North Carolina tough on kids, rough on possums | News

North Carolina tough on kids, rough on possums

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If the annual Kids Count report were a film, it would be rated R, for disturbing facts and images not suitable for children. Unfortunately some kids are living the movie.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation released its Kids Count Data Book today, and while more children have health insurance (thanks Obamacare!), fewer are having children (thanks birth control!) and fewer are dropping out of high school (thanks again, early education and birth control!), 25 percent of them are broke. And their families are broke, and likely to get more broke, now that Republican lawmakers allowed the Earned Income Tax Credit to expire.

From the study: 
  • One in four children lives in poverty, up 25 percent. North Carolina now ties Texas and Kentucky for the 11th-highest child poverty rate in the country.
  • One in three children lives in a family where the parents lack secure employment, up 14 percent.
  • One in three children lives in a family that struggles to afford the cost of housing.
  • One in 11 teens is out of school and not working, up 13 percent.
North Carolina ranks in the bottom half of the country on four indicators for kids:
  • Economic well-being: 34
  • Education: 28
  • Health: 32
  • Family/Community: 36

Not only is tough being a kid in North Carolina, it's terrible being a possum. A bill headed to Gov. McCrory's desk exempts Clay County from enforcing wildlife laws in regards to possums for eight days each year.

Each New Year's Eve, the bored citizens of Brasstown, a hamlet near the Georgia border, amuse themselves by hoisting a caged possum to the top of a tree and lowering the animal at the stroke of midnight. Think of it as their Times Square Ball Drop or Raleigh's Acorn Drop, except this has a heartbeat, a nervous system, a consciousness and is likely very, very scared.

But whatever you do, don't drop a Confederate memorial on New Year's Eve, because those stone monuments to slavery deserve protecting. House Bill 22, which restricts the removal of state-owned Confederate monuments, even from city, university or county property, will be shunted to the governor today, provided it passes a third reading without amendments.

A block away, cleaning crews are out this morning removing graffiti from the Confederate Women's Monument, which had been spray-painted some time overnight.


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