Good morning, everyone.
William Harwood returns this week with the third installment of his Nashville Park series directing our attention to five of Nashville's most pristine parks. Here you will find old-growth forests and hidden gems tucked away in far-flung corners of the city. It's well worth a read as we roll towards the weekend. You can read his latest here.
Below, we dig deeper into the ramifications of License Plate Readers, take a look at some recent media hijinks, and take another look at what may be the graph of the century.
Thanks for reading.
⊜ BAND-AIDS ON BULLET HOLES
A topic of heated debate, License Plate Readers (LPR) have been introduced as a solution to a bevy of criminal behaviors. BL2021-961 is the most recent bill being considered by Metro Nashville Council Members and will be on its 3rd and final reading during the council's next meeting. The bill is one in a long string of attempts spanning the last few years brought forth by different council members to green light the installment of LPRs at different intersections throughout Davidson County.
As a tool, LPRs purportedly will help law enforcement do their job better. Politicians, on the other hand, have different motivations. Besides the possibility of special interest groups approaching Council Members and lobbying for LPRs for a variety of reasons (this is where people worry about the possibilities of what public surveillance tools can be used for in the future), it’s best to look at the easiest and most obvious influences first. LPRs are an immediate solution to a variety of immediate problems and the statistics regarding the efficacy of the surveillance technology can easily translate into measurable data. Why would this matter to a DA or a Council Member? When you’re running for reelection, saying your involvement in advocating for LPRs lead to (x) amount of arrests regarding stolen vehicles, drug trafficking, etc. looks really good on your resume. It’s a short-term solution to an immediate and measurable problem that helps you make the case that you are an action-oriented, solution-based politician. This information is very persuasive when voters' go to the ballot box. There’s a problem, there’s a solution, and there’s a way to measure if the solution is effective.
But is there something missing here? Let’s start with the fact that all these people — the District Attorney, the Police, and the Metro Nashville Council Members — all put their hands on a Bible and swore an oath to uphold the United States Constitution. This oath has significant meaning and must be held aloft in the minds of all who swear to uphold it while seeking solutions that benefit the public and the politicians themselves. If the oath doesn’t matter, then why even bother with having a Constitution?
Why is this important to understand? In the matter of LPRs, one must reasonably assess if this type of public surveillance is actually the best solution. The only way to properly assess that is to look at the root of the problem itself. If this surveillance is to monitor criminal activity, does installing marked LPRs at intersections truly benefit upstanding citizens? Law abiding citizens are now having their personal movements tracked, and criminals tend to find ways to circumvent the system and evade the police. Looking at it this way, a precedent of public surveillance that violates personal rights has less of a short-term effect on criminal activity compared to the long-term potential of government overreach.
What kind of solution helps get to the root of the problem? Infringing upon the rights of American citizens to catch criminals who do not abide by the laws set in place puts the onus of the criminal activity on law abiding citizens. Instead, solutions should focus on putting the onus on the criminals themselves. What is the proven deterrent for criminal activity? It is not Big Brother type surveillance, it’s not even necessarily more cops on the street, it’s prosecution. When criminals get prosecuted for crimes, the solution is directly addressing the problem instead of violating the rights of law abiding citizens. This upholds the Constitution, protects law abiding citizens, and creates a deterrent for criminal behaviors.
Why don’t politicians like “tough on crime” solutions despite their effectiveness? One of two reasons. 1) Deterring criminal behavior is hard to measure except for with crime rates and statistics. It doesn’t have the flashiness of getting to say, “at this intersection we obtained (x) amount of stolen vehicles, intercepted (x) amount of drugs, and caught this or that criminal that we tracked fleeing from a crime scene.” 2) If you don’t actually believe in the United States Constitution, personal freedoms and rights just seem to get in the way of solutions (and personal political gain).
In conclusion, we need an informed public and political class that roots itself in our system first. If upholding the Constitution of the United States of America is a controversial factor in finding solutions and implementing public policy, we have bigger problems than drag racers.
- ☇ Lee to deliver last State of the State of his first term on Jan. 31 (TNJ) In the announcement, Lee stated, “Tennessee shows the rest of the country that America hasn’t lost her way, and with the support of the General Assembly, we’ll continue to ensure Tennessee is a national leader for opportunity and freedom.”
- ♻ Nashville curbside recycling to resume in February (Channel 5) “Today’s news is about city employees getting innovative to solve problems,” Mayor John Cooper said. “I want to thank Metro Water Services and the employees at its Waste Services division for working long hours to cover for the failures of a private company and get curbside recycling back on schedule. I am committed to starting every-other-week recycling by the end of this fiscal year.”
- Judge rules fired Tennessee vaccine official Dr. Michelle Fiscus cannot pursue monetary damages (Lookout) A federal judge has ruled that former Tennessee vaccination chief Dr. Michelle Fiscus cannot pursue claims for monetary damages against the state’s top two Department of Health officials after her controversial firing last summer
- WCS school board votes for pay raises, added funds for staff and bonuses for psychologists (Homepage) $3,404,971 was added to school budget for additional general educators and special education teachers, raises of 3 percent for regular full- and part-time salaried staff and a $1 per hour raise for regular hourly paid staff, and $5,000 retention bonus for all currently employed school psychologists for the 2021-22 school year.
IN THE NEWS
- Franklin to dedicate street to local WWII hero (WSMV)
- Nonprofit buys Music Row properties for $3.9M (Post)
- Bellevue apartments sell to NYC company for $118.25M (Post)
- Hotel developer pays $4.2M for East Bank warehouse (Post)
- Project eyed for Midtown progresses with $5.15M deal (Post)
☢︎ IN THE MEDIA ON THE MEDIA
Two items over the past week highlight the media's ongoing crisis of credibility. Neither incident is simply a mistake, but the use of rumor or speculation solely for political ends. It's natural to expect publications and media outlets to get things wrong now and again. What is unforgivable is the utilization of stories with no founding in reality to create new political realities. It is these offenses that completely undermine people's trust. We have yet to see media broadly accept responsibility for these sins. We'll highlight one of these today and the other tomorrow.
KAMLOOPS, CHILD GRAVES, AND CHURCH BURNINGS
After anthropologist Sarah Beaulieu discovered what she thought to be 200 potential child burial graves on the site of Kamloops Indian Residential School, Canadians had a conniption. In July of 2021, Beaulieu stepped up to her new micro soap box and declared, "They were children, robbed of their families and their childhood. We need to now give them the dignity that they never had. Those are our next steps."
It quickly became about children disappearing from similar schools all across the nation which dovetailed nicely with the ever-present message of colonial oppression being the America's defining feature. The narrative arc came to us as if rolled off of a grievance conveyor belt and rippled through the Anglosphere as Justin Trudeau took to his cuddly pulpit and referred to “a dark and shameful chapter” in Canadian history.
But it didn't stop there. The Canadian government created a national holiday to honor the casualties of the Canadian residential school system which was designed to indoctrinate natives of the area into Canadian ways of life. Just before the recent revelations, the Canadian Press honored the children of residential schools as the "Person of the Year 2021." In response to the discovery, churches around the country were burned to the ground, statues toppled, and every manner of modern iconoclasm that we've come to expect from these ready-made grievance spikes received similar treatment to that of 2020's Summer of Floyd race riots — silence verging on an endorsement. The UN declared the whole thing a massive violation of human rights and even China got in on the fun calling for an investigation. Pope Francis promised to visit Canada after expressing how heartbreaking the news was to him.
Canada and its labrador retriever leader, Justin Trudeau, fell hook line and sinker for the shame charade and scrambled to punish and adequately place blame. Since the original announcement, not a single body has been discovered. The story quickly morphed into one in which bodies had been found and, in fact, there were more. As Beaulieu said, "All residential school landscapes are likely to contain burials and missing children." Who knows how many children would be exhumed from similar gravesites around the nation. At a certain point, whether or not the actual story was true, the "facts" were spiritually true, in some sense, in that they fit neatly into the mold of colonial oppression kept in the government's kitchen.
The horror and tragedy of the incident became totally separate from whether it actually happened or not. As detailed exhaustively in a Dorchester Review report, the basis of the discovery is even suspect. Depressions and abnormalities identified and interpreted by Beaulieu as unmarked graves could just as likely be explained by the presence of tree roots.
Additionally, the number of deaths counted in native residential schools sits close to the average for the rest of the Canadian school system during the time period. The narrative of "disappearing children" to cover up maltreatment simply holds no purchase in reality and is built on so many unproven assumptions that it's closer to fantasy than it is fact. Since the story broke nearly a year ago, no one has made serious efforts to discover the truth by exhuming the theoretical graves identified by Beaulieu, and it's likely no one ever will. The hook has been set, the fish hauled into the boat and filleted for dinner.
↗ GRAPH OF THE CENTURY
⚔︎ MISSIVES ⚔︎
- 🇬🇧 Restrictions including COVID-19 passes, mask mandates, and work-from-home guidance will be removed in England, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Wednesday.
- ✈️ The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a renewed bid to block the Biden administration’s requirement to wear masks on airplanes. The application to stay the mask mandate was denied by the court after a referral by Justice Neil Gorsuch, a Trump nominee.
- 🇷🇺 U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Kyiv on Wednesday in a whistle-stop diplomatic push to defuse tensions with Moscow over Ukraine, warning that Russia could launch a new attack at "very short notice".
Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique will be playing at the Schermerhorn this weekend, hooray! Burns Night at The Lost Paddy is the traditional celebration of the great Scottish poet Robert Burns held annually in Scotland. Yes, of course we’ll be there.
THINGS TO DO
View the full calendar here.
🍀 Live Irish Music @ McNamara’s Irish Pub, 6p, Free, Info
🎸 Music City Playboys @ Music City Bar & Grill, 6p, Free, Info
+ Good ol' honky tonk band
🎸 Kelly’s Heroes @ Robert’s Western World, 6:30p, Free, Info
+ Best honky tonk in Nashville
🐅 Pedators vs. Jets @ Bridgestone Arena, 7p, $30+, Info
🎼 Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique @ The Schermerhorn, 7p, $25+, Info
+ This one’s a wild ride, my friends
🐖 Nashville Farmers’ Market @ Nashville Farmers’ Market, 8a (Fri-Sun), Info
🐖 Farmers’ Market @ Green Door Gourmet, 9a (Thurs-Sun), Info
🐖 Franklin Farmers’ Market @ Franklin TN, 9a (Fri-Sat), Info
🐖 Charlotte Farmers’ Market @ Richland Park, 9a (Fri-Sat), Info
GET 'EM WHILE YOU CAN
🔆 Jordan Peterson (3/22) @ The Ryman, 7:30p, $40+, Info
🎸 Buddy Guy (3/26) @ The Ryman, 7:30p, $80, Info
🐷 Primus a Farewell to Kings tour (5/9) @ The Ryman, 7:30p, $55+, Info
⏚ TRANSMISSIONS FROM THE GROUND: ATHENS, GEORGIA
The Pamphleteer went to see Emily Nenni, a great, up and coming Country/Western singer, in Athens on Monday night at the Flicker Theater, and she put on a great performance. I was able to sneak by the medical checkpoint undetected to observe a hip, young, vaxxed, and masked crowd in the field, and let me tell you, they’re a sorry bunch.
Isn’t music supposed to be rousing and fill you with lust for life? My 98-year-old grandmother is more lively than these drones. The crowd was paralyzed. Aside from the crew that I came with, each little group of people remained in their self-imposed pods and barely interacted with each other. If beckoned to dance, they simply gave a condescending look, as if dancing at a concert was heretical. I ended up moving through the crowd like they were marble statues, ignoring them as they vehemently ignored me. I wonder if Emily Nenni will consider that vaccine requirements might be making her shows dull.
The at-the-door medical requirements seem to set a standard of fear and caution for the show. It says that all who enter need to be careful, not carefree. It looms over everyone’s head like the Sword of Damocles. This love of modern orthodoxy is anti-art, which, when done right, breaks rules, and threatens, not just established artistic styles, but established culture as a whole; it’s a revolution. You’ll find little revolution on the other side of vaccine checkpoints. Venues that bend to Big Pharma and enforce vaccine requirements do so at the expense of the art that they claim to be supporting.
NEW THIS WEEK
FROM THE ARCHIVE
Around the Web
𝄞 Is Old Music Killing New Music? All the growth in the music business now comes from old songs—how did we get here, and is there a way back?
⚉ Bowling Alone in Columbine Politics are over in America. Political maneuvering will go on.
♀ A Woman’s Place Is in the Rat Race In today’s miserable workforce, the career-centric promises of modern feminism are hollower and less fulfilling than ever
Political Theater Highlight Reel
- Howard Stern says hospitals should refuse to treat unvaccinated people
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren refuses to answer whether Joe Biden is ‘up for the job’
- Joe Biden, in his disastrous press conference yesterday, said, "I don't believe the polls."
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Words of Wisdom
Think before you speak is criticism’s motto; speak before you think, creation’s.