Good morning, everyone.
Below, we review the discussion around Tennessee's education funding formula (thrilling stuff, I know), wonder if the COVID fever dream is set to break soon, point out that not everyone can be an insider trader, and check in on that fine institution, the LA Times, to see what they're whining about.
In other news, Jerod talked to Jaan who runs Jaan's House which is a kind of hostel for traveling bands over in East Nashville, and reveals that despite that aggressive commercialization of Nashville, there still exist some oases of sincerity. You can read his piece here.
Thanks for reading.
✎ HOW TO FUND A SCHOOL
Governor Bill Lee and Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn are taking advantage of the political environment around education as they attempt to tackle the archaic Basic Education Program (BEP) state funding formula. Established in 1992, the original BEP formula was designed to create more funding equity in schools. As a result, this model has created, what the Beacon Center has referred to as, a systems-based model meaning the incentives in the BEP funding formula tend to be complex and encourage administrators to make savvy adjustments to the system instead of seeking student-centered growth. You can see the evidence of this by following the money over the last decade. Hint hint, it went to administrators.
Some coalitions across the state want even more of what the BEP was originally supposed to offer as made evident by a recently revived lawsuit. The details of this lawsuit are outlined in an informative piece from the Tennessee Lookout by Nate Rau. The abridged version is that schools involved in the lawsuit claim the BEP funding formula puts too much financial burden on local areas to fund their education programs. Their solution mirrors that of most Tennessee Democratic politicians: more money, please.
As presented this week, it looks as though the Governor's office is laying out a student-based formula. After several listening sessions across the state, the Tennessee Department of Education released an outline of the information and insights they gathered from talking with educators, administrators, students, and parents. You can review the outline, which is acting as a loose guide showing how the new formula will weigh priorities to allocate funds, on Tennessee's government website.
This week Governor Lee expressed that he'd like to propose something regarding the funding formula during this legislative session. In the meantime, the Department of Education will be taking public suggestions regarding the Funding Formula until January 14th via email: [email protected].
- New Beacon Report on BEP & Suggestions.
- Brief Layout of TDE Findings.
- How "Equity" Will Attempt To Go After The New Formula.
- Nashville predicted to have hot housing market in 2022 (Center Square) Online real estate marketplace company Zillow recently named Nashville as the sixth-hottest housing market for 2022. Tampa, Florida topped the list.
- House speaker says new K-12 funding system should incentivize school performance (Main Street) While the new framework is expected to include an increase in K-12 funding, the House speaker says the system should also include money for “outcomes-based performance.”
- State lawmaker proposes lowering Tennessee gas tax (Center Square) House Bill 1650, proposed by Rep. Bruce Griffey, R-Paris, would lower the 26 cents per gallon tax to 20 cents for gasoline and to 17 cents per gallon for diesel fuel from the current 27 cents per gallon rate.
- 📷 Southern Grist’s Stunning New Taproom In East Nashville. (Now Next)
- Midtown recording studio site eyed for mixed-use tower (Post)
- West Nashville apartment complex sells for $17.32M (Post)
- IKEA to open nation’s first pick-up location in Nashville (Post)
- Morgan Wallen’s Surprise Opry Appearance Sparks Backlash (Scene) Wallen, not satisfied with the previous jump in sales, hires people to accuse him of racism again. Seems like his head on a pike is the only thing that's going to appease this crowd. They won’t stop until they have his mullet, the real source of his power.
- One in every 33 Nashville residents has COVID. Let that sink in. (WPLN) Let it sink in. Let it marinate. Ruminate on it. Done? Alright, do it again. Visualize a pile of positive COVID tests. How does that make you feel? Sad? Well, guess what, you're not sad enough. Get sadder. Yes, that's good. Let the sadness overcome you. Let it define you...
☁︎ COVID SANITY OR JUST ANOTHER FEVER DREAM?
It appears that the COVID fever dream is set to break — nevermind that we've been talking about many of these points here in the pages of the Pamphleteer for months and months:
- CNN's Jake Tapper openly questioned the inflated COVID death count (Link)
- The CDC's Rochelle Walensky admits 75% of vaccinated deaths have four or more comorbidities (Link)
- Project Veritas' revelation that the NIH under Fauci took up gain-of-function research after DARPA deemed it legally questionable (Link)
- CDC adjusts isolation down to 5 days and removes the testing requirement to return to normal life (Link)
Walensky looks like a frightened high schooler in public speaking class every time she gets before a camera, and Fauci's visage progressively darkens — his eyes sinking further and further into his head — as his Faustian bargain lays threadbare before the entire world to judge. We will not build statues or commemorate monuments to either of these characters in COVID's final act. They will persist — if at all — in the American imagination as characters indicative of American decline.
We can speculate about why the CDC has suddenly gained what appears to be common sense, but it largely doesn't matter. What we can look at is the effect that the pivot might have — a more valuable endeavor anyway. If the Biden administration begins to pivot away from COVID-19, after realizing that neither mandates nor lockdowns work, it stands to reason that at some point they will declare victory over the pandemic. The story of Biden's successful war against COVID will cover the papers of record and color the midterm elections. You can't really blame them. It's all they have to run on after a disastrous 2021.
Like every prior state-created disaster from the Iraq War to the full-on hallucination of Trump's Russiagate, our noble journalists will do an about face with zero self-reflection and pick up the next narrative like cheap whores rotating between clients. We've seen this scene play out too many times, and it'd be great if we didn't fall for it again.
FROM AROUND THE WORLD
- In China Social media videos show 'quarantine camps' where pregnant women and children are confined to tiny cells amid reports of mass detentions in the dead of night (Daily Mail)
- In Quebec Premier Francois Legault says Quebec will start charging people who refuse a COVID-19 vaccination an additional fee for health care. (@TheMarieOaks)
- In Austria City hiring workers to administer fines, not ‘hunt’ unvaccinated (AP)
- In Israel Attorney General Gives Nod to Sanctions on Unvaccinated Against COVID (Haaretz)
✘ NOT EVERYONE CAN BE AN INSIDER TRADER
Insider compiled and ranked every member of Congress and Senate on their financial conflicts and transparency. At the top of the list were Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX). Absent from the most egregious violations was the poster child, Nancy Pelosi, whose defense of representatives' right to trade was a meek "hey, it's a free market" type defense, has made it clear that reforming how elected representatives manage their money is probably in everybody's best interest.
To that tune, Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) has introduced a bill prohibiting representatives from trading while in office. Republican support for the bill is scarce. It's unlikely that such a bill would completely eradicate insider trading by politicians altogether as spouses would not be exempt, but it will be an easy win with constituents for representatives who support the bill.
If you're curious, here's a rundown of Congressional Trading in 2021.
❑ MEANWHILE AT THE LA TIMES...
Everything seems perfectly fine at the LA Times. No, really.
How should we react to the deaths of the unvaccinated?
On the one hand, a hallmark of civilized thought is the sense that every life is precious.
On the other, those who have deliberately flouted sober medical advice by refusing a vaccine known to reduce the risk of serious disease from the virus, including the risk to others, and end up in the hospital or the grave can be viewed as receiving their just deserts.
Mocking anti-vaxxers’ COVID deaths is ghoulish, yes — but may be necessary
January 10th, 2022, Michael Hiltzik, Read Online
Without distributors offering alternatives to in-person advance screenings, which are sometimes also open to the public, offer concessions and don’t strictly enforce masking when not eating or drinking, critics and journalists may opt not to see a film at all. Those decisions can impact how new films are seen and covered.
As for “Scream,” Newby has come to a tentative conclusion. A journalist who regularly covers horror and genre fare, he’s an otherwise frequent moviegoer who already bought tickets for a less busy Thursday night showing. At present, he plans to double mask and sit in the last row.
Despite Omicron surge, ‘Scream’ will only screen in theaters. Film critics weigh the risk
January 10th, 2022, Jan Yamato, Read Online
⚔︎ MISSIVES ⚔︎
- Biden's speech yesterday in Atlanta went about as you'd expect. Hollow hand-wringing and geriatric condemnations abounded. Most curiously, multiple voting rights groups, including Stacey Abrams, skipped the speech indicating Biden has done too little too late to "protect" Democracy.
- Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) issued a pre-emptive threat to Senate Democrats considering an overhaul of the chamber’s longstanding filibuster rule, detailing a plan to force tough votes on GOP-sponsored bills if Democrats make even modest changes.
My friend Mike David says, when having a laugh at someone's expense, yes, one person may suffer, but think about all the joy being brought to those doing the laughing. We're just to ignore this? Now, this sentiment doesn't really gel with a lot of people, but who cares. Let's have a laugh at the expense of these bands over their poor name choices.
THINGS TO DO
View the full calendar here.
🖼 At the Frist, Medieval Bologna: Art for a University City is running until January 30th.
🎸 K.C. Jones @ The 5 Spot, 9p, $10, Info
🍸 Electric relaxation @ Bar Sovereign, 9p, Free, Info
NEW THIS WEEK
FROM THE ARCHIVE
Around the Web
⇣ It’s Coups All the Way Down Nonstop dramatics about the GOP threat to democracy is part of an attempt to cement Democratic Party hegemony, not ensure election integrity
✸ The Ticking Bomb of Crypto Fascism The crypto market’s inevitable crash will pull America’s politics in an even scarier direction.
Political Theater Highlight Reel
- Alan Dershowitz denied asking former President Donald Trump for a preemptive pardon for Ghislaine Maxwell
- Maddow Producer accidentally copies Rep. Cawthorn’s office on email expressing concern he’d want to appear on show
- Justin Trudeau tells Mothers to leave the room while I talk to your kids
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Words of Wisdom
A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca