Fri
Feb 9 2007
03:36 pm

A Pentagon investigation concludes that "dubious" intelligence was used to justify the war in Iraq. Chris Kromm makes a good point: this is apparently "news" to the media.

62
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Fri
Feb 9 2007
11:57 am
Topics:
45
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Fri
Feb 9 2007
11:13 am

A new survey shows consumer confidence at a recent high:

Consumers’ economic outlook has skyrocketed during the past month, as seen in the RBC Expectations Index, which stood at 83.8 in January, a dramatic increase from December’s 55.0. This month’s index score represents the strongest level of optimism for future conditions in more than two years (in October 2004, the Expectations Index stood at 95.3).

An analyst says "This increase is likely derived in substantial part from the takeover of the new Congress," but also "likely stems from the continued tight labor conditions, evidenced by the current low unemployment rate of 4.5 per cent."

But then there's this:

The Commerce Department reported Thursday [Feb. 1] that the savings rate for all of 2006 was a negative 1 percent, meaning that not only did people spend all the money they earned but they also dipped into savings or increased borrowing to finance purchases. The 2006 figure was lower than a negative 0.4 percent in 2005 and was the poorest showing since a negative 1.5 percent savings rate in 1933 during the Depression.

For December, consumer spending rose a solid 0.7 percent, the best showing in five months, while incomes rose by 0.5 percent, both figures matching Wall Street expectations.

I guess it sort of correlates.

50
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Fri
Feb 9 2007
09:31 am
Horse_dsc06503.jpg
A piebald horse

While reading Phrases.org.uk I ran across an explanation for the phrase "bald as a coot." I knew enough about birds to know that a coot was a bird, as in the American Coot which Andy Axel was nice enough to post pictures of.

I had always assumed the phrase meant something like "as smooth-headed as a coot," but the site offered a different explanation: "Coots are water birds whose heads have the appearance of baldness. This doesn't refer to the lack of feathers on the bird's head, but to their white markings. Bald has several meanings, one of which is 'streaked or marked with white'. That's the meaning here, as in pie-bald."

Backtracking from Phrases.org.uk, I looked up "bald" in Webster's:

1 a: lacking a natural or usual covering (as of hair, vegetation, or nap) b: having little or no tread (bald tires)
2: marked with white
3: lacking adornment or amplification (a bald assertion)
4: undisguised, palpable (bald arrogance)

One of those last two definitions may have given rise to "bald-faced lie." The second definition for bald is related to piebald:

1 : composed of incongruous parts
2 : of different colors; especially : spotted or blotched with black and white

Coots aren't anymore hairless than any other bird, and are less so than some. They do, however, have a white beak on their black heads, and some species have a white forehead. Bald, in the coot sense, means piebald, though it strikes me that "bald as a coot" may have been a clever turn of phrase that conflated two meanings of bald.

I'm not sure I had ever heard of piebald before, and I'm certain I didn't know what it meant, but I like it. Related words, normally used to describe a horse, are skewbald (brown and white) and oddbald (bay and white, with bay being a reddish-brown color).

These wonderful old words don't seem to be in use anymore. Nowadays pinto is used to describe horses with patches of white and another color. There is also a specific breed called a paint horse.

Previous WOTD - Heterochromia Iridium

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Fri
Feb 9 2007
12:56 am

I'll try to make this short. MPC did approve the form-based code today. Thank goodness. So now it moves on to Council next Tuesday.

Last week the Oversight Committee recommended against changes to the code requested by five property owners represented by Arthur Seymour. MPC, while accepting the Oversight Committee recommendations on most issues, did make the following significant changes:

1) The minimum setback from the river was changed in the SW4 district (which is roughly from the Scottish Pike/Blount Avenue intersection to the railroad tracks west of Chapman Highway, and the area from the Island Home Ave/Sevier intersection to the JWP bridge) and the SW7 district (which is primarily the Holston Gases property) from 70' to 60'.

If I've hopelessly confused you, there's a district map in the draft code on the city website.

2) The maximum building height in the SW4 district was raised from 70' to 90' (it's actually more complicated than this, with # of stories and some other things factoring in, but this is the bottom line). The owners had requested 100'.

3) The maximum building height in the SW7 district was raised from 60' to 120'. The owners had requested 150'. This has the interesting (for lack of a better word) effect of allowing buildings along the river in the SW7 district to be 20' taller than those in the SW5 district which abuts it on the south (non-river) side. SW5 maximum building height is 100'.

It's a virtually certainty that some south Knoxville residents and Oversight Committee members will lobby Council to go back to the building heights recommended by the Oversight Committee.

47
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Thu
Feb 8 2007
11:01 pm

Several student contributors to the Tennessee Journalist have put together a rather impressive package of images and audio relating to the downtown fire. Photo enthusiast are invited to comment on these great shots over at tnjn.com!

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Thu
Feb 8 2007
10:58 pm

Les Jones contacted me via email to see if I would be willing to contribute to a cooperative effort, in something of a Friday Bird Blogging tradition.

So here's my contribution to the effort:

An American coot, Fulica americana.

L 15.5" WS 24" WT 1.4 lb (650g)

Per the Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America:

Common on ponds and in marshes. Walks on lawns & golf courses to graze on grass or dives for aquatic vegetation, which it brings to the surface to eat, bobbing buoyantly like a cork. Forms large tight flocks on water and on land. Duck-like, but stubby white bill and round head and body. Adult has red frontal shield; swollen white frontal shield shown by occasional males throughout range (more often in south).

UPDATE: Yes, I know it's not Friday yet.

UPDATE II: And it would be a funny looking duck, if it were indeed a duck. A coot is a member of the family rallidae, which would make it a rail, in common parlance.

(Photo (c) EKOL Photography, 2007. Taken at Radnor Lake, Nashville TN.)

87
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Thu
Feb 8 2007
10:45 pm

Via Crooks and Liars:

Rep. Bart Gordon quoted White House Press Secretary Tony Snow today, in the matter of Speaker Pelosi's use of federally-arranged transportation:

Gordon (quoting Snow): "I’ll just repeat our position, which is, as Speaker of the House, she is entitled to military transport, and that the arrangements, the proper arrangements are being made between the Sergeant of Arms office in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Department of Defense. We think it’s appropriate, and so, again, I think this is much ado about not a whole lot. It is important for the Speaker to have this kind of protection and travel. It was certainly appropriate for Speaker Hastert. So we trust that all sides will get this worked out."

Video here.

Call Bart Gordon's office to thank him for poking holes in this nonsense.

Washington Office:
2304 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4231 Fax: (202) 225 6887

Murfreesboro District Office:
305 W. Main St.
Murfreesboro, TN 37130
Phone: (615) 896-1986

Cookeville District Office:
15 South Jefferson,
Cookeville, TN 38501
Phone: (931) 528-5907

105
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Thu
Feb 8 2007
08:53 pm

Methadone is a popular opiate blocker intended to help and reduce symptoms of addiction and withdrawl from opiates (heroine, oxycotton, roxysett, etc... This drug that once had to be obtained through a long and difficult process, usually taking 6-9 months to get an appointment at the clinic is now being perscribed by doctors.

Continued...

53
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Thu
Feb 8 2007
07:12 pm

Got this in an e-mail from Lisa Starbuck:

Just wanted to let everyone know that Kimberly-Clarke Co. has paid all the funeral expenses for the 4 children who perished in the fire this week. They have also given Rolston, the dad, a year off with pay. Also, Smith Mortuary stepped up, along with the casket company and the cemetery and reduced the funeral expenses from $35,000 for all to $4,500 for all. At a time when companies are tightening up the budget, it's really great when they step up like this.

Terrible tragedies like this seem to bring out the best in people.

128
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Thu
Feb 8 2007
06:53 pm
By: R. Neal  shortURL

KnoxViews exposed!

UPDATE: Oh, it just gets better:

You know, I think I know what set Randall off...I put up a comment, on one of his pieces (you know he has the habit of doing 'Heh')...I ended my remark with 'HeH' (h/t Glenn Reynolds, whose frequent use of "heh," "indeed," and "read the whole thing" have been widely imitated...) might have set off Randy's InstaEnvy! It must be harsh, living in the shadow of the Nations' Best Blogger, and have to have a minor league site...sorry, Randy, didn't mean to go there...

I hope I can find a picture of Randy. I want to add him to my photochop collection, much like I've featured Retardo Montalban for Jeff Goldstein's amusement.

Not my best photo, but happy to oblige, on both counts! (P.S. My name is not "Randall". But thanks for playing.)

UPDATE: Somebody ruined the fun and told him he used the wrong photo in his photoshop. Here's a snapshot of what his site looked like before he got a clue.

Topics:
62
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Thu
Feb 8 2007
05:46 pm

tonight at 6, WATE's Catherine Campbell is supposed to be running a story on another developer's grossly neglected project.

WATE mainly focused on Brownlow, and also mentioned 26 Market Square, and the remaining McClung Warehouses.

UPDATE 2: "Government, has in fact, kept this from happening to a certain extent because they won't be accountable," Melynda Whetsel, president of the Fourth and Gill Neighborhood Organization. story with link to video.

In my opinion, this is absolutely STILL the county government's responsibility. They put out an RFP, and awarded the building to David Dewhirst in 2002 for a mere $200,000. Three years later, after he failed to perform on the contract, Mayor Mike Ragsdale permitted him, in a letter of questionable legal standing, to sell the property to Cardinal Enterprises, (Brian Conley), for $325,000. The county taxpayers and the adjacent neighborhood got hoodooed by this deal. If Conley will not re-develop the property, it needs to be returned to the county taxpayers who once owned it. Every step of this process should be scrutinized closely.

UPDATE 1 from comments:

Brownlow is one where the developer has been obviously negligent...windows have been out since October 2005. Humorously, within two hours of the TV cameras leaving, a workman came by to amateurishly replace some of the styrofoam panels.

Fifth Avenue Motel, where Volunteer Ministry Center is the developer, is another "risky property." VMC used your tax dollars to buy it in May 2006 with City community development block grant money. It is now February 2007, and the building looks worse than ever and is by no means secure.

Mayor Bill Haslam and the Knoxville City Council members who voted to approve this expenditure of federal money are responsible for the condition of this property.

It was County Mayor Mike Ragsdale who cut the deal to let David Dewhirst off the hook on Brownlow and handed it to Brian Conley, without any performance standards for redeveloping this county asset. Mr. Ragsdale, Mr. Dewhirst, and Mr. Conley are fully responsible for the condition of this property.

MY word of the day: PERFORMANCE STANDARDS!

50
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Thu
Feb 8 2007
05:37 pm

The annual Dogwood Arts Festival House & Garden Show opens tomorrow, February 9th and runs through Sunday the 11th. The event is at the Knoxville Convention Center, 710 Henley St. in Downtown Knoxville. Hours are 10 AM to 8 PM Friday and Saturday, and 11 AM to 5 PM Sunday. Tickets are available at the door, Adults $10.00, Seniors $8.00, Children 6-12 $5.00, 5 and under Free.

There are some pretty cool garden/landscape/waterscape exhibits, including one with an awesome model train. There are lots of home improvement and interior design exhibits, and seminars by DYI Network personalities and more. There's also a new wine and cheese garden cafe this year. Here's the Knoxville News Sentinel's special section with more info.

53
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Thu
Feb 8 2007
05:07 pm

Anna Nicole Smith has died after collapsing in her hotel room.

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Thu
Feb 8 2007
03:19 pm

Bush-Nixon, Patriot act-Safe street act, Iraq divided-Vietnam divided, "young men dying and old men debating", War tax-terror tax, where are the hippies? You think someone might open a history book and learn from it. How about another Castro for "President" of Iraq? You can not militarily force a government into place, even democracy. We took care of Saddam, so now we should let them resolve the issue themselves. You think they would have learned that after all the countries tried to force communism into place, That the end effect was not communism at all. It ended in a variation of athoritarian power and corruption. Rome wasn't built in a day, year, or decade. It is a long and difficult process and the people of the nation should be the ones who create change, other wise right or wrong we just piss them off.

Topics:
44
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Thu
Feb 8 2007
03:11 pm
By: StaceyDiamond  shortURL

This Friday checkout Democratic Television's live 10th Anniversary show, 9:30 p.m. on Comcast Channel 12.

50
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Thu
Feb 8 2007
03:09 pm
By: StaceyDiamond  shortURL

I don't know which commercials I'm more annoyed by, the grunge girls promoting this new hpv vaccine or the blue collar kids begging their parents to let them join the military. Of course we want a vaccine that might cure a cancer but with this never-ending commercial its seems to be as much to make money for the drug company as it is to help girls and it says it may not prevent all forms of hpv, just like the flu shot that is endlessly promoted but each year the flu outwits the shot. These endless drug commercials make me question true motives and the military commercial showing usually poor and /or minority kids is just shameless. Stacey

53
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Thu
Feb 8 2007
03:02 pm
By: StaceyDiamond  shortURL

I hope local media will take note of the COPYRIGHT segment of the new rules. Local print journalists especially have been known to take quotes and even pics off blogs and list serves they troll on without asking permission or sometimes without giving credit. They should know better. Stacey

51
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Thu
Feb 8 2007
01:30 pm

yona_0005.jpg

Heterochromia iridium is a difference in eye color, with causes ranging from genetics to disease to injury.

Heterochromia generally refers to two eyes of different color, but there are variations. Altered areas of coloration within one eye is secular heterochromia. An individual's eyes can become darker (hyperchromia) or lighter (hypochromia).

Some famous people with heterochromia include Alexander the Great and actors Dan Akroyd, Christopher Walken, and Kate Bosworth, who has both heterochromia and secular heterochromia. David Bowie has one eye with an enlarged pupil due to a fistfight as a schoolboy, though it's arguable whether or not that constitutes heterochromia, which usually affects the iris.

Heterochromia is fairly common in dogs. It's particularly common in certain breeds, such as dalmations, border collies, and huskies.

More info:
- Ask Uncle Cecil on heterochromia
- Google image search for "heterochromia"

Previous WOTD - Shoot Me First Vest

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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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