The Tennessean has a story about Chuck Mangino, who wants to stop tornadoes by shooting masers (which are like lasers, but use microwaves instead of light) ahead of the funnel clouds in order to disrupt their formation.
Listen, I think it's sweet and awesome of Mangino to want to help, and YouTube is certainly a good place to take your ideas to the public. But why did The Tennessean run this story without even finding out if it's plausible in the first place? I mean, if I put up a YouTube video saying that I was going to stop tornadoes by flinging unicorns into the funnels and 2,000 people watched it, would The Tennessean run a story about it? Can we not count on the paper to verify whether unicorns actually exist before touting my tornado-stopping unicorn plan?
Which brings me to masers. Yes, The Tennessean called a few people to try to find out if this was plausible:
A Tennessee State University professor declined comment on the video. One from Middle Tennessee State University didn't return a voicemail or emails.
“This isn’t something I’ve heard of and not something the National Weather Service is involved in,” said Nashville-based meteorologist James LaRosa. “We’re more into modeling and forecasting instead of disrupting.”
The Tennessean did not, though, google masers. If they had, they would have found that masers have been in the news a lot lately, because it was less than a year ago — in fact more recently than Mangino made his video — that a maser that could operate at room temperature (and not only at near absolute zero) was invented.
"I am looking forward to its unqualified success."
— Metro Council member Emily Evans, an outspoken opponent of the Music City Center when the idea was moving through the council, on her thoughts now that the $585 million convention center is open.
After Nashville's season finale last night, Adam Gold has the story of the real cliffhanger in this week's Scene.
"I just didn't see how you could [shoot the show outside Nashville]," creator and executive producer Callie Khouri told the Scene before the series premiered last fall. "Nashville really bent over backwards to give us the tax credits and make it possible for us to do it here."
Some might say the city bent over forward. The show ultimately scored a 17 percent tax credit from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and a 15 percent refundable tax credit from the Tennessee Department of Revenue. As a result, the show reportedly recouped 32 percent of its hefty production costs in its first season.
Now, though, the city and state might not be able to bend over quite as far, as state law now imposes a 25 percent cap on reimbursements. Consequently, Lionsgate is reportedly threatening to relocate the show — perhaps to L.A., where many on the cast and crew are based, or perhaps to somewhere like Georgia, which is quickly becoming the Studio City of the South.
Fresh off the grand opening of the Music City Center, Nashville Convention and Visitors
Bureau Corp president and CEO Butch Spyridon even says his organization would throw in some cash to keep the show in town.
Metro is apparently planning to bury the toxic remains of an old incinerator complex troublingly close to the Germantown neighborhood and the Cumberland River.
An investigation by WSMV finds that after demolishing the facility, the city seems to be violating its own codes by simply burying the rubble on site. That apparent hypocrisy is compounded by health concerns — the I-Team reports that the rubble contains toxic chemicals including arsenic and PCBs, which have since been banned by the U.S. government and have been linked to cancer in humans.
Buzz about the story quickly made its way to last night's Metro Council meeting, where members of Mayor Karl Dean's administration could be seen pulling it up on their iPads. And look who happens to be right in the middle of the mucky tale:
According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, Tennessee is in court right now arguing that the billboard Berry College put up here in Middle Tennessee is the equivalent of "operating a physical campus in the state," and thus "under Tennessee law, the out-of-state college needed to register as an educational institution in Tennessee — paying a hefty fee in the process — or face stiff fines."
I almost don't know what to say in the face of this, because it's so hilariously stupid. I'm just imagining the lawyer who has to argue for the state that a billboard is the same as a campus. How does he look himself in the mirror?
Berry College is arguing that Tennessee is limiting its speech by trying to charge it $20,000 a year for the "privilege" of having its billboard "campus" in our state and that Tennessee is violating the commerce clause. Meanwhile, Berry insinuates it's racking up $500 a day in fines.
But I'd like to invite Berry College to embrace the "billboard as campus" standard. For one, now Berry can say that it's got a campus of 26,000 contiguous acres and a satellite campus here. Shoot, they could go ahead and ask for brave volunteers to attend classes on the billboard. They could attach themselves to the billboard with safety rigging.
Now, Berry is a Christian school, so I certainly wouldn't suggest that they hang, say, blown-up stills from The Human Centipede in the Film Studies class that could meet at their Billboard Campus. But I would suggest Tennessee think about what kinds of things a private university can do on its campus that the state can't regulate and then ask itself whether it wants those things done on a billboard. If there are some things we might not want done on a billboard, maybe we ought not treat it as the equivalent of a college campus.
You know when you're playing euchre and one of your opponents leads the hand with the right bower? You know that's to flush out whatever other trump cards people have. The smart play is to throw the lowest trump card. And, sure, sometimes, your lowest trump card is the left bower — the second highest card in the deck. If you have to throw it, you have to throw it.
But if you've played euchre long enough, you know there's always some doofus who will throw that left bower and then sit back in his or her chair, triumphantly. And then you all have to sit there uncomfortably waiting for him or her to remember that hearts is trump this hand, not diamonds, and so that jack of diamonds can't take the jack of hearts.
Sadly, it turns out that Tennessee Congressman Stephen Fincher is our doofus. In the great euchre game of politics, he threw the left bower when the right bower was already on the table and he doesn't seem to realize it.
During contentious debate over the Farm Bill, which funds food stamps, in the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Juan Vargas, D-Calif., invoked the Book of Matthew as he noted his opposition to the cuts.
“[Jesus] says how you treat the least among us, the least of our brothers, that’s how you treat him,” Vargas, adding that Jesus specifically mentions the importance of feeding the hungry.
Republican Congressman Stephen Fincher of Tennessee, who supports cuts to the program, had his own Bible verse from the Book of Thessalonians to quote back to Vargas: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat,” he said.
Mayor Karl Dean gave his State of Metro address from the brand new Music City Center yesterday, after cutting the ribbon on his signature mayoral accomplishment.
From The City Paper:
“Today we open the doors of this great, new Music City Center to welcome visitors and tourists from all over the world,” he said. “Now it is time to open the doors of our city for all. For the bright and the talented; for those like us and not like us; for the lost and the struggling; and for the young who are filled with so much possibility.”
In a 45-minute speech, Dean reiterated his support for charter schools and “school choice” and delivered a pitch for The Amp, his proposed bus rapid transit project along the West End corridor.
He also announced the establishment of an Affordable Housing Trust Fund, “which will allow Metro government to take a more active role in creating affordable housing, encouraging rehabilitation of existing homes, maintaining affordability and building mixed-use, mixed-income developments.
Read the whole text of the speech here.
You may then also recall (starting at about 2:27) a "race realist" sporting a Towson University T-shirt who gleefully recounted the tale of flashing a gun at "a couple of blacks" who had come to his door. Not surprisingly, Matthew Heimbach, as he is apparently known, would be the leader of something called the "White Student Union," which goes around at night looking for "black predators" around the Towson campus. Somewhat surprisingly, Vice published a story about Heimbach and his little racial purity squad. (And yes, the AmRen Nashville confab makes an appearance.)
Since launching the night patrols, Matthew has become the pasty public face of campus hate. He knows how to court the media, and the segments about him that have aired on CNN, CBS, the Thom Hartmann Program, and pretty much every news blog, all prove it. As such, going to Maryland and hanging out with him and his shadowy “comrades,” as we did recently, risks giving him the thing he wants even more than his own Rhodesia: attention. Yet accounts so far have treated the student as a vile curiosity rather than what he really is—the possible future of organized racism in America—and so we figured, what the hell, let’s go interview him.
“I hate Hitler,” Matthew told me at his apartment, in an African American neighborhood in Baltimore about 15 miles from Towson’s campus. He resents being classified as a “racist” or “white supremacist,” he said, and despises the KKK and neo-Nazi organizations. “They’re just low-rent thugs trying to make themselves feel better. Frankly, they’re an embarrassment.”
Ah yes, the Our Racism Is More Pure Than Your Racism school of racism. So erudite! But you already know about that game.
When the TBI laid into Channel 4 on Friday, I noted that Dennis Ferrier's Holly Bobo story came during the May sweeps period, and that other stations seem to have their most promotable work airing during this period.
I didn't realize that was a controversial statement.
Sweeps periods take place four times each year — February, May, July and November. They are hugely important in the television industry, because that's when audience viewership is measured, and that data is used to set TV advertising rates.
In a conversation on Twitter, NewsChannel 5 investigative producer Kevin Wisniewski objected.
@scavendish just sensitive to the implication that May stories are less credible than stories that air in April
— Kevin Wisniewski (@KevWisniewski) May 17, 2013
If you visited The Tennessean's "Faith & Values" page on Monday, you saw stories about Mormon girls, the cast of Duck Dynasty talking about their Christian faith, Jim Wallis' book about faith in God, churches dealing with mental health issues, a couple who write hymns, a Lutheran coming to town, the woes of a group that guessed wrong about when Jesus is going to come back, and a bunch of new Catholic saints, not to mention a column from Ray Waddle about Christians and God, a piece by the pastor at Woodmont Christian Church, and a missive from a guy in Williamson County about how God helped him downsize. Plus you can take a quiz about how well you know the Bible. The only story on the page that wasn't explicitly monotheistic and implicitly Christian was about how you can go help clean up the City Cemetery.
The Tennessean's "Faith & Values" section does a terrible, shameful job of recognizing that there are a lot of Nashvillians who aren't Christian and who still have faiths and values they might want to read about in the paper. I mean, is there not one Jewish or Muslim person in town who had God's help making some major life change? No one at the Nashville Gurudwara has thoughts about God and politics? None of our Buddhists have thoughts about how to help Nashvillians with mental illness? There are no authors at the Sri Ganesha temple who might have books Nashville might want to hear about? No pagans brought anyone interesting to the area recently?
Oh, wait! The pagans did bring interesting people to the area recently. Yes, this past weekend there was a huge pagan shindig out at Montgomery Bell State Park—the annual Pagan Unity Festival. They invited important spiritual figures like Dorothy Morrison and Oberon Zell and interesting authors like Alex Bledsoe and M.R. Sellars.
Why Christians like to watch Duck Dynasty on the TV is not a more important "Faith & Values" story than the big gathering of Middle Tennessee people faith-&-valuing it up in Burns. It's just not. And I say that as someone who loves Duck Dynasty.
I know that every year, Gannett tells The Tennessean they're going to have to do more with less. And it's pretty easy to cover only Christians — after all, we have a lot of big, entrenched Christian institutions that know how to work a press release, and a lot of Christian leaders who are used to jotting off editorials. But The Tennessean is the city's daily paper. It's not just the paper of the Christians.
And, frankly, Christians don't have a monopoly on "Faith & Values." It'd be nice if the daily paper acknowledged that.
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