Wed
Aug 22 2007
11:21 am
By: R. Neal  shortURL

From the recent North American summit, regarding the Northwest Passage:

Prime Minister Harper: "Canada's position is that we intend to strengthen our sovereignty in the Arctic area ... Canada and the U.S. do have differences on certain aspects of the Northwest Passage."

President Bush: "We believe it's an international passageway."

Why does anybody care? Because Global Warming is yielding unexpected benefits.

29
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Wed
Aug 22 2007
08:13 am

Under the Maryville ordinance, “when the flow downstream of the withdrawal operations is 40 CFS (cubic feet per second) or less, water supplied to customers of the system shall not be used for nonessential purposes.”

The CFS is the amount of water flowing past the plants. Currently water is running past the Maryville plant at 41 CFS, down from 43 on Monday.

Pay attention. We're running low.

143
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Wed
Aug 22 2007
06:07 am

Geez, I just can't believe this.

Tennessee Lottery Cash 3 and Cash 4 games have been flawed for nearly a month. They are just now catching it. FYI, The Tennessee Lottery began using computerized drawings, instead of manual drawings with numbered balls, last month.

problem was discovered because lottery officials realized no duplicate numbers had been drawn between July 28 and Aug. 20, an indicator something could have been wrong with the drawings.

Uh, duh...

3rd party programmer error, "a programmer for the vendor, New Jersey-based Smartplay International Inc., made a keystroke error in the parameters set for Cash 3 and Cash 4 - typing a "u" for "unique" instead of an "r" for "repeat."

Isn't that what they are paying these guys for? A second third-party vendor, New Jersey-based Gaming Laboratories Inc., also erred by certifying that the drawings were random and complied with the rules of the games, Hargrove said.

Uh, gee, just a little slow down here. We just buy the lottery tickets, we don't really expect to win. And now we definitely don't have any winning expectations. Save your money for Lotto 5, it wasn't affected (or so they say), and the Powerball, it's managed elsewhere.

H/T Maryville Daily Times

41
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Wed
Aug 22 2007
02:55 am

Campfield has an alternative to dog fighting:

(link...)

81
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Wed
Aug 22 2007
12:32 am

According to a SUSA poll Hillary Clinton beats all three top GOP challengers in Virginia and Kentucky, and beats Romney in Alabama. She loses to Giuliani in Alabama by 6. But the real shocker is that the Southern, Alabama-born, good old boy Fred Thompson only beats her by 2 points.

(link...)

That she wins in Upper South states like KY and VA is noteworthy but not terribly surprising; Bill Clinton won KY twice, and Virginia is clearly trending blue with the massive growth of northern Virginia. But Alabama is as red as ever. In fact, one of Hillary Clinton's most infamous moments in the campaign season so far was her failed attempt at code switching at a black church in Selma - an event that drew ridicule throughout the South. Yet there she is, just 2 points below Fred Thompson.

If this poll is accurate then the backers of Fred Thompson have to be asking themselves if he's really the right guy. Bush won Alabama by 26 points in 2004. Any Republican should expect to win Alabama by 12 points at least; Bill Clinton came fairly close in 1996 with the help of Perot. But Hillary has none of the charisma of her husband. And Alabama is even more Republican now than in 1996. So how could she poll so well there? And more importantly, why does Fred Thompson do so poorly against her, vis-a-vis Giuliani?

I admit that this poll is a shocker. A recent poll from Arkansas showed her absolutely crushing each of the GOP nominees by double digits. As conservative as Arkansas is, I can see that happening because the state still leans Democratic (though conservative Democratic for sure) and people there still love the Clintons. Even Mike Huckabee praised the Clintons.

But Alabama is not Arkansas. Alabama has no history with her or Bill. Moreover, it's the state where Fred Thompson was born. What's going on here? Are fears of her negatives in the South overblown? Are her negatives played out? Can Hillary Clinton win multiple Southern states like her husband did? If KY and VA look so good for her, surely MO, OH and NC are in good shape too. And if it's Giuliani leading the ticket I'd say our great state of Tennessee is in play for Hillary Clinton too. Who'da thunk it?

50
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Tue
Aug 21 2007
06:26 pm

An Associated Press-Ipsos poll looks at who is reading, what they're reading and breaks readers down into several catagories. I thought this reference to Southerners was interesting. (link...)

"People from the South read a bit more than those from other regions, mostly religious books and romance novels. Whites read more than blacks and Hispanics, and those who said they never attend religious services read nearly twice as many as those who attend frequently."

39
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Tue
Aug 21 2007
04:17 pm

As election season starts to heat up, Atrios points to this site, run by the Louisiana Democratic Party.

It's a link-a-palooza for the writings of GOP candidate and current Louisiana Congressman Bobby Jindal, who is running for the office of governor *.

Political hardball. Ouch. It's getting ugly early.

(My observation: Not to question anyone's religious sincerity, but it is nigh impossible to win state-wide in Loozian' if'n you're not Catlick. I doubt Katrina changed that.)

* He's running [comfortably ahead] for governor on the GOP ticket just like he did in 2004, although the support he got from C. Ray Reagan Nagin (D-Mayor, New Orleans) failed to put Jindal past eventual winner, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco.

41
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Tue
Aug 21 2007
03:32 pm

This is a interesting map that shows how & when people migrated around the globe to arrive in the Americas.

Click here: JOURNEY OF MANKIND - The Peopling of the World

(link...)

Topics:
146
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Tue
Aug 21 2007
02:37 pm

Who thinks the results of a Knox County re-do will be a lot more satisfying than the last do?

Me, neither.

My recommendation to the Knox County Law Department, the Knox County Commission, the Knoxville News-Sentinel, Chancellor Fansler, and anyone who cares is:

Let's have an election.

I'll bet Mark Harmon even has the resolution on his word processor.

As was established last time, we cannot have a binding special election, because there is no provision for one under Tennessee law.

Nothing, however, prevents County Commission from directing the Knox County Election Commission to have a non-binding election for the offices which were occupied by a term-limited incumbent, and then have its re-do following the election. Let's see which Commissioners vote for anyone other than the winner of the non-binding election.

It's the only way I see, as Commissioner Hammond said, "to restore some integrity as far as the public is concerned."

256
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Tue
Aug 21 2007
11:49 am

A curious one-paragraph tidbit appears in today's KNS article about Knox County Mayor Ragsdale's support for Community Services Director Cynthia Finch:

Ragsdale, 14 black community representatives and Ray Evans, former partner with Finch in Housecall, also met with News Sentinel Editor Jack McElroy on Monday to express their concerns that the newspaper has unfairly scrutinized black women in leadership, referring to Finch and former city community services director Renee Kesler.

As we have mentioned here before, being a successful black woman in local government seems to be a high-risk occupational hazard.

But is this a fair criticism of the KNS? Or is someone trying to change the subject? Who were the 14 attendees, and what were their specific complaints and what was the KNS response?

P.S. A source characterized the meeting as an "ambush" and noted that the only formal complaint of racism to come out of all this so far is against Mayor Ragsdale.

33
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Tue
Aug 21 2007
11:05 am

It is time for many high school graduates to enter college. For those of you who entered college full-time right out of high school, what advice can you provide? For those of you who attended college in a non-tradtional manner, what advice can you provide?

Ben Stein has some advice of his own, of which some I agree and some I do not.

* make friends with your teachers
* do your papers neatly, according to the assignment, and on time
* Take courses that will be of genuine use to your mind

Tips from me, a non-traditional student:

* Don't get into big debt unless you have some idea that you can pay it back (high paying career, inheritance, etc.)

* Try to make friends, join clubs/study groups, etc. (Similar to Stein's tip without the fraternity/sorority.)

* Keep in touch with family and friends from home, at least until you are comfortable in college.

* Don't try to keep up with the "Jones", you'll have plenty of time for that after college.

* Take some courses you want to take, not just what is required for graduation.

H/T Instapundit

Topics:
108
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Tue
Aug 21 2007
10:26 am
By: R. Neal  shortURL

Quote of the day from Dwight Van de Vate:

"In all my 21 years with the county, I have never seen a political climate as hostile as this."

The KNS reports that the Knox County Mayor's spokesperson can't speak about controversies surrounding the audit of salary supplements and travel pay (a scope which was not clear in the KNS report) on advice of counsel because Van de Vate's name has been mentioned in connection with the audit.

The article goes on to list all the murder suspects being represented by the same lawyer which is somehow apparently relevant*, and which leads to the bonus quote:

"I don’t think you can count on anybody to approach anything with equity and fairness."

Knox County government is in meltdown. I wonder if anybody is getting any work done? Or if their lawyers will even let them?

(*What is this, Six Degrees of Mike Ragsdale now? Anybody can be linked to anybody for anything!)

26
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Tue
Aug 21 2007
10:19 am
By: Carole Borges  shortURL

Not being here all that long, I'm not sure if anyone could actually use a very long tree branch (maybe 50-100ft) that came down last night. It's oak and not all that thick (probably about 8 inches), but there's another part that is thicker. I'm going to call a tree removal guy this afternoon, but if anyone who has a fireplace or wood stove would like to chainsaw it up and haul it away it's theirs.

You'd have to carry the logs out about 100 feet to the street as there isn't any way to drive a truck into my back yard. I'd rather give it to someone who could use it, but I didn't know if people in these parts actually need stuff like this.

I'm in North Knoxville.

Topics:
27
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Tue
Aug 21 2007
08:12 am
By: R. Neal  shortURL

Check out the photo of the historical plaque in the RoaneViews banner.

According to the text, Harriman, founded in 1891 as a "Utopia of Temperance," was to be an "ideal industrial city, an object lesson for thrift, sobriety, superior intelligence, and exalted moral character where workers would be uncorrupted by Demon Rum."

I wonder how that's working out?

28
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Tue
Aug 21 2007
07:39 am

The state has halted a proposed commercial development at Norris Dam State Park:

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) Commissioner James Fyke said that after reviewing the proposal and public input on the project, the state will not allow the development to move forward in the state park.

According to the article, Fyke's letter says "At best, it would be a stretch to describe the proposed lodge as a component of the state park system. Placing a third-party commercial operation within a state park is not a precedent that we wish to set for all state parks."

The article also says that Bredesen refused to sign legislation that would have allowed the use of tax revenues from the proposed convention center/hotel to pay off $14 million in high-risk bonds issued by Campbell County to fund the project.

If these developments are such a great idea, why are taxpayers frequently asked to carry the risk?

Related: Norris Dam State Park

196
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Mon
Aug 20 2007
07:45 pm

An FEC complaint has been filed against non-candidate candidate Fred Dalton Thompson.

The complaint alleges...

It is clear that he has violated 11 CFR 100.72, the "testing the waters" provision of FEC law. Accordingly, his failure to file disclosure reports violates the law, and the Commission should demand full disclosure of Mr. Thompson's campaign fund raising and expenditures, as well as penalize Mr. Thompson for his willful violation of the law.

[extensive snip]

Mr. Thompson had approximately $2.8 million in his campaign account after the IRS filing. This fact also clearly indicates that he did not intend to use this money for 'exploring' a possible candidacy. Otherwise, it would have been spent on exploratory activities, especially given the documentation of his impending announcement of candidacy.

Jake Tapper explains:

The rule is pretty simple. If you spend more than $5,000 on campaign activities, you're a candidate, whether or not you've officially declared.

OK, then.

110
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Mon
Aug 20 2007
07:19 pm

The Dragon Boat Races will breathe fire on Volunteer Landing in Knoxville for the fifth year, and teams are signing up now. Don't miss your chance to find out why dragon boating is the fastest growing water sport in the world! Get on the Boat. Ride the Wave.... Feel the Rush!
Dragon Boat racing is a competitive sport, but the real winners are the beneficiaries of the event ­- those whose lives are transformed through the programs at Knox Area Rescue Ministries. Knox Area Rescue Ministries serves about 1,000 meals daily and more than 300,000 meals annually to anyone in need at no charge. The ministry also houses homeless men and women in its shelter, and provides spiritual and recovery services to clients.

34
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Mon
Aug 20 2007
06:58 pm
By: Justin  shortURL

I was perusing Blount Views (I grew up off of Old Niles Ferry) and noticed this sad story about an abandoned dog. I'm not trying to pimp for Home Again but I recently had my dog "chipped" at the vets office over the weekend. I'm uber paranoid about my pets (I have two wild a$$ Jacks and a rescue greyhound...and a cat...I feel like Dr. Doolittle sometimes) so I decided to get them all chipped. The cost was minimal for the peace of mind in the event they make the "Great Escape" from my fenced in yard (they are all inside dogs, but I'm still paranoid). Even if you don't have a pet or don't want to get your dog chipped you can still sign up for the "Home Again Pet Rescuers" service. They will send you emails based on your zip code for any lost pets in your area.

33
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Mon
Aug 20 2007
01:55 pm

An excellent examination of last week's Wall Street miasma:

[W]hat sparked last week’s turmoil – and the dramatic intervention by central banks – was a pernicious chain of events. As it became apparent this summer that the US subprime problems were worsening and infecting a broader range of structured products, some investors in the ABCP (“asset-backed commercial paper," or short-term borrowings backed by financial assets that are deemed to have stable cash flow) market started to worry about whether SIVs [structured investment vehicles - bank-run programs de­signed to profit from the difference between short-term borrowing rates and longer-term invesment returns] were also sitting on losses.

The rush to sell structured products by hedge funds facing redemptions and other investors meant those market values that could be ascertained were being marked down heavily. As a result, by mid-July some investors decided to stop buying ABCP paper from SIVs suspected of subprime exposure...

The problem could be thrown into relief when billions of dollars of ABCP mature today and on Wednesday, with great un­certainty as to whether this can be refinanced.

Everything in this market depends on investors in the ABCP market maintaining their faith in the programmes and the assets they hold. With the current rush for the exits in many structured credit markets, this faith has been evaporating wholesale. No investors are sure exactly what assets SIVs and conduits are holding, or how damaged those holdings might be.

It's easy to forget - in the face of all the free-market cheerleading we're deluged with almost every day - that Wall Street wizards are just as clueless as the rest of us.

Topics:
37
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Mon
Aug 20 2007
01:36 pm

The N-S shares an update on goings on at today's Intergovernmental Committee meeting:

Moore proposed ordering a pay-back of travel allowances collected by top mayor's office execs, prior to completion of Walls' audit.

Norman blocked the move, citing a need to wait for the audit.

Walls has released another draft audit, just to the mayor's office, but it won't be shared with us until Ragsdale has an opportunity to comment. We'll likely get to read it by August 31, the N-S says.

Oh...and Dwight Van de Vate has retained attorney Bruce Posten to represent him in the matter.

(link...)

Topics:
43
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Lost Medicaid Funding

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