Columnist: Tom Campbell

Apr. 11, 2015 @ 12:15 PM

A dramatic and effective civics lesson

We got a refresher lesson in civics recently, one we hope will stick in our memories for many years. North Carolina, following the example of other states, was set to pass a law in the name of religious freedom, but civic groups and corporate America found it distasteful and discriminatory and raised their voices in strong protest. Elected officials got the message and are backing down.

Jan. 31, 2015 @ 09:53 AM

The realities of ‘serving at the pleasure’

Steve Logan, former East Carolina University head football coach, recently remarked that things don’t usually turn out well for head coaches. The same is often true for anyone who serves “at the pleasure” of someone or some group. UNC President Tom Ross is the latest example.

Jan. 01, 2015 @ 05:53 PM

15 Tar Heels to watch in the year ahead

No matter how good the crystal ball, it is impossible to predict what will happen in 2015. Perhaps it will be easier to identify the people likely to either make or respond to North Carolina news events.

Dec. 27, 2014 @ 11:29 PM

The Grinches who stole the tax credits

Gov. Pat McCrory and others are advocating the restoration of the historic preservation tax credit. They raise the larger question of how North Carolina can have tax reform (that supposedly closes loopholes) while allowing loopholes?

Sep. 20, 2014 @ 09:51 AM

The mentally ill are better off in jail

If anyone you love is mentally ill, God help you, because the odds of getting adequate help elsewhere are about as good as winning the lottery. I speak from experience. My brother is bi-polar.

Sep. 13, 2014 @ 10:22 AM

We may never know how much our children are learning

The headlines sounded great. 56 percent of our students passed their end-of-grade tests, compared to just 44 percent last year. A more thorough reading reveals the 11-point gain was a result of educators relaxing the scoring scale, making the tests easier to pass. It left us questioning whether we will ever know how well our students are performing.

Aug. 23, 2014 @ 12:20 AM

There has to be a better way to run a state

Exhausted legislators finally saw the closing gavel and heard the fat lady sing the “sine die,” followed quickly by the Hallelujah chorus striking up the perennial tune, “There has to be a better way to run a state.”

Jul. 20, 2014 @ 12:51 AM

Dog tired these days and barking

They call this time of year the “dog days” of summer, long days filled with heat and humidity. When our legislature is still in session lawmakers get dog-tired, resulting in a lot of barking due to short tempers.

Jul. 12, 2014 @ 07:40 AM

‘Stupid hats’ or thinking caps?

Gov. Pat McCrory’s admonition for people not to put on their “stupid hat” during Hurricane Arthur was easily understood, timely and right on target. It started us thinking where else we might be wearing “stupid hats.”

Jun. 28, 2014 @ 10:08 AM

The 2014 legislative Summer Olympic games

State  Sen. Jerry Tillman says getting accurate Medicaid budget numbers is like trying to nail Jell-O to a tree. His statement, both accurate and amusing, doesn’t reflect last week’s entertainment in Raleigh.  

Jun. 14, 2014 @ 01:08 AM

House hits a wicked curve and scores a P.R. coup

It was late in the game. The House was at bat to take its cut at the state budget. The State Senate team had thrown them a wicked curveball. Did the House have the skill and the moxie to respond in this modern-day “Casey-at-the-bat” scenario?

May. 31, 2014 @ 10:13 AM

North Carolina’s best-kept military secret

Memorial Day is the time for remembrances but unless you were around at the time or a student of history you will neither remember nor know one of North Carolina’s best kept and most fascinating military secrets: the story of Camp Davis, built practically overnight in the woods of Onslow County, then almost as quickly abandoned and dismantled.

May. 24, 2014 @ 08:51 AM

All of us are visitors in “The People’s House”

More than perhaps any other public facility, the Legislative Building and Capitol are symbols of our government at work. While everyone owns them, no person or group has permanent rights to them. Following last year’s demonstrations and arrests a group of 10 lawmakers hastily revised rules for the Legislative Building, sometimes dubbed “The People’s House,” but their actions neither satisfied nor did much to clarify the use of this most public building.

May. 18, 2014 @ 12:04 PM

What legislators should (but won’t) do

At the beginning of every legislative session it is good to take stock of where North Carolina is and where it is headed. No doubt legislative leadership will point with pride to their 2013 legislative accomplishments but before taking a victory lap perhaps they need to consider the bigger picture.

Apr. 19, 2014 @ 11:13 AM

Little of value can emerge from today’s debates

I don’t blame Thom Tillis for refusing to attend one of the three televised GOP Senate primary debates. The only mystery is why he (or any candidate) is bothering with any of them.