Good morning, everyone.
Everyone on Twitter is stoked to get back to posting misinformation now that Elon Musk has pledged to "de-censor" the platform. The enthusiasm is so great that old accounts have re-emerged to post about color revolutions while previously shadowbanned accounts have seen more engagement and a slightly boosted signal as they tweet about Biden's financial involvement in Ukraine and China. You know, "disinformation."
Other interesting artifacts of Musk's deal include the mass deactivation of accounts, a huge spike in followers on accounts such as embattled Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's, and sinking followers on left-leaning accounts such as the waifish David Hogg's.
So, what's going on? Before I openly speculate and engage in what dullards refer to as "conspiratorial" thinking, I'll preface this short bit by saying that all the aforementioned information comes directly from mainstream media outlets of the CNBC variety.
There are three things that I and others have observed:
- Boosted right-leaning accounts (such as MTG)
- Deboosted left-leaning accounts (such as David Hogg)
- Increased engagement for shadowbanned accounts
The first could be explained by users returning to the platform after Musk's acquisition or some nefarious activity on the part of Twitter to make it appear that right-leaning accounts are mostly followed by bots. One of Musk's main pledges has been to quash bot activity. The volume suggests this is more than just users signing up for or returning to the platform. Incidentally, Truth Social shot to number one on the app store yesterday.
The second seems a matter of people leaving the platform because the numbers just don't compare. MTG and Tucker Carlson gained almost 100,000 in a day, while the left-leaning accounts noting departures see numbers in the thousands, and at the high end, the tens of thousands.
And finally, the third and juiciest component of all this is the removal of shadowbans. Until the Musk acquisition haunted the scene, shadowbans were not a "conspiracy" as mainstream media seems determined to frame them. It is a very real, observable phenomenon. There was, until Twitter changed its API, even a site that could tell you if you were shadowbanned. Of course, most of the people talking about shadowbans being a conspiracy theory haven't spent enough time on the platform to know whether they are real or not — take it from me who has — but did you expect they would actually "journalism" before writing about it?
Last week, we talked to Robby Starbuck who was shadowbanned until yesterday. For example, his name would not show up in search results on Twitter unless you were following him. I personally tested and observed this phenomenon while on the phone with him. Today, however, I can search for Robby and his name pops to the top.
What's clear is that Twitter made an effort to peel back or remove its metering efforts — the equivalent of a financial firm shredding documents. What that seems to indicate is that they are concerned about what could be revealed about their metering practices should Musk take over and audit the platform.
The Pamphleteer, for its part, lost over 10,000 followers. We're asking that you please use this opportunity to log in to Twitter, follow us, and say something nice about us to your followers. If you don't have a Twitter account, sign up for one. The Pamphleteer is depending on you.
Bar hours tonight. Join us at Lucky's 3 Star Bar at 6 PM.
Today, we pick apart Mayor Cooper's State of the Metro, look at some hilarious drama in the British House of Commons, and wonder who Biden's loan forgiveness is actually for.
Thanks for reading.
➫ STATE OF THE METRO
Yesterday morning, Davidson County Mayor John Cooper addressed Nashville from the Southeast Community Center. The 59th State of Metro Address had a pre-covid quality to it that brought the focus back to Cooper’s original campaign talking points; an agenda interrupted by Covid, tornadoes, and flooding.
BACK TO NORMAL?
Soon after he took office, Cooper immediately stared down devastating tornadoes and Covid. As you may recall, he used the March 2020 tornadoes as a pretext to push for the 34% property tax increase he promised he wouldn’t implement during his campaign. Since then, Covid protocols, lockdowns, vaccination passports, school masking, remote learning, etc. have defined the State of Metro Address. This year’s address marked a major shift.
Cooper outlined his focus for the city coming out of the pandemic:
- Affordable housing
- Fiscal accountability
- Parks and green spaces
- Police and public safety
- Economic and community development
- Restoring trust
- The Mayor did address the homelessness issue and spent a good portion of his speech on affordable housing. Cooper pitched a vision that Nashville become a “Housing First” city and that commits to safety by addressing drug abuse, mental health, and homelessness.
- Mayor Cooper also announced a commitment to safety through community programs and increasing the number of first responders and police officers. His plan proposed adding 157 new emergency response personnel, including 46 more police officers. Cooper also expressed support for technology like License Plate Readers (LPRs).
- Hot topics mentioned: The recent solution to the trash issues, commitment to sidewalk completion, 72-hour resolution for pothole problems, and a commitment to a cleaner city.
- Hot topics not mentioned: The stadium build.
⬆ BEST NASHVILLE AREA PUBLIC SCHOOLS
US News reviewed nearly 24,000 U.S. public high schools; 353 Tennessee schools made our rankings. The top-ranked Tennessee schools were:
- Central Magnet School in Murfreesboro
- Merrol Hyde Magnet School in Hendersonville
- Hume Fogg Magnet School in Nashville
- MLK Jr. Magnet School in Nashville
- Brentwood High School in Brentwood
Source: Best High Schools in Tennessee
US News, Read Online
- ⭐️ Out-of-towners moving to Nashville have nearly 30% higher budget than local buyers (Channel 5) A study from Redfin revealed in 2021 the average out-of-towner moving to Nashville had $736,900 to spend on a home, 28.5% higher than the $573,400 average budget for local buyers. That’s the biggest gap among the cities included in their analysis.
- Franklin leaders vote down measure to develop Brownland Farm (Channel 5) In a unanimous decision, Franklin aldermen voted down a measure to rezone property to create a development on Brownland Farm.
- Reese Witherspoon, Derrick Henry join Nashville SC Ownership Group (NSC) Just five days before Nashville Soccer Club opens its new home GEODIS Park, principal owner John Ingram announced that Nashville native and actor, producer and founder Reese Witherspoon, media and technology investor Jim Toth and Tennessee Titans All-Pro running back Derrick Henry have joined the team’s ownership group.
- Senate Candidate Keeda Haynes Withdraws From Nashville Race (Scene) Haynes withdrew from the open District 19 race on Monday. The Nashville seat is currently held by Democratic Sen. Brenda Gilmore who is retiring.
- Measure allowing Metro to raise hotel tax passes, heads to Lee (Main Street) It now goes to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk. Lee has already demonstrated a commitment to the new stadium project: His budget, passed by lawmakers last week, included an investment of $500 million toward a new stadium.
- NRA & Conservative Watchdogs Sound Alarm Over McNally’s Incumbent Protection Bill (TCN) The National Rifle Association (NRA) and Tennessee Conservative Watchdog groups see many potential issues that could arise due to the legislation and have voiced their concerns to The Tennessee Conservative and lawmakers alike.
- MetroCenter site eyed for apartment development (Post)
- Retailer pays $8.75M for Antioch property (Post)
- Two more towers planned for Gulch development (Post)
- Building leased to nursing college offered for $11.25M (Post)
✴ SEX IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
The drama in UK politics is of a different albeit familiar breed. At present, partygate continues to dominate the discourse as Members of Parliament (MP) consider how best to punish Boris Johnson for partying during nationwide lockdowns.
There've been committees, investigations, accusations of intimidation, and all the other components of intrigue you'd find in a political thriller in which a Presidential candidate reconnoitered with foreign agents to sway an election in his favor, but in this case, it's because Johnson partied too hard.
The other breed of controversy that has swept through national politics in the UK is of the sexual variety. When I say sexual, I don't mean "involves actual intercourse," but a different, more modern definition of "sexual" which involves images, accusations, and self-evidently, a thick atmosphere of unrealized sexual tension hanging in the air.
For example, a British MP was recently accused of watching porn in the House of Commons. During a meeting meant to suss out misogyny and sexual harassment and promote gender equality, a number of female MPs aired complaints about various incidents and male members who they believed to harbor misogynistic tendencies. Two different women reported seeing a male member watching porn. Turns out, it was the same guy.
Was it an intentional move to remind these women that they were in a male space or was the guy just bored and trying to remind himself why he got into politics in the first place? We'll like likely never know.
But wait, there is more. A Tory MP accused Tory MP Angela Rayner of pulling a "Basic Instinct" while sitting on the front bench in an attempt to distract Boris Johnson during a speech. To understand the gravity of this accusation, you first must look at a picture of Angela Rayner, compare her to Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct, and then watch the aforementioned infamous clip.
What adds an element of palpable tension to the incident is that Rayner has claimed to enjoy misogynistic jokes in the past. Of course, such proclamations, especially from a woman, simply cannot be correct. I mean, she's a woman after all. Doesn't she know she needs to be offended? Who's going to mansplain this to her? If it'll get me a coffee date with her, I'd fly across the pond and do the honors.
All the predictable outrage has followed the Basic Instinct accusation. Tory MPs competed to see who could perform the most dramatic pledge of fealty to women writ-large and issue the strongest condemnation of misogyny in the vaguest, most general way. Meanwhile, Rayner took the occasion to declare that things like this are what prevent women from getting into politics, and we all agree that more women getting into politics is imperative to the success of any nation, right?
At the same time, she distanced herself from her prior attitude — purportedly someone already mansplained it to her.
So much for that coffee date.
⧠ GRAPH OF THE DAY: WHOSE STUDENT DEBT?
Desperate polls call for desperate measures: Dems consider forgiving trillions in student loans. Other bribe suggestions: Forgive auto loans? Forgive credit card debt? Forgive mortgages? And put a wealth tax on the super-rich to pay for it all. What could possibly go wrong?
In my most extreme moments, I find myself getting giddy when the thought of destroying America's cherished institutions of higher learning, if only to "own the left" or something like that. But, forgiving debt and transferring it from the banks to the government is transparently a vote grab.
If the Biden administration was interested in reforming a broken system, they'd saddle schools with some portion of the debt or allow student debt holders to default and declare bankruptcy. That way, at least someone would learn something.
⚔ MISSIVES ⚔
- 🚮 The Department of Homeland Security is setting up a Disinformation Governance Board in an attempt to combat “misinformation” online. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas spoke about the “just established” governance board during a congressional hearing on Wednesday, arguing it would help reduce domestic threats to the United States.
- 📉 Gross domestic product declined by 1.4 percent over the first quarter of 2022, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis released on Thursday.
- 🇫🇷 Internet and phone services were down or running slowly in several French cities on Wednesday after fibre optic cables were cut overnight in suspected attacks on the crucial data infrastructure, telecom operators said.
- 🔥 Vladimir Putin has vowed to use nuclear weapons against any country that dares to 'interfere' with Russia's war in Ukraine in his latest chilling threat to the West.
- 🗺 Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas defended the administration’s handling of the southern border in the first of a trio of congressional hearings Wednesday and Thursday, as the administration prepares to lift Title 42, a controversial pandemic-era border policy.
- 📍 The New York State Court of Appeals rejected the congressional district maps drawn up by the Democrat-controlled state legislature on Wednesday.
THINGS TO DO
You can view our full event 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. Great show, she packs the place.
🎪 Check out our favorite driving distance festivals this summer.
👨🏻🌾 The Pamphleteer farmer's market guide.
🍀 Live Irish Music @ McNamara’s Irish Pub, 6p, Free, Info
🍻 Pamphleteer Bar Hours @ Lucky's 3 Star Bar, 6p
+ Join The Pamphleteer at Lucky's 3. First 10 people's drinks on us.
🎸 Kelly’s Heroes @ Robert’s Western World, 6:30p, Free, Info
🎷 Atlanta Rhythm Section @ City Winery, 8p, $40+, Info
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
NEW THIS WEEK
FROM LAST WEEK
Around the Web
❍ Serfing the Future? Land ownership has shaped civilizations from their beginnings, with a constant interplay between great powers—the aristocracy, the state, the Church, the emperor—and those below them.
ⅹ The surprising afterlife of used hotel soap Hotel guests leave behind millions of half-used bars of soap every day. A nonprofit is on a mission to repurpose them.
➥ Elon vs. Obama Choose your fighter
Political Theater Highlight Reel
- Donald Trump answers the question of the decade: What is a woman?
- Megyn Kelly laughs at dire warning from MSNBC’s Ari Melber that Twitter could be used to upend elections: ‘Say it ain’t so’
You May Also Like
Words of Wisdom
“Enjoy present pleasures in such a way as not to injure future ones.”