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Columns

  • 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.

  • Gridlock deals Congress out of policy-making

    Earlier this year, it seemed there might be some hope for Capitol Hill when Congress dealt easily with raising the debt ceiling.

    But don’t let that one episode fool you.

    As President Obama and House Republicans circle each other over the forthcoming budget cuts known as the “sequester,” it’s a reminder that Congress and the White House have a complicated legislative agenda ahead.

    The big issue, of course, will be the budget and fiscal affairs.

    Can we get our fiscal house in order?

  • Celebrity protection unnecessary, harmful

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    It’s open season on paparazzi in celebrity-laden states as legislatures gear up to protect the rich and famous.

    Most recently, the Hawaii legislature was so grateful that Aerosmith singer and American Idol judge Steven Tyler purchased a home on Maui that it named an anti-paparazzi bill after him.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: What mischief will state legislature produce?

    There used to be a saying concerning state legislatures to the effect that no man’s life nor property was safe as long as the legislature was in session.

    That saying could never have been more appropriate than now, in the state of Tennessee.

  • A blueprint for building a better Congress

    By LEE H. HAMILTON
    A few weeks ago, the survey firm Public Policy Polling made headlines when it released a poll comparing Congress’s standing to a variety of unloved things.
    Respondents did prefer our national legislature to the ebola virus, but otherwise the news was grim: Americans, the survey suggested, have a lower opinion of Congress than of head lice, Genghis Khan, used-car salesmen and root canals.
    I’ll admit it: I chuckled, though I don’t really agree.
    Having experienced both, I put Congress well ahead of root canals.