FBI’s Desperate Pretext to Keep Spying on Carter Page: He Might Write a Book!

Nine months into a relentless effort to spy on Carter Page with the most awesome surveillance tools the U.S. possesses, the FBI had no proof the former Trump adviser had colluded with Russia to hijack the 2016 election.

In fact, the bureau hid from the FISA court the fact that it knew Page was actually a U.S. asset who had helped the CIA and that in a secret recording with an informant he had denied all the core allegations against him with significant proof.

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Tennessee Attorney General Sues Food City for Profiteering on Unlawful Opioid Sales for 15 Years

According to Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III, Food City unlawfully prescribed opioids solely for profit for well over a decade. Slatery asserted that the grocery chain violated the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, the public nuisance statute at three of its stores, and the common law by endangering public health.

The attorney general documented these alleged abuses in a complaint totaling just over 200 pages. Accusations included: ignoring or attenuating reports of suspicious prescribers, and fulfilling those prescriptions even after the prescribers were raided, disciplined, arrested, or indicted; selling the opioids to drug trafficking ring members; issuing a rewards card for frequent opioid buyers, making it more accessible and affordable to criminals; pressuring employees to increase opioid sales; illegally and secretly transferring opioids throughout the chain to subvert supplier thresholds; continuing the sale of opioids despite multiple instances of overdoses on property; and selling massive opioid quantities to individuals from foreign countries or far-away states.

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New Federal Rule: No More Surprise Hospital Bills and More Options for Consumers

Hospitals have begun publishing their actual costs of services, including discounted cash and negotiated rates as a result of a rule change implemented by former President Donald Trump. The rule was challenged by the American Hospital Association and others, who lost in federal district court.

An appeal to the court ruling has not yet been filed. While the association says it is calling on the new administration to adjust the rule, hospitals in the meantime must publish prices for the majority of the services and medications they provide.

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

Thursday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Dr. Carol M. Swain in studio to discuss the movement to grant statehood to the District of Columbia.

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All Star Panelist Dr. Carol Swain Talks Parler Shutdown, Reality Czars, and the Current Orwellian Climate of America

Thursday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Dr. Carol M. Swain in studio to examine the First Amendment in the Orwellian climate of today.

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Two Weeks After Trump Declassified Russia Memos, Most Aren’t Released

More than two weeks after Donald Trump officially declassified the evidence, the vast majority of documents detailing FBI and Justice Department failures in the now-discredited Russia collusion investigation remain out of public view in a delay that has thwarted the former president’s goal of sweeping transparency.

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New Jobless Claims Decrease to 779,000, Economists Expected 830,000

The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims decreased to 779,000 last week as the economy continued to suffer the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Labor.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) figure released Thursday represented a decrease in the number of new jobless claims compared to the week ending Jan. 23, in which there were 847,000 new jobless claims reported. Roughly 17.8 million Americans continue to collect unemployment benefits, according to the BLS report Thursday.

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Former Mayor Bypassed City Council on Jackson Generals Baseball Agreement, Comptroller Says

Jackson’s former mayor neglected to inform city council members about an agreement to reimburse the Jackson Baseball Club a substantial amount of money for services at the stadium where the Jackson Generals play baseball. This, according to Tennessee Comptroller Jason Mumpower.

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Inez Feltscher Stepman Weighs in on Why School Choice Is Now More Important Than Ever

 Thursday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Inez Stepman senior policy analyst with the Independent Women’s Forum to the newsmakers line to address the recent Biden administrations’ trends in education policy and why school choice is important now.

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Metro Nashville Council Approves $14M for River North Development

The Nashville government has pledged almost $14 million for infrastructure for the first phase of development of a project in River North.

River North is a section of East Nashville’s East Bank that Metro Nashville is trying to redevelop, according to the city’s Planning Department website.

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Top DOJ Official’s Connection to Hunter Biden’s Lawyer Will Test Biden’s Commitment to Ethics, Expert Says

President Joe Biden’s commitment to ethics will be put to the test in how his Justice Department handles the connection one of its top officials shares with Hunter Biden’s lawyer, a government ethics expert told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Chris Clark, a partner at the law firm Latham & Watkins, is assisting Hunter Biden with the federal criminal investigation into his foreign business dealings. Clark had worked closely at the law firm with Nicholas McQuaid until the latter’s departure from the firm on Jan. 20 to lead the Justice Department criminal division, which is reportedly involved with the Hunter Biden investigation.

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With New Administration, Record Number of People Bought Guns in January

Concerns about President Joe Biden’s potential restrictions on firearm purchases sent sales soaring in January, industry insiders said. More than 4.3 million people purchased guns in the first month of 2021, the highest number on record.

The 4.3 million purchases represent legal applications through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS); it excludes illegally purchased firearms.

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California Gas Prices Reach High of $3.27 a Gallon, 66 Cents More Than National Average

California gasoline prices reached the highest they’ve been since March 9, 2020, hitting $3.27 a gallon, according to a new gasoline benchmark published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

California gas prices are roughly 66 cents more than average price paid by consumers nationwide.

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Biden DOJ Drops Yale Discrimination Lawsuit

The Department of Justice (DOJ), now under the control of the Biden Administration, has dropped a longstanding discrimination lawsuit against Yale University, as reported by ABC News.

The DOJ informed the district court in Connecticut on Wednesday that it was voluntarily dropping the suit, which was originally filed in October of 2020 after a two-year investigation by the Trump-era DOJ determined that Yale was discriminating against White and Asian applicants based solely on their race. Such racial discrimination was found to be in violation of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, by “subjecting domestic, non-transfer Asian and White applicants…to unlawful discrimination on the ground of race.”

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Belmont University Announces New President: Duke Divinity Dean Dr. Greg Jones

Belmont University has officially selected its new president: Dr. L. Gregory Jones, the previous dean of Duke Divinity School. The university’s current president, Dr. Bob Fisher, is expected to retire in May. Fisher will have served for about 21 years.

Jones will be assuming control over a fast-growing university that faced several pandemic-shaped bumps. These included a slight increase in student tuition costs and the staggered distance and in-person learning modules. 

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Virginia Senate Passes Bill to Abolish Death Penalty

Virginia is one step closer to abolishing the death penalty after a bill to do so passed the Senate Thursday. 

SB 1165 passed by a vote of 21-17 along party lines, with one GOP Senator Bill Stanley (R-20th District) abstaining. Stanley originally co-sponsored the bill, but wanted to add a provision that would ensure murderers convicted of aggravated offenses would never be allowed out of prison. 

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Virginia Marijuana Legalization Bills Prioritize Licenses and Loans to People with Marijuana Convictions

Marijuana legalization bills are approaching a floor vote in both the Virginia House of Delegates and the Senate. In addition to removing criminal penalties, the 274-page bills essentially create an entire industry, including regulation of business licenses, creating taxes, and incentivizing entrepreneurs to enter the market.

But Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach) said all of that is just a shell.

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Georgia Department of Labor Refutes Claim It Jeopardized State’s Financial Rating

Georgia Department of Labor officials said claims the agency caused a delay that could harm the state’s financial rating are inaccurate.

Sen. Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega, said the state could be at risk of losing its AAA rating if the state auditor doesn’t receive additional documents from the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) to complete the state’s end-of-year comprehensive financial report.

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Virginia Gubernatorial Candidate Kirk Cox Calls for Next Steps to Address Learning Losses from Virtual Classes

Virginia’s Democratic leadership is finally starting to call for a return to in-person learning, but gubernatorial candidate Delegate Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) is calling for immediate next steps to address learning losses caused by virtual learning. In a Thursday press conference, Cox laid out his proposals, including expanding availability of tutors, assessing learning loss, and providing financial support to parents for remedial materials.

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Ohio Speaker Cupp Picks Committee Top Spots Rounding Out Leadership for 134th General Assembly

COLUMBUS, Ohio – As The Ohio Star reported, the House GOP chose Robert R. Cupp (R-Shawnee Twp.) to be the speaker of the house with Representative Tim Ginter (R-Salem) serving as speaker pro tempore. The majority leader is Representative Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) with Rick Carfagna (R-Westerville) serving as assistant majority leader. Also, Representative Don Jones (R-Freeport) will serve as majority whip and Representative Cindy Abrams (R-Harrison) will act as assistant majority whip.

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Virginia’s Battle over Bingo Intensifies

A seemingly-innocuous bill in the Virginia Senate is causing quite a stir among the Commonwealth’s bingo community. 

According to the summary of SB 1127, introduced by State Sen. Bryce Reeves (R-17th District), the bill “Removes the requirement that an organization qualified to conduct bingo games may only play instant bingo, network bingo, pull tabs, or seal cards as part of such bingo games and at such times designated in a permit, if any, for regular bingo games.”

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Michigan to Get $19.5 Million for Opioid Epidemic Settlement

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined 46 other attorneys general in a $573 million settlement with McKinsey & Co., regarding the company’s role in aggressively helping opioid companies promote their drugs.

Michigan will receive more than $19.5 million from the first opioid multistate settlement resulting in a substantial payment.

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Governor Ralph Northam Extends 2021 General Assembly Session

Virginia Democrats will get more time to pass legislation after Governor Ralph Northam called a special legislative session to begin February 10. Northam’s announcement effectively adds 16 days to the current regular session, which is scheduled to end February 11. The proclamation comes after Republicans blocked a move to extend the 30-day regular session, hoping to limit their losses in a Democrat-controlled legislature.

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Minnesota Voters Want Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg’s Election Money Investigated

Alpha News recently reported that eight Minnesota voters petitioned the Minnesota Supreme Court with claims that Minnesota didn’t follow election laws in 2020. As part of their legal effort, these voters are requesting access to data involving Facebook CEO and billionaire Mark Zuckerberg’s financial influence on how the 2020 election was conducted.

It has been widely reported that Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan gave $350 million to a nonprofit, the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), that re-granted the funds to thousands of local election officials around the country. From the get-go, even before the election, these donations were controversial.

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Virginia House Votes to Double Fines for Littering

In a bipartisan effort, the Virginia House of Delegates Wednesday voted to double fines for littering in the Commonwealth, and impose stricter community service guidelines for litterbugs. 

HB 1801, introduced by Del. James Edmunds II (R-Halifax), increases the minimum fine for “dumping or disposing of litter, trash, or other unsightly matter on public or private property,” from $250 to $500. The maximum fine, $2500, remains the same. 

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Georgia Bill Proposes New Position to Oversee State’s Election Practices

Seven members of the Georgia General Assembly have filed a bill that would call on members of the State Election Board to appoint a chief elections assistance officer. According to the language of the bill, this person would work for the secretary of state to help manage and oversee elections.

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Bills for In-State Tuition for Illegal Immigrants Passes Virginia House, Senate

The Virginia Senate and House of Delegates passed their own versions of legislation that would guarantee in-state tuition for illegal immigrants residing in the state this week.

Under both bills, a person would be allowed to receive in-state tuition for public colleges and universities as long as the person meets all other necessary criteria, regardless of whether the person is residing in the country legally. The House version of the bill will be sent to the Senate and the Senate version to the House.

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Metro Parks Board Petitions State Historical Commission to Remove Sam Davis Statue

Metro Parks Board has sought permission to remove the Confederate Private Monument featuring soldier Sam Davis from Centennial Park. They submitted the formal request to the Tennessee Historical Commission (THC); Tennessee Code requires that THC wait at least 60 days before holding a hearing for a petition.

Renewed discussion to remove the monument began during January’s board meeting. Vice-Chair Susannah Scott-Barnes asserted that the statue was a “divisive symbol.” She noted that, in light of last year’s protests and the continued climate over Confederate statues nationwide, any vandalism would pose a cost issue for the board. Although the board requires state permission to relocate or remove the monument, the costs to maintain the statue are sourced from local funds.

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