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Despite recent job growth across our nation, military veterans still face unique challenges as they enter the workforce. A whopping 9 percent of veterans who joined the armed forces since 2001, but have now returned to civilian life, are still unemployed. While veterans from North Carolina fare better than the national average, the numbers are still too high – 6.5 percent of our post 9/11 North Carolinians are without work.

The Census Bureau released a report the other day on Americans’ wealth that seemed full of bad news. Middle-class wealth was down, and inequality – the gap between the top and everyone else – was up. Stereotypes seem confirmed. But wait. Buried in the bad news was some astonishing good news: The elderly defied trends and got wealthier.

Let’s start with what we don’t know: the precise circumstances under which a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, shot dead an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown.

The Guardian reports that an influential Egyptian group has requested that Western observers make a crucial nomenclature change. Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta, which the Guardian describes as “a wing of the Egyptian justice ministry ... and a source of religious authority both inside and outside Egypt,” says that it’s not appropriate to refer to the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” that’s currently fighting in Iraq and Syria. Instead, according to Dar al-Ifta, we should call them “al-Qaida Separatists in Iraq and Syria,” or alternately QSIS. You can learn more by following the group’s “Call it QS not IS” social media campaign.

If cocaine were sports venues, Charlotte would have a habit.

A lot has happened in the 50 years since LBJ signed the Food Stamp Act of 1964 into law. We’ve elected eight presidents, watched our population grow and shift, gained knowledge about health and nutrition, enjoyed economic booms and survived recessions. Through it all, food stamps have been there, steadfastly providing better nutrition to hungry Americans.

Negative campaign ads appear to be on the rise with the approach of this fall’s congressional elections. Hardly anyone has a good word to say about them. The standard critique – that they demean our democracy, deceive voters and cause disgusted voters to stay home on Election Day – has the ring of truth. But this exaggerates the negative about negative ads while obscuring their benefits.

Can’t cure the ISIS cancer with Obama’s aspirin.

Across my desk recently came a reissue of the 1964 classic “The Drinking Man’s Diet,” a cute little volume that maintains that if you drink a bit you’ll lose weight. Counterintuitive, because one of the things we think we know about alcohol is that it provides truly empty calories, which generally speaking cause weight gain.

I am concerned when I read newspaper articles about potential abuses among hospice providers, such as those described last week in The Charlotte Observer or, also recently, in The Washington Post. While stories like these may serve to alert people to the pitfalls of ill-informed decisions regarding hospice care, they also may create unintended consequences that fuel unfounded fears about hospice in general, leading to an avoidance of much-needed care.

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