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Columns

  • A View from Lick Skillet

    Before we get to the chief thrust of this column, we would be remiss if we did not remind the readers that we are now entering that special time of the year for loyal East Tennesseans, to-wit poke-picking time.

  • Tired of budget shenanigans? Here’s the answer

    By LEE HAMILTON
    Center on Congress
    With the formal release of President Obama’s budget, the pieces are finally in place for a reprise of the Washington drama we’ve all come to know.

    There will be high-stakes negotiations, lines in the sand, and enough intrigue to keep Beltway insiders riveted by every piece of breaking news.

    The rest of us, though, are already worn out. In repeated conversations with ordinary people, I’ve been struck by the immense frustration I’ve encountered.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Debate over future of TVA returns to the fore

    There are times, gentle reader, when we recall fondly a saying often uttered by the great Will Rogers: “All I know is just what I read in the newspapers.”

    In this electronic age, Rogers would probably amend this statement, as we do, to say “All I know is just what I read in the newspaper, or what I hear on the television,” which is your humble servant’s position.

  • Looseleaf laureate: Badminton-bee game not all that fun

    It’s spring, and the buzz around my neighborhood right now involves carpenter bees and what to do about them.

    For years, I’d adopted a live-and-let-live attitude, leaving the bee battling to my fierce red heeler, Merlin. In his younger days, he used to put on quite the air show, leaping, twisting, snapping and snarling at the bees, who you could almost hear snicker as they gyrated in the air just out of reach.

    In recent years, I’ve noticed the carpenter bee holes in the framework of my big shed beginning to expand.

  • Interest in potential sale of TVA ‘amazing’

    By ERNEST NORSWORTHY
    Limited Government
    In the years of writing about the TVA, I have never seen such interest, pro or con, in the possible sale of TVA.

    From Bangor to San Francisco to Paris (Tennessee) and London, there are articles written about Obama’s view of selling what once was a sacred Democratic pearl.

    TVA, a vestige of FDR’s New Deal, has existed and has been challenged for 80 years.

    Defending TVA has cost ratepayers millions in legal defenses; billions in wasted or misspent ratepayer dollars that are down the drain.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: We’re not making up any of this! Honestly!

    Some weeks ago, we penned an article captioned “What mischief will legislature produce?”

    Although that august body will not adjourn sine die for some days yet, they have already established a new record for Acts of ignorance, shame, and disgrace that will be hard to equal, but no doubt they will strive to do so just next year.

    Consider, if you will the following efforts, some of which have passed, some which have not yet been acted upon and some of which are lying in abeyance awaiting an opportune time to rear their ugly heads and become public Acts.

  • Political parties need to put on big-boy pants

    By LEE HAMILTON
    Center on Congress
    A few weeks ago, the Republican National Committee issued a 100-page report aimed at reviving the GOP after its poor showing in last November’s elections. It was remarkably blunt about the specifics of the party’s shortcomings — its lack of inclusiveness, its hapless data initiatives, its poor grassroots organizing.

    What it did not take on, however, was an issue the RNC can do little about: the diminished influence, if not irrelevance, of both major parties in American politics.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Largen: Will the Circle be Unbroken?

    Gentle reader, you no doubt are familiar with the hymn, “Will the Circle be Unbroken?” We, of course, know not the answer to that question about the future, but we do know that as to the present, the answer is definitely “no,” for we find that with each passing year our circle of friends and acquaintances is broken in more and more places.

  • Congress falls short on national security

    By LEE HAMILTON
    Center on Congress
    Wherever you stood on Sen. Rand Paul’s 13-hour filibuster to delay John Brennan’s confirmation as CIA director, or on the Senate’s confirmation hearings for Brennan and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, they all serve as a reminder of just how feeble Congress has proven to be when it comes to foreign policy.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Yager awarded for help with jail overcrowding

    We have not previously published much laudatory verbiage concerning Kentucky’s junior senator, Rand Paul, but his recent accomplishment has shown that he has inherited at least some of his daddy’s political skills. We refer, of course, to his day-long filibuster.