Sun
Mar 18 2007
12:42 pm

I have an old friend who refers to her personal driving method as "Braille Driving." She goes forward until she hits something, then she backs up until she hits something.

This article in The Daily Times regarding the BCSO Dive Team truck leaves me speechless.

(link...)

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Sun
Mar 18 2007
09:57 am

Rachel-

I personally question the merit of the Summit/Henley/Main area having urban qualities which deserve special codification. However, to my knowledge none of the downtown development community, including me, object to any of the proposed guidelines. We just are not certain that the facts on the ground warrant making the process of restoring or building with Downtown more difficult. we have endorsed the concept of mandatory urban design guidelines (standards which affect how buildings address our streets and sidewalks) but advised caution before instituting additional layers of bureaucratic and political involvement in the building permitting process. Particularly since there are no private restoration or new construction projects completed in the past 20 years, which are egregiously inappropriate to their context or Downtown at large. Essentially we are saying, "why make it more difficult for those of us who have to live with these regulations, when there is no clear evidence that a problem exists?"

Read more after the jump...

Continued...

47
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Sun
Mar 18 2007
08:52 am

Don Jacobs at the Knoxville News Sentinel had a pair of related articles yesterday with some new information on the McClung fires.

The first one is about the KFD shutting off the sprinklers at the Ernie Gross property moments before the fire reignited and consumed the building.

The second says that sprinkler systems had been shut off sometime prior to the incident at the two other warehouses where the fires originated. According to the article, KFD is investigating.

The first article has controversy regarding "why", the second has controversy regarding "who" and "when".

Also, compare and contrast these quotes.

From the first article:

Knoxville Fire Chief Robert Key Sr. disputed Gross' assertion that his sprinkler system would have saved the building.

"The way that fire grew so fast, I don't know the sprinklers could have put it out," Key said.

From the second article:

"If the building where the fire started had a sprinkler system, we would not be having this conversation," said Knoxville Fire Marshal Roger Byrd.

"Sprinklers are 99.44 percent effective. Statistics show when they're operable, they work."

The KNS leaves it up to you, the reader, to reconcile these remarks.

43
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Sun
Mar 18 2007
08:42 am

I am not a lawyer, but I am not stupid.

(4) The term "covert agent" means -
(A) a present or retired officer or employee of an
intelligence agency or a present or retired member of the Armed
Forces assigned to duty with an intelligence agency -
(i) whose identity as such an officer, employee, or member
is classified information, and
(ii) who is serving outside the United States or has within
the last five years served outside the United State

Note item ii: "has within" means "has within."

Wingnuts demonstrate you SAT reading comprehension skills here.

50
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Sun
Mar 18 2007
08:01 am

State Sen. Raymond Finney responded to our letter re. SB1933 and says he will vote against this bill that would allow statewide cable franchises.

Regarding the other three bills to help expand broadband access, Sen. Finney says he has not studied them sufficiently to make a decision but that he will.

More info here:

Legislative Alert: Broadband access and statewide franchises

126
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Sat
Mar 17 2007
07:12 pm
By: StaceyDiamond  shortURL

In 6 days the Sentinel has run at least 6 articles and 2 editorials begging Fred Thompson to run for president.And they say Don Williams focuses too much on one subject...Stacey

47
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Sat
Mar 17 2007
12:56 pm

Thanks to Mello for introducing us to Wendy Pitts Reeves and for bringing our attention to Wendy's blog, which I have finally gotten around to adding to the blogroll.

Ms. Reeves is a Blount County Commissioner representing District 4 (Chilhowee View, Montvale, Fairview City & County). She was elected last August as one of the few Democratic challengers against Republicans running unopposed in most districts.

She is a refreshing progressive voice for Blount County. As far as we know, she is the only blogging elected official in Blount Co.

She said at the breakfast today that it's time to start thinking about running more progressive candidates for Blount Co. County Commission. We agree.

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Sat
Mar 17 2007
11:09 am

Speaking of breakfast, thanks to Up Goose Creek for organizing Breakfast at Patty's and to everyone who showed up.

We had RedmondKR, Mello, Up Goose Creek, Betty Bean, Rikki, friends of RedmondKR's who came later and I apologize I don't remember their names, the Mrs. and me, and Mello's special surprise guest, Blount Co. Commissioner Wendy Pitts Reeves.

(Oh, and Caner1 stopped by and revealed herself. She runs the gifts and antiques shop next door to Patty's and apparently does a pretty good business on eBay.)

There was a whole lot of yakking and gossip going on with this bunch, and it was great meeting some of the new folks in person for the first time.

It was fun, and the food was great. The pancakes were as huge as they were the first time we were there, and I don't think anyone finished them. And special thanks to Up Goose Creek for the custom made tin-foil hat and the I (heart) South Knox badges.

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Last week I had the pleasure of showing Michael Kostroff, the mean lawyer on the HBO hit series "The Wire" around Knoxville. Apparently, he has a couple of friends who want to get out of LA, and they've been considering the Mid-south. Always eager to recruit more artistic people to our area, I proudly cruised him around our downtown area and North Knoxville--the West side of Knoxville is another planet to me, too strip-mallish, too suburban, too far to drive for city folks used to living in a downtown neighborhood.

Some of Kostroff's favorite places were the Tomato Head, Oodles, the Time Warp Tearoom, Carpe Librum Bookstore, Market Square, and the Riverwalk. He did point out however, and I have to agree with him, that the one thing missing in downtown Knoxville or even North Knoxville was a good old fashioned urban breakfast joint.

You know the kind I mean--tables and a counter with red and chrome stools, CHEAP prices, a place that makes corn beef hash and serves lox and bagels, a place where you can hang out and read the Sunday Times while enjoying a homemade blueberry muffin. The kind of deli where regulars go every day and everyone, like in the Cheers bar, "knows your name".

We do have the coffee shop in Old City, but it's only coffee and pastries there. We also have Rankin's on Central Avenue. It's got the right physical space, but the menu is classic "homestyle" meaning the home-fries are so-so and the waitress probably thinks lox should be on doors, not on top of bagels. When asked if they had corned beef hash, she just looked puzzled.

Don't get me wrong, I love places like Rankin's. I'd probably starve to death without them, but they're just too un-urban to satisfy my need for a good old fashioned breakfast joint.

The food at the Cracker Barrel is okay, but it's always too mobbed on the weekends, and you have to pass through the jungle of trinkets, the cabbage-shaped tea pots, and hummingbird wind chimes to reach the dining room. That can be a little unnerving early in the morning.

The Waffle House is--well what can you say about a place that serves homefries that looks like shredded strings---

I wouldn't call Panera Bread a breakfast joint.

There is an interesting homestyle restauraunt around the corner from the Fellinni Kroger's (a name Kostroff loved by the way). It serves breakfast, but on styrofoam plates. They have gospel singing there too. On weekend nights, the parking lot is packed. I've always wanted to go in there some night because I imagine they have great music, but frankly I'm kind of afraid they all might start laying hands on me, and I'm not exactly eager to be possessed by the Holy Ghost or anything else.

After touring the city, Kostroff was definitely impressed with Knoxville. Especially the price of homes and apartments here. He loved the Tennessee Theater, and he's played some of the best theaters in the country when he toured with The Producers and Les Miserables.

I think maybe Harold's Place was the kind of urban deli we would have enjoyed, but Harold's is now all closed up and gutted.

I guess all I can do is wait for some clever business person, not a chain, not a corporation, just somebody with a few bucks who wants to make a good living, to open an urban deli downtown. Surely, with all the condos, lofts apartments and new retail shops, they would draw a lot of people.

If anyone knows of a place I've missed please let me know. If the atmosphere is right and the eggs (two over easy please with home fries, coffee, and toast) are under $4.00, I'll be there every morning.

63
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Sat
Mar 17 2007
09:23 am

The FDA has announced a major pet food recall. Menu Foods, Inc. makes store brand pet foods for several large chains and some brand-name pet foods. Here's a link to the FDA's press release that has a link to Menu Foods list of recalled items.

(link...)

Topics:
47
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Fri
Mar 16 2007
11:32 pm

I found this site while searching for material on Ludwig van Beethoven. In the days before photography it was quite common to prepare life, and death, masks of prominent persons. I was surprised to find this life mask made as late as 1955. At first glance it appears to be a police composite. I would never have guessed that this was James Dean. Now I wonder if Beethoven really looked like that Beethoven. And look at the sad life mask of Abraham Lincoln.

49
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Fri
Mar 16 2007
05:35 pm

Couric lead tonight with the locked-upedness of Alberto Gonzales' firing. Rove's fingers are all over this one too. Subpoenas on Plame and the Attorneys? You betcha. The current talking point on the attorneys is "They serve at the pleasure of the President." No kidding. You don't engage in spurious investigations meant to give vent to political grinding of axes, then we are not pleased with you.

Note: I have no idea why I was watching Couric. Seriously. First time I had watched network news in years.

38
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Fri
Mar 16 2007
02:13 pm

In wingnut world that is. Where are all those who would deny Valerie Plame's covert status? They certainly talked a lot of shit not very long ago. What's the matter, rule of law got your tongue? Just to recap, Ms Plame sez that she was a covert agent for the CIA working on WMD containment. Her coworkers at the "Company" say that she was a covert agent. Non-specific "senior" officials of the Bush administration caused her cover to be blown so as to punish her husband, heroic former ambassador to Iraq Joseph Wilson, for disagreeing with the administration on manufactured reasons to attack Iraq.

Nevermind, today let's let the traitors bask in what they have done in quiet "dignity".

CAFKIA

47
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Fri
Mar 16 2007
01:22 pm

In case you missed it, Buzz Goss forwarded the letter (PDF format) a group of local developers and architects sent City Council re. the new design guidlines.

The letter is signed by:

Buzz Goss, David Dewhirst
Patrick Hunt, Mark Heinz
Larsen Jay, Cherie Piercy
Keith Stewart, Russ Davidson
John Boudreau, Jeffery Nash
Deno Cole, Leigh Burch
Trinity McDermott, Mark McDermott
Anne Marie Tugwell, Albert Ritchie
John Sanders, Brandon Pace

NOTE: To comment, See Rachel's previous post on this where the discussion is taking place.

53
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Fri
Mar 16 2007
11:14 am

(click to embiggen)

A Red-winged Blackbird, through the window.

I like these birds. Maybe because it's one of the few I can identify by its song. (I swear I think they used it for some of the bridge sound effects on Star Trek.)

We have at least three hanging around. This one and another appear to be immatures, although they are getting blacker ever day.

Continued...

Fri
Mar 16 2007
10:24 am

Very impressive, smart and quite beautiful.
On right now.
Says she did NOT lobby to have her husband sent to Niger.

Topics:
38
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Fri
Mar 16 2007
10:15 am

Don't miss An Unreasonable Man, a new documentary about one of the most important and controversial political figures of the century. Premieres this Saturday, March 17, at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville. Click here to watch a quick preview.

Here is what the critics are saying...

Continued...

Fri
Mar 16 2007
09:46 am

I have learned that embattled Campbell County basketball coach Len Pierce has been fired by Principal Gary Seale.

You might remember Pierce was the subject of a push by many of the team’s (former) players and their parents to have him fired. He resisted calls for his resignation and replaced most of his team with freshman and walk-ons after most of the Cougars walked off the team. The backstory can be found here where I first blogged about the situation right before the holidays.

50
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Fri
Mar 16 2007
08:47 am

Up Goose Creek says South Knox and Blount Co. folks and anyone else who wants to join should meet up at Patty's Place Cafe, tomorrow, Saturday March 17th at 9:30 AM for breakfast. Sounds good to me.

Patty's Place is on Russell Rd. in Rockford, just a little ways north of the I-140/Pellissippi Parkway overpass.

Going south on Alcoa Highway, take a left on Singleton Station, a right on Williams Mill, and a right on Russell Road. Going north on Alcoa Highway take a right on Hunt Road and a left on Russell Road.

Coming south on Maryville Pike, turn right at the Four Corners Market onto Williams Mills Rd. From there, go straight through the next 3-way stop and take an almost immediate right onto Russell Road.

Map

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Write your State Senator and Representative and ask them to support three broadband access measures and to oppose statewide cable franchise legislation pending in the Tennessee General Assembly.

Here's the Senate directory and here's the House directory.

Here's what I wrote:

Dear Sen. Finney and Rep. McCord:

I urge you to vote against and actively oppose SB1933/HB1421, which 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.

Contrary to claims of the lobbyists who wrote it, this legislation is not good for consumers or for local governments who know best what is needed in their communities and which areas are underserved. Local governments have a duty to maintain infrastructure rights of way for the benefit of all citizens and taxpayers in their communities.

I urge you to vote for and actively support the following three bills that would help expand broadband access in Tennessee. Broadband access, and particularly rural broadband access, is vital to our economy in terms of availability for businesses relocating here and maintaining a qualified workforce, and will also help cure the "digital divide" between poor working people and the more affluent.

HB2100/SB1572 would establish a non-profit "Tennessee Broadband Access Corporation to facilitate the deployment of broadband technologies across the state."

HB2103/SB1716 requires "the department of economic and community development to establish a ConnectTN program to bring statewide broadband expansion."

HB2099/SB1580 "Expands the membership of the Tennessee Broadband Task Force to include a representative of the department of education and requires the task force to submit an assessment of the state of broadband deployment on an annual basis."

---

Here is more background on the issue.

UPDATE: Sen. Raymond Finney responds and says he will vote against SB1933 that would allow statewide cable franchises. Regarding the other three bills to help expand broadband access, he says he hasn't studied them sufficiently to make a decision but that he will.

113
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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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