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Today's Takes: Monday, August 9
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon / Unsplash

Today's Takes: Monday, August 9

Vol. I, No. 63 • A Journal of Freedom • Hungary • It's Not What You Think • People • World's Best Product • Much More!

Among the many flame wars over the weekend, Obama's birthday party topped the list. We've all seen the headlines by now: the massive tent, the guest list, the lack of—gasp—masks, leaked footage, etc. Naturally, the machinery of Conservatism, Inc. snapped into motion generating as much outrage as possible.

Instead of wasting time weeping and gnashing teeth against Obama's birthday party, I suggest that we all learn from his example and apply it to our own lives. Live your life. Resist if they prevent you from doing so. Laugh at those who complain. This is a truer politics than giving your attention to the outrage Olympics.

In other news, we've resurrected our concert suggestions. Scroll down to see what's happening this week.

Thanks for reading.


🇭🇺 Hungary and the American Right

Tucker Carlson's blooming friendship with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has stoked all kinds of outrage from outlets across the political spectrum. I will not venture to weigh in on the particulars of Hungary and whether the claims of right-wing authoritarianism that people use to label the country are accurate—like every other journalist who conjured a half-baked opinion to compete in the outrage Olympics—except to say that one is allowed to celebrate Communist China with impunity, but mention Hungary and their pro-natalist, hard-line immigration policies which America could do well to emulate, and you'll get the boot.

💸 Money and Politics

  • CBO Estimates Infrastructure Bill Would Add $256 Billion to Deficits (WSJ)
  • How Did Joe Biden’s Campaign Spend Over $10,000 on Ice Cream? (Eater)
  • Trump's new challenge: How to spend $90 million (Reuters)
  • Biden Administration Extends Pause on Federal Student-Loan Repayment Until January 2022 (National Review)
  • Here’s Secretary Janet Yellen’s partial disclosure of what she describes as speaking fees. (@brucefenton)
  • How cryptocurrency became a powerful force in Washington (Washington Post)
    • One of the biggest snags in the bipartisan infrastructure framework is the amendment on regulating and taxing cryptocurrencies

📵 It's Not What You Think

  • Apple to scan U.S. iPhones for images of child sexual abuse (AP)
    • An internal Apple memo refers to the "screeching minority" who find the plans invasive.
    • "Oh, you don't want us to scan your phone? What do you want instead? Kids to die?"
  • Hello Divorce raises $2M so that couples can say ‘good-bye’ easier (Tech Crunch)
    • It's not the technology we wanted, but it's the technology we deserve.
  • Don’t Go Down the Rabbit Hole: Critical thinking, as we’re taught to do it, isn’t helping in the fight against misinformation. (NYT)
    • Outsource your thinking brought to you by the people that outsourced your nation.

⚡️ Future Technology

  • Biden wants half of new cars sold in 2030 to be hybrid or all-electric (Verge)
    • Fewer than 1% of all cars on the road today are electric
    • What's strange about the "save the climate" narrative is its incessant focus on hydrocarbons. Presumably, lithium extraction, battery production, and end-of-life disposal is less harmful to the environment.
    • Oil is used up as exhaust, never to be recovered. Lithium-ion batteries, at the end of their ten-year life, must be processed and discarded or recycled. Are batteries really more sustainable or are the environmental costs simply hidden and off-shored?
  • Schools Look for Help From AI Teacher’s Assistants (WSJ)
    • "As students interact in the classroom, the goal is for Diana to notice students’ facial expressions, conversations, gazes and gestures to infer whether they could use help or are getting distracted. Diana then responds by engaging them in conversation or prompting the teacher."
    • Is this hell?
  • Why Employees Prefer to Be Tracked by Machines Rather Than Humans (WSJ)
    • How about we're not tracked at all?

🤳 Stuff About People

  • Shots Fired: A Reporter Visits Vermont’s First Indoor Gun Range (Seven Days)
    • A man who has never shot a gun before shoots a gun and describes the recoil of an AR-15 as a "shockwave" and compared the bullet to a "meteor".
  • We asked baristas what annoys them the most — here are their 8 rules of coffee-shop etiquette (Business Insider)
    • Gems include "keep the line moving", "don't demand your barista smile", and "don't get too comfortable"
  • America’s mental health moment is finally here (Vox)
    • Classic Vox headline. Massive cope.

Original Essays

🖊 Anthony Bourdain and Documentary Artifice: Roadrunner: A Film about Anthony Bourdain stirred controversy for manufacturing voiceover of its late subject. Documentary film has more pressing issues. (Read)

In case you missed it

  • Losing Christopher Hitchens by Jerod Hollyfield (Read)
  • Entourage's Last Stand by Jerod Hollyfield (Read)
  • 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington' and the Evergreen Ills of American Politics by Jerod Hollyfield (Read)
  • Avuncular Tom by Jerod Hollyfield (Read)

Nashville Politics

  • Bill Lee quietly announces new Executive Order detailing more robust pandemic response measures (Read)

Nashville News

  • As Amazon continues hiring, it should focus on developing local talent, panel says (Biz Journal)
    • In other words, the city is too white so they're going to need to import more immigrants who aren't white.
  • Proof of vaccination required at some Nashville establishments. So what counts? (Channel 5)
  • Masks optional but recommended as Williamson County heads back to school (Channel 5)
  • Nashville drivers most likely to get speeding tickets on I-65 (WSMV)

Nashville Development

  • Bert Mathews is betting big on going small (Biz Journal)
  • Work to start on Stateline in The Nations (Post)
  • Rocketown pays $4.7M+ for Antioch building (Post)
  • Smyrna warehouse sells for $19.5M (Post)
  • L.A. developer pays $7.76M for SoBro site (Post)
  • Local developer pays $1M for east side land (Post)
  • Beaman land buyer doubles down on Nashville footprint (Biz Journal)

Nashville Life

1520810AB3386 🎸 Check out our suggestions for THINGS TO DO this week! Tonight is Grateful Monday at Acme Feed & Seed where The Stolen Faces pay homage to the 60s with favorites from the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, and more (More Info)

  • Step Inside: Jasper's (nFocus)

COVID Gutter

mRNA vaccines are the perfect product. Everyone has to get it, you can only use it once, and someone else pays for it. They definitely pass the "toothbrush test". mRNA vaccines are second only to bombs, the most expensive single-use product in the world. Three things appear to be true of the world's favored anti-COVID-19 toy:

  1. They reduce the risk of hospitalization and death in vulnerable portions of the population
  2. They do not prevent the spread of COVID-19 (Read)
  3. They facilitate the proliferation of variants (Read)

It remains both taboo and true to say that natural immunity is stronger than vaccinated immunity. Though one could get the vaccine after being previously infected, there is no scientific reason for this. Suggestions by the CDC to get vaccinated anyway just express bureaucratic largesse and incompetence.


  • Vaccine-card fashion is a thing now (Insider)
    • Totally organic, right?
    • While we're on the topic of vaccine passports, why not just add sex offender passports and violent criminal passports. I mean, we'll already have our vaccine cards with us.
  • NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins: Parents Of Unvaccinated Kids Should Wear Masks "At Home" (Real Clear)
    • He later "clarified" these comments (Read)
  • The situation in Iceland, now vertical in case rise, yet one of the most fully vaccinated countries in the world. (@EricTopol)

In Case You Were Wondering

🥇 How to train like an Ancient Greek Olympian (Read)

For Your Curiosity

🧱 Where Are The Robotic Bricklayers? (Read)

Words of Wisdom

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”

Plato, Republic 347c-d

Have a great Monday