Select Page

D.G. Martin

A Letter From Home

It was like the pleasure of a long letter from home. At least it was for this exile from Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. I picked up the new book, 27 Views of Charlotte: The Queen City in Prose & Poetry, to see if any of my friends were among the almost 30 contributors. But when I started reading, I could not stop until I had read every selection, beginning with Jack Clairborne’s cheerful summary of Charlotte’s efforts to become a “world class city,” concluding that the key to its success has been its openness. “You don’t have to come...

Read More

A Non-Lawyer On The Supreme Court?

President Obama plans to appoint National Public Radio’s Nina Totenberg to the United States Supreme Court. Not really, of course. Totenberg may know more than most lawyers about the Supreme Court from her experience as an award-winning legal affairs correspondent for NPR. But she is not a lawyer, and you have to be a lawyer to be on the court. Don’t you? No. The Constitution sets forth no such requirement. Article Two provides simply that the president “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint … Judges of the supreme Court.” So the president...

Read More

Remembering The Negro Leagues

“He is number 42,” I said. On a baseball outing with my daughter’s family the other night, I was trying to find the name of a player on the Durham Bulls baseball team while the Bulls were playing a doubleheader against the Buffalo Bison. The player list in the game program did not show a number 42. Then I noticed another player wearing number 42, and then another. Every player was wearing number 42. Why? I should have remembered 42, last year’s film about Jackie Robinson. Number 42 was on Robinson’s uniform when he first played for the Brooklyn...

Read More

The Most Important Thing The Legislature Did

The most important thing the legislature did this year is what it did not do. Adjourn. Instead of adjourning and closing down as is customary shortly after the state’s budget has been revised, the legislators resolved to stay in session indefinitely, coming back from time to time to respond to emergencies, to vote on various matters, and to work out a plan to deal with Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds. Maybe that sounds like a reasonable plan to you. Here is the problem. When the legislature is still in session, government officials and workers spend much of their time...

Read More

Are Things That Bad?

Things are good! Sometimes, like the other day, I want to get up and shout it out. For instance, last week at a Rotary club meeting, Frank Hill, leader of The Institute for the Public Trust, was explaining his efforts to recruit and train public-spirited people to run for Congress and other political offices. In case you have not noticed, a lot of the kind of people drawn to politics in the past will not consider running for elective office today. Hill asked the group of Rotarians if any of them were serving in elective office. Nobody raised a...

Read More

Read Others’ Views, Then Decide For Yourself

“I don’t read the Washington Post. That is not where I get my ideas.” Many years ago, when there were still lots of conservatives voting in Democratic primaries, a congressional candidate pandered to conservatives by trashing a liberal newspaper. But he lost ground with other voters who thought he should keep up with congressional issues covered in that newspaper even if he disagreed with its views. More recently, a widely respected conservative political commentator also lost a little ground when asked to comment about a recent article about North Carolina in The New York Times. He responded by saying...

Read More

Where Did All The New Voters Come From?

“Voters born elsewhere make up nearly half of N.C. electorate.” So begins the latest DataNet report from the UNC Program on Public Life, directed by former journalist Ferrel Guillory. So what? What difference does it make to us that almost half of North Carolina voters were born somewhere else? To begin to show the importance of such a large number of non-North Carolina natives participating in the state’s election process, DataNet gives us a short history lesson: “One hundred years ago, when North Carolina had a population of about 2.5 million people, more than nine out of 10 residents...

Read More

Books: Our World As It Was, Is, Or Could Be

Why do we read books? For entertainment, of course, first and foremost. But the best books also challenge us emotionally and intellectually to see the world in a different way, as it really is, or as it once was, as it could be, or, perhaps, as it will become. Here are some summer reading ideas of North Carolina books that could open your eyes to seeing our world differently and entertaining you at the same time. First of all, Crossroads of the Natural World: Exploring North Carolina with Tom Earnhardt shows our state’s plant and animal life as it...

Read More

Preserving The Monuments Of A Controversial Past

“You see him and ask: ‘Why is the statue still here? What was it he actually stood for?’ This is the kind of debate that a public work of art makes possible. We won’t change the way people think just by getting rid of a monument.” The mayor of one of Mecklenburg’s largest municipalities is defending the refusal to remove a statue of a hero of another era, but one who today offends many residents. This raises again the question of what to do about the statues, building names, and the nicknames and mascots of sports teams that offend...

Read More

A Great Generation And A Great Book Title

“It turned out to be a hell of a book title.” Tom Brokaw, former NBC News anchor and productive author, was talking, with his usual modesty, about The Greatest Generation. It is the title of his 1998 best-selling book and the identification of the Americans who, after serving in World War II, came home to lead our country through an era of progress and prosperity. Last week, 16 years after the book’s publication, Brokaw talked about it with author Roger Rosenblatt at Chautauqua Institution in New York State, where I was on vacation. In his book, Brokaw explained how...

Read More
Translate »