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Today's Opinions

  • LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: Nervous wreck rides out storms

    Today’s column was to have been on wildflowers ... but this week’s wild weather seemed to need more attention, so I changed directions.

    I survived the brunt of the worst tornado system in recorded history — the April 3, 1974, superstorm that struck Tennessee, Kentucky and adjoining states — and killed 315 people.

    This week’s storms have come close, with sobering devastation in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi. The death toll was nearing 200 as I write this. Many more people lost homes, businesses and other property.

  • Impressions: Survey says ... well, just read on to find out

    “Gasoline prices are nearing the point where Americans are beginning to cut back.”
    That was a headline I saw many times last week during my morning media sweeps.
    Big surprise, huh?
    We all feel the pinch when we pull up in front of the pump.
    Talking heads on television tell us there really isn’t a supply problem or massive demand.
    Even the unrest in North Africa and the Middle East are only blips on the world-market radar.
    Rather, we are told those infamous “speculators” keep pushing up the price of crude oil.
    Whatever the case, it’s cutting into all of our budgets.

  • What would be the best way to help schools?

    Folks, let’s review this promise the Republican Party made to the voters of Roane County.
    Their promise would make the government more efficient and reduce the cost of state government.
    Their first act was to attack teachers and remove their right to negotiate their wages and working conditions.
    We do not need to go back to the old method of replacing teachers because they voted differently than the education superintendent or county executive.
    We need to keep the system of advancement by tenure or otherwise experience.

  • No amount of time will redeem tainted ex-judge

    I agree with District Attorney General Russell Johnson — partly.
    He suggests that former General Sessions Judge Thomas Austin might, over time, repair the reputation of the justice system which he, Austin, is responsible for damaging.
    The operative word here is “might.”
    I believe it is too late for such a miracle to ever occur in Roane County.
    Fifteen years ago, when I retired to this area I heard rumors from many sources of a rogue judge who was far less than upright.

  • Finding family in an unfamiliar place – priceless!

    As a new family of six to Harriman, I thought I would share a few words with you about the community.
    Moving to a new community can be stressful, especially for children.
    We had been here a week when we noticed the streets downtown being blocked off.
    Curious, we went to see what was going on. It was a car show with games and prizes for children and adults.
    And everyone treated us with a welcoming hospitality. The longer we lived here, the more we felt the sense of community.

  • Freedom going viral is potential trouble for dictators

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    More than 2 billion people across the globe have Internet access and there are some 5 billion mobile-phone subscriptions, according to the 2010 Human Rights Report released this month by the U.S. Department of State.

  • LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: Ready to two-wheel the roads

    I have written about my hiking lately. Not counting dog walks and casual rambling, I logged 18 miles on the trail in one seven-day period recently.
    But I believe in diversification, which is why I’m getting my two bicycles ready for riding soon.
    I’ve been an avid cyclist since I learned to ride on my older sister’s navy-blue bicycle at age 5. I never was able to ride using training wheels, not with the classic parental hand steadying the seat.

  • A view from Lick Skillet by Gerald Largen: When thinking of national debt, recall 1835

    As we predicted last week, we continue to be inundated with statements, almost sermons, about the national debt and how some of our right-wing wise guys are going to pay off the debt. To this you, learned reader, may well express some doubt — a sort of ‘I’ll believe it when I see it” type attitude — and your doubt is well justified, as we will now demonstrate: