Thousands of President Donald Trump's supporters storm the U.S. Capitol building following a "Stop the Steal" rally on Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. The protesters stormed the historic building, breaking windows and clashing with police. Trump supporters had gathered in the nation's capital to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Commentary: Personal responsibility? Any Tennessee Republican leader ready?

BY: - January 11, 2021

“Personal responsibility” is a favorite slogan for Tennessee Republican political leaders. Until it comes to their own words and actions. After the mob attack on the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday Tennessee GOP leaders issued their obligatory statements of condemnation.   U.S. Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty said:  “Yesterday was a shocking day of lawlessness… Last […]

Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake speaks at a Dec. 20 press conference to address allegations a girlfriend of bomber Anthony Warner made in August 2019. (Photo: Ray Di Pietro)

Commentary: MNPD Chief Drake is misleading the public about 2019 bomber investigation

BY: - January 5, 2021

Early Christmas morning, we saw again that Nashville’s police officers represent the best of their profession.  The six heroic men and women who ran towards danger to evacuate Second Avenue in the minutes before the suicide bombing acted with bravery and resolve.

 Unfortunately, in the week that followed, their leaders have demonstrated neither.

Since the bombing, […]

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 05: Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) holds a mask to her face as she arrives for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Oversight of the Crossfire Hurricane Investigation" on Capitol Hill on August 5, 2020 in Washington, DC. Crossfire Hurricane was an FBI counterintelligence investigation relating to contacts between Russian officials and associates of Donald Trump. (Photo by Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)

Commentary: Tennessee congressional delegation in destructive denial

BY: - January 4, 2021

Just hours before he would take the oath of office as a U. S. Senator from Tennessee, Bill Hagerty made another pledge, one of loyalty to the deranged notions of Donald Trump to challenge documented results of the 2020 presidential election.  Hagerty, like Sen. Marsha Blackburn and nearly all of our state’s Republican members of […]

(Photo: John Partipilo for the Tennessee Lookout)

2020 was a huge taker

BY: - December 31, 2020

‘Twas the night before the new year, the last few minutes of 2019 and I had stayed awake way past my bedtime to enjoy my birthday. Trump was freshly impeached, and it felt like an early birthday present. My family and I  made plans for all things we would do in the New Year and […]

Knox County Department of Health (Photo: Knox County)

Commentary: Knox County Board of Health endangered by viral nonsense

BY: - December 21, 2020

Monday night, the Knox County Commission will vote on an ordinance that effectively would abolish the county’s Board of Health, resurrecting a zombie version of it as only an advisory body.  The signs are not promising the Board of Health will survive COVID-19 viral misinformation loose in the body politic.  The commission voted 8-3 last […]

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee pictured with his wife, Maria, during a Memphis event in December. (Photo by © Karen Pulfer Focht)

Editor’s column: Gov. Bill Lee does his best Ebenezer Scrooge impression

BY: - December 17, 2020

Nothing warms the heart at the holidays like viewings of Christmas fare like “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and adaptations of the Charles Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol.”  Each features a villain lacking in holiday spirit and empathy for his fellow man — or Who, in the Grinch’s case — but who comes to realize […]

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 26: Ivanka Trump, daughter and assistant to U.S. President Donald Trump, and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) attend a lunch meeting with Republican lawmakers in the Cabinet Room at the White House June 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. The president called the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling in favor of the administration's travel ban a "tremendous victory," according to published reports. (Photo by Al Drago-Pool/Getty Images)

Column: Go home, Lamar.

BY: - December 8, 2020

Culminating 18 years of distinguished mediocrity in the halls of power, Lamar Alexander took to the Senate floor last week to give what was billed as his (capital F capital S) Farewell Speech. As public address it was comically self-delusional, projecting an inflated sense of accomplishment and self-satisfaction that in normal times we might easily […]

Sen. Marsha Blackburn at podium

Commentary: Blackburn bluster is incoherent about social media

BY: - December 7, 2020

U. S. Senator from Tennessee Marsha Blackburn recently has been obsessed with one topic—social media platforms and their supposed unfairness to right-wingers.  She spent an inordinate amount of time and space in her Nov. 20 newsletter flogging the point.  She included five clips of herself (one from a congressional hearing, one from the Senate floor, […]

Quanita Thomas, fondly known as “Q” (center) hands out a food basket to Carlos Williams who lives in the North Nashville neighborhood. Thomas is also an associate pastor at the Historic First Community Church in North Nashville. (Photo by John Partipilo

Commentary: Hungry Tennesseans deserve to have burden eased

BY: - December 4, 2020

I recently ran for office, because I was concerned about what I saw happening in my community. When I was campaigning, I posted a video on social media that I took on the way home one day showing a food line near my district. It stretched for blocks and blocks, hundreds of cars, full of […]

On Tuesday, Ben Shapiro critiqued Vanderbilt University football and soccer player Sarah Fuller's kicking skills. (Photo: YouTube)

Editor’s column: Welcome to Tennessee! Now y’all go home.

BY: - December 3, 2020

In my Tennessee home town, every time there’s a move towards something progressive — removing the Confederate flag from the county seal, for instance, imposing a mask mandate or changing the name of a school mascot to something not offensive to a third of the school’s graduates — the comments on social media usually include […]

A shot from the Tennessee Public Service Announcement "Choices" (

Commentary: Tennessee PSAs Underplay COVID Crisis

BY: - November 30, 2020

Public Service Announcements (PSAs) have a long and noble history on U.S. television.  Smokey the Bear taught campers to extinguish fully their campfires.  In one famous “Keep America Beautiful” PSA the audience sees a character in Native American costume paddling a canoe across a polluted landscape.  As litter is tossed on his moccasins we switch to a close-up […]

(Photo:Getty Images)

Editor’s column: Is that all there is?

BY: - November 25, 2020

Saturday, I drove to Knoxville to see my brother and his family, after not seeing them since January. We sat outside on his deck for a few hours talking about work, about COVID-19, mutual friends, books and politics.  As I left, I found myself turning not towards the interstate ramp home but towards the University […]