Congressman Duncan, Public Servant

By Ralphine Major “May I help you?” I asked. “Hello.  I’m Jim Duncan, Mr. Duncan’s son,” he said while extending his hand. I was working that summer as an intern in the late Congressman John J. Duncan’s Knoxville office.  After classes ended for this college freshman, I walked from the University of Tennessee (UT) campus […]

Who Can Witness the Execution of a Will?

By Jed McKeehan So you would like to make a will, who do you need present to witness your will execution? Tennessee Code Annotated Section 32-1-104 states that you must have two disinterested witnesses to the will’s execution. What does “disinterested” mean? Disinterested means that the witness does not receive any gift or bequest under […]

The end

By Joe Rector One of my classes read poems by Emily Dickinson. Some were light-hearted while others were much more serious. Students decided that Dickinson was obsessed with death; I didn’t disagree with them. However, her obsession caused these young folks to think about death and the things about it. I could see them considering […]


By Dr. Jim Ferguson With all that is wrong in the world today I sometimes lose sight of the beauty and the majesty of creation. A friend and a reader of my stories noted a sense of pessimism in my Focus musings. I will admit that I am a glass-half-empty kind of guy. And though […]

Fee versus ‘Free’

Fee versus ‘Free’

By Steve Hunley Evidently the Knoxville News-Sentinel has taken up the cause of allowing folks to copy public documents with cell phones.  According to the Sentinel, this is a fundamental aspect of transparency required for the public good.  The Sentinel is commending the efforts of State Senator Mike Bell, a Riceville Republican.  Senator Bell is […]

Tennessee and the League of Nations, IV

Tennessee and the League of Nations, IV

By Ray Hill Tennessee’s senior United States senator, John Knight Shields, had surprised tens of thousands of his constituents and infuriated many members of his own Democratic Party when he had voted to add reservations to the Treaty of Versailles in the Senate.  The treaty was the culmination of months of torturous negotiations between the […]

Merle The ‘Okie from Muskogee’

By Ralphine Major I got as close to the stage as I could and snapped a photo with my instamatic camera.  In those days, I do not think I had even heard of a camera with a telephoto lens or zoom feature.  Satisfied that I had captured the image on film, I returned to my […]


By Dr. Jim Ferguson As I crossed the dark parking lot it happened again. This time I was not threatened, because the disheveled woman who approached me for alms was pitiable and obviously only harmful to herself. And in my heart and mind the conundrum replayed. Should I follow the Master’s directive (Matthew 25:40) or […]

What are the recruits thinking?

By Alex Norman “What does this mean for recruiting, Lane?” That was the line that will forever be connected to Tennessee football recruiting, after a media member yelled that at a fleeing Lane Kiffin the night he resigned in 2010, putting the Vols further down the road to mediocrity. Kiffin’s former assistant coach Ed Orgeron […]

Tennessee and the League of Nations III

Tennessee and the League of Nations III

Governor Tom C. Rye had run for the United States Senate in the 1918 Democratic primary against Senator John Knight Shields as a supporter of President Woodrow Wilson and lost. Rye’s defeat did not necessarily mean the people of Tennessee had turned against Wilson; in fact, had the President written the public letter denouncing Shields […]

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