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Editorials

  • GUEST OPINION: Unnecessary profanity law has no place

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    An odd piece of legislation has been introduced in the Arizona Legislature that would discipline public school teachers for using profanity in the classroom.

    It’s unusual on a couple of fronts.

    First of all, there doesn’t seem to be any widespread problem in Arizona with profane teachers. Secondly, the bill uses the standards of the Federal Communications Commission’s indecency restrictions.

  • OUR OPINION: Rockwood city financials need action, oversight

    We hope the residents of Rockwood  are concerned about recent revelations that the city may be over budget and short on reserves.

    City officials there have had full plates with utility and other issues, but the most important of their duties is wise spending of the taxpayers’ dollars.

    Officials seemed unsure where the final talley will fall when certain projects are done and certain revenues come in.

    Hoping to break even is the best option we’ve heard tossed out there, but it didn’t seem like a strong possibility.

  • (Mis)conduct of police should be recordable

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    Imagine Rodney King in the YouTube era.
    The beating captured on a camcorder in 1991 was seen on at least 240 TV stations around the world, impressive for pre-digital days, and served notice on law enforcement officers that cameras could capture them at their best — and worst.
    Today, when laughing babies can yield 42 million views, images of officers beating a suspect would go viral in minutes.

  • GUEST OPINION: Consider freedom during planning for conventions

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    As the 2012 presidential primary season reaches full speed, let’s pause on the politics for a moment and look ahead to the national Republican and Democratic conventions with the First Amendment in mind.

    Republicans will meet the week of Aug. 27 in Tampa, Fla.

    Democrats huddle the week of Sept. 3 in Charlotte, N.C.

  • GUEST OPINION: Support for free speech drops if you hate message

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    Does anybody have a sense of humor anymore?

    The First Amendment’s role in protecting free speech is to shelter remarks that most people don’t like. Words that everybody finds acceptable need no defense.

    In between those two polar points is the daily give-and-take of discourse. The verbal tumult of braggadocio, insults, satire and plain speaking can pass the time of day or give rise to what lawyers and Supreme Court justices politely call “robust discussion.”

  • GUEST OPINION:Copyright law favors Romney in anti-Gingrich ad

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center

    NBC News has asked Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign to stop airing an anti-Newt Gingrich ad that includes an excerpt from a 1997 “NBC Nightly News” report featuring Tom Brokaw.

    The political ad shows the former NBC anchor reporting that Gingrich had been reprimanded by the House Ethics Committee.

    NBC and Brokaw have protested that the use of the clip violates copyright law and exploits Brokaw and NBC News’ journalistic credibility.

  • GUEST OPINION: ‘Evil little thing’ gets lesson in religious freedom

    By Charles C. Haynes
    First Amendment Center
     At the tender age of 16, Jessica Ahlquist has already endured more verbal abuse than most people experience in a lifetime.

    A high school student in Cranston, R.I., Ahlquist has been taunted and threatened at school, targeted by an online hate campaign, and called “an evil little thing” by a state representative on the radio.

  • GUEST OPINION: Newspapers best source for public notice

    By FRANK GIBSON
    TPA Public Policy Director
    When the First Congress met in New York City in 1789, the Acts of the First Session required the new government to publish all bills, orders, resolutions and congressional votes in at least three newspapers.

    A few years later, Tennessee adopted its constitution. It requires the legislature to “publish” any amendment approved by the General Assembly, giving notice that the next legislature also will have to vote on it.

  • 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.