D.G. Martin

Music, Murder And More For Your Summer Reading

Suddenly it’s June. Have you made a list of books to read on your summer vacation? Here are some North Carolina books for that list: UNC-Wilmington’s Clyde Edgerton’s Night Train came out three years ago and remains a favorite because it takes me back to my growing up years. Two friends, both teenaged boys, live in Starke, a fictional eastern North Carolina town, in the early 1960s. One, Larry Lime Nolan, is black, and he wants to play jazz like Thelonious Monk. The other, Dwayne Hallston, is white, and he wants to be another James Brown. They have much...

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Would A Real Veto Power Help Governor McCrory?

There’s a secret nobody in the Raleigh power establishment will confirm. It is this: our Republican governor, Pat McCrory, would not mind if there were a few more Democrats in the General Assembly after this fall’s elections. When you ask people close to the governor about this possibility, they are not likely to give you a straightforward “yes” in response. But their flashing eyes and quick grins tell you that they think the governor would have more strength dealing with the legislature if there were fewer Republicans. As The Charlotte Observer’s Jim Morrill wrote earlier this month, “Gov. Pat...

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May 20th – Did You Miss It Again This Year?

“It is probably not known to many of our readers that the citizens of Mecklenburg County in this state made a declaration of independence a year before Congress made theirs.” This item could be an introduction to a contemporary story about the anniversary of the May 20, 1775, Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. Most North Carolinians today do not recognize the date, even though it is enshrined on our state flag and official seal. But the quoted report came from the April 30, 1819 Raleigh Register and North Carolina Gazette to introduce its publication of the Mecklenburg Declaration and a...

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Looking For A Hand Salute From Duke Energy

As the discussion about the consequences of the coal ash residue leakages continues, there is one thing about Duke Energy about which there is widespread agreement. It is this: the company’s employees are service-minded, hard-working, friendly folks who, in times of crisis, rush to help and perform like heroes. So when I learned that I might have mischaracterized or misinterpreted a photo of a Duke employee taken from an airplane inspecting discharges from a coal ash pond and a deactivated coal plant on the Cape Fear River, I wanted to share a report from a friend who works in...

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The South: A Dilemma For Both Parties

“Just be patient,” some North Carolina Democrats are telling each other. “The demographics,” they say, “are on our side. The older white conservative Republicans are dying off. They are being replaced by younger, multi-ethnic, social liberals who tilt Democratic when they go to the polls. It is just a matter of time until these factors give the edge in North Carolina politics back to the Democrats.” Before Democrats celebrate their coming return to power, they must deal with another set of factors outlined by Nate Cohn in recent articles in The New York Times. Cohn explains why President Obama’s...

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Would A Shirley Temple Help?

What President Obama needed was a Shirley Temple! Not the popular non-alcoholic drink named for the childhood star. What he needed as he faced the nation’s worst economic situation since the Great Depression was the kind of help President Franklin D. Roosevelt got from a bright, cheerful, optimistic child actor who lifted the spirits of almost every American during the dark times of the 1930s. Even after her recent death at age 85, people still remember – indeed worship – her. She rivaled FDR as the most photographed person in the world. From 1934 until 1940, she made 22...

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Our “Variety Literatureland”

“Variety Vacationland.” Do you remember that slogan from our state’s past? I suggest a new one: “Variety Literatureland.” In the next few weeks, I plan to provide support for my suggestion in the form of books and their authors who will be appearing on North Carolina Bookwatch. First is Krista Bremer, associate publisher of The Sun, a successful national magazine headquartered in Chapel Hill. Bremer’s essays have been published widely, most recently in the April 13th Sunday Magazine of The New York Times. In the Times piece, she writes about a gift from her mother-in-law, “a blanket, over 12...

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Saying Thanks Is Not Enough

“Thanks for your service.” Maybe we have done a better job of showing appreciation to the members of the armed forces who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan than we did for those who served in Vietnam. Some opponents of that war made many Vietnam veterans feel that coming home was like leaving one war only to be thrown into another. But today’s “Thank you for your service,” is not substantially better, as far as some at Afghanistan-Iraq veterans are concerned. They can be forgiven if they think “Thank you for your service” is an incomplete thank you, an insincere...

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From Ash Pond, To River, To Your Bloodstream

“When you have finished drinking this bottle of water, fill it with our tap water for liquid refreshment that tastes as good and is just as pure as what was in the bottle.” That was the message from the City of Wilmington’s proud and professional public utilities department at an event celebrating one of its enlightened water quality improvement projects a few years ago. Their message still hits home with me. Every time I remember it, I am grateful for the blessing of safe and carefully treated water that is available in almost every city and town in North...

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Be Proud Of The Way You Talk

You sure do talk funny. Has anybody ever told you that? If you grew up in North Carolina and moved somewhere else for a while, you surely got that kind of question from folks who just had to laugh when they heard you talk. Or if you grew up somewhere else and moved here, folks may have told you that they know you are not from around here. They may have even said, “You talk like a Yankee.” Is there something special about the way we talk here in North Carolina? The best person to answer is Walt Wolfram,...

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