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Lunch links 3Here are five fast ones to get you, respectively: fired up, better informed, a little surprised, updated on an important anniversary and just plain sickened —

#1 -Scholars from colleges and universities around the state delivered a strong-worded letter this morning to Gov. McCrory and his state Budget Director, Art Pope, denouncing the harassment of Prof. Gene Nichol of the UNC School of Law by a group funded overwhelmingly by Pope. Sue Sturgis has the story at Facing South.

#2 – Flawed as it is, the pluses outweigh the minuses in the congressional budget deal — or so say the experts at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

#3 – ICYMI, Public Policy Polling had the latest last Thursday with respect to the the attitudes of North Carolinians on Gov. McCrory’s popularity, the 2016 presidential horse race and several other issues.

#4 – John Schmitt has an excellent post on the Center for Economic Policy Research blog summarizing a new report (that he co-authored) about the impact of the Family Medical Leave Act after 20 years on the books. It’s called “Job Protection Isn’t Enough: Why America Needs Paid Parental Leave.”

#5 And finally, the website takepart.com tells us that North Carolina is among the ten states nationally with the fastest growing populations of homeless students. Click here to read and weep about how ours rose an obscene 32% between 2009 and 2012.

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FMLAYou don’t hear as much from the far right in recent years about “family values” — mostly because hardly anyone can take such talk seriously when it comes from a group that champions survival-of- the-fittest capitalism, does is best to deny health care to people in need and just generally works to eradicate the social safety net.

On the odd chance, however, that someone does lay that line on you in the near future, you might want to remind them of the fact that today, February 5, 2013, is the twentieth anniversary of the Family Medical Leave Act — the federal law that requires large employers to allow their workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to deal with pregnancy and family medical emergencies. Read More