Mar 22 2018
09:04 am

Do most mass shootings happen in "gun free zones?" Mark Harmon has done the research to prove otherwise.

Research, incredible students make case for gun restrictions

Former state senator Stacey Campfield recently blurted on a Knoxville radio program that most mass shootings occur in gun-free zones. This falsehood has been promoted by Sean Hannity and President Donald Trump, and has bounced around the right-wing echo chamber for years.

PolitiFact generously rated the statement half true, but the only true part is that you can find a pro-gun group that came to that conclusion by cobbling together a tally based on some dubious definitions. For example, the tally called Fort Hood and the Washington Navy Yard gun-free zones despite the presence of armed guards (and lots of other weapons).

If you are unable to connect to the link provided to see the whole column, send me a PM.

Mar 21 2018
10:21 pm

We've been watching the rebooted American Idol. (I know. Sue me.) The auditions are producing better and more real talent than in the recent past.


Twice now, singers have performed "A Song For You." Both times they credited the song to Donny Hathaway.


Mar 21 2018
10:17 am

Beloved Guitar Maker Gibson Faces Crushing $560 Million Debt

A couple of observations:

1. Stick to your knitting

2. Stay out of politics.

(Also, Telecaster for the win!)

From the article: “We have a younger generation coming in with tastes toward a different type of music,” said Al Di Meola, a Grammy-winning jazz guitarist.

Translation: Fewer and fewer kids want to "just get an electric guitar and take some time and learn how to play." It's too much work and besides computers can do everything including write your lyrics and auto-tune your voice.

Also, Gibson was lauded during a "Made in America" event hosted by Trump last year. Ironically, on Obama's watch the company was sanctioned by the Dept. of Justice for using illegally imported hardwoods.

See also:

The death of the electric guitar

Gibson Guitar Goes Tea Party

Mar 21 2018
09:50 am

Political Wire: Bredesen with a 46% to 41% lead over Blackburn, 13% undecided.

The TNGOP party of smaller government and fierce independence from overreaching federal mandates is advancing their own mandates to local governments regarding short-term rentals.


This bill prohibits a local governing body from:

(1) Prohibiting the use of property as a short-term rental unit; or

(2) Restricting the use of or otherwise regulate a short-term rental unit based on the short-term rental unit's classification, use, or occupancy.

Mar 20 2018
11:59 am

Daffodils, Forsythia, Cherry trees, phlox, and more are in bloom. Maples and other trees are budding out. It's starting to look quite cheerful.

But, cold tomorrow with possibly a bit of snow. Maybe this will be the last of the winters, e.g. redbud, dogwood, blackberry, etc.

Candidates would instead be selected by the Tennessee General Assembly. The bill is scheduled for the Senate State and Local Government Committee today and the House Local Government Subcommittee for tomorrow.

This "nutty" idea keeps getting resurrected. It is probably unconstitutional.

SB 0344 by Sen. Frank Nicely (R-Strawberry Plains)

Democracy making a comeback ...

The Supreme Court has denied a request from Pennsylvania Republicans to block new congressional maps that could tilt several key races in Democrats' favor from being used in the midterm elections.

The court issued one sentence to reject the request. There were no noted dissents.

Supreme Court rejects Pennsylvania GOP plea to block new congressional maps


Mar 19 2018
08:49 am

Disturbing reports allege that the Trump campaign used Facebook data on up to 50 million users to manipulate voters. Facebook could be facing trillions of dollars in fines. Their stock is taking a hit this morning.

The only surprise here is that this is a surprise.

Why do people freely give away private information to a company like Facebook and then complain when it is used to manipulate them by influencing their thoughts and behaviour?

Why do they think Facebook is "free?"

Also, what has Facebook done "wrong" here? People weren't aware that Facebook's business is harvesting personal and private information about users and then selling it? Facebook freely admits selling the information, but complains they were somehow duped and that the data was obtained under false pretenses. There was no hack, breach, leak, intrusion, etc. They just sold the information that people freely gave them.

Are we to seriously believe that Facebook only sells information for legal and ethical uses? One might suspect that their primary concern is whether the check clears.

Mar 18 2018
07:19 am

To tackle Michigan's literacy problem, a Republican gubernatorial candidate proposes "dedicated reading centers" in all schools, staffed with "reading coaches."

"Mr. Schuette is, apparently, unfamiliar with the concept of the 'library' and the staff position of 'librarian'."

Mar 16 2018
06:28 pm

Resident electric bills spike because town had to buy supplemental energy to power bitcoin miners...


But when it came up Wednesday before the House State Government Subcommittee, it died a quick death. How quick? About 36 seconds.

As Clemmons started to talk about the bill, the sole Democrat on the five-member committee motioned to have it discussed.

No one on the committee spoke up. The committee chair, Republican state Rep. Bill Sanderson, then gaveled the resolution dead

And with that the committee moved on to the next item on its agenda.

A resolution denouncing neo-Nazis dies in 36 seconds

Randy Burleson revealed plans for an Aubry's Restaurant at the Kern's Bakery redevelopment in South Knoxville. The $3.5 million project would employ 80-100 workers.

But, there's a hitch: The plan doesn't conform to South Waterfront building codes. He took his case to residents attending an Old Sevier Community Group meeting at Stanley’s Greenhouse last night.

KnoxTNToday's Betsy Pickle reports...

Mar 15 2018
06:45 pm
By: R. Neal  shortURL

Donald Trump Jr.’s wife, Vanessa Trump, files for divorce

Maybe it's hard to collect alimony and child support from someone who's in federal prison and had all their assets seized?

Mar 15 2018
06:31 pm

The Lady Vols play Liberty U tomorrow (Friday) in round one of the NCAA tournament. The game will be on ESPN2, live from Thompson-Boling Arena at 2:30 PM.


DTV host Lisa Plawchan joins Zoe Brookshire-Risley, West High School student, and Edward Nelson, a Democratic candidate for TN House District 19, to discuss the student movement demanding action to end gun violence in our country. The hour-long DTV special shares students’ speeches delivered at Knoxville’s Vigil for Parkland, discusses common sense gun reform solutions and Knoxville’s March for Our Lives, the student-organized, student-led March happening on March 24.

This program will air on Community TV on Friday, March 16th at 7:30 PM on the following cable channels:
Comcast Channel 12
Charter Channel 193
Wow! Channel 6
ATT U-verse Channel 99

It also streams live on your computer (here!)

Mar 15 2018
09:39 am

Tennessee men's basketball will play Wright State today at 12:30 in round one of the NCAA tournament. The game will be broadcast on TruTV: Comcast 1351, Charter 772. There are also iPhone, Android and Roku apps (cable subscription required to activate).

Mar 15 2018
08:18 am

iHeartMedia, the largest US radio company and syndicators of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glen Beck among others, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to blow off creditors owed more than $10 billion of its $20 billion in debt.

iHeart does not own any stations in Knoxville, but does carry local Cumulus stations WIVK, NewsTalk 98.7 and WNML Sports Animal on their iHeartRadio streaming service.


It’s been exactly one month since the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School — and some are choosing a somber way to pay tribute to the 17 people killed in the Parkland massacre.

Thousands of students and teachers are planning to walk out of their classrooms on Wednesday, March 14 as part of the the #Enough! National School Walkout to raise awareness about issues of school safety and the impact of gun violence. The nationwide march, organized by Women’s March Youth Empower, will happen at 10 a.m. and last 17 minutes.

Some schools have indicated students and teachers should not walkout or they will be disciplined.

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine: White Coats Against Gun Violence

How young is too young to protest gun violence? Wednesday morning, the students in Craig Sampsell’s fifth-grade class at Case Elementary School in Akron, Ohio, will pick up posters they drew and walk out of their classrooms, joining many thousands of other students in a nationwide protest against gun violence after the killing of 17 people in a Florida high school last month.

Many schools in the local area (Knox County, Blount County, Loudon County, Alcoa, Maryville, and Oak Ridge) are on spring break, thus no school to walkout from.

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To date, the failure to expand Medicaid/TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding. (Source)

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