Greeson: Mask politics and policy, Tennessee's betting bonanza and a Cleveland legacy

Jay Greeson cropped

Let's talk a little politics, in practice as well as policy.

Joe Biden is now getting mixed up in the state's business because he doesn't agree with how our governor - and others - are handling COVID-19. You'd think he would want to tend to the unfolding Afghanistan catastrophe before anything else, but let's move along.

OK, let's be clear. I think the state of Tennessee should let school systems lead at the local level. Which means, by extension, I am certainly not for Washington trying to supersede the state, which is erring by superseding local elected officials.

And while we all certainly wish COVID-19 was in the rearview mirror - and just as certainly would prefer to be talking or reading about any number of other topics - coronavirus, especially in schools, is top of mind for millions of people.

To be clear, I want the kids in schools to wear masks. It's safer, in my opinion.

But I applaud school board member Rhonda Thurman for standing up for her constituents, who clearly are not sold on masks for students.

Again, I want masks on our students, so I think her stance is wrong. But her position is appropriate; she represents District 1, which includes the top three schools in percentage of parents opting out of the county school mask mandates and four of the top five.

Delivering on expectations

There were a lot of folks who debated legalized sports gambling and its impact in Tennessee.


Heck, I believed sports betting would generate plenty of revenue for our state, but I underestimated the haul.

After the June totals, there has been more than $1 billion wagered legally with the state's online partners in Tennessee.

Yes, billion with a 'B.'

And that's before football season gets here and the action grows by at least double.

So in the first full year of betting in Tennessee, there will likely be $3 billion wagered - and the state collects 20% of the revenue from its online partners, which through June was more than $24.2 million.

Beat them, then join them

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that there is a new player in the department store game.

Yep, there's a new player in a business model that has been hit hard over and over again for the last decade by online monsters like Amazon.

The online giant that has allowed owner Jeff Bezos the financial resources to pretend he's Neil Armstrong in his free time is looking at starting brick-and-mortar stores that measure around 30,000-square feet and could be in places like Ohio and California.

Man, everything that's old is new again, huh?

Obit observation

Amid the many - love the obits with great nicknames like Rabbit or Shady - one obituary that caught my eye this week was Charlotte Thorogood, who died after a long struggle with Alzheimer's. She was 80.

Charlotte's was a long and substantial life centered on family and faith, but it also was filled with community giving. She was president of the Bradley County United Way and the Cleveland YMCA. Her devotion to her community prompted the creation of an annual award given to a like-minded woman in the community in Charlotte's honor.

We know that Alzheimer's can be a difficult battle.

But Charlotte's legacy will not soon be forgotten.

Contact Jay Greeson at and follow him on Twitter @jgreesontfp.

photo Jay Greeson