Mon
Jan 22 2007
11:17 pm
By: Brian A.  shortURL

I think R. Neal was onto something here. Tuesday night, for the Democratic response to the State of the Union speech, Senator Webb should do the following:

(1) Step up to the podium.
(2) Say: "Everything that guy just said is bullshit... Thank you."
(3) Turn and walk out the door.

It would be an instant classic in American speech-making history.

21
like
Mon
Jan 22 2007
10:22 pm
By: Rich Hailey  shortURL

OK folks, time for another blog fest. I'm thinking of holding it February 10th to avoid Super Bowl conflicts.

I've been requested to move the bash out to the west for a change, and someplace a little more family friendly.

Any suggestions?

87
like
Mon
Jan 22 2007
05:33 pm

Tennessee Guerilla Women has a post by Paul Krugman on the health insurance proposal Bush has been discussing lately.

While proposing this high-end tax break, Mr. Bush is also proposing a tax increase - not on the wealthy, but on workers who, he thinks, have too much health insurance. The tax code, he said, "unwisely encourages workers to choose overly expensive, gold-plated plans. The result is that insurance premiums rise, and many Americans cannot afford the coverage they need."

I'm always afraid when people with no clue try to come up with solutions to important issues. I heard part of this proposal discussed on the radio today, i.e. tax people paying more for health insurance. I wonder if they realize some people have to pay more just to get some basic coverage because they are identified as uninsurable by health insurance companies. Who will determine the definition of a "gold-plated plan"?

Oh, Thoughts of an Average Woman has the scoop on "gold-plated plans".

Bush wants to cap how much a family or individual can pay for a health insurance policy.

It would work like this: The administration would cap the amount of benefits that can remain tax free at $15,000 for a family and $7,500 for an individual. Anyone whose health insurance cost more than that would pay taxes on the difference. For example, a family with coverage costing $16,000 a year would pay taxes on $1,000.

76
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Mon
Jan 22 2007
05:23 pm
By: Rachel  shortURL

So tomorrow we have the State of the Union. How I long for the days of old when I could play a drinking game, chugging one down every time Bush said "terra" or "WMD" or "9/11." Or the last couple of years, when I simply stopped watching.

This year I feel compelled to watch. But no drinking games - there's not one single damn amusing things left about the state of our union.

Instead, I'll be trying not to cry, and holding my breath in the hopes that our President doesn't once again do something to make things even worse.

10
like
Mon
Jan 22 2007
04:02 pm

Last night I read this article from the BBC about the benefits of owning a dog. Great! Owning two has to be that much better, right?

I went to bed last night after forgetting to secure the dog door.

(more after the break)

Continued...

22
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Mon
Jan 22 2007
11:01 am

Today's Knoxville News Sentinel editorial says "Plan to bum-rush appointments is outrage":

Since the appointments run only until the 2008 elections, Moore and some other commissioners evidently don't want to be bothered with the niceties of public forums, open discussion and candidates making their cases before an open meeting.

Instead, what Moore and the others want is the same system they have had for too long - a political country club where the members say who can be admitted and who is excluded.

That would be a serious mistake, not only for the commission but as well for the credibility of county government.

Lots of folks are not going to have a chance to have their voices heard. Will it come back to haunt the sitting, non-term limited commissioners? Probably not. Most people just don't seem all that interested. But it will be interesting to see who goes on record in support of an open process at today's meeting.

I was talking to some folks at the News Sentinel and they said the controversy isn't generating much reader interest. There was speculation on why this is. One reporter noted that it's complicated, and it may be that people simply don't understand it. (Which may have prompted this primer in Sunday's paper.)

My theory is that most people see it as a lot of inside baseball they just don't care. As evidence, look at the 20% turnout in local elections. Or the fact that voters (and those who don't bother) keep electing the same people they voted to term limit twelve years ago.

In other term limit news, over at the Halls Shopper Sandra Clark has a farewell love letter to Sheriff Tim, and Betty Bean has this backgrounder on his presumed successor.

171
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Mon
Jan 22 2007
10:06 am

Tennessee is moving to a warmer climate:

NASHVILLE - A national arborist group has updated the U.S. Department of Agriculture's plant hardiness zone map, placing most of Tennessee in a warmer category because of recent climate patterns.

[..]

"Things are surviving further north than they did before," said Nashville plant enthusiast Mary Wilson. "The maps are good guidelines so you don't spend money on what absolutely won't work."

I guess it's nice that we will now be able to plant palm trees and whatnot, but what the article doesn't mention is how climate change affects the ecosystem:

After three decades of warming not seen in more than 1,000 years, spring arrives earlier around the world. As species shift their ranges toward the cooler poles or higher elevations, the season brings unexpected arrivals of migrating birds and mistimed hatchings of insects and flowerings of trees.

Some species on the move may flourish, but others may die. And the loss of just one kind of plant or animal, scientists say, can set off a cascade of biological events that can extinguish a whole ecosystem.

On the other hand, all this miserable, cold rain we've had for the past few days would have been a foot of snow thirty years ago. So there's that.

37
like
Mon
Jan 22 2007
09:12 am

Airport cop attacked, returns fire:

"He (the officer) hadn't even gotten out of his vehicle yet when the suspect stepped out of his vehicle and started shooting rounds," O'Briant said.

The officer then opened fire on the suspect through his windshield, striking him twice in the torso, she said.

Amazingly, the story doesn't end (or begin) there.

12
like
Sun
Jan 21 2007
11:26 pm
By: R. Neal  shortURL

What a great game! It's the only game we've watched from beginning to end all year. A real nail biter. The Patriots seemed to have Peyton figured out early on. Their secondary pass defense was awesome. The tables were turned in the second half, though.

So, what do you think for the Superbowl? Both teams struggled early against their opponents today. The Bears dominated in the end, but the Colts engineered an awesome comeback. Is Petyon due?

The one sure bet for the Superbowl is Prince as the halftime entertainment. Should be a lot of fun all around.

Topics:
13
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Sun
Jan 21 2007
09:28 pm

From HamDems:
(link...)

12
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Sun
Jan 21 2007
07:22 pm
By: knoxnative  shortURL

I know all the Knox County politicians and office holders are busy thinking about how they can benefit personally from the current situation. I wonder if they are thinking at all about the aftermath? Do they care at all about what people think of them as a person?

If they select their insiders and cronies in order to try to keep a hand in, they are going to do a lot of damage to whatever good name they have left. People are already disgusted with the whole process. It's a shame that greed and disregard for the people they are supposed to serve is going to erase any good these officeholders may have done in the past.

197
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Sun
Jan 21 2007
05:45 pm

Perhaps I have overlooked it, but are there any criteria for the mixture of members on the MPC?
It looks heavily weighted toward the development industry. At least 8 of the 15 members look like developers/contractors of some sort. I could see perhaps two members from those related industries, but the remainder more of a balanced cross-section of the community.

I would have more faith in MPC viewpoints with a more evenly distributed membership
more accurately representing the entire community.

(link...)

21
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Sun
Jan 21 2007
04:03 pm
By: bizgrrl  shortURL

Win one for the Gulf Coast!

Update: there some white stuff drifting all over the place. How're you supposed to play ball with this kind of interference?

Topics:
28
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Sun
Jan 21 2007
02:08 pm
By: rocketsquirrel  shortURL

fascist new urbanists, who find battles between urbanists and suburbanists more compelling than a band of space cadets engaged in battle from the Terran carrier "Tiger Claw" in the war against the Kilrathi, might be interested in this view from across the pond by a MP for Suffolk Coastal.

Apparently urban planning in Britain is being driven more by energy security policy than demonstrations of affluence, which is a good thing.

you'll have to google to appreciate the Tiger Claw reference.

ESTATES GAZETTE
09-06-04

Planning

A flying visit to the United States has left me seriously depressed. Not about the war, although that remains as serious a mess as some of us warned, but about America's ability to plan for her own future. The issue of energy security ought to have alerted the nation to the fact that her present course is utterly unsustainable. Yet, the suburbs around her booming cities continue to expand in a way that is entirely dependent upon the car. There is no real concept of containment. Urban renewal is an also-ran, part of social policy rather than central to the development of the nation. For middle-class America, suburban living in ever greater luxury with ever more space, is the great driver.

Read more after the jump...

Continued...

Topics:
23
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Sun
Jan 21 2007
11:27 am

From a press release that just showed up in my inbox:

SANTA FE, NM--New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson today announced the formation of a Presidential campaign exploratory committee, with the clear intention of seeking the Democratic nomination for President in 2008.

"I am taking this step because we have to repair the damage that's been done to our country over the last six years," said Richardson. "Our reputation in the world is diminished, our economy has languished, and civility and common decency in government has perished."

Visit RichardsonForPresident.com for more. Full text of the press release after the jump...

Continued...

47
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Sun
Jan 21 2007
11:20 am

Lost among the Obama and Clinton hoopla was Sen. Sam Brownback's announcement that he is a candidate for the GOP nomination. Who is this guy? Here's a Rolling Stone profile from Jan. 2006:

Now, Brownback seeks something far more radical: not faith-based politics but faith in place of politics. In his dream America, the one he believes both the Bible and the Constitution promise, the state will simply wither away. In its place will be a country so suffused with God and the free market that the social fabric of the last hundred years -- schools, Social Security, welfare -- will be privatized or simply done away with. There will be no abortions; sex will be confined to heterosexual marriage. Men will lead families, mothers will tend children, and big business and the church will take care of all.

As the article points out, the only thing he's likely to accomplish is to influence the eventual nominee:

Brownback is unlikely to receive the Republican presidential nomination -- but as the candidate of the Christian right, he may well be in a position to determine who does, and what they include in their platform. "What Sam could do very effectively," says the Rev. Rob Schenck, an evangelical activist, is hold the nomination hostage until the Christian right "exacts the last pledge out of the more popular candidate."

Read the whole thing. I'm not sure the radical Christian right holds as much sway as it did in the past. Karl Rove may have pulled the wool over their eyes twice, but I don't think it will work again.

22
like
Sun
Jan 21 2007
01:00 am
By: Andy Axel  shortURL

In perhaps the most predictable announcement in recent political history, Hillary Clinton announced her 2008 intentions.

Yawn.

This little sketch from an Australian paper caught my eye... her campaign chairman -- former DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe -- is said to be packaging Hillary as the "new" Thatcher.

"She has the name recognition, the money, the glitz, she’s got it all," McAuliffe said.

If she wins, she will return to the White House where she spent eight years as first lady during Bill Clinton’s presidency from 1993-2001.

McAuliffe predicted a rough campaign. "She is going to fight for herself and she is going to have people around her who will fight," he said.

"They are going to play mean, nasty and dirty on the other side. You don’t walk into a knife fight without adequate gloves.”

(Huh. When you're an outside shot, you'd be well advised to take a gun to a knife fight, Terry... Isn't that actually how the saying goes?)

Anyway -- casting Hillary as the Iron Lady is doing the woman no favors. Just friendly advice there.

Um, not that she has a chance in hell campaigning anywhere outside of the Northeast or the far western states. I guess we'll see how far she can carry the "whistling past Dixie" strategy.

(More below the fold, should you care enough to read on...)

Continued...

22
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Sat
Jan 20 2007
12:09 pm

Kleinheider is live blogging Governor Bredesen's inauguration, and picking up lots of gossip and lies along the way.

24
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Sat
Jan 20 2007
11:45 am

Condoleeza Rice:

"There is no doubt that there could be a very important effect on the entire region if we are able to make progress on Middle East peace."

Brilliant. Has there ever been a more worthless, ineffective cabinet member of any administration?

Even Donald Trump says he would fire her.

9
like
Sat
Jan 20 2007
09:41 am

KnoxViews was officially launched one year ago today. Thanks to all our readers and contributors for making the first year a big success.

Site traffic has grown steadily each month. It was down slightly in December, but January 2007 could be on pace to set a new record.

Some statistics (from Webalizer*):

February 2006 - January 20, 2007:
Total page views: 3,751,251
Total visits: 987,646

Fourth Quarter 2006:
Average monthly page views: 481,949
Average monthly visits: 141,359

January 2007:
Page views per Day: 14,791 avg, 20,102 max
Visits per Day: 4827 avg, 6014 max

February 2006 (first full month of operation):
Page views per Day: 3804 avg, 5199 max
Visits per Day: 918 avg, 1055 max

(*Statistics may include spiders and bots.)

Database:
Registered users: 664
Number of posts: 3105
Number of comments: 16,966

Reader demographics survey (Sept. 2006)

Reader location survey (Aug. 2006)

Top five most discussed posts:

Where is the glass dome?
(118 comments)

Disaster Preparedness for the Less Fortunate
(92 comments)

Worst. Mother. Ever.
(84 comments)

Jordan et al. v. Knox County: TERM LIMITS ENFORCED
(79 comments)

Fleming's Steak House at Turkey Creek
(76 comments)

59
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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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