Tue
May 15 2007
11:25 pm

Just saw on the WATE news that the statewide smoking ban is dead. That is a bummer but that isn't why I'm blogging.

In the course of the story, the reporter segues to interviewing bar staff and patrons with something to the effect of checking with those would would be most affected by such a ban. Horseshit! (I'll allow that their increased access to oxygen could be considered a significant affect so bring it up if you want to.)

Anyone who has been to New York, California, Ireland, Italy or anywhere else smoking has been banned can tell you that the bars are still doing business. As a general, and really freakin obvious, rule, people go to bars to drink and socialize. It is beyond idiotic, inane, and illogical to state that being unable to smoke inside is going to turn a majority or, even a significant minority, of people into antisocial teetotalers. As arguments go, that is a great one to use when you want to advertise your stupidity.

However, I suppose it is a lot easier to make your point if you just start with a lie.

CAFKIA

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46
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Tue
May 15 2007
11:11 pm

I'm well aware that when a prominent person passes away, we are all supposed to say only nice things about him...or nothing at all. I've never adhered to that, especially with respect to public personas because I think it conveys a false humility. If you really detest a guy, say so. But I'm in a minority on that score and that's fine by me.

More after the break...

Continued...

82
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Tue
May 15 2007
09:04 pm

Come hear some great music!

Thursday, May 24th, 7:30 p.m., East Tennessee History Center, 601 Gay St., Knoxville, TN. Forever Young--Bob Dylan's Birthday Celebration with East Tennessee musicians performing Bob Dylan compositions. Emceed by Steve Dupree. Featuring Garage Deluxe,the MacDaddies, Tennessee Sheiks, Black Cadillacs,Guy and Candie Carawan,Sara Schwabe and her Yankee Jass Band, Maggie Longmire, and Steve Horton. Concert benefits the Knox County Public Library.

80
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Tue
May 15 2007
05:46 pm
By: R. Neal  shortURL

Make frequent and copious backups of your Windows Server 2003 Active Directory. If it gets corrupted, you can't boot your server. And you'll be trying to reboot your server, because stuff will start slowly dying, like HAL in 2001 Space Odyssey (my mind is going... I feel it going...). Had to go back about three weeks to find a backup with an Active Directory that wasn't corrupted.

Also, check your event logs for disk errors. Looks like they started showing up (coincidentally) about three weeks ago. Now I have to install a new SCSI drive and rebuild the server. Hope it limps along long enough for me to do that tomorrow.

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19
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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.

19
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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.

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26
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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.

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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...) .

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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

15
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