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?

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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?

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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.

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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
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Sat
Aug 4 2007
10:09 pm

A little video making the rounds.

58
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Sat
Aug 4 2007
06:22 pm

I used to get some letters published in the Metro Pulse, but with their new owners, I suspect I'll be blackballed there just as I have been at the News Slantinel.

So, here's the original letter in the current Metro Pulse--to be found under the mysterious title "Gu-wrong": (link...)

And here's my reply, which will meet its fate as my first blog entry:

Mac McAdams wrote an interesting letter about the movie “Sicko” and health insurance in the current (8/2/07) issue of the Metro Pulse. And while I disagree with Mr. McAdams on two of his points, I strongly concur on two others.

Health care is in fact free in Canada, Britain, France, and all other democratic countries—just like public libraries, fire and police departments, and most highways in the US. When you need a cop, a firemen, a library book, or a doctor you should never be asked for money. All of these public services are of course funded by taxes, but it might interest Mr. McAdams to know that the taxes used to fund universal health care in these countries add up to far less than the private insurance premiums, co-pays, and deductibles that most Americans pay—if they’re lucky enough even to have health insurance, as about 45 million Americans do not.

The answer to why wealthy celebrities and world leaders come to the US for medical treatment is simple: We have very good specialized doctors and hospitals, if you can afford them. Unlike a growing number of Americans, these rich foreigners can easily afford high-level American care. (Still, keep in mind the experience of Canadian comedian Dana Carvey, who had a heart operation in San Francisco during which the surgeon replaced the wrong artery.)

Mr. McAdams is correct, though, in observing that the US does not have to worry about “running an almost three billion dollar debt this year like France”; instead, we can look forward to paying over a trillion dollars, that’s trillion with a “t,” to pay for George W. Bush’s insane war in Iraq. The government of France wisely refused to get involved with that disaster, leaving them with funds to provide health care for their citizens instead of the death and destruction that our tax dollars are reaping.

I would also agree with Mr. McAdams that we do not “want the government that is running months behind issuing passports to provide our healthcare, . . . the government that took a week to get water to the Superdome.” In order to provide quality, universal health care and other necessary programs, we Americans will have to start electing competent governments, ones who don’t put “Heckuva Job Brownies” in charge of essential services. You know, like the French have figured out how to do.

16
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Sat
Aug 4 2007
02:06 pm

Here are some pics from the Maryville Farmers' Market at its new location.

17
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Sat
Aug 4 2007
10:08 am
By: bill young  shortURL

New York Times poll
Are you paying at least some attention to the presidential campaign?Those saying yes has increased compared with 4 years ago.

Democrats
'03-42%
'07-72%
Republicans
'03-48%
'07-65%
Under 30
'03-36%
'07-65%

Turn-out in Knox County for the '08 presidential election,both primary & General,is going to be larger than '04 & in '04 we set records in the general.Plus no way is the Republican primary only going to turn out 10,000

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64
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Sat
Aug 4 2007
08:28 am

Oh my God! You gotta love this! Forget the report just out on improving the jails. This really could be the solution...the ending however seems pretty unhealthy. I suppose it's theraputic?
(link...)

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32
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The more I am exposed to his face, the more irritated I get. Exposure to Lamar Alexander's goofy portrait has not made my heart grow fonder. I now want to throw darts at him, to smear something. His picture is simply ruining my morning cup of coffee. I don't know what it is, but I can't wait to get rid of his mugshot.

In answer to the DSCC question, "Are you ready for a new face?"

Yes, indeed I sure am.

Seriously though, I am glad to see people advertising here, and it is an affective ad. At this time, I would do almost anything to get rid of Alexander's face.

The ad should have read, "Contibute to us, and you'll no longer have to look at Lamar Alexander's face on the right side of your screen." Man, I bet the bucks would really start pouring in then...

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318
like
Fri
Aug 3 2007
06:17 pm

well, it's better than that brown spray-crete ...

18
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Fri
Aug 3 2007
05:18 pm

Last night around midnight Marelle and I noticed a
long rack of brand new bikes lit up with lit green
lights. Our hosts explained this is a new thing this
month in the city. Every neighborhood has a big rack
of these new bikes. You just insert your visa card and
the bike unlocks 24/7. You can then ride anywhere in
Paris for 30 minutes for free! If you need more than
30 minutes and do not want to pay four euros an hour
additionally, you simply check in the bike you have
and check out another and you are good for another 30
minutes. Theoretically you can do this all day and
ride for free! The whole thing is computer monitored
and if too many bikes are left at one place a truck
comes by and redistributes them around the city. The
bikes are all equipped with night-lights and baskets
for shopping!

(link...)

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30
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Fri
Aug 3 2007
05:04 pm
By: Sandra Clark  shortURL

Reporters Larry Van Guilder and Betty Bean have developed a bombshell story for Monday's Shopper-News (online Sunday evening at (link...)) -- problem is, everybody and their dog will know about it before then.

But just to keep your enthusiasm whetted, TYLER HARBER's BAAAAAACK! - s.

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44
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Fri
Aug 3 2007
01:48 pm

Congressman Steve Cohen is under attack from right-wing fundamentalists for supporting the hate crimes bill, which they believe will limit their free speech. Egalia explains.

121
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Fri
Aug 3 2007
01:32 pm

Facing South's Chris Kromm is in New Orleans checking up on the progress there as we near the two year anniversary of Katrina. His report is not encouraging.

23
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I hate to poke fun at fellow bloggers, being in a glass house and all, but... seriously?:

As I sat down to watch 30 Rock tonight (best show on tv? Quite possibly) a little bit about the election returns ran which slapped me upside the head and reminded me that, oh yeah, it’s a big day here in Nashville. I thought as long as I’m going to spend the evening catching up on TV and watching the Astros/Braves game, I might as well hang around here and keep everyone up to date on the returns.

[blah blah]

8:45 - Now Howard Gentry is conceding. I guess we know who our mayoral runoff candidates will be. Although I still don’t understand why we have to have a runoff. Can any of you explain that for my pea sized brain?

[blah blah]

My parting shot is this…I can’t believe that only 100,000 votes were cast. That just blows my mind.

OK, then. WKRN needs to get Nashville is Talking 2.0 launched pretty quick. And they need more bloggers like this to bring more stuff like this. (And maybe leave the election blogging to this guy.)

(With sincere apologies to the blogger quoted above, who I am sure is a very nice, fun person and all, and in her defense she voted early, but still...)

25
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Fri
Aug 3 2007
10:19 am
By: redmondkr  shortURL

"Every time Dick Cheney smiles like that, an angel gets water-boarded," - Jon Stewart commenting on Rummy and Cheney being on Tee Vee on the same day.

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78
like
Yes
81% (138 votes)
No
14% (24 votes)
Not sure
5% (9 votes)
Total votes: 171

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