Friday, June 27, 2008

Camera Obscura: Best Movie Blog of All Time

Gird your grids, kids.

Today's edition of movie news and reviews is a Super Giant Exxxtreeeeeme
Summer Edition Madhouse Marathon, making this post quite possibly the best movie blog of all time and space, as the Twins of Hype and Hoopla ascend the Heavens on fantastical wings of Godlike ....ahem,sorry. Oh sure, the country is tanking on addictions to oil and power and we're in hock way past our great-great-great-grandchildren's eyeballs to China, and we're like that sleazy slightly drunken uncle who's always around to remind The Family they have lost their grip on relevance and authority.

But it's summer! So ...

After months of rumors the first preview trailer arrives for (what will be) the biggest online hit of the summer: "Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog". The premise - a musical sci-fi comedy web-series about the always thwarted would-be arch-evil nemesis Dr. Horrible. Made late last fall during the writers strike by writer/director Joss Whedon ("Buffy The Vampire Slayer") and here we go:

Nathan Fillion ("Firefly") plays the always victorious Captain Hammer and other cast members include Adam Baldwin and Felicia Day. Go ahead and bookmark the Official Site for Dr. Horrible now - it starts soon!

Quentin Tarantino, the late Sydney Pollack, and Bill Murray are just some of the special guests for the new Turner Classic Movies channel series "Under The Influence", hosted by Elvis Mitchell and debuting in July. Mitchell asks guests to explain the movie experiences that changed their lives.


Futurama's new DVD movie "Beast With A Billion Backs" came out Tuesday and is sitting right there by my television at this very moment, about to be viewed. This time, our intrepid and idiotic heroes encounter hideous anime tentacle porn.

"Arrested Development" star David Cross voices the nasty beast, and Stephen Hawking returns too, to shoot lasers out of his eyes, and even Robot Satan is back! 'Nuff said!!


I have decided I am living in one of those rare times when Really Good Things populate the pop culture of America. Sure, the country is tanking on addictions to oil and power and were in hock way past our great-great-great-grandchildren's eyeballs to China, and we're like that sleazy slightly drunken uncle who's always around to remind The Family they have lost their grip on relevance and authority.

But, still - Really Good Things. We've reached this pinnacle moment in cinema where we - the unruly audiences of Cult Films and Revisionist Genres - have successfully taken over the mainstream movie world. Comic book heroes from Batman to Silver Surfer to the X-Men rule the box office; fantasy books by Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling have achieved unprecedented success, Christopher Lee alone now holds the Mantle of Evil which reaches from his cape as Dracula and his scars as Frankenstein and the withered remains of The Mummy to Lord Saruman to Fu Manchu and even Willy Wonka's dad (we won't mention Count Dooko, because George Lucas should just be ashamed).

It's truly a Golden Age when technology and time have collided to bring us gifted creators of cinema magic - Guillermo Del Toro, Peter Jackson, John Lasseter and his entire Pixar team - to name just a few.

For the first time since the nefarious sirens of the 1960s and 1970s appeared and brought fierce, proud, highly capable and unstoppable beauty to the Women of Cinema, we can watch the likes of female action heroes today such as Angelina Jolie, Rosario Dawson and Asia Argento. I'd watch those ladies read the phone book if someone filmed it. Hell, I'd go see live shows of it.

I watched Asia this week in "Boarding Gate", a French-made noir which turns from tragic Paris love story to brutal Hong Kong street thriller. Sure, the movie, being French, moves far too slow at first, but ramps it up quite well by the time she takes that gun into her hands.

Jolie gets busy again this weekend in "Wanted" as a professional killer in an action film based on a comic book. You don't like her or her politics or her kids? Who cares?? I love to watch her on screen.

All I'm sayin' ... Really Good Things ... now if we could just fix television and kill the Un-Reality stuff.


Oh, noooo, this post ain't over yet!


I finally saw one of the very Best Horror Films of 2007 this week - the made-in-Georgia horror/sc-fi film "The Signal" and was most impressed with it. It debuted at the Rome, GA International Film Festival and has been gathering an impressive collection of reviews.

The story is set in the fictional city of Terminus (Atlanta) and focuses on a young adulterous couple. They wake, she has to go home to her husband, and reality unravels into an apocalyptic nightmare. A signal of unknown origin takes over all television, radio, phone, etc and it makes people go just crazy enough to justify murder, endlessly. However the movie takes a unique view of these events through the lives of the husband, his wife and her lover - making a three-part story which is by turns terrifying, hilarious and terrifying again. Three writer-directors from Atlanta, David Bruckner, David Bush, and Jacob Gentry, take each chapter and each does a masterful job with their tale.

I was partial to the middle section, which turned the terror into high comedy as a survivors try and gather for a party in suburbia. There's buckets of gore aplenty in the movie, and actor Scott Poythress as Clark nearly steals the film as the landlord who winds up in the middle of the battle between the three main characters. He even dons his own tinfoil hat by the third section of the movie to preserve his brain from the evil signals and keeps the hero on his journey.

Slide this one somewhere between 28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead and Cloverfield, and add in a loving homage to movies like Texas Chainsaw and Hills Have Eyes. It's a brutal trip, shot in just 13 days by some very talented performers and creators.


Even the most mindless summer of movie fun can have it's serious cinema too. So on a final note today, take a look at the very literate and compelling Jasminembla's Weekly. Her recent post on the folktales about The Man in the Moon is greatly researched and fascinating. She also did a recent take on vampires and zombies.


Since "The Signal" put me into apocalyptic thoughts, I discovered this entry online about Hacking The Entire Planet to bring about doomsday scenarios. It's a time-honored genre event. And once again, technology has provided us with ways today to smash it all apart. Hey, if we can create global climate change by accident, why not alter the world by design? Or, as mentioned above, what about the Moon?

One of my favorite world-destroying events was in the animated TV show, "The Tick". In one episode Chairface Chippendale devises a dastardly plot to literally carve his name onto the surface of the Moon. Thank goodness for The Tick, who stops his plan -- although only after the gigantic letters of C-H-A have already been cut into the lunar surface. For the rest of the series, whenever the Moon was in a shot, you could still see CHA on the Moon.

Interviewer: Well, can you... blow up the world?
Tick: Egad. I hope not. That's where I keep all my stuff.

EXTRA: The 34th Annual Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror's Saturn Awards were handed out this week. Big winners were "Enchanted" and "Lost". The list included:

Best science fiction film, "Cloverfield"
Best horror film, "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"

Best action/adventure/thriller film: "300"

The full list is here.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Petabyte Age

Both the ways and the amounts of info-collecting about you, about each person on the planet, about all life, has likely gone far beyond the ability of most of us to comprehend. The shrugging off of the recently passed new law on immunity for previously illegal eavesdropping is surely proof of that. It isn't about protecting you - it's about preserving the controls of power, and insuring that all the information available is collected, tagged, organized and stored for uses both known and unknown.

It's changing the game, not just the rules.

The vast majority of people imagine that spying on someone, wiretaps we so quaintly call it, involves some movie-style human observation of another human. The tech today is light years away from such action. That's why the government moved so fiercely to include electronic surveillance and change the FISA law.

Machines collect data at levels most of us - me included - have trouble grasping. Wired magazine's July issue does a good job of explaining some of this, that we are already in the Petabyte Age. What's a petabyte? Well, consider that 1 terabyte is about a $200 hard drive capable of holding 280,000 songs. There are 1,204 terabytes in 1 petabyte - currently Google can process 1 petabyte every 78 minutes. It's a number that will soon change too.

The Petabyte Age is different because more is different. Kilobytes were stored on floppy disks. Megabytes were stored on hard disks. Terabytes were stored in disk arrays. Petabytes are stored in the cloud. As we moved along that progression, we went from the folder analogy to the file cabinet analogy to the library analogy to — well, at petabytes we ran out of organizational analogies."

Wired examines how in just the last few years, data collection of enormous magnitudes are changing the way we live now and will live soon - dealing with, among other things, astronomy, biology, news-tracking, political databases. The full list of their recent report is here.

So most of us just can't conceive of how the new laws regarding FISA have removed most any kind of personal privacy, or that it apparently arrived by telecoms purchasing the influence needed to pass the law.

" analyzed the contributions to both sets of the Democrats and found that those who switched their votes received, on average, 40 percent more money in campaign contributions over the last three years from Sprint, Verizon and AT&T's political action committees.

On average, those who changed their votes collected $8,359 dollars from those PACs from January 2005 through March 2008, while those who did not change their opposition collected $4,987.

For all House members, including Republicans, those supporting immunity collected nearly twice as much money from those PACs than those who did not: $9,659 to $4,810. was careful not to say that any member's vote was purchased, but says the correlation raises questions.

Correlations -- that's what the data collection is all about:

There is now a better way. Petabytes allow us to say: "Correlation is enough." We can stop looking for models. We can analyze the data without hypotheses about what it might show. We can throw the numbers into the biggest computing clusters the world has ever seen and let statistical algorithms find patterns where science cannot."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Interview With Congressional Candidate Rob Russell

As promised, 1st District Congressional candidate Rob Russell, a Democrat, agreed to answer a few questions on issues and campaigning in East Tennessee. My first question was on the fact that the East Tennessee media really has done little other than to provide coverage to the incumbent Republican David Davis and his GOP challenger Phil Roe. And after reading his responses to all the questions I submitted, I think I see why he gets such little coverage -- his message could easily win many voters and end 130 years of Republican rule in East Tennessee.

My thanks to Mr. Russell for his time and for his work to respond and if you wish to visit his website, go here.

NOTE and UPDATE: If you are already prepared to ignore this post or are in any way bored with American politics, then you will instead want to go here first. If after reading what is written there does not actually hurl you back to this interview with honest-to-Pete Patriotic Fervor, A Renewed Sense of the Goodness of America, and a Savvy Political Mind -- then, my friends, you may not be Americans at all. Oh how I wish I had wrote what she did. So even if you feel fine with reading the interview below, you dang well better read the Wisdom of DeMarCaTionVille.

So, now that you attention is solid and firm --

1. Have any of the East TN media even contacted you for any stories or coverage of your campaign? Has this hampered your campaign efforts?

In comparison to the amount of coverage the Roe and Davis campaigns have received – almost daily coverage in the major local newspapers, such as the Kingsport Times-News (which is the local paper I subscribe to) -- the coverage has been slight. The absence of coverage from the Times-News has been particularly stinging, since when the paper covers political events, such as the NETAR Candidates' Breakfast on June 13, it fails to mention that I was even there (and I spoke directly after Dr. Roe).

My thanks go out to the Greeneville Sun, who has managed to cover me both times I've spoken in Greeneville. I've had singular mentions in Morristown's Citizen-Tribune, The Johnson City Press, and the Bristol Herald-Courier, so I'd like to thank them, as well. I was asked to appear on WBIR-TV's "Inside Tennessee" (based in Knoxville, WBIR reaches about 1/3, the western end, of the First District), and did so, but neither Roe nor Davis showed. No TV stations that are actually in the First District have contacted me at all.

It appears that most of the regional news media has treated the race as if the Democratic Party doesn't even exist. Maybe they have a point -- my race isn't strongly contested. However, is this balanced coverage? Certainly not.

Probably the biggest effect this non-coverage has had on my campaign has been in the fundraising department. I'm not an experienced fundraiser or campaigner: I love to speak with people about the issues, but I hate to ask anyone for money, especially in these hard economic times – the people who I hope will support me are the very same people who can't afford to give much, financially, to a candidate. In contrast, Davis and Roe have large war chests and campaign staffs, as well as some built-in advantages: Davis can send out promotional material at tax-payer expense and Roe has a built-in soapbox as Mayor of Johnson City. I'm a state university employee with two small children, a working wife and a moderate income who just happens to be the only viable Democratic candidate – so I can't really expect to compete on promotional front at the level of Davis and Roe. I don't have their resources, their staffs, or their fundraising machinery. I'm hoping this will change somewhat after the primary.

2. What issues do residents tell you are of the highest priority? What concerns do you hear from business owners?

When I was thinking about running, I considered what issues were most important to average East Tennesseans like me. As a regular guy who commutes to work each day, has a working wife, two kids and all the responsibilities that come with working hard to succeed in America -- a mortgage, car payments, student loans, etc. – the issues that most worry my mind every day are healthcare, education and the economy. These concerns are on our minds when we're filling up our cars, when we're budgeting what we can afford to spend on groceries, when we are deciding which prescriptions to refill this week or wait until next, and when we think of our children's' futures. Everywhere I go, what I say about these issues resonates with voters, and many of them share their stories with me.

One story relates to your question about what I hear from business owners. When I spoke in Morristown back in April, a small business owner explained how she and her husband were struggling with the cost of insurance premiums for themselves and their employees. The dramatic rise in their healthcare costs is creating a situation where she has to decide whether to give up the business entirely or risk bankruptcy by paying escalating costs.

The healthcare situation in America is bad for business, bad for Americans, and bad for America. Both Roe and Davis believe the free market can fix this (and hasn't it done a great job so far?), but many experts, such as Welmont CEO Dr. Richard Salluzzo, disagree, recommending that the government play a part in guaranteeing fairness and justice in healthcare, whether it is in the form of creating a "universal" single-payer program or acting as a fair broker helping to regulate a fairer system. Right now we are the world's biggest per-capita spender on healthcare but at the bottom of the heap when it comes to patient satisfaction, quality, and fairness; we are also the only wealthy nation that doesn't consider affordable, quality healthcare as a right of citizenship. We are also the only country among the wealthy nations that allows its citizens to go bankrupt due to medical costs. This, even more than our mid-level educational rankings in terms of math, science, and reading, is a disgrace. Rising healthcare costs also have substantial, hidden effects: it's estimated the $2,000 of the price of every American car goes to pay for autoworkers' health benefits. This is compared to $600 per car in Japan -- a country with universal healthcare. Americans deserve better.

The economy and education are also very important issues for me, but because of its overall impact on our family security and our pride as a nation, healthcare reform is my first priority.

3. If you earn the party's nomination, would you be willing to hold a debate or two with the candidate from the GOP side prior to the fall election?

In 2006, I was very frustrated seeing how Davis, the Republican nominee, simply ignored the existence of Rick Trent who'd won the Democratic nod. There was no debate, no acknowledgement of any opinion other than the radical, right-wing point-of-view that Davis represented – which didn't even represent the majority of Republicans voting in the primary that year. I soon learned, from speaking to others, that this disdainful treatment of Democratic candidates was par for the course in the 1st District -- Jenkins refused calls to debate, or even to appear on "unfriendly" radio or television programs. I understand why Republican nominees and incumbents in this area act this way: if your party has been in power for 130 years straight, why should allow yourself to be put on an equal footing with other "upstart" parties? I don't think that Davis is afraid of a debate, I simply think that he doesn't see it as a necessity, and may even see it as damaging to his credibility.

That being said, refusing to participate in open debate is un-democratic: debate is part of the American political tradition, and getting your message across to all of the voters -- not just your narrow constituency -- should be the duty of any candidate. I would love to participate in a debate with Congressman Davis, possibly sponsored by and airing on a local television station. Some local media outlet should jump at the chance to do that -- not only would it serve the public interest, but also actually getting to see their congressman "in action" would probably draw a lot of voters to their TV sets.

4. On your web site you write: "East Tennessee deserves a real voice, someone who will fight for the best interests of all hard-working East Tennesseans, not the big-business special interests who have controlled our region's destiny for far too long." Could you elaborate on that topic?

The fact that no voice other than a Republican one has represented our region for 130 years is, for some, reason enough to make a change, but recent events have proven that the economic agenda of the Republican party – pro-corporate welfare / anti- fair wages for working people; against saving Social Security and reforming healthcare / for tax cuts for the wealthy and reckless de-regulation of mortgage trading and commodities markets – is against the best interests of the vast majority of East Tennesseans.

In my opinion, recent representation has shown no desire to help the region recover from the de-industrialization that decimated our industrial base in the 80s and 90s, and if Davis is allowed to have an additional term, we are in for an even worse time as our economy heads further south and prices soar. Forget that he's a millionaire; forget that he's a healthcare insider; forget that he's not actually from East Tennessee. Voters should simply ask themselves, should East Tennessee be represented by someone whose major campaign contributors are fossil-fuel energy PACs, pharmaceutical company PACs, and military contractors, when three of the biggest issues the next Congress will vote on are energy policy, healthcare, and military involvement in Iraq? Should we elect a representative who has received nearly half a million in campaign contributions from these special interests? Would such a representative really consider the best interests of East Tennesseans first?

5. Historically, the 1st District has not been successful in getting Democrat voters to get more involved. Do you work with party leaders on this issue and what plans do you have to change this typically low turnout?

In the last election, Rick Trent, a virtual unknown outside of Morristown, was able to mobilize a considerable amount of voters in a mid-term election, receiving 37% of the vote, quite a showing for a first-time Democratic challenger in this area. In the past few months I've met most of the county party leaders and spoken to many Democratic groups in the district: all are eager to see Davis un-seated. There are some Democrats and independent-minded voters who, instead of supporting a Democrat, are throwing support behind Phil Roe, Davis' major Republican challenger: this is understandable, of course (it has been 130 years since the last Democrat was elected to Congress from this district), but I think that many of these folks will support me once the dust clears. Also, with the presidential election-taking place, I expect more active participation among 20, 30 and 40-somethings who are not currently active in politics, but who are very much concerned about the future. I've heard some folks refer to this as "the blue tide," and I hope there's some truth to that.

For my part, I plan to work with the county organizations, of course, but also hope to reach out to those, like myself, who aren't involved in party organizations but realize that a change, a real change (not just a different Republican) is necessary for this region to have an authentic voice in Washington.

6. What prompted you to enter the race for Congress? Also, what influences inspired you to seek office?

It sounds cheesy, I know, but my primary motivation is the thought that my children may very well have less opportunity than I had in terms of jobs and education -- that they will be the first generation in American history that is guaranteed not to do as well as their parents as a result of the disastrous economic and foreign policy decisions made by the previous two generations. I don't want my son fighting in Iraq if he chooses to serve in the military; I don't want my daughter saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt just to have a chance at having as much earning power as a man with the same education. I want to help make things better for their generation, like the way things improved between my grandparents and parents' generations, not stay the same or go backwards.

As for influences, there's a moment during the credits of "An Inconvenient Truth" where the writing on the screen suggests that audience members write to their congressman, and if he or she doesn't listen, run for congress. Al Gore was primarily referring to the global environmental crisis, but this is a crucial time in America for so many other reasons – healthcare, the economy, education – and decision-makers who aren't afraid to make hard choices are required. When I am in Congress, I will be accountable to one group of people, and that's the people of East Tennessee – not big business or other special interests – and I can guarantee that when tough choices have to be made, it's the people I've grown up with, lived and worked with who will be in my thoughts.

7. What weaknesses do you see in the issues promoted by incumbent Congressman David Davis?

One problem Davis is having is the same one many other Republican incumbents seeking re-election now face: what do I run on, having accomplished nothing other than supporting an unpopular, lame-duck president's bad decisions and contributing to partisan bickering? An embarrassingly out-of-touch, "no we can't" voting record – votes against increasing the minimum wage, against anti-dog fighting laws, against health insurance for children living in poverty, against investing in alternative energy sources: all things the vast majority of Americans and East Tennesseans support – is paralleled by questionable ethics: a paid House staffer caught revising Davis' Wikipedia entry, votes and legislation that appear to be very closely tied to campaign contributions, etc.

But maybe his weakest area of all, from what I've seen and read, is that Davis is clearly out of touch with the concerns of working East Tennesseans. When he spoke at a breakfast I attended recently, giving a shortened version of the speech I've read excerpted in numerous articles about him in the Kingsport Times-News, he mentioned several "hot button" issues -- healthcare, energy prices, the mortgage crisis -- but offered little in the way of solutions, other than allowing more competition between insurance providers, building more refineries, and blaming the media, respectively. When your best alternative to high energy costs and dependence on foreign oil is some bill cooked up by a representative from Texas who is in the pocket of big oil, well, that's clearly no alternative at all, just more of the same thinking that got us in this fix to begin with. Instead of calling the bill "No Excuses," it should probably be renamed "No New Ideas" – and that title would typify Davis' entire platform.

8. What are your strongest assets as a candidate for Congress and what would you say to voters to encourage their support for your campaign?

As a husband and father, I bring to Congress a dedication to making life better for all of the people of East Tennessee, present and future. I bring the desire to see hard-working East Tennesseans have more money in their wallet and more pride in their government – a government that works for their best interests, not against them.

I have been a teacher for 16 years, and an administrator for 11. As an experienced teacher, I will bring to Congress an understanding of the concerns of hard-working people who are struggling to make lives better for their families through earning a college degree, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of those entering college straight from high schools – often rural, under-funded schools that could use a hand-up. As an administrator, I bring the experience of having to work within a budget to accomplish the tasks set out for me. I've learned how to deal with budget cuts and changes, how to meet a payroll, how to stretch the dollars when you have to meet client's needs but apparently don't have the resources to meet them, and how to fight for the people and projects that are the most important.

All that being said, I believe my strongest assets are what I am not: I'm not a career politician or a wealthy business owner (the people who are usually vying for this job); I'm not an "insider" of any sort. Instead, I'm a candidate who is one of them, a middle-class East Tennessean, and as unique and independent-minded as the people I will represent. I'm a husband and father, a teacher and a college administrator, a musician and a bit of a nerd. Most of all, I'm passionate about wanting what's best for East Tennessee -- not what's best for the wealthy or big business -- and when I get to Washington I'll work my tail off to make sure that our region has a voice in the extremely important decisions that are going to be made by the next Congress.

The Stupiding Of America

I wanted to post something sorta warm and friendly today. But noooooo.

The idiocy of certain elected officials and chuckleheads who dominate "discussion" in media flows past flood level at faster-than-light speed here in the 21st Century America.

Witness the last week or so of repeating nonsense as fact regarding oil supplies in Alaska:

Republican Michele Bachmann tells the media that wild animals hold coffee klatches near oil pipelines in Alaska:

Some suggestions are that perhaps we would see an enhancement of wildlife expansion because of the warmth of the pipeline,” she said. […] The pipeline has now become a meeting ground and “coffee klatch” for the caribou, she said.

As TPM points out, Rush Limbaugh made the same claim that caribou luvs oil pipelines, and propaganda minister for National Review Jonah Goldberg agreed.

Like Tennessee's 1st District Congressman David Davis, who lies about oil supplies, these people are proponents of a simple philosophy: Repeat A Lie Enough Times and Most People Will Think It Is True.

Elected officials like Bachmann promote the dumbing of America - she, and so many others in the public and private sector, push for Intelligent Design to be taught in public schools instead of Science and Scientific Theory. It's a tactic that plays well arriving all wrapped snug and warm in Morality. But this is truly the wolf in sheep's clothing.

If we educate millions to distrust Science, pretty soon they'll believe anything -- note how Rep. Bachmann says "Some suggestions are that perhaps ...".

No need for facts there. No need for Science.

There is a clear and concentrated effort to diminish intelligence and it is by design. Language is the weapon of mass distraction. For instance: Have you seen the phrase "zero-tolerance" used? Doesn't that really simply mean "Intolerance"?

In an essay on the death of comedian George Carlin, writer Marty Beckerman says:

"He was especially fascinated with the blunting of language for comfort's sake. Carlin ridiculed our watering-down of sexual descriptions and ethnic categories, not to mention our mourning clich├ęs, all of which he believed were the real-life manifestations of George Orwell's "Newspeak," utilized to obscure reality, numb the mind, and discourage criticism. As much as Carlin loathed theology, war, greed, and hypersensitivity, he was most disgusted when religous puritans, the military, corporations, and P.C. "classroom liberals" mangled the language for the purpose of soothing the masses. When I saw Carlin perform in the ‘90s, the biggest laugh of the night came from his observation that "the unlikely event of a water landing," discussed in every preflight safety lecture, sounds suspiciously like "crashing into the fucking ocean."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Abuse of Elderly In Tennessee Grows

Recent audits reveal critical flaws in Tennessee nursing homes, and the state's legislature this term decided that protection was needed not for those residents, but for protecting the owners of nursing homes from lawsuits. 22 facilities had admissions suspended in 2007 and 13 have already had similar suspensions so far in 2008.

A Chattanooga Free Times report today says:

"As state inspectors continue to find a record number of violations in nursing homes, two recent reports highlight significant weaknesses in Tennessee’s oversight of health care facilities.

An audit by the comptroller of the Treasury identified a number of shortcomings in the Board for Licensing Health Care Facilities, including failure to maintain a list of individuals who have abused, neglected or misappropriated the property of vulnerable individuals.

“That’s a very important function to have: a listing of anyone who is considered abusive and shouldn’t be working with vulnerable people,” said Art Hayes, director of state audit at the comptroller’s office and one of the audit’s leaders. “They’re not conducting all the investigations they should, they’re not holding the hearings timely and they’re not tracking people who are removed from the registry.”

The audit also found that the licensing board failed to investigate complaints in a timely manner, which can keep nursing home patients in dangerous situations and make gathering evidence difficult.

The nursing home industry and its state regulators have corrected many of the problems noted in the audit, said Christy Allen, assistant commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health’s Bureau of Health Licensure and Regulation. The bureau oversees licensing of health facilities and individuals.

The state performance audit comes on the heels of a May report from the federal Government Accountability Office that lists Tennessee as one of nine states that most often neglected to cite serious violations at nursing homes during inspections between 2002 and 2007.

In federal follow-ups to state surveys of health care facilities, surveyors found that Tennessee inspectors failed to record serious deficiencies 26.3 percent of the time, according to the GAO report."

In February of this year, R. Neal at TennViews, reported how the legislature was working to protect nursing home owners from lawsuits. The legislation, SB4075/HB4053, was amended in May and instead the legislature voted to create a committee to "study the effects of litigation on the nursing home industry" and report back by Feb. 2009.

As Neal wrote:

Instead of allowing special interests to influence legislation, Tennessee should pursue better regulation and oversight of nursing homes to protect the safety and dignity of patients in these facilities. Who lobbies for the people?"

SEE ALSO: A post from Facing South notes a constant and growing increase in bankruptcy filings for those age 65 and over.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

What If George Lucas Hung Out With Bob Dylan?

Well, see there was this site called Star Wars Crawl, and anyone could type up some stuff which would then be converted to the same type of on-screen movie crawl which opens the Star Wars movie. It even had the theme music behind it.

So being an old hippie, I typed up some Bob Dylan lyrics and got myself a few chuckles out of posting the result here.

But now, all the fun is gone. No crawls, no Dylan meets Lucas. Just the following on the Star Wars Crawl website:

This site has been closed.

LucasFilm has asked us to remove this site. We have enjoyed seeing the tens of thousands of users over the past several days, and thank you for your interest.

Weekly Best of Tennessee Blogs

Thanks to R. Neal at TennViews:

The "Summer Solstice" (Copyright (C) Associated Press, All Rights Including Yours Reserved) edition of the weekly unpredictable Tennessee progressive blog roundup with a look at what the best Tennessee bloggers are talking about.

10,000 Monkeys and a Camera: with Democrats like these, who needs Republicans?

55-40 Memphis: We could achieve more progress in the coming months than in all of the 40 years since Martin died.

Tiny Cat Pants: I’m sure "We’re still pissed about things that happened before you were born" will make a stirring campaign slogan for the Republicans this fall.

BlountViews: Swiftboating a local judge candidate

Carole Borges: Prescription drugs are becoming a menace to society and patients don't know who to trust anymore.

The Crone Speaks: We all know, that for years, Jeb is being "groomed" to follow in daddy’s footsteps. [..] Corporations, especially the oil companies, want a Bush in office.

Cup Of Joe Powell: The first rule about Congressional Elections in the 1st District is - You don't talk about Congressional Elections in the 1st District. Plus: Rep. Davis Dodges Debate

Don Williams: ...this is about electric moon spiders and giant rainbows that wade ocean waters in order to show you the whole round realness of wonder that only a vacation can provide by reminding you of who you were before you became what you do...

TNDP: Tennessee Young Dems look to capture 5,000, plus TNDP Chairman Gray Sasser: Lamar Alexander is wrong on energy

Enclave: It would be a shame if the next President was more of an advocate for programs that support Metro Nashville than our own elected representative.

Fletch: Realization

KnoxViews (Rocketsquirrel): Currently, oil and gas companies hold leases on nearly 68 million acres of federal land (both onshore and under OCS waters) that they are not developing.

Lean Left: If the President tells a company it’s legal, it’s legal.

Left of the Dial: "Staycation" is the new buzzword for the summer of 2008.

LeftWingCracker: I can see THAT now: LOOK HOW SAFE I'VE MADE SHELBY COUNTY! That's a winner, bubba, I'd take that and really run with it if I were you. Oy. Next, other than the Baker-Alexander-Thompson tribe, who knows Gibbons outside of Big Shelby? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? I digress.

Liberadio(!): ...tonight’s 500 foot swim, which is scheduled for 5:00pm at Riverfront Park, has already served its purpose - prompting Nashvillians to start chattering about the state of the river and its environs.

Newscoma: wish just once that Tanner voted the way I wanted him to vote. Cohen just may be the only lifeline that Tennessee has for calling foul on this sort of stuff. This isn’t about warrantless wiretapping. It’s about saving corporations money.

The Pesky Fly: The real traitor here is Steny Hoyer. And Nancy Pelosi.

Progressive Nashville: ...a brief overview of some of McCain's 2007 votes on children's issues..., plus: What does it take to get fired in Memphis?

Resonance: I was not at all surprised to see Senator McCain flip-flop with yesterday's announcement that he now opposes the federal moratorium on offshore oil drilling. I expect more politicians to follow this path as public pressure to do something about the energy crisis builds.

RoaneViews: Here's a "Predict the Race" spreadsheet for the Ruppe-Yager Senate race.

Russ McBee: Just like their recent obstruction of the carbon reduction bill, today's actions show that the GOP have no intention of doing anything meaningful about our most pressing environmental and energy issues.

Sean Braisted: ...I still don't get the argument by some against immunity. There seem to be two thoughts.

Sharon Cobb: I can tell you I know first hand Obama has been in and out of Nashville visiting Al Gore during the past year, and Gore advised him, as he did other candidates.

Silence Isn't Golden: Everyone's buzzing about the new Quinnipiac poll numbers that show Obama not only handily winning in the swing states of Pennsylvania and Ohio, but also have him up in Florida.

Southern Beale: Isn’t that special! The four largest Western oil companies are preparing to sign no-bid contracts in Iraq, bringing them back to a position they had 36 years ago. Is that some long-range planning or what!

Tennessee Guerilla Women: What with Michelle's dangerously feminist habit of speaking her mind, or sounding altogether too much like First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, extreme stepford, um, I mean steps are being taken.

TennViews (Chris Lugo): Abstinence only until marriage curricula is censorship, pure and simple. Any school program that withholds scientifically valid information does not present young people with the full range of options they will actually face in life.

Vibinc: Ahh, but constituents aren’t good at Change™ either. They want to balance their household budgets while owning the biggest big screen HDTV with 4 picture in pictures and total immersion surround sound. They want rock solid abs after a mere 20 minute workout and to eat that carton of Twinkies in one sitting. It’s a startling contradiction.

WhitesCreek Journal: A message to Tennessee Democrats, "Get on the Love Train now, cause the good seats are going fast."

Women’s Health News: Thoughts on the AMA Homebirth "Ban," Ricki Lake, and Midwifery

BONUS ROUND: The AP v. blogger dustup - a sampling...

Enclave: At the Risk of Violating Rexblog's Fair Use Policy

« The Crone Speaks: Ass.Press’s Desire to Re-write Fair Use

Newscoma: Connecting The Dots

Newscoma: The AP vs. Bloggers

KnoxViews: AP, bloggers, and the fair use controversy

Russ McBee : AP follows RIAA and MPAA into the gutter

The Crone Speaks: Heavy Hand of the AP

DOUBLE BONUS ROUND: The Hobbs (no not that one, the other one) controversy...

TennViews (WhitesCreek): Fred Hobbs Seems intent on destroying Lincoln Davis Gubernatorial chances

KnoxViews: Obama connected

The Pesky Fly: Just Speechless

Silence Isn't Golden: What The Hell Is Going On Here?

LeftWingCracker: Feel Good Friday this is NOT, not today

Sean Braisted: Benefit of the Doubt

Sean Braisted: The Wheels On The Bus Go Round and Round

Silence Isn't Golden: Here's How It's Done

Sean Braisted: Fred Hobbs Apologizes

Sean Braisted: Glass Houses

Sean Braisted: More on the Hobbs/Terrorist-Gate

Sean Braisted: The Commish Says Fire Hobbs