U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn at Gov. Bill Lee's second inauguration on Jan. 21, 2023. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Blackburn’s Tinky Winky moment

BY: - June 1, 2023

Sometimes radical right culture wars, all on their own, just slip from absurd outrage to self-parody. Perhaps the most famous moment was in 1999 when Moral Majority Founder Jerry Falwell proclaimed the purple preschool Teletubby, Tinky Winky, was gay. Tennessee’s U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn in mid-May had her own Tinky Winky moment when she teamed […]

The campus of Tennessee State University in Nashville, the state's largest historically Black university. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Critics call $2M TSU audit an attack on President Glover

BY: - May 26, 2023

Tennessee State University officials narrowly escaped the wrath of the Legislature this year after a rough comptroller’s audit. But lawmakers peeved at President Glenda Glover managed to put $2 million in the budget for yet another audit, this one a forensic investigation that could be used to file criminal charges. Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, Senate […]

Art by Getty Images

Red herrings in a school shooting case

BY: - May 23, 2023

Talk of the so-called Covenant School “manifesto” is a red herring: a distraction floated by the Tennessee conservative lawmakers as an excuse for their failure to take any meaningful action on gun reform. A red herring is either a “dried, smoked fish,” per the Oxford dictionary or “an unimportant fact, idea, event, etc. that takes […]

Photo of a man tucking a handgun into his hip holster. (Photo: Karen Pulfer Focht)

One doctor’s wish list for Tennessee’s special legislative session

BY: - May 17, 2023

Mass shootings have become such a frequent occurrence in the U.S. that many of us have become numb to seeing news about them almost daily. But when one occurs in your town and affects people you know, it hits you differently.  The shooting  at the Covenant School in Nashville on March 27 has affected both […]

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) (Photo by Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)

Tuberville shows how we’ve lost our sense of how to argue

BY: - May 15, 2023

U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., and former Auburn University football coach, recently fumbled a simple question from Richard Banks of WBHM radio in Birmingham.  Banks asked, “You mentioned the Biden administration trying to prevent white nationalists from being in the military. Do you believe they should allow white nationalists in the military?”  Tuberville responded, “Well, […]

Rep. Justin Pearson, D-Memphis, with a future voter on April 13, the day Pearson returned to the legislature after a short-lived expulsion. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Pearson projects student protests despite special session timing

BY: - May 12, 2023

A chorus of boos is following Gov. Bill Lee’s plan to call a special session Aug. 21 — after public school students return to class — to “do something” in response to the March 27 Covenant School mass shooting. But Rep. Justin J. Pearson, fresh off a House expulsion and reinstatement after leading a floor […]

Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 22 - Supporters of former President Donald Trump ouside the final presidential debate of the electoral cycle at Belmont University. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Here’s how reporters should cover Trump’s campaign

BY: - May 11, 2023

On the evening of Jan. 6, 2021, CNN personalities tried to interpret for viewers across the world what had transpired that day in the nation’s capital. “I would just like to remind our viewers that President Trump now for years has referred to journalists as the enemy of the American people,” anchor Jake Tapper said, […]

The Tennessee Capitol (Photo: John Partipilo)

The Tennessee Lookout at three

BY: - May 9, 2023

Hello, Tennessee. With those words, I opened my first column for the Tennessee Lookout on May 6, 2020, the day this outlet launched.  At the time, I expanded on the need for coverage of how the political sausage is made, and I said our team of reporters would be fair, accurate and tough.  And we […]