Tue
Aug 7 2007
09:33 am
By: Carole Borges  shortURL

I guess the big PHARMA companies who make cholesterol drugs are running out of customers, even though they have kept lowering the bar for what was considered dangerously high levels. They're still not selling enough statins to please their stockholders.

At one time 225 was an okay level, then the "experts" dropped it to 200, then they started saying under 200 was best. Ironically they soon ran out of new people with high enough levels. Now they've turned to kids to see if perhaps they might be good candidates to benefit from their product.
(link...)

Though several articles have discussed this, few mention that the test which these recommendations were based on were done by Bristol Meyer Squibb, a big PHARMA company, not a research hospital or independent facility.

Yes, a few kids might be helped by statins, but how much would you like to bet, we start seeing a whole bunch of doctors jump on the statins-for kids bandwagon.

30
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Tue
Aug 7 2007
01:02 am

The KNS reports that Knox County is funding another local non-profit "linked" to Cynthia Finch:

Knox County is funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to a church-affiliated development corporation that’s linked to Mayor Mike Ragsdale’s community services director and is delinquent on its own taxes.

According to the article, the link to Finch is that the development corporation made a $33,000 grant to TennCorp, the other non-profit in the news that was founded by Finch and has offices in a building she owns and is run by her sister.

Continued...

32
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Mon
Aug 6 2007
06:00 pm
By: michael kaplan  shortURL

For those who are always asking "Who's going to pay for it?" here's a continual accounting of the cost of the military action in Iraq.

16
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Mon
Aug 6 2007
05:29 pm

On a clear day...

Today...

Click read more for larger views of both...

Continued...

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from the paper's web site. This whole thing is getting out of control.

(link...)

now from WBIR's web site:

(link...)

Update:

Now a new twist:

Loyd is saying she didn't leave for medical reasons:Loyd also claims she had not told the county of any basis for her to go on medical leave. from WBIR link above

but Ragsdale's press release on July 25th said she did leave after providing "medical certification documenting the circumstances and conditions necessitating the leave" see link (link...)

So, which is it, did she provide documents or is the press release wrong (or worse)?

126
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Mon
Aug 6 2007
11:24 am

Scooby Moore appears to be officially running for County Clerk, or at least he has appointed a treasurer.

26
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Mon
Aug 6 2007
09:35 am

PhotoEnforced is using GoogleMaps to document all the redlight cameras. Right now Knoxville only shows 6. Help by going to PhotoEnforced and adding the others. Send the admins a note encouraging them to list Knoxville so that we can see the cameras on the map rather than just a list.

74
like
Mon
Aug 6 2007
08:08 am

The West Side Shopper appeared in my newspaper box this morning. Up to now, I was too far west for the 'west' Shopper. The Shopper now reaches East, North and West with free home delivery. Reading the broadsheet is much better than having to read it online or when I happened to pick up a print copy in another part of town.

Most on this blog know the Shopper for it's political coverage. But, a quick read shows it's much more. But, as for the political coverage, a voice which reaches more people can't be a comfort to some folks in the Courthouse.

Topics:
32
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Sun
Aug 5 2007
08:04 pm

My recent run from the law (read: vacation) has concluded. With lightning runs around Ecuador and Perú, including stops in Galápagos Islands and at Macchu Piccu, it's been a heckuva few weeks.

And there was much birding goodness to be found.

A sample:

Magnificent frigatebird, Fregata magnificens, on the wing, riding the slipstream above the Galápagos Aggressor II.

25
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Sun
Aug 5 2007
05:42 pm

One thing I've found annoying in my two months of living in Maryville is the propensity of drivers to fail to follow through on left-hand turns when a light turns red. Everywhere else I've lived - rural Michigan, Chicago, northern Virginia - when you plan to make a left turn at a light, you go out into the intersection and when the traffic is clear you complete your turn (this is if you don't have a left-turn arrow). Sometimes oncoming cars are beating the yellow so you have to wait until they are through before you complete your turn, even if that means following through on a red. I've seen this done in front of police officers multiple times and I've never seen anyone get pulled over for it. From what I understand, you are legally allowed to complete the left turn if you've begun it under green or yellow, even if the light has just turned right. You just cannot ENTER the intersection after the light is red.

Well, I've seen cars just sit there at the light all over Maryville instead of completing the turn. Sometimes it's downright dangerous to sit there, like when cars on US321 South fail to complete the left turn onto Broadway and find themselves stuck in the middle of traffic (there's an upcoming hilltop but by the time the light turns red, it's obvious that no more cars are coming over the hill.) What gives here? Why don't people follow through in their left turns? Very few intersections have red-light cameras - none in Maryville. Is the law different in Tennessee? Or are drivers just excessively timid?

Topics:
26
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Sun
Aug 5 2007
05:33 pm

...on Mt. Leconte.

(link...)

Unfortunately, it's hotter than hell everywhere else in East Tennessee. The next few days are going to be ugly hot.

(link...)

We've been fortunate this summer to have really pleasant weather. A bit of rain here and there, slightly hot days (high 80s), and comfortable nights (low in the high 60s). That pattern will end this next week...unless you plan to head up to the mountains. Looks like that's where I'm heading.

38
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Sun
Aug 5 2007
04:56 pm
By: michael kaplan  shortURL

I ventured out on I-40 today and the electronic signs read "Air Quality Alert - Reduce Speed." Knoxville was enveloped in a thick smog. I usually travel around the speed limit - 55 mph - and noticed that most of the traffic, as usual, was barreling along at 65 - 75 mph. No enforcement in sight.

24
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Sun
Aug 5 2007
02:06 pm

We were out shopping yesterday and passed by the local Wal-Mart near our house three or four times, even turning around in their parking lot once to go to Target to pick up something we remembered.

In a moment of weakness, I muttered that "I wish we could just stop at Wal-Mart. It's right here." The Mrs. wouldn't have any of it, so off to Target we went.

On the way, I said "you know, it would be nice if you could buy some sort of shopping offset or credit, like those carbon offsets, when you're in a hurry and it would be more convenient to just go to Wal-Mart."

And right then the idea for my next big business venture hit me: Socially Irresponsible Shopping Offset Credits™. Each $10 offset credit coupon would cover $100 worth of liberal guilt relating to purchases from a socially irresponsible merchant.

$8 of the credit would go to charities and other organizations that promote social and environmental responsibility. $2 would go towards administering the program (i.e. to pay me) and for postage and handling of a nice Socially Irresponsible Shopping Offset Credit™ coupon. (Ratios subject to change pending an actual, you know, business plan and stuff.)

This is a breakthrough free-market solution to the growing problem of liberal guilt shopping inconvenience.

• Running low on gas and the only nearby brand available is Exxon Mobile? No problem. Half of one SISOC™ coupon will cover a $50 fill up!

• Forgot your niece or nephew's birthday and there's a Wal-Mart right on the way to the party? No problem. With your SISOC™ coupon, you're covered for up to $100 in video games or cheap plastic Chinese imported gift items.

• That designer top is tres chic, but you're worried about reports that the company uses sweatshop labor in Malaysia. Whip out your SISOC™ coupons along with your credit card, and worry no more.

• You really, really like that teak outdoor furniture set, but you're concerned about the loss of old growth teak forests in Indonesia? No problem. Five SISOC™ coupons and you're covered for up to $500.

The possibilities are endless.

In fact, you never know what the next targeted company or product will be, so the safest bet is to purchase $10 worth of SISOC™ coupon for every $100 you spend on consumer goods and services monthly. That way, even if you didn't know that a certain shampoo contributes to clear cutting in the Amazon rain forests or that a certain dairy producer is using banned hormones, you're covered.

They make great gifts, too. Conservatives who don't know what to get their weird liberal friends and relatives for Christmas (or Saturnalia or whatever) can load up on SISOC™ coupons for the holidays - problem solved!

Watch this space for the launch of Socially Irresponsible Shopping Offset Credit™ coupons, coming soon. Don't leave home without them, and enjoy guilt-free shopping wherever you go.

64
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Sun
Aug 5 2007
01:53 pm

I've never made a blog entry here, but this particular blog seems like the best forum to take my questions about what happened in Congress this weekend.

I'm referring to the passage, demanded by President Bush, of continuing to expand some questionable surveillance programs. I admit to having hopes they would be able to adjourn without voting on the bill, but realizing it would likely pass since this President seems to get from Congress whatever he wants or ignores them whenever he wants.

The always outspoken critic of the administration, Glenn Greenwald, writes about some of the same things the passage brought to my mind, but I have others too for your consideration.

Why was this bill not fought and debated as intently as the recent Iraq War funding debate? Was that just theatrics after all?

Why are Democrats (those who voted Yes are listed in Greenwald's article) caving to the President? Or was it caving in at all? Is this why Congress' approval ratings are so low?

I know the FISA bill has a limited lifespan, but once policies are made into law, they seldom end. I'm just not very happy with this approval and have been hoping that Congress would provide less approval, even if that means stalling the entire legislative agenda.

Not that I consider aggressive intelligence-gathering bad, far from it. But it sure seems like both the intelligence groups and the Attorney General's office have done a truly botched job in the last 6 years - so how can Congress justify expanding the roles of both groups?

Topics:
19
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Sun
Aug 5 2007
01:35 pm

Lola Alapo launches a timely conversation in her N-S feature this morning: our need to better utilize abandoned school buildings.

Alapo cites the devastation to communities, almost always center-city ones, when a school closes and the empty building stands neglected, sometimes for decades. N-S story here: (link...)

School board member Indya Kincannon laments that too few developers are standing ready and able to take on school renovation projects. Her predecessor, Paul Kelley, voices support for the school system's policy that such schools be preserved, but regret that it isn't put into practice quickly enough. (Indeed, we're told that the lease agreement KCS made with a party hopeful of renovating Rule High charges the lessee just $1 per year, essentially affording KCS no help in covering maintenance costs.)

Alapo's story is a good starting point, but I'm disappointed that its thrust is exclusively on renovating these buildings for commercial or residential use, when some of them might live again as schools. Jeff Talman, quoted in the story, recently shared these examples with me: (link...)

Meanwhile, the minimum acreage requirements the school board adopted as part of MPC's Partnership for Educational Facilities Assessment just last year mandates 20 acres for an elementary school, 40 acres for a middle school, and 60 acres for a high school. No help there.

24
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Sun
Aug 5 2007
10:39 am

I'm not sure who is writing this week's editorial. Leslie's name is still listed as the editor and there are several others on the masthead, but the main editorial remains unsigned.

The whole gist of the editorial seems to be warning people not to rely at all on Internet blogs or information sites. It says," every site must be checked against reality"--ha ha! As if somehow the print media does not require any investigation when they say something is true.

(link...)

I got a sense they are feeling squeezed by all the shift from newspapers to Internet sites like blogs. That seems silly. I always read Metro Pulse. No, I do not think every thing they print is Gospel, but I enjoy holding it in my hands, and some of the best writers in Knoxville write there, and I have a warmth toward newpapers in general. That's probably nostalgia on my part because I'm not sure this younger generation needs to have ink smudges on their fingers to feel satisfied. It felt like a thinly disguised effort to make their readers more loyal to print media (to them).

I thought this week's Metro Pulse editorial was not in the same tone as others I've read there. Did anybody else feel this way?

Topics:
45
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According to this article in the NY Times, (link...)
the millionaires in Silicon Valley are not feeling too happy. Apparently they just can't get enough moolah to make them stop looking over their shoulders to see what the neighbors next door are up to.

“I know people looking in from the outside will ask why someone like me keeps working so hard,” Mr. Steger says. “But a few million doesn’t go as far as it used to. Maybe in the ’70s, a few million bucks meant ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,’ or Richie Rich living in a big house with a butler. But not anymore.”

When I read this, I almost started sobbing. Poor things! Who would have guessed?

I'm not sure what a few million dollars a year breaks down to, but I assume it's a whole lot more than the pittance of coins dropping into my coffers every month.

I have to admit I really never thought about it, how hard it must be for these rich folks to have to bear up under the strain of supporting their lavish lifestyle. I mean they can't just live anywhere. They can't buy food in places like Save-a-Lot or shop for a sofa at Big Lots. No they have to zip away from their million dollar abodes in Mill Valley in their Lexus' or Hummers to some swanky high priced gourmet deli to pick up their lobster and caviar. They have to spend hours and hours researching who the top designers are so they can feel assured they will be buying only the latest and best clothes and housewares. And even then there's no guarantee the neighbors will really respect them.

“You’re nobody here at $10 million,” Mr. Kremen said earnestly over a glass of pinot noir at an upscale wine bar here."

Breaks your heart doesn't it?

I think it's very important that we poorer Americans empathize with this underserved population. Here we've been spending our time dwelling on the plight of the starving in Darfur or the inability of senior citizens to purchase presciption drugs that can save their lives, while all the while our own American millionaires have suffered quietly and nobly trying to not get depressed about their over-burdened lives.

Out of solidarity and unity, I think we fellow Americans owe our millionaires an apology. We owe them our support. So let's all get down on our knees tonight and pray for all the sad millionaires in America. I think it's the least, the least of us, can do.

Topics:
23
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Sun
Aug 5 2007
01:47 am
By: bill young  shortURL

The greatest ballplayer ever..Hank Aaron

He hit more home runs than anybody

That aint true no more.

It's 755-755

But law have mercy....Hank could play the game.

70
like
Sat
Aug 4 2007
10:09 pm

A little video making the rounds.

58
like

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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. (Source)