Sat
Jul 22 2017
03:19 pm
By: R. Neal  shortURL

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We actually had some apples on our mini apple tree this year and were able to harvest some before the squirrels and possums got them all. We got enough for two pies, with a few left over. Waiting for them to cool, will let you know how they turned out. They look and smell good...

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Fri
Jul 21 2017
08:25 pm

Wow. Stuff is coming out faster than anyone can keep up with.

Sessions implicated for yet another previously undisclosed Russian involvement. News from sketchy sources probably leaked by Trump to throw Sessions under the bus. Media eating it up. Nicely played.

Then, revelations of more Kushner shady business dealings. Going to be harder to spin that.

Not to mention, Trump wonders with his lawers whether he can pardon himself and his family.

Watergate is starting to look like a misdemeanor Walmart shoplifting beef in comparison.

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Fri
Jul 21 2017
08:24 pm

Leave with a vasectomy. Or stay. Your choice.

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Whitehouse.gov:

If confirmed, J. Douglas Overbey of Tennessee will serve as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee. Mr. Overbey is currently a senior partner and cofounder of the law firm Robertson Overbey. During his 38 years of practice, he has handled a diverse array of legal matters, including antitrust and commercial litigation. Mr. Overbey is also a three-term Tennessee state senator and the chair of the state ethics committee. He previously served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Tennessee College of Law. He received his B.A., magna cum laude, from Carson-Newman College, and his J.D. from the University of Tennessee College of Law, where he was first in his class and Order of the Coif.

I'm OK with this. Sen. Overbey is a decent guy. And pretty moderate for a Republican. I actually voted for him a couple of times. (For self preservation. Don't tell anybody. It's Blount Co. What are you gonna do?) Trump must not have vetted him for rabid right-wing creds. His loss, our gain.

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While the U. S. continues to lead the world in innovation relating to artificial intelligence (AI), CNN reports today China's announcement to overtake us via its planned investment of $150 billion over the next few years.

However, a nearly offhand remark in the story--on which the author doesn't expound--is this one:

Alibaba (BABA, Tech30) founder and chairman Jack Ma, currently China's richest man, thinks artificial intelligence will bring about a massive upheaval in society, with robots replacing many CEOs as well as less senior workers.

Cashiers at McDonalds we knew about, but CEOs, too?! Ma has offered prophecies as jarring before, telling media earlier this year that "in the next three decades, the world will experience far more pain than happiness."

But is he alone in his warnings? What could be the future impacts of AI to labor and to society in general? More to the point, if he's right, how should governments be planning now to combat disruption on the scale Ma suggests--and are they?

Continued...

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Fri
Jul 21 2017
01:02 pm
By: R. Neal  shortURL

Sean "alternative facts" Spicer resigns as press secretary after Trump hires less qualified guy over him as communications director. Chief of staff Reince Priebus didn't know anything about the hire. Chief strategist Steve Bannon also left out of the loop. Trump large and in charge!

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Fri
Jul 21 2017
08:53 am

Her speech to ALEC was yesterday in Denver, preceded by protests the day before that.

An excerpt from the Time magazine coverage:

In prepared remarks, DeVos described the protests as a "badge of honor." "Our opponents, the defenders of the status quo, only protest those capable of implementing real change," she said. "You represent real change."

The protesters had criticized DeVos' support for school vouchers, arguing that voucher programs will threaten public school systems by driving money to private schools. Such arguments have also been fueled by recent findings that voucher programs don't improve student performance.

(I haven't posted much on this topic in recent months, have I? It's just so very, very tiring...)

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DTV hosts the KCDP's Progressive Action Committee leaders Allie Cohn and Michael Davis tonight (Friday, July 21) on Community TV's channels at 7:30 PM.

Join them in discussing how they have created an organization that is involved in the political issues of the day and are working to effect change through a variety of political actions.

You can view the program on line (here!)

or on these cable channels:
Comcast Channel 12
Charter Channel 193
Wow! Channel 6
ATT U-verse Channel 99

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I hope to be there

Thursday July 27, 7:00–9:00 at the Historic Bijou Theatre

New York Times best-selling author, former corporate public relations executive and, once again, a journalist. A Tennesseean by birth who earned University of Tennessee's highest honor of Torchbearer, Potter has covered Congress, the White House and Supreme Court for Scripps-Howard newspapers. After a long career in public relations in the health insurance industry, he had a crisis of conscience in 2008 and blew the whistle on a corrupt industry in his book, Deadly Spin. His latest book is Nation on the Take.

An Evening with Wendell Potter at the Historic Bijou - FREE

Q&A: Whistle-blower and Tarbell founder Wendell Potter

BILL MOYERS JOURNAL | Wendell Potter | PBS

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Thu
Jul 20 2017
10:04 am

Parks & Rec press release...

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and local leaders will join members of the community for the grand opening of new trails at Concord Park on Friday, July 21 at 10 a.m. The park is located at 11808 S. Northshore Drive, and the ribbon cutting will take place just east of it next to the old fishing bridge.

The event is open to the public and other elected officials may be in attendance.

The new trail completes an almost one-mile stretch from the fishing bridge at Northshore Drive to the park’s entrance. The new trail also means Concord Park now has 13.7 miles of overall trails.

Continued...

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Thu
Jul 20 2017
09:56 am
By: R. Neal  shortURL

Here's a partial transcript of a New York Times interview with Trump. It's fascinating to see how his mind works, or doesn't as the case may be. He doesn't seem very articulate.

Also, "talking about adoption" is the new "hiking the Appalachian Trail."

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Thu
Jul 20 2017
09:27 am

"Never have I been so proud of failing."

Staff members share their thoughts.You can join them today from 4:30 to 6:30 PM at Boyd's Jig & Reel to share yours.

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The executive order, signed by President Trump in March, orders all agency heads to “…review all existing regulations … that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources, with particular attention to oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy…”

Regulation review could clear way for increased oil and gas drilling in National Parks

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Wed
Jul 19 2017
07:49 pm
By: R. Neal  shortURL

Me: (reading a News Sentinel article) This is totally irresponsible journalism.

The Mrs.: Are you sure it's called journalism?

Me: Good point.

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A new Senate bill to repeal Obamacare would leave 32 million more people uninsured by 2026 than under current law, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis released Wednesday.

Even more stunning, three-quarters of the nation would live in areas with no insurers participating in the individual market by 2026 -- leaving many without an option if they do not have employer-provided or government health insurance, such as Medicare or Medicaid.

Also, premiums would about double by 2026, compared to current law.

32 million more people would be uninsured under new Senate Obamacare repeal bill

The hard-to-answer question at the core of the health-care fight: How many more people might die?

Significant decline in deaths after Massachusetts’ health reform

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Wed
Jul 19 2017
11:56 am
By: michael kaplan  shortURL

Dear Mr. Kaplan,

Thank you for taking the time to contact my office about the American Health Care Act. Your input is important to me, and I appreciate the time you took to share your thoughts.

The many problems with the Affordable Care Act remain unsolved. At some point, on behalf of the American people, we have to resolve the issues that are driving up healthcare costs, limiting patient choices, and causing the Obamacare insurance exchange market to spiral downward. As you may know, the American Health Care Act passed by a vote of 217-213 in the House of Representatives and has now come over to the Senate. I stand ready to work with the administration and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in order to reform our broken health care system.

Thank you again for your letter. Please continue to share your thoughts with me as I serve you in the United States Senate, and we move forward to find solutions to our healthcare system problems.

Sincerely,

Bob Corker
United States Senator

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Wed
Jul 19 2017
10:22 am

Marvin West at KnoxTNToday.com Mike Strange has chosen retirement from the News Sentinel over a demotion cooked up by the foreign ownership group, Gannett. Read more at the link...

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She Should Run, an organization created in 2011 with the goal of recruiting and training women to run for public office, launched a new campaign Tuesday called "250kBy2030." The organization's goal is to encourage 250,000 women to run for US office by 2030. As of 2017, less than 25% of those offices are held by women.

New organization's goal for 2030: Get 250,000 women to run for office

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Tue
Jul 18 2017
08:44 am

The most prominent Democrat challenging Ted Cruz in 2018, Rep. Beto O’Rourke from El Paso, just announced raising $2.1 million last quarter, beating out Cruz's $1.6 million--and he did it with $0 from corporate PACs, 46,574 individual donations, and more than 80% of the money coming from real, in-district constituents. "This is not a Jon Ossof-style phenomenon where people around the country are throwing money at O'Rourke," the article says.

More, from The Intercept:

...the way O’Rourke is raising money changes the game. The El Paso congressman does not have much in the way of a national fundraising network, has refused corporate PAC money, and is known among his colleagues to be a less-than-enthusiastic fundraiser. That’s the kind of lawmaker who often had little future in Washington — but exactly the kind many grassroots Democrats would like to see rise. The type of person who is good at spending hours a day with doctors, bankers, lawyers and other professionals who can write four- and five-figure checks is A) probably not hard-wired to be a conviction politician and B) vulnerable to have their politics diluted just by virtue of the conversations they’re having day in and day out.

Let's watch this one closely, and keep our fingers crossed.

(Hat tip to Steve Steffens in Memphis.)

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Tue
Jul 18 2017
07:15 am

Trump and the Republican Party are obsessed with getting rid of Obamacare. Why? Has anyone heard any Republican articulate a good reason? (I would ask the same about Trump, but he ain't very good at articulating.) From all the incoherent babbling, I gather it is destroying our economy and way of life or something?

One thing about Republicans is they never let facts get in the way of a good argument. Here are some facts. Since the ACA was enacted in March of 2010, 15+ million jobs were added to the economy, unemployment was cut by more than half (from 9.9% to 4.4%), the S&P 500 has more than doubled (up 113%), the current bull market is on an eight year run, and corporations are turning in record profits and valuations. Oh, and 20+ million more people have insurance.

What's the big problem?

Here are some other cherry picked facts from a 2015 Commonwealth Fund report on the first five years of Obamacare:

  • 13.8% GDP cumulative growth through Q3 2015
  • The U.S. economy has gained nearly 14 million private sector jobs over five years. All of the net gain in employment has been in full-time work.
  • There are 5 million more people working now than during the peak level prior to the recession, and the unemployment rate has plummeted. Recent annual gains in jobs have been faster than gains in any year since the 1990s.
  • Still, labor force participation rates have yet to return to their pre-recession peak.
  • Inflation-adjusted economic growth in the United States in recent years has rivaled or exceeded that of many other high-income nations.
  • Health care spending growth per person—both public and private—has slowed for five years.
  • A number of ACA reforms, particularly related to Medicare, have likely contributed to the slowdown in health care spending growth by tightening provider payment rates and introducing incentives to reduce excess costs.
  • Faster-than-expected economic growth and slower-than-expected health care spending have led to multiple downward revisions of the federal deficit and projected deficits.
  • These trends have also been a boon to state and local government budgets, as job growth has improved state tax revenues while cost growth in health care programs has slowed. At the same time, expanding insurance to millions of people who were previously uninsured has supported local health systems and enhanced families’ability to pay for necessities, including health care.
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