Oct 19 2017
07:44 am

Erik Prince reminds us of Catch-22

"In a democracy, the government is the people," Milo declared. "We're people, aren't we? So we might just as well keep the money and eliminate the middleman. Frankly, I'd like to see the government get out of war altogether and leave the whole field to private industry."

How far from that amoral doublespeak are the recent machinations of Erik Prince, founder of controversial private security firm and military contractor Blackwater? Prince, brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, recently promoted a massive plan to create an army of private contractors and their aircraft to take over much of the war in Afghanistan. President Donald Trump was talked out of his initial support for the idea, but the revelation we came that close to outsourcing our war should scare all of us.

Oct 19 2017
07:20 am

U.S. Senate candidate James Mackler is a better candidate than former Governor Phil Bredesen.

On April 17, James Mackler quit his job with a big Nashville law firm, announced his candidacy, hit the ground running and is campaigning on a platform of providing economic opportunity, bipartisan healthcare reform, effective K-12 education and affordable college.
April 17 wasn’t the first time Mackler gave up a good job to take on public service.
Bredesen is accomplished and smart. He is 74. Mackler is accomplished and smart. He is 45 and boundlessly energetic.

Many members of the Tennessee Democratic Party didn't like Bredesen when he was governor. What changed? Desperation?

Maybe it is time to give someone new a chance with the full support of the Tennessee Democratic Party.


Kevin Collier at Buzzfeed
Twitter Was Warned Repeatedly About This Fake Account Run By A Russian Troll Farm And Refused To Take It Down

The @TEN_GOP account was one of many created by Russia's Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin-linked “troll farm” that devoted hundreds of thousands of dollars and nearly 100 people specifically to influencing American political sentiment. The account was first identified this week in an investigation by Russia's RBC news outlet into the troll farm's efforts to influence US politics.

That investigation documented the lengths that Russia went to in its influence campaign, including paying unsuspecting Americans to undertake activities seemingly intended to increase polarization.

The @TEN_GOP account offered a lesson in how inflammatory tweets can be used to gain followers and influence. In contrast, the actual Tennessee GOP’s Twitter account, @tngop, has only 13,400 followers, despite being the Twitter voice of the state party since 2007.

The actual Tennessee Republican Party tried unsuccessfully for months to get Twitter to shut @TEN_GOP down.


Oct 18 2017
06:45 am

Ijams Nature Center is adding 13.4 acres south of the existing facilities on Island Home Pike in South Knoxville. The land is on the west side of the road next to the Meads Quarry portion of the park.

The addition was funded by Grayson Subaru of Knoxville. The land "features riparian wetlands along two creeks as well as upland habitat that includes a small cedar glade and secondary growth forest."

Oct 18 2017
12:33 am

The newer effort, however, has largely flown under the radar, concerning environmentalists since it's part of filibuster-proof legislative process that Republicans hope to use to pass tax reform.

"This is kind of a back-door attempt to open up the Arctic Refuge," said Athan Manuel, the director of the Sierra Club's Lands Protection Program.

GOP Lawmakers Open Door to Arctic Drilling


Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency Monday in anticipation of a speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer at the University of Florida.

  • a “threat of a potential emergency is imminent” in Alachua County [Gainesville, FL]
  • the university will spend $500,000 on security
  • Scott is also activating the Florida National Guard to help if needed.


Oct 17 2017
09:44 am


USA Today article, "The results are in...D.C. has a lot of STDs".

They are using a picture of Michelle Marciniak as the lead-in to this article. The picture is her with the NCAA national championship trophy for women's basketball when the Lady Vols won in 1996. Marciniak was chosen the 1996 NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player. What disrespect.

This the week she is riding 1,098 miles from Knoxville to Key West, Florida, (1 mile for each of Summitt's career wins -- the most ever in the college game) as part of a fundraising initiative called Pedal for Pat.

Why would they do this?

Oct 16 2017
11:47 am

UPDATE: The chamber responded to our inquiry about the groundbreaking:

AMI has not broken ground on the site. It has until Oct. 19 to do so.

AMI has asked for an extension. The Industrial Development Board of Blount County (IDB) is considering this proposal.

The IDB is committed to working with AMI to get this project started.

Original post continues below...

When we last checked on the highly touted Blount County ammo plant deal, the land had been repossessed, the owners had sold all their interest in the company, and reports said they had abandoned any plans for expansion in Tennessee.

Despite all this, the Maryville Daily Times and the local chamber of commerce said in April that the deal was still on and that they were planning to break ground in October.

Well, it's October. Still waiting for the announcement of when we can expect the big groundbreaking...

As you may recall, the deal involved an estimated investment of $500 million to as high as $1 billion, and was expected to bring more than 600 high-tech, high-paying jobs. State and local incentives topped $20 million, although it doesn't appear any of that money was ever spent. Gov. Haslam, Randy Boyd and local officials were on hand for the big announcement ceremony. Perhaps they have already received invitations to the groundbreaking and are working out the details.

Oct 16 2017
11:39 am
By: R. Neal  shortURL

Atlanta-based private equity firm NRD Capital has announced an agreement to acquire Ruby Tuesday for $2.40 per share. The company will also assume all of Ruby Tuesday's debt. The deal is subject to the usual shareholder and regulatory approvals and is expected to close in early 2018.

Press release...

Background on NRD...


Please take a minute and watch this 60 Minutes story about how the drug industry has taken over our democracy and how MARSHA BLACKBURN, who is running for US Senate for Tennessee (Sen. Corker's seat), helped the pharmaceutical industry cut the legs from under the DEA by making them unable to prosecute drug distributors. If your family has been touched by drugs, you will be as angry as I am at this. It is not a Democrat or Republican thing - it is a crime against AMERICANS!

Oct 16 2017
08:41 am

Current authorization for spending has expired for the CHIP Program (Children's Health Insurance Program). The CHIP program "helps lower- and middle-income families that otherwise earn too much to be eligible for Medicaid." It covers 9 million children across the country and 370,000 pregnant women a year.

Funding lapsed Sept. 30, 2017. Some states have only enough funding to last to the end of the year. "Minnesota, however, was among the most imperiled because it had spent all its CHIP money. State officials said Tuesday that the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services was giving Minnesota $3.6 million from unspent national funds to cover CHIP this month."

"The funding renewal was not a priority among Republican leaders, who have spent most of this year trying to replace the Affordable Care Act and dramatically overhaul the Medicaid program. Some in Congress also thought the Sept. 30 deadline was squishy since states could extend their existing funds beyond that."

CHIP was created in 1997 as a joint state-federal health insurance program for low to moderate income children and pregnant women who are not Medicaid eligible.

"Under current law, the program has to be reauthorized every few years; Saturday’s deadline was the product of a two-year extension negotiated in 2015, the most recent episode of brinkmanship over whether Congress would act in time to avoid disruption. This time it failed."

The Senate Finance Committee advanced a bill this week to extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for five years. Now it has to be approved by the Senate, the House, and the President.

Hopefully they will get this done before the end of the year.

Oct 16 2017
07:18 am

EARLY VOTING: Wednesday, Oct. 18 - Thursday Nov.2
ELECTION DAY: Tuesday, Nov. 7

2017 City of Knoxville Regular Election

Oct 14 2017
07:41 am

The Kern's Bakery building on Chapman Highway has a new lease on life, again. The property has been recently purchased by an investment group based in Asheville, Land of Sky Regional Center. Oliver Smith IV of Knoxville brokered the deal.

The 70,000-square-foot building will host more than a dozen tenants - including at least six restaurants, plus breweries and retail shops. Additionally, new multi-family units will be built behind the current building.

Downtown developer David Dewhirst and three partners purchased the building in 2015 for $312,500. The Asheville, NC, company paid $3.1 million for the property. Surely Dewhirst, etc., put some money into the building. Who knows? If not, they made a really good deal.

Many of us look forward to the completion of this project.

Oct 12 2017
09:02 pm

The vast majority of congressional members and staffers get their insurance through the Washington, DC, exchange, known as DC Health Link.

For most members of Congress, that means purchasing insurance through the DC exchange. In 2017, the exchange offered 57 plans in its gold tier, the tier from which the government requires members and staffers to purchase insurance.

How do Congress' lawmakers get health care?

DC Health Link

Oct 12 2017
03:23 pm

The first of two evenings of City Council Candidate Forums will air this Friday evening (October 13) on Community TV. Michael Davis moderates discussions with City Council Candidates Rebecca Parr, Stephanie Welch, Wayne Christensen, Andrew Roberto, James Corcoran, and Seema Singh Perez who are seeking to represent Districts One, Two, and Three on the next Knoxville City Council.

This candidate forum will air at 7:30 PM on Friday, October 13th and you can watch it live (here)

Or watch it on these cable channels:
Comcast Channel 12
Charter Channel 193
Wow! Channel 6
ATT U-verse Channel 99

Tune in and meet six candidates who are seeking your votes in the upcoming City Elections. Join us again on Friday, Oct 20 and meet the other five candidates asking for your votes in this election.

Early voting commences on October 18th


What: 6th District Dems Social - Prof. Mike McKinney & Renee Hoyos
When: Friday, October 27, 2017 - 7:00pm
Where: Casual Pint Hardin Valley Rd

Join the 6th district Democrats for an evening of policy discussion about environmental issues featuring Prof. Mike McKinney and 2nd Congressional District Renee Hoyos discussing her candidacy. The 6th district is in the west Knoxville Karns area where folks are canvassing once a month and organizing electorally. Contact

Oct 11 2017
06:02 pm
By: B Harmon  shortURL

Candidates James Mackler, Lauren Rider rise above shiny object stories

Mackler last week was in Knoxville the same day that Gov. Bill Haslam announced he was not running for the Senate seat, and U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn announced she was. All three local TV newscasts were reminded of this opportunity, but none supplemented their Senate seat stories with a Mackler interview. If any had shown at the Blue Dots meeting that night, they would have seen a crowd roaring approval when he contrasted himself to Blackburn, presenting himself as a “servant leader who is not a career politician.”

The shiny object syndrome also can be seen in Knoxville’s District 4 City Council race. Lauren Rider secured 43.51 percent of the primary vote in a five-way contest. Her 889 votes were the most for any candidate in any district. Our system puts the first- and second-place finishers in a citywide runoff, but that distant second-place spot featured a tie. City Council broke that tie, but voters should ignore that distraction and stick with the district’s choice.


What: DropIn - Showing Up for Racial Justice TONIGHT (Weds Oct 11)
When: Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - 6:00pm
Where: Public House on High Street, Maryville

Drop in to the Public House from 6-8pm for informal conversation about SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice): who we are, our values, our work, and how we are learning to show up for racial justice in Blount County. Hosts for this Drop In are Crystal Colter and Nathan Higdon.

If you can't make it and want to learn more about SURJ, email us at and visit our website (link...)


What: Jay Clark Campaign Kickoff! Tuesday October 24, 5:30-7:30pm at Smithview Pavilion
When: Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 5:30pm
Where: Smithview Pavilion

Jay Clark will launch his campaign for election to the Tennessee House of Representatives, District 8, with a kickoff at Smithview Pavilion (601 Smithview Dr., Maryville) on Tuesday, October 24 from 5:30-7:30pm.

A resident of Rockford, Clark is adjunct professor of biology at Maryville College and a well-known musician and performer.

The program introducing the candidate begins at 6:30pm and refreshments will be served.


Oct 9 2017
11:18 am

What: Books Sandwiched In welcomes Brandon Hollingsworth
When: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 12:00pm
Where: East Tennessee History Center, 601 South Gay Street

Hollingsworth headshot 2016.JPGKnox County Public Library invites the public to join Brandon Hollingsworth for a discussion of All These Worlds Are Yours:The Scientific Search for Alien Life by Jon Willis, Wednesday, October 18, noon to 1:00 in the East Tennessee History Center auditorium. Books Sandwiched In is sponsored by the Friends of Knox County Public Library. Reading the book is optional. Attendees may bring lunch. Drinks are available to purchase.

"As pervasive as the idea of extraterrestrial life (especially of the intelligent variety) is in our popular culture, it's important to remember that just half a century ago, the very idea was laughable," Hollingsworth said. "Once considered a fringe field, what we now call astrobiology is a credible scientific avenue for testing what we know—or think we know—about biology, cosmology and philosophy. In All These World Are Yours, Jon Willis traces the development of astrobiology and asks the reader to consider the possibilities and probabilities of life beyond our own world."



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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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