Workers Wanted Dead or Alive
It's become increasingly common to go to a bar or restaurant in Nashville and hear complaints from employees that they aren't able to find workers. Long waits for food from understaffed kitchens, too few servers to manage full tables, and the scent of stress and overwork are readily apparent in businesses across the city.
There's no question that nobody benefits from such an arrangement. The people who do work are overburdened, and customers must awkwardly accommodate an obviously difficult situation for the business and its employees. To ease the crunch, many employers are relying on teenagers. The share of teenagers working is the highest it's been since 2008.
Tennessee's decision to opt out of federal stimulus payments was first met with derision, but it will soon become apparent it was 100% the correct thing to do for everyone in the state. There's a pretty even Red/Blue divide between states on this front. Republican governors helm all 25 states who have ended benefits early.
From the Top
🦇 Bat Flu
Support for the lab leak hypothesis continues to gather. Reports have shown that villagers in the past who touched or interacted with bats known to carry coronaviruses were rarely, if ever, effected. However, lab modified bats used in gain-of-function research in Wuhan showed a greater capibility of spreading the virus to humans. Fauci's emails reveal that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (headed by Fauci) granted $826,277 to the Wuhan Institute of Virology over six years. It's not an enormous donation by any means, but it speaks to the conflict of interest Fauci had in presenting his case for the origin and severity of the virus.
🎠 Carnival Fight
The Paul brothers, Logan and Jake, are internet pariahs who have taken it upon themselves to "storm the gates of boxing." On Sunday night, the older of the two, Logan, squared off with none other than Floyd Mayweather for an eight round exhibition match. What followed was a snoozefest with neither boxer hitting the canvas once. Paul, for his part, spent 3/4 of the match lazily falling into the arms of the receptive Mayweather who, at one point, appeared to hold Paul up after delivering a brutal hook. Mayweather, in a post-match press conference, said of himself that "when it comes to legalized bank robbing, I'm the best" along with other gems like "a legacy don't pay the bills" when asked how he thought the fight would affect his reputation. He, presumably, has a lot of bills.
It is unlikely the sport can fall further even following this fiasco and despite the latest lamentations from boxing's "true fans." Audiences have come to expect nefarious activities from boxing matches. Heist might be an appropriate description of the event except that millions were eager—salivating even—at the chance to watch. In retrospect, it appears the match served to elevate Paul's credibility as a boxer to ensure that later bouts would hold some promise of Paul breaking through and help buoy his draw. The entire event was in the service of Paul's self-proclaimed desire to be the biggest entertainer in the world.
The Paul brothers (a quick Google search will unearth reams and reams of content for the uninitiated) represent an interesting shift in American culture. Both brothers are self-made men who got their start on the six-second video app Vine nearly 8 years ago. Without any ties to the entertainment industry, they clawed their way to fame and fortune without the help of nepotistic anecdotes that might color the rise of Leonard DiCaprio or Miley Cyrus. The Paul Brothers are outsiders, fighting for legitimacy. They represent a new breed of entertainer, for better or worse, whose primary appeal is simply showmanship and spectacle birthed by the algorithm and competition for likes at the expense of everything else.
✈️ Kamala's Tour VP Kamala Harris embarked on a two-day visit to Guatemala and Mexico to manage the influx of migrants fleeing into the US across the US-Mexico border. Encouragingly, she delivered a strong "Do not come to America" message. The tour kicks of the US's commitment to invest $4 billion over the next four years to improve Central American economies. It'd be less trouble to just light the $4 billion on fire (Politico)
💰 Global Corporate Tax The G-7, which comprises Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S., agreed that businesses should pay a minimum tax rate of at least 15% in each of the countries in which they operate. Obstacles remain before it can be applied. Tyler Cowen provides good insight here and here. (WSJ)
🇺🇸 Down on the Border A GOP mayoral candidate won his race in McAllen, Texas which is 85% hispanic underscoring one of the most surprising aspects of the 2020 election: hispanic support for Trump and, now, the GOP. Guess they don't know about the racism (NYT)
🌔 Space Bucks Jeff Bezos says he will join the crew of his rocket company's first manned space flight. Big recently divorced energy here, but we fully endorse (NYT)
🔫 Gun News U.S. federal judge overturns California's ban on assault weapons. The debate centered around AR-15s in particular (Yahoo)
New this week
Jerod Hollyfield offers a defense of a much maligned aspect of academia: tenure.
In case you missed it:
- Critical Race Theory for Dummies: A primer for the uninitiated (Read)
- Osteocalcin: That Feeling In Your Bones Is Not Just in Your Head (Read)
- Burt Reynolds' Southern Vision: How a Legend Chronicled the Region’s Potential (Read)
- The Last Action Heroes: 'Nobody' and 'Fatman' Face the Twilight of the Genre Star (Read)
- Legal brawl begins over anti-tax ballot measure (Lookout)
- The three day hearing on the legality of the 4 Good Government property tax referendum began yesterday
- If deemed legal, the referendum will be up for public vote starting with early voting on July 7th
- Save Nashville Now, a coalition expressing opposition to the referendum, released of series of ads to make their case (Lookout)
- The ads claim the referendum is "dangerous" and will lead to teacher shortages, delayed responses from first responders, and other dystopian nightmares
- CDC Awarded Davidson and Shelby Counties Nearly $12 Million to Address COVID Health Disparities for Minorities (Star)
- Lee approves modernization of captive insurance laws (TNJ)
- Want To Overhaul Nashville’s Budget Process? Here’s Who You Need To Know (WPLN)
- Can employers require the COVID-19 vaccine in Tennessee? (Tennessean)
- Private employers and schools can. Public employers and schools cannot.
- Nashville’s hotel industry steadily regains footing (Post)
- Hotel occupancy on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend was at 91.3%. From 2017 through 2019, the average occupancy was 95.7% on comparable dates.
- Sons of Confederate Veterans Will Relocate Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Body Away From Memphis (Star)
- Hiker catches timber rattlesnake on camera in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (WSMV)
- Foundation grants Belmont $2.15M for medical college (Post)
- Changes slated for Brown’s Diner (Post)
- New renderings surface for Giarratana roundabout tower (Biz Journal)
Why do we need that?
👁 A digital "third eye" helps the digitally impaired avoid obstacles while they stare at their phones (Watch)
📝 According to a recent study, teaching about the disadvantages that a group of people face because of race, religion, etc. leads to negative perceptions of the group members and the lowering of standards others have for them (Read)
⚽️ A controversial cheer from Mexican fans at the CONCACAF Nations League final between Mexico and the US in Denver resulted in the game pausing until fans stopped. The cheer uses the Mexican word "puto"—slang for a male prostitute. Fans typically direct the chant at the opponent's goalkeeper. A lesson here in crowd control (Read)
Good to Know
📜 Carpe Diem is most commonly translated as "Seize the Day," but a more accurate translation reads "Pluck the day." The phrase has its roots in agriculture. Pluck the day is to treat the day as a gardener does his garden when reaping a harvest (Read)