Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Morristown Gets Slapped With Half-Million Bank Seizure

Resisting court orders is never a risky idea for government, and at the end of February, the city of Morristown had over $570,000 seized in a bank levy over a court case which should have been resolved a long time ago.

"Now that those funds have been seized by the U.S. Marshals, my guess is that Morristown has sobered up and is having some serious discussions with Plaintiffs' lawyers to settle the attorney fees, litigation costs, and/or civil penalties that were assessed against the City in the Stephens, et al. v. City of Morristown case. In this mix may be the dismissal of the City's appeal to U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In a case that was brought only after Morristown refused to acknowledge problems with the Witt sewer line and refused to repair and rehabilitate that line, the City spent thousands in attorney fees for its lawyers, had to pay attorney fees and costs for the Plaintiffs' lawyers, and ended up under a court-order to fix the Witt line. [The Tennessee Municipal League (TML) paid initial attorney fees but that stopped at some point and then Morristown was directly on the hook for paying the City's defense team]

All this money was spent because the City ignored a serious problem with the Witt sewer line that was brought to its attention as soon as Koch Foods hooked up to the Witt line around 2005.

And the City would likely still be ignoring the problem today if several gutsy Witt residents hadn't  hired a lawyer after deciding that they had taken enough of the City's stonewalling and odors and overflows.

During the lawsuit, Judge Greer blistered the City in discussing the City's "malfeasance" in handling its finances, making illegal money transfers, failing to provide critical documents, ignoring recommendations of its experts, etc.

With two consecutive years (2009 and 2010) of the sewer fund being "in the red," you have to wonder if the City's appeal of the attorney fees and other costs was just another in an ongoing series of delaying tactics to avoid acknowledging the financial morass that has been present for years and years."

Monday, March 05, 2012

Would You Buy A Used Car From This Man?

Rush Limbaugh has been selling and slinging horseshit for decades, called it 'reasonable thinking', 'entertainment' and now calls his work "absurdity".

He's getting closer to reality with that latest comment. As this editorial notes, "Limbaugh puts the vile in juvenile".

Bottom line: unless you are a rich white male who hates our nation's rich heritage of diversity and vision -- Rush hates you too.

So sad that so many local radio stations support his every word, and they have backed his every word for decades. Shame on those radio stations.

via the LA Times

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Unwired: Part 2 of a Non-LiveBlog

I decided to do an experiment and shut off the internet for a while, eventually going 12 days with no email, texting, no connection with The Web. I was curious what the changes would be since I've been connected to The Web for about 20 years. And I didn't tell anyone, just wasn't there .. there being here, on The Web. What were the results of the experiment?

I'm awake, up writing on and off The Web daily and early, a longtime habit. So I decided that instead of surfing and reading online, I would keep sort of a non-published Twiter feed to document the effects of being so disconnected. And then publish the results on The Web.

So here is Part Two of a Three Part series of the non-liveblog, for Part One, click here:


10:32 a.m.
I have many chores and duties outside of the house today. Will people detect the scent of a non-digital human?

Have my websites been hacked? My email? Are they okay?

11:15 a.m.
Gah! Really starting to hate this exile, this experiment seems akin to trying to quit tobacco or something. I’m getting ill tempered, angry, dislocated from the world.

1:00 p.m.
This afternoon I will be in several locations which offer free Wi-Fi and I fear my experiment will crash and burn faced with such temptation.

So am I addicted to internet access if I should give in? … Time will tell the tale, won’t it? If I do cave, will I confess and admit failure or will I pretend (aka lie about it) by claiming I only used a brief mobile access rather than my more usual use of a home PC?

7:00 p.m.
I’m pretty sure that after reading the preceding, no one will believe me when I say I did not cave in to temptation. How could I avoid the temptation? Simple: I did not take a mobile device with me which could use a WiFi connection.

I did speak with some friends and colleagues about some work projects and we all said we’d use email to flesh out the details. So I will likely be forced to end my experiment within the next 3 to 4 days.


7:22 a.m.

Reports of tornado warnings are aired via my radio – I’d like to check out local radar online … can’t. Television offers a few glimpses but even the Weather Channel only offers a few minutes each hour of local radar. How much more powerful would my disconnect become should I shut off cable tv? The last time I did go cable-less, one could still pick up channels with rabbit-ear antenna, but that option no longer exists. Even though the cost for a digital reception box is low, our America now makes everyone pay a fee to watch free tv.

More and more, we have bought the narrative that the cost of accessing information shared via public spectrum airwaves is justified, normal and that everyone has access to computers, the internet, television and phones. Everyone has it. All that’s needed, according to this new worldview, is to buy a device or devices and boom! You are on!

I am amazed that I can still, if I wanted, buy a radio and to get programming, all I have to do is switch the radio on. And I could go more high end and get more specific and more diverse programming by buying a satellite radio and paying a fee for service. See – radio has free and pay options, but no other information service offers that option of free and pay services.

9:12 a.m.

Fridays are usually interesting days online – people post tales of events just ahead worth attending, share their joys about the week’s end, and generally take on a tone to lighten the mood. I have access to none of it.

I doubly damned since I work mostly from home – I don’t hear office buzz about what folks have planned for the weekend, or potential gatherings of friends or family. I like being able to scoot into social media sites to learn what friends and family are doing … without it, it adds even more to my outcast status.

Fridays often bring many perceptive essays and commentary on the events of the week and what the events might portend, folks share web discoveries and amusements, like the videos that have entertained them this week, share rumors and memes, link to movies or music shows they plan to attend. One gets a sense of a shared world offering so much.

I got nada going on here without all that access.

And no one can reach out to include me in their on or offline hijinks unless they call me directly on the phone, and since I don’t call others very much, they don’t call me.

1:30 p.m.

Here’s a nagging fact – I cannot say that my days are empty without the internet, I still do most of the things I’ve always done. I do lack a constant connection to everyone who uses the internet … but does that mean I lack human connection? No, not at all. Or am I utterly mistaken?


9:00 a.m.

I am a modern-day Robinson Crusoe, though self-exiled, marooned with a few books and on the verge of trembling madness without any human contact. I never read the book, I read Moll Flanders instead, so I would really need to go to WikiPedia to read a synopsis and see if he did indeed have any books or paper or verged on trembling madness. Extending the metaphor, that would mean the internet is my Man Friday, the creature leaving a trail of footprints indicating potential human contact which I might follow, a lifeform that ends my solitude.

Now I am wondering what exactly Defoe’s tale told about the two – and I don’t have the ability to seek source info without the Web. I do recall with more accuracy ‘Robinson Crusoe on Mars” starring Paul Mantee as a marooned astronaut on Mars, who finds that applying heat to certain rocks produces oxygen so he can stay alive, and who finds a native Martian who is held in slavery by cruel overlords who force him and other native Martians to operate a mine. And Mantee did have a monkey too. I’m positive if I had a monkey, I would not miss the internet as much.

9:40 a.m.

Here’s a simple but vital element to having the Web, which I now lack, that I would dearly love to have right now. Have you ever had a snippet of song stuck forever in your head? My friends and I call these tuneful infestations ‘earwigs’, though I think there is a formal medical term for the condition. Anyway, anytime in the past I get attacked by a relentless tune, usually a tune I wonder how I even know, I can eliminate it by locating the song on the internet, playing and listening to it, and thereby canceling out the constant repetition in my head.

But no internet means I may just go insane now.

10:00 a.m.

I am starting to feel miserable. There are various items I preserved via an internet cloud and now cannot access, items I decided to store somewhere other than my own hard drive or flash drive in case a virus attacked my system. I’m in need of a few addresses and phone numbers I stored. In days long past I had a few address books loaded with such info. Now – I have nothing so simple.

10:22 a.m.

My decision to be Web-less seems most idiotic to me now. Who would chose to do such a thing? Am I just being sadistic to myself? And if I am, why am I doing it?

11:00 a.m.

I may listen to “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me” the humorous news quiz show, and I’m thinking that I won’t do very well trying to answer the quiz questions since I’ve had only some radio and tv news to inform me this week.

A giant FAIL on this test – the episode today is a rerun, so no test of the past week … maybe I’ll listen anyway….

Hey, I knew some things!! All on my own!! I knew that actress Heddy Lamar did research which helped develop cell phone technology and that ventriloquist Paul Winchell invented the first artificial heart. Good for me!

11:20 a.m.

Man oh man am I bored right out of my skull. Sigh.

9:39 p.m.

Let’s talk about Stumbling, the use of a Web app which allows for the random retrieval of web pages for a user to explore. I think it was late 2005 when I started using the app, first selecting a wide range of topics, from Astronomy to Geography to Zoology, and then clicking a button on my browser to go from page to page to page, and anyone who has or uses this app will tell you it becomes a habit to Stumble.

Stumbling through my own computer is a short exercise.


8:44 a.m.

Waiting again, for the time when someone on radio or tv decides to share the current temperature. Meh.

10:00 a.m.

Prior to checking out of the Web, I had signed up for a Web app which allows for viewing several non-broadcast cameras backstage at tonite’s Oscar show. And no real-time commentary tonight on the Oscars either.

I did make use of a few audio books I’ve had stacked up for some time, which creates an illusion of a computer connection to a podcast or something. And I’ve been working on a few other writing projects, but I can’t say I’ve written more on those – my typical daily habits consist of writing as well as prowling the Web. Instead of prowling, I move around the house and get more exercise as I step out for a quick walk (or perhaps a stomping tantrum at the part of my brain which is enforcing this offline experiment).

11:33 a.m.

Bleh. Bored again with the non-Web world.