The Good: UNC-Chapel Hill religion professor Carl W. Ernst, who was smart and brave enough to recommend Approaching the Quran as UNC’s summer reading book in 2002, has been awarded the Cairo-based Bashrahil Prize for his book Following Muhammad: Rethinking Islam in the Contemporary World, published by UNC Press, which says the West is biased in its discussion of Islam. See Yonat Shimron’s excellent profile of Ernst in the N&O’s Aug. 6 “Life, etc.” section for more.

The Bad: The silly “sales tax holiday” that saves the average N.C. family about $17. That ain’t hay, but the people it would help the most probably don’t know about it. Meanwhile, it costs the state $8 million. Working people would be better off, the Common Sense Foundation suggests, with a refundable state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or rebates on payroll taxes.

The Ugly: We came to the defense of the Carolina Theatre in Durham last week, but it’s time to point out that the entrance to its movie theaters is as ugly (and hard to find) as the entrance to Fletcher Hall is magnificent. Then again, the row of industrial doors atop the stairs matches the hideous loading docks that grace the other side of the Civic Center on Chapel Hill Street.

Have a suggestion for something good, bad or ugly? Send your ideas or photos to, or mail them to The Independent, P.O. Box 2690, Durham, N.C. 27715.