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Today's Takes: Tuesday, August 17

Today's Takes: Tuesday, August 17

Vol. I, No. 69 • A Journal of Freedom • Fiscus Fracas • From the Heartland • Traveling Circus Reports • Sign of the Times • Much More!

To recap quickly, One of Tennessee's health dieties, Dr. Michelle Fiscus, was fired by the Tennessee Department of Health last month for going against the grain by pushing for a vaccination campaign targeted at minors who are not eligible to receive a vaccine without parental consent. Her firing led to a media firestorm that resulted in predictable accusations of Tennessee being a hotbed of "anti-vax" sentiments. In the course of her dog-and-pony-show press junket involving fawning appearances on MSNBC, CNN, and op-eds in the Tennessean, Fiscus revealed that someone had sent her a dog muzzle in an effort to "shut her up".

But yesterday, former Tennessee Lookout reporter, Nate Rau, broke a story with Axios declaring that the dog muzzle was bought with Fiscus' own American Express. In other words, based on the evidence, it appeared that Fiscus bought and sent herself the muzzle. Fiscus denies the evidence,  claiming that she initiated the probe into the origin of the muzzle with the Department of Homeland Security herself. The order was made with a second, fraudulent Amazon account using a phone number in Washington and her American Express.

What's worth noting is that Fiscus' husband, Brad Fiscus, announced his resignation from his position on the Williamson County Schools Board of Education District 4 last Thursday stating that he and his wife will move out of the state to pursue new opportunities near Washington D.C. in September. It should come as no surprise that Brad is a staunch advocate for child mask mandates.

We expect this story to get more bizarre. Local bureaucrats never disappoint.


📰 General News

  • Nancy Pelosi Looks at Advancing Infrastructure and Budget Framework Simultaneously (WSJ)
  • Texas Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks Local Mask Mandates (National Review)
  • Fed Officials Weigh Ending Asset Purchases by Mid-2022 (WSJ)

🌾 From the Heartland

  • Vast Stretches of America Are Shrinking. Almost All of Them Voted for Trump. (Slate)
    • The subtext: ...and they deserve it.
    • "The sort of robust immigration and public investment favored by progressives might help bring a place back to life, after all; owning the libs for the next decade or so will not. Trump voters, regrettably, have made it clear which they care about more."
    • If rural communities won't vote for Democrats, we'll just replace them. How could you not support this?
  • It Was a Terrifying Census for White Nationalists (NY Times)
    • ...all seven of them.
    • Tucker Carlson addressed replacement theory saying that there are 'non-white people cheering the extinction of white people' (Watch)
    • The constant dismissal of citizen's concerns about immigration and leaders attempt to balkanize the United States is best summed up by Michael Anton's handy syllogism: “That’s Not Happening and It’s Good That It Is” (Read)
  • Meet Tori Cooper, the 1st Black trans woman on the presidential HIV council (NBC)

🗺 From the Frontier

  • Canada to Hold Snap Vote, as Justin Trudeau Seeks to Advance Progressive Agenda (WSJ)
  • Biden Administration Ordered to Reinstate Trump’s Remain in Mexico Policy (WSJ)

🌪 Ask Not What You Can Do To Climate Change, But What Climate Change Can Do To You

  • What Climate Change Might Do to Your Favorite Wine (WSJ)
  • Everyone Will Breathe This Polluted Air One Day (NY Times)
    • A case for the equitable distribution of polluted air. Let's call it a breath tax.

⚠️ Life During Wartime

  • Will gyms go the way of arcades and movie rental stores? (AP)
  • I didn’t know how to write about my sister’s death—so I had AI do it for me. (Believer)
  • How international scam artists pulled off an epic theft of Covid benefits (NBC)

Original Essays

🗺  Total Recall: California’s September election offers a path forward from identity politics by Jerod Hollyfield (Read)

In case you missed it

  • Anthony Bourdain and Documentary Artifice (Read)
  • 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)

Nashville Politics

  • Gov. Bill Lee orders schools to allow mask opt-outs for students (Tennessean)
    • Bill Lee stepped up to the plate. Well done.
  • See by how much Tennessee districts miss their ideal populations following census count (TNJ)
  • With Official Census Data Incoming, Tennessee Redistricting Looms (Scene)
  • Democrats Look Uphill at the 2022 Governor’s Race (Scene)

Nashville News

  • Ex-NFL QB Jay Cutler announced on Twitter that he was dropped by Uber Eats ad campaign over anti-mask views (Tennessean)
  • Inventory a 'major driver' as Greater Nashville home sales fall in July (Biz Journal)
    • "According to new data from the Greater Nashville Realtors, the region saw 4,677 closings last month, a year-over-year decrease of 8%."

Nashville Development

  • Beaman Midtown site may have prospective buyer (Post)
  • Berry Hill industrial building sells for $2M (Post)
  • Update sought for East Nashville building (Post)
  • Nashville fund secures $600M for apartment investments (Biz Journal)
  • East Nashville land offered for sale (Post)
  • Belmont pumping $60M into data programs (Post)

Nashville Life

📅 Check out our suggestions for things to do this week (Info)

🎡 The Tennessee State Fair runs until Saturday in Lebanon (Info)

🎞 Three great movies play at the Belcourt all week long:
1) Without Getting Killed or Caught: The Life and Music of Guy Clark (See)
2) Roadrunner: A Film about Anthony Bourdain (See)
3) The Green Knight (See)

🎤 Dylan Rockoff @ The High Watt, 7:30p, $10 (Info)

New Spots

  • Andrew Carmellini, a James Beard Award-winning chef, set to open two restaurants in the Gulch’s W Hotel this fall (Biz Journal)

The Traveling Circus Reports from the Frontlines

🤡 Biden's Statement As fate would have it, the questionably sentient, geriatric President Biden was the man to finally yank the plug out of Afghanistan. People were shocked and dismayed. How could he do it so haphazardly, so suddenly? Shouldn't he have had a plan? Regardless of the answers to these questions, sometimes you need an old, curmudgeonly leader who is simply tired of it all and does what no one else is careless enough to do. Could it have gone better? Probably. Is it good that we executed a clean hard break? Only time will tell. Until then, we have the example of Biden's speech yesterday which reflected the lazy, broken bureaucracy propping him up and served as a reminder that the interests of the American state diverge greatly from its citizens. After taking zero questions, he fled back to Camp David in the manner of an old man retiring back into his La-Z-Boy for a nap. Let's give the man some credit. He took one for the team and now, in all seriousness and barring an extreme reversal, no more Americans will be at risk in that God-forsaken desert crag.

💰 Spoils of War In other Afghan News, it appears allies are exporting Delta Variant Vectors (DVV)—otherwise known as refugees—into Western countries around the globe. The US, for its part, ordered 30,000 Delta Variant Vectors. Canada eagerly signed up for 20,000 Delta Variant Vectors while imploring the Delta Variant Vectors and Viral Reservoirs within its owns borders from traveling abroad and requiring them to vaccinate to fly domestically. "Trust us, we have good taste when it comes to Delta Variant Vectors," Trudeau whispered in reassurance as he set up his coup to impose even greater travel restrictions and lockdown measures on the native Delta Variant Vectors and Virus Reservoirs. That makes sense. The Canadians trust him. Why wouldn't they? European nations struck a decidedly less enthusiastic note. Macron implored EU nations to work together to fairly distribute the Delta Variant Vectors so as not to overwhelm any one nation. While way down under, Australia, which has brought out the military against its own native Delta Variant Vectors, also considers some more DVVs of the Afghan variety. The DVV Market has never been hotter!


  • U.S. Sending More Troops to Kabul (WSJ)
    • "In all, there are roughly 6,000 American troops in Kabul or headed there, U.S. military officials said. They cited the collapse of Kabul and the fall of the country into Taliban hands in announcing the additional forces Sunday."
  • Afghans were still flooding Kabul airport desperately trying to find a way out of the country as Taliban fighters began collecting weapons from civilians saying people no longer need them for personal protection (Reuters)
    • We've evolved from "liberals are the real racists" to "liberals are the Taliban."
  • America’s Failures in Afghanistan Were Bipartisan and Long-Running (WSJ)
  • Afghanistan: Mapping the advance of the Taliban (Al Jazeera)
  • As Taliban advances, China lays groundwork to accept an awkward reality (Reuters)

COVID Gutter

With the Afghanistan fiasco sucking all of the oxygen out of the room, it appears as if the Delta variant might get the week off, or at least part of it.


  • Metro Schools see 259 COVID-19 cases, 1,075 quarantines among students, staff first week (Fox 17)
    • The subtext: ...without masks, it would've been much worse.
  • What is going on in the media? (Dr. Steven Horvitz)
    • A quick breakdown of three recent examples of overly dramatic media hysteria concerning COVID

Good to Know

📜 A fairly exhaustive list of improvements since the 1990s. Make of it what you will (Read)

Sign of the Times

🗓 A website instructing readers how to hold down two remote jobs at the same time to achieve 'financial freedom' (Read)

Have a great Tuesdays