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No. 684: Dispatch from the Road
Photo by Dameli Zhantas / Unsplash

No. 684: Dispatch from the Road

📅 Today, Davis is in NYC, Jerod reveals the ten best movies from last year, and Megan looks at a piece of legislation regarding farm easements.

Good afternoon, everyone.

In New York City. Came up here to see Chris Rufo speak with the guys over at IM–1776 about what an alternative to the current status quo might look like. A smart, young crowd from across the globe packed a hot Lower East Side basement to listen.

Sometimes you have ideas drilled into your head so incessantly that you accept them as dogma. Then, someone says something that refreshes your deeply internalized perspective, and you see it in a new light.

The answers to many of our political problems are simple, but not easy. We are not confronted with specifically new challenges, as a historian might say of the early settlers of the continent. We are at a more advanced stage in American history. One in which the old legends that bound together Americans until at least the mid-21st century have frayed, and whether we want to accept it or not, have increasingly less sway over the populace.

I'm forced to be vague here because it's past time I hit publish and to be specific would bog us down. As America ages, it's sensible to to believe that we will soon come upon some new understanding of the country, building off of, but distinct from the past. That time is nigh.

Quickly, one small anecdote that reflects this is the sudden trepidation many parents have towards sending their children into public—or private in some cases—schools. This is a shift in orientation towards the American political establishment that we are in the very, very early innings of understanding.




The best flicks to hit the big screen this year

From Jerod Hollyfield

Now that another Oscar season has faded to black with Christopher Nolan, Cillian Murphy, and Robert Downey, Jr. gaining the plaudits that have long eluded them, it’s time for a clear-eyed look at the last year in cinema. If anything, 2023 proved that the movies still matter. Barbienheimer remains a hot topic of conversation, Taylor Swift’s Eras staved off the impacts of the interminable writers’ and actors’ strikes, and Sound of Freedom changed movie distribution and marketing as we know it. 

Still, the trajectory of 2023 didn’t quite pave a path forward for the future of the movies. With the exception of the latest Guardians of the Galaxy, superhero films shifted from the foundation of Hollywood’s business model to the year’s biggest albatrosses. Tinseltown’s nostalgia obsession also came up short when Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny underperformed. Even a host of stalwart turn-of-the-century franchise entries like Fast X and the well-reviewed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem and Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning - Part 1 eked out just enough to justify the next entry. 

Regardless, what’s most important is that the movies are not just back, but better than they have been since 1973 or 1999–as long as one knows where to look. Here are The Pamphleteer’s top ten films of 2023.

See the full list


From Megan Podsiedlik

During February’s State of the State address, Governor Lee announced his intention to protect farmland in Tennessee. 

Agriculture is the top contributor to the state’s economy, yet the governor, himself a third-generation cattle farmer, noted that “we are ranked the third-most threatened state for farmland loss in the country.” So he proposed a solution: a farmland conservation fund. The program, adopted by several other states in the Southeast, would “give farm families the ability to preserve and protect their farmland for future generations.” But, on the hill, all has not gone to plan. 

Though Rep. William Lamberth (R-Portland) and Sen. Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) sponsored legislation to establish the initiative, the $25 million Farmland Preservation Fund may be dead in the water. The bill was set to be voted on during the Senate’s Energy, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Committee’s final meeting last week, but it was pulled from the agenda. This means that, as of now, Johnson’s bill will not be able to pass through the Senate, effectively killing the legislation.

Despite the closure of the Senate committee, Rep. Lamberth’s coinciding bill has made it through the House Ag. Committee and is set to be heard by the Government and Operations committee next Monday. What’s more, we’re now witnessing an attempt to get the Senate to reconsider. Constituents in support of the initiative have been spotted walking the halls and attending meetings throughout the week. They, and others, have been advocating for the Senate Ag. Committee chairman, Steve Southerland (R-Morristown), to reopen his committee.

According to multiple sources, the Senate simply doesn’t have the votes. Some of the hesitancy surrounding this bill was revealed during last Wednesday’s House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee meeting

“When this first came out, it scared me to death,” Rep. Bud Hulsey (R-Kingsport) said halfway through the discussion. “Looking at what the federal government's doing, and the land grabs…[that are] going on, it scared me a great deal.”

He went on to commend the bill’s co-sponsor, Rep. Rusty Grills (R-Newbern), for his work on the legislation. “I fussed about the language of the servient, and you took that out,” said Hulsey. “...Didn't want any government money tied to this, just state money and you fixed that. And then I worried most about selling or transferring, or the state divesting itself of this program and be bought up and end up with an NAC type deal, and you fixed that.”  Though Hulsey is still hesitant about the program’s 15-year term agreement, he voiced his appreciation for Grills’ efforts. “It took a great deal of fear out of a whole lot of people's hearts,” he concluded.

As of this writing, the Senate Ag. Committee has not been reopened.


Tennessee Government Council Urges Legislature To Give Illegal Immigrant Kids ‘Legal’ Status At 18 (Daily Wire) The Tennessee Youth Transitions Advisory Council, created by the legislature to help the state with foster care, called in its annual report for the Tennessee General Assembly to consider giving legal status to illegal immigrant children so that they could be qualified for extended foster care services.

Tennessee collected $7M in taxes on $380M sports wagers in February (Center Square) That compares to nearly $6.4 million in taxes on $327 million in wagers in February 2023, which included one less day than February 2024, and $3 million in February 2022. Tennessee stopped reporting the adjusted gross income of the state’s collective sportsbooks midway through 2023 and does not report data from individual sportsbooks.

Senate Education panel vacates Tennessee State University Board of Directors (Lookout) The measure moves next to the full Senate, charging Gov. Bill Lee with appointing eight new members by June 30 to the 10-member body that runs one of the state’s two land grant universities. The other two members come from the student body and teaching staff.


  • North Capitol building to open in May (Post)
  • TikTok to take office space in Midtown (Post)
  • Hotel planned for Gulch-area site sees height increased (Post)


View our calendar for the week here and our weekly film rundown here.

📅 Visit our On The Radar list to find upcoming events around Nashville.

🎧 On Spotify: Pamphleteer's Picks, a playlist of our favorite bands in town this week.

👨🏻‍🌾 Check out our Nashville farmer's market guide.


🪕 Green River Revue @ Station Inn, 9p, $20, Info
+ bluegrass and roots

🎸 Tanner Usrey @ The Basement East, 8p, $26.71, Info

🎸 Philip Bowen @ The Basement, 9p, $15.68, Info
+ troubadour with West Virginia roots

🍀 The Irish Tenors with The Nashville Symphony @ Schermerhorn Symphony Center, 7:30p, $55+, Info

🎺 Live Jazz: Parker James, Paul DeFiglia & Anson Horne @ Vinyl Tap, 7p, Free, Info

🍀 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
+ vet community here

In case you missed it...

📰 Check out the full newsletter archive here.

No. 683: Number by Number Initiatives
🗓️ Davis talks about how to market a government initiative, and Megan details one of those initiatives.
No. 682: Raw and Uncut
📅 Today, Davis talks about raw milk and attitudes toward health, and Megan breaks down why Mayor O’Connell is so adamant about pushing his transit referendum right now.
No. 680: Out on the Weekend
🗓️ Megan recaps the council, Jerod reviews a poetry collection, and our weekly film rundown.
No. 679: Lost in the Sauce
📅 Today, Davis talks about the arts, Jerod reviews The Zone of Interest, and Megan digs into Metropolis, the parking company everyone seems to have issues with.
No. 677: Super Tuesday
🇺🇸 Super Tuesday, what do I do? How many potholes have been filled? And more!


  • 🎞️ The Pamphleteer’s ten most anticipated films of 2024 (Read)
  • 🏠 The Zone of Interest cuts deeper than its Nazi-alluding target audience would like to admit. (Read)
  • ⛪️ Rob Reiner's documentary on Christian Nationalism completely misses the mark (Read)
  • ☢️ A small Tennessee town's forgotten history as a nuclear leader (Read)
  • And check out our podcast, YouTube, and article archive for more.