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If you’re planning on heading out for a fast food meal today, you might want to check out this petition being advanced by the good folks at the Campaign for America’s Future entitled “Tell McDonald’s to stop buying luxury jets until they pay their workers a l;iving wage.” As the post notes:

“More than half of low-wage workers employed by the largest U.S. fast-food restaurants earn so little that they must rely on public assistance to get by.

McDonald’s is the worst offender, costing taxpayers $1.2 billion in poverty benefits for its employees. McDonald’s claims that they operate on razor-thin profit margins and can’t pay a living wage.

Yet they announced they had bought yet another brand new $35 million corporate jet for their fleet.”

And speaking of fat cats living large while others go hungry, Read More

What a crazy, insane week it’s been.

We started out with a shuttered federal government until the honorables up in Washington figured out some basic playground manners and walked our country away from the edge of global financial pandemonium. In light of the magnitude of all that, I thought I’d take it a little easy on you readers for Lunch Links.

First, here’s an excellent, but lengthy, article in Wired about an innovative teaching method at work in Matamoros, Mexico, a chaotic border city I happened to live near in years past.

The article focuses on one teacher’s embrace of an unusual teaching technique that puts education in the hands of students, by tapping into the children’s natural curiosity. The students he taught were from backgrounds that few of us could imagine, living in or next to a city dump, with little access to electricity, much less computers or Internet, in a school referred to as a lugar de castigo—”a place of punishment.” And they ended up embracing this new way of teaching and, by early measures, succeeding.

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We made it – it’s Friday and a beautiful weekend is ahead. Get out there and enjoy it, because early next week we could have more than just a little rain on our hands.

What happens when a hurricane hits the U.S. during a federal government shutdown? Eight years after Katrina, I’m a little concerned. The National Hurricane Center predicts that Tropical Storm Karen will hit the Gulf Coast at hurricane strength on Saturday.

The White House recalled some FEMA workers who are furloughed to help deal with the storm. Not clear from press accounts is whether or not those employees will be paid for their work.

In Florida, half of the members of the National Guard are not working, which will compromise their ability to respond to the effects of a hurricane.

The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang has a great post up about all weather-related services affected by the federal government shutdown.

If you’re a weather geek like me, check out some of my favorite weather websites that are designed to make you (okay, me) feel like a bona fide meteorologist:

Have a great weekend!

Happy Friday, loyal N.C. Policy Watch readers. Glad we made it through another week together.

For Lunch Links today, I’ve got a smorgasbord of things I’ve been reading, things I’ve been thinking about and just things I used as procrastination techniques when I should have been writing or reporting this week.

First, I had a chance to read this compelling BusinessWeek profile about the impressive woman behind several technology startups , which I stumbled across from Longreads.

The profile of Ramona Pierson, the founder of a new technology company called Declara, is one of the most amazing comeback stories I have ever heard of. Not comeback as in, she had a company that fell apart and then came back years later with another successful business. A comeback where she was so severely injured and mangled from a drunk driver running over her that no one thought she would live. Not only did she live, but she’s coped with injuries that most of us would never recover from and launched her toward enormous success.

From the article:

Passersby saved her life. One massaged her heart to keep it beating; another used pens to open her windpipe and vent her collapsed lung so she could breathe. The crude handiwork kept Pierson alive long enough to get her to a hospital.

She spent the next 18 months in a coma, being fed through a hole in her chest. Then one day, to her doctors’ surprise, she woke up. Weighing 64 pounds, she was bald, with a cubist face, metal bones, and a body covered in scars. And she was blind. The one part of her that wasn’t ruined was her mathematical mind.

And

The blindness was terrifying. But it also forced Pierson to expand her ability to solve puzzles in her mind. As she listened to her doctors and other people, she began to “see” them as what she calls “glow globs,” patterns of light with different properties. Then she recognized patterns within descriptions others gave her—such as how items were arranged in a grocery store or how the figures on a spreadsheet interconnected. “I learned to create a cognitive map of the world, sort of like The Matrix,” she says. “I see the world in my head.”

Read the whole piece, and I suspect you’ll be just as much in awe of Ramona Pierson as I now am.

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Excuse the bad headline.  I was once told a long, long time ago in an editing class in journalism school that alliteration should only be used in the rarest of circumstances because, as is applicable in this case, it’s a sign of laziness.

For today’s Lunch Links, I was not lazy as much as pressed for time. Here’s a quick run down of what I’ve been reading lately.

First, every American should sit down and read this lengthy, but excellent, investigative piece “The Child Exchange” by Reuters reporter Megan Twoney that exposed the seedy world of underground adoptions. The reporting is excellent, and it will blow your mind to learn that there’s an entire network of under-the-radar adoptions that (no surprise here) puts vulnerable children in the hands of predatory adults.

There’s even a North Carolina angle in the third part of the series where a Hickory woman somewhat involved in the practice tries to save children that were placed with questionable adults.

From the article: Read More