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By michael kaplan, Wed, 2014/10/01 - 2:42pm

After spending weeks depicting ISIS as an unprecedented threat, administration officials suddenly began spoon-feeding their favorite media organizations and national security journalists tales of a secret group that was even scarier and more threatening than ISIS, one that posed a direct and immediate threat to the American Homeland. Seemingly out of nowhere, a new terror group was created in media lore.


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Um, Greg Johnson? Haslam's free tuition plan NOT "first-in-the-nation," just screwiest

By Tamara Shepherd, Wed, 2014/10/01 - 12:39pm

Good grief. Are Greg Johnson and his KNS editor both Haslam cheerleaders? Even if one didn't already know better, a simple Google search discredits Johnson's assertion this morning that Governor Bill Haslam's Tennessee Promise plan is the "first-in-the-nation" proposal for tuition-free community colleges statewide.

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Central City (1st District) Democrats Meeting

By stalwartdem, Wed, 2014/10/01 - 9:57am

What: Central City (1st District) Democrats Meeting
When: Monday, October 6, 2014 - 6:15pm
Where: Burlington Library 4614 Asheville HYWY knoxville 37914

Guest Speaker will be:

Greg MacKay, former Knox County Election Commissioner

for info: Tony Brown (

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People's Bailout, Phase II

By Tamara Shepherd, Tue, 2014/09/30 - 9:19pm

Nearly two years ago, Eric Lykins clued us KVers in about a group born of the Occupy Wall Street protests and calling itself Strike Debt. Their so-called Rolling Jubilee refers to their organizational effort to buy bundled student loan and medical debt on the secondary market (for pennies on the dollar) then absolve the affected debtors of their obligations. Their vision is one of free public education, national healthcare, and affordable housing for all.

Their slogan, appropriately enough, is "you are not a loan."

And they're proving it. Thus far, the Rolling Jubilee has raised a little over $700,000 and has absolved debtors of over $18,000,000 in student loans and medical debts.

Just last night, I caught UCLA's Dr. Hannah Appel on PBS, telling viewers about Strike Debt's efforts this month to assist former students of the particularly reprehensible for-profit online school Everest College. Everest has been victimizing primarily poor single-parents but is now closing its doors in eleven states, leaving its students without sheepskins and heavily burdened with debt.

So what's Phase II? Strike Debt is now forming smaller, more localized Debt Collectives, which they characterize as "debtors' unions," to more effectively pinpoint predatory lenders and to help locals organize themselves.

We should support these good folks. Follow all those links and I think you'll agree.

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UAW Gets Help From German Counterparts For Chattanooga Push

By Mike Knapp, Tue, 2014/09/30 - 5:27pm

Blake Farmer at Nashville NPR reports
Sounds like one of Germany's most powerful unions is getting more deeply involved in an across-the-pond international organizing effort. That's just outstanding. These guys, together, are going to outmaneuver Corker et al and establish a workers counsel in America in Chattanooga. Don't give up just change tactics when necessary.

“It is a formal agreement – a contract of sorts – between the three, that we’re all committed at an equal level to the organization of the Chattanooga plant,” UAW Secretary Gary Casteel tells WPLN.
Importantly, Casteel points out that the VW Global Works Council and IG Metall specifically want the Tennessee plant to be a “UAW-represented facility.” There has been a competing organizing effort from anti-UAW workers trying to start an alternate union under the name American Council of Employees.

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The new standard for Knox Co. Schools?

By R. Neal, Tue, 2014/09/30 - 7:51am

Audit: No criminal actions in Knox County Schools account

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Briggs and Military Uniform policy

By Mark Harmon, Mon, 2014/09/29 - 5:40pm

Mike Donilla today wearily dismissed Cheri Siler's point about Briggs' campaign material not having the required disclaimer regarding military uniforms.


He passed along unchallenged Briggs' contention the policy only applies to persons on active duty. Big Mistake. Here are the relevant passages from Department of Defense Directive 1344.10, Feb. 19, 2008.

4.3.2. Members included in subparagraph 4.3.1. [which specifically mentions members NOT ON ACTIVE DUTY] may NOT, in campaign literature (including Web sites, videos, television, and conventional print advertisements): Use or allow the use of photographs, drawings, and other similar media formats of themselves in uniform as the primary graphic representation in any campaign media, such as a billboard, brochure, flyer, Web site, or television commercial. For the purposes of this policy, “photographs” include video images, drawings, and all other similar formats of representational media.

A good article about past abuses of this policy may be found at:

This relevant concern should not be dismissed merely because of Briggs' bluster.

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What's The Strategy for Fighting Amendment One?

By reform4, Mon, 2014/09/29 - 4:52pm

What: What's The Strategy for Fighting Amendment One?
When: Monday, September 29, 2014 - 4:45pm

I thought this would be a good ad:

But then I thought, if I really wanted to sucker in the "low information voter", I would make this sign and hold it up at the polls, while wearing my tie-dye shirt and Birkenstocks:

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Well, this is awkward

By R. Neal, Mon, 2014/09/29 - 2:27pm

BuzzFeed: TN Democratic Senate Nominee Plagiarized Almost Everything Written On His Website

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Tennessee one of the worst states for teachers?

By R. Neal, Mon, 2014/09/29 - 11:49am

WalletHub today released a report on the best and worst states for teachers. The study looked at "18 key metrics, ranging from median starting salary to teacher job openings per capita."

Tennessee's overall ranking came in near the bottom at number 41. The state ranked 49th in public spending per pupil.

2014's Best and Worst States for Teachers

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Briggs misleads, comes across as a bully

By R. Neal, Mon, 2014/09/29 - 11:29am

WATE's Tennessee This Week yesterday featured a brief interview with State Senate District 7 candidates Cheri Siler (D) and Richard Briggs (R).

The first question was about Medicaid expansion.

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Shopper-News online

By Sandra Clark, Sun, 2014/09/28 - 9:11pm

Hey, folks. We've resumed posting political columns online on Sundays at 6 p.m. even though the papers don't come out until Wednesday.
We'll see how this works out. (link...)

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The Oldest Bar In Every State

By jbr, Sun, 2014/09/28 - 6:43pm

What is Knoxville's oldest surviving bar? Restaurant?

From Yahoo …


Springwater Supper Club — Nashville (Est. 1896)

Originally opened as a bar for the Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition, this grungy rock club was a southern speakeasy during Prohibition, then a bar called the Pirate’s Den, Norma’s, and finally, its current iteration since 1978. It’s a divey live music venue that, in the ever-changing world of Nashville nightlife, has managed to survive for over a century.

Found: The Oldest Bar In Every State - the History's Even Better Than the Booze!

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Business Buzzword Bingo, 1962.

By reform4, Sun, 2014/09/28 - 1:21pm

Tired of buzzwords in meetings, like "the 30,000 foot view" and "synergy" and "execution"? Check out these early 1960's meeting buzzwords from my father's engineering notebook:

Big Pole In The Tent: Major consideration ("Reliability is the big pole in the tent.")

Bring Out A Wetter Towel: introduce a more severe crisis into an existing crisis ("I don't want to bring out a wetter towel, but what about our test requirements document?")

Bag of Feathers: Meaningless or unstable data ("You've tried to generate a complete maintenance concept out of a bag of feathers.")

Draw a Horse: A plan in written form ("We've got one week to draw a horse for our system study.")

Paint a Picture And Hang It On The Wall: Publishing or presenting your 'drawn horse'.

Sprinkle Holy Water: To approve officially, but without acceptance of responsibility for the consequences.

Milking a Mouse: To draw conclusions that are not supported from the available data.

Draw Fat Sparks: get a violent reaction ("That proposed schedule really drew fat sparks from the customer.")

Chew Our Cabbage Twice: Perform meaningless repetition ("We're chewing our cabbage twice on the study documents and the System Study Report, aren't we?")

This one wasn't a buzzword, but it was worth repeating from his notebook:
"Have you any remarks?" = Can you give me any idea what this is about?

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Somewhat original thinking for an old problem - a "bottom-up approach to fiscal policy"

By Mike Knapp, Sun, 2014/09/28 - 1:20am


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U.S. House District 3 candidates to debate

By Mike Knapp, Fri, 2014/09/26 - 8:46pm

U.S. House District 3 candidates to debate
Louie Brogdon at the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports "U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn. and Democratic challenger Mary Headrick have agreed to a televised debate.

The debate, produced by WTCI, the local PBS affiliate, and Chattanooga Times Free Press, will be held and broadcast live at 8 p.m. Oct. 27. The debate will be moderated by Times Free Press Business Editor Dave Flessner."

Explain, justify why this can't, won't or shouldn't happen in Knoxville between the state senate and house candidates.

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WDVX fall fundraiser

By R. Neal, Fri, 2014/09/26 - 9:36am

WDVX kicks off their Fall Fund Drive on Wednesday, Oct. 1st through Friday Oct. 10th with a series of live performances. Supporters can make a pledge by calling 865-544-1029 or toll-free at 1-866-946-9389 or by visiting More info about WDVX and the upcoming performances in the press release after the break...

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Thursday concert series returns to Market Square

By R. Neal, Fri, 2014/09/26 - 9:28am

The Variety Thursdays fall concert series returns to Market Square starting Oct. 2nd. All events are free and there's free parking. Details in the press release after the break...

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Scruffy city shines in this travel video

By R. Neal, Fri, 2014/09/26 - 9:00am

Gone with the Wynn's: Knoxville, TN – Booze, Bites and Bands

(By way of ‏@Visit_Knoxville)

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Miss a Payment? Good Luck Moving That Car

By jbr, Fri, 2014/09/26 - 8:59am

From NY Times ...

This new technology is bringing auto loans — and Wall Street’s version of Big Brother — into the lives of people with credit scores battered by the financial downturn.

Auto loans to borrowers considered subprime, those with credit scores at or below 640, have spiked in the last five years. The jump has been driven in large part by the demand among investors for securities backed by the loans, which offer high returns at a time of low interest rates. Roughly 25 percent of all new auto loans made last year were subprime, and the volume of subprime auto loans reached more than $145 billion in the first three months of this year.

Miss a payment? Good luck moving that car

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