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No. 695: Spring Fling
Photo by Sergey Shmidt / Unsplash

No. 695: Spring Fling

📅 Today, Davis waltzes into spring on this fine weekend and talks with a guy who makes rain, Megan reviews the new TSU board appointments, and we furnish our weekly film rundown.

Good afternoon, everyone.

Happy Good Friday. Hope everyone has a nice Easter weekend planned. Whenever I don't have anything to say, I talk about the weather, so: spirits are rising as spring weather sets in. And while the rest of us hit the links or bask in the sun, Metro Arts Director Daniel Singh, who is on sick leave because of "racism," has used his time off to apply for other jobs, as revealed in Wednesday's Banner report on the state of the department.

In other news, I'll be interviewing Rainmaker CEO Augustus Doricko this afternoon. Megan reported on Augustus' testimony during the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee yesterday with regard to a bill that would ban solar geoengineering, including cloud seeding. Link below.




Today at 2 PM CST, Davis will interview Augustus Doricko on his company Rainmaker and a piece of legislation that would ban the release of chemicals into the atmosphere. (Watch)


Yesterday the sun set on one Tennessee State University board and rose on another. Around 9:00 a.m., the comptroller released two reports: a financial and compliance audit of the university for FY 2022 and a contracted forensic audit that reviewed its financial records, transactions, and processes from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2023. The latter uncovered the following discrepancies, among numerous others: 

  • TSU’s president was paid $32,640 above her contracted base salary, a pay bump that wasn’t approved until after it had been received. 
  • Student scholarships increased by almost 250 percent, from about $22.1 million in FY20 to approximately $55.5 million in FY23. This level of spending was deemed unsustainable.
  • The university lacked supporting documentation and criteria for awarding the aforementioned scholarships.
  • Between the above dates, TSU paid for seven transactions totaling $3,952.92 that could not be substantiated as university business.
  • Not only were students with unpaid account balances allowed to enroll, TSU failed to charge a minimum of $1.46 million in tuition or fees for students registered in graduate classes. 

Less than two hours later, the House passed a bill ousting the entire University board. Governor Lee swiftly signed the bill into law before appointing eight new board members—all before dinner time

Trevia Chatman, President, Bank of America Memphis

Jeffery Norfleet, Provost and Vice President for Administration, Shorter College

Marquita Qualls, Founder and Principal, Entropia Consulting

Terica Smith, Deputy Mayor and Director of Human Resources, Madison County

Charles Traughber, General Counsel, Division of Real Estate, Retail, and Financial Services at Bridgestone Americas

Dwayne Tucker, CEO of LEAD Public Schools

Kevin Williams, President and CEO of GAA Manufacturing

Dakasha Winton, Senior Vice President and Chief Government Relations Officer at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee

Along with assisting in real estate, construction, and environmental matters for Bridgestone, Traughber is also the second Vice Chair of the Metro Nashville Human Relations Commission. We also clocked Tucker, who is CEO of LEAD, Nashville’s “largest homegrown charter school network.”

The new board is set to hit the ground running, first by choosing TSU’s new president. Just a few days ago, the old board announced the three finalists to replace President Glenda Glover. As of this writing, it’s unclear how the hiring process will proceed.

From Megan Podsiedlik


Half of Nashville’s public charter schools outperform every comparable district school on state testing (Firefly) A Tennessee Firefly analysis of Tennessee Department of Education Report Card data released this week found middle school students at Nashville Classical outperformed every district run middle school in the Stratford Cluster in every subject but social studies. That includes proficiency rates 10 points higher in English language arts and 18 points higher in math.

Tennessee Body Farm expert questions the state of Riley Strain when he was found (Channel 5) Riley was fully clothed in the security video the night he disappeared. But when he was pulled from the river two weeks later, I learned Riley didn't have pants on or his boots. From the waist down, only his boxer shorts and socks remained. However, police confirmed when his body was found that Riley had his shirt and Apple watch still on.

Tennessee law named after slain Belmont student Jillian Ludwig advances in House (Tennessean) “Jillian’s Law,” a bill that would require mentally incompetent felony defendants to be committed to a mental health institution — and barred from owning or possessing guns — is again advancing in the Tennessee legislature.

Just in time for Easter: Lawmakers vote to declare ‘Christian Heritage Month’ in Tennessee (TNJ) State senators gave final approval Thursday to legislation designating November as "Christian Heritage Month." Senate bill sponsor Paul Rose, R-Covington, explained that the legislation was important not only to him but “to my folks — most of you, if not all, and our state and our nation.”


  • Two restaurateurs partner to reopen iconic Nashville eatery (NBJ)
  • Mixed-use project eyed for site near Trinity, I-65 (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.


🎙️ Sampha @ Brooklyn Bowl, 8p, $35+, Info

🎸 David Peterson & 1946 @ Station Inn, 9p, $25, Info

🪕 East Nash Grass @ 3rd and Lindsley, 8p, $18.58, Info

🪕 The Cowpokes @ Acme Feed & Seed, 12p, Free, Info

🍀 Live Irish Music @ McNamara’s Irish Pub, 6p, Free, Info

🎸 Kelly’s Heroes @ Robert’s Western World, 6:30p, Free, Info

✻ WEEKLY FILM RUNDOWN: March 29-April 4

The latest releases and special screenings hitting Music City this week. For a complete list of upcoming releases, check out our 2024 Film Guide

Hundreds of Beavers “In this supernatural epic action-comedy, a drunken applejack salesman is thrust into the frigid wilderness and has to trap his way out to survive. Will he go from Zero to Hero, become North America’s greatest fur trapper, and defeat HUNDREDS OF BEAVERS?” How can this not be the pick of the month? Now playing at the Belcourt.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire The titular monsters reconcile and reteam for the latest Hollywood CGI take on these classic franchises. There’s baby King Kongs, but does anyone really care after Godzilla Minus One? Now playing in theaters?

In the Land of Saints of Sinners Liam Neeson plays yet another mild-mannered assassin pushed to engage in some restorative violence as a retired gun for hire who must fend off a band of terrorists wreaking havoc on the Irish countryside. Reviews show some of that Taken mojo may be back. Now playing in theaters. 

Paul Verhoeven Midnight Double Feature Hollywood’s greatest action director and master satirist gets a two-night tribute at the Belcourt with Starship Troopers and Total Recall on the bigscreen. Take them in and realize the type of subversive stuff Hollywood could still make if it cared.  

See full list

In case you missed it...

📰 Check out the full newsletter archive here.

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.
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.


  • 🧠 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.