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No. 694: Something's Happening Here
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No. 694: Something's Happening Here

📅 Today, Davis talks about the stuff happening at Vanderbilt, and Megan looks at the weather modification bill flying through the legislature.

Good afternoon, everyone.

Revolution is the air. Can you smell it? For those who missed out on the revolutionary fervor of the '60s or the 2020 Summer of Floyd, it seems like a new, albeit not exactly American, movement that should satisfy the latent revolutionary within has sprung up. The latest site of this new growth? Vanderbilt University.

Earlier this week, Vanderbilt suspended 27 students who occupied Kirkland Hall for nearly 24 hours. The students, all members of the Vanderbilt Divestment Coalition, sought a meeting with the chancellor to protest the university's decision to prohibit a Vanderbilt Student Government constitutional amendment from going up for vote.

The amendment endeavored to prohibit VSG funding from being used to purchase goods or services from companies that the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has identified as “complicit” in Israel’s post-1967 occupation of Palestinian territory.

Additionally, on Tuesday, the Vanderbilt University Police Department arrested Eli Motycka, a reporter with the Nashville Scene, for trespassing. A video released by the Scene showed Motycka standing innocently on a sidewalk when an officer approached, slapped handcuffs on him, and carted him off as Motycka insisted he had never been asked to leave.

The next day, a Vanderbilt spokesperson released a statement. Apparently, Motycka had repeatedly tried to gain access to Kirkland, which the university had placed on lockdown, and had been told by officers that he was not allowed to enter. DA Glenn Funk said he wouldn't be pressing charges.

If you want a good laugh, read this Twitter thread in which one protestor claims she’s at risk of "toxic shock syndrome for not being able to use the restroom and change period products." Laugh, but then remember: these are the type of people that will get government jobs in the next ten years unless something radically changes.




Back in January, Sen. Steve Southerland (R-Morristown) and Rep. Monty Fritts (R-Kingston)  introduced a bill that would ban the release of chemicals into the atmosphere “with the express purpose of affecting temperature, weather, or the intensity of the sunlight.” Despite some controversy, the bill already passed its final reading in the Senate on March 18th and is making its way through the House. Yesterday, the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee heard testimonies from a doctor and a cloud seeding geoengineer on the topic. 

“I’m convinced that maintaining clear, clean air, water, and soil for our food is absolutely important,” said Rep. Fritts. “And I’ve offered this bill with that intent in mind.” If the legislation passes, he explained, it will ensure Tennessee has sufficient guardrails when it comes to regulations and permitting processes. Dr. Denise Sibley, a member of Tennessee Freedom Doctors, stepped forward to testify, and mentioned that the “intentional manipulation of the atmosphere [produces] pollution and unintentional consequences that affect the health of our citizens, the safety of our water supply, our soil viability and crop production, ecosystem survival, precipitation extremes—with flooding and drought, climate variability, and disruption of the economy.” 

But that didn’t stop others from panning the bill. “We see droughts, we see less bees, we see these things happening, but one thing we won’t talk about is connecting this to the reality of climate change,” said Justin Jones (D-Nashville). “Do you believe that climate change is responsible for these things, or do you believe it’s part of this conspiracy that the witness brought up, that the government is secretly trying to spray things into the atmosphere without our knowledge?... I just think it’s insulting to the intelligence of Tennesseans.”


Also at the hearing was Augustus Doricko, the founder of Rainmaker, a cloud seeding startup. He testified before the committee and defended the use of weather modification to steward creation as a faithful Christian.

When we interviewed Doricko, he expressed some concerns about the bill’s language. “Well, specifically the word ‘weather’ within the amendment,” he said. Wary of the effect the legislation might have on his livelihood, the Rainmaker remarked that fear of the unknown could get in the way of a good thing. 

“There's reason to believe a lot of things that people think are chemtrails are actually just contrails, which are naturally occurring from planes… so there's that animus, which isn't a direct aversion to cloud seeding,” Doricko explained. “And… the second animating factor is people's aversion to Stratospheric Aerosol injection, a technology that the Biden admin produced a report on and is in favor of, which is emitting reflective aerosols into the stratosphere to cool the planet down.” 

According to Doricko, not much research has been conducted on Stratospheric Aerosol injection, which has never been “operationally deployed,” compared with cloud seeding, which has “been deployed operationally for 78 years.”

“It's been researched extensively, both with respect to its actual impact on weather patterns, and then also its impact on environmental and human health,” he continued. “And even after decades of cloud seeding over a single watershed, the amount of silver iodide that accumulates there is less than background levels and has no ecological impact and no impacts on human consumption of that water or food from that soil. So it's totally safe.”

After yesterday’s meeting, the bill was placed on today’s House Calendar & Rules Committee and Monday’s House regular calendar.

From Megan Podsiedlik


Every five years, the city conducts a study on the health of the city's tree canopy. The most recent report can be viewed here. (More Info)


Metro Arts Grinds to a Standstill Amid Chaos (Banner) With budget season underway, Metro Arts staff would typically be sorting through grant applicants and selecting artists and arts organizations to receive funding for fiscal year 2025. This year looks a little different. Metro Arts is at a standstill.

Nashville is getting major league baseball (Ledger) MLB is considering expansion from 30 to 32 teams, and Nashville is widely considered to be among the top contenders for an expansion team or an existing franchise looking to relocate, which is how the city landed the Tennessee Titans.

Mayor poised to make two nominations to airport authority board, with Bill Freeman's departure (NBJ) Freeman announced his resignation on March 27, effective immediately. Freeman, who's also a pilot, has served on the airport board for eight years and is a former chairman of the group. He had just been reappointed in December by Mayor Freddie O'Connell and Metro Council, to a seven-year term.


  • H.G. Hill Realty and Ascension Saint Thomas progress on Harding Pike development (NBJ)
  • New York company seeks east side hotel project (Post)
  • Developer seeking East Bank project sues Metro related to permits (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.


🪕 Lonesome River Band @ Station Inn, 9p, $20, Info

🎸 Matthew Paige @ Dee's Lounge, 7p, $5, 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
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In case you missed it...

📰 Check out the full newsletter archive here.

No. 693: Remembering Covenant
📅 Today, Davis reflects on Covenant and Megan looks at five bills already signed into law this year.
No. 692: Don’t Look at the Cumberland
📅 Today, Davis talks about the city turning its back on the Cumberland River, and Megan looks at MNPD’s latest effort to clamp down on street racing.
No. 691: Straight Talk
📅 Today, Davis talks about Antioch, Miles celebrates Pat Summitt’s career, and Megan takes a look at the latest regarding the East Bank Authority.
No. 690: Banning Right on Red?
📅 Today, Davis talks about traffic lights, Megan wraps up some news from around the city, and Jerod furnishes our weekly film rundown.
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.


  • 🧠 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.