June 21, 2006

TennCare on NPR

from - smijer

here, here.

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June 13, 2006

Yellow Deli

from - smijer

I don't want to be part of a witch hunt, if that's what this is... but taking it for what it's worth - here's a former insider's account of the Yellow Deli/Twelve Tribes group, which seems to be coming back home to roost.

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May 24, 2006

Kindly old ladies

from - RSA

There's an interesting story being followed by the Los Angeles Times. That is, it's interesting in the same way that TV shows like Law and Order are interesting--it makes you think about the creativity of criminal minds.

It seems that there was a recent hit-and-run accident in which a homeless man was killed. A detective handling the case wasn't making much headway until he ran into another detective who had worked on a very similar case several years ago. The similarity? The same two women (in their 70s) were collecting a couple of million dollars in life insurance on the "accident" victims. They'd taken out about a dozen life insurance policies on each homeless man and listed themselves as his beneficiaries, in exchange for giving him an apartment to live in. Two years afterwards, each was mysteriously killed.

Apparently the women were serious hardasses about getting money from the insurance companies and they know the intricacies of insurance laws inside and out. I'm reminded of stories by Roald Dahl, which gives you an idea about the surrealism of the plots.

Posted by RSA in Local and State | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 15, 2006

How's the weather?

from - RSA

We had the craziest five minutes of weather I've seen in the Raleigh, NC, area in the past ten years or so. Between 65 and 75 degrees, slightly cloudy in the afternoon, and suddenly, big chunks of Texas-sized hail. I took a couple of quick snapshots. Here's what was landing on the sun umbrella in my backyard:


All that white stuff on the left is hail. You can see the blurs of hail still falling at the time. Fortunately, there was little to no damage, aside from a few dings on the copper cover of a solar light I'd put out on a post not thirty minutes earlier. A bit later we see what remained on our front porch.


Those are pretty ordinary sized maple leaves, which gives you an idea about how big the hailstones are. Of course, half an hour later they were all gone, and the usual heat caused pretty much every outdoor surface--grass, road, etc.--to start steaming. Interesting images, overall.

Posted by RSA in Local and State | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 14, 2006

Weekend Schedule

from - smijer

What: Dead Innocent: The Ed Johnson Story
Where: Chattanooga State Allied Arts Building
When: Friday and Saturday, 8:00 p.m., Sunday 4:00 p.m.
How much: $10.00 - all proceeds will go to the Ed Johnson Scholarship Fund - that's besides the $350 reward I get for turning him in to the sheriff.

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March 14, 2006

Get out your calendar. Yeah... now...
Ok ready? Mark down this Saturday, March 14. Chattanooga Peace March. If you are a half-hearted protester (like me), or disdainful of them altogether, come out any way. Think of it, if you must, as an opportunity to express by your presence your commitment to peaceful, democratic cooperation around the world. I attended last year, and was blessed by the experience. The closing vigil, candlelit, and with each person harmonious in prayer or remembrance for the victims of the Iraq war and their families, was a powerful and moving moment. I hope to see you there. I should also mention that this is going on in many cities... If you aren't lucky enough to be a Chattanoogan, find a local city that is having a similar remembrance on the calendar and go! Let me know how it was.

Next, depending on your location, the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life will soon be held near you. Help raise money and awareness to treat and cure cancer by finding and supporting the event near you. You can use the event finder on this page, if you like. My family will be participating in the Red Bank relay on June 2, 2006. My wife and I are looking for business sponsors for this project, so feel free to drop me a note if you are interested!

This Sunday, Remembering The Man, Ed Johnson, 4p.m. at Bessie Smith Hall, followed by The Peace Walk from the African American museum to the Walnut Street Bridge. Speakers include LeRoy Phillips, James Mapp, Ron Littlefield, and Bernie Miller. This is the centennial of the lynching of Ed Johnson from the Walnut St. Bridge - a historic case in many regards.

See also this list from a couple of weeks back, and this side-note if you are interested in live music.

Posted by smijer in Local and State | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 27, 2006

Lots of goings on are coming up in the next days, weeks, and months... It's going to be a big year for us Chattanoogans, Tenneseeans, southeasterners, and Americans... maybe for us as a world - I hope so... So while you're thinking globally, here's some good chances to act locally, to borrow a cliche...

  • Strides of March... take the walk, raise money and awareness for AIDS treatment and research. It's a great event... you'll never be sorry you went.
  • Hamilton County is electing a new Sheriff... and he's a *bong!* (Sorry - couldn't resist)... Anyway there will be a candidate's forum Tuesday 2/28 (yes - that's tomorrow!!) at 6:00 p.m. in Grote Hall, across from the UTC University Center Auditorium. The candidates will be present to make their case - Dave Alverson (I) John A. Cupp, Jr.(R) Henry (Hank) DeArman (D) Andy Derryberry (R) William (Billy) H. Long (D)
  • LaFrederick Thirkill has written and is directing a play based on the true story of Ed Johnson, a black man who was lynched in 1906 in Chattanooga. The name of the play is Dead Innocent: The Ed Johnson Story. It will be performed as part of the centennial remembrance of Johnson's execution. The play will open April 14, 2006 at Chattanooga State. I'll get you more details as I have them. P.S. I'm told I will have a role.
  • Terry Stulce will run to replace Zach Wamp, whose seat will be open as a result of his promise to self-limit his terms in Congress who will run as a strong Republican incumbent. Zach is a good man, one well loved around town, and he has even flirted with principled political stands... But he's wrong on practically every major and minor issue - particularly those the Party Leader has thrust upon the nation. To re-elect him, no matter how amazing his brother is, would be validating and preserving all of the things that have gone wrong with this country in the past few years. Terry Stulce, on the other hand... well, he has showed in a number of ways that he has what it takes to take this country beyond the grim years we face now. I hope you Chattanoogans will join me in supporting his candidacy.
  • Bill Lusk will be campaigning to fill the vacancy left by the insufferable Chris Clem of the 27th district. I'll be knocking on doors for this one.
  • John Brooks campaigns against Lou Miller for the Hamilton County Commission's District 6 seat. Please join me in supporting him if you are local to west Chattanooga.
  • Keep up with Tennessee Ticket for all the latest on the races that will affect you and the nation this year.

Thanks, everyone for bearing with me this past week... As usual, despite my better intentions, my vacation from work was once again a vacation from blogging... Once I'm back in my daily rut, I'm sure we'll be seeing more of one another.

Posted by smijer in Local and State | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 14, 2006

Hyena-like Lex Coleman wrote an op-ed in the Moonie Times-like Chattanoogan (not really - the Chattanoogan is mostly just recycled press releases, with very little politics and spin... or anything to make one wish to take it seriously unless you count pictures of female athletes in shorts) about the Congressional hearings into the Keystone Cops-like Bush Administration's handling of Katrina. This skunk spray-like op-ed made it onto the top head-lines at Google News for a brief time last night. It being from one of our local news outlets, I figured I'd take a look... Check this out:

I want to suggest, for all the energy being expended in Washington, why aren’t folks on both sides looking for positive ways to bounce back? Why aren’t they taking the course of Mississippi’s governor, and that state’s citizens – where all are trying to chip in and help in their own communities? The talking heads (locally and abroad) can Bush hate and complain all they want – but in the end – the United States gulf coast was hit by a storm the likes of which no one has seen in over a century. Since it’s an established fact that human beings don’t learn so good from experience (…look only to New Orleans and Louisiana politicians and budgetary priorities), seems to me everyone involved would come out better without the “drama” being intentionally fanned in Washington. I mean, it’s not so far removed from Islamists destroying buildings and killing people over cartoons. {links and emphasis helpfully added here at TaTT}

There are crazies everywhere, but it takes a publication like the Chattanoogan to make them headliner op-eds.

'Course, somewhere beneath the ranting and the shock over blaspheming His Worship, there are nuggets of decent points. Yes, the state & local people could have done a lot more to plan for a storm like this one. No, there isn't an agency in the world that could have dealt with this crisis so effectively that no lives or homes were lost. But we didn't need an op-ed to tell us that.

On the other hand...

  • The Congress wasn't investigating the local & state governments' roles - there will be and are other hearings for that.
  • While no agency could have prevented the disaster altogether, the administration's response, or failure to respond may have made a big difference. I haven't seen the report, but couldn't we at least acknowledge the possibility that it made important and substantive points? You know, give it the benefit of the doubt until the final version is public?
  • Coleman seems to have forgotten a small point - bashing Congress went out of fashion among Republicans in '94. While I would normally praise a conservative for being critical of his own party, if the cause for criticism is his own devotion to the party leader and president... well then that's just pathetic-like.
  • Do Tennessean's "owe" it to Louisianans to "pick up the tab" for the results of this hurricane? I don't know... I have a feeling that if the disaster had been in Knoxville, the Chattanoogan's would "owe" nothing to the people of Knoxville. If it had been confined to a Chattanooga suburb - say St. Elmo, then residents of Coleman's community would "owe" nothing to the people in St. Elmo. Lex Coleman, try to remember that the people of New Orleans and the other areas affected by Katrina are Americans just like you & me... and those who lived in the places devastated by the Tsunami weren't Americans, but they were our brothers and sisters of the human race. What good is humanity if we don't take care of one another?

I won't reproduce it here, but in the article, Mr. Coleman provided an e-mail address for feedback. I would encourage Chattanoogans to invite him to consider just how far removed the situation in the Congress relative to Katrina is from the situation in the Arab world relative to the cartoons published in Denmark. Let him, and the Chattanoogan know what you think about how they represent our town.

Posted by smijer in Local and State | Permalink | Comments (0)

December 14, 2005

Gregory Thompson

from - smijer

Gregory Thompson's execution is set for February 7, in Tennessee.

As improper as I found the execution yesterday of Tookie Williams, he was likely guilty, and he probably did understand what he was doing at the time of his crimes, and what was happening to him at execution. I can understand a society that puts him to death, even if I disagree with it.

Gregory Thompson, on the other hand, was truly and clinically insane when he killed Brenda Lane, and will be just as insane the day he is executed. His mind is broken by disease. The idea of executing him as "punishment" just disgusts me to no end.

We anguish over the necessity of putting down a rabid animal. But Gregory Thompson is a human being, not a dog. We have hospitals where he can be treated. There is no necessity to force us to an anguished decision. Yet we decide to kill him. It's beyond comparison.

If you want to help, please contact Phil Bredesen. Phone calls and letters through snail mail are the best. But if you don't have time for that, you can e-mail him. It's not too late.

December 05, 2005

News In Review

from - smijer

Enough going on that it's worth going over in case you missed the blurbs.....

Britain's gay residents are almost equal citizens now, now that law recognizes they have all the rights of civil marriage, except civil marriage.

The RRR (that can be for Rascals of the Religious Right, or whatever you like... so long as you see the historical similarity with that other hate group with the three letter acronymn) says "boo", Ford runs screaming. Wussies.

This, but you already knew that, huh?

Maybe you didn't hear about this, but that's because it happened in Africa.

For us locals... Nissan takes Tennessee for a ride... Figuratively.

September 27, 2005

Phil Bredesen says there's plenty of blood left in the turnip roots - he has no desire to harvest any of the greens. Doesn't he know that we turnip roots are about dry?

Posted by smijer in Local and State | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 06, 2005

The Exonerated

from - smijer

It's well past my bedtime, but here I sit, blogging and sipping red, red wine, and trying to wind down. I'm very psyched. I just came home from our first read-through of The Exonerated. My part in it is negligibly small, but any part at all in a presentation like this is a priviledge. If you are a Chattanoogan and haven't seen this play before, I beseech you to plan to attend one of the showings.

I won't have time to write in the morning, because of a conference at the high school, so let this serve as my Wednesday morning post, and please don't begrudge me the recent slowdown. It seems like everything happens at once these days, and time just gets away.

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September 01, 2005

God in a Box

from - Buck

If you’ll take a look over at Buck’s Daily Links you will notice that Smijer has added a couple of other sites.

Mongo’s Place is a local (locally for me anyway) Vent site where folks from my small hometown of Toccoa, Georgia get together and shout at one another. Some folks call it reasoned debate. Others see it as a lawsuit just waiting to happen. Feel free to wander in and look around. We have lots of fun over there. You will have to register to post to the main board but there is a place called “The Sounding Board” where you can come in and say “Buck Sucks” and then leave, anonymously. Like I say, we have lots of fun over there.

Empire Burlesque is the blogspot of Chris Floyd. I love to read the writings of Chris Floyd. He is well to the left of me politically but I love his style of writing and I find myself agreeing with him at least half of the time. I cannot wait until there is a Democrat in the Whitehouse so I can find out if Chris is really an objective critic or just a hater of all things Republican. That day will come.

I keep a copy of “Broken Light” on my computer and just read it from time to time. I think it is classic. It is politically neutral and beautifully written. If any of you guys know where Chris Floyd was born and raised I would love to know. His bio only says “his career began in the hills and valleys of Tennessee and down in the piney swamps of southern Mississippi” but nothing about where he was born.

Smijer I know you will like Chris Floyd much more than you like Fred Reed.

These are just a couple of other places that I wander around in. The Internet has so many fascinating places and is full of so much information that it can get overwhelming.

It is almost like having God in a box.

Posted by Buck in Local and State | Permalink | Comments (2)

August 29, 2005

Chattanooga Events

from - smijer

I'm only able to take a moment or two to plug some upcoming events in Chattanooga that just happen to be going on at my church...

The UU's Autumnal Equinox concert will feature the Lovell Sisters Band, a trio of very youthful and talented bluegrass performers. Samples here - I recommend number 6, Lonesome feeling. Tickets are $18/each and proceeds support the church. Call the church office during business hours at 423-624-2985 for reservations. This is going to be a great show. I hope to see some of you there.

The Exonerated is a dramatic presentation of the true stories of six death row inmates who were later exonerated by new evidence. I expect to be helping in the production in some capacity, and if the audition went well last night (blush), I may even have a part in it. The play will run October 21-23 at the church, and if I understand correctly, will have a follow-up for two evenings at the Chattanooga Theatre Center (but don't hold me to that).

For info on some death row inmates who haven't (yet) been exonerated, see Hippy Dave's post, and don't forget the West Memphis Three.

And now, as usual, I'm late for work.

Posted by smijer in ChurchLocal and State | Permalink | Comments (3)

August 11, 2005

Fun Weekend

from - smijer

I and four teenagers... that's two couples, including the younger stepson and his very sweet girlfriend... took a nice trip to the riverfront this previous weekend. We saw a lot of nice sights, and had a lot of fun.

I enjoyed these doggie sculptures:


We couldn't resist scratching a belly or two.


The label for this piece of sculpture said something else, but these are clearly lolipops, or lolirocks, if you will:


And, oh my goodness at the live performance of the hammered dulcimer by Dan Landrum...



More on the dulcimer on the most recent podcast.

As always, I'm running late for work, so I'm out of time. Have a nice Thursday.

Posted by smijer in Local and State | Permalink | Comments (3)

August 10, 2005

... or her husband...

Truly stranger than fiction.

Posted by smijer in Local and State | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 09, 2005

It's been a little while now that Rosalind Kurita has been running for the Democratic nomination for the 2006 U.S. Senate seat, so it's time I did a mini-workup on her. She does have a campaign website, but she doesn't have much record to talk about, having only served at the local level and as state senator. What I do know can be broken down into pro's and con's:


  • She was a registered nurse before entering politics. Ms. Smijer can tell you I have a soft spot for RN's. Plus, she is on record as supporting more generous health care.
  • Spoke out promptly against the recent Supreme Court decision against property owners, via Bill Hobbs.
  • Takes a strong stance on ethics in government at a time when many Tennessee Democrats are running scared from ethical accountability. See the piece she wrote in this month in the Chattanoogan. This is perhaps a good reflection on her candidacy as a whole, as it reinforces her stated commitment to representing the needs of the people as opposed to special interests.
  • Is "against" Social Security privatization.
  • "Supports the troops" by pushing for fair combat pay and benefits.

  • Voted against, and is positioned against a progressive income tax.
  • Position on Iraq war unclear.

I know there are more Cons, but I am running out of time (I may update this post later). I'll just sum up with my own perspective, and one other. As a Democrat who is not pleased with Harold Ford's positioning, I'm glad to see another candidate who appears more in tune with people like me in the running. That's not an endorsement yet, but it is a strong leaning. Then there is this glowing endorsement from River City Mud Company.

July 22, 2005

Zulu Chattanooga

from - smijer

dace1.jpgI'll be darned. I found out only this evening, and only barely in time to catch a rough half hour of the performance... but the world famous South African Ladysmith Black Mambazo singers, singing a capella in Zulu and dancing, played a free concert for Nightfall at Miller Plaza in Chattaboogie tonight. I don't know how well known they are in these parts, but there was a huge turnout to see them (to be fair, every fair weather Nightfall draws huge crowds).

They are absolutely, positively, amazing.

Their next two dates are tomorrow in Boone, NC, and Sunday in Greensboro, NC. This means you, North Carolina neighbors (I'm not pinging Screwy H, but I may spam a comment thread with a plug for the assorted yokels of Tarheel country). After that, they are leaving the U.S. for Holland.

Although the camera is now found, I didn't remember to bring it. If anyone has got photos tonight, I'd love you forever if you would share them with me. For now, a borrowed one.

Posted by smijer in Local and State | Permalink | Comments (2)

July 13, 2005


from - smijer

OK... I've made my calls, and - since there's just no way to do this democratically and have everyone aware of the plans by this weekend, I'm going to make an executive decision (if there are howls of protest, I will rescind it, and try to figure out a more democratic approach):

The First Periodic Chattanooga Area Blogmeet and Blogstravaganza will be held at 3:00 P.M. - til ??, Saturday, July 16, 2005, at Greyfriars on Broad St.

Coffee, tea, and pastries are available for purchase. Greyfriar's WiFi network is available if anyone cares to blog from the meet.

We hope for as many people as possible to come (though we are expecting less than 20, and may have to find other accomodations if the crowd swells too much). Those who can't make it this time, we hope to see you at future meets!

Bloggers, it's appreciated if you pass the word to your readers, and to other bloggers who may be interested.

Party On!

**Crossposted as update to original blogmeet post**

June 22, 2005

1. Wait for the world class a-holes to leave the party
2. Run somebody good in their place.

Could be a plan.

Posted by smijer in Local and State | Permalink | Comments (0)