Opinion: Guest Columnists

Jul. 14, 2014 @ 10:47 AM

Poised to excel: Swearing in of Bert L’Homme as superintendent

What’s more exciting than the return of LaBron James from the Miami Heat to the Cleveland Cavaliers?  Why, it’s the return and swearing in of Bert L’Homme as the new superintendent of Durham Public Schools, his own hometown team. 

Jul. 13, 2014 @ 11:14 AM

Collaborative work fueled the success of ACA enrollment

The initial enrollment period for the Health Insurance Marketplace has officially ended.  Nationally, more than 8 million individuals signed up for private insurance in the Health Insurance Marketplace while more than 3 million young adults were able to gain coverage by being able to stay on their parents’ plan. 

Jul. 12, 2014 @ 11:20 PM

Obama's global challenge

 In President Obama's sometimes maddeningly cautious foreign policy, you can see him struggling to answer what may be the hardest question of his presidency: How should the United States project power in a disorderly world without making the same mistakes it did in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Jul. 12, 2014 @ 01:26 PM

Tutoring brings good times, needed help

Tutoring elementary school students is not for everybody.  When I signed up to join the city's “Rotary Reading Rangers” volunteer program, I was pretty sure I would find the experience annoying, if not painful.  But I understand numbers. Way too many of our kids are behind in their reading skills. That’s bad for the community, the economy and society

Jul. 10, 2014 @ 04:28 PM

Television advice can be another way to build community

I have loved television all of my life. Though I now teach my university students about the regulatory and economic structures of the television business, my friends don’t ask me much about these technicalities. They just want to know what to watch.

Jul. 09, 2014 @ 08:41 AM

Rethinking Wilson's points

As American policymakers ponder the future shape of the Middle East, they should perhaps recall that the United States was opposed to the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement, the famous "line in the sand" that is now said to be dissolving.

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.