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Today's Opinions

  • GUEST OPINION:St. Louis case: When is a sign free speech?

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    In declining to review a ruling that invalidated a St. Louis sign ordinance, the U.S. Supreme Court has let stand an opinion that both supports freedom of speech and reinforces the core values of the First Amendment.

    In 2007, Jim Roos had a 360-ft.-square mural posted on the side of an apartment building.

    Its message: “End eminent domain abuse.”

    The city of St. Louis said the sign was too large and ordered Roos to take it down, leading to a court battle.

  • Nuts & Bolts, A discussion of how things work in the news business: Anonymous comment — keep or quit it?

    Recently, the Chattanooga Times Free-Press took steps to shut down anonymous comment on stories it posts online.

    The newspaper is still allowing comment on opinion pieces — editorials, letters, editorial cartoons — posted online.

    Managing editor Alison Gerber made this point:

  • Catholic view on contraception offered by pastor

    I would like to offer some thoughts concerning the recent government mandate requiring artificial contraception to be made available through the auspices of the Catholic Church.

    First, allow me to offer a brief explanation of the church’s position on contraception.

    All Christians recognize that God’s gift of sexual intimacy has a two-fold purpose.

    It is meant to deepen and enrich the love between husband and wife. It is also God’s way of allowing us to cooperate with God in the creation of life in accordance with God’s will.

  • GUEST OPINION: Booking photos — public record or intrusion?

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    The mug shots of recently arrested federal prisoners are private and in most cases not available to the public, a federal appeals panel decided Feb. 22, turning back a request from the Tulsa (Okla.) World newspaper.

    The three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, upholding a district court decision, rejected a number of arguments by the newspaper about the benefits of public access to U.S. Marshals Service booking photos.

  • Nuts & Bolts by Terri Likens, Editor: Suicide — should we report on it or not

    Recently, a well-liked and fairly well-known Roane Countian committed suicide.

    The person was found in her vehicle in the parking lot where she worked.

    One area newspaper ran a news story. We simply ran the obituary.

    Who was right?

    Who knows.

    How and when to cover suicide — someone’s last act of desperation — is one of the most debated topics in journalism.

    Many news outlets believe it is a private affair. To minimize the pain and suffering to survivors, they simply run an obituary.

  • GUEST OPINION: Unnecessary profanity law has no place

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    An odd piece of legislation has been introduced in the Arizona Legislature that would discipline public school teachers for using profanity in the classroom.

    It’s unusual on a couple of fronts.

    First of all, there doesn’t seem to be any widespread problem in Arizona with profane teachers. Secondly, the bill uses the standards of the Federal Communications Commission’s indecency restrictions.

  • Religious leaders shouldn’t get to pick and choose

    The separation of church and state should work both ways.

    The government should not be able to influence church doctrine.

    Religious institutions should not get to pick the laws they will accept.

    To say that forcing employers to provide health insurance, including birth control, somehow violates church rights is ridiculous.

    As far as I’m concerned the Obama administration blinked on this one.

  • OUR OPINION: Rockwood city financials need action, oversight

    We hope the residents of Rockwood  are concerned about recent revelations that the city may be over budget and short on reserves.

    City officials there have had full plates with utility and other issues, but the most important of their duties is wise spending of the taxpayers’ dollars.

    Officials seemed unsure where the final talley will fall when certain projects are done and certain revenues come in.

    Hoping to break even is the best option we’ve heard tossed out there, but it didn’t seem like a strong possibility.