Columnist: Bob Ashley

Mar. 15, 2014 @ 10:37 PM

How to keep them down on the farm

Someone who is determined to disbelieve something can manage to disregard an Everest of evidence for it. So Barack Obama will not temper his enthusiasm for increased equality with lucidity about the government's role in exacerbating inequality.


Mar. 15, 2014 @ 01:32 PM

Dynamic local business scene a Durham hallmark

The other day, waiting to pick up a lunch order at a quintessentially Durham establishment – a taqueria adorned with a large cow atop its roof, legacy of its days as dairy bar – it occurred to me how during my time in Durham the lure of buying local has grown year by year.


Mar. 08, 2014 @ 01:31 PM

Face it – it’s just daylight ‘shifting’ time

A polling firm, Rasmussen Reports, has asked folks in national telephone surveys if they agree or disagree with this statement about Daylight Saving Time: “Don’t think the time change is worth the hassle.”

Forty-seven percent agree with that statement. Only 40 percent disagreed.


Mar. 01, 2014 @ 10:19 PM

Crusading to honor, preserve ‘real barbecue’

John Shelton Reed knows a thing or two about barbecue. As the saying goes, he wrote the book on it.

“Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue,” written with his wife, Dale Volberg Reed and published in 2008, is very much the bible of our state’s barbecue.  Reed, one of the most distinguished sociologists of his generation, retired in 2000 after many years as the William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina. Among many other legacies at UNC, he helped to found the Center for the Study of the American South.


Feb. 23, 2014 @ 02:19 PM

Celebrating 125 years with section, museum exhibit

Happy birthday to us!

As many of you know, I’ve been irrepressibly exuberant over this newspaper’s coming 125th birthday. Wednesday is that day – the very first, four-page issue of the Durham Sun hit the muddy streets of Durham Feb, 26, 1889.


Feb. 15, 2014 @ 11:16 PM

Cynical cultures and political self-destruction

The other day, an anchor on CNN asked a guest about the allegations New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may have known more than he is admitting about the traffic tie-ups in Fort Lee, N.J., last September.


Feb. 08, 2014 @ 03:00 PM

Convenience, inconvenience coexist in digital world

As I start to write this column, we’re temporarily (I hope) disconnected from the computer server that manages our editing and production systems. 
A few days ago, we struggled for about four hours to mend the disruption a power blip had done to the systems that manage our email and connect us to the Internet.


Feb. 01, 2014 @ 04:51 PM

Remembering rock stars and a folk singer

“Nearly fifty years later, people still remember exactly where they were the night The Beatles stepped onto Ed Sullivan’s stage,” the “Official Ed Sullivan Site” notes with laconic immodesty.


Jan. 18, 2014 @ 11:26 PM

Volunteers’ passion, devotion enrich community

Every day, across Durham and the region, legions of unpaid, passionate and caring people help make their community a better place.


Jan. 11, 2014 @ 12:59 PM

Moylan’s legacy clearly ‘part of the solution’

In our editorial commenting on the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty Friday, we quoted from President Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 State of the Union speech that declared that war.

“It will not be a short or easy struggle, no single weapon or strategy will suffice,” Johnson said,” but we shall not rest until that war is won.”


Jan. 04, 2014 @ 01:15 PM

Why your comics page has changed a bit

The person who left a message on my voice mail New Year’s Day pulled no punches.

“I know you are always screwing around with the comics,” declared the caller, who otherwise seemed gracious and refined. “It is probably the best way to make people mad. There is no reason to mess around with comics, ever.”


Dec. 28, 2013 @ 11:47 AM

Looking ahead to what 2014 will – and might – bring

As the calendar turns to another year, we at The Herald-Sun, like our colleagues at most media outlets, have been engaging in the annual ritual of looking back on the past 12 months. Today’s front page story revisits the top 10 stories of the year. We’ve looked back at entertainment and arts; Monday, Laura Oleniacz will recap some of the top business stories of the year.


Dec. 21, 2013 @ 05:05 PM

Ranks of unaffiliated voters soaring in state

An analysis of voter registration put out last week by Democracy North Carolina says a great deal about the shifting political picture in North Carolina.


Dec. 15, 2013 @ 11:23 PM

For better or worse, always connected almost anywhere

What a wonderful and worrisome world we live in.
It was midday Tuesday, and my wife, Pat, and I were sitting in a pre-op cubicle at Duke Ambulatory Surgical Center. Well, I was sitting. She was lying on a hospital gurney, awaiting relatively non-threatening but painful heel surgery.


Dec. 07, 2013 @ 10:19 AM

Program chipping away at Durham’s poverty

In Durham County, one out of every five people lives in poverty, according to the U. S. Census Bureau.

For children and teenagers under 18, the number is greater than one in four -- 27.2 percent in 2011, the most recent year for which census data is available.