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Editorials

  • Salute the Bill of Rights and save on legal bills

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    Here we go again.
    In a familiar legal skirmish, a judge has once again told a local government that it has to remove a Ten Commandments monument from public grounds because it violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment.
    Senior District Judge Maurice Paul ordered Dixie County, Fla., officials to remove the monument from the grounds of the courthouse in Cross City.

  • Bipartisan effort on budget mess is appreciated

    We were pleased to see that Lamar Alexander, the U.S. senator from Tennessee, was one of a handful of elected officials working in a bipartisan fashion to end the national budget standoff that has been threatening to crumble our economy.
    These are shaky economic times, and while blancing the budget sounds good, cutting spending and programs now could easily send our situation into the kind of crash that could wreak worldwide disaster.
    Alexander and his “Gang of Six” senators are to be commended for putting the American people ahead of political lines.

  • Should public officials govern our free speech?

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    There’s not a lot of free speech in most workplaces. The First Amendment provides that government cannot limit our speech, but we don’t enjoy the same liberty where we work.
    If you doubt that, you may want to try to petition your boss for a redress of grievances and then organize a march to his office to make your point.
    Chances are your free speech will end up giving you more free time than you ever intended.

  • Here’s hoping leaders aim for what benefits all

    All the hand-shaking and footwork has paid off, and the governing bodies of Roane County’s four municipalities are now in place.
    It’s almost like a clean slate — and it’s time for those voted into those positions to prove that their campaign promises were more than lip service to attract votes.
    We trust the new officials will provide fresh insight into the operations of city government. Likewise, we hope those voters returned to their seats live up to the confidence placed in them for another four years.

  • Guest opinion: New York protects gay equality and religious freedom

    By Charles C. Haynes, First Amendment Center
    Winners and losers in the battle over gay marriage in New York can agree on at least one thing: Without robust protections for religious groups, the law legalizing same-sex marriages would not have passed.

    Eleventh-hour negotiations between Republican senators and supporters of the bill led to the insertion of strong language ensuring that churches and other religious organizations could not be sued or penalized for refusing to accommodate gay marriages.

  • Kingston’s the place to be on Fourth of July

    This is the time of year when Kingston really shines.
    The preparation for the Fourth of July has been going on all year, but the week before is a blur of activity.
    Crews are out trimming along the lakefront, the American flags have been posted on the main streets. Set up for the thousands and thousands of people who come in for a great, small-town fireworks show — and more — is under way.
    It’s great that Roane County has such an option.

  • Counterprotests best way to deal with Westboro ilk

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    Whatever your thoughts about the controversial Fred Phelps family and their Westboro Baptist Church — and for most Americans, those thoughts are negative — the group continues to find ways to grab headlines and public attention.
    In the wake of the death June 20 of Ryan Dunn, a star of MTV’s “Jackass” programs, in a traffic accident, Westboro promised to appear yesterday in Dunn’s hometown, West Chester, Pa., at public memorial service.

  • Judge’s ruling on copyright not so creative

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    A federal judge in Nevada is dissing editorial writers.
    In a lawsuit filed by Righthaven, a Las Vegas company that specializes in suing alleged copyright infringers on the web, Judge Philip Pro ruled that a 19-paragraph editorial from the Las Vegas Review Journal could be freely reposted in its entirety because the writing was not significantly creative.

  • A good city manager well worth the money

    During the weeks leading up to the most recent election, Harriman mayoral and city council candidates were asked their thoughts on having a  city manager.
    It is an issue that has long been debated in the town, but one whose time has come.
    Harriman has, in recent years, taken a step forward with a city coordinator.
    We believe more progress can be made when it advances to a full city manager — provided the city hires the right person.

  • Allegiance pledge recital not mandatory

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    The Pledge of Allegiance is a simple and clear way of expressing love of country.
    It’s also a voluntary patriotic exercise — declared as such more than 50 years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court.
    Still, some officials or legislatures periodically try to coerce others into reciting the Pledge. A recent attempt involves a Mississippi judge who jailed a lawyer who refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance last October at the start of a court session.