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170 schools to take part in Tenn.’s first ‘Student Mock Election’

By jbr, Sun, 2016/08/28 - 9:33pm

This looks pretty good on the surface.

I would like to see educating the students as part of coursework coordinated with it.

It seems like an organized program where the Knox County Election Commission makes a visit to each school over the months preceeding elections, not just presidential ones, and provides sample ballots, information on voting locations in the particular school's area, early and normal election day. Explains early voting. Brief explanations about primaries. Then the schools can give a simple test of the basics covered in the presentation, whereas students get an extra credit points for a class. The test would be made for each grade and the same test for each school.

from knoxnews.com ...

Students from the preschool level through high school are eligible to participate and can do so whether attending public schools, private schools or home schooling.

170 schools to take part in Tenn.’s first ‘Student Mock Election’

Looks good. Lesson plans, essay suggestions. Good stuff.

Tennessee Student Mock Elections

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Maryville, Alcoa cleaning up after intense storm

By R. Neal, Sun, 2016/08/28 - 11:11am

An intense thunderstorm with high winds rolled through Maryville and Alcoa last night causing downed trees, power outages and some structural damage. Most of the damage seemed related to downed trees.

Areas around downtown Maryville, Maryville College, Court St. and Washington St. appeared to be hardest hit. There was a traffic signal pole down at the intersection of 321 and Washington. In Alcoa, there were a few trees down and damage to the sign at Big Lots on Hall Rd.

The Maryville Daily Times reported 7000 customers without power in Maryville and 900 without power in Alcoa last night. There are utility crews out in large numbers this morning. Click the above image for some photos...

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Who will be Tennessee's next governor?

By R. Neal, Sun, 2016/08/28 - 8:26am

The next goobernatorial election won't be held until 2018, but it isn't too early to start recruiting. Looking at the bench for both parties, who are the standouts? Here are some that come to mind:

Democrats: Madeline Rogero, Kim McMillan, Sara Kyle, Andy Berke

Republicans: Tim Burchett, Randy Boyd

Who else?

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2016 election could be decided by 20 counties

By R. Neal, Sun, 2016/08/28 - 8:10am

Academic researchers suggest we watch what happens in 20 swing counties in 11 states where the 2016 Presidential Election could be decided:

Forget Swing States: The Presidential Election Will Be Determined by 20 Swing Counties in Linchpin States

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Obamacare accountable care programs rang up $466 million in Medicare savings last year

By jbr, Sat, 2016/08/27 - 11:10am

Looks good

from yahoo.com ...

Groups of hospitals, doctors and other health providers that agree to coordinate patient care as part of an Obamacare program generated $466 million in savings to the federal Medicare program in 2015, officials said Thursday.

"Collectively, Medicare Accountable Care Organizations have generated more than $1.29 billion in total Medicare savings since 2012," the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Thursday.

Obamacare accountable care programs rang up $466 million in Medicare savings last year

Physicians and health care providers continue to improve quality of care, lower costs

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The Voting Habits of Americans Like You

By jbr, Fri, 2016/08/26 - 4:09pm

Data visualization gone wild

from nytimes.com ...

The electorate is increasingly divided by race, education, gender and generation, and these fissures could grow even wider in the 2016 election. Below, new estimates of turnout and support for more than 8,000 different groups.

The Voting Habits of Americans Like You

There Are More White Voters Than People Think. That’s Good News for Trump.

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Women's Suffrage Monument Unveiled in Nashville

By Andy Axel, Fri, 2016/08/26 - 2:44pm

Today, on Women's Equality Day, a monument commemorating the ratification of the 19th Amendment was unveiled at Centennial Park in Nashville. Tennessee was the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment in 1920, and their passage secured the right to vote to all women citizens of the USA.

Featured speakers included Mayor Madeline Rogero, Nashville Metro Mayor Megan Barry, Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan, Rep. Brenda Gilmore, among others.

Alan LeQuire's bronze sculptures of suffragists Carrie Chapman Catt, Anne Dallas Dudley, Abby Crawford Milton, Frankie Pierce and Sue Shelton White will grace a permanent space in Centennial Park adjacent to the Parthenon following the park's renovation. His bronzes of suffragists are also featured in Knoxville's Market Square.

Video of the speeches and unveiling here: (link...)

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Cheat sheet on why to vote for the Democratic candidate

By bizgrrl, Fri, 2016/08/26 - 6:29am

Mark Harmon's column today provides the reasons to vote for Democratic candidates.

Carry this with you if you need a reminder.

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"It's a sad day for our city" - Maryville, Alcoa, Blount County

By bizgrrl, Thu, 2016/08/25 - 8:03pm

A Maryville police officer was shot and killed today. Because they were close by, the officer and a Blount County deputy, both members of the 5th Judicial District Drug Task Force, responded to a domestic violence call in Alcoa.

When they exited their vehicle, the perpetrator had exited the house, armed with a firearm, and began shooting."

The Maryville Daily Times had an editorial today on the increase in domestic violence. "War is still hell on home front"

The officer has three children. Very sad.

WATE story.

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Knox Co. breaks ground on new all-inclusive playground

By R. Neal, Thu, 2016/08/25 - 6:32pm

Knox County officials and community partners broke ground today on a new "all-inclusive" playground in Karns...

From the Knox Co. Mayor's Office:

The Karns Lions Club All-Inclusive Playground is intended for children and families of all abilities and will include equipment and accommodations for those with physical disabilities. In addition to more traditional-style playground equipment, the park will include musical instruments that anyone can play but that are specifically designed for the blind. The instruments will be provided by the East Tennessee Lions Eye Bank.

Once constructed, the playground will be the culmination of the hard work of the Karns Lions Club and members of the Karns Community. Corporate partners Pilot Flying J and Smithbilt Homes helped make the park a reality, as did a $50,000 contribution from Knox County.

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Rolling Stone: Hillary's New Deal

By bizgrrl, Thu, 2016/08/25 - 8:21am

Sean Wilentz wrote an article for the Rolling Stone, Hillary's New Deal. How a Clinton presidency would carry on the Democratic Party's progressive traditions and transform America.

Sean Wilentz is "the George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History at Princeton University" and a Clinton supporter.

Hillary Clinton has launched a mainstream progressive campaign, in an updated Democratic tradition that stretches back to Franklin D. Roosevelt.
...
"The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation," FDR declared in 1932. "It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another."
...
Democratic politics at their most fruitful have always been more improvisational than programmatic, more empirical than doctrinaire, taking on an array of issues, old and new, bound by the politics of Hope pressing against the politics of Nostalgia. So it was with FDR and Truman, so it has been with Barack Obama, and so it would be with Hillary Clinton.

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Walmart's Out-of-Control Crime Problem is Driving Police Crazy

By jbr, Wed, 2016/08/24 - 11:43pm

I wonder how it is in the Knoxville area.

from Bloomberg.com

Last year police were called to the store and three other Tulsa Wal-Marts just under 2,000 times. By comparison, they were called to the city’s four Target stores about 300 times.

"The constant calls from Walmart are just draining," say Bill Ferguson, a police captain in Port Richey, Fla.

Walmart's Out-of-Control Crime Problem is Driving Police Crazy

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Blue Cross to raise rates by 62% for individual policies

By R. Neal, Tue, 2016/08/23 - 4:48pm

The State of Tennessee has approved a 62% rate increase for Blue Cross Blue Shield individual policies, including policies purchased through the ACA exchange. Small group policy rates are only going up 6.5%

This is a grift perpetrated by Republicans in Congress and our TNGOP state legislators. They are out to destroy Obamacare by allowing insurance companies to segment risk pools, and the TNGOP has blocked Medicaid expansion which is costing our state, and yes our insurers and providers, billions. Guess who pays? (See previous rant here.)

The insurance companies and their GOP pals have succeeded in planting a poison pill in the ACA bill the insurance companies helped write. And they didn't even count on the bonus Supreme Court decision allowing states to opt out of Medicaid expansion. I'm guessing they partied hard the night that decision was announced. And so did the TNGOP.

This is seriously messed up. Talk about "rigged systems."

OK, then.

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Thanks for the memories!

By amybroyles, Tue, 2016/08/23 - 3:25pm

Last night I represented the Second District at my last official Knox County Commission meeting. Whew! WALSTIB. However, if I'm going to plagiarize someone, perhaps it should be Dickens: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Both Knox County and I have been through some wonderful and painful transitions over the past eight years.

This has definitely been the most challenging, frustrating, stimulating, uplifting and ultimately satisfying job I've ever had (and I've had a LOT of jobs over the years!).

I remember Madeline telling me once when we were discussing term limits that, "If you do it right, you should be exhausted and ready to do something else after eight years." Well friends, I'm exhausted, and I'm definitely ready to do something else, so I hope that means I've done it right!

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Free speech proves costly

By R. Neal, Tue, 2016/08/23 - 8:08am

Nick Denton: How Things Work

Some say they got what they deserved. Others say the First Amendment is no longer safe from vengeful billionaires. Like most things, the truth is likely somewhere in between. One thing's for sure: The Internet has become a cesspool of thought turds and nobody comes out of it smelling good.

Another take: Legacy of Snark: Why Gawker Mattered

Pot-kettle counterpoint: Goodbye and good riddance to Gawker

Also, a fitting rememberence that sums it up with a couple of levels of irony.

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K-Mart N. Broadway gone

By michael kaplan, Mon, 2016/08/22 - 3:33pm

This is the one that was not supposed to close ...

preview_Kmart_bway2.jpg

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Interest rates at (pre) historic lows

By bizgrrl, Sun, 2016/08/21 - 4:54pm

David Moon: Permanently low rates?

In 1963, Sidney Homer, the first director of bond research at Salomon Brothers, compiled all recorded long-term government bond rates from the first century Roman Empire to the 20th century. The world’s highest credit quality borrowers never paid more than ten percent to borrow money for the first 1,700 years of recorded financial history. Government rates were actually lower in the first century AD than today. Roman Emperor Claudius issued the equivalent of perpetual government bonds at two percent, less than today’s 2.3 percent for a 30-year U.S. Treasury.

This whole situation is depressing.

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Wild West in Knoxville Saturday. Shootings on the rise?

By bizgrrl, Sun, 2016/08/21 - 9:17am

There were three shootings Saturday in Knoxville, five people were injured. Two of the shootings occurred in East Knoxville and one in North Knoxville.

Based on my counts, which are based on media reports that I have seen and may not be exact, there have been more shootings in Knoxville/Knox County as of August 20, 2016 than last year on the same date. My counts show 53 shootings in 2016 as of 8/20/2016, whereas my counts for 2015 show 50 shootings. A brief review indicates there may have been one less death related to shootings in 2015 (7) versus 2016 (8) as of 8/20/2016.

Be careful out there.

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How Haslam is reshaping Tennessee environmental rules

By jbr, Sun, 2016/08/21 - 12:01am

You had an idea this sort of thing was coming as soon as the appointments were made...

from the Tennessean ...

Haslam, who took office in 2011, appointed more business representatives to boards overseeing industry emissions. The panel on petroleum storage tanks has taken steps to shift the cost of cleaning spills from businesses to taxpayers.

A lawyer who spent most of his career at a law firm that represents industry, Commissioner Bob Martineau hired a General Motors manager as his top environmental deputy. They merged the state’s three water divisions, and Martineau oversaw the elimination of hundreds of positions. Enforcement orders at the department dropped by 76 percent.

How Haslam is reshaping Tennessee environmental rules

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Local Motors to produce Olli self-driving vehicle in Knoxville

By jbr, Sat, 2016/08/20 - 12:04am

Looks good

from knoxnews.com ...

"We see cities purchasing Olli to fill gaps in their existing transportation systems," Keidel said. "Universities may purchase them to transport students safely across campus."

Large companies might use them to transport people across a campus or even amusement parks might use them to shuttle people to and from their cars, she said.

Riders will be able to summon Olli through a mobile application. They will be able to use the app to set the locations where they want to be picked up and dropped off and will be able to pay for the ride through the app.

Local Motors to produce Olli self-driving vehicle in Knoxville

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