Whether you call ours a democracy or a constitutional republic, being informed is one of the linchpins of its success. Join Knox County Public Library and Humanities Tennessee for an exploration of the complex forces that affect our system of governance. All sessions are free and open to the public.

Thursday, September 27
Electoral Anomalies
Presented by Jack Neely, Knoxville History Project

12:00 | East Tennessee History Center
Learn the intriguing story behind the 2nd congressional district: Density as destiny, surprising firsts, and exceptions to every rule. Pre-ordered lunch available.

Thursday, September 27
Tennessee: Why Aren't You Voting?
6:00 | Emporium Center, 100 S. Gay Street
Tennessee has one of the lowest voter turnouts in the country. Why? Join us for an honest, open and civil conversation about the state of civic participation in Tennessee. During this 90-minute facilitated conversation, participants will review short materials and discuss the reasons behind low voter participation across the state and how to address them. Free pizza.
Dr. Daryl Carter, Associate Professor of History, ETSU.
Co-sponsored by Humanities Tennessee , Think Tennessee and the
Arts & Culture Alliance.

Friday, September 28
East Tennessee History Center

10:00 - Does Every Vote Count? Voter Rights & the Disenfranchised
Julie Gautreau, Public Defender, and Tammy Kaousias, Attorney at law

11:15 - Hacked. How Safe Are Our Elections?
Cliff Rodgers, Knox County Administrator of Elections

1:00 - Democracy & the Free Press Panel Discussion
Facilitated by Jesse Mayshark, founder of Compass
Panelists include Margie Nichols, Bill Lyons, Tyler Whetstone

2:15 - Money & Politics: Complicated Truth of Peddled Influence
Dr. Tony Nownes, Political Science, UTK

3:30 - Globalization, 'Globalism' and the rise of nationalism in Europe and North America
Dr. Ian Down, Political Science, UTK

Sunday, September 30
Gabriel Over the White House (1933)
Film Screening & Discussion
2:00 | Lawson McGhee Library
In this 1933 classic, a U.S. President becomes a dictator to save America, and Depression-weary Americans cheer.
Discussion led by Dr. Bruce Wheeler, Professor Emeritus of History, UTK

Wednesday, October 10
When Democracy Worked: Passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
12:00 | East Tennessee History Center
The story of how the impossible happened. Pre-ordered lunch available.
John Stewart, Legislative Director for Senator Hubert Humphrey

Tuesday, October 16
Choose Civility: How to Talk Politics & Still Be Friends
6:00-7:30 | Lawson McGhee Library, mezzanine
Joe Miles, Associate Professor of Psychology, UTK

Register: Knoxlib.org/democracy

This symposium was made possible with the support of our partners:
Jane L. Pettway Foundation, Leadership Knoxville, League of Women Voters, Arts and Culture Alliance, UTK, Dept of Political Science

Sep 23 2018
11:37 pm

A pair of trains that are among the first in the world to run on hydrogen entered service in Germany this week...

They have fuel cells that generate electricity via chemical reactions between hydrogen and oxygen and batteries that store excess electricity until it's needed

The bright blue trains are considered zero-emissions vehicles because they release only water and steam

Germany's new hydrogen-powered trains point the way to sustainable rail travel

Sep 22 2018
12:45 am

The terminus park is the main component of an entrance into South Knoxville and the Urban Wilderness that is proposed to connect eventually across the Tennessee River from Morningside Park to Baker Creek Preserve, creating a 2.2-mile, 113-acre park.

The hoped-for eventual outcome is that one span of the parkway will be designated for two-way motorized-vehicle traffic and the other for bicycles and pedestrians, making a fun and pleasant connection between the two sides of the river.

Plans for JWP terminus park grow more – and less – concrete

Sep 21 2018
07:39 am

From the New York Times:

The Plot to Subvert an Election
Unraveling the Russia Story So Far

This report details everything you need to know. America may have won the cold war but we lost the cyber war. Social media propaganda and manipulation was only one element of the attack:

"Many of the Facebook memes portrayed Mrs. Clinton as angry, corrupt or crazed. Mr. Trump was depicted as his campaign preferred: strong, decisive, courageous, willing to shun political correctness to tell hard truths. The Russian operation also boosted Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate who had dined with Mr. Putin in Moscow, to draw votes from Mrs. Clinton. It encouraged supporters of Mr. Sanders to withhold their votes from Mrs. Clinton even after he endorsed her.

The impact is impossible to gauge; the Internet Research Agency was a Kremlin fire hose of influence wielded amid a hurricane of a presidential election."

DTV features interviews with Tennessee House of Representatives Democratic candidates Kate Trudell, District 16 and Justin Davis, District 14. Tune in to the regular DTV program at 7:30 PM on Friday, September 21 on the Community TV channel and meet Democratic Candidates Trudell and Davis as they discuss their platforms and their goals for their role in the Tennessee House of Representatives.

DTV streams live on the Community TV web site or on cable/satellite at:
Comcast Channel 12
Charter Channel 193
Wow! Channel 6
ATT U-verse Channel 99

Or stream the show live at (here!)

Sep 20 2018
06:40 pm

(*with apologies to Eric Clapton)

The other day I was googling around to research why the Layla album sound quality is, um, less than stellar. I stumbled across a fascinating interview with Tom Dowd, the legendary producer who worked with Aretha, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Herbie Mann, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Eric Clapton, the Allman Brothers and other greats.

It doesn't explain what happened between the recording and the final mix to make the album so muddled. But it does explain how he captured the moment to create an enduring classic. I would say the same applies to the Allman Bros. at Fillmore East.

The origiinal interview was from probably around 1975, and maybe scanned in judging from some of the typos. You have to click through each link at the bottom of the pages to read it all. Trust me, it's worth it. It's a rare look into the mind of a music production genius, with insights into the history of recorded popular music. Bonus: A track-by-track commentary on the recording of Layla.

Anyway, here you go:

RE/P Files: An Interview With Producer/Engineer Tom Dowd

Sep 20 2018
06:08 pm

Hope he's OK.

Sep 20 2018
06:21 am
Greg Mackay and the Knox Co. Democratic Party are hosting a TN Victory 2018 event at Greg's campaign headquarters, 7419 Middlebrook Pike NW, Saturday Sept. 22 at 10AM. Congressional candidate Renee Hoyos, State Senate candidate Jamie Ballinger, and State House candidates Greg Mackay and Coleen Martinez will be there for the 10am shift on Saturday. Volunteers can meet up for canvassing in Farragut and West Knox. (Facebook, website, donate)
Nashville Friends of Gloria Johnson are hosting a reception at Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings, PLLC, The Freedom Center, 223 Rosa Parks Avenue, Suite 200, Nashville, Thursday Sept. 27 at 5PM. RSVP to jacob@triumphstrategies.com (Facebook, website, donate)
Justin Davis will meet with District 5 Dems today at 6PM, Mimi's Cafe, 10945 Parkeside Dr. Volunteers can meet up at Starbucks, 9501 S Northshore Dr. Sunday at 1PM for canvassing. Justin will be with Karl Dean at the Knox Blue Dots event, Thurs. 9/27, 6:30PM at Mimi's Cafe, 10945 Parkeside Dr. Volunteers can also meet at campaign HQ, 2241 Breakwater Dr., every Monday at 6PM until the election for phone banking and postcard writing. (Facebook, website, donate)
Jamie Ballinger will be at the Greg Mackay TN Victory 2018 event (see above). Also, Tailgate with Jamie Ballinger at the Florida Game, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2-7pm, University of Tennessee Humanities Lawn. There is also a reception for Jamie Ballinger, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 5:30-7:30pm, The Crowne Plaza Hotel, 401 W Summit Hill Dr. (Facebook, website, donate)
Over in Blount County, Jay Clark (State House 8) and supporters will be canvassing Saturday Sept. 22, 10AM. Meetup at Blount Co. Democratic HQ, 1505 East Broadway, Maryville. (Facebook, website, donate)
Also over in Blount County, Susan Sneed (State House 20) and supporters will be canvassing Saturday at 12PM and at 4PM. Meetup at Blount Co. Democratic HQ, 1505 East Broadway, Maryville. Susan will also be at Studio 212 Arts, 934 E Broadway Ave, Maryville for a Painting with Susan art class hosted by local artists Patti Young and Kylie Sliger. (Facebook, website, donate)
Renee Hoyos and the UT College Dems will host Tailgating with Renee, Saturday, September 22 at 4PM at the UT Humanities and Social Sciences Lawn. (Facebook, website, donate)
Karl Dean will be with Justin Davis at the Knox Blue Dots event, Thurs. 9/27, 6:30PM at Mimi's Cafe, 10945 Parkeside Dr. (Facebook, website, donate)
Phil Bredesen doesn't have any upcoming events listed for the area, but check out his website and social media for udpates. (Facebook, website, donate)
Sep 19 2018
05:07 pm

Some folks downtown aren't real happy about Marsha Blackburn's fundraiser luncheon at Club LeConte with Vice President Pence on Friday the 21st. The First TN Plaza parking garage will be closed Friday until 3PM, even if you have a monthly permit. There are no deliveries allowed before 3PM. Several downtown blocks will be restricted with no pedestrian traffic allowed between noon and 3PM. No one will be allowed into First TN Plaza during this time.

There are lots of lawyers and other professionals in the building, along with other merchants such as restaurants, a bank, barber shops, etc., that will be affected. We are told that people are scrambling to adjust calendars, rearrange meetings, etc., and that Club LeConte didn't coordinate with building management about the event. Tenants were only advised about all this today, giving them little time to prepare.

Sep 19 2018
11:11 am

UT Board of Trustees Chair John Compton: "Today, I will announce my plan to ask the board to consider appointing UT Knoxville alumnus and Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd to serve as interim president for the University of Tennessee System, perhaps for 12 to 24 months, following the retirement of UT President Joe DiPietro."

But the report also looks at the home addresses of those who died. In 2017, as in 2016, the ZIP codes 37920 (South Knoxville) and 37917 (North Knoxville) were at the top, although 2018 numbers project that 37920 has moved to the fourth spot, and 37917 up to No.1, followed by 37918 and 37921.

Report: South, North Knoxville among areas hardest hit by drug deaths

The Department of Labor determined that Pocahontas Coal Company’s Affinity Mine would no longer be subject to tough enforcement actions taken against mines that repeatedly violate mine health and safety laws and receive a "pattern of violations" notice.

Federal mine safety official warned the Trump administration is putting miners in danger, violating law

Sep 17 2018
01:50 pm

What: Books Sandwiched In welcomes Amy Steadman
When: Wednesday, September 26, 2018 - 12:00pm
Where: East Tennessee History Center

ramphollow.jpgKnox County Public Library invites the public to a discussion of Ramp Hollow: The Ordeal of Appalachia by Steven Stoll at noon on Wednesday, September 26 in the East Tennessee History Center auditorium. The discussion will be led by Amy Steadman, Collections Development Manager at ETSU's Center of Appalachian Studies and Services.

Ramp Hollow offers the reader a sensitive portrayal of Appalachians and their self-sufficiency with small-scale farming, foraging and hunting, along with distilling and trading. Stoll recasts the story of Appalachia as a complex struggle between mountaineers and profit-seeking industrialization that came from outside the region. His original investigation—ranging widely from history to literature, art, and economics—questions our assumptions about progress and development, and exposes the devastating legacy of dispossession and its repercussions today.


Sep 17 2018
07:48 am

Thursday, September 20, 2018, 2:18 PM, EST

A "Presidential Alert" text message system:)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on September 20, 2018.

Cell towers will broadcast the WEA test for approximately 30 minutes beginning at 2:18 p.m. EDT.

During this time, WEA compatible cell phones that are switched on, within range of an active cell tower, and whose wireless provider participates in WEA should be capable of receiving the test message. Some cell phones will not receive the test message, and cell phones should only receive the message once.

The WEA test message will have a header that reads "Presidential Alert" and text that says:

“THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

The national test will use the same special tone and vibration as with all WEA messages (i.e. Tornado Warning, AMBER Alert). Users cannot opt out of the WEA test.

If circumstances, such as a major weather event, cause the IPAWS National Test to be postponed, the back-up date is Wednesday, October 3, 2018.

the President has sole responsibility for determining when the national-level EAS will be activated,” according to FEMA.

We can only hope the President understands this is to only be used in the event of a "national emergency".

Sep 17 2018
07:29 am

At Knox News,

A school bus that shuttles students home from Hardin Valley Academy regularly seats some of them in the aisle, according to student photos and video footage obtained by USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee.

A local parent has brought this to the attention of Knox County Schools three times. but the problem persists.

It has not yet been confirmed if the bus is overcrowded or if students are not sharing their seats or something else. I rode the school bus for the majority of elementary school and high school. I cannot imagine how I would have felt if I had to sit on the floor in the aisle. I'm guessing my parents would not have allowed it to continue. Best of luck to the local parent on this issue.

Sep 16 2018
03:27 pm

There is major flooding in North Carolina from Hurricane (now Tropical Depression) Florence's continuing rains. Some areas have received over 30 inches.

We were just watching a CNN report from Fayetteville. The Cape Fear River has risen dramatically in the last 48 hours and continues to rise. The National Weather Service predicts it will crest on Tuesday and remain over flood stage until Friday:


The river level is expected to reach 62.3 feet with discharge of 95,600 cfs. According to USGS data, normal is about 12 to 14 feet and 3000 to 4000 cfs. The record was 68.9 feet in 1945. It reached 63.5 feet in 1929. This is major, historical flooding. And it's not just this river. Every stream in the affected area will have similar conditions.

Entire towns are cut off and stranded. I-95 is closed through North Carolina, as are most roads in the affected areas. The governor has told the public not to come there and to go around through Tennessee and Georgia. The National Guard and other emergency responders are having difficulty getting personnel and equipment in, and fuel supplies are running low. Water rescues are underway all over the affected areas where possible. Hundreds have been rescued and hundreds more are awaiting help.

This is a major disaster and the immediate situation will not improve for several days. It's hard to imagine how long recovery will take.

Sep 16 2018
06:17 am

What: U.S. Senate debate - Bredesen/Blackburn
When: Tuesday, September 25, 2018 - 7:00pm
Where: Cumberland University, Lebanon, TN

U.S. Senate candidates former Governor Phil Bredesen and Rep. Marsha Blackburn have agreed to participate in a debate at Cumberland University, Lebanon, TN.

The event will take place at 7 p.m. EST on Tuesday, September 25th, 2018.

The debate is sponsored by [Nashville] NewsChannel 5, The Tennessean, Nashville Public Television (NPT), the League of Women Voters and Cumberland University.

The program will be broadcast live on [Nashville] NewsChannel 5 and NPT in Nashville and will be carried statewide on public television. It will also be streamed on NewsChannel5.com and The Tennessean.

In looking at East Tennessee PBS, it appears the debate is scheduled to be aired locally at 8 pm EST.

Guess they are relocating inland away from the hurricane. Not sure where they're from but they are LOUD. It's awesome.


Nearly 4,400 people in Arkansas have lost Medicaid coverage because they didn't meet the new work requirements.

"People subject to the rules have to report 80 hours a month of work or other activity such as job training, education, or volunteering. If they’re out of compliance for three months out of the year, their coverage is revoked for the rest of the year.

"The Arkansas Department of Human Services on Wednesday said another 5,000 people on the program will lose coverage if they don’t meet the work requirement by the end of this month."

Gov. Matt Bevin's, R-Kentucky, plan for Medicaid work requirements was the first (January, 2018) state approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Then, in June, 2018, a federal judge with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia blocked Kentucky's plan, saying,

CMS, had been “arbitrary and capricious” in approving Kentucky’s plan because it had “never adequately considered” whether Kentucky’s plan “would, in fact, help the state furnish medical assistance to its citizens, a central objective of Medicaid.”

Currently CMS is reviewing whether to re-approve Kentucky's plan.

These work requirement changes do not affect residents of Tennessee because there is no Medicaid expansion in Tennessee. Tennessee has lost nearly $11 billion in federal funding because of refusing to expand Medicaid. This does not take into account how many people have lost out on access to health care.

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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)

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