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Durham BullsToday’s lunch links will, to everyone’s relief no doubt, feature a brief break in the play-by-play descriptions of the ongoing meltdown over at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Instead, we’ll focus on something a heck of a lot less depressing (at least some of the time that is): sports in North Carolina. In case you lost track and were wondering, however, after eight-plus months in control, the scoring line for the new HHS departmental leadership is:  Zero runs, zero hits and umpteen errors.

Speaking of impressive scoring lines, how about those Durham Bulls? After last night’s come-from-behind 2-1 win over those dirty, no good (and defending champion) Pawtucket Red Sox, our local boys are just two wins away from snagging the franchise’s fourth Governor’s Cup (as champions of the Triple A International League) in the past 12 seasons.  Unfortunately, the Bulls’ big league brothers, the Tampa Bay Rays, continue to slide and may not make the A.L. playoffs.

And speaking of troubling slides, is there anyone that can watch and truly enjoy big time college football anymore without experiencing a powerful sense that the whole thing has become an absurd cesspool of exploitation, deceit and corruption? Read More

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Is anyone else’s stomach growling as much as mine? For my Lunch Links duty, I want to share this Wheel of Lunch website that helps decide that vexing question – where or where should I eat?

For someone as indecisive as me when it comes to ordering lunch, this is a lifesaver.

I also thought I’d share a few videos I’ve watched this week. As part of a national effort to bring attention to worker’s rights issues at Walmart, a flashmob of steppers showed up at this Raleigh Walmart yesterday.

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Lunch sandwichHere’s something to spur a little dyspepsia on the first day of a short work week: The General Assembly is back in Raleigh!  Yes, just six weeks or so after blowing town, the honorables are back for what will apparently be a two-day veto session. In case you’ve forgotten, the state Constitution (Article II, Section 22) requires an affirmative vote of three-fifths of those present and voting to override a gubernatorial veto and, at this point, it looks very much as if both the House and Senate will produce margins of this amount or greater on both bills at issue. In other words, it would appear that Governor McCrory’s September is about to get off to a start very much consistent with his extremely lousy August – a month so bad that it prompted his hometown newspaper to question his truthfulness.  

And speaking of important official events in Raleigh today, the State Board of Elections will convene at 1:00 to take up an appeal of a candidate challenge to Montravias King from Pasquotank County. Click here to watch the live feed from WRAL. The Board will also consider the appeals for one-stop alternate plans for 2013 municipal elections in Watauga and Pitt counties. Students and civic groups including NCPIRG, Common Cause, Ignite NC, NCSU Student Power Union, Democracy NC and Rock the Vote will be on hand to call on the Board to reverse recent decisions by local county boards of elections that make it harder for young people to vote.

And speaking of “must see” video, Read More

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Did you manage to listen to the speeches by President Obama and others yesterday for the 50th commemoration of the March on Washington? You can hit the highlights of the speeches here and also go back in history and watch Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s original speech here.

How much do you know about the March on Washington? You can test yourself with this quiz here on the Religion News Services. Be warned, it’s tough. I only got 40 percent right, which I’m pretty sure means I failed and need to spend more time learning about this enormously important moment in our American history.

Here’s something else I didn’t know about King’s famous speech. It was copyrighted. So, that means that the Youtube link I posted above may be in violation of copyright laws. I probably should have paid more attention in the copyright and fair use classes I took when I was in journalism school (though Youtube, Twitter and Facebook weren’t even “things” way back when I was in school.)

Speaking of journalism and degrees, I guess, in the interest of full disclosure, I should also point out that I’m one of those journalists without an economics degree that Gov. McCrory referred to in Asheville this week. Looks like I have plenty of company, though. WRAL pointed out that McCrory also doesn’t have an economics degree and his jobs and economy advisor (who makes $110,000 a year a few years out of law school) doesn’t have one either. Read to the end of this AP article for more about that.

Back to the March on Washington. The iconic images from the day 50 years ago were largely in black and white, and there’s an interesting display on NPR of what that day’s photos would have looked like in color here. It hits me in a different way, and reinforces the fact that 50 years was not all that long ago. What did you think?

Want to know the story behind other iconic images? The Newseum in Washington, D.C. has a feature that tells the photographers’ stories about several Pulitzer Prize winning photographs taken at events like the Kent State shootings and Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima. Click on the images to learn more.

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In case you’ve been hiding out in a cave, let me be the first to tell you that today is the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his historic “I Have a Dream” speech at the largest civil rights demonstration in history.

There are many different rallies around the state scheduled to mark the anniversary, and you can find your local rally by checking out my colleague Rob Schofield’s blog post from this morning.

The Washington Post has full coverage of the events commemorating the 50th anniversary, as well as a story about how we still have a lot of work to do when it comes to closing the economic gap between whites and blacks in America.

It’s also Back-to-School week, and you can read a slew of stories that chronicle the experiences of North Carolina’s students and teachers as they head back into the classroom. Last week, I visited an elementary school in Beaufort County to learn how one second-grade teacher prepares her classroom while grappling with years of cuts to personnel and instructional supplies.

Finally, I don’t know about you, but I had a habit of singing in the mirror yesterday when I was a kid, and I ask you – isn’t this every singing kid’s dream come true? Kristin Chenoweth invites a fan on stage to sing a song from the hit Broadway musical Wicked, and let’s just say she got a run for her money.