Federal Authorities Search Rudy Giuliani’s New York Apartment, Reports

Federal authorities in New York on Wednesday raided former city Mayor and President Trump’s attorney’s Upper West Side apartment, as part of a criminal probe into his work in Ukraine, according to multiple news reports.

The investigators confiscated Rudy Giuliani’s electronic devices as part of a search warrant, according to the New York Times, which cited sources.

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Tennessee Senate Reschedules Bill Requiring Police Oversight Boards to Undergo Citizen Police Academy, Will Vote Monday

The Tennessee Senate is scheduled on Monday to vote on whether local community oversight boards must undergo citizen police academy.

If passed, current community oversight board members will have until June 30 of next year to complete a citizen police academy or any similar program. After that, any members appointed after July 1 of this year will have one year. Any members who fail to complete the academy or similar program will have their voting powers revoked. Voting rights would be restored upon completion of the academy. 

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Commentary: Critical Race Theory Is About to Face Its Day(s) in Court

New York State Education Building, Albany, New York

As recently as last summer, few people outside academia had heard of critical race theory, whose central claim is that racism, not liberty, is the founding value and guiding vision of American society. Then, President Trump issued an executive order last September banning the teaching of this “malign ideology” to federal employees and federal contractors.

Trump’s ban was blocked by a federal judge in December and immediately revoked by Joe Biden upon occupying the White House in January. Since then, federal agencies and federal contractors have resumed staff training on unconscious bias, microaggressions, systemic racism and white privilege – some of the most common but also most disputed concepts associated with the four-decade-old academic theory.

Now critical race theory is about to face a major real-world test: a spate of lawsuits alleging that it encourages discrimination and other illegal policies targeting whites, males and Christians. But unlike Trump’s executive order, which ran into First Amendment problems by prohibiting controversial speech, the lawsuits name specific policies and practices that allegedly discriminate, harass, blame and humiliate people based on their race.

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Williamson County Parents Alarm Community About Dark, Inappropriate Reading Material for Elementary Students

THOMPSON’S STATION — Several hundred people gathered Tuesday night to complain that a particular curriculum, Wit and Wisdom, is dark and divisive and, overall, robs Williamson County elementary students of their innocence. WCS Board Member Dan Cash presided over Tuesday’s meeting, which he held at Thompson’s Station Church.

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Mark Meadows Vows: ‘The House Freedom Caucus Is Choosing the Next Speaker’

President Donald J. Trump’s last White House chief of staff told supporters at the April 24 House Freedom Fund reception and dinner at the president’s Palm Beach, Florida resort club Mar-A-Lago why they did not have to worry about House Minority Leader Kevin O. McCarthy (R-CA-23) taking the gavel in the next session of Congress.

“The House Freedom Caucus is choosing the next speaker,” said former North Carolina congressman Mark R. Meadows, as he returned to his seat after his remarks at the fundraiser for the House Freedom Fund’s political action committee–according to a political operative, who attended the event and heard the remark themselves.

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Labor Board Will Hold Hearing over Whether Amazon Interfered with Union Election

Amazon warehouse

The National Labor Relations Board will hold a hearing next month to investigate challenges levied by the union that attempted to organize Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama, according to CNBC.

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) acting regional director Lisa Henderson will preside over the hearing on May 7 and has the power to order a new unionization election, CNBC reported.

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) filed charges with the NLRB against Amazon on April 19, alleging that the company had intimidated and threatened employees throughout the election.

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Tennessee General Assembly Passes Bill Prohibiting Local Government from Classifying Workers as ‘Nonessential’ – Governor and State Government Retain That Power

The Tennessee General Assembly determined that local governments can’t classify workers as “nonessential” – but the governor and state still can. The House passed an amended version of a bill, the “The Essential Workers Act,” on Tuesday that struck original language prohibiting the governor and state entities from classifying workers as “nonessential.”

Under the modified act, the governor and state may impose an executive order, ordinance, or resolution that identifies essential and nonessential businesses, trades, professions, or industries for the purpose of closing them. The Tennessee Star inquired with the sponsor, State Representative Brendan Ogles (R-Franklin) as to why they decided the governor and state entities should retain that authority. They didn’t respond by press time. The amendment also struck language that prohibited calling certain workers “essential.”

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LGBT Legal Group Sues to Strip Religious Universities of Civil Rights Protections

A group of Christian college students is suing the U.S. Department of Education, alleging that Title IX’s religious exemption allows federally-funded religious colleges and universities to discriminate against LGBTQ students.

The Religious Exemption Accountability Project filed the lawsuit in an Oregon federal court on March 29. The suit aims to prohibit any students from using federal tuition grants, student loans, and any other federal financial aid at post-secondary schools that uphold biblical beliefs on gender and sexuality.

“REAP’s lawsuit asserts the constitutional and basic human rights of LGBTQ+ students, seeking to end the sexual, physical and psychological abuses perpetrated under the religious exemption to Title IX at thousands of federally-funded schools, colleges and universities across America,” according to the organization’s website.

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Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles on Corporate Wokeness and How Tennessee Needs to Follow Florida’s Lead

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles in studio to discuss woke corporations’ disdain for their consumers and leading legislation like Florida.

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John Kerry Vehemently Denies Sharing Secret Intel About Israel with Iran

John Kerry

Former Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday vehemently denied providing Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif with secret information about Israeli strikes on Iranian interests in Syria, an allegation which Republicans seized on to call for Kerry’s ouster from the Biden administration.

“I can tell you that this story and these allegations are unequivocally false. This never happened – either when I was Secretary of State or since,” Kerry tweeted in response to reports of his interactions with Zarif.

Iran International, a London-based outlet, and The New York Times reported that Zarif said in a secret audio recording that Kerry had informed him that Israeli forces had struck more than 200 Iranian targets in Syria.

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Commentary: How the Chinese Communist Party Continues to Infiltrate U.S. Research and Higher Education

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) called China the “most sophisticated” actor of foreign countries subverting our biomedical research in last week’s Senate hearing on the topic. This follows the release of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s (DNI) Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community earlier this month. That assessment, cited by Sen. Burr, noted that “China will remain the top threat to US technological competitiveness as the CCP targets key technology sectors and proprietary commercial and military technology from US and allied companies and research institutions associated with defense, energy, finance, and other sectors.”

In the Senate hearing, panelists disclosed several disturbing cases of research theft by the CCP and its agents. Dr. Michael Lauer, Deputy Director for Extramural Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), testified that Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, fired its CEO and five other senior people for connections to the Thousand Talents Program. Gary Cantrell, Deputy Inspector General for Investigations at the Office of Investigations of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) at the Department of Health and Human Services, provided in written testimony examples of two researchers who had been compromised with China ties as found by OIG fraud investigations.

Cantrell’s first example was a professor of internal medicine who led a team conducting autoimmune research at The Ohio State University and Pennsylvania State University. This professor pled guilty in late 2020 to making false statements to federal authorities to get $4.1 million in NIH grants and failing to disclose “his participation in a Chinese Talent Plan and his affiliation and collaboration with a Chinese university controlled by the Chinese government.”

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Tennessee General Assembly Amends Bill to Maintain Health Commissioner, County Health Officers’ Emergency Rule, Quarantine and Closure Power

The General Assembly struck provisions removing exclusive health emergency-related powers from the health commissioner and county health officials. The bill originally proposed to create a commission to make decisions on whether or not to exercise those powers. The new commission would’ve included the governor, the speakers of the State House and Senate, each constitutional officer, and the commissioner of health – or, any designees selected by those officials.

Those provisions were dropped without explanation from either the House or Senate floor as to why. The Tennessee Star inquired with the sponsors what happened. The House sponsor, State Representative Glen Casada, (R-Franklin) divulged that the House Health Committee opposed it. He didn’t go into further detail in his statement to The Star.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom Faces Recall Election After Enough Petition Signatures Verified

The California Secretary of State’s Office confirmed Monday that it has received and verified enough signatures to trigger an election for the removal of Gov. Gavin Newsom from office.

Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber said Monday the threshold of verified signatures reported by counties had been met and exceeds the required amount of 1,495,709.

“A recall election will be held unless a sufficient number of signatures are withdrawn,” Weber said.

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Bill Making Out-of-State Rioters, Paid Rioting a Felony Offense Now Heads to Governor for Approval

The Tennessee General Assembly passed a bill making any rioters who are from out-of-state or paid to riot guilty of a felony offense. Under the bill, it is considered a Class E felony for anyone who travels from outside the state with an intent to commit a crime or participates in a riot after being paid to do so. Courts must impose a mandatory minimum sentence of 45 days imprisonment for one offense, or 60 days for two or more offenses.

The House passed the bill on Tuesday, 73 to 20. Nearly all Democrats opposed the bill, with the exception of State Representatives Jason Hodges (D-Clarksville), Darren Jernigan (D-Old Hickory), and John Mark Windle (D-Livingston).

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Commentary: Census Data Update and If GOP Will See Apportionment Gains

Going into this decennial reapportionment, it appeared that states’ congressional delegations were poised for widespread reshuffling of the deck.  New York was on the cusp of losing two seats, while Texas and Florida were in a position to pick up three and two, respectively. Given the legislatures that control redistricting in these states, it seemingly offered substantial opportunities for Republicans to redraw the lines in ways that boosted their chances in the House significantly.

Instead, the reapportionment numbers announced by the U.S. Census Bureau on Monday were something of a wash.  Only seven states lost seats while six gained seats.

There were notable outcomes here: California lost a seat for the first time in its history. Rhode Island – widely expected to be reduced to a single-member state – held onto its two House seats (in fact it wasn’t a terribly close shave). New York, even with COVID deaths pushing it toward a loss of two seats, lost just one.

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Yale Study Claims That Democrats’ ‘Anti-Racism’ Rhetoric Alienates Voters

Micah English and Joshua Kalla of Yale University

A recent study by Yale University indicates that if the Democratic Party continues overtly promoting “anti-racism” rhetoric, it could lead to a mass alienation of their own base in upcoming elections, as reported by the New York Post.

The study was conducted by Yale’s Micah English and Joshua Kalla, whose goals with the survey were to find out “how racial attitudes shape policy preferences in the era of Black Lives Matter and increasing liberal views on racial issues.” But, utilizing an online survey method, they soon found that issues based explicitly on race where less likely to galvanize the party’s base than issues based more on economics.

To determine this, the study asked voters about various issues such as student debt cancellation, the Green New Deal, universal healthcare, and legalizing marijuana, amongst others. These issues were presented in three different ways to various respondents: They were either framed around “racial justice,” framed as “economic justice,” or explained completely neutrally. Actual rhetoric from Democratic politicians was incorporated into each method of questioning, and the issues were all emphasized as being part of the Democratic Party’s platform.

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Ex-Obama Official Charged with Stealing $218,000 from Charter School He Founded

Seth Andrew

A former official in the Obama administration was charged Tuesday with stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a charter school he founded, and using the funds to help finance a luxury apartment in Manhattan.

Seth Andrew, who served in the Obama White House and Department of Education, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with wire fraud, money laundering, and making false statements to a financial institution in connection with a series of banking transactions he conducted in 2019.

Federal prosecutors allege that Andrew ripped off his own charter school organization, Democracy Prep Public Schools, to the tune of $218,005.

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BLM Co-Founder’s Jail Reform Group Dropped $26,000 at Luxury Malibu Beach Resort

Patrisse Cullors

A Los Angeles-based jail reform group led by BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors spent nearly $26,000 for “meetings” at a luxury Malibu beach resort in 2019, according to campaign finance records reviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Reform LA Jails dropped $10,179 for “meetings and appearances” at the Calamigos Guest Ranch and Beach Club in Malibu, California, and another $15,593 at the Malibu Conference Center, a corporate conference facility owned by the resort, according to the records, which covered the time period between July and September 2019. Guests at the 200-acre resort, where rooms start at $600 a night, have exclusive access to a private five-acre strip of the Malibu coast.

The records show that the payments were made on behalf of the jail reform group by a consulting firm owned by Asha Bandele, a longtime mentor of Cullors and co-author of her 2018 biography, “When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir.”

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Job Creators Network CEO Alfred Ortiz Talks About the Response He’s Received on Time Square Billboard

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed CEO of Job Creators Network and the man behind the iconic billboard in Times Square Alfredo Ortiz to the newsmakers line to talk about MLB Commissioner Manfred’s strikes and balls and the destruction of small business in America.

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Senator Mike Bell Talks Smart Bill Proposing Statewide Elected Judges for Each Grand Division and Budget in Tennessee

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed State Senator Mike Bell in studio to further discuss his statewide elected grand division bill and the status of the state budget.

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State Senator Mike Bell Talks Big Tech Pushback Legislation and His Current Bill Allowing for Elected Grand Division Justices Statewide

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed State Senator Mike Bell in studio who discussed the status of a bill that would push back on Big Tech and explained the dynamics of his current bill that would create three elected statewide court divisions.

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All-Star Panelist Roger Simon on Federal Bribe Money to Implement Critical Race Theory in State K-12 Public Schools

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed All-Star panelist Roger Simon to the studio to weigh in on his recent article at The Epoch Times and whether or not Tennessee will refuse the federal bribe money to implement critical race theory in its public school curriculum.

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Commentary: The Slow-Motion Suicide of the West

I have been thinking a good deal recently about Arnold Toynbee’s much-quoted observation that “Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.” As an historical proposition, I’d say that it was like the story of the curate’s breakfast egg. “I’m afraid you’ve got a bad egg, Mr. Jones!” “Oh no, my Lord, I assure you!” the curate replied. “Parts of it are excellent!”

And yet we all see the pertinence of Toynbee’s point. While there are, as a matter of historical fact, plenty of civilizations that succumb to invasion, occupation, and subjugation, there are also many that wither from within from a failure of self-confidence, of (for the Bergsonians out there) élan vital, of what your philosophy graduate student likes to call thumos: spirit, gumption, “heart,” manliness.

The fact that no one can even speak of “manliness” today without looking over his shoulder these days is an index that thumos is on the endangered species list (along, as it happens, with sperm counts in the Western world). Why this should be is a fraught question—something whose answer is “overdetermined” as our Freudian friends like to say.

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Five and a Half Months After 2020 Election Fulton County Fails to Produce Complete Chain of Custody Documents for Absentee Vote by Mail Ballots Deposited in Drop Boxes

Nearly half a year after the 2020 Election, and four months after the original inquiry, Fulton County has failed to fulfill the Open Records Request with The Georgia Star News. Although the county did provide some chain of custody documents, initial analysis by The Star News indicates that the Fulton County ballot transfer form records sent may be incomplete.

On January 22, Fulton County Officials responded to the Open Records request made by The Star News with two PDF files. As previously reported, of those two files – one with a label that ended with BX-1, and another with a label that ended with BX-3 – showed ballot transfer form records for 36,635 absentee votes by mail ballots deposited in drop boxes.

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Ohio School Board Sued for Racial Policies and Banning Input on 1619 Project and Critical Race Theory

An Ohio man filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Ohio State Board of Education (OSBOE), the board president, and four board members.  The lawsuit claims the agency overstepped authority in passing a racial resolution and argues the plaintiff’s First Amendment rights of free speech and to petition his government for redress of grievances were violated when he was barred access to a public forum during an April meeting.

Daniel Regenold claims the OSBOE went beyond its authority under Ohio law when the agency passed a resolution last July – Resolution to Condemn Racism and to Advance Equity and Opportunity for Black Students, Indigenous Students and Students of Color.

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School Choice Voucher Bill Headed to DeSantis’ Desk After Passing Florida Senate

The Florida Senate Monday passed a bill that would provide $200 million in state funds for school choice voucher programs, sending the bill to the desk of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

As reported by The Florida Capital Star last week, the Florida House passed HB 7045 by a margin of 79-36, with four Democrats joining the Republican majority. The voucher program will allow 60,000 more students in Florida to attend an alternative to public school, usually in low-income areas. 

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Ohio Attorney General Pleads for Patience Around Bryant Shooting Investigation

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has spent a lot of time pleading for patience and talking of the dangers of rushing to judgement in reaction to the shooting death of a 16-year-old girl by Columbus police officers.

Community organizers, however, are calling for a U.S. Justice Department investigation of the Columbus Police Department, and Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said there is lack of trust between the community and police.

Yost consistently has said half-facts lead to half-truths, tweeting two days after the death of Ma’Khia Bryant, “Let’s get all the facts and find the whole truth.”

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Florida House Passes Bipartisan Police Reform Bill

The Florida House passed HB 7051 unanimously, a police reform bill, designed to be a bipartisan, compromise piece of legislation satisfying the requests of conservatives as well as social justice advocates.

One of the main staples of the bill is amending current use-of-force protocol for law enforcement officers. Each police force and law enforcement agency in the state will now be required to have a use-of-force standard. This would, in essence, create a statewide minimum standard, including methods to de-escalate situations. Chokeholds are banned unless the officer “perceives an immediate threat of serious bodily injury or death.” If another officer is witnessing excessive use of force, they will now be required to intervene.

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Whitmer Orders Two-Year-Olds to Wear Masks

As COVID-19 cases surge in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is expanding her mask mandate order to include toddlers.

“The mask requirement previously exempted children younger than the age of 5. Expanding the mask rule to children ages 2 to 4 also requires ‘a good faith effort to ensure that these children wear masks while in gatherings at childcare facilities or camps,'” according to The Detroit News.

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Prior to Youth Sports Pause, Minnesota State Officials Admitted to Lack of Evidence, Emails Suggest

Young boy hitting a baseball

In the weeks leading up to Gov. Tim Walz’s “pause” on youth sports, state officials were privately scrambling for evidence to support the restrictions, at times admitting that “there isn’t much,” emails released Monday reveal.

“Here’s the way it should work: There is data, then there is a decision, then there is communication,” Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, explained at a Monday Senate hearing. “It’s not, ‘We need a message. Go find me the data that matches it.’”

Benson and her Republican colleagues published a trove of emails between state health officials and members of Gov. Walz’s staff ahead of Monday’s informational hearing.

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Protesters Continue to Occupy Stillwater Street in Front of Prosecutor’s House

Minnesota Protest

Protesters continue to occupy the street in front of a Stillwater, Minnesota, prosecutor’s home, over a week after their demonstrations against the attorney first grabbed headlines.

Pete Orput has served as the Washington County attorney for over a decade. He recently chose to pursue a manslaughter charge, as opposed to murder, in the case of Kim Potter, a former Brooklyn Center police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright earlier this month. Since Orput charged Potter, he has been subject to public vitriol leveled against him by protesters who disagree with his decision.

Livestreams of Monday’s demonstration show that BLM-affiliated individuals totally obstructed the street in front of Orput’s home with vehicles and even set up chairs, a podium and a sound truck in the roadway.

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Department of Education Responds to Concerns over Virginia Mathematics Pathways Initiative

After backlash from Republican politicians and activists over the Virginia Mathematics Pathways Initiative (VMPI), Virginia Department of Education officials held a Zoom meeting to respond.

On Monday, VDOE Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane said, “We’ve heard a lot of information shared in some sources with some information that’s just not accurate.”

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Georgia AG: Biden’s Climate Change Working Group Could Cost Georgia Jobs

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said President Joe Biden’s executive order addressing climate change is an authoritative overreach that could kill a selection of Georgia jobs and impose more burdens on Americans.

Georgia has joined nine other states in suing the Biden administration over the order, which creates the Working Group on the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases. The working group is required to publish estimations on the social costs of carbon, nitrous oxide and methane, then make recommendations to the administration on how federal agencies should incorporate the social costs into their regulatory decision-making processes.

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Florida Restaurants Face Labor Shortage as COVID Unemployment Benefits Flow

The federal government is standing in the way of Florida restaurants that are in desperate need of employees as the COVID-19 pandemic winds down, and Floridians look to dine out. 

“The biggest challenge out there is the federal government and the state government are going to continue with this unemployment, because that is truly creating the incentive to not work right now,” said Bill Casper, who owns 60 McDonald’s restaurants in the Tampa area. “And, how do you blame somebody? You can make more money on unemployment—and so, we’ve got to be at least above that.”

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Richmond, Charlottesville Councils Consider Next Steps for Their Monuments

It’s been over eight months since Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney removed the city’s Confederate monuments to storage. In a Monday City Council meeting, City Council Interim Chief of Staff Joyce Davis announced that the Organizational Development Standing Committee would hear a resolution about the disposition of the statues. A public hearing and city council vote on the resolution is expected May 10.

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General Assembly Passes Tennessee Election Integrity Act Requiring Ballot Watermarking

After Senate passage yesterday, the House passed the “Tennessee Election Integrity Act” requiring watermarking on paper absentee ballots. Local election commissions would be required to create unique watermarks for paper absentee ballots. Additionally, election officials must write the word “rejected” and the reason for rejection across the face of a rejected ballot.

Only one individual voted against the bill – State Representative Jason Powell (D-Nashville). Powell didn’t give an explanation on the House floor hearing as to why he voted against the act. As The Tennessee Star reported on Monday, the bill received unanimous and bipartisan support in the House.

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