Today's Takes: Tuesday, August 24

Today's Takes: Tuesday, August 24

Vol. I, No. 74 • A Journal of Freedom • Music Madness • Frontier • It's Not What You Think • NZ & AUS • Around the Web • Much More!


A coalition of independent music venues in Nashville have begun to demand proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test result in order to get in. The venues include the 5 Spot, the Basement, the Basement East, the Bluebird Cafe, Exit/In, The End, the East Room, Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge in Madison, City Winery Nashville, Springwater Supper Club, and the three venues that make up the Cannery complex: the Cannery Ballroom, Mercy Lounge, and the High Watt. 3rd & Lindsley will enforce measures, but only at the request of artists.

All of these venues, except the City Winery and Dee's, are members of the Music Venue Alliance which Exit/In owner Chris Cobb leads and jump-started at the beginning of the pandemic. The Music Venue Alliance has relationships with two other, national groups devoted to organizing music venues: Vax4Live and the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA). Both Vax4Live and NIVA are strong proponents of vaccination and have devoted their entire existence to collecting money for music venues and urging their patrons to vaccinate under the pretense that vaccination will let us "have live music back." It's the kind of messaging fit for second graders with Jolly Rancher addictions.

All three of these groups got their start after government-mandated lockdowns shut down live music across the country. Since then, they've carried out a successful vaccine passport campaign and successfully lobbied for COVD relief funds from the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants on behalf of their members. Eligible applicants for these grants may qualify for checks equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue. Venues are eligible for the second round of loans equal to 50% of their original loan starting later this month. Whatever you think of the vaccine passports, these advocacy groups have been a crucial lifeline for venues over the course of the pandemic.

In Nashville, the first round of disbursements was as follows:

  • The 5 Spot:  $356,131.17
  • The Basement East:  $616,333.76
  • Bluebird Cafe:  $1,060,526.25
  • The East Room: $79,668.23
  • Mercy Lounge:  $2,192,628.15
  • Springwater Supper Club: $104,461.20

In an interview with WPLN  two weeks ago, Chris Cobb noted, “We’ve seen a massive spike in no-show rate — people who did purchase tickets in advance and chose to not come to the show.” He says that nearly 40% of ticketed fans are not attending shows and audience sizes are smaller than usual. Out of this concern—and input from artists—the vaccine mandates presumably arose.

What's most interesting about music venues and their promotion of vaccine passports is that, long before cities like LA and NYC issued city-wide passport requirements, music venues picked up the torch. In Los Angeles, Gold Diggers, an independent music venue, took up the issue weeks before the city council did. Is Nashville headed in a similar direction?

Not a single bar up and down Broadway, a much more "fertile" breeding ground for a viral infection, has instituted vaccine passports which suggests the policy seen in independent music venues in Nashville arises mostly from their politics. One should really substitute "independent" for "liberal" or maybe "progressive". The rejoinder to such a claim is that the Broadway bar owners are all racist, right-wing, conspira-tards—a view parrotted by the Nashville Scene on many occasions—who don't care about health. A proper rebuttal from a right-wing Nashville publication would use epithets like coward or soyboy to broadside the liberal venues toeing the DNC party line. It's easy to see how quickly we get into flinging feces across the fence at one another.

If you wanted to depoliticize the vaccine passport question, you could look north to Sweden for an example of a civilized take on the issue. Sweden has not mandated lockdowns, vaccines, or masks—especially for children—and their case numbers reflect a country headed out of the COVID-induced fog the rest of the world appears lost in. Sweden also ranks 97th in the world for obesity, and the US ranks 12th which might provide a stronger case for why Sweden has been able to weather COVID so effectively.

A common thread throughout history has been the centralization of power in response to disasters. From wars to floods to pandemics, power tends to condense when the times demand coordinated action and remains long after. Independent music venues across the United States appear subject to the same tendencies. It's easy to see how a government that extends a destitute business owner a kindness in the form of a six-figure check would then gain that owner's loyalty in return.

Where once local venues like the Exit/In stood in defiance to the establishment, they now fully bend to it. Today, music venues act like the cultural shock troops carrying out mandates with the confidence that comes from government subsidies and a lobbying coalition that has your back. In other words, too politically correct to fail.

Headlines

📰 Today's Front Pages

  • Reuters: Afghan evacuation on 'war footing' as G7 meets on pullout deadline (Read)
  • New York Times: G7 Leaders to Meet as Afghanistan Withdrawal Deadline Nears (Read)
  • Wall Street Journal: G-7 Allies to Press U.S. to Extend Afghanistan Presence (Read)
  • Fox News: Afghanistan withdrawal deadline looms before key G7 meeting (Read)
  • CNN: Fauci's new 2022 timeline for Covid fight could be a political disaster for Biden and Democrats (Read)
  • NPR: Why Pfizer's FDA Approval Matters And What It Means For Vaccine Mandates (Read)
  • Bloomberg: U.S. Races to Vet Afghans for Security Risks as Evacuations Rise (Read)
  • Politico: Sadness and death: Inside the VA’s state nursing-home disaster (Read)
  • Breitbart: Evacuations in Afghanistan Likely Not Over by August 31, Airport Terror Threat ‘Very Real (Read)
  • HuffPost: Vaccine Mandates Start Rolling Out After FDA Gives Pfizer Shot Full Approval (Read)

🏛 From the Hill

  • Pelosi, Centrist Democrats in Standoff With Key Vote Ahead (WSJ)
    • Pelosi stands her ground and refuses to pass the $1 trillion dollar infrastructure bill separately from the $3.5 trillion "end all pain and suffering and pad politician's pockets" bill.
  • Janet Woodcock Ruled Out for Top FDA Job, Sources Say (WSJ)
  • The $3.5 trillion budget bill could transform the US power sector—and slash climate pollution (MIT)
    • "The $3.5 trillion budget plan includes a provision known as the Clean Electricity Payment Program, which would use payments and penalties to encourage utilities to increase the share of electricity they sell from carbon-free sources each year."
    • With the US out of Afghanistan (allegedly), the new wealth transfer mechanism kicks into high gear.

💸 Money Moves

  • Bitcoin tops $50,000, hitting a more than 3-month high (CNBC)
    • "After climbing from $30,000 to its April peak of nearly $65,000 in just over three months, Bitcoin lost more than half of its value over the next three months. The rebound from below $30,000 to $50,000 has taken just over a month."

🗺 From the Frontier

From the same people that brought you Russia-gate, last summer's race "protests", and previously, Weapons of Mass Destruction comes the Failed Afghan Pullout...

  • People posing ‘direct threat’ to UK found among potential Kabul evacuees (Guardian)
    • No, no, no. You don't understand. They're not terrorists. They're refugees.
  • Pentagon Orders Airlines to Help With Afghan Evacuees as U.S. Weighs New Exit Deadline (WSJ)
  • Germany says firefight involving US forces erupts at Kabul airport (NY Post)

📝 Can't Believe It's Not ___

  • AP urges DeSantis to end bullying aimed at reporter (AP)
    • "AP is seeking to fight online bullying against journalists, a growing trend that is often triggered by public figures."
  • Society of Editors withdraws claim that UK media is not racist (Guardians)
    • "The organisation that represents British newspaper editors has withdrawn its claim that the UK media is not racist or bigoted, after six months of pressure from journalists of colour who said it did not reflect their experience of the industry."
    • It's official. It's in writing.
  • Proud Boys leader gets more than 5 months in jail for burning BLM flag (Axios)
    • You'll get promoted if you burn an American flag, though.

💭 It's Not What You Think

  • San Diego launching Pure Water, largest infrastructure project in city’s history (San Diego Union-Tribune)
    • It emulates a similar initiative in Orange County, CA (Read)
    • The project aims to purify toilet water to make it potable. Wow! I bet citizens are excited for this one.
  • Work Is a False Idol (NYT)
    • A white woman appropriates the "black women are exhausted" schtick.
    • Maybe this feminism thing is not working. A recent viral tweet from a woman: "i do not want to have a career. i want to sit on the porch" (@hollabekgrl)
  • 'Get worried': Gavin Newsom's supporters are trying to bridge an enthusiasm gap by pumping up the fear (SF Chronicle)
    • The appeal of Democratic politicians is either "Well, at least she's a woman of color" or "Well, at least he doesn't say mean things."

Original Essays

🤿   Masked Dereliction: State Republican legislators are trying to shore up their base with special sessions and anti-mask stances; They willfully failed to prevent this debate four months ago. by Jerod Hollyfield (Read)

In case you missed it

  • Total Recall: California’s September election by Jerod Hollyfield (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

  • Police launch new probe into muzzle sent to fired Tennessee vaccine official (Axios)
    • The question still remains: did patron saint of safety, Michelle Fiscus, send herself a muzzle or not?
  • An Epidemic of Bad Budgeting (City Journal)
    • "Among those with future obligations far outstripping current resources are New York, which collectively owes $194 billion that the city hasn’t funded, or $68,000 per every city taxpayer; Chicago, with an unfunded debt load of $36 billion, or $37,000 per taxpayer; and Nashville, with $4.3 billion in debt that it doesn’t have resources to pay, amounting to $22,000 per taxpayer."
  • Nashville doctor announces Democratic gubernatorial bid (Lookout)
  • Mayor details 'Digital Future' program to prepare Nashville students for tech jobs (Tennessean)
  • Nashville mayor: Gov. Lee's mask opt-out order will cause more outbreaks, less school (Tennessean)
    • Nashville and Memphis schools have both decided to not enforce Lee's order.

Nashville News

  • Radio host Phil Valentine dies of COVID (Main Street)
  • Country singer Tom T. Hall dies; wrote ‘Harper Valley PTA’ (AP)
    • The Rolling Stone's list of the ten best Tom T. Hall songs (RS)
  • Don Everly of Everly Brothers dies (WSMV)
  • Tennessee ranks 5th in need of travel nurses; paying up to $4,700 a week (WSMV)
    • At Ascension Saint Thomas, executives say there are 50 travel nurse positions open because they are difficult to fill. They say that number is usually closer to 20 to 30.
  • 21 dead and dozens missing in Humphreys County after extreme flooding rocks Middle Tennessee (Tennessean)
  • A map of Davidson county shows which parts of town grew more than others (Twitter)
  • Envision Healthcare to require its 30,000 employees to get vaccinated (Biz Journal)
    • Envision is Nashville’s second-largest privately-owned company, according to Nashville Business Journal research, with $8.4 billion of revenue in 2019 and 1,500 local employees.

Nashville Development

  • Narrow Development Proposed Between Charlotte & Old Charlotte Pikes (Now Next)
  • Work seemingly looms on Midtown residential building (Post)
  • Philadelphia firm pays nearly $3 million for Wedgewood-Houston land with plans for 150 apartment units (Biz Journal)
  • Project planned for Wedgewood-Houston lands investor (Post)

Nashville Life

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Tonight
🎹 The Music of Elton John and Billy Joel @ 3rd & Lindsley, 7:30p, $15 (Info)
⚾️ Nashville Sounds vs. Gwinnett Stripers @ First Horizon Park, 7:05p (Info)

Other

  • A Guide To: Kenny Rogers Duets (Read)

COVID Gutter

🦠 The COVID-19 Case Count must end.

A news clip from Australia best captures the Zero-COVID lunacy of Australia and New Zealand. Both country's lockdown policies have been sold to the public as "short-term" measures to achieve "long-term" success. The 7-day moving average for deaths in Australia stands at 3 and the country has had only 984 deaths since the start of the pandemic. New Zealand has only had 26 deaths. It begs the question if either country will ever peak its head out from under the pandemic. The lockdowns have been effective in preventing infections. For now. But, at what point will administrators decide it is ok to open back up permanently? With what we know about the virus' ability to use animals as reservoirs, the waning effects of the vaccines over time, and the ability to contract or spread infection regardless of vaccination status, the future looks pretty bleak in the Land Down Under.

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated, "This groundhog day has to end, and it will end when we start getting to 70% and 80% (vaccination rates)." Why would anyone believe that? Will all the anti-COVID measures simply melt away once they reach the magic number?

In New Zealand, PM Jacinda Ardern has struck a more callous tone refusing to admit the folly of zero-COVID policies as she extends lockdowns in light of 26 new cases.

In other foreign COVID news, Germany made the incredibly wise decision to drop the case count.

Opinion

  • ✅ Why COVID-19 Is Here to Stay, and Why You Shouldn’t Worry About It (CSPI)
    • A strong case for the efficacy of natural immunization and how it will lead us out of the pandemic.
  • The Science of Masking Kids at School Remains Uncertain (NY Mag)
  • Wasps, or how to see what’s right there (Chicago Sun-Times)
    • A deranged column. Here's a snippet: "I look at people simply denying one obvious situation or another — COVID, global warming, systemic racism — with blinking incomprehension. It’s ... right ... there. Just ... open your eyes and ... look."
    • I opened my eyes and a swarm of systemic racisms attacked! Help!

Headlines

  • FDA Fully Approves Pfizer’s COVID Vaccine (NR)
  • Toll drivers will strike from Friday, shutting down Australia’s road transport for the first time in a decade (Business Insider)
    • "Thousands of truck drivers will go on strike on Friday after negotiations broke down between multi-billion dollar logistics company Toll and the Transport Workers Union (TWU)."
    • "The industrial action, supported by 94% of the workforce, will see workers pack it in for a full 24 hours, grinding deliveries to a halt, and creating a wave of backlogs and delays."
  • ‘Covid-22’ could be more deadly than Delta, expert claims (Insider Paper)
    • A new strain of super-duper, deadly, exteremely dangerous and destined to destroy mankind waits in the wings so Pfizer executives can shill more vaccines. To the moon!
  • Man gets tattoo of COVID-19 vaccine QR code on his arm (NY Post)
    • He'll be covered in tats soon enough.
  • Tennessee’s Pediatric COVID Cases Are Through The Roof, And Hospitals Are Feeling It (WPLN)
    • You cannot talk about full children's hospitals without talking about the delayed spike in RSV cases due to children being isolated during the Fall and Winter months (when RSV is typically most rampant).
    • WPLN does not talk about RSV, of course, which is why it's safe to ignore their opinion on the matter.
  • Rev. Jesse Jackson Hospitalized With COVID-19 After Being Fully Vaccinated (Epoch)
  • NYC mandates COVID vaccines for high school athletes and their coaches (Chalkbeat)
    • "The mandate will apply to an estimated 20,000 students who participate in the Public School Athletic League, or PSAL. It includes football, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, lacrosse, competitive cheerleading, and rugby. Vaccination will also be required for bowling, since it takes place indoors."

Messaging

  • Germany drops incidence levels as key COVID yardstick (Reuters)
  • Execute this code to debug COVID. (@SCCgov)
    • The Santa Clara County twitter account tweeted a picture of a block of code that prescribes an "alogrithm" to end COVID. As many in the replies pointed out, the code would crash the computer.
  • Some White Evangelical Leaders Hesitate To Preach The Vaccine. Others Spread Misinformation Instead. (WPLN)
    • A predictable, indirect finger wag at "deplorables".
  • A tweet from the FDA as regards ivermectin: "You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it." (@US_FDA)
    • Another predictable, indirect condemnation of "deplorables".
  • Facebook says post that cast doubt on covid-19 vaccine was most popular on the platform from January through March (WaPo)

From Around the Web

🌊 The deal that the American elite chose to make with China has a precedent in the history of Athens and Sparta (Read)

💣 The mother of all difficult foreign policy decisions: the nuclear bomb (Read)

Graph of the Day

📈 Nashville's soaring debt amounts to $22,000 per citizen and shows no signs of decreasing (Read)

Have a great Tuesday