Today’s TN Tidbits of News and Opinion

Bredesen’s Vanguard Pay Revealed
From The City Paper:
Wondering what former Gov. Phil Bredesen will receive for his service on the board of hospital chain Vanguard Health Systems? (Prevopis post HERE.) So were we — and then Vanguard told us in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Per the plan the board adopted last month, Bredesen will get a $100,000 annual retainer, $20,000 every 12 months as a member of Vanguard’s audit and governance committee and another $150,000 in restricted shares each year.
On the Anonymous Mailer Matter
From Georgiana Vines, who checked out one rumor about a mystery campaign tactic and got a denial:
The anonymous, anti-mayoral candidate Madeline Rogero fliers that have been distributed in newspaper boxes twice this fall are typical of many heated campaigns in the past in Knoxville. No one wants to admit to anonymity or why would they be anonymous?
Whiskey Barrel Tax Discussed
A push is under way to create an unprecedented local barrel tax on Jack Daniel’s whiskey so the cash-strapped Moore County government can balance its budget and accommodate the ever-growing crush of tourists, reports the Tennessean. (Previous post HERE.)
GOP Advancing in Other Legislatures
Stateline has a story on Republicans moving to take control of still more Southern state legislatures in the 2012 elections. The lead is on Mississippi, where House Democrats “were spared (in 2010) because the legislature’s seats were not on the ballot.”
But with legislative elections now a month away, Republicans have a chance to extend their newfound power this year not only in Mississippi but also Virginia.
North Carolina could be next. Republicans who took over both chambers of the General Assembly last year hope to complete their sweep in 2012 by taking the governor’s mansion.
Mississippi Democrats know the trend all too well. The state Senate first flipped to Republican control a decade ago, and it remains in GOP hands today. One of the country’s foremost Republican strategists, Haley Barbour, sits in the governor’s mansion. During Barbour’s eight years in office, he has helped the GOP flourish. Meanwhile, a 2004 limiting the size of jury awards has deprived Democrats of the donations from trial lawyers that once fueled the party operation. Democrats have feuded internally and struggled to give voters a clear message of what their party stood for.

Gay Bias Bill’; Revisited
A Gail Kerr column begins thusly: State Rep. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville, has little or no chance of getting a state law overturned that wiped out Nashville’s right to ban discrimination against gays. But she’s still doing the right thing by bringing it back up.
An Angry A C?
Otis Sanford says in a column that recently reelected Memphis Mayor A C Wharton is “seething over the fact that the municipal unions put their support behind a candidate — former city councilman Edmund Ford Sr. — who clearly was not qualified to be mayor of Memphis.”
“This may seem a bit arrogant and condescending,” Wharton told me in an interview last week. But the backing that Ford received from leaders of the police, firefighters and sanitation unions was a joke. And had Ford won, it would have been a national embarrassment for Memphis
.UT in on Bee Money
AMHERST, Mass. (AP) — Researchers in five eastern U.S. states are getting federal support to study the decline in native bee populations.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s $3.3 million grant is intended to help researchers find ways to maintain a diverse community of wild bees. They’re needed to keep pollinating apples, low-bush blueberries, pumpkins and other important crops.
The USDA awarded the grant to a University of Massachusetts-Amherst researcher last week.
She will work with more than a dozen scientists at the University of Maine; Cornell University in New York; the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station; and the University of Tennessee.
Researchers plan to study how the bees’ diversity is affected by factors such as landscapes, farm size and pesticide use. They will also study whether the bees are vulnerable to certain pathogens and parasites

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