(Ron Bailey/Getty Images)

Commentary: Gun Obsession Muddies Legislative Agenda

BY: - June 2, 2020

Our state is struggling with a public health crisis, racial injustice issues, inadequate rural health care, record unemployment, and slumping tax revenues to sustain public schools.  So, what is a big focus of our state and local government?  Yup, guns. As May came to a close, Knox County Commission (a body on which I once […]

Fires in Minneapolis during protests, May 28. (Photo: Minnesota Reformer)

Commentary: The more things change, the more they stay the same

BY: - May 29, 2020

1968 was a hell of a year.  My memories of the year are few, but powerful, as they are some of the earliest ones I have.  I turned four that year, and that may have been the year I got a pink birthday cake but I only know that from old photos. I don’t need […]

Supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement stage a "die in" outside the National Civil Rights Museum following the annual Martin Luther King Day march on January 16, 2017 in Memphis, Tennessee. Hundreds marched from the north end of downtown Memphis in honor of the civil rights leader to the site where King was assassinated in 1968, which now houses the National Civil Rights Museum. (Photo by Mike Brown/Getty Images)

Commentary: Party loyalty shouldn’t keep you from speaking up for black lives

BY: - May 29, 2020

“Please, I can’t breathe.  My stomach hurts.  My neck hurts.  Everything hurts.  They’re going to kill me.” George Floyd is dead because four police officers made the unanimous decision that his life did not matter.  With these actions came an unspoken pact that they would defend this use of force at all costs, with full […]

Mayors from U.S., Mexico and Canada during the North American Climate Summit in Chicago in 2017. The group included leaders of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Commentary: Future Shlock

BY: - May 28, 2020

To judge by recent polls, Tennesseans are generally satisfied with how their leaders have handled the coronavirus pandemic, though marks are a lot higher for Nashville’s response than for the state’s. It is to be expected that political leaders will find their approval ratings juiced in times of crisis as long as they keep a […]

Marsha Blackburn waves her finger.

Commentary: Marsha’s madcap newsletter needs corrections

BY: - May 26, 2020

Roughly every two weeks Tennessee U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn puts out her online and email newsletter, the Blackburn Report.  It has the usual array of public service and federal information links that any good congressional staff can produce.  Interspersed, however, are moments when Marsha lets her freak fly.  Politifact as of mid-May had a scorecard […]

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Tennessee wants nice things, too

BY: - May 22, 2020

Tennessee needs nice things, too Recently, I sat in on a virtual panel discussion hosted by ThinkTennessee, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that conducts research on civic and economic opportunity. The topic? Voting by mail.  You’ve probably already heard discussion about voting by mail, as it’s become a hot item nationally and with good reason. […]

(Marcelo Hernandez/Getty Images)

Commentary: Tennesseans with Sick Family Members Forced into Impossible Choice Under Restrictive State Election Law

BY: - May 21, 2020

In the COVID-19 era, mandatory in-person voting is a public health risk for people that depend on the assistance of family members to meet daily needs. My father relies on me. People looking after family members with illnesses shoulder an enormous burden. That burden should not force us to sit on the sideline during the […]

Nashville Rescue Mission (Photo from website)

We should celebrate one more type of frontline worker

BY: and - May 20, 2020

There’s one type of frontline worker that isn’t getting enough attention these days. The nonprofit service worker. Even as stay-at-home orders are being lifted, the economic impacts of coronavirus have hit Tennesseans hard. In fact, 12 percent of our workforce – nearly 400,000 Tennesseans – are unemployed due to coronavirus. We’re also still dealing with […]

Conservative radio host Elisha Krauss, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs and conservative commentator Tomi Lahren at 2019 Politicon in Nashville(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Politicon )

Knox County’s Mayor Grapples with Nonsense, and Loses

BY: - May 18, 2020

Knox County’s mayor is Glenn Jacobs.  It’s his first elective office.  He is better known as the wrestler Kane, and before his election the only clues to his political inclinations were his anti-government online rants.  Unfortunately, those inclinations are causing trouble during a pandemic that requires not only faith in government abilities to take action, […]

A screenshot of Chattanooga reporter Andy Sher's comments on the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency. (Twitter)

Stand up for the media

BY: - May 15, 2020

First things first: Thank you for your support. The Tennessee Lookout is wrapping up our first full week of coverage and the support we’ve received from across the state has been gratifying. We’ve received social media follows and daily newsletter subscriptions. Readers from all areas of Tennessee have reached out with ideas for stories.  But, […]

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Is Voting a Right or a Risk?

BY: - May 14, 2020

On Tuesday, Gov. Bill Lee said he will not allow expanded mail-in ballots. “What we want to do in this state is remove a reason to have fear about going to the polling booths,” Lee said. While planning to reopen the state is a complex undertaking, removing any fear of in-person polling is simple: Expanding […]

A United Auto Workers member. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Commentary: Pandemic reveals continued importance of manufacturing

BY: - May 13, 2020

Since its beginnings, the American economy has gone through countless changes.  We’ve seen both times of prosperity and times of hardship.  We’ve seen several recessions and subsequent recoveries.  One of the biggest changes that we’ve seen, especially in recent years, is the shift from a manufacturing economy to a mostly service-based economy.    Make no mistake, […]