• Holiday season doesn't have to be a big stress fest

    Tensions run high during the holiday season.When high expectations meet the demands of reality, it can dash the brightest moods.

    What can we do to make our holiday season brighter? Change our expectations.

    Perfection isn’t all it’s cut out to be. Let’s aim for good enough instead.

    Don’t worry if the main course came out a bit dry — that’s what gravy is for.

  • Knee-jerking on religion puts freedom at risk

    First Amendment Center
    Much of the news media seemed bemused or bewildered when Sharron Angle warned of an Islamic-law takeover in America during her unsuccessful bid to unseat Sen. Harry Reid.
    Angle was widely ridiculed for citing Frankford, Texas (a town that no longer exists), and Dearborn, Mich. (with a large population of Arab-Americans living under American law), as examples of the imposition of Islamic or sharia law.

  • Lives saved in accident in spite of risks

    Two lives were lost in a horrendous accident on Hwy. 58 Monday morning, but if not for the quick action of passersby, others may have met the same fate.
    We would like to commend Eric Bauer, who was on his way to work as an emergency medical technician for Air Evac when he happened on the wreck.
    He and two unnamed passersby worked quickly to free some of those who were trapped in the fiery two-car accident.
    We commend them for stopping to help people who were critically in need.
    We also would like to implore our readers to be careful drivers.

  • Civility – is this America’s latest lost cause?

    From Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson’s ad in Florida demonizing Republican Dan Webster as “Taliban Dan,” to Republican Sharron Angle’s ads in Nevada demonizing Latinos, negative campaigning reached new lows in the 2010 election cycle.
    Grayson and Angle both lost.
    But since their opponents aired their share of attack ads, it’s hard to tell what worked with voters and what didn’t.

  • Throw up your hands (or just throw up?)

    The water department mess in Rockwood has gotten messier — and just when we thought the city council there had turned the corner.
    Here’s a quick summary:
    After some members of the city council focused attention on municipal utility director Rod King, he filed suit against some of those same people, accusing them of meeting illegally to discuss his fate.
    Last week, the council approved a $75,000 settlement with King, contingent on his resignation. In between, there has been much finger pointing, teeth gnashing and even plenty of back biting.

  • YOU are a winner if you went to the polls and voted

    Did you vote?
    Kudos if you did.
    Whether your candidates were successful or every one of them was beat, you deserve credit for participating in the Democratic process.
    A democracy will quickly unravel if its citizens give  up their freedoms — and their obligations to participate in the selection of their government.
    Voters are the biggest freedom fighters of all.

  • Misusing religion to bash for votes

    By Charles C. Haynes
    First Amendment Center
    Thomas Jefferson may be an iconic Founder today, but in the 1800 presidential campaign he was widely condemned for being an “atheist in religion and a fanatic in politics” who (it was rumored) had a secret plan to confiscate all the Bibles in the land.
    Sad truth be told, rumors, smears and nasty debates over the religious affiliation, or lack thereof, of candidates for office have marred American political campaigns since the early days of the Republic.

  • Nice to be a part of Chilean miner rescue effort

    Many of us talk about being proud to be Americans.
    I hope most of us felt that way for our role in helping the 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for months, get back to their loved ones.
    In a real-life story of nearly epic proportions, the miners were trapped for 69 days in the copper and gold mine near Santiago.
    Americans were a big part of that rescue through NASA.

  • Sophomoric speech is free speech, too

    Some school memories are more golden than others.
    While we’ve all benefited from the good teachers and school administrators in our lives, it’s hard to shake the memories of those who either didn’t teach us very well or treated us badly.
    Students in the pre-digital era pretty much just had to grin and bear it. We would grumble to our friends or complain to our parents, but we weren’t going to get an audience with the school board.

  • Oak Ridge 4-lane a two-way street to prosperity

    Have you driven to Oak Ridge recently? The new four-lane section from the old guard gates to Illinois Avenue has been opened. It is glorious.
    The road is wide and smooth, with generous and clearly marked bike lanes.
    It is a joy to drive, whether you are heading north into Oak Ridge or heading south to Roane County.
    More work is being done to widen the rest of the stretch so that the entire segment will be four lanes from Kingston to Oak Ridge. The work is expected to be completed in 2012.
    This work is good news for both communities.