University of Tennessee at Knoxville Says It Can’t Speak to Why Its Test-Optional Admissions Excludes Home-Schooled Students

The University of Tennessee at Knoxville (UTK) told The Tennessee Star that no one there can explain why home-schoolers are excluded from its test-optional admissions. Also excluded are those students whose schools didn’t use alpha or numerical grading systems. UTK’s test-optional policy will last until fall 2025.

“Unfortunately, we do not have anyone who can comment around that topic in particular at this time,” stated the UTK spokesperson.

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Commentary: Critical Race Theory Has Radically Transformed America’s Corporations and Public Schools

People in the streets protesting

Just four weeks ago, I wrote about the rising resistance to the woke craze and critical race theory, and much has transpired since then.

Here in California, even Disneyland has not been spared the wrath of the crazies. On May 7, the incomparable Christopher Rufo reported that “The Wokest Place on Earth” now includes employee trainings on systemic racism, white privilege, white fragility, and white saviors, and also launched racially segregated “affinity groups” at the company’s headquarters.

But just five days later, Rufo disclosed that Disney “has removed its entire antiracism program from the company’s internal portal, effectively scrubbing it out of existence.” Rufo added, “This is a major victory in the war against ‘woke capital,’” and noted that a “significant backlash from the public” was responsible for the shift. While some skeptics suggested that the policy was being “tweaked or rebranded, not scrubbed,” Rufo responded, “Possibly, but small victories start to add up. We’ve set the precedent—and forced a $329 billion company to back down.”

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Star News Digital Media’s CTO Christina Botteri Discusses ‘Morality Bureau’ Facebook as Publisher Versus Platform

Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, guest host Ben Cunningham welcomed Chief Technology Officer for the Star News Media Network Christina Botteri in studio to discuss social media platforms’ censorship and the role as platform or publisher.

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Infectious Disease Expert Told Fauci in January 2020 That COVID-19 Looked Potentially ‘Engineered’

An infectious disease expert emailed Dr. Anthony Fauci in late January 2020 informing him that a small part of COVID-19 “potentially” looked engineered.

“The unusual features of the virus make up a really small part of the genome (<0.1%) so one has to look really closely at all the sequences to see that some of the features (potentially) look engineered,” the expert, Kristian Andersen, wrote Fauci on Jan. 31, 2020, according to an email obtained by BuzzFeed News as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

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Denver School Board Director and Black Lives Matter Activist Accused of Molesting over 60 Undocumented Teens

Tay Anderson

A Democrat Denver School Board director and Black Lives Matter organizer has been accused of sexually assaulting over 60 undocumented students—some as young as 14-years-old.

The alleged predator, Tay Anderson, denied the accusations over the weekend, while announcing that he will step back from everyday board duties during the investigation.

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Embattled Arizona Secretary of State Announces a Run for Governor

Embattled Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) announced Wednesday that she will launch a campaign for Governor of Arizona. 

The theme of her campaign focuses on “getting things done,” according to the video announcing her candidacy. In reference to the November 2020 election, Hobbs said, “We did our job.”

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Higher Inflation Has Arrived, But Economy Unlikely to Reach 1970s Levels, Report Says

While rapidly increasing consumer prices have triggered fears that the U.S. economy may enter into a period of stagflation, it is unlikely to hit 1970s levels, an economic report concluded.

The current condition of the U.S. economy has created some fear that prices may precipitously and uncontrollably rise while unemployment stays elevated, according to the report authored by Heritage Foundation Center for Data Analysis Director Norbert Michel. But an analysis of inflation and employment data suggests Americans don’t need to overreact.

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Federal Appeals Court Hears Case Against Tennessee’s 48-Hour Waiting Period for Abortions

A federal appeals court held a hearing Wednesday in the ongoing case against Tennessee’s 48-hour waiting period for abortions. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held an en banc hearing for the case, Bristol Regional Women’s Center v. Herbert Slatery III, et al.

The court heard arguments from Sarah Campbell, counsel on behalf of the attorney general’s office, and Autumn Katz, the counsel representing Bristol Regional Women’s Center.

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Commentary: The New Secession Crisis

It was appropriate that news of the Democrats’ plans to pack the Supreme Court broke in April, just a couple days after the 160th anniversary of the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, the shots that began the Civil War. 

Unlike President James Buchanan, who dithered in responding to obvious Confederate aggression, the newly inaugurated Abraham Lincoln acted decisively upon taking office. He informed South Carolina Governor Francis Pickens that he would be resupplying the fort, forcing South Carolina’s hand. Lincoln’s actions did not start the war—they made it clear that war was already underway. From that point on, Americans, even those who had previously wished to ignore what was staring them in the face, were awakened to the reality of their situation. 

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Tennessee to Hold Special Election for State Representative

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett has set a date for a special election to fill the open State Representative position for District 29.

The primary election is scheduled for July 27 and the general for September 14. Candidates can pick up petitions immediately, and the qualifying deadline is noon on June 17 — Hargett said in a tweet on Wednesday. Hargett accepted the writ of election from Governor Bill Lee on Tuesday afternoon.

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Washington Correspondent Neil McCabe Answers the Question of the Day, What Is Infrastructure?

Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, guest host Ben Cunningham welcomed Washington Correspondent Neil McCabe to the newsmakers line to weigh in on the definition of infrastructure, budget reconciliation process, and the filibuster.

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Review Board Finds Metro Nashville Police’s 2019 Response to Nashville Bomber Was Inadequate

An after-action review board found that the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) 2019 response to a report of the Nashville bomber was inadequate. They noted that the follow-up to the August 2019 incident had multiple issues: namely, lack of documentation and insufficient information gathered. However, the review board also asserted that its analysis doesn’t mean that the bombing was preventable.

The After-Action Review Board concludes that there is no way to know for sure if the suicide bombing on December 25, 2020 could have been prevented. Law enforcement followed protocols and procedures regarding the 8/21/19 incident, however deficiencies were identified in how the follow-up investigation was conducted. An after-action report, by its very nature, invites the examiners to employ hindsight in reaching their conclusions. But there is danger in that. One must not assume that because certain good practices were not followed or certain actions were not taken, the outcome would have necessarily been different had those proper steps been taken. All we can say for sure is that following the best practices and being diligent creates the best opportunity for a good result next time.

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Texas Gov. Abbott Issues Disaster Declaration in Response to Border Crisis

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday issued a disaster declaration in response to several hundred thousand immigrants illegally entering the U.S. through Texas since President Joe Biden’s border policies began in January.

The five-page order comes roughly two months after Abbott initiated Operation Lonestar on March 6, directing the Texas Department of Public Safety to protect Texans from increased crime being committed by immigrants.

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Crom Carmichael on White Supremacy as America’s Greatest Threat and the Democrats’ Lust for Power at All Cost

Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, guest host Ben Cunningham welcomed all-star panelist Crom Carmichael in studio to weigh in on Joe Biden’s claim that white supremacy is America’s biggest threat and Democratic policies that don’t make sense.

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Commentary: Be Very Skeptical About Sen. Warren Throwing More Money at the IRS

Elizabeth Warren

Closing the “tax gap,” or revenue owed to the federal government that goes uncollected, has long been a favorite deus ex machina for lawmakers who want more revenue without having to raise rates. But Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Chuck Rettig really put dollar signs in lawmakers’ eyes when he claimed the tax gap could be as large as $1 trillion. Always eager to appear knowledgeable on policy issues, Sen. Elizabeth Warren is putting forward a plan to collect extra revenue that only gets worse the deeper you dig into it.

First and foremost, it’s important to understand how far off on an island Rettig is with his estimate. The IRS’s last official estimate of the size of the tax gap placed it at a far, far lower $381 billion. Even considering that this estimate may not have factored in underpayment from cryptocurrencies, offshore holdings, and pass-through businesses, the tax gap still remains far closer to $500 billion than to $1 trillion.

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DeSantis Signs Record $101.5 Billion Budget

Florida’s Historic Capitol and Florida State Capitol

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) Wednesday signed into law Florida’s 2021-2022 budget bill, which he calls the Florida Leads budget.

The whopping $101.5 billion budget is the largest in state history, but the tax burden per individual Floridian is the lowest in the country, according to DeSantis.

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David Ralston Might Run for Georgia U.S. Senate Seat

Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) might run for the U.S. Senate next year, although he said he hasn’t decided for certain. Ralston appeared on Georgia Public Broadcasting late last week and praised U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Ralston also said the country’s current direction troubles him. If he does serve in the U.S. Senate then he said his tenure as Georgia Speaker of the House will help guide him.

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Minnesota Rep. Hagedorn Condemns Biden’s ‘America Last’ Policies After Visiting Southern Border

Rep. Jim Hagedorn slammed President Joe Biden’s “America last” policies after visiting the southern border last week.

“It’s like they flipped a switch and they had open borders. Before you know it, catch-and-release is back and people are literally, for all intents and purposes, being invited to the border because they know they’re going to be processed and then sent deep into the United States, and given a lot of free things as they go,” Hagedorn told Newsmax.

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Part Two: Exclusive One-on-One Interview with U.S. Congressman Davidson, Considering Run for Ohio Governor

COLUMBUS, Ohio – U.S. Congressman Warren Davidson (R-OH-08) said in early March that he was leaning more toward a run for governor than a bid for the U.S. Senate in 2022– that’s if he chooses to surrender his seat in the U.S. Congress.

“I’ve been asked about it by a lot of people I and others respect,” the two-term congressman told The Star about a prospective gubernatorial bid.

He added, “If I had the absolute perfect hand, I would not play those cards until September.”

The remainder of the interview follows.

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Virginia on Track to be Fastest State to Reach $1 Billion in Sports Betting

Sports Book Betting

Sports betting in Virginia launched January 21, and Virginians have already wagered $865 million, according to press releases from the Virginia Lottery. In April, Virginians wagered $236.43 million according to a May 28 press release.

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Minnesota State Fair Eliminates Their Police Force

After the former State Fair Police Chief retired, the Minnesota State Fair has gone back to the drawing board for assembling a police presence for the upcoming fair. Rather than have their own force, as they have had for over 40 years, they will be working with a local department to provide security for the 2021 fair. 

The former state fair police officers were much like other police officers. Former State Fair Police Chief Paul Paulos said “State Fair police officers are armed. And they’re licensed and trained like any other officer.” In prior years, the State Fair Police Department would be made up of retired police officers, other trained officers, and police officers working in their spare time.

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Michigan Bills Aim to Give $25 Million to SOS Office to Clear Months-Long Backlog

Michigan Democrat leaders are pushing for bills to allocate $25 million to the Secretary of State’s (SOS) office to clear an expanding 15-month backlog caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as government orders to shut down walk-in service.

The legislation includes allocation of $5 million in overtime costs and $20 million of federal stimulus money to hire 200 more workers.

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Nikki Fried Amends Financial Disclosure Ahead of Campaign Announcement

For the second time in less than two years Nikki Fried – the current Florida Agriculture Commissioner and gubernatorial candidate – has amended her 2018 financial disclosure form filed with the Florida Commission on Ethics.

The latest amendment, filed on May 28, 2021, comes just days before she officially announced she would be running for governor.

The amendment relates to her gross income in part D of the form. Fried changed the amount of income she received from Igniting Florida to $351,480.

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Defiant DeSantis Signs Bill That Bans Transgender Girls from Girls Sports

Women playing lacrosse

A defiant Gov. Ron DeSantis Tuesday signed a bill banning transgender girls – biological boys – from competing in girls sports. 

“At a bill signing event at the Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, DeSantis touted the ban as a way to protect the integrity of women’s and girls’ sports,” Tampa Bay Times reported, describing the bill as “controversial.”

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Lawsuits Pile Up in Loudoun County Battle Between School and Activists

The Loudoun County School Board is being sued over its Equity Ambassador program. Scott Mineo, founder of activist organization Parents Against Critical Theory (PACT), has said the program is discriminatory since last fall. Now, Mineo, Loudoun County Republican Women’s Club President Patti Menders, and several anonymous plaintiffs are suing the school board.

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Ohio Republicans Reintroduce Bill to Ban Trans Girls from Girls Sports

As Florida’s governor singed into law Tuesday a bill that bans transgender girls – biological boys – from competing in girl’s sports, Republican lawmakers in Ohio reintroduced a bill that would do the same. 

The Save Women’s Sports Act was reintroduced by Rep. Jena Powell (R-Arcanum), and co-sponsored by Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Paris Township), who first introduced the bill during Ohio’s shortened legislative session last year. 

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Metro Nashville School Board Member Says School Security Head Lied on Resume

A Metro Nashville School Board member said she wonders if school system officials are doing thorough background checks on school system employees, and she said knows of one instance where they did not. Board member Fran Bush told The Tennessee Star this week that Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) Executive Director of Security Reginald Young lied on his resume. Young said he previously served in Florida as the Gadsden County School District’s chief of police and its Emergency Management Coordinator.

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