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No. 286: The Living City

⁂ Nashville's Alt-Daily ⁂ Deadline · New South · 17th Amendment · Where's the Money · Much More!

Good morning, everyone.

The supposed "virtue" of high-density housing is something that urban planners and city officials across the country take as gospel. High-density housing supposedly will lead to lower costs of living, fewer carbon emissions, and a more open, integrated culture. Of course, this ignores the fact that the vast, vast majority of Americans would prefer living in single-family homes, but the preferences of citizens are less important when your goals involve social engineering.

Here in Nashville, the emerging challenger to Mayor John Cooper in 2023's race is Freddie O'Connell whose obsession with urban planning and transit solutions color his politics. If you look through his Twitter feed, you'll see what I mean. To men like O'Connell, there is a moral imperative to vaguely fund local transit (even though no one rides it) and invest in low-income housing (which ends up driving housing costs up for everyone else by reducing the number of available units).

It's a stick-and-carrot situation where the carrot is offered to transit vendors and real estate developers, and the stick taken to local residents. O'Connell and local officials like him view city infrastructure not as a living embodiment of a city's competing forces, but as a canvas on which he can project his ideas, citizens' preferences be damned.


Today, we look at the latest from the Tennessee National Gaurd and today's vaccinate or terminate deadline, look back on an old piece on Nashville from David Brooks, and consider a wild idea for returning more power to the states.

Today is the last day to get your guess in for how long it will take John Hardin to complete the Appalachian Trail. You can submit your guess here and read about his quest here.

You can follow us on Twitter (@realpamphleteer), LinkedIn (@realpamphleteer), or Instagram (@realpamphleteer) for additional content.

Also, be sure to check out our podcast. New episodes every Monday. Available wherever you get your podcasts.

Thanks for reading.



Yesterday, dozens of people gathered at Legislative Plaza to rally behind the Tennessee National Guard members facing forced resignation today (June 30th) if they don’t have a Covid inoculation or exemption.


7%-10% of Tennessee soldiers have yet to get vaccinated. As the Army National Guard vaccine deadline set by the Defense Secretary approaches, unvaccinated soldiers in Tennessee are unsure what their fate will be.

Many of the soldiers applied for religious exemptions that have yet to be processed or were denied. Some of the soldiers simply decided that they did not want to get a Covid shot. What complicates the matter is that the order is coming from the Department of Defense (DoD).

While in the state, the Tennessee National Guard is under the control of the Governor. When deployed on duty or undertaking missions outside of the state, soldiers are commanded by the Army National Guard and are beholden to the National chain of command.


Dozens of people were reported by Fox17 in attendance at the Guard Freedom Rally yesterday morning. After gathering in Legislative Plaza, the group signed and delivered a letter to the Governor’s office asking him to file an injunction against the DoD to block the termination of unvaccinated Tennessee soldiers.


After yesterday’s rally, Fox 17 also reported the first word from the Governor’s office.

“We take seriously the religious and personal exemptions requested by members who are not part of the 93% who are vaccinated in accordance with DOD policy. We have no plans to terminate these members based on their status and have asked DOD to approve their individual exemption requests. No one will be discharged tomorrow.”

Though the office vowed not to terminate soldiers who applied for exemptions from the shot, it is unclear what will happen to soldiers who simply just decided to not get the vaccine.

➫ FROM THE ARCHIVES: Bill Frist's New South

David Brooks' profile of Bill Frist from 2003 does an excellent job of exploring what makes Nashville and the state of Tennessee such a unique place. A couple of excerpts we found interesting.

On the state of Tennessee:

If you went into a lab and tried to create a state that would be perfectly suited for producing successful national politicians, you would create Tennessee. It is southern, which is important because the South is both the largest and the fastest growing region of the country. But it is not too southern. It is rich, and has that huge fundraising base, but it is not culturally elitist, like New York and California. Most important, it is heterodox. If you are going to live in Tennessee and thrive there, you cannot live in an insular cultural enclave, the way Trent Lott can in Mississippi, or the way Nancy Pelosi can in the Bay Area. In Tennessee you have to travel to the eastern part of the state, where they supported the Union, you have to travel to the western part, where they supported the Confederacy, and you have to travel to West Nashville, where they support Cadillac dealerships. If you travel and campaign throughout Tennessee, you are apt to acquire an instinctive feel for how different types of people think and react.
Start with Nashville. The city is hard to figure out because, though it isn't very big, it exists on many different planes. Beyond the Belle Meade elite, there are the music people, who live in the exurbs or in rural mansions. When Bill Frist was growing up, he would not necessarily have had any contact with the country music community, who would have been regarded as rednecks. Even today, when the music industry is just another successful business sector, the visitor is surprised to find that country music has a relatively low profile in Nashville. Country music doesn't dominate the radio dial. It doesn't color local conversation the way the movies color chatter in Los Angeles. As Lamar Alexander, a successful governor and newly elected senator, notes, "Country music still sits uncomfortably in Nashville, like McDonald's in Japan."

On the legacy of the Confederacy:

Nathan Bedford Forrest Shoaf, an investment banker and former Army Ranger and congressional candidate, was one of the more colorfully southern and perceptive people I met down here. An avid student of the Civil War, he points out that the state of Tennessee contributed more troops to the Confederacy than any other state and that the ground Bill Frist grew up on would have been trod by soldiers during the battle of Nashville. He believes the South is permanently distinguished by its experience of defeat in that war. But he does not believe that Confederate flags should fly on public property, and he points out that someone like Bill Frist would have grown up entirely without Confederate consciousness.

Interesting throughout.

Source: Bill Frist's New South
Washington Examiner, 27 January 2003, Read Online




  • The All New Four Seasons Hotel Nashville is Now Accepting Reservations (Now Next)
  • Details emerge for mixed-use building slated for Berry Hill (Post)
  • Downtown hotel sells for $40M (Post)
  • Dunkin’ planned for East Nashville property (Post)
  • Four Seasons retail component sells for $10.5M (Post)


An interesting idea floated to us by Tres Wittum in our conversation with him last week (you can listen here) was the proposal to repeal the 17th Amendment. Passed by Congress in 1912 and ratified in 1913, the amendment declares, "The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote."

Created to deal with an emerging spoils system wherein private interests that wrangled control of a state legislature could exert undue influence on the selection of a Senator, the Senate at the time was known as the "millionaires' club" for its reputation of serving powerful state interests. The people demanded a solution to this imbalance, and thus, the 17th Amendment sought to transfer power away from the state legislature and into the hands of voters.

The movement to repeal the 17th finds its roots in the Federalists Papers and seeks to give states a more direct line of influence to fight off federal overreach. If you survey the landscape of Senators with us today (e.g., Diane Feinstein who's served California for 30 years and is 89 years old), it's difficult to tell if the 17th has been effective in reducing corruption. It has certainly succeeded in centralizing whatever corruption does exist by opening Senatorial elections to national party and private interests in a way that state parties are more insulated from.

If nothing else, it's an interesting idea to consider. At present, Republicans control 32 state senates and 30 state houses, which would mean that if state legislatures were to select Senators from their own party as is the tradition, the Republican party would have enough Senators to break the filibuster giving them 60-64 Senators. Perhaps this is the origin of the movement from within the Republican Party, but it does ring true with the party's emphasis on returning power to the states.

Something to consider.





You can view our full calendar here.

🍺 The Pamphleteer hosts Bar Hours on the third Thursday of every month at Lucky's 3 Star Bar from 6-8 PM. The first ten guests get drinks on the company tab.

🎪 Check out our favorite driving distance festivals this summer.

👨🏻‍🌾 The Pamphleteer farmer's market guide.

👂 Listen to The Pamphleteer's Picks, a playlist of the bands featured in this week's calendar.

⚔️ Knights in Armor at the Frist starting July 1st: European arms and armor from the renowned collection of the Museo Stibbert in Florence, Italy.


🍀 Live Irish Music @ McNamara’s Irish Pub, 6p, Free, Info

🎸 Kelly’s Heroes @ Robert’s Western World, 6:30p, Free, Info

🗣 Nashville Opera on Wheels @ Monthaven Arts Center, 7p, Free, Info

🎻 Bluegrass Nights @ The Ryman, 7:30p, $35, Info
+ Dan Tyminski

🎸 No Loves @ The Cobra, 8p, Free, Info
+ Second act

🎸 Dead Letter Office: Tribute to R.E.M. @ 3rd & Lindsley, 8p, $12, Info

🎸 Dennis Caravello @ Kimbro's Pickin Parlor, 9p, Free, Info
+ Songwriter with a knack for original funk grooves


🎹 Steely Dan @ First Bank Amphitheater, (7/13), $34+, Info

🏜 Hiatus Kaiyote @ Marathon Music Works, (8/14), $35+, Info

🐂 Professional Bull Riding @ Bridgestone, (8/19-21), $20+ Info

🐖 Roger Waters @ Bridgestone, (8/27), $39, Info

🎹 Stereolab @ Marathon Music Works, (9/6), $35, Info

🎸 My Morning Jacket @ Ascend Amphitheater, (9/23), $22.88, Info

⚔️ HELMET @ Marathon Music Works, (9/24), $35, Info

🎸 Smashing Pumpkins @ Bridgestone Arena, (10/10), $133+, Info

🎸 The Doobie Brothers @ Bridgestone Arena, (10/12), $43+, Info



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The Third Path Diet
Eat What You Want, But Don’t Make It My Problem
The Personal Performance Artist
Nashville Ultra Runner John Hardin Sculpts Himself into a Self-Mastery Piece
The Exit/In Cashes in on Nashville’s Identity Crisis
One of the city’s oldest indie music venues comes to terms with its role in New Nashville and the self-styled martyrdom that has defined it over the past year.
[Album Review] Dream Machine: Living the Dream
Dream Machine release their long awaited comeback album Living the Dream and share a new video for “Come Along”.
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Today's newsletter is brought to you by Megan Podsiedlik (Nashville), Edward Landstreet (Local Noise), and Davis Hunt (everything else).