D.G. Martin

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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New Books, Times, And Authors For Bookwatch

There are three pieces of good news about my favorite television program, UNC-TV’s North Carolina Bookwatch: First, upcoming new programs feature some of North Carolina’s most interesting authors. UNC-Greensboro’s Michael Parker’s new novel follows a North Carolina man who packs up a truck, runs away from his troubles here, and winds up in Texas. On a used car lot, he meets a woman who wants to buy the same 1984 Buick Electra that he had decided to buy. Inexplicably, they buy it together. Then Parker brings the stories of these two people and the car into one surprising and...

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North Carolina-Florida Women: Political Bellwethers

What important Democratic woman politician, a Wake Forest alumna who was born in North Carolina and later moved to Florida, has gained national attention this year for her candidacy in a critical bellwether election? There are two correct answers. First, Senator Kay Hagan. Although born in North Carolina, she grew up in Florida, where her family had long been politically active. She worked on campaigns for her uncle, the late U.S. Senator and Florida Governor Lawton Chiles. After graduating from Florida State, she came back to North Carolina for law school at Wake Forest. She stayed here to marry,...

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