Opinion: Columnists

Mar. 23, 2015 @ 10:51 AM

I've got your back, Ashley Judd!

Dear Ashley Judd:

I guess this is a fan letter, though it is not written in praise of your work in movies like "Insurgent," "Divergent" or "Tooth Fairy." Rather, it's in response to the headlines you made last week when you called out Internet trolls who defamed you as a "b---h," a "whore," and a "c---" and threatened you with rape after you tweeted an opinion about an SEC basketball tournament.

Mar. 22, 2015 @ 03:34 PM

Social inequality's roots are steadily deepening

The rate of dog ownership is rising ominously. How can a profusion of puppies be worrisome? A report from the Raymond James financial services firm concerning trends in the housing market explains: Increasing numbers of women "are adopting dogs for security and/or companionship," partly because of "the great education divide."

Mar. 21, 2015 @ 11:27 PM

NCAE, DAE working for future of schools

As we gear up once again for a General Assembly session filled with subtle, and not-so-subtle, attacks on North Carolina’s public schools, we’ve already begun to see subtle, and not-so-subtle, attacks on the North Carolina Association of Educators.  The truth is that the conservative majority in the General Assembly is as wrong about NCAE as it is about the future of our public schools.   We want the Durham community to know what NCAE, through the local Durham Association of Educators branch, is actually about. 

Mar. 21, 2015 @ 03:49 PM

The evil and the good of Greek gods and ‘Greek’ life

Athena was the Greek goddess of war and wisdom, or, some would say, the embodiment of both evil and good.

Mar. 20, 2015 @ 06:43 PM

Republican list of things you cannot say

You are, perhaps, already familiar with the Republican List of Things You Cannot Say. If not, here's a quick refresher:

Mar. 19, 2015 @ 11:51 AM

Ohio’s Kasich waits in the wings, suited up

Ideas fly from Gov. John Kasich like sparks from a flint. While explaining his prison reforms, he interrupts himself mid-sentence -- his sentences, like some e. e. Cummings poems, are unpunctuated -- to praise a Delaware church that buys prom dresses for low-income high school girls. His spirit would add spice and his policies would add substance to the Republican presidential contest.

Mar. 17, 2015 @ 10:39 PM

Area nonprofits adapt to change by working together

The Triangle has enjoyed unprecedented growth, affluence and accolades in the past decade. We may be poised for a growing, changing path to greatness, yet many people in our community continue to struggle to feed and house their families, stay healthy, find jobs and prepare their children to succeed as adults.

Mar. 17, 2015 @ 11:57 AM

Four good North Carolina books for the spring

If you are looking for an interesting book for springtime reading, I have four suggestions: A cookbook that will be fun to read. A book of stories from one of North Carolina’s rising stars. The story of a ’57 Chevy and its complicated, troubled and fascinating 13th owner who took it to Moyock in Currituck County for restoration. An award-winning story of a mother who writes letters to the son she gave up the day he was born.

Mar. 16, 2015 @ 11:10 AM

Like and dislike in these polarizing times

This is for Gigi, who can't figure out why I don't like Bill Maher.

Gigi, a reader in West Palm Beach, wrote me last week noting that I agree with the star of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" on most political issues. Yet I have, on previous occasions in this space, expressed distaste for him. "I just don't understand," wrote Gigi, "why you profess to dislike someone who is so like-minded. It baffles me."

Mar. 15, 2015 @ 03:49 PM

The prescience of Daniel Patrick Moynihan

In the mid-1960s, a social scientist noted something ominous that came to be called "Moynihan's Scissors:" Two lines on a graph crossed, replicating a scissors' blades. The descending line charted the decline in the minority male unemployment rate. The ascending line charted the simultaneous rise of new welfare cases.  

Mar. 14, 2015 @ 11:39 PM

Debt-trap lending has no business in North Carolina

Short-term lenders must be hoping that North Carolina legislators have short memories. Less than two years after the legislature passed sweeping interest rate increases at the lenders' request, two large out-of-state companies are leading a drive to double or even triple the interest rates and fees allowed. If these lenders get their way, consumers will be among the biggest losers of the legislature's long session.

Mar. 14, 2015 @ 11:23 PM

Looking beyond the horizon — to ‘different America’ in 2060

Elected officials, especially lawmakers, regularly get denounced for short-range vision. And for sure, there’s some truth to the accusation that, when they cast a vote or take a position, they have their eyes on the next party primary and the next general election, or whether it will cost them a choice committee assignment.

Mar. 13, 2015 @ 03:04 PM

Fox 'News' proof of old P.T. Barnum adage

Every once in a while the universe arranges itself to make you look smarter than you are. Lucky me, I am having such a moment now.

Mar. 12, 2015 @ 05:28 PM

Assessing the assessments - a new kind of school choice

There is a growing debate in the country and in North Carolina regarding the role of standardized testing and how it evaluates children’s learning and teachers’ effectiveness.   The growth of federally mandated testing under No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, as well as additional North Carolina testing, has pushed parents, teachers and administrators to begin a serious dialogue.

Mar. 11, 2015 @ 08:22 PM

The Export-Import Bank's bipartisan grip on existence

Conservatives' next disappointment will at least be a validation. The coming reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank will confirm their warnings about the difficulty of prying the government's tentacles off what should be society's private sphere.