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Editorials

  • 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.

  • OUR OPINION: It’s time to pare down to one big Christmas parade

    Nearly a decade ago, an economic report showed that Knoxville had fallen behind similar-sized regional cities, such as Chattanooga and Lexington, Ky., in part, because of leaders’ clannishness.

    Instead of working together for the good of the city, leaders then were trying to stake out their own little piece of the pie for their own communities or interests

    That situation has improved, and with it, so have Knoxville’s economy and attractiveness.

    We raise this point because we fear the same is true in Roane County.

  • GUEST OPINION:What a free press meant when JFK assassinated

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    Inside the First Amendment
    The commemoration on Nov. 22 of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy is also a reminder — a stark and somber one, to be sure — of journalism as some call it: “The first draft of history.”

    From the time that three shots were fired in Dallas at the presidential motorcade on Nov. 22, 1963, that “first draft” of reporting about the tragedy reached Americans in a manner unique in history.

  • GUEST OPINION: Anti-semitism rears ugly head, poisons society

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    Inside the First Amendment
    Americans have long needed a wake-up call about pernicious anti-Semitism that still poisons our society — and last week we got one.

    On the eve of the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht — the violent anti-Jewish pogroms that took place in Germany on November 9 and 10, 1938 — The New York Times published a chilling account of pervasive anti-Semitism in Pine Bush Central School District, located in a rural area 90 miles north of New York City.

  • GUEST OPINION: Privacy issues taking new sets of twists, turns

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    Inside the First Amendment

    Strictly speaking, privacy is not a First Amendment issue. It’s not one of the five freedoms protected by the amendment’s 45 words, and in some cases it even works in opposition to the practical application of those freedoms.