Good morning, everyone.
Those of us who grew up with the internet learned quickly about the impermanence and flimsiness of information. The internet, and the various pirating protocols that existed at its birth, made it clear that "going around" the authorities was not only easy, but in many cases, preferable. Prior to video being available online, documentaries that spun alternative narratives such as Zeitgeist or Loose Change wouldn't have been as accessible.
Old alternative mediums like the pamphlet or late-night radio advertised themselves as more explicitly alternative, but Loose Change sat on YouTube next to the cooking and cat videos. There's a meme about Joe Rogan that goes, "Back when I was a kid you didn’t need Joe Rogan. Your best friend had a 27-year-old brother who was a f*****g loser who would smoke pot in a room with blacklight posters and tell you that the Mayans invented cell phones." But again, the presentation of this person was such that you understood him to be alternative.
When you're a twelve-year-old boy who stumbles on Loose Change after watching a video about the F-16, you're forced to confront the question of whether the dominant narrative is the true narrative — in this case: was 9/11 an inside job? Not only that, but you don't have help. TV is often consumed with company, and it's through this process that you learn how to approach the content and process it. The internet is only twenty years old. By the time the internet popped up, I was ten years old and my parents were forty with zero experience navigating, parsing, and searching regardless of their general competence with computers prior to the internet.
A computer, by its nature, is a radically different machine from the television. The computer contains the television and adds an entire layer on top of it, blending interactivity with communication to produce something that has a wholly different effect on its users. As a computer user as a child who would frequently pirate music, modify video games, and pursue "hidden knowledge," I can tell you that on a sufficiently long enough time horizon, the general sense imparted you by a computer as it delivers you information is that very little of it is to be trusted.
Contrast this with the relatively monochrome, well-groomed network television that my parents grew up with and you begin to see how a generation reared on the internet will have far less trust in any given narrative than their forbears who watched Walter Cronkite and Johnny Carson and derived their sense of the media from them.
This might explain why older generations are more likely to fall for hoax stories and fake headlines — something that those 35 and below can sniff out more readily. You scan the URL, the text formatting, the image quality, the basic layout of the website, and how quickly it loads. There are many signs given off by every piece of internet content that will tell you how trustworthy or untrustworthy it is. I've yet to see someone my age repost an Onion story as fact, but instances of Boomers doing so are legion. Growing up scanning and perusing webpage after webpage, you internalize the red flags.
Marshall McLuhan famously declared, "The medium is the message." Luhan's famous declaration is one of those statements you chew on over the years to try and decide if it means anything substantive. Something we discuss often around here is the difference between legacy media formats — talk radio, network television, print media — and the new media formats such as podcasts, video streaming, and this newsletter and how they affect the way people engage with information. We're obviously written word supremacists. For now.
Something to consider.
Today, we look at a recent split in the DA's race, take a look at the lingering remote vote policy of the legislature, and show you a tool that will ensure everything thinks you're swamped with work.
Thanks for reading.
⁂⁂⁂ BAR HOURS: LUCKY'S 3 STAR BAR ⁂⁂⁂
Continuing tonight, we're conducting our new weekly Thursday event that we're calling Bar Hours. Bar Hours is your chance to mix and mingle with other readers of The Pamphleteer — as well as the writers — while imbibing at Lucky's 3 Star Bar. The first ten people that show up will get their drinks comped on The Pamphleteer's tab.
We'll meet at 6 PM on the porch of Lucky's.
𖼥 The District Attorney Race & The Recent RaDonda Vaught Case
The recent RaDonda Vaught case has caused a stir in Nashville. We won’t be going into the extensive details of the case but in 2015, after a series of negligent actions, a nurse that worked for Vanderbilt accidentally injected her patient with a paralyzing agent that resulted in the patient's death. To get better acquainted with the case read this article or this one. You can also simply search ReDonda Vaught’s name.
A guilty verdict was reached in this case a few days ago and has become a prominent topic of discussion amongst healthcare professionals, especially other nurses. It has also become a campaign topic in the District Attorney race taking place later this year. Let’s look at why this is significant.
A term you may not have heard since US Government class in high school. If you’re not a lawyer, allow me to remind you. Mens Rea is “the intention or knowledge of wrongdoing that constitutes part of a crime, as opposed to the action or conduct of the accused.” Seems pretty straightforward except that when looking at the culpability of a crime in our legal system, mens rea includes five different levels of culpability including recklessness and negligence — two key factors in the case against RaDonda Vaught.
The current DA in this case, Glenn Funk, has received scrutiny from an electoral opponent, Sara Beth Myers. Myers has stated that as District Attorney, she “will not charge medical professionals for mistakes that amount to civil medical malpractice.” A statement made solely for political ends that disregards the nuance of what the role of District Attorney actually entails.
A District Attorney is “responsible for the prosecution of criminal cases on behalf of the state.” But, in recent races across the country, including in Tennessee, the role of the DA has become one of overreach. DAs are running on promises to overhaul the justice system from the ground up — with utopian promises that they can prevent criminals from participating in criminal behavior. It’s an empty promise that has led to disastrous and dangerous results in multiple cities run by progressive DA’s such as San Francisco, Seattle, and New York City, to name a few.
Of course, the fear that negligence on the job can lead to jail time has sent shock waves throughout the medical community in Tennessee. Unfortunately, the politicization of the case has left little room for nuance and has opened the door for politicians to take advantage of the confusion.
Discretion is a key factor in any job that requires an increased amount of accountability including Policing, Nursing, and dare I say… Journalism? Prosecutors have been appointed at the top levels of our government since its conception. The President continues to appoint the United States attorney to this day. As our country grew, states adopted their own practices which resulted in America becoming the only country in the world that elects prosecutors. The advantages and disadvantages of making this position political are well outlined in this article about Tennessee District Attorney Offices.
Regardless of how you think it should be, for the time being, the office is political. This means that scrutiny of bold, political statements made during election season is of paramount importance. In Tennessee, the District Attorney serves an 8-year term. Tennessee has the longest elected term for any prosecutor position in America. A lot can be upended during a term that is almost a decade long when the office is used as a political cudgel.
It is also excruciatingly difficult to recall a District Attorney. It requires impeachment. The Tennessee legislature has tried to reel in some of the overextended power of the position when they passed a law last year that endowed them with the ability to go over the head of a District Attorney’s office that fails to prosecute laws passed by the state — a growing practice amongst progressive District Attorneys.
Diligence when electing a District Attorney in our state is of the utmost importance. Paying attention to political statements that disregard nuance and strip defendants of personal responsibility is a key to separating the bad from the worse.
- Lee proposes millions for NASCAR, Titans (Homepage) Gov. Bill Lee is proposing issuing $500 million in bonds for the construction of a new domed stadium and $17 million in grants to help ready the Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville for a potential NASCAR race.
- Airport, insurance company fight over cost of Tune tornado damage (Post) The Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority says its insurance company owes at least $10 million more to cover damages at the John C. Tune Airport from the March 2020 tornado.
- The Most Traveled Bridge in Tennessee That Doesn’t Meet Safety Standards (Center Square) There are 841 bridges considered to be structurally deficient in Tennessee — 4.1% of all bridges in the state. For context, 7.0% of bridges nationwide are considered structurally deficient. Of the bridges in poor condition, the bridge on I-24 over Mill Creek in Davidson County carries the largest number of commuters and travelers, with an estimated 167,340 daily crossings on average.
- Little-known super PAC threatens lawsuit to save Ortagus’ Tennessee congressional bid (Lookout) The Tennessee Conservatives PAC, expected to back Ortagus, has $1 million to use for the challenge, according to a Punchbowl News article. It’s unclear whether all of that money would go toward the Ortagus campaign.
- Bill to preempt Metro’s authority to regulate short-term rentals makes headway in legislature (Main Street) HB645, sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, and Sen. John Stevens, R-Huntingdon, is specifically targeted at Nashville in an attempt to preempt a ban of owner-occupied rental properties.
- Senate Education Committee Passes Bill To Remove Obscene Materials From School Libraries (TCN) The bill aims to prohibit educational institutions from making materials that are considered “obscene” or “harmful to minors” available to students.
- Bill Addressing Teacher Shortage Headed To Governor Lee For Signature (TCN) The bill allows individuals who are retired members of the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS) to return to work full time as a substitute teacher, K-12 teacher, or K-12 bus driver without losing their retirement benefits.
- 19th century North Nashville building to offer residential units (Post)
- Demolition Makes Way For New City Hall In Downtown, Huntsville (Now Next)
- East Nashville mixed-use building sells for $14.87M (Post)
- Mixed-use development eyed for Edgehill site (Post)
☎ PHONING IN THE VOTES
Since the onset of the pandemic, a provision passed in May 2020 allows US Senators and House members to participate in committees and vote remotely. The measure — originally intended to last only 45-days — has since been extended three times, most recently on Monday.
Nancy Pelosi made the announcement using the same tired language concerning the threat of COVID-19 and extended the remote policy until May 14, 2022. Though both parties have taken advantage of this first-of-its-kind Legislative protocol, Democrats have benefitted the most. With a slim, four-person majority to protect, Democrats can ill-afford to lose votes. Between January and July 2021, 73% of Democrats phoned in their votes at least once compared to only 37% of Republicans.
According to some House members, the practice of remote voting exacerbates the slow turn of the legislature into more of a "media and fundraising platform" than a political body that "works hard and conducts the unglamorous but vital work of legislation and oversight." We talked about this briefly on Monday.
⚔︎ MISSIVES ⚔︎
- 🗺 The Biden administration will end the Title 42 public health order that allows border agents to immediately expel illegal border crossers, according to multiple reports. The order was initially handed down under the Trump administration in the early days of the Covid pandemic, and renewed by the Biden administration in August 2021.
- 💉 The U.S. military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate has been blocked for all Navy members seeking religious exemptions. A preliminary injunction that previously covered 35 Navy SEALs now covers some 4,000 others.
- 🏛 Senator Susan Collins (R–Maine) will vote to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, according to a new report. Collins, who was one of just three Republicans to vote for Jackson’s confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in June, is the first GOP senator to back the judge’s Supreme Court confirmation.
- 🛢 President Biden is preparing to announce the release of up to 1 million barrels of oil a day from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, according to people familiar with the plans.
- ⚡️ President Biden is considering invoking the Defense Production Act as soon as this week to boost domestic production of minerals used in batteries needed for electric vehicles and other clean-energy technology, said people familiar with his plans.
THINGS TO DO
View the full calendar here.
If you're looking for some action on Sunday night in Nashville, go see Santa's Ice Cold Pickers at Santa's Pub. Beer only, cash only, smoking inside, 3am closing, Country/Western tunes, karaoke, $3 16oz PBR, fake cowboys, real cowboys, musicians, hipsters, bikers, biker gals, Belle Meade bros, and Hank Jr's pedal steel guy.
🎙 The Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival is a 5 day, multi-venue festival with a large lineup of solo artists.
🖌 At the Cheekwood, Spanning the Atlantic, The Arts and Crafts Movement, an international trend in the decorative arts that originated in the British Isles during the 19th century.
🍀 Live Irish Music @ McNamara’s Irish Pub, 6p, Free, Info
🎙 Tin Pan South Festival @ Multi-venue, 6p, $175, Info
🍻 Pamphleteer Bar Hours @ Lucky's 3 Star Bar, 6p
+ Join The Pamphleteer at Lucky's 3. First 10 people's drinks on us.
🎸 Kelly’s Heroes @ Robert’s Western World, 6:30p, Free, Info
+ Best honky tonk in Nashville
GET ‘EM WHILE YOU CAN
🎸 Jerry Cantrell (4/17) @ The Ryman, $35, 7p, Info
🌊 The Brian Jonestown Massacre (5/5) @ Brooklyn Bowl, 8p, $25, Info
🐷 Primus: a Farewell to Kings tour & Battles (5/9) @ The Ryman, 7:30p, $55+, Info
🥁 Gogol Bordello (5/21) @ Brooklyn Bowl, 8p, $33, Info
FROM LAST WEEK
Around the Web
❍ The crypto reckoning in the Finger Lakes A tiny town in upstate New York has become the spot of an unlikely showdown between bitcoin miners and a group of citizens looking to stop the industry in its tracks.
➫ The New Authoritarians Woke professionals acting as the indentured servants of a fearful oligarchy have become everything we were told to fear from Trumpism
★ Has Putin made Nato stronger? America's leadership is now uncontested
Political Theater Highlight Reel
- Disney Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Vivian Ware, says the company has eliminated all mentions of "ladies," "gentlemen," "boys," and "girls" in its theme parks.
- NFL Teams will be required to hire a “diverse person” to serve as an offensive assistant on their coaching staff.
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Words of Wisdom
“If America could be, once again, a nation of self-reliant farmers, craftsmen, hunters, ranchers, and artists, then the rich would have little power to dominate others. Neither to serve nor to rule: That was the American dream.”