Friday, February 26, 2010

Degrees of Success: Societas Docta Awards Tonight at 7 p.m.

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 3:00 PM

From Scene staff writer Ron Wynn: Tonight the education organization Societas Docta holds its annual Nefertiti Awards and scholarship banquet at the Sheraton Music City Hotel, 777 McGavock Pike. A reception begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by the banquet at 7. This year's theme is "Impacting Tomorrow with Women Who Make A Difference." Tonight's event honors Dr. Valerie Montgomery-Rice, founder of the Center for Women's Health Research at Meharry Medical College. The center is the first of its kind anywhere in the country devoted to research and examination of the disparate impact of various diseases on women of color, and Rice has emerged as a national voice and key figure in the field of reproductive endocrinology. The evening's speaker will be Dr. Gwendolyn Lee, national president of The Links, Inc.

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Lone Voice in the Legislative Wilderness Speaks Out

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 2:13 PM

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State Sen. Andy Berke last week was the only "no" vote when that body passed

its most recent right-wing do-nothing piece of legislation--the Tennessee Health Freedom Act. Lawmakers in several states with too much time on their hands and too little gray matter in their heads are wasting legislative time with bills like this one, a dubiously constitutional effort to allow the state to opt out of federal healthcare reform that includes an insurance mandate.

In a compelling op-ed in the Memphis Commercial Appeal Berke defends his vote, decrying the bill as the latest example of "grandstanding and political gimmicks" that "won't change what is happening at the federal level, nor will it stop anything from occurring if a health care bill passes."

"We face an increasingly important choice: Are we going to cater to the margins, invoke political stunts and try to appeal to those who yell loudest by passing do-nothing bills? Or are we going to roll up our sleeves and do the hard work, by engaging in a discussion together about how we help...middle-class families across Shelby County and the rest of Tennessee?....We lawmakers should be asking ourselves whether we are making access to quality and affordable health care easier for individuals with pre-existing conditions, not whether we have made a political statement against Washington."

Hear, hear.

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'A Town Called Panic': Seeing Is Believing When It Comes to Stop-Motion Belgian Comedy

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 10:04 AM

In this week's Scene, I try to explain why the Belgian animated feature A Town Called Panic made my kids and me laugh helplessly in its brightest moments. A plot synopsis doesn't do it justice:
The premise will be grasped instantly by any kid who's ever put together a motley assemblage of mismatched toys: A horse, a cowboy and an Indian all share a house together. (Stop me if you've heard this one before.) While Horse (voiced by co-writer/director Vincent Patar, who sounds like Jerry Orbach gargling raspberries) nurses an infatuation with an equine piano teacher, the inept Cowboy and Indian plot a birthday surprise for him: a barbecue pit that goes awry when the Internet brick order arrives off by a few tens of millions. For reasons any first-grader will intuit, this of course results in a raid by fish-man burglars, a mission to Atlantis, a plunge to the earth's core, and lots of airborne cows.
So don't take my word for it: check out the trailer above. If the sight gag involving the Indian in the shower doesn't make you laugh, you may safely skip the rest. The movie shows for one week only at The Belcourt.

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A May Town Center Question: Do High-End Developments and Prisons Mix?

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 9:35 AM

So, May Town Center is back on the
click to enlarge This side of the bridge would be lovely. The other side would be next to a prison.
  • This side of the bridge would be lovely. The other side would be next to a prison.
table, albeit in a scaled-down version that would supposedly only need one bridge. At this point, I only have one set of questions left, but ones I've not yet seen anyone answer. And I'm not asking to be snarky. I honestly don't know and I'm wondering if anyone does. Are there some examples of successful middle and high end developments where the main way in and out of said developments takes visitors through an industrial area and right by a prison? Will corporations put campuses so close to prisons? Or is this an insurmountable problem that means the bridge would have to go in at the end of the Bend, regardless of what the folks living north of Charlotte have been promised and regardless of what developers now say?

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CoverAmerica: Bredesen's Solution to the Health Care Mess

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 7:39 AM

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Gov. Phil Bredesen has been engaging in one of his favorite pastimes: complaining about President Obama and undermining Democratic efforts to reform health care. This time in Washington for the National Governors Association meeting, he tells Fox News' Morton Kondracke that he feels dissed by the president. One of four governors sent by the association to talk with the White House, congressional leaders and staff about health care, Bredesen says, "I had the feeling we were a base to be touched, not that they were listening." "The governors have been shunted aside" in the debate, he says. So what would Bredesen say if anyone were listening? How should we fix health care? Why, we should go "incremental" of course, exactly the solution Republicans claim to favor.

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A Civic Irresponsibility: Candidates for Governor Won't Say What They'll Do

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 6:58 AM

click to enlarge We might as well elect this guy the next governor.
  • We might as well elect this guy the next governor.
Maybe we should save ourselves a lot of time and money and consternation and cancel the governor's campaign. We could let these guys draw straws to see who wins. Since all the candidates agree on all the important things--or at least they all have agreed not to talk about it--who cares who wins? It's impossible to make an informed decision.

There are slight disagreements among the candidates over social issues like guns, gays and abortion. But the governor's influence in the culture wars is next to none in the legislature. It takes only a simple majority to override his veto.

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'NPT Reports: Children's Health Crisis' (A Review)

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 6:27 AM

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Last night was the first in a series of shows NPT will be doing on the state of children's health in Tennessee. The title is a bit of a misnomer. The shows will be focusing on a bunch of interrelated health crises Tennessee children face, from high infant mortality rates to obesity to mental health issues to poor nutrition to high rates of asthma and so on. These things interconnect for sure, don't get me wrong. But it's one thing to watch a show thinking you're going to be talking about one monolithic health crisis. It's more overwhelming and daunting when you realize there are actually all kinds of different things going wrong with our kids (and by extension all of us). It's an important series, poised to do a lot of good. But last night's episode brought up a couple of things that stick in my craw.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ramsey Takes Flak on Coal Mining

Posted By on Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 8:12 PM

'A Moment of Truth for Our Country'

Posted By on Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 5:37 PM

'NPT Reports: Children's Health Crisis' Premieres 8 p.m. Tonight on NPT-Channel 8

Posted By on Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Tonight, NPT-Channel 8 airs the first installment of what may prove to be a landmark seven-part series on the state of children's health in Tennessee. Over the next three years, NPT Reports: Children's Health Crisis will explore the issues that have ranked Tennessee a dismal 48th among the United States in terms of overall child health. Tonight's episode, produced by Mary Makley (The Carter Family), digs at the roots of the problem, addressing concerns such as infant mortality, inadequate prenatal care, the obesity epidemic and mental wellness. Subsequent episodes will examine each topic in depth, starting in June with producer Will Pedigo's piece on prenatal care and infant mortality. Actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley (According to Jim) will host these first two broadcasts. NPT will address these concerns between broadcasts on a website accompanying the project. Check NPT's schedule for repeat airings.

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