Sat
Sep 5 2015
08:37 am

After a lot of off-season drama, the Tennessee Volunteers and third-year coach Butch "brick by brick" Jones' Team 119 kick off the season v. Bowling Green State University of Ohio today at Titans stadium in Nashville.

Tennessee, nationally ranked for the first time in a while at 25th, is favored by 21.5 points, but watch out for Bowling Green because they might be a tougher opponent than that. Look forward to seeing Quarterback Josh "Astro" Dobbs and the retooled offensive line under new offensive coordinator Mike Debord, and what might turn out to be one of the toughest defenses in the SEC this year.

The game airs on the SEC Network at 4PM. Go Vols!

BONUS: Cumberland Ave. merchants are hosting the first ever Brick by Brick Pre-Game Block Party from 2 to 4PM on Cumberland Ave. this afternoon.

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Fri
Sep 4 2015
12:55 pm

Canadian copyrights expired on early Beatles recordings, placing them in the public domain. Hilarity ensued...

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from NY Times ...

Hiring in August was lower than expected. But the unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent, from 5.3 percent, the lowest since early 2008. Hourly earnings rose more than expected, an improvement from July’s data.

U.S. Economy Added 173,000 Jobs in August; Unemployment Rate Fell

Continued...

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Times Free Press Staff reports
Tennessee groups unite to denounce officials' comments on Muslims

Four statewide organizations released a joint statement today in response to the apparent anti-Muslim comments from several Tennessee elected officials and law enforcement leaders, according to a news release from the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee.

The message from the American Center for Outreach, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, the American Muslim Advisory Council and the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition says in part:

Recently the sheriffs of Hamilton and Sevier counties have both made alarmist and sensational anti-Muslim comments, on the heels of similar statements from state legislators. Inaccurate, sweeping indictments made by leaders in law enforcement endanger members of the very communities that they have taken an oath to protect. Not only do these statements send the wrong message to their respective communities, they stoke the flames of hate that could incite attacks against peaceful Americans.

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Betty Bean: City sign ordinance faces butter and egg challenge

butter_and_egg.png

The first challenge to the city’s new sign ordinance isn’t coming from a big national franchise seeking a flashing message center atop a tall pole alongside a busy highway.

Instead, it’s being filed by the owner of a homegrown business who has been told that she can’t place whimsical, cartoon-style butter and egg figures of her own design on the roof of her building because they aren’t art.

Looks like art to me. Not sure this was an intended consequence of the sign ordinance.

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In denying a man and woman's petition for divorce, a Chattanooga chancellor said "With the U.S. Supreme Court having defined what must be recognized as a marriage, it would appear that Tennessee’s judiciary must now await the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court as to what is not a marriage, or better stated, when a marriage is no longer a marriage."

Read all about it at Above the Law...

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From Knoxnews.com ...

During the Great Depression and after World War II, Tennessee and other Southern states lured Northern industries with promises of cheap, nonunion labor. Decades later, Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration is looking to market Tennessee internationally as a place “with a low-cost labor force” and “very low unionization rates.”

State officials promote 'low-cost labor force' to lure foreign industries to Tennessee

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The Tennessee Comptroller's Office of Open Records Counsel is holding a series of public hearings and seeking input from Tennessee citizens and government entities regarding a proposed change to the state's open records law that would allow charging for inspection of records v. charging only for copies of records.

Survey for citizens...

Survey for government entities...

More info and schedule of public hearings after the break....

Continued...

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Wed
Sep 2 2015
10:42 am

A program was made available to the City of Alcoa in partnership with the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization from Smart Growth America through a five-year Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities grant from the U.S. Environmental protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities.

Roger Millar, Vice President of Smart Growth America and Director of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute, along with Christopher Duerksen, a land use lawyer with the Clarion Associates, provided an interesting presentation on ideas and innovations of land use and zoning.

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The county clerk in Rowan Co. Kentucky who refuses to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples despite the recent U.S. Supreme court ruling and a court order to do so is in the national spotlight.

Ironically, she has been married four times, twice to the same man, according to this profile of her in the New York Times. So much for the sanctity of marriage. Also, she was elected as a Democrat.

The ACLU has now filed a motion to have her held in contempt of court. The hearing is set for tomorrow. The U.S. Supreme Court has denied her motion for a stay of the district court's order to issue licenses to everyone who wants one.

She's entitled to her beliefs, but if her beliefs prevent her from doing her job she should resign. Even if she's held in contempt and thrown in jail, it presumably wouldn't disqualify her and she could continue doing or not doing her job from a jail cell. It must be as difficult in Kentucky as it is here to have a county official fired for dereliction of duty.

UPDATE: Davis found in contempt, sent to jail...

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Tue
Sep 1 2015
11:41 am

Have lunch with Mayor Burchett at Sam & Andy's in Fountain City, Thursday, Sept. 3 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. More info...

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Tue
Sep 1 2015
11:35 am

City officials today announced stepped up traffic enforcement for Labor Day weekend, traffic info for Boomsday, traffic, parking and shuttle info for U.T. home games, and more.

Bonus, the Cumberland Ave. Merchant's Association is hosting the first ever "Brick by Brick" pre-game block party for the U.T. opener against Bowling Green Saturday in Nashville. The block party will be from 2 to 4 PM. on Cumberland Ave, which will be closed between 18th Street and North 19th Street for the party.

More details on all of the above in the press release after the break....

Continued...

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Mon
Aug 31 2015
02:20 pm

From the Mountain Press:

Sheriff Seals tells SC Tea Party of suspicious activity

By JASON DAVIS
Editor

SEVIERVILLE — Sevier County Sheriff Ron Seals told the Sevier County Tea Party last week that some of his officers, working in an off-duty capacity as private security, contacted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security after seeing troubling behavior at Tanger Outlet Center in Sevierville.

Prompted by an audience member’s statement about women in burqas spending long periods of time in shops without making purchases, the sheriff indicated officers had seen similar behaviors.

“We have some officers up there … they’re officers, but they hire them, off-duty police officers, primarily to work traffic, and they’ve noticed the same lady running around up there … taking pictures with a camera,” Seals said. “We got the information. We passed it on to Homeland Security. They’ve addressed it, and I don’t think anything else actually came of it.

“We thought maybe they’re doing that to maybe see what days there’s a big crowd up there.”

(link...)

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Mon
Aug 31 2015
01:40 pm


Click image for bigger/more...

It was a beautiful morning. We saw some deer, turkeys and a bear. The bear saw the deer. The deer saw the bear. The deer took off.

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Mon
Aug 31 2015
12:34 pm

Furious about President Obama's interference in a decades-old feud that actually currently pitches Republicans against Republicans, the Ohio GOP Congressional delegation is demanding that Ohio's Cuyahoga Valley National Park be renamed for Alaska's former governor and GOP gadfly, Sarah Palin.

Continued...

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I am surprised Tennessee was not on list of states in that lawsuit.

from NBC News ...

The new rule would force a permitting process only if a business or landowner took steps that would pollute or destroy the affected waters — those with a "direct and significant" connection to larger bodies of water downstream that are already protected. That could include tributaries that show evidence of flowing water, for example.

In practice, the rule means that developers can no longer pave over wetlands and oil companies can no longer dump pollution into streams unhindered, restoring Clean Water Act protections to more than half the nation's streams, supporters say. But opponents call the rule an example of federal overreach and fear a steady uptick in federal regulation of nearly every stream and ditch on rural lands.

EPA Moves Ahead With Water Protection Rule Despite Court Ruling

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Sat
Aug 29 2015
11:22 pm

Earlier today (Saturday, Aug. 29) Gloria Johnson and I went to a legislative forum sponsored by Americans for Prosperity (Koch Brothers), Tennessee Liberty Alliance, and Republican Liberty Caucus of Tennessee. Video of the entire event is linked here. Feel free to share your reactions.

Initial thoughts: some serious factual errors, logical errors, bad public policy, and plenty of fodder for future columns. Also, why is that Republican logo behind the panel when the officially non-partisan AFP is sponsoring?

The entire event

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Sat
Aug 29 2015
03:41 pm

Local reporter Dan Andrews spotted something off at the courthouse. Action was taken:

WATE: Knoxville courthouse audio recording shut down after privacy questions

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What made me check this was Florida just declared state of emergency because of storm.

From the Kaiser Family Foundation …

Current Status of Medicaid Expansion Decision

Adopted the Medicaid Expansion: 31 states (including DC); Adoption of the Medicaid Expansion under Discussion: 1 state; Not Adopting the Medicaid Expansion at this Time: 19 states

The full state-by-state list

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Fri
Aug 28 2015
03:18 pm
By: michael kaplan  shortURL

Cottage Landing, up to 87 student housing units (348 rooms), requiring ridgetop removal that is dumping huge boulders into the valley to the west of the site. Here's a satellite image apparently taken a few weeks ago. Anyone wishing to view the environmental damage in progress should take a drive up Cherokee Trail. Note, too, the huge slice of the ridge taken for the construction of Quarry Trail to its east. Erosion is being mitigated by the construction of retaining walls (seen as grey lines) and the planting of kudzu on the steep slope.

The project is in the county, and was approved by the MPC in March, 2013.

All members of City Council, County Commission, and the MPC should take (or be taken on) a tour of the site to see the mess. It's really hard to believe this is happening in 2015 ...

cottage_landing3.jpg

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