RET News July 2017 CE

Rationalists of East Tennessee Newsletter

July 2017


RET First Sunday Meeting

No first Sunday meeting in July


Adopt-a-Highway Activity

July 8          Saturday              5:007:30 p.m.                         

Trash pick-up on Pellissippi Parkway, Knoxville

Help us beautify Tennessee! Meet at the Burger King at Lovell Road exit of Pellissippi Parkway. Wear sturdy shoes and gloves and bring a "picker-upper" if you have one. All volunteers must watch the safety video before working the roadway:


RET Skeptic Book Club

July 9          Sunday              2:004:00 p.m.                         

Books-A-Million at 8513 Kingston Pike, Knoxville 37919

Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business by Rana Foroohar.

Eight years on from the biggest market meltdown since the Great Depression, the key lessons of the crisis of 2008 still remain unlearned—and our financial system is just as vulnerable as ever. Many of us know that our government failed to fix the banking system after the subprime mortgage crisis. But what few of us realize is how the misguided financial practices and philosophies that nearly toppled the global financial system have come to infiltrate all American businesses, putting us on a collision course for another cataclysmic meltdown. Thanks to 40 years of policy changes and bad decisions, only about 15% of all the money in our market system actually ends up in the real economy: the rest stays within the closed loop of finance itself. The financial sector takes a quarter of all corporate profits in this country while creating only 4% of American jobs. The tax code continues to favor debt over equity, making it easier for companies to hoard cash overseas rather than reinvest it on our shores. Our biggest and most profitable corporations are investing more money in stock buybacks than in research and innovation. Still, the majority of financial regulations promised after the 2008 meltdown have yet to come to pass, thanks to cozy relationship between our lawmakers and the country’s wealthiest financiers. (400 pages)


RET Third Sunday Meeting

July 16           Sunday              10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Administration Building, Cafeteria Annex

“Some Varieties of Linguistics Experience” 

Emeritus professor Paul Barrette of the University of Tennessee will address the cultural role of bilingualism and multilingualism from an educational perspective. Professor Barrette received his Ph.D. in Romance Philology at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to serving on the faculty at the University of Tennessee, he has taught at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and the La Université Laval in Quebec.

Get Directions

RET Board Meeting

July 30            Sunday             11:30 a.m.

Earth Fare, Turkey Creek, Knoxville

[RET members are always welcome to attend Board Meetings.]


Important Note from the Treasurer

The dues for membership in RET have remained at the same level for a number of years. Now, rising costs are affecting the budget. For example, rental of our meeting space at Pellissippi State has gone up from $50 to $75 per meeting, and the fee for our website and member management system has increased from $50 to $70 a month; these are our large fixed expenses. RET has also become more active in the community with projects such as a highway billboard.

As a result, it is necessary to increase annual dues: regular membership from $35 to $45, student/low-income membership from $15 to $20. Your dues are half of the Rationalists' income; we are planning a fundraising campaign targeting a 30% increase in the donations, which is the other half. Even with this dues increase, we are anticipating a shortfall of $3,200 for the year, which will come out of the Rationalists' $20,500 in available funds. Further increases are likely as this fund is depleted.

Eliot Specht, Treasurer, Rationalists of East Tennessee


RET Skeptics Book ClubBooks List

[If you use these links to buy from Amazon, RET receives a rebate.] 

    Rationalists of East Tennessee Website

    Information about the workings of RET is available online to members. Minutes of Board of Directors meetings are at There is also a forum for member postings at

    News of Members

    Please contact us ( if you have relevant news about RET members that they agree to share.


    Conferences and Festivals

    Clarence Darrow Celebration Dinner, Chattanooga, Tennessee, July 13, 2017

    On Thursday, July 13, the Freedom from Religion Foundation is hosting a dinner party to celebrate the dedication of the Clarence Darrow statue on the following day. The dinner is in Chattanooga, and the statue is being erected outside the Rhea County Courthouse, where the Scopes trial took place. For more information:

    Scopes Festival, Dayton, Tennessee, July 14, 2017

    On Friday, July 14, at 7:30 p.m., the first of several reenactments of the Scopes trial will be presented at the Rhea County Courthouse. The play with music features dialogue from the trial transcript and historic accounts of events leading up to the trial. For tickets, go to: When purchasing tickets, you may want to ask to sit with the RET group.


    Ongoing Activities                              

    Atheist Society of Knoxville, Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m.

    Flats and Taps, 7403 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919. Conversation, food, and drink.

    East Tennessee Freedom from Religion Foundation Chapter, July 19, Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.

    Third Wednesday of each month, Earth Fare, Turkey Creek, Knoxville.

    RET/ASK Freethought Forum TV, Tuesdays, 5:00–6:00 p.m.

    Knoxville: Comcast Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, free streaming on ctvknox.orgNote change: Because of Knoxville Beer Board meeting changes, there will be no FFTV on varying Tuesdays once a month. 
    Freethought Forum TV is looking for people to be on the show. Contact Larry Rhodes or Lee Erickson (865-805-2437) if you are interested. Immediately after the show, a co-host of the program holds the Atheist Society of Knoxville meet-up at Flats and Taps, 7403 Kingston Pike, Knoxville 37919. Volunteer hosts and suggestions for topics would be welcome for all of these programs. FFTV is also looking for people to help operate the video camera and edit video. Contact Lee Erickson ( 

    Sunday Assembly Knoxville (Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More), July 23, 10:30 a.m., Topic: Backyard Stargazing

    The International, 940 Blackstock Avenue, Knoxville 37921. For activities, go to the Sunday Assembly website and click on “Events Calendar.” Other Sunday Assembly sites: Facebook, Meetup, Email.



    “If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people.”
    House, M.D.

    “If God exists, I hope he has a good excuse.”
     Woody Allen

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    Edited by Donna Watson and Sharron King:
    Opinions expressed are those of authors and/or editors and are not necessarily the opinions of RET.