Opinion: Guest Columnists

Jul. 07, 2014 @ 06:55 PM

How to tell tax reform from ‘tax deform’

My mother loves to tell the story of the 1959 hurricane that forced our family to flee our coastal home. After the storm, my father, a Marine sergeant, brought his platoon to our trailer park to stand everyone’s mobile home back upright.

Jul. 06, 2014 @ 11:26 AM

Patchwork education budgets won’t get the job done

In the 2014 legislative session, the General Assembly has shown little interest in restoring public education funding that could repair the damage inflicted by years of underfunding. Having sunk to 48th in per-pupil funding and 46th in teacher pay, we are forced to evaluate the latest budget proposals on a “new” standard. Instead of hoping for the best, we look to avoid the worst. The governor and the legislative majority have proposed a variety of budgets that will only exacerbate the education funding crisis and fail to lift the state’s current low rankings. 

Jul. 05, 2014 @ 09:45 AM

Unreconciled: Forgiveness not the duty of mere mortals

“I know I have to forgive him, because otherwise I won’t get into heaven.”

 A friend said this to me recently about someone who had treated her horribly.   Casting forgiveness as a duty is one take-away message from the New Testament.  But how did that particular bumper sticker receive such tenaciously sticky backing in mainline, evangelical circles? 

Jul. 02, 2014 @ 02:38 PM

Safety first on the Fourth

The Fourth of July is one of the most dangerous holidays on the nation's calendar. But with precautions and caution, the festivities associated with this long weekend need not turn tragic.

Jun. 29, 2014 @ 11:16 AM

Voting, Mississippi and Freedom Summer

The irony of black voters in Mississippi rescuing long-time Republican Sen. Thad Cochran from incongruous defeat last week in his runoff against upstart tea party favorite Chris McDaniel cannot be overstated -- especially as many remember Freedom Summer of 50 years ago.

Jun. 28, 2014 @ 11:53 AM

Folly at the beach

Since it opened right before World War II, Jennette's Pier in Nags Head has survived nasty nor'easters, full-blown hurricanes and hordes of tourists from New Jersey. But there's a man-made disaster that might finally do it in:

The General Assembly.

Jun. 28, 2014 @ 08:06 AM

Independence Day celebrations dependent on rest of world

Durham celebrates Independence Day with fireworks following the Bulls’ home game.  The whole country celebrates, and I wonder just how independent our celebration is of the rest of the world. 

Jun. 26, 2014 @ 07:06 PM

Commitment to one school offers benefits

Recently my family watched our youngest daughter as she was promoted from elementary school.  Promotion ceremonies were going on all over Durham and are not the kind of thing that warrants front-page coverage.  What was significant for my family was that it was our ninth year learning, playing and growing at that particular school.  It’s a big change for all of us to leave our school community behind and to know that we are moving on.

Jun. 27, 2014 @ 07:10 AM

Changes needed to keep great teachers in classrooms

While this is not likely to come as news to any of us who have ever sat in a classroom, the quality of teachers matters a lot -- and not just because they can make a dull subject more interesting. 

Jun. 26, 2014 @ 03:02 PM

EPA court ruling is win for public

The Supreme Court's decision Monday wisely keeps intact the Environmental Protection Agency's power to regulate carbon emissions. The importance of that power for North Carolina was highlighted in an academic study published also on Monday.

Jun. 25, 2014 @ 01:10 PM

Senate jumping the judge

The state Senate recently approved what could be called the Judge Robert H. Hobgood provision.

Hobgood has been a thorn in the side to legislative Republicans this year.

Jun. 22, 2014 @ 01:00 PM

Return to Iraq has a familiar look about it

As deployments go, this is a trickle, a tiny blip on a graph that has tracked the movements of hundreds of thousands of soldiers in the past dozen years.

But it is significant nonetheless, because it's a return to a country where we'd already shut the door and turned out the lights.

Jun. 22, 2014 @ 12:29 PM

A big idea -- the GI Bill -- turns 70

My family benefited from a “big idea.” After dropping out of high school to enlist in the Navy, my grandfather, Leonard “Mac” McLean, returned from the Pacific and enrolled in college.

Jun. 19, 2014 @ 02:23 PM

'Slow violence' against North Carolina schools harms us all

It has been another long year for North Carolina public educators and students. No teacher pay raises. Inadequate buildings and classroom supplies. State legislators attacking teacher job security and school budgets.

Jun. 18, 2014 @ 11:52 AM

America's woeful health care ranking

Today, given everything the United States has going for it, there's no reason why American health care shouldn't be among the world's best.