Common Sense Conservative Carol Swain Talks NFL and Her New August Book Release, ‘Black Eye for America’

Common Sense Conservative Carol Swain Talks NFL and Her New August Book Release, ‘Black Eye for America’


Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist, Dr. Carol Swain, to the newsmakers line to weigh in on the NFL’s decision to play the Black national anthem, her new book, Facebook and advice for Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Leahy: We welcome to our newsmaker Line all-star panelist for The Tennessee Star Report and the busiest conservative in America today, Dr. Carol Swain. Good morning, Carol.

Swain: Good morning, Michael. It’s great to be back.

Leahy: It’s great to be with you. Look, you are busy, busy, busy. And every time I turn around, I think you are almost single-handedly trying to keep FOX on a conservative track.

I see you all the time on Fox and Friends, and you do a great job. At the latest, you were on Friday. You’re trying to give the NFL a dose of common sense. Tell us what you talked about.

Swain: They asked me about the NFL’s decision to play the Black national anthem, as well as to embrace some of the social justice measures being pushed by the left.

And I pointed out that, you know, football is America’s pastime. and the people who watch sports, they do that for relaxation and enjoyment with their family.

They don’t want to be bombarded with a lot of political leftist ideals. And we have one America. We already have a National anthem.

And it doesn’t matter whether the lyrics of the Black national anthem, whether they’re positive or not. What matters is that this is the business and it will put people in awkward situations.

Are they supposed to stand for the Black national anthem? If they don’t stand, are they showing disrespect? Will the players continue to disrespect our flag and things that are patriotic?

All of these things keep coming up. They shouldn’t be. And so I did criticize the NFL officials for capitulating on this very important national issue.

Leahy: You said something that is just basic, common sense and then I see it reverberating around the news ecosystem. I said Dr. Ben Carson had the same argument.

I think you made it first. You’re making a lot of arguments first. How are people responding to your common sense conservatism?

Swain: Michael, I’ve always made arguments first. When I was in graduate school, one of my professors challenge another one, took them before the administrators for stealing my ideas.

So I’ve always been ahead of my time. I’m just pleased that God has given me this opportunity to speak about these national issues.

Leahy: On the NFL, I was kind of hoping that they would kind of get away from left-wing social justice political messaging because I like football.

I like watching football. It’s a fun sport. We have Dr. K. on here every Friday at 7:30 to talk about football. But I’m afraid, Carol, that it’s just too bothersome to deal with all the political correctness in the NFL.

And as a sports fan, I guess I’ll be watching more college football. What are your sports watching preferences these days?

Swain: Well, first of all, I called for a boycott. People do understand dollars. And when you look at the various sports fields as well as the U.S. military, these are the areas where Blacks have excelled.

We’ve had a meritocracy. And the very idea that all we hear about is racism, racism, racism everywhere, for people like me, we have been blessed by being in this country.

And I think that it’s falling on deaf ears because people are so tired of it. And I’m not just talking about White people. I’m saying everyone is tired of it.

We want to go about daily life without being bombarded by all of this leftist ideology. And it’s about taking down America. It’s not about improving our country.

It’s about dividing us as a nation and taking us down and making us weak before foreign enemies.

Leahy: Carol, our listeners are very interested in what you’re doing. Tell us what’s on your agenda of late because you’ve been very, very busy.

Every time I turn around, you’re on Fox and Friends or doing some national venue. What are your priorities now for the balance of this year?

Swain: You only catch me on Fox and Friends. I’m on Laura Ingram quite frequently. And I have two FOX shows I expect to be on today if not this week.

It’s my Fox and Friends. And I recorded three with Fox Nation. This week I’m headed to D.C. for some films on critical race theory. I’m going to be in a film.

I’m going to be interviewed for a podcast. And then later I’ll go to South Carolina for another filmmaker who is also challenging critical race theory.

And I have a new book coming out, Michael, on critical race theory. And it should be released in early August.

Leahy: What’s the name of the book? And who’s your publisher?

Swain: The name of the book is Black Eye for America: How Critical Race Theory is Burning Down the House. And the publisher is Be the People Books.

And it’s co-authored with a young man named Chris Shore, who is a graduate of Georgetown. And it is written for the public. It’s about 150 pages.

It’s something that people can get through and explains what critical race theory is, where it came from, why it is unamerican. It runs counter to our Constitution as well as civil rights laws. And it has two chapters on strategies of how to fight back against it.

Leahy: Now, where can people go to buy that book? Is there a particular website because we’ll link to it on The Tennessee Star. Where is the website for that book?

Swain: It’s going to be on Amazon and everywhere else. But it’s not going to be released and available purchase until around August one.

Leahy: Well, let’s see. We got about 13 days until August first. We will be featuring it at The Tennessee Star because we want people to see common sense from Carol Swain.

Swain: Well, thank you so much. Critical race theory is the civil rights issue of our day. And that is my message and we have to fight back against it, in the same way, we joined forces during the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

It’s a civil rights issue this time. White people are the victims. All of us need to come together in the same way we came together in the 1960s. It’s unacceptable. And we need to say that loud and clear.

Leahy: But, Carol, if you went to a Metro Nashville Public School meeting, as the Moms for Liberty Group did last week, they would probably argue that, well, White people can’t be the subject of that kind of discrimination by definition.

What would be your response to those woke folks at Metro Nashville Public Schools?

Swain: You know, I heard that back when I was in graduate school that only Whites could be racist because only White people have power. I thought it was ridiculous then, and even more so today.

And so White people are protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its amendment as well as the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

And I think Metro Nashville is setting itself up for a lawsuit. So I would encourage the listeners out there if you’re on a job or you’re in an environment where they are discriminating against you and it’s hostile because of the color of your skin or because you are male in an environment where they’re doing critical feminist theory or critical queer theory and you’re being discriminated against because you’re heterosexual, collect information.

You have rights. File lawsuits. They understand lawsuits. Democrats love lawsuits.

Leahy: (Laughs) They sure do. Hey, the last question for you, Carol Swain. We had a story that Facebook is shadow banning your public page. Are they still shadow banning your public page?

Swain: No. In fact, things begin to change that very day that the article was published. I can easily access my supporters now because they have a platform where people can sign up to become a supporter and not just the friend.

They had that page so that I could not access or communicate with my supporters privately. And everything seems to be open and flooring right now. I think it’s because of the Trump lawsuit.

Leahy: The next time they shadowban you, let us know and we’ll do another story and magically it will disappear. Right?

Swain: Right.

Leahy: Carol Swain, thanks for joining us. Come back in studio sometime, please.

Swain: All right.

Listen to the second hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Carol Swain” by Conversations with Dr. Carol Swain.
















Andy Ogles and Grant Henry Discuss Big Tech Censorship and Its Potential Status as a Public Utility

Andy Ogles and Grant Henry Discuss Big Tech Censorship and Its Potential Status as a Public Utility


Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Mayor Andy Ogles and Grassroots Engagement Director for AFP Grant Henry in studio to weigh in on Big Tech’s censorship and whether or not they should be considered a public utility.

Leahy: We’re just having too much fun here in studio. Grant Henry, the grassroots director of Americans for Prosperity of Tennessee, and Andy Ogles, mayor of Maury County, that bastion of economic freedom and the turbocharged engine of economic growth. I had to get that in again, Andy. (Chuckles)

Ogles: Absolutely.

Leahy: You like it?

Ogles: Truth is truth.

Leahy: Can’t say it enough, can we? We’re just having a lot of fun here. Grant, I’ve got a story here about Big Tech bullies. It’s got a local angle.

Our very good friend and all-star panelist Carol Swain. We have a story about her written by Chris Butler. I’ll read the story and then, Grant, I’d like to get your reaction to this.

Carol Swain says Facebook has shadow banned her politically conservative post. Carol Swain said Facebook staff members shadow banned her last week and restricted her from communicating her ideas with more than 77,000 social media followers.

Shadow banning occurs when someone posts something that the same person can see what he or she published on a social media network.

No other person ever can see or respond to the post. Swain said she saw her published post and asked her friends if they also saw the post.

They did not. Swain, a public figure who ran for mayor, frequently appears on Fox News, and she’s been an all-star panelist here for some time – good friend.

The shadow banning persisted for about seven days. Swain said, “Clearly, they are doing something to suppress the reach of Conservatives and I am on their radar screen right now, I would say. And for me, I think it has to do with my visibility around Critical Race Theory.”

That’s what Carol Swain told The Tennessee Star. Grant, Big Tech bullies? It can’t be!

Henry: You know that there’s a change in the political wins when Justice Clarence Thomas is coming out with new coined opinions that are starting to lean in a different direction. Here’s the headline actually I’m reading, “Spurred by Clarence Thomas, Ohio AG Wants Google Declared a Public Utility.”

I’m not kidding. Just last month, the state of Ohio sued Google in an unusual complaint that seeks a legal declaration that Google is a common carrier and a public utility into Ohio law.

You understand what they’re going for here? Obviously. Right now, here’s my thing that, Michael, it’s going to be a little bit out of left field, maybe something that’s controversial in the room that we’re sitting in now.

The super uber limited government side of me wants to say, look, man, if Facebook wants to create a terrible product and run that product on the ground, by all means, do so.

Now, Clarence Thomas is disagreeing with me. Clarence Thomas is saying, however, we have a problem here where it should be deemed as a public utility.

And if you’re keeping elected officials off the platform, then clearly it’s something in the realm of let’s say, not just a public utility, but an arena by which we have this conversation.

Again, let me make a call to my conservative brethren, though. If we truly believe in this limited government philosophy and letting businesses do is they want to, stop using the product!

And I know that’s the thing that we can’t exactly get our heads around right now, but I would make the effort. There’s a clear, overt, unadulterated bias on behalf of all these social media companies.

Stop using their product! Stop giving them your money. Stop promoting them. They’re just going to keep doing what they’re doing unless we answer with our dollars, unless we answer by moving to something else.

Unless some benevolent billionaire gives us a different option, we can’t keep playing their games.

And not just Facebook, it’s Twitter and it’s all of them. They’re working in a cohesive unit together.

Leahy: Andy, our free-market guy here, Grant Henry, says he agrees with Justice Thomas that Google should be regulated as a utility. Do I have you right on that, Grant?

Henry: I’m going back and forth here. (Leahy laughs) I’m honestly conflicted. I’m honest.

Leahy: Our conflicted friends.

Henry: I respect the man so much, but I’m also a free-market guy.

Leahy: So you’re uncertain. You’re conflicted. Are you conflicted on this, Andy?

Ogles: If you go back to January of this year, I wrote a letter to the governor and to the Speaker of the House, and the Lieutenant Governor, asking them to follow Florida’s lead.

I’m a fellow with Club for Growth. Club for Growth is a conservative organization. And one of my colleagues, who is also a fellow down in Florida, who is a state legislator, wrote a bill that would penalize Facebook and Twitter and such for censoring anyone.

But Conservatives in particular. And so I called on our General Assembly to do the same and I got no response. But now you’re seeing that taking place, of course, in Florida and across the country.

They censored our president. It’s taking place in Tennessee because our governor and General Assembly did not take action.

And I would agree. So there’s a point at which I’m a free-market guy, for sure, but when you have a business get so large that they then control all the entry points into a marketplace, that changes that conversation somewhat.

And so how do you manage that? Part of it is you could have governors stepping in and pushing back against this censorship.

And then also, all of your states are institutional investors. So what does that mean? Tennessee has billions of dollars under management.

And if they pulled all of those investment dollars out of Twitter, out of Facebook, and out of the tech companies, look, you and I stop using Facebook or Twitter.

It has minimal impact. They really don’t care. Tennessee pulls a billion dollars out of their stocks, they care, and they will change how they do business.

But it’s going to take leadership from not just one state like Florida and Ron DeSantis, oh, by the way, who’s a fantastic governor.

It’s going to take, like, a chorus of governors working together to push back against social media. Otherwise they’re going to steal another election from us. Period.

Leahy: Governor Bill Lee is not singing in harmony with that Conservative chorus it seems to me. A little bit off-key. (Laughs) That’s my view.

Ogles: I was going to say something, and then I just stopped. Because it’s probably better.

Leahy: Grant, you’re dying to say something here, aren’t you?

Henry: No, just hanging out. I’m just reveling.

Leahy: Reveling in the fun we’re having.

Henry: That’s right.

Leahy: Let me go personally on the record, and I disagree with Justice Thomas. Probably the first time in a long time. I don’t think it should be regulated as a utility, because then you’ve got the government sanctioning their activities.

I think they should be broken up. I also want to bring to your attention a great article at The Wall Street Journal by a fellow by the name of Vivek Ramaswamy.

He lives in Cincinnati. We’ve tried to get him on the show. He’s like a biotech billionaire and about 35 years old. Very conservative.

Here’s the article: Trump Can Win His Case Against Tech Giants. You know, last Wednesday, President Trump and the America First Institute announced that he’s suing Google, Facebook, Twitter, and their CEOs in a class-action lawsuit.

By the way, I don’t know if I mentioned this to you. Our own Laura Baigert of The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network was there at Bedminster Club of the Trump National Golf Club there and asked one very good question that the former president responded to.

And, oh, by the way, Laura Baigert of The Tennessee Star will be at the rally in Arizona that the former president is holding in Phoenix next week.

And we’ll be reporting live from that. It’s going to be an offering of the Star News Network wire service. So lots of local folks are participating in that.

Here’s what Vivek says: It’s true, the First Amendment ordinarily applies to the government rather than private companies. But the central claims in Mr. Trump’s class-action lawsuit that the defendants, Google, Twitter, Facebook, should be treated as state actors and are bound by the First Amendment when they engage in selective political censorship has precedent to back it up.

Their censorship constitutes state action because the government granted them immunity from legal liability, threatened to punish them if they allowed his favorite speech, and colluded with them in choosing targets for censorship.

I buy that argument. Grant Henry, will the courts buy that argument?

Henry: I don’t know, honestly. I’m not sure. And if I’m going to be pushed gun-to-head type thing, I’m probably going to say they may not buy that argument.

They’re probably going to wait and let the legislature move on Section 230 before they jump and preempt or circumvent the legislator.

Leahy: Andy Ogles, mayor of Maury County. Will the federal judiciary take a knee, shall we say, on that issue?

Ogles: I hope not. I think one of the legacies of Donald Trump is the Supreme Court, but also the federal judiciary and the changes in the employment of judges there. And, hopefully, we can bring some common sense into this conversation.

Listen to the third hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.













Host Leahy and Dr. Carol Swain Discuss the Probability of the District of Columbia Becoming a State and the Invocation of the 25th Amendment

Host Leahy and Dr. Carol Swain Discuss the Probability of the District of Columbia Becoming a State and the Invocation of the 25th Amendment


Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist, Dr. Carol Swain, to the studio to discuss the possibility and the ways in which the District of Columbia could achieve statehood and invocation of the 25th Amendment.

Leahy: In studio all-star panelist Carol Swain. Carol, you were talking about this movement to grant statehood to the District of Columbia which by the way 95 percent voted for Joe Biden and 5 percent for Donald Trump. Population about 700,000. A little short of 10 square miles. Here’s what the Constitution says about this. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17.

The Congress shall have the power to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever over such district not exceeding 10-mile square as made by the succession of particular states in the acceptance of Congress become the seat of the government of the United States. So the Constitution says that then Article 4, Section 3.

New states may be admitted by the Congress into this Union, but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states without the consent of the legislature of the state’s concerned as well as of the Congress. To me, Carol that looks like it would be unconstitutional for Congress to pass a law making the District of Columbia a state. What do you think?

Swain: Well, I think that they would have to amend the Constitution. And if you’ve been to D.C. lately, and I’ve been there in December it’s just devastated. You walk down the streets where you used to shop and there are boarded-up buildings. And everywhere there are black lives matter signs. and we have Black Lives Matter Plaza.

You go to Union Station and I used to love to go there and Shop. It was like a mall. It looks like a ghost town. I think there were two stores where they sold clothes. and they were big box stores. And so there’s no evidence that the leaders of D.C. can actually run it. I mean the Congress run by Democrats is a disaster. But until someone that thinks like a true Republican is in a leadership role in Congress that D.C. is just devastated. It needs more direction from Congress.

Leahy: Oh, yes. I think what we’ll see is a District of Columbia statehood act. It’ll be introduced. It will be very close. And then if it passes and is signed into law, there will immediately be a federal challenge. I think it goes to the Supreme Court and I think they say no. That’s what I think will happen.

Swain: It’s always been a perennial issue ever since I was in graduate school and maybe before to make a D.C. a state. But D.C. was a place where I loved to visit. I’m sure many other people looked forward to going at least once a year. I dread it when I have to go there again.

Leahy: Yeah, I understand.

Swain: It’s very unsafe.

Leahy: We have another constitutional question from our caller and listener Don in Nashville. Don, welcome to The Tennessee Star Report.

Caller Don: Good morning guys. I have a comment and I have a question about Joe Biden. But I wanted to give Parler some advice. They need to call Hillary because she’s really good about setting up new websites. (Laughter)

Leahy: Now that’s a good one Don.

Don: She’s good about servers. But my question is will the Democratic Party turn on Joe when after he gets done with all this and things start going real bad and they invoke the 25th Amendment on it and then start blaming him? Well, Joe didn’t know any better. And start blaming all the downfall on him? And I’ll hang up and let y’all answer that.

Leahy: Great. And the 25th Amendment says whenever the president transmits to the Senate his written declaration he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary such powers and duties shall be discharged by the vice-president.

But the next section says whenever the vice president and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may provide by law when they tell the president pro-tem that the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office of the vice president shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office of acting president. Do you see that in our future?

Swain: Well for one thing there’s no reason to get rid of Joe Biden as long as he is carrying out the agenda of the far left. If he were to start making deals with Republicans and governing in a bipartisan fashion they would be looking for a way to remove him from office. Many of us believe that the long-term plan of the Democrats is to install Kamala as the first female president.

She can’t call herself the first Black president nor could she call herself the first Black American president. but she could be the first female. and so I don’t know how that would come about. I think as long as Joe is doing what they want, he’s safe.

Leahy: I think Kamala Harris wants to be president. And notice what the Constitution says. Whenever the vice president and a majority of the principal officers of the executive departments transmitted to the president pro tem of the Senate they’re written declaration the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office the vice president shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as acting president.

Look, I don’t think that is that far away from a possibility frankly. because you look at it and it says a majority of the principal officers of the executive departments. That’s considered the cabinet. But I could argue that it’s maybe just the most important cabinet.

Swain: Well I’m standing on my position that as long as he’s carrying out the will of the political left and signing all the executive order executive orders and things that they want, they will continue to protect him. Because he’s not 100 percent there now. But at some point the play I believe is to make Kamala the first female president. She’d never get elected by the voters.

Leahy: Never.

Swain: And so that’s the only way it’s going to happen.

Leahy: Yeah, if I had to guess whether or not we’ll see a 25th Amendment effort either with his cooperation or without, I would say the odds are probably fairly good.

Swain: I agree.

Leahy: At least 50/50 that this will happen over the next four years.

Listen to the second hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio








Tennessee State Rep. Jason Zachary Discusses Upcoming Special and Legislative Sessions Focus on Education and Medicaid Block Grant

Tennessee State Rep. Jason Zachary Discusses Upcoming Special and Legislative Sessions Focus on Education and Medicaid Block Grant


Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed (R) TN State Representative Jason Zachary to the newsmakers line.

During the third hour, Zachary discussed next week’s special and legislative sessions that will focus on learning laws and how Tennessee will prepare to be the first state in the nation to use the block grant initiated by President Trump. He described his roles as being part of the ad hoc committee regarding executive powers and that he will be going after unelected health boards that are attacking individual liberty.

Leahy: And on the newsmaker line state representative Jason Zachary. Good morning Representative Zachary.

Zachary: Good morning. How are you guys?

Leahy: I’m great. You may not recall this but you and I first met in 2013-2014 up in Maryville when you were running for Congress, I believe. And I was organizing the Beat Lamar campaign. Do you remember that?

Zachary: I do absolutely I believe it was even at the Blount County Library.

Leahy: Yes! You are exactly right. It was at the Blount County library and you have had quite a career since then very conservative member of the State House of Representatives here in Tennessee. What is the big agenda issue that you see in both the special session on education and in the regular session and thereafter?

Zachary: Sure. Well interestingly enough This is my fourth term and we are actually starting at a faster pace right now than we’ve ever started. Committees actually are going to be meeting today. We have something that most Tennesseans because of everything that’s gone on nationally most of what we’re doing right now is not getting attention. But we are getting ready to be the first state in the nation to move forward with a block grant from Medicaid.

The president approved that. We actually suspended the rules yesterday to be able to hear that in committee and walk that through the process. That will be an all-day endeavor for us here in the legislature. And that’s big news. But in terms of next week’s special session, I’m glad the governor’s done it because it really gives us the ability to focus on learning laws and focus on BEP funding especially for a county like my Knox County.

We are a donor county so we would take a significant loss with students not being in the classroom this year for BEP funding. We’ve got students and teachers that have just my wife’s a teacher. She’s a middle school teacher and the incredible stress that they’re under just keeping the doors open. So we’re going to address testing and holding schools and teachers harmless as we kind of walk through this.

Still providing accountability, but holding them harmless. It’s an important step to take and to get this off the table. Some of these steps we usually don’t take until May of the session. So it’s good to be able to take this now. But overall in terms of a special session when we come back probably that first week of February just from my perspective it’s really just doing what we’ve done since I’ve been here.

It’s making sure we do the best we can to limit government and limit regulation. Keep taxes low and keep spending under control. We’ve done a great job with that over the last 10 years and the record kind of speaks for itself. But we’ve got bigger work to do especially with this pandemic kind of hanging over everything that we do.

I’ve chaired the ad hoc committee regarding executive powers. And then I’m going after these unelected health boards that are attacking liberty and are big areas like it’s never been done before. Those are those that will be the two big things I’m involved in.

Leahy: Last night Murray County Mayor sent a letter to the governor and to the speaker and to the lieutenant and two members of the House and Senate and said look Facebook, Google, Twitter Amazon are stifling free speech. The state has some Authority here. There are $70 billion under management and invested by the state. He wants the state to divest of Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon stock. And also to stop advertising with Google, Facebook, and Twitter. What do you make of that proposal?

Zachary: Well, I think that we have an oligarchy of tech companies that have been enabled by our federal government through Section 230. And it’s not something that has been talked about much. And I believe that indirectly the federal government is able to able to launch an assault on the First Amendment. I know some people have said well, it’s the first amendment, free speech and the First Amendment doesn’t really apply because it’s not government.

I completely disagree. What I have done through The Heritage Foundation and is more reading on Section 230. And I believe it’s Section 230 in Section ACB and it specifically says that through Section 230 they have certain protections and immunities. It references them as internet companies because back, when this was passed there wasn’t a Google and there wasn’t a social media and there wasn’t Amazon.

But it specifically says the internet companies are allowed to censor constitutionally protected speech. It says that specifically. I even Tweeted that a couple of days ago. And so the federal government is indirectly coming after the first amendment and working to silence us through that. I truly believe that. And these tech companies are leading the way. And if we have tech companies that are more powerful than the president of the United States then that’s a problem.

So I appreciate Andy. I know Andy, I appreciate him drafting that letter. We had a little bit of conversation about that this week. I think that will probably ramp up. We had an organizational period. And again we spent which never happens. We spent hours on the House floor yesterday going through this Medicaid block grant that we’ve got that we’re working to get past.

So I believe those conversations will ramp up after we get through this. And I’ve already had some conversations with various departments about where we stand as a state with those tech companies and absolutely it’s something that needs to be addressed. I’m glad he wrote the letter.

Swain: Now what are you all doing to prepare for the assault from the left? Because we know what the Biden administration, we already see it with the media and the local media. They’re willing to lie and distort when it serves their purposes. They will come full force against you guys. Have you planned your strategy?

Zachary: Yes, Carol. That’s a great question. It’s interesting you ask that because actually the governor and I were texting about that a couple of days ago and about firewalling the state of Tennessee. What steps do we need to take and what planning needs to be done even above and beyond what we typically do to firewall us from the federal government.

So if three, four, or five months from now, they come to us and say these are the steps that you need to take and we say no as Tennessee and we’re not going to take those steps because we’re not going to be complicit with a government that will probably be initiating a socialist agenda and try to continue to strip away our Constitution. Tennesseans are not going to be complicit with that.

Swain: Well that’s the problem. But the other part is that when you’re dealing with the Medicaid block grant and these other issues the left is going to come at you full force as far as the media. Do you have a plan as far as selling your ideas to the public so that they will not be distorted by the left?

Zachary: We do. actually yeah we had a caucus meeting and discussed that yesterday specific to the Medicaid block grant program. Here are just the quick details. So it’s basically a block grant that comes to us from Medicaid and it gives us incredible flexibility. Right now we have what could buy what most publications considered one of the top five run Medicaid programs in the country. Ours is TennCare.

But right now when we are not rewarded or incentivized to save and steward resources well. So we can save money. But we as Tennesseans don’t get to participate in those savings. So now what this block grant does is they provide us with the block grant with just a few requirements versus the incredible strings and entanglements were under now. But any savings that we incur we’re able to keep half that money versus sending it all back to the federal government.

Swain: The part that you keep, are you able to use it for medical expenses? Because we know that there are increased costs that relate to the elderly and those costs will probably be increasing rather than decreasing because of the age of the population. So, how will the savings be used?

Zachary: Yes ma’am that’s a great question. That was going to be my very next point. It will give us the ability to do is enhance the services within Medicaid. During the pandemic that role has grown by 100,000 Tennesseans have been added to the Medicaid program. But with the additional savings, it will allow us to give enhanced services. It will allow if we chose to do so to increase the various populations that we’re servicing.

Provide a higher quality of healthcare because of that savings. It will give us much more flexibility to run it the Tennessee way. But it won’t cost more money to us or the federal government because we will be much more efficient. Because we don’t have the entanglements and requirements of the federal government. Something we talked about yesterday Carol, in talking about messaging. I’ve already started getting emails about it.

So many continue to bang that Medicaid expansion drum. Which thank the Lord we did not take that step. That was just before I got here. But if you were for Medicaid expansion and you are on the left, yesterday we had two hours of Democrats railing against this. How could we do this? How could we take this step with a block grant? If you are for Medicaid expansion you should absolutely be for this block grant because it will allow us to service Tennesseans better under Medicaid.

But it will allow us in the Tennessee way to expand populations if we chose to do so without the entanglements and the cost associated with what would have been Medicaid expansion. We’re going to be so much more efficient in the way we run the program that we will be able to serve larger populations in some respects if we chose to do so. It doesn’t mean we have to. The rolls have swollen to 100,000 over the last year and we’ve been able to walk and manage through that.

Leahy: Jason Zachary. Thank you so much for joining us today. Very enlightening.

Listen to the full third hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio








President and CEO of Bridgeway Academy Jessica Parnell Shines a Light on 31 Years of Successful Homeschooling Options for Parents

President and CEO of Bridgeway Academy Jessica Parnell Shines a Light on 31 Years of Successful Homeschooling Options for Parents


Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed President and CEO of Bridgeway Academy Jessica Parnell to the newsmakers line to discuss her company’s 31 years in successful homeschooling options for parents and their children.

Leahy: And on our newsmaker line Jessica Parnell with The Homeschool Academy. I guess it’s called Bridgeway Academy. Doing some great stuff in the field of education. Jessica, welcome to The Tennessee Star Report.

Parnell: Thank you. Michael. It’s great to be here.

Leahy: Tell us about the home school academy and I guess it’s called your company’s called what Edovate and Bridgeway is the over program that is involved in this? Tell us about this.

Parnell: Sure. Edovate learning program is our parent company. And under that we have actually three different divisions that serve homeschoolers. Bridgeway Academy is one. And then we also have, which is a fantastic online resource for parents to help provide education in a different way for their students. and then we have curriculum Express which is a curriculum warehouse where parents or schools can order curriculum directly delivered to their home and homeschool independently.

Leahy: Now, you’ve been in business for how long?

Parnell: We have been in business for 31 years.

Leahy: No kidding. That’s a long time to be in this space. If somebody’s homeschooling. How does this work? What would they do to take advantage of what your offerings are?

Parnell: Sure. I think the first step that a parent needs to make when they consider homeschooling is to just ensure that they’re willing to be involved in the education process. The reason we see such success in home education is because the parents are engaged and they’re working with their children. So if they’re interested and want to know more about home education they can certainly give us a call here at Bridgeway Academy. They can check out our blog post with all sorts of articles and how to’s on getting started.

But first again commit to the time involved. And then you want to get to know your child because the beauty of homeschooling is you are tailoring education to your child and what works for them. There is no one-size-fits-all in home education. And that’s the number one reason why home way homeschoolers just do so well.

Leahy: Now online I’m looking at is that the official Bridgeway website?

Parnell: Yes it is.

Leahy: Now what is the cost of this program? If any homeschoolers out there are interested in doing this, how much does it cost?

Parnell: Well, that’s a tough question because we have so many different programs with Bridgeway Academy. Parents can choose to homeschool independently and there in Tennessee there are local organizations that can help them. So some parents that choose to do independently and they simply purchase their curriculum from us or they purchase our customized placement process, which is where we test the students learning style.

We get to know their personality style. We look at the ideal environment. We talked with parents and we understand the Dynamics of that home. And then we design a home education program that meets all of those factors as well as what the student wants to do as they look into the future. And then they can do that. They can take that package and work independently or with a local organization.

And that complete kit with all of that consulting and the curriculum for the school year runs at about $900. Now a parent can also choose to enroll fully with Bridgeway Academy where we support them all year long. They have a personal go-to person a one-on-one person that works with them all year long, keeps their records for them, and helps them when a student doesn’t understand something.

And they have that support all year long. And that varies by grade level. But on our website, as you said you can type in Bridgeway Academy, or you can type in there on that website and Just select the Bridgeway Academy program and you can get a look at all of the options as well as the pricing.

Leahy: And now is your curriculum delivered just sort of it online in sort of a PDF format or is it YouTube? How is it delivered?

Parnell: It’s delivered again in variety. There are some families who don’t want any online education. And so we provide them with a full textbook program. We have families who want everything online and in which case it is a variety of media support for those programs. The learning is online. And then we have families who want live online so they can actually have their students jump on with teachers and students from around the world and take it. And once a week, they meet once a week or once or twice a week depending on the grade level and then they work independently offline for the remainder of the week.

Leahy: Now since the pandemic have you seen an increase in participation in your program?

Parnell: We sure have yes. We’ve had many families just looking for an option. Some because they just didn’t even want to consider school. Some because they were unhappy because in the spring semester when they started to see what was being taught in the school whether that was they didn’t think it was enough for they were concerned about the agenda underneath the lessons. Or they just thought their kid was either behind or ahead of what was being taught. They were looking for another option. So we did see a big bump going into this new school year.

Leahy: So online schooling in public schools has been widely panned as being ineffective. I don’t think anybody that I’ve seen has praised the public school online experience. And yet it looks like your online experience has been increasingly well-received. What are the main differences?

Parnell: Well, I think first it is the experience. So we’ve been doing this for so many years that the pandemic wasn’t a surprise to us. And we have public school teachers that are extremely excellent teachers that just want the best for their kids but are thrown into something that’s brand new to them and they’re doing what they can but it was new and it was something they’re still trying to navigate whereas with Bridgeway Academy we’ve been doing this for 31 years. We’ve been in online education since the really early 2000s. And we’ve learned a thing or two along the way and have been able to really tailor that online experience to what works in this home education setting.

Leahy: Now how many students do you serve around the country in K-12?

Parnell: Complete total numbers were close to 10,000 students that are fully enrolled in Bridgeway Academy where we are supporting them every step of the way. We are just about at 3,000.

Leahy: And now you have a K-12 program. what has been the college entry experience of graduates of Bridgeway Academy? Also online at homeschool

Parnell: I’m glad you asked. Our students are very well-received. We’ve had them into the Ivy League schools to State schools to private schools and actually recruited by many schools for their academic achievements. As well as many of them because of the freedom of homeschooling have an opportunity to do some amazing things while they’re still in high school.

We’ve had individuals start special chapters of organizations. We’ve had one actually discovered from a new and I don’t know chemistry well, but some new chemical formula, and she was heavily recruited by other schools. And they have the ability to pursue their personal excellence while they’re in high school. And it really helps really hone them as they look to the future as well.

Leahy: Now you’re based in Pennsylvania, but this is available nationally correct? Every state including Tennessee?

Parnell: Every state including Tennessee and around the world.

Leahy: Interesting. What is the impact on charter school students? What relationship do you have with students in charter schools?

Parnell: Well we actually have a few partnerships with some charter schools that were looking for assistance with this home education model. So we actually provide some live classes for several charter schools. We also provide a curriculum for them with that home education focus. And we have one public school that actually also takes care of their homeschooling through us so that they can have that very homeschool focus.

Leahy: Very interesting. Carol Swain is a former professor at Vanderbilt and leader in education Innovation. She’s in studio with us. Carol you have any questions for Jessica?

Swain: I’m a proponent of homeschooling and I think every parent engages in homeschooling when they interact with their children. It can be positive or negative. And I’m I see the upswing or interest in homeschooling as one of the positives that have come out of the pandemic

Parnell: Yes, I would definitely agree. And I think you were the individual who said earlier that we need people that stand on principle. We have many that do it for that reason. So it’s exciting to see parents saying, you know I can do this better and I’m going to commit my energies to my children to make sure that their future is wide open.

Leahy: Jessica Parnell, CEO of Edovate and Bridgeway Academy on the web at Thanks for joining us and we hope you come back sometime.

Parnell: Thank you and it was good to be here.

Listen to the third hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Jessica Parnell” by Bridgeway.