Opinion: Columnists

Feb. 24, 2015 @ 04:54 PM

Giving up for Lent: No one size fits all

Lent is a time during the Christian year when many Christians note daily how God repetitively saves us.  Lent can be a time for individual, careful reflection about where and when we are cruel to ourselves and where and when we are deeply mistaken about ourselves.  It can be a time to inquire prayerfully about ways that a human life can become trapped in prosaic or original forms of evil. 


Feb. 23, 2015 @ 10:57 AM

The ’57 Chevy: two stories about the same car

What is it about a 1957 Chevrolet?

Like The New York Times offering on its store page a “1957 Bel Air 50th Anniversary Edition $99.95. Numbered, limited edition of 1,957.”

Before you order, let me tell you about the North Carolina connection to the car. Make that “connections,” as there are more than one.


Feb. 23, 2015 @ 10:25 AM

Jon Stewart, a Cronkite for the new millennium

I am not insane. For this, I have Jon Stewart to thank.


Feb. 21, 2015 @ 10:14 PM

School grades should measure more effectively

I’ve spent the past week talking to myself about North Carolina’s new school report cards. Here’s what I said:  


Feb. 20, 2015 @ 11:48 AM

Believers of Ernst hoax say a lot about who we are

"Unbelievably sad."

That was the subject line of an email a colleague sent me last week. In it, she forwarded a link to a story that had Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst telling a Des Moines radio host that Congress should outlaw vaccines because they "manipulate brains."


Feb. 19, 2015 @ 08:33 AM

War authorization's difficult and urgent debate

Americans, a litigious people, believe that rules for coping with messy reality can be written in tidy legal language. This belief will be tested by the debate that will resume when Congress returns from a recess it should not have taken, with a war to authorize. The debate concerns an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against the Islamic State and also against ...


Feb. 17, 2015 @ 11:38 AM

Martin: A Black History Month valentine

Each February we celebrate Valentine's Day and Black History Month.


Feb. 16, 2015 @ 12:22 PM

Judge Roy Moore stands on the wrong side of history ... again

In June, it will be 52 years since George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door.


Feb. 15, 2015 @ 04:02 PM

Americans should curb their pessimism

Barack Obama's tone of mild exasperation when tutoring the public often makes his pronouncements grating even when they are sensible. As was his recent suggestion that Americans, misled by media, are exaggerating the threat of terrorism.


Feb. 15, 2015 @ 02:42 PM

Fund drives insure WUNC, public radio’s vital service

In the mid-1970s, my wife, Pat, and I lived in an apartment that was half the second floor of a house on Raleigh’s Chamberlain Street, a few blocks from the N.C. State University campus.


Feb. 14, 2015 @ 10:35 PM

School letter grades teach many lessons

Those who care about education reform learned a lot on Feb. 5 when North Carolina released its first letter grades for public schools. The grades reflect three sets of information: average performance on end-of-year tests, the amount of annual growth in those scores, and graduation rates.


Feb. 13, 2015 @ 02:50 PM

Brian Williams' lies are not equal to those of Fox 'News'

There's this speech I give my students. Distilled, it goes like this.

"Your primary asset as a journalist is not your dogged curiosity, your talent for research or your ability to make prose sing on deadline. No, your one indispensable asset is your credibility. If you are not believable, nothing else matters."


Feb. 12, 2015 @ 11:51 PM

Duke lets status quo win battle on divestment

There is increasing pressure on universities to divest from fossil fuel companies on the basis that the industry threatens our climate and future on this planet. As a society, we hold educational institutions to be the forefront of knowledge, and yet many of them are blatantly ignoring climate risk in their endowment management decisions.


Feb. 11, 2015 @ 08:01 PM

The Pence paradox

WASHINGTON -- Although he is always preternaturally placid, Mike Pence today exemplifies a Republican conundrum. Sitting recently 24 blocks from Capitol Hill, where he served six terms as a congressman, and eight blocks from the White House, which some Republicans hope he craves, Pence, now in his third year as Indiana's governor, discussed two issues, Common Core and Medicaid expansion, that illustrate the following:

 


Feb. 10, 2015 @ 12:10 AM

Who could succeed Tom Ross as UNC head?

Five years ago, when the University of North Carolina board of governors was searching for a candidate to replace Erskine Bowles, I wrote in this column, “The Board will be looking for the new president who has two critical qualifications:

1. A good feel for North Carolina’s traditions and the state’s needs, and,

2. Successful experience at the highest level of university administration.”