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Tennessee editorial roundup

September 19, 2018

Recent editorials from Tennessee newspapers:

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Sept. 15

The Cleveland Daily Banner on The New York Times’ decision to publish an anonymous Op-Ed:

Sparks of debate will fly till the cows come home regarding The New York Times’ decision to publish an anonymous Op-Ed critical of President Donald Trump’s leadership, as purportedly written by a “senior official” in the administration.

As they are already, reviews will continue to be mixed.

Most will be defined by two partisan perspectives — those who love Trump, and those who hate Trump.

Those who believe in the president, and who support unconditionally his “America First” and “Make America Great Again” agenda, assuredly cry foul at the metro newspaper’s decision to give the essay valuable Opinion page space.

Those who oppose the president, and who have grown weary of his unpredictable style and reckless use of Twitter and tongue, no doubt will cheer The Times’ bold move. They will call it heroic and will use it as a battle cry for impeachment; or, at the very least, will employ it as a tool to assure Mr. Trump is a one-term president.

Both arguments embody the expected, based on the president’s first 20 months in the White House.

Opinions are like noses. Everybody’s got one. If indeed the Op-Ed was written by a senior official in the Trump administration — as claimed by Times editors — then it should come as no surprise to anyone who closely follows the happenings of the Oval Office. Like any sitting president, Mr. Trump no doubt has his supporters and his detractors, even among the very Cabinet membership that he appointed.

Likewise, it should shock no one that within his inner circle the president enjoys the backing of some and the opposition — spoken or otherwise — of others. The key is this: Those who agree with him should do so, and their voices should be heard; those who disagree with him should do so, and their voices should be heard.

On both sides of the fence, opinions should be expressed freely and without an expectation of fear or favor. But all should follow established protocol, whether the communiqué is face to face or through a third party.

And that brings us to our point: We don’t so much have a problem with the contents of The Times’ Op-Ed, as we do the newspaper’s decision to publish it anonymously. Such a decision teeters on the same level of recklessness as some of the president’s infamous tweets, or his ongoing condemnation of a free press.

In our opinion, the Op-Ed writer should have signed his or her name to the document, submitted it to The Times for publication and agreed to stand by its authenticity upon printing. The writer then should have notified the president of his/her actions as the presses rolled, with an understanding that he/she would have a letter of resignation on the president’s desk within the hour . if requested.

...Love him or hate him, President Trump is deserving of the same level of respect that would be expected of any American commander-in-chief.

That doesn’t mean we — a small community newspaper in Southeast Tennessee — condone his every act. We certainly do not. In truth, we continue to be harassed by our own antagonists, thanks to the president’s belligerent attitude in branding the news media ”. the enemy of the people.”

But we do respect the office, and we believe Mr. Trump should be accorded the same courtesies as any U.S. president.

...

For those who love our president, and for those who hate him, the following passage from the Op-Ed piece should garner some attention: “To be clear, ours is not the popular ‘resistance’ of the left. We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous. But we believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.”

The above thought notwithstanding, we still contend the essay’s content is not of greatest importance. Of significance is that The New York Times chose to publish it without a name.

Talk about slippery slopes? That’s about as slick as they come.

...

Online: http://clevelandbanner.com/

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Sept. 19

The Commercial Appeal on the Memphis Redbirds winning the 2018 Triple-A National Championship Game:

The Bluff City has fielded a professional baseball team in all but 17 seasons since 1885.

The teams have gone by various nicknames — Reds, Red Sox and Redbirds, Grays, Browns and Blues, Giants and Egyptians, Lambs and Turtles, Chickasaws and Chicks.

...

They’ve played at various levels (B, A, AA, AAA) in various leagues — Southern League, Southern Association, Negro League, Texas League, and Pacific Coast League (PCL).

They’ve won their leagues 14-1/2 times (including the 1938 First Half Champion Red Sox of the Negro American League).

Only two teams have won interleague championships.

Only one was managed by a guy from Canada named Stubby.

The Memphis Chicks won the Double-A 1952 Dixie Series. They were managed by a former shortstop, the great Luke Appling, a Southerner who played in 2,422 major league games and whose career is enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Tuesday evening, the Memphis Redbirds won the 2018 Triple-A National Championship Game. They were managed by a former second baseman, the great Stubby Clapp, a Canadian who played in 23 major league games, 17 as a pinch hitter, and whose career is forever stitched into this city’s sports history.

Clapp, 45, was a star for the team’s first PCL championship in 2000. In 2007, his jersey No. 10 was the first ever retired by the Redbirds.

He wears it now as manager. Last season, his first as manager, he led the Redbirds to their third PCL title. This season, he led the team to their fourth PCL title — and their first Triple A Championship.

Triple A teams are revolving doors. Players are constantly being called up, sent back, sent down or sent packing. The Redbirds had 62 players last year, and 61 this year, ranging in age from 21 to 37.

As reporter Drew Hill pointed out, of the 13 players who made an appearance in last year’s playoffs, only two were on the roster this postseason. Of the 25 players on the team’s Opening Day roster back in April, only nine remained when the playoffs began this month.

The team’s top three home run hitters and winningest pitcher are playing for the St. Louis Cardinals this week. Two of this season’s playoff stars started the year in AA — Randy Arozarena, an outfielder from Cuba, and Lane Thomas, an outfielder from Knoxville.

Some played more than 100 games here this season. Some — like major league All-Star Adam Wainwright and phenom Anthony Reyes — played only once or twice. Eighteen pitchers started at least one game.

The one constant through all the games has been Stubby Clapp.

Congratulations to all of the Memphis Redbirds, and especially their magnificent manager, Stubby Clapp — 2018 Triple A Champions.

Online: https://www.commercialappeal.com/

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Sept. 19

The Daily Times of Maryville says pollution from Hurricane Florence is an alarming reminder of the TVA coal ash disaster:

A wakeup call sometimes comes in the form of disaster. When it does, the alarm is loud and scary. Just ask our neighbors in North Carolina. The Associated Press reported Monday that flooded rivers from Hurricane Florence’s drenching rains have swamped coal ash dumps and low-lying hog farms, raising pollution concerns as the swollen waterways approached their crests.

North Carolina environmental regulators say several open-air manure pits at hog farms have failed, spilling pollution. State officials also were monitoring the breach of a Duke Energy coal ash landfill near Wilmington.

Fortunately, hog farm pollution has not been a major problem in East Tennessee. As for coal ash, East Tennesseans are well aware of the dangers of landfills that hold the leftover debris of coal-fired power plants.

Duke Energy said Monday the flow had stopped and cleanup work had begun at the retired L.V. Sutton Power Station near Wilmington after a weekend collapse of the coal ash landfill. The power company said a full assessment of how much ash escaped from the water-slogged landfill is ongoing but initially estimated Saturday that about 2,000 cubic yards of ash were displaced, enough to fill about 180 dump trucks.

Compare that to the Kingston TVA coal ash spill on Dec. 22, 2008. The Environmental Protection Agency estimated about 4.5 million cubic yards of coal ash was released into Swan Pond Embayment and three adjacent sloughs, eventually spilling into the main Emory River channel in that environmental disaster.

It was the largest coal-related slurry spill in U.S. history. The volume of sludge released was 101 times the volume of oil released in the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, according to EPA.

The Kingston Fossil Plant had received a total of 6.48 inches of rain Dec. 1-22, 2008. Compare that to Florence’s more than 30 inches of rain that broke all-time records.

AP reported that Duke’s handling of ash waste has faced intense scrutiny since a drainage pipe collapsed under a waste pit at an old plant in Eden in 2014, triggering a massive spill that coated 70 miles (110 kilometers) of the Dan River in gray sludge. The utility later agreed to plead guilty to nine Clean Water Act violations and pay $102 million in fines and restitution for illegally discharging pollution from ash dumps at five North Carolina power plants. It plans to close all its ash dumps by 2029.

Environmentalists have warned for decades that Duke’s coal ash ponds were vulnerable to severe storms, potentially threatening drinking water supplies and public safety.

“Duke Energy should learn its lesson from this latest coal ash failure, and pledge today that it will remove all its coal ash from dangerous unlined riverfront pits,” Frank Holleman, a senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center, told the AP. “If Duke Energy’s newly designed and built landfill cannot withstand floodwaters, there is even more reason to fear Duke Energy’s continued disposal of coal ash in unlined riverfront pits.”

Lesson learned in North Carolina? They’ll see. As for Tennessee, we can only hope — and have the right to demand — that TVA has taken its own massive coal ash disaster as motivation to embrace the words: Never again.

Online: https://www.thedailytimes.com/

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