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Most of you are probably at N.C. Policy Watch’s “Crucial Conversation” luncheon today with N.C. Schools Superintendent June Atkinson where she’ll be talking about the state’s public education system, a minor topic of conversation these days.

You’re not there? Well, you should be. Here’s some Lunch Links for you with some great pieces of journalism that caught my attention.

First, Rolling Stone has this amazing and horrifying tale, “The Poorest Rich Kids in the World” about how the children who stand to inherit the Doris Duke

Doris Duke, heiress of Duke tobacco fortune.  Source: ABCnews

Doris Duke, heiress of Duke tobacco fortune.
Source: ABCnews

fortune (yes, the Dukes of Durham’s Duke University and the Duke tobacco fortune) were abused, maltreated and neglected in horrific ways for most of their childhood. (The kids are now teenagers.) The reporting and writing in this longer-format piece are phenomenal, though incredibly disturbing to read, and an awful reminder that child abuse can and does happen in all types of homes. I’d mark this one a must-read, it’s that powerful.

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It’s my first time posting a Lunch Links blog, and I’m pretty excited to take you all with me on my midday Sandwich-and-Internet excursion!

This past Sunday, the New York Times ran an opinion piece by the makers of the documentary American Teacher  that considers “The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries.” The authors make a compelling point about how we view the good men and women who fight on the front lines. “We don’t say, ‘It’s these lazy soldiers and their bloated benefits plans! That’s why we haven’t done better in Afghanistan!’.”

Yet the opposite happens in education. “When we don’t like the way our students score on international standardized tests, we blame the teachers. When we don’t like the way particular schools perform, we blame the teachers and restrict their resources.” Read the entire story here. Read More

It’s a brand new week of Lunch Links at N.C. Policy Watch, our recently revived daily feature to help get our readers through the day.

We’ll find out this week if Gov. Pat McCrory will sign or veto 38 pieces of legislation still on his desk, many about the controversies that have brought people to protest in the streets as part of the Moral Monday movement. Click here to see the list of the 38 bills on McCrory’s desk.

As a big fan of databases (and what investigative reporter isn’t?) my inaugural Lunch Links will be dedicated to databases I find useful and entertaining.

  • An oldie but a goodie, the OSHA database (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). You can see if the company you’re thinking of hiring has a history of workplace safety issues, what they were initially fined and if that fine was knocked down.
  • Want to figure out what political party your neighbor is registered under? Or find out if your school board candidate even votes in local elections?
    McCrory's voting history, from N.C. State Board of Elections.

    McCrory’s voting history, from N.C. State Board of Elections.

    The N.C. State Board of Elections has that information here and you can search by name and then pull up that person’s voting history.

A quick peek at Gov. Pat McCrory’s voting records show that he utilized early voting or absentee ballots in the last two years, instead of voting in person on Election Day as he did in years past.

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Lunch sandwichHappy Friday, campers! With the dog days of summer going full steam, we’re sure a lot of you are staying at your computers these days rather than venturing out in the mid-day humidity. So, as a service to our desk-bound, PB&J-consuming audience, The Progressive Pulse is happy to announce the return of Lunch Links – a daily dose of quick takes that will connect you to the important, the aggravating and the entertaining. Enjoy!

We’ll begin with North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis. One of the Triangle’s most intrepid journalists, Kirk Ross over at the Carolina Mercury, has the first thorough review of the wannabe U.S. Senator’s new campaign finance report in a story entitled “Speaker’s Senate fundraising raises questions.”

And speaking of prominent state officials pondering higher office, Attorney General Roy Cooper’s new activism in opposition to the voter suppression bill passed by the General Assembly is sparking speculation that Cooper is cranking up a 2016 challenge to Pat McCrory. If it’s true, Cooper would seem likely to be a formidable candidate.

And speaking of the current Guv, Read More