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No. 340: Update Your Science, Man

⁂ Nashville's Alt-Daily ⁂ Science · Guns · Ham · What else is there?

📰 Here's what we're talking about today:
  • Intro We review some of the coverage of yesterday's Walsh/Vanderbilt fiasco.
  • Nashville Megan looks at AG Skrmetti's recent support of protecting gun owners.
  • Elsewhere Geneva DeCobert visits with Al Benton, Tennessee's King of Country Ham.
  • And More We release our weekly film rundown in 'Local Noise'.

Good morning, everyone.

The reaction to Matt Walsh's report yesterday was swift and furious. Governor Lee announced his intent to conduct an investigation into VUMC's trans clinic, majority leaders Jack Johnson and William Lamberth announced their intent to author a bill outlawing transgender surgeries on youths under the age of 18 in Tennessee, and the liberal press announced their intent to ensure that 14-year-olds will always be able to receive tax-funded castrations.

Of course, none of the “Nashville luminaries” who sounded off on the issue addressed the actual problem: Vanderbilt was performing these surgeries on children. You can scroll our Twitter feed for a sample.

In an op-ed released this morning, Tennessee Lookout editor-in-chief Holly McCall called the outrage a "cynical ploy for votes." She dives into her analysis with a heavy disclaimer:

I have no claim to expertise on LGBTQ issues as I am a straight, cisgender woman. I have always been comfortable with myself and I don’t know what it’s like to feel like I was born into the wrong body, but I know this: Transgender people aren’t a 21st-century phenonmenon and gender-affirming care can be a matter of life and death.

"Update your science, man," she croaks from a second-story college dorm room with pot smoke billowing out the cracked window. Thanks for that, Holly.

Further down in the piece, McCall compares the fuss over transgender health to the AIDS crisis in the 80s. Apparently, parents expressing outrage over teenage mastectomies today are equivalent to people calling AIDS “gay cancer” 40 years ago. She includes the standard line about liberty one always sees in these things— this time, it concerns Republicans openly contradicting their platform of supporting personal freedom and parental choice by opposing the performance of mastectomies and chemical castration on children. "How can you be pro-freedom, but against letting people do something," goes the line.

Holly, like most other liberals, has a queer definition of freedom (yes, I used that word deliberately): to her, freedom is about granting people the liberty to do whatever whenever whereever regardless of how harmful it is to those around them– or to themselves. Anyone who says no to basically anything is automatically a fascist or whatever the epithet of the month is.

Meanwhile, over at WPLN– that bastion of reasoned thought–Blake Farmer (who owes at least part of his paycheck to VUMC) described the ordeal as the "latest target in a far-right campaign against transgender health clinics." Note the framing here. Blake presents the fiasco as just another instance of right-wing hallucinatory furor. Just another satanic panic.

Vanderbilt has since issued a statement stating they broke no laws. That's clearly not the issue here, and that they don't explicitly deny having performed transgender surgeries on minors means that, despite the protestations of people like the very serious—no, seriously—John Ray Clemmons, they likely have.

In a civilized world, anyone aiding and abetting the castration of children would be removed from polite society. It simply should be illegal to perform irreversible sexual operations on patients under the age of 18. If you disagree with this, I have a ticket on the train to hell you might be interested in.


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

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

Thanks for reading.



General Skrmetti leads the charge against unlawful monitoring and tracking of law-abiding citizens who purchase firearms.

“Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti along with Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen is leading a coalition of 24 states alerting the Chief Executive Officers of three major credit card companies that the recent creation of a Merchant Category Code for the processing of firearms purchases from gun stores is potentially a violation of consumer protection and antitrust laws.”


In a letter signed and sent by the 24 Attorneys General, the CEOs of American Express, Mastercard, and Visa were put on notice regarding a Merchant Category Code created for gun stores to use when processing credit and debit card transactions:

As our respective States’ chief legal officers, we are tasked with protecting the constitutional rights of our citizens,defending our consumers from privacy intrusions and other abuses, and enforcing antitrust laws. Accordingly, we share our concerns and ask that you take immediate action to comport with our consumer protection laws and respect the constitutional rights of all Americans.

The letter ends with this warning: “Be advised that we will marshal the full scope of our lawful authority to protect our citizens and consumers from unlawful attempts to undermine their constitutional rights. Please keep that in mind as you consider whether to proceed with adopting and implementing this Merchant Category Code.”


“Giant financial companies must not use their combined market power to circumvent our representative democracy,” said Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti. “As Attorney General, I protect the people of Tennessee from corporate collusion that threatens to undermine their constitutional rights. Working together with my colleagues from other states, we will marshal the full scope of our lawful authority to stop this abuse.”

For more insight, General Skrmetti discussed antitrust laws and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria during his interview on The Pamphleteer Podcast. (Listen Here)


Here are a few laws worth noting regarding firearms in Tennessee:

  • Firearms Information Privacy Protection Act makes it a Class A misdemeanor for any personnel to intentionally disclose information that identifies another person as the purchaser or owner of a firearm, firearm ammunition, or firearm accessory for the purpose of: (1) Compiling or facilitating the compilation of a federal firearms registry or database; or (2) The confiscation of firearms. (Enacted April 2021)
  • Constitutional Carry People 21 and older are permitted to carry handguns, open and concealed, without a permit. Members of the military aged 18 to 20 are also permitted to carry handguns without a permit under the law. The law does not apply to long guns. (Enacted July 2021)
  • Carry Permit Age Change This bill lowered the age requirement to obtain an enhanced or concealed handgun carry permit from 21 years to 18 years of age. (Enacted April 2022)
  • Tax Holiday Until June 30, 2023, there is a sales tax holiday for the retail sale of gun safes and gun safety devices.


TN Rep. Gloria Johnson (D-Knox County) and TN Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D-Davidson County) along with TN Sen. Sara Kyle (D Shelby County) introduced a “red flag” gun law in 2020. The bills failed, but here was the language in the legislation.  

  • Orders of Protection as introduced would allow a court to issue an emergency protection order upon a finding that a person poses an imminent risk of harm to the person or others if allowed to purchase or possess a firearm; authorizes a family member, household member, intimate partner, or law enforcement officer to petition for such an order.




  • Miami developer lands financing for Gulch tower (Post)
  • Low-cost condos for sale in former office buildings (Post)
  • Cannery Hall plans 2023 opening (Post)
  • Investors pay $1.46M for Music Row property (Post)
  • River North industrial property sells for $13.5M (Post)

❦ BENTON'S BEST: Tennessee's King of Country Ham

By Geneva DeCobert • Read Online

Benton’s Country Ham has been in business for 49 years. From its foundation in the autumn of 1973 to today, it has grown to be an enormous provider of bacon, country ham, and European-style pork across the United States. Benton’s name has been represented at culinary festivals everywhere — from the Big Apple BBQ Festival to Atlanta’s Food and Wine. I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with Al Benton himself at his main store in Madisonville, Tennessee to take a look around and discuss everything from his modest beginnings to current processes.


In 1973, Benton was working full-time as a high school guidance counselor. Only two days after he had gotten his Master’s degree, the school handed out a salary schedule to the faculty. “That was all I needed to know to know I needed a career change,” he laughs. At the time, he had “no designs in the meat business,” but he had heard of a man named Albert Hicks who had just quit his own bacon and ham business, which he had been running since 1947. Hicks ran his store out of a small building just behind his house. Benton got the idea to ask Hicks if he could lease that little building, and Hicks obliged. “I was as young as the green grass in the backyard,” he reminisces, but he now had one goal: to make “world class country ham and bacon.”

Continue reading...



  • 📈 The Federal Reserve made history on Wednesday, approving a third consecutive 75-basis-point hike in an aggressive move to tackle the white-hot inflation that has been plaguing the US economy.
  • 🤡 The North Dakota man accused of killing a teenager with his car following a "political argument" said he didn't understand the charges against him during a recent court appearance.
  • 🗳 The House passed legislation Wednesday that would overhaul the way Congress counts and ratifies presidential elector votes, responding to efforts by former President Donald Trump and his supporters to try to overturn the 2020 election results.
  • 💰 New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit on Wednesday accusing former president Donald Trump, three of his adult children, and executives at his business empire of fraudulent financial practices that she claims occurred over the course of more than a decade.
  • 🇨🇳 The heads of three major American banks pledged in a congressional hearing on Wednesday that if China was slapped with sanctions by the United States due to an invasion of Taiwan, they would withdraw from the Chinese market.
  • 🐳 A day after 230 whales were found stranded on the wild and remote west coast of Australia’s island state of Tasmania, only 35 were still alive despite rescue efforts that were to continue Thursday.


View the full calendar and see upcoming shows here.

🍺 The Pamphleteer hosts Bar Hours on the third Thursday of every month (the next meeting is this Thursday, October 20th) at Lucky's 3 Star Bar from 6-8 PM.

🎩 The Pilgrimage Festival is happening on the 24th and 25th at The Park at Harlinsdale, a century-old horse farm recently purchased by the City of Franklin. The festival has six stages and 60+ artists spanning Rock & Roll, Americana, Alt-Country, Bluegrass, Jazz, Indie, Gospel, Pop & Blues.

🎪 Check out our favorite driving distance festivals this summer.

👨🏻‍🌾 The Pamphleteer farmer's market guide.

⚔️ The Knights in Armor exhibit is running till October 10th at the Frist: European arms and armor from the renowned collection of the Museo Stibbert in Florence, Italy.

🎧 Listen to the Pamphleteer's Picks on Spotify, our playlist of the best bands playing in town this week.


🎻 String Quartet @ Edgehill Public Library, 4p, Free, Info
+ Part of  the Nashville Symphony's neighborhood residency in Edgehill

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

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

🎸 Open Mic @ Fox & Locke, 6:30p, Free, Info

🎻 Community Concert @ Rose Park Elementary, 7p, Free, Info
+ Part of  the Nashville Symphony's neighborhood residency in Edgehill


The latest releases and special screenings hitting Music City this weekend


Don’t Worry Darling The hullabaloo about actor-turned-director Olivia Wilde’s sophomore film has remained headline news since Ted Lasso served her custody papers during a promo panel for the project last spring. Yet, after Wilde’s affair with co-star Harry Styles, a feud with leading lady Florence Pugh, a spat with almost-star Shia LaBeouf that saw her owned in full view of the public, and that amazing Chris Pine meme, word from the fall film festivals is that this The Stepford Wives ripoff is a laughable disaster. When her first film flopped at the box-office, Wilde took to Twitter to warn that its failure could be the end for women directors. Who knew someone sporting a “The Future is Female Ejaculation” T-shirt on set would make incels look reasonable? May as well see what the fuss is about.

Now playing in theaters.


Avatar The highest-grossing film in history no one can quote a line from returns to theatres in glorious IMAX.  See James Cameron’s visually stunning Pocahontas riff before its next sequel dominates the holiday season or finally gives the King of the World his comeuppance.

Now playing in theaters.


Catherine Called Birdy Just when it seemed Lena Dunham had assumed her rightful spot in the pop-culture landfill, the girl who ruined a generation follows up last spring’s Sundance dud of a sex farce, Sharp Stick, with this adaptation of Karen Cushman’s now-classic 1994 children’s book about a medieval preteen. Remember when the idea of Dunham around children seemed more dangerous than Olivia Wilde with a camera? Me too.

Now playing at The Belcourt


On the Come Up A 16-year-old girl  (Jamila C. Gray) hustles her way to the top of the rap battle game in this YA adaptation with appearances by Lil Yachty and Method Man that has an 85% on Rotten Tonatoes.

Now playing in theaters.


The Railway Children Return Edith Nesbit’s 1905 classic children’s novel about some ragamuffins living near a train station in an English village during the Russo-Japanese War gets a second remake. Even with a handful of okay reviews and no promotional push, it has to be better than a Lena Dunham movie.



🎙 In Conversation: Jonathan Skrmetti (TN Attorney General)
⁂ Nashville’s Alt-Daily ⁂ Nashville’s Alt-Daily ⁂ Nashville’s Alt-Daily ⁂ Nashville’s Alt-Daily ⁂ Nashville’s Alt-Daily ⁂ Nashville’s Alt-Daily ⁂
Delight Forged Through Suffering
The History of West Tennessee Barbecue
September 11th and Selective Memory
In never forgetting 9/11, we willfully neglect that we could have curtailed our current epidemic of government overreach two decades ago
Record Shopping with J.D. and Kirk
Crate digging with two Nashville blues players
Shield in Tatters
The Broken Front Line Against Urban Crime
Around the Web

➫ Liberals have a fetish problem There's nothing sexy about castration

Words of Wisdom
“I think the secret is to keep working. You can’t sit down.”

Al Benton

Today's newsletter is brought to you by Megan Podsiedlik (Nashville), Edward Landstreet (Local Noise), and Davis Hunt (everything else).