Tue
May 1 2007
03:15 pm

From the Washington Post:

As women gain visibility in the blogosphere, they are targets of sexual harassment and threats. Men are harassed too, and lack of civility is an abiding problem on the Web. But women, who make up about half the online community, are singled out in more starkly sexually threatening terms -- a trend that was first evident in chat rooms in the early 1990s and is now moving to the blogosphere, experts and bloggers said.

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Tue
May 1 2007
02:54 pm

The New York Times ran a good review of a recent slew of books on the civil rights movement in the South. The gist of these new books is that we need to look beyond simple black and white in order to understand both the civil rigths movement and, more importantly, the resistance to it within the South. These books examine the development of Southern conservative Republicanism within the context of the expanding Sunbelt, the suburbanizatin of Southern cities like Atlanta, Dallas and Birmingham, and the cultural alienation of evangelicals following the sexual revolution. The end result is that what shaped suburban Atlanta also heavily influenced suburban New York and Detroit. The conservative movement that first emerged in Orange County, CA and Dupage County, IL and Oakland County, MI reflected similar sorts of fears and aspirations of white suburbanites in Gwinnett County, GA and Williamson County, TN. In other words, the South just wasn't all that much different from the rest of the country.

Read more...

Continued...

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Tue
May 1 2007
01:37 pm
By: StaceyDiamond  shortURL

I told someone I'd pass this on: The First Friday Open Mic that was formerly at Sherby Jones' art gallery in the Candy Factory is now being held at the Candora Marble building in Vestal. It starts at 7 p.m. this Friday.
Knoxville seems to be getting an art scene I noticed there are several outdoor art events near downtown in addition to the Rossini Festival this wknd.

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Tue
May 1 2007
11:48 am

Editor & Publisher has a roundup of the NY Times' coverage. How about this gem?

BAGHDAD, May 2 -- The Bush administration is planning to withdraw most United States combat forces from Iraq over the next several months and wants to shrink the American military presence to less than two divisions by the fall, senior allied officials said today.

The United States currently has more than five divisions in Iraq, troops that fought their way into the country and units that were added in an attempt to stabilize it. But the Bush administration is trying to establish a new military structure in which American troops would continue to secure Baghdad while the majority of the forces in Iraq would be from other nations.

No wonder we're still fighting in Iraq--this early talk of surrender emboldened the enemy.

Snark aside, here's the tragic reality of the past four years:

When Bush spoke, the U.S. had 150,000 troops in Iraq; the number now stands at 160,000 or more. American casualties at the time were 139 killed and 542 wounded. A year ago they stood at 2,400 killed and now it's 3,300 dead.

The administration was wrong about Iraq then, and it's wrong about Iraq today. How many more American troops will pay the ultimate price?

UPDATE: "You Can't Veto The Truth"

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Tue
May 1 2007
11:36 am

I have changed my mind and now I am going to fight for Mr. Simmerly and his proposed Sports Complex. My fight however is going to be to change the location.

If they need restaurants and hotels for these traveling players then wouldn't it be better to put this complex closer to where those services are already offered?

They want gas stations and doctors. Why shucks, we got us a nice hospital in Maryville and all kinds of gas stations. We even got us a new WalMart so they can go buy a new soft ball glove instead of having to rent one!

Seriously folks, this is not a fight over a few ball fields. It is all about creating a small city at the furthest end of the county. The whole idea of additional athletic fields has merit if it is in a location that benefits those of us living here in Blount County and if it follows the master plan. First we need a plan!
Got it? Give us a plan so we can cheer this thing on!

Go on over to Commissioner Wendy Pitts Reeves Blog (link...) Link from there to the actual proposal. Read John Lamb's comments then go to the Planning Commission meeting tonight and let your voice be heard. In the right place with the right plan this could be a nice addition to Blount County.

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Tue
May 1 2007
10:32 am

Seems like just yesterday that the war was ovah!

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Tue
May 1 2007
10:24 am

Today marks the 25th anniversary of opening day at the 1982 World's Fair and Energy Expo.

The Knoxville News Sentinel has this multimedia website with stories, photos, video, and interviews.

WATE has this page with memories and an interview with then Mayor Randy Tyree.

WBIR has this report with video. They will have an interview with Jake Butcher at 6 PM and 11 PM, and a one hour special tonight at 8 PM.

Metro Pulse has this Jack Neely retrospective, with links to other articles.

Here's a blog with some photos, and here's a forum, both about the fair and the 25th anniversary. Here's another site with photos.

Here's a 1982 Time magazine article, "Barnburner in a Backwater", and here's the Wikipedia entry.

My recollections and some restored photos from the archives after the jump...

Continued...

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Tue
May 1 2007
07:01 am
By: Left Of The Dial  shortURL

A Campbell County court ruled Monday that County Mayor Jerry Cross had no authority to fire Clifton “Tip” Jones from his position as Director of Environmental Management (Sanitation Department) and restored Jones to the job and bars Cross from taking any further action to remove Jones without the approval of the county commission and/or the county’s Municipal Solid Waste Regional Board.

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Mon
Apr 30 2007
10:25 pm
By: Bbeanster  shortURL

I went to the "teach-in" by George White and Cynthia Fleming tonight.

I hadn't heard this before, but Dr. White and his law professor wife, Desiree Kennedy, are leaving Knoxville for NYC this summer, so UT's bone-headed decision to deny him tenure means UT is losing two Harvard-educated African American professors for the price of one. This absolutely blows.

Go Vols!

BTW, he filed suit against UT today.

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Mon
Apr 30 2007
09:33 pm

The Grand Opening of Downtown Wine & Spirits was Saturday night and I must say that it was very well done. John Sanders' architecture, well-stocked shelves, enthusiastic & helpful staff. The store is located on the 400 block of Gay St., directly across from Mast General Store, and may I just say...Bravo!

51
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Mon
Apr 30 2007
04:00 pm

Tom Salter, who had previously started work on a Knox County Charter amendment banning nepotism among other things, has joined forces with the One Question organization.

The One Question is: "What changes, if any, do the citizens want to make to the form or structure of Government in Knox County?"

Tom notes that the group has been incorrectly tagged as a "metro government" group, which it is not. Instead, it is intended to begin a public input process regarding what changes are needed in Knox County government in light of recent events and prepare a report for the public.

The group's first meeting will be Monday, May 14, 2007 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Halls High School, 4321 E. Emory Road, 37938. Public participation is invited. More info and the schedule for the remaining meetings can be found at the Knox County One Question website. Read Tom's announcement with more info after the jump.

In related news, don't forget the Town Hall Meeting on Knox Government Ethics tomorrow, Tuesday May 1st at 7PM at the East Tennessee History Center Auditorium.

Read more about One Question...

Continued...

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Mon
Apr 30 2007
02:43 pm

Remember the recent survey that suggested Fox News viewers were among the least informed? Here's Exhibit A as to why.

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Mon
Apr 30 2007
02:12 pm

This is pretty good. (By way of ACK.)

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Lisa Starbuck reports on the recent community coalition school rezoning forum. They have prepared an open letter to the School Board calling for a new process.

There was also a survey of the participants. The top concern mentioned was lack of public involvement in the process, followed by a lack of supported data/alternative plans.

Click read more to see the open letter to the School Board and the complete survey results with comments from participants.

In related news, the Knoxville News Sentinel has apparently decided who to side with in today's front page editorial disguised as a news report.

Read more from the community coalition after the jump...

Continued...

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Mon
Apr 30 2007
01:14 pm
By: R. Neal  shortURL

Fred Thompson v. Al Gore in 2008, with Gore winning by a slim margin if he can get 600 more votes in Florida or carry a cluster of rural/agricultural Midwest states.

134
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Mon
Apr 30 2007
12:42 pm

Word has it that Billy Tindell has filed his petition for the County Clerk seat he was supposedly "keeping warm" for Scoobie! Here we go...

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This article truly is mind boggling. It reveals such a gap between Giulani's boasting about security concerns and his private affiliations with greedy energy companies.

This one issue might very well be Giulinai's undoing, as if there weren't already several undoings already lined up...

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Mon
Apr 30 2007
11:46 am
By: rocketsquirrel  shortURL

Worldwide terrorism up 30% in 2006 due to growing violence in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Are you safer now than you were 4 years ago?

Bonus: Condi Rice tried to bury postpone the Congressionally mandated report.

Are you safer now than you were 4 years ago?

Based on data compiled by the U.S. intelligence community's National Counterterrorism Center, the report says there were 14,338 terrorist attacks last year, up 29 percent from 11,111 attacks in 2005.

EDIT: Attacks on US troops not included in these numbers.

One more time: Are you safer now than you were 4 years ago?

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Here are some surprising statistics about student loans:

Data from the College Board's Trends in Student Aid report show that the amount of Federal Stafford Subsidized Loans has grown by 75 percent over the past 10 years; Federal Stafford Unsubsidized Loans have grown 253 percent; and nonfederal loans (state, institutional and private loans combined) have jumped 934 percent.

The article also mentions that student loan volume has doubled in the last decade, and that "risky private loans now account for one out of every five student loan dollars."

Meanwhile, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's probe into the $85 billion student loan industry has sparked nationwide controversy.

Cuomo claims there is widespread corruption, citing several concerns including questionable revenue sharing deals, college call center staffed by loan company employees posing as university staff, and conflicts of interest involving preferred lenders and university administrators. Cuomo says that criminal charges may be possible in some of the more serious cases.

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings has formed a federal task force to investigate, and the Senate education committee has launched a probe into collection tactics and conflicts of interest.

Large banks have agreed to settlements as a result of the probe, including Citibank, and J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America. Sallie Mae, the largest student loan provider that manages $142 billion in student loans for nearly 10 million customers, agreed to a $2 million settlement without admitting any wrongdoing.

Closer to home, Cuomo subpoenaed the records of a Knoxville based student loan processing company:

John Milgrim, a spokesman for Cuomo, said the subpoena was issued last week and requested information about agreements Edfinancial has with colleges and any records related to practices that Cuomo's office has uncovered during the investigation.

According to the article, a spokesperson for Edfinancial and Edamerica says they have not entered into any revenue-sharing agreements, and that all of the nation's largest student loan providers are being asked for records and the request is not related to any of the company's practices.

The probe has also prompted the University of Tennessee to consider policy changes:

As a national investigation heats up, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville is taking a second look at policies that allowed two employees to serve on the boards of companies that are involved in student financial aid.

[..]

At UT, Dean of Enrollment Services Richard Bayer and Director of Financial Aid Jeff Gerkin have served on boards related to Knoxville firm Edfinancial Services.

While Edfinancial is not a lender, its subsidiary until recently was Edamerica, a lender that is on UT's preferred list. The two companies are now separate entities but have the same chairman.

According to the article, Bayer and Gerkin both say there is no conflict because they were not involved in selecting preferred lenders and Edfinancial is a servicer, not a lender.

Here is a timeline of the student loan probe, and a Q&A about the probe from NPR. And here's some advice for getting the best deal on a student loan.

200
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Mon
Apr 30 2007
10:18 am

Knox County has a massive animal overpopulation problem. Thousands of unwanted animals have to be killed every year. And it's getting worse.

Being from the Betty Bean School of Retiring Shyness, I am posting this Perspective piece the News-Sentinel printed Saturday. (Thanks News-Sentinel!)

I wrote the Perspectives piece in response to this article. The statistics titled "Young-Williams Animal Center: A Closer Look" in the right hand column are scary.

This is a community problem we all need to be concerned about. Thousands of animals are born just to be slaughtered.

The Humane Society's Fix-A-Pet Center on Chapman Highway already neuters thousands of animals a year. Young-Williams is getting ready to start a community spay-neuter program.

We need to look at every possible way to reduce the numbers of unwanted animals. What we are having to do to the animals is terrible, and the stress on the people who have to do it for us is crushing.

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