Fri
Mar 30 2007
08:30 pm

We're still trying to decide between the Honda Civic Hybrid and the Toyota Prius. Originally, the Mrs. like the Prius and I liked the Civic Hybrid. We test drove the Civic Hybrid a second time, and I liked it even more than the first time and the Mrs was starting to like it, too.

But then I got to looking at the back seat of the Civic Hybrid, and thinking about the hatchback and fold-down seats and all that cargo room in the Prius (plenty of room for Pupster, her crate, and lots of other gear) and decided I could get over the ugliness. Plus my other concern about having to work the touch-screen LCD was mitigated somewhat by the excellent array of controls on the steering wheel.

So I told the Mrs. last night that I changed my mind, and I thought we ought to just go this morning and buy the Prius. She started checking around, and found out we could rent one at Fox Toyota in Clinton. She suggested we rent one for the weekend to make sure we'd really like it.

That sounded like a great idea, so we went and rented one ($114 for the weekend). Then we blew off work and went for a ride to try it out.

Continued...

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53
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Fri
Mar 30 2007
01:57 pm
By: StaceyDiamond  shortURL

I was thinking that county and city officials as well as the Sentinel are using people's disgust over county commission as a way to sneak metro in. The non-thinking public might assume that a metro gov. makes everything nice and clean and all the bad stuff go away. If you still have the nepotism in a new government it won't be any different. And what about the term-limits?? It (the gov.)will just have a new name, kind of like giving a bad driver a new car to make everything better. This is a convenient way to stop the talk about nepotism and ethics and next year's elections to get people's minds on something new.

48
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Fri
Mar 30 2007
01:45 pm

Since no one else claimed the honor of FBB we'll have to settle for this tufted titmouse. I put out my hummingbird feeder today. They usually don't arrive til mid-April but maybe they'll come early along with everything else this year.

Continued...

Fri
Mar 30 2007
09:28 am
By: Knoxquerious  shortURL

I was just wondering how some folks felt about charging admission to enter the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This would alleviate major financial problems that the park faces today and will undoubtedly face in the future. The Grand Canyon now charges $25 per vehicle, even if the GSMNP charged $10 it would bring in millions. Of course it would take an act of congress to change this policy, but who would be against it? Would anyone here be opposed to the park charging just like the others?

53
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Fri
Mar 30 2007
06:47 am

The KNS had a report yesterday regarding a TVA proposal to share ownership of some of their power plants with distributors.

According to the article, the deal would let TVA finance expansion of their capacity "off the books", using tax exempt financing their distributors such as KUB are eligible for. This would help contain TVA's debt, which is currently around $25 billion. Distributors would get credit for the power produced at the plants they invest in.

One thing not mentioned in the article is the possible liability power distributors such as KUB might assume under the deal.

TVA's coal-fired power plants are becoming a huge liability. Even though they have successfully fought off New Source Review challenges, there always seems to be another lawsuit. Eventually, one of them might prevail and TVA will be held accountable for all the pollution. Or, a more environmentally friendly administration might come in to office and force TVA to accelerate installation of expensive pollution controls. Then there are the growing concerns about other toxic releases such as mercury.

Another looming problem is carbon sequestration. If (or when) Congress decides to tackle global climate change, developing and implementing carbon sequestration systems could cost TVA a fortune. In 2005, TVA coal-fired power plants emitted 105,000,000 tons of CO2. With carbon credits currently selling for $5 to $10 per ton on the retail market, this represents $500 million to $1 billion in offsets per year.

Widows Creek was mentioned in the article as one of TVA's existing coal-fired power plants being considered for the joint ownership deal. In criticizing TVA's progress on pollution controls, Sen. Lamar Alexander singled out Widows Creek in 2005: "These plants also produce nitrogen pollutants and mercury, which are hazardous to our health. TVA has the latest pollution control equipment on only two of the eight units at Widows Creek today. If we're really serious about clean air, TVA needs to put the latest pollution control equipment on all of its coal-fired units and/or build more nuclear power plants."

So we wonder if the power distributor trade group working on the joint ownership proposal with TVA has considered all this. Would Knox County residents want to be on the hook for all that liability by way of KUB? In one sense I guess it doesn't really matter, though. Ratepayers throughout the TVA system are going to have to pay the piper sooner or later.

48
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Thu
Mar 29 2007
09:31 pm

Won't they look good in the White House?

(link...)

150
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Thu
Mar 29 2007
04:16 pm
By: michael kaplan  shortURL

I made the comment at the KCDC Public Hearing on March 27 that I was opposed to all Redevelopment and/or Urban Renewal Plans because they give KCDC, acting as an agent of the City and County, blanket authorization to seize properties and make them available to private developers.

In response, Dan Tiller stated that, following a change in the statute in 2006, the State Legislature "permits seizure for public use only."

Mr. Tiller's statement was inaccurate and misleading.

Here, in fact, is what the revised statute says (in part):

This act generally excludes from the definition of public use for which this power may be used either private use or the indirect public benefits resulting from private economic development and private commercial enterprise, including increased tax revenue and increased employment opportunity.

However, the following designated purposes are excepted and allowed even if there are private benefits:

3. The acquisition of property by a housing authority or community development agency for urban renewal or redevelopment under title 13, chapters 20 and 21.

Land acquired by eminent domain may be sold, leased, or otherwise transferred to another public entity or to a private person or entity if fair market value is received for the land.

==

48
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Thu
Mar 29 2007
04:14 pm

Scoobie proposes to increase each county commissioner's discretionary fund from $5,000 to $50,000 per year.

44
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Thu
Mar 29 2007
01:40 pm

Woo Hoo Metro Knoxville. I am really excited about the thought. I suggest as many people get involved as possible when they start having public input meetings. See new story from KNS.

46
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Thu
Mar 29 2007
10:59 am
By: rocketsquirrel  shortURL

oh yes, another...please click to view.

Life in Knoxville

thanks to Tamara Shepherd for the inspiration.

161
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Thu
Mar 29 2007
06:34 am

The 2007 State New Economy Index by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation examines a number of key indicators in every state to assess their ability to compete in the emerging global economy.

As Southern states fall all over each other to recruit new auto-manufacturing jobs with big incentives, the report suggests that much of the South is falling behind in a new economy that began taking shape in the post "mass-production and corporate economy" of the 1940's and 1950's.

Read more after the jump...

Continued...

47
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Thu
Mar 29 2007
06:09 am

It is amazing, but true. Cormac McCarthy, one of the world's most reclusive authors, will actually be on the Oprah show in the coming weeks. It will be his first ever television appearance.

In his book Sutree Knoxville's own Cormac McCarthy painted a colorful, but often dark picture of the outcasts, alcoholics, and homeless folks who lived along the banks of the river here in downtown Knoxville.

Sutree, a loveable, incorrigible, sometimes funny but always broke, and broken man, ambled about Knoxville back when trolleys crisscrossed the town and Market Square was really a large, bustling marketplace.

He's a tough read because his descriptions are so lengthly and intricately woven, but he's worth every minute. McCarthy is a master of words and a genius at painting portraits of people who exist in existential isolation.

He has a huge fan base. Mostly because of his novels Blood Meridian and All the Pretty Horses. A film based on McCarthy's No Country for Old Men will be released this year, and he is also considered to be a top contender for a Pulitzer.

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54
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Wed
Mar 28 2007
08:05 pm
By: Rachel  shortURL

Fired USA David Iglesias gives a remarkably candid (not nasty, not snarky, but remarkably candid) interview to GQ.

It's one of those "more in sorrow than in anger" kinds of things.

46
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Wed
Mar 28 2007
07:58 pm
By: rocketsquirrel  shortURL

James Dobson does not love yer buddy Fred Fred Fred Thompson. ooh smack!

In fact, he doesn't think he's a Christian! But that Newt Gingrich is "the brightest guy out there," so sayeth the Dobster.

45
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Wed
Mar 28 2007
04:52 pm

This guy....

that would be King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia...

just condemned the U.S. for its "illegitimate foreign occupation of Iraq..."

we're making it worse, not better, Chad. And while every GOP'er knows it, their pride will not let them admit it.

42
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Wed
Mar 28 2007
04:20 pm

• Ornette Coleman
• El-P
• David Bromberg and Angel Band
• Flight of the Conchords
• The New Orleans Klezmer Allstars
• Yard Dogs Road Show

More details here.

Also, AC has an April Fools show lined up that he says is a must see. In fact, he's putting his money where his mouth is...

Continued...

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41
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Wed
Mar 28 2007
03:28 pm

N-S just put up the video of the inmate escape here.

Is that Lee Trammell waiting for the elevator with the inmate AND walking behind him out the door? If so, when exactly did he decide it would be a good time to make the phone call? Nice.

Update: This was not Lee Trammell in the video.

43
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Wed
Mar 28 2007
12:46 pm

In case you missed it, East Tennessee Quality Growth is holding a "Plain Talk on Quality Growth" conference in Knoxville this Thursday and Friday.

Tomorrow (Thursday March 29th) there will be a pre-conference public lecture by Daniel Williams (FAIA, APA) on "Visioning our Future: Can We Reconcile Prosperity and Sustainability?". A panel discussion will follow. The lecture is at 6:30 PM at the University of Tennessee University Center Auditorium. Admission is free.

See the above link for info on registration for Friday's conference and workshop events.

59
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Wed
Mar 28 2007
12:13 pm
By: StaceyDiamond  shortURL

There is a sign in a yard just off Broadway that says "Rick Wiley for Mayor of Knoxville, a Future President." Sounds like a good name to write-in. I wonder if someone made the sign for their kid.

40
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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.

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