Opinion: Guest Columnists

Dec. 30, 2013 @ 12:17 PM

Nuclear gangbangers have upper hand on global police

The gangster state of North Korea became a nuclear power in 2006-2007, despite lots of foreign aid aimed at precluding just such proliferation -- help usually not otherwise accorded such a loony dictatorship. Apparently the civilized world rightly suspected that if nuclear, Pyongyang would either export nuclear material and expertise to other unstable countries, or bully its successful but non-nuclear neighbors -- or both.


Dec. 28, 2013 @ 11:41 AM

Redistricting reform brings ideological adversaries together

The “peaceable kingdom,” where lions lie down with lambs amid other unlikely combos, turns out to be not so far-fetched when it comes to one of North Carolina’s most vexing policy challenges. While there are holdouts who enjoy their status as predators -- or who don’t want to risk becoming prey -- many conservatives and liberals agree that the state’s redistricting procedure is a mess that needs fixing.


Dec. 27, 2013 @ 03:22 PM

Why the right should support boosting minimum wage

I've heard a lot of goofy arguments against raising the federal minimum wage. The silliest goes like this: "You want to raise the minimum wage to $15? Why not $50? Why not $100?"

Of course, that's not a real argument. Yet I hear it a lot, which means it probably originates somewhere in the nation's vast menagerie of conservative talk show hosts.


Dec. 26, 2013 @ 02:24 PM

The illusion and unhealthy paradox of choice

Fifty years ago, when I first went to work in grocery store as a teenager in the Pacific Northwest, on average they stocked around 4,000 items.  Today’s supermarkets stock an average of 50,000 items.

Yet the top selling 1,000 items generate half of the sales revenue.


Dec. 24, 2013 @ 05:56 PM

Words of advice for 2016 hopefuls

A little more than two years before Americans start casting votes for the next president, the Des Moines Register released a presidential-preference poll of Iowa voters last weekend.

Amazing, right?


Dec. 23, 2013 @ 11:18 AM

Tenure-bonus plan ‘potentially divisive and harmful’

The teachers of Club Boulevard Humanities Magnet School are committed to developing all of our students into thoughtful and responsible life-long learners. 


Dec. 22, 2013 @ 03:59 PM

Eric Becoats reflects on 3 ½ years leading DPS

According to Webster – journey is defined as “the act or instance of traveling from one place to another.” This journey has lasted 3.5 years -- 42 months, approximately 1,260 days, 30,240 hours, 1,814,400 minutes, 108,864,000 seconds – (to) December 31, 2013.


Dec. 22, 2013 @ 03:09 PM

Faith community’s task is to help ensure access to health care

This is the season of Advent in the Christian year.  For those who did not grow up – as I did not – following the liturgical year, Advent is the four weeks leading up to Christmas. It is a season of anticipation and waiting for the birth of Jesus.


Dec. 20, 2013 @ 03:31 PM

Committed to transparency in Huerta investigation

Like many of you, I was dismayed to learn about the unfortunate events that unfolded during what was supposed to be a peaceful vigil Thursday in memory of Jesus Huerta.

It’s unfortunate that the actions of a few necessitated a forceful police response to disperse the crowd before more harm was done to public property as well as to prevent more violent acts toward the men and women who serve our community each and every day.


Dec. 20, 2013 @ 12:59 PM

Mandela’s dilemma: western politics, native’s ethics

There appear to be two competing narratives concerning Nelson Mandela’s legacy. There are those who cast him as a revolutionary, father of the South African liberation movement. This is mostly a political assessment. There are also those who, like President Obama, admire Mandela’s dedication to forgiveness and moral leadership. This is an ethical assessment.


Dec. 19, 2013 @ 03:45 PM

A call to action

Open your eyes to the diverse community around you. Think about the students who have grown up with you. Listen to those who have studied beside you. According to Educators for Fair Consideration, a non-partisan and non-profit organization, 65,000 undocumented youth are calling for help each year. Their dreams are being crushed.


Dec. 15, 2013 @ 03:12 PM

The Nelson Mandela I knew … and loved

The Nelson Mandela I knew became beloved by me, not so much for the grand gestures, although he was a master at political theatre, but for the lesser known acts that revealed a truly human genius for Ubuntu – the awareness that his life was inextricably bound up with the lives of all his fellow human beings, especially his enemies. He was the great includer; nothing was too much trouble if he could cajole or charm another opponent into friendship.


Dec. 15, 2013 @ 02:32 PM

A new chapter for N.C. public education

Just before Thanksgiving, I got an automated call from my daughter’s school. As a first-time Durham Public Schools parent to a freshly minted pre-kindergartener, these communications always command my attention. On this one, the voice on the other end issued a warning: State test results were about to released. The numbers could cause some concern.


Dec. 14, 2013 @ 05:40 PM

A scar above the New Hope

I was a passenger recently on a short jaunt with a friend down Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard.
As we passed over the new bridge over New Hope Creek, I saw a sight we could be seeing all over Durham.  For a mile along the highway as we climbed up from the New Hope, clear across to the steep slopes that drop down to Dry Creek, an entire urban forest had been clear cut.

Dec. 12, 2013 @ 04:15 PM

Step one done, but now what?

The first step to solving any problem is acknowledging you have one in the first place. When it comes to the problem of disproportionately high suspension rates for black students and students with disabilities, Durham Public Schools has checked off step one. In response to community concerns and an investigation by the federal Office for Civil Rights, DPS has acknowledged again and again that its disproportionate suspension rates are unacceptable. But the most pressing question facing DPS at this point is, “Now what?”