The State of Tennessee has approved a 62% rate increase for Blue Cross Blue Shield individual policies, including policies purchased through the ACA exchange. Small group policy rates are only going up 6.5%

This is a grift perpetrated by Republicans in Congress and our TNGOP state legislators. They are out to destroy Obamacare by allowing insurance companies to segment risk pools, and the TNGOP has blocked Medicaid expansion which is costing our state, and yes our insurers and providers, billions. Guess who pays? (See previous rant here.)

The insurance companies and their GOP pals have succeeded in planting a poison pill in the ACA bill the insurance companies helped write. And they didn't even count on the bonus Supreme Court decision allowing states to opt out of Medicaid expansion. I'm guessing they partied hard the night that decision was announced. And so did the TNGOP.

This is seriously messed up. Talk about "rigged systems."

OK, then.

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9
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Tue
Aug 23 2016
03:25 pm

Last night I represented the Second District at my last official Knox County Commission meeting. Whew! WALSTIB. However, if I'm going to plagiarize someone, perhaps it should be Dickens: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Both Knox County and I have been through some wonderful and painful transitions over the past eight years.

This has definitely been the most challenging, frustrating, stimulating, uplifting and ultimately satisfying job I've ever had (and I've had a LOT of jobs over the years!).

I remember Madeline telling me once when we were discussing term limits that, "If you do it right, you should be exhausted and ready to do something else after eight years." Well friends, I'm exhausted, and I'm definitely ready to do something else, so I hope that means I've done it right!

Continued...

10
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Tue
Aug 23 2016
08:08 am

Nick Denton: How Things Work

Some say they got what they deserved. Others say the First Amendment is no longer safe from vengeful billionaires. Like most things, the truth is likely somewhere in between. One thing's for sure: The Internet has become a cesspool of thought turds and nobody comes out of it smelling good.

Another take: Legacy of Snark: Why Gawker Mattered

Pot-kettle counterpoint: Goodbye and good riddance to Gawker

Also, a fitting rememberence that sums it up with a couple of levels of irony.

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12
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Mon
Aug 22 2016
03:33 pm
By: michael kaplan  shortURL

This is the one that was not supposed to close ...

preview_Kmart_bway2.jpg

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14
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Sun
Aug 21 2016
04:54 pm

David Moon: Permanently low rates?

In 1963, Sidney Homer, the first director of bond research at Salomon Brothers, compiled all recorded long-term government bond rates from the first century Roman Empire to the 20th century. The world’s highest credit quality borrowers never paid more than ten percent to borrow money for the first 1,700 years of recorded financial history. Government rates were actually lower in the first century AD than today. Roman Emperor Claudius issued the equivalent of perpetual government bonds at two percent, less than today’s 2.3 percent for a 30-year U.S. Treasury.

This whole situation is depressing.

23
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Sun
Aug 21 2016
09:17 am

There were three shootings Saturday in Knoxville, five people were injured. Two of the shootings occurred in East Knoxville and one in North Knoxville.

Based on my counts, which are based on media reports that I have seen and may not be exact, there have been more shootings in Knoxville/Knox County as of August 20, 2016 than last year on the same date. My counts show 53 shootings in 2016 as of 8/20/2016, whereas my counts for 2015 show 50 shootings. A brief review indicates there may have been one less death related to shootings in 2015 (7) versus 2016 (8) as of 8/20/2016.

Be careful out there.

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21
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You had an idea this sort of thing was coming as soon as the appointments were made...

from the Tennessean ...

Haslam, who took office in 2011, appointed more business representatives to boards overseeing industry emissions. The panel on petroleum storage tanks has taken steps to shift the cost of cleaning spills from businesses to taxpayers.

A lawyer who spent most of his career at a law firm that represents industry, Commissioner Bob Martineau hired a General Motors manager as his top environmental deputy. They merged the state’s three water divisions, and Martineau oversaw the elimination of hundreds of positions. Enforcement orders at the department dropped by 76 percent.

How Haslam is reshaping Tennessee environmental rules

Continued...

24
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Looks good

from knoxnews.com ...

"We see cities purchasing Olli to fill gaps in their existing transportation systems," Keidel said. "Universities may purchase them to transport students safely across campus."

Large companies might use them to transport people across a campus or even amusement parks might use them to shuttle people to and from their cars, she said.

Riders will be able to summon Olli through a mobile application. They will be able to use the app to set the locations where they want to be picked up and dropped off and will be able to pay for the ride through the app.

Local Motors to produce Olli self-driving vehicle in Knoxville

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from nbcnews.com ...

"Bail practices that incarcerate indigent individuals before trial solely because of their inability to pay for their release violate the Fourteenth Amendment," the Justice Department said in a friend of court brief, citing the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection.

Justice Department Says Poor Can't Be Held When They Can't Afford Bail

27
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Fri
Aug 19 2016
05:53 pm

From the Memphis Daily News:

The Shelby County Democratic Party no longer exists.

Tennessee Democratic Party chairman Mary Mancini announced to party leaders Friday, Aug. 19, that she has decided to decertify the local party.

With the decertification by the state party, Mancini said in a letter to local party chairman Michael Pope that state party leaders would “immediately begin the process of organizing a new Shelby County Democratic Party.”

Mancini took the action in a dispute among members of the local party’s executive committee over pursuing criminal charges against former local party chairman Bryan Carson.

SEE ALSO:

Left Wing Cracker: Thank You, Madame Chair!

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25
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Fri
Aug 19 2016
04:59 pm

Trickle down economics, job creators, business friendly, etc.

from CNN ...

The top 10% of families -- those who had at least $942,000 -- held 76% of total wealth. The average amount of wealth in this group was $4 million.

Everyone else in the top 50% of the country accounted for 23% of total wealth, with an average of $316,000 per family.

That leaves just 1% of the total pie for the entire bottom half of the population.

The average held was $36,000 for families that fell in the 26th to 50th percentiles. But if they fell in the bottom quarter, they had zero wealth and in fact, were $13,000 in debt on average,

The richest 10% hold 76% of the wealth

CBO: Trends in family wealth

30
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Fri
Aug 19 2016
11:40 am

Heh. Started happening yesterday, apparently. Probably shouldn't mention the (off-color) name of the campaign here on Randy's home page.

Washington Post story (with photos) here.

35
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Fri
Aug 19 2016
09:27 am

From The New York Times, "More Older People Are Finding Work, but What Kind?"

As men and women 55 and older looking for employment probably suspect, at a certain point the kinds of jobs available to them narrow significantly.
...
Using a longitudinal survey of households and individuals from the census, Richard Johnson, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, found that, between 2008 and 2012, workers age 62 and older with a college degree had less than a 50 percent chance of finding work even after two years of actively looking.
...
reasons for older workers in the labor force compared with previous generations:

  • Fewer have pensions.
  • finances severely damaged during the recession.
  • living longer and healthier lives, and
  • work is less physically demanding
  • extension of unemployment benefits

A recent Pew Research Center analysis of federal employment data lays out the numbers. In May 2000, 12.8 percent of those older than 65 held a job. By this May, the number had climbed substantially, to 18.8 percent.
...
Nearly two-thirds of workers older than 65 hold full-time jobs,

More competition than there used to be and older people trying not to be a burden/trying to survive?

30
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Fri
Aug 19 2016
08:42 am

What: Hillary Clinton campaign office to open in Knox County
When: Saturday, August 27, 2016 - 2:00pm
Where: 311 Morgan St Fl 2 Knoxville, Tennessee 37917

The Hillary Clinton for President campaign office is opening in Knox County, TN.

The office is at the Knox County Democratic Party headquarters. From the Broadway or Gay Street intersections with Magnolia Avenue, go east to a little less than 1/2 mile, take a right on Morgan Street. The building will be on the right.

You're Invited!!

Come see our new office and find out how you can get involved!

Hillary buttons, shirts, yard signs, and bumper stickers available.

Please contact Sylvia Woods,
865-577-7460
sylviawoodsknox@aol.com
if you have questions or need additional information.

30
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Thu
Aug 18 2016
02:48 pm

Washington Post, August 18, 2016

The Justice Department plans to end its use of private prisons after officials concluded the facilities are both less safe and less effective at providing correctional services than those run by the government.

Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced the decision on Thursday in a memo that instructs officials to either decline to renew the contracts for private prison operators when they expire or “substantially reduce” the contracts’ scope. The goal, Yates wrote, is “reducing — and ultimately ending — our use of privately operated prisons.”

“They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security,” Yates wrote.

36
like
Thu
Aug 18 2016
11:35 am

UTSports.com statement...

Hart was making more than $800K. There was a lot of speculation that he would be next after Jimmy Cheek announced he was stepping down.

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29
like
Thu
Aug 18 2016
10:33 am

Does anyone else have an odd fascination with the crazy antics of the Trump train? On the one hand, I am worried that this man is this close to the presidency so I need a constant flow of data to show that it is highly unlikely for him to win. On the other hand, it is just amazing to see how this campaign his playing out with such a wild card in the engine room.

The recent changes in management are alarming because it shows what Trump has been reading and who he trusts to be his advisors at this point. His campaign will be much of what is seen on Breitbart/Drudge and I am sure it will be quite ugly. Since he has no real policies, he will go purely negative trying to take out Clinton with every conspiracy theory no matter how old or proven to be false.

Thoughts?

30
like
Thu
Aug 18 2016
09:04 am

The Smoky Mountain Blues Society has their Fifth of the year Blues Cruises this Sunday afternoon, August 21st 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 Few Miles On from Cookeville, TN
(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...)

Hope to see you there.

30
like
Thu
Aug 18 2016
07:11 am

The Cato Institute has published their 2015-2016 "Freedom in the 50 States" study that "ranks the American states according to how their public policies affect individual freedoms in the economic, social, and personal spheres." One of the authors is VP of Policy and Research at the Charles Koch Institute and Charles Koch Foundation.

In addition to fiscal, economic, land use and other policies, the study factors in regulation of alcohol, tobacco and firearms and "victimless" crimes. Sort of like an "anarchy rating."

Anyway, Tennessee ranks 6th overall. That's a lot of freedom, y'all! New Hampshire is #1. And who could have guessed that New York and California are at the bottom of the list?

Freedom in the 50 States

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30
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Wed
Aug 17 2016
11:02 pm
By: michael kaplan  shortURL

preview_mercedes_UT.jpg

35
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TN Progressive

TN Politics

Local Media Blogs

Shopper Columns

Local TV News

News Sentinel

Alt Weekly

State News

.GOV Updates

Wire Reports

Lost Medicaid Funding

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