Opinion: Columnists

May. 02, 2015 @ 12:54 AM

Mother’s Day in history – from commercialism to feminism

One friend who served in the military and who does not have children told me that he and his wife avoid church two Sundays every year: Veterans Day Sunday and Mother’s Day.  He explained that both services are too painful.  (I have permission to share this.)  Pastors try to broaden Mother’s Day, so it is not merely a saccharine ode to “Motherhood.”  But if the second Sunday of May is about Mothers (capital M) at your church, Hallmark has won the day.

May. 01, 2015 @ 08:12 AM

'What can I do?' Let's find out

"There comes a time when people get tired."

-- Martin Luther King Jr., Dec. 5, 1955

Tracy is tired. She was tired even before Baltimore burned this week.

Apr. 30, 2015 @ 11:31 PM

An opportunity to rethink education in North Carolina

Good politicians and savvy policymakers understand how to take advantage of a window of opportunity. Step number one is to identify the window.

Apr. 29, 2015 @ 08:20 PM

What stands in Lindsey Graham's way to nomination

Lindsey Graham once said his road to Congress ran through a coronary clinic because it involves so many South Carolina barbecues. Today, as a senator, he thinks he sees a path to the Republican presidential nomination. He has many strengths, but two substantial problems.

Apr. 28, 2015 @ 06:32 PM

North Carolina and the U.S. – Mexico border

What does the 1,969-mile border between the United States and Mexico have to do with North Carolina?

A North Carolina author delivers pages of answers in a book about his journey along the entire border from Boca Chica in Texas on the Gulf of Mexico to San Diego, California, on the Pacific Ocean.

Apr. 27, 2015 @ 01:18 PM

What's partisan about fact?

"Obama is a Muslim," it said. "That is a FACT."

As best I can recall -- my computer ate the email -- that was how the key line went in a reader missive that had me doing a double take last week. It was not the outlandish assertion that struck me but, rather, the emphatic claim of its veracity. We're talking Shift-Lock and all-caps so there would be no mistaking: "Obama is a Muslim. That is a FACT.

Apr. 25, 2015 @ 11:10 PM

Habitat’s 30 years of delivering ‘sermons you can see’

In 1985, Joe Harvard was only a few years into what would be a distinguished three-decade tenure leading Durham’s First Presbyterian Church.

The young pastor already was deeply involved in social ministry, and was part of the Durham Congregations in Action group who with others in the would join an effort spanning the globe to help people high on hope but low on assets become homeowners.

“"The Habitat train is leaving the station. If you want to join us, you better get on board,” Harvard said then – a remark recalled this past Tuesday when Habitat for Humanity Durham celebrated its 30th year.

It has much to celebrate.

Apr. 24, 2015 @ 01:45 PM

Reality TV? Not when it comes to science

I have a confession to make. Since “Friends” was released on Netflix a few months ago, I’ve been spending a lot of time at Central Perk. (Please don’t tell my advisor.)

Apr. 24, 2015 @ 11:44 AM

Self-absorbed ESPN reporter gained fame, lost humanity

There is much that could be said about the captured-on-video, made-for-the-water-cooler tirade by ESPN reporter Britt McHenry that lit up social media a few days ago and earned her a one-week suspension. McHenry, livid that her car had been towed after apparently being parked illegally, vented her spleen with acid condescension upon a woman who has been identified as "Gina," an impound clerk at a tow yard in Arlington, Virginia

Apr. 22, 2015 @ 08:01 PM

When bootleggers and Baptists converge, be clear-eyed

Smoking, said King James I in 1604, is "loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs." Three years later he planted a colony in Jamestown. Its tobacco enhanced the royal treasury until Virginia produced a bumper crop of revolutionaries, including the tobacco farmer George Washington.     

Apr. 21, 2015 @ 11:06 AM

Martin: Is the Civil War over?

One hundred and 50 years later, is the Civil War finally over?

Apr. 20, 2015 @ 11:21 AM

Will someone tell Wayne LaPierre 'normal' is gone for good?

Maybe, conservatives are done with dog whistle politics.

After all, NRA chief Wayne LaPierre traded his dog whistle for an air horn at a recent gathering of the gun faithful in Washington, D.C. "I have to tell you," he said, "eight years of one demographically symbolic president is enough."

Subtle, it was not.

Apr. 19, 2015 @ 03:56 PM

Don't seize the raisins

In oral arguments Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear the government defend its kleptocratic behavior while administering an indefensible law. The Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 is among the measures by which New Dealers tried and failed to regulate and mandate America back to prosperity. Seventy-eight years later, it is the government's reason for stealing Marvin and Laura Horne's raisins.

Apr. 19, 2015 @ 08:17 AM

Celebrating a “dawn of peace” that sadly really wasn’t

Ten days ago, the nation celebrated the 150th anniversary  of Confederate Gen. Robert E.
Lee’s surrender to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia.
Grant declared “the war is over” and ever since that surrender has been seen as the
welcome conclusion to a civil war that tore about the nation less than a century after its

Apr. 18, 2015 @ 12:12 PM

Freedom is a weighty issue

Have you been eating right? Getting enough exercise? How far away are you from your ideal weight?