Bar Hours returns tonight at 6 p.m. at Von Elrod's in Germantown. Join us for a beer to celebrate the end of the year.
Good afternoon, everyone.
In case you can't see that orange rectangle above this, we're getting together at Von Elrod's in Germantown at 6 p.m. tonight. Join us for a beer if you're looking to get out of the house.
This morning, Jerod Hollyfield chatted with former Vanderbilt professor Dr. Carol Swain, who made national headlines this week after Chris Rufo and Christopher Brunet broke the news that Harvard president Claudine Gay had plagiarized portions of Swain's book.
Thrown in relief with last week's Congressional hearing on campus free speech in which Gay refused to condemn calls for violence and genocide against Jews, embattled would be an accurate way to describe her.
And yet, despite donors pulling their money and calls for her resignation, Harvard reaffirmed its commitment to Gay on Tuesday. In the interim, more evidence of plagiarism has emerged. The whole charade reveals that Gay has benefited immensely from the expansion of the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) bureaucracy.
The question at the center of all of this is whether or not there is a place for DEI on college campuses. Yesterday, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt issued an executive order requiring state agencies and institutions of higher education to initiate a review of their DEI programs to “eliminate and dismiss” what the order called “non-critical personnel.”
I hope that the Tennessee Governor's office is not far behind in issuing a similar directive. DEI has no place in our universities. The Kafkaesque complexity it adds to the relatively straightforward job of providing students with a good education has been a net negative for everyone. Abolish it. As you’ll learn in Jerod’s conversation, Swain agrees.
And finally, Megan has an update on 2020's Christmas Day bombing.
❏ RESURRECTING SECOND AVE: CHRISTMAS BOMBING UPDATE
On December 25th, 2020, an RV full of explosives detonated outside of the AT&T building, destroying a historic stretch of buildings and businesses on Second Avenue North. Now, as we approach the third anniversary of the bombing, locals are starting to wonder why it’s taking so long to bring the popular downtown side street back to life.
By the numbers: 1,200 employees, 400 residents, 68 businesses, 45 apartments, and 10 buildings were impacted by the explosion. AT&T customers lost service not just in Tennessee, but in five other states: Missouri, Indiana, Georgia, Illinois, and Alabama. Over 500 MNPD officers took part in the response to the incident and its aftermath, according to the FBI report. And though eight people were injured by the blast, there was only one fatality: the bomber himself.
Since that day, Music City has been picking up the pieces; planning for the restoration began in 2021, with blueprints to create a market street tying the riverfront back into the downtown experience. This May, renderings for the North End were completed, and Mayor O'Connell gave an update on November 16th. “We've got a very good process that is administered by MDHA’s Michelle Scopel,” he told the press. “I think we have secured most of the preservation elements we want to see, and there's a great vision that we hope will, when the recovery is complete, be bigger than just Second Avenue itself.”
In addition to rejuvenating the area, Metro Water is taking advantage of the opportunity to overhaul the stormwater drainage and sewage. “This is a big deal for long-term infrastructure capacity,” O’Connell remarked. “I think this is the right time to get all of the infrastructure, including both on the ground as well as street level infrastructure, resolved so that the final building environment there connects people.”
Despite periodic updates, many locals have doubts about the restoration. How much longer is going to take? Mayor O’Connell tried to allay skepticism by explaining that difficulties with insurance companies and decisions concerning historical preservation caused a few snags in the process: “It's not going as quickly as I think I, or a lot of people, would like,” he said last month. “Even while I was still on Metro Council, it was disappointing to me to see how unwilling some of the insurance companies were to negotiate in good faith with property owners… and I know some of them have retained legal counsel to assist with that.”
HOUSE APPROVES IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY OF PRESIDENT BIDEN
“Tennesseans deserve to know the office of the Vice President—and now President—is not for sale and that justice under the law shall be applied evenly to everyone regardless of their last name,” states Cookeville’s US Rep. John Rose in a press release sent out last night. Rose is referring to his vote to reaffirm an impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden. The House approved the resolution, authorizing the inquiry with a 221-212 vote.
“Unlike Democrats’ predetermined impeachment of President Trump, House Republicans are conducting substantive due diligence and following the facts, not opinions or predisposed convictions,” Rep. Rose’s statement reads. “With today’s vote reaffirming the ongoing impeachment inquiry, the White House will no longer be able to avoid constitutional subpoenas integral to this fact-finding investigation by arguing it hasn’t been authorized by a vote of the full U.S. House of Representatives.”
Nashville granted $13 million for transportation safety project days after deadly crash (Channel 5) This week, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that Nashville will receive $13 million for planning, implementation and demonstration projects that improve safety and help prevent death and injury on roads like Nolensville Pike and McClain Avenue.
TSU Students Seek a Solution for $2.1 Billion Underfunding (Banner) This latest underfunding news came on Sept. 18, when the U.S. secretaries of Education and Agriculture sent letters to 16 state governors, including Gov. Lee. In Tennessee’s case, the feds found that the state had underfunded TSU by $2.1 billion between 1987 and 2020, based on per-student spending at each school.
- East side site once considered for project sells for $13M (Post)
- ‘Stay Where The Stars Stay’ motel set for update (Post)
- Broadway hotel sells for $81.76M (Post)
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