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Joel Davis

Joel Davis

Just another Blount Blogs weblog

Symptoms

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“The most striking power provided by emerging technologies,” he has written, is the “growing power of consumers to ‘filter’ what they see.” Many of the most popular Web sites are still those belonging to the major news channels and papers—CNN, the BBC, the New York Times. Increasingly, though, people are getting information from these sites in a customized form, by subscribing to e-mails and RSS feeds on their favorite topics and skipping subjects they find less congenial. Meanwhile, some of the fastest-growing sites are those which explicitly cater to their users’ ideologies.

via Cass R. Sunstein and political rumors on the Internet : The New Yorker.

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November 4th, 2009 at 10:18 am

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Preach it

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If you come to me with incredible claims that would stun the region, but then refuse to provide a single scrap of evidence whatsoever to back up your story, don’t expect a front page expose.I will not waste my time chasing down something that someone heard from their sister-in-law’s husband’s brother’s ex-girlfriend who knows someone that lives down the street from so and so …

via Shelbyville Times-Gazette: Blog: The rumor mill.

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October 16th, 2009 at 6:15 am

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Saw that one coming …

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Back in 2001, when writing about the Tennessee Baccalaureate Education System Trust, I found myself a bit dubious about the concept — locking in then-current tuition rates by paying in advance.

I wondered where would the money come from to make up for the price difference between then-tuition and future tuition ? The program, of course, was financed through investment… in the stock markets. So, I asked what happens if the markets tank?

“If we see that we’re lagging behind or getting into trouble there are several options,” then-Executive Assistant to the Treasurer Janice Cunningham said. “One would be to possibly go to the legislature, since they are the ones that created the program, to see if the state would back it. The state has a moral obligation to put in what would be needed.”

Well, eight years later

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October 5th, 2009 at 10:06 am

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How other people do it …

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We’ve opted to use Twitter to authenticate users and double as a way to discourage anonymous comments. Sure, anonymity can still be achieved, but hopefully under ongoing pseudonyms that in themselves will offer consistency and identity.

via It’s Nice That : Article : Most comments suck. Discuss.

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October 5th, 2009 at 9:29 am

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Revenge on Montezuma – Idea of the Day Blog – NYTimes.com

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Gotta love or hate online comments (I tend toward the latter) … this story has a full-bore “more genocidal-than-thou” spat going on in the comments section …

Revenge on Montezuma – Idea of the Day Blog – NYTimes.com.

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September 30th, 2009 at 7:49 am

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Irony is a universal constant

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Some months ago, I wrote about the financial hardships faced by a then-72-year-old Alcoa widow.

It was a story that I’d followed for a couple of months. It was a narrative perfect for headlines — Lorraine Zickefoose, an elderly widow, threatened with losing her home, is aided by a heroic mortgage broker, who fights the good fight against a heartless bank. There was even the requisite happy ending.

I was reluctant to write the initial stories specifically about Ms. Zickefoose because, sweet as she is, there are a lot of foreclosure stories out there.  I had hoped to pull something more comprehensive together, weaving in the stories of other people facing the same circumstances. But, events proceeded apace, and I ended up writing several stories about her plight.

It hurt a little writing those stories — but not because of the pathos. It was just a little too close to home.

You see — I’ve been dealing with some difficulties of my own, the heartless math of day-to-day life in the Great Recession of 2009 pushing me closer-and-closer to the edge. And, finally, I’ve gone over.

I refinanced my house back in 2006 with the best of intentions, helping a family member out of financial difficulties. It wasn’t a good time in my life. And, perhaps, I wasn’t in the best frame of mind to make financial decisions. But, whatever the circumstances, I accepted an adjustable rate mortgage that the broker assured me could be refinanced in two years.

Two years later … well, you know the story. The economy blew up. I’ve found myself with a mortgage that exceeds the value of my house by some thousands of dollars with no chance of refinancing. And, I’ve had the pleasure of living through a series of unfortunate household and automotive events that have pushed my finances beyond my ability to make the numbers work. It’s been a year of bitter lessons — about making do for too long, about good intentions going awry, and about how, ultimately, entropy will win in the end.

So, I’m now in a race to sell my home in Knoxville before it’s auctioned on the steps of the courthouse in mid-October. Foreclosure is no longer a story to write about. It’s a reality to face. I’ve found a buyer and signed a contract, but now I have to wait for the mortgage company to decide whether to take the money and run or to try their luck auctioning the house instead.

I can’t say I’m sad to see the house go. It’s been the scene of too much personal darkness and encroaching failure to hold any real affection for it. But, it was mine, and I regret that the choice to sell was dictated by events. It’s a relief, though, to see the end of it –to be making a last ditch effort to find a solution, even if it may fail. One way or another, the house will soon pass into other hands. I will give it up in gladness, with whatever blessings are mine to bestow. I hope that whomever lives there next can live happily and healthily. I hope they have a family. I hope they have joy.

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September 24th, 2009 at 10:21 am

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Clarification

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July 20th, 2009 at 8:04 am

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Never pick a fight with a geek

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July 15th, 2009 at 11:07 am

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Upturned Earth » And the Story Andrew Sullivan Still Won’t Drop

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First of all, the reason the media “still won’t touch” this story is that there is no story; all there is is a bunch of loony conspiracy theories cooked up by people with too much time on their hands and consequently spun into a master narrative of intrigue and political cunning. Mainstream media outlets are not tabloids or snopes.com; journalists report on news, not rumors, and do not exist to satisfy the curiosity or settle the political scores of the denizens of the internet.

via Upturned Earth » And the Story Andrew Sullivan Still Won’t Drop.

Words that apply in Blount County, in general, just as well as anywhere else.

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July 1st, 2009 at 10:48 am

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When it rains …

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From the comments section of a local blog. a question concerning a passage in today’s story on the Planning Commission meeting:

All commissioners present voted Thursday to recommend the changes that, if approved by the County Commission, would return some oversight authority to the County Stormwater Department in the non-urbanized sections of the county.

“… Our local regulations don’t fall out into the area beyond the urban growth boundaries of the cities right now,” Planning Director John Lamb said. “We would basically be following the state requirements. … That puts (Stormwater Coordinator Justin Teague) back in the loop of actually enforcing something.”

The question: “Does anyone know, since the Coordinator didn’t have it, who had the authority to enforce the codes before this vote?”

Unless I’m mistaken, that would still be Teague. Remember, prior to March 19, when the County Commission voted to weaken the county’s stormwater regulations concerning grading, erosion and sedimentation, those regulations applied to the whole county — not just within the urban growth boundaries.

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June 26th, 2009 at 11:00 am

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