Opinion: Columnists

Jul. 05, 2014 @ 09:28 AM

Patriotism scarce? No, it abounds in many forms

As the Fourth of July, that most patriotic of American holidays, approached last week, Bill O’Reilly and Charles Krauthammer on Fox News ginned up the specter of a patriotism crisis in the country.


Jul. 05, 2014 @ 08:18 PM

The court's indispensable role

Two 5-4 decisions last week on the final decision day of the Supreme Court's term dealt with issues that illustrate the legal consequences of political tactics by today's progressives. One case demonstrated how progressivism's achievement, the regulatory state, manufactures social strife, and can do so in ways politically useful to progressives. The other case arose from government coercion used to conscript unwilling citizens into funding the progressives' party.


Jul. 03, 2014 @ 04:30 PM

Serve a different plate

 As often happens at the North Carolina General Assembly, the new fiscal year has begun with the House and Senate not yet finished with a budget-adjustment bill. Medicaid funding, teacher compensation and a few other issues continue to divide the two chambers.


Feb. 25, 2015 @ 08:01 PM

Reversing course in Illinois

CHICAGO -- The most portentous election of 2014, which gave the worst-governed state its first Republican governor in 12 years, has initiated this century's most intriguing political experiment. Illinois has favored Democratic presidential candidates by an average of 16 points in the last six elections. But by electing businessman Bruce Rauner, it initiated a process that might dismantle a form of governance that afflicts many states and municipalities.


Feb. 24, 2015 @ 04:54 PM

Giving up for Lent: No one size fits all

Lent is a time during the Christian year when many Christians note daily how God repetitively saves us.  Lent can be a time for individual, careful reflection about where and when we are cruel to ourselves and where and when we are deeply mistaken about ourselves.  It can be a time to inquire prayerfully about ways that a human life can become trapped in prosaic or original forms of evil. 


Feb. 23, 2015 @ 10:57 AM

The ’57 Chevy: two stories about the same car

What is it about a 1957 Chevrolet?

Like The New York Times offering on its store page a “1957 Bel Air 50th Anniversary Edition $99.95. Numbered, limited edition of 1,957.”

Before you order, let me tell you about the North Carolina connection to the car. Make that “connections,” as there are more than one.


Feb. 23, 2015 @ 10:25 AM

Jon Stewart, a Cronkite for the new millennium

I am not insane. For this, I have Jon Stewart to thank.


Feb. 21, 2015 @ 10:14 PM

School grades should measure more effectively

I’ve spent the past week talking to myself about North Carolina’s new school report cards. Here’s what I said:  


Feb. 20, 2015 @ 11:48 AM

Believers of Ernst hoax say a lot about who we are

"Unbelievably sad."

That was the subject line of an email a colleague sent me last week. In it, she forwarded a link to a story that had Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst telling a Des Moines radio host that Congress should outlaw vaccines because they "manipulate brains."


Feb. 19, 2015 @ 08:33 AM

War authorization's difficult and urgent debate

Americans, a litigious people, believe that rules for coping with messy reality can be written in tidy legal language. This belief will be tested by the debate that will resume when Congress returns from a recess it should not have taken, with a war to authorize. The debate concerns an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against the Islamic State and also against ...


Feb. 17, 2015 @ 11:38 AM

Martin: A Black History Month valentine

Each February we celebrate Valentine's Day and Black History Month.


Feb. 16, 2015 @ 12:22 PM

Judge Roy Moore stands on the wrong side of history ... again

In June, it will be 52 years since George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door.


Feb. 15, 2015 @ 04:02 PM

Americans should curb their pessimism

Barack Obama's tone of mild exasperation when tutoring the public often makes his pronouncements grating even when they are sensible. As was his recent suggestion that Americans, misled by media, are exaggerating the threat of terrorism.


Feb. 15, 2015 @ 02:42 PM

Fund drives insure WUNC, public radio’s vital service

In the mid-1970s, my wife, Pat, and I lived in an apartment that was half the second floor of a house on Raleigh’s Chamberlain Street, a few blocks from the N.C. State University campus.


Feb. 14, 2015 @ 10:35 PM

School letter grades teach many lessons

Those who care about education reform learned a lot on Feb. 5 when North Carolina released its first letter grades for public schools. The grades reflect three sets of information: average performance on end-of-year tests, the amount of annual growth in those scores, and graduation rates.