Good morning, everyone.
Their passage is likely to provoke the dense stupidity of state representatives like Gloria Johnson and John Ray Clemmons and the broader media ecosystem who seem to really want kids to have access to these things.
Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) serves over 80,000 students meals over the 180-day school year. Mostly, this means lunch, but public schools also serve breakfast prior to classes, and many of these students rely on it. What are they getting? This week, at Antioch High School, breakfast choices generally range from “cereal bars” to “breakfast pizza,” served with apple slices. On two days, students will be offered a “turkey biscuit,” the only option that explicitly includes a solid protein. The trend for breakfasts across school menus seem to be simple sugars and a side of fruit—not exactly brain food.
For lunch, students can choose between a “chef’s salad” with ham or tuna, or a variety spanning the week of selections such as “crispy chicken sandwich” and “general tso’s chicken.” In a funny turn, the most healthy and appetizing option across the weeklong lunch menu is “cilantro-lime brown rice and black beans.” Read: rice and beans.
Which dietary suggestions do these meals follow? The USDA Dietary Guidelines released every five years (last in 2020) are the book all public schools work from to design menus. These guidelines haven't changed much in the last two decades, and though they are imperfect, a menu that follows them would be far better than what MNPS students are given. While the USDA guidelines are still outdated—failing to acknowledge the benefits of animal products and promoting empty, high omega-6 seed oils—they do encourage a variety of food.
Modeled after Michelle Obama’s MyPlate with a vegan-inclusive twist, the booklet recommends that diets include relatively equal portions of vegetables to whole grains, and fruits to protein. It also includes the suggestion of some dairy or “dairy alternatives” each day. The tagline for these is “Make Every Bite Count,” meaning that every food consumed to meet a daily caloric intake should also be as nutritious and filling as possible. This is in response to the growing obesity epidemic in the United States, which the USDA has been desperately flailing against for the last thirty years.
Interestingly, the USDA guidelines our public school menus are modeled after explicitly state multiple times to avoid fried foods and foods with added sugars. A scan of the breakfast menus across Metro Nashville Public Schools will indicate that there are more than enough chocolate chip muffins, pancakes, and sugary cereals—indeed, aside from a bit of fruit, this is what is offered the majority of the time. Along with this, each week seems to include a crispy chicken sandwich or chicken tenders on the lunch menu. While chicken is a low fat animal protein and a great choice when eating on a budget (and we know kids love chicken tenders) there are a plethora of ways to serve it that aren’t covering it in batter or breading. And of course, let’s be honest, this is not grandma’s fried chicken they are getting, but the absolute cheapest industrial stuff, frozen and reheated.
Granted, students don’t pay much for these meals and free or reduced price meals are commonplace—but they are children. Throughout the majority of published government food guidelines, a common thread is the importance of proper and whole food for growing people. For those spending a day trying to learn, I’d imagine that junk food and sides of fruit scarfed down in under 30 minutes are not giving them fuel for a six hour day. Instead, they get a high amount of nervous energy and an insulin dumping crash to follow. If grades and numbers are the concern, wouldn’t a proper diet make a massive difference?
﹅ VOTING MACHINE INVESTIGATION
On January 10, 2023, the first day of the Tennessee 113th General Assembly, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Senate Randy McNally appointed a special ad hoc committee to investigate an election complaint made in Senate District 21. Independent candidate Rueben Dockery filed a complaint regarding what he explained was a malfunction with voting machines. Dockery lost his state senate race in the twenty-first district to incumbent Senator Jeff Yarbro last November, receiving 23.2 percent of the votes compared to Yarbro’s 76.8 percent.
THE OL’ SWITCHEROO The voting machine malfunction described by Dockery could implicate potential ballot switching. To rule out any fraudulence, Dockery filed a contest to the race with the Davidson County Chancery Court on December 16, 2022: the claim was redirected to the Senate after it was determined that this recourse fell under its jurisdiction. Dockery is pursuing a paper ballot audit.
“Before I ran, I looked at this from a political science perspective. . . We analyzed previous elections and some of the other variables and determined—and no punch to Yarbro— but he was very weak in this new district. He was unfavorable. He had about a 28 percent favorability,” Dockery explained to The Pamphleteer when asked about his pursuit of the investigation. Regardless of the outcome, Dockery hopes his pursuance reestablishes voter confidence in the electoral process.
WHO IS THIS GUY? A pastor at Beythel Family Church, Dockery has established himself in Davidson County over the last 35 years as a proponent of education accessibility. In 2003, he authored one of the first charter school applications in the state. His proposal was turned down multiple times for various reasons but led to the establishment of his nonprofit, Building Families and Communities Missions Incorporated, and the Dockery Christian Academy, a private school for boys near Antioch.
SHOW ME THE EVIDENCE Due to the unprecedented nature of this case, the Senate ad hoc committee’s attorney established a procedure and judgment protocol during the first meeting on February 13, 2023, by referencing a Supreme Court precedent set by Emery v. Robertson County Election Commission. Dockery feels the proceedings have been fair so far, both to him and to Senator Yarbro. The ad hoc committee will reconvene to hear a presentation of evidence brought forward by Dockery on March 16, 2023, at 4 p.m.
St. Louis mayor says crash causing Smyrna teen to lose her legs could have been prevented (NewsChannel5) A crash that left a Smyrna teen without both of her legs is now leading to political fallout 300 miles away in St. Louis. The St. Louis mayor is calling out the city's circuit attorney, saying she could have prevented this accident.
Tennessee bills would change gun permit laws, allow campus carry (Center Square) A bill that does several things, including changing the term “handgun” to “firearm” in concealed carry code, made its way through the House Civil Justice Committee. The bill was amended and also now includes language to lower the age for concealed carry permits from 21 to 18.
Tennessee Commission Reports at Least $62.9 Billion of Public Infrastructure Improvement Needs (Star) Since TACIR’s 2019 report, covering July 2017 to June 2022, the estimated funding for infrastructure needs has grown $49.8 billion or 26 percent.
Confederate soldier monument to stay in Centennial Park, state decides (WKRN) The Tennessee Historical Society voted to reject a petition made by the Metro Board of Parks and Recreation in March 2022 to remove the statue, citing the Heritage Protection Act which says no memorial of a historic conflict, entity, event, figure, or organization on public property should be moved.
- Christian musician TobyMac unveils development project (Tennessean)
- Wedgewood-Houston properties listed for sale (Post)
- City begins $10M participatory budgeting program (Post)
- Mixed-use project eyed for The Nations (Post)
THINGS TO DO
🎧 On our Spotify: Pamphleteer's Picks, a playlist of our favorite bands in town this week, On the Radar, a playlist of the best bands in town in the future, and Nashville Sounds, an ever-growing sample of the local music scene.
🎻 Guerrero conducts 'An American in Paris' with the Nashville Symphony twice this week at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center (2/23 & 2/24). Get your tickets here.
🪕 Billy Strings does two nights at Bridgestone Arena (Friday, 2/24 & Saturday 2/25) before doing a special show at the Ryman on Sunday for those who went to one of the Bridgestone shows. Bridgestone tickets here and Ryman tickets here.
🎸 Kelly’s Heroes @ Robert’s Western World, 6:30p, Free, Info
🎸 Open Mic @ Fox & Locke, 6:30p, Free, Info
+ vet community here
🐙 ROOM 008 @ The Eighth Room, 8p, Free, RSVP
+ Nashville's Thurday night of music, dancing, fashion, and champagne
ON THE RADAR
🥁 Os Mutantes @ The Blue Room, 3/1, 7p, $25, Info
+ Brazilian psychedelic rock band, part of the Tropicália movement of the late 1960s
🎸 Dawes @ Ryman Auditorium, 3/4, 8p, $25+, Info
+ folk-rock from Los Angeles
🪕 Margo Price @ Ryman Auditorium, 3/9, $35+, Info
+ Nashville-based singer-songwriter
🎻 Brahms and Dvořák with the Nashville Symphony @ Schermerhorn Symphony Center 3/10 & 3/11, $25+, Info
🕺 Lettuce @ The Brooklyn Bowl, 3/17-18, $32, Info
🎸 Tennis @ The Brooklyn Bowl, 3/25, $25, Info
+ indie pop duo making modern lo-fi with a sweet '50s pop heart
🎻 Saint-Saëns “Organ” Symphony with the Nashville Symphony @ Schermerhorn Symphony Center, 3/31 & 4/1, 8p, Info
+ Experience the awe-inspiring sonic splendor of the pipe organ
🎸 Goose @ The Ryman Auditorium, 3/31-4/1, Info
+ Funky jam band