Mon
Mar 12 2007
03:40 pm

I would like to call your attention to an upcoming conference, "Plain Talk on Quality Growth". The Honorary Chairman for the conference is Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr. The keynote address will be given by Daniel Williams, Fellow of the AIA. Attending as a special guest will be Governor Phil Bredesen. Other national and state leaders in the area of community planning and growth will also take part as speakers and panelists.

There will be a free public lecture and planning discussion on Thursday evening, March 29, 2007 at 6:30 p.m. at the University Center. The conference will be all day on March 30, 2007 at the Knoxville Convention Center. For more information on registration, please go to (link...).

55
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Mon
Mar 12 2007
12:11 pm

Is it just me, or does it look like Michael Silence is trying out for a spot in Fred Thompson's administration as press secretary?

I count sixteen consecutive posts about Fred Thompson. (One is ostensibly about Ann Coulter, but it mentions Fred Thompson, too!)

Anyway, Michael wonders why the lefty blogs aren't talking about Fred Thompson! Fred Thompson! Fred Thompson!

Well, there you go. Happy now?

186
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Mon
Mar 12 2007
11:55 am

Speaking of dump days, this Saturday March 17th is Household Hazardous Waste Collection day in Blount County. Collection is from 8AM to 2PM at the Foothills Plaza (next to the movie theater and Fowler's Furniture).

Here is a list of accepted materials. Here's more info on the state-wide program.

(Knoxville and Knox County residents can use one of the permanent collection sites.)

According to Keep Blount Beautiful, "This program is funded by Tennessee Department of Transportation and provided in partnership between Blount County Solid Waste, Keep Blount Beautiful, and Foothills Mall."

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Mon
Mar 12 2007
11:10 am

For those not familiar with that early 90's show "Dinosaurs" we can call this day- Dump Run Day.

Continued...

67
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Mon
Mar 12 2007
11:03 am

Here's a funny from an article in the Maryville Daily Times about the curious circumstances surrounding Blount Co. Mayor Cunningham's order to rewrite the county's zoning rules:

"We're looking at both the zoning regulations and the subdivision regulations and trying to make them easier for everyone to understand," [Finance Director Dave Bennett] said. "We don't need our regulations looking like a bunch of pointy-headed intellectuals from Washington, D.C., wrote them. We need them so we can understand them."

Hey, I can help them out, no charge. "Developers good. Developers smart. Developers always do right thing. Trust developers. Development good for developer, supplier, road builder friends. Good for tax base, too. We develop now. You shut up. Go watch TV."

55
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Mon
Mar 12 2007
10:25 am
By: Bbeanster  shortURL

So what do you think of this column about John Wilder's accident? Is this guy wishing him a speedy recovery, or is he wishing for something else??

(link...)

50
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Mon
Mar 12 2007
01:14 am

A recently proposed bill would increase the wait for an irreconciable divorce from 90 days to one year. I'm sure the proposing legislator can point to Tennessee being a high divorce rate state.

Divorce is too easy in Tennessee,' came from the TV.

My wife's immediate comment was: "but our murder rate will go up."

(I glanced over just to make sure she wasn't holding a knife...)

Continued...

70
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Sun
Mar 11 2007
06:55 pm

Just went to get my weekly fix of Betty & Sandra and discovered they've redone the website. I now have to open a 6M pdf just to read these two columns.

Nagonnadoit.

I am not a happy camper.

53
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Sun
Mar 11 2007
04:43 pm
By: metulj  shortURL

Uh -oh. Coupled with the low-end-backed-by-Chinese-money mortgage industry on the ropes, my high school chum who is a Wall Street investment banker writes to say:

"I am taking a couple of years off to write a book. It feels like a good time."

Double gulp.

I suggest that you start digging up those mason jars that Daddy buried under the fence posts.

Topics:
53
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Sun
Mar 11 2007
04:11 pm

Randy's house feels big and empty this balmy, sunshine-y Sunday afternoon. I'm guessin' folks are out on the back porch, where I've been, and where I came across this Thought-for-the-Day, matted under glass made grimy by winter:

The Meaning of Life

To know and serve God, of course, is why we’re here, a clear truth that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible, but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through. What else will do except faith in such a cynical, corrupt time? When the country goes temporarily to the dogs, cats must learn to be circumspect, walk on fences, sleep in trees, and have faith that all this woofing is not the last word. Time to shut up and be beautiful, and wait for morning. Yahooism, when in power, is deaf, and neither satire nor the Gospel will stay its brutal hand, but hang on, another chapter follows. Our brave hopes for changing the world sank in port, and we have become the very people we used to make fun of, the old and hesitant, but never mind, that’s not the whole story, either. So hang on.

What keeps our faith cheerful is the extreme persistence of gentleness and humor. Gentleness is everywhere in daily life, a sign that faith rules through ordinary things: through cooking and small talk, through storytelling, making love, fishing, tending animals and sweet corn and flowers, through sports, music and books, raising kids—all the places where the gravy soaks in and grace shines through. Even in a time of elephantine vanity and greed, one never has to look far to see the campfires of gentle people. If we had no other purpose in life, it would be good enough to simply take care of them and goose them once in a while.

--Garrison Keillor

B'leive I'll wipe the glass clean, tuck it under my bed pillow, and try to carry that thought on into Monday.

51
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Sun
Mar 11 2007
03:42 pm

The KNS web site has a "news quiz" today in which they ask five multiple-choice questions about burning issues of the day - important stuff such as the role Renee Zellweger plays in her new movie and which Food Network chef will be at the Women Today Expo.

I flunked it, of course. I was prepared to answer questions such as the name of the first fired US Attorney to testify before the House committee and why he was subpoenaed, who was named the chairman of the new Knox County "ethics" committee, has Lumpy moved a single car from his used car lot this week? You know, substantive newsy type stuff. They just didn't ask the right questions.

57
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Sun
Mar 11 2007
11:57 am

Is the new mea culpa strategy working for the Republicans?

Every time you turn on the tube these days you see someone caught doing something illegal or amoral admitting they have done wrong---then they promise to do better. After Katrina, the Department of Homeland Security did it. Last week, the Veteran’s Administration went before a congressional hearing and tried it. Yesterday, the FBI confessed their wiretapping abuses. Now, even George W. Bush, the original Mr. Never-Admit-Anything, has jumped on the bandwagon. The formula goes something like this: cop a plea, say seven hail Mary’s and admit you sinned. Then, once you have been absolved, make a statement saying the situation has been examined and that changes are being made. Once you have done all that, everyone is supposed to admire you and forgive your sins.

The right-wing Christian coalition, a group that sometimes has trouble thinking for itself, is being told it is noble to confess, that Jesus forgives all sinners, and that once you have done this, you’re absolved of all responsibility. Fox News commentators also push this belief. “Well,” they say, “Bush has admitted he made some mistakes. But, he acted on bad intelligence. He said the situation in Iraq is intolerable, and he’s doing everything he can to make sure things will be better now.”

Oh, yeah! Great! Amen! But with more than 3,000 soldiers already dead, Bin laden chuckling somewhere in a cave, and Afghanistan beginning to boil over again, is just saying “I’m sorry” enough?

There’s an old saying: Sorry in one and spit in the other. Historically, the word sorry hasn’t carried much weight, but lately strategists in Washington have raised its status to one of biblical importance.

Next time you listen to the news, just count and be dazzled. Every day some new illegal or immoral act is being discovered. These incidents are rising faster than bones in a Louisiana graveyard. And, the first word you will hear out of the mouth of the guilty will be mea culpa, mea culpa—I’m sorry.

There is something noble about confession. Assuming responsibility for your actions has always proven better than hiding them, but if the list of things you have done is long and continues to grow after you’ve knelt in the corner to delivery your obligatory Hail Marys, even God might grow weary of listening to your hollow words.

The fact that the Bush administration has discovered a new strategy to avoid being held accountable for their many sins won’t save them in the end. Like all their other calculated but stupid moves, this one will soon be seen for what it is—just another clever attempt to bamboozle their constituents into thinking they are honorable men.

Lying, corruption, war, secret prisons, the Katrina disaster, Abu Grad, billions of dollars worth of contracts in Iraq not cancelled when the work wasn’t done, the FEMA trailers still sitting empty in a field of mud, veteran abuse—just how much forgiveness can these guys expect?

Sorry in one had and spit in the other--someone ought to say that to the next government official who tries to wiggle out of responsibility. Does anyone really give a darn if everyone connected to Bush is suddenly sorry? If those known liars assure us they are being truthful now? I don’t think so.

56
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Sun
Mar 11 2007
11:11 am

I cleaned up the blogrolls a bit, removing some dead links, fixing up new site addresses, and adding a couple of new ones.

I also reorganized the RSS feeds column, which appears under the "Discussions" column (which used to be called "Latest Comments").

I added a couple of new feeds, and organized the RSS feeds into "Blog-O-Rama" for blogs, and "News-O-Rama" for news media feeds.

In the "Blog-O-Rama" category, I also separated the "paid bloggers" (who generate prodigious numbers of blog posts which sometimes dominate the blog feed headlines) to give "regular folks" equal time.

Topics:
54
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Sun
Mar 11 2007
10:51 am

The AP reports from Uruguay:

President Bush asked Congress on Saturday for $3.2 billion to pay for 8,200 more U.S. troops needed in Afghanistan and Iraq on top of the 21,500-troop buildup he announced in January.

[..]

The budget revisions come as many lawmakers opposed to the buildup in Iraq are debating funding for the war. But in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Bush proposed canceling $3.2 billion in low-priority defense items to offset the extra money needed to support the additional troops.

Meanwhile, Congress debates withdrawing authorization for the war.

49
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Sat
Mar 10 2007
05:09 pm

Here's an interesting and timely AP article:

Though laws in every state say government records and meetings must be open to all, reality often falls far short: Laws are sporadically enforced, penalties for failure to comply are mild and violators almost always walk away with nothing more than a reprimand, an Associated Press survey of all 50 states has found.

It appears Tennessee isn't the only state with open government issues.

The survey was published to coincide with Sunshine Week, which starts tomorrow.

UPDATE: Jack Lail notes in comments that the Knoxville News Sentinel has this report on Tennessee's Sunshine Law, plus this interactive state-by-state graphic summary.

Jack also provides a link to the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government, which has this interesting survey of state lawmakers.

54
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Sat
Mar 10 2007
03:47 pm

If y'all are over in the Rockford/Alcoa/East Maryville area, check out Patty's Place Cafe for breakfast or lunch. But make sure you're hungry.

We stopped by for a late breakfast. I had...

Continued...

50
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Sat
Mar 10 2007
11:39 am

Haste makes waste.

The TN Senate voted to approve a law (SB0139) making it a misdemeanor (amendment) if your dog goes off premises even if the dog's owner was not at fault. For example, your dog is in your fenced in backyard. A worker enters your backyard and upon leaving forgets to secure the gate. Your dog runs into the street. You can then be charged with a crime.

Now I am all for responsible animal ownership. We own a pup, or it owns us, not sure which. Our pupster is definitely pampered and we take extreme care to ensure her safety as well as the safety of others around her. In her ten years of existence she has escaped 3 or 4 times. I cannot imagine being arrested for such a misdeed. Neither of us have never been arrested for anything. I think this is just a step too far.

I suppose my next step is to ask what problem resulted in the introduction of this bill. And, hey, if dogs then why not cats? They can do damage too. I jest. Just because there is a bad bill does not mean we need to make it worse.

H/T KNS

70
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Sat
Mar 10 2007
11:01 am
By: WhitesCreek  shortURL

I marched in several protests when I was younger...a lot younger. But I don't remember any fellow protesters who made their point as well as this one.

(hey it's News...get over it. really)

52
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Sat
Mar 10 2007
10:57 am

Oil Innovations Pump New Life Into Old Wells:

Within the last decade, technology advances have made it possible to unlock more oil from old fields, and, at the same time, higher oil prices have made it economical for companies to go after reserves that are harder to reach. With plenty of oil still left in familiar locations, forecasts that the world’s reserves are drying out have given way to predictions that more oil can be found than ever before.

“It’s the fifth time to my count that we’ve gone through a period when it seemed the end of oil was near and people were talking about the exhaustion of resources,” said Daniel Yergin, the chairman of Cambridge Energy and author of a Pulitzer Prize-winning history of oil, who cited similar concerns in the 1880s, after both world wars and in the 1970s. “Back then we were going to fly off the oil mountain. Instead we had a boom and oil went to $10 instead of $100.”

Topics:
56
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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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