Inside the Tennessee Senate chambers. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Editor’s Column: Kelsey’s defense of slavery exception fails Four-Way Test

BY: - March 19, 2021

A good friend of mine joined her local Rotary Club several years ago when she wanted to become more involved in the community. I was skeptical at first, knowing little about the organization. I’ve learned more about it and Rotary is a fine civic organization that outlines its mission as a group of “friends, leaders, […]

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett testifies before the U.S. Senate Rules Committee on Absentee Voting. (Screenshot of Senate Rules Committee.)

Editor’s Column: Slatery and Hargett protest too much about voting rights act

BY: - March 12, 2021

Tuesday, reporter Sam Stockard reported Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett and Attorney General Herbert Slatery have both joined their peers in signing letters that announce their disapproval of the “For the People” Act, a voting rights package that passed in the U.S. House March 4.  The package, which passed along party lines — 220 […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Photograph: John Partipilo)

Commentary: How “Niceley” to Advocate Nonsense

BY: - March 4, 2021

Few legislators are as unintentionally funny as Tennessee’s Frank Niceley.  He’s a farmer from Strawberry Plains whose state senate district sprawls across Claiborne, Grainger, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson and Union counties.  The Republican Niceley was elected to the state house in 2004 and moved up to the State Senate after the 2012 election.  His career has […]

Two members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol Honor Guard carry one of the three original Tennessee Constitutions to a waiting vehicle for transport to the new Tennessee State Library and Archives in 2021. (Photo: Ray Di Pietro)

Editor’s Column: Tennessee’s Constitution should be handled with care

BY: - March 3, 2021

On Monday, Tennessee officials staged a parade to move three physical versions of the Tennessee Constitution to their new home in the freshly completed Tennessee Library and Archives building. The Tennessee National Guard color guard turned out in smart uniforms, the Tennessee State University drumline high stepped along the downtown parade route, and the constitutions […]

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JANUARY 15: Demonstrators participate in a protest outside of McDonald's corporate headquarters on January 15, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. The protest was part of a nationwide effort calling for minimum wage to be raised to $15-per-hour. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Bare Minimum

BY: - March 1, 2021

I need a research assistant. I’ll pay you $725 a week. Assuming your performance is good the first year I’ll drop your weekly pay to $702. The next year it’ll be $688, and then $678. In year five your pay is $667, and if you hang in with me for a decade, I’ll reward your […]

(Photo: Getty Images)

Commentary: Cockfighting is uncivilized and barbaric. Tennessee shouldn’t tolerate it.

BY: - February 26, 2021

The origin of cockfighting dates back thousands of years, but it was during Ferdinand Magellan’s voyage to the Philippines in 1521 that modern cockfighting was first documented by his chronicler, Antonio Pigafetta, in the kingdom of Taytay. It’s a grisly and still-rampant blood sport, unnervingly present in the Volunteer State. Most states banned cockfighting in […]

Tennessee House of Representatives (Photo: John Partipilo)

Commentary: Tennessee Republicans’ words cannot be taken at face value

BY: - February 25, 2021

If there’s one thing we’ve learned during the age of Trump, it’s that Republicans cannot be taken at face value on anything.  So when GOP lawmakers in Tennessee claim they are pushing anti-transgender legislation to “protect” girls’ high school athletics, we need only to look at their political records, personal behavior and the predators in […]

Facial recognition and retinal scanning technology. (Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

Analysis: Nashville should ban facial recognition technology

BY: - February 23, 2021

In 2017, the Metro Nashville Council overwhelmingly passed an ordinance 25-2 taking steps to limit the use of surveillance technology by the city government. The resulting law, Section 13.08.080, requires council approval when placing surveillance devices onto public rights-of-way, with “surveillance” covering technology from biometric software to RFID scanners.  In short, the law does not […]

Store shelves are empty of milk and water at Kroger Trinity Commons in Cordova, Tennessee. Memphis Light Gas and Water has issued a first ever boil order alert due to low water pressure problems related to the recent winter storms that have passed through the area. (Photo: Karen Pulfer Focht)

Editor’s Column: The Tennessee-Texas connection extends to emergency in Memphis

BY: - February 22, 2021

The first line of “Blue Yodel #1,” by one of the pioneers of country music, Jimmie Rodgers, goes, “T for Texas, T for Tennessee.” The pairing of the two states is appropriate. There’s long been a kinship between the pair, dating to the 1846 Mexican War. When the United States called for 2,800 Tennesseans to […]

Doula Miajenell Peake (left) walks with her client Jasmine Worles at Shelby Farms Park in Memphis, Tennessee on January 24, 2021. As a doula, Miajenell will support Jasmine with many aspects of her pregnancy and after delivery. ( © Karen Pulfer Focht)

Commentary: It’s time to recognize that doulas are vital community health workers 

BY: - February 22, 2021

This legislative session, Rep. London Lamar introduced a resolution to recognize doulas as vital birth and community health workers in Tennessee. For millions of families who are expecting or will be expecting soon, this would be one of the first steps toward realizing a Tennessee where all expectant parents have access to the full range […]

A pro-Trump mob breaks into the U.S. Capitol on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Commentary: Justice will be found in we the people

BY: , and - February 16, 2021

The U.S. Senate vote to acquit former President Donald Trump for the second time affirmed what most of us have known since Nov. 8, 2016—Donald Trump is dangerous; and, despite overwhelming evidence, Republicans will put partisan politics and personal gain over protecting America’s democracy.  “For those that continue to feign great surprise about what happened […]

Gov. Bill Lee ending his third State of the State address. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Editor’s Column: Altered state

BY: - February 12, 2021

Monday night, I switched on Facebook to watch Gov. Bill Lee’s third State of the State address. There’s much which I disagree with Lee on but having read a preview of the speech, I felt confident I at least knew what to expect going in.  Sure — we are mid-COVID-19 pandemic and Lee had already […]