Nov 29 2021
04:52 pm

Today, CDC is strengthening its recommendation on booster doses for individuals who are 18 years and older. Everyone ages 18 and older should get a booster shot either when they are 6 months after their initial Pfizer or Moderna series or 2 months after their initial J&J vaccine.

The recent emergence of the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters, and prevention efforts needed to protect against COVID-19

CDC Expands COVID-19 Booster Recommendations

Parents or legal guardians of any New Yorker who is 5 to 11 years of age and who has received at least their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, may enter their child for a chance to win one of 50, four-year, full-ride scholarships (including tuition, fees, room-and-board, and expenses) to any two-year or four-year New York State public college or university.

'Vaccinate, Educate, Graduate'

Under multimillion-dollar pilot programs made available by the $1 trillion infrastructure law and other federal spending, visitors to national parks could see self-driving shuttle buses, along with electric scooter or bike stations and electric charging stations for zero-emission cars.

US national parks to offer look into green-friendly transit

The Build Back Better plan approved in the House and being reviewed in the Senate would "provide $0 ACA premiums to individuals who live in the 12 holdout states that haven’t adopted the ACA’s Medicaid expansion."

Marsha Blackburn's The Blackburn Report dated 11/19/2021


"In the Build Back Broke bill, President Biden prioritized billionaires over sick children, people with disabilities, and the poor. The sweeping federal overreach pushed by the Biden administration is a direct attempt to punish states like Tennessee for providing personalized care for vulnerable communities. This week, I sent a letter requesting that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) disclose the impact of President Biden’s agenda on state Medicaid programs in Tennessee, Texas, and Florida."

"Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Rick Scott (R-Fla.) joined Senator Blackburn on the letter demanding answers on the Biden administration’s blatant attack on the Medicaid programs in Tennessee, Texas, and Florida."

It is true that the Build Back Better plan proposes that "States that have not expanded their Medicaid program, including any state that chooses to reverse their Medicaid expansion, would face a reduction in their Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) allotment. Beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2023, non-expansion states would be subject to a 12.5% reduction of their DSH allotment."

However, in addition to the expansion of the ACA plan to allow for more participants at a lesser cost in the states that have not expanded Medicaid, "The legislation would extend the expanded eligibility for and value of health insurance marketplace subsidies authorized through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) through 2025.

In addition, "The legislation would establish a new health insurance affordability fund available to all states to provide assistance in reducing health care premiums and out-of-pocket costs through reinsurance programs,"

Also, "Federal Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding would be made permanent."

These are only some of the health care provisions of the Build Back Better plan.

Don't let Blackburn, Lee, Hagerty, and the conservative media confuse the issue. The State of Tennessee has lost out on approximately $18 billion in Federal funding to expand Medicaid for Tennessee residents who can't afford health care. The Republican political leaders in this state are leading us down a dangerous path that cannot be sustained in the future. We must help others in order to help ourselves.


From the conservative news source Wall Street Journal,

"Southern states—Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Florida—have had the highest [Covid-19 death] rates this year."
"Vermont has the lowest Covid-19 death rate per 100,000 people since the pandemic began, although the state is in a continuing surge. Vermont also has the most fully vaccinated population among the states, at 72%. Mississippi, closer to the bottom of the list with about 47% fully vaccinated, has the nation’s highest death rate since the pandemic began."
"The number of U.S. Covid-19 deaths recorded in 2021 has surpassed the toll in 2020..."

"The total number of reported deaths linked to the disease topped 770,800 on Saturday, Johns Hopkins data show. This puts the pandemic-long total at more than twice the 385,343 Covid-19 deaths recorded last year,..."

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Nov 20 2021
08:01 pm

I sent a short and pointed email to Tim Burchett asking him to explain how he could not vote to censure Gosar. The following is his response. I also sent a follow up email telling him he did not answer my question. I don't really expect to hear back to that one.

Here is his response. Dear Mr. @@@@@


Nov 20 2021
11:24 am

From Knox County, as of 11/19/2021,
and from State of Tennessee as of 11/19/2021,

since the inception of COVID-19, approx. 1/23/2020...

the Knox County Health Department reports 63,369 coronavirus cases and 16,757 probable cases. Nearly 1,700 cases cases in 31 days, averaging 54 cases a day.

There have been 946 deaths due to coronavirus in Knox County.
That is up from 895 total deaths as of 10/18/2021.
51 deaths in 31 days.

Deaths by age group (age breakdown as of 11/19/2021, Knox County count of 940 cases):

40 in the 18-44 age group (4%) (no increase since 10/18/21)
194 in the 45-64 age group (21%) (increase of 9% since 10/18/21)
234 in the 65-74 age group (25%) (increase of 7% since 10/18/21)
472 in the 75+ age group (50%) (increase of 3.5% since 10/18/21)

As of 11/18/2021, there are
142 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized in the Knox County region.

As of 10/15/2021 there are
40 COVID-19 patients in ICU.

Hospitalizations up from a low of 21 on 7/4/21.

As of November 18, 2021, ICU bed available capacity is at 13.9% of 317 total ICU beds.

As of November 18, 2021, the TN Dept of Health reports the average positivity rate over the past 7 days is 6.9%, down from 14.0% on October 18, 2021. Still higher than the 5.6% on 7/14/2021.

Vaccinations reported, last updated 11/18/2021:
% with 2 doses - 54.55% (up from 53.87%10/18/2021, up from 50.68% on 9/17/2021, up from 49.54% on 9/12/2021, up from 48.99% on 8/27/2021, up from 47.28% on 8/13/2021, up from 46.14% on 7/27/2021, up from 45.42% on 7/14/2021)
% with at least 1 dose - 59.56% on 11/18/2021 (up from 58.17% on 10/18/2021, up from 57.04% on 9/17/2021, up from 56.10% on 9/12/2021, up from 54.66% on 8/27/2021, up from 52.43% on 8/13/2021, up from 50.22% on 7/27/2021, up from 49.09% on 7/14/2021)

Nov 20 2021
09:44 am
By: bizgrrl

Gov. Lee has no plans to extend Tennessee’s Covid-19 state of emergency.

Knox, Blount, and many Tennessee counties have high transmission rates.

Other parts of the country have increased cases of the coronavirus, e.g. Montgomery County, MD, Connecticut, Michigan , Minnesota, etc. but continue to have restrictions.

Other countries, Germany and Austria, are heavily restricting the unvaccinated.

Gov. Lee doesn't appear to care how his actions are negatively affecting the people if Tennessee. Then there is Tenn. Rep. John Ragan representing Oak Ridge, etc. who "demanded that a state medical board remove a policy statement from its website that warns physicians who spread misinformation regarding COVID-19 vaccines risk disciplinary action."

Blithering idiots.

Nov 20 2021
06:33 am
By: bizgrrl

In her November 19, 2021, emailed newsletter, Blackburn states:

"President Biden’s ultimatum exacerbates issues faced by hardworking Americans by forcing workers to get jabbed or be fired. That’s why I joined the formal challenge to President Biden’s vaccine mandates. Tennesseans are unified in our opposition to President Biden's abuse of power, and this formal challenge represents national momentum against federal overreach."

I'm pretty sure she left out the word Republican in reference to Tennesseans. I am not unified in opposition to any accusation she is making as to any abuse of power by President Joe Biden.

Nov 19 2021
06:16 am

On November 19, 2021, from Sandra Clark, KnoxTNToday, "Tim Burchett has lost his way." After Burchett saying, "“Speaker Pelosi is no longer fit to run the House of Representatives..."

On November 13, 2021, from Buzz Thomas, in an Opinion article for the Maryville Daily Times, in response to a fundraising letter he received from Burchett he wrote, "It was his brazen use of half-truths and untruths."

On November 18, 2021, Burchett wrote in a Twitter post he wants Fauci to be fired, in response to a Twitter post of a Fauci interview where he said, "There is a "misplaced perception about people’s individual right to make a decision that supersedes the societal safety." Many of the Twitter replies disagree with the representative from Tennessee.

Maybe he is campaigning for a job with the Trump organization. Maybe he wants to replace Marsha Blackburn. Maybe he is running for President. No matter what his reasoning, he is disappointing the locals, but it probably won't make any difference because East Tennessee votes republican and Burchett is counting on it.

I thank Sandra and Buzz for making their dislike and discomfort public.

Nov 19 2021
12:32 am

CVS Health is closing 900 stores over the next three years, amounting to nearly 10% of its footprint, in response to the changing of "consumer buying patterns."

CVS is closing 900 stores

Nov 18 2021
10:46 am

TVA is proposing to revise the 2000 Tellico Reservoir Land Management Plan (RLMP) in Blount, Loudon, and Monroe counties in East Tennessee. TVA has reviewed the current land use allocations of TVA lands on Tellico Reservoir to determine if those allocations are appropriate or if changes are needed. Based on this review, TVA has prepared an environmental assessment reviewing three possible alternative actions.

Note: TVA is currently seeking comments on the draft environmental assessment (EA) and draft reservoir land management plan (RLMP) through January 15, 2022. A link to Submit Comments is near the bottom of the page from the above link. UPDATE, the Submit Comments button is now working. However, when I tried the link it says no more submissions are being accepted, even though it says through 1/15/2022. My guess is to contact the person listed below the Submit Comment link.

Descriptions of Land Management Planning Zones.

Less than 24 hours after the Tennessee university system lifted its mask mandates, The University of Tennessee at Knoxville said it has reinstated its mandate Tuesday to comply with the federal executive order requiring federal contractor buildings to follow CDC mask guidance.

University of Tennessee at Knoxville reinstates mask mandate to comply with federal funding after lifting it less than 24 hours ago

Nov 16 2021
09:48 pm

60 Minutes follows the U.S.' struggling supply chain, from choked ports on the West Coast, to packed rail yards in Chicago. Along the way, we found finger-pointing, huge profits, and massive losses.

What's caused America's supply chain crunch?

Nov 14 2021
06:28 am

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a 14.5% hike in Medicare Part B premiums Friday night, blaming the pandemic but also what it called uncertainty over how much it may have to be forced to pay for a pricey and controversial new Alzheimer's drug, CNN reported.

The 14.5% increase in Part B premiums will take monthly payments for those in the lowest income bracket from $148.50 a month this year to $170.10 in 2022. Medicare Part B covers physician services, outpatient hospital services, certain home health services, medical equipment, and certain other medical and health services not covered by Medicare Part A, including medications given in doctors' offices.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services played down the spike, pointing out that most beneficiaries also collect Social Security benefits and will see a cost-of-living adjustment of 5.9% in their 2022 monthly payments, the agency said in a statement. That's the largest bump in 30 years.
It "will consume the entire annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) of Social Security recipients with the very lowest benefits, of about $365 per month,"...
Along with the premium spike, the annual deductible for Medicare Part B beneficiaries is rising to $233 in 2022, up from $203 in 2021.

It's time to rethink this price increase. Way to high much for many Medicare recipients. Write the President, your congress people, AARP, whoever you think might have some influence and might care.

Blount Memorial Hospital, Covenant Health, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Sweetwater Hospital Association and The University of Tennessee Medical Center are planning to comply with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
"Clinical, non-clinical and medical staff, as well as students, volunteers, contracted employees and vendors are required to have initiated the first dose of the primary COVID-19 vaccine series or received a single dose of the one-dose vaccine by December 5, 2021, unless they qualify and are approved for a religious or medical exemption to the vaccine.

The two-dose series to be fully vaccinated must be completed by January 4, 2022."

According to the hospital leaders, about 65% of patients at Covenant Health use Medicare or Medicaid; about 61% of UTMC patients use Medicare or Medicaid; and about 60% of Children’s Hospital patients use Medicaid.

“We have supported the vaccine throughout the entire pandemic, and that has not changed. We feel the same as we have,” said Dr. James Shamiyeh, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of UTMC.
At Covenant Health, about 30% of employees are not fully vaccinated; at UTMC it’s about 26%, and Children’s Hospital it’s about 20%."

It's about time. Gotta hurt them in the pocketbook instead of them taking the initiative to ensure hospital patients (and fellow employees) are safe from the pandemic.

It's tough being the leader of a hospital in Tennessee. But, they required vaccines in a very large Texas hospital system months ago.

Klebl and his team of architects strategically crafted every inch of Geos and its first 28 homes.

Because sunshine means warmth and energy, homes were laid out in a checkerboard-like pattern so one doesn't cast a shadow over the other. Along with solar panels on each roof, Klebl included energy-efficient washers and dryers, triple-paned windows for insulation, LED lights and double garages with charging stations for electric vehicles.

Some houses use geothermal heat pumps, which harness energy from the earth to heat their homes during the winter.

There's a herd of goats that roam a section of the neighborhood -- natural lawn mowers.

This Colorado community was proof an all-electric, net-zero future is possible. Now that vision is under siege

Nov 11 2021
08:51 am

Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918. In legislation that was passed in 1938, November 11 was "dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day.'" As such, this new legal holiday honored World War I veterans."

"In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress -- at the urging of the veterans service organizations -- amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars."

It is hard to express the necessary gratitude for our Veterans. Thank you and be well.


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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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