Governor Lee Announces Amazon Expansion in East Tennessee

Amazon will establish its eighth fulfillment center in East Tennessee, creating 800 full-time employees “to engage with advanced robotics.” Governor Bill Lee issued the announcement on Wednesday in a joint press release with Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) Commissioner Bob Rolfe, and Amazon spokespersons.

Located in the city of Alcoa, the distribution center will overtake property that was once a local golf course by Alcoa Highway and Pellissippi Parkway. According to a press release issued by the county’s development cooperative, Blount Partnership, employees will receive a starting wage of $15 an hour with full benefits and other perks, including 20 weeks of maternal and parental paid leave. 

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Metro Nashville School Board Member Fran Bush Talks About Personal Attacks She’s Received on Facebook Because She Advocated for Students to Get Back in the Classroom

Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Metro School Board member Fran Bush to the studio to explain why she has continuously advocated for in-person learning and the vicious pushback she’s received.

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Nation’s Largest Cities Suffered 30 Percent Increase in Homicides in 2020, Report Finds

Homicides spiked 30% in 34 of the United States’ largest cities in 2020, according to a report conducted by the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice.

Of the cities studied in the report, Chula Vista, California, saw the greatest increase in homicides, with 150% more in 2020 than the previous year. Madison and Milwaukee, the two largest cities in Wisconsin, saw increases of 100% and 85%, respectively, while only four cities – Raleigh, North Carolina; Baltimore; St. Petersburg, Florida; and Virginia Beach – saw declines in 2020.

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Biden Recommended to Appoint ‘Reality Czar’ to ‘Tackle Disinformation’

Experts have recommended that President Joe Biden appoint a “reality czar” to “tackle disinformation,” the New York Times reported Tuesday.

Technology columnist Kevin Roose’s piece examines how to combat disinformation in media, citing QAnon group chats, OAN reporting, and “YouTube videos alleging that the inauguration was a prerecorded hoax that had been filmed on a Hollywood soundstage.”

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Metro Nashville School Board Member Fran Bush Discusses How Teachers Must Sit Back and Wait for Failed Leadership

Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed all-star panelist and Metro School Board member Fran Bush to the studio to discuss how Nashville’s leadership has failed public school students and their parents.

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Biden State Dept. Spox Calls Police ‘Blue Klux Klan,’ and ‘Largest Threat to U.S. National Security’

Just a few short years ago, the newly appointed deputy spokesperson for the Biden State Department wrote that the police posed the largest national security threat in America—greater than that of ISIS or Russia—because they were committing “genocide” against Black Americans.

In a 2016 Facebook post, uncovered by the Washington Free Beacon, Jalina Porter wrote: “The largest threat to US national security are US cops. Not ISIS, not Russian hackers, not anyone or anything else. If ya’ll don’t wake up and rise up to this truth, the genocide against Blacks in America will continue until we are near extinct. That’s not the world I seek to live in or create for myself and those around me.”

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Commentary: Electric Vehicles and Their Drawbacks, Chapter II

There is a growing push in the U.S. and throughout much of the developed world to convert transportation from a primary reliance on fossil fuels to an almost-exclusive use of renewable energy (wind and solar). With this goal come promises of unlimited clean and free energy, the creation of millions of green jobs, and the benefit of helping save the planet from an imminent climate catastrophe.

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National Park Service Requiring All Employees, Visitors to Wear Masks, in Line with Biden’s Federal Mask Mandate

The National Park Service (NPS) has implemented the federal mask mandate for all employees and visitors of national parks and facilities on Tuesday, the agency announced.

The NPS, which manages 423 properties across the country, is now in line with President Joe Biden’s executive order mandating masks on federal properties that he signed on Jan. 20, his first day in office. 

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Project to Fund Electric Car-Charging Stations in Tennessee Will Cost $20 Million

Officials with The Tennessee Valley Authority and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation announced Wednesday they will develop more electric car-charging stations in the state, at an anticipated cost of $20 million. TDEC and TVA officials said in a press release that to get the money they “will leverage various funding sources.”

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Vanderbilt Law Professor Says Social Media Platforms Should be on the Offensive, Not Defensive, When It Comes to Regulating Speech

Vanderbilt School of Law Professor Gautam Hans opined that social media companies should be on the offensive when it comes to regulating speech. In a spotlight series called “Ask an Expert” curated by Vanderbilt University, the assistant clinical professor suggested that these platforms ought to modify their approaches to content moderation.

In the brief video, Hans asserted that proactive approaches could improve the current dissatisfaction shared across party lines.

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Biden Signs Executive Order to Increase Welfare Dependency for Illegal Aliens

Joe Biden signed an executive order on Tuesday that aims to increase illegal aliens’ dependency on welfare programs funded by taxpayer dollars, according to Breitbart.

The order revokes a Trump Administration policy that would ultimately put financial responsibility for such welfare benefits directly on the illegals themselves, or otherwise on the family member or business sponsor seeking green cards for any incoming illegals who had previously used a welfare system. Biden’s revoking of that order ultimately puts the cost for such use of the welfare system back on American citizens who fund such programs with their tax dollars.

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Comedian Jesse Peyton Talks About His Comedic Stylings and Upcoming Show at the Franklin Marriott February 12

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed comedian Jessie Peyton to the newsmakers line to talk about his comedic style and upcoming show on February 12 at the Franklin Marriott.

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Tennessee State Senator Frank Niceley Talks About His Bill for Changing the Way We Elect Our U.S. Senators

Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Tennessee (R) Senator Frank Niceley to the newsmakers line to discuss his bill which addresses the elections of U.S. senators.

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SWING AND A MISS: No GOP Capitol Hill Staffers Join 400 Democratic Staffers Demanding Senate Convict Trump

  Not one Republican staffers joined the nearly 400 Democratic Capitol Hill staffers posted an open letter to the Senate today urging the upper chamber to convict President Donald J. Trump in his Senate trial scheduled to begin Feb. 9. “We are staff who work for members of the U.S.…

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Tennessee Star National Correspondent Neil McCabe Weighs in on the Upcoming Impeachment Trial of Citizen Trump

Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed the Tennessee Star National Correspondent Neil W. McCabe to the newsmakers line to weigh in on the looming impeachment trial of citizen Trump.

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Hillary Clinton Signals Support for a Rep. Tim Ryan Run for U.S. Senate in 2022

U.S. Rep Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) wasted no time expressing his interest in the U.S. Senate seat Republican Rob Portman announced he will not seek again in 2022. On January 25, the day of Portman’s announcement, Ryan said he was “looking seriously at it.”

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer Sued over Ban on Contact Sports

The Democrat governor of Michigan is being sued by several parties over her ban of contact sports at the high school level, which was recently extended until February 21. 

Let Them Play, Inc., a non-profit, along with the Michigan Amateur Youth Hockey League and players and parents of high school athletes, brought suit Wednesday against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), according to a legal complaint. 

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Virginia Legislature Moving Forward with Constitutional Amendment to Give Felons Voting Rights

Virginia’s House Majority Leader celebrated Wednesday morning after a bill she introduced passed through committee. 

“What a great way to start the day!” Majority Leader Charniele Herring (D-VA-46) said on Twitter. “My proposed constitutional amendment that will put an end to the disenfranchisement of felons has passed out of the Privileges and Elections Committee and is on its way to the house floor!”

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Ohio Attorney General Announces Agreement to Stop Money Flowing from House Bill 6 to FirstEnergy

FirstEnergy has agreed to give up what could have been a $120 million windfall in 2021, and Ohio put on hold its ongoing lawsuit relating the state’s nuclear bailout law.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced Monday what he called a “big win” for state consumers when the energy company said it would forego a provision in the law that guaranteed FirstEnergy the ability to recapture yearly profits based on its profit numbers from 2018.

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Virginia House Removes Farm Employee Minimum Wage Exemption

On Tuesday, the House of Delegates passed Delegate Jeion Ward’s (D-Hampton) HB1786, a bill that would remove an exemption that allows farmers to pay farm employees less than Virginia’s minimum wage.

Currently, the Code of Virginia states, “‘Employee’ includes any individual employed by an employer. ‘Employee’ includes a home care provider. ‘Employee’ does not include the following: 1. Any person employed as a farm laborer or farm employee.”

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Minneapolis FBI Helped Bust Company Sending Controlled Tech to China

The Minneapolis FBI office helped uncover and bring to justice a scheme by which China illegally acquired U.S. technology.

An indictment was unsealed this week which charged 45-year-old Chinese national Cheng Bo (AKA Joe Cheng) with violating U.S. export laws to illegally ship controlled power amplifiers to China. The power amplifiers in question have potential military applications, according to Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers of the National Security Division.

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Virginia House Passes Bill Extending Unemployment to People Who Can’t Work Due to COVID-19

The House of Delegates passed a bill meant to protect employees from losing unemployment benefits for some employees who can’t work due to COVID-19.  It includes a key provision that provides unemployment benefits for people who don’t go to work because they believe their employer is not following COVID-19 safety standards.

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Memphis City Council Entertains Black Lives Matter, Other Activist Demands for Wealth Equity, Minimum Wage, Representation

Memphis City Council devoted the first portion of its Tuesday meeting to hearing the demands of activists. The proposals were a part of a plan called “From Protest to Progress,” organized and sponsored by the Greater Memphis Chamber (GMC). GMC President and CEO Beverly Robertson presented the proposals to the council during Tuesday’s meeting. 

A total of five activist groups, eleven faith-based organizations, around two dozen companies, and one school system are involved. The activist groups are the Peace & Justice Center, Black Lives Matter (BLM), Coalition of Concerned Citizens (C3), Memphis Interfaith Coalition for Action and Hope (MICAH), and Up the Vote. Shelby County Schools is represented in the initiative through their Minority and Women Business Enterprises (MWBE) Manager, Joyce Douglas.

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