Fri
Mar 16 2007
08:48 am

Write your State Senator and Representative and ask them to oppose "tort reform" legislation pending in the Tennessee General Assembly.

Here's the Senate directory and here's the House directory.

Here's what I wrote:

Dear Sen. Finney and Rep. McCord:

Regarding proposed "tort reform" legislation (HB1993/SB2001 and HB0789/SB0682), I urge you to vote against these measures and to actively oppose them in the Tennessee General Assembly.

Studies show that such measures do nothing to improve patient safety or reduce the incidence of malpractice, which is the real problem. Other states including Georgia and Florida have found that malpractice insurance premiums continue to increase even after passing such laws which are supposed to help contain them.

These laws essentially limit access to the courts for victims of malpractice, preventing them from obtaining compensation and justice. Further, studies suggest that such laws are more likely to affect the ability of the poor, the young, and the elderly, some of our most vulnerable members of society, to get representation.

---

Here is more background on the issue.

47
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Fri
Mar 16 2007
08:42 am

Tommy Schumpert and Ben Atchley have formed a PAC to support candidates of integrity who would place “policy before politics” in local government. The News Sentinel quoted Atchley saying: “We’re looking for good, open government candidates.” After a very quick check of Fundrace 2004 Neighbor Search I found the following 2004 campaign contributions of the nonpartisan PAC on Public Trust members:

Tommy Schumpert – no record
Ben Atchley - $1K Bush
Henrietta Grant – no record
Sherri Lee - $1K Bush
David Moon – no record
Sam Furrow - $2K Bush
Suzanne Schriver - $2K RNC, $1K Bush

Integrity? Policy before politics? Open government? If most of the PAC members think Bush is a good example of integrity, policy before politics, or an open government candidate, I can’t wait to see their endorsements for local government candidates. Or maybe I am dreading their endorsements of local candidates.

News Sentinel article

150
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Fri
Mar 16 2007
07:43 am

No, he's not wearing a "Thank You for Smoking" T-shirt emblazoned with a big marijuana leaf across its chest. He's wearing a casual shirt, and he's holding a football in his hand, and he's urging me to make a pledge to EAT WHAT I WANT during the Superbowl Game. There's even a 5 step game plan. All I have to do is write down my favorite heartburn producing food, then hang it on my fridge. As I watch the game, I should "eat what I want", over-indulge and be free. Afterwards, I should kick off my "Super Bowl Heartburn Free Challenge" with a Prilosec pill. He's even offering me a free sample. All I have to do is fill out a form on the internet (I must swear I'm over 18 of course) and they'll mail me out a few capsules.

There used to be a time when commercials for prescription drugs were banned on TV and magazines, but apparently too many people in Congress who owned stock in Merck's decided that was silly. They even convinced themselves they were acting in the public interest. Information in this era is apparently not supposed to come from articles written by doctors. In this electronic age, we're supposed to get educated by commercials. Thank god, too! Reading serious stuff is such a drag!

All New Age thinkers, many medical doctors, and most shrinks all agree that the mind-body connection is a powerful one and that suggestions or affirmations can have amazing results. Apparently, we really are what we think we are. No, we can't necessarily think our way out of cancer or heart muscle failure, but it has been proven that our bodies respond to suggestion, and that really scares me. The average TV viewer or magazine reader is constantly inundated with suggestions about how unhealthy and unreliable our bodies are. If you believe the ads for prescription drugs, then you have to believe only popping a pill will help you sleep all night or have good sex or learn how not to worry. Our bodies are not wonderrous machines that will function well and long if they are given proper food, exercise, love, and recreational fulfillment. According to the pharmacuetical industry, they are a burden, incapable of surviving wihtout massive drug intervention.

And now the media is telling us the fastest growing drug problem in the USA is mis-use of prescription drugs. Ha! Don't the doctors and pharmacuetical companies see the connection? The biggest concern is teenage prescription drug abuse. Well why not? Their bathroom medicine cabinets are overflowing with so many varieties of medications it would make any kid curious. If it's good enough for Mom and Dad. why not me? It's not like pot. It's legal for god's sake.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reported 5,599 marijuana-related arrests during 2005. How many arrests were there for abuse of prescription drugs?

In a report by the National Institue on Drug Abuse the problem is discussed, but notice how the blame for the problem is given only to pharmacies operating on the Internet.

"The nonmedical use or abuse of prescription drugs is a serious and growing public health problem in this country. The elderly are among those most vulnerable to prescription drug abuse or misuse because they are prescribed more medications than their younger counterparts. Most people take prescription medications responsibly; however, an estimated 48 million people (ages 12 and older) have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons in their lifetimes. This represents approximately 20 percent of the U.S. population."

The report also commented---"Also alarming is the fact that the 2004 National Institute on Drug Abuse's (NIDA's) Monitoring the Future survey of 8th, 10th, and 12th-graders found that 9.3 percent of 12th-graders reported using Vicodin without a prescription in the past year, and 5.0 percent reported using OxyContin-making these medications among the most commonly abused prescription drugs by adolescents.

The abuse of certain prescription drugs-opioids, central nervous system (CNS) depressants, and stimulants- can alter the brain's activity and lead to addiction. While we do not yet understand all of the reasons for the increasing abuse of prescription drugs, we do know that accessibility is likely a contributing factor. In addition to the increasing number of medicines being prescribed for a variety of health problems, some medications can be obtained easily from online pharmacies. Most of these are legitimate businesses that provide an important service; however, some online pharmacies dispense medications without a prescription and without appropriate identity verification, allowing minors to order the medications easily over the Internet."

Hey, what about Mom's anti-depressant? Dad's Viagra? Aunt Helen's diet pills? These weren't ordered over the Internet.

Personally, I'm kind of fond of my body's warning signs. Heartburn tells me I'm being a pig. Fat tells me I'm not exercising enough, and sobbing in my cornflakes means I might want to examine the choices I'm making in my life.

Drugs taken to solve mechanical problems that diet or exercise or counseling or meditation can't help truly are life-saving and wonderful, but it does seem a little bizarre that several of my neighbors are taking 12 to 14 prescription medicines every day. How bad-off can one body be!

It's so obvious it is blinding. Ads for prescription medications are causing a whole lot of people to run to their doctors for drugs. What they don't like taking, or forget to take, gets handed around to family and friends or gets stolen by kids who want to experiment.

Ads on TV and magazines should definetly be banned. They produce dreamstate illusions of well-being and health that can't possibly match the reality. They make having a serious illness seem like a minimal thing. "I was so worried I wouldn't be able to go to my daughter's wedding, but then I discovered....(you fill in the blanks). Hey, what's a little cancer? Why be concerned about our toxic environment? Getting sick might be awful, but boy do I have a pill for you!

I want the drug pushers out of my parlor, off my TV set, and out of my magazine subscriptions. But is anyone listening? No they're too busy hearing the music of their cash registers ringing up sales. I say if there is any justice at all, then the pharmacuetical company executives ought to be sitting in the cell next to Henry the long-haired occasional pot smoker caught toking in his back yard.

This whole prescription medicine thing is making me sick.

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43
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Fri
Mar 16 2007
04:59 am
By: MartyD  shortURL

There is a very dangerous "swift boat" type email circulating about Barak Obama. I heard about it yesterday .... some folk were talking amd passed it for the truth. I checked it on Snopes.com and it's been proven to be false. I'm not trying to tell anyone how to vote but this is completely unfair and so reminscent of other campaigns.

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In case you didn't know this, the New York Times has opened up TimesSelect for all users with an "edu" email address. Just go to this link.

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42
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Thu
Mar 15 2007
07:45 pm

Did you know that Tennessee is dead last with regard to women's participation in politics and government? Here's an opportunity to help fix that.

WHAT: Tennessee Democratic Women's Political Action Committee (TDWPAC) Third Annual Silent Auction

WHEN: March 28, 2007, 5:30 to 8:30 P.M.

WHERE: Grace's Plaza, 4077 Hillsboro Road, Green Hills (former location of Davis-Kidd Booksellers)

WHY: TDWPAC was formed in January 2005 after members of the Nashville community saw a need for more Democratic elected women in Tennessee statewide politics. TDWPac is currently the single Tennessee PAC giving money only to Democratic women candidates for office, and since its inception has contributed over $13,000 to campaigns across the state.

OTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE EVENT (click "read more")...

Continued...

47
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Looks like the Milo Minderbender Mortgage Market wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

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42
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Thu
Mar 15 2007
03:25 pm

County Commissioner Charles Bolus was in St. Mary’s Medical Center’s emergency room this afternoon...

No word on the cause.

More Here.

KTB

44
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Thu
Mar 15 2007
01:49 pm

They have the best home made pinto beans corn bread made by P.A. and coleslaw in town, on Thursdays! What a deal!

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45
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Thu
Mar 15 2007
12:54 pm

I"m tired of talking red light cameras, so here's something completely different:

For the past year or so, MPC and a Steering Committee have been working on design guidelines for downtown Knoxville. The development process included an inclusive public participation component.

This is something I've wanted to see for a very long time, and I'm excited that they passed Council on first reading this week 9-0 (after sailing through MPC last month on the consent agenda).

However, there is some opposition from a few local developers, who would like the guidelines to be voluntary rather than mandatory.

Take a look and tell me what you think.

50
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Thu
Mar 15 2007
12:17 pm
By: michael kaplan  shortURL

This via Joe Hultquist:

The following is the official public notice for the next step in public input for TDOT's James White Parkway project. If you have any interest in this project, please make plans to attend on March 27th.

Notice of Public Workshop

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) will conduct a public workshop on Tuesday, March 27, 2007, at South Doyle Middle School, 3900 Decatur Road, Knoxville, Tennessee to discuss Knox County project number 47024-1230-04, proposed SR-71, South Knoxville Boulevard, from Governor Jon Sevier Highway (SR-168) to Moody Avenue.

The workshop will be held from 5-7 p.m. during which time there will be a short presentation that will provide the background and current status of the project. The public is invited to ask questions and make comments during the meeting and will be given the opportunity to make their opinions known concerning the purpose and need for the project. The public will also have an opportunity to participate by marking suggestions/ideas on the various maps that will be displayed at the workshop. Representatives of the department will be available to assist with this exchange of ideas and to provide information on any aspect of the project.

Persons with a disability, who require aids or services to participate at the meeting, may contact Me. Margaret Mahler at the following address no less than 10 days prior to the date of the meeting.

Ms. Margaret Mahler or by e-mail:
Margaret.Z.Mahler@state.tn.us
ADA and Safety Coordinator Phone (615) 741-4984
Tennessee Department of Transportation Fax (615) 532-5988
Suite 400, James K. Polk Bldg. TTY Relay (615) 253-8311
505 Deaderick Street
Nashville, TN 37243

A court reporter will be available to receive oral statements to be included in the project transcript. In addition, comment sheets are made available for those who prefer to make written statements. Written statements and other exhibits to be included in the project transcript may be submitted within 21 days after the workshop date to the following address:

Project Comments
Tennessee Department of Transportation
Suite 700, James K. Polk Building
505 Deaderick Street
Nashville, TN 37243-0332

Joe Hultquist
Knoxville City Councilman, 1st District
joseph49@bellsouth.net
(865) 579-1250

48
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Thu
Mar 15 2007
12:10 pm
By: bizgrrl  shortURL

WebEx has been one of the most beneficial new tools for our business we have found in a while. Just about every vendor in our market uses WebEx, thus most every customer and prospect is already familiar with the tool (makes it easy, you don't have to explain anything). WebEx has cut way down on travel, whether for sales calls or support.

Shares of WebEx soared $10.53, or more than 22 percent, to $56.73 in early trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market. My theory has been to invest in companies I like, boy, I missed an opportunity here.

I hope Cisco doesn't mess it up

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41
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Thu
Mar 15 2007
11:59 am

From WBIR:

An emergency event has occurred at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge.

Continued...

46
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Thu
Mar 15 2007
11:54 am

Tea Time With Terrorists
By Don Williams

After serving him tea and crumpets, CIA interviewers delicately broached the subject of terror with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, asking whether he was responsible for all the bad stuff that’s been happening in the world the last quarter-century.

Click here to continue reading...

Continued...

106
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Thu
Mar 15 2007
09:13 am

Cucoloris - A filter that casts patterned light. They're apparently often just pieces of cardboard or other materials with patterns removed. Also called a cookie by people in the movie biz. I couldn't find any pictures of a cucoloris, but here's a photographer's example of using a potted palm tree as an improvised cucoloris to make a scene more interesting.

Via Roger Ebert's glossary of movie terms. And note that he spells it differently.

Previous WOTD - Ceteris paribus

43
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Wed
Mar 14 2007
10:06 pm
By: StaceyDiamond  shortURL

The Sentinel should just go ahead and endorse Big Fred Thompson and get it over with !! Maybe even start a Fredshub.com page. Perhaps Bob Corker has a piece of land to sell Thompson so that he can begin establishing a "Tn. Lifestyle" before next year. Stacey

146
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Wed
Mar 14 2007
08:41 pm
By: Andy Axel  shortURL

You made me laugh, but I didn't always agree with you.

But I wish that for whatever demons had a hold of your tail that you could have held on a while longer.

I know that there are those who'd condemn your final choice (and I'd find myself among them), but...

May you find peace.

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113
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Wed
Mar 14 2007
07:44 pm

In his latest bid to alienate even the yellowest of yellow dogs in his Democratic base, Harold Ford Jr. joins Fox News as an analyst.

I have long been torn about my support for Harold Ford Jr., but he's demonstrating an all-too-familiar pattern of sucking up to Republicans, even when he doesn't have to. I will give him a pass on chairing the Democratic Leadership Council, but this is getting ridiculous.

And for a Democrat to take a paycheck from Fox News just as the Democratic Party took a high-profile pass on a Fox-sponsored Presidential debate... well, it sure doesn't help me make the argument that Ford isn't actually a Lieberman clone.

Thanks (once again) for making me regret my vote, Harold.

63
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Wed
Mar 14 2007
07:39 pm

I thought for a moment there was a ray of hope for a moment of reason and sanity here:

The Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., one of the country's preeminent evangelical leaders, acknowledged that he irked many fellow conservatives with an article earlier this month saying scientific research "points to some level of biological causation" for homosexuality.

But he lost me right here:

However, Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., was assailed even more harshly by gay-rights supporters. They were upset by his assertion that homosexuality would remain a sin even if it were biologically based, and by his support for possible medical treatment that could switch an unborn gay baby's sexual orientation to heterosexual.

The article doesn't say where the Rev. Mohler got his medical degree or where he did his physiological psychology research.

But maybe he's on to something. Maybe there's a pre-natal medical treatment that could switch an unborn baby's political orientation to Republican. Or their complexion to white. Etc.

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42
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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.

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