Good morning, everyone.
A point of frequent contention is what point in history our present situation is most similar to. As former Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter once observed, “The language people speak in the corridors of power is not economics or politics. It is history.” We've heard comparisons to the Weimar Republic which presaged the rise of the Nazis, to the rise of the Bolsheviks in the midst of World War I, and even some comparisons to the French Revolution of the late 18th-century — perhaps the granddaddy of all revolutions — which witnessed the rise of Napoleon and the creation of the modern nation-state.
Nathan Pinkoski, though, draws our attention to another, underemphasized period of unrest in Spain leading up to World War II. It was during this time that Francisco Franco came to power leading a loose coalition of Catholics, royalists, and fascists — among others — against the socialist left in the country. Specifically, he hones his attention on the events that lead up to and caused the Civil War in Spain from 1936 to 1939.
The Civil War in Spain was not typical of the violent Bolshevik Revolution, but displayed the characteristics of a socialist revolution. As Pinkoski puts it, "It shows the failure of centrists and rightists to understand the socialist strategy of exploiting rather than opposing legality, and of redefining political norms to accord with their own agenda." Pinkoski draws out the specific ways in which socialists in Spain at the time subverted the courts and maneuvered around the political norms of the day. Additionally, he underscores how violence from the socialist Left was treated more permissively than violence from the anti-socialist Right. Sound familiar?
Socialism has become something of a tired term that packs little punch now. So mired in the soft, microbial language of socialism are we that we can't see past our nose far enough to accurately delineate between what is and is not "socialist." Generally, we associate this slow turn towards socialism with Bernie Sanders and the fringier parts of the Progressive Left, but as the Spanish Civil War of the late 1930s shows us, it is the permissiveness of Centrists in their efforts to reach across the aisle and the apathy and stupidity of the anti-socialist Right that allows such programs to fester, moreso than the efforts of the fringe to implement them themselves.
The lesson of the Spanish Revolution is that revolution can begin in the legislature and the courts, and looks a lot like the present American Left's efforts to redefine what a woman is and undertake extra-Democratic reforms in an effort to "protect" Democracy. It's harder to parse and realize the impact of this slow turn which makes it all the more important to snuff it out before it gets any traction.
On many fronts, we are likely beyond the pale. When a Supreme Court nominee won't define what a woman is because she's "not a biologist", you know it's well past time for a course-correct if it's not already too late, and being permissive towards such language is a strategy destined to fail as evidenced by our present predicament and the lessons taught us by the Spanish Civil War.
Today, we look at how the Symphony is dealing with a bird problem, wonder if "non-partisan" means anything, witness one of the crazier elements of Green Energy mania emerging from New York City, and analyze some numbers on the housing market in the US.
Thanks for reading.
♻︎♻︎♻︎ HOUSE CLEANING ♻︎♻︎♻︎
Flat Curver Awards We're continuing to compile entries for the Flat Curver Awards given to those who performed admirably and poorly over the course of the pandemic. We're looking for reader input on any businesses or leaders who either cowed to the tyrannical impulses brought forth by COVID or stood strong against them — the former for mockery, the latter for praise.
You can respond to this email with any input you have.
Bar Hours Additionally, starting tomorrow we're going to commence a new weekly event every Thursday evening that we're calling Bar Hours. Bar Hours is your chance to mix and mingle with other readers of The Pamphleteer — as well as the writers — while imbibing at Jackalope Brewery. The first ten people that show up will get their drinks comped on The Pamphleteer's tab.
We'll meet at 6 PM at one of the picnic tables outside at Jackalope Brewery.
Valerie Malfy joins us in her search for the best drinks across Nashville with an opening salvo on where to find and drink the best old fashioneds in town.
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- Nashville's Top 5 Parks for Outdoor Exercise by William Harwood (Read)
- Nashville's Best History Parks by William Harwood (Read)
♬ The Minstrels Have Been Banished From Court
Purple Martins, a songbird that is part of the swallow family and a symbol of good luck, have been roosting in downtown Nashville for the past two summers. More specifically, they’ve been roosting in the trees surrounding the Nashville Symphony. Unfortunately, they create an absolute mess. Bird droppings litter the sidewalks and symphony building during their roosting season.
Further complicating matters, the outside structure of the Nashville Symphony is made of 26,000 pieces of Indiana limestone. Limestone is particularly difficult to clean because the rock is sensitive to acids. A quick, chemical wash simply won’t do and the lengths the symphony was having to go to clean up the messes left behind by their flighty tenants' cost upwards of $60,000.
The Solution The Schermerhorn simply removed all of the trees surrounding the building. One can’t help but chuckle a bit at the solution. It’s a perfectly reasonable one, but the length the symphony had to go to — straight up removing the entire copse of trees — sounds like the plot summary of a Tom and Jerry episode. The symphony plans to replace the trees in a few years after the Purple Martins have found a new place to roost annually.
➫ Is “Non-partisan” a Myth?
We had to start asking ourselves this question when we noticed that Williamson Strong, a supposedly non-partisan organization that engages parents about topics impacting public schools, established a PAC this past year to support local board members in elections. As stated on their website, “We can't not do something when we see our public schools attacked by some extremist community members.”
It seems even they can’t escape the politics of it all. The group outlined their endorsements for the 2022 school boards elections. The list included candidates with D, I, and R next to their names… but, again, does this spell out non-partisanship? Calling fellow parents “extremists” in the face of things like identity disintegrationism that’s encouraged in school settings and consequently dismantles basic biological definitions regarding sex/gender, the introduction of a sexual identity at younger and younger ages, and the inexplicable possession educational institutions think they have of children over their parents makes the label of “non-partisan” seem less than accurate. It’s more a pacifying facade to swindle support from parents who don’t want to come off as rocking the boat. We’ll be seeing more of this kind of lie.
- How Tennessee’s Annual Unemployment Rate Compares to the Nation (Center Square) In Tennessee, the annual unemployment rate improved from 7.5% in 2020 to 4.3% in 2021 - one of the largest improvements among states. An average of 142,700 state residents were unemployed - out of work and seeking a job - last year, down from 245,530 the previous year.
- TN gas prices fall nearly 8 cents on average (Main Street) For the first time in several weeks, the Tennessee gas price average saw a weekly decline. The Tennessee gas price average is now $4.04 which is still 75 cents more expensive than one month ago and $1.35 more than one year ago.
- Tennessee joins growing list of states legalizing at-home tests to detect fentanyl in drugs (WPLN) Rapid tests that can detect the powerful opioid fentanyl may soon become much more available in Tennessee. Tennessee law considers the tests to be illegal drug paraphernalia. But legislators voted this month to decriminalize them in most cases, in the hopes of preventing overdoses at a time when they are spiking.
- What residents need to know about recent changes to FEMA flood zone maps (Main Street) FEMA, in conjunction with Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), and the United States Army Corps. of Engineers, is continually updating flood maps, based not only on population growth and new construction, but also because the methods to analyze potential flooding continues to develop with technological advancements. You can view the updated maps here.
- Bill To Limit Divisive Teachings In Universities Passes Senate (TCN) The Senate companion bill to House Speaker Cameron Sexton’s bill, that would impact how public institutions of higher education can approach “divisive concepts” with employees and students, passed on the Senate floor Monday evening 25 to 5 with one Republican Senator joining his Democratic colleagues in voting no.
- Activist Justin Jones launches campaign for state House (Post) Local activist and divinity student Justin Jones is running for state House in Nashville’s District 52. Jones is the second Democrat to enter the race for the seat held by retiring Rep. Mike Stewart.
- Tennessee’s Worst Pro-Illegal Immigration GOP State Legislators (TCN) The two most reprehensible GOP state House members on the issue of illegal immigration are Rep. Bob Ramsey (R- Maryville) and Rep. Patsy Hazlewood (R- Signal Mountain). These two stand in a virtual tie for having the worst voting record on key legislation addressing illegal immigration.
- 📸 A Must-See Look Inside of Halls Chophouse In Nashville (Now Next)
- 🍺 Asheville brewery to offer taproom in future Gulch building (Post)
- New Apartment Search Feature With Virtuhouse Partnership (Now Next)
- General Motors reveals electric Cadillac Lyriq at Spring Hill plant (Post)
- Sylvan Summit site eyed for scrapped project sells for $15.5M (Post)
- Local homebuilder adds to Mt. Juliet development (NBJ)
✶ A BOOMING SIDE HUSTLE IN NYC
A government initiative titled the Citizens Air Complaint Program awards citizens who successfully document trucks idling for longer than 3 minutes — or longer 1 minute if outside a school — with 25% of any fine levied against the truck. The program, first instituted in 2018, has resulted in complaints going from a handful to over 12,000 in 2021. To collect the fine, bounty hunters must record a video that is, at minimum, three minutes in length showing the truck idling.
One New Yorker, who carries a dummy camera around his neck and gesticulates into a dead flip phone to distract truck drivers from what he's there to do, collected $64,000 in rewards in 2021. Fines tend to amount to around $350 for idling.
The city paid more than $724,000 in bounties last year alone, and $1.1 million since 2019. For its share, the city collected $2.4 million in fines last year, up 24 percent from when the program began in earnest three years ago.
I could concoct a lucrative "Woo Girl" scheme here in Nashville. Let's call it the Citizens Woo Complaint Program. We'll bolster the city's defenses against the onslaught of Bachelorette parties and Woo Girls by giving citizens of our fair city the chance to record any "woos" before sundown. For every woo a woo girl emits before sundown, they are subject to a $25 fine. Bounty hunters can collect 10% of each woo recorded. People obsess over physical waste, but what of audible waste? We are Music City after all.
Source: $87.50 for 3 Minutes: Inside the Hot Market for Videos of Idling Trucks
New York Times, 19 March 2022, Read Online
⤵ BY THE NUMBERS: HOME SALES
What's going on with the housing market?
Sales of previously owned homes fell 7.2% month to month in February to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 6.02 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors.
That significantly missed analysts’ expectations of 6.13 million units. Sales were 2.4% lower compared with the same month a year ago. Rising mortgage rates likely played a role in the underwhelming numbers.
Low supply continues to push prices up.
More homes came on the market in February compared with January, but there were just 870,000 homes for sale at the end of the month, a 15.5% drop year over year. At the current sales pace, that represents a 1.7-month supply, which is close to an all-time low.
Tight supply and strong demand continued to push prices higher. The median price for an existing home sold in February was $357,300, an increase of 15% from a year ago.
We've seen many stories in the past couple of days resurfacing the ubiquitous view that the housing market is somehow amiss. Debate has swirled heavily around what is causing the issue. For example, Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather claimed, "We didn’t build any housing for [millennials] in the last decade because we are still so traumatized by the last housing crisis." There a pill you can take for that Daryl?
Source: Home sales fell far more than expected in February, as mortgage rates rose and supply remained tight
CNBC, 18 March 2022, Read Online
⚔︎ MISSIVES ⚔︎
- ⚰️ Alcohol-related deaths increased 25 percent from 2019 to 2020, with alcohol-related deaths among adults younger than 65 outnumbering deaths from Covid-19 in the same age group in 2020, a new study found. Alcohol-related deaths, including from liver disease and accidents, increased to 99,017 in 2020, up from 78,927 the year prior.
- 🏛 Justice Clarence Thomas has been hospitalized because of an infection, the Supreme Court said Sunday. Thomas, 73, has been at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., since Friday after experiencing “flu-like symptoms,” the court said in a statement.
- ♻️ U.S. regulators proposed stringent requirements for publicly traded companies to report information on greenhouse-gas emissions and risks related to climate change, in one of the Biden administration’s potentially most significant environmental actions to date.
- 🚨 New York City mayor Eric Adams announced Monday that the NYPD will expand an anti-crime unit that was disbanded in 2020 amid the uprising prompted by the murder of George Floyd.
- 📈 Prices for raw materials that constitute the fertilizer market — ammonia, nitrogen, nitrates, phosphates, potash and sulphates — are up 30% since the turn of the year and now exceed those seen during the food and energy crisis in 2008, according to British commodity consultancy CRU.
THINGS TO DO
View the full calendar here.
🆕 Bar Hours 🆕 this Thursday at Jackalope Brewery starting at 6 PM. The first ten guests of The Pamphleteer will have their drinks comped. Come out to meet other readers of The Pamphleteer and mix and mingle with the writers.
🖌 At the Cheekwood, Spanning the Atlantic, The Arts and Crafts Movement, an international trend in the decorative arts that originated in the British Isles during the 19th century.
🎻 Bluegrass Night @ The American Legion Post 82, 7p, Free, Info
+ Gather, all ye pickers
🎹 Tame Impala @ Bridgestone, 8p, $44.90+, Info
🍸 Electric relaxation @ Bar Sovereign, 9p, Free, Info
GET ‘EM WHILE YOU CAN
😂 Tim Dillon (3/24) @ The Ryman, $29.75+, 7p, Info
🎸 Buddy Guy (3/26) @ The Ryman, 7:30p, $80, Info
🎸 Jerry Cantrell (4/17) @ The Ryman, $35, 7p, Info
🐷 Primus a Farewell to Kings tour (05/09) @ The Ryman, 7:30p, $55+, Info
NEW THIS WEEK
FROM THE ARCHIVE
Around the Web
⎋ The Great Reset Is Real Communicable diseases have always shaped civilization. The consequences of an epidemic can last for centuries...
⇟ Putin Misunderstands History. So, Unfortunately, Does the U.S. Biden is making a colossal mistake in thinking he can bleed Russia dry, topple Putin and signal to China to keep its hands off Taiwan.
☎︎ America’s Tomorrow City Miami seeks to build a startup haven for tech entrepreneurs and cryptocurrency innovators.
Political Theater Highlight Reel
- Joe Biden: "There's going to be a new world order out there, and we've got to lead it." FACT CHECK: Not that New World Order.
- Ketanji Brown Jackson, Biden's Supreme Court pick, refuses to define the word 'woman'
Words of Wisdom
"A man's maturity consists in having found again the seriousness one had as a child at play."