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Today's Opinions

  • Thanks be to God for separation of church and state

    Thanksgiving and Independence Day are America’s two most important holidays.

    Christmas and Easter are Christian holidays and not unique to America.

    That first Thanksgiving, Nov. 26, 27 and 28, by the surviving Pilgrims, has inspired me to be thankful.

    A year previous, Nov. 21, 1620, the Mayflower had anchored off the coast of Massachusetts. It had been a hard year. Forty people had died, and of the 55 remaining, only four were women.

    An early drought had threatened their crops, which ended after a time of special prayer, and they received a good harvest.

  • Chilling power of GPS surveillance tested in court

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    The First Amendment was not in plain sight Nov. 8 when the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments over a drug conviction involving police use of a hidden GPS tracking device without a search warrant.

    But the Court’s decision — expected next spring — will have implications for our First Amendment rights of association and free speech, owing to a legal concept called “practical obscurity.”

  • Off the Cuff: Allen’s life was short, but he continues to make a big impact

    I don't remember Allen. At all.

    My memories of this stellar young man are those my parents shared with me. Their rollercoaster relationship, abruptly halted with my mother's death in April 2005, was fraught with disagreements. There were two things, however, on which they steadfastly agreed:

    They loved my sister and me, and they loved Allen.

  • Trip to Va. Creeper Trail worth the effort

    Whitetop Mountain. 
    A bicycle.
    Those in the know will realize these are references to the Virginia Creeper Trail — 34 miles of bike path between Damascus and Abingdon in the Old Dominion state.
     I’m hurtling downhill toward a slick, frost-covered, wooden trestle. One application of the brakes or a single moment of imbalance while crossing it and the consequences could be dire.
    Sounds like it could be a metaphor for my life, but let’s not go there.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET by Gerald Largen: Two E. Tenn. productions: Landry book and stack cake

    While the efflorescence of spring in East Tennessee is beyond compare, the glories of autumn are not far behind in colourful beauty.

    To our eye, the leaves this year have been outstanding. This natural beauty is just one factor, however, that makes us among earth’s luckiest creatures.

    Other factors include the culture of our people — our customs, our traditions, our character. One of these traditions is our food and drink.

  • How to cope after losing child to drug overdose

    It’s been 10 years since we lost our son, Josh, to an overdose of morphine and methadone.

    Sept. 22 was a tough day. Josh would have been 30 years old on that date.

    We were dark, down in our hearts remembering our Josh. But on that very day, a phone call came from a woman who had lost her son two and a half weeks previously from a prescription overdose.

    She was reaching out to someone who understood and shared her anguish.

    “When will I stop crying?”

    “When will I feel better?”

  • Something you really should budget for

    The major winter holidays — Thanksgiving and Christmas — are fast approaching.

    Those of us with enough — enough to eat, enough to pay our bills — tend to think of these holidays with a mixture of warmth and delight.

    Those who are struggling are likely to have a much dimmer view. While some of us are planning special meals or shopping splurges, they may not have enough to eat, or money enough to heat their homes — that is, if they have homes.

    We seem to have gotten better about budgeting for ourselves as a society.

  • A very, very carbon-neutral Christmas

    By RICH LOWRY
    Special to Roane County News
    The great Christmas-tree debate should be settled for now.

    No more agonizing over artificial versus natural, not after the sustainable-development firm ellipsos released a bombshell study.