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Columns

  • Institute for Energy Research: Pipeline Populism: Complete, Build

    By Robert L. Bradley Jr.

    President Donald Trump is about to give the U.S. economy a power-up. He just approved the long delayed construction of two mega-projects, Keystone XL and the Dakota Access pipelines.

    This means more domestic energy, more economic growth, and more jobs for Americans. But it also means more theatrics from environmental extremists. The new president and his team should hang tough and ignore their doomsday predictions.

  • GLIMPSES from a Teacher Historian By MARK BANKER: Wanted: A few Ervin Democrats

    Thanks to several responses to my recent column directed to “Howard Baker Republicans,” I am now on the lookout for a few “Sam Ervin Democrats.”

    If my quest rings hollow to you, you are either younger than 40 or were unusually disengaged in the summer of 1973.

    Yes, that was long before cable TV’s 24-hour news cycle, the internet and “smart phones” appeared. But in that summer of Watergate, Sens. Ervin, D-North Carolina, and Baker, R-Tennessee, became familiar figures.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Draining the swamp? Russian friend? Gas tax?

    Well, gentle reader, one scarcely knows where to begin, inasmuch as the recent news presents a veritable treasure trove of interesting topics for consideration, on all levels, local, state, and national, but as usual the crew in Washington leads the pack.

  • GLIMPSES: ‘Hidden Figures’ shines light on slights

    By Mark Banker

    For readers who are attentive to recent developments on the national stage but tired of the incessant debates about them, here’s some advice: go to the movies!

    For my 66th birthday last week, Kathy and I took our daughter’s advice and went to see “Hidden Figures.” Among other things, it reminded us that some of history’s important stories are unappreciated until after the fact.

  • FROM the ALLIANCE: Haslam plan earns thumbs up

    By Wade Creswell

    Gov. Bill Haslam officially rolled out the IMPROVE Act a couple of weeks ago, a proposal focused on improving critical infrastructure throughout the state. He spoke more about it in his State of the State address.

  • GLIMPSES: Dear Howard Baker Republicans ...

    By Mark Banker

    Last week I wrote to Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and Gov. Bill Haslam to express deep concern about our new president and our nation’s well-being.

    Regular readers of this column will not be surprised by my message. Forty-plus years of attempting to make sense of our national experience convince me that our most precious political inheritance is a distinctively American tradition of principled pragmatism.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Can he learn to run the trains on time? Not so far!

    Gentle reader, as you will recall, last week we were filled with hope that the President and the old curmudgeon were going to hit it off just fine, based upon his statements in his inaugural address concerning the state of education in the nation.

    Unfortunately, although we remain steadfast, he has veered off course already in the very first week on the job. How disappointing. But, we must soldier on, as we have in the past made a practice to do, through numerous administrations, regardless of partisan affiliation, and call ’em as we see ’em.

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  • From the EDITOR’S Desk: Kudos for retreat from Gatlinburg

    The Roane County Board of Education held a retreat/conference last weekend.

    Although the board considered holding the retreat in Gatlinburg, the group decided to remain in Roane County and held the meeting at Roane State Community College.

    This was a good decision on the part of the board for several reasons and deserves to be praised.

  • GLIMPSES: Divided, but will we soon decline?

    By Mark Banker

    I begin with belated best wishes for 2017.

    A nasty virus plagued my January, but my captive status offered one dubious benefit. Television and the internet provided a front-row view for the transition from the Obama to Trump eras.

    One week into the latter, Americans can agree on one thing: Our nation’s prolonged divide has widened. Our new president’s admirers are pleased that his actions are consistent with his campaign promises.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: President and curmudgeon allied on education

    Since we have some shocking comments to make, we ought to go ahead and get them out of the way right off the bat, so here goes: President Donald J. Trump and the old curmudgeon see eye-to-eye and stand shoulder-to-shoulder together 100% on one of the issues about which he spoke in his inaugural address.