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Will Hobby Lobby now divest itself of mutual funds in employees’ 401(k) plans that include investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices and drugs commonly used in abortions?

Ahem, let’s talk about the Hobbs Act. Far too many politicians and government officials seem to be unfamiliar with it. Otherwise, so many of them wouldn’t be snared in its clutches.

Tuesday’s decision by the N.C. Court of Appeals to send back to the trial court a lawsuit by N.C. death row inmates thrusts the state into thicket of the nationwide execution drug protocol controversy.

OK, so North Carolina isn’t the only state having trouble getting people who qualify for food stamps the assistance they need in a timely fashion. A Wichita Business Journal story this week said some Kansans who qualified for food stamps and who used to get access immediately – often in one day – have been waiting up to five.

This week, Forbes magazine unveiled its annual list of billionaires, and it included a record 172 women, up 25 percent from last year’s 138. The unveiling coincides with some historical markers for women in this country and throughout the world.

The mayors of North Carolina’s 27 largest cities are in Charlotte Friday to talk about economic development and poverty. They may talk about much more at this gathering of the N.C. Metropolitan Mayors Coalition, a group that has been getting together officially since 2001 to strategize on tackling interests common to N.C. municipalities with populations over 30,000. But those two topics, closely linked and of pressing concern, will likely get the lion’s share of attention.

Two reports released this week take a look at widening income inequality in the U.S. from a state and local level with some eye-opening revelations.

On Thursday, even tow drivers who stand to make a mint this week in increased business were pleading with drivers to stay at home. “You’re putting my life in danger,” lamented one in a television interview.

You’d think Republicans seeking the U.S. Senate seat held by North Carolina Democrat Kay Hagan would learn from what happened to Ken Cuccinelli in the Virginia governor’s race – or from a decisive vote of the folks in Mississippi in 2011.

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.

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Jack Betts
Fannie Flono writes on news, politics and life in The Carolinas. Her column appears on the Editorial pages of The Charlotte Observer.