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Politics and barbecue, together again

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D.G. MARTIN Syndicated Columnist Did North Carolina barbecue help Donald Trump win the presidency? North Carolina’s barbecue guru, John Shelton Reed, has a theory. More about that in a minute, but first let’s celebrate having two books from Reed about barbecue ready for your holiday giving to friends who love…

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao

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RANDAL O’TOOLE Guest Columnist President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of transportation, Elaine Chao, may provide some clues about his infrastructure policies. High-speed rail advocates have hoped that Trump will support their boondoggles, and his big talk about infrastructure spending as an economic stimulus has done nothing to dim those…

‘Hamilton’ cast follows long tradition in mixing art, politics

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ROB CHRISTENSEN Syndicated Columnist Mixing politics and the theater is hardly new, despite the dustup regarding the hit musical “Hamilton” and the incoming Trump Administration. As you may have heard, Vice-President-Elect Mike Pence attended a performance last weekend of the musical based on the life of Alexander Hamilton, the brilliant,…

OUR VIEW — National Democrats need to refocus

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National Democrats have refused to acknowledge what everyone outside the Beltway seems to know already — that the same old tactics, with the same old faces simply don’t work any more. See, for example, how House Democrats resoundingly re-elected Nancy Pelosi as their leader over Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan. Pelosi…

GOP factions can work together

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JOHN HOOD Syndicated Columnist The first time I lived in the nation’s capital, Ronald Reagan was president. The conservatives I knew there were proud of their movement’s accomplishments, in such areas as reforming taxes and challenging the Soviet empire, as well as disappointed by inadequate progress on such issues as…

A big step forward for children with complex needs

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VICKI SMITH Guest Columnist Let me tell you about a girl I’ll call O.B. Her story exposes a lot of what’s wrong with North Carolina’s behavioral health system. O.B. has moderate to severe intellectual disability and autism, as well as intermittent explosive disorder. She is non-verbal and has a history…

OUR VIEW — A season of giving

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In the midst of the Christmas season, with its emphasis, unfortunately, on buying and selling, it’s important to remember the spirit of giving. There are many Lincoln County charities doing fine work the time of year, and they need the public’s support. Many of use are blessed with more than…

Trump, Bannon, Andrew Jackson and infrastructure

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CHRIS EDWARDS Guest Columnist On a recent radio show, Mark Levin asked his audience whether they thought President-elect Donald Trump would turn out to be a big-government Richard Nixon or a small-government Ronald Reagan. On the infrastructure issue, I fear that we may be headed in a big government direction.…

Redistricting monster might be tamed

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PAUL T. O’CONNOR Syndicated Columnist Before the 1991 legislative session, two legislative lawyers talked with me about that year’s redistricting. A new computer program, aptly named TIGER, would solve their two major legal puzzles: drawing legally defensible majority-minority districts and both legislative and U.S. House districts with populations close to…

Liberals should rediscover federalism

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JOHN HOOD Syndicated Columnist For the second time in recent experience, and the fifth time in American history, a presidential candidate has been elected despite having failed to win a plurality of the nationwide vote. Also for the second time in recent experience, partisans of the candidate who won the…