Tue
Dec 7 2021
10:05 am

Many Republicans (e.g. TN Gov. Lee. Sen. Hagerty, Sen. Blackburn, Rep. Burchett, to name a few) are preventing U.S. citizens from realizing Covid-19 protections. They don't want to require vaccinations or wearing masks. It would appear they want people to die.

It is especially important to have protections in hospitals and other medical environments. However, these Republicans feel no need to save people from Covid-19 deaths or even a bad illness that can keep some people in the hospital for weeks even months.

Many people who had Covid-19 have long-term symptoms, not knowing if the symptoms will ever go away.

Gov. Lee said just last Friday, December 3, 2021, "The mandates have been temporarily shut down by court order, and I’ve said all along I think the mandate is a terrible idea. Vaccines are the most powerful tool we have to fight the pandemic, but a vaccine mandate is counterproductive, and it shouldn’t be happening..."

How is it we feel when hospital employees who refuse to get a vaccine get Covid-19 and even die from it. How many patients and employees encountered these employees who refuse the vaccine or to wear a mask? How many people will an employee infect before the employee is diagnosed, admitted to the hospital, then die from Covid-19? Are these type of employee actions fair to all the other people this employee encounters? Is it fair that our Republican administrators, Senators, and Representatives endorse this behavior? They are putting many people at risk and they apparently don't care.

I know, I know. I'm preaching to the choir. It is just so frustrating.

Mon
Dec 6 2021
12:06 pm

Good golly, what is it with people that don't cover their nose with their mask? Covering only your mouth is the same as no face covering!

Grow up people.

In July, 2021, Gov. Bill Lee introduced the "Tennessee on Me" tourism promotion campaign — a $2.82 million effort offering $250 air flight vouchers for up to 10,000 travelers booking hotel packages to the state...

But, darn, only about 20% of the vouchers have been requested.

They are declaring the promotional campaign a success. Sort of like the campaign to get citizens of Tennessee vaccinated. The Lee administration can't seem to get much going.

Fri
Dec 3 2021
06:29 am

Chattanooga’s largest hospital has filed suit against TennCare "over claims it is underpaying some hospitals for emergency care — the latest in a series of legal actions by Erlanger Health System alleging Tennessee officials are “purposely redistributing money from hospitals who treat Tennessee’s neediest citizens” to benefit insurance companies."

"On Wednesday, Bridgestone Americas filed suit against Tennessee to compel state officials to make good on the promised tax breaks that helped seal that deal for them to bring its U.S. headquarters — and hundreds of new jobs — to downtown Nashville."
...
"Bridgestone is seeking to recoup $11.7 million in taxes it says it overpaid the state between 2015 and 2018. "

Tue
Nov 30 2021
05:47 pm

Bradford Pear trees "emit a fetid odor and have a poor branch structure, leaving them prone to snapping and toppling in storms, sending limbs onto power lines, sidewalks and the roofs of homes they were supposed to beautify."

"But the most far-reaching consequence emerged as pear trees began colonizing open fields, farmland, river banks and ditches, and rising between the pines along the highways from Georgia up through the Carolinas, edging out native species and upending ecosystems."

South Carolina "is in the process of barring the sale and trade of Bradford Pear trees."

"Officials in South Carolina added the Bradford pear to its State Plant Pest List this year, and initiated a ban that goes into effect on Oct. 1, 2024. Ohio is the only other state that has taken similar measures with the callery pear, with a ban beginning in 2023. Delaware enacted more sweeping legislation this year that bars the selling, importing or planting of any invasive species."

Tennesseans are probably stuck with the Bradford Pear tree. It fits right in with the conservative, right-wing policies of damaging others.

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

"DEMANDING ANSWERS ON THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION’S ATTACK ON STATE MEDICAID PROGRAMS"

"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.

Continued...

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.

Sat
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)

Sat
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.

Sat
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.

Fri
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.

Thu
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.

Sun
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.
...
However....
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.

Thu
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.

Topics:

There are approx. 330 million people in the United States.
Approx. 48 million (14.5%) of these people are under the age of 12.
282 million people over the age of 12 in the U.S. are eligible for vaccination.

224 million people in the U.S. over the age of 12 have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination.

That leaves 58 million (28%) people over the age of 12 not yet receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

Of these, how many have not found easy access to receive a vaccine? How many have valid (??) reasons for not getting a vaccine? How many are turned away from the vaccine because of misinformation and scare tactics?

Why do Gov. Lee, Sen. Blackburn, Sen. Hagerty, and many of the U.S. Representatives from Tennessee, as well as many of the members of the Tennessee legislature not strongly support and encourage a healthy state and nation by supporting mask and vaccine mandates? Oh, wait. We should have known (some of us did). Have they supported Medicaid expansion?

Sen. Blackburn introduced "a bill that would exempt any employee classified as an essential worker during the pandemic from federal mandates."
Rep. Burchett introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives.

This is just an example of what these elected representatives are doing to not prevent the spread of COVID-19, to not stop the dying from COVID-19, to not stop the overabundance of COVID-19 cases. I mean really, essential workers are the ones that need the most protection.

Mon
Nov 8 2021
05:35 pm

The first time kids had to get a vaccine to go to school was more than 200 years ago. The disease? Smallpox.

For the past four decades, all 50 U.S. states have required that parents, if they want to enroll their children in any school, public or private, must vaccinate them against contagious diseases like polio and measles.
...

1980, smallpox was declared eradicated.

1979, thanks to a vaccine polio was declared eradicated in the United States.

Schools across the country are holding vaccine clinics.

On the first day vaccines are being offered, "more than 8,000 children ages 5-11 have gotten COVID-19 vaccine shot in North Carolina... Last week, children still accounted for about a quarter (24%) of reported weekly COVID-19 cases. For context, children, under age 18, make up 22.2% of the U.S. population."

Sat
Nov 6 2021
05:40 am

Eight people died Friday night and hundreds of others were injured during the opening night of a popular weekend music festival at NRG Park (Astrodome park), authorities said.
...
The worst of the incident began around 9:15 p.m. when the crowd of approximately 50,000 concert-goers began to move toward the front of the stage, according to Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña.

"The crowd began to compress toward the front of the stage, and people began to panic," Peña said.
...
more than 300 patients total had been treated at a field hospital since the event began
...
medics transported 23 people to hospitals, 17 of those patients were taken away during the worst of the ordeal, according to Peña, who also said CPR had to be performed on 11 of the victims.

So sad for a music festival to go bad.

Topics:

Businesses protest [state's proposed]'unnecessary government intrusion' in TN legislature's new COVID-19 bill

Tennessee hospitals are worried about wide-reaching coronavirus legislation

Tennessee's state legislature has gone Trumpian. What can be done to rein in these imbeciles? Nada in Tennessee.

Idiocracy in Tennessee!!!

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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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