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Editorials

  • INSIDE the First AMENDMENT: Is C+ good enough for our freedoms?

    By Gene Policinski

    When it comes to our core freedoms, is a “C+” grade good enough?

    A new “First Amendment Report Card,” released by the First Amendment Center of the Newseum Institute, gives our First Amendment freedoms — religion, speech, press, assembly and petition — a barely passing grade.

    The grades were assigned by 15 panelists from across the political spectrum, some of them experts on First Amendment issues overall, and some who focus on specific areas such as religion or press.

  • From the EDITOR’S Desk: Public deserves answers about fire

    Tennessee has been blessed with the Public Records Act, which provides for citizen access to public records.

    These records include all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, photographs, microfilms, electronic data processing files and output films, sound recordings or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any governmental agency.

    That definition would seem to cover just about everything a journalist or any citizen might want to know.

  • INSIDE the First AMENDMENT: An open letter to We, The People

    Sending an “open letter” to President Trump has been in vogue these days.

    Social activists, business moguls, media chieftains and political leaders all have penned a multitude of them since the November election. Some offer advice, some raise alarms, some offer praise and some just convey insults.

  • INSIDE the First AMENDMENT: First Amendment will work — if we still have it

    Our First Amendment freedoms will work — if we still have them around to use.

    Those five freedoms — religion, speech, press, assembly and petition — have been challenged at various times in our nation’s history, as many would say they are today.

    But the very freedoms themselves provide the means and mechanisms for our society to self-correct those challenges, perhaps a main reason why the First Amendment has endured, unchanged, since Dec. 15, 1791.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Kent Calfee should have signed the petition

    Over the years as I have left one pursuit or another, kind friends have often asked, “Don’t you miss it?” To which I have always been able truthfully to reply “No”.

    However, I have come to realize that there is one aspect of my having a law office in town that I do miss, and that is the frequent visits of old friends just to talk.

    Two of these visitors come immediately to mind. That is Kaney Eblen and Burl Calfee.

  • From the EDITOR’S Desk: Transportation plus, but traffic lacking

    Last week I started the Leadership Roane County program. During the first session our class conducted an exercise to help evaluate the various factors and issues, both positive and negative, that might influence the future of our county.

    The exercise was based on SWOT, an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

    We broke out in teams to conduct the assessments. Despite the diversity of our class, the results were remarkably similar from each team.

  • INSIDE the First AMENDMENT: What is ‘free speech’ on the web?

    Who can say what, on the Web?

    Twitter has raised questions anew with reports of a lifetime ban on tweets from conservative blogger Milo Yiannopoulos — reportedly after complaints that he engineered a wave of racist and sexist comments directed against comedian and actress Leslie Jones, who is co-starring in the latest “Ghostbusters” movie.

    Yiannopoulos is an editor on the conservative blog site Breitbart.com, whose posts frequently create controversy on the web.

  • INSIDE the First AMENDMENT: Reclaiming our common humanity

     Horrific events like the heartbreaking tragedy in Orlando — the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history — bring out the best and the worst in the American character.

    After Omar Mateen murdered 49 people and injured 53 others, many clergy who rarely, if ever, acknowledge the LGBT community in positive terms offered prayers for LGBT people — actually reciting the letters. This one, brief shining moment was both unprecedented and heartening.

  • From the EDITOR’S Desk: Free power comes at a price

    I first saw Altamont Pass in 1982 when I was traveling through Northern California on the road from San Francisco up to the Sierras.

    As the road climbed higher through the golden-grass-covered hills, I was excited about the chance of seeing the Altamont Speedway where the infamous Rolling Stones free concert was held in December 1969.

  • To vegan or not to vegan, and giant debt of cable giant

    The author of your letter of Feb. 17 has written a thinly veiled call to a vegan diet.

    Using Lent as a smokescreen, she cleverly insinuates that animal torture is widespread without sinking to use the term “mule skinner.”

    Is it cruel to ride a donkey? Who rode donkeys (asses) in the Bible?

    Today I saw a TV ad from a group wanting to defend such attacks against farmers and farming. I cannot see a stampede — no pun intended — toward a vegan diet or the general use of phony manufactured fake supermarket meats and phony veggies.