Fri
May 4 2007
08:38 am
By: R. Neal  shortURL

This guy is not helping the tort "reform" resistance. (Or maybe that's his point?) He should probably be removed from the bench, pants or no pants.

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Fri
May 4 2007
08:32 am

In the ongoing saga of equal opportunity broadband access in Tennessee, here's a story that's probably not so much sinister as it is ironic.

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Fri
May 4 2007
07:47 am

The TN Bureau of Investigation released their 2006 report of crimes at TN institutions of higher education . Violent crime is the highest since at least 2001. Statistical data for years prior to 2001 is not comparable.

Granted 158 violent crimes, the number reported for 2006, is not a large number, it is a 16% increase from 2005. Of those 158 violent crimes, there were aggravated assaults (70), robberies (45), forcible rapes (21), forcible sodomy (15), kidnappings/abductions (4), and forcible fondlings (3). Weapon law violations are also on the rise, 30% since 2003. UTK's crime problems seem to focus more on drinking alcoholic beverages and stealing.

H/T KNS

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Fri
May 4 2007
06:57 am
By: Factchecker  shortURL

They're here.

Continued...

Thu
May 3 2007
10:12 pm

Rudy Guiliani looked shrunken, uneasy, and weak. His responses felt rushed and his answers lacked the firmness that McCain's answers had. The Mayor did not alas look presidential. I think it's a big mistake for Giuliani to try to breathe life into the 9/11 issue. Somehow that song has lost its luster. It doesn't even sound sincere anymore, just like he believes this is his only strong point, so he's going to keep hammering away at it. I think most Americans want to move forward now, not stand cringing under the shadow of the Twin Towers forever. I predict Rudy Giuliani won't be around for the long haul. His message is stale, he's a frumpy little guy who looks like a used car salesmen,and they haven't even gotten into what a rat he was to his ex-wife or the connection between him and that sleazy guy he pushed Bush into appointing the security chief in Iraq. The one who had to withdraw because of so many corruption charges.

Actually, it was a pretty scarey crew. Very grim too. Those Republicans sure are an uptight bunch of guys.

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Thu
May 3 2007
07:06 pm

Zach Wamp (future hopeful Secretary of Transportation? Secretary of Commerce? or new cabinet post of Secretary of B.S.?) was just on MSNBC saying the eventual GOP nominee, Fred Thompson, will not be at the debate but that he is nonetheless this generation's Great Communicator (evoking the ghost of Ronald Reagan) who speaks to the people with plain talk they can understand.

OK, then.

P.S. Actually, I have to agree with Wamp on one point. Fred Thompson will be the GOP nominee in 2008. He will face off with Al Gore, and Al Gore will win.

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Thu
May 3 2007
05:14 pm

There's a buzz going around that Albert Harb, a local attorney who collects delinquent taxes for Knox County, is covered by the Knox County health insurance program.

So what's the big deal?

Harb isn't an employee of Knox County. He's employed by a local law firm. But he also has a contract with Knox County to collect delinquent taxes, which (according to the KNS) earns him approx. $300K per year by way of a 10% collection fee tacked on to delinquent tax bills. And it appears that Knox County taxpayers are also providing for his health insurance.

Is it standard practice to open up the Knox County insurance program to contractors and other vendors who are not employees? I don't know, I'm just asking.

At any rate, by all accounts he does a pretty good job on collections which is why the contract is so lucrative. Perhaps the health insurance is a performance bonus?

Expect to hear more about this in the local media...

UPDATE: WBIR files this report.

UPDATE: And the Knoxville News Sentinel.

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By way of the Blab, it's the 2007 Zappa Plays Zappa tour. Asheville August 11th, remaining tickets go on sale 5/5.

Check out the rest of the website, especially the bios and the blog, which explain what this is all about. And the clips (esp. Black Page).

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Thu
May 3 2007
02:53 pm
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Thu
May 3 2007
02:47 pm

The Public Citizen Health Research Group has a new report out on state Medicaid programs across the U.S.

The report, based primarily on data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, examines Medicaid programs based on four major criteria: eligibility, scope of services, quality of care, and reimbursement.

The report's major findings:

Nationally, the state Medicaid programs are severely challenged: even the best state scores only 645.9 points on a scale of 1000. And the worst state rates a score of only 317.8, i.e., less than a third of the total maximum points.

The state-by-state breakdowns reveal marked disparities between and among states. The top 10 states, ranking #1 to #10, tend to cluster in the Northeast but also include three states in the Midwest and two in the Northwest. The following states occupy the first 10 ranks, in descending order: Massachusetts, Nebraska, Vermont, Alaska, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Minnesota, New York, Washington, and New Hampshire.

The 10 most deficient state programs have overall scores ranging from between 317.8 and 379.1 of the total 1000 points. The worst, in order from 50th to 41st, are in Mississippi, Idaho, Texas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Indiana, South Carolina, Colorado, Alabama, and Missouri.

The overall score of top-ranked Massachusetts is more than twice that of bottom-ranked Mississippi.

Read more after the jump...

Continued...

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Thu
May 3 2007
02:01 pm
By: Terry Troll  shortURL

OMG, I am so surprised.… This just ran on the AP wire about an hour ago:
Mid-East Graded Poorly on Press Freedom.
Seems some of the problem is that, in Iraq, Saddam era laws are still in force and in at least a couple of cases may have been enforced. Some 30 reporters were detained last year and two TV stations closed for showing footage of protests of Saddam’s execution.
Since the latest purpose we have for invading this country is to establish democracy I have been wondering if this is a Utopian Dream Democracy of our Exalted Leaders. Everything Bush always wanted in a democracy.
The press must go along or be shut down, the army and the police run things and you shoot the people who don't agree with you.
Oh well, just a thought.

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Thu
May 3 2007
08:38 am

Carlson Tucker (gag, gag) who replaced Don Imus (gag, gag) on MSNBC, just played a tape of an archived call-in show this morning.

On the tape, Giuliani was totally bashing a ferret owner who had called in to ask why pet ferrets weren’t allowed in NY City. Giuliani got all weird about the question. He obviously has some kind of problem with ferrets or men who want to own ferrets because he told the man he should seek help because of his “obsession” with little weasels. The guy kept trying to defend himself, but the Mayor just wouldn’t let up. Over and over he told the man he was in denial. He beseeched the poor would-be ferret owner to face up to the fact that he was sick.

Hopefully, this moment will end up on UTube. It was so odd and probably indicative of the way Giuliani simply doesn’t listen to anybody. His manner was condescending, utterly rude, and emotionally weird. Why did it bother Giuliani so much that this man was fond of ferrets? He acted like the guy was some kind of dangerous pervert. After verbally roughing this guy up, the Mayor aborted the conversation by ending the call. Then he ranted on and on about how sick the guy was. It was almost unbelievable.

Maybe weasels bother Giuliani so much because he is one?

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Thu
May 3 2007
08:24 am
By: WhitesCreek  shortURL
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Thu
May 3 2007
07:54 am

Bratton said officers fired 240 "nonlethal" rounds to clear MacArthur Park late Tuesday. News images showed police hitting a television cameraman to the ground, shoving people who were walking away from officers and injuries from the rubber bullets, including a Hispanic man with welts on his abdomen and back. Lines of officers moved through the park firing the rubber rounds.
...
Seven officers suffered minor injuries, and another was pushed off his motorcycle, he said. About 10 people were treated for minor injuries, though authorities expected the number to rise.

The 600 officers at the scene included 100 from the elite Metropolitan Division, considered among the department's most highly trained, who cleared the park.
...
"They were pushing children, elderly, mothers with their babies and beating up on the media," Sanbrano said.

Check out the video! Jack-booted police yielding weapons. Quite disturbing.

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According to the NY Times, "An investigation into sexual abuse and mismanagement at the Texas Youth Commission has led to the dismissal of 66 employees with records of felony charges or arrests, including one convicted of homicide and another who had pleaded guilty to attempted murder, the state official leading the inquiry reported Wednesday."

They say they aren't sure if any kids were harmed. Yet someone sure was trying to get the ear of the commission.

"From early March through April 27, Mr. Kimbrough reported, 2,972 calls and complaints came into a command post hot line, with 1,463 of the cases closed. Eleven employees have been arrested, and 12 senior executives and three facility superintendents have been fired or have resigned, the report said."

Under the care of people like this, it is most likely these kids were emotionally if not physically tortured. How disgusting!

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Robert Booker will be the guest speaker tonight at the KWG monthly meeting. The former director of the Beck Center and author of three books, including the highly praised Two Hundred Years of Black Culture in Knoxville , will read from his books and discuss his writing process. The event will be at the Laurel Theater, 16th and Laurel, at 7:00 p.m.

A $1 donation is appreciated to cover food and drinks.

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Wed
May 2 2007
09:04 pm
By: Bbeanster  shortURL

It's crazy over there at the college this time of year.

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Wed
May 2 2007
08:51 pm

I noticed over at Andrew Sullivan's site that he links to a column by arch-right winger Terry Jeffrey of Human Events Online entitled, "What is Iraq Giving Back?" I have to say that I found Jeffrey's analysis to be spot on: the ultimate problem in Iraq is that we are relying on Iraqis with their own complex, internal agendas to do the bidding of the United States.

Here on the leftward side of the spectrum we'd call that the logical consequence of imperialism. After all, empires of the past met their demise precisely when they deluded themselves into believing their own propaganda about cultural uplift and liberation. Most of us viewed the case for war in Iraq has shaky at best, and the post-invasion justifications even more dubious. Where the Administration saw itself as the savior of freedom and order we saw them as projectors of insanity and arrogance.

Some on the right opposed the Iraq adventure all along because they believed America should stay out of world affairs as much as possible. Our own Congressman Jimmy Duncan made this case quite clear when he opposed wars of choice like those in Iraq.

Read more...

Continued...

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Wed
May 2 2007
07:48 pm

Scott Barker from The KNS is live blogging it here.

BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: Zoning passes 5-4. (By way of Betty in comments at 9:16.)

UPDATE from Scott Barker: Voting for the proposal were Sam Anderson, Indya Kincannon, Dan Murphy, Karen Carson and Jim Williams. Cindy Buttry, Thomas Deakins, Rex Stooksbury and Robert Bratton voted no.

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