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Columns

  • GLIMPSES: Conflict again a complication

    By Mark Banker

    Bears Ears, Codetalkers, Pocahontas, and Keystone Pipeline: All refer to the most recent controversies in our uniquely United States’ version of one of history’s most enduring stories.

    Initiated when an array of European people encountered an even more diverse array of indigenous Americans in the 15th and 16th centuries, this encounter took on many forms and evokes an array of responses that continue in 2017.

  • GOING with the FLO: Unity, praying and listening to God’s Word essential

    We must listen to God’s Word, unite behind our president and pray!

    North Korea recently launched a ballistic missile that experts say would reach anywhere in the U.S. That intercontinental ICBM ballistic missile reached record altitudes 10 times higher than the space station, landing close to Japan. It traveled 2,800 miles into space before crashing into the Sea of Japan.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Will your tax cut be 43%? The corporations’ will!

    Gentle reader: As this is written, both houses of the Congress have passed their respective versions of the Republican Tax Bill, and they will each designate members to meet together in a joint committee (which may well have already happened by the time this column is published) to reconcile the two bills and produce a final version of the legislation, which will then be returned to the two houses for final action, which is probably a foregone outcome of adoption.

  • GLIMPSES: We need statesmen, not politicians

    By MARK BANKER

    Popular myths about our founders to the contrary, ongoing efforts at tax reform in Washington affirm an old insight. The fundamental question has never been “will we pay taxes?”

    Instead on matters of taxation, “who pays?” and “who benefits?” have always been the fundamental questions.

    Politics and governing intertwine, but on this matter it is helpful to temporarily distinguish between the two and their purposes.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: “Rich White Trash” Triumphant in today’s U.S.
  • GLIMPSES: Common man’s attorney legacy lives on

    By MARK BANKER

    Nearly 60 years have passed since John F. Kennedy emerged on the national political stage. The youthful 35th president, who was assassinated 54 years ago last week, both reflected and inspired lofty impulses that have ebbed and flowed throughout United States history.

    In hindsight from a deeply polarized 2017, Kennedy’s personal shortcomings and the mixed legacies and limited accomplishments of his idealistic vision are apparent.

  • GOING with the FLO: Giving thanks for those who help others, especially Walter

    In spite of many last-minute obstacles, I was determined to attend Sen. Yager’s Chili Supper last Friday night.

    The atmosphere was ecstatic with singing and joyous laughter all around. I saw many faces of years gone by, renewed old friendships and was inspired by the state leaders who came to help serve the chili.

    Sen. Yager’s sister-in-law, Leota Wallick, made the delicious homemade chili for an estimated 600 people and has done so every year. What a labor of love! Everyone knew their responsibility and did it with excellence.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: With this show, would you give 5¢ to see a circus?

    Gentle reader, those of you who know our old friend William A. Newcomb know that he is a veritable wellspring of pithy sayings and stinging commentaries. One such that we have heard him utter, which we think particularly apropos at this time, is one which he has made when observing a particularly peculiar or outrageous happening, which is: “Why, I wouldn’t pay a nickel to see a circus!” with the implication that the happening is beyond anything one would see under the Big Top.

  • GUEST column: Apply for ACA coverage today

    The deadline is approaching — don’t delay!

    Open enrollment for 2018 Affordable Care Act Marketplace health insurance (some call it Obamacare) began Nov. 1 and ends Dec 15.

    Fewer than 40 days remain for enrollment since the federal site, healthcare.gov, closes on Sundays — and we’ll all be busy on Thanksgiving. Many don’t know.

    If you or someone you know needs affordable health insurance for 2018, then the Affordable Care Act in Roane County has plans offered by BlueCross BlueShield.

  • GLIMPSES: Early 1900s reflection of today

    By MARK BANKER

    A rare point of consensus in our polarized times is the notion that “those who fail to learn history’s lessons are doomed to repeat them.”

    Yet, as ongoing debates about the Second Amendment and the Civil War reveal, we disagree vehemently about history’s lessons. That is the subject for a future column.

    Today I redirect attention to a typically overlooked era and insights it might offer for our own.