Nov 18 2014
09:58 am

Just got a notice from BlueCross that our insurance premiums are increasing 22.6% for 2015. From checking a few other plans, it appears to be a similar increase across the board.


Screening committee recommends three for TNDP chair

In a Monday news release, the committee recommended outgoing state Rep. Gloria Johnson, former state Senate candidate Mary Mancini and former U.S. Senate candidate Terry Adams.


Pretty extreme.

From the Washington Post …

Although the rate of child homelessness in Kentucky is the worst in the nation, at about one in 15 children, the group ranks Alabama the worst overall, when the four factors it considered are grouped together. That state ranks close to the bottom in the National Center for Family Homelessness’s rankings of homelessness, child well-being, risks for becoming homeless and policy.

Bottom 10 Composite Score
41. Tennessee 42. Kentucky 43. Oklahoma 44. Nevada
45. Arizona 46. New Mexico 47. Arkansas 48. California 49. Mississippi 50. Alabama

Where the nation’s 2.5 million homeless children live

America's youngest outcasts



A source has told WBIR 10News that Tennessee linebacker A.J. Johnson is one of two suspects named in a rape and sexual assault case.

UPDATE: Butch Jones said in his weekly press conference the he is aware of the alleged incident involving players and they are gathering information and will act in a decisive manner once all the facts are known. Jones also said that players under police investigation will not be allowed to practice.

UPDATE: A.J. Johnson and Mike Williams have been suspended.

Nov 17 2014
11:36 am

A KNS headline today says Knox Co. Schools Superintended McIntyre is being considered as a candidate to replace outgoing education commissioner Kevin Huffman.

The Nashville Tennessean article they link to only says that McIntyre is one of a handful of superintendents mentioned by observers, not any official source.

In fact, McIntyre recently told WBIR that he has not been contacted about the job and would prefer to stay in Knox Co.

Maybe that's because he'd have to take a pay cut and work without a contract and related safety nets? McIntyre currently makes $222,800 at Knox Co. and has a contract through, I believe, 2017 with various protections and buyout clauses. In Nashville, he would take a pay cut to $211,404 (Huffman's current salary) and serve at the pleasure of the Governor without any contract protections.

Further, the article says:

Observers also have also mentioned a handful of superintendents, including Jim McIntyre of Knox County Schools and Lyle Ailshie of Kingsport City Schools. Someone from the local level could address the perception that the department has communication shortcomings with local districts.

McIntyre could address communication shortcomings with local districts? These "observers" clearly aren't from around here. McIntyre's inability to communicate effectively appears to be one of his biggest weaknesses.

Nov 16 2014
02:25 pm

2015 open enrollment for health insurance on HealthCare.gov began yesterday. Enroll by Dec. 15th for coverage starting Jan. 1, 2015.

If you already enrolled for 2014 through the marketplace, you may be automatically renewed. You can also change to another plan. Either way, you need to update your income and household info. More info...

Need help? Check with the Knoxville Area Project Access Navigator Program, or call (865) 531-2766.

SEE ALSO: Message from Tennessee mayors...

UPDATE: Find out if you are eligible for a subsidy and how much it could be with this subsidy calculator...


Congratulations to powerhouse Division 1 teams Alcoa (3A), CAK (3A), Fulton (4A), South Doyle (5A), West (5A), Maryville (6A) and Division 2 Class A Webb on advancing in the TSSAA high school football playoffs.

Scores, brackets and more...


from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) ...

In 2011, average federal tax rates were near their lowest levels since 1979 for households in most of the income groups examined in this report. The only exception was for households in the top 1 percent of the income distribution. For that group, the average federal tax rate in 2011 was near its lowest level since the early 1990s

The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes

Nov 14 2014
12:08 pm

HB 0002 by *Womick Abortion - As introduced, requires that an ultrasound be performed prior to an abortion, with an exception for medical emergencies. - Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 15; Title 63, Chapter 6; Title 63, Chapter 9 and Title 68, Chapter 11.

As written, the text of the bill also includes a minimum 24 hour waiting period.

Nov 14 2014
10:35 am


Courtesy of Dawn Michelle Foster at the City of Knoxville, Blanchard and Calhoun presented this overview of the updated design (pdf) for Bridges at Riverwalk (former Baptist Hospital site) at last night's South Waterfront development meeting.

Nov 14 2014
10:02 am
Click for bigger

The News Sentinel's Go Knoxville paper today has this interesting map attached to an article about hiking the Continental Divide Trail.

Unless something's changed, the last time we were there Yellowstone was mostly in Wyoming and partly Montana and Idaho, and the Rocky Mountain NP was in Colorado.

(By way of @_JimSmith_)

Nov 14 2014
09:06 am

The State of Tennessee on Wednesday will consider Tennova's Certificate of Need application for a new hospital on Middlebrook Pike to replace the old St. Mary's hospital on Broadway.

Fourth District City Councilman Nick Della Volpe has written a detalied letter to the state opposing the relocation. Della Volpe says the move is profit driven, creates barriers for "low-pay" patients, and will result in the loss of readily accessible health care in the community.

Here's Della Volpe's letter in full (pdf).

SEE ALSO: Pam Strickland's column today

Nov 13 2014
11:29 pm

At the presentation, one of the folks involved in Baptist development mentioned raising the river walk next to their development so they would not have a bunch of steps to get down to it. I am thinking I may have misunderstood that because that doesn't make sense to me. Seems like you would want it as close to the water and level as possible. Did anyone else hear that?


Steven Greenhouse at the NYT
VW to Allow Labor Groups to Represent Workers at Chattanooga Plant

Under VW’s new policy, employee groups will be able to use company space for meetings, post information and announcements, and have regular meetings with representatives of Volkswagen’s management. Groups that have the support of more than 15 percent of members can meet monthly with VW’s human resource officials, while those with more than 45 percent support can meet once every two weeks with Volkswagen Chattanooga’s executive committee.

Further Reading
Brent Snavely at Detroit Free Press
Volkswagen opens the door to the UAW in Chattanooga

David Shepardson at the Detroit News
VW won't recognize UAW before audit

Nov 13 2014
02:38 pm
By: Pam Strickland  shortURL

Joey Garrison of The Tennessean just tweeted that Kevin Huffman is leaving the Tennessee Department of Education. He cited a department news release. No Story yet.

UPDATE: Huffman: “It has been an extraordinary honor to serve nearly 1 million students. I am incredibly proud of the accomplishments of TN students

TENNESSEAN STORY He's leaving for the private sector.

It's a developing story, more details to come.


Debt for Public and Private Non-Profit 4-Year Institutions

From Project on Student Debt...


State Average debt $24,585

Project on Student Debt: State by State Data

Nov 13 2014
08:47 am

Hopefully this will be successful.

Might be good for some sections of the south waterfront river walk.

From CNN

The world's first road capable of turning sunlight into energy officially opened for traffic Wednesday in the Netherlands.

It's actually a 230-foot-long bike path in the town of Krommenie.

Solar road




The states that opted not to create their own health exchanges – the states that would lose their health insurance subsidies if SCOTUS rules against the government – are mostly Republican-governed states. The sudden unavailability of those tax credits would mean that a lot of newly insured people in those states would no longer be able to afford their health coverage. They will expect their elected officials to do something to mitigate the damage, which would be catastrophic. Close to 5 million people across the country would see their health insurance costs spike.

That would pose an awkward situation for Republicans in the statehouses and Congress: Do they stick to their ideologically acceptable rigid opposition to Obamacare, or do they work to fix the law? Congress has the ability (if not the willingness) to pass a quick legislative fix to solve the problems. Governors could agree to set up exchanges within the state to keep the subsidies flowing. These are the simplest paths to resolving the issue, and there would be intense pressure to get either or both done.

I don't see our legislature turning back, but Haslam might try to set up a hasty exchange (yeah, a new web complex site in two months, that's a good idea... because I know we wouldn't be smart enough to just buy existing code from, say, KYnect).

Could it shift the voters in some red-leaning states? Could it change politics in those states for the next 20 years?

Nov 12 2014
12:18 pm

The European Space Agency just announced they have successfully landed an unmanned probe on a comet more than 300 million miles away from Earth. Awesome!

UPDATE: First closeup of the comet from lander during descent:


Nov 12 2014
12:00 pm

Because, despite Devaney's incredible success at stomping a large mudhole in the ass of Tennessee Democrats, the TNGOP is apparently just not batshit crazy enough. The Nashville Scene breaks it down.


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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