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.

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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...)

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Fri
Mar 16 2007
07:48 am

Write your State Senator and Representative and ask them to oppose "tort reform" 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:

Regarding proposed "tort reform" legislation (HB1993/SB2001 and HB0789/SB0682), I urge you to vote against these measures and to actively oppose them in the Tennessee General Assembly.

Studies show that such measures do nothing to improve patient safety or reduce the incidence of malpractice, which is the real problem. Other states including Georgia and Florida have found that malpractice insurance premiums continue to increase even after passing such laws which are supposed to help contain them.

These laws essentially limit access to the courts for victims of malpractice, preventing them from obtaining compensation and justice. Further, studies suggest that such laws are more likely to affect the ability of the poor, the young, and the elderly, some of our most vulnerable members of society, to get representation.

---

Here is more background on the issue.

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Fri
Mar 16 2007
07:42 am

Tommy Schumpert and Ben Atchley have formed a PAC to support candidates of integrity who would place “policy before politics” in local government. The News Sentinel quoted Atchley saying: “We’re looking for good, open government candidates.” After a very quick check of Fundrace 2004 Neighbor Search I found the following 2004 campaign contributions of the nonpartisan PAC on Public Trust members:

Tommy Schumpert – no record
Ben Atchley - $1K Bush
Henrietta Grant – no record
Sherri Lee - $1K Bush
David Moon – no record
Sam Furrow - $2K Bush
Suzanne Schriver - $2K RNC, $1K Bush

Integrity? Policy before politics? Open government? If most of the PAC members think Bush is a good example of integrity, policy before politics, or an open government candidate, I can’t wait to see their endorsements for local government candidates. Or maybe I am dreading their endorsements of local candidates.

News Sentinel article

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Fri
Mar 16 2007
06:43 am

No, he's not wearing a "Thank You for Smoking" T-shirt emblazoned with a big marijuana leaf across its chest. He's wearing a casual shirt, and he's holding a football in his hand, and he's urging me to make a pledge to EAT WHAT I WANT during the Superbowl Game. There's even a 5 step game plan. All I have to do is write down my favorite heartburn producing food, then hang it on my fridge. As I watch the game, I should "eat what I want", over-indulge and be free. Afterwards, I should kick off my "Super Bowl Heartburn Free Challenge" with a Prilosec pill. He's even offering me a free sample. All I have to do is fill out a form on the internet (I must swear I'm over 18 of course) and they'll mail me out a few capsules.

There used to be a time when commercials for prescription drugs were banned on TV and magazines, but apparently too many people in Congress who owned stock in Merck's decided that was silly. They even convinced themselves they were acting in the public interest. Information in this era is apparently not supposed to come from articles written by doctors. In this electronic age, we're supposed to get educated by commercials. Thank god, too! Reading serious stuff is such a drag!

All New Age thinkers, many medical doctors, and most shrinks all agree that the mind-body connection is a powerful one and that suggestions or affirmations can have amazing results. Apparently, we really are what we think we are. No, we can't necessarily think our way out of cancer or heart muscle failure, but it has been proven that our bodies respond to suggestion, and that really scares me. The average TV viewer or magazine reader is constantly inundated with suggestions about how unhealthy and unreliable our bodies are. If you believe the ads for prescription drugs, then you have to believe only popping a pill will help you sleep all night or have good sex or learn how not to worry. Our bodies are not wonderrous machines that will function well and long if they are given proper food, exercise, love, and recreational fulfillment. According to the pharmacuetical industry, they are a burden, incapable of surviving wihtout massive drug intervention.

And now the media is telling us the fastest growing drug problem in the USA is mis-use of prescription drugs. Ha! Don't the doctors and pharmacuetical companies see the connection? The biggest concern is teenage prescription drug abuse. Well why not? Their bathroom medicine cabinets are overflowing with so many varieties of medications it would make any kid curious. If it's good enough for Mom and Dad. why not me? It's not like pot. It's legal for god's sake.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reported 5,599 marijuana-related arrests during 2005. How many arrests were there for abuse of prescription drugs?

In a report by the National Institue on Drug Abuse the problem is discussed, but notice how the blame for the problem is given only to pharmacies operating on the Internet.

"The nonmedical use or abuse of prescription drugs is a serious and growing public health problem in this country. The elderly are among those most vulnerable to prescription drug abuse or misuse because they are prescribed more medications than their younger counterparts. Most people take prescription medications responsibly; however, an estimated 48 million people (ages 12 and older) have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons in their lifetimes. This represents approximately 20 percent of the U.S. population."

The report also commented---"Also alarming is the fact that the 2004 National Institute on Drug Abuse's (NIDA's) Monitoring the Future survey of 8th, 10th, and 12th-graders found that 9.3 percent of 12th-graders reported using Vicodin without a prescription in the past year, and 5.0 percent reported using OxyContin-making these medications among the most commonly abused prescription drugs by adolescents.

The abuse of certain prescription drugs-opioids, central nervous system (CNS) depressants, and stimulants- can alter the brain's activity and lead to addiction. While we do not yet understand all of the reasons for the increasing abuse of prescription drugs, we do know that accessibility is likely a contributing factor. In addition to the increasing number of medicines being prescribed for a variety of health problems, some medications can be obtained easily from online pharmacies. Most of these are legitimate businesses that provide an important service; however, some online pharmacies dispense medications without a prescription and without appropriate identity verification, allowing minors to order the medications easily over the Internet."

Hey, what about Mom's anti-depressant? Dad's Viagra? Aunt Helen's diet pills? These weren't ordered over the Internet.

Personally, I'm kind of fond of my body's warning signs. Heartburn tells me I'm being a pig. Fat tells me I'm not exercising enough, and sobbing in my cornflakes means I might want to examine the choices I'm making in my life.

Drugs taken to solve mechanical problems that diet or exercise or counseling or meditation can't help truly are life-saving and wonderful, but it does seem a little bizarre that several of my neighbors are taking 12 to 14 prescription medicines every day. How bad-off can one body be!

It's so obvious it is blinding. Ads for prescription medications are causing a whole lot of people to run to their doctors for drugs. What they don't like taking, or forget to take, gets handed around to family and friends or gets stolen by kids who want to experiment.

Ads on TV and magazines should definetly be banned. They produce dreamstate illusions of well-being and health that can't possibly match the reality. They make having a serious illness seem like a minimal thing. "I was so worried I wouldn't be able to go to my daughter's wedding, but then I discovered....(you fill in the blanks). Hey, what's a little cancer? Why be concerned about our toxic environment? Getting sick might be awful, but boy do I have a pill for you!

I want the drug pushers out of my parlor, off my TV set, and out of my magazine subscriptions. But is anyone listening? No they're too busy hearing the music of their cash registers ringing up sales. I say if there is any justice at all, then the pharmacuetical company executives ought to be sitting in the cell next to Henry the long-haired occasional pot smoker caught toking in his back yard.

This whole prescription medicine thing is making me sick.

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43
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Fri
Mar 16 2007
03:59 am
By: MartyD  shortURL

There is a very dangerous "swift boat" type email circulating about Barak Obama. I heard about it yesterday .... some folk were talking amd passed it for the truth. I checked it on Snopes.com and it's been proven to be false. I'm not trying to tell anyone how to vote but this is completely unfair and so reminscent of other campaigns.

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In case you didn't know this, the New York Times has opened up TimesSelect for all users with an "edu" email address. Just go to this link.

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Thu
Mar 15 2007
06:45 pm

Did you know that Tennessee is dead last with regard to women's participation in politics and government? Here's an opportunity to help fix that.

WHAT: Tennessee Democratic Women's Political Action Committee (TDWPAC) Third Annual Silent Auction

WHEN: March 28, 2007, 5:30 to 8:30 P.M.

WHERE: Grace's Plaza, 4077 Hillsboro Road, Green Hills (former location of Davis-Kidd Booksellers)

WHY: TDWPAC was formed in January 2005 after members of the Nashville community saw a need for more Democratic elected women in Tennessee statewide politics. TDWPac is currently the single Tennessee PAC giving money only to Democratic women candidates for office, and since its inception has contributed over $13,000 to campaigns across the state.

OTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE EVENT (click "read more")...

Continued...

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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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