Wed
Mar 26 2014
01:36 pm

At its website, the Knoxville-Knox County League of Women Voters announces details on its upcoming school board candidate forums (March 27 and April 1) and now shares responses from all school board candidates to its questionnaire, here.

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Wed
Mar 26 2014
11:36 am

Gov. Haslam tells Tennessee Chamber that businesses aren't doing enough to lobby state legislators, and that they could be "three times more effective in terms of their impact on Capitol Hill than they are right now."

I'm all for a business-friendly economic climate that promotes jobs and opportunity and a level playing field for small businesses. But if corporate special interests had any more influence over state government than they do now our state would look like one big outsourced Walmart super center with low pay, no benefits and no protections for working people, sick people, old people or poor people.

Haslam to biz leaders: Engage the legislature

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Bobby Waggoner, who is running against incumbent J.J. Jones for Knox Co. Sheriff, says he will focus on law enforcement, saying "There is no place for the Sheriff in lobbying Commissioners, Board of Education members or any other elected officials regarding anything other than law enforcement."

Press release after the break...

Continued...

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Wed
Mar 26 2014
09:00 am

The Terry Adams for U.S. Senate campaign is gearing up with receptions and fundraisers hosted by some prominent Democrats.

Tonight's Knoxville event will be at Club LeConte from 5:30 to 7:30PM, suggested donation $250.

The host committee is Sid Gilreath, Doug Horne, Chrissi Rhea, Bruce Fox, Randy Nichols, Chris White, Chuck Tonkin, Larry Leibowitz, Bryan Capps, Doug Minter, James Blake, Sterling Hinton, Bryant & Johnnie Creel, Brenda Hunter, Bruce Butler, Meridith Bond, Bob Worthington, Meshelle Eicher, and Steve Jones.

The campaign held an event two weeks ago in Nashville at the Freeman Web Co. The host committee for that event was Charles Robert Bone, Chase Cole, Congressman Lincoln Davis, Doug Horne, Jamie Isabell, Chip Forrester, Bill Freeman, Clark Jones, Bill Mason, Cindy Mason, Jerry Maynard, Mike McWherter, Doris Medlin, Olan Mills, II, Junaid A. Odubeko and Bob Tuke.

Adams recently went to every Lamar Alexander office in Tennessee demanding that Alexander support a minimum wage hike. Here are some video clips...

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So, apparently, Sen. Stacey Campfield can dictate U.T. policy by way of cheap stunt legislation with no hope of passing and U.T. President Joe DiPietro says "thank you sir, may I have another?"

WTF?

This is a First Amendment issue, plain and simple. If our legislators, universities and newspapers aren't willing to stand up for it then who will?

Anyway, will students be able to opt out of student fees altogether under this new U.T. policy, or will they have line item veto over "speech" to which they object? And how will that be calculated?

And according to Sen. Campfield's theory of "money equals free speech," may I now opt out of paying any taxes that fund illegal, unjust wars, NSA spying on my cellphone, and/or miscellaneous brain farts uttered by my reprobate Republican representatives in Nashville and Washington?

P.S. How awesome is it that a neanderthal like Campfield, who said HIV can't be transmitted by heterosexual sex, is now in charge of sex education and STD prevention programs at U.T.? Campfield's the big man on campus, and DiPietro is just his whimpering boy toy.

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Tue
Mar 25 2014
06:27 pm
By: R. Neal  shortURL

Fearless and sometimes controversial Tennessean political columnist Gail Kerr has passed away at the age of 52.

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Tue
Mar 25 2014
05:39 pm
By: redmondkr  shortURL


as seen from my front porch about fifteen minutes ago. Now the sun is out.

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13
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Tue
Mar 25 2014
11:08 am

From CNN …

Meanwhile, outdoor air pollution killed an estimated 3.7 million people, with more than 80% of the deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries.

The sources for ambient pollution include diesel engines and industrial emissions. Sixty percent of these deaths were due to cardiovascular diseases like stroke and heart disease.

WHO: Air pollution caused one in eight deaths

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Tue
Mar 25 2014
06:52 am
By: R. Neal  shortURL

Tennessee now has the highest percentage of minimum wage workers in the U.S.

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Mon
Mar 24 2014
05:49 pm

An Austrian auction house says a Japanese businessman was the winning bidder for a Hasselblad camera used by late astronaut Jim Irwin on the surface of the moon and the only camera to ever return from the moon. The camera sold for for nearly $1 million.

Except a) there is evidence that as many as four cameras actually made it back, b) there is evidence that this camera was used in the orbiter, c) there are questions about markings on a glass plate used to superimpose grids on photos, and d) there's little or no other provenance, according to space memorabilia collectors.

If it were me, I think I'd want a little more verification of authenticity before paying nearly $1 million for a camera.

Earlier AP and other news reports, based on statements by the auction house, said it was the only camera ever used on the moon and returned to Earth. Some have since been corrected.

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Mon
Mar 24 2014
03:09 pm
By: michael kaplan  shortURL

(link...)

[Bruce] Rauner vows to bring a "business approach" to [Illinois] state governance, slashing taxes on corporations to "make Illinois business friendly." A major charter school investor, Rauner advocates privatization of public education, union busting and slashing public worker pensions.

And here's an interesting twist on right-to-work:

"Create Right-to-Work zones and allow local communities to decide whether workers must join a union in order to get a job"

Some background on that.

18
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Mon
Mar 24 2014
10:29 am

Gov. Haslam's push to leave the state's Hall Income Tax in place has drawn the ire of Grover Norquist and the Koch Bros. Does this mean they'll be backing Coonrippy Brown in the primary? (By way of Tom Humphrey.)

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So far, Tennessee has lost over $200 million in 100% federal funding to expand Tenncare, the state's Medicaid program. The clock is still ticking while Gov. Haslam and the TNGOP supermajority obfuscate and procrastinate.

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Mon
Mar 24 2014
10:03 am

AT&T put out a press release claiming they have invested $1.3 billion in Tennessee's communications infrastructure. The press release touts expanded access to 4G, wi-fi, broadband and cable.

Perhaps as payback for the hundreds of thousands of dollars AT&T spent lobbying for statewide cable franchise approval (which pretty much eliminated local control), both Lt. (real) Gov. and Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell give AT&T glowing praise for helping grow the economy and create jobs in Tennessee.

The timing is interesting, too. Legislators can't campaign or do any fundraising while in session. But some free advertising from one of their corporate benefactors is A-OK, I guess? (Is that even legal?)

Anyway, the new rules have been in place for about three years now. I haven't noticed any new competition. We still have exactly one internet/cable provider and one land line phone company (not counting the cable company's VOIP offering, which we already had before the bill passed.) In fact, our local government begged AT&T to come make a proposal (also before the new law). AT&T declined and hasn't been heard from since.

So has anyone seen more competition and/or better offerings in your area in the last three years? Anyone? Bueller?

The press release: AT&T Invests Nearly $1.3 Billion Over Three Year Period To Enhance Local Networks In Tennessee

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Sun
Mar 23 2014
12:18 pm

I got tired of fooling around with Windows Media Center and Windows Media Player. They keep changing stuff, removing options, burying settings in obscure places, etc. etc., making it more and more difficult to stream audio from my network to my stereo. Plus I had a lot of connectivity problems with other devices including phones and tablets.

I recently stumbled across JRiver Media Center. It can rip, catalog, organize, and play all your music in just about any known format. I had seen it before, but thought it was just a player. I learned that it also has a DLNA media server. And it is very, VERY fast. It also supports photos and video but I don't use those features.

Continued...

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Sat
Mar 22 2014
09:22 am

Just a reminder of the open-house kickoff of my campaign to serve on our State Democratic Executive Committee. Becky and I welcome you to our home, 1714 North Hills Blvd. Drop by anytime between 3 and 7 pm tomorrow (Sunday, March 23rd). Remember to ask Becky about frog tours.

Because of my campaign for party office, I am on hiatus from News Sentinel columns. I will seek publication elsewhere, including here at Knoxviews. Here is the column that would have been printed this month...

Continued...

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Sat
Mar 22 2014
07:24 am

Governor Haslam, Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty, and Flowers Foods executive VP and COO are proud to annouce Flower Foods is adding jobs to the local economy.

"I want to thank Flowers Foods for investing in Tennessee, and I appreciate the new jobs being created in Knox County," Gov. Bill Haslam said. "Expansions like this one serve as the greatest endorsement of Tennessee's workforce and today's announcement supports our goal of becoming the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs."

It's great the Merita bakery in North Knoxville is opening up again. It's great there will be jobs. I think Governor Haslam is overstating the investment by Flowers. There was already a bakery here. There was already a skilled workforce of bakery employees. Flowers is not really endorsing Tennessee, they're just using an existing plant they bought in a bankruptcy deal.

Are the Merita workers who lost their jobs when the plant closed still around to take advantage of the bakery re-opening?

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Emery's 5 & 10 has had a store in South Knoxville since 1957. Soon they will be gone.

WATE reports, "Emery's 5 and 10, a South Knoxville fixture and a target of Knoxville Mayor Tim Burchett's cash mob program, has announced it is moving to Pigeon Forge."

There are a few businesses left in South Knoxville that have been there a long time, e.g. Shoney's, Pizza Hut, McDonalds, Arbys, Pease Furniture, Stanley's Greenhouses, Southside Package Store, Tapp Optical, and Berry Funeral Home.

I still find it hard to believe that there is only one grocery store (Krogers) and one drug store (Walgreens) in South Knoxville. With such a high concentration of population, why can't the area support stores like were there years ago?

Is South Knoxville open? Is South Knoxville becoming an urban wilderness in more ways than one?

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Rep. Gloria Johnson sponsored a bill (HB1850) that would require contractors working on public construction projects to employ at least eighty percent state residents in their workforce.

She presented it to the State Government Subcommittee, along with a proposed amendment that would exclude road building projects because the requirement could jeopardize federal funding.

Rep. Ryan Haynes, who chairs of the full State Government Committee, decided the amendment needed more study, so he moved to have the bill taken off notice and sent to summer study. The motion passed, effectively killing the bill for this session.

Watch the video here...

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