Tue
Mar 6 2007
08:37 am

Blount County Mayor Jerry Cunningham is apparently trying to push through some creative mixed-use zoning for one parcel of property for one developer for one project:

The Planning Commission proposal for the new Sports Complex District included provisions for athletic fields, retail sales, rental of goods and merchandise, gas stations, laundry mat, restaurants, medical offices and clinics, hotels and motels, and multifamily developments.

What about bowling alleys and tattoo parlors? According to the article, none of the proposed uses comply with current zoning for the property. There is also a National Registry of Historic Places home and farm at the proposed site, and maybe a cemetery.

The article says this and other similar zoning requests are coming from a planning commissioner newly appointed by Mayor Cunningham, who promised "to streamline government procedures, cut through red tape and eliminate government bureaucracy."

Another commissioner says "We didn't have discussions or work groups or anything about this before Helton brought it to the commission. It was just thrown out there, approved and sent on to the commissioners."

The investors involved in the project are secret. A local banker is promoting it on their behalf. He says the investors are mostly local although there is an "out-of-state element," but he's "not working with some investment group from Atlanta." Apparently those Atlanta investment groups are a undesirable bunch? He also says "These are not regular Blount County developers I'm working with because this isn't a regular Blount County development." Well, the circumstances surrounding this deal certainly sound irregular.

And finally, this quote from our illustrious County Mayor:

When asked if anyone with a development background was involved in the project, Cunningham said, "It's not my job to ferret out Simmerly's investors."

OK, then.

60
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Tue
Mar 6 2007
07:53 am

This is insane.

Also, can someone explain to me why outsourcing government operations such as prisons to a company like CCA or management of Walter Reed to some Halliburton crony is good policy? Is it supposed to save money? How does that work, when you have to add in profits over and above operating costs?

48
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Tue
Mar 6 2007
06:24 am
By: DavidLeeHiker  shortURL

You just have to love some clean Mormon fun (from CNN).

The article talked first about how Reagan was the only divorced president, and discussed Guiliani's two prior marriages, it ends with:

"Among the other Republican presidential front-runners, Sen. John McCain of Arizona has also been divorced. But former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has been married for 37 years to his wife, Ann, whom he met in elementary school and began dating in high school.

"Ann Romney raised some eyebrows in February when she joked in front of an audience in Missouri that the biggest difference between her husband and his rivals was that he has had "only one wife."

48
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Mon
Mar 5 2007
05:25 pm

He is not a woman, doesn't live in Fountain City, has no kids at Webb (or 'Web', as he spelled it).

He is convinced of his own superiority (despite mounting evidence to the contrary), and has a deep belief in his own cleverness (e.g. his silly faux-Hillary schtick -- how tired did THAT get?).

He is obsessively interested in the superficialities of local media (who here really cares about substitute sports guys?).

He is (for a woman who lives in Fountain City) proud to show off his acquaintance with Blount County politics.

In fact, he makes lots of references to Blount County in his posts.

He's just another in the obviously endless parade of right-wing dimwits who entertain themselves by posting gibberish on Knox Views. In his case, it's probably because he's dying for some sort of attention, since nobody visits his blogs.

I'm done responding to him.

Bless his heart.

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56
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Mon
Mar 5 2007
03:57 pm

That's my cousin Will climbing a hemlock on the cover of today's Sentinel. Not only has Will discovered the tallest and most voluminous hemlocks, but also several dozen other species. He has revolutionized the way trees are measured, devising a ground-based method that has proven accurate within a foot or so, vastly superior to traditional forestry methods.

He and a couple other big tree enthusiasts also devised a way to calculate wood volume, a laborious task requiring lots of measurements. It's not so bad with a hemlock since they are mostly trunk, but Will and a crew of six or seven spent two days in a live oak in South Carolina measuring its many limbs to come up with a volume estimate.

Friends of the Smokies is now funding Will's hemlock documentation project, but he got started before he had any funding and has been hunting champion trees as a weekend hobby for over a decade.

48
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Mon
Mar 5 2007
12:52 pm

"I'm personally humbled by this. It's a huge responsibility," said Goodwin. "I look forward to serving the Navy and getting their weapon out for them."

Bush orders new H-Bomb

44
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Mon
Mar 5 2007
11:42 am

We even let them hold office here in Tennessee:

Ohio moves to let Idiots vote.

49
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Mon
Mar 5 2007
11:05 am
By: R. Neal  shortURL

Fox News devoted 12 times more coverage to Anna Nicole Smith than to the Walter Reed scandal.

46
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Mon
Mar 5 2007
10:52 am
By: WhitesCreek  shortURL

As opposed to sitting around complaining and repeating the conservative mantra that it would be too expensive to save planet Earth, the Union of Concerned Scientists announce their design for a minivan that answers the critics.

When I want real answers instead of BS talking points, these are the folks I go to.

42
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Mon
Mar 5 2007
10:40 am

On the Media has a great segment on one of my biggest pet peeves, stock market triumphalism. (Our own DOW Jones Pep Squad has been curiously silent on the latest news from Wall Street... hmmm.) Dean Baker explains that while a surging DOW can be good news for wage slaves, it can also be vewy, vewy bad.

Also on the show is an explanation of why cell phone technology sucks. Hint: market failure.

48
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Mon
Mar 5 2007
09:27 am

The General Assembly has two bills under consideration that send a strong message to all Tennessee voters. Voters cannot be trusted to elected the correct representatives.

You might ask who are the correct representatives? In fee offices it would be anyone. Voters aren’t smart enough to elect the best people to run fee offices so they must be appointed by more intelligent people like the County Mayor. That’s just great, let’s give the County Mayor’s incredible power since they are clearly the smartest among us.

For all other offices voters aren’t smart enough to elect people that are not related to school teachers or other county employees. Another intelligence problem with voters?

The message from Nashville is that voters just aren’t very smart.

I have an idea, let’s send Nashville a message. Pick up the phone and call your Tennessee legislators and tell them something about intelligence. Vote for either of these bills and it is an insult to the voters of Tennessee and their will be a price to pay come next election.

With all of the really stupid things that happen in Nashville is takes some unmitigated gall to tell voters how they should vote. This bill is the brain child of Senator Bill Ketron and Rep. Tom DuBois. Senators Tim Burchett and Jamie Woodson and Randy McNally have all signed on but “don’t remember” signing the bill. Perhaps voters need to be thinking about the intelligence of Senators that sign a bill like this and then don’t member doing so in the next election.

Update: I missed something in today's Knoxville News Sentinel Editorial. The proposed bill from Shelby County by Rep. Ulysses Jones and Sen. Jim Kyle, both Memphis Democrats, also would require the County Sheriff to be appointed. This could be a prelude to Metro Government in Knox County.

51
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Sun
Mar 4 2007
10:22 pm
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Sun
Mar 4 2007
08:45 pm
By: StaceyDiamond  shortURL

Listening to Scott Moore talk on WBIR makes me miss Van Hilleary. When asked by Bosch about the hallway stuff Moore said something like "people seen us" a few times. Lumpy sounds more intelligent and articluate and at least finally said he wasn't going to comment any more on an ongoing lawsuit. I'm glad Farkas moderated this rather than sweet Robin Wilhoit. Farkas was actually quite good. Over on WATE another good redneck Burchett talked about drug-testing welfare recipients. This must be a record year for stupid GOP bills.

48
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Sun
Mar 4 2007
07:28 pm

The U.S. government's top accountant says the law that added a prescription drug benefits to Medicare may be the most financially irresponsible legislation passed since the 1960s.

U.S. Comptroller General David Walker says Medicare — barring vast reform to the program and the nation's healthcare system — is already on course to possibly bankrupt the treasury and adding the prescription bill just makes the situation worse.

Walker talks to 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft this Sunday, March 4, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

43
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Sun
Mar 4 2007
01:56 pm

I understand WBIR's Inside Tennessee got quite heated this morning with a couple County Commissioners squaring off with interviewers on questions of commission behavior. I missed it, but called WBIR's newsroom. The program log of the 10 News 2 channel (21 on Comcast) indicates a replay at 5:30 pm. The Comcast digital guide gives different times that so far have yielded only infomercials, so I'm hopeful the station program log is correct.

--Mark Harmon

Topics:
49
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Sun
Mar 4 2007
09:56 am

Probably won't amount to much, though. The sun is shining. Weird.

44
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Sun
Mar 4 2007
08:20 am

...With their Web logs, Facebook profiles and college rallies, the 2008 presidential candidates are lavishing attention on a group that displays unbridled enthusiasm early in the campaign but tends to lose interest when the voting starts.
...
more than half of the people in the United States age 18 to 24 who are eligible to vote typically are no-shows on Election Day.

What would interest the young enough to get out and actually vote? Paying taxes? A draft? Outlawing pre-marital sex? Raising the drinking age to 25?

51
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I was thinking it would be a bad idea for Democrats to nominate Al Gore. The right-wing hate machine would go into hyperdrive, much as it will if Hillary Clinton is nominated.

Gore also failed to carry his own home state in 2000, otherwise the theft of the Florida election wouldn't have mattered and we wouldn't be in the mess we are in today.

The winds are shifting, though. The most recent MTSU poll showed a slight shift to a bluer shade of Tennessee purple. In the 2006 elections, The People sent Washington a message that was loud and clear: we are mad as hell and we're not going to take it any more.

(And even though Corker won in Tennessee, his unimpressive 3 point margin over a black man from Memphis named Ford despite the fact that national Democrats abandoned their hand-picked candidate down the stretch could be chalked up as a symbolic victory for Democrats and further evidence of a shift in Tennessee politics, not to mention that the GOP had to shift resources here which probably helped Webb defeat Allen in Virgina among others.)

But what's really got me thinking about Al Gore for President is this editorial in today's Knoxville News Sentinel.

Judging by their pathetic record on presidential endorsements, their admonition for Gore to stick to the global warming crusade and leave the presidency to someone else amounts to a ringing endorsement for a Gore candidacy as far as I'm concerned.

If the KNS is against a presidential candidate, it's a pretty safe bet that's the candidate you ought to support. Besides, when are Democrats going to stop taking advice from right-wing conservatives about who they should run for president? In 2004 they wanted Dean, and when he self-destructed they wanted Kerry. Look what happened. Now they want to run against Hillary and/or Obama, and hope Gore stays out of it. That should tell you everything you need to know right there.

The KNS says the "the presidency offers a gigantic bully pulpit, it might not be the one that is most effective for the environmental challenge posed by global warming." They are essentially saying that the President of the United States can't effectively promote or enforce environmental policy.

History in their world begins in January of 2001, so they come to this conclusion based on the Bush administration's incredibly harmful neglect of the environment. Which, if you think about it, negates their point. This president has had a huge negative impact on environmental policy.

They also insult the intelligence of not only Al Gore but all Americans. Do they really think Gore is so narrow-minded that he would focus all his attention on climate change and ignore every other issue if he were elected president? Do they really expect people to believe that?

The editorial has another interesting remark regarding global warming, saying "there remain many skeptics, and that is altogether not a bad thing, given the diversity of opinion about most everything in the nation." Memo to the KNS: Skepticism based on blind loyalty to a failed ideology is not an altogether good thing, and opinion is not science.

Anyway, the fact is, for good or ill, Al Gore is the most experienced and most qualified person being talked about as a candidate for president in 2008. He has vision and proven leadership abilities on everything from inventing the internet to raising worldwide awareness of climate change. He is an accomplished policy wonk on par with Bill Clinton in his ability to speak intelligently on any issue.

America could do a lot worse. We already have for the past six years.

105
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Seven Months Without Care After a
Heart Attack in Iraq

My name is Sean. I served in Iraq with the New Jersey National Guard. On August 16, 2006, I had a heart attack in Iraq. I was shipped to Germany for further care. In Germany they inserted a stent into my heart. I was in intensive care for 2 to 3 days. I really don't know the exact time. I was heavily drugged. I then spent a few days in the ward. On my last day the cardiologist told me that I had heart damage and it would never recover. He told me that when I got to the states I would be put on Community Based Outpatient Care (CBOC) and he wanted me to take 30 to 60 days of convalescent leave, then when that was over to have a cardiologist put me in Cardiac Rehab.

When I arrived at FT Knox I was sent to the care station there. I explained what the cardiologist had wanted and showed the doctor the paperwork I was given. I was told that the convalescent leave was not needed because they would have me home in a matter of a week or two. As I was rushed through the process, I started to wonder what was happening. I was told that I would get the care I needed when I got to my home state. At the end, I realized that I was getting the run around.

I started asking for someone to put it in writing. I told the people in charge that I wasn't leaving until I got assured I was going to get the care I needed. My wife received a call that stated that everything was fine. I was going to be put on CBOC. I was going to be put on 6 months of orders to complete it. This assurance was left on the answering machine.

The Major in charge of the med hold company at Ft Knox called me into the office to ask what the problem was with me. I told him that I was concerned that I would not get the care that was recommended by the Army assigned Cardiologist in Germany. He told me to wait outside. I waited. He called me back in and told me, “You have been medically cleared by our doctor and you will get the HELL of the post ASAP.” He also stated it was not his job to make sure what happened to me was "Right". It was his job to get me to the next station.

I was flown to FT McCoy and out processed. The out processing took about 1 day and I was flown home the next day. Since then I have not received the care I was promised. The state of New Jersey has done everything they can to help but, the Army has not budged. I was put in for Military Retention Processing Orders (MRP). The request was denied by the Office of the Surgeon General. An appeal was sent forward with the supporting documentation they asked for and it was again denied. It has been 7 months since I had the heart attack and I still have not received my care.

Empowering Veterans wants your story of Healthcare Injustice. Visit http://www.empoweringveterans.org/, Click on the "Record Your Story" tab and leave your story.

52
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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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