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Editorials

  • Something you really should budget for

    The major winter holidays — Thanksgiving and Christmas — are fast approaching.

    Those of us with enough — enough to eat, enough to pay our bills — tend to think of these holidays with a mixture of warmth and delight.

    Those who are struggling are likely to have a much dimmer view. While some of us are planning special meals or shopping splurges, they may not have enough to eat, or money enough to heat their homes — that is, if they have homes.

    We seem to have gotten better about budgeting for ourselves as a society.

  • Courts need bridge between media, judges

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center

    As a young reporter, I had the good fortune to cover circuit court judges who didn’t mind helping a rookie.

    I was a lawyer and a reporter, but there were times when my law school education came up a little short. I found judges in the 20th Judicial Circuit of Florida who were willing to provide background and context so that I could write a story as accurately as possible.

  • Reporter’s arrest impacts freedom of all citizens

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    The First Amendment right of a free press to publish the news absolutely requires that journalists be free to gather the news.

    So when police improperly arrest a journalist who simply is reporting at a scene, they do more than violate one person’s rights — they attack our collective, constitutional right to know from a free and independent source what our government is doing so that we may hold it accountable.

  • Student wins religious case against board

    By CHARLES HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    If you wonder why many Christian parents view public schools as hostile to their faith, talk to Michael Ayers — father of a sixth-grader in the Pocono Mountain School District in northeastern Pennsylvania.

  • Does silence equal death on gay bullying?

    By CHARLES HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    Culture wars are returning to school this fall as conflicts over what to say — or not to say — about homosexuality escalate across the country.

    After a spate of high-profile news stories about gay teen suicides (nationwide, six in September alone), school officials are caught in the crossfire in the fight over how to address the anti-gay bullying that has been implicated in some of the deaths.

  • Assembly rights have limits that may be tested

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    The First Amendment’s guarantee of the right of assembly doesn’t necessarily include a right to camp out.

    “The Constitution doesn’t protect tents,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said recently, as Occupy Wall Street protesters continued their month-long vigil at Zuccotti Park. “It protects speech and assembly.”
    Bloomberg has it right, although the quasi-private nature of this particular park complicates things a bit.

  • Jim Hines deserves nod for serivce

    We are pleased to see that Rockwood has fielded an ample pool of qualified candidates for the city administrator job.

    We expect that city council members will have a harder time than usual eliminating candidates to get down to their final choice.

    However, we cannot let the retirement of former city administrator Jim Hines pass without comment.
    Hines served both the cities of Rockwood and Harriman loyally and with integrity for many years.
    We know him to be a man of intelligence and depth.

  • U.S. turned own guns against WWI vets in 1932

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    The “Occupy Wall Street” movement and its rapidly spreading urban echoes are — like the Tea Party movement — grand examples of Americans using at least two of our lesser-known First Amendment freedoms: assembly and petition.

    Regardless of how you feel about either or both movements, they are the latest examples of the role of protest in American politics and society. In the history of protest, there are both lessons to be learned and mistakes to be avoided.

  • Change in libel law increased press freedom

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    Forty-seven years ago, the free press became much more free.

    In New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that journalists may not be sued successfully by public officials for libel unless their news coverage was false, damaged a reputation and was published with “actual malice.”

    That meant establishing that the defamation was published “with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.”

  • Saturday delivery cuts no answer for postal service

    By DONALD J. HALL JR.
    To ensure its future, the U.S. Postal Service must do more than seek short-term fixes to its long-term financial problems. Year after year, the U.S. Postal Service continues to raise postal rates to cover its growing expenses without adequately addressing its underlying organizational and operational issues.

    Instead, it is offering to cut service by eliminating Saturday mail delivery.