The US is an oligarchy.

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.

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23
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Tue
Apr 15 2014
10:34 am
By: michael kaplan  shortURL

Walking by Hodges Library a couple of weeks ago, I noticed some progressive student activism on the promenade. Two students, representing Sex Week, were handing out condoms (made in Malaysia). Another was petitioning to have UT divest from the fossil fuel industry. That issue made news last week when Harvard students and faculty called for divestment.

Continued...

19
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Tue
Apr 15 2014
09:50 am

The recent debate about allowing for-profit charter operations to set up shop in Tennessee has been a heated one, but the reality is that they're already here.

“There’s not much difference in profit and nonprofits,” says Gary Miron, an education professor at Western Michigan University and a member of the National Education Policy Center in Colorado who studies and monitors charter schools...

“It’s really a scam,” Miron says of the many different scenarios that can be used. “To really follow the money, you would have to really understand the facilities companies.”

Miron is particularly wary of the real estate deals like those currently being seen in Nashville and Memphis.

Note to local journalists: The NEPC at the University of Colorado is a wonderful resource to find quality research about education policy that is not funded by the usual suspects. It is particularly good at pushing back against the excrement that flows out of think tanks and state houses.

20
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Mon
Apr 14 2014
07:41 pm

This one was seen today in Fountain City. We had a 1965. Not a great car mechanically, but it was stylish ..

mustang.JPG

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23
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Mon
Apr 14 2014
06:02 pm

House passes statewide charter school approval authority, bill on its way to the governor. Because the TNGOP is all about rejecting big government in favor of local control and all that.

Tom Humphrey reports...

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Call for Contemplation and Action for Monarchs and Other Imperiled Pollinators April 14th, on the 50th Anniversary of Rachel Carson’s Death

(link...)

To those of you who picked up seeds of Butterfly Weed which were given in celebration and honor of Rikki, please, don't forget to plant the seeds and tend those plants.

In an attempt to follow Rikki's advice last year I have become a bit zealous in raising milkweed. We all need to throw a few seeds of our own.

26
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Mon
Apr 14 2014
01:31 pm

Several weeks ago, I made a comment on Knoxviews that caused some consternation:

i remember jamie satterfield commenting (on wuot's dialogue - and i paraphrase) that if prisoners don't like jails, they shouldn't commit crimes.

I've obtained a recording of the 2008 Dialogue program, and here's what she said:

Having seen a lot of jails, they're not that horrible, and if you didn't commit crime you wouldn't be there.

My question and Ms. Satterfield's complete answer to it are shown below.

Continued...

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34
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Mon
Apr 14 2014
12:07 pm

What: 6th District Knox Co Democratic Party Meeting
When: Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 6:00pm
Where: Karns Public Library 7516 Oak Ridge Hywy

Guest Speaker will be:

Daniel Kidd, candidate for Knox Co. Circuit Court, Div IV
(link...)

for more info: Janice Spoone (771-5920) or Clay Mulford (257-6744)

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22
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Mon
Apr 14 2014
10:36 am

What: 3rd/4th District Democrats Club Meeting
When: Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 6:00pm
Where: Bearden Branch Library, 100 Golf Club Road Knoxville TN 37919

Guest Speakers will be:

Daryl Fansler, Knox Co Chancellor Div II
AND
Cameron Brooks and Leon Daugherty, Candidates for TN State Democratic Executive Committee from State Senate District #6

for more info: Chris Foell (foellmc@aol.com)
Rosina Guerra (rosinag@earthlink.net)

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26
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Mon
Apr 14 2014
10:15 am

What: South of the River Democrats Meeting
When: Monday, April 21, 2014 - 6:30pm
Where: South Knoxville Community Center, 522 Maryville Pike, Knoxville 37920

Guest Speaker will be:

Mark Mohundro, Planned Parentood of Middle and East Tennessee,
speaking about The IMPORTANT TN constitutional amendment concerning reproductive rights that voters will face on the NOV 2014 ballot.

for more info: Jim Sessions (sessions5@icloud.com)

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25
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Sun
Apr 13 2014
07:27 pm
By: R. Neal  shortURL


Click image for gallery...

We went over to Lakemoor Hills this morning to drive the Dogwood Trail. The dogwoods and redbuds are pretty spectacular everywhere. They were probably at their peak this weekend. Some of the flowers and azaleas are a little behind, no doubt because of the cold winter. The extreme cold appears to have claimed some foliage, too.

We also stopped by for an open house at Speedwell Manor. Michele grew up in the neighborhood but had never been there. It was originally built in Tazwell around 1830. In 1950, they were building a highway that would have taken it. An engineer hired an Atlanta architectural firm to take it apart, brick by brick, plank by plank, number everything, and move it to Knoxville where it was all put back together on its current site in Lakemoor Hills. The project took three years to complete.

It sits on 20 bucolic acres in the middle of suburbia. A now retired U.T. biology (embryology) professor bought it in 1987 and still lives there. It was a museum for a while before that. He and his wife opened up their home for a Dogwood Arts open house. The craftsmanship and woodworking inside are amazing. They have some goats and turkeys and miniature horses as sort of a petting zoo for their grandkids.

We also went up to Bluff Point, where a couple of residents had open gardens. A path leads out to two overlooks on a bluff high above the Tennessee River. It's one of those million dollar views you hear about.

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36
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Sun
Apr 13 2014
09:25 am

Today's News Sentinel has the first round of school board endorsements (subscription required). Today's endorsements are for the sixth and ninth districts.

It appears the News Sentinel is following the Chamber of Commerce party line. If you're not a supporter of the Haslam/Huffman/McIntyre "reform" (privatization) agenda you need not apply.

Continued...

34
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Sun
Apr 13 2014
07:03 am

The Johnson City Press is reporting that at least eight University of Tennessee Knoxville (UTK) employees and four Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) employees attempted to file their income tax returns only to find out someone else already filed tax returns using their social security numbers (SSN).

Someone at UTK and TBR are looking into the possibility of a data breach and stolen identities. TBR spokesperson Monica Greppin-Watts said with only four out of 16,000 employees so far reporting the income tax filing problem, they do not think there has been a data breach.

In December, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation charged a state employee with stealing data from the TN Consolidated Retirement System.

The Maryville Daily Times newspaper has a crime report section that lists three people in Blount County in their April 11 and April 12 editions who have reported a problem filing their income taxes only to find someone else has already used their SSN to fraudulently file.

19
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Sat
Apr 12 2014
07:23 pm

You might remember the name Kristi Kristy from a couple of months ago, when she filed an ethics complaint with the Knox County Schools Board of Education because board member Mike McMillan had forwarded an email that Kristy had sent to board member Pam Trainor with instructions to send it to the entire board, which meant it then became public record -- anyway, it was a mess. Kristy eventually withdrew her complaint, which makes sense because McMillan didn't do anything wrong to begin with. Now, however, it looks like Kristy might be the one on the wrong side of ethics -- and, possibly, the law.

(link...)

25
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Sat
Apr 12 2014
06:13 pm

Per Huff Po, here.

Excerpt:

Jon Erickson, president of ACT's education division, said the goal is to identify and address gaps in skills needed for college and the workforce...Schools won't be compelled to use the new tool, but Erickson said he anticipates that entire states or groups of states will choose to utilize it.

(Hat tip to Lucianna Sanson at SPEAK.)

22
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Sat
Apr 12 2014
04:07 pm

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35
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Sat
Apr 12 2014
06:45 am

From CNN ...

.Broadly speaking, for every dollar you pay in federal income taxes, about half goes to military spending (27%) and spending on federal health programs (22.7%). The latter covers everything from Medicare and Medicaid to the Children's Health Insurance Program.

How Washington spends your taxes

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30
like
Fri
Apr 11 2014
10:43 am

By now everyone on the planet with an internet connection has heard about the OpenSSL bug known as "heartbleed" that can compromise secure (https:) websites (or really, any "secure" communications on any device that uses OpenSSL, including possibly your smartphone.)

So, is it time to panic? Close all your accounts? Log off and retreat to a desert island?

Continued...

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40
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Fri
Apr 11 2014
09:10 am

Financial disclosures were due from candidates yesterday. It looks like the Haslams and the Chamber are backing Sandra Rowcliffe in my race, including $$$ from Doug Harris' Harris Restaurant Group, but not to the tune they backed Harris ($10K total at first disclosure for her, $20K at first disclosure for him two years back). See here.

Continued...

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