Tue
May 15 2007
02:38 pm

Jerry Falwell, dead. Age 73.

UPDATE: Flynt issues a statement:

My mother always told me that no matter how much you dislike a person, when you meet them face to face you will find characteristics about them that you like. Jerry Falwell was a perfect example of that. I hated everything he stood for, but after meeting him in person, years after the trial, Jerry Falwell and I became good friends. He would visit me in California and we would debate together on college campuses. I always appreciated his sincerity even though I knew what he was selling and he knew what I was selling.

91
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Tue
May 15 2007
12:09 pm

Sunday, while bicycling on Old Walland Highway, I passed a pickup truck parked along the shoulder. Nothing unusual about that--there were plenty of people doing whatever the locals do in the Little River. But this one had two large Confederate flags erected on the tailgate.

Continued...

19
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Mon
May 14 2007
07:14 pm

If someone were to "fake" a gun attack on me, I'd call it assault.

If I were a sixth grade student at Murfreesboro City Schools, their administration would call it "a prank," or what some are calling a "character building exercise."

Background:

Staff members of an elementary school staged a fictitious gun attack on students during a class trip, telling them it was not a drill as the children cried and hid under tables.

The mock attack Thursday night was intended as a learning experience and lasted five minutes during the weeklong trip to a state park, said Scales Elementary School Assistant Principal Don Bartch, who led the trip.

"We got together and discussed what we would have done in a real situation," he said.

But parents of the sixth-grade students were outraged.

"The children were in that room in the dark, begging for their lives, because they thought there was someone with a gun after them," said Brandy Cole, whose son went on the trip.

Some parents said they were upset by the staff's poor judgment in light of the April 16 shootings at Virginia Tech that left 33 students and professors dead, including the gunman.

Wow. Sounds like a bad idea that came off even worse when it was, um, "executed."

Parental notification would have at least been a good start here, but apparently these sadists would rather apologize than ask permission. Wouldn't want to "spoil the surprise."

UPDATE: Two officials suspended for two weeks without pay:

Teacher Quentin Mastin and assistant principal Don Bartch were suspended for unprofessional conduct and neglect of duty because of the staged attack...

63
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Mon
May 14 2007
06:33 pm
By: Sven  shortURL

I've made mention of Andrew Bacevich's book, The New American Militarism a number of times. It's the most trenchant critique I've read of the disconnect between American society and its military, and the consequences that flow from that dysfunctional relationship.

Yesterday, Bacevich's son was killed in Iraq.

Update: Josh Marshall and Steve Clemons weigh in with great eloquence.

24
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Mon
May 14 2007
05:46 pm

AP on CBS News:

But his ultimate decision to step down, the aides said, was hastened by anger at being linked to the prosecutors' purge that Congress is investigating to determine if eight U.S. attorneys were fired for political reasons. [..]

McNulty also irked his boss, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, by testifying in February that at least one of the fired prosecutors was ordered to make way for a protege of Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political adviser.

Sounds like just about everybody is jumping ship except the rats.

22
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Mon
May 14 2007
02:48 pm
By: Andy Axel  shortURL

The Jeopardy Answer: Daimler-Benz bought it for $36 billion in 1998 and are now selling 80% of it for $7.4 billion today, around $5.9 billion in 1998 dollars (h/t Atrios).

The question: Who is Chrysler?

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- German-based DaimlerChrysler said Monday it will sell almost all of money-losing Chrysler to a private equity firm for $7.4 billion, backing out of a troubled 1998 takeover aimed at creating a global automotive powerhouse.

Eighty percent of Chrysler Group, burdened by high labor costs and declining market share in the United States, will be sold to Cerberus Capital Management LP, a New York private equity firm.

The impact on Chrysler's 80,000 workers remained unclear, but Cerberus Chairman John Snow, a former U.S. treasury secretary, said the company plans to keep Chrysler's management and work with unions to return the struggling automaker to profitability.

And when John Snow says "profitability," he means that at least he will be well-paid, no matter how poorly that the company performs.

President George W. Bush appointed John Snow as Treasury secretary for his political acumen, not because he was a great railroad executive. But in his years as chief executive of CSX, the company's performance was middling at best. Nevertheless, Snow was by far the highest-paid chief in the industry.

In 1995, seven years ago, CSX, one of five leading railroad companies in the U.S., reported sales of $10.3 billion and profits of $1.1 billion. For 2001, sales were $8.1 billion and profits were $293 million.

Over the past six years, Snow was paid $29.3 million in salary and other cash compensation . This pay package was nearly twice as large as the second-best paid railroad CEO, Norfolk Southern's David Goode, who earned $16.8 million over that time.

Snow made his bones on Wall Street (such as they are) as a corporate freeloader:

In three of the past four years [between 1998 and 2002], Snow's company, CSX Corporation, paid no federal income tax at all.

In fact, instead of paying taxes, CSX supplemented its $934 million in pretax U.S. profits over the four years with a total of $164 million in tax rebate checks from the federal government.

Oooh, that magical marketplace... great for CEOs, if nothing else.

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Mon
May 14 2007
01:33 pm

The first public input session is tonight at Halls High School from 7 pm to 9 pm. You can attend any of the five meetings to make your voice heard.

In spite of what some are saying, these meetings do not have a predetermined outcome. Knox County - One Question is a result of the decision affirming that we have a home rule charter. The public comments and Baker Center Study will be reported to the public in late August. If citizens want to use that information to make changes in county government, the current charter provides a mechanism to do just that. We don't need a new charter to change the form of government.

Some current public officials, who are not involved with the 'One Question' steering committee, have proposed looking at metro or unified government. They want to throw out the current city and county charters and replace them with one new charter. Will a metro charter include term limits and a mechanism for citizens to make charter amendments? The current charter does.

Pundits, politicians, political junkies and bloggers who say this is just another metro group are either uninformed, unimaginative or deliberately trying to mislead the public. Maybe they can only imagine the current form of government or metro. I say let's listen to the ideas citizens have and look at what some other communities are doing and then decide if we can use our home rule charter to make government work better for the voters and taxpayers. If all you can imagine is the current model or metro, maybe you should come and be enlightened by your neighbors.

30
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Mon
May 14 2007
12:51 pm

The Knox County One Question "Snapshot" of local governments that appeared in the Knoxville News Sentinel on Sunday was a noble effort to explain the complex intertwining of our different governments.

One thing wrong in it was the contention that School Board elections are partisan. They are not!

School Board candidates run non-partisan, with no party affiliation. If no one gets a majority the top two run in the August General Election. If one candidate gets a majority that candidate is on the ballot alone in August.

Also, I believe the Attorney General, Public Defender and Judges run again in 2014, not 2010 as stated.

All in all it was a good summary of a complicated situation.

Greg Mackay
Knox County
Administrator of Elections

(ED. NOTE: Here is the local government "snapshot" Greg is referring to, courtesy of the KNS.)

18
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Mon
May 14 2007
10:29 am

You've probably heard about the growing concerns regarding Colony Collapse Disorder, which is wiping out honeybee populations around the world. The cause is a mystery, and there is concern that the disappearance of bees could lead the disappearance of the food crops they pollinate.

Today's Knoxville News Sentinel has an article about the findings of two U.T. associate professors of entomology and plant biology suggesting that infection by tiny tracheal mites could be the cause of the problem.

Other theories include:

Genetically altered crops

Fungus

Pesticides

Cell phones

Fulfillment of Bible prophecy

Whatever the cause, the consensus is clear: It's not nice to mess with Mother Nature!

19
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Mon
May 14 2007
09:35 am

Skip to second item.

This may be old news. It's new to me.

UT is going to demolish the urban forest area south of Kingston Pike/Cumberland, between Alcoa Highway and Neyland Drive for a new sorority village.

What really gripes me is that UT literally demolished an entire neighborhood for this project 2 years ago, tearing down 10 houses in the Terrace-Lake Avenue area.

Then they decide to build it in the forest area instead.

Way to go, guys. Great planning.

Really. We should all be proud.

Topics:
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Ah, how sweet! "Forever stamps"? They sound so romantic.

27
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Sun
May 13 2007
08:07 pm

The Knoxville News Sentinel featured Tennessee women bloggers in their weekend online blog feature, including some from KnoxViews. Check it out here.

Topics:
24
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Sun
May 13 2007
02:02 pm
By: Andy Axel  shortURL

This June, Memphis Tennessee's very own Stax Records turns 50.

What began as a tiny record store in an old movie theater at the corner of McLemore Avenue and College Street in Memphis, Tennessee, grew to become one of the most important music recording studios in the world. When the modest Capitol Theater in the heart of Soulsville USA was transformed into Stax Records in 1959, it began launching the careers of unknowns who would become icons, cranking out a massive catalog of smash soul hits by the likes of Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, the Staple Singers, Wilson Pickett, Luther Ingram, Albert King, the Bar-Kays, Booker T. & the MG's, Johnnie Taylor, Rufus and Carla Thomas, and dozens of other artists whose influence remains vital in the music of today. On its many and varied labels, Stax Records also recorded such legends as Big Star, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Bill Cosby, Moms Mabley, and the Grammy-winning comedic genius Richard Pryor.

To commemorate their golden anniversary, there's a gala concert in Memphis featuring many of the acts which made Stax Records a worldwide phenomenon. Announced so far:

* Booker T & the MGs
* Isaac Hayes
* Angie Stone
* William Bell
* Eddie Floyd
* Mavis Staples
* Mable John
* Soul Children
* Rance Allen

You can find tickets by going to (link...) .

Topics:
18
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Sun
May 13 2007
11:29 am
By: Bbeanster  shortURL

I found this story one of the odder things I've come across this weekend.

26
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Sun
May 13 2007
11:07 am

Not.

An invite to her May 22 campaign kickoff was in Saturday's mail, and it's not going to bring much comfort to potential opponents.

Continued...

22
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Sun
May 13 2007
09:08 am

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Sat
May 12 2007
09:02 pm
By: rocketsquirrel  shortURL

We got a email today from our friends in Paris, who report on the aftermath of the Sarkozy election. It appears Nick Sarkozy is not a man of the people after all. Parliamentary elections in June. Interesting.

We are so sorry that Segolene ROYAL did not win ..... Maybe next time (in 5 years)!

Our new president, Nicolas SARKOZY, started very well. He spent his first night after the election in a Palace in Paris (close to the Champs Elysees), then he went for a few days of vacation on the island of Malte (he went there with a private plane .... of course!) and the yacht he's spending some days in costs almost 150.000 € a week!

As he was telling everybody, right after the election, that "everybody could have a job, nobody would stay on the side of the road, we have to work more to earn more .... " Good start, don't you think !!! And what a shame for all these people with no job, no money, who trusted him. Pictures of him and his family on the yacht are just a shame!

I'm not in a good mood since he's a president ..... as you can see. It will be ok in a few weeks (we have new elections in June for our "Députés" in "Parlement" ... Still a small hope that the majority of the Deputés could be from S. Royal side ..................

46
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Sat
May 12 2007
06:44 pm
By: R. Neal  shortURL

Dolly Parton, in today's Knoxville News Sentinel:

Back in the 1940s, a doctor named Robert F. Thomas rode his horse into our holler, and this loud-mouthed little girl was born. My daddy paid him with a sack of cornmeal. I guess that was all I was worth.

[..]

The Robert F. Thomas Foundation and Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center are working toward building a new, modern hospital in Sevierville that will serve all of the people here in East Tennessee, not just in Sevier County.

I have always been a firm believer in working hard for what is right and for making your own breaks if you want things to change. With that in mind, my Dollywood and Dixie Stampede companies are donating $500,000 to this cause. I am also performing a benefit concert on May 20 at the Smokies Stadium to help raise money for this $100 million hospital project.

I want to challenge all of you to help in any way you can to support this important project for all of East Tennessee.

They couldn't have gotten a better spokesperson for the project.

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The New York Times real estate section has this article on the South Waterfront project and downtown residential development. Is that like the cover of Rolling Stone for real estate?

(By way of Michael Silence)

36
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Sat
May 12 2007
03:14 pm

While we are talking about those Nashville Law Makin' folks.... I lifted this right out of the TCA.

That portion of new State Highway 95 in Loudon and Blount counties from the Fort Loudon Dam to its intersection with U.S. Highway 129 at Morganton Road

Is Morganton Road from Greenback to Maryville now called TN RT 95? It can't be!

23
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