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.

26
like
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.

Topics:
15
like
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.

19
like
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.)

17
like

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.

18
like
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

16
like
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...

21
like
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...

25
like
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?

24
like

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?

19
like

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...

Topics:
29
like
Fri
Mar 21 2014
10:33 am
By: michael kaplan  shortURL

Chris Irwin's letter to Metro Pulse this week:

(link...)

I was horrified to discover that the Knox County Detention Facility (KCDF) is ending all face-to-face free visitation. Instead, they are going to a paid video service, which instead of being free will cost poor families $11 for 30 minutes.

27
like

District 7 TNDP Executive Committee member Bill Owen presented this list of "Top Ten Stacey Campfield bills next year should he be reelected" at the monthly meeting of the Knox Co. Democratic Party Board of Governors.

Continued...

23
like

Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. No more updates, no more security fixes. Some businesses, including banks, are scrambling to upgrade to one of Microsoft's newer operating systems, Windows 7 or Windows 8. Windows XP has been available and supported by Microsoft for over 12 years. Windows 7 has been available for over 4 years. Windows 8 has been available just over a year. Because of the major changes to the user-interface, it would appear many businesses are not inclined to install Windows 8 and are waiting for Windows 9. Although, Windows 8.1 is supposed to address some of the interface issues.

According to a recent report, "perhaps 80 percent [of ATMs], still run Windows XP, both abroad and in the US."

Another report suggests "Windows XP currently supports around 95 percent of the world's ATMs." "About 440,000 - or one-fifth of the world's ATMs - are located in the United States and many of the banks operating them will still be running their ATMs with Windows XP for a while after the April 8 deadline."

Some banks are paying Microsoft to extend support of Windows XP until they can get their ATMs upgraded or replaced. JPMorgan Chase with 19,200 ATMs already has a contract. Bank of America is in negotiations with Microsoft. Citigroup with 12,000 ATMs is in the process of upgrading.

"In the United Kingdom, five of its largest banks - Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Barclays and Santander - either have arranged or are arranging extended Windows XP coverage,"

What about the 6-7,000 smaller banks? What about all the thousands of ATMs at your local convenience store? Some people think it is a crisis. Some people think the additional ATM security will handle the lack of support from Microsoft. Is it something to worry about?

20
like
Thu
Mar 20 2014
10:02 pm
By: R. Neal  shortURL

We just got back from the Rikki Hall tribute at Scruffy City downtown. I'm sure it's still going on strong. We are glad that we got to see Rikki and his lovely, strong wife Kim. And it was nice to see so many friends we have connected with here over the years, who were all there for Rikki.

The outpouring of love for this beautiful man was overwhelming. Rikki has touched so many lives in so many ways there's no way to put it into words. So many stories, so much love, so much respect. It was an emotional, bittersweet evening in celebration of a beautiful life. We are are blessed to know him.

Topics:
45
like
Thu
Mar 20 2014
09:58 pm

Mark Taylor, Farragut Middle School.

Taylor was unfairly denied an APEX bonus after his TVAAS estimate was based on the standardized test scores of only 22 of his 142 students...TEA expects additional lawsuits to be filed so long as the state continues to tie more and more high-stakes decisions to TVAAS estimates.

Stay tuned...

25
like
Thu
Mar 20 2014
04:18 pm

I was rather dismayed today when I got a link to this Seattle Times article on how Cancer Centers are being excluded by some exchanges.

In all, only four of 19 nationally recognized comprehensive cancer centers that responded to AP's survey said patients have access through all the insurance companies in their state exchange.

I'm sorry, but this is a big problem. For years, insurance companies denied coverage to cancer patients. Now this. Another way insurance companies have found to deny treatment to cancer patients.

It should not be up to each individual signing up for health insurance to research to find out if a cancer center accepts insurance bought on the Exchange. What about folks signing up on the Exchanges that have not yet been diagnosed with cancer? How do those folks know to do the extra research? They don't.

So, what does one insurance company say about this?

In a statement, Anthem said its network was based on research involving thousands of consumers and businesses. "What we learned was that people are willing to make trade-offs in order to have access to affordable health care," the company said. "Our provider networks reflect this."

Alrighty!

PS -- (link...)

17
like

Consideration of a Resolution of the Commission of Knox County, Tennessee expressing support of the Amendment to SB 435/HB 264 to require the majority of individual and group health insurance policies to provide coverage for proton therapy for the treatment of cancer. (TO BE ADDED)
(Commissioner Ownby)

First, this shouldn't be a Commission issue.

Second, it's hypocritical for conservatives, who have railed against mandatory coverage in the Affordable Care Act, now want to tell insurance companies what treatments they have to pay for, specifically a therapy that lacks any scientific trials to show it is any more effective than traditional radiation or gamma knife.

Third, such a law would drive up health care costs for everyone in Tennessee to, as noted before, perhaps no benefit whatsoever.

I wonder if Terry Douglass will show up in campaign finance disclosures for Ownby and Ryan Hanes.....

19
like
Thu
Mar 20 2014
01:30 pm

In the politics of education reform, poverty is the organizing concept around which the convoluted political landscape of the post-NCLB era revolves. Intrepid "reformers" throw around focus group tested slogans such as "poverty is not destiny" and other related claptrap while those with even a passing knowledge of public education know that out-of-school factors related to poverty continue to explain the rather mediocre performance the "reformers" love to frame as a rapid decline from a golden age that never existed. Still, the way that all of us (myself included) talk about poverty is often deeply problematic... Something this Op-Ed by Sarah Jeffe details quite well.

Continued...

20
like

Upcoming events:

Lost Medicaid Funding

To date, the failure to expand Medicaid/TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding.

TN Progressive

TN Politics

Local Media Blogs

Local News

Members Only

State News

Pilot Watch

Wire Reports

Site Statistics

Last 7 days:
  • Posts: 32
  • Comments: 412
  • Visits: 11,314
  • Pageviews: 31,401
Last 30 days:
  • Posts: 142
  • Comments: 1379
  • Visits: 44,282
  • Pageviews: 110,745

TN Progressive

Nearby:

Beyond:

At large: