Sun
Apr 8 2007
11:52 pm

Old school R&B man from Knoxville, Clifford Curry, wrote a song for Pat Summitt on the occasion of her 4th national championship. Seems appropriate to dust it off for her 7th.

54
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Sun
Apr 8 2007
01:25 pm

Blurb from an article in today's News-Sentinel:

Nicely in May 2006 commissioned a study by the engineering firm Wilbur Smith Associates to look at the feasibility of charging tolls on three potential routes. The study cost $453,000, said Julie Oaks, spokeswoman for TDOT.

Someone help me understand this. TDOT didn't spend $453,000 to determine if it's possible to charge tolls on roads in Tennessee, did it?

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127
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Sun
Apr 8 2007
11:13 am
By: infostat  shortURL

Tucked away among the pawn shops, car lots, and Mexican tiendas on Chapman Hwy. is an inconspicuous gem. I'm not exactly sure what to call it, but painted on its front window are a jumble of the words Pupusaria Tacqueria Restaurant Quetzal. The person who told us about it just called it Quetzal. It's in the little strip with the historic white Parkway Hotel and the aptly worded yellow "Good Food" sign. And it is good food. One of the things I miss about living in San Franciso is our favorite pupusaria - cheap, hand-made, fried, corn & cheese tortilla heaven. Well now, we have Quetzal. For $18, we shared 4 fried pupusas - 2 filled with soft cheese, 2 filled with beans, served with traditional sweet cabbage salad and a large steaming bowl of hot sauce; a large plate of huevos rancheros; and 10 hand-made-on-the-spot thick pupusas (unfilled) to take home. Pupusas are Salvadoran by tradition, but I think the owners of this restaurant may be Quatemalan. It's really good. You should go.

63
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Sun
Apr 8 2007
09:52 am

..."nothing positive" is happening in Iraq...

Rove must be burying his head in his hands.

Happy Easter, everyone! Hope you found your eggs.

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Sat
Apr 7 2007
03:15 pm
By: StaceyDiamond  shortURL

I think it's unfortnuate that the graffiti police painted over this space at the edge of Market Square that was sort of a community mural, where Cynthia Markert would paint and people would join in etc. I thought it looked kind of cool, but I guess its is one of the buildings that will be auctioned off.

63
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Sat
Apr 7 2007
02:53 pm

Something has been up with the News Setinel machines downtown. About 90% of the time they either don't take money or keep money. Don't know if it is the new quarters or they are just broken. I remember the first day it happened, in December the day after Bernadette West was sentenced and she was on the front page. I went all through downtown and I could not get one paper from a machine. I remember thinking maybe someone rigged them. It has improved a bit since then but they are still not trustworthy.

53
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Sat
Apr 7 2007
02:08 pm
By: bill young  shortURL

The DNC tried to do away with front loading & 4 states were going to kick things off.Iowa caucus,Nevada caucas,N.H. primary & the S.C. primary.It didn't work.Fla.is making noise about holding it's primary on the same day as S.C.& Feb 5th is dubbed Super Duper Tuesday because 25-30 states are voting that day,including Tn.It's going to be the most interesting day in primary history.The spin is Super Duper Tuesday will end the nomination hunt.However,it may well turn-out to be a day of survival.Then it's "On Wisconsin".Wisconsin is all alone on Feb 19th.Right now,Clinton,Obama & Edwards are dubbed "the top tier" but the blog Nevada Caucus 2008 believes Richardson has a shot to win Nevada.What do you think?

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50
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Sat
Apr 7 2007
12:16 pm

This handsome little fellow is giving me the evil eye because we lost the battle with the house sparrows* for his bluebird house.

We've torn out the sparrow's nest three times, once with eggs in it. I felt awful. But they keep coming back. Haven't had any food out for weeks. But they keep coming back. There's another nest in there, probably with eggs again.

The bluebirds and a chickadee were fighting with the sparrows over the house, but the sparrows won. (The chickadee put up a hell of a fight. He/she still comes around every now and then to harass them.)

A male and female bluebird pair were spotted this week fluttering around the hole in a watering can on the back porch as if they were thinking about that as an alternative. I felt awful.

Is it too late for the bluebirds to try to evict the sparrows, again?

(*House sparrows are actually Weaver Finches, imported from England in the 1800s. Supposedly, the entire U.S. population, estimated at 150-400 million, comes from 100 birds released in Brooklyn in 1851. At least that's what it says on the internets.)

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Sat
Apr 7 2007
10:20 am

Earlier in the week there was news that Chrysler's sales were down 5% for March 2007 as compared to 2006. Then came the news that DamilierChrysler was under increasing pressure from shareholders to sell the division. Then it was revealed that Chrysler was indeed on the block, followed by news of a $4.5 billion offer. Shortly thereafter it was reported that 4300 Chrysler workers accepted buyouts in a voluntary reduction in force.

Another report from earlier in the week said that "Toyota's U.S. sales jumped 11.7 percent last month, boosted by record hybrid sales and strong overall car sales, while Ford's sales dropped 9 percent, DaimlerChrysler sank 4.1 percent and General Motors slid 4 percent." The report says that Ford still managed to hold down the #2 spot behind GM, with Toyota coming in a close third.

The same report also says: "In all, Toyota sold 242,675 light vehicles in the U.S., including 140,009 cars, up 19.4 percent from the same month a year ago, and 102,666 trucks, a 2.7 percent increase. So far this year, Toyota has sold 61,635 hybrids in the U.S., up 68 percent from the first three months of last year. That includes 28,453 hybrids last month."

Honda's sales were up as well, posting a 7.3% increase over March 2006 and setting a new record for Honda. Honda only sold 3,199 hybrid vehicles, though, "including 2,813 Civic Hybrids and 385 Accord Hybrids, a combined increase of 6.7 percent over year-ago results."

A report from GreenCarCongress.com says that "US sales of light-duty hybrid vehicles almost doubled in March 2007 from the year before, reaching 34,637 units—an increase of 94% from March 2006." Most of these were from Toyota, which dominates the hybrid market, with the Prius and Hybrid Camry accounting for 70% of hybrid sales in the U.S. Toyota's hybrid sales are up 68% for the calendar year so far. Honda Civic Hybrid sales were up 26%. Even Ford had a 50% increase in Escape/Mariner Hybrid sales.

Check out this graph (the dark blue line at the top represents 2007 hybrid sales as compared to previous years):


(Source: GreenCarCongress.com - click for larger view)

There's a message here somewhere. While waiting for the government and American auto manufacturers to do something about higher mileage vehicles, American auto buyers are voting with their pocket books and Japanese automakers are selling hybrids and other more efficient cars as fast as they can make them.

(At the same time, though, Toyota is attempting to redefine and take over the pickup market with the new Tundra, which gets EPA 15/18 MPG. And they are apparently selling. Toyota sold 13,196 of the redesigned Tundras in March 2007, an 11.8% increase over March 2006.)

I don't know if hybrids are the answer (we're happy with ours, and with our Ford Freestyle crossover that is more fuel efficient than the SUV it replaced), but bigger, heavier cars and trucks with lower gas mileage don't seem to be the answer for consumers or for American automakers any more. How long will it take them to figure this out? Congress should do American automakers a favor and mandate a dramatic increase in CAFE standards so we can finally move beyond the muscle car glory days when bigger and faster were better.

124
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Sat
Apr 7 2007
08:08 am

Wishful thinking would not keep winter from revisiting. It was 30.2 degrees this morning, and in the otherwise blue sky there was one big gray cloud right over our house emitting light snow flurries.

It's my fault. I've been in denial all week. When we went out for our evening walk yesterday it was 51 degrees. I usually wear shorts when it's 50+ and sunny, so I wore shorts and a hooded sweatshirt. But there was a cold northwest wind blowing and by the time we got home it was 49. My final act of defiance was of no avail.

My Mom tells me every year, "don't plant anything until after April 15th." Someday I will learn to listen to my Mom. Hope our blooming azaleas will be OK.

UPDATE: I guess I should be thankful. It could be a lot worse!

56
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Sat
Apr 7 2007
07:48 am

A top aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales abruptly quit Friday, almost two weeks after telling Congress she would not testify about her role in the firings of federal prosecutors. Monica M. Goodling, the Justice Department's liaison to the White House, gave no reason for her resignation.

And yesterday: Three lawyers in the U.S. Attorney's office in Minneapolis resigned their management posts and will return to prosecuting case. The moves come as the U.S. Justice Department is under fire for its replacement of eight U.S. attorneys last year.

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Fri
Apr 6 2007
09:40 pm

The Bush White House has buried its head even deeper into the sand on the whole issue of climate change. 2500 scientists from around the world met in Brussels and prepared a thorough-going report on the prospects for the planet in the face of changes taking place now.

The Los Angeles Times says "the report paints a gloomy picture of the world's future, region by region. Most of its components were already known, but the accumulation of detail in the authoritative projection carries a much stronger weight than in the past.

"North America can expect more hurricanes, floods, droughts, heat waves and wildfires, the report said, and the coasts will be flooded by rising sea levels. Crop production will increase initially as the growing season gets longer, but climbing temperatures and water shortages will ultimately lead to sharp reductions.

Read more after the jump...

Continued...

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Fri
Apr 6 2007
09:37 pm
By: WhitesCreek  shortURL

I tried to make something up that would top this, but...

Easter...Bloody Easter

AS I read the piece, I kept laughing at more and more irony. It is Irony, isn't it? I mean the Truth can't be Satire, right?

50
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Fri
Apr 6 2007
05:01 pm

As if it wasn't big enough contradiction for a big "C" Conservative to propose a tax initiative, Rep. Campfield wants to put the squeeze on erotic speech and press with his Adult Materials Tax. ;)

Rep. Campfield doesn't have any idea that his tax initiative infringes the Constitutional protections of speech & press. IMO the ARKANSAS WRITERS' PROJECT v. RAGLAND case reads that way, but please read it and decide for yourself. (481 U.S. 221 (1987)).

This week, Rep. Campfield made several posts about his tax initiative including the one that finally got me commenting at his blog. The last was one of those roundup entries. It was just too much ...

Continued...

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Fri
Apr 6 2007
03:09 pm

Tamara Shepherd e-mails:

I learned just today [ed. note: yesterday on Thursday] what the full scope of this year's Knox County Schools rezoning effort will be: 11 of 12 county high schools, with corresponding changes in middle school and elementary school lines! I spoke by phone with Rick Grubb, Assistant Superintendent of Transportation for KCS, who says a 12,000 piece mailing is underway now. Staff will work tomorrow (although they're closed for Good Friday) and Saturday (also closed, of course), completing the mailing on Monday. All victims should be in-the-know by Tuesday, April 10. It's the biggest rezoning effort here in many years.

Apparently, it involves every Knox County school except South-Doyle. Tamara also notes that there is no public discussion planned for eight of the nine board meetings, and that the public will only have 48 hours to respond before the final vote on May 2nd.

Schedule and more info after the jump...

Continued...

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The AT&T lobbyist sponsored bill HB1421/ SB1933 in the Tennessee General Assembly eliminates local control of cable franchises, regulates local franchise fees, restricts or eliminates customer service and quality standards, provides state regulation of local public right of way for the benefit of cable companies, restricts or eliminates local build-out requirements, and allows cable companies to create statewide franchises.

The House version has been deferred three times, and is currently on the House Commerce Committee calendar for April 10th. The Senate version has been deferred once, and is currently on the Senate Commerce, Labor & Agriculture committee calendar for April 10th.

Click "read more" for a comprehensive update...

Continued...

115
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Thu
Apr 5 2007
07:54 pm

See what the I-Man has to say about the National Championship game

(link...)

115
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Thu
Apr 5 2007
07:10 pm
By: StaceyDiamond  shortURL

I read today's Ear to the Ground in the Metro Pulse that said Betty Reddick asked Mildred Buffler to leave her namesake club day club because she did not support Betty for Democratic Party Chair. While I wasn't there, this seems out of character for Betty and Mildred. There are some old biddies in the Party, but Betty and Mildred are very nice and conduct themselves in a professional way. A couple of months ago the Ear said Jim Gray was running for Chair again. There was not even a rumor about that. A few weeks ago the Ear said Mike Padgett was recovering from heart surgey. I've asked Party people and people from Halls if they had heard that and none had and it has not been in the Sentinel or the Shopper. I've been wondering if that was true, and if not, why they printed it. Stacey

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