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Editorials

  • GUEST OPINION: Holiday for MLK shows power of 1st Amendment

    By DAVID L. HUDSON Jr.
    First Amendment Center
    This week, after a federal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., people should take time to remember and reflect on how the First Amendment can better society.

    Without the First Amendment, protesters could not have assembled and voiced their clarion call for an end to segregation laws.

    Without the First Amendment, the press would not have been able to report as freely on civil rights abuses.
    King himself exercised his First Amendment freedoms at great peril.

  • OUR OPINION: Redistricters can expect to feel voters’ ire

    Who can blame Roane Countians for feeling a bit sold down the river in the latest redistricting effort?

    Not only does the plan carved out by the Republican majority split the poor residents of the city of Rockwood into two separate legislative districts, but it also leaves Roane County with two state representatives — neither of whom live in the county.

    State Rep. Julia Hurley of Lenoir City, whose 32nd District gained more of Loudon County in the redistricting, has shrugged off any part in the change.

  • Naked Carolinian wasn’t worst embarrassment

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    A streaker at an East Carolina University football game in Greenville, N.C., produced much more than just a crass — and somewhat dated — distraction during a halftime ceremony last Nov. 5.

    The naked miscreant set off a series of events which led to the firing this week of Paul Isom, adviser to The East Carolinian student newspaper.

    According to reports, he was dismissed Jan. 4 in connection with publication of news photos of the incident.

  • Caution needed when religion, schools collide

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    I remember being called down to the principal’s office at my public high school in spring 1972.
    No, I wasn’t in trouble.
    When I arrived there, I was handed a phone and told to call the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. They had a question for me.
    “Are you Christian?” came the inquiry over the phone.
    It seems that I’d been nominated as a Fellowship of Christian Athletes high school athlete of the year and my times on the track were not enough to shore up my nomination.

  • ‘Sustainable’ Roane County the right move

    From out of the ashes, the phoenix rises.
    While that comes from ancient mythology, there are plenty of examples of great good coming from terrible tragedy.
    Take the Great Chicago Fire that wiped out that then-slapped-together stockyard town in 1871.
    With planning and effort, from the ashes of those wooden buildings rose great skyscrapers and examples of architectural advancement that are still marvels today.
    What does all this have to do with Roane County?

  • GUEST OPINION: Supreme court got it right 70 years ago

    By DAVID L. HUDSON JR.
    First Amendment Center
    In the United States we possess the right of political speech, including the right to criticize our political leaders and institutions. Seventy years ago — in December 1941 — the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that fundamental First Amendment principle in Bridges v. California.

    The case consolidated two separate cases involving different parties and circumstances — labor leader Harry Bridges in one, and the Los Angeles Times in the other.

  • GUEST OPINION: Shoot straight: Kids can, too, pray at school

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    The latest attack on the “godless public schools” — a staple of Republican primaries past — is a new ad in Iowa by Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign proclaiming there’s “something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military, but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.”

  • OUR OPINION: Kudos to nine county officials who get it

    We couldn’t be more proud of the nine Roane County Commission members who carried the vote against a measure that could  greatly increase secrecy in government proceedings.

    Remember these names: County Commissioners Nick Forrester, Copper Bacon, Ron Berry, Ray Cantrell, Benny East, Randy Ellis, Jerry Goddard, Carolyn Granger and Stanley Moore voted “no” to giving their backing to a proposed change to state law that would allow members of a governing body to meet in private — as long as a quorum is not present.

  • To report, journalists must observe

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    I wonder if news magnate Michael Bloomberg really would agree with alter ego New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the nuts and bolts of a free press.

    Bloomberg, the mayoral version, was quoted in recent news reports as saying journalists weren’t justified in complaining about being blocked from witnessing the Nov. 15 police removal of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators from an encampment in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park.

  • Tennessee jail does right by First Amendment

    By DAVID L. HUDSON
    First Amendment Center
    Jail officials in Sumner County did not violate the First Amendment rights of a former inmate when they prohibited him from wearing a kufi, or Islamic head covering, a federal magistrate judge said recently.

    Horatio D. Burford contended that during his time in the Sumner County jail, officials denied him the right to wear the kufi, citing a general ban on head coverings.