Rationalists of East Tennessee Newsletter

August 2019

First Sunday Meeting

August  4      Sunday        10:30 - 12:30

Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Building, Cafeteria Annex

Constance Every will speak about the work done by Sleeves4Needs in helping the community. https://www.sleeves4needs.org

Here is a list of current needs: 


  • Backpacks with Back-to-School Supplies (K-12) (need 30)
  • Snacks (chips, fruit gummies, drinks (no sodas), water, etc.)
  • Clothing Girls (6T all the way up to juniors 11-13 sizes)
  • Boys (6T all the way up to young men 20-24 sizes)
  • Boys shoes(13-6Y) and young men sizes 7-12
  • Girls shoes (13-6Y) and young women sizes 7-9.5
  • Passes or tickets to football, basketball, Jump Jam, Dollywood, 6Flags, etc.
  • Another passenger van or a mid-size school bus (Kids program is growing daily)


  • Clothing (men, women, kids all sizes)
  • Shoes (men, women, kids all sizes)
  • Personal hygiene supplies (lotion, deodorant, soap, shampoo, conditioner, razors, combs, tooth paste, tooth brushes, etc.)
  • Health, dental, and mental health providers/resources
  • Food (nonperishable items)
  • Water


  • Lawn-care equipment: mowers, weed eaters, blowers, trailer, small truck)
  • Volunteers for in-home elderly services (dishes, laundry, some meal prep)
  • Jobs for vets and housing for vets
  • Disabled transportation, lawn-care, jobs, activities of engagement


  • Newborn baby boy clothes and baby items (impoverished mom is expecting in 5 WEEKS)

KUB and Rent Emergency Assistance


These are the items needed based on services and programs provided. Of course what S4N needs more than anything is funding and could use $10000.00 last week. However, what we really need to relieve our funding crisis is a GRANT WRITER!!! So if you know someone who can or will help us out with this position, please pass that on.

Items may be brought to the meeting to pass on to Constance to help in the work she does for Sleeves4Needs. 

The RET Skeptic Book Club

August   11        Sunday         2:00 – 4:00 pm                         

Location:    Books-A-Million at 8513 Kingston Pike, Knoxville.

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

by Timothy Snyder

The Founding Fathers tried to protect us from the threat they knew, the tyranny that overcame ancient democracy. Today, our political order faces new threats, not unlike the totalitarianism of the twentieth century. We are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism.  Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience.

Note: If possible, bring your own chair to the discussion. 


Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood

August 12, Monday 1:00-4:00 pm Central Daylight Time           

August 13, Tuesday 9 am - 12 noon Central Daylight Time

Cordell Hull Building, 425 5th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37243 in Senate Hearing Room 1.

Tory Mills, Director of Community Engagement for Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi, spoke at our first Sunday meeting in July and alerted us to a need to show that many Tennesseans recognize the need for safe, legal abortions.   Several RET members plan to go to Nashville to support Planned Parenthood.  If you are interested in a ride or further information, contact Rita, Aleta or Sharron.  

Stop the Bans: Six Week Ban Public Hearings
The 6-week abortion ban is back AGAIN before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a special public hearing this summer. The Public Hearing on SB1236 is scheduled for Monday, August 12th from 1:00-4:00PM and Tuesday, August 13th from 9:00AM-12:00PM at the Cordell Hull Building, 425 5th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37243 in Senate Hearing Room 1. Sign up at the link below to join us and #StoptheBans. With your presence, we will make our voices heard!

RSVP here: http://bit.ly/stopthebansTN


RET Third Sunday Meeting

August   18     Sunday            10:30 - 12:30

Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Building Cafeteria Annex

Jennifer DeBruyn, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science at the University of Tennessee, will speak on biodegradation of plastics.  Her main research areas are decomposition and biodegradation in both agricultural and natural ecosystems. One of her focus areas is the biodegradation of agricultural plastics, where she and her students investigate impacts of biodegradable plastics on soil health and study microbes that can break down plastics. Another focus area is the decomposition of vertebrate (human and animal) mortalities.


RET Reflections Meeting

August   25    Sunday     1:00 -3:30 p.m.        

Pot Luck and Discussion      Hosted by Bob Morris, 140 Greystone Drive, Oak Ridge 37830

Where are we going with health care?

The Affordable Health Care Act is under siege in the courts and may be found unconstitutional due to the new tax law that reduced the penalty for noncompliance to zero dollars. There is nothing waiting in the wings. The Democrats have a variety of plans from a public buy-in of Medicare to a scrapping of all private health care plans and a single payer Medicare-like system. At least one candidate has pointed out that Medicare pays below costs and a Medicare-for-all system would bankrupt the health care system quickly. No one seems to know how much anything costs.  There have been numerous news stories of outlandish bills. The insurance plans are almost incomprehensible. The best advice is save up a boatload of money and don’t get sick. What do you think?

Please bring a dish or snacks for the usual pot luck, and Bob will provide some drinks and paper dinnerware. If you have strong legs, please park at the bottom of the driveway so others have less of a climb.

RET/ASK Freethought Forum TV

July 31; August 7, 14, 21, 28        Wednesdays          6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

FFTV, presented by the Rationalists of East Tennessee and the Atheist Society of Knoxville, is broadcast each Wednesday, 6:30–7:30 p.m. on Knoxville's Community TV. Calling in during the broadcast makes it much more lively and interesting. Call in (865-215-2288) with comments and questions.

The program can be seen live on the internet at ctvknox.org. In the Knoxville area it can be viewed on the following TV channels - Xfinity (Comcast), Channel 12; WOW! (Knology), Channel 6; Charter (Spectrum), Channel 193; AT&T U-verse, Channel 99.


Sad News -- Michael Valentine

Michael Valentine, beloved former member of RET, died in California on July 22. He was 76 years old.  Below are some comments from RET members who knew Michael.

"This is very sad news indeed, though it was some solace to take a few moments just now to remember Michael's warmth, kindness, and wonderful sense of humor."

"I’m really going to miss him even though he lived so far off!"

"Michael was the real deal."

"Michael was one of the nicest guys I've ever met...Michael had the whole package of being smart and funny and genuine and always thoughtful and just constantly nice, all wrapped up together in a wonderful human being."

"Michael was one of the best human beings I've ever met. ...Kind funny loving open and generous. I am so sorry for the loss of this wonderful man."

"... on top of the other things that have been said, he had a great voice and a charming face. He was sweet."

 "There’s a big blank spot in my heart today."

"[We] remember him fondly as a warm and kind person.  This is surely a great loss to his family and community out west, as well as the greater RET family and 'alums.'  The world needs more people like him."

"Life is about love. But it's also about loss. And on Monday, our lives took a big hit. Michael Valentine, 76, passed away in Murietta, California. I often felt that I was closer to Michael in philosophy and pragmatism than to anyone else.  Goodbye, my friend. I will miss you so much. This is a shock. You were supposed to hang around a bit longer. The world is poorer at this moment ..."



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Contact email: info@rationalists.org
Edited by Sharron King: newsletter@rationalists.org.
Opinions expressed are those of authors and/or editors and are not necessarily the opinions of RET.