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Columns

  • OFF the CUFF: Pickpockets minor in wake of attacks

    My daughter received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in the summer of 2014.

    An anthropology student at East Tennessee State University, she was able to go on a three-week archaeological dig at Université Blaise Pascal in Clermont-Ferrand, France.

    Leaving her at Tri-Cities Regional Airport for the first leg of her journey was one of the hardest things I’ve done as a parent.

    Have we done everything to keep her safe from pickpockets?

    My baby’s flying over an ocean! For a long time!

  • OFF the CUFF: Salute to a sergeant with a big legacy

    I am thankful to our veterans, on this Veterans Day and every day.

    Because of their sacrifices, I am free to write these words and express my opinion — and you are free to disagree with these words and express your discontent.

    Our veterans and military personnel put their lives on the line — with many paying the ultimate price — to ensure our freedoms and rights.
    Sgt. Alvin C. York is probably one of Tennessee’s most famous veterans.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: The reason for & meaning of 2nd Amendment

    Gentile reader, there are times when we wonder which of the two “Big Tens” are getting the greater workouts with less understanding. By the “Big Tens” we are, of course, referring to the Ten Commandments set out in the Old Testament, and the Ten Amendents to the U.S. Constitution, commonly referred to as the Bill of Rights.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Dr. Carson’s common sense & On being eighty
  • INSIDE the First AMENDMENT: Pope Francis reawakens American ideal

    At a cultural moment when celebrity trumps character in America, it took a humble priest from Argentina to remind us of the better angels of our nature — and of the kind of nation we must aspire to build in the 21st century.

    Pope Francis arrived in our public square as a self-described migrant, and for a refreshing week his message of compassion and justice drowned out the divisive, ugly, sometimes hateful rhetoric of this political season.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Happy Birthday Nell Willis — 90 & counting

    In his well-nigh eight decades of observation and experience, the old curmudgeon has encountered many things, some bizarre, some humourous, some wise, and some outrageous, but to the best of his recollection, none has been more outrageous at first glance than the proposal to charge a fee or tax for the public to look at the public records of this state.

  • Kingston tax hike not a decision made easily

    By DAVID L. BOLLING

    For Roane County News

    In the weeks to come, the Mayor and City Council will be considering the city of Kingston’s budget for the upcoming year.

    Due to delays with the county reappraisal, we’re obviously addressing this much later than normal.

    While there is always much to consider in a budget, the basic question before us this year is very simple: Will we raise taxes or will we cut positions?

    There simply aren’t any options beyond that.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Will Bill get government out of government?

    As this is written, we know not what the next steps will be in the case of the Kentucky official who has been refusing to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples, claiming that to do so would violate her religious principles.

    There seems to be a lot of that going around these days, with folks claiming that their religious principles are endangered by baking wedding cakes, or providing flowers for wedding ceremonies, etc., etc.

  • Reflections on political correctness

    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.

    Last week’s column offered my final thoughts about the Civil War and its legacies.

  • GLIMPSES: The Civil War left lasting impacts and legacies for East Tennessee

    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 last two columns explored consequences of the Civil War yet failed to mention the war’s impact on the locale most dear to the majority of my readers.