Thu
Feb 22 2007
11:19 pm

The News Sentinel is coming with a story about Scoobie Moore and Lee Tramel's Excellent Trip to Nashville yesterday, during which they evidently looked up Knox County lobbyist Joe May and threatened yank his contract. Not sure how they plan to do this, since hiring a lobbyist is clearly the mayor's prerogative.

Also not sure how they planned to get around the Sunshine Law, since they are both county commissioners, but they evidently are not concerned.

Earlier in the day, Moore sent a message to one of Bud Gilbert's clients, Hallsdale-Powell Utility District, demanding to see records of payments to Gilbert on the grounds that since Gilbert is working for Ragsdale pro bono, he must be padding his bill to HPUD.

This would be the same Bud Gilbert who worked his way through UT as a paramedic, graduated with a 4.0 average and won a scholarship to Harvard Law School. The same Bud Gilbert who served two terms in the state Senate, where he won two Bird Dog awards from Common Cause as the most ethical legislator in the Tennessee legislature and then stepped down after two terms because he believes in term limits.

That Bud Gilbert.

And that Scoobie Moore. And Lee Tramel.

#9, these guys make Ragsdale look damn good.

118
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Thu
Feb 22 2007
07:59 pm

Late Wednesday on the Upfront Page, the blog of News Sentinel Editor Jack McElroy, is a response by Mr. McElroy to a post I put on KnoxViews and Say Uncle on Tuesday questioning whether the E.W. Scripps ethics code had been violated by Mr. McElroy’s lawsuit against Knox County Commission for a perceived Sunshine Law violation. I questioned the News Sentinel “preference to defend the County Mayor and attack his opposition”. The other issue that was disturbing was the fact that the News Sentinel sued each Knox County Commissioner personally as well as suing them as Commissioners. I felt and still feel that crosses the line. It seems to be a form of intimidation. Because of that I felt the question of an ethics violation should be considered.

The News Sentinel has written Editorials suggesting that the Knox County Fee offices be audited and that Knox County Commission undertake Ethics reform. At this time maybe the best thing for the News Sentinel to do is to lead by example and review the Ethics of its Editorial Board and it’s closeness to Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale.

YouTube Channel 9 coverage of the Knox County Commission meeting on the McElroy lawsuit:

Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII

More after the jump...

Continued...

56
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Thu
Feb 22 2007
07:16 pm

The video of the Knoxville City Council Meeting from February 13, 2007 can be viewed on Google Video here. The main discussion includes the South Water Front Development plans. Be forwarned the video is not for the faint of heart as it is 3 hours long.

54
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Thu
Feb 22 2007
01:16 pm

Here's a curious bit of legislation being proposed over in Nashville. SB1761:

County Officers - Clarifies that the duties of constitutional county officers shall not be altered or abolished under a county charter form of government and failure to specifically create or specify duties of such officers shall not be deemed to abolish the offices. - Amends TCA Section 5-1-210.

Wonder what that's all about? I suppose it prevents future confusion such as the argument that Knox County's charter is deficient because it doesn't enumerate the constitutional officers.

But that part about "shall not be altered", uh, altered like as in imposing term limits? This could be interesting.

238
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Thu
Feb 22 2007
01:02 pm

I've got a new post up at Facing South re. the death penalty, with, bonus, Bible quotes! Lots of other good stuff this week, including articles about life in the Green Zone, CIA "torture pilots", hog excrement, and more.

43
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Thu
Feb 22 2007
12:31 pm

An interesting conversation developed in another unrelated thread. I am moving the comments here for further discussion of this controversial and important topic.

The issue boils down to, well several things. Should the new high school be Farragut Middle School or a new high school? How does a new high school built in a different district relieve crowding at Farragut High? Does the proposal go too far in relieving crowding at Farragut High by rezoning too many students? Does the plan take into account where the growth is occurring? Is $40 million too much for Knox County taxpayers to spend to help out the town of Farragut? Do Farragut residents feel they needed a new $40 million school? I think I've summarized it correctly, apologies if not.

Read more after the jump and join in the conversation...

Continued...

68
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Thu
Feb 22 2007
11:41 am

The Knoxville News Sentinel has this article about this afternoon's upcoming City Council workshop in which Councilman Steve Hall embraces the public process, developers show up at the 11th hour (after private meetings with city officials and consultants), lawyers get involved, and Councilman Joe Hultquist remarks about varying nonconformity.

53
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YouTube Channel Nine is up. The major fireworks are in Part V. Lumpy Lambert takes it to Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale and Mayor Ragsdale brings it back. People will remember the "4 year old in Candy Land" and "I've never called you out...until now" remarks for many years to come.

This is coverage of the Knox County Commission meeting held on Tuesday to consider Mayor Ragsdale's request for a special election. The primary players are former Tennessee State Senator Bud Gilbert, Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale, and the members of the Knox County Commission.

Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII

109
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Wed
Feb 21 2007
01:36 pm

Just a reminder that the final MPC meeting for the CACS is tomorrow night. The details are at the MPC website.

The final public meeting for input on the Cumberland Avenue Corridor Study will be at 6:00 p.m. Thursday, February 22 in the University Center Ballroom. Ed McKinney, project manager for the Glatting Jackson Kercher consultant team, will make the presentation and field questions from the audience. The study began last fall with a series of public and stakeholder meetings and design charrettes resulting in preliminary plans presented in January.

Is anyone planning on attending this meeting and is there anything that needs to be said from the community?

51
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Wed
Feb 21 2007
12:53 pm

Denmark says it will withdraw its 460 troops from Iraq by August. They may, however, increase their presence in Afghanistan.

Thankfully Latvia and Estonia are till in the game. And don't forget Poland.

UPDATE: Lithuania may withdraw its 53 troops.

49
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Wed
Feb 21 2007
12:14 pm
By: Sven  shortURL

Here's an interesting chart (below the fold), the result of a survey of Republican state legislators. Can you guess what it measures?

Continued...

49
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Wed
Feb 21 2007
11:54 am

For all you geezers and young pups alike, here's a pretty good retirement calculator from the AARP.

Note to geezers: We'd better stick together to protect Social Security and Medicare. Let these young whippersnappers "reform" it however they want as long as they leave ours alone.

Topics:
89
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Wed
Feb 21 2007
10:19 am
By: paulsteven  shortURL

“Last night we had three small zucchini for dinner that were grown within fifty feet of our back door. I estimate the cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $371.49 each.”
-Andy Rooney

Planted our first garden last year. My farmer neighbor was kind enough to plow up the soil with his John Deere tractor. As I was instructed, I went to the feed store and bought some seeds and fertilizer. I don’t know much about gardening but if you’re willing to ask, virtually everyone I meet is a card-carrying expert. These people know their vegetables. They’ll spend as much time with you as you like and dispense their wisdom with a smile. Good people. One of the things I like so much, here in the South. Homegrown friendly folk. Folks down here take their gardening seriously. Not just the farmers either. Every home has its finely manicured patch. Groomed and perfect as any PGA golf course. There may be an old sofa and defunct washing machine sitting on the front porch but their gardens are a different matter. They are meticulous. Rows of corn stand like soldiers in perfect columns at attention, robust tomatoes and impressive beans, melons and squash decorate the landscape. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. I don’t want to disappoint my friends.

Read more after the jump...

Continued...

58
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Wed
Feb 21 2007
10:15 am

Alan Smithee - a pseudonym used by directors who don't want their name associated with a movie that has been altered beyond their control.

From Ask Cecil Adams:

Alan Smithee (along with several variant spellings) was an official pseudonym of the Directors Guild of America, for use by members who believed (and succeeded in persuading the Guild) that their work on a particular film had been so damaged or altered by others that it no longer resembled the director's vision. Permission to use the pseudonym was not granted casually, and was not intended simply to disown poor work. The practice began in 1968 when Robert Totten and his replacement Don Siegel both believed their work on the film Death of a Gunfighter had been so distorted by those controlling the film that neither wanted credit for the result. The Directors Guild agreed and decided to create a standard pseudonym. Naturally, such a pseudonym needed to be unique so that it would never be confused with the name of an actual director. The name Smithee was chosen, the thinking being that no one actually named Smithee was likely to surface. In 1999, a film called An Alan Smithee Film: Burn, Hollywood, Burn was released, telling the fictional story of a director who wanted to remove his name from the credits of his film, but couldn't because his name actually was Alan Smithee. (Coincidentally, director Arthur Hiller removed his name from the credits of Alan Smithee and thus it actually is an Alan Smithee film.) The Directors Guild determined that the name had gotten too familiar to the public as a result of this movie, and ceased using it as an official pseudonym. Now pseudonyms are determined on a case-by-case basis, and different names applied to the films in question.

Previous WOTD - Portmanteau

Topics:
54
like
Tue
Feb 20 2007
11:44 pm

If I can beg your indulgence for a moment:

The Friends of the Knox County Public Library (FOL) will open the doors on 14,000 square feet of books on Sunday, March 4, as the FOL annual Used Book Sale gets underway. The sale will run through March 10 in the Old Knoxville Convention Center, officially known as the Knoxville Convention and Exposition Center (KCEC). The KCEC is located underneath the Holiday Inn Select, on the World’s Fair Park level. This is a new location for the book sale, and offers three times the space of previous years.

Continued...

45
like
Tue
Feb 20 2007
07:32 pm

From KNS Editor Jack McElroy's blog:

As I've mentioned here before, the News Sentinel felt obligated to sue because of the impunity with which the commissioners ignored the Sunshine Law when they picked 12 replacements for term-limited office-holders. This law is one that has no real provision for enforcement other than citizens going to court. Based on the way the Commission behaved on Jan. 31, we figured we either had to sue or acknowledge that, in Knox County, the Open Meetings Act was meaningless.

Read the whole thing, including threats by Moore to go after KNS phone records and reporter's notes when Knox County Law Director John Owings suggested that County Commissioner's phone records and e-mails could come out in discovery.

Say what you will about the KNS, and I've said plenty and had plenty of differences of opinion on their editorial policy (from a political and unfortunately personal standpoint), but the KNS and McElroy are fighting the good fight here, for whatever it's worth.

Maybe it's all for show to sell papers. Or maybe it's symbolic and won't amount to anything in the end. But I'm sensing it's for real, at least on some level. Some stuff is so outrageous that it transcends KNOXGOB business as usual, and there's no more ignoring it or going along because even the most casually informed citizen can tell something is wrong.

OK, then.

242
like
Tue
Feb 20 2007
07:12 pm

The BBC is reporting Tony Blair's expected Wednesday announcement.

Mr. Blair is expected to say hundreds of troops will return from Basra within weeks with more to follow later.

Some 7,000 UK troops are currently serving in Iraq and about 1,500 are expected to return within weeks.

I suppose now the Bush administration will be forced to tar and feather them for bailing on him.

Topics:
67
like
Tue
Feb 20 2007
05:10 pm

Direct deposit:

One oddity Corker learned while there: Iraqi troops are paid in cash and then hand deliver the money to their families at home. While they are away on each money delivery, they are not helping their unit.

65
like
Tue
Feb 20 2007
04:43 pm

Couple of new posts at Facing South on the South's role in next year's primaries, and of course Mardi Gras.

42
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