Fri
Oct 31 2014
06:16 am

What: Knox Co. Democratic Party Election Night Party
When: Tuesday, November 4, 2014 - 8:00pm
Where: The Southern Depot, 318 W. Depot Ave, Knoxville, 37917

Come on down to the Southern Depot to party and watch the returns with the democrats at our election night party. The food is free and the bar is cash.

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3
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Thu
Oct 30 2014
07:21 pm

KNS: Longtime WATE news anchor Gene Patterson is leaving the station

Contacted Thursday, Patterson said that he was surprised at the decision not to keep him at the station, but “it’s just part of the business.” “Life is full of changes and this is just another one,” said Patterson. Patterson said he hopes to find another opportunity in the area.

So, it sounds like he was fired? WTF? Gene Patterson is one of the most respected TV news journalists in Knoxville, and a really decent guy. Is there something in the water causing all these the really, really bad recent decisions by local media?

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12
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Thu
Oct 30 2014
06:27 pm

October's bright blue weather

Daddy turned 90 on October 30th, and my brother and I took him out to Calhoun’s at the Ft. Loudoun Marina for lunch. We were joined by his friend Bill Beeler and his daughter, Vikki.
We chucked Bill’s oxygen tank and Daddy’s walker into the trunk of Mamma’s big Merc (she’s a full-time caregiver these days and begged off the trip in favor of a few quiet hours at home) set off for Lenoir City. The drive was just long enough to let us take in the scenery without making Daddy and Bill too uncomfortable. Bill was looking forward to some fried catfish.
It was the kind of perfect fall day that always makes me think of a poem I had to memorize when I was in the 5th grade called “October’s Bright Blue Weather.” It’s come back on me for 50 falls, so I’ve long since abandoned any hope of shaking it:
"O suns and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October's bright blue weather."
Bill had been a Scoutmaster and Daddy his assistant while their boys were growing up. Two years ago Bill found out that Daddy’s World War II medals had been lost when our house burned down in 1969. He not only worked with Jimmy Duncan’s office to get them replaced, but made a shadow box to put them in – all without Daddy knowing a thing about it.
Bill wore his dress khakis when he and his wife, Anne, showed up at the house with the medals. As a member of the Veterans United Honor Guard, his job was to fold the flag and present it to the family at military funerals. He still cut a splendid figure – white gloved, blue-eyed, slim and straight – as he made a formal presentation from Sgt. Beeler to Sgt. Bean.
Anne died the following year.
Bill was a member of the Hourglass Division that fought from the Aleutian Islands all the way through the South Pacific to Okinawa where he was seriously injured. A bona fide hero, he was awarded 15 medals but for years never talked about what he’d experienced.
We got to Calhouns and were seated at a big round table in the middle of the room. Bill had catfish and Daddy had ribs. They talked about food and friendship and Bill gave daddy a birthday present that he’d made Vikki sneak into the restaurant.
After lunch, the wait staff set up a portable ramp so we could go down to the deck and throw bread to the carp that boiled up in the water out back.
Bill needed his oxygen tank for the trip home and grew very short of breath. I took a picture of the two of them when we got to his house.
We said goodbye and I thought about the end of that poem:
"When springs run low, and on the brooks
In idle golden freighting
Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush
Of woods, for winter waiting;
When comrades seek sweet country haunts,
By twos and twos together,
And count like misers, hour by hour,
October's bright blue weather."

Bill died six days later and was buried two days before Veterans Day in the uniform he’d worn when he gave Daddy his medals.

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14
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Thu
Oct 30 2014
02:37 pm

Here's my take on the closing days of the 2014 local election.

13
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Thu
Oct 30 2014
01:39 pm

This should cheer just about anyone up. Inexplicably, KOCH Industries has been a sponsor of the Daily Show recently, running ads to explain all the wonderful things they do. The Daily Show reworked the ad just a little and included that version in the actual show. Does that count as product placement?

(link...)

10
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Thu
Oct 30 2014
01:27 pm

KNS here: PACs have spent some bucks in October attacking Johnson

UPDATE: Thanks to Tom Humprhey for this great article. I have made the link to the article clearer.

NASHVILLE — Political action committees have spent more in October attacking Democratic state Rep. Gloria Johnson through independent expenditures than she and her Republican opponent, Eddie Smith, have spent combined, according to new financial disclosure statements.

The three PACs together then spent almost $190,000 on the contest in October as independent expenditures

Two of the PACs represent national organizations pushing for creation of a school voucher system in Tennessee. ...together spent $139,705 between Oct. 1 and Oct. 25 on the race.

Another national organization, Americans for Prosperity, has also been sending direct mail into the district praising Smith and declaring he will fight “the radical Obama agenda.”

UPDATE: If you want to help fight this evil, click here to donate to Gloria's campaign.

9
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Thu
Oct 30 2014
10:05 am

Nooo, not by a long shot is it like any Metro Pulse review.

I think this was the paragraph that most ticked me off:

Sassy Ann's is like the Addams Family opened a bar in their house...The only thing that disappoints me about the place is there is no photo of a dude on the wall with eyes that seem to follow you around the room.

Granted, I have known and loved the place since it opened as Zeke & Dan's, back in the '70's, but even if I weren't a bit sentimental, don't you agree that this is a really cloddish description of what was and is one of Knoxville's architectural gems and a perennial favorite among neighborhood bars?

What a jerk.

9
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Wed
Oct 29 2014
04:20 pm

Just curious what determines the order of names on the ballot?

For instance, why are Haslam, Alexander, Duncan, Briggs, Smith, all listed first in their section on the ballot? I don't understand the logic of the order.

It isn't alphabetical or the incumbent. How was the order determined?

Knox county Sample Ballot

19
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CAC Volunteer Assisted Transportation announcement...

Want to Help a Senior Out?! Become a Volunteer Driver Today!

CAC is excited to provide the Volunteer Assisted Transportation program to Knox County seniors & people with disabilities who require aid and assistance to travel safely...but we need YOUR help!

Volunteer Drivers are needed to assist seniors to medical appointments, shopping trips, beauty appointments, and other fun activities!

Volunteers will drive agency-owned, hybrid sedans and receive training to include First Aid & CPR certification! AAA Membership Discounts are also available to program volunteers!

Volunteers are needed for weekdays, evenings and weekends. Thank you for considering to donate your time to help Knox area seniors.
For more information on volunteering call 865-673-5001 or
email: nancy.welch@cactrans.org

Flyer with more info...

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15
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Wed
Oct 29 2014
08:29 am

Check out the map.

From the NY Times ...

That state boundaries are so prominent in the map attests to the power of state policy in shaping health insurance conditions. The most important factor in predicting whether an American who had no insurance in 2013 signed up this year was whether the state that person lives in expanded its Medicaid program in 2014. (Just consider the contrast between Kentucky, which expanded Medicaid, and Tennessee, which did not.)

Obamacare: Who Was Helped Most

19
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Tennessee River barge traffic to Knoxville has been cut off by the temporary closing of Chicamauga Lock for emergency repairs. Work was started years ago to build a new lock, but Congress won't fund it. They talk a lot about it, but nothing ever seems to happen.

Times Free Press: River traffic locks up

"The bomb that we have been warned to expect for the past three or four years seemed to hit us Monday afternoon," said Pete Serodino, president of the river shipping business founded by his father. "We've had scheduled shutdowns before, but in my 30 years in the business I don't ever recall an unplanned shutdown for this long."

According to TVA, one barge can transport as much tonnage as 60 semi-trucks or 15 rail cars. This reduces highway traffic, fuel consumption, air pollution and wear and tear on highways. Barge shipments also save consumers about $550 million per year in transportation costs (about the estimated cost to finish the new lock).

TVA also says that the Tennessee River "provides the least expensive form of transportation for dozens of Valley industries that either produce or use raw materials. For example, commercial navigation makes it possible for east Tennessee to be a major distribution center for fertilizer, road salt, and asphalt that moves upriver by barge. Zinc mines in Jefferson County, Tennessee, depend heavily on barge transportation to deliver zinc concentrate to customers downriver."

Thanks a lot, Rep. Duncan (who is on the House Transportation Committee), Rep. Fleischmann, and Sens. Alexander and Corker.

22
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Tue
Oct 28 2014
11:51 am
By: Mark Harmon  shortURL

Romanian Journalist and Professor Dr. Brindusa Armanca was a guest this week in my Political Communication class. She spoke about the upcoming Romanian election (Nov. 2nd); 14 Presidential candidates virtually assure there will be a runoff.

Armanca lamented Romanian low voter turnout, uninformed voting, hidden big money being used in campaigns, corruption, superficial news coverage, and negative appeals. Imagine that.

medium_Armanca_0.JPG

19
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Tue
Oct 28 2014
09:02 am

Knoxville based Regal Entertainment Group announced third quarter results yesterday, posting a 14.7% decline in revenues and a 64% decline in net earnings year over year for the quarter. The company also announced a special dividend.

In the earnings press release, Regal said that its Board of Directors "has authorized the exploration of strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value, which may include a potential sale of the Company."

Shares are up in extended hours trading on the news.

According to Reuters, "The movie industry saw one of its worst summer slumps this year. Theater chains have also been besieged by problems such as piracy and stiff competition from online streaming websites like Netflix Inc."

According to Regal, the average ticket price is now over $9 and average concessions per patron are nearly $4. For a family of four, $52 for one movie outing will buy nearly six months of unlimited Netflix streaming.

Reuters mentioned AMC and Cinemark as potential buyers should Regal's board decide to pursue a sale.

16
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John Stewart, of Knoxville, pens a solid op-ed in the KNS on why to vote no on Amendment 3.

Rendered in understandable English, the meaning of the words is clear: the Legislature will have authority to raise only the sales tax, businesses taxes, the tax on dividends and income, and perhaps to institute or increase state fees (state parks, for example). Some people have even raised the possibility of creating a statewide property tax.

It's hard to understate how horrible of a public finance idea Amendment 3 is. Without revenue diversification the state will have a hard time paying for critical services, infrastructure etc. They are not prone to investing anyway, hence the income tax ban, but if they are forced to for some strange reason they'll have to do it with sales tax revenue spikes and such. They'll cut and cut and cut because revenue shortfalls. Their hands are tied...

If this passes our state's public finances will rely even more heavily on the taxation of disposable income. Tennesseans who make less have their disposable income exposed to the highest sales tax in the nation. This is tax policy which at its core is exceedingly regressive on both economic and moral grounds. This is terrible budget policy of unimaginable proportions, completely unimaginative and indeed dangerous wrt vertical and horizontal equity. What's in store? Here are a few guesses: local governments and their decisions: the homeless, potholes, decreased support from the state for schools with an updated BEP shoveling 40-50 students in your kids' classrooms, infrastructure.

Finally, the other piece which comes along with decreased state and federal spending is a solid and steady decline in public employee unions. But surely that's just a coincidental, unintended consequence.

Further Reading
National Conference of State Legislators Principles of a High-Quality State Revenue System

CBPP June 2011 - Better-Than-Expected State Tax Collections Highlight Importance of Income Taxes

CBPP June 2013 - Strategies to Address the State Tax Volatility Problem Eliminating the State Income Tax Not a Solution

Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy - Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States

Nevin Economic Research Institute - Wealth Tax: Options for its Implementation In the Republic of Ireland

28
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Mon
Oct 27 2014
04:12 pm

"If you want to take the one everyone is talking about, take this one," said the poll worker to the woman in front of me at the table.

She was referring to the "I Voted" stickers that were being placed on the table for people to take as they leave.

There are some traditional ones, and then there are these:

Question for our Secretary Of State:

Just how many thousands of dollars in public money did you just spend to create a campaign advertisement for yourself?

25
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The Farragut Press has a bit of back and forth between State Senate District 7 candidates Cheri Siler and Richard Briggs on a couple of issues. One is Medicaid expansion. Here's the article...

21
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What: Is school choice an empty promise? What Nashville can learn from NOLA
When: Sunday, November 2, 2014 - 3:00pm
Where: East Park Community Center, 600 Woodland Street, Nashville, TN 37206

Time is central. Seating is limited. RSVP online here is recommended.
More info here.

TREE and Gideon’s Army are excited to announce an important event in Nashville, Sunday, Nov. 2. Karran Harper Royal and Dr. Kristen Buras will discuss the impact of education reform on the students, teachers, and schools of New Orleans, LA–the nation’s first all-charter school district, and one that is frequently hailed as a blueprint by various ”reformers” in Tennessee.

Continued...

32
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Sun
Oct 26 2014
10:53 am

I just saw an ad for this event (link...)
Robertson County is north of Nashville, and the event "Cover Robertson County in Prayer" is sponsored by the Robertson County Chamber of Commerce. A quick glance of the chamber's website didn't reveal the sources of their funding, but aren't all Chamber of Commerces at least partially funded by public dollars? Is this a violation of church and state?

27
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Obama must be the most powerful president ever and is apparently a formidable opponent. Every Republican candidate in the U.S. is running against him and he isn't even on the ballot.

Because of Obama's superpowers, this is the most expensive mid-term election in U.S. history. Spending is approaching $4 billion so far, including nearly $900 million in outside (PAC, 527) spending.

More than $95 million has been spent so far for a single North Carolina U.S. Senate seat, including $67.5 million in outside money. Ohio's 8th U.S. House district race has cost more than $17 million so far. Arizona's 2nd U.S. House district seat is apparently the most coveted by outside special interests, racking up nearly $10 million.

Wall Street has spent over $126 million so far, with 62% going to Republicans. Lawyers have spent more than $91 million, 70% of it going to Democrats. Environmental groups have spent $47.5 million, with 90% going to Democrats, while the oil and gas lobby has spent $37 million with 87% going to Republicans.

Here in Tennessee, Lamar Alexander has raised more than $7 million to fend off Democratic challenger Gordon Ball, who is mostly self financing. Gov. Haslam has $3 million on hand and has loaned his campaign $3.5 million and he doesn't even have a credible challenger.

Closer to home, Republican Eddie Smith has raised more than $51,000 in his bid to unseat Gloria Johnson for State House 13, who has more than $121,000 on hand. In the State Senate 7th district, Cheri Siler has raised more than $58,000 to take on Republican Richard Briggs, who loaned his campaign $132,000 and has raised another $320,000 from special interest groups and wealthy Republicans. (Is this the most expensive State Senate race ever?)

The Supreme Court says money is speech, because money talks.

33
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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.

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