Jan 26 2016
07:41 pm

After long and contentious debate, the House Finance, Ways and Means committee voted FOR passage of vouchers 11 to 10.

Next vote is on the House floor. Senate has already passed it. Vouchers are here. Sad day for constitutionally mandated public education in Tennessee.

Jan 26 2016
05:02 pm

Looks like some good moves.

from USA today ….

Obama's plan consists of of a number of legislative proposals, which he'll outline in the 2017 budget he'll submit to Congress next month. They include:

► Offering tax credits to small businesses that automatically enroll employees in a new 401(k)-style retirement plan — or requiring them to offer payroll deductions to an Individual Retirement Account if they don't offer a company plan.

► Requiring companies with existing plans to offer them to long-term, part-time workers who work 500 hours a year for three years; and

► Making it easier for companies to pool their retirement plans to bring down expenses through multiple employer plans.

Obama to propose expanding retirement plans

Jan 26 2016
01:50 pm

What: DSA DISCUSSION: Incarceration and Privatization
When: Monday, February 1, 2016 - 5:30pm
Where: Shalom House, Church of the Savior, 934 North Weisgarber Rd 37919


What: Julia Gautreau, Assistant Public Defender, Knox County Public Defenders Community Law Office, will be speaking on Incarceration and Privatization
When: Monday, February 1, 2016 5:30 PM - 7 PM
Where: Shalom House, Church of the Savior, 934 North Weisgarber Rd

Jan 26 2016
11:59 am

A Houston grand jury has indicted two anti-abortion activists with the so-called Center for Medical Progress (CMP) who made undercover videos alleging Planned Parenthood illegally sold fetal tissue to researchers for a profit. The panel said the abortion provider "committed no wrong."

CMP's director David Daleiden and activist Sandra Merritt each face a felony charge of tampering with a governmental record, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Daleiden also faces a misdemeanor count related to purchasing human organs.

Although the videos provoked outrage among Republican leaders nationwide and sparked investigations by Republican-led committees across multiple states, Planned Parenthood says 11 state investigations have already cleared their organization of claims that it profited from fetal tissue donation.

Jan 26 2016
07:21 am

The House Finance, Ways and Means Committee is set to vote today at 3PM Nashville time on HB1049/SB0999, the "Tennessee Choice & Opportunity Scholarship Act."

Opponents in Knox County held a press conference yesterday urging legislators to vote "NO" on school vouchers, saying "vouchers, at their core, are an abandonment of public education" because they funnel taxpayer money away from public schools.

According to the News Sentinel, groups represented at Monday's news conference were "the Knoxville chapter of the NAACP; Students Parents Educators Across Knox County, or SPEAK; the League of Women Voters of Knoxville/Knox County; Jobs for Justice; and the Public School Forum of East Tennessee Fund."

Local media coverage of the press conference, including comments by Rep. Bill Dunn, the bill's sponsor:

WATE: Controversy surrounds school vouchers in East Tennessee

WBIR: School voucher bill faces Tuesday vote

KNS: Opponents to school vouchers ask lawmakers to not ‘abandon our schools’

Here is the House Finance, Ways and Means committee member directory with contact info.

Jan 25 2016
09:41 pm

...is to be "Bachelor Auctioned" in support of this year's Friends of Literacy fundraiser.

Says Wayne on his page:

I'm doing probably the most unlike-Wayne thing I've ever done, I've agreed to be part of the Friends of Literacy Bachelor Auction. It's for a good cause - helping adults to learn how to read. Here's where to donate and make me look like I have friends with disposable income! Any amount will help. Much thanks!

I think we may be some of those "friends in low places" to whom he refers???

Ah, well. Let's do what we can for him, right here.


You may recall the story of Rep. Jeremy Durham, The Teflon Republican from Franklin TN. This dude escaped a grand jury indictment related to prescription drug fraud, then kept his leadership post as majority whip after a closed-door Republican caucus meeting to discuss his "series of disclosed and undisclosed transgressions." Durham blamed the liberal media for his troubles.

Then, the Tennessean disclosed some of the transgressions, which involved inappropriate text messages and alleged sexual harassment of legislative staff members. Apparently, Republican House leaders knew about it before the closed meeting and chose to cover it up.

Once the Tennessean story went public, Durham resigned as majority whip. Then he didn't. Then he did again. From all accounts, it appears his resignation stuck the second time. Durham says he "doesn't remember" sending the texts or sexually harassing anyone.

Now, state TNGOP chair Ryan Haynes is calling for him to resign from the House.

And Speaker Beth Harwell, who covered up the allegations of sexual harassment (saying the House's sexual harassment policy is pretty standard and nobody has complained about it) has walked back the cover up and is setting up a panel to study the situation. She also says "Had anyone come forward, we absolutely would have investigated fully." Bullshit.

And finally, TNDP chair Mary Mancini has called for House Republicans to resign from their leadership posts, saying "Speaker Harwell, Leader McCormick and Chairman Casada have created a toxic workplace and have protected an accused sexual harasser."

All this drama is overshadowing the start of the legislative session at a time when there is important work to be done dismantling public education, weakening workplace protections for workers, promoting easier access to guns, and preventing access to health care.

Oh wait. I see what they did there.


The Pat Summitt Foundation has donated $400,000 to the U.T. Medical Center to establish the Pat Summitt Alzheimer’s Clinic. The foundation has committed to raise $2.5 million over the next five years to support the Clinic’s operation and services.

Joe Landsman, president and CEO of The University of Tennessee Medical Center, said "We have completed the design and will begin construction later this year of a new facility to serve patients and their families through diagnosis, treatment, care giver support, and community education."

More info...


Without institutional commitment and a long view, I do not see much chance to defeat the "Reform" agenda. There are places where the teachers unions are going to try. It is no wonder "they" do not want teachers' unions. It is a wonder that teachers don't. Or don't want to use them.


Jan 24 2016
10:04 pm

Plan now to attend CAPPE's 14th Annual ChiliFest on Saturday, February 6 from 4-7pm.

Come taste all the entries and vote for People's Choice.

If you would like to enter the cook-off and compete for a ribbon and $50 cash prize, use the attached entry form.

WHERE: Stovall Family Life Center beside First Church of the Nazarene, 1608 East Broadway, Maryville

WHEN: Saturday, February 6, from 4-7pm

Chili Fest tickets are $7 at the door. Chili contestants and children under 10 do not need a ticket.

Home baked goods, drinks and quesadillas will be available for purchase.

Contact cappe@saveitdontpaveit.org with questions or call Marian Fitzgerald (865 983-0298) or Jay Clark (865 340-9183).

Jan 24 2016
06:05 pm
By: redmondkr  shortURL

Be sure to tune in to PBS tonight at ten for this week's episode of Mercy Street. Our own Stephen M. Dupree will be featured.

Jan 24 2016
02:24 pm

The Knox County Election Commission has posted early voting times and locations. Early voting begins Wednesday Feb 10th and continues through Tuesday Feb. 23rd. Early voting locations will be open on President's Day, Feb. 15th. Note new locations at Merchant's Drive, Chapman Highway, and the Karns Senior Center.

More info:

Early voting times and locations
Sample ballot
Absentee ballot application, deadline Feb. 23

Jan 24 2016
11:19 am

Tom Humphrey runs down the politics driving school vouchers, including parliamentary dirty tricks and NRA-style outside funding designed to intimidate legislators and squelch debate.

Tom Humphrey: Voucher politics finally prevailing?


They're upset about the Chilhowee Park gun show happening in their neighborhood. They say this hits too close to home after several teens were shot and killed by gun violence in that same area.

Kudos to the protestors. As was said in the article, it's not like the gunshows are doing anything wrong, it's just time to move the gunshows out of the neighborhood.


For Immediate Release:
January 22nd, 2016

Contact: Lauren Hopson – 865-660-0822 or Gloria Johnson – 865-660-9800

*****Media Advisory for Monday, January 25th, 4:15 PM*****

Public Education Coalition Opposing Vouchers

Various groups such as KCEA, SPEAK, teachers, parents, and members of the Knox County BOE will come together to show their support for our public schools and call on our legislators to vote NO on vouchers.

KNOXVILLE – Please join us for a press conference highlighting the many reasons that vouchers are not the answer for our children. Knox County is an innovator in Community Schools, a program that truly addresses the needs of our struggling kids and communities. Taking a few children out of their neighborhood school and placing them in a private school will only leave the neighborhood school with fewer resources than before. We need to fully fund our public schools that teach every child, not funnel public tax dollars to private schools that “choose” which students they will take. If our legislators vote for vouchers, it is as if they are throwing up their hands and abandoning public education.

WHO: Representatives from the following organizations: Knox County Education Association, SPEAK, Knox County Schools Board of Education, KCS Administration, KCS Community Schools partners, Teachers, Parents, and Students

WHAT: Press Conference on state voucher legislation (Finance Committee vote on vouchers will take place Tuesday 26th at 3:00CST in Nashville)

WHEN: Monday, January 25th, at 4:15 PM

WHERE: KCEA Office 2411 East Magnolia Knoxville, 37917

WHY: Vouchers, at their core, are an abandonment of public education.

(Feel free to join us if you support public schools and want a NO vote on vouchers!)



HB 1049 sponsored by Knoxville state Rep. Bill Dunn-R comes up for a key vote next Tuesday at 4pm eastern time before the House Ways and Means Committee.
If you consider yourself an ally of public education you are strongly urged to contact members of this committee best by phone to let them know that a vote for vouchers is a vote to abandon public education.
Main points, contact info and further reading after the break



What: Marleen Davis campaign kickoff for County Commission 4th District
When: Tuesday, January 26, 2016 - 5:30pm
Where: Holly’s Gourmet Market, 5107 Kingston Pike

From Cameron Brooks, Knox County Democratic Party

Democrats are working hard to take back the 4th district commission seat here in Knox County, and we have a great candidate in Marleen Davis to do just that.

This is Marleen Davis' first attempt at running for public office. As a mother, an architect, and a career educator at the University of Tennessee, she understands the importance of our neighborhoods, schools, commercial districts, and parks in creating a great quality of life, which also contributes to the economic well-being of the County.

Join us in a CAMPAIGN KICK OFF EVENT for Marleen Davis for County Commission this coming Tuesday, January 26th from 5:30-7:30 at Holly’s Gourmet Market, 5107 Kingston Pike, in the center of the Bearden District.

The event supports local Bearden businesses, with catering by Holly, and with a cash bar featuring wine from Toddy’s and craft beer from Alliance, one of Knoxville’s newest brewerys, run by entrepreneur Chris Morton, the owner of Bearden Beer Market.

Click HERE to rsvp for the event! Help us spread the word about her campaign! Learn more about the campaign by coming to this event or by visiting the VOTEMARLEENDAVIS.COM website.


Check out this stream I happened on. Pretty cool view of the work going on at UT building the new student center.



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