Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Trouble Starts With A 'T' and Stands For Tennessee

Back in the saddle again, dear readers, after a bit more than a month of fast and furiously funny work directing the play "I Hate Hamlet" for the Morristown Theatre Guild.

And yes, there are items aplenty I have led slide right past - so why not a quick round-up of some of the blog news in Tennessee and beyond?

-- Morristown City Council Hates Being Videotaped
(via) (never mind these meetings have been taped by concerned residents for some time now.)

-- Morristown Must Borrow Millions To Pay Bills(also via):
What's the problem? Not enough cash to pay the bills---especially with debt payments coming up.

Where's the money from the 2008 sales tax increase? The City told you to VOTE YES for the sales tax increase. How's that sales tax increase working out?

Where's the money from the 2007 property tax increase? The City raised the property tax rate by 40-cents, then lowered it by 15-cents after the 2008 sales tax referendum was approved. That's still a 25-cent property tax increase. How's that property tax increase working out?

In less than three years, the City has raised property taxes, has raised the sales tax, has boosted sewer fees out the roof, and has cut expenses (supposedly). And they are still crying for more as they talk about a higher hotel-motel tax and a garbage fee and maybe another property tax hike.

-- SEE ALSO: Morristown City Cash Running Out

-- Racketeering A Way Of Life In Cocke Co. --- "Stealing cars and heavy-duty equipment. Defrauding insurers. Selling stolen vehicle parts. Dealing drugs. Spreading violence. Corrupting law enforcement.

-- Tennessee Wants Guns In Bars, But No Oversight On 'Gun-Fairs'
WASHINGTON – Two guns used in high-profile shootings this year at the Pentagon and a Las Vegas courthouse both came from the same unlikely place: the police and court system of Memphis, Tenn.

Law enforcement officials told The Associated Press that both guns were once seized in criminal cases in Memphis. The officials described how the weapons made their separate ways from an evidence vault to gun dealers and to the shooters.

The use of guns that once were in police custody and were later involved in attacks on police officers highlights a little-known divide in gun policy in the United States: Many cities and states destroy guns gathered in criminal probes, but others sell or trade the weapons in order to get other guns or buy equipment such as bulletproof vests.

In fact, on the day of the Pentagon shooting, March 4, the Tennessee governor signed legislation revising state law on confiscated guns. Before, law enforcement agencies in the state had the option of destroying a gun. Under the new version, agencies can only destroy a gun if it's inoperable or unsafe.

AND: "A Tennessee judge ruled last year that a guns-in-bars law was unconstitutionally vague. It made an exception for establishments that serve at least one meal on five days per week and where "the serving of such meals shall be the principal business conducted."Tennessee has no legal definition to distinguish bars from restaurants.

-- FOOD STAMPS - More Americans Using Them Than Ever Before -- "There are many 20-somethings from educated families who go through a period of unemployment and live very frugally, maybe even technically in poverty, who now qualify," said Parke Wilde, a food economist at Tufts University who has written extensively about food stamp usage and policy.

The increase in food stamp use among this demographic is hard to measure, as they represent a cross section of characteristics not specifically tracked by the Agriculture Department, which administers the program.

But general unemployment figures among the group are stark: Between the ends of 2007 and 2009, unemployment among those aged 20 to 34 rose 100 percent, and between 2006 and 2009, unemployment among those with a bachelor's degree or higher was up 179 percent.


The state wants a law making it legal to have a a fish aquarium in a barber shop.