Comments by Rikki

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Written on Sun Burned: TVA and State Legislators Combine to Handicap Solar Power Producers:

in response to toonjee:

Lately we keep hearing about how the cost of solar power has dropped dramatically, if this is true why should not the TVA expect to benefit from the cost savings too? Why shouldn't they expect to pay less for more solar energy?

US solar power costs fall 60% in just 18 months: pv-magazine
http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/detai...

If solar power is so much cheaper and so beneficial, even income generating, why can't the local authorities and businessmen jump in and benefit from the income being generated without leaning on the TVA?

Why is there only benefit at long as some Tax funding is being thrown at it?

The truth, which the author of this post is hiding from readers is that Solar Power is still expensive and still very limited.

1) There is Zero Solar Power at night.
2) Daylight solar power varies from Zero to Maximum, and back to Zero.
3) You might get a lot of solar power at noon, (if there are no clouds), but you have to use it on the spot or lose it unless you also install very expensive and inefficient batteries.
4) Users of Solar power still end up paying for Coal/Natural gas/ Nuclear, because Solar Power is a hyped up Government propped up one legged duck that can't fly.

I credit the TVA for realizing how Less-Worthy the "Investment" is.

My impression from reading this is that Rikki is a Solar Zealot who cannot or will not see other's (TVA) point of view, and who wants the Taxpayer to fund his/her dream projects, whether it is reasonable or not.

Your ravings against Republicans and Capitalism just pegs you for and ideology driven zealot, not as an honest broker.

TVA should pay less to new solar suppliers, and they should honor the contracts they signed with existing suppliers. These deals were negotiated around specific payback periods, and TVA is arbitrarily and unilaterally changing those deals. If the terms are not working out for TVA, TVA should offer less to new suppliers, not change deals it has already negotiated. At the very least they should ask suppliers to renegotiate, not force new terms down their throats.

Real markets do not operate like that, but TVA is not negotiating in good faith. They are not merely setting the price they charge customers. They are setting the price they PAY to suppliers. That is not how markets work; it's how dictators and monopolies operate.

Written on Argumentative Behavior: Don't Let Bad Guys Control Conversation on Guns:

in response to rxhumor:

"What people really want to talk about, however, is how to stop bad guys from getting guns in the first place."????? Ummmm....most bad guys STEAL guns. People seem to forget that the weapons used in the Connecticut massacre were STOLEN weapons. They were not legally purchased by the person that actually killed these children and teachers. They were legally purchased by a person who was killed and the guns then stolen. So please tell me how new gun laws would have prevented that????

I did not advocate any new gun laws, nor do I think we can prevent every tragedy. That's why I called for a deeper conversation than just crafting reactionary responses to this one incident, which is what LaPierre did. I pointed out flaws in his proposals and noted that he is attempting to steer the conversation away from our Constitution's language.

Written on Backcountry Tax: Charging Backpackers to Camp is Against the Spirit of the Smokies:

'This new source of revenue we want to extract from backpackers? It's not really a new source of revenue, we've just never done it before.'

I have no problem with GSMNP finding new revenue sources. But I would like the federal government to fully fund national parks so rangers and administrators do not have to turn on the people who most value the land and its culture and the duties and authority of NPS. I would also like them to be honest about what they are doing.

The NPS funding crisis is not a product of backcountry expenses. It is a product of sloganeering politicians in D.C., and backpackers, scout troops and even visitors from Kentucky should not be asked to foot the bill.

Create a new tax bracket at $1M/yr. Fat cats at that level could sneeze up $280k without asking for a tissue. People who use backcountry sites that are never full, but would share and make room and make friends if they were, they should not be asked to do what giddy millionaires with historically low tax rates could do with barely a burp of discomfort.

Written on Backcountry Tax: Charging Backpackers to Camp is Against the Spirit of the Smokies:

I don't think anyone has criminal intentions, as some commenters seem to suggest. It's certainly understandable that chronically underfunded GSMNP would seek new revenue sources. I think they picked a bad option and have been quite bumbling in pursuing it, but none of that is criminal.

I would be fine with charging a fee for horses since they do such much damage to trails, especially when the ground is saturated. Footing is far less stable on trails where horses are allowed than on footpaths.

I would also be fine with charging people to drive the Cades Cove loop, especially if the option of free buses were available. I would even consider manned toll booths in a strategic spot or two where people could either make donation or say, "Sorry, not today" and drive on.

There are better options for boosting Park revenues.

Written on Can’t Go To the Video:

The park remains an attraction for some people because it's the best place in town to see migratory birds during spring and fall migration. Ownby was up there at the height of spring migration, when citizen complaints are almost as likely as hearing a cerulean warbler. If he were more attuned to nature, Ownby might have opted for an hourly room near WBIR for his May liaisons.

Let this be a lesson to all you perverts. May is not the month for a Sharp's Ridge bj. Get a room.

Written on The Knox County Charter Review Committee Needs to Think Bigger:

It's not a given that appointment would have to be done by the mayor. The review committee could consider various approaches, including appointment by Commission. A separation-of-powers approach would be best, with the mayor nominating a candidate who gets an up-or-down vote from Commission, and appointees could even also face retention votes every two years, coincident with regular county elections.

An elected Auditor would significantly enhance the power of citizens over their local government. Cutting political parties and their patronage structures out of some or all county offices would also restore power to citizens.

Written on State Lawmakers Chase Agenda 21 While Real Problems Get Worse :

Thanks for the freedomadvocates link, Jack, I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to see how loosely these anti-Agenda 21 rants are linked to reality. Even in formal papers, the chain of prejudices, presumptions and paranoia is held together by a thin selection of weak facts. Be sure to read the footnotes; they are more like punch lines than actual references.

Written on State Lawmakers Chase Agenda 21 While Real Problems Get Worse :

Agenda 21 is right here: http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/

You can see for yourself what it says. Granted, the real thing is not nearly as entertaining as what paranoid right-wingers have made it into. It's kind of like the telephone game. You start with "The sky is blue," and by the time it gets around to Jack_Fail, it's "The spider in my basement blew up South Dakota."

Written on Another Obstacle for the Hillside Plan?:

That third sentence is what concerns me most. It contradicts the other sentences by making this plan binding on the general plan and sector plans. Who's to say how many provisions in those plans are "inconsistent with or in excess of" the hillside plan? What impact might that sentence have?

It seems like a gift for attorneys who might wish to challenge something in one of those plans and have it declared repealed. Rather than emphasizing that the plan is advisory, it sets it up to be an invitation for lawsuits and challenges to the general plan and 12 sector plans.

Written on Hillside Protection Plan’s Time Has Come:

in response to amorphous:

Will someone please help me understand how it is a function of government to "preserve scenic views" and "prohibit ridgetop development if it would be visible from major roadways." Where is the health, safety, and welfare in that? It's nothing more than a taking of the right, from ridgetop property owners, to build on a ridgetop in order to preserve scenic views for those who don't own a ridgetop. What if I want to see the scenic views from my ridgetop home? If that could be seen from major roadways, you've just taken that from me by an act of the government. Surely I'm entitled to compensation.

Don't worry, amorphous, it's only the Chamber that wants to do that, and their plan is too much of an abortion to get much support from the legislative bodies.

Written on Has the Age of Sprawl Bought the Farm?:

I count 15 factual statements, including quotations and figures from relevant public documents.

Written on Knox County Budget Battle:

Hilarious, personal attacks on Broyles and Norman accusing them of personal attacks. Welcome to the world of anonymous Internet commenters.

Written on County Fee Offices Dispute May Be Even More Complicated Than We Thought:

The Supreme Court did not rule the Charter invalid. A local chancellor did that. The Supreme Court said there is no such thing as a "constitutional office" in a county with its own charter.

Written on Investigating the Drugs-Related Death of Henry Granju:

You are right, knoxmom, it's ridiculous to spend (insert arbitrary figure here) dollars investigating (insert prejudicial adjective here) deaths. It's not the role of county law enforcement to regulate the sale of potent chemicals manufactured by huge multinational corporations distributed under tight control of doctors and pharmacists. If none of the people who manufacture, prescribe or sell these pills can figure out how they were being used as currency in a prostitution ring, how can we expect a county sheriff to figure it out?

We shouldn't be demanding justice for the victims of addiction and black-market sales so much as marveling at the awesomeness of the pharmaceutical industry spending more money on lobbying and political campaigns than any other industry.

It's best not to think about a system that pushes kids into the seedy fringes of society when we can cower together in a group hug instead. Nothing to see here, folks.

Written on Knox County Fees Offices Not Following Charter Budgetary Provisions:

<i>This new proposal is a checks and balances review of budgets. Nothing more.</i>

That is my understanding as well, and Sullivan's. I can not speak for the easily mislead, but I had no problem understanding the writer's explanation and analysis.

If anyone is attempting to mislead people, it is you with your irrelevant reference to the defeated "King Mayor" amendment. Sullivan cited an adopted amendment and the 2006 Supreme Court decision. Your statistics are simply off topic.

Written on Victor Ashe Gets WikiLeaked:

251,297 diplomatic cables, 960 of them published by WikiLeaks so far, but only one written by Victor Ashe. That is surely more than our republic can bear.

Written on Ridgetop Protection Plan Faces Sloppy Opposition:

Informed people have been talking for years about how to stop erosion and water pollution from destructive development on steep land. The water tower was just the event that got the attention of the broader community and generated enough interest to begin the democratic process of deciding how to address the problem.

MPC did not create this plan. The task force was created by County Commission and City Council, held nine community meetings, and all the task force meetings were public. MPC merely served as a resource for information. Now the task force's recommendations must be approved or amended by Council and Commission. It's pure democracy.

And, of course, there is no taking in what they recommend. You've never offered any evidence of that. The facts prove that the opposite is true.

Written on Ridgetop Protection Plan Faces Sloppy Opposition:

The 15 to 25 percent part of this plan creates flexibility in setbacks, siting, road width, etc that makes it easier for developers to work with natural contours. It creates opportunities to add density by conserving land elsewhere. It's pretty much the opposite of a taking.

The people who are bothered by the 15-25 percent part of the plan are people who haven't bothered to read the plan.

Written on Ridgetop Protection Plan Faces Sloppy Opposition:

I take it that you are rooting for the loudest side to win rather than the most compelling.

Written on Henry:

I have not changed what I wrote. "legalizing hard drugs" is a phrase so vague as to be meaningless, and it is not my phrase. I don't know which drugs you think are hard drugs nor what you mean by "legalizing." I have attempted to explain, specify, elaborate, justify and develop my thoughts, which do change as I learn and explore. I have also attempted to correct your misunderstandings, though years of experience have taught me that is pointless with you.

Were there to be some sort of substantive discussion of the risks and nature of the various intoxicating drugs and of the myriad ways government can control their distribution and use, I would be able to develop ideas about which approaches could be used with which drug. penguins and tannin have offered substantive contributions. You have offered vagueness and empty dismissal.

Since you seem to know my thoughts better than I do, please enlighten me about which hard drugs I want legalized and what exact form of legalization I have endorsed.

Written on Henry:

I have every right to define and clarify my own position. Your persistent effort to tell me what I think shows how profoundly rude you are.

The violence in Mexico and other countries to our south is a consequence of prohibition. Licensed and regulated trade would eliminate most of the bloodshed. That you cite Calderon's remark as a defense of your position shows how poorly you understand this issue.

Sarah Palin just said that marijuana is a "minimal problem" that distracts law enforcement from more serious matters. She lives in a state that has long allowed possession and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana, so if that policy were going to trigger a nightmare, she would know.

Written on Henry:

penguins, you speak of truncated lives as if that is something that would only happen if we change drug policies, but it is obviously happening all around us right now.

With licensing and taxation, families would have more tools available to combat and prevent addiction. There would be funds from the users themselves to pay for counselors and treatment, and licensing could even offer a mechanism for detecting the onset of habitual and addictive behavior.

Families (and users) would be spared the risks of unpredictable or tainted supplies and worries about who their children are interacting with in order to get their drugs. Without the incentive to hide illegal activity, fewer users would slide into addiction.

Despite 9's tedious efforts to confine the conversation to the most extreme corner, I am talking about "jonesing for a bowl." Treating marijuana, which is less addictive and less dangerous than alcohol, in the same manner as more dangerous drugs undermines the whole effort. Policy should be tailored to a substance's actual dangers, and there is political will to change marijuana laws. It is happening all over the U.S., and Colorado is now considering going beyond treating it as a prescribed medicine into full decriminalization.

As a final note, you may not have interacted with Number 9 during the years he has spent polluting discussions on message boards all over town. Defending him is something you'll regret. Numerous boards have asked him to leave, begged him to leave, suspended his account, blocked his IP and even blocked all anonymous comments just to shut him up. He never knew Henry and has no interest in this discussion beyond the opportunity to slander me and Metro Pulse.

Written on Henry:

"Harm reduction" is a concept that has been around for years. It has been written about in many newspapers, and the quoted passage is an attempt to explain the concept and start a conversation about how licensing, regulation and taxation can be more effective tools against drugs than prohibition.

You are afraid of that conversation. Changing this country's drug policy is reasonable and necessary, and you can not dispute that. You've got nothing but some raw indignation you can barely verbalize. You don't even know why you support the status quo; it just feels safe.

Written on Henry:

"You can't take it back or make it about someone else."

You, however, can twist it into what it is not, sprinkle in unrelated matters, refuse to talk about what it is and make the whole conversation about nothing.

I am arguing that there are reasons to revisit how we approach drugs, ways to save and even generate money, ways to use law enforcement resources and prison space more wisely and create a healthier society and safer streets. I have been vague about specific changes because my goal is to first identify the problem before trying to solve it.

You, on the other hand, refuse to recognize the problem, speak vaguely of some "nightmare" you have not shown will come to pass, and advocate policies with a track record of expensive failure stretching back decades. Your position is so incoherent you can only defend it by changing the subject to the TYP.

Ronald Reagan said, "If you want less of something, tax it." Taxing and regulating drugs can mean many things. There are many drugs available only with a doctor's prescription, others you must purchase over a pharmacist's counter, others you can grab right off the shelf. With alcohol and tobacco we impose an age limit, ID, special stores. There are many commodities for which we require a license to sell or buy.

A change in drug policy can mean many things, but you are terrified to speak of anything but "legalizing hard drugs" for fear that you will look yet more hapless and confused. I am also advocating use of free-market tools and an enhancement of personal liberty, so I also have core American values on my side.

It's no mystery why you keep trying to change the subject and reframe my argument. You can't win if you play fair.

Written on Henry:

Since you can't argue with anything I've said, you just make things up, pretend I said them, then argue with your own nonsense. You'd think someone arguing a mainstream, status quo position would have no need for such pathetic tactics. Maybe it's just you.

Written on Henry:

You've spent the past month demanding that homeless addicts magically cure themselves before even being eligible for care. You have no concern for addicts nor comprehension of the problem.

Addiction is a problem that happens when you force users into the shadows and make them deal with criminal suppliers of unpredictable products. Meth addiction is a problem that has grown while your simplistic, authoritarian approach has been in full effect, which is probably why you can not discuss this rationally but instead call for me to be fired simply for discussing a change in strategy. I have no idea why you are bringing Jesse into this, but little that you say makes much sense.

Marijuana is considered less addictive than alcohol or tobacco. If prohibition of more addictive drugs like meth and cocaine can work, funding those efforts through marijuana taxes and licensing fees offers a better chance at success as a simple matter of resource allocation, but also because you would not have pot dealers luring kids into more dangerous habits.

Written on Henry:

"Who do you expect to pay for this nightmare?"

This question shows just how limited your reading skills really are. Who pays for the current nightmare? Every time a backwoods meth lab gets busted, you pay for the clean up. You pay to prosecute and imprison the meth cookers. If the meth heads they supplied get any treatment at all, you pay for that too.

The only way to get anyone but the public at large to pay for the nightmare is to regulate and tax the drug. Not only does this create revenue, it also reduces enforcement costs and violence. Before you reply with more personal attacks and indignant sputtering, read the Miron study: http://www.prohibitioncosts.org/miron....

Written on Henry:

tannin, the authorities have not issued a final report about the assault nor about Henry's death. It is not even clear whether he took methadone of his own accord or someone gave it to him to ease his pain, so your conclusion about this being "a simple drug overdose" is premature at best. His medical records show jaw and skull fractures. A concussion can have serious impacts that manifest hours or days after the injury, but we will likely never be able to tease apart brain injuries from the assault versus those suffered during the overdose.

The important thing is that there are dangers inherent in drug use and dangers inherent in illegal activities. Those we can tease apart. Much of the violence associated with drugs is a consequence of prohibition, not the drug itself. Stricter laws will just exacerbate that violence. We saw this with alcohol prohibition, and we can see it around us now. Your approach has been in effect for decades, and it has cost a lot of money and a lot of lives.

Written on Henry:

Let's see, "negative consequences," "dangerous substance," living in the shadows, placing fear ahead of medical need, where exactly am I romanticizing and idealizing drug use?

Amphetamines were legal and a fairly common stimulant a half century ago, used widely by U.S. soldiers in WWII. While there were people who abused these drugs and developed addictions, only in the wake of a legal crackdown did we start to see the profound devastation and toxic, backwoods labs that now characterize meth. There is harm in both approaches, so the question is have we made a bad situation worse with prohibition?

Overdose is not a function of availability so much as quality. It is the unpredictable nature of street drugs that make illegal drug users prone to overdose. Regulations and standards would make overdose less likely.

tannin, every article in the daily paper about Henry's death mentioned that he was beaten during a drug deal. I'm not sure how you missed that information; it is not new.

You all should note that I do not advocate legalizing meth, nor marijuana for that matter. I present the standard "harm reduction" argument and leave it to the reader to ponder. Were we to move beyond theory and start discussing actual changes in policy, I would probably opt for legalizing marijuana first and seeing whether law enforcement can better control other drugs using the new source of tax revenues and resources freed up from pursuing pot growers and dealers.

I do advocate rethinking our country's drug policies. I am also an advocate of free markets and personal liberty.

Written on Resolve Science Vs. Religion Dispute Quickly:

Natural selection is not a random process.

Novelty in living things arises randomly, through mutation and through recombination, but that is just the raw material on which natural selection operates. Selection itself is a consequence of survival and reproduction. Individuals that leave offspring contribute their genes, including novel mutations, to the next generation; individuals that die or fail to reproduce do not.

Random events can influence which individuals survive and reproduce, but so can the intelligence of the animal, how well a plant or animal is adapted to the habitat it finds itself in, its strength and many factors that are not random. This notion that natural selection is "by definition a random process" is a good example of the sort of misunderstanding that results from the hostility to evolutionary theory and the long efforts to keep it from being taught well.

It's a bit dumbfounding that you claim to have evidence on your side, yet you insist that life can not become more complex. The evidence shows just the opposite: life began as simple cells, which grew more complex with the addition of a nucleus, then the ability to live in colonies, then as multicellular organisms, which evolved into a bewildering array of complex plants and animals which have formed complex ecosystems. The most complex organism, man, appears only in the most recent little sliver of history.

In short, the problems you attribute to Darwinism are actually problems with your woefully erroneous understanding of the theory of evolution and of the history and diversity of life.

Written on Resolve Science Vs. Religion Dispute Quickly:

Every example of macroevolution you provided is a joke. Leaves do not macroevolve into moths. Microbes do not macroevolve into blades of grass, which do not turn into men. If I thought evolution supported those postulates, I would laugh at it too.

You are picking organisms at random and saying x evolved into y. You can't do that. Grass did not evolve into humans. Both science and history prove that grass can not evolve into a higher primate or any animal. You could hardly find a more unlikely evolutionary transition.

Were it not for the perpetual band of liars profiting by trashing evolution, I would wonder how anyone could find such a thought in their head and not banish it as nonsense.

The first two major evolutionary innovations were photosynthesis and the nucleus. The oldest known fossils show photosynthesis occurred 4 billion years ago. Cells with a nucleus came much later, and algae were the first nucleated plants. They evolved into liverworts, mosses, ferns, vascular plants, conifers, flowering plants and finally grasses, but no plant ever evolved into a human or any animal.

Shysters with books and DVDs to sell will say anything, but evolution elaborates core Christian values like love, bounty, fecundity, sin and glory. Science affirms our kinship with all things and an unbroken strand of love woven through all things, and Darwin's theory is a product of Christian culture.

Paleontologists find and analyze fossils in order to understand how moths evolved and what moths may have evolved into, but no scientist believes a moth macroevolved into anything but a creature similar to a moth or originated from anything but a creature similar to a moth. Butterflies, caddisflies, bees, midges, there are a lot of insects similar to moths. None of them evolved from leaves.

As much evolutionary change as it took to transition from worm to man, it took that much to transition from algae to grass, so you are twice as wrong in your suppositions as Earth-based life is old.

There are plants; there are animals. The two diverged before cells had a nucleus. You could propose ridiculous transitions like a leaf turning into a moth until the end of time, but science involves evidence and plausibility. I'd like to see a bit of both from you.

Written on Resolve Science Vs. Religion Dispute Quickly:

Actually, Bill, there is far more evidence available than just the fossil record. Living forms provide vast amounts of data by which to learn how change from generation to generation (microevolution) can add up to new species and new types over longer time scales (macroevolution).

As far as the idea that "we're all related," living creatures provides volumes of evidence in support of that. The fact that we share essentially the same cellular equipment as plants and translate our genes to proteins in exactly the same way is profound evidence of common ancestry.

Can you cite any evidence from the natural world that supports special creation? Creationists have tried to find some proof that one type, a baramin as they call them, is fundamentally different from another type, but they've found nothing. In fact, if you research baraminology, you'll find a lot of superficial talk about laying out plans and strategies for distinguishing baramins, and nothing concrete.

I am naturalist. If you go hiking with me, I can name most anything we'd see, plant or animal. Biodiversity is not an abstraction to me, and life is full of creatures that are close relatives with clear transitional vectors. Insects, of which there are millions of species, provide their own testament to the transitions from one form to another. For example, it is clear from studying living forms, not fossils, that ants evolved from social wasps that provision nests.

Right now I am trying to learn moths. There are at least 3,000 species in East Tennessee. Some are large and powerful like luna moths, others so tiny you might not even see them. Scientists have separated them into genera, subfamilies, tribes and superfamilies, but there are so many groups that it is a major challenge to learn even the basic categories. In fact, it is far easier to see transitions and variations than clear differences.

Can you tell me whether God created one type of moth from which the thousands microevolved, or was it three basic types or twelve or a hundred? That's the sort of challenge creationists would tackle if they were doing science. They would study the thousands of moths and tell us which ones got here by special creation and which by Darwinian mechanisms Charles himself only imagined and the subsequent two centuries of research proved to exist.

By conceding microevolution, you have pretty much lost the war. Macroevolution feels like a refuge since it is harder to understand and involves time scales we have trouble comprehending, but it is not a retreat into evidence but into the unknown. Do you have any physical evidence of an act of special creation?

I have tons of evidence that life evolved once and then diversified into the amazing variety we see around us.

Written on Resolve Science Vs. Religion Dispute Quickly:

Bill, you are confusing science with history. The scientific evidence validating evolution is vast: the ubiquity of the genetic code, meiosis, mitosis, all the shared features among cells, whether primitive cells without a nucleus, nucleated cells, plant, mold, insect or mammal cells, they all translate ribosome sequences into proteins exactly the same way. We are all related.

Evolution is not a tautology, but an inequality, just like entropy, from which Prigogine mathematically derived evolutionary equations to earn his Nobel prize.

How humans evolved, how the first cell evolved, how life crawled from the seas, these are all historical questions, and evolution is a tool used to comprehend historical data. Evolution is not obligated to explain any of the things you demand of it.

Paleontology is dependent on what evidence fossilizes, but evolution is not. They are different fields, and evolution is a present-day process that is validated by chemistry, physics and mathematics, not by luck digging through Earth's rot. The greatest insights into how the first cell operated are coming from organic chemistry, not from fossil evidence.

Our understanding of how cells evolved has advanced significantly since men were zapping beakers with electricity hoping to get a spontaneous protein, and the contours of primate evolution fill with evidence with each passing year. Turning a blind eye to this evidence will not make it disappear.

Written on Ban a Science Book? School Board Delays Action:

The word that needs to be properly defined in this discussion is "evolution." If Cindy Buttry thinks evolution is not a fact, she simply does not know what evolution is. And to say life "just happened in a pond" so belittles the scope of scientific and historical knowledge as to be a far more grievous insult than calling Creationism a "Biblical myth."

Given the long history of resistance and avoidance toward teaching evolution, it's hardly surprising that the idea is so misunderstood. Nonetheless, it is disappointing to see elected representatives using a lack of understanding as the basis for their decisions.

Written on UT Professor Considers Legal Action Over Use Of Charles Darwin Bio:

Copyright is automatic upon publication; no notice is required. This has been true in the U.S. since it joined the Bern Convention in 1988.

Plagiarism is a general term for any attempt to pass off another person's work as one's own, and Comfort did not credit Guffey. Copyright is a legal term more sharply defined, and whether this constitutes copyright infringement is for a court to decide. Copyright also involves publication of another's work, whereas plagiarism can apply to any use. If a student had done this as part of a term paper, it would be plagiarism and cause for disciplinary action, but Guffey would have no grounds to sue because term papers are not published.

Comfort did not use "short excerpts." He used nearly all of Guffey's biography, with one paragraph mostly rewritten and another shortened.

Written on Warming or Not, Carbon Glut is Core Problem:

Be careful you don't run out of capital letters!

Written on Warming or Not, Carbon Glut is Core Problem:

Number9, you know what would trigger worldwide crisis? Polluting the seas to the point where they can no longer yield enough food for all of us. Polluting the skies so asthma and other respiratory diseases become epidemic. Disrupting climate so that agricultural yields become erratic.

What will not trigger a financial crisis is placing a value on the systems we depend on to absorb our pollution. This allows markets to respond and cleaner technologies to flourish, which will trigger an episode of investment and innovation that will result in net wealth, not crisis.

Continuing to pollute as if the planet is infinite is what will trigger crisis. Why are you afraid of a market solution? Energy prices have been subsidized by ignoring the costs of their waste for too long. It is only dirty energy that will rise in cost, and that will just make efficiency and clean energy competitive.

Mr. Swartz, if you could debate issues and ideas instead of launching personal attacks, I'm sure you would.

Written on Let TVA Pay Damages:

Tess, I appreciate your support, especially since I started off on your bad side. I've been trying to stay attuned to plight of those directly affected without exploiting them.

Number9, I proposed a gas tax hike about a month ago, right here in Metro Pulse: http://www.metropulse.com/news/2008/d...

bdonahoo, I like having critics, but I wish I could make more sense of your objections. Which of my premises and conclusions do you think are unsound? Who did I take a cheap shot at?

Written on Unlock It:

The County Charter reads "no person shall be eligible to serve in any elected office of Knox County if during the previous two terms of that office the person in question has served more than a single term."

By 2010, Pinkston will have served more than a single term. He will have served the single term to which he was elected plus the partial term to which he was appointed. He is ineligible.

Written on Step Away from the Petition:

OK, I understand that. I wouldn't say you were forced into bundling, however. You still had the option of spreading the effort out over multiple election cycles and/or incarnations of County Commission. Basically, I think it was rude of the group to take the constraints the State E.C. placed on you and just pass them along to the voters.

Written on Step Away from the Petition:

The State Election Commission forced you to bundle the petitions against your will? That makes no sense. Please explain.

Written on Step Away from the Petition:

The status quo in Knox County government is Shakespearean farce. Term limits adopted 14 years ago will finally kick in with the August elections, after two years of chaos that included a huge slate of write-in candidates, temporary nullification of the County Charter, the Black Wednesday appointments, and months of operation under an 11-member Commission. This petition drive looks more like the next chapter in the status quo, complete with the possibility of lawsuits when Commission seats get eliminated or elected fee officers dismissed and they argue that bundling deceived voters.

As I wrote a couple months ago, the solution to the logistical problem of collecting so many signatures was not bundling unrelated items, but prioritizing. There is no reason why all these changes have to happen at once. Put the best amendment (an Inspector General) out first, get it passed, then use the credibility from that effort to advance additional reforms.

Of course, the sad fact is that despite the Baker Center study and lots of time and input, the Mayor's version of the IG position is better than the one on the petition.

Written on Secret Sprawl:

Good to see the TVA plan. Notable is that the proposed line overlaps very little with the Waterville right-of-way, and the agnecy is accepting comments at the July 10 meeting and until August 11. Most of the East Knox segment is well south of the old right-of-way. To a large extent it follows existing development rather than the existing right-of-way, including following I-40 from the Straw Plains exit to Midway Rd.

It gets a little funky near Maloneyville, which I presume means there are several alternate routes to choose among.

It looks like TVA is trying to do this the right way instead of the cheap and easy way. They cite overloaded equipment and a growing area that needs more power; I am curious which area needs power and which equipment needs relief. Assuming the need justifies the expense, the route that misses the Waterville right-of-way is preferable to the straight line of the old easement.

Written on Secret Sprawl:

There will be an open house July 10 at Carter High School, 2-7pm where people can view plans for the TVA transmission line.

Written on Used Conservatively:

Digit, I'm not going to do your homework for you. If any of those Google hits actually answer the question, it's your job to figure out which. Meanwhile, by posting search results, you prove that you never had any evidence to support your claim. You've just been fed crap and swallowed it.

Lovejoy, gas prices have gone from around $1.50/gal to over $3.50/gal during Bush's rule. During that time, corporate taxes have stayed constant or been lowered, so they are obviously not to blame for rising prices. Likewise, environmental regulations have existed for more than three decades. If anything, they have been weakened under Bush.

What has changed during that time is that our military has diverted essentially the entire output of Kuwait for its own consumption in Iraq, and our deficit spending and declining reputation are weakening our dollar. It's not just oil prices that are climbing; it's everything, and that is a sure sign of a weakening currency.

This recession is the chickenhawks coming home to roost.

Written on Used Conservatively:

Which proposed refinery did environmentalists stop, and how?

Written on Used Conservatively:

The reader can see that my claim is oil prices are rising because the dollar is declining in value and because our military is consuming so much oil. You haven't addressed either point, so readers might decide you are trying to change the subject.

I'm not inverting supply and demand. You are conflating oil prices with gas/diesel prices. Refineries sit in the middle, on the demand side of the crude oil equation and the supply side of the retail fuel equation. My solution is to reduce retail demand, which also reduces producer demand. You want to fiddle around in the middle, where any potential decrease in retail prices is offset by increases in crude oil prices. Again, you are the one not making sense.

There is no shortage of fuel in the U.S., so really it is your contention that we need more refineries that requires proof. If oil companies wanted to build more refineries, they have the power to streamroll any obstacles environmental laws or nimbys put in their way. They don't bother because there is already enough capacity to keep the retail pumps flowing.

Written on Used Conservatively:

The only reason you brought up refineries is because you've been trained to think environmentalists prevent them from being built -- more idiocy that assumes power environmentalists clearly lack. Plus, more refineries mean more demand for oil and therefore higher prices.

Another couple refineries might mean a few thousand more jobs in some coastal city, but more efficient cars and homes and more livable cities mean a lower cost of living for everyone and new jobs everywhere in industries that can be sustained.

You're not interested in helping working people. The help you offer doesn't even make sense.

Written on Used Conservatively:

Ah, yes, refineries, another thing irrationally pinned on environmentalists. You're right that a lot of people do fantasize about living in NYC or Boston or Charleston or Portland or European cities or anywhere where you can function without needing a car. I guess we can chalk you up as one of those who would like the 38-year supply to get burned off in 20 years.

Written on What Is Science?:

The business relationship is spelled out pretty clearly in the review: Discovery is promoting the film on its home page. The advertisement does not link to the movie's website, but to further pages explaining why the film is "so important to the mission of Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture." Obviously I visited discovery.org, not Wikipedia, to know about this promotion.

As for Dr. Meyer's title, you missed a spot. If you click on "Fellows" then click on Meyer's name atop the list of fellows, you get a page (http://www.discovery.org/scripts/view...) listing him as, yes, " Stephen C. Meyer, Senior Fellow - Discovery Institute, Program Director - CSC, Vice President - Discovery Institute." Next time you attempt to bear false witness against thy neighbor, cover your tracks better! (Memo to Discovery webmaster -- edit the Meyer fellows page pronto)

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