Tennessee relies heavily on retirees moving here to boost our real estate market and every other market in our economy. One of the largest factors in rating communities as good for retirees is "walk-ability". Looks like our legislature is going to make walk-able bike-able towns and cities even harder to create:

NASHVILLE – Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 15, Tennessee state legislators will decide whether biking and walking will continue to play a vital role in the state’s transportation network. Amended versions of Senate Bill (SB) 1716 and its companion, House Bill (HB) 1650, seek to eliminate funding generated by the gas tax for bicycle and pedestrian projects. The amended versions would still put the safety of Tennesseans who walk or bike at risk, while restricting how local communities use transportation funds.

Continued...

Mon
Mar 14 2016
08:21 am
By: WhitesCreek

This very day our Legislature is considering a bill to eliminate local government's ability to use gas taxes for funding of public greenways and bike lanes. It seems like they are simple minded in wanting to funnel every penny they can to the highway lobby. Anything that actually makes our towns and counties better places to live is in their crosshairs for destruction. Jeff Woods at the Nashville Scene writes in "Pith in the Wind":

In any normal universe, enraged citizens of the state would appear at the Capitol with pitchforks and torches to demand change.

In Tennessee, incredibly, polls consistently show relatively high approval ratings for the legislature. According to the latest MTSU poll, 48 percent of Tennessee voters approved of the job the legislature is doing, while only 26 percent disapproved. We'd like to think most people aren’t paying attention because the alternative—that they know what the legislature is doing and they approve of it—is too sad to contemplate.

The TN Legislature Just Keeps Getting Worse

Senator Ken Yager is on the Finance Committee that is hearing the bikes and greenways elimination bill. You can send him a quick email at: sen.ken.yager@capitol.tn.gov Stop (SB) 1716, Senator Yager!

Mon
Mar 14 2016
08:06 am
By: WhitesCreek

Ron Coleman was the first black person elected to office in Harriman, TN. That was just in 1987. I consider it a moment of personal joy that I was able to have an adult beverage with him at a Chamber event a couple of years later. Ron was the top vote getter and served as Vice Mayor of Harriman. I remember a number of things about him but his personal style and ever present smile stand out.

Thu
Mar 10 2016
03:43 pm

Yes, the Rocky Houston case will affect and be affected by court rulings on this. We pointed out this possibility previously.

Pentagon report admits domestic surveillance with drones: An inspector general’s report opened to the public on Wednesday noted for the first time that Department of Defense has been flying unarmed drones on surveillance sorties over American soil for the past decade.

(link...)

Congressman Steve Cohen asks the obvious question:

Why are TVA managers proposing cuts to everybody's retirement but their own?

TVA executives receive a supplemental executive retirement plan (SERP) which is not subject to the same cuts as other TVA workers.

Cohen questioned why TVA hasn't proposed similar cuts in retirement benefits among TVA executives. TVA CEO Bill Johnson's total compensation in 2015 was approximately $6.4 million, up from $4.6 million the previous year and the highest of any federal employee in the country.

(link...)

Wed
Mar 9 2016
11:01 am

As always, there are early reports coming in that may not prove accurate in the long run. Keep an open mind, always.

(link...)

Tue
Mar 8 2016
07:06 am

The bill requires rear-facing seats until age 2; forward-facing car seats until age 5; and booster seats until children turn 12 or reach a height of 4-foot-9.

(link...)

Mon
Mar 7 2016
11:23 am

So the background is that, without a warrant, ATF installed a covert video camera on a power pole which allowed them to conduct 24 hour surveillance of Rocky's home. At some point they asked for and received a warrant. At trial video was shown that was taken pre-warrant. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals says Rocky's rights weren't violated because an ATF agent could have sat on top of that pole for two weeks and surveiled Rocky's house and not violated his rights.

So here we are. At this very moment, police organizations around this nation are demanding that it be made illegal for a citizen to photograph officers. We have the NRA demanding that convicted felons have their right to carry firearms restored. And... we have entered a digital age in which police seem to be arguing that they have every right to fly a drone around our properties on a 24 hour basis and video everything that goes on, even looking in our windows. our constitutional right to privacy be damned.

Frankly, I'm still amused by the appeals court's mental picture of an ATF agent covertly living on top of a power pole for two weeks and not being seen by Rocky Houston.

Let's note that whether or not Rocky had a weapon is irrelevant. The constitutional question is this and only this, "Does the government have the right to spy on us without a warrant?"

The Brennan Center (NY University School of Law) filed an amicus brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in U.S. v. Houston on February 29, 2016, arguing that police must get a warrant to engage in long-term, covert video surveillance of a home.

And we're back up and running. Thanks for everyone's patience.

Fri
Mar 4 2016
08:14 am
By: WhitesCreek

Remember the Marine sniper who photographed himself and his friends urinating on corpses? He lives in Roane County and he's written a memoir. He also turned in his pregnant girlfriend who wanted him to arrange the murder of her ex husband. Here's a lot of information that is not included in the RCN story.

(link...)

For the record, I believe we put our troops into situations where the normal rules of humanity no longer function. I suggest we keep an open mind about all this as it unfolds and make no rush to judgement on any of these people.

Wed
Mar 2 2016
11:03 am

Lots of folks believe cats should be able to roam free, but the reality is that Felix Domesticus is a murderous invasive exotic. As much as I love cats I have given them up, since my allergies won't allow them inside and they have no business in an outside habitat. The "capture, spay, and release" movement confounds me. It's not just my problem but parks and preserves in many places are having to make choices. There is a great deal of disagreement as to what should be done.

Fort Oglethorpe Park has taken to prosecuting people who feed feral cats.

(link...)

Here are the findings of a very good study:

We estimate that free-ranging domestic cats kill 1.3–4.0 billion birds and 6.3–22.3 billion mammals annually. Un-owned cats, as opposed to owned pets, cause the majority of this mortality. Our findings suggest that free-ranging cats cause substantially greater wildlife mortality than previously thought and are likely the single greatest source of anthropogenic mortality for US birds and mammals

(link...)

Wed
Mar 2 2016
09:20 am
By: WhitesCreek

Randy has the numbers over at Knoxviews.com:

(link...)

Interesting that the candidate endorsed by Governor Haslam and most of our Senators and Congresspersons finished third. Bill, Lamar, and Chuck really know how to sway the voters....Not!

Tue
Mar 1 2016
08:21 am

It will take the average Democratic primary voter about 30 seconds to vote today. I was told that some Republican voters took almost 15 minutes and had to have the ballot explained to them repeatedly. I listened to an explanation when I early voted that was given by one poll worker and contradicted by a second.

This is nuts!

Here is the sample ballot: (link...)

You'll notice that the first three pages are the Republican Primary ballot. The last 13 lines make up the entire democratic Ballot. If you vote today, and you really really should if you didn't early vote, You can thank Republicans for the long lines, and the difficulty in casting your vote for President of the United States of America.

Tue
Mar 1 2016
07:52 am

On one hand we have a consumer product that contains one of the most addictive substances known, has destructive health consequences that reduce life expectancy by nearly 18 years, causes negative health consequences in children and adults exposed second hand, and has exactly zero positive benefits. On the other hand we have corporations making billions of dollars in profit selling it and other corporations making billions of dollars treating the victims. Why is this a hard decision for our legislators to make?

The Bill is up for discussion today. Any bets?

(link...)

Mon
Feb 29 2016
10:35 am

Illiteracy and misunderstanding about the religions of others is something that spans the globe and has caused wars, death and suffering for thousands of years but now Harvard’s Divinity School has come up with their own solution to prevent this type of misunderstanding. Five leading professors at Harvard Divinity School and Wellesly College have teamed to create a free online course on world religions and give people an academic understanding about world religions.

Here you go... (link...)

Fri
Feb 26 2016
08:30 am

Grit in the butter...Pain in the love...

Malcolm Holcolmbe will be at Ladd Landing Listening Room tonight

$10 BYOB Doors open at 7 PM

Wed
Feb 24 2016
11:54 am

(link...)

Roane
Date            Rep     Dem     Day Total

2016-02-10      172     86      258
2016-02-11      140     61      201
2016-02-12      142     48      190
2016-02-13      77      24      101
2016-02-16      147     81      228
2016-02-17      136     75      211
2016-02-18      174     59      233
2016-02-19      273     95      368
2016-02-20      199     63      262
2016-02-22      590     225     815
2016-02-23      721     189     910
Wed
Feb 24 2016
10:06 am

TDEC is being called out for failing to bring enforcement actions aginst people and corporations that have compromised our water quality. Betty Bean did a good job laying out the situation in 500 word article, but it would be difficult to cover even with a book. There is a lot more to the story, such as the constant pressure on TDEC by our legislators driven by lobbyists for people and corporations who make more money by refusing to spend on the investments for clean water. This is a national problem, though we are usually more concerned with problems close to home. It's a complex problem and we need TDEC to serve it's charted purpose and not protect polluters. But then this only affects people who drink water.

We need our elected officials working to make TDEC an effective agent for a clean Tennessee environment. TDEC Commissioner Martineau is a very capable administrator who can do the job he is directed to do. We as citizens need to ask our legislators to serve us rather than the army of polluter lobbyists that crawls Legislative Plaza.

TDEC needs be given the tools, budget, and will to do its job.

(link...)

State Democratic Party chair Mary Mancini is calling for Sen. Brian Kelsey to withdraw his bill giving school accreditation authority to an association founded by a far-right hatemonger who defends slavery.

Doug Wilson has espoused the most repulsive beliefs imaginable, defending slavery, proposing to exile people who are gay and lesbian and killing people for infidelity. It is unconscionable that Sen. Kelsey would bring legislation to extend accrediting authority to an organization he founded and still serves. The hate he spreads has no place in our schools, and I am calling on Sen. Kelsey to withdraw the bill.

Actually, Mary Mancini is sugar coating this:

(link...)

Tue
Feb 23 2016
07:09 am

Early Voting Locations

Kingston Community Center 201 Patton Ferry Rd., Kingston TN 37763

Harriman Community Center 631 Clinch St., Harriman TN 37748

Rockwood Community Center 710 N. Chamberlain Ave., Rockwood TN 37854

First Christian Church 100 Gum Hollow Rd., Oak Ridge TN 37840

Early Voting Dates & Hours:

February 23, 2016

9 AM - 5 PM

HB 1650 would stop gas tax money being used for bike lanes, walking lanes, pedestrian access and other uses that make our communities better places to live. Having our cities designed as "walkable" is one of the main attractions to retirees and people with families. To take this source of funding away from communities is just a manifestation of greed or dislike of people who walk and ride bicycles in their communities. It's a really bad idea.

Here's more from Saint Humphrey:

(link...)

Sat
Feb 20 2016
12:45 pm

Oops!

Scarlett, 35, is now wanted on charges of aggravated assault, felony reckless endangerment and felony evading. District Attorney General Russell Johnson says law enforcement wasn’t notified when he was released from the hospital. Scarlett had not yet been charged at the time, so hospital officials were under no legal obligation to hold Scarlett or notify anyone upon his release.

(link...)

Fri
Feb 19 2016
12:05 pm

You are invited to the party!

March 17th, 7PM, at the Princess Theatre

An event to honor all Jim and Pat Henry have done for the State of Tennessee and our community. The evening is to be a fundraiser for the Princess and will surely be entertaining. On stage, with area schoolchildren, will be Muse Watson, Bill Landry, and Dr. Eric Littleton!

Jim Henry

See my blog post for more information: HERE!

Topics:
Wed
Feb 17 2016
09:34 am

The Crockett Buzz for 2-17-16

(link...)

Tue
Feb 16 2016
07:44 pm

"TVA is not being transparent with the public about their debt and operational costs,” said Garry Morgan, BEST/MATRR treasurer. “They operate under a veil of fractured accounting making it very difficult to figure out their total financial status."

(link...)

Tue
Feb 16 2016
10:49 am

Perfect pork!

Benton is all about the confluence of rural tradition and modern haute cuisine: the self-proclaimed hillbilly cured his first ham in rural Appalachia, dragging slaughtered hogs on a sled for hand-processing. Meat curing began as a way for people to keep precious pig meat good for a year or longer, and Benton’s success lies not so much in his ability to innovate as his commitment to tradition: he still cures his ham with the same spice blend he made as a kid. —Sascha Bos

(link...)

Mon
Feb 15 2016
09:39 am

TDEC's "failure to enforce" should be a sore spot with Roane Countians. It was in part TDEC's failure to force TVA to act on its responsibilities for proper coal ash storage that contributed to the horrific TVA ash disaster in 2008. TVA was allowed to evade its responsibilities and operate under a provisional discharge permit that allowed water quality violations to continue unabated.

After a renewed effort to straighten out TDEC under Governor Phil Bredesen, Governor Haslam appears to be headed toward a complete failure of enforcement in his last term.

TCWN executive director Renee Hoyos said. "According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, there are 255 permittees in Tennessee in violation of their permits. And out of that number, TDEC only issued 15 enforcement orders to clean up the rivers and lakes. That is unacceptable.

TDEC replies...

"The Tennessee Clean Water Network's emphasis on enforcement orders as a complete picture of environmental protection is a short-sighted view. ... We're not going to just sit back and wait for regulated entities to pollute so we can jump in and say, 'Gotcha' with an enforcement order. This approach is not in the best interest of public health and safety, or the environment."

But TDEC inspectors apparently don't agree. The department's own reports show inspectors made 170 requests for enforcement actions last year when only 15 were taken. That's a response rate of 9 percent, down from 78 percent in 2007, according to the Tennessee Clean Water Network.

TDEC claims they are using other means to force clean up but so far they have refused to provide any information that would back that up.

Here's a good overview of the situation from the Nashville Scene.

Sun
Feb 14 2016
09:58 am

Roane County is amazing.

falls

Fri
Feb 12 2016
09:27 am

I would love to know more about Tony.

(link...)

Lost Medicaid Funding

To date, the failure to expand Medicaid / TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding.