Good afternoon, everyone.
A short week for us here. There's much to say, much to think about and do. On Tuesday, the 113th General Assembly starts up again. We expect some fireworks from serial pariah Justin Jones. More on that later.
In the meantime, we have lots of good stuff in this morning's newsletter. Jerod interviews Twitter personality Raw Egg Nationalist about his work and, more specifically, about why the right doesn't make things (we got into that yesterday).
Tyler Hummel recaps some of G.K. Chesterton's observations of Nashville during his 1921 visit, and Megan discusses a mysterious push poll program that was circulated after Beacon’s poll revealed overwhelming support for ESAs.
And finally, we furnish our weekly film rundown for those trying to get out and see a flick.
✷ WHAT CHESTERTON SAW IN NASHVILLE
From Tyler Hummel
In early 1921, the great English Catholic journalist G.K. Chesterton visited the United States at the height of his literary career on a lecture tour that spanned the majority of the East Coast and Midwest, covering 30 cities including New York, Washington DC, Pittsburgh, Chicago, St. Louis, Oklahoma City, and Nashville. For four months, he and his wife enjoyed the highly anticipated tour, delivering 50 sold-out speeches and being swarmed by the press everywhere he went.
The following year, he published What I Saw In America, an essay collection documenting his experience of traveling through the U.S. that sold quite well in both the U.S. and England. My copy from 1922 is a fifth edition from December of that year, which suggests the book was flying off the shelves within the first four months of its publication.
While entire books could be written on the subjects he offhandedly mentions, Chesterton mentions Nashville four times in the book, and each mention warrants an examination as they speak to surprisingly concurrent issues, which isn’t surprising given the author’s reputation as the prophet of common sense.
❏ THE PUSH AND PULL OF POLITICS
From Megan Podsiedlik
Yesterday, we got hold of a link to a mysterious poll labeled “Local Issues Research.” The survey contained a series of pointed questions almost exclusively addressing “school vouchers.” The nature of the questions, paired with its timely release shortly after Beacon’s poll—which showed 68 percent support for the governor’s proposal to expand school choice—makes it a shining example of push polls’ utility in partisan politics.
WHAT’S A PUSH POLL?
Unlike opinion polls, which are used to assess public attitudes about certain issues, a push poll is a marketing technique. Recipients are presented with a series of loaded questions that are designed to influence their views. In this case, the poll was designed with the intent of painting “vouchers” in a negative light.
The survey included questions such as:
School vouchers take tens of millions of dollars from rural and small-town schools, leading to consolidation, a cut or end to extracurricular activities - including sports and band - and provide those resources to urban, private schools. Does knowing this make you more or less likely to support school vouchers?
Publicly funded school vouchers would bring government involvement and oversight into private schools and homeschool programs. Does knowing this make you more or less likely to support school vouchers?
You get the picture.
WHO DONE IT?
Though we’re unable to pinpoint who’s directly behind the survey, this same pollster was used for positive Republican outreach in the past. This is by no means a smoking gun; however, it’s a good reminder that ESA programs are a contentious topic across the political spectrum. When it comes to school choice, opponents and allies aren’t limited to one side of the aisle. We’re sure to hear more about the data collected from this poll as we roll into this year’s General Assembly.
Skydivers arrested for diving into TVA cooling towers in Hartsville (Channel 5) Three skydivers — Gio Masters, Josh Morris, and Austin Shaw — were detained in Trousdale County this week after jumping from a plane into a shutdown cooling tower at the old Hartsville nuclear plant.
Environmental officials nix controversial sewage plant along pristine creek in Hickman County (Lookout) The plant proposed by the Water Authority of Dickson County could have brought discharges of 12 million gallons a day of treated wastewater to Lick Creek, a pristine tributary of the Duck River. The vast majority — more than 95% — was slated to come from neighboring Dickson and Williamson Counties, not from inside Hickman.
Tennessee ranked No. 5 among top states for one-way moves in 202 (NBJ) The Volunteer State ranked No. 5 among the top U.S. growth states in 2023, up from No. 6 in 2022 — but Nashville doesn't appear on the list of top cities.
56% of Tennessee's sales tax collection go to education (Center Square) Sales tax accounts for most of both state and local tax collections in Tennessee. The state collected $13.8 billion in sales tax of the $22.0 billion it collected. There was $4.3 billion in local sales tax collected out of nearly $4.7 billion in total collections over that same span.
- Postino Wine Cafe to open in former 12South Taqueria del Sol building (NBJ)
- Limo Peruvian Eatery will open in East Nashville (NBJ)
- Airport officials seek to land Nashville-Dublin service (Post)
- High-end auto showroom building sells for $3.7M (Post)
- East Nashville set for Peruvian restaurant (Post)
📰 Check out the full newsletter archive here.
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