Link dump: Apocalypse not now — it’s ‘Idol’ time!

— Jack Betts, the Great State’s foreign correspondent in Raleigh for the past two decades,  debarks more suddenly than but just as gracefully as his positively-addicted readers would expect. Jack will dispute this — of course! — but it was his unrelenting editorials and columns that took the lead in sparing Eastern North Carolina the Navy’s ill-sited landing field.  In his un-bow-tied hours, he has been an unrivaled fool for tools, managing to wring romance out of an aluminum pot that “perked coffee in five states, on four boats and in at least three houses,” a C-ration can opener brought home from the Army and on his last day a humble tin cheese grater. Happy retirement, Jack.

— Yet another remarkable entry in the New York Times’ Disunion blog, this one about North Carolina’s wrenching decision to secede. Overall, it’s been exciting to see historians and journalists in 2011 probing the way to war so much more ambitiously than in 1961.

— Surely someone saved Garner’s historic last Slim Jim for the North Carolina Collection Gallery.

Deadline deal averts link dump shutdown

— Reconsidering North Carolina’s oldest known landscape photo.

— “It certainly would be nice to have another Ohio native become part of our basketball program here at Chapel Hill.

— Bellum Charleston’s elite retreat. (Are East Flat Rock, Savannah and the Masters  “actually part of Charleston”? )

— Great-grandpa sends a Tweet from Gettysburg.

— Number of Raleigh women listed in 1860 census as prostitutes: 46