Tue
Dec 15 2015
06:03 pm

After watching the various GOP candidates talk about their “plan to defeat ISIS” and, when pressed, can’t say anything more other than “I will order the Defense Department to win” or “bomb them back into the stone age” or threaten nuclear weapons (yeah, good idea for an enemy mixed in with civilian populations), I’ve pondered the question: how would we really defeat them?

Continued...

53
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Tue
Dec 15 2015
02:17 pm

This is Milo. Five days after he got a bath in Parrotsville, TN, he was found wandering around a truckstop in Colorado. We brought him back home.

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49
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Tue
Dec 15 2015
12:40 pm
By: michael kaplan  shortURL

Lunch at Wild Love Bakehouse (on N. Central). Roast beet, goat cheese and hummus wrap $6.00 (the other half went home). Server's wage: unknown. Tips: permitted. The owners were actually working in the kitchen. The other side of the capitalist coin.

John Sanders' architecture is stunning.

preview_wildlove1.jpg

41
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Tue
Dec 15 2015
06:35 am

It seems it would be rare that something done 365 days a year by the govt could be done cheaper via outsourcing. Better, maybe, but less costly seems unlikely.

Tom Humphrey ...

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s effort to outsource hospitality operations at 11 state parks has failed to draw any interest from private vendors.

No bids received for TN state parks outsourcing

49
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Mon
Dec 14 2015
05:32 pm

The Geminid meteor shower peaked last night, but unfortunately most of East Tennessee was overcast. Fortunately, there was a patch of relatively clear sky over my house around midnight so I went out for a look. Saw about a dozen in a half hour of watching.

The shower lasts for several days, and it is perfectly clear tonight so there might be another opportunity. Plus, the weather is unseasonably mild. Look up anywhere in the sky after dark, more likely better after midnight and to the east/southeast. Gemini will rise over the eastern horizon sometime after dark.

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45
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Mon
Dec 14 2015
12:37 pm
By: michael kaplan  shortURL

Cost: $6.50. Wage of server: $11/hour after 12 years at this Knoxville location.

preview_bkfst_panera.jpg

45
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Mon
Dec 14 2015
11:30 am

Tom Humphrey reports that Gov. Haslam and ECD Commissioner Randy Boyd have commissioned a study of rural broadband access in the state. According to the report, the study is to "define the problem" but not necessarily propose a solution. AT&T is already opposing one measure to allow local utilities to offer broadband internet access outside their service areas.

You may recall several years ago that AT&T and other telecommunications providers in the state spent millions lobbying for a bill that, among other things, would eliminate local control of cable franchises, regulate local franchise fees, restrict or eliminate customer service and quality standards, provide state regulation of local public right of way for the benefit of cable companies, restrict or eliminate local build-out requirements, and allow cable companies to create statewide franchises.

The bill, which passed and became law in 2008, was supposed to promote competition and wider access to cable and broadband internet. Clearly it hasn't worked.

43
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Mon
Dec 14 2015
11:11 am

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39
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Mon
Dec 14 2015
11:00 am

The changing color Henley Street pedestrian bridge and the "for show" red train engine next to Cumberland Ave at the Three Rivers Rambler, have added some personality to Knoxville. Nice work.

37
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Newell Rubbermaid, which has a manufacturing facility in Maryville, is acquiring Jarden Corp., whose brands include outdoor sporting goods such as Coleman and Shakespeare and small appliances such as Crock-Pot, Mr. Coffee, Oster and Sunbeam among others.

Newell Rubermaid's brands include Rubbermaid, Levolor, Calphalon, Sharpie and Papermate among others. I believe their Maryville operation manufactures Sharpie markers.

The combined company will be called Newell Brands, creating a "$16 billion consumer goods company with portfolio of power brands in large, growing and unconsolidated global markets" according to Newell.

Newell Rubbermaid and Jarden Corporation Announce Consumer Goods Combination with $16 Billion Revenue

34
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Sun
Dec 13 2015
11:01 pm

From Roanoke News Herald newspaper ....

She is a retired Northampton science teacher and is concerned that photosynthesis, which depends upon sunlight, would not happen and would keep the plants from growing. She said she has observed areas near solar panels where the plants are brown and dead because they did not get enough sunlight.

Woodland rejects solar farm

38
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Sun
Dec 13 2015
02:05 pm

from NBC News ...

It's not just low-income Americans who struggle to pay their rent every month, or find an affordable place to live when they move. New research from Harvard says that even renters with annual incomes of $45,000 face unaffordable rents in many cities, with potentially far-reaching effects.

It's Not Just the Poor Who Can't Make Rent

Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

Continued...

42
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Sun
Dec 13 2015
06:55 am

KNS editor Jack McElroy says in his column today that the knoxnews.com website is getting a makeover, and may go live with the new design as early as Tuesday.

They are also changing the way their paywall works. Readers will get a limited number of free articles per month, after which a subscription is required. This is more like how other newspaper websites work and a lot less confusing than their current scheme.

I wondered at first if it would be the standard issue Gannett design, but that deal hasn't gone through yet. (On a related note, the DOJ is still conducting an anti-trust review.) Jack McElroy's column mentions the head of Journal Media Group's digital department, so it will probably be their layout.

It looks like the Commercial Appeal has already made the change, so my guess is it will look a lot like that and other JMG newspapers. If so, it will be a definite improvement.

38
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Sat
Dec 12 2015
11:23 am

Vandals did an insane amount of damage to Porter Elementary school in Blount Co. sometime Thursday night. School had to be closed Friday.

Recounting the extensive inventory of damage in excruciating detail, the Maryville Daily Times reporter apparently ran out of synonyms for "vandals" and broke out the thesaurus, referring to them variously as "culprits," "lawbreakers," "malefactors," "miscreants," "perpetrators" and "wrongdoers."

Then there's this from the closing paragraph: "If anyone sees an individual or individuals with a large quantity of this [Rich's] ice cream, explicitly creamy cotton candy, strawberry shortcake and vanilla chocolate cone, please contact the Criminal Investigations Unit at (865) 273-5001 during normal business hours or Blount County Dispatch at (865) 983-3620."

A classic piece of hometown newspaper reporting.

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63
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Maybe I am missing it but I do not see the Early voting locations listed on the Election Commission web site.

from Knox County Election Commission...

  • February 1, 2016: Final day to register to vote before election
  • February 10, 2016: First day of Early Voting period
  • February 23, 2016: Final day to request an absentee ballot
  • February 23, 2016: Final day of Early Voting period
  • March 1, 2016: Election Day

2016 Presidential Primary Election/Knox County Primary Election Schedule

Continued...

45
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Despite electing a Republican governor who ran on a platform of curtailing Medicaid in the state, 70% of Kentuckians surveyed said they want to keep expanded Medicaid.

84% of those covered by Medicaid say it is working well. 64% of those not covered by Medicaid agree.

Only 16% knew that Medicaid expansion is nearly 100% funded by the Federal government.

Overall opinion of Obamacare was 49% unfavorable v. 41% favorable.

Healthcare was the top priority for Kentuckians, over jobs and unemployment by a wide margin. Concerns about same-sex marriage were dead last.

Kaiser Family Foundation survey summary...

Detailed report: Survey of Kentucky Residents on State Health Policy

51
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Fri
Dec 11 2015
08:09 am

If you can get behind the paywall, or can pick up a hard copy, you may want to read my Knoxville News Sentinel column. I dip into familiar verse to take on the Christmas diversity story, think of it as "A Visit from the Fickle Ones" and enjoy. --Mark Harmon

[Ed. note: Here's Mark's column, not currently paywalled.]

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Democrats were successful in getting several candidates on the ballot for the March County primary. There will be a Democrat running in every County Commission district on the ballot except the 8th.

Some of the non-partisan school board races will also be competitive and there will be new faces on the school board. In District 3, Tony Norman was the only candidate to qualify. He will replace incumbent Doug Harris. Incumbents Tracey Sanger in District 2 and Karen Carson in District 5 also declined to run. Incumbent Mike McMillan will run unopposed in District 8.

Mike Donila has the rundown, with a quote from Knox Co. Democratic Party Chair Cameron Brooks: "We're in a rebuilding stage and if you don’t have candidates on the ballot, it’s never going to improve."

Full list of qualifying petitions...

Democrats running for County Commission:

District 1: Evelyn Gill
District 1: Rick Staples
District 2: Laura Kildare
District 2: Cheri Siler
District 4: Marleen Kay Davis
District 5: Sheri Ridgeway
District 6: Donna G. Lucas
District 9: James "Brandon" Hamilton

58
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I just learned of the existence of the "Muslims United for San Bernardino" crowdsourcing page (at LaunchGood) and thought possibly you might not have seen it either.

This national effort to support the families of victims in the recent San Bernardino mass shooting has already raised over $180,000 (of a $175,000 goal) with 20 days remaining in the campaign.

So pleased to hear it.

54
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Thu
Dec 10 2015
08:33 am

from CNN ...

Middle class Americans now comprise less than half, or 49.9%, of the nation's population, down from 61% in 1971, according to a new Pew Research Center report. For Pew, middle class Americans live in households earning between two-thirds to two times the nation's median income. In 2014, that ranged from $41,900 to $125,600 for a three-person household.

The middle class no longer dominates in the U.S.

61
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Lost Medicaid Funding

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

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