Fri
Jul 1 2016
02:02 pm

Proposals for the July 7th dinner include:

  • Marble Springs State Historic Site: Marketing Project For Marble Springs Farmers' Market
  • South Knoxville Community Center: Seniors Walking Their Way To Better Health
  • South Knoxville Church of God: Community Playground Update
  • A Gathering Of Knoxville's Patriots

You can read more about these proposals on our website - KnoxvilleSOUP.org.

The summer iteration of Knoxville SOUP will take place at the South Knoxville Community Center, 522 Maryville Pike - in South Knoxville. Doors open at 6:00 pm and presentations will begin at 6:30 pm. Alan Williams, from WVLT Channel 8, is once again moderating the event.

Continued...

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Thu
Jun 30 2016
05:39 pm

Media reports today say that Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell's Medicaid "task force" has discussed their recommendation with the U.S. Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services.

From what I can tell, it would initially cover veterans and those with diagnosed mental health issues. If that works out, it would someday cover the rest of those caught in the ACA Medicaid gap created by the Supreme Court.

There were earlier reports about an employment assistance/mandate component (i.e. get a job so you don't need government assistance), but the most recent media reports don't seem to mention that.

They do mention that the plan would ask for 65% federal funding (as opposed to the 100% funding offered by the federal government for no nonsense Medicaid expansion). The other 35% would be covered by fees assessed to hospitals and care providers who are going out of business left and right because the TNGOP has thus far rejected federal funding that would help them. So the new plan is to kick them while they're down?

We have not seen the full report, referred to by previous media reports as a "gray paper," so we don't know what exactly is in the double-secret plan. (I'm familiar with white papers, newspapers, rolling papers and other kinds of papers, but not "gray papers.")

At any rate, it sounds worse than Haslam's Insure Tennessee plan, which was rejected by our TNGOP legislature, which was worse than the 100% federally funded ACA Medicaid expansion.

Even though it might help veterans and people with mental health problems, it is probably DOA because the TNGOP legislature would have to approve it. And they won't, because OBAMA!

Plus, it could be rejected by CMS for various legal problems and also "WTF is wrong with you hillbillies down there? Here's free money. To help people. Take it!"

OK, then.

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I guess this is ok. I don't park on the street much. I don't have much of a feel for it. Hopefully that is not the "slippery slope".

I think what you have to be careful for in managing parking is passing the public "aw, screw it" point.

From WBIR.com ...

Starting this weekend, visitors will see increased costs to park in downtown Knoxville, and for the first time, drivers will have to pay to park in metered spots on Saturdays.

The new enforcement, which also covers the Cumberland Avenue Corridor, starts Friday.

UT & downtown parking costs to increase starting Friday

14
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Thu
Jun 30 2016
06:45 am

The Clinton policy wonks dumped a big load of technology policy this week.

One of the proposals is to defer student loan payments for tech startup entrepreneurs and their first 10 or 20 employees. Another proposal would provide "start up" visas for immigrant entrepreneurs. It is not clear if this offer extends to displaced West Virginia coal miners.

The section on visas also hints at expanding the H1B visa program. Because Silicon Valley needs cheap labor to exploit just like fast food and retail. In fairness, though, there are STEM education proposals that could help those displaced West Virginia coal miners learn Java and land a glamorous job in the Silicon Valley cubicle code mines.

But seriously, there are some worthwhile proposals, such as the aforementioned STEM training initiatives, modernizing government IT systems, broadening access to venture capital, especially for minority, women and young entrepreneurs, comprehensive and portable benefits for contractors and freelancers, broadband initiatives, net neutrality and lots more.

The Briefing: Hillary Clinton’s Initiative on Technology & Innovation

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Wed
Jun 29 2016
09:19 pm
By: R. Neal  shortURL

I wrote this a month ago and didn't post it. I will post it now...

Nobody saw this coming. Trump tapped in to all the anger and frustration out there early on, but I was convinced Republicans would sober up when it came time to actually vote.

I was wrong.

He can say anything and get away with it, and in fact get himself more free TV time than he could buy. His insults to women and minorities and "other" religions have won him the misogynist, redneck and white supremacist vote, and it appears there are more of them than we knew. He gets even more votes from others who would never say such things out loud but secretly agree.

And the working people who relate to his trade and economic "policies" either don't know or don't care about any of that other stuff. Because jobs! Shitty trade deals! Immigration!

Not to mention terrorists! Benghazi! Clinton created ISIS on her email server! Oh my!

Trump is a master bullshit artist and grifter who knows just what lies to tell every constituency and how to get away with it.

Clinton, on the other hand, is tough but not nasty, and she's not a natural politician. She's running on the assumption that we have an informed, rational electorate that will listen to reason and logic. What a rube! Just ask Trump.

And Sanders isn't helping with his desperate attacks on her and the Democratic Party. For what purpose? Trump is already quoting Sanders!

And spare me the argument that Sanders is a stronger candidate. Trump would crush him. He wouldn't even need to spend money on fancy ads. He would only need to run one free spot on YouTube and link to it from Twitter and all it would need to say is "Bernie Sanders: Socialist!" Game over. But y'all go ahead and vote for Jill Stein. Or write in Bernie. That's the ticket.

We are doomed. We asked for it. Now we're going to get it.

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Wed
Jun 29 2016
06:15 pm
By: R. Neal  shortURL

Scotty Moore, Hard-Driving Guitarist Who Backed Elvis Presley, Dies at 84

In 1954, Mr. Moore was performing with a country group, Doug Poindexter and the Starlite Wranglers, and recording at Sun Records in Memphis when Sam Phillips, the label’s owner, asked him to audition a young singer his secretary kept mentioning.

And the rest is history.

On a related note, a while back we were talking about bad guitar solos. I mentioned one of my classic examples: Scotty Moore's solo on Elvis' "Too Much" (listen around 1:29, not that I could play it or anything.).

Here's his explanation:

“I don’t remember now exactly what I had nailed down for the solo instrumental part. It was in an odd key … well, for most guitar players, I would say. When my instrumental part came, I absolutely just got lost. I didn’t know where I was at. But from the experience we had already gained in these months behind us, in playing on stage, you go ahead, you just keep on going, and this is what I did. And this was the take that was released.”

In his 1997 book, That’s Alright, Elvis, Scotty again described his guitar solo, this time attributing spitefulness to Elvis in his decision to use that particular take: “We did several takes, but on this particular one, I just got lost. I just kept chunking away. I didn’t make any mistakes, but it wasn’t the same solo I played on the other takes. Somehow I came out of it exactly where I was supposed to be.”

When the song was over, Elvis called for a playback. As he listened, he looked at Scotty with a grin. “He knew I had gotten lost, but he loved the way it turned out,” said Scotty. “When the song ended, he raised up and said, ‘That’s it,’ and he did it for damned meanness. He knew I had gotten lost and he knew damned well I would have to live with it.”

Old blues players used to say if you hit a wrong note, play it again like you meant it. (Or the corollary: Playing a wrong note is a mistake. Playing it again is jazz.)

Anyway, don't mean to take anything away from Scotty Moore. He's a legend, and there might not have been an Elvis without him. And he inspired Keith Richards, so there you go.

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Wed
Jun 29 2016
11:25 am

Microsoft's free Windows 10 upgrade offer ends on July 29th. Unless they extend it.

Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 users can upgrade for free to a like version. Windows 7 Starter and Home editions and Windows 8.1 will be upgraded to Windows 10 Home, Windows 7 Pro and Windows 8.1 Pro will be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro. (No free upgrade for Windows 7 Enterprise. Check with your systems administrator.)

After July 29th, the Windows 10 Home upgrade price is $119 and the Windows 10 Pro upgrade is $199. The Home edition can be upgraded to Pro for $99. The main differences are that the Home edition cannot join a domain or be managed by group policy and cannot host a remote desktop session.

We've installed it on four of our machines with no drama. We still have three to go counting our notebooks. That's a savings of $1400 for us. We're happy with that for now, but we'll wait and see what Microsoft has in store with regard to future pricing models.

Here's my previous "first impressions" review.

Microsoft installation notes, etc. here...

Microsoft Windows 10 download page here...

The download/installation process will analyze your PC to check for compatibility. The system requirements are minimal, so any PC built in the last eight years or so should be able to run it (assuming you don't need or can find drivers for obsolete/defunct cards/devices).

P.S. During the installation, you'll be prompted to configure a variety of settings or to take the defaults. If you take the defaults, you will leave a bunch of privacy related options open and unprotected. You can change most of them during the install, or take the defaults and change them to your liking after. You should review them either way:

Microsoft: Setting your preferences for Windows 10 services

A more complete reference/tuorial...

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Tue
Jun 28 2016
06:23 am
By: R. Neal  shortURL

20120529-summit_0.jpg

A leader, a motivator and an inspiration, on and off the court.

UT Women's Basketball: As a coach, mentor, mother-figure, ambassador, trailblazer and role model, Pat Summitt was a living torchbearer. Hers is a light that also cannot be extinguished.

UT: Pat Summitt (1952-2016): The world knew Coach Pat Summitt as the winningest basketball coach of all time. To the members of the UT family, she was that and much, much more. She was a coach, a teacher, a role model, a co-worker, and a friend.

News Sentinel
WATE...
WBIR...
WVLT...
Hartford Courant...
NPR...
New York Times...
Washington Post...
Los Angeles Times...
ESPN...
Sports Illustrated...

Knox Co. Mayor Tim Burchett...
Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero...
President Obama...

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Mon
Jun 27 2016
05:27 pm

We have a few volunteer sunflowers coming up around one of the bird feeders. This one is the furthest along...

20160627-DSC_2576.jpg

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Mon
Jun 27 2016
03:36 pm

NPR: 6-2 vote...

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today in a 6-2 vote that domestic abusers convicted of misdemeanors can be barred from owning weapons.

The majority opinion, written by Justice Elena Kagan, concludes that misdemeanor assault convictions for domestic violence are sufficient to invoke a federal ban on firearms possession.

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Mon
Jun 27 2016
11:36 am

NPR: 5-3 decision in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt...

The Supreme Court has overturned a Texas law requiring clinics that provide abortions to have surgical facilities and doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The law was predicted to close many clinics and further reduce availability of abortion in Texas; the court has ruled the law violated the Constitution.

Tennessee has similar laws, which are now presumably invalidated.

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Sun
Jun 26 2016
08:18 pm
By: R. Neal  shortURL

Look, I admit I'm an old geezer, desperately clinging to my semi-hi-fi audio rig and music albums I can hold in my hand (CDs for the last 30 years or so and LPs before that). TIDAL may convince me to let go.

Continued...

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Sun
Jun 26 2016
01:28 pm

Big changes are happening along Alcoa Highway from Woodson Drive to Maloney Road. According to the Maryville Daily Times article, there will be "10 retaining walls and three bridges to provide connection for new collector roads that parallel the highway." I'm still against any sort of new Alcoa Highway Bypass/Parkway in Alcoa, Blount County. They should do the same thing there, if there is really a need to handle more traffic.

The Mr. said it looks like strip mining.

(click image for gallery).

A lot of the work is currently on the East side. However, a huge chunk of land has been removed on the West side at Lakemoor Hills, just past Montlake Drive. This land backs up to Timberlake Drive.

I grew up in this area. When we moved in to the neighborhood Alcoa Highway was a two lane road. Look at how it has grown and is growing. I hope these changes are worth the money, effort, and inconvenience. And, I hope it makes driving Alcoa Highway in this area safer.

One great thing right now is the speed limit is 40 mph in this area. It's a lot easier to drive through the area and visit the neighborhoods and businesses. Not that people obey the speed limit, but police are frequently positioned along the road.

I have driven through the construction area a few times during morning "rush hour". The pace is not as bad as you would think, even when the road goes to one lane on occasion.

The entrances to the local neighborhoods of Lakemoor Hills and Martha Washington Heights are accessible but definite construction zones as is Woodson Drive.

There is also a TDOT construction zone at Topside Road in Blount County, just over the river. In that construction zone the speed limit is still 55 mph. What are they thinking?

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Fri
Jun 24 2016
01:03 pm
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Fri
Jun 24 2016
04:05 am

BBC reports...

World markets in chaos...

What it means...

UPDATE: U.S. Markets open sharply lower...

Dow Jones  17,526.69	-484.38	(-2.69%)
S&P 500     2,061.59	 -51.73	(-2.45%)
Nasdaq      4,732.38	-177.67	(-3.62%)

UPDATE: At the close, year to date gains wiped out...

	
Dow Jones  17,399.86	-611.21	(-3.39%)
S&P 500     2,037.30	 -76.02	(-3.60%)
Nasdaq      4,707.98	-202.06	(-4.12%)
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Thu
Jun 23 2016
04:53 pm

The Smoky Mountain Blues Society has their Third of the year Blues Cruises this Sunday afternoon, June 26th on the Star of Knoxville Riverboat. We had a tremendous turnout for last years cruises and this year hopes to be a banner year also. Join us for three hours of great blues music with THE STELLA VEES from KY.
(link...)

Tickets are $16 in advance and $20 day of show. Smoky Mtn. Blues Members receive a $3 discount. Boarding at 3 PM, cruise from 4 to 7 pm. Hope to see you there. Call the Riverboat Company Mon-Fri from 10-4 and some Sat.(hrs vary)at 865-525-7827 | 800-509-2628 for tickets.
Check out the SMBS website for more info.
(link...)

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Some local culture and personality added to downtown for a couple months ...

from knoxnews.com ...

Friday is a big day for Colleen Cruze. The co-owner of Cruze Dairy Farm has always dreamed of having a storefront. That dream comes true tomorrow when she opens the Cruze Farm Milk Bar in the former location of Just Ripe, 513 Union Avenue.

But don't get too excited. The milk bar will only operate for two months. There are other yet-unannounced plans for the space to occur this fall.

Cruze Farm Milk Bar to open Friday on Union Avenue

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How can poor people needing objective sound financial guidance get it in the Knoxville area?

Say the single elderly widow on Social Security who has a significant medical expense, or expensive emergency house repair, or some other circumstance that without the resources or knowledge, would possibly turn to payday lender type loan, or mortgage her home, etc.

It seems like payday lenders, title loans, etc are showing where that sort of resource should be located.

Branch libraries and schools seem like a good location to provide those types of resources.

Zoning is fine, but the base problem is desperate people, people in a critical, stressful situation.

Free Advice on Money for Those With Little

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

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Knoxville City Council will hold a workshop on a proposed Alternative Financial Services Zoning Ordinance next Thursday, 6/30/2016 at 5:30 PM in the Main Assembly Room, City-County Building.

The ordinance would define "alternative financial services" (payday lenders, title loan companies, check cashing services, etc.), identify zoning districts in which they are permitted and establish standards for their location.

The City had asked MPC for a recommendation on the proposed zoning. Among other things, MPC recommended in their report a spacing standard of 1,000 foot separation from like businesses and 1,000 foot from residentially zoned properties. Here is their report.

City Council was to hear the proposed ordinance on first reading at their Tuesday 6/21 meeting. Here is the proposed ordiance and related documents (extracted the agenda package for that meeting).

We are told that the proposed ordinance was originally postponed at the 5/10/2016 meeting to the 6/21/2016 meeting. The workshop was scheduled for 6/30/2016, so it has been postponed again until 7/5/2016, when it will be heard on first reading.

Previous discussion here...

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Lost Medicaid Funding

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