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Editorials

  • 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.

  • GUEST OPINION: Some thoughts to make the president better

    By LEE HAMILTON
    Center on Congress
    Before the ins and outs of the 2016 presidential contest become a preoccupation for many of us, it seems a good time to step back and look at the office of the presidency for which so many candidates are vying.

    The presidency inherited by whoever wins next November will be substantially changed from the position his or her predecessors occupied a few decades ago.

    The president is now the chief — and sometimes the sole — actor in American government.

  • $10,000 for council tablets waste of money

    The Harriman City Council is considering forking over $10,000 for computer tablets to get electronic versions of agendas and other documents involving city business. (See story in today's Roane County News)

    Our response?

    OUCH!

    Has it not been drummed into our — and their — heads that these are tight budget times?

  • GUEST OPINION: Congress may finally be on the right path

    By LEE HAMILTON
    Center on Congress
    There have been encouraging signs on Capitol Hill of late that Congress’s long slide into irrelevance may be slowing.

    Agreements on Medicare reimbursements in both houses, and on Iran, No Child Left Behind, Pacific trade and other issues in various committees this spring led to a chorus of relieved approval both in Washington and in the press.

  • Taking a minute to speak out

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    What would you say if you got 60 seconds to speak to the world?

    At noon recently, on a hot and muggy day in the heart of Washington, D.C., the world heard everything from birthday wishes to a call to national action in education and housing to a reminder that developed nations need to pay attention to violence and poverty in small African nations.

  • GUEST OPINION: A look at the news with freedom’s eye

    By GENE POLICINSKI

    First Amendment Center

    The public furor and the televised flames that reached from Ferguson to Baltimore over the last 10 months have faded — for now — from the headlines.

    For some, though, consideration of what happened and how the news of those events was reported remains very much in mind — an aspect of First Amendment freedoms we don’t often consider.

  • GUEST OPINION: Love reporters, but hold them accountable

    By LEE HAMILTON

    Center on Congress

    A robust, inquisitive congressional oversight process should be capable of revealing what is too often hidden, but it’s not. We need journalists to do it.

    I have been involved in politics and policy-making for over 50 years, and as you can imagine, I hold strong feelings about reporters and the media.

    They’re not what you might think, however.

  • GUEST OPINION: Learning to be a citizen

    Solving problems in our democracy requires bringing different points of view together, talking face-to-face with others who may differ with you, and learning that these differences can exist without personal animosity.

    The question usually comes toward the end of a public meeting. Some knotty problem is being discussed, and someone in the audience will raise his or her hand and ask, “OK, so what can I do about it?”

    I love that question. Not because I’ve ever answered it to my satisfaction, but because it bespeaks such a constructive outlook.