Supreme Court blocks North Carolina voter ID law

The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to reinstate a 2013 North Carolina law that required voters to show photo identification at the polls.  

In a 4-4 split decision, the court said it would not hear a challenge to a 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that struck down parts of the law.

PREVIOUSLY: "Smoking Gun"

Aug 31 2016
04:13 pm

There are some ok tours of Knoxville, I think we have big possibilities for expansion of tours.

Some cool approaches to tours in other cities ...

Austin, Texas running tours

Downtown Yoga Tour, Asheville, North Carolina
Yogini yoga tour

City Tour Led by Homeless Guide, London, England
Take A Walking Tour Of London, Led By Homeless Guides

How about electric bicycle tours?

The Worst Tours (Goes to decrepit downtrodden areas of city and explains what was there, what happened, plans, etc.)
The Worst Tours

How about a tour of just art in the city, the alley art, etc. basically various types of art throughout the urban area. Not necessarily museums.


What: City offers class on starting neighborhood organizaations
When: Thursday, September 8, 2016 - 6:00pm
Where: United Way Building, 1301 Hannah Ave.

Press release...


The City of Knoxville’s Office of Neighborhoods is offering a September workshop on how to start a neighborhood organization in the city.

“There are 125 neighborhood groups registered with the Office of Neighborhoods, but there are many city neighborhoods that have no organization and therefore no vehicle for addressing neighborhood problems and opportunities,” noted David Massey, the City’s Neighborhood Coordinator.

“The City provides support to neighbors who wish to get organized to make community improvements and build a sense of community. We are holding this workshop not only for individuals who are ready to get something started, but also for those folks who would just like to explore the idea.”

The workshop will focus on starting a voluntary neighborhood organization, not the type of homeowner association (HOA) with mandatory dues and covenants.

The class will be held at the United Way Building, 1301 Hannah Avenue from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. The class is free, but participants are asked to register in advance. To register and find out about the class location and other details, contact Massey at 865-215-3232 or

For a list of city neighborhood groups and other resources offered by the Office of Neighborhoods, check out the website at

Aug 30 2016
03:25 pm

Thought these are pretty good lists ...

How to Transform a Waterfront

10 Qualities of a Great Waterfront Destination

from Project for Public Spaces ...

Great waterfronts are not dominated by residential development. Why? Because these are places that are full of people, day and night. They are the sites of festivals, markets, fireworks displays, concerts, spontaneous celebrations and other high-energy gatherings. A high concentration of residential development undermines the diversity of waterfront use and creates pressure to prevent nighttime activity from flourishing.

Aug 30 2016
12:37 pm

CNN Money: ITT Tech stops all new student enrollment

"ITT is effectively out of business," said Peter Appert, managing director senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray & Co, who follows ITT. "I don't see any way they survive this."

Along with cutting off some access to federal money, the federal government is also requiring the company to increase its cash reserves and provide a letter of credit showing sufficient funding.

Shares of the publicly traded for-profit technical school company have lost about 80% of their value since last week, currently trading at around 36 cents off last week's price of $2 and a 52 week high of $4.10. Shares were trading around $130 in 2009.

ITT Technical Institute has a campus in Knoxville. They recently boasted "over 140 locations nationwide in over 35 states."

RELATED: USDOE: Department of Education Bans ITT from Enrolling New Title IV Students, Adds Tough New Financial Oversight


This looks pretty good on the surface.

I would like to see educating the students as part of coursework coordinated with it.

It seems like an organized program where the Knox County Election Commission makes a visit to each school over the months preceeding elections, not just presidential ones, and provides sample ballots, information on voting locations in the particular school's area, early and normal election day. Explains early voting. Brief explanations about primaries. Then the schools can give a simple test of the basics covered in the presentation, whereas students get an extra credit points for a class. The test would be made for each grade and the same test for each school.

from ...

Students from the preschool level through high school are eligible to participate and can do so whether attending public schools, private schools or home schooling.

170 schools to take part in Tenn.’s first ‘Student Mock Election’

Looks good. Lesson plans, essay suggestions. Good stuff.

Tennessee Student Mock Elections

Aug 28 2016
11:11 am

An intense thunderstorm with high winds rolled through Maryville and Alcoa last night causing downed trees, power outages and some structural damage. Most of the damage seemed related to downed trees.

Areas around downtown Maryville, Maryville College, Court St. and Washington St. appeared to be hardest hit. There was a traffic signal pole down at the intersection of 321 and Washington. In Alcoa, there were a few trees down and damage to the sign at Big Lots on Hall Rd.

The Maryville Daily Times reported 7000 customers without power in Maryville and 900 without power in Alcoa last night. There are utility crews out in large numbers this morning. Click the above image for some photos...

Aug 28 2016
08:26 am

The next goobernatorial election won't be held until 2018, but it isn't too early to start recruiting. Looking at the bench for both parties, who are the standouts? Here are some that come to mind:

Democrats: Madeline Rogero, Kim McMillan, Sara Kyle, Andy Berke

Republicans: Tim Burchett, Randy Boyd

Who else?

Aug 28 2016
08:10 am

Academic researchers suggest we watch what happens in 20 swing counties in 11 states where the 2016 Presidential Election could be decided:

  • Ohio: Hamilton County
  • Pennsylvania: Lackawanna, Luzerne, Bucks, Chester and Wilkes Barre Counties
  • Florida: Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties
  • Wisconsin: Brown, Winnebago and Racine Counties
  • Iowa: Bremer County
  • New Hampshire: Hillsborough township
  • Nevada: Clark County
  • Virginia: Prince William County
  • North Carolina: Wake County
  • New Mexico: Bernalillo and Dona Ana Counties
  • Colorado: Arapahoe and Jefferson Counties

Forget Swing States: The Presidential Election Will Be Determined by 20 Swing Counties in Linchpin States


Looks good

from ...

Groups of hospitals, doctors and other health providers that agree to coordinate patient care as part of an Obamacare program generated $466 million in savings to the federal Medicare program in 2015, officials said Thursday.

"Collectively, Medicare Accountable Care Organizations have generated more than $1.29 billion in total Medicare savings since 2012," the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Thursday.

Obamacare accountable care programs rang up $466 million in Medicare savings last year

Physicians and health care providers continue to improve quality of care, lower costs

Aug 26 2016
04:09 pm

Data visualization gone wild

from ...

The electorate is increasingly divided by race, education, gender and generation, and these fissures could grow even wider in the 2016 election. Below, new estimates of turnout and support for more than 8,000 different groups.

The Voting Habits of Americans Like You

There Are More White Voters Than People Think. That’s Good News for Trump.

Aug 26 2016
02:44 pm

Today, on Women's Equality Day, a monument commemorating the ratification of the 19th Amendment was unveiled at Centennial Park in Nashville. Tennessee was the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment in 1920, and their passage secured the right to vote to all women citizens of the USA.

Featured speakers included Mayor Madeline Rogero, Nashville Metro Mayor Megan Barry, Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan, Rep. Brenda Gilmore, among others.

Alan LeQuire's bronze sculptures of suffragists Carrie Chapman Catt, Anne Dallas Dudley, Abby Crawford Milton, Frankie Pierce and Sue Shelton White will grace a permanent space in Centennial Park adjacent to the Parthenon following the park's renovation. His bronzes of suffragists are also featured in Knoxville's Market Square.

Video of the speeches and unveiling here: (link...)

Aug 26 2016
06:29 am

Mark Harmon's column today provides the reasons to vote for Democratic candidates.

Carry this with you if you need a reminder.


A Maryville police officer was shot and killed today. Because they were close by, the officer and a Blount County deputy, both members of the 5th Judicial District Drug Task Force, responded to a domestic violence call in Alcoa.

When they exited their vehicle, the perpetrator had exited the house, armed with a firearm, and began shooting."

The Maryville Daily Times had an editorial today on the increase in domestic violence. "War is still hell on home front"

The officer has three children. Very sad.

WATE story.

Aug 25 2016
06:32 pm

Knox County officials and community partners broke ground today on a new "all-inclusive" playground in Karns...

From the Knox Co. Mayor's Office:

The Karns Lions Club All-Inclusive Playground is intended for children and families of all abilities and will include equipment and accommodations for those with physical disabilities. In addition to more traditional-style playground equipment, the park will include musical instruments that anyone can play but that are specifically designed for the blind. The instruments will be provided by the East Tennessee Lions Eye Bank.

Once constructed, the playground will be the culmination of the hard work of the Karns Lions Club and members of the Karns Community. Corporate partners Pilot Flying J and Smithbilt Homes helped make the park a reality, as did a $50,000 contribution from Knox County.

Aug 25 2016
08:21 am

Sean Wilentz wrote an article for the Rolling Stone, Hillary's New Deal. How a Clinton presidency would carry on the Democratic Party's progressive traditions and transform America.

Sean Wilentz is "the George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History at Princeton University" and a Clinton supporter.

Hillary Clinton has launched a mainstream progressive campaign, in an updated Democratic tradition that stretches back to Franklin D. Roosevelt.
"The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation," FDR declared in 1932. "It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another."
Democratic politics at their most fruitful have always been more improvisational than programmatic, more empirical than doctrinaire, taking on an array of issues, old and new, bound by the politics of Hope pressing against the politics of Nostalgia. So it was with FDR and Truman, so it has been with Barack Obama, and so it would be with Hillary Clinton.


I wonder how it is in the Knoxville area.


Last year police were called to the store and three other Tulsa Wal-Marts just under 2,000 times. By comparison, they were called to the city’s four Target stores about 300 times.

"The constant calls from Walmart are just draining," say Bill Ferguson, a police captain in Port Richey, Fla.

Walmart's Out-of-Control Crime Problem is Driving Police Crazy


The State of Tennessee has approved a 62% rate increase for Blue Cross Blue Shield individual policies, including policies purchased through the ACA exchange. Small group policy rates are only going up 6.5%

This is a grift perpetrated by Republicans in Congress and our TNGOP state legislators. They are out to destroy Obamacare by allowing insurance companies to segment risk pools, and the TNGOP has blocked Medicaid expansion which is costing our state, and yes our insurers and providers, billions. Guess who pays? (See previous rant here.)

The insurance companies and their GOP pals have succeeded in planting a poison pill in the ACA bill the insurance companies helped write. And they didn't even count on the bonus Supreme Court decision allowing states to opt out of Medicaid expansion. I'm guessing they partied hard the night that decision was announced. And so did the TNGOP.

This is seriously messed up. Talk about "rigged systems."

OK, then.


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To date, the failure to expand Medicaid/TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding. (Source)

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