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Columns

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Poor state of Roane education — Part III

    What we suspected when we first learned of the deplorable showing of our Roane County high school students on their ACT exams (which as you will remember showed them to be tied for next to last place on the East Tennessee schools reported on in the News Sentinel, and well below the state average, and even farther below the national average,) was that this is a systemic problem directly traceable to the folks in charge of education in the county, viz. the Board of Education and their minions.

  • From the EDITOR’S Desk: Dems, GOP find common ground

    After years of partisan bickering that has brought our government to a dysfunctional standoff, Congressional Republicans and Democrats this week actually found something they could agree on.

    The House of Representatives voted 376-76 and the Senate voted 97-1 to override President Barack Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act.

    The vote gives families of Sept. 11, 2001, victims and future victims of terror acts the right to sue the foreign governments responsible for sponsoring the terrorism.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Are Trumpsters really Republicans? Really?

    In the continued obliteration of locally owned business in this area, the latest casualty appears to be Citizens National Bank, headquartered in our neighboring McMinn County seat of Athens, with branches here in Roane County

    A few days ago, I received a copy of a letter to depositors from Paul G. Willson, Chairman, and member of the founding family, announcing a merger with Simmons Bank, and last week I received a 58 page booklet concerning the details of this merger and its effects on depositors.

  • GLIMPSES: Historical perspectives on Hillary

    By Mark Banker

    Author’s note: The following three premises are essential to this column: 1) None of us see the past or present with absolute clarity; 2) Each of us has the capacity for glimpses of informed insight that draw from and reflect our personal values; and 3) Cordial, forthright exchange of those insights enhances our mutual well being.

    My past four columns have suggested election 2016 may not be as unprecedented as we imagine. But even accurate assessments lose credibility when taken to the extreme.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Roane Schools Sorry ACT Ranking, Part II

    Gentle reader, I understand that my column of two weeks ago entitled “Both Students & taxpayers are being cheated”, based upon our county’s students’ miserable performance on this year’s (2015-2016) ACT scores, has provoked a complaint from one of the county’s powers-that-be, or big cheeses.

    It appears that this big wig opines as how my column was “negative”.

  • From the EDITOR’S Desk: Body cams tell us part of the story

    Video from a body camera of a Rockwood police officer recently made the news when a former Roane State basketball player filed a $1.2 million lawsuit against the city of Rockwood alleging violation of his rights and excessive use of force.

    The plaintiff in the case is using the video as evidence that he did not attack the officer before he was detained.

    I’ve watched the video. It does not show the officer being attacked. It does show the plaintiff did not fully cooperate with the officer.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Milwaukee’s Rule: He had a gun, so kill him!

    Well, Gentle Reader, last weekend saw yet another killing of a black man by a policeman, also black, this time in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Here’s how the event was described in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as reprinted by the Knoxville News Sentinel:

    “Police had said an officer shot and killed an armed man fleeing a traffic stop about 3:30 p.m. Saturday. The officer ordered the man to drop his gun, and when he did not the officer fired, wounding the man twice, once in the chest and once in the arm, Barrett [Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett] said.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: il Duce Trump and Mad Dogs & Englishmen

    Gentle reader, since the present presidential campaign started, and Donald J. Trump got into the fray, we’ve had the feeling that we had seen him before under other circumstances, but we could not recall where or when.

    But, a few days ago, all of a sudden the thought struck: It was not The Donald we had seen, but il Duce.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: The McGovern Rules bad for both parties

    Phineas Taylor Barnum, the celebrated nineteenth century showman, is said to have opined that: “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

    The continued success of the Donald Trump campaign for the presidency is patent proof of the truth of old P.T.’s observation.

    The Unabridged Edition of the Random House Dictionary of the English Language, provides this definition: “Sucker. 2. Informal. a person easily cheated, deceived, or imposed upon.”

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: An Open Letter to the Citizens of Harriman

    Dear Harriman Citizens: Congratulations, dear citizens, each of you is about to become the proud owner of a lawsuit, each and every one of you.

    You did not ask to be, you didn’t know you were going to be, and you may not want to be, but you are.