As expected, Joel Greenberg, the former elected tax collector in Seminole County (near Orlando) and friend and ally of Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, plead guilty on Monday to federal charges. The charges included sex trafficking a minor, ID theft, stalking and fraud. Greenberg reached a deal with federal officials which cut the original 33 charges to six, but is still facing the mandatory minimum prison sentence of 12 years. Greenberg has agreed to “cooperate fully” with federal prosecutors.
A former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee pleaded guilty in federal court this week to defrauding that agency by filing false tax returns for various taxpayers in the Memphis area. This, according to a press release that officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee published this week.
If Joe Biden gets his way, the federal minimum wage will soon more than double, from the current $7.25 to $15 per hour. To quote our commander in chief, “if you work for less than $15 an hour and work 40 hours a week, you’re living in poverty.”
To rehash the minimum wage debate would be redundant. Anyone with business experience should see what’s going to happen. Many small independent businesses, retail stores, and restaurants that pay minimum wage will go under.
Meanwhile, major corporate chains will automate, shedding workers and raising prices, consolidating their grip on every market sector where they’re active. Unionized government workers will automatically get raises because their wages are indexed to the minimum wage—putting even more pressure on government budgets and taxpayers. People in the private sector who have spent decades learning a skill—and as a result can command wages upwards of $25 or $30 an hour—will become justifiably disgruntled, because they will no longer be making much more than minimum wage. The underground economy will explode.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection this week announced that it had discovered and seized tens of thousands of counterfeit Apple Airpods, a bust the agency said was likely worth around $7 million.
CBP officials earlier this month “inspected three large shipments from China and found what appeared to be tens of thousands of earbuds in violation of Apple’s protected configurations,” the agency said in a press release.
“Each shipment contained 12,000 fake AirPods, for a total of 36,000,” the press release stated. “Although each package had a declared value of $5,280, the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price for all the AirPods would have been $7.16 million had they been genuine.” The bogus products were bound for a Kentucky address.
Halfway through the month of May, the year 2021 has currently seen 106 police officers wounded in the line of duty, with 23 killed, as reported by Fox News.
A statement from the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) on Thursday said that these numbers are indicative of grim trends for the remainder of the year, which is “on pace to surpass last year’s historic numbers” of officers killed and wounded in the line of duty.
Of the 106 wounded, 27 were deliberately targeted in 22 different attacks that were carried out like ambushes. Since Monday of this week, which marked the beginning of National Police Week, six officers have been shot while on duty.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told schools nationwide on Saturday they should plan to keep students in masks because of the limited vaccinations of children.
“CDC recommends schools continue to use the current COVID-19 prevention strategies for the 2020-2021 school year,” the agency said in new guidance for students issued just days after it cleared vaccinated adults to ditch their masks in most instances.
“All schools should implement and layer prevention strategies and should prioritize universal and correct use of masks and physical distancing,” it added.
Biden administration officials are investigating reports of unaccompanied migrant minors spending nights on buses outside a federal holding facility in Dallas, Texas, NBC News reported Thursday.
Migrant children are sleeping, eating and using the restroom on buses outside the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, sometimes for days, according to NBC News.
“This is completely unacceptable,” Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra said, NBC News reported. “We’re quickly investigating this to get to the bottom of what happened, and we’ll work to make sure this never happens again. The safety and well-being of the children is our priority.”
A 15-year-old migrant, Joel, made the journey from Honduras to reunite with his mother and was left on a bus from Saturday until the bus departed on its way to Seattle, Washington, on Wednesday, NBC News reported. His mother, Doris, said an HHS employee told them Joel would arrive Monday despite the bus remaining in Dallas.
The last 14 months elevated a global group of intellectuals and bureaucrats about which most people had previously cared very little. Among them, the ones who believe least in freedom entrenched their power, thanks to a big push by the lavishly funded but largely discredited World Health Organization.
The WHO tapped an “independent panel” (the fix was already in: the panel’s head is former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark) to figure out what the world did right and did wrong in response to Covid-19. The final report has all the expected verbiage about the needs for more global coordination and largesse going to public health.
The key conclusion follows:
“Every country should apply non-pharmaceutical measures systematically and rigorously at the scale the epidemiological situation requires, with an explicit evidence-based strategy agreed at the highest level of government…”
In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Representatives Chip Roy (R-Texas) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) asked for information about the Justice Department’s abusive investigation into January 6.
“Those that damaged property and assaulted police officers on January 6th should rightfully face justice,” the pair wrote in a letter sent May 14. “However, the public outcry and hyper-politicization of the events on January 6th may incentivize prosecutors to use overly aggressive tactics, overcharge, and abuse the power of the federal government in order to satisfy favored political groups.”
Roy and Massie asked Garland to schedule a briefing with Congress before the end of the month to address several concerns, including how plea deals are arranged, the FBI’s use of force in raiding the homes of nonviolent protesteors, and the Justice Department’s request to hold defendants behind bars pending trial. “[C]ongressional oversight of these prosecutions is essential as a check and balance on that power.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are some of the least effective members of Congress, according to a new study by researchers from Vanderbilt University and the University of Virginia.
The researchers, who generated their data using computers and basing their scores on 15 criteria, say the proof is in the math.
Their equations factored how many of a congressman’s bills pass committee, make it to the other house, and eventually become law. They established a benchmark score of 1.5 and above as “Exceptional” and scores of .50 and below as “Below Expectations.”
Nearly three dozen House GOP representatives this week urged Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to formally drop the House’s strict mask mandate, citing recently updated masking guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the Friday letter, issued from the office of Ohio Rep. Bob Gibbs, 34 Republicans “urge[d] [Pelosi] to immediately return to normal voting procedures and end mandatory mask requirements in the House of Representatives.”
“CDC guidance states fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting except where required by governmental or workplace mandate,” the letter declares. “It is time to update our own workplace regulations. Every member of Congress has had the opportunity to be vaccinated, and you have indicated about 75 percent have taken advantage of this opportunity.”
The consequences of Democratic control of Congress and the White House are just beginning to be felt, as one of the most disruptive pieces of legislation in American history quietly moves from the House of Representatives to the Senate, where only a successful filibuster may prevent its passage. H.R. 842, also known as the Protect the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act) goes a long way towards completing America’s transition into a corporate oligarchy. Because it will also make the elite captains of big labor more powerful than ever, they don’t care.
The PRO Act, like the more visible H.R. 1, is an example of disastrous legislation that is packaged and labeled as advancing the interests of the American worker, when in fact they are designed by special interests to destroy democracy and deny upward mobility. The new operative theme is simple and tragic: in America, big labor, big business, and big government no longer engage in healthy conflict. Rather than checking and balancing each other, on the biggest issues they display a corrupt unity.
As the U.S. climbs out of a once-in-a-century pandemic, rising prices have led to increasing worry that rapid inflation could be just over the horizon.
Americans have already witnessed higher prices in the past few months, with everything from gasoline to lumber to basic home items jumping in cost. The increases, partially fueled by non-existent interest rates and record government spending, could lead to inflation that the U.S. has not seen in decades, experts say.
“In the short term, consumers can expect to see rising prices across the board,” Henry Olsen, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a columnist at The Washington Post, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “I expect in the next few months people will be getting sticker shocked in virtually all aspects of their life.”
Outside Christie’s home in upstate New York, nestled beneath a tree near her driveway, sits a small rock painted with a Confederate flag that could cost her the custody of her little girl.
In a row between parents identified only as Christie and Isaiah, the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court’s Third Department unanimously allowed the pair to retain joint custody of their biracial child but ordered the mother to remove the rebel rock by June 1. Failing that, the court ruled the rock’s “continued presence shall constitute a change in circumstances.”
Put plainly, the bench threatened to revisit parents’ custody agreement and warned: “Family Court shall factor this into any future best interests analysis.”
Two of the police officers who lost their jobs over inaction during the deadliest school shooting in American history have gotten their jobs back, with back and vacation pay.
Arbitrators reinstated them and could do the same for a third officer as well. Federal Judge Keathan Frink affirmed the arbitrators’ decisions in a May 13 ruling, the Associated Press reports.
Broward County deputies Brian Miller and Joshua Stambaugh were among the police who responded to a February 14, 2018 mass school shooting report at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
To offset learning losses caused by the shutdown of in-person public education, Virginia will be spending more than $60 million in recovery grants for public schools, Gov. Ralph Northam announced.
After public schools in the commonwealth were completely shut down for in-person classes for a period of time, the governor implemented restrictions that required hybrid teaching models that included both virtual and in-person learning for months. Since those guidelines have been lifted, some schools have returned to fully in-person education, while some are still using a hybrid model.
To minimize the learning gaps caused by the closures, the state will provide $62.7 million in LEARNS Education Recovery grants. About $55 million of the funding will come from federal relief and the remaining $7.7 million will come from state funds.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s plan to encourage more people to get the COVID-19 vaccine by offering millions of taxpayer dollars and college scholarships through a raffle program appears to be legal, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said.
Yost tweeted the opinion, but he stopped short of saying he believed DeWine’s plan was a was a good idea.
“About the $1M [vaccination] lottery: I heard about it yesterday. It doesn’t appear to violate state law, though it depends on how it’s designed,” Yost’s tweet read. “Just because a thing may be legally done does not mean it should be. The wisdom of it is a question for the Governor and the General Assembly.”
Members of the group Greater Georgia announced this week they have launched a voter registration and mobilization effort in Marietta ahead of the scheduled June 15 election for the open State House District 34 seat. Greater Georgia members told followers in an emailed newsletter this week they are deploying staff members, volunteers, and organizers to register conservative-leaning voters ahead of the deadline. They said they also want to get out the vote via door-to-door canvassing, phone-banking, texting, and handwritten mail.
Ohio lawmakers continue to pressure Michigan’s governor to keep open a pipeline that affects more than 20,000 Ohio jobs and nearly $14 billion in state economic activity.
Rep. Brian Baldridge, R-Winchester, who testified before the Ohio Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee earlier this week, said Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer continues to make poor decisions at a time when energy security remains in question after a cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline that continues to leave the Southeast with gasoline shortages and higher prices.
Baldridge also testified recently before Michigan’s Senate Energy Committee and met with the state’s Senate leadership in response to Ohio Resolution 13, which urges Michigan to keep the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline operating.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp extended the state’s temporary suspension of the fuel tax through May 22 as Colonial Pipeline works to become fully operational after a cyberattack.
Kemp issued an executive order Monday that suspended the gas tax, increased weight limits for trucks transporting fuel and prohibited price gouging. The order was set to expire Saturday before Kemp extended it Friday.
“While Colonial Pipeline is now operational, the company has informed the public that it will be a few days until full service is available statewide,” Kemp said in a statement. “This executive order will ensure fuel supply chains have every resource needed to deliver gas quickly and safely, and that Georgians aren’t hit with state gas taxes at the pump during this shortage. I continue to ask Georgians to only purchase the fuel they need for essential travel through the upcoming weekend.”
The Florida State University president search has been cut to three candidates as the university’s presidential search committee decided to focus on traditional candidates after two days of interviews.
Making the list were Richard McCullough, Harvard University’s vice president for research; Robert Blouin, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s executive vice chancellor and provost; and Dr. Giovanni Piedimonte, Tulane University’s vice president for research and a professor of pediatrics at its medical school.
Governor Ralph Northam and governors of other Chesapeake Bay watershed states are asking Congress for $1 billion to help meet 2025 pollution reduction goals. In a letter sent May 13, the officials say that their Billion for the Bay Initiative would help restore the bay and create jobs.
The Richmond City Council unanimously approved a resolution laying out next steps to deal with its monuments, currently in storage. The City has received 22 applications from people and organizations who want the statues, ranging from requests for just the cannons to all of the objects.
As the number of vaccinated Floridians continues to rise and businesses opening back up to pre-pandemic levels of operation, the number of unemployment claims for first-time applicants has continued to trend down based off the numbers given by the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
There were approximately 14,872 initial unemployment claims in Florida for the week that ended May 8th , a 4,893 decrease in the number of initial claims that were recorded during the prior week, and a 13,145 decrease from the week before that.
Data released by the Florida Realtors shows that the number of single-family residential home sales (78,353) increased 23.1% in the first quarter of 2021 when compared to the number of homes sold (65,602) in first quarter in 2020.
The increase continues a hot resale market which began during the third quarter of 2020 with a 13.7% increase followed by a 23.6% in forth quarter of 2020.
Prices also saw double digit increases during the first quarter of 2021. The median price increased 17.6% to $317,500 in 2021 from $270,000 in 2020. Also, the average price increased 31.7% to $481,591 in 2021 from $365,765 in 2020.
Williamson County Schools (WCS) announced Friday they’re ending their mask mandate, several weeks after a judge opined they lacked legal authority to continue imposing it. After the spring semester lets out, WCS won’t require masks any longer. In a voicemail obtained by The Tennessee Star, WCS Communications Director Carol Birdsong announced to parents that WCS was ending their mask mandate.
“Hello Williamson County Schools families, this is Carol Birdsong calling. Superintendent Jason Golden announced at last night’s school board work session that the district’s indoor mask requirement will come to an end once school has been dismissed and campuses have been cleared on Friday, May 21. The district will continue to recommend and encourage masks this summer for those who are not fully vaccinated – but they will not be required. More information is included in the email that is accompanying this phone call.”