Trump Approves Disaster Declaration for 20 Tennessee Counties Impacted by May Storms

The federal government granted Gov. Bill Lee’s request this week for a major disaster declaration for 20 Tennessee counties impacted by severe weather in early May.

President Donald Trump announced in a Thursday press release that he approved the declaration, which will make federal funding available for state and local recovery efforts in the affected areas.

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Commentary: Trump Tax Cases Highlight the Court as Servant of the Administrative State

The president was not whining when he tweeted about the continuing “political prosecution” permitted by the two tax returns cases issued Wednesday by the Supreme Court. These two cases, although short-term wins for Trump, illustrate the role of the federal and state courts in the administrative state and reveal the burdens this conglomeration places on a reforming president. Let’s take the worst of the bad news first.

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Turkey’s President Formally Makes Hagia Sophia a Mosque

The president of Turkey on Friday formally converted Istanbul’s sixth-century Hagia Sophia back into a mosque and declared it open for Muslim worship, hours after a high court annulled a 1934 decision that had made the religious landmark a museum.

The decision sparked deep dismay among Orthodox Christians. Originally a cathedral, Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque after Istanbul’s conquest by the Ottoman Empire but had been a museum for the last 86 years, drawing millions of tourists annually.

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Nashville Out of ‘MLS is Back’ Professional Soccer Event after Nine Players Test Positive

Nashville SC has withdrawn from Major League Soccer’s MLS is Back tournament in Florida after nine players tested positive for the coronavirus, the league announced Thursday.

Nashville is the second team to withdraw from the tournament. FC Dallas had to pull out after 10 players and a coach tested positive for COVID-19.

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New Complaint Accuses Tennessee State Sen. Bill Powers of Ethics Violations

State Sen. Bill Powers (R-Clarksville) allegedly collaborated with the Clarksville-based Wyatt Johnson Automotive Group to illegally fund his campaign, according to a complaint someone filed with the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance.

Powers allegedly did this using in-kind donations, said the complaint, which The Tennessee Star received this week.

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AG Keith Ellison Faces Lawsuit Accusing Him of Coordinating with Bloomberg on Anti-Exxon Crusade

A Virginia-based law firm is suing Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison for access to records revealing his use of attorneys financed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to engage in a climate crusade targeting oil companies.

The nonprofit Government Accountability & Oversight (GAO) filed a lawsuit Wednesday for records detailing how the Democratic attorney general is allegedly deploying Bloomberg-financed lawyers to advance a lawsuit his office leveled against the fossil fuel industry. The firm’s complaint was filed on behalf of the nonprofit group Energy Policy Advocates.

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Homeland Security Gets New Role Under Trump Monument Order

Protesters who have clashed with authorities in the Pacific Northwest are not just confronting local police. Some are also facing off against federal officers whose presence reflects President Donald Trump’s decision to make cracking down on “violent mayhem” a federal priority.

The Department of Homeland Security has deployed officers in tactical gear from around the country, and from more than a half-dozen federal law enforcement agencies and departments, to Portland, Oregon, as part of a surge aimed at what a senior official said were people taking advantage of demonstrations over the police killing of George Floyd to engage in violence and vandalism.

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Nashville Attorney Jim Roberts Gives Updates on the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act Petition

Live from Music Row Friday 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 Nashville attorney Jim Roberts to the newsmakers line.

During the third hour, Roberts gave updates on the petition for the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act and detailed the timeline in order to get the referendum on the ballot by August 6. He added that this will allow the mayor and the Metro government to remain accountable and transparent to the taxpayers of Nashville.

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Music Spotlight: Derek Jones

Even though Derek Jones’ dad was a drummer and his grandmother played piano, he never played music until later in life.

“We always had music going on at the house at our supper table. If Dad was in charge of the music, we listened to Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker, Grand Funk Railroad but if Mom was in control [of the music], we listened to Lionel Richie, Jim Croce, stuff like that,” he said.

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66 Percent of Americans Believe Civilians Should Have the Power to Sue Police for Using Excessive Force: Poll

More than 60% of Americans support allowing people to sue police officers for using excessive force against assailants, even if such a move makes the job of police work more difficult, according to a survey published Thursday.

Two-thirds of the public believe civilians should be able to level lawsuits if police officers are engaging in misconduct, a Pew Research Center survey showed. Law enforcement officers are protected through qualified immunity, a doctrine protecting them from civil liability unless they commit clear violations of law.

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Laura Baigert Weighs In on Gov. Lee’s Decision to Remove the Nathan Bedford Forrest Bust from the Capitol

Live from Music Row Friday 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 Tennessee Star Senior Reporter Laura Baigert to the newsmakers line.

During the second hour, Baigert weighed in on the recent meeting where Governor Lee decided to remove the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from the State Capitol. She found it particularly interesting that it was known and attended by protesters and other local media however seemed to forget notifying The Tennessee Star.

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Trump Commutes Longtime Friend Roger Stone’s Prison Sentence

President Donald Trump commuted the sentence of his longtime political confidant Roger Stone on Friday, just days before he was set to report to prison. Democrats denounced the move as just another in a series of unprecedented interventions by the president in the nation’s justice system.

Stone had been sentenced in February to three years and four months in prison for lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election. He was set to report to prison by Tuesday.

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Judge Blocks Removal of More Confederate Statues in Richmond

A judge issued an injunction Thursday barring the city of Richmond from removing any more Confederate monuments, a process that began last week after Mayor Levar Stoney ordered the statues cleared away amid weeks of protests over police brutality and racism.

Richmond Circuit Court Judge Bradley Cavedo issued the decision after a hearing in a lawsuit filed Tuesday by an unnamed plaintiff, local media outlets reported. The lawsuit asked for an emergency injunction to halt the removal of the statues and alleged that Stoney violated state law by ordering their immediate removal.

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Memphis Entrepreneur Jeff Webb Discusses His Endorsement of Dr. Manny Sethi for the U.S. Senate

Live from Music Row Friday 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 the Memphis Entrepreneur Jeff Webb to the newsmakers line.

During the third hour, Webb discussed his motivation for the recent endorsement of Tennessee Senate candidate Dr. Manny Sethi. He described his decision as being one based on the fact that Sethi embodies the American dream, is a political outsider and would be an advocate for small businesses.

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Crom Carmichael: The Media Are Paid to Say Exactly What They Are Told to Say

Live from Music Row Friday 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 the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio.

During the second hour, Carmichael reiterated his take on the mainstream media’s overpaid talking heads and described how they are only in it for the money.

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DeWine’s Baseball Team’s Paycheck Protection Program Loan Nets Millionaire Governor $189K of Forgivable Taxpayer Handout

With news that Gov. Mike DeWine’s minor league baseball team cashed in on the Paycheck Protection Program, one may ask how Ohio’s top executive came to own a team in North Carolina or why he needed a taxpayer handout.

DeWine has a 32 percent stake in the Asheville Tourists minor league team, The Ohio Star reported this week.

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Ohio State Professor Arrested for Allegedly Using $4.1 Million in American Grant Money to do Research for China

  The Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged Son Guo Zheng, an Ohio State rheumatology professor and researcher, with alleged grant fraud and making false statements for not disclosing that he maintained employment in China while continuing to work at American universities. Zheng allegedly accepted “$4.1 million in grants from…

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Michigan Health Professionals to Be Required to Undergo Implicit Bias Training

Health professionals in Michigan will soon be required to undergo implicit bias training in order to obtain a license, registration or renewal of license and registration, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Thursday.

Whitmer said the move was recommended by the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities, which was created to respond to the impact COVID-19 had on communities of color.

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DFL Targets State Senate Republicans on Police Reform in New Ad Campaign

The Minnesota DFL Party launched a new ad campaign this week targeting key Republican state senators who are accused of “standing in the way of passing real police reform.”

Jason Lewis, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, said in a recent interview that Democrats don’t “want reform” so much as they “want a political issue.”

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Majority of Minnesota Parents Say They Are Comfortable Sending Children Back to School in Fall

A survey conducted by the Minnesota Department of Education found that the majority of parents would feel comfortable sending their children back to school this fall.

Between June 15 and July 6, the agency collected more than 130,000 responses to the informal survey, which was offered in English, Hmong, Spanish, and Somali. A total of 64 percent of respondents said they would feel comfortable sending their children back to school in September. Of that 64 percent, 94 percent said they would send their children back to school full time.

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