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VOL. 37 | NO. 24 | Friday, June 14, 2013

Are we really that Amped?

Mayor seems sure we’re getting on board; VU professor explains why we shouldn’t

For every person charged up over the arrival of The Amp, there seems to be another blowing a fuse over Nashville’s latest alternate transportation plan.

Getz: BRT plan would worsen West End traffic

The Metro Transit Authority’s plan for a bus rapid transit installation on Nashville’s East-West Corridor has two fundamental problems:


Sales, demand up; Inventory problem remains

Too many buyers, not enough houses.

Top Midstate residential real estate transactions for May 2013

Top May 2013 residential real estate transactions for Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson and Sumner counties, as compiled by Chandler Reports.

Local Weather
Nashville, TN
Wind: Northwest at 4.6 mph
Humidity: 47%


Third Thursday Labor and Employment Law Breakfast Briefing. Baker Donelson shareholder Martha Boyd will present “Keeping the Temperatures Down When Terminations Arise” as a part of the firm’s ongoing Breakfast Briefing series. Among the topics to be covered:

more events »


Jump in $1M-plus sales a good sign for market

The real estate market had an enemy of herculean strength in the Great Recession. One measure of how the market has recovered is the activity in the higher end, or properties that sell for $1 million or more.


Norman will lead VU School of Nursing

Linda Norman, DSN, R.N., who for 22 years has spearheaded curricular innovations at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN), will become the school’s new dean, pending Board of Trust approval.


Profitable websites begin with the right design elements

Every brand needs a Web presence to survive in the digital age, but how do you know that Web investment is actually performing?


Glacial job creation equals glacial stimulus reduction

This has been the weakest job recovery on record. The 175,000 new jobs created in May did slightly exceed analyst estimates, but also slightly trailed population growth.


Speculating about the modern workplace

Anthropology is the study of humankind. Among other things, anthropologists try to figure out how groups of people have worked together throughout history in ways to increase the odds the group will survive and prosper.


More humorous quotes, some of which were accepted

Finishing what I started last week, here are more “humorous” quotes I came up with for use in a “new” puzzle game – and which the editors rejected. That I ultimately came up with 30 deemed acceptable now seems miraculous.


Discovering a new interest in Pinterest

Pinterest has been around a few years, and although it’s going full speed ahead, it’s not as popular as Facebook. A lot of people still don’t know what Pinterest is, and others have decided they don’t have time for another social media outlet.


Dems bemoan changes to teacher salary schedule

NASHVILLE (AP) - State lawmakers are speaking out against a proposal by the state Department of Education they believe would eventually hurt teacher salaries in Tennessee.


Entrepreneur Center to showcase new facility

NASHVILLE (AP) - The Nashville Entrepreneur Center is holding a grand-opening on Thursday to showcase its new 20,000-square-foot facility.

Nashville hosts International Puppet Festival

NASHVILLE (AP) - Nashville is playing host to puppet troupes from around the world this weekend at a free festival hosted by the public library.


Court rules for Amex in dispute with merchants

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled against merchants Thursday who object to having to accept American Express debit and credit cards along with the company's iconic charge card.

Faith leaders asked to help members get legal help

NASHVILLE (AP) — When Grace Liverman needed to write a will, the 66-year-old who suffers from lupus and other health problems didn't know where to turn. So she called her pastor at Hamilton United Methodist Church in Nashville.


US home re-sales surpass 5 million in May

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. sales of previously occupied homes surpassed the 5 million mark in May, the first time that's happened in 3 ½ years. The gain shows the housing recovery is strengthening.

Weekly US jobless aid applications rise to 354K

WASHINGTON (AP) — Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits rose by 18,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 354,000. Despite the gain, the level remains consistent with moderate job growth.

Stocks extend slide as China adds to worries

NEW YORK (AP) — There was no let-up in the flight from stocks and bonds Thursday.

Bernanke clarifies Fed plan to cut bond purchases

WASHINGTON (AP) — A muddled message from the Federal Reserve has rattled investors for weeks.

Facebook introduces video on Instagram

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook is adding video to its popular photo-sharing app Instagram, following in the heels of Twitter's growing video-sharing app, Vine.

US rate on 30-year mortgage falls to 3.93 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. mortgage rates fell for the first time in seven week, keeping the average on the 30-year fixed loan just under 4 percent. But rates are expected to surge next week, as markets respond to Chairman Ben Bernanke's comments that the Federal Reserve will likely reduce its bond purchases later this year.

Oil falls below $97 on likely Fed tapering

BANGKOK (AP) — Oil prices fell Thursday, a day after the Federal Reserve indicated it could begin to wind down its massive stimulus program later this year, as long as the U.S. economy remains on the upswing.

Kroger raises outlook on stronger 1Q profit

NEW YORK (AP) — Kroger has raised its outlook for the year after the country's largest traditional supermarket chain reported a stronger fiscal first-quarter profit that beat Wall Street expectations.

Kodak secures up to $895M in financing

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — Kodak says it's secured as much as $895 million to fund its operations after it emerges from bankruptcy protection.

France threatens Google with privacy fines

PARIS (AP) — France is giving Google three months to be more upfront about the data it collects from users — or be fined. Other European countries aren't far behind.


House votes against dairy overhaul

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House is voting on passage of a five year, half-trillion dollar farm bill that would cut $2 billion annually from food stamps and allow states to impose broad new work requirements on food stamps.

Obama commits to tough push on global warming

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is planning a major push using executive powers to tackle the pollution blamed for global warming in an effort to make good on promises he made at the start of his second term. "We know we have to do more — and we will do more," Obama said Wednesday in Berlin.

Boehner dances between GOP, Dems on immigration

WASHINGTON (AP) — The immigration protesters advanced on the news conference, poking signs that read "Do Not Reward Criminals" and "No Amnesty!" over the heads of Republicans who had just finished speaking about finding a civilized tone in the year's most difficult debate.


Country singer Slim Whitman dies at age 90

MIAMI (AP) — Country singer Slim Whitman, the high-pitched yodeler who sold millions of records through ever-present TV ads in the 1980s and 1990s and whose song saved the world in the film comedy "Mars Attacks!," died Wednesday at a Florida hospital. He was 90.


Supreme court justice to speak at Belmont

NASHVILLE (AP) - The Belmont University College of Law has announced that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito will speak at the school's first graduation next year.

Workers' compensation changes focus of conference

NASHVILLE (AP) — Changes to the state's workers' compensation system will be the focus of the Tennessee Workers' Compensation Educational Conference this week.

Ramsey reappoints De Friece to museum commission

NASHVILLE (AP) — Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey says he has reappointed Nancy De Friece to the Douglas Henry State Museum Commission.


Haslam's chief deputy Claude Ramsey to retire

NASHVILLE (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam says chief deputy Claude Ramsey is retiring at the end of August to spend more time with his family in Chattanooga.

FedEx 4Q profit drops as priority services lag

DALLAS (AP) — FedEx Corp.'s fourth-quarter profit fell 45 percent as international customers traded down to less-expensive delivery options.


Porsche tops in annual survey of vehicle quality

DETROIT (AP) — Porsche is the top performer in an annual survey of new vehicle quality.

GM breaks ground on China Cadillac plant

SHANGHAI (AP) — General Motors Co. executives broke ground for a new Cadillac factory in China on Wednesday to target luxury buyers in the world's biggest auto market, though they said the segment would grow slower than expected this year.


Study: Wiser medication use could cut health costs

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — If doctors and patients used prescription drugs more wisely, they could save the U.S. health care system at least $213 billion a year, by reducing medication overuse, underuse and other flaws in care that cause complications and longer, more-expensive treatments, researchers conclude.


Fed suggests it's closer to slowing bond purchases

WASHINGTON (AP) — Chairman Ben Bernanke ended weeks of speculation Wednesday by saying the Federal Reserve will likely slow its bond-buying program later this year and end it next year if the economy continues to improve.

Fed foresees lower US unemployment rate

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve sketched a slightly brighter picture of the U.S. economy this year and next, a sign it is moving closer to slowing its bond-buying program.

Stocks slide as Fed says bond purchases could slow

NEW YORK (AP) — Financial markets shuddered Wednesday after the Federal Reserve said it could start scaling back its huge economic stimulus program later this year and end it by the middle of 2014.

Oil down slightly as Fed signal easing of stimulus

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil fell slightly Wednesday as the Federal Reserve indicated it's closer to easing up on economy boosting measures that have been a boon for commodities.

Report: Banks fall short in helping struggling homeowners

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new report says homeowners trying to avoid foreclosure must wait too long for their loan modification applications to be reviewed by some of the nation's top mortgage servicers. Such delays can plunge borrowers deeper in debt.

Men's Wearhouse ousts founder, pitchman Zimmer

NEW YORK (AP) — Apparently, Men's Wearhouse Inc. doesn't like the way its founder looks anymore.

Dish won't submit revised bid for Sprint

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Satellite TV operator Dish Network Corp. said Tuesday it would not submit a revised bid for Sprint, leaving the path open for the wireless carrier to accept what it already considers a superior offer from Japan's Softbank.


Budget office view boosts Senate immigration bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Supporters of a far-reaching immigration bill in the Senate see fresh momentum from a report by the Congressional Budget Office that says the measure would boost the economy and reduce federal deficits by billions of dollars.

Senator: IRS to pay $70M in employee bonuses

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Internal Revenue Service is about to pay $70 million in employee bonuses despite an Obama administration directive to cancel discretionary bonuses because of automatic spending cuts enacted this year, according to a GOP senator.

Food stamp cuts key to farm bill's fate in House

WASHINGTON (AP) — House passage of a massive farm bill could turn on the level of food stamp cuts as key backers scrambled Wednesday to secure support for the five-year, half-trillion dollar measure.


Dollar General completes $200M in buybacks

GOODLETTSVILLE (AP) — Dollar General has completed $200 million in stock buybacks. The discounter said Tuesday that it has repurchased about $220 million of its common stock for the year to date. It has approximately $424 million left under an existing buyback.

Nashville Symphony lays off catering, dining staff

NASHVILLE (AP) - The financially strapped Nashville Symphony has laid off its catering and dining staff.


3 more plead guilty in probe of Pilot Flying J

NASHVILLE (AP) — Three more employees of the truck stop chain owned by the Cleveland Browns' owner and Tennessee's governor pleaded guilty Tuesday in what authorities call a scheme to cheat trucking firms out of rebates.

Sessions held to train teachers on new standards

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee education officials are training teachers from across the state on how to implement a new set of uniform benchmarks for math and reading.

Tennessee to review proof of citizenship ruling

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee election officials plan to review a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that says states can't demand proof of citizenship from people registering to vote in federal elections unless they get federal or court approval to do so.


Chrysler agrees to recall of Jeeps at risk of fire

DETROIT (AP) — Chrysler abruptly agreed to recall 2.7 million older model Jeeps Tuesday, reversing a defiant stance and avoiding a possible public relations nightmare over fuel tanks that can rupture and cause fires in rear-end collisions.

European car sales hit 20-year low for May

MILAN (AP) — European car sales hit their lowest level for the month of May in 20 years as the region's recession dragged on, the European automakers' association said Tuesday.

US safety agency investigating Suzuki small SUVs

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. safety regulators are investigating problems with air bag sensors in the seats of some small Suzuki SUVs.


Here's what to watch for Wednesday from the Fed

WASHINGTON (AP) — What the world hopes to hear Wednesday from the Federal Reserve can be summed up in one word: clarity.

Waiting for word from Bernanke, stocks move higher

NEW YORK (AP) — It's all about the Fed. Still.

Oil climbs above $98 ahead of Fed policy news

The price of oil rose above $98 Tuesday as traders awaited the latest word on both the Federal Reserve's monetary policy and U.S. oil supplies.

NSA director says plot against Wall Street foiled

WASHINGTON (AP) — The director of the National Security Agency said Tuesday the government's sweeping surveillance programs have foiled some 50 terrorist plots worldwide, including one directed at the New York Stock Exchange, in a forceful defense of the spy operations.

US home construction rises 6.8 percent in May

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. builders stepped up home construction in May and applied for permits to build single-family homes at the fastest pace in five years. The gains show housing remains a key source of growth for the economy.

Report: Too many teachers, too little quality

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's teacher-training programs do not adequately prepare would-be educators for the classroom, even as they produce almost triple the number of graduates needed, according to a survey of more than 1,000 programs released Tuesday.

US consumer prices rise just 0.1 pct. in May

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer prices rose slightly last month, as higher energy costs partly offset cheaper food. The small increase is further evidence that consumers are benefiting from mild inflation.

Report: Slowdown in health care costs to continue

WASHINGTON (AP) — There's good news for most companies that provide health benefits for their employees: America's slowdown in medical costs may be turning into a trend, rather than a mere pause.

Sprint sues to stop Dish Clearwire buyout

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Sprint is suing to stop Dish Network's buyout of wireless data network operator Clearwire. The nation's third-largest cellphone carrier said the proposed deal violates the rights of Sprint and other Clearwire shareholders.


White House threatens veto of House farm bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is threatening to veto the House version of a massive, five-year farm bill, saying food stamp cuts included in the legislation could leave some Americans hungry.


Tennessee GOP supermajority struggles to find footing

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam began the year by dismissing what he called misguided predictions that the new Republican supermajority in state government would devolve into infighting.


Nissan plant worker killed in auto assembly area

SMYRNA (AP) - A maintenance technician has been killed at the Nissan auto assembly plant in Smyrna.

Compressed gas cylinders made in Franklin recalled

FRANKLIN (AP) - The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has issued an emergency recall of compressed gas cylinders commonly used for propane stoves and other propane-fueled equipment.


New labor chief says job searches should be easier

NASHVILLE (AP) — The state labor chief says cutting services at state jobless service centers shouldn't make it harder for out-of-work Tennesseans to find jobs.


Hockey, community center to open in Nashville

NASHVILLE (AP) — A new hockey center managed by the Nashville Predators will be constructed at the city's new mixed-use complex in southeast Nashville.


Businessman tries his luck at building pot brand

SEATTLE (AP) — For the activists who led the effort to legalize recreational marijuana in Washington state last fall, Jamen Shively was one of their biggest fears: an aspiring pot profiteer whose unabashed dreams of building a cannabis empire might attract unwanted attention from the federal government or a backlash that could slow the marijuana reform movement across the country.

US homebuilder confidence soars to 7-year high

For the first time in seven years, most U.S. homebuilders are optimistic about home sales, a sign that construction could help drive stronger economic growth in coming months.

World looks to Bernanke to clarify stimulus plans

WASHINGTON (AP) — Is the era of ultra-low interest rates nearing an end?

Investors guess Fed's actions, push stocks higher

NEW YORK (AP) — Investors are in a game of wait-and-see with the Federal Reserve. On Monday, they guessed that the Fed will continue trying to prop up the economy, and sent stocks higher.

Oil posts small loss after hitting high for year

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil fell slightly after it climbed to a high for the year Monday, as the market waits to see the results of this week's Federal Reserve policy meeting.

Google settles suit, clears way for stock split

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google has resolved a shareholder lawsuit blocking a long-delayed stock split, clearing the way for the Internet search leader to issue a new class of non-voting shares later this year.

Lowe's offers to buy Orchard Supply for $205M

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Lowe's plans to expand its California presence with an acquisition of Sears spinoff Orchard Supply Hardware Stores for about $205 million in cash.

Apple details government requests for data

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple says it received between 4,000 and 5,000 requests from U.S. law enforcement for customer data for the six months ended in May.


Pro-Obama group airing health ads

WASHINGTON (AP) — An outside group supporting President Barack Obama's agenda plans to air a series of ads this summer promoting Obama's health care overhaul.

Immigration bill could decide 2016, senator says

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans' hopes to reclaim the White House in the 2016 elections hinge on whether they support — or sabotage — the immigration overhaul being debated in the Senate, two lawmakers who helped write the proposal warn.

Current, former officials back secret surveillance

WASHINGTON (AP) — Top officials from the Obama and Bush administrations say the government's newly exposed secret surveillance programs have been essential to disrupting terrorist plots and have not infringed on Americans' civil liberties.

Milk money: Farm bill could hinge on dairy vote

WASHINGTON (AP) — Approval of a massive farm bill — and the cost of a gallon of milk — could hinge on a proposed new dairy program the House is expected to vote on this week.

EU, US to launch trade talks next month

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is taking a security, foreign policy and economic agenda to Northern Ireland for a meeting with heads of the leading industrial nations.


Cars from art deco period exhibited in Nashville

NASHVILLE (AP) - They are long, low, sleek and sexy.

TSU participates in strawberry sustainability project

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee State University is joining researchers at other public universities to study sustainable strawberry production.


Speakers seek review of no-bid outsourcing deal

NASHVILLE (AP) — The speakers of the state House and Senate said Thursday that they will seek a review of no-bid elements of an outsourcing deal with a real estate firm that has counted fellow Republican Gov. Bill Haslam as one of its investors.


State official warns against air condition scams

NASHVILLE (AP) — The director of Tennessee's Division of Consumer Affairs is asking residents to beware of air condition repair-scam artists this summer.


MTSU's student farmers market opens

MURFREESBORO (AP) — Middle Tennessee State University's student farmers market opens to the public on Friday.


Supreme Court: Human genes cannot be patented

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that companies cannot patent parts of naturally-occurring human genes, a decision with the potential to profoundly affect the emerging and lucrative medical and biotechnology industries.

New anti-demonstration rule at Supreme Court

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has come up with a new regulation banning demonstrations on its grounds.


Chrysler freezes pension plan for 8,000 employees

Chrysler Group LLC says it is freezing the pension of roughly 8,000 U.S. salaried employees at the end of the year.


Disappointing reports push down US stocks

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are ending a choppy week lower after disappointing reports on the U.S. economy.

Oil price highest since January on Syria concerns

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil rose to the highest level since January amid concerns about a possible escalation in Syria's civil war.

US wholesale prices rise 0.5 percent in May

WASHINGTON (AP) — A rise in food and gas costs drove a measure of wholesale prices up sharply in May. But outside those volatile categories, inflation was mild.

US factory output rise just 0.1 percent in May

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factories barely increased their output in May after two months of declines, a sign that manufacturing is providing little support for the economy.

IMF: US economy improving but tax increases, spending cuts a drag

WASHINGTON (AP) — The International Monetary Fund said Friday that the U.S. economy is on sounder footing than it was a year ago but is still being restrained by government spending cuts and tax increases.

Lightweight Microsoft Office available on iPhone

NEW YORK (AP) — Microsoft's Office software package is coming to the iPhone for the first time Friday, offering people the ability to read and edit their text documents, spreadsheets and slide presentations at the doctor's office or at a soccer game.

Grocers allege potato group pumped up spud prices

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A battle between grocers and potato growers has been silently hitting shoppers' pocketbooks, according to a U.S. wholesaler accusing America's spud farmers of driving up prices while spying on farmers with satellites and aircraft fly-overs to enforce strict limits on how many tubers they can grow.

US rate on 30-year mortgage rises to 3.98 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fixed U.S. mortgage rates rose for the sixth straight week, putting the average rate on the 30-year loan just shy of 4 percent.


Mangled facts, secrecy brew confusion about NSA

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wondering what the U.S. government might know about your phone calls and online life? And whether all of this really helps find terrorists? Good luck finding solid answers.

Coverage may be unaffordable for low-wage workers

WASHINGTON (AP) — It's called the Affordable Care Act, but President Barack Obama's health care law may turn out to be unaffordable for many low-wage workers, including employees at big chain restaurants, retail stores and hotels.

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