Columnist: Bob Ashley

Mar. 28, 2015 @ 05:08 PM

No angry masses, but local efforts to restore social mobility

Driving to work last week, I was struck by a National Public Radio report from China.

Frank Langfitt, the network’s China correspondent, had driven two brothers from Shanghai back to their native village, deep in the countryside.  A theme of the piece was that both brothers, reared on a small farm where their parents still lived and where an outhouse was the toilet facility, had become successful lawyers in Shanghai.

Mar. 21, 2015 @ 03:49 PM

The evil and the good of Greek gods and ‘Greek’ life

Athena was the Greek goddess of war and wisdom, or, some would say, the embodiment of both evil and good.

Mar. 08, 2015 @ 10:12 AM

Daylight Savings Time saves no daylight

To Benjamin Franklin, the sage of Philadelphia, we owe a great deal.
His famous experiments on electricity. His consummate diplomacy that helped enlist France to the cause 
of our independence  from Great Britain. The founding of a public library and the origins of our postal 
service. His contributions to printing and publications. Memorable aphorisms such as “a penny saved is a 
penny earned.”

Feb. 28, 2015 @ 03:27 PM

Bob Ashley: Game results next day a sweet turning point

Many of you noticed and remarked on something we were pretty pleased with a week and a half ago. We had the results of the UNC-Duke basketball game in The Herald-Sun the morning after the game.

Feb. 27, 2015 @ 06:04 PM

Rudy Giuliani, once heroic, now simply foolish

Amazing. Just ... amazing.

Here we are, six years later, six years of mom jeans and golf dates and taking the girls for ice cream. And yet, some of us are still hung up on the perceived "otherness," the "not like us"-ness, of Barack Obama.

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. 07, 2015 @ 09:13 PM

Wrestling with a past that’s ‘not even past’

Just off the University of North Carolina campus on East Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, a little-noticed plaque put there in 2003 (replacing an earlier one) notes that road is part of the Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway.

Jan. 31, 2015 @ 10:49 PM

Google Fiber, a plus for us, could deepen divide

The news that Google, that juggernaut of the Information Age, is bringing super-high-speed Internet connections to Durham and the rest of the Triangle generated no small amount of excitement last week.

Jan. 10, 2015 @ 10:47 PM

Reflecting on changing area paper has called home

I’ve noted before that The Herald-Sun is about to hang its shingle in new quarters this month. As I write this mid-week, we’re on the very cusp of that move. When you read this, if all has gone well, we’ll be in our new digs – although it may be another day or so.

Jan. 03, 2015 @ 11:15 AM

Looking back on a decade of Durham transformation

Ten years ago Saturday – yesterday – I became editor of The Herald-Sun, returning to Durham after a 35-year absence. What a decade it has been since.

Dec. 29, 2014 @ 06:02 PM

A new year, new opportunities – and new offices

It is hard to believe another year is just days away.  If time seems to drag when we’re young, its pace accelerates as birthdays pile up.

But, ready or not, 2015 is at our doorstep.

Dec. 20, 2014 @ 02:17 PM

Students love Apple – but they love their libraries, too

Not long after I moved back here a decade ago, I observed to a Duke professor that I was struck that virtually every student I saw on campus seemed to be on a cell phone or displaying the tell-tale dangling white cords of iPod earbuds.

Dec. 14, 2014 @ 03:38 PM

‘Outsider’ label an old weapon against protestors

Protestors who have filled city streets have succeeded in driving a community conversation not just about police practices, the criminal justice system, race and society, but also about protest itself.

Dec. 06, 2014 @ 12:06 PM

Insistence on ‘exceptionalism’ can distort our history

“Don't know much about history

“Don't know much biology

“Don't know much about a science book

“Don't know much about the French I took”

-- Sam Cooke, “Wonderful World,”

Nov. 29, 2014 @ 10:37 AM

Cataclysmic events help define or shape generations

Nov. 22 passed relatively quietly eight days ago. Not much was made of the cataclysmic event that occurred 51 years before, although it was mentioned here and there in the news.