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No. 689: Southern Oasis
Photo by Red Zeppelin / Unsplash

No. 689: Southern Oasis

📅 Today, Davis talks about something happening in Knoxville this weekend and Megan lets you know what the AG has been up to.

Good afternoon, everyone.

Join us tonight at our Bar Hours with the guys over at RidgeRunner. Register for the event here to get the location. See y'all in a few hours.

If you're over towards Knoxville this weekend, be sure to check out the Southern Oasis Film Festival. Jerod Hollyfield of Pamphleteer fame is the Executive Director.

On Saturday, Jessica Solce's documentary Death Athletic plays. Her film follows Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson as he navigates a labyrinth of legal snares while distributing 3D-printed gun plans. It's a potent exploration of the boundaries of the First and Second Amendments. I talked with Jessica (listen or watch) and wrote a review of the flick for IM–1776.

We're sponsoring a screening of Gabriel Mann's documentary Hotshot on Sunday afternoon in collaboration with Farrow (use code PAMPHLETEER to get 15% off their lard-based skincare products which the Pamphleteer staff uses daily).

Mann's documentary is a wild ride through the nation's most powerful wildfires. He captured some of the most compelling images I've seen as he barrelled into the midst of the fire and flames with artistic abandon. Worth a watch on the big screen. I interviewed Gabriel a few months back. You can listen to that interview on our podcast or watch it on YouTube.




From Megan Podsiedlik

On Monday, AG Skrmetti wrote a letter to the US Department of Labor, warning them that a proposed policy “exceeds congressional authority, illegally promotes racial discrimination, and is antithetical to the American ideal of equality.”

The public letter, co-signed by twenty-four other attorneys general, was sent in response to the Biden admin’s plan to promote diversity and equity in workplace apprenticeship programs. According to the AG’s press release on Tuesday, the change would rewrite standing rules and “develop a strategy to ‘recruit, train and retain’ individuals with certain racial demographics in order to qualify for taxpayer money.”   

“Americans fought for generations to ensure that people would not be treated differently because of the color of their skin, and the proposed DOL apprenticeship rule flies in the face of those hard-earned laws,” Skrmetti wrote. “We should not let race-obsessed ideology interfere with an important and successful apprenticeship program. No American should be deprived of an opportunity because of their race.” 


Meanwhile, in the state legislature, two DEI-related bills proposed by both Rep. John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge) and Sen. Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) failed to pass the House’s Higher Education Subcommittee of Education Administration.

On March 4th, one bill aimed at abolishing state-university DEI departments roused hesitation from House legislators who spoke of possible unintended consequences. “Universities have not resisted becoming hotbeds for pernicious ideology,” Ragan explained. “It's a gross injustice, punishing Americans because of their race or sex. It's gross mismanagement to have underqualified faculty researchers and administrators.”

Rep. Charlie Baum (R-Murfreesboro) mentioned that the bill could undermine the support systems universities have built for their minority students. “University of Tennessee has been working with students in the Jewish community to provide intentional support services: antisemitism education and training, and spaces for students to share life experiences, reflect, and connect with others during this troubled time in our world's history,” he said, quoting a letter he received from the Knoxville Jewish Alliance. “If enacted, the university would be prevented from continuing these efforts.”

The hearing of the other DEI bill, which would prohibit certain institutions from enacting antidiscrimination policies inconsistent with state law, also died in the House. 

“Members, each July, the agencies of our state government are required to submit policies for the review of government operations chairs,” said Ragan to the subcommittee. “In reviewing those policies, some of our… locally governed institutions indicated that they were instituting policies to protect classes that are not mentioned anywhere in state law, or for that matter, in federal law.”

The bill was presented as a preventative measure to “[make] it clear to them that they do not have that authority.” Though committee Chairman Justin Lafferty (R-Knoxville) acknowledged that “they certainly shouldn't be ignoring us when we make requests of them,” the bill didn't receive enough support to pass. 

On the flip side, a bill proposed by Rep. Karen Camper (D-Memphis) and Sen. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) that would allow Tennessee employers and public institutions of higher education to establish DEI practices also failed.


Bill to place cap on property tax hikes taken off notice in Senate (TNJ $) The caps were championed by conservative economist Art Laffer, the Beacon Center and Republican House Speaker Cameron Sexton of Crossville. The bill, which had yet to be expanded on from its original caption version, was withdrawn from the Senate panel without discussion, debate or a widely expected presentation from Laffer.

Tyson Looks To Hire “Refugees” And Bring Them To Tennessee, While Axing Jobs For Americans (TCN) Tyson has partnered with an organization called Tent Partnership for Refugees, committing to hire 2,500 people yet to have permanent legal status in the United States. However last week, Bloomberg reported that Tyson was looking to employ tens of thousands more.

In reversal of last year's turmoil, Franklin Pride 2024 approved unanimously (Tennessean) The popular Franklin Pride festival draws about 7,000 attendees, but it came under heavy scrutiny last year from residents who said they were concerned that it promotes sexualized drag performances.

Bill to allow development on Tennessee wetlands advances in House (Lookout) A controversial bill to claw back state regulations over thousands of acres of Tennessee wetlands advanced with no debate in a House committee Wednesday, keeping the proposal alive even after it was shelved in the state senate.


  • Yolan to open a cafe and coffee shop in downtown Nashville (Axios)
  • Coastal Europe-inspired cocktail bar planned for Gallatin Avenue (NBJ)
  • Presales start for west side residential project (Post)
  • High-end nightclub sets opening date in North Gulch (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.


🎸 Sierra Ferrell with Vaden Landers @ Ryman Auditorium, 7:30p, $35+ Info

🎙️ Music of Elvis with Frankie Moreno @ Schermerhorn Symphony Center, 7:30p, $31+, Info

🎸 Paul Burch & WPA Ballclub @ Vinyl Tap, 7p, Free, Info
+ modern American roots

🪕 Mark Newton Band @ Station Inn, 9p, $20, 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. 688: Last Night at Metro Council
🗓️ Megan recaps last night’s Metro Council meeting. Bagel places popping up. Californians buying property.
No. 687: Waiting for the Thunder
🗓️ Davis predicts the weather and Megan talks about the morbid history of the Cumberland River.
No. 686: Phoning in from El Salvador
📅 Today, Davis delivers a dispatch, Miles lays out what to expect from this year’s NCAA tournament and Megan looks at the latest developments regarding the East Bank.
No. 685: Mutiny On the Bounty
📅 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
📅 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.


  • 🧠 The response to Poor Things exposes our inability to talk about art that defies ideology. (Read)
  • 🎞️ The Pamphleteer’s ten most anticipated films of 2024 (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.