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Columns

Jesse Helms, World War I, police dogs, Meck Dec and good N.C. eating
Here are five recent books, starting with a novel featuring a thinly disguised Jesse Helms, by North Carolina authors to put on your bedside reading table. What is it really like to be the top aide ...



Freedom is a weighty issue
RALEIGH — Have you been eating right? Getting enough exercise? How far away are you from your ideal weight? You may think that I have no business asking you such personal questions, but I beg ...



One argument for open government
RALEIGH – A recent poll about North Carolina residents’ opinions about public records and access to government information yielded disturbing results. It came from Elon University and w ...



North Carolina comes back to the pack on election laws
RALEIGH – The new election laws the Republican-led General Assembly passed in 2013 in many ways put North Carolina more on par with other states across the country. Up to that point, the Tar ...



Mind your own business
RALEIGH — Recent events lead me to restate an argument I made several years ago in response to a belligerent correspondent: mind your own business. No, I wasn’t giving him the brush-off ...



Race and basketball, a transformative moment in 1944
If you just want to read about the incredible basketball game described by Scott Ellsworth in “The Secret Game, A Wartime Story of Courage, Change, and Basketball’s Lost Triumph,” yo ...



How unwanted legislation can become law
RALEIGH — In the General Assembly, proposals become laws only if endorsed by a majority of House and Senate members, right? In a perfect world, that would be true. The world isn’t perf ...



Georgia on my mind
RALEIGH — According to most economic indicators, North Carolina’s economy is on the upswing. Job growth exceeds the regional and national averages. The state’s recent decline in unem ...



Call it the 'graying of North Carolina'
RALEIGH — The state is getting older, a phenomenon that brings with it many issues and problems for government to address in the coming years and decades. Some already are here. It’s al ...



Please look and think before you Tweet
RALEIGH — Economist and syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell is fond of denying that there are permanent solutions to problems. Instead, he insists, “there are only tradeoffs.” A fe ...



Beware of fiscal storms
RALEIGH — When I tell audiences that I have always been a committed Marxist, I usually get a combination of disbelieving snorts and knowing chuckles. The cleverest response goes something like t ...



The state should beware of fiscal storms
RALEIGH — When I tell audiences that I have always been a committed Marxist, I usually get a combination of disbelieving snorts and knowing chuckles. The cleverest response goes something like t ...



Devil's in the details on voter ID implementation
RALEIGH — Polls show a majority of North Carolina voters will be happy to present IDs before casting ballots when photo identification requirements begin in 2016. The process seems simple. Yo ...



Political parties should be careful about rule changes
RALEIGH — To the extent that Roy Cooper has a reasonable chance of defeating Gov. Pat McCrory for reelection, it’s because many of his fellow Democrats failed in their efforts to change th ...



Bill could spark electricity market competition
Electricity customers in 45 states can make deals with non-utilities to buy or generate power. North Carolina is among five states that ban this practice. Rep. John Szoka, a Fayetteville Republican ...



Mixed messages on the state of economy
RALEIGH — One of the toughest things about covering state government is trying to get a handle on the true state of North Carolina’s economy at any given time. If anyone ever figures it ou ...




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