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Today's Opinions

  • 45 words from 1791 are ultimate power

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    The comparisons have already started — police in Egypt attacking demonstrators with clubs and tear gas, and police in a number of U.S. cities breaking up “Occupy” camps with clubs and tear gas.

    If you’re a demonstrator in Cairo or Oakland, any difference between foreign and domestic nightsticks and pepper spray probably doesn’t matter a whit.

  • Looseleaf laureate by Terri Likens: It’s time to list the things I’m thankful for

    With several gloomy days behind us and the calendar’s darkest month looming ahead, it’s easy to feel a little bummed about winter.

    I work to avoid the winter blues, usually with activity and sometimes with mind games.

    For instance, I remind myself that by the time Christmas gets here, the days will already be growing longer again.
    This December has a slightly gloomier edge to it.

  • Feel the glow from Kingston Christmas lights

    Christmas should be a little brighter on Kingston’s main streets this season — thanks to a set of new holiday decor lights.

    The city council bit the bullet earlier this year and purchased energy-saving LED lights in the form of twinkly snowflakes and sparkly, candy-cane-stuffed stockings.

    The cost of Christmas lighting had the city thinking of turning off the old lights for a big part of the Christmas season. That seemed to make everyone involved sad.

  • Nuts & Bolts by Terri Likens: Momma makes a point – and we get it

    A photo of Randall McCain was featured in the Monday, Nov. 7, edition of Roane County News.

    However, if you didn’t know Randall, you wouldn’t have known it was him.

    The photo was used at the bottom of Page 1 to tease to a group of photos on an inside page, and it did not include caption information that would have identified him.

    While we commonly use this technique to refer to other pictures or articles on inside pages, at least one person was bothered in this instance.

  • Who makes the call on prayer before football games?

    Who makes the call when it comes to prayer before athletic events at Roane County High School?

    I am a proud alumnus and supporter of RCHS and its athletic events.

    In my years at school and subsequent years after graduation, it would have been unheard of to open events without praying.

    What happened?

    I have attended all 2011 home football games and all but one away game this season. All away games, including other Roane County schools, open the event with prayer — all except RCHS.

    Who makes the call and why make the call concerning RCHS games?

  • 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.