from Nashville Public Radio ...

“The question is how many of them are working in a job that offers them health insurance benefits that they’ve declined because they were unable to afford it,” Graves said.

The governor’s office thinks about half of the newly eligible population — around 100,000 people — fit into this category. Vouchers will be available to knock down monthly health bills.



This is an outrage! TVA has rebuilt this landfill three times that I know of and it's failed all three times, including a large gypsum spill into the Clinch that I'm just now finding out about. Haven't we the people of Roane County suffered enough at the hands of TVA and TDEC?



Prosecute Torturers and Their Bosses

No amount of legal pretzel logic can justify the behavior detailed in the report. Indeed, it is impossible to read it and conclude that no one can be held accountable. At the very least, Mr. Obama needs to authorize a full and independent criminal investigation.

The American Civil Liberties Union is to give Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. a letter Monday calling for appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate what appears increasingly to be “a vast criminal conspiracy, under color of law, to commit torture and other serious crimes.”

The question everyone will want answered, of course, is: Who should be held accountable? That will depend on what an investigation finds, and as hard as it is to imagine Mr. Obama having the political courage to order a new investigation, it is harder to imagine a criminal probe of the actions of a former president.

Dec 22 2014
05:59 am

Winter officially began yesterday, Sunday, December 21, 2014, at 6:03PM. It was the shortest day of the year.

Even though daylight slowly increases after the solstice, many places don’t see their coldest days until mid-January. This happens because the Northern Hemisphere continues to lose more heat than it gains for several more weeks.

It's been a little colder than what I was expecting. I'm hoping this does not mean January and February are going to be horribly cold this season.

Dec 21 2014
02:54 pm
By: michael kaplan  shortURL

is not necessarily what you get. The box is 4-3/4" x 9-1/4". The tissues are 4" x 8" (folded in half). There's no description on the box, except "2-ply facial tissues" that are "Made in the USA of domestic and imported materials."


Kimberly-Clark has apparently done the same with their Kleenex brand.

In recent months, we have been faced with escalating prices for pulp and rapidly changing energy costs. Similar to other manufacturers, we cannot absorb these increased costs indefinitely without making an adjustment. While one of our competitors recently increased their price by six percent, we chose to maintain our existing price but decreased the number of sheets in some cartons. This direction allows us to offer lower promotional prices.

Also, we recently adjusted the sheet to a size equal to other tissues currently on the market, standardizing the sheet size in the facial tissue category.

Maybe it's time to go back to cotton handkerchiefs.

Dec 21 2014
08:12 am


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Dec 20 2014
10:25 am

More on impact of air pollution

from Scientific American ...

Children whose mothers were exposed to high levels of fine particulate pollution in late pregnancy have up to twice the risk of developing autism as children of mothers breathing cleaner air, scientists at Harvard School of Public Health reported on Thursday.

The greater the exposure to fine particulates emitted by fires, vehicles, and industrial smokestacks the greater the risk, found the study, published online in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Autism Risk Linked to Particulate Air Pollution

Earlier studies on air pollution and ...

USC study links smoggy air to lung damage in children

For Heart Attack Survivors, Living Near Roadways Linked with Death

How air pollution hurts your kids' lungs


Tim Devaney at The Hill - NLRB hits McDonald’s as joint employer

McDonald's argued it shouldn't be held responsible for labor decisions made by independent franchise operators, but labor groups accused the popular fast food chain of "inventing a make-believe world in which responsibility for wages and working conditions falls squarely on the shoulder of franchisees." "McDonald's is the boss," said Micah Wissinger, the attorney who is representing McDonald's workers in New York City. "McDonald's requires franchisees to adhere to such regimented rules and regulations that there's no doubt who's really in charge," he added. Griffin alleges that McDonald’s disciplined employees who participated in fast-food worker protests around the country by reducing their hours and firing others, among other disciplinary actions.

McDonald's is a joint employer. The joint employer ruling is considered by some a veritable "nightmare before Christmas". Franchisers may get in trouble for violating workers' rights but at least they can direct their employees to social services they don't provide them.

Graphic via NELP

Yeselson has it about right on this issue, from the Cohn TNR article below.

If you’re organizing these places store by store, you’re never going to get anywhere—and with the mom-and-pop owners, there’s not all that much they have to give. The big franchisors love it this way. They take a top line percentage every month, whether the franchisee makes any money or not. At the same time, the franchisors legally impose their standards on every franchisee. So if Hilton decides that every room of every Hampton Inn must contain a micro-wave, the franchisees are required to comply—at their own expense. Then the franchisee has to deal with labor supervision and costs.

Also recently NLRB ruled unions can use email to organize and we are still waiting on the Browning Ferris ruling.

Further Reading
NLRB Office of Public Affairs Press Release

McDonald’s Statement on NLRB Actions (12/19/14)

Alexander on NLRB General Counsel Ruling

Jonathon Cohn in TNR Happy Labor Day. Are Unions Dead? An interview with Rich Yeselson

Dec 19 2014
11:30 pm

Back from the Circle Modern Dance annual showcase of Knoxville's creative and musical talent. Two more performances tomorrow night at 7:00pm and 9:00pm.

Be certain to read the fine print. The first dance "My Way" is dedicated to the staff of Metro Pulse not Stacey Campfield.

Dec 19 2014
07:02 am

Happy birthday to the Mr.

Congratulations Randy On Your




Dec 18 2014
10:53 pm

The melting pot, known as the US, is more melted together than we thought. But geneticists are finding surprising patterns.

In the United States, almost no one can trace their ancestry back to just one place. And for many, the past may hold some surprises, according to a new study. Researchers have found that a significant percentage of African-Americans, European Americans, and Latinos carry ancestry from outside their self-identified ethnicity. The average African-American genome, for example, is nearly a quarter European, and almost 4% of European Americans carry African ancestry.

I have tested at 23andMe partly to prove kindship to a potential maternal relative I found and partly to know my ancestry, and yes, my "spit test" is used for research. I found that my ancestry composition pretty closely followed the paper trail I had built for my maternal side, and I was able to determine most of my paternal heritage partly from what didn't match my maternal paper trail and mostly because I had a close match to someone (at 26% shared DNA) that was not on my maternal side, but that person hasn't be able to accept that DNA doesn't lie).

But, I digress. One of the things this study found was genetic patterns in the 3 largest ethnic groups were different depending on which state a family lived.

The new study adds an unprecedented level of detail to patterns that had been noticed in previous, more general studies. For example, the 23andMe data reveals that the proportion of different ancestries, even within one self-identified ethnic group, vary significantly by state. Latinos with the highest proportion of African ancestry (about 20%) are from Louisiana, followed by states such as Georgia, North Carolina, New York, and Pennsylvania. In Tennessee and Kentucky, Latinos tend to have high proportions of European ancestry. And in the Southwest, where states share a border with Mexico, Latinos tend to have higher proportions of Native American ancestry.

A lot of a states history can be found in ones genetic ancestry. But, the bottom line is racial lines are getting blurred, irregardless of ones self described ethnicity. While this is truly a great melting pot, one problem we will see is that doctors will have no choice but to consider the whole person in their genetic glory and not ethnic categories.

Do go check out the full study, it really is fascinating.

Dec 18 2014
04:19 pm

From Yahoo ...

Tennessee: Most dangerous

Not in the Michael Jackson Dangerous way. Just straight up “keep your head on a swivel” dangerous.

What Every State in the U.S. Is Worst at (Including North Dakota at Tourism)

Dec 18 2014
02:55 pm

Eating a late lunch including clam chowder and I started thinking where are best places to get soup in Knoxville.

Shooting from the hip here are a few of mine ...

Clam chowder
Chicken and mushroom
Downtown Brewery

The Egg and I

Lentil and sausage

Part of the problem for me is knowing which day those are being served. As opposed to potato or tomato soup. Which I would probably never buy. Menus don't change much but I assume you can be a lot more dynamic with your soup offerings.

So interested so see what folks have to say regarding soups and where they are around Knoxville.

Dec 18 2014
07:45 am
By: Mark Harmon  shortURL

Richard C. Hottelet, who was the last living member of "Murrow's Boys" at CBS, died yesterday at the age of 97. has a good write up of his distinguished career.


I watched CBS Evening News last night and sadly saw no mention of this story.

Dec 17 2014
03:16 pm

The City of Knoxville says they only got one bid for the Cumberland Ave. street redesign project, and it was more than double their original estimate. The project will be rebid, which will likely delay the start for a few months. More details in the press release after the break...



State Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris introduces the following:

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE ONE HUNDRED NINTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING, that this General Assembly hereby urges the United States Congress to propose the “Regulation Freedom Amendment” to the Constitution of the United States as follows:

Whenever one-quarter of the Members of the United States House of Representatives or the United States Senate transmit to the President their written declaration of opposition to a proposed federal regulation, it shall require a majority vote of the House and Senate to adopt that regulation.

This is apparently the teanut cause du jour. It has also been proposed in Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Arizona, Virginia, Indiana, and Oklahoma.

In this case, it appears that Norris is primarily concerned about EPA regulation of carbon emissions.

I seem to recall from high school civics class that Congress grants the Administration authority to create and enforce federal regulations by way of legislation. If Congress doesn't like a regulation they can amend the legislation.

Also, if I'm not mistaken there is already a process by which Congress has final approval over "major regulations" and can render them null and void by a simple majority vote (unless the President vetoes the action in which case a two-thirds majority can override the veto).

Silly season in Nashville is about to commence...

Dec 17 2014
01:24 pm

Nashville Business Journal: Hemlock permanently closing Clarksville plant, walks away from $1.2B investment

No mention of the $130+ million in state and local incentives.

PREVIOUSLY: But for, maybe not: Hemlock Semiconductor abandons Tennessee factory for now

Dec 17 2014
01:05 pm

The Tennessean reports that Gov. Haslam will hold a news conference this afternoon to announce Candice McQueen as the state's new education commissioner. McQueen, a Sr. VP at Lipscomb University, will replace Kevin Huffman who resigned.

Here's her bio page at Lipscomb...

Dec 16 2014
09:18 pm

"Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any [prisoner]. . . I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause... for by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country." -- George Washington, charge to the Northern Expeditionary Force, Sept. 14, 1775

h/t Digby

The Nuremberg Principles
Principle III
The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law.

Principle IV
The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.

Dec 16 2014
06:52 pm
By: R. Neal  shortURL

Betty Bean takes a look at the school board's business and McIntyre's contract in light of recent AG opinions.


Lost Medicaid Funding

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

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