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Columns

  • Protecting your right to know

    By FRANK GIBSON
    TPA Public Policy Director
    When governments create or authorize state and local agencies to create new programs, they typically require some measure of public disclosure as a form of public oversight and to make agencies accountable.

    As far back as 1789, during the first American Congress, that accountability has come in the form of public notices in independently published newspapers. Actions of the Congress were ordered to be published in three separate newspapers to ensure wide circulation.

  • The Balancing act of governing

    By RON WOODY
    Roane County Executive
    As citizens, we often ask — and even demand — certain services of our government and then are reluctant when it comes to paying for them.

    Your local government is the government closest to the people, and this government, whether it be a county or a city, often struggles with balancing the funding requirements of one group of citizens’ needs or desires with other groups’ needs and desires. All this pushing and pulling could be called lobbying.

  • First Amendment has leading role

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    Who knew the 45 words of the First Amendment came with buttered popcorn?

    Entering 2014, it’s safe to say that none of us could have envisioned that one of the year’s biggest global collisions between freedom of expression and tyrannical suppression of speech would revolve around a lightweight movie comedy, “The Interview.”

    What lessons does “The Interview” have for all of us?

  • Planning our future: Changing government by research, study, and analysis

    By RON WOODY
    Roane County Executive
    This is the first in a series of article about your local government.

    In 1973, Mike Hayes, a new teacher at Midway Junior and Senior High School assigned our seventh-grade class a civics project to create a city on a poster board.  

    Each of us had to name our city, and I chose the name “Tomorrowville.”

    The purpose of the project was not to have a creative drawing but to think through a process of planning and simple civil engineering.  

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: ‘Solid South’ promises painful future

    In the days of our youth, there were two expressions that one quite frequently heard, one was “The Solid South”, and the other was,” The South Will Rise Again!”

  • OFF the CUFF: Rep. Fincher, we deserve to hear from you

    I was incensed when I saw the headline Saturday afternoon.

    “GOP staffer posts, apologizes,” it said. “Obama daughters showed no class at turkey pardon.”

    How disgusting, I thought. Who would go after children? No class, indeed.

    Then I read the article and became outraged. Not only was this a staffer, this was a communications director.

    An experienced communications director. And the part that made me angriest: her employer was one of Tennessee’s own.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: What we ate, and how we fixed it, way back then

    Gentle reader, in this season of Thanksgiving, marked by indulgence, even over indulgence in eating, we thought it might be a good time to remark upon some of the items which Americans consumed in an earlier day which are virtually, if not completely, unknown to the modern American, and how we fixed our food back then.

  • String of Consciousness: Is Chip Kelly playing Madden?

    Not that I’m complaining, but when did the actual NFL become just like my online Madden franchise?

    On Tuesday at 4 p.m., the free agency period officially opened for NFL teams to make trades and signings, and, by 5 p.m., it was shaping up as one of the strangest offseasons of my generation.

    Before recapping the craziness, let’s backup to weekend.

    The NFL put in place a three-day, no-tampering window in which teams could essentially do exactly that, tamper.

  • String of Consciousness: What has happened to basketball?

    District champions that didn’t really win a district championship.

    Not one, but TWO teams trying to lose a game at the same time.

    Possible region champions that aren’t really region champions.

    What’s next? Are we going to draw straws for the state championships this year?

    Look, I get it. This weather has royally screwed up most everything, but does it really have to screw up basketball, too?

    Last week, district tournaments were, for the most part, completely wiped out in Tennessee.

  • See you soon, football

    “Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes ... well, he eats.”

    Out of all of the random life lessons the Coen Brothers snuck into cult-classic “The Big Lebowski,” that one line by The Stranger, played by Sam Elliot, may be the most significant.

    After the confetti cleared Sunday night at University of Phoenix Stadium, one thing was clear. The Seattle Seahawks ate — although some might say they choked — the bar, bringing an unwelcomed end to football season.