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Editorials

  • College officials, police denounce legislators’ gun plan

    Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor John Morgan was speaking out, expressing his concern for the safety of students, faculty and staff on college campuses if a bill being discussed in the legislature to allow guns on public campuses is passed.
    Morgan has joined the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police, University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro, and numerous other presidents, faculty, staff and students of Tennessee’s public higher education institutions in opposing the bills.

  • Hopeful signs buoy nation's free press

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    Maybe it's the influence of springtime, but with the change of seasons there seem to be positive signs of a renewal of spirit in the nation's free press.
    In a meeting of the nation's top news editors in San Diego, and at a panel discussion at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill., experts this week expressed new hopes about the future of journalism — citing new technology and new approaches to funding news operations.

  • HUB board makes the right call on new warehouse

    We were pleased to see Chairman Gary Goff and other members of the Harriman Utility Board shoot down plans for a fancy-shmancy $17 million warehouse.
    Even if, as proposed, the utility could have received grants to pay for most of what some were calling the “Taj Mahal” warehouse, that’s  still ratepayers’ hard-earned money that could go for much more needed items in this tough economy.

  • Why offensive viewpoints need to be heard, rebutted

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    By now there likely are few Americans who don’t recognize the names of a tiny Topeka, Kan., church and of the family that makes up most of its members — Westboro Baptist Church and the Phelps family.
    For years, various Phelpses have been demonstrating at funerals — most notably at services for U.S. military service members killed in combat overseas — to condemn America’s acceptance of homosexuality and other “sins.”

  • Conversation over growth is a debate worth having

    We are pleased to see that the community is having a conversation of sorts over growth.
    There has been talk that Roane County’s population increase — slightly more than 4 percent over the past decade — is sluggish compared to others around us.
    This has triggered some debate — at county commissioners meetings, among community members and on this newspaper’s news and opinion pages — over what constitutes good growth and whether we should want double-digit population increases decade by decade.

  • Tennessee a bright spot in Shariah hysteria

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    Recently, I sounded an alarm about rise of Islamophobia in the United States, calling attempts in various states to pass anti-Shariah legislation an attack on religious freedom.
    That inspired a good number of irate readers to sound their own alarm about what they view as my naïve and dangerous dismissal of the threat Shariah (Islamic law) poses to the United States.

  • Why we all need to monitor officials, our government

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    The Tea Party Patriots are divvying up members of Congress.
    The advocacy group is assigning its members to track every member of the House and Senate, monitoring their every legislative move.
    “We have millions of manpower hours and thousands of people willing to do heavy lifting,” Shelby Blakely, the project organizer, told USA Today.

  • Redefining the public's right to know is critical

    This Sunshine Week, a time when we reflect on the public’s right to know and the importance of open government, isn’t it time to address the Pandora’s box left open by the U.S. Supreme Court last year?
    In two landmark decisions — Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and, subsequently, Speech Now v. Federal Election Commission — the Supreme Court radically altered longstanding campaign finance disclosure requirements.

  • Sunshine law changes could lead to darkness

    Good morning, Sunshine.
    It may not be on your calendar, but this week is Sunshine Week, a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants include news media, civic groups, libraries, non-profit, schools and others interested in the public’s right to know.
    The national effort for Sunshine Week is spearheaded by the American Society of News Editors.

  • Sewer rates in Midtown need more rethinking

    Some Roane County wastewater plant customers are complaining about having to pay for sewage treatment they do not use.
    We see another flaw in the billing system.
    Unlike many other utilities, the Roane County wastewater plant charges a flat fee for residential customers — no matter how much waste they produce.
    That means that a family of five — perhaps with two working adults — pays the same as an elderly person who lives along on a limited, fixed income.
    Where’s the fairness in that?