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Editorials

  • GUEST OPINION: Headlight flash can be free speech issue

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    If you associate the First Amendment more with the rarified air of constitutional debate, or powdered wigs and colonial days, try thinking in more modern terms — say speed traps and blinking headlights.

    For most of us, much of the Bill of Rights comes into play infrequently, if ever.

    A few examples: According to a 2013 survey, only one in three U.S. households are home to a firearm (Second Amendment).

  • GUEST OPINION: Putin’s shiny Olympic village a civil-rights ruse

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    Russian President Vladimir Putin has spent more than $50 billion — more than all previous Winter Games combined — to unveil a “new Russia” at the Sochi Olympics.

    But Sochi’s shiny new infrastructure is little more than a Potemkin village, an extravagant ruse designed to deceive the world about the true nature of Putin’s police state.

  • GUEST OPINION: More free speech in the face of bigotry

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment CenterOne of the most difficult times for the public image of the First Amendment is when its protection for freedom of expression means sheltering speech that most people find offensive, degrading or vile.

  • GUEST OPINION: A father makes case for medical marijuana

    By TIMOTHY J. VOGUS
    The Tennessee General Assembly is beginning to consider a bill, HB 1385, known as the Koozer-Kuhn Medical Cannabis Act.  We are strong supporters of this legislation out of necessity — it may help save our son’s life.

    Like one of the namesakes of the bill, Piper Koozer, our 11-year-old son Aidan suffers from devastating seizures every day.   

  • GUEST OPINION: Public notice — a success story for Tennessee

    By FRANK GIBSON

    TPA Public Policy Director 

    Residents of Mount Judea, Ark., woke up one morning recently to learn that their small community is about to become host to a hog farm – population 6,503 hogs.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Curmudgeonly comments on current events

    This week’s contribution is an admixture of miscellaneous comments, mainly on recent events.

    First there is the contretemps in which Gov. Chris Christie finds himself, and his reaction to it.

  • GUEST OPINION: Why freedon of religion matters across the world abroad

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    It was anything but a happy New Year for Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen who has spent the last year in an Iranian prison because of his faith.

    In December 2012, the Idaho minister was visiting his native Iran to help start an orphanage when he was arrested for “undermining the Iranian government,” according to the American Center for Law and Justice, a legal group working on Abedini’s behalf.

  • Put civility back in free speech options for 2014

    By GENE POLICINSKI

    First Amendment Center

    The First Amendment protects our freedom to say and write just about anything we want — but that doesn’t mean we ought to, particularly in public life.

    The difference rests between “can” and “should.”

    Our nation’s founders were no strangers to rude, callous and raucous debate in public life and to vicious commentary, even by today’s “anything goes” online standards.

  • GUEST OPINION: Kid’s speech on religion gets it right, despite adults

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    When children speak the truth, adults often squirm and shut them up.

    That’s apparently what happened to Zachary Golob-Drake last week after he delivered a speech entitled “In the Name of Religion” to his fifth grade class in Tampa, Fla.

    The teacher initially applauded Zachary’s speech, awarding him first prize and an opportunity to compete to represent his school at the regional 4-H Tropicana Public Speech Contest.

    But school officials had second thoughts.

  • GUEST OPINION: Ho, ho or humbug — let’s celebrate our basic rights

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    ’Tis the season to be jolly and of good will, right?

    Responding to holiday cheer with a well-voiced “Bah” or “Humbug?”

    Well, it’s our right under the First Amendment to speak and write in ways that are naughty or nice.

    Let’s stick with that seasonal theme as we move from the Christmas season into resolutions and forecasts for the New Year, and consider the past year and what’s ahead.