Good morning, everyone.
Some serious pyrotechnics this morning in Nashville. Thunder and lightning clapped well into the morning hours forcing me to consider how phenomenal the protection offered by even the most basic of modern dwellings is.
The Mississippian culture thrived in the Americas between 1000 AD and 1500 AD. They are renowned for their construction of large, earthen mounds, many of which you can still see today. The site of the largest earthen mound and center for the largest native Indian settlement in what is now the continental US sits in Cahokia, Illinois. It is one of twenty-four places in the US protected by a UNESCO World Heritage designation — a topic for another time.
Why am I talking about this? Well, at the top of the mound in Cahokia, which is tiered much like a wide, flat pyramid, archeologists believe there sat a large wooden post in the exact center of the structure. Even today, storms frequently pass through the area, so it's thought that the large post was designed to shield the citizens from lightning and serve as a reminder to the city's inhabitants of the connection between heaven and Earth when lightning struck the rod.
Storms of the type we witnessed this morning are wonderful displays of power and the incredible mercy we've been shown in the face of such overwhelming and powerful forces.
Today, we look at why Tennessee might have decided to not repeal that gas tax, peer at a candidate for the most annoying political movement in town, and think about the ramifications of being an email first publication.
Thanks for reading.
Megan Podsiedlik chimes in on the criteria we use to select our judges and what it says about our political priorities.
MORE FROM MEGAN
- How to Vote in Tennessee's Open Primary Elections (Read)
- Commit to Culture (Read)
- What Ever Happened to State's Rights? (Read)
✱ GETTING DOWN TO GAS TAXES
Some Governors across the country have implemented statewide gas tax suspensions to ease the burden of oil price inflation. Tennessee, notably, has not. Are gas tax holidays worth it, or just a political pacifier? Let’s look at the numbers.
Tennesseans pay 27.4 cents per gallon in state taxes on gas and there are three ways this money is doled out:
- 16.4 cents per gallon goes towards TDOT for road maintenance.
- 10.2 cents per gallon is distributed to cities and counties.
- 0.8 cents per gallon goes towards the State’s General Fund.
A few months ago, when this idea of a gas tax suspension began to circulate in Tennessee, lawmakers were calling for a 90 day holiday. To put that into numbers, a gas tax holiday of that length would strip the state of about $224M.
States like Connecticut, Maryland, Georgia, and others have implemented gas tax holidays but, when looking at the numbers, it's hard to tell if it’s worth it. During these 30 day holidays, states are saving people about $20-$40. It’s something, but is it worth the deficit it creates in a state budget?
Many lawmakers and officials in Tennessee aren’t convinced. Whittling down a quarter of the budgeted income created by the state gas tax for such a low benefit has them seeking other solutions. After rejecting a bill calling for a gas tax holiday, legislators seem in favor of the Governor's proposal to do a 30 day local grocery tax suspension instead.
⚙︎ MOST ANNOYING POLITICAL MOVEMENT OF THE DECADE: COFFEE SHOP UNIONS
Three Brothers Coffee, which is attached to Cumberland Transit across from Centennial Park, voted to unionize this week. When one typically thinks of unions, one imagines the longshoremen, workers at a GM plant, or electricians — in other words, skilled workers in dangerous occupations that contribute materially to the maintenance and function of everyday life. A coffee shop, though?
Worker Charley James, when asked what they're hoping to gain from the situation, said, "Like just about anybody else, we’re looking for, you know, better pay, security with that pay, health care options, paid time off. But we’re also looking for reorganization of structure in the sense of distributing power." That $2 cup of coffee headed straight to $5.
Sounds like a nightmare for owner TJ Wilt. I'd probably shutter the coffee shop and stick to selling bikes.
- CMT Music Awards 2022: Who won? See the complete list (USA Today) Airing for the first time on CBS, the fan-voted program took place at Municipal Auditorium in downtown Nashville.
- Mayor Cooper to Deliver State of Metro Address at Southeast Community Center (Scene) According to a resolution filed Friday with the Metro Clerk, Mayor John Cooper is set to deliver the 59th annual State of the Metropolitan Government address at the Southeast Community Center in Antioch, amid the backdrop of the shuttered Global Mall.
- 🗳 Andy Ogles Leads In GOP TN-5 Straw Poll At County Event (TCN) Of 450 people at a Trump Day Dinner in Wilson County, 29.3% voted for Ogles. The rest were as follows: 2nd, Natisha Brooks (14.3%); 3rd, Beth Harwell (12.8%); 4th, Morgan Ortagus (10.9%); 5th, Robby Starbuck (9.9%)
- Gov. Lee won't veto Tennessee bill giving legislature control over majority of State Board of Education appointments (Chattanoog Times Free Press) Lee is allowing to become law without his signature a bipartisan bill he opposed, which gives the House and Senate speakers control of two-thirds of the appointments to the State Board of Education.
- Tennessee Bill To Ban Abortions Taken Off Notice Due To GOP Leadership Resistance (TCN) HB2779 sought to ban all abortions in Tennessee except those that would prevent death or “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function” of the mother.
- 📸 Construction Update: Progress On Amazon’s Tower 2 “Juno” In Nashville (Now Next)
- Madison facility honoring late music legend sells for $8.3M (Post)
- Joey’s House of Pizza to close after more than two decades (NBJ)
- Auto business buys property in The Nations (Post)
- Details emerge for mixed-use building set for Gulch (Post)
➫ ON EMAIL NEWSLETTERS
People sometimes have a hard time understanding what exactly The Pamphleteer is. Is it a blog, a newspaper, a website, etc.? When confronted with this question, I make sure to clarify and tell them that it's a daily newsletter. The only thing we measure is the number of subscribers and how many of them open and read each email.
Newsletters offer a couple of advantages.
First, you own your audience to a greater degree than you do on social media. If your account is wiped from Twitter for saying that Disney is staffed by groomers, you lose your list of subscribers. A list of emails, however, is portable and can move with you from platform to platform.
Second, speech is generally not regulated in your inbox, and if it is, it is an easier problem to fix than through a social media platform. Even still, there was a recent study from North Carolina State University that claimed Gmail's safe-filtering algorithm (SFA) sent 77.2% of right-wing candidate emails to the spam folder in the months leading up to the 2020 election.
In response, Google claimed that the SFA is adjusted based on user behavior. There's no way to confirm or deny either side of this spat, but right-wing censorship on left-wing tech platforms is as American as apple pie at this point. That said, if you've ever signed up for the Daily Wire and then been bombarded randomly by political emails from candidates — half of whom you have no awareness of — you might be of the mind that Conservative emails tend to literally be spam.
The study showed that as election day approached, a higher and higher percentage of conservative emails went to spam which indicates that there was some coordinated attempt to soften the influence of conservative candidates. But if you've monitored these emails before, maybe people just start trashing them once the threats come out. Trump's emails are famous for having a tone similar to "donate to me now, or I drown your whole family."
And lastly, there are no algorithms to deal with — yet. Most inboxes are sorted chronologically, and it's easier to establish a rhythm with readers as they can anticipate when n email will come through or are more likely to prick their ears up when a new email comes through.
All this is to say that we use the newsletter format primarily for the control it affords and the relative distance from the whims of preening technology companies. Here's an interesting interview with the founder of Substack in Reason (we use Ghost) on what he's found in the newsletter business.
If we ever end up in your spam folder, follow the directions at the bottom of this email to ensure it doesn't happen again.
⧗ GRAPH OF THE DAY: SPOT THE WAR
⚔︎ MISSIVES ⚔︎
- 📈 U.S. inflation data hit a multidecade high last month amid surging gas prices and skyrocketing rents, climbing to 8.5 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday.
- (gun emoji) President Biden on Monday announced the finalization of a rule banning sales of so-called ghost guns, the hard-to-trace firearms that law enforcement is increasingly recovering at crime scenes across the country.
- 🇫🇷 French President Emmanuel Macron will face Marine Le Pen in the second round of the country's presidential election. Centrist Macron and Le Pen, a long-time standard-bearer for the French far-right, were the top two candidates in the first round of Sunday's vote, picking up 27.8% and 23.2% of the ballots respectively.
- 💊 Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday signed legislation to outlaw puberty blocking medications for minors. The bill makes it a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, to prescribe puberty blockers or hormones to transgender people under age 19 to help in their gender transition.
- 🛩 Extending the federal transportation mask mandate that applies to airplanes, buses and trains is "absolutely on the table," Ashish Jha, the White House's new COVID-19 response coordinator, said Monday on the Today Show.
- 🗺 The Biden administration issued a memo to ICE prosecutors on Monday authorizing them to consider dismissing certain cases involving immigrants who did not cross the border recently and are not public safety threats.
- 💸 Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.) announced the "Stablecoin Transparency of Reserves and Uniform Safe Transactions Act of 2022", dubbed the Stablecoin TRUST Act for short, as part of an effort to specify how the U.S.'s different regulatory agencies could approach companies issuing cryptocurrencies whose prices are pegged to the U.S. dollar or other assets.
THINGS TO DO
View the full calendar here.
🍺 The Pamphleteer hosts Bar Hours every Thursday night at Lucky's 3 Star Bar from 6-8 PM. The first ten guests get drinks on the company tab. Join us to discuss how to shake off the sloth of the modern era and recapture the vitality that made this country great.
🎙 Hannah Juanita is playing two-steppin' music every Friday in April at Bobby's Idle Hour.
🎪 Check out our favorite driving distance festivals this summer.
👨🏻🌾 TN History Club Weekly Meeting @ Fort Negley, 2:30p, Free, Info
🎸 Honky Tonk Tuesday @ American Legion Post 82, 5p, Free, Info
+ Two step lessons @ 7p, The Cowpokes @ 8p
🐅 Predators vs. Oilers @ Bridgestone, 7p, $28+, Info
🎸 Kendell Marvel's Honky Tonk Experience @ Exit/In, 8p, $17, Info
🎸 Music of Cream w/ Lilly Winwood @ City Winery, 8p, $30+, Info
🎺 Todd Day Wait @ The Underdog, 11:30p, Free, Info
+ Honky Tonk Tuesday afterparty, down the street
GET ‘EM WHILE YOU CAN
🎸 Jerry Cantrell (4/17) @ The Ryman, $35, 7p, Info
🌊 The Brian Jonestown Massacre (5/5) @ Brooklyn Bowl, 8p, $25, Info
🐷 Primus: a Farewell to Kings tour & Battles (5/9) @ The Ryman, 7:30p, $55+, Info
🥁 Gogol Bordello (5/21) @ Brooklyn Bowl, 8p, $33, Info
FROM LAST WEEK
FROM THE ARCHIVE
Around the Web
⇤ The Curse of Plenty: Overfed and Undernourished At every step of the commercial production process, stewardship over the consumer is lost while corporate profits are gained.
⬇ The Law that Banned Everything Wokeness as arbitrary government power, and fixing it through policy
Political Theater Highlight Reel
- White House warns of "extraordinarily elevated" inflation data.
- Jen Psaki says that Kamala Harris wasn't wearing a mask indoors because "it was an emotional day, it was a historic day."
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Words of Wisdom
“I do not know if the people of the United States would vote for superior men if they ran for office, but there can be no doubt that such men do not run.”
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America