Opinion: Columnists

Mar. 05, 2014 @ 04:09 AM

Misreading Putin and history in the Crimea

One hundred years after a spark in Central Europe ignited a conflagration from which the world has not yet recovered and from which Europe will never recover, armed forces have crossed an international border in Central Europe, eliciting this analysis from Secretary of State John Kerry: "It's a 19th century act in the 21st century. It really puts at question Russia's capacity to be within the G8."


Mar. 04, 2014 @ 11:40 AM

Understanding North Carolina’s tribal rivalries

Have we gotten used to all the national attention on North Carolina and our tribal rivalries?

Do we mind the reports of the mean-spiritedness, the rudeness, the shouts and ranting, the unsupported ugly comments about the opposition and its motives, and the hateful remarks about the leaders of the other group?


Mar. 03, 2014 @ 10:21 AM

Welcome to the new normal

President Clinton?

Maybe, if Democratic voters have their way. While the Republican faithful are split among a number of contenders and not particularly enthusiastic about any of them, a new poll finds Democrats overwhelmingly united behind a Hillary Clinton candidacy for 2016.


Mar. 02, 2014 @ 11:36 AM

Why do we need vouchers for private schools?

Momma always said you can learn more listening than you can speaking, so now that a judge has called a temporary halt to North Carolina’s school voucher program let’s spend time in listening to both sides of this issue. And the best way to get information is to ask questions.


Mar. 02, 2014 @ 12:41 AM

GOP choosing candidates more wisely

In today's unforgiving politics, both parties often think: "If at first you don't succeed, don't darken our door again." Ken Buck, however, had another idea.


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. 28, 2014 @ 01:02 AM

North Carolina doesn’t pay more for less

Admitted ignorance is a sign of maturity, of a willingness to learn. It can be remedied with facts. What really does grave damage is when politicians think they know something and act on it — even when what they “know” is false, misleading or incomplete. That’s how tax money is squandered, government power is abused and problems are allowed to fester.


Feb. 26, 2014 @ 11:06 AM

Perfect climate for liberals

The many jaundiced assessments of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on the fifth anniversary of its enactment were understandable, given that the sluggish recovery, now drowsing through the second half of its fifth year, is historically anemic. Still, bleak judgments about the stimulus spending miss the main point of it, which was to funnel a substantial share of its money to unionized, dues-paying, Democratic-voting government employees. Hence the stimulus succeeded. So there.


Feb. 25, 2014 @ 02:44 PM

Planting native, saving our diversity

First question for you, says UNC-TV's “Exploring North Carolina” host, Tom Earnhardt, when he begins his talk to a Rotary club or other civic group, is, how many of you have spare parts somewhere in your body?


Feb. 24, 2014 @ 12:18 PM

More silliness from Kansas

"Discrimination," he said, "is horrible. It's hurtful. It has no place in civilized society..."
You would think that statement, delivered recently in the Kansas legislature, a noble sentiment no right-thinking person could argue with. But we are gathered here today to argue with it.
Because it turns out that when Republican legislator Charles Macheers said "discrimination," he didn't mean, well ... discrimination. Macheers sponsored a bill -- passed overwhelmingly by the Kansas House but killed last week by the Senate in an attack of common sense -- that sought to exempt any business or government employee from providing "any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges" related to any "marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement" if doing so would conflict with the employee's "sincerely held religious beliefs."


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. 22, 2014 @ 08:05 PM

The Cold War's final episode?

One hundred years ago this coming Aug. 4, the day Britain declared war on Germany, socialists in the German Reichstag voted for credits to finance the war. Marxists -- including Lenin, who that day was in what now is Poland -- were scandalized. Marx had preached that the proletariat has no fatherland, only a transnational class loyalty to proletarians everywhere. "In 1918," wrote Louis Fischer, Lenin's best biographer, "patriotism and nationalism, born of the 'subjectivism' Lenin so disliked, were ideological crimes in Soviet Russia."


Feb. 21, 2014 @ 09:30 AM

White fear trumps black life

"You can get killed just for living in your American skin." -- Bruce Springsteen


On Aug. 7, 1930, two young black men were lynched in Marion, Ind.
A photographer named Lawrence Beitler had a studio across the street from the lynching tree. He came out and snapped what became an iconic photo, which he made into a postcard and sold. It shows Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith hanging dead and their executioners, faces clearly visible, milling about as if at a picnic. Though authorities possessed this damning photographic evidence, they never arrested anyone for the crime. It was officially attributed to "persons unknown."


Feb. 21, 2014 @ 02:21 AM

Institute tracks human progress

Generally speaking, things are better than they seem -- and getting better all the time. I say this not only as a naturally optimistic person but also as one who prefers hard facts to easy sentimentality.


Feb. 20, 2014 @ 02:48 PM

Why is state's unemployment still so high?

There’s good news and bad news about the North Carolina job market. The good news is that more jobs have been created in recent years. Since the job market began to turn around in early 2010, both monthly surveys of the labor market in the state show job and employment gains totaling near 250,000.