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Hump day lunch links: Stuff you can’t believe you didn’t already know more about

School lunchesToday’s lunch links theme is: “Important subjects you can’t believe you didn’t already more about.”

Subject #1 is the the latest worrisome scoop on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. For those of you who didn’t make our September Crucial Conversation on the topic, the TPP is a secretly-negotiated trade deal to empower large corporations that many think will be much worse than NAFTA for the American public. Now, today, to continue the good news, the folks at WikiLeaks have released the secret text for the Intellectual Property Rights Chapter of the proposed treaty and spelled out numerous concerns about human rights that it may pose.

Subject #2 is a little less momentous, but might well impact the lives of folks you know in the near term; it concerns the already well-down-the-road plans to completely overhaul the venerable GED test. As the NC Justice Center’s Sabine Schoenbach reports this morning in this new policy brief, the changes will be significant — a new format, new computerization and higher fees to name three — and could leave a lot of North Carolinians behind absent thoughtful action.

Subject #3 is one you probably could’ve guessed at, but about which it’s still good to be reminded — namely, the amazing mythology about the supposed benefits of the conservative “education reform” agenda. As Jeff Bryant of the Campaign for America’s Future explains persuasively this morning at Common Dreams, the recent claims by the conservative noise machine that gains in NAEP tests scores can be attributed to policies like those advanced by right-wing ideologue Michelle Rhee are “truly silly.”

Subject #4 is the fact that big budget cuts to the UNC system are already coming home to roost. As reporter Sara Salinas reported at the Daily Tar Heel this morning, enrolling in the classes one needs to complete one’s major is getting tougher and tougher.

And finally, Subject #5 is not a link, but a notice. It concerns the never-ending scandal that is North Carolina’s downright abusive treatment of the average folks who staff our mental health facilities and care for persons with mental illness and disabilities.

Tomorrow, Thursday November 14, organizers and activists at the public service workers union, U.E. 150 DHHS Council will hold a demonstration at 10:00 a.m. at the DHHS headquarters on the old Dorothea Dix Hospital campus at 101 Blair Drive, Raleigh. Workers are demanding that Sec. Aldona Wos meet with the union, extend Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and also grant workers “Safety, Rights and Raises”, which has become the slogan of their current campaign. Senator Don Davis, along with Rev. Curtis Gatewood from the N.C. NAACP and Moral Monday movement, plan to speak at the rally. UE 150 is inviting the public and all supporters to attend.

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