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Steve Barrett

Stories by Steve

If you've never met anybody from Taiwan, you're missing out.

Dear Mittens, Thanks for clarifying things during your swing through the South.

If demonstrated, multimillion-dollar waste isn’t cause to rethink a government program, what is?

Rule No. 1: No matter how academically effective, anything viewed as a threat to the usual way of doing things in public schools is subject to slander, obstruction, de-funding or summary decapitation.

The lifeline is about to be cut.

Wanna know why America is $15.3 trillion in debt? Look no further than the Wilcox Tunnel.

Conservatives just introduced the Republican establishment to the business end of a two-by-four, relegating Mitt Romney to bad second- and even third-place finishes in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri.

Gotta love it when the federal government blames everybody but itself for the misery casseroles it deposits on the nation's doorstep.

The best argument for an amendment making it plain that the Tennessee Constitution forbids an income tax is the all-over-the-board arguments of the amendment's foes.

South Carolina's primary is over, and for all I know at this writing, the GOP nomination could more or less belong to Mitt Romney.

I get it, I get it: Some people think Mitterrand Carrington Lavoix de Champlain Romney XIV is more electable than anybody else in the Republican field. Really and for true, I understand. I hear you.

Mittens Alistair Devereaux Bouillabaisse von Romney IV got almost exactly the same support in Iowa's caucuses that he has had in nationwide polls: 25 percent.

Naiveté that would make the average toddler blush.

Voicing opposition to vouchers, a Bradley County Board of Education member asks, "How can we afford to give any of our money to any private school, no matter what the argument may be?"

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has had some game-losing fumbles, but his campaign ad faulting Barack Obama’s remark about “lazy” America isn’t among them.

News media Democrats who have been falling all over one another trying to anoint "Republican" Jon Huntsman with hilariously undeserved credibility might want to commence kicking themselves:

Any lingering hope that the Occupy Wall Street set isn't infested with sloths and slackers can now be pitched without ceremony into the nearest Cuisinart.

We all have shortcuts on our mental keyboards -- things we see or hear that prompt a predetermined response.

Something close to panic has seized opponents of new teacher standards in Tennessee. Among other things tripping their horror reflex is the fact that tenured teachers may no longer skate by with only two evaluations every 10 years. They're also miffed th

Clarence Thomas can’t leap, two-by-four in hand, to the defense of fellow Georgian Herman Cain. As a sitting Supreme Court justice, Thomas tries to maintain detachment from presidential politics. Plus he’s a class act.

Which is worse: that former Gov. Mitt Romney's health reform in Massachusetts bills taxpayers for the cost of providing even routine, non-emergency care to illegal aliens, or that Romney now claims to be shocked -- shocked -- that illegal aliens gained benefits under the reform?

Chewing glass. Euthanizing unwanted puppies. Watching "Diff'rent Strokes" reruns.

If I may reconfigure a line from “Tommy Boy,” doesn’t it seem that you can actually hear civilization getting dumber?

It was nearly half a century after World War II that I got a glimpse of how deeply the “science” of eugenics had taken root even among individuals who felt sure they abhorred everything Nazism stood for.

Could somebody please make heads, tails or French toast of the objections to building an International House of Pancakes on Gunbarrel Road?

I’d be more open to the claim that the tea party is really most sincerely dead if its critics didn’t keep saying so. Their fidgety repetition of that mantra and their citing of off-point opinion polls allegedly proving the claim suggest they know the opposite is true.

If sanity prevailed, the takeaway message from the hijackings that killed 3,000 of our countrymen 10 years ago today would have been simple: Radical Muslims aren't kidding. When they state with frosty certainty an intent to vaporize us, they mean it.

If a phenomenally irrelevant presidential candidate falls in the woods and nobody cares, why does he get round-the-clock news coverage?

Not since a certain president asked a certain grand jury to ponder the meaning of "is" have I read so stark a case of hair-splitting as one that surfaced in a recent article in the Times Free Press.

I wrote in February that the supposed loosening of the ban on home-schooled students' participation in public school sports was cynical.

Did you hear the one about the lawmaker who scolded the University of Tennessee bookstore about some breath mints because they poked fun at President Obama?

NEW YORK — A hotel maid who accuses ex-International Monetary Fund boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault sued him Monday, seeking unspecified damages as a result of what she calls the "violent and sadistic" attack in a room at the upscale Sofitel hotel.

JONESBORO, Ark. — Marshall Grant, a longtime member of country music superstar Johnny Cash's original band, the Tennessee Two, has died in Arkansas. He was 83.

Listening to the soothing words of our president as America saunters toward debt- and welfare-state-induced collapse, I recalled a passage from Corrie ten Boom's "The Hiding Place."

A letter that the Hamilton County Board of Education should write, but won't.

Chattanooga’s and Hamilton County’s race-based funding practices have blown up in their faces, with suspicions that the Tennessee Multicultural Chamber of Commerce’s financial management is, let’s say, murky. (Read: incomprehensible this side of the Looking Glass.)

The most compelling — and encouraging — thing about the kerfuffle over Rhonda Thurman’s remarks on local schools is not the remarks themselves. By a sensible reading, they aren’t especially controversial. It’s how little traction her critics have gotten in their triumphal assertion that this time she’s gone too far!

An article in the Times Free Press told of a forum on immigration at which a 13-year-old girl tearfully recounted the arrest of her mother. Police had caught the woman driving without a license.

What’s with all the indignant surprise over Rick Smith’s likely ascent to the schools superintendent’s job?

What’s with all the indignant surprise over Rick Smith’s likely ascent to the schools superintendent’s job?

“Child labor” evokes images of 8-year-olds kidnapped by sweatshop overlords or sold by their parents and forced to work in coal mines for bread rations. And in truth, that describes many instances of child labor. So if no one else has done so, let me be the first to propose execution for people who subject children to such treatment.

Why is Mitt Romney still running for president?

“It’s embarrassing for me to talk to people in other parts of the country. I think it could hurt our image down here. We had an image of everybody here being barefoot and bucktoothed with cowlicks on both sides of their head. ... We came a long way [in recent years] to try to diminish some of that.”

Writing a column on the not-so-subtle fascism in the evolution textbook that was part of the Scopes Monkey Trial in Dayton, Tenn., was evidently like clashing a pair of cymbals near the head of a sleeping Doberman. But since Rover is awake anyway, how about a quick follow-up?

It was a raw — or at best half-baked — deal in 2008 when a sharply divided school board extended Superintendent Jim Scales’ contract for four years though he was barely halfway through his first term.

Everybody knows what the Scopes Monkey Trial was all about, right? The forces of impartial science stooping nobly to enlighten brutes and ignoramuses who doubted evolutionary theory.

Not since shortly after 9/11 have we been so vigorously assured that Osama bin Laden’s beliefs and actions were categorically unconnected to Islam.

You lack consciousness, so you won’t care that I’m writing you a letter. But I missed your big day Friday before last, and, well, I just wanted to say I’m sorry to you and to all the people who conspicuously set aside a few moments to seek forgiveness for using your resources.

If, 20 years from now, the post office’s sole remaining duty is pretending to deliver Santa letters, it will have itself to blame.

Recent battles over National Public Radio and a cartoonish, Workers-of-the-World-Unite-style mural on the wall of the Maine Department of Labor are only marginally about liberalism.

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