Good morning, everyone.
If you haven't already, be sure to check out our Flat Curver Awards. A riotous romp back in time reviewing Tennessee's Covid response.
There was much crowing and thrashing about yesterday as the news flew through cyberspace that Elon Musk had succeeded in purchasing Twitter at a 38% premium to its closing price. Organizations such as the ACLU surged around hysterically descrying Musk's "free speech absolutism" as the gravest threat to Democracy we've encountered yet.
Musk, in the increasingly erratic fever dreams of such institutions, represents some kind of demon wraith, cloaked in tattered, black linen, coming upon an innocent crowd of bystanders in the dark, and engorging himself on their souls with lionish pleasure. And that's not even to mention his even darker manifestation as a kind of supervirus who has co-opted the machinery of Democracy and threatens to "turn it off." It sounds silly, but this description of the man is the closest I've come to understanding the hysteria around him.
We're not going to add tinder to the roaring Musk fire beyond making some jokes, but we will redirect your attention to something that actually involves a threat to free speech — and, dare I say, perhaps even Democracy itself.
Similar in ways, but by no means comparable, to the recent removal of Robby Starbuck, Baxter Lee, and Morgan Ortagus from the Republican primary for TN's 5th congressional district — covered here in toto by Roger Simon — is the effort to unseat Marjorie Taylor Greene and prevent her from running for reelection in Georgia's 14th congressional district on the basis of her purported involvement in that other grave threat to capital-d Democracy: January 6th.
Say what you will about Greene and her theatrics, but it should be clear that preventing a sitting member of the US Congress from running for reelection on the basis of her speech poses a much more serious threat to the foundations of capital-d Democracy than a billionaire buying a social media platform.
Today, we review some bills as this year's General Assembly winds down, look at lockdown's effects on the job market compared to other recessions and disasters, and look at Australia's herculean efforts to turn the desertified middle of the country into the breadbasket of the Southern hemisphere.
Thanks for reading.
In case you missed it, yesterday we announced the winner of our first, and hopefully only, Flat Curver Awards. You can view a full list of all the winners here.
SOME OF THE WINNERS
- The Serial Child Masker Award went to Federal Judge Ronnie Greer (Read)
- The Budding Swamp Creature Award went to Chairman of the Hamilton County School Board Tucker McClendon (Read)
- The Best Case for Amazon Award went to Parnassus Books (Read)
- The Cock of the Walk is Broadway barman Steve Smith (Read)
- See the rest of the winners here!
Jerod Hollyfield reviews the new Uncharted movie which is based upon the extremely popular video game series.
↬ AS THIS YEAR'S GENERAL ASSEMBLY WINDS DOWN...
This year’s legislative session is coming to a close. Last year, the session concluded on May 5th. Here are a few wheels that are still spinning.
LOWERING THE CARRY PERMIT AGE
Sponsored by Rep. Todd in the House and Sen. Bell in the Senate, the bill would lower the age requirement to obtain a concealed carry permit to 18 years of age. An interesting debate took place last week upon third consideration in the House. While some Democrats pushed back, many surprisingly touted that they understand the purpose of the bill and back the 2nd amendment.
Questions were raised about the bill unintentionally allowing young, dishonorably discharged ex-military members to obtain permits and carry a handgun when they previously would now have been allowed to do so. Rep. Todd defended the bill on multiple occasions citing the Constitution and past Supreme Court rulings. The bill is ready for transmission to the Senate.
TRUTH IN SENTENCING
The ‘Truth in Sentencing' bill requires that a criminal convicted of certain violent offenses serve their full sentence without parole. Awaiting the Governor’s signature into law, this bill ginned up heated debates regarding the severity of the legislation and the cost-burden it could inflict on the state.
The crimes that would require 100% of the sentence to be served are attempted first-degree murder, second-degree murder, vehicular homicide with driver intoxication, aggravated vehicular homicide, aggravated kidnapping, robbery, and burglary. Many who support the bill, sponsored by House Speaker Sexton in the House and Lt. Gov. McNally in the Senate, hope the law will be a deterrent against criminal behavior.
TRANSGENDER ATHLETES IN SPORTS
A bill that withholds funding from schools that allow transgender athletes to participate in sports with the opposite sex. Adding some accountability to a bill passed last year, the legislature passed this bill to ensure student-athletes are not subjected to having to compete against a member of the opposite biological sex who identifies as a different gender. The legislature passed the bill and Gov. Lee signed it into law.
Lt. Gov. McNally claps back regarding a campaign ethics bill that will require a 501(c)(4) to disclose their finances if they are helping support a candidate's campaign. After pushback about the bill from local activist Gary Humble who fired shots claiming the bill was an attack on grassroots movements like Tennessee Stands, McNally clarified that the bill is concerned with transparency, not censorship or attacking free speech.
He followed the statement with another blow, saying, “It is amazing that various seemingly 'legitimate' groups are resorting to such disingenuous tactics to oppose it. Is it because they are spending so much that Tennesseans would be appalled if they knew? Or is it that they spend so little that they fear they would be exposed as political grifters working to enrich only themselves?”
You can read more about the controversy, hypocrisy, and frustration in an article previously published in The Pamphleteer. Additional sponsors continue to be tacked onto the bill. The conversation will continue on the Senate floor during session tomorrow.
- Austin, Nashville Ranks at Top of Hottest U.S. Job Markets (WSJ) Nashville, Tenn., jumped to the No. 2 spot from seventh. Both cities anchor metropolitan areas of around two million people.
- Crime victim compensation program has paid out $344M since 1982 (TNJ) During that time, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Program has served tens of thousands of innocent victims of violent crimes who had no other means of helping to defray the costs of eligible expenses.
- Renovation and expansion project at Nashville International Airport hit with inflation-driven overages (Tennessean) The price of a new satellite concourse jumped from $92.5 million in March 2021, when project plans initiated, to $134.5 million this month.
- Legislature approves $500M in bonds for new Titans stadium (Post) The Tennessee General Assembly on Thursday approved a $52.8 billion budget plan for next year. Debate included the ultimate approval of $500 million in bonds to help the Tennessee Titans pay for a new domed stadium along the Cumberland River.
- Tennessee Act Orders That Drunk Drivers Pay Child Support To Victims Children (TCN) The bill requires a sentencing court to order a defendant who has been convicted of vehicular homicide or aggravated vehicular homicide due to intoxication and in which the victim of the offense was the parent of a minor child to pay restitution in the form of child maintenance to each of the victim’s children until each child reaches 18 years of age and has graduated from high school.
- TN House And Senate Consider Bill To Protect School Employees From Coerced Speech (TCN) The bill states that no employee of a public school or local education association can be required to refer to a student by preferred pronouns that do not match the student’s biological sex.
- Breeze Block Starting To Take Shape In Charlotte Park, Nashville. (Now Next)
- Multi-unit Hillsboro Village building sells for $4.75M (Post)
- Details emerge for West Nashville mixed-used building (Post)
- N.C. developer pays $11.19M for South Davidson land (Post)
↯ THE WORST AND ONLY SELF-INFLICTED RECESSION
We don't think it possible to overstate how destructive lockdowns were to the health of the nation, hence our compilation of the Flat Curver Awards to bring attention to local leaders who cowed to them. The only thing unique to the Covid-19 pandemic, when compared to all the other recessions, is that Covid-19's recession was transparently deliberate.
In addition to the above, a Hepatitis outbreak among British children has experts puzzling over what could have caused it:
Health chiefs believe the illness may be triggered by an adenovirus — usually to blame for the sniffles. Experts say lockdowns may have weakened the immunity of children and left them more susceptible to the virus, or it may be a mutated version.
Last summer in Tennessee, we witnessed something similar in children's hospitals across the state as instances of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) spiked due to children being kept at home instead of in the classroom. Typically, RSV goes around in the Fall and Winter. It doesn't warrant much mention at this point because it's become so abundantly obvious, but the destruction wrecked by lockdowns and restrictive Covid policies continues and will continue to echo.
Turns out if you forcibly separate people from one another, their health gets worse. Unfortunately, the spreadsheet class in charge of these decisions can't find a table to represent the importance of human kinship.
⚔ MISSIVES ⚔
- 🏦 Morgan Stanley noted that payments company Strike recently announced a partnership with point-of-sales supplier NCR and payments firm Blackhawk Network, which means a large number of U.S. stores and restaurants will soon be able to accept bitcoin.
- 💰 Elon Musk struck a deal on Monday to buy Twitter for roughly $44 billion, in a victory by the world’s richest man to take over the influential social network frequented by world leaders, celebrities and cultural trendsetters.
- 📱 On news that Elon Musk would be buying Twitter, the Verge produced an article entitled 'How to deactivate your Twitter account' which is clearly intended as an instruction manual for the low-IQ people who will quit the platform over this.
- 🗺 A federal judge in Louisiana has blocked the Biden Administration from ending the expulsion of illegal immigrants under Title 42, less than a month before the pandemic-era public health measure was set to end
THINGS TO DO
You can view our full event calendar here.
This week Molchat Doma is bringing sounds from the new Western Front to Nashville, TN. They're a Belarusian band and part of an interesting musical development emerging from the Eastern Slavic states. There's a level of vitality in the music over there that's hard to find in modern American bands which are becoming increasingly feminine — check out Nashville's Bright Shade Fest lineup this weekend to see what I mean. Unfortunately, there's a waiting list for the $60 Molchat tickets.
We've got some other foreigners in town, The Chats, a "pub-punk, shed-rock" band that's part of the the Aussie punk revival led by Amyl and the Sniffers. It was funny discovering that the self proclaimed "chaotic... zero fucks" punk guys require vaccines at their shows. That's fine, I'll just go see some Memphis rap instead.
🍺 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. Great show, she packs the place.
🎪 Check out our favorite driving distance festivals this summer.
👨🏻🌾 The Pamphleteer farmer's market guide.
🎸 Honky Tonk Tuesday @ American Legion Post 82, 5p, Free, Info
+ Two step lessons @ 7p, The Cowpokes @ 8p
🐅 Predators vs. Flames @ Bridgestone, 7p, $37+, Info
🎙 Son Volt & S.G. Goodman @ Basement East, 8p, $22, Info
🎸 Kate Clover @ Drkmttr, 8p, $12, Info
🎺 Todd Day Wait @ The Underdog, 11:30p, Free, Info
+ Honky Tonk Tuesday afterparty, down the street
GET ‘EM WHILE YOU CAN
🌊 The Brian Jonestown Massacre (5/5) @ Brooklyn Bowl, 8p, $25, Info
🐷 Primus: a Farewell to Kings tour & Battles (05/09) @ The Ryman, 7:30p, $55+, Info
🥁 Gogol Bordello (5/21) @ Brooklyn Bowl, 8p, $33, Info
Around the Web
↗ Why Snapchat’s Product Is Booming The company withstood Facebook’s best swing, now it’s growing fast again. Here’s why.
❍ The Great Author of America Happy birthday to Shakespeare, the national poet of the world.
✱ Why Complex Systems Collapse Faster All civilizations collapse. The challenge is how to slow it down enough to prolong our happiness.
Political Theater Highlight Reel
- Florida Sheriff: ‘We Prefer’ Homeowners Shoot Burglars. It ‘Saves Taxpayer Money’
- MSNBC host warns that Elon Musk could "secretly ban one party's candidate" Sounds oddly familiar
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Words of Wisdom
Let them stand still for the bullet,
and star the shooter in the eye,
let them die while the sound of the shot is in the air,
let them die as they fall,
let the jugular blood spring hot to the knife,
let its freshest to be full,
let this day begin again the change of hogs into people,
not the other way around,
for today we celebrate again our lives' wedding
with the world,
for by our hunger, by this provisioning
we renew the bond.
Wendell Berry, 'For the Hog Killing'