John Cole’s Tennessee

BY: - February 1, 2023

A police car blocks entrance to the Hernando DeSoto Bridge over the Mississippi River in Memphis after a substantial crack was found in it May 11. (Photo: Karen Pulfer Focht)

Citizens deserve access to police video even when people don’t die

BY: - January 31, 2023

If the video footage from the Tyre Nichols beating in Memphis tells us anything, it’s that we need to keep protecting the tools that allow public accountability for corruption. Two bills in the Legislature last year sought to reduce a citizen’s ability to view body cam or other law enforcement video footage. One passed and […]

Downtown Nashville on a typical night. (Photo: John Partipilo)

A tale of two cities

BY: - January 30, 2023

Recent news that Music City tourism honcho Butch Spyridon will (sort of) retire this summer has me thinking about how Nashville has changed during his three decades leading what is essentially the city’s official tourism bureau, the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.  Short answer: in just about every way. Longer answer: in some ways that […]

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Stockard on the Stump: Criminal Court judge balks at state’s supervision plan

BY: - January 27, 2023

A Sumner County Criminal Court judge is refusing to follow the Department of Correction’s new supervision levels for felons, arguing they’re too weak to help people stay out of trouble. Judge Dee David Gay issued an order in early January requiring the Sumner County Community Corrections Office to maintain the same standards of supervision that […]

The busts of U.S. presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln tower over the Black Hills at Mount Rushmore National Monument. Politicians frequently, and selectively, quote only one portion of a famous Roosevelt speech. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Fair criticism does not equal incivility

BY: - January 26, 2023

In 1910, one year after leaving the presidency, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt delivered a speech at the University of Paris — better known as the Sorbonne — titled “Citizenship in a Republic.”  The speech is better known as the “Man in the Arena” speech, and you may be familiar with it as one portion is oft-quoted […]

Bags of heroin, some laced with fentanyl.(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Stockard on the Stump: Pending bill could invoke death penalty for fentanyl homicide

BY: - January 20, 2023

Tennessee might be struggling with its execution protocol, but state Rep. Mike Sparks is ready to put more heads on the chopping block. The Smyrna Republican is preparing to sponsor legislation that could make fentanyl a “weapon of mass destruction” and lead to the death penalty for dealers who cause someone’s death. “What I really […]

The new sign at the Main Gate at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn., is installed Oct. 22, 2020. Located alongside Wattendorf Highway before entering the base, the new sign was necessary after an accident occurred in February 2020, in which a car ran off the roadway and collided with the previous sign. The project was completed by the Simplified Acquisition Base Engineering Requirements (SABER) contractor, SDVE, LLC. (U.S. Air Force photo by Deidre Moon)

Environmental racism in Tennessee, fueled by the presence of military bases

BY: - January 17, 2023

As a nationwide phenomenon, environmental racism occurs when low-income people of color are disproportionately exposed to pollution due to the neighborhoods they are forced to live in. There are many factors that have been contributing to environmental injustice over the decades, such as the inaccessibility of affordable land, racial segregation, and lack of political power […]

Martin Luther King and his wife Coretta Scott King lead a black voting rights march from Selma, Alabama, to the state capital in Montgomery. | William Lovelace/Express/Getty Images

Know better, do better: a civil rights reading list

BY: - January 16, 2023

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated two months before my fourth birthday in 1968 and Robert Kennedy, former U.S. attorney general and Democratic presidential candidate, was assassinated the day after I turned four.  I remember Kennedy’s death, although not King’s, despite that King’s occurred in Memphis, just a couple of hundred miles west of […]

Historic Metro Nashville Courthouse. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Metro Council, ‘Get thee to a nunnery’

BY: - January 13, 2023

It’s on. House Majority Leader William Lamberth is trying to sell legislation that cuts the Metro Council to 20 members, claiming it would be better for efficiency and the economy. He might be right about efficiency. In fact, some Nashvillians say this is no punishment for the people. There’s a reason the late Mayor Beverly […]