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No. 300: School Choice on the Rocks

⁂ Nashville's Alt-Daily ⁂ Schoo Choice · Charter Amendments · Attack Ads · Migration · Dicks · Much More!

Good morning, everyone.

For a particularly instructive example of how news media drives a wedge into a political issue in order to steer it toward some end, look at the recent reporting around the President of Hillsdale College, Larry Arnn. He recently made some comments about public school teachers, calling them "dumb" and "entitled" among other things. This story has dominated the local news cycle since it first broke on June 30th, and that is not by accident.

Since then, Arnn has clarified his views in a column for The Tennessean. Whether Arnn cares about education shouldn't be up for debate (his entire life is a testament against that accusation).

Phil Williams at News Channel 5 has been leading the charge against Arnn, Hillsdale, and the school choice movement in general. The comments that landed Arnn in hot water were said at a private event, dredged up, and presented to Williams by someone in attendance. Williams then framed them—with the help of a coterie of other complicit media outlets such as The Tennessean, the Scene, the Post, and the Tennessee Holler—as horrific remarks indicative of Arnn's sneering contempt for our schoolteachers.

Taken in isolation, the comments don't indicate anything political—aside from the fact that Arnn was a tad irreverent and bluntly forthright. He's not a big fan of the American public school system; it's not like he hides these views from the public. But those comments, coupled with the all-out assault by local media on Arnn, Hillsdale, and the idea of school choice, had an effect: the tide of public opinion has begun to shift.

This is what we (and Noam Chomsky) call manufacturing consent. As famed writer and political commentator Walter Lippmann said, roughly, "He who controls public opinion, has the people by the balls."

So, ask yourself, as regards the school choice movement in Tennessee—who has more control? The "evil" Tennessee GOP or the "lily-white" media organizations?

Additionally, it's important to consider that the manufactured outrage expressed by Williams and his ilk is not indicative of public sentiment as is often stated. It can be difficult, especially given the conditions of the modern world, to internalize this, but the news is not reality and should never be treated as such.

As for actual support for school choice, maybe it would behoove these local journalists to poll the citizens. It's likely they will find that close to 7 in 10 people support school choice.

We'll have much more to say about this.


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.

⧖⧗⧖ August Voter Guide ⧗⧖⧗

Checkout out our Davidson County August Voter Guide. The best and easiest way to prepare before you head to the polls.

View Voter Guide



For Davidson County & 5th District readers, the following is an excerpt from our August Election Voter Guide. If you have any inquiries about what is on the Davidson County Ballot, you can email The Pamphleteer directly at [email protected].

Early voting for the August 4th election is open through Saturday and many have yet to decide who they will vote for. Every vote counts, and in primaries this is especially true. Margins of victory in primary races are often lower than in general elections. Aside from elected officials, Davidson County residents have four important Charter Amendments to vote on. These are nothing to sneeze at and significantly empower Metro City Council in various ways. Here’s a little brush up on the potential impact of each Charter Amendment. Also, expect it to take you 30-45 minutes in total to park, sign in and cast your vote.


This amendment makes it more difficult for the Metro Charter to be amended by petition. If citizens want to file an amendment that makes changes to the Metro Charter, it will require signatures from 10% of those registered to vote in Davidson county within 90 days. The current requirements are 10% of the number of voters who cast ballots in the previous general election. An example of when citizens exercised this right was when 14k people signed a petition against the 34% property tax increase. Under the new amendment, you’d need about 48K signatures.

For Ratification This would significantly increase the amount of signatures required to file a citizen petition.

Against Ratification This would keep the amount of signatures required to file a citizen petition the same as it has been.


This changes the physical fitness requirements for police officers and would modify citizenship requirements for the police department to be consistent with state law. The current fitness standards are equivalent to the U.S. military. The lower physical standard would open the field for experienced officer candidates (such as those in their 30s) and give them a better chance of meeting the physical requirements. Though this might seem worrisome, the current physical standards are extremely high and are designed for 18 year olds entering the military. The “lower” physical standards are still high and set to ensure physical preparedness of the police officers. The citizenship requirements allow for skilled candidates, such as those who worked alongside the American Military in foreign countries like Iraq, to apply to become a policy officer. With a shortage of Metro Police, this amendment is designed to open up the pool to a larger number of skilled candidates.

For Ratification Increases the pool for eligible police officers.

Against Ratification Keeps the standards the same.


This amendment would add a position to the Board of Health and would distinguish between the Board of Health and the Department of Health. It also allows changes to requirements for the Director of Health so that they do not have to be a medical doctor.

For Ratification This would put the Department of Health under the thumb of the Board of Health whose director can potentially be a non-medical professional.

Against Ratification This would keep the Department of Health the same, with no distinct separation between the department or the board.


This amendment creates the Department of Transportation and Multimodal Infrastructure (NDOT) and replaces the Department of Public Works. NDOT will be the official transportation department and the other services that were carried out under the umbrella of the Department of Public Works will continue to be provided by the Metropolitan Government.

For Ratification NDOT will formally become the department for transportation in Metro Government. Council members have expressed that the ambiguity of the Department of Public Works makes it difficult to accomplish certain tasks. Creating an official department of transportation in Metro was a goal of Mayor Cooper's office.

Against Ratification NDOT will not become an office bureaucratic department in Metro Government.


  • Early voting continues through Saturday, July 30th.
  • Election day is Thursday, August 4th.To find your early voting polling location/other info visit GoVoteTN.


The knuckle-dragging, attack ads have started to roll out in Tennessee's hotly contested fifth district US congressional race. Political ads are interesting in that they don't hide or try to obscure their goals.

  • Harwell v. Ogles Oglas is a tax raiser, a lobbyist, and a DC insider (Watch)
  • Winstead v. Ogles/Harwell Ogles and Harwell are career politicians, and Winstead is an outsider (Watch)
  • TN Conservatives PAC (formed to back Ortagus) vs. Ogles Count how many times you hear the phrase "9 times" (Watch)
  • USA Freedom Fund vs. Harwell Harwell voted to give driver's licenses to illegal aliens in 2001 (Watch)




  • Madison site eyed for project now listed for sale (Post)
  • Atlanta developer starts Antioch apartment project (Post)
  • Demo of old-school VU-area buildings looms (Post)
  • Park Commons To Debut 329 Affordable & Market Priced Units Next To Geodis Park (Now Next)
  • Mid Tenn Powersports secures land for $40 million Mt. Juliet development (NBJ)


That's a riff on Cat Stevens' song "Where Do the Children Play" in case you didn't catch the joke. The answer appears to be: not far from home. A recent look at the data in a WSJ article indicates that young adults are sticking closer to home in recent years.

Some findings:

  • 80% of young adults at age 26 had moved less than 100 miles from where they grew up, and just 10% moved more than 500 miles away.
  • Young adults raised in higher-income families moved farther than those who were raised in lower-income families.
  • Researchers estimate that if wages in a given commuting zone increased by roughly $1,600 annually or about 80 cents per hour, 99% of the wage gains would reach residents who would have lived there anyway if there wasn’t a wage increase.

The temptation with data like this these days is to lament that the "numbers are down." You know, world's going to shit and everything. I'm not going to do that though. On the one hand, it could indicate decreased mobility, a defining feature of American culture, but on the other hand, it could be a return to more family-centric living arrangements.

Source: Young Adults Tend to Stay Close to the Nest
WSJ, 25 July 2022, Read Online


Perspective on Eli Dicken's shots on an active shooter in an Indiana mall. 8 of his 10 shots landed within 15 seconds.


  • 📉 The International Monetary Fund cut global growth forecasts again on Tuesday, warning that downside risks from high inflation and the Ukraine war were materializing and could push the world economy to the brink of recession if left unchecked.
  • 🤡 Attorney General Merrick Garland said Tuesday that the Justice Department will prosecute anyone who was “criminally responsible for interfering with the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another,” not ruling out the possibility of charging former president Donald Trump in the department’s January 6 investigation.
  • 📉 U.S. consumer confidence declined in July for the third consecutive month, dropping 2.7 points since June and reaching the lowest level recorded since February 2021.
  • 🇮🇱 Pro-Israel groups are spending millions of dollars in congressional Democratic primaries this year, an intervention intended to counter progressives elected to Congress in recent years who have at times criticized the U.S.-Israel relationship.
  • 🇷🇺 Tuesday, the new head of Russia’s space agency announced that Russia would leave the International Space Station after its current commitment expired at the end of 2024.


View our full event calendar here.

🍺 The Pamphleteer hosts Bar Hours on the third Thursday of every month (the next meeting is August 18th) 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.

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

🎻 Kindling Arts Festival runs July 28-31. A variety of different performances, each held at a different venue.

🎼 Listen to The Pamphleteer's Picks, our playlist of bands playing in Nashville each week.


🎙 Lynn Drury @ The 5 Spot, 6p, $10, Info
+ The Pamphleteer recommends

🎻 Bluegrass Night @ The American Legion Post 82, 7p, Free, Info

🍸 Electric relaxation @ Bar Sovereign, 9p, Free, 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

🎻 Gustav Holst's The Planets @ Schermerhorn (9/29-10/2), Info

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

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

🌶 The Gypsy Kings @ The Ryman (11/1), $39.50, Info



Review: The Black Phone
A mashup of ghost story and slasher offers a faith-tinged take on childhood trauma


The Meteor That Nearly Hit Nashville
John digs up a big, weird rock in his backyard and tries to discover its origin
Milk & Tennessee Forever
The History of Our State Drink
Metro Council’s War on the Unborn
Metro wants to force companies to pay for out-of-state abrortions
A Patients’ Rights Advocate Confronts Sen. Richard Briggs’s Bedside Manner
Kent Morrell’s decades-long fight with the medical establishment has led to an insurgent State Senate Campaign and a focus on Big Pharma’s influence over the General Assembly
The Revolution Must Go On
A Nashville columnist beseeches NYT liberals to move to the Volunteer State to change it
Office Hours, Vol. I: The Big Lie
In which we spill ink on what passes for journalism in Music City
Around the Web

⚯ Mystery of Noah’s Ark Solved! The shape of the ark has been a puzzle for millennia. Until now.

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