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Today's Opinions

  • GUEST OPINION: Tragedies reshape news reporting effort

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    Two national tragedies separated by six years and a day – the April 15 bombing at the Boston Marathon and the April 16, 2007, mass shooting at Virginia Tech University – also are notable in marking how technology is reshaping our freedoms of speech and press.

  • A View from Lick Skillet

    Before we get to the chief thrust of this column, we would be remiss if we did not remind the readers that we are now entering that special time of the year for loyal East Tennesseans, to-wit poke-picking time.

  • Expect more gun proposals from government

    The real reason the background-checks bill failed in the U.S. Senate is because the citizens have come to distrust this president and members of Congress after four plus years of constant lying to the public.  

    Most reasonable people would agree that background checks are a valuable tool when used properly, but this bill had language in it that transferred too much authority to Eric Holder (the thug from Chicago) to enable him to restrict our ability to purchase a firearm.  

  • GUEST OPINION: Flower refusal at gay wedding now legal issue

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    Imagine Robert Ingersoll’s hurt and humiliation last month when his local florist refused to do the flower arrangements for his wedding to Curt Freed, his partner of nine years.

    As longtime customers of Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts in Richland, Wash., Ingersoll and Freed had mistakenly assumed that shop owner Barronelle Stutzman would be happy to provide the service.

    But also imagine the pain Stutzman felt at having to turn down a friend and neighbor.

  • Tired of budget shenanigans? Here’s the answer

    By LEE HAMILTON
    Center on Congress
    With the formal release of President Obama’s budget, the pieces are finally in place for a reprise of the Washington drama we’ve all come to know.

    There will be high-stakes negotiations, lines in the sand, and enough intrigue to keep Beltway insiders riveted by every piece of breaking news.

    The rest of us, though, are already worn out. In repeated conversations with ordinary people, I’ve been struck by the immense frustration I’ve encountered.

  • Alert police could have averted tragedy

    “The best laid plans of mice and men....”

    Boston’s lesson can be summed up this way: many hundreds of volunteers, law enforcement officers and untold numbers of undercover agents WITH many guns and lots of firepower failed to do their only job.

    The brazen act of a terrorist, or terrorists, either deranged or motivated by an as-yet unknown agenda, ravaged the Boston Marathon runners and supporters with a common type of crude bomb. Could even more guns on site have prevented this tragedy?

  • GUEST OPINION: States’ Ag-Gag bill should make us all feel sick

    By KEN PAULSON
    President, First Amendment Center

    Imagine Upton Sinclair with an iPhone.

    Sinclair went undercover in 1904 to document squalid conditions in Chicago’s meatpacking plants, leading to his muckraking novel The Jungle.

    His reporting led to new public health laws two years later.

    In today’s social media world, Upton’s expose would have gone viral.

    Sure, we would have lost a classic book, but just consider the retweets.
    That possibility unsettles some in the agriculture industry.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Debate over future of TVA returns to the fore

    There are times, gentle reader, when we recall fondly a saying often uttered by the great Will Rogers: “All I know is just what I read in the newspapers.”

    In this electronic age, Rogers would probably amend this statement, as we do, to say “All I know is just what I read in the newspaper, or what I hear on the television,” which is your humble servant’s position.