Good morning, everyone.
Doing a little housecleaning around here. We've thrown out the Covid Gutter. It's about time we orient ourselves towards a life post-Covid as much as possible. Additionally, you can follow us on Twitter (@realpamphleteer), LinkedIn (@realpamphleteer), or Instagram (@realpamphleteer) for additional content.
I urge my fellow Nashvillians to read Jerod Hollyfield's piece on the Belcourt. It tells a great story of how the pandemic pushed an institution into expressing its politics more brazenly.
In other news, we dig into the special session from over the weekend and wax poetic on the hysterical reactions to "Let's go, Brandon".
Thanks for reading.
✻ Three Takeaways from Special Session
At 1:15am on Saturday, the final vote was tallied during Special Session II on Capitol Hill.
- Banning Covid-19 passports/restricting proof of vaccination requirements for most private entities.
- Banning public schools from mandating Covid Vaccinations.
- Banning public schools from mandating masks due to Covid.
- Doctor’s rights to prescribe are protected.
- Monoclonal antibodies distribution cannot be rationed by the government.
- Unemployment benefits for those who must leave their jobs because of refusal to adhere to Covid Vaccination requirements.
- ...and more.
1) Ford Gets Tough
To anyone who watched or attended the sessions on the hill, it was clear that Ford had a major influence on the entire affair. Lt. Gov. Randy McNally mentioned that legislative leaders are “massaging” the omnibus bill to satisfy Ford’s concerns. After bombarding state legislators with texts and messages, Ford squeezed a compromise out of the assembly. The House and Senate walked back their ban on Covid related masking mandates by employers, but kept the ban on vaccine mandates.
2) Clemmons Call Out
During a line of questioning that transpired on the floor between Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville) and Rep. Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville), Clemmons brought up the Supreme Court decision that was made during the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. If you don’t recall, that is the court case where the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a private business owner’s First Amendment right to free speech and free exercise of religion in regards to their denial of service when a gay couple ordered a wedding cake from their cakeshop.
Why did he bring it up? Because the language in the Covid bill sponsored by Rep. Zachary infringes upon private business owner’s First Amendment Rights by banning their ability to mandate certain safety protocols in regards to Covid-19.
Watch the transaction from Friday night here.
3) Mandating mandates
In a dizzying three-day whirlwind, the heavily Republican Tennessee State Assembly made a clear statement that they weren’t going to be sticking to the old playbook any longer. After being prodded from all angles, including ordinances sponsored by district council members, school board decisions, and Federal mandates, State Legislators decided enough was enough. The following uncharacteristic, yet assertive, moves were made by the General Assembly:
- Legislators endowed the state’s commissioner of health sole authority on quarantine guidelines.
- Besides the exceptions made to appease Ford, music venues, and other special interests, the language in the Covid bill that came out of this Special Session muscled up against Federal mandates by infringing upon individual rights in order to empower the state.
The transfer of power when it comes to creating quarantine guidelines is a short term stronghold against particularly blue counties and is meant to limit their influence and authority. The long term repercussion of this, of course, is that if Democrats ever get control over the Governor’s office this precedent is set for future administrations. As for mandating bans on private business’s ability to mandate Covid protocol: it’s unconstitutional. That being said, Tennessee Democrats have been forced to defend the sanctity of the Constitution ever since. GOP strategy or serendipity? Tennesseans may never know.
- Woo Wagons Parade in Protest of Regulations Bill (Scene) It would require a think-piece and glowing public profiles of the operators to gin up sympathy for the Woo Wagons. There's only one publication in town that would dare to do so...
- Partisan school board election bill draws bipartisan concern from the local to state level. (Tennessean) The ugly side effects of Democracy rear their heads, and the party presumably defending Democracy—Democrats—cry foul.
- Here is the final Senate vote on the omnibus COVID-19 bill (TNJ) The bill passed 22-4 with Richard Briggs (R-Knoxville, District 7) the only Republican to vote "no".
- Tenn. Trucking Association decries GOP bill on COVID-19 rules as ‘anti-business’ (TNJ) A plurality of state policies as regards vaccinations and masks creates complications for the trucking industry.
- Proposed Germantown Hotel Adds More Character To 2nd Ave. & Monroe St. (Now Next)
- An exclusive took at One22One's construction progress in the Gulch (Biz Journal)
- MDHA to review three-tower proposal (Post)
- Recent River North deal seemingly sets record (Post)
- West End retail site could be redeveloped (Post)
- Project planned for North Gulch could include hotel (Post)
⌘ Memes and Tweets, A Nation Do Not Make
"F*ck Trump" was the kind of thing one could say with impunity over Trump's Presidency. Robert De Niro, emphasizing his age and distance from the culture, uttered those very words when announcing an award at the 2018 Tony's to a standing ovation. Kathy Griffin's ritual act of "resistance"—wherein she held up a fake, bloody Trump head—was met with predictable outrage from the Right and universal praise from the Left. The rumor that Trump defecated himself on the golf course received similar treatment. All this and much more has re-emerged during the Biden Presidency, but it's very serious this time and you better not laugh.
More taboo, but also more benign, the "Let's go, Brandon" chant has swept through the nation in the past few weeks. The chant references a post-race interview with NASCAR driver Brandon Brown during which the crowd could be heard chanting "F*ck, Joe Biden." The interviewer, Kelli Stavast, in an attempt to blunt the impact of the obscenities, misheard (deliberately or not) the chant as "Let's go, Brandon", and thus was born this forbidden meme which is shorthand for "F*ck, Joe Biden."
This time is probably different because the crowd that Biden courts is markedly different from the one Trump courted. Trump, a populist if there ever was one, courted the people. Biden, a bureaucrat if there ever was one, courted the other bureaucrats and their lackeys (Hollywood actors and the rest). Biden's ally, Robert De Niro, is no longer the spritely, virile star that helmed films like Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, and The Godfather, but a dried up, impotent has-been clinging to any semblance of relevance amongst his aloof friends in Hollywood. From this tight circle comes the "F*ck Trump" sentiment.
On the other hand, the "Let's go, Brandon" sentiment emerged from the people. Originally circulating as a meme online, clips have circulated of stadiums chanting the mantra in unison with glee while the only instance of mass chanting against Trump happened, unsurprisingly, in Washington D.C. during the 2019 World Series. Trump made—and continues to make—a habit of frequenting sporting events while Biden has steered clear because, well, he's not a man of the people. He's a corpse.
The drama surrounding the meme erupted over the weekend when an AP reporter allegedly heard a Southwest pilot make the joke over the PA before taking off. The reporter, Colleen Long, had a conniption and claimed that such language made her feel "unsafe". The implication here is that the nearly 75 million people who voted for Trump in the last election and express discontent with Joe Biden as President are not right in the head. Southwest will conduct a very serious investigation into the incident to determine if the pilot's phrase carried the violent, extremist undertones implied by the hysterical journalist. It seems unlikely.
The chant reveals how popular the Right is, but also emphasizes their ineffectiveness. On the Left, such a chant likely would likely come attached to some policy initiative while "Let's Go Brandon" claims no greater goal. It provides satisfaction for those frustrated with Biden's leadership, but beyond its use as an effective means to blow off steam, the chant comes with no other message than to vote for the GOP, and we've seen how that's gone.
- Manchin calls for vote on bipartisan infrastructure bill (MSNBC) "To be clear, I will not support the reconciliation legislation without knowing how the bill would impact our debt and our economy in our country we won't know that until we work through the text," Sen. Manchin says, calling for a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
- Lawmakers have proposed a retroactive tax increase in the $1.75 trillion reconciliation bill. (News Break) Under current law, people who sell Qualified Small Business Stock (QSBS) get a 100% tax exclusion. Congress has proposed eliminating the 100% benefit, including on stock acquired up to 12 years ago.
- U.S. in Talks to Pay Hundreds of Millions to Families Separated at Border (WSJ) This is why the U.S. "can't afford" to pay for paid family leave.
THINGS TO DO
🖼 The Frist Art Museum has an exhibit celebrating ascendant Art Deco art from the 1920s and 1930s running until January.
Around the Web
☠︎ The Rise and Fall of Poisoning Your Enemy Halloween, Royalty, Poisoning goes Mainstream, World Wars, DNA
✘ The parenting problem the government can't fix America's fertility decline is about more than money. It's about a society that doesn't like kids.
◉ Liberals Read, Conservatives Watch TV Explaining why Trump emerged on the right, why only liberals debate filibuster reform, how anti-vax became a partisan issue, how David Shor is half right, "Dems are the real racists" and much else.
⚑ It’s Not Existential Don’t confuse America’s genuine political divisions with the prospect of civil conflict.