D.G. Martin

Celebrating NC On Screen

North Carolina loves its connections to the production of movies and television programs. But our political decision-makers did not love that connection enough to appropriate sufficient funds or extend tax credits to persuade movie and television producers to site their programs in North Carolina. That decision in the last legislative session will surely be revisited this year. The difference of opinion about subsidizing the film making business makes for interesting political alliances. Anti-big-government-libertarian Republicans will join with anti-big-business Democrats to oppose such subsidies. On the other hand, community boosters and business developers in both parties will argue that government’s...

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Four Different Looks At North Carolina Life

We can’t read them all. It is what people say to me when I start talking about four important North Carolina related books that UNC-TV’s North Carolina Bookwatch will feature in January. Even so, I say, you should know something about each of them. For instance, Bookwatch kicks off its new season with one of the most important books about the connection between our musical heritage and the music of the British Isles. Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia, by Fiona Ritchie, host of National Public Radio’s popular “The Thistle & Shamrock,” and Doug...

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Remembering The Past, But Not Chained To It

They just could not bring themselves to shake hands with their former enemies. A few weeks ago on the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, we remembered earlier reunions when some American servicemen met the Japanese pilots who had attacked them so many years earlier. Some Americans shook hands with their former enemies and exchanged memories. Others just could not do it. We understood and respected their inability to make peace with the enemies who had done them such harm. But understanding their feelings did not keep the rest of us from continuing to develop connections with...

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Holding On To Our Humanity

“What is our tolerance for brutality?” A minister asked this question from the pulpit Sunday morning and suggested that his listeners consider recent news stories relating to “enhanced interrogation” procedures by the Central Intelligence Agency. If we think these enhanced tactics or torture could be justified on the grounds that they were effective in providing useful intelligence, do we show a high tolerance for brutality? Will we accept brutality if it achieves effectively some desired results? Our past records on this score indicate we are open to this rationale. For instance, some people in our region in years past...

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In Love With A Sociopathic Dog

“Hey, come here, will you? Quick. The dead stuff is over here. Let me show you.” These are the thoughts of Solo, a German shepherd that loves his job. His job is finding the lost remains of dead humans. These dog thoughts have been translated by N.C. State writing professor Cat Warren in What the Dog Knows: The Science and Wonder of Working Dogs. But simply calling Solo “her dog” is misleading. Warren’s relationship is more than owner-pet. Solo is her child, playmate, best friend, business partner, and boyfriend. She is totally into this animal. Solo is a cadaver...

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Renewing Our Affection For Our Hometown Newspaper

One of the state’s big newspapers almost lost a subscriber last week when she received a notice increasing the annual subscription rate by almost $100. It was not so much the amount of the increase that put her in a cancellation mode; rather, it was some fine print at the bottom of the notice. “Subscribers will be charged an additional $2 on Thanksgiving Day and an additional $1 charge” for each of seven other special days “for additional premium content in these editions. These charges are not included in our subscription prices and will change your expiration date.” The...

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Lefty and Roy — And Their Critics

While Martin Harmon was in North Carolina last week to promote his new book, Charles “Lefty” Driesell: A Basketball Legend, he dropped a signed copy by UNC basketball coach Roy Williams’ office. Harmon meant his gift only as an expression of his and Coach Driesell’s admiration for Williams and his accomplishments. Although Harmon did not have it in mind, his book, in the most poignant chapter, shows how Driesell faced the toughest time in his coaching career. The story of Driesell’s troubles might give some comfort to Williams, who recently faced his own off-court challenges. Driesell played basketball at...

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Jim Leutze Wants His State Back

“I am mad as hell and I want my state back.” Former UNC-Wilmington Chancellor Jim Leutze wanted to use this phrase as the title for his new book about modern North Carolina history and politics. Eventually, he settled on another provocative title, Entering North Carolina: Set Clocks Back 100 Years, which the Charlotte Observer book columnist Dannye Romine Powell has named “best book title of the year.” Leutze ‘s first title idea reflects the views of many North Carolinians who would like to reverse the recent changes in direction brought about by the Republican-controlled government in Raleigh. On the...

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The Battle For Political Dominance

What is the connection between U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and acclaimed U.S. tennis player John Isner? Both come from Greensboro, but it is more than that. Isner is known for his three-day 2010 Wimbledon match against French tennis player Nicholas Mahut. Isner won in the fifth and deciding set, with no tiebreaker, 70-68. As painful as Hagan’s recent loss must be to her and her supporters, it is just the latest game in a long struggle between conservative and liberal or progressive political forces in North Carolina, in which each side has won and lost many times. Until the...

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Crowther on Mencken—Don’t Miss This Treat

Hillsborough writer Hal Crowther is widely admired for his provocative columns and ability to shock us by his creative use of words, phrases, comparisons, and images as powerful weapons that can persuade or provoke us. For this rare talent and his willingness to attack the sacred cows of our generation, Crowther draws comparisons to H.L. Mencken, whose newspaper columns rocked America in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. Crowther’s long-time interest in Mencken began as a teenager, when his grandfather gave him one of Mencken’s books. For his own writing, Crowther won the Baltimore Sun’s H.L. Mencken Writing Award. Now...

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