Thu
Jun 29 2017
08:38 am

Knoxville Mercury Q&A: Knoxville City Council 2017 Primary Candidates

It appears there are several quality candidates, especially in the 1st district.

See also:

Candidate meet and greet, today, June 29, from 4:30-8:30 p.m. at the Knoxville Expo Center, 5441 Clinton Highway. More info...

Meet the candidates at district get out the vote events sponsored by the City. More info...

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The Environmental Protection Agency’s chief of staff pressured the top scientist on the agency’s scientific review board to alter her congressional testimony and play down the dismissal of expert advisers, his emails show.

“The Board of Scientific Counselors had 68 members two months ago. It will have 11 come Sept. 1,” Dr. Swackhamer said. “They’ve essentially suspended scientific activities by ending these terms. We have no meetings scheduled, no bodies to do the work.”

E.P.A. Official Pressured Scientist on Congressional Testimony, Emails Show

Scientist says EPA asked her to change testimony to Congress

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Thu
Jun 29 2017
05:59 am

Sandra Clark at KnoxTNToday.com:

Records with the Federal Election Commission (www.fec.gov) show payments from the Duncan for Congress Committee of $3,000 to $3,500 every other week Nov. 1, 2013, through March 20, 2017, (end of reporting period) to American Public Strategies. The registered address: 8621 Nubbin Ridge Road. The property owner: John J. Duncan.

Knox County records do not indicate whether the property owner is Duncan Jr. or Duncan III, but the younger Duncan lives there and it’s clear he has been working for his dad's campaign committee since shortly after he resigned as Knox County trustee after pleading guilty to a felony charge of official misconduct.

Not clear on why Duncan has to spend so much on campaign strategy. Here it is in a nutshell, for free:

1. File papers to get name on the ballot.
2. Get reelected.

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Nice work Nashville Scene ...

From Tom Humphrey ...

The Tennessee Department of General Services must release records related to the failed privatization effort at Fall Creek Falls State Park, Davidson County Chancellor Bill Young ruled Tuesday in a lawsuit brought by the Nashville Scene and the Nashville Post.

“It’s a good day for transparency in Tennessee,” says Chris Ferrell, CEO of Southcomm, the parent company of the Scene and Nashville Post. “While I’m sorry we had file suit in order to get the state to comply, it’s reassuring that the courts recognize that the state can’t decide to hide things from the public in such an arbitrary way.”

Judge rules records of failed Fall Creek Falls privatization effort must be made public

Topics:
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Wed
Jun 28 2017
06:10 pm

Says he will run for either Duncan's seat in the House or Corker's in the Senate.

Knoxville Mercury with the scoop...

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The City has launched a get out the vote effort for upcoming City Council elections. City officials along with county election officials will host district public meetings to introduce candidates and discuss the upcoming elections with voters. Details in the press release after the break...

Continued...

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Wed
Jun 28 2017
12:35 pm

Cameron Brooks is now in real estate and he has a new blog about that, animal rescue and other topics. Check it out here. Here's an interesting article about local real estate scams.

Topics:
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Conservatives' beloved President Ronald Reagan expanded and improved upon Medicaid several times over his two terms, 1981-1989. From the Kaiser Family Foundation, a recap of those actions follows after the break.

Continued...

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Tue
Jun 27 2017
05:51 pm

A few selections ...

Credit cards can charge 30 percent interest
A law increases the maximum annual interest rate that a bank may charge on credit card accounts from 21 percent to 30 percent.

Sign language as a foreign language
This law allows Tennessee students to take American Sign Language and get credit for foreign language requirements.

133 new Tennessee laws take effect July 1

7 new Tennessee Laws

Public Chapters with Effective Date of 7/1/2017

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Tue
Jun 27 2017
04:37 pm

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) says it’s time for Democrats to run on single-payer health care across the country.

President Barack Obama “tried to move us forward with health care coverage by using a conservative model that came from one of the conservative think tanks that had been advanced by a Republican governor in Massachusetts,” Warren, referring to Mitt Romney, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal published Tuesday.

“Now it’s time for the next step. And the next step is single payer,” she said.

HuffPo: Elizabeth Warren calls for Democrats to embrace single-payer Health Care

Also WaPo: Whatever happens, the GOP is bringing us a whole lot closer to single payer (Opinion)

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Tue
Jun 27 2017
03:30 pm

...so that someday "we can find our way back again," she says.

That's the reason cited by Amy Siskind, former Wall Street exec of twenty years (and mom and gay and dog lover and jock and nerd, according to her Facebook profile), for having begun compiling and sharing in cyberspace her "Weekly List" of changing norms since Donald Trump's election.

Each post begins with: “Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.”

By Week 9, two million people were viewing her Facebook page. Now, in Week 32, she has hundreds of thousands of followers on Facebook, Medium, and Twitter.

The Washington Post story yesterday here.

Siskind's Weekly List at Medium here.

(Hat tip to Michael Gill for introducing me to Siskind. I'm a new follower.)

Topics:
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Tue
Jun 27 2017
10:26 am

City Council has approved a contract to upgrade nearly 30,000 streetlights in Knoxville to LED lighting. The city expects significant savings on energy and maintenance. Details in the press release after the break...

Continued...

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Tue
Jun 27 2017
09:12 am

We are hearing rumors that the Knoxville News Sentinel may be going to a three days per week publishing schedule. Anyone else heard this?

Other Gannett papers have done this. Here are some links by way of a reader:

3 Gannett Papers Moving to 3-Day-A-Week Print Editions

This Mississippi paper has 8 times more digital readers than print, so they’re cutting print to 3 days a week

Gannett earnings forecast a bleak 2017 for newspaper companies

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Tue
Jun 27 2017
09:12 am

Rheta Grimsley Johnson is retiring. She has some interesting references in her final column.

Yes, I am offended at the recent drumbeat that declares mine not an honorable profession. I know better. The same kill-the-messenger con that crooked politicians have used forever is amplified now, writ large by a tweeting and desperate president.

As H.L. Mencken predicted, “On some great and glorious day the plain folks will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

Trump tempts me to keep on, not to quit. But life and an old-school editor named Michael Greahl have taught me a little about graceful benedictions.

Topics:
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Tue
Jun 27 2017
06:51 am

I don't know. People these days are using debit cards way too much. I can understand the attraction, especially if you have an aversion to credit cards. However, if somehow your debit card account gets used fraudulently, you are out of money for at least a little while.

Yesterday, I was next to a person on the phone with their financial institution trying to figure out how to get their money back after their bank account was drained by someone who had obtained access to their funds. At the end of the call the person, speaking to someone with them, explained they were temporarily broke. There was no money in their bank account. The financial institution said they should have the money credited back to their account within a couple of days. What are they to do in the interim? Do they have gas to get to work? Do they have food to eat? Can they pay their bills?

As I have posted in the past, it is not a good idea to use your debit card for anything except a bank ATM. If you use a debit card, your personal cash is affected by provider mistakes. If at all possible, use a credit card or hit the ATM for cash to avoid these temporary cash flow problems.

What is an alternative method to make purchases for those that like to use their debit cards for everything and do not want a credit card liability?

Topics:
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Mon
Jun 26 2017
07:50 pm

Hopefully Kennedy and Ginsberg can hang on a bit longer.

Vote, run for office, campaign

Justice Clarence Thomas dissented with Justice Samuel Alito and newly-appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch, saying the court didn't go far enough.

Supreme Court allows parts of travel ban to take effect

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Mon
Jun 26 2017
07:31 pm

Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini urges in a newsletter today that "this week is all about healthcare."

Events and rallies across the state this week (including three in Knoxville) and contact info for Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander after the break.

Continued...

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Mon
Jun 26 2017
07:09 pm

The Congressional Budget Office did complete its scoring of the Senate healthcare bill today and released its data this afternoon. Yes, it's as mean as the House bill.

The CBO says 22 million more would lose insurance under the GOP Senate bill (49 million uninsured by 2026) as compared to projections under the ACA now in effect (28 million uninsured by 2026).

The agency says the the 22 million increase in uninsureds is attributable to 15 million fewer who would be enrolled in Medicaid and 7 million fewer who would be privately insured.

Forbes

Politico

Business Insider

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Mon
Jun 26 2017
01:34 pm

According to the rules of economics, the prices of innovative, breakthrough medical offerings should go down as they become more common. Competition should reduce prices as more manufacturers enter the field allowing purchaser-prescribers to choose from alternatives.

The pricing of pharmaceuticals and treatments in the United States often does exactly the opposite.

The United States suffers from a bizarre phenomenon economists call "sticky pricing," where prices of competing medical services simply rise in tandem.

When one hospital system manages to get away with charging extremely high prices, it provides cover for others to raise theirs, even for treatments no longer considered particularly innovative, using technologies that have become commonplace.

Why US health care costs defy common sense

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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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