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Editorials

  • Government as an innovator? You bet!

    By LEE HAMILTON

    Center on Congress

    Both government and industry are needed to solve big problems. Collaboration puts us in a stronger competitive position than either sector acting alone.

    Five years ago, the federal government spent $169 billion to fund basic research and development. This fiscal year, it’s down to $134 billion.

  • GUEST OPINION: Vigorous debate continues on First Amendment

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    So, what part of the First Amendment, or the law around it, would you want to change?

    For most of us, the answer is an academic exercise at best. For a few legislators, lawyers and litigants, the response is proposed legislation or lengthy briefs and pointed legal arguments.

    But when the words involve justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, it is cause for special attention.

  • GUEST OPINION: Attack in Kansas not simply an isolated incident

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    “I hate all Jews” was Frazier Glenn Miller’s mantra, repeated time and again by the well-known white supremacist at rallies, in publications and on the Internet over a period of many years.

    On the eve of Passover, Miller translated his words of hate into violent action by opening fire on a Jewish community center and Jewish retirement home in Overland Park, Kan.

  • GUEST OPINION: State’s forestry resources are under attack

    By ALEX WYSS
    Tennessee Nature Conservancy  
    Tennessee is one of America’s greenest states.

    It is still more than 50-percent forested. In fact, much of the majestic beauty that defines Tennessee comes from its trees.

    Our trees provide habitats for animals, nesting for birds and shading for our homes. They are also under attack.

    Tennessee’s beautiful trees are appetizing to many foreign pests that are making new homes in our state.

  • GUEST OPINION: Freedom and ‘magic’ collide in U.S. courts

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    Now you see it.

    Now you don’t ... or don’t copy it, at least.

    Magician Teller of “Penn and Teller” sued another magician in 2012 in federal court in Nevada over what Teller asserted was a copycat performance of Teller’s signature trick, “Shadows,” and his competitor’s offer to sell the secret behind the illusion.

  • GUEST OPINION: Expect fireworks over Hobby Lobby decision

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    We celebrated the nation’s 237th birthday on this July 4th holiday weekend with fireworks of all kinds and colors, but there are some ongoing pyrotechnics around First Amendment issues from religious liberty to free speech.

  • GUEST OPINION: No one wins in today’s religious freedom climate

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    In recent months, legislators in more than a dozen states — from Hawaii to Georgia — have attempted to enact laws they describe as necessary to protect religious freedom.

    Some are broad “religious freedom restoration acts” very similar to laws already on the books in many states.

    Others are amendments to existing laws aimed at allowing businesses to deny wedding services to gay couples on religious grounds.

  • GUEST OPINION: Celebrating two First Amendment landmarks

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    No one I know sent flowers or candy, but on March 9 we all had cause to celebrate the anniversaries of two very different First Amendment landmark moments.

    Sixty years ago, on March 9, 1954, CBS’ Edward R. Murrow hosted an episode of the prime-time television program “See It Now,” in which he successfully exposed Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s mean-spirited and shoddy tactics in pursuing alleged communists in the U.S. government.

  • GUEST OPINION: Something was missed in debate in Arizona

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto last week of SB 1062 — a controversial “religious freedom” bill few Americans read and even fewer understood — may well have been a defining moment in the history of gay rights in America.

    Post SB 1062, it will be politically difficult, if not impossible, to pass laws that are perceived to allow discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation — even to protect religion, even in red states with Tea Party-favored governors.

  • School prayer push more about power than it is blessings

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES

    First Amendment Center

    Never say die.

    That must be the motto of politicians, religious leaders and school leaders who keep pushing for state-sponsored prayers in public schools more than 50 years after the Supreme Court struck down the practice as a violation of the Establishment clause of the First Amendment.