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Today's Opinions

  • GUEST OPINION: Legislative prayers are a murky situation

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    When the U.S. Supreme Court declared legislative prayers constitutional 30 years ago, the justices sent a convoluted message to legislatures, city councils and other government bodies:

    You may open your sessions with prayer, a tradition that dates back to the founding of the Republic.  But don’t exploit the prayer opportunity “to proselytize or advance any one, or to disparage any other, faith or belief.” (Marsh v. Chambers, 1983)

  • Looseleaf Laureate: Early rising better than slow to sleep

    At this point in my life, sleep usually comes easily.
    I’ve not always been so lucky.
    During much of the 1990s, I worked at The Associated Press in Chicago, a busy, 24-7 news bureau.
    There, employees with families tended to get regular, daytime schedules.
    I was one of a handful of single employees who was tossed about the schedule to fill in around them.
    My shift, if it could be called that, changed dramatically from week to week. I worked overnights, weekends, started shifts at 6 a.m. and then, later in the week, 5 p.m.

  • Leadership view depends on your own direction

    The conciliatory effects of the presidential oval office meetings with Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham have disappeared like fog at sunrise.

    A new chill has settled over their relationships as our most vocal war POW/hero accuses President Obama of a failure to lead.

    What he is failing to notice is that the president is leading in the opposite direction McCain currently advocates, and away from continual war — not into the Syrian civil war quicksand.

    How could entering another proxy war in the Middle East help the United States?

  • GUEST OPINION: Freedom to report requires another freedom

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    Freedom to report the news requires the freedom to gather it.

    In the months ahead, that basic concept — so central to the First Amendment’s protection of a free press — will also be at the heart of the ongoing debate over how far government officials may go in pursuit of those responsible for “leaking” classified information to journalists.

  • GUEST OPINION: Graduation prayer fights a lost cause

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    School officials in Lake City, Arkansas have come up with a novel solution to the fight over prayer at graduation:
    No prayer, no graduation.

    On May 6, the school board voted to cancel sixth-grade graduation at Lake City’s two elementary schools.

    The action came soon after the district received a complaint letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation objecting to prayers at previous graduations.

    Rather than drop the prayers, the district opted to drop the entire ceremony.

  • Told HIPAA was why dog could not be found

    My husband and I have been supporters of the Roane County Animal Shelter for several years, both donating monetarily and adopting three pets from the facility. 
    The last pet we adopted, about a year ago, was a robust and active Lab-mix puppy. 
    He is a handful of happiness and love but after a few months we found it difficult to keep him home.
     We live in the county and he loved to roam the woods and follow the other dogs through the yard. 

  • Letter not a lie, writer says, but instead a typo

    I am responding to the individual who questioned the validity of the statements on the Background Check bill that failed in the Senate in my letter that ran May 3.  The only mistake that I made was listing the section as 922 when the proper section was 122(t)(4).  I have copied the exact wording as it is written.  It obviously it does not name Eric Holder in the section of the bill as it needs to apply to whoever the attorney general is at any given time.  The following is the exact wording:

  • AP records seizure an affront to a free press

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    What The Associated Press calls “a massive and unprecedented intrusion by the Department of Justice”(DOJ) into its news gathering activities is more than an affront to a free press — it’s a direct challenge.