Nov 27 2015
09:18 am

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that doctors are apparently not satisfied with Gov. Halsam's 2011 tort "reform" laws that limit damages in medical malpractice lawsuits. They now want a state constitutional amendment protecting the limits and allowing the state legislature to set them.

Going even further, another group wants a new law that would remove malpractice cases from the courts altogether and instead have them decided by a panel appointed by Gov. Haslam and state legislators. Sen. Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) and Rep. Glen Casada (R-Franklin) are sponsoring a bill to implement this scheme.

On the constitutional amendment, the president of the Tennessee Medical Association says "I'm confident Tennessee voters will support it if given the chance to have their voices heard." I wonder about that. Will voters support it when it is explained to them that tort "reform" limits their ability to get justice and fair compensation, nullifies judges and juries, and protects doctors who are largely self-regulated?

Proponents of the malpractice panel scheme say "defensive" medicine is costing consumers and the state billions. I wonder how they come up with their numbers, but so what? I think I want my doctor doing whatever he/she thinks is necessary to diagnose and treat whatever might be wrong. Good doctors will do that anyway. Absent adequate oversight, fear of malpractice claims is the last line of defense against marginal doctors.

A Tennessee court ruled in March of this year that the state's tort "reform" limits are unconstitutional.

Nov 26 2015
08:56 am

Who wants pie?

Nov 25 2015
06:16 am

Maybe it hasn't been reported or maybe I missed the news stories, but it would appear more information is needed before the community can support a new Safety Center.

In a recent KNS news story, it was reported, Randy Nichols, counsel to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office "estimates [a new Safety Center] could cost as little as $10-15 per person, per day. Keeping a single inmate incarcerated in Knox County runs up to $80 a day." The article goes on to say the costs of medicine to the county would be a lot less, county inmate populations would be reduced and additional county inmate pods would not need to be built.


Nov 24 2015
12:43 pm

I assume there is a map provided. It looks like Knoxville may be doing better. I think we have not done enough in the past with the Civil War history in the area.

from Visit Knoxville ...

This self-guided tour highlights Knoxville’s Civil War history including stops at General Longstreet’s headquarters, Fort Dickerson, and the site of the Battle of Fort Sanders to name a few. Stop in to the Knoxville Visitor Center to pick up a brochure.

Civil War Driving Tour

Nov 24 2015
11:54 am

Apparently, people whose names are on terrorist watch lists can legally pass background checks and purchase guns in the United States. Who would have thunk it? As noted in this AP article: "According to a March analysis by the Government Accountability Office, people on the FBI's consolidated Terrorist Watchlist successfully passed the background check required to purchase firearms more than 90 percent of the time, with more than 2,043 approvals between 2004 and 2014." According to the article, the FBI is alerted when this happens, but you know, that's a classic case of closing the barn door after the horse has bolted.


Nov 24 2015
09:19 am

Local attorney Lance Baker has filed a $5 million federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of his client, Louis Flack, against Knox County and several Knox County Sheriff's Department current and former employees.

The lawsuit alleges that Flack, who is mentally ill, was "brutally assaulted and beaten by no fewer than five Corrections Officers or Deputies" while being held at the Knox Co. Jail on charges that were subsequently dismissed. According to the complaint, Flack was seriously injured through the use of excessive force and cruel and unusual punishment. There are also allegations of a "cover-up."

The lawsuit further alleges that three of the corrections officers "suffer or suffered from mental, emotional, or psychological distress to the extent they should not have been entrusted with responsibilities to interact with inmates in the general jail population, much less inmates who suffer from serious mental illness," and notes the general lack of training for corrections officers in dealing with mentally ill inmates. It also mentions Sheriff JJ Jones on the record as saying that an alternative treatment center is needed to reduce the County's "risk of extensive and expensive litigation regarding jail conditions."

Flack is seeking compensatory and punitive damages of up to $5 million and a jury trial.

The lawsuit: Louis W. Flack v. Knox County et al.

PREVIOUSLY: Sheriff's office stonewalling jail beating victim's lawyers?

SEE ALSO: WBIR report...


Betty Bean reports that six Knox County high schools have received "failing" scores on the state's TVAAS tests. L&N STEM Academy is one of them. Bearden is also on the list, after receiving top scores of '5' in the previous two testing periods.

Are schools failing the tests, or are tests failing the schools?

Question: Does a 'failing' designation make schools eligible for takeover by a local or state run charter? Or the state "achievement school district?"

Betty Bean: Six KCS High Schools Ranked 'Failing' By State

RELATED: Mike Donila: BOE members' evaluation tell two tales of superintendent

Nov 23 2015
10:30 am

The Foo Fighters have released their five song EP Saint Cecilia for free streaming/download. Click here, click 'download', choose MP3, WAV or FLAC format. The FLAC files are hi-def 24/192.

In a statement following the Paris attacks, Dave Grohl said "Now, there is a new, hopeful intention that, even in the smallest way, perhaps these songs can bring a little light into this sometimes dark world. To remind us that music is life, and that hope and healing go hand in hand with song. That much can never be taken away."


from CNN ...

There is a "massive cushion" of crude oil around the world, with global stockpiles sitting at a record 3 billion barrels, according to the International Energy Agency.

A stunning 487 million barrels of crude is sitting in U.S. inventories, levels unseen at this time of the year in the last 80 years, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Epic oil glut sparks super tanker 'traffic jams' at sea

Nov 22 2015
02:07 pm

I don't know where to start...


Nov 22 2015
03:59 am

In today's NYT Alec MacGillis takes a revealing look at a puzzle that's kept our puzzlers puzzling.
Who Turned My Blue State Red?

In eastern Kentucky and other former Democratic bastions that have swung Republican in the past several decades, the people who most rely on the safety-net programs secured by Democrats are, by and large, not voting against their own interests by electing Republicans. Rather, they are not voting, period. They have, as voting data, surveys and my own reporting suggest, become profoundly disconnected from the political process.

The people in these communities who are voting Republican in larger proportions are those who are a notch or two up the economic ladder — the sheriff’s deputy, the teacher, the highway worker, the motel clerk, the gas station owner and the coal miner. And their growing allegiance to the Republicans is, in part, a reaction against what they perceive, among those below them on the economic ladder, as a growing dependency on the safety net, the most visible manifestation of downward mobility in their declining towns.


There's this article announcing a $7.9 million FCC Telehealth grant for Tennessee. Sounds like a good thing but seems odd that this is being announced by "Governor Phil Bredesen" in the official release. Is this satire? Or is the proper designation for a former governor?

Nov 21 2015
06:40 am

What: Foothills Craft Guild Annual Show
When: Saturday, November 21, 2015 - 10:00am
Where: Chilhowee Park, Jacob Building

Join the Foothills Craft Guild for a showing of fine arts and crafts by the many artists on display this weekend. Absolutely gorgeous craftsmanship.

Jacob Building
Chilhowee Park
Going East on Magnolia Avenue, past Cherry Street, take a left on Lakeside Street. Buddy's Bar-B-Q will be on the far right corner.

Free parking.

$8 admission
Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015 - 10 AM to 6 PM
Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015 - 11 AM to 5 PM


Mayor Rogero took exception to a column by Victor Ashe in this week's Shopper that had some rather harsh criticism of one of her staff regarding greenway construction. (Here's the column.)

Mayor Rogero emailed Victor Ashe calling him out "for so nastily and unfairly singling out a hard-working junior staff member" in his "weekly gossip column" and for "pestering" her office with "comically hypocritical" information requests. And she's just getting started. There will be consequences! Read the epic email after the break...


Nov 20 2015
08:02 am

AMA Calls for Ban on Direct to Consumer Advertising of Prescription Drugs and Medical Devices

Responding to the billions of advertising dollars being spent to promote prescription products, physicians at the Interim Meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA) today adopted new policy aimed at driving solutions to make prescription drugs more affordable.

Physicians cited concerns that a growing proliferation of ads is driving demand for expensive treatments despite the clinical effectiveness of less costly alternatives.

"Today’s vote in support of an advertising ban reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially-driven promotions, and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices," said AMA Board Chair-elect Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A. "Direct-to-consumer advertising also inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs, even when these drugs may not be appropriate."

The United States and New Zealand are the only two countries in the world that allow direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs. Advertising dollars spent by drug makers have increased by 30 percent in the last two years to $4.5 billion, according to the market research firm Kantar Media.

Personally, I prefer to receive prescription drug information from my doctor, not some ad agency. And, if you have to be the one to tell your doctor about the latest miracle drug, either a) you need a new doctor, or b) your doctor hasn't told you about it because it's snake oil, or worse, bad for you.

Wouldn't it be a lot more cost effective to inform doctors about new treatments in peer reviewed medical journals v. TV advertising to millions who probably don't need them?

This also reminds me that I don't like my demographics. Judging from the ads I see on TV, they've got me too dialed in based on what I watch.

Nov 20 2015
06:26 am

Six months after opening and accepting millions in incentives, ProNova Solutions, has laid off 25 full-time employees " along with some part-time and contract workers" out of approximatley 200 total workers.

ProNova will take advantage of the State of Tennessee's support system for unemployment for the workers and using the Tennessee Career Center to find other jobs.

ProNova received a variety of government incentives to open in the Pellissippi Place business park in Alcoa TN.

* paying virtually nothing for 26 acres appraised at over $8 million
* no property taxes for the first eight years after its phase one facility is completed.
* won't pay the full property tax rate until after 12 years.
* TN Department of Economic and Community Development offered nearly $4.3 million in grants
* TN Department of Transportation committed more than $1.5 million in State Industrial Access road funds for a road extension related to the project

ProNova CEO Terry Douglass "is a personal friend of the Governor's."

We proud citizens of the State of Tennessee keep on giving and corporations keep on taking. Thank you, thank you very much.

Nov 20 2015
06:01 am

A truck carrying radioactive waste from Three Mile Island to Oak Ridge wrecks on I-81 in Virginia.

Police said hazardous materials crews at the scene indicated the cargo — two sealed shipping containers — was declared safe.

According to the report, the incident was blamed on distracted driving, and the driver was cited by police.

Keep moving, no problem here.


from ...

Documents that TVA did release repeat the officials’ announcement that $553 million will be invested in the project and that it will have 605 employees. When officials announced the project, they used those same figures, but the incentives agreement says “AMI agrees to invest at least the total sum of $200 million in site work, building construction and equipment purchase on the property by Dec. 31, 2020,” and “to employ at the facility at least 477 employees at an average salary and benefits of $43,800 per year as of Dec. 31, 2020.”

Incentives for Advanced Munitions International in Blount County top $26M


from WBIR ...

"That will sort of complete and fill in subterranean passageways and make it commercially viable. Today, it's still waiting on those ramps to come down and get rebuilt. Those spaces will form some really neat underground urban spaces that you don't find in the suburbs and truly don't find hardly anywhere." Dewhirst shared, "They (people who live on the block) walk out on grade to the back into this pretty amazing urban forest that was left over from Civil War times and it's kind of best of both worlds. Gay Street on top and urban forest out back."

The future of downtown Knoxville could be below the surface

Nov 18 2015
02:33 pm

Knox Co. Mayor Tim Burchett is again this year sponsoring the local Wreaths Across America effort to place a wreath on every veteran's grave during the holidays. The sponsorship deadline is Nov. 30th.

Click here for more information or to make a donation...

According to the Mayor's office, $36,110 has been raised so far, which is enough to sponsor 2,407 wreaths. Wreaths Across America offers a 3-for-2 fundraising option, which brings the total number of wreaths sponsored so far to 3,611.


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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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