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Columns

  • A View from Lick Skillet by Gerald Largen: Legislature’s policy is to promote ignorance

    Regular readers will recall that as late as 6 February we wrote a scathing critique of Scott DesJarlais’s misuse of our tax money to finance his re-election campaign through federally paid mailings of flyers masquerading as information, but which were nothing more than campaign literature. Some of our Republican friends were unhappy with this criticism of their fair-haired boy. (Oops, as Gov. Rick Perry would say, we forgot. Dr. Scott is as hairless as a Mexican hairless pup, as the many colour photos in the flyers show.)
     

  • Nuts & Bolts Terri Likens Editor: RIP, API: Journalism training takes a big hit

    The American Press Institute is defunct.

    The API, a premier training institute for journalists, closed this month.

    That makes me sad.

    I was lucky enough to spend about a week at one of the Reston, Va.-based API trainings about five years ago.

    Even after all my years as a working journalist, the training I received there helped me — even today — make transitions that are often necessary in today’s changing news business.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET by Gerald Largen: Even in 1800, some wanted fair treatment for workers

    We have been reading a 1965 biography of Henry Addington by Philip Ziegler, which has rested on our shelves for several years.
    Addington, a contemporary of the Younger Pitt, Canning, Castlereagh, Liverpool, and other leading lights of the first years of the Nineteenth Century, was for years Speaker of the House of Commons, then for 3 or 4 years King George III’s Prime Minister, and from 1812 to 1821 was Home Secretary.

  • Looseleaf Laureate: Stress over shingles has nothing to do with roof

    The tornado outbreaks a couple of Fridays back left a lot of us with a bad case of nerves — but mine was a little different.
    As I headed home to pack for a dash to my boyfriend’s house in Hamilton County, I began to feel an annoying itch on my neck.
    I looked in the mirror and could see blotchy red spots rising. I made a mental note not to scratch, threw my bags in the car and did my best to dodge storms as I headed south.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET by Gerald Largen: Is Romney a secret socialist, or does he lie?

    Gentle reader, as you have listened to former Mass. Gov. Romney, tell us all how he is going to cure all of the maladies from which he perceives the body politic to be suffering, has it ever struck you that under our Constitution, laws, and precedents, no one can make all these things happen without summarily seizing, confiscating, or otherwise taking over every aspect of private enterprise currently existing in our great republic?

  • Nuts & Bolts Terri Likens Editor: A lesson: School board tries to slip one by

    It was decades ago, but I still remember Jim Hightower’s public affairs reporting class at Western Kentucky University.

    The school had a top-rated journalism program and its teachers — and many of its students — took the subject matter seriously.

    We learned about open records and open meetings law – generally called Sunshine Laws, because they help shed light on the actions and dealings of our government officials.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET by Gerald Largen: What impact will Sen. Snowe’s going have?

    The rock-ribbed coast of Maine is not noted for many products — timber and paper wood, potatoes, seafood, and L. L. Bean apparel being the principal ones.

    But far and away the most important thing that has sprung from that rocky soil may well be its womenfolk.

    This thought comes to mind in view of the announcement last week that Olympia Snowe, three-term Republican senator for Maine will not seek re-election this year, thus ending more than thirty years in the Congress, both House and Senate.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET by Gerald Largen: Facing plain truths about oil prices, and Islam

    Well, here we go again, kind reader, — caught up in the net of nefariousness woven by the big oil companies and their Wall Street speculator/bail-out beneficiary, allies — in a constantly escalating upwards ride in the gasoline price balloon.

    Remember last time, when all the wise talking heads “explained” to us dummkopfs how the price rise was all simply an aspect of the free enterprise system, governed by the law of supply and demand?

  • Nuts & Bolts, A discussion of how things work in the news business: Anonymous comment — keep or quit it?

    Recently, the Chattanooga Times Free-Press took steps to shut down anonymous comment on stories it posts online.

    The newspaper is still allowing comment on opinion pieces — editorials, letters, editorial cartoons — posted online.

    Managing editor Alison Gerber made this point:

  • Nuts & Bolts by Terri Likens, Editor: Suicide — should we report on it or not

    Recently, a well-liked and fairly well-known Roane Countian committed suicide.

    The person was found in her vehicle in the parking lot where she worked.

    One area newspaper ran a news story. We simply ran the obituary.

    Who was right?

    Who knows.

    How and when to cover suicide — someone’s last act of desperation — is one of the most debated topics in journalism.

    Many news outlets believe it is a private affair. To minimize the pain and suffering to survivors, they simply run an obituary.