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Columns

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Use Republican Rule to defer school decision

    Gentle reader, you no doubt recall that Emerson said that ‘A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.’ Events of the last few weeks have caused us to wonder what the great Ralph Waldo would have said about folks whose chief consistency consists of inconsistency.

    We refer, of course to our Roane County School Board for they have proven themselves to be remarkably consistent in their inconsistency.

  • From the EDITOR’S Desk: Class of leaders soak up Roane

    I spent the past eight months enrolled in classes for Leadership Roane County.

    Our class traveled to government offices, businesses, social and health services, entertainment venues and law enforcement facilities, where we listened to a variety of elected officials, county employees and volunteers who work together to make Roane County a great place to live and work.

  • GLIMPSES: History’s best lesson? Common sense

    By Mark Banker

    Fifty-seven years after singer Sam Cooke crooned, “Don’t know much about history …,” that oblivious lyric echoes in our own historical moment.

    Case in point: President Trump’s recent assertion that his was the “most successful first 90 days in history” — a dubious claim that few Americans even questioned.

  • GLIMPSES: Community effort saved courthouse

    By MARK BANKER

    The old Roane County Courthouse recently lost one of its most colorful and influential champions.

    Rachel Parker’s passing rekindled my desire to share in this space the bold effort that saved that beloved historic structure.

    When I left Kingston for college in 1969, it was THE Roane County Courthouse and one of only a few antebellum Greek Revival courthouses actively operating in Tennessee.

  • GLIMPSES: We pay for the past, and the future

    By Mark Banker

    In the Feb. 13 issue of this paper, Roane County Executive Ron Woody observed, “Nobody wants to increase the tax, but everyone wants the service.”

    Our state legislature is still debating the target of Mr. Woody’s concern, Gov. Haslam’s proposed 7-cents-per-gallon increase in gas taxes. But our Executive’s candor is less debatable.

    “Everyone,” he continued, “wants better roads.” The big question, he clearly implied, is who pays for them?

  • From the EDITOR’S Desk: State eyes open government legislation

    Last year the state legislature looked at several bills related to open records and open government.

    This year the legislature is again considering several bills related to transparency in government.

    Several of these bill were referred to committee to be reviewed. One bill that could be up for a vote this session involved the release of records pertaining to investigations of police shootings conducted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

  • GLIMPSES: What will history say about 2017?

    By Mark Banker

    “History never looks much like history when you are living through it. It always looks confusing and messy, and it always feels uncomfortable.” John W. Gardner

    What will history say about our own “confusing…messy…uncomfortable” times?

    Assuming the deep-seated American penchant for conflict does not soon disappear, we can expect observers will continue to disagree into the foreseeable future about the issues we find so debatable.

  • A VIEW FROM LICK SKILLET: Conservatives? Today’s Republicans aren’t

    Gentle reader; For some time now we have heard and read with increasing disquietude the claims of various Republican candidates for various offices to be “the Conservative Candidate”.

    But, upon considering these candidates’ platforms when running, and voting records when elected, we have become convinced that none of them are in fact true conservatives.

  • INSIDE the First AMENDMENT: Admit it: We need First Amendment

    You may think you love the First Amendment. You may get misty-eyed just thinking about it.

    It calls to mind Woodward and Bernstein unraveling the Watergate scandal, Dr. King leading the March on Washington, Voltaire proclaiming, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” (Voltaire didn’t actually say that, but he probably wouldn’t mind that you think he did.)

    But sooner or later, you will come across something that will make you wonder just what’s so great about freedom of speech.

  • From the EDITOR’S Desk: All we are saying is give Trump a chance

    I was proud to see that Tennessee residents turned out with great enthusiasm to greet our 45th president Donald Trump during his visit to Nashville this week.

    I also thought it was fitting that the president spoke at the Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson, a figure just as controversial in his time as Trump seems to be today.

    There have been a lot of comparisons of the personalities of Trump and Jackson, some of which have been discussed in depth by historian and Roane County News columnist Mark Banker.