Jun 7 2009
10:37 pm

Swing State Project runs a fascinating political history of NY-23 -- the House seat which is being vacated by Rep. John McHugh (R-NY) who was nominated to become the next Secretary of the Army.

"It turns out that NY-23 is a true political anomaly. It is one of only two remaining districts in the United States where at least part of the district has not been represented by a Democrat since 1852 (the other is Pennsylvania's 16th District which includes Lancaster County, most of which has not been represented by a Democrat since 1830. Tennessee's 2nd District last elected a Democrat in 1852. Btw, there no longer are any comparable Democratic-held districts; all have gone Republican at least once since 1850, although a few in Texas held out until the DeLay redistricting of 2004.) "

lifted from: (link...)

The Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley will host its annual Bark in the Park After Dark Saturday, May 16, on Market Square Mall, from 4 to 9 pm.

Bark, East Tennessee’s Biggest Party For Dogs And Their People, features dog games, music, food, and, well, lots of dogs and their people.

Bark sponsors include Invisible Fence/Pet Safe Village, Pilot, Lane Family Foundation, Enrichment Federal Credit Union, Frontline, Heartguard, Ewan & Taylor, MetroPulse, WIVK, WVLT, Knology, and Loving Care Kennels.

Feb 9 2009
10:14 am

But all the dancers are real dogs.


The Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley invites animal lovers to celebrate Valentine's Day with a free lap dance at the Adopt-A-Pet center on Bearden Hill at 6720 Kingston Pike. Dancers will be performing on Friday, February 13, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, February 14 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The performers, both male and female, will allow heavy petting and dance for free, but they would welcome tips of kibble and cash.

What could be hotter than a chihuahua in a garter belt?

Jan 31 2009
01:17 pm


My wife and I both have been thinking about Danny over the last couple of weeks.

Thank you, Betty, for remembering so eloquently.

Jan 12 2009
10:28 am
By: Mark Siegel

A well-attended Interfaith Gathering for Prayer and Reflection was held yesterday afternoon at Westminister Presbyterian Church (corner of Northshore and Lyons Bend) for locals to gather and commune in support of peace in Israel and Gaza.

The theme generally was coming together to pray for peace. Finger-pointing and blame throwing were (generally) not engaged in. Rev. Phillips of Westminister appropriately noted in his welcome, the idea was: "Let there be peace, and may it begin with me."

Without undue bragging, I must say that the prayer for peace of my rabbi, Louis Zivic, was right on the mark.

The event was attended (among others) by local Christians, Jews, and Muslims.

I have no idea who organized the gathering, and it seemed to have been publicized purely by word of mouth. To the best of my knowledge, no media was in attendence.

Nonetheless, I thought you might like to know.

There are two excellent Democratic candidates for President this year, each with their own strengths and natural bases within the party. This is resulting in an extremely close race for the nomination. Exactly how this race will resolve itself is as yet unclear, even though there is already a presumptive Republican nominee.

That is not what this post is about.

This post is about four clear problems with the Democratic nominating process. If these problems did not exist, would either Clinton or Obama have become a presumptive nominee by now? I don't know, and, if one of them would have, I don't know which one it would have been.

But, in my opinion, these problems need to be fixed. Unfortunately, only one of these problems can be fixed immediately, and it should be. The others should be addressed before the 2012 election starts to gear up, officially, on February 1, 2009. Just kidding. The 2012 election won't officially start to gear up until January 1, 2010.


Nov 23 2007
01:52 pm

The recent killing of a young Knox County woman by pit bulls brings up again an issue I have addressed in the past.

The Young-Williams Knoxville-Knox County City-County Animal Shelter continues to adopt out pit bulls, and the time has come for this to stop.

There are at least two reasons why pit bulls should not be adopted out. One is inherent to the animals. The other is purely human.

Statistically, pit bulls do not necessarily attack humans more than all other breeds of dogs. But when pit bulls attack, they attack particularly viciously. There is no way to determine that an animal will turn vicious. A young child was recently killed in Arizona by a loved family pet that had been adopted from a humane society there. Prior to adopting out the animal, the humane society had subjected it to behavioral testing to determine whether it was likely to become violent. The animal did not show violent tendencies, yet a child is now dead.

In addition, however, humans have selected pit bulls for cruel, illegal, and vile use. As we all know from the Michael Vick case, pit bulls are central to the horrific dog fighting culture. Pit bulls have also become the dogs of choice for drug dealers. Shelters who adopt out pit bulls are an easy source of animals for people who want to use the animals for such cruel purposes.

In continuing to adopt out pit bulls, the shelter is not necessarily doing a favor to either the adopters or to the animals.

A frequent argument in favor of pit bulls is: it's not the animal, it's the owner. This may be true. I'm not sure, however, how it helps -- either the abused animal or the attacked victim.

On one recent trip to the city-county shelter, more than half the dogs held at the shelter were pit bulls. When the shelter is forced to kill over 12,000 animals per year, other animals are dying so that cages can be occupied by pit bulls. Why kill other, more adoptable animals, in favor of animals which may not be adoptable at all, and, if they are adopted, could maim or kill their owners and others, or may well be subjected to unthinkable cruelty?

The time has come to stop adopting out pit bulls.

Oct 7 2007
06:51 pm

The Swear Them In and They Vote Them In proposal on filling the County Commission vacancies is just a horrible idea. Who came up with it? I had first heard that it was in a footnote in Chancellor Fansler opinion. This is untrue. It is NOT in Chancellor Fansler's opinion.

For one thing, people would be sworn in and start voting who had not been preparing themselves for such a vote, but trying to win such a vote for themselves. Mostly likely, they will not be reading resumes of various other candidates, talking to various other candidates, etc. If they do start talking among themselves, will they start to lobby each other and cut deals among each other? This presumably would not violate the Open Meetings law, since they are not yet elected to the Commission, but is this a good thing to encourage?

And how would such interplay work out when the candidates start interacting with the Commissioners?

Most importantly, such a procedure will place a premium among the existing commissioners on controlling the order in which seats are filled. We will start to see the same kind of pushing and shoving we saw last time. John Valliant will become involved.

If anyone wants to maximize the "raw politics" we will see in County Commission trying again to fill these vacacncies, by all means, let's do this.

Aug 21 2007
02:37 pm

Who thinks the results of a Knox County re-do will be a lot more satisfying than the last do?

Me, neither.

My recommendation to the Knox County Law Department, the Knox County Commission, the Knoxville News-Sentinel, Chancellor Fansler, and anyone who cares is:

Let's have an election.

I'll bet Mark Harmon even has the resolution on his word processor.

As was established last time, we cannot have a binding special election, because there is no provision for one under Tennessee law.

Nothing, however, prevents County Commission from directing the Knox County Election Commission to have a non-binding election for the offices which were occupied by a term-limited incumbent, and then have its re-do following the election. Let's see which Commissioners vote for anyone other than the winner of the non-binding election.

It's the only way I see, as Commissioner Hammond said, "to restore some integrity as far as the public is concerned."

Jun 29 2007
11:58 am

For those who might not have seen it, here is the latest in the Deathmania match between Herb Moncier and Tim Hutchison.

My first thought when I read this article was that the chancellor did about what she should have done, given what was presented to her.

My second thought was that the Sheriff Department's moving Hutchison to another position where he would allegedly qualify for his big bucks pension even if he is decertified is more of the same pungent good old boy shinola we've come to expect from Knox County government, in my opinion.

My third thought was that, when Hutchison dies, Herb will seek an injunction preventing burial until Herb can: 1) open the casket, 2) determine by DNA testing that it is indeed the body of Tim Hutchison in the casket, 3) establish by competent expert medical testimony that the body is indeed dead, and 4) drive a silver stake through its heart.

My fourth thought was that, before Herb can file his motion, the Knox County Sheriff Office will have had the body placed in a hermetically sealed titanium ICBM casing, buried in an abandoned nuclear missile silo, and encased in a mile of steel reinforced cement. A referendum on burial of the missile will have been held before this is done, presenting the move in a six figure PR campaign as an anti-terrorist measure necessary to the survival of Knox County, and having no significant financial impact. The day before the referendum, it will come out that Hutchison's body will be buried in the missile, and that it will cost the taxpayers five million dollars. The referendum will nonetheless pass 51% to 49%.

I sometimes get carried away, but it helps to have inspiration.

May 14 2007
09:35 am

Skip to second item.

This may be old news. It's new to me.

UT is going to demolish the urban forest area south of Kingston Pike/Cumberland, between Alcoa Highway and Neyland Drive for a new sorority village.

What really gripes me is that UT literally demolished an entire neighborhood for this project 2 years ago, tearing down 10 houses in the Terrace-Lake Avenue area.

Then they decide to build it in the forest area instead.

Way to go, guys. Great planning.

Really. We should all be proud.

Apr 30 2007
10:18 am

Knox County has a massive animal overpopulation problem. Thousands of unwanted animals have to be killed every year. And it's getting worse.

Being from the Betty Bean School of Retiring Shyness, I am posting this Perspective piece the News-Sentinel printed Saturday. (Thanks News-Sentinel!)

I wrote the Perspectives piece in response to this article. The statistics titled "Young-Williams Animal Center: A Closer Look" in the right hand column are scary.

This is a community problem we all need to be concerned about. Thousands of animals are born just to be slaughtered.

The Humane Society's Fix-A-Pet Center on Chapman Highway already neuters thousands of animals a year. Young-Williams is getting ready to start a community spay-neuter program.

We need to look at every possible way to reduce the numbers of unwanted animals. What we are having to do to the animals is terrible, and the stress on the people who have to do it for us is crushing.

Mar 26 2007
08:56 am
By: Mark Siegel

Knoxville Voice has this article about animal abuse in Knox County.

Among other things, the article points out that chained dogs are really dangerous, Knox County Animal Control will not investigate anonymous animal abuse complaints (although Knoxville Animal Control will), and the Knoxville-Knox County shelter is one of the only shelters in this region that adopts out pit bulls.

Nov 9 2006
09:48 am

It's at the TAC-AIR terminal. I don't personally know where that is, but it's at the exit right before the main terminal exit.

Hope to see you there.

Nov 8 2006
08:56 am

Among those I remember hearing raving about Harold Ford, Jr., some at length, more than once:

Chris Matthews, J.C. Watts, James Carville, Barak Obama, Don Imus.

One CNN reporter did a report on the race and said something to the effect of "Corker won a Senate seat, but Ford has established himself as a political rock star."

Conversely, Corker seems to be damaged goods nationally, especially if he doesn't show more as Senator than he did as candidate. The only commentary I heard about him (other than that he won) was how nasty the campaign was and how much of his own money he spent.

The News-Sentinel home edition has a chart which didn't appear in the story on the Web.

The chart summarizes the positions of all the parties before the Court. It shows the position that the Sheriff, the County Trustee, and the County Clerk have taken on the validity of the charter and term limits to be "Valid if his job exempted." I suspect the News-Sentinel's summary is not an exact quote, yet is somehow accurate.

The article doesn't say if Shelby County submitted any argument to the Court. I'm surprised if they didn't, since their situation is almost identical to Knox County's.

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

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