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
like
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
like
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
like
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
like
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
like
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
like
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
like
Sat
Mar 10 2007
10:36 am

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and National Park Service Director Mary Bomar are starting a listening tour with the first stop at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park maintenance area this Tuesday. The maintenance area is about 1/2 mile behind the Park headquarters, but you can park at the Sugarlands Visitor center and enjoy a nice evening stroll with the additional hours of daylight. They will be listening from 6-8pm. Wouldn't it be impressive if hundreds turned out on a work day to a remote location in order to express support for the Park? Details from the Tennessean.

Update: The NPS press release indicates the meeting will occur at the W.L. Mills Conference Center in Gatlinburg, which makes a whole lot more sense.

52
like
Fri
Mar 9 2007
10:13 pm

If anyone still has any doubts whether we are one step away from living in a police state you have obviously not been watching the news. First, just as many predicted an audit came out today reporting that the FBI has been violating the Law to the point of possible criminal charges. Exactly where would we be if W had gotten his way and blocked the audits?
We have the ACLU pointing out that Habeas Corpus no longer applies to ANYONE due to the fact that all of us can now be classified as a "Domestic Terrorist". And in case you think that surely this could not happen to a US citizen just remember the treatment of Jose Padilla. Incidently it was reported that the video of his last interview has "mysteriously" disappeared.
Recently news surfaced that the FBI is using a new computer program to read our emails, and track out internet usage. And in case that does not work the Justice Department and the GOP are reviving an attempt to force all ISP's to track all users activities forever. Don't you feel safer already?

58
like
Fri
Mar 9 2007
08:35 pm

Circa 1970, student activists organized massive demonstrations on the U.T. campus to protest the Vietnam war. Angry hordes of pot-smoking, free-loving hippies along with a few mostly respectable faculty members (and frat types looking to score with the free-loving hippie chicks) descended on places like Circle Park chanting "One! Two! Three! Four! We don't want your f**king war!"

Missing in action for decades, a resurgence of student protest was spotted on the U.T. campus this week, where student activists and community leaders gathered to chant: "What do we want? TENURE! When do we want it? NOW!"

According to this KNS report:

Janis Stewart, a UT sophomore, read the protest rules to the group of about 75-100 students with members of community organizations among them. No fighting. No disrespecting the police. And stay on the sidewalk on the march to UT's Alumni Memorial Building.

Apparently, "F**k the pigs!" is no longer acceptable protest protocol.

In related news, a group of approx. eleven Sixties-era protest veterans were recently spotted at the O'Conner Senior Center chanting: "What do we want? Repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax and permanent extension of Section 179 accelerated depreciation. When do we want it? NOW! By any means necessary!"

As they filed away to their minivans from the protest venue, a few were heard quietly singing an adapted version of a popular John Lennon song from their era: "All we are saying, is give Medicare Part D pharmaceutical company negotiations a chance."

(But seriously, it sounds like assistant history professor George White Jr. is getting a raw deal. The U.T. Administration apparently learned their lesson in the sixties and has since figured out how to keep these radical professors in line.)

Topics:
62
like
Fri
Mar 9 2007
08:14 pm

This will be short and to the point. I received from a friend in New Mexico a letter from Gov Bill Richardson's office. The heading was Stop being ashamed. It urges Americans to contact their govenors and ask them to find state monies to help care for the returning wounded.
This sounds like a marvelous idea to me. We need to step up to the plate and take care of these folks with or without the bush administration (I never cap those when used together in a sentence). Thanks, MartyD, Houston, Tx

Topics:
49
like
Fri
Mar 9 2007
04:26 pm
By: StaceyDiamond  shortURL

When I saw WATE last night I finally knew why my house shook yesterday afternoon, the blasting over near 4th and Gill. No wonder the 4th and Gill residents are worried about damage. I'm on the other side of Braodway at least a mile from the site and felt it pretty strongly. Stacey

50
like
Fri
Mar 9 2007
03:47 pm

Here we go with the committee which I predict will accomplish nothing helpful for Knox County citizens. I am still hopefull though, that some good will come of all this nonsense.

The newly appointed County Ethics Committee held its first meeting today and made a point of electing officers that have no connection with Knox County government.

Read the full N-S article.

This post needs a poll. How many people think the ethics committee will be effective?

53
like
Fri
Mar 9 2007
02:52 pm

About new Commisioner Charles Bolus from a KNS story this morning about Billy Tindell and his new job:

Bolus was a compromise candidate after Tindell and the 2nd District's other commissioner, Mark Harmon, couldn't agree on a candidate.

That's certainly an interesting way to describe what happened. Was Ms. Ferrar perhaps channeling Scoobie?

221
like
Fri
Mar 9 2007
01:30 pm

A while back, KnoxViews was asked by the J-Lab Institute for Interactive Journalism and the Knight Citizens News Network to participate in a survey of "citizen media" site operators.

The results of their survey are here.

I found this section on "To Edit or Not" particularly interesting, and especiallly this:

At sites where threads get personal or hostile, she said, "The first people to leave are the women, then the people over 55. I don’t want to have a site exclusively of young men." Williams asks posters to observe Three T’s: truthfulness, tactfulness and transparency. Many of the tact violators "are the passionate people. I’ll write and say, 'I want you on the site, but could you dial it back a tiny bit?'"

Emphasis added.

55
like
Fri
Mar 9 2007
11:35 am

In the People's Republic of Illinois, an elderly couple converted their Volkswagen to run on vegetable oil. Apparently, that requires a license and payment of a fuel tax at either the gas or diesel rate:

The agents informed the Wetzels that they were interested in their car, a 1986 Volkswagen Golf, that David Wetzel converted to run primarily from vegetable oil but also partly on diesel.

Wetzel uses recycled vegetable oil, which he picks up weekly from an organization that uses it for frying food at its dining facility.

"They told me I am required to have a license and am obligated to pay a motor fuel tax," David Wetzel recalled. "Mr. May also told me the tax would be retroactive."

Since the initial visit by the agents on Jan. 4, the Wetzels have been involved in a struggle with the Illinois Department of Revenue. The couple, who live on a fixed budget, have been asked to post a $2,500 bond and threatened with felony charges.

Continued...

Topics:
56
like
Fri
Mar 9 2007
11:19 am


(click to embiggen)

We were out for an evening walk yesterday and we spotted these two mallards flying along a stream that runs through our neighborhood, following every bend as if they were on a road to somewhere, looking for something. They flew past, circled around, and came back over and I snapped this photo.

They seemed confused. Maybe a little frantic. I don't know how or what ducks think, and I don't know their migrating habits or much about their behavior in general. But a story began forming in my mind.

Read more after the jump...

Continued...

51
like
Fri
Mar 9 2007
09:57 am

"It's unfathomable that more than five years after September 11th, a measure as fundamental and simple as this one still has not been implemented," said Lowey, who serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security. "Meticulously screening passengers but giving workers open access is like installing an expensive home-security system but leaving your back door wide open."

Why were the two Kissimmee men able to get on the plane with a bag of weapons even though one of them, Zabdiel Santiago-Balaguer, was part of a larger investigation by the FBI into gun-smuggling through the airport?

...the Transportation Security Administration, hasn't seen the need for regular screenings either, believing them to be costly and time-consuming.

We passengers are sheep, following along to get along. While the government and corporate America can't take the time or spend the money to make air travel safe from employees.

58
like
Fri
Mar 9 2007
09:30 am

Actually the question is Who, not what.

Gingrich has admitted that he was having his own affair - cheating on his wife - while he lead the charge to impeach Bill Clinton for the affair with Monica.

The Republican presidential candidates - in which Gingrich places himself - keep making Gov. Romney look better and better.

111
like
Fri
Mar 9 2007
08:38 am

The Institute for Southern Studies has released a new report, A New Agenda for the Gulf, which details the lack of progress in the eighteen months following Katrina and offers specific recommendations for Congress.

50
like

Lost Medicaid Funding

To date, the failure to expand Medicaid/TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding.

TN Progressive

TN Politics

Local Media Blogs

Shopper Columns

Local News

News Sentinel

State News

Wire Reports

Site Statistics

Last 7 days:
  • Posts: 30
  • Comments: 491
  • Visits: 13,519
  • Pageviews: 36,446
Last 30 days:
  • Posts: 103
  • Comments: 1635
  • Visits: 47,096
  • Pageviews: 121,130

TN Progressive

Nearby:

Beyond:

At large: