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Columns

  • 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.

  • Mixed forecast mars Sunshine Week, freedom

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    The forecast from this year’s National Sunshine Week, March 10-15, which annually focuses on issues of freedom of information and transparency in government, was “partly cloudy, with some sun and some storms.”

  • A VIEW FROM LICK SKILLET: Isn’t it time we defended our Western heritage?

    Gentle reader, a few days ago we were reading a book published some years ago the title of which presently escapes us, when we encountered the phrase, “The free world.” Upon reading this phrase, it struck us that this phrase which was once so frequently used, both orally and in writing, has become virtually obsolete.

  • Looseleaf Laureate: Wayne Pugh remembers different storm

    Many of you know Wayne Pugh or Rockwood. I consider him a friend — I hope he feels the same way about me.

    Wayne and I have a lot in common, including the love of railroads and one very big storm.

    While many in East Tennessee consider the March 1993 blizzard the worst winter storm they ever saw, for me and Wayne, a January 1978 storm gets top billing.

    Wayne, who was with L&N Railroad at the time, shared his memories with me recently.

  • GUEST COLUMN Pity the poor children; DCS secrecy shameful

    By Kent Flanagan, Tennessee Coalition for Open Government

    Tennessee Department of Children’s Services has one of the toughest, most unforgiving jobs in state government — to protect the most vulnerable children in our society from harm — but few Tennesseans know much about the agency.

    Most details about Children’s Services operations are denied to the public by confidentiality required under state law to protect the privacy of the children and the families that come into contact with DCS.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Sadly, a new chapter of jail house tale begins

    Some folks, we understand, are troubled by a recurring nightmare that disturbs their sleep virtually every night of their lives.

    We have not previously experienced this phenomenon, but we fear that we are about to do so.
    In this nightmare we will be joined by most of the citizens and taxpayers of Roane County.

    What, the reader may well ask, is the scenario which causes us to fear it so?

    It may be summed up in two words ­— The JAIL!

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: We can all be proud of these native sons

    Wednesday of last week, as we were perusing the Business section of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, our eye was caught by the headline “Bonuses paid Brown prior to collapse”, with a sub-head reading “Soddy-Daisy shuffle combined Ponzi scheme and tax fraud, trustee charges.”

    We thought this might be an interesting item showing the ingenuity of some of the financial villains who prey on the ignorance and gullibility of so many of our brethrery and so further reading showed.