across the state next year.
But new research from Duke University suggests the charter school boom will result in greater racial imbalance in the state’s public education system — and that can have negative educational consequences for students.
North Carolina limited the number of charter schools that could operate in the state to 100 until 2011. That’s when the General Assembly…
Number of days after the 2012 election that the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would hear Shelby County, Ala.’s challenge to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a law that aims to protect racial minorities from discrimination at the polls: 3
Number of states covered in whole by the VRA’s Section 5, the target of the challenge, which requires the Justice Department to approve any changes to election rules before implementation: 9
Voting rights advocates have successfully pushed back against a national effort to restrict Americans’ ability to cast a ballot, with far fewer people disenfranchised than feared.
“Strikingly, nearly all the worst new laws to cut back on voting have been blocked, blunted, repealed, or postponed,” according to a new report from NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice. “Laws in 14 states were reversed or weakened. As a result, new restrictions will affect far fewer than the 5 million citizens we predicted last year.”
Though the South is the region of the United States with the greatest concentration of income inequality, its representatives in Congress are doing a poor job of addressing the problem.
The Institute for Policy Studies released a report this week that grades federal lawmakers on 40 legislative actions over the past two years that either helped the most affluent or the poorest of their constituents. They ranged from a bill to establish a “Buffett Rule” minimum tax rate for wealthy Americans to legislation raising the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation.
Of the states with the most uneven income distribution, only one — Massachusetts — has senators and representatives who earned an overall average “A” score. The 13 Southern states* earned an average score of C-. Of those 13 states, 10 have among the highest income inequality index scores nationwide, according to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report.
Despite declining residential segregation for black families in the United States, school segregation for black students remains very high — and it is increasing most dramatically in the South, which has led the nation in desegregation thanks to the victories of the civil rights movement.
Those are among the findings of research released last week by the Los Angeles-based Civil Rights Project, which found persistent and serious increases in segregation of public-school students by race and poverty. The changes are most dramatic in the South and the West, where youth of color now constitute a majority of public school students.
Larry Gibson, a renowned leader in the campaign to end mountaintop removal coal mining, passed away Sunday while working at his home on West Virginia’s Kayford Mountain, the ancestral Raleigh County home he fought so hard to protect. He was 66.
Gibson died of a heart attack — not an altogether surprising fate for someone who lived with the constant stress he suffered.
In the debate raging over Chick-fil-A’s position on gay rights, some defenders of the Georgia-based fast-food chain have claimed that despite Chief Operating Officer Dan Cathy’s statements against same-sex marriage and the company’s generous funding of anti-gay groups, the outspokenly Christian corporation doesn’t discriminate against workers.
But in fact, the company has been sued at least a dozen times for employment discrimination…
Of 29 studies that looked at the economic impact of Medicaid, the joint federal-state health care program for low-income Americans, percent that found Medicaid spending has a positive impact on state economies: 100
Rank of Medicaid among the largest sources of federal funds for states: 1
Amount Mississippi appropriated to Medicaid in fiscal year 2012: $819.3 million
This week the Republican-controlled North Carolina Senate voted to legalize fracking for natural gas in the state, following the lead of the Republican House, which approved the measure last week.
Senate Bill 820 now goes to Gov. Beverly Perdue (D), who has been inundated with calls, emails and letters asking for her veto. She has 10 days from the bill’s passage to make a decision.
Date on which the Southern Co. filed a notice with federal securities regulators reporting that its project to build two new reactors at Plant Vogtle in Burke County, Ga. was experiencing massive cost overruns: 5/7/2012
Size of the reported overruns: over $900 million
Value of the taxpayer-backed federal loan guarantee that the Southern Co. received from the Obama administration for the Vogtle project: $8.3 billion
Number of days this week the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the 2010 health-insurance reform law also known as “Obamacare”: 3 Number of Americans who are currently uninsured, a problem ACA addresses in multiple ways: 50 million Number of states that have challenged ACA’s expansion of Medicaid, the joint federal-state health care program for the poor and disabled, arguing that the largely federally-financed expansion is somehow coercive: 26 Of those 26 states, number in the South: 7*
The U.S. Department of Justice announced late Monday that it would investigate the February deadly shooting of an unarmed black teen by a neighborhood watch vigilante in a gated community near Orlando, Fla.
The DOJ’s announcement came in response to growing public anger over the fact that there’s been no arrest in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old Latino man, as Martin walked to his father’s girlfriend’s home in Sanford, Fla. after a trip to a nearby convenience store. The FBI is also investigating.
Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of the tragedy in Fukushima, Japan, where an earthquake and tsunami crippled a coastal nuclear power plant, leading to meltdowns in three reactors, hydrogen explosions and a release of radiation so massive that the surrounding areas could remain uninhabitable for decades.
One might think that a disaster of such scope would spur nuclear regulators in the United States to take immediate steps to ensure that nothing like that could happen here.
But unfortunately, that’s not the case — and residents of the South remain at particular risk of a nuclear mishap.
There’s speculation on the Gulf Coast that BP could soon reach a settlement in the civil suit over its 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. Opening arguments in the historic case, which has been dubbed the “trial of the century,” are set to begin on Feb. 27 in New Orleans. But rumor has it that a settlement could be announced as soon as Feb. 21 — Mardi Gras. The former head of the U.S. Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section has said there’s a 70 to 80 percent chance of a settlement before trial.
The looming possibility of a deal has added urgency to the effort to pass federal legislation that would direct most of the penalties — as much as $20 billion — back to the region. As the law now stands, that money can be spent elsewhere in the federal budget.
But Gulf advocates have organized a grassroots action aimed at keeping that from happening — what they’re billing as a way of “sending some Valentine’s Day love to the Gulf.”
What the Frack?
North Carolina environmental advocates launched a campaign this week against the controversial gas drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” which is still banned under state law.
The move comes the same week President Obama delivered a State of the Union address that called for increased drilling for natural gas. It also comes as the Republican-controlled N.C. legislature is pressing to allow gas development.
On Jan. 25, the North Carolina chapter of the Sierra Club unveiled “The Fracking Truth” campaign…
A new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service documents the growing gap between rich and poor — and how U.S. tax policy is deepening the divide.
Percent by which average after-tax income, adjusted for inflation, grew between 1996 and 2006, according to the new report: 25
Percent change in after-tax income for the poorest fifth of tax filers during that period: -6
The Environmental Protection Agency announced new rules yesterday that will cut emissions of mercury, arsenic and other toxic air emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants, the main source of such health-damaging pollution. The rules will have an especially big impact on the South, which still depends heavily on coal power.
EPA estimates that the new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards will annually prevent as many as 11,000 premature deaths, 4,700 heart attacks, 130,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms and 6,300 cases of acute bronchitis among children. The standards will also reduce the risk of childhood neurological damage that’s been linked to mercury exposure.