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Thursday, May 29, 2014

First Drip (5/29/14): Senate releases budget, Snowden wants to come home, more

Posted By on Thu, May 29, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Second and third grade teaching assistants and the state's Department of Public Instruction and Justice Department took big hits in the Senate's budget, released Wednesday. The budget also calls for an increase in teacher pay, though legislators gave a vague explanation as to how they would fund the raises. Also, this: "To lower local taxes on businesses, North Carolina lawmakers may force cities and towns onto a $62 million fiscal cliff."

Wake Forest English professor Mary DeShazer spoke of her friend, the poet Maya Angelou, who died in her Winston-Salem home Wednesday. Angelou was planning on teaching at the university in the fall, and the most common question DeShazer got from students was, how do we get into her class? "She did require personal interviews because she wanted to get students, often seniors who would not have another chance to study with her," DeShazer says. "And she wanted people whose commitment to very intensive rehearsals and to the power of poetry would be evident to her."

The Department of Veterans Affairs is coming under fire after a report found systemic problems at its health care facilities, including "improper procedures for scheduling patient appointments and efforts to hide excessive wait times." The findings have jeopardized VA Secretary Eric Shinseki's job.

If Edward Snowden could go anywhere in the world, it's back to his home in the U.S., he said in an interview with NBC's Brian Williams. But the NSA leaker acknowledged his fate upon arrival is up for debate. "Now, whether amnesty or clemency ever becomes a possibility is not for me to say. That's a debate for the public and the government to decide." Snowden also claimed in the interview that he had served as a spy for the CIA and NSA, a claim national security adviser Susan Rice denied. Before the interview aired, Secretary of State John Kerry called Snowden nothing short of a coward, telling him to "man up" and come home.

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