Jan 16 2015
09:51 am

Mark Harmon makes his debut in today's News Sentinel as the new Friday liberal columnist, replacing Pam Strickland. Congratulations to Mark and good luck!

Pam Strickland said in a Facebook message that she was told the News Sentinel was going in a "different direction," and that the change was "out of the blue and with very little explanation." She invites you to visit her at her new blog,, which will be launching shortly.

Jan 15 2015
10:31 pm

Effective 9:30 p.m. Thursday, KNS reports that several surrounding school systems will be closed on Friday, January 16, as follows:

Anderson County Schools
Campbell County Schools
Claiborne County Schools
Clinton City Schools
Grainger County Schools
Hancock County Schools
Scott County Schools
Union County Schools

Knox County Schools has not yet announced any delay or closure, but we may want to keep watch.

Although the KNS weather forecast calls for a high of 44 and a low of 29 on Friday, with clear skies and no precipitation, spotty snow flurries are arriving across East Tennessee tonight.


From Knoxnews (AP) …

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander is praising a federal judge's decision to overturn Labor Department regulations that made home health-care workers eligible for overtime pay and the minimum wage.

Alexander cheers overturning of federal labor rule


from NBC News ...

...installing offshore wind farms along the Atlantic coast would be more economically productive and energy efficient than the oil industry's drilling proposals. "Wind could create more than twice as many jobs, and in 20 years, it could produce more than twice the energy" as offshore drilling, the report states. The organization estimates that translates to around 218,000 jobs (91,000 more than drilling) and 11.4 billion BOE (barrels of oil equivalent, a unit for comparing energy) compared with drilling's 6.1 billion. In addition to never running out, wind power would also be much safer, Oceana claims, with zero risk of oil spills and far less impact on marine animals.

Oceana Report Claims Offshore Wind Farms Could Beat Drilling

Offshore Wind Report: Key Findings

Jan 14 2015
11:10 am

The 2015 Bonnaroo lineup has been announced, with Billy Joel headlining along with Mumford & Sons, Deadmau5, Kendrick Lamar, Florence + The Machine, Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters, My Morning Jacket, Bassnectar, Alabama Shakes, Slayer, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, STS9, Ben Folds, Tears For Fears, Earth Wind and Fire, Gary Clark Jr., and many, many more...

Tickets go on sale this Saturday, Jan. 17th at noon.

Jan 14 2015
10:04 am

I read an article a couple of weeks ago by yet another venture capital guy advocating for expansion of the H-1B visa program to fill Silicon Valley technology jobs. If we don't, he says, "the US could be seriously f***ed."


Jan 14 2015
09:23 am

What: Books Sandwiched In welcomes Amy Broyles
When: Wednesday, January 21, 2015 - 12:00pm
Where: East Tennessee History Center, 601 South Gay Street

Amy-Broyles.jpgThe future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind: artists, inventors, storytellers. In A Whole New Mind: Why right-brainers will rule the future, Daniel H. Pink makes a convincing argument for an ongoing shift to the dominance of right-brainers in the modern world. Join Amy Broyles, county commissioner, 2nd district, for the discussion at this month’s Books Sandwiched In, a program series of Knox County Public Library.

“This is a quick and entertaining read, but don't let that fool you - the concepts Daniel Pink outlines are complex, innovative, and sure to make you rethink your view of the future,” Broyles says. “Working from his premise that the world has moved beyond the Information Age to the Conceptual Age, Pink shows us not only what abilities are necessary for a fulfilling life and successful career, but also how to cultivate them and put them to use. “


Jan 13 2015
07:29 am

Florida cries in their beer.

Ohio State beats Oregon, 42-20.

Somewhere it was tweeted that Oregon forgot to wear their green. Orlando Sentinel columnist says "Urban Meyer surpasses Nick Saban as greatest coach in college football."


A friend forwards this link to the amazing 2015 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival lineup announcement. Tickets for the festival, which takes place from April 24th-26th and April 30th-May 3rd, go on sale tomorrow at 10AM Central time.


Based on a KPMG report commissioned by the State of Tennessee, TennCare will terminate its $35 million contract with Northrop Grumman to develop a new eligibility system and look for a new vendor.

The project is more than a year behind schedule, and the KPMG report found serious problems with the work done so far. The federal government has previously sanctioned the state for delays, and eligible enrollees who fell through the cracks have filed lawsuits. The state has spent about $5 million of state and federal funding on the system so far, which will now apparently be scrapped.


TennCare presser...

Tennessean with more details and copies of the KPMG report...

Jan 12 2015
01:07 pm

The Tennessee General Assembly circus opens tomorrow, Jan. 13 at noon in Nashville. Here are some bills of interest already filed:

HB0001 by McCormick: Taxes, Sales - As introduced, reduces the state sales and use tax rate on tangible personal property from seven percent to 6.75 percent.

HB0002 by Womick: Abortion - As introduced, requires that an ultrasound be performed prior to an abortion, with an exception for medical emergencies. (Note: as written, also implements a waiting period.)

HB0004 by Brooks H: Education - As introduced, extends the date of the repeal of the Virtual Schools Act from June 30, 2015, to June 30, 2019.

HB0010 by McCormick: Students - As introduced, requires students to pass the United States citizenship and immigration services' civics test with a score of at least 60 percent in order to receive a regular high school diploma.

HB0011 by Mitchell: Alcoholic Beverages - As introduced, shortens the timeframe by one year for the implementation of certain provisions governing the sale of wine in retail food stores.

SB0001 by Kelsey: Judges and Chancellors - As introduced, establishes the procedure for the appointment, confirmation, and retention of appellate court judges pursuant to Article VI, Section 3 of the Constitution of Tennessee.

SB0002 by Kelsey: Taxes, Income - As introduced, phases out the Hall income tax over a three-year period; beginning January 1, 2016, reduces the tax rate by two percent annually; repeals the tax on January 1, 2018.

SB0013 by Beavers: Abortion - As introduced, revives and reenacts the informed consent statute for abortion that was in effect prior to Planned Parenthood of Middle Tennessee, et al. v. Sundquist, 38 S.W. 3d 1 (Tenn. 2000).

Jan 12 2015
12:42 pm

Tennessee makes the national news

from NBC News …

Community Rallies Around Teen Bullied on Facebook Over Prom Pictures

Jan 12 2015
11:40 am

NRC non-emergency event notification:


On January 7, 2015, at approximately 0700 CST, a leak to the environment was identified. Tritium was present at a concentration of 7.52E-3 uCi/mL, which is above the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drinking water standard of 20,000 picocuries per liter. [..] Based on system review and analysis, any tritiated water that would have made it to the floor drains would then be mixed with incoming raw water at two million gallons per minute. This mixed volume of water would then be circulated through the plant and discharged to the river with a resultant tritium concentration that is much less than detectable levels and well below US EPA drinking water standards. The station has established increased monitoring of groundwater at designated sample wells.

On January 8, 2015, at approximately 1645 CST in accordance with TVA procedures and the guidance of NEI 07-07 [Nuclear Energy Institute] for the Groundwater Protection Initiative, the licensee notified the Alabama Radiological Protection Department and Alabama Department of Environmental Management. The Limestone County Emergency Management Department will be notified.

TVA told the Times Free Press that "the leak was quickly contained and presented no public risk" and that it was "largely contained within the plant area."

Jan 12 2015
11:23 am

As you know, there's no place to park downtown! Regardless, intrepid reporter and man about town Dan Andrews checks out some affordable options for monthly parking...

Jan 12 2015
11:03 am
By: R. Neal  shortURL

The (temporary?) Hard Knox Independent website is up and running and updated regularly with news reports. You can follow their progress to launch there. Here's an interesting report on selecting a printer for the paper. Bonus: Scott McNutt makes his debut as The Mocksville Reporter. Hard Knox hopes to launch the print edition sometime later this month. They have a Go Fund Me launch fundraiser underway.

Meanwhile, the Knoxville Mercury has their (temporary?) website up and running and is also being updated, so far with a focus on local arts and entertainment. Their Kickstarter launch campaign exceeded its goal, and they continue other fundraising efforts. They also recently acquired office space downtown and are in the process of getting set up there. They have issued an open call for writers/reporters, artists/illustrators, photographers, designers, and audio-visual experts, and have also announced some staff job openings. They are aiming for a February launch of the print edition.

Jan 11 2015
11:42 pm

For Immediate Release:
January 12th, 2015

Contact: Gloria Johnson 865-660-9800

*****Media Advisory for January 13th, 2015 10:00 A.M.*****

Coalition of Women from Across Tennessee to March on Nashville

Women and those who care about and respect women will Rally and March in Nashville to show legislators they plan to stand up for the issues women in Tennessee care about.

NASHVILLE – Legislators, Faith Leaders, Health Care professionals, Community Leaders and hundreds more will gather for a Rally at the Tennessee Tower Plaza to show that they plan to have a presence when it comes to legislation affecting women and families. They plan to oppose bills that take away privacy and health rights and support bills that benefit Tennessee women, such as Representative Craig Fitzhugh’s Bill for Paid Maternity Leave. We will Rally from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM, then March the block around Legislative Plaza and return to the Tower Plaza.

WHO: State Senator Sara Kyle, House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh, Reverend Marcia Free, Michele Johnson from the Tennessee Justice Center, Beth Foster from Mercy Junction, former Representative Gloria Johnson and several more.

WHAT: Women’s March on Nashville

WHEN: Tuesday, January 13 @ 10:00 AM CST

WHERE: 312 Rosa L. Parks Blvd. Nashville, TN 37243

For more information…


(We are excited to welcome some of the folks from Bring Back the Lady Vols to our March!)


from Washington Post and Pew Research ...

... Pew Research Center. The center surveyed a nationally representative group of people this past fall, and found that the majority of the country's most financially secure citizens (54 percent at the very top, and 57 percent just below) believe the "poor have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything in return." America's least financially secure, meanwhile, vehemently disagree — nearly 70 percent say the poor have hard lives because the benefits "don't go far enough." Nationally, the population is almost evenly split.

Most of America’s rich think the poor have it easy

The Politics of Financial Insecurity

Jan 10 2015
04:59 pm

Congratulations to the newly elected leadership of the Tennessee Democratic Party:

Party Chair: Mary Mancini

Party Vice Chair: John Litz

Secretary: Gail Jones Carson

Treasurer: Wade Munday

Jan 10 2015
12:21 pm

Charter recently upgraded all residential cable internet subscribers in the area to 60Mbps at no additional charge. (Upload is still capped at 4Mbps, though.)

The bad news is that the cable modem I purchased a while back was not compatible with the new service.

The good news is that they provided a new one at no charge and no monthly fee (it's included in the internet subscription price).

Jan 9 2015
01:08 pm

(Click image for gallery...)

You can live stream his remarks here...

UPDATE: Click image above for gallery of photos from President Obama's arrival in Knoxville...


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