Opinion: Columnists

Jan. 02, 2015 @ 11:22 AM

Ready or not, GOP candidates are coming

Is North Carolina ready to be an early stop on the road to the White House?

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. 31, 2014 @ 08:27 PM

A strike against rent-seeking

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow, so last year's most encouraging development in governance might have occurred in February in a U.S. District Court in Frankfort, Kentucky. There, a judge did something no federal judge has done since 1932. By striking down a "certificate of necessity" (CON) regulation, he struck a blow for liberty and against crony capitalism.

Dec. 30, 2014 @ 03:14 PM

Four different looks at North Carolina life

We can’t read them all.

It is what people say to me when I start talking about four important North Carolina related books that UNC-TV’s North Carolina Bookwatch will feature in January.

Even so, I say, you should know something about each of them.


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. 28, 2014 @ 09:15 AM

Jeb Bush's hurdles of immigration, Common Core

In 1968, a singularly traumatic year -- assassinations, urban riots, 16,899 Americans killed in Vietnam -- Vice President Hubert Humphrey, the ebullient Minnesotan, said his presidential campaign was about "the politics of joy." This was considered infelicitous.

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?

Dec. 24, 2014 @ 08:36 PM

For many, Cuba derangement syndrome lingers

Barack Obama has made a geopolitical irrelevancy suddenly relevant to American presidential politics. For decades, Cuba has been instructive as a museum of two stark failures: socialism and the U.S. embargo. Now, Cuba has become useful as a clarifier of different Republican flavors of foreign-policy thinking. 

Dec. 24, 2014 @ 02:19 PM

Parties get in way of fair redistricting

A coalition of voters and politicians cried foul three years ago when the new Republican General Assembly majority drew up election district maps that will help their party win more state and federal seats.

Dec. 23, 2014 @ 06:59 PM

Remembering the past, but not chained to it

They just could not bring themselves to shake hands with their former enemies.

A few weeks ago on the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, we remembered earlier reunions when some American servicemen met the Japanese pilots who had attacked them so many years earlier.

Dec. 21, 2014 @ 08:40 AM

Lighting fuses of federalism in Oklahoma

Scott Pruitt enjoyed owning a AAA baseball team here, but he is having as much fun as Oklahoma's attorney general, and one of the Obama administration's most tenacious tormentors. The second existential challenge to the Affordable Care Act began here.

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. 20, 2014 @ 10:51 AM

Wake up with a startup

The U.S. economy continues to recover from the depths of the Great Recession, and North Carolina continues to recover at a faster rate than the national average. But few would describe the general trend as impressive by historical standards.

Dec. 17, 2014 @ 11:52 PM

A Texas-sized plate dispute

The Battle of Palmito Ranch near Brownsville, Texas, on May 13, 1865, is called the last battle of the Civil War, but the Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) might consider that judgment premature, given its conflict with the state's Department of Transportation and Department of Motor Vehicles. This skirmish is of national interest because it implicates a burgeoning new entitlement -- the right to pass through life without encountering any disagreeable thought.

Dec. 16, 2014 @ 09:50 AM

Holding on to our humanity

“What is our tolerance for brutality?”

A minister asked this question from the pulpit Sunday morning and suggested that his listeners consider recent news stories relating to “enhanced interrogation” procedures by the Central Intelligence Agency.