from WATE ...

Asheville-based Navitat Canopy Adventures is launching Ijams Canopy Experience July 17 at Ijams Nature Center. The new zip-line course sits on three acres and is designed to blend into the landscape.

South Knoxville zip-line course opening at Ijams Nature Park

Jun 30 2015
05:54 pm

The Tennessean reports that Republican state legislators are calling for a special session to legislate something or other in response to the Supreme Court same sex marriage situation.

It's not exactly clear how they plan to respond or what they want to legislate. One speculation is the "pastor freedom act," which is already on the books and not affected by the Supreme Court decison. Maybe they want to secede? Or only allow the gays to marry under the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest at the statehouse wearing Confederate flag gowns or something?

Anyway, here's the best response:

"As long as we can get Insure Tennessee on the agenda, I'm happy to have any sort of special session," said House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley. "That would be my rubric on this one, since we already have a religious freedom law on the books."

Maybe what the TNGOP really ought to do is start work on repealing the hateful and embarrassing and now unconstitutional "one man, one woman" amendment to our state constitution. Unfortunately, that will take a lot more work than a special session.

Jun 30 2015
10:26 am

Clip from the "Dock Dogs" competition at Maryville's Summer on Broadway festival this weekend.

Jun 29 2015
07:14 pm

They're on a ten minute break and will resume at 7:20.

It's shaping up as I expected.

"No" votes will be Deathridge, Sanger, Fugate, and Carson.

"Yes" votes will be Harris, Hill, McMillan, and *possibly* Rountree-- although she has mentioned school rezoning a couple of times and has also asked Dr. McIntyre for a list of all schools' physical capacity and current enrollment.

The presumed tie-breaker, Bounds, is the only BOE member not to have spoken a single word in the first two hours and ten minutes.

I'm still looking for "no" votes to prevail, with help from Bounds and/or Rountree.

Jun 29 2015
03:16 pm
By: Mark Harmon  shortURL

I am part of a committee seeking Democratic Party candidates for the 2016 Knox County elections. Those include Commission Districts 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9. Tennessee House Districts 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, and 89. State Senate District 6, County Property Assessor, and County Law Director.

Anyone interested, or wanting to suggest a candidate, please feel free to contact me offline via email, phone, or other methods.

Cordially yours, Mark Harmon


The U.S. Supreme Court has reversed Michigan v. EPA, meaning that the EPA may not regulate mercury emissions from power plants under the Clean Air Act because the controls are too expensive.

The opinion...

Held: EPA interpreted §7412(n)(1)(A) unreasonably when it deemed cost irrelevant to the decision to regulate power plants.

SCALIA, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and KENNEDY, THOMAS, and ALITO, JJ., joined. THOMAS, J., filed a concurring opinion. KAGAN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which GINSBURG, BREYER, and SOTOMAYOR, JJ., joined.


The state has a program to assist seniors and disabled veterans with property taxes. Under the program, some disabled veterans didn't pay any taxes at all. Apparently, the TNGOP and Gov. Haslam passed a bill limiting the program, meaning that the property taxes could double for some participants. The Times Free Press has details...

(By way of RoaneViews)

Jun 29 2015
08:50 am

What: Rally for teachers
When: Wednesday, July 1, 2015 - 3:30pm
Where: In front of the Knoxville City County Building

There will be a rally to protest renewals of teachers in Knox County School system in front of the City County Building starting at 3:30 PM on July 1 before the Board of Education meeting. Organizers say "This is to try to influence policy change on teacher non renewals. The BOE have not been paying attention on how the teachers and parents feel, so we are unifying in a rally to send a message." More information can be found at the "SPEAK page."

Jun 28 2015
10:51 am
By: R. Neal  shortURL


Not the biggest we've ever seen or anything, but we think it's the biggest one we've ever gotten out of our garden. It's about 13 and 1/2 inches long and weighs about 1 lb. 3 oz.

Jun 27 2015
05:33 pm

ProgressNC reports it.

Recall that Charlotte-Mecklenberg Schools also won the 2011 Broad Prize for Urban Education.

Coincidence? I doubt it.


From MSNBC ...

“The Supreme Court is completely out of control, making laws on their own, and has become a public opinion poll instead of a judicial body,” Jindal said in a statement on Friday. “If we want to save some money, let’s just get rid of the court.”


Jun 26 2015
06:43 pm

If you haven't watched the video of this speech, you should. The entire damn thing. If you haven't already shed tears today, this will probably do it.


The Supreme Court has ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex, and to recognize marriage licenses across state lines.


Tennessee's same sex marriage ban ruled unconstitutional. Same sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states.

UPDATE: The opinion...

KENNEDY, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which GINSBURG, BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. ROBERTS, C. J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which SCALIA and THOMAS, JJ., joined. SCALIA, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which THOMAS, J., joined. THOMAS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which SCALIA, J., joined. ALITO, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which SCALIA and THOMAS, JJ., joined.

Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. The petitioners, 14 same-sex couples and two men whose same-sex partners are deceased, filed suits in Federal District Courts in their home States, claiming that respondent state officials violate the Fourteenth Amendment by denying them the right to marry or to have marriages lawfully performed in another State given full recognition. Each District Court ruled in petitioners’ favor, but the Sixth Circuit consolidated the cases and reversed.

Held: The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State.

...The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity.

Jun 25 2015
08:51 pm
By: Doug Veum  shortURL

What: Democratic TV
When: Friday, June 26, 2015 - 7:30pm
Where: Community TV Channel

Tamara Shepherd and Doug Veum will discuss the decision by the County Commission to build two new middle schools as compared to the need for these schools based on the BOE study recently completed. This will be a live call-in show!

DTV streams live at (link...) the Community TV web site or on cable/satellite at:
Comcast Channel 12
Charter Channel 6
Wow! Channel 6
ATT U-verse Channel 99


Some good news in South Knoxville


For the second year, REI is giving $10,000 each to the Legacy Parks Foundation and to the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club - "change agent" groups that are making a big difference by creating new outdoor recreational opportunities.

An anonymous Legacy Parks Foundation donor is contributing $30,000, and the bike club is adding $10,000 to build the $60,000 bridge that will span Redbud Road.

REI Grants, Partners to Fund $60,000 Bike / Pedestrian Bridge in Urban Wilderness

Jun 25 2015
11:06 am

We are told by Knox Co. Administrator of Elections Cliff Rodgers that Buck Cochran, Mayor Madeline Rogero's only opponent in the upcoming mayor's election, has withdrawn.


The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the lower court ruling in King v. Burwell 6-3, meaning that subsidies will still be available in states that rely on a federally operated exchange.


UPDATE: The opinion...

ROBERTS, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which KENNEDY, GINSBURG, BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. SCALIA, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which THOMAS and ALITO, JJ., joined.

...when deciding whether the language is plain, the Court must read the words “in their context and with a view to their place in the overall statutory scheme.”

...the Affordable Care Act contains more than a few examples of inartful drafting.

...the Act clearly contemplates that there will be qualified individuals on every Exchange.

...The combination of no tax credits and an ineffective coverage requirement could well push a State’s individual insurance market into a death spiral. It is implausible that Congress meant the Act to operate in this manner.

...Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.

Jun 25 2015
09:45 am

Local media reports (WBIR, WATE, KNS) say that the school bus driver who caused the crash that claimed three lives was texting with a prostitute at the time of the crash.

Now there are reports (WVLT, WBIR) that students told their parents about the texting for months before the accident and that parents had filed complaints with Knox Co. Schools but nothing was done.

KNS reoprts that Knox Co. Schools Superintendent Jim McIntyre, "on the advice of several attorneys, because of pending litigation on this case," declined to comment on complaints from parents or whether the accident could have been prevented if action had been taken.


Google is investing $600 million to build a data center at TVA's soon to be decommissioned Widows Creek coal-fired power plant. The project is expected to create 100 jobs in northeast Alabama's Jackson County. Google is working with TVA to power the data center using renewable energy sources. It is Google's 14th data center globally and its first new U.S. location since 2007.

MORE: Google, TVA, Alabama Department of Commerce


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