Fri
Mar 9 2007
07:14 pm

This will be short and to the point. I received from a friend in New Mexico a letter from Gov Bill Richardson's office. The heading was Stop being ashamed. It urges Americans to contact their govenors and ask them to find state monies to help care for the returning wounded.
This sounds like a marvelous idea to me. We need to step up to the plate and take care of these folks with or without the bush administration (I never cap those when used together in a sentence). Thanks, MartyD, Houston, Tx

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50
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Fri
Mar 9 2007
03:26 pm
By: StaceyDiamond  shortURL

When I saw WATE last night I finally knew why my house shook yesterday afternoon, the blasting over near 4th and Gill. No wonder the 4th and Gill residents are worried about damage. I'm on the other side of Braodway at least a mile from the site and felt it pretty strongly. Stacey

51
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Fri
Mar 9 2007
02:47 pm

Here we go with the committee which I predict will accomplish nothing helpful for Knox County citizens. I am still hopefull though, that some good will come of all this nonsense.

The newly appointed County Ethics Committee held its first meeting today and made a point of electing officers that have no connection with Knox County government.

Read the full N-S article.

This post needs a poll. How many people think the ethics committee will be effective?

54
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Fri
Mar 9 2007
01:52 pm

About new Commisioner Charles Bolus from a KNS story this morning about Billy Tindell and his new job:

Bolus was a compromise candidate after Tindell and the 2nd District's other commissioner, Mark Harmon, couldn't agree on a candidate.

That's certainly an interesting way to describe what happened. Was Ms. Ferrar perhaps channeling Scoobie?

225
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Fri
Mar 9 2007
12:30 pm

A while back, KnoxViews was asked by the J-Lab Institute for Interactive Journalism and the Knight Citizens News Network to participate in a survey of "citizen media" site operators.

The results of their survey are here.

I found this section on "To Edit or Not" particularly interesting, and especiallly this:

At sites where threads get personal or hostile, she said, "The first people to leave are the women, then the people over 55. I don’t want to have a site exclusively of young men." Williams asks posters to observe Three T’s: truthfulness, tactfulness and transparency. Many of the tact violators "are the passionate people. I’ll write and say, 'I want you on the site, but could you dial it back a tiny bit?'"

Emphasis added.

55
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Fri
Mar 9 2007
10:35 am

In the People's Republic of Illinois, an elderly couple converted their Volkswagen to run on vegetable oil. Apparently, that requires a license and payment of a fuel tax at either the gas or diesel rate:

The agents informed the Wetzels that they were interested in their car, a 1986 Volkswagen Golf, that David Wetzel converted to run primarily from vegetable oil but also partly on diesel.

Wetzel uses recycled vegetable oil, which he picks up weekly from an organization that uses it for frying food at its dining facility.

"They told me I am required to have a license and am obligated to pay a motor fuel tax," David Wetzel recalled. "Mr. May also told me the tax would be retroactive."

Since the initial visit by the agents on Jan. 4, the Wetzels have been involved in a struggle with the Illinois Department of Revenue. The couple, who live on a fixed budget, have been asked to post a $2,500 bond and threatened with felony charges.

Continued...

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56
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Fri
Mar 9 2007
10:19 am


(click to embiggen)

We were out for an evening walk yesterday and we spotted these two mallards flying along a stream that runs through our neighborhood, following every bend as if they were on a road to somewhere, looking for something. They flew past, circled around, and came back over and I snapped this photo.

They seemed confused. Maybe a little frantic. I don't know how or what ducks think, and I don't know their migrating habits or much about their behavior in general. But a story began forming in my mind.

Read more after the jump...

Continued...

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Fri
Mar 9 2007
08:57 am

"It's unfathomable that more than five years after September 11th, a measure as fundamental and simple as this one still has not been implemented," said Lowey, who serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security. "Meticulously screening passengers but giving workers open access is like installing an expensive home-security system but leaving your back door wide open."

Why were the two Kissimmee men able to get on the plane with a bag of weapons even though one of them, Zabdiel Santiago-Balaguer, was part of a larger investigation by the FBI into gun-smuggling through the airport?

...the Transportation Security Administration, hasn't seen the need for regular screenings either, believing them to be costly and time-consuming.

We passengers are sheep, following along to get along. While the government and corporate America can't take the time or spend the money to make air travel safe from employees.

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Fri
Mar 9 2007
08:30 am

Actually the question is Who, not what.

Gingrich has admitted that he was having his own affair - cheating on his wife - while he lead the charge to impeach Bill Clinton for the affair with Monica.

The Republican presidential candidates - in which Gingrich places himself - keep making Gov. Romney look better and better.

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Fri
Mar 9 2007
07:38 am

The Institute for Southern Studies has released a new report, A New Agenda for the Gulf, which details the lack of progress in the eighteen months following Katrina and offers specific recommendations for Congress.

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Fri
Mar 9 2007
07:28 am
By: R. Neal  shortURL

As noted at Facing South, there is growing world-wide opposition to the death penalty, and the numbers are down in the U.S. but it's still most prevalent in the South.

The case of a mentally deficient death-row inmate in Mississippi prompted a recent three-part investigative report by the McClatchy Newspapers into the failure of lawyers to adequately defend death penalty cases in Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama and Virginia. They reviewed dozens of recent cases and found...

Continued...

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Fri
Mar 9 2007
01:28 am

Dupree stomps Saddam hysterics scurrying across the pantry floor.

Continued...

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Thu
Mar 8 2007
09:26 pm

Which of the following singers would have made it to the American Idol finals?

John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, Leon Russell, Rod Stewart, Joe Cocker, Grace Slick, Neil Young, Janis Joplin, Tom Petty, Wilson Pickett, Chrissie Hynde, Lucinda Williams, Johnny Cash, Bonnie Raitt, Van Morrison, Muddy Waters, David Bowie, Paul Simon, Michael Bolton...

OK, maybe Michael Bolton.

Mark it down: I predict Lakisha Jones will win it, because I still believe in talent and stuff. Which means she probably won't make the final cut.

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Thu
Mar 8 2007
05:52 pm

PETA is now after Al Gore. Why, you might ask?

According to PETA, "animals raised for food generate more greenhouse gases than all cars and trucks combined, and that (according to a recent University of Chicago study), switching to a vegan diet is more effective in countering global warming than switching from a standard American car to a Prius."

I had some braised spinach and a glass of Shiraz Cabernet with my pork chop. By the way, the pork chop was delicious.

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Scooter Libby and this not so sacred earth
By Don Williams

If Lincoln was right to suggest that the dead hallow the earth, then America and Iraq grow more sacred by the day. Take Tuesday, March 6, when Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, I. Scooter Libby, was pronounced guilty of lying and obstructing. Media related another story that day, but in such a way that you would’ve thought it happened in a different universe. It was about how suicide bombers murdered at least 100 Shiites and injured more than 250 during a holy pilgrimage in Iraq.

Click here to continue reading...

Continued...

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Thu
Mar 8 2007
10:22 am

This week the Blount County Mayor has an interesting Letter to the Editor in The Daily Times.

Two big issues in this letter. First his attitude towards "Johnny Come Lately critics" which to me means transplants-HEY! we are Blount By Choice and that I will rant on in another post.

The other issue is the money coming from the housing of federal inmates.

The Mayor says "over $2 million in revenue is generated per year". This is payment for our jail housing and transporting federal inmates.

How much of this flow of funds will stop when the Department of Justice finishes it's audit of the IGA between the US Marshal's Service and the BCJC?

Straight from the DoJ's website

Intergovernmental Service Agreements for Detention Facilities

The USMS houses approximately 53,000 detainees throughout the nation and is responsible for their detention from the time they are brought into federal custody until they either are acquitted or incarcerated. To house the detainees, the USMS often executes Intergovernmental Service Agreements with state and local governments to rent jail space. According to the USMS, 75 percent of the detainees in USMS custody are detained in state, local, and private facilities.

During this reporting period, we completed an audit of an IGA that the USMS awarded to the Blount County, Tennessee, Sheriff's Office for the housing and transportation of federal detainees. The BOP also housed prisoners at the facility under the terms of the IGA between the USMS and the Sheriff's Office. Our audit determined that the Sheriff's Office's allowable costs did not support the jail daily rate paid by the USMS and the BOP for FYs 2003 and 2004 and the first 8 months of FY 2005. During this period, the USMS could have saved more than $1.2 million by paying the audit calculated rate instead of the rate it agreed to, while the BOP could have saved more than $36,000. In addition, the USMS could have saved more than $730,000 by paying the audit calculated rate for the period June 1, 2005, through September 30, 2005. The BOP could have saved over $17,000 by paying the audit determined rate for the same time period. Both the USMS and the BOP currently are preparing responses to the OIG.

I look forward to reading those responses from the USMS and the BOP. Don't you?

My questions are simple- this audit shows the IGA to be very favorable to the Blount County coffers but how much longer will we be getting this great deal? Or has the IGA already been re-written to reduce the cash flow to the county and if so do we really profit from housing these federal inmates?

We are at a time here in Blount County when every penny counts and well it should! As our Commission is looking at the budget for this next year don't they need to fully understand when part of our revenue may be at risk if it is in fact just that- at risk?

On a personal note, my favorite part of liberal leaning websites is that I know it's readers will go off and do their own research. We are not the kind of folks who blindly accept. We question all the answers. So as you go off to do your own research I have a tip for you. The way these federal websites are set up just clicking on the link provided via a search won't get you to the page you want. Don't forget to click on the cache.

I am- Blount By Choice!

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Thu
Mar 8 2007
09:50 am

Sharing the Costs of Development and Growth:
The Experience with Impact Fees and Adequate Facilities Taxes in Tennessee

A workshop sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Knox County
Land Use Committee

Special Guests: Dr. Stanley Chervin, Senior Research Associate
Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR)
Russ Newman, Director, Loudon County Planning Department

Tuesday, March 20
12:00 noon to 1:00 pm (brown bag lunch at 11:30)
Beck Cultural Center, 1927 Dandridge Avenue, Knoxville

With increasing concern for quality growth in Knox County, a fundamental question arises: How will we pay for the rising costs of infrastructure--new schools, parks, police and fire protection, roads, and off-site drainage? How can we ensure that commercial and residential developers bear an appropriate share of the costs incurred by new development?

To realize greater cost-sharing, one of our options is to pursue a local adequate facilities tax or impact fee on new development--- linked with incentives for sustainable development and affordable housing. The League of Women Voters invites you to our public workshop to explore this issue with Dr. Stan Chervin from TACIR, the state's own intergovernmental think tank. Recent legislation has enabled a school facility tax for high-growth counties. Russ Newman, Director of Loudon County's Planning Department will provide perspective on the implementation of this new law in Loudon County.

We welcome you to forward this invitation to your colleagues. To help us with planning, please RSVP to this email, or call Jamey Dobbs at 548-0818. Feel free to call or email for more information. For directions, call the Beck Center at 865/524-8461. Interstate 40/James White Parkway construction has changed the regular route to the Center. Parking is free.

Jamey Dobbs, Program Director
Our Community Schools - A legacy of Nine Counties.One Vision.
Email: jameydobbs@yahoo.com
Phone: (865) 548-0818, (865) 691-6728

43
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Thu
Mar 8 2007
08:03 am

The KNS reports that Tommy Schumpert was never asked if he wanted to be on the newly formed Knox County Ethics Committee and that he won't serve. Scooby has an entertaining explanation for the faux pas: It's all Jack McElroy's fault.

52
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Thu
Mar 8 2007
02:26 am

Former labor secretary dishes on his date with Hillary Rodham.

Ok, this is a cheap plug for Reich's blog. The guy's effing brilliant, and in a just and sane world he'd have a wider audience than certain unnamed glibertarian law professors.

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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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