D.G. Martin

One on One: Dangers of the Blame Game

  Reactions to the so-called repeal of HB2 show one reason why Democrats are already in trouble for the 2018 and 2020 elections. They had hoped this year would be a time of unity to mobilize opposition to the “mis-administration” of the other party in Washington and the state legislature. Instead of strengthening their party and bringing it together for successfully ridding the state of much of the damage from HB2, the repeal has brought about more disappointment and disunity. Instead of unifying and celebrating the achievement of their party’s leader, Gov. Roy Cooper, Democrats have broken into angry factions....

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One on One: A NC Woman’s Adventures in Bulgaria

Why would North Carolinian Elizabeth Kostova, who is a New York Times No.1 bestselling author, set her action-packed novel in Bulgaria? The main character of “The Shadow Land,” Kostova’s new book, is a young North Carolina mountain woman named Alexandra Boyd. On her first day in the country she meets a small Bulgarian family group. They tell her they are on the way to a beautiful monastery and suggest she consider visiting it later. After they part ways, Alexandra finds that she has a satchel that belongs to the Bulgarian group. A young taxi driver called Bobby befriends her...

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One on One: Greek historians, North Carolina natives and war with China

While President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping were getting to know each other last weekend, a native North Carolinian was warning that the United States and China are on the brink of war. Graham Allison grew up in Charlotte, where he was a football star for Myers Park High School and later played at Davidson College before transferring to Harvard. There he spent most of his academic life, most recently as director of Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Based on a careful study of historical situations in which a rising power like China confronts...

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One on One: Spring Reading Blooms

Spring is finally here for good, and as light green and new blooms fill our landscapes, it might be time for me to suggest a few books for the new season. In “Argos: The Story of Odysseus as Told by His Loyal Dog,” Carrboro author Ralph Hardy retells the classic adventure story of Odysseus’ travels after the battle of Troy. Seagulls, sparrows, turtles and other animals tell the dog Argos about his master’s encounters in the cave of the Cyclops, on the island of the lovely Kalypso and on the sea at the mercy of Zeus and other Greek...

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One on One: Small towns, Courts, and Independent Thinkers

“I have to vote to break a tie on town council’s votes all the time,” the mayor of a small North Carolina mountain town told a friend. “When they deadlock it is a 3 to 3 vote, with the same people always voting together.” When asked if it were a Democrat versus Republican situation, the mayor explained that political parties have nothing to do with it. “Three of them are Methodist, and the other three are Baptist. They just stick together no matter what the issue.” What denominational preference might have to do with where to put a stoplight,...

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One on One: Losing Diane Rehm

Diane Rehm’s scheduled visit to Elon University on April 6 is reminding fans of her public radio program how much they miss her since her retirement at the beginning of this year. For 37 years her morning talk show made her one of America’s most influential people. Her program attracted smart and articulate guests from diverse points of view. Her respectful, sometimes halting, questions prompted conversation that challenged her listeners to reassess their positions on important issues. When she faced a personal health battle with a rare neurological disorder, spasmodic dysphonia, something that affected her voice and threatened her...

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One on One: Reynolds Price, Small Towns, and People Estuaries

Since 2000 North Carolina has grown from about 9.5 million people to well over 10 million, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.  Most of that growth is in our urban areas while many rural areas and small towns are losing people. These facts would not please the late Reynolds Price, the great writer and Duke professor, who died in 2010. He loved our small towns. Shortly before he died, he explained in “Ardent Spirits” that when he was a Rhodes Scholar in England and in his early teaching years at Duke, he reached back to his growing-up years in...

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One on One: HB2 and Eating Together

Where are Ruby and Jack Hunt when we need them? Somebody needs to sit our political leaders down and guide them into talking to each other about how to get our state out of the HB2 mess we have made for ourselves. That is what former Cleveland County state Representative Jack Hunt and his wife, Ruby, used to do in Raleigh. I admired their ability to get people of different views together at the same table for meals and fellowship. Here is the way I described their magic meals in my new book, “North Carolina’s Roadside Eateries.” “Jack and...

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One on One: A “New” Barbecue Holiday

How about a new holiday that would support North Carolina’s “First in Freedom” slogan and, at the same time, call attention to our pride in our distinctive favorite food: barbecue? Got your attention? The Campaign for Real Barbecue, an organization led by barbecue gurus John Shelton Reed and Dan Levine, proposes to celebrate a “Wilmington Barbecue” holiday on the fourth Monday of February. Reed and Levine usually use their platform to extol the virtues of “real” North Carolina barbecue, which is meat cooked slowly over wood coals. “When so-called barbecue is cooked over gas flames,” Reed told me, “I...

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