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No. 687: Waiting for the Thunder
Photo by Johannes Plenio / Unsplash

No. 687: Waiting for the Thunder

๐Ÿ—“๏ธ Davis predicts the weather and Megan talks about the morbid history of the Cumberland River.

Good afternoon, everyone.

First order of business: don't forget about our Bar Hours this week with the guys over at RidgeRunner. Register for the event here to get the location.

There's an unsettling silence right now as we head into the 2024 general election which, in more ways than one, will be contentious and eat up a ton of airtime. 

Here in Nashville, we first have the impending transit referendum. Second, a number of candidates have emerged to challenge Rep. Andy Ogles for his seat in the 5th District. And third, the presidential election in which the party in power is purging political opponents in a soft-Soviet manner.

Regarding the 5th district, yesterday we linked to a story about Councilmember Courtney Johnson exploring a challenge to Ogles as a Republican. Not to be outdone, Williamson County resident Kiran Sreepada confirmed to the Tennessee Lookout that he will run as a Democrat in District Five.

Meanwhile, the Tennessean broke a story about gun control advocate and current chair of the Metro Human Relations Commission Maryam Abolfazli mulling a run as a Democrat in the same district.

"As a woman and a mom, it feels now or never. It just does. I donโ€™t know what else theyโ€™re going to do, and if I sit here for two more years, so many things will happen. Iโ€™m clear on that now," Abolfazli told the Tennessean. Seems like she's going to run a campaign on vibes.

Whatever the case, the silence will eventually be broken by a peal of thunder that will ring out across the sky, and we'll be back in the thick of partisan politics. Until then, enjoy the lull.




From Megan Podsiedlik

As the ongoing search for missing University of Missouri student Riley Strain continues, the discovery of an unidentified body in the Cumberland River on Sunday has left Nashvillians with even more questions than they bargained for.

โ€œ...Apparently, bodies are just floating down the Cumberland like fish,โ€ Jason Steen, editor of Scoop Nashville, posted on X. โ€œHow does this even happen so frequently that a couple a week doesn't sound any alarm bells?โ€

โ€œThis keeps happening simply because of [the] lack of the surveillance cameras mounted on the river banks, and on top of that, the water police stopped patrolling the river,โ€ commented one user.  

โ€œIf they are from the unhoused communities along the river rather than 22-year-old college kids with financial planning internships, I think you know the answer to that question,โ€ insinuated another.

Bodies surfacing near the East Bank is morbid, and it does happen more than one might think. I myself have found a body floating down the Cumberland River, seven years ago while overlooking the waterfront from my backyard. I called it in at dusk. Despite the sharp turn that creates a catchall whirlpool where the river bends near the East Bank, the detective I talked to told me that had the body gone unnoticed overnight, it might have traveled several miles by morning.

After the body was taken to the medical examiner to be identified, I scanned newspapers for weeks in search of more information. But, as with most of these incidents, the case wasnโ€™t extraordinary enough to warrant coverage. I never found out the story behind the body. The chatter following last weekโ€™s events is a chilling reminder of how common these incidents are, and how often they escape notice.


Considering the anticipated East Bank Development will cozy up to the riverโ€™s edge, itโ€™s reasonable to predict that these types of incidents might attract more attention and become more prominent in the public consciousness. During the media round table last Friday, I asked Bob Mendes, the at-large council member- turned-Metro Chief Development Officer, about this possibility.

โ€œI mean, these things are critically important,โ€ he said. โ€œAnd anywhere where you attempt to city build, you know, there'll be city problems and city opportunities. So we're trying to keep our eye on as many unforeseen circumstances as we can.โ€

Another reporter followed up on my question and mentioned Nashvilleโ€™s homeless population and their encampments entrenched in the riverfront area. Specifically, she asked how Metro plans to prevent the new Imagine East Bank green spaces from suffering the struggles weโ€™ve seen in Brookmeade Park.

โ€œWell, to start, it's hard to blame people who don't have a home to try to find a quiet place to sleep,โ€ Mendes said. โ€œAnd having the basic humanity of addressing their needs, first and foremost, is obviously on the administration's mind. Weโ€™ve got robust efforts to address the needs of people who are experiencing homelessness that are going on separate from development on the East Bank.โ€


TBI makes second arrest in multinational human trafficking ring tied to Middle Tennessee (WZTV) The crackdown on a suspected multinational human trafficking network has intensified with authorities booking a Venezuelan national on multiple charges, signaling a significant stride in an ongoing probe centered in Middle Tennessee.

Toby Keith, John Anderson & James Burton Revealed as Country Music Hall of Fame 2024 Inductees (Billboard) The late Toby Keith was named as the modern era artist category inductee. John Anderson will be inducted in the veterans era artist category, and guitarist James Burton will be inducted in the recording and/or touring musician category.

Tennessee February tax collections fall $60M short of budget (Center Square) The $1.3 billion was slightly less than February 2023. Through seven months of the fiscal year, the state is now $437.6 million less than the budgeted estimates. The January totals were $86 million less than budgeted.


  • Samaritan Recovery Cuts Ribbon On New Recovery Campus In East Nashville (Now Next)
  • Eric Church sets opening for Chief's honky-tonk (NBJ)
  • International Tea & Coffee to move within east side (Post)
  • Greek Orthodox church buys property near Nashville West (Post)


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

๐Ÿ“… Visit our On The Radar list to find upcoming events around Nashville.

๐ŸŽง On Spotify: Pamphleteer's Picks, a playlist of our favorite bands in town this week.

๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿปโ€๐ŸŒพ Check out our Nashville farmer's market guide.


๐ŸŽธ Dream Machine @ The Cobra, 8p, $10, Info
+ heavy psych & prog pop - read our review of their epic album Living the Dream here

๐ŸŽป Music By Women In The Early 1900's: Flute and String Quartet @ Schermerhorn Symphony Center, 7:30p, Choose What You Pay, Info

๐ŸŽธ Hannah Juanita, Tony Hannah & King Sickabilly @ Dee's Lounge, 8p, $5, Info
+ dance inducing western music

๐ŸŽบ Todd Day Wait @ The Underdog, 11:30p, Free, Infoโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œ
+ Honky Tonk Tuesday afterparty, down the street

๐ŸŽธ Honky Tonk Tuesday @ American Legion Post 82, 5p, Free, Infoโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œโ€Œ
+ two-step lessons @ 7p, The Cowpokes @ 8p

In case you missed it...

๐Ÿ“ฐ Check out the full newsletter archive here.

No. 686: Phoning in from El Salvador
๐Ÿ“… Today, Davis delivers a dispatch, Miles lays out what to expect from this yearโ€™s NCAA tournament and Megan looks at the latest developments regarding the East Bank.
No. 685: Mutiny On the Bounty
๐Ÿ“… Today, Davis gives a Metro Arts update, Jerod reviews Poor Things, and Megan talks about the birds and the bees.
No. 684: Dispatch from the Road
๐Ÿ“… 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.
No. 683: Number by Number Initiatives
๐Ÿ—“๏ธ Davis talks about how to market a government initiative, and Megan details one of those initiatives.
No. 682: Raw and Uncut
๐Ÿ“… Today, Davis talks about raw milk and attitudes toward health, and Megan breaks down why Mayor Oโ€™Connell is so adamant about pushing his transit referendum right now.


  • ๐Ÿง  The response to Poor Things exposes our inability to talk about art that defies ideology. (Read)
  • ๐ŸŽž๏ธ The Pamphleteerโ€™s ten most anticipated films of 2024 (Read)
  • โ›ช๏ธ Rob Reiner's documentary on Christian Nationalism completely misses the mark (Read)
  • โ˜ข๏ธ A small Tennessee town's forgotten history as a nuclear leader (Read)
  • And check out our podcast, YouTube, and article archive for more.