The Supreme Court Rules 7-2 for Baker Jack Phillips in Gay Wedding Cake Lawsuit

Jack Phillips

In a closely watched decision Monday, the Supreme Court found the Colorado owner and master baker of Masterpiece Cakeshop was within his rights when he refused to make a custom wedding for a same-sex wedding, saying that to do otherwise was against his moral and religious convictions. (Full decision embedded below.) Jack Phillips, a Christian, was sued by David Mullins and Charlie Craig, a gay couple, when Phillips said he would not participate in their wedding by designing a custom cake (although he would sell them any non-custom item they wished). The Daily Caller News Foundation reported: After a short discussion with the prospective patrons, Phillips said he would not sell them a custom wedding cake due to his deeply-held religious beliefs. Mullins and Craig filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, prompting a lengthy legal battle culminating in an appeal to the high court. Kennedy explained that the Colorado law can validly protect LGBT patrons, must found the state agency applied the law in a manner hostile towards Phillips’ evangelical beliefs. “That consideration was compromised, however, by the commission’s treatment of Phillips’ case, which showed elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs motivating his objection,”…

Read the full story

Diane Black’s Demand to Block ‘Driver’s Licenses for Illegals’ Ads Fails to Stop Them from Airing

Diane Black

Tennessee Jobs Now, a SuperPAC that supports Randy Boyd in the Tennessee Governor’s race, began airing a television commercial two weeks ago that continues on the theme of their recent statewide radio buy.  The television ad hits Black for a 2001 vote during her time in the State Legislature that provided driver’s licenses to illegal aliens and also hits Black for her March 22, 2018 vote against the Omnibus Spending Bill (HR 1625) that funded a small portion of the border wall embraced by President Donald Trump. The television ad features pictures of a tattooed MS-13 gang member, a “Muslim terrorist” wearing a keffiyah, and a black clad man with a stocking cap identified as a “sex trafficker” on Tennessee driver’s licenses while the announcer says: “MS-13 gang member? Driver’s license. Terrorist? Driver’s license. Human trafficker? Driver’s license. In the legislature, Diane Black voted to give Tennessee driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. Then in Washington, Black voted against funding president Trump’s border wall. Diane Black is making it easier for criminals, even terrorists, to come here illegally and stay. Dishonest Diane Black. Good for illegal immigrants, bad for Tennessee.” The Diane Black campaign responded to the ads by demanding that television stations…

Read the full story

Randy Boyd Bus Tour Hits the Road for 95 County Stops Over 9 Weeks

Boyd Bus Tour

Randy Boyd, Republican candidate for Governor, rolled out of Sevier County last week on a 95 county tour across the state heading towards the August 2 Republican Primary date. The first week of stops included visits to Clinton, Cleveland, Athens, Knoxville and Maryville.  This week’s stops will include Millington, Pulaski, Lynchburg and Collierville. The Boyd campaign has laid out a detailed schedule for their bus tour through June 16th on their website.  Erik Schelzig at the Tennessee Journal notes that while other campaigns are in stealth mode with their candidates’ schedules, Boyd is putting his own appearances into transparent public view.  Schelzig’s admittedly unscientific assessment of the transparency level of the Democrat and Republican candidates in terms of their schedules is: 1. Boyd, 2. Lee, 3. Fitzhugh, 4. Black, Dean (tie). 6. Harwell. Tennessee Star political Editor Steve Gill points out that candidate bus tours across the state are nothing particularly new, with Bill Lee already having done an RV tour and a tractor tour since launching his own campaign for Governor. “A nine-week, 95 county tour with rallies and events scheduled in each county is a pretty big commitment of candidate time and campaign resources,” Gill says. “Boyd is…

Read the full story

A Record Number Of Small Businesses Are Raising Wages Amid Tight Labor Market

Small Busines Owner

by Will Racke   A greater share of small companies in the U.S. are raising wages than at any time in the past three decades, according to a survey released Thursday from the nation’s biggest independent business association. A seasonally adjusted 35 percent of small business owners reported they have increased labor compensation in order to recruit new employees or retain the ones they already have, the National Federation of Independent Business found in its May jobs report. That was the highest share since the NFIB began asking about wage increases in 1986. NFIB attributed the record figure to business-friendly tax reform enacted at the beginning of 2018 and a tight labor market that has seen unemployment dip below four percent. “This month’s jobs report demonstrates that small business owners’ optimism is showing no signs of abating. They are increasing compensation at record levels and are continuing to hire,” NFIB President Juanita Duggan said in a statement. “Post tax reform, concerns about taxes and regulations are taking a backseat to their worries over filling open positions and finding qualified candidates.” As a consequence of that tight labor market, 83 percent of responding businesses reported having difficulty finding qualified candidates for the positions they were…

Read the full story

Seven Reasons US Should Not Ratify UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

by Ted Bromund, James Jay Carafano, and Brett Schaefer   President Donald Trump recently proclaimed June 2018 to be National Ocean Month and stated his support for better utilizing the vast resources contained in America’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the 200-nautical mile zone off U.S. coasts over which the U.S. has jurisdiction.j There are now sure to be renewed calls for the United States to accede to the United Nations’ Convention on the Law of the Sea—also known as the Law of the Sea Treaty—as a useful step in this process. Finalized in 1982, the convention codifies long-standing rules of navigation, provides a dispute-settlement mechanism, and regularizes territorial boundaries at sea. More controversially, the convention also establishes an International Seabed Authority, mandates royalties on deep-seabed resources, and transfers of revenues to landlocked and developing nations. [ The liberal Left continue to push their radical agenda against American values. The good news is there is a solution. Find out more ] Advocates argue that joining the convention would enhance America’s ability to commercially utilize mineral, oil, and gas resources in the deep seabed and strengthen our ability to protect U.S. interests in the Arctic. In reality, however, U.S. accession would provide no benefits not already available to the U.S., while creating unnecessary…

Read the full story

Commentary: President Trump Follows Through on Steel and Aluminum Tariff Threat Against Canada, Mexico and Europe

Steel Manufacturing

By Robert Romano   He did it. In his continued push for “fair and reciprocal” trade, President Donald Trump has followed through on his promise to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum from Canada, Mexico and the European Union. The three had been temporarily excluded from the tariffs when Trump issued his proclamation in March, pending further negotiations, but having not made progress, on May 31, Trump followed through on his threat. Now, to get the tariffs lifted, Canada and Mexico will have to make it a part of the renegotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). As for Europe, the countries there will need to come up with similar concessions in order to get out from under the tariffs. Similar deals were worked out with Australia, Argentina, South Korea and Brazil for certain exemptions to the tariffs. So, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but there has to be concessions to the U.S. in order to get them. The U.S. received, in 2017, 17 percent of its steel imports from Canada, 9 percent from Canada and 4 percent from Germany, according data compiled by the International Trade Administration. The tariffs…

Read the full story

Appeals Court Upholds ‘In God We Trust’ On US Currency

In God We Trust

by Kevin Daley   A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the federal government can lawfully print “In God We Trust” on U.S. currency. Though the result is a victory for those eager to preserve vestiges of religion in public life, conservative litigators warn the substance of the opinion could redound to the benefit of progressives. The plaintiffs are a coalition of atheists, humanists, and a Jew who claim the motto’s appearance on U.S. currency burdens their deeply-held beliefs, in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the First Amendment. The non-believing plaintiffs say the inscription forces them to carry and spread a message with which they disagree, while endorsing a religious position they hold to be false. The Jewish plaintiff says the epigraph compromises his religious practice to the extent that it implicates him in the unnecessary printing and destruction of God’s name, which is sinful under Mosaic law. They further claim the explicitly Christian history of the inscription denies equal dignity to their religious views, a breach of the Constitution’s equal protection guarantees. The coalition is represented by Michael Newdow, a fixture of church-state controversies. He sued Chief Justice…

Read the full story

Elected Officials Who Protect MS-13 Gang Members with ‘Sanctuary’ Do So At the Expense of Americans

Trump and Jerry Brown

By Natalia Castro   As Congress and the Executive Branch continue to focus on immigration reform, they must focus on MS-13. Liberal counties would have their residence believe the safety of these gang members must be prioritized over the safety of law-abiding citizens-this mentality has fueled the gang’s growth. In order to end MS-13’s reign of violence, President Donald Trump, his administration, and Congress must stop cities from protecting criminals and return to protecting the American people. MS-13 is a violent gang that manipulates the U.S. immigration system to recruit new members and expand their presence. Last week, our coverage made it clear these gang members are the animals President Trump has claimed them to be. With the slogan “kill, rape, control,” MS-13 has made it clear they will not stop until they can control vast areas across the country. We must have an immigration and criminal justice system that takes an equally heavy-handed approach to preventing this gang from being able to kill and rape more Americans as they attempt to control our land. Sanctuary cities are antithetical to the concept of a free and safe state because they protect these MS-13 members. The Center for Immigration Studies found in an April…

Read the full story

Classical Music from Concert Halls Hits Downtown Streets

Concert Truck

Trucks can be used for so much more than transporting goods from one place to another. They can be transformed into restaurants, mobile health clinics … even a concert hall. That’s what two young pianists have done with their truck as they work to make classical music more accessible to a wider range of audiences. The Concert Truck Nick Luby came up with the idea for the Concert Truck, says his partner, Susan Zhang. “He went sailing with his grandfather,” she says. “When they would dock, they would go to certain churches where he could practice (piano). While he was practicing, people would gather because they were curious about what he was playing.” Though people can listen to music anywhere, on radio, TV or on their earphones with MP3 players, Luby says nothing is like listening to live music. “When you listen to live music there is energy they just can’t get from recordings.” He adds, “It brings people together. For me it makes life worth living.” But for Zhang, the idea of using a truck to bring live music to different locations was a bit unsettling at first. “When he came to me with the idea, I thought he was…

Read the full story

Advances in Exoskeleton Technology Could Help Some Walk Again

EksoBionics exoskeleton

An accident, a stroke, or a disease can leave someone paralyzed and unable to walk. That happens to more than 15 million people around the world each year. But new technological advances and physical therapy could help some of them walk again. Among the most promising is the use of robotic exoskeletons, like one made by Ekso Bionics. It looks a bit like a backpack that straps on the user’s back and around the midsection. Robotic ‘legs’ complete with foot panels extend from either side of the pack and wrap around the patient’s legs. A video game-style controller attaches to the pack with a long cord. “I’m going to be a robot!” Lindsey Stoefen has been doing physical therapy with the exoskeleton for an hour a day, as she works to recover from the rare disorder that put her in a wheelchair in October. The 17-year-old athlete climbed into a specially designed exoskeleton for the first time in late April, after becoming an in-patient at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital in Chicago. She recalls being nervous. “I was like ‘Dang, I’m going to be a robot!’ I was scared at first. I was like, ‘Am I going to like it? Will I be okay?’ And…

Read the full story

TENN Values PAC Supporting Bill Lee Launches Radio Ad Campaign

Bill Lee

A Tennessee-based political action committee, TENN Values PAC, has begun to air radio ads to support conservative businessman Bill Lee’s bid for the Republican nomination for governor.  The group has also launched a targeted digital advertising campaign aimed at likely Republican primary voters across the state. “TENN Values PAC is an independent political organization that supports conservative businessman Bill Lee to be the next governor of Tennessee because he understands hardworking families want a high-quality education for their kids, good-paying jobs in their communities and safe neighborhoods,” according to the description of the organization on its website, The organization will began airing its first radio ad, “Conservative Outsider,” in the Knoxville media market last week.  The 60-second ad highlights Bill Lee’s outsider status as a “successful businessman and seventh-generation Tennessean,” and calls attention to several of the GOP gubernatorial hopeful’s positions, including “term limits and a lobbying ban for politicians” and “new work requirements for TennCare recipients.” “Conservative Outsider” Transcript: Bill Lee is a conservative businessman, not a politician. Lee has created over 1,000 good-paying jobs for electricians, pipe fitters and plumbers. Now, this successful businessman and seventh-generation Tennessean is running for governor. Bill Lee knows how to create jobs and…

Read the full story