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Hump day lunch links

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Here are some of the important policy matters we’re watching at mid-week:

Wos Watch: Reporters Laura Leslie of WRAL, Joe Neff and Lynn Bonner of the News & Observer have the scoop on the latest wacky hire at the Department of Health and Human Services. Meanwhile, Travis Fain of the Greensboro News & Record has compiled a list of what might be termed Aldona’s Greatest Hits (or Misses).

Greed and inequality watch: There’s another report out panning the so-called “Trans-Pacific Partnership.” According to researcher David Rosnick of the Center for Economic Policy Research, most U.S. workers would actually experience a net negative impact from the proposed trade deal that’s currently under negotiation And, of course, you can learn lots more about this critical but underreported story at next Thursday’s NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation luncheon with global trade expert Lori Wallach of the group Public Citizen. Some seats still remain – click here for more info.

Greed and inequality watch – Part II: National Common Cause chairperson and veteran economic justice advocate Robert Reich appears to be garnering quite a bit of well-deserved attention for his new flick: “Inequality for All.” You can watch the official trailer here and an extended interview with Jon Stewart here.  

Knuckleheaded bigot watch: Though the North Carolina policy world clearly has its fair share of folks in this category (folks like Senator Phil Berger’s nominee for the UNC-TV Board of Trustees, Orson Scott Card), the spotlight today is on the state immediately to our north where the reactionary gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli and his supporters keep finding new ways to offend. Click here to watch Cuccinelli supporter tell — we are NOT making this up — an anti-Semitic joke as part of a warm up for a Cuccinelli event.

Supreme Court watch: The good folks at Legal Progress have an informative and worrisome story up today about the big cases that will be before the U.S. Supremes in the term that commences next month. Here’s the not-so-encouraging lead:

“By this time next year, fair housing law could be neutered, unions could be hobbled, billionaires could be free to spend millions to put their favorite candidates in office, and the right to choose an abortion could be meaningless. With a wave of their hand, five conservative justices could achieve outcomes that Scott Walker, Rick Perry and Sheldon Adelson could never dream of accomplishing even at the height of their power.”

Good news watch: Finally on a happier note, caring and thinking people should take great joy in the fact that North Carolina immigrant rights advocate Dan Rearick – of both the NC Justice Center and Uniting NC will be recognized tomorrow by President Obama as a “Champion of Change” in a White House ceremony along with nine other heroic Americans. Congratulations, Dan!      

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