Good morning, everyone.
Before we get started, just a reminder that Bar Hours are tonight at Lucky's 3 Star Bar in Wedgewood-Houston starting at 6 PM.
Murder is no joke, and we're not here to make light of it, but the media's reaction to public incidents such as the one that took place on the NYC subway a few days ago is instructive. Whenever an incident like this happens, there's a mad dash to politicize it for some end, be that to push for more gun control or demonize some extremist group — usually, "white supremacists."
Before the identity of a shooter is revealed, his race is cloaked as a magician would a rabbit he is set to pull out of his hat. Journalists pray and plead for the shooter to be white, and once his race is anything but, disappointment, disillusionment, and ultimately, disinterest sets in. We saw this in Waukesha with Darrell Brooks (remember him?), the man that ran through a small-town parade in one of the more horrific incidents in recent memory, inspiring little more than a sigh.
On the flip-side, the Atlanta spa shooting perpetrated by a white man inspired a #StopAsianHate hashtag movement that lasted a couple of weeks even though it was clear to anyone with half a brain that it was not an incident targeted specifically at Asians, but the "sex industry" more broadly.
White shooters get the villain/celebrity treatment while shooters of any other race go the way of the dodo. Talk about racial inequality!
In the case of the NYC shooter, political animus is curiously absent — all the standard anti-gun rhetoric aside — even as it is revealed that the shooter had abhorrent racial views. Eric Adams, the same guy who threatened to stop answering questions from white journalists, has already issued a dismissal of the man's YouTube videos. Unsurprisingly, the videos reveal a deranged mind and make clear his antipathy for everyone of every creed and color. Media outlets seem largely incurious about the larger political ramifications of this. Either that or they're unable to spin it to their advantage.
The guy must've been a loyal Democrat because aside from standard judicial procedure punishing him to the full extent of the law, his views are of no consequence. That would at least help explain why the country's most famous White Supremacist, Richard Spencer, a sworn Biden supporter, gets the pass and retains a Twitter following upwards of 70k. No enemies to the Left, as the saying goes. Everyone else is a fascist.
The shooter will be tried as a terrorist after being apprehended yesterday.
Today, we look at a distracting road sign meant to remind people not to drive distracted, parse apart two bills in the legislature involving nicotine and beef, observe the national housing market, and go back in time to make fun of a dumb law.
Thanks for reading.
Jerod Hollyfield reviews Cyrano, Peter Dinklage's latest vehicle which updates the French classic of unrequited love from one in which the protagonist has an enormous nose to one in which he is, well, a midget.
OTHER MOVIE REVIEWS
- Film Review: The Worst Person in the World (Read)
- Lightyears From Reality (Read)
- Millennials Didn’t Ruin Cinema, They Just Made It About Themselves (Read)
- Nostalgia at the Brink (Read)
⚠︎ It's Work Zone Awareness Week
If you have traveled on I-40 at the South Loop, you probably noticed a makeshift memorial that is meant to get drivers' attention. Especially during rush hour, the criss-crossing of cars vying for positions before the I-40 East/24 East Knoxville/Chattanooga split with exit 210 to 65 S towards Huntsville can be a white knuckle test of both patience and grace.
Since the 1940s, 112 TDOT employees have been killed in the line of duty and are represented by orange caution cones as you pass by this memorial.
2021 Work Zones By The Numbers
- 4,034 Work Zone Crashes
- 1.082 Injured in Work Zone Crashes
- 26 People Killed in Work Zone Crashes
- All 2021 Work Zone Fatalities, None TDOT Workers
Distracted driving is the main cause of TDOT employee deaths, but it’s also a large cause of traffic deaths and accidents in general.
- 2018, TN named as number one state for distracted driving fatalities
- 2016 - 2018, TN recorded ~24,000 auto accidents involving distracted driving per year (~60 per day)
- 2019, “Hands Free Law” enacted
- 2020, Covid/stay at home orders - 9,404 auto accidents involving distracted driving
Distracted driving is not only a major issue in Tennessee, but it is most fatal to distracted drivers as they experience the most fatalities in distracted driving accidents. While we honor those who have lost their lives working for TDOT and agree that commemorating them and extending our sympathies to their families and loved ones is important, perhaps a memorial that does not distract drivers while driving would be a wiser choice in the future.
↯ NICOTINE AND BEEF IN THE LEGISLATURE
Nicotine and beef. Two of my favorite things, but a topic for another time. Two bills involving nicotine and beef floated through the chamber this past session that reveals something instructive about how the Tennessee legislature works and prioritizes issues.
The first bill, put forth by Sen. Richard Briggs (R-Knoxville), would allow local governments to impose a blanket ban on smoking in bars and restaurants. The bill passed with flying colors and now sits on the governor's desk awaiting his signature which it will likely receive. Back in 2018, Briggs put forth a bill that would've made it a crime to smoke in a car when a child is present. That bill failed.
The second bill, put forth by Sen. Frank Nicely (R-Strawberry Plains) and Rep. John Holsclaw (R-Elizabethton), sought to require local governments to allow slaughterhouses or meatpacking facilities on land zoned for agriculture to process at least 400 sheep, 200 hogs, or 100 cows per week. Allowing the construction of slaughterhouses on agricultural land would save farmers time and money.
The bill was defeated by a resounding no. Notably, Briggs was one of the more vocal dissenting voices, saying, "I'm opposed to when someone doesn't get what they want at the local level to come up here and ask us to overturn it."
The two bills reveal a preference in the legislature for seeking only to strengthen the authority of local governments even if that comes at the expense of consumers and business owners. When it comes to banning indoor smoking in private businesses, the legislature is all for empowering local governments to issue bans.
On the flip side, undermining local authority, a blanket attempt to force local governments to allow something, is pushed back down to the local level. Nicely and Holsclaw will need to pursue their bill on the county level.
- 🏈 Hotel-Motel Tax Increase Could Back Debt for a New Titans Stadium (Scene) State lawmakers might consider a 1 percentage-point hotel-motel tax increase, the second state funding mechanism for backing stadium debt.
- Vanderbilt researchers create 'unity index' to show political divide (Channel 5) The index shows over the last 40 years, the country was most united around the time of the first Gulf War, but Geer said it's generally declined since, hitting a low after the racial unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.
- Tennessee will end government agency favor in courts with new judicial bias law (Tennessean) By ending judicial deference to state agencies, Tennessee is taking an important step toward ending systematic bias favoring government agencies that work against private individuals and toward protecting the individual’s right to a fair day in court.
- Everything to know about Geodis Park, the new Nashville SC stadium (Axios) In a matter of weeks, Nashville SC will host games in the largest soccer-specific stadium in the country.
- ⭐️ Early voting began yesterday for May 3 county primary (Main Street) The most high-profile race on the ballot is the race for district attorney. There is no Republican primary, so the winner of the Democratic primary will almost definitely take office for an eight-year term after the Aug. 4 general election.
- Bill That Would Require Conservative Non-Profit Groups To Report As PACs Progresses In TN Legislature (TCN) An amended version of a caption bill that seeks to have 501C4 non-profit groups report expenditures of $5,000 or more made 60-days prior to an election has passed the House Local Government Committee and now moves on to the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee.
- Tennessee Senate Passes Pair Of Bills Regarding Transgender Athletes (TCN) The first bill added a monetary penalty for local school districts that do not determine a student’s gender on a birth certificate for school sports eligibility. The second would prevent students at colleges and universities from competing in female sports if their birth certificate says male.
- MetroCenter Office Building To Receive An Urban Refresh In Nashville (Now Next)
- 12South building sells for $43.6M (Post)
- Connecticut company buys first local apartment complex (Post)
- Lebanon townhomes secure construction funding but supply chain issues remain (NBJ)
- Barista Parlor to shutter iconic Gulch location, move to Paseo South Gulch (NBJ)
- Global player pays $10.2M for industrial building (Post)
→ A WITCH'S HOUSING BREW
There's a kind of witches brew going on in the housing market as large investors continue to amass large stacks of cash — $89 billion, only 1/4 of which has been deployed according to Zelman & Associates — interests rates begin to creep up, and the number of new homes being constructed surges.
As interest rates rise, individual home buyers begin to become more scarce, leaving room for that massive stack of capital sitting in investors' pockets. Compared to this same time last year, mortgage applications have fallen 41% as interest rates hit ~5% compared to ~3% the year prior. Due in part to falling demand, home builders increasingly find it easier to sell in bulk to big investors.
❍ FROM THE ARCHIVE: STUPID LAWS
In 2018, a California lawmaker, Ian Calderon, introduced a bill that would fine waiters $1,000 and lock them up for up to six months if they served a drink with an unrequested straw. There were already similar laws in place in the California cities of San Luis Obispo and Davis.
There's a strange fixation with plastic straws on the left coast. The LA Times penned an oped back then taking a position against plastic straws as if they were the Demogorgon. Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Entourage star Adrian Grenier were in an ad that shows them getting slapped by an octopus as they drink out of the devil's instrument.
Hilariously, though, the metric that sat at the base of all of this is the estimation that Americans consume and dispose of 500 million plastic straws a day. Where did this number come from? A nine-year-old who estimated the number after phoning straw manufacturing plants. That's not a joke. Talk about napkin math.
The law eventually passed in 2019 without the attached fine or jail time for violations.
Source: California Considers $1,000 Fine for Waiters Offering Unsolicited Plastic Straws
Reason, 25 January 2018, Read Online
⚔︎ MISSIVES ⚔︎
- 📊 The Tesla CEO, who has a 9.2% stake in Twitter, offered to buy the social media platform for $54.20 a share on Thursday, saying, "I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy."
- 📈 Consumers increased retail and restaurant spending by 0.5% in March compared with the previous month, according to the Commerce Department, from the revised monthly increase of 0.8% in February.
- 🚫 Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill into law on Tuesday that makes it a felony to perform an abortion, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, as part of an aggressive push in Republican-led states across the country to scale back abortion rights.
- 🛩 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended the federal transportation mask requirement for two weeks on Wednesday, five days before it was set to expire. The mask mandate now expires May 3, if it is not extended yet again.
THINGS TO DO
View the full calendar here.
🎙 Hannah Juanita is playing two-steppin' music every Friday in April at Bobby's Idle Hour.
🎪 Check out our favorite driving distance festivals this summer.
🍀 Live Irish Music @ McNamara’s Irish Pub, 6p, Free, Info
🍻 Pamphleteer Bar Hours @ Lucky's 3 Star Bar, 6p
+ Join The Pamphleteer at Lucky's 3. First 10 people's drinks on us.
🎙 Mick Mullin @ The 5 Spot, 6p, Free, Info
🎸 Kelly’s Heroes @ Robert’s Western World, 6:30p, Free, Info
🐅 Predators vs. Sharks @ Bridgestone, 7p, $30+, Info
GET ‘EM WHILE YOU CAN
🌊 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
NEW THIS WEEK
FROM LAST WEEK
FROM THE ARCHIVE
Around the Web
➫ The Metaverse Isn’t Real Yet but It’s Already Really Lucrative And it’s going to be real, and vast, much sooner than you might think.
↗ California's Vanished Dream, by the Numbers Even today amid a mounting exodus among those who can afford it, and with its appeal diminished to businesses and newcomers, California, legendary state of American dreams, continues to inspire optimism among progressive boosters.
❏ American Occupation Brave dissenters willing to defy an oppressive orthodoxy are our country’s best hope
Political Theater Highlight Reel
- U.S. Treasury Secretary Yellen: "We must redouble our efforts to decarbonize our economies."
- Megyn Kelly jokes that she’s open to swinging with the Clintons: ‘If Bill and Hillary ask us to swing, We’re doing it!’
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Words of Wisdom
“People use drugs, legal and illegal, because their lives are intolerably painful or dull. They hate their work and find no rest in their leisure. They are estranged from their families and their neighbors. It should tell us something that in healthy societies drug use is celebrative, convivial, and occasional, whereas among us it is lonely, shameful, and addictive. We need drugs, apparently, because we have lost each other.”