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Commentary: What does it mean to be a Christian?

BY: and - May 27, 2021

In its most basic definition, a Christian is someone who is a follower of Jesus Christ. And we follow Christ by embodying both the beliefs of the Christian faith by believing in Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection (orthodoxy), and also by putting that faith into action as true disciples of Christ (orthopraxy). But that faith […]

California voters at a protest against Medicaid cuts. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Commentary: Medicaid expansion has never been about money. 

BY: - May 24, 2021

As our legislators adjourn, they keep in place for the seventh year their law preventing their fellow Tennesseans from receiving federal health insurance. Legislators also keep in place the health coverage that they and their families enjoy, subsidized by the taxes of their fellow Tennesseans.  In 2015, Republican Gov.  Bill Haslam proposed to expand Medicaid […]

Tennessee Republican House Majority Leader Jeremy Faison has been a frequent critic of unemployed Tennesseans and supported cuts to unemployment insurance, while accepting $79,000 in federal paycheck protection handouts. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Editor’s column: The real ‘welfare queens’ are our GOP legislators

BY: - May 21, 2021

I’m old enough to remember when President Ronald Reagan created the myth of the “welfare queen.”  In the 1970s and 80s, Reagan and other conservative politicians cited one woman, Linda Taylor. Originally from Tennessee, Taylor was used as an example of how poor and predominantly Black Americans were too lazy to work. “Welfare queens” would […]

Members of the Tennessee House of Representatives mill about in House Chambers. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Commentary: Legislature unnecessarily cruel to Tennesseans facing unemployment

BY: - May 18, 2021

There’s no point in politely dancing around the truth any longer: Tennessee’s Republican supermajority is cold, cruel, and downright heartless.  This is especially obvious when it comes to decisions that affect working families.  As a small snapshot, look at what has happened just in the past couple of weeks. The first half of the 112th […]

Former US Senator Rick Santorum photographed at the 2016 Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Commentary: Tennessee must reject Santorum slights on Native Americans

BY: - May 17, 2021

Another Rick Santorum outrageous statement came and went last month, flushed away like so many of his words.  His claim, however, merits reaction and debunking in many spots, notably here in Tennessee. The former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania turned CNN commentator, speaking at a Young America’s Foundation event, pontificated about America.  “We came here and […]


Commentary: Lost in America

BY: - May 10, 2021

Like many political junkies cooling their heels while awaiting herd immunity, I’ve spent a lot of time this spring puzzling over the present state and future trajectory of the post-Trump Republican Party. Will it transition from something that looks like a cult back into something that looks like a party? And maybe take up governing […]

Speaker of the Tennessee House Cameron Sexton, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, and Gov. Bill Lee in the legislative library Wednesday. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Commentary: Time to enter failing grades for the legislature

BY: - May 6, 2021

This is the time of the semester when I am busy entering final grades, but our state legislature, by its curious combination of ineptitude and mendacity, has forced me to enter grades for it as well.  Our state continues to flunk math by refusing to expand Medicaid, throwing away billions for health coverage of our […]

Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, is proposing a bill that would create a super-court of three judges appointed by Gov. Bill Lee. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Editor’s column: Look away from the shiny objects

BY: - May 5, 2021

The Tennessee legislature is wrapping up the first half of the 112th General Assembly, and it’s been one filled with plenty of shiny objects to distract Tennesseans from crucial and life changing matters.  That the Tennessee legislature is obsessed with matters pertaining to the LGBTQ community is nothing new. I first took notice in 2016, […]

Tennessee State Capitol. (Photo: Ray Di Pietro)

Stockard on the Stump: House Democrats keep Windle from defecting

BY: - April 23, 2021

Already battling for numbers, the House Democratic Caucus kept Rep. John Mark Windle from bolting during an hour-long, closed meeting Thursday. When you’ve got only 26 of 99 House members and constantly scratch and claw for the smallest of victories, losing one vote could mean the world, especially when Windle – who is said to […]

Rev. Lawrence Richardson of the Linden Hills United Church of Christ (right), offers comfort to Rev. Jia Starr Brown of First Covenant Church (left) at George Floyd Square. Photo by Ricardo Lopez/Minnesota Reformer.

Editor’s column: With Chauvin’s conviction, the arc bent a little further, but has a long way to go

BY: - April 23, 2021

As America waited Tuesday afternoon for the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year, I scrolled through my Twitter feed watching for the first tweet announcing the outcome.  A tweet from a 30-year old caught my eye: “Is this what the OJ trial felt like? […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Photograph: John Partipilo)

Commentary: A Modest Proposal for the General Assembly,

BY: - April 21, 2021

I have a modest proposal to make. Why does Tennessee need 95 counties? Think of the efficiencies to be gained by consolidating them into one county. Why does Tennessee need general sessions courts, circuit courts – civil and criminal at that – chancery courts, appellate courts and a supreme court, not to mention the state […]

Knox County Sheriff's office (Photo: KCSD Facebook)

Commentary: Keep a keen eye on sheriff departments

BY: - April 19, 2021

Sheriff departments are a lot more than law enforcement agencies, especially in Tennessee.  In our counties, the sheriff is an elected position—the chief jailer of our lockup, a major employer, and leader of a political power base.  Several recent events in my home county, Knox, offer good case studies on why careful press and public […]