Tue
Mar 15 2016
06:36 pm

From the News Desk of News and Weather Knoxville

Tragedy Strikes Sweetie Pies as Grandson is Shot and Killed

Andre Montgomery Jr. grandson to Miss Robbie was shot and killed in St. Louis

(link...)

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Tue
Mar 15 2016
03:44 pm
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The 2015 TBI Crime on Campus report released today shows an overall 7% decrease in crime from 2014, but sexual assaults were up 27% since 2014 and up nearly 160% since 2012. The number of incidents reported in 2012 was 46 in 2012 v. 119 in 2015. The University of Tennessee Knoxville reported two sexual assault incidents in 2015 (both were forcible rapes).

TBI Crime on Campus 2015 full report...

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Under badly eroded guidelines for when employers must offer overtime pay, just 11% of salaried workers and 18% of all workers were eligible for overtime in 2013. This was due primarily to the fact that only hourly paid workers and those earning $23,660 a year or less in salary have been guaranteed overtime pay in recent years.

The Obama administration is hoping to expand the pool of eligible workers by raising the salary threshold, which was last updated in 2004. That update raised the threshold to $455 a week, but overall did little to increase overtime pay in the US.

The terms of the final rule submitted to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget for review will not be disclosed until it is released to the public. When the proposed rule was announced in 2015, it called for a threshold of $970 a week – or $50,440 a year – that would expand the pool of eligible workers by more than five million people.

According to The Guardian, U. S. labor secretary Thomas Perez has finally submitted the long-awaited overtime rule to the White House for final approval just this morning.

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Mon
Mar 14 2016
10:56 pm
By: Sandra Clark  shortURL

Betty Bean has this breaking news ...


The driver who crashed a bus loaded with 26 Green Magnet School second graders on a field trip to Safety City Thursday, March 10, has been arrested and charged with DUI. No children were injured, but the bus crashed into an entrance gate

Continued...

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Mon
Mar 14 2016
03:24 pm


Knox County purchased approx. 70 acres in South Knox County for a new park.
The property is just past Mount Olive School on Maryville Pike, on the right going south up the hill around the curve before Dara's Event facility.

The park will connect to the existing IC King Park on Alcoa Hwy.

Public meetings are scheduled for community input.
Meetings will be held:
March 21, 4-6 PM at the City County Building in the Small Assembly Room
March 24, 5-7 PM at Mount Olive Elementary School Cafeteria.

Knox County announcement and online comment access.

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Mon
Mar 14 2016
12:34 pm

Some larger state primaries coming up tomorrow, including two "winner take all" states for Republicans.

There are 691 delegates at stake for Democrats, or 29% of the 2383 needed to win. For Republicans, there are 343 delegates at stake, or 28% of the 1237 needed to win.

Florida (99 delegates) and Ohio (66) are winner take all for Republicans. This will likely be the last stand for Kasich (Ohio) and/or Rubio (Florida). No candidate, though, Democratic or Republican, can close it out tomorrow, so the contests will go on.

Clinton and Sanders are close in Missouri (71), Sanders is closing the gap in Illinois (156), and Ohio (143) could be closer than it looks. So Sanders could pull off one or more upsets similar to Michigan. At the end of the day, though, Clinton will likely win more delegates overall.

Various polls and chances to win...

Democrats

Florida         Clinton 61%  Sanders 32%  Clinton 99%+
Illinois        Clinton 49%  Sanders 41%  Clinton 90%
Missouri        Clinton 46%  Sanders 45%  Clinton 55%
North Carolina  Clinton 55%  Sanders 35%  Clinton 99%+
Ohio            Clinton 53%  Sanders 41%  Clinton 95%

Republicans

Florida         Trump  45%  Rubio  24%  Cruz   20%  Trump  96%
Illinois        Trump  36%  Cruz   25%  Kasich 19%  Trump  63%
Missouri        Trump  36%  Cruz   29%  Rubio   9%  ?
North Carolina  Trump  39%  Cruz   25%  Rubio  14%  Trump  89%
Ohio            Trump  38%  Kasich 37%  Cruz   16%  Kasich 88%
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Mon
Mar 14 2016
10:16 am
By: R. Neal  shortURL

It's Pi Day! Who wants pie?

This is a special Pi day, because Pi rounded to four decimals is 3.1416 and the date is 3/14/16.

Here is Pi calculated to 12.1 trillion digits, the current world record, held by a Japanese systems engineer and an American computer science student. It took 94 days and required more than 70TB of disk space.

The Guinness record for highest number of digits recited from memory is 70,000 by Rajveer Meena on March 15, 2015 in India. The Pi World Ranking lists Suresh Kumar Sharma of India in first place with 70,030 on October 21, 2015. A Japanese man was said to recite 100,000 digits in 2006.

Search Pi for your birthday, phone number, etc.

In the book Contact by Carl Sagan, Pi calculated out in base 11 contains a hidden message...

Pi is a really, really long number, but 4 is larger.

BONUS: U.T. quarterback and aerospace engineering major Josh Dobbs recites 48 digits of Pi...

EXTRA BONUS: Josh Dobbs tops last year's performance today by reciting 74 digits of pi...

Topics:
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Sun
Mar 13 2016
10:33 am

A federal 170-page document by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area was released in Sept. 2015 with information on the effects of legalized marijuana in Colorado.

Marijuana-related:
traffic deaths increased 32 percent,
ER visits increased by 29%,
Hospitalizations increased by 38%,
Calls to the Rocky Mountain poison control center increased by 72%.

It would seem pot has gotten a lot stronger. Maybe the increase in health problems is because it is eaten versus smoked?

Then there is a problem with pesticides showing up in some of the product.

CNN commissioned tests by an independent lab, and the report ultimately led to a recall of 2,362 pot products.

What would Cheech and Chong say? How is it a perfectly good smoke can be ruined?

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Sat
Mar 12 2016
06:36 pm
Choices

Sat
Mar 12 2016
08:28 am

According to a recent Gallup poll, Obama's approval rating is now at 50 percent, a three year high. 87 percent of Democrats supporting his performance, whereas just 11% of Republicans gave Obama favorable marks.

At the same time in office, G.W. Bush's approval rating was 32%. Bill Clinton's was 63%.

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Fri
Mar 11 2016
09:27 pm
By: R. Neal  shortURL

Trump rallies are out of control. Fueled by racism and hate, ignited by their hater in chief. Just how he wanted it. Black people standing up against Trump for social justice just like the hippies who stood up against the war in 1968, with similar results. Sadly, rednecks are still rednecks and haters still gonna hate. It's sickening, but not really surprising. Sad times for anyone who still believes in the promise of America.

UPDATE:

A Donald Trump rally in Chicago had to be called off on Friday evening amid scenes of violence and chaos unparalleled in the recent history of American political campaigning.

The scrapping of the Republican frontrunner’s appearance due to what his campaign cited as “safety concerns” led to uproar and fights inside the University of Illinois Chicago Pavilion and in the streets outside.

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Fri
Mar 11 2016
10:17 am

If, like most people, the first five minutes of the new and improved now with less fisticuffs Republican debate put you to sleep, you can always count on Bruce Barry at the Nashville Scene for an informative and entertaining recap. Really, it's the best way to keep up with the debates -- he watches them so you don't have to.

One key question going in last night was whether Ted Cruz, perhaps now the only mathematically viable alternative to Trump left standing, would go at him hard. (Are we now doomed for the rest of this race to noticing every unintended penis-related double entendre? Yes I do believe we are.) Trump takedown duty was previously Marco Rubio’s, but now L.M. has to invest every ounce of strength into sustaining the intrepid game face needed to continue long after the slaughter rule should have ushered him off the field. For Trump the challenge going in was deciding which of his branded enterprises to hawk on TV this time. My money’s on the stick deodorant. One Amazon customer writing a product review for it perfectly captured the entire Trump campaign in a single sentence: "This product left a rash on my skin."

For me, the main takeaway is that Cruz is going to be very, very busy on his first day in office. In fact, there won't be much left for him to do during the rest of his four year term (assuming he doesn't get impeached somewhere along the way for carpet bombing Luxembourg or something).

GOP Debate Recap: The Beta Release of Trump 2.0

PREVIOUSLY:

Dem Debate Recap: Daniel Ortega Redux Edition

Dem Debate Recap: Party Like It’s the 1990s Again. And Again.

GOP Debate Recap: A Choke Artist and a Liar

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Thu
Mar 10 2016
05:12 pm

UPDATE: Alcoa PD just told us "they're burning brush in Monroe County. It's just brush and it shouldn't be hazardous."

UPDATE: Monroe Co. Sheriff's Office says Tennessee Dept. of Forestry is conducting the burn.

UPDATE: Tennessee Dept. of Forestry says it is a USDA Forest Service prescribed fire in the Ballplay area of the Cherokee National Forest. According to the person the Mrs. spoke to, they try to end the fires by mid-afternoon so the smoke will be gone by dark.

Previously...

There's a thick, low-lying layer of smoke over Alcoa near the airport. The Mrs. was out and about and called Alcoa Public Works, and they said there was a controlled burn near Greenback. She spoke with a police officer at a convenience store and he said Alcoa had fired up a new boiler or something. The wind seems to be going in the wrong direction for that. The Daily Times says it's coming out of Monroe Co. but they don't know why. Smells like wood smoke to me. Guess we'll find out the real story soon enough, but you can barely breathe outside.

20160310-IMG_20160310_154945206.jpg

Click image for bigger...

In the above photo you can see parts of Alcoa and a faint outline of the mountains beyond. On a normal day like today you have a perfectly clear view and can see two more mountain tops beyond this one.

Topics:
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Thu
Mar 10 2016
01:47 pm

from Bureau of Labor Statistics …

Employer costs for employee compensation for civilian workers averaged $33.58 per hour worked in December 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries averaged $23.06 per hour worked and accounted for 68.7 percent of these costs, while benefits averaged $10.52 and accounted for the remaining 31.3 percent. Total employer compensation costs for private industry workers averaged $31.70 per hour worked in December 2015.

Private industry employer costs for paid leave averaged $2.18 per hour worked or 6.9 percent of total compensation, supplemental pay averaged $1.06 or 3.3 percent, insurance benefits averaged $2.54 or 8.0 percent, retirement and savings averaged $1.25 or 4.0 percent, and legally required benefits averaged $2.53 per hour worked or 8.0 percent.

Employer Costs for Employee Compensation news release text

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Thu
Mar 10 2016
11:03 am

Interesting that the poster is mostly red, white, and blue, with red stripes and white stars on a blue ground. USA? Wonder where those uniforms and shoes are made ...

preview_mcd1.jpg

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Thu
Mar 10 2016
09:45 am

Republicans and their right-wing extremist enablers have created a monster that appears unstoppable.

The monster is not Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. The monster is an angry mob of hateful, uninformed voters conditioned by decades of lies and propaganda from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, the Koch Bros. and their ilk designed to convince them that shared values and social justice are evil and that voting against their own self-interest is in their best interest. Now, the GOP can't figure out what went wrong or how to stop it.

Seems like we haven't learned much in the last 50 years or so:

Do the lyrics from 1969 sound familiar?

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I suspected this would come up again after the most recent accident. But I believe the accident occurred approx 2 miles south of where JWP would end.

from Knoxnews ...

Building the parkway, Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer told representatives from Knox and nine other counties, would remove traffic from Chapman Highway, making it safer. Schroer noted recent fatal crashes on the road.

Rogero, TDOT commissioner spar over James White Parkway extension

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