Alex Marlow: Breitbart Editor-in-Chief and Author of ‘Breaking the News’ Joins Host Leahy to Discuss His New Bestseller

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Breitbart News editor-in-chief and author of the new best-selling book Breaking the News, Alex Marlow to the newsmakers line to highlight elements of his book and how he found the time and motivation to write it.

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Sons of Confederate Veterans Will Relocate Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Body Away From Memphis

The Sons of Confederate Veterans are in Memphis and digging up the coffins that hold Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife so they can transport them to the National Confederate Museum in Columbia, Tennessee. Staff at the National Confederate Museum did not return The Tennessee Star’s request for comment Sunday.

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Lipscomb University Lectures How Whiteness Shapes Spirituality, Anti-Racism is Fundamental to Salvation

Lipscomb University

According to Lipscomb University, whiteness shapes spirituality and anti-racism is necessary for salvation. These were topics lectured to students in two mandatory small-group sessions – weekly occurrences called “Breakouts” – offered this past spring semester. 

Lipscomb University requires students to select one Breakout at the beginning of the semester. Once a student chooses their Breakout, they must remain in that group for the entire semester. 

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Commentary: Biden’s Dishonest Domestic Terrorism Claims

Joe Biden speaking

It was hardly surprising when President Biden used his speech on the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre to exacerbate racial tensions by shamelessly revising the history of black progress during the past century. Such demagoguery has long been a standard Democratic tactic. It was, however, startling to hear him claim that “Terrorism from white supremacy is the most lethal threat to the homeland today, not Isis, not Al-Qaeda — white supremacists.” If Biden truly believes this, he is unfit to be the commander in chief. Despite his insistence that this information was provided by the “intelligence community,” a joint report from the FBI and the DHS clearly refutes this claim.

Released on May 14, the “Strategic Intelligence Assessment and Data on Domestic Terrorism” reveals that the threat from domestic violent extremists (DVEs) is far lower than Biden would have us believe. According to the report, for example, “The year 2019 represented the most lethal year for DVE attacks since 1995, with five separate DVE attacks resulting in 32 deaths.” Even one such fatality is too many. Yet, compared to other causes of death, this number is infinitesimal. It is, according to the CDC, about half the average annual death rate associated with bee, hornet, and wasp stings. Moreover, the perpetrators don’t include roving bands of KKK hooligans or Neo-Nazis:

The greatest terrorism threat to the Homeland we face today is posed by lone offenders, often radicalized online, who look to attack soft targets with easily accessible weapons. Many of these violent extremists are motivated and inspired by a mix of socio-political goals and personal grievances against their targets.

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Facebook Forks over $75K to Georgia State for Anti-Racist Virtual Reality Simulation

Girl with VR headset on

Facebook gave Georgia State University $75,000 to create a narrative film experience about racism.

Georgia State University’s School of Public Health received the grant from Facebook Reality Labs — the technology company’s virtual reality arm — to “create a narrative film that will be an immersive and interactive online platform for combating racial injustice.”

The initiative is meant to “increase viewers’ empathy and enhance their understanding of racism and structural inequality” through augmented and virtual reality technologies.

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Trump Endorses Ted Budd for NC Senate Seat after Daughter-In-Law Lara Opts Against Running

Donald Trump smiling

Former President Donald Trump on Saturday night offered his “complete and total endorsement” of Congressman Ted Budd for next year’s Senate race in North Carolina after his daughter-in-law Lara ended months of speculation by declining to run for the seat.

The Trumps made the surprise announcement at the state’s Republican convention. The former president said Budd had found out about the endorsement just minutes before the speech began.

Lara Trump said she was “saying no for now” to running for Senate in the state where she grew up but left open the possibility for the future. She said having two young children, ages 1 and 3, was a major consideration in her decision

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Migration Study Shows Big Cities Continue Losing Population During First Quarter

U-Haul truck

Americans in the first quarter of 2021 continued their 2020 pattern of moving from expensive, densely populated areas to warmer, more tax-affordable states, according to a new study from Updater Technologies.

Updater Technologies is an online platform that allows people to use a centralized hub for moving, including finding a moving company, connecting internet and utility services and updating their address. The company says the inbound and outbound data it uses is more reliable than tabulating mail forwarding forms because it captures fully completed permanent moves in real time. It also indexes cities and states based on population, since using raw numbers would skew toward the most populated areas based on sheer volume.

Out of roughly 300,000 household moves during the first quarter, only 16 states had a greater percentage of inbound moves than outbound: Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arizona, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Colorado, Georgia and Maine.

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Utah School Board Member Arrested for Soliciting Child Pornography

Joel-Lehi Organista

On Wednesday, a Utah school board member was arrested on charges of using social media to solicit child pornography from students, the Daily Caller reports.

The suspect is 29-year-old Joel-Lehi Organista, who had recently been elected to the Salt Lake City School Board after having previously taught at Horizonte High School. He faces eight felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. The authorities were led to him by a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which alleged that Organista had child pornography downloaded onto his Dropbox account. A subsequent search of his computer confirmed this, and Organista was arrested.

Following his arrest, he “admitted to having downloaded, viewed, and kept the images and videos containing child pornography.” One of his chief tactics was to use the social media app SnapChat to message children between the ages of 12 and 17, asking them for nude photos and other inappropriate material. He first started sending such messages and downloading such content in January, shortly after he became the youngest board member in the board’s history upon his election in January.

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Houston Methodist Hospital Sued by Nurses over Vaccine Mandate

Houston Methodist Hospital

At least 117 nurses are suing their employer, Houston Methodist Hospital, in Texas’ largest city, over its COVID-19 vaccination mandate for workers, claiming they are being forced to be “human guinea pigs,” Fox News reported.

Jennifer Bridges, one of the nurses included in the suit, told “Fox News Primetime” on Wednesday that they are fighting for basic rights of workers. Her attorney Jared Woodfill V said they would otherwise be unemployed and could “face bankruptcy court” if unable to earn a living.

“This is very important. We’re basically fighting for everybody’s rights right now just to make our own decisions. Nobody should be forced to put something in their body if they are not comfortable with it — and lose their jobs over it,” said Bridges.

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California Ordered to Pay $2 Million in Legal Fees to Church that Violated Coronavirus Restrictions

Inside of a church with stained glass and low lighting

After a lengthy court battle, the government of the state of California backed down in its efforts to enforce coronavirus restrictions on a church that continued hosting in-person worship services, and has now agreed in a settlement to pay the church’s $2 million worth of legal fees, Breitbart reports.

When the state repeatedly attempted to enforce strict capacity limits, mask mandates, and other “social distancing” requirements on the San Diego-based Pentecostal church, the church’s lawyers filed suit with the United States Supreme Court, winning all three suits. This ultimately led to lawyers on behalf of the state of California agreeing to the settlement, which was approved by a federal judge.

Responding to the settlement, an attorney with the Thomas More Society, a legal group that represents churches facing suppression of their First Amendment rights, pointed out that while businesses such as Costco were limited to 50 percent capacity, while churches were forced to stay as low as 25 percent, and sometimes even lower.

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Study Finds Tennessee Collects $38M in Court Fines, Fees Each Year

Tennessee flag on pole

A new report from The Sycamore Institute shows Tennessee collects nearly $38 million annually in fines and fees through the criminal justice system, while county governments are collecting a shrinking amount in fines and fees.

While the Tennessee Department of Revenue reports its collections of fines and fees annually, other agencies, such as the Department of Correction, the Department of Safety & Homeland Security and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, do not report detailed information on their collections.

The Sycamore Institute study found 360 fees and fines authorized in Tennessee law, from being charged with a crime to civil asset forfeiture to incarceration costs.

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Microsoft Blocks Images of Tiananmen Square Protests on Massacre Anniversary

Woman on computer

Microsoft’s search engine Bing appeared to censor images of the protester who stood in front of a Chinese tank during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

A Bing Images search of “tank man” yielded no results and a prompt for the user to check their spelling as of Friday afternoon. However, an identical search on Google Images produced hundreds of results including many of the iconic moment.

The famous “tank man” photo was taken on June 5, 1989, one day after the 1989 massacre in which Chinese troops fired indiscriminately upon civilians demonstrating against the government, killing hundreds. The photo showed a Chinese protester, who has since become known as “tank man,” standing in front of a procession of Chinese tanks rolling through Tiananmen Square.

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Oklahoma Governor Weighs in on Former OU Volleyball Player Suing for Exclusion Over Conservative Views

University of Oklahoma volleyball player Kylee McLaughlin

A spokeswoman for Republican Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt expressed support Friday for former University of Oklahoma volleyball player Kylee McLaughlin, who has accused the university of violating her First Amendment rights by excluding her from her volleyball team over her conservative views.

“Governor Stitt fully supports every individual’s right to freedom of speech and thought,” the governor’s communications director Carly Atchison told the Daily Caller News Foundation Friday afternoon. “It’s shameful that young people on college campuses, and in today’s world even K-12 classrooms, who dare dissent from the left’s agenda are being punished.”

McLaughlin is suing the Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma, volunteer assistant coach Kyle Walton, and OU volleyball head coach Lindsey Gray-Walton for a minimum of $75,000, according to the lawsuit, saying that the school discriminated against her for expressing beliefs that “did not fit the culture” at OU. She formerly served as both a team captain and first team All-Big 12 player in 2018 and 2019, according to OU Daily.

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Manchin to Vote Against Bill Federalizing Elections, Dealing Major Blow to Democrats

Joe Manchin

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., declared Sunday he will oppose his party’s legislation to federalize how elections are conducted, dealing a severe blow to Democratic passage in the evenly divided Senate.

The For The People Act would among other things ban voter ID requirements, mandate mail-in voting options and begin registering voters at age 16. It has faced uniform Republican opposition.

In an op-ed published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Manchin declared the bill as too partisan and divisive.

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American Higher Education Has Deep Ties to EcoHealth Alliance, Wuhan Institute of Virology

Person holding bottle of COVID Vaccine

Several American researchers have worked with the Wuhan Institute of Virology and EcoHealth Alliance on coronavirus-related research, including gain of function research, dating back more than a decade, and emails reveal that several professors were in contact with Dr. Anthony Fauci during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic. 

As the intelligence community commences its investigation into the origins of SARS-CoV-2, a series of scientific papers and studies belie a close relationship between American academia and the Wuhan lab, as well as EcoHealth Alliance, the multinational organization through which the NIH sent $600,000 to study the transmission of coronaviruses.  

What follows is a brief timeline of research publications on which university researchers collaborated with partners from the Wuhan Institute of Virology and EcoHealth Alliance. 

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Commentary: A Cautionary Tale of Unintended Consequences

For as long as politicians have been passing legislation, there have been measurable consequences to that legislation – both intentional and unintentional. Usually, the final impact is not known for years after a law is passed. We could write a book predicting problems with the proposed federal bill, H.R.1, the so-called For the People Act, but the state of Connecticut has given American taxpayers a timely preview of the burdens and waste we can expect from just one of the bill’s many government mandates. Specifically, the requirement that states must mail out ballot applications to all registered voters will unnecessarily spend, and ultimately waste, hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

The 2020 elections in Connecticut provide a cautionary preview of this proposed requirement in H.R. 1 to send absentee ballot applications (ABR) to every registered voter. Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise W. Merrill (pictured) did exactly that, spending $7.1 million in federal taxpayer money sending out unsolicited ABRs for the primary and general elections. A total of 3.6 million applications were mailed, yet only 865,000 were converted to actual votes. That’s a cost of $8.20 per ballot returned – by any measure, a poor yield on that investment.

The sad irony about this waste of taxpayers’ money is that the applications were available to voters free of charge either at town halls or on the State of Connecticut website. One had only to pick up the form in person or download and print it in the comfort of his own home. Other states have similarly convenient options for obtaining ABRs and provide for ballot applications to be requested online, by email or by phone. Citizens in these states take responsibility for their right to vote, and the states facilitate their doing so, rather than mandate it.

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Commentary: Florida is Overcoming ‘Systemic Privilege’ by Putting Students Before the ‘System’

Students in shop class at school with safety goggles on

Throughout America, a very important – and highly racialized – conversation is taking place about overcoming injustice. Here in Florida, that conversation has often gone in a markedly different and very promising direction. And schoolchildren of color are among the greatest beneficiaries.

The conversation in Florida, at least as it pertains to education, has focused on what might be called “systemic privilege.”

If you are unfamiliar with this (de-racialized) mash-up term, try this: Go to a public forum and suggest that all families should be treated fairly – that all parents should have access to the per-pupil funds for their children even if they choose to educate them outside the public school system.  

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Buckhead Grapples With Another Violent Weekend as City Officials Campaign to Leave Atlanta

View of Buckhead, Georgia

Buckhead, already trying to formally break away from the City of Atlanta so they can address an out-of-control crime wave using their own resources, had another violent weekend, including a murder. According to the Atlanta Police Department’s (APD’s) website, someone shot a man Saturday as he jogged through the 1200 block of West Wesley Road in Buckhead.

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New Education Law Includes Provision for Parental Retention Request

Two girls at table, writing.

A provision of the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act that was signed into law Tuesday by Governor Ron DeSantis, involves public-school parents being able to request that their children be held-back for the 2021-2022 school year.

The provision will only affect students in kindergarten through fifth grade and is available due to what is known as the “Covid slide,” referring to the drop in learning progression in many students during the pandemic.

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Governor Ron DeSantis Vetoes $2 Million Related to Reversible Contraception Program

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed $2 million dollars Wednesday that would have been included within the budget established during the last Legislative session for the upcoming fiscal year.

The money was intended to help low-income girls and young women have more access to long-acting reversible contraception or LARCs, and was backed by Senate President Wilton Simpson (R).

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New Hampshire Activists Coming to Minnesota to Protest Line 3

Activists from out of state will be coming to Minnesota to protest the Line 3 pipeline. On a Facebook post from Minnesotans for Line 3, they write that “Minnesota will soon be hosting some visitors in early June, including Chris Balch from New Hampshire.” 

According to the Monadnock Ledger, “Chris Balch of Wilton and Kai Parlett of Manchester are among New Hampshire residents who are making the trip to Northern Minnesota on the weekend of June 5 to participate in the ongoing protests against the construction of the pipeline.”

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Critics Question Gov. Whitmer’s $1.3 Million Spending on Holland Private Sector Jobs

Mission Design and Automation, LLC

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Thursday the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is spending taxpayer money on private business Mission Design and Automation in Holland Charter Township.

Mission will house new large-scale automation projects and space for offices and meeting rooms, but critics argue government funds shouldn’t be used to subsidize private enterprises.

Michigan awarded the private company $400,000 in taxpayer money through the Jobs Ready Michigan Program grant. The project is expected to generate a total private investment of $5.3 million and create 109 well-paying new jobs over two years.

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Ohio Colleges, Universities Oppose Senate’s Higher Ed Reform

woman in cap and gown

What some are calling one of the most significant pieces of higher education reform in years in Ohio is also drawing opposition from state colleges and universities.

The Senate Workforce and Higher Education Committee held its fourth hearing Wednesday on Senate Bill 135, which bill sponsor Sen. Jerry Cirino, R-Kirtland, said was a bold plan to enhance higher education and workforce development.

Cirino’s plan addresses student debt, allows more low-cost higher education options that include the state’s community colleges and requires high schools to inform students of career options that require associate degrees or certificates, rather than only four-year degree options.

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Virginia DMV Expands Appointment Opportunities Reduced During Pandemic

People at windows of DMV

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles is gradually expanding its appointment opportunities this month and next month now that most of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have come to an end.

Starting June 1, the DMV opened 184,000 additional appointment opportunities  and the department will open up more appointments June 15 and again in July. Residents can secure their slots for the June 15 appointment expansion at this time. The department is hiring and training new employees to keep up with the higher number of appointments.

“Virginians have told us they appreciate the convenience and high quality service the appointment system affords,” Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb said in a news release at the time of the announcement. “The Governor’s announcement … enables us to open more windows so customers can secure appointments sooner, but we are still taking great care to offer service that is safe for everyone.”

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Governor DeSantis Signs Three Bills to Assist Veterans and Military Families

Governor DeSantis Signs Three Bills to Assist Veterans and Military Families

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed three bills (HB 429, HB 435,SB 922) in Ponte Vedra Beach Friday, focusing on military and veteran related issues regarding education and employment.

The new laws will establish a “Purple Star Campus Program,” help transitioning servicemembers gain workforce training, and enhance veterans’ preference in hiring, as stated in the Governor’s office press release.

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VMI Independent Investigation Finds ‘Racial and Gender Disparities’ and Risk of Sexual Violence

A new report on the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) says the school has refused to change or question traditions and that “racial and gender disparities persist.” Recommendations include a call for accountability from the General Assembly; increasing diversity in leadership and corps; adjusting institutes and traditions; tempering associations between the school, the Civil War, and the Confederacy; addressing racist and sexist speech and actions; improving transparency; celebrating other cultures; and addressing tensions between athletes and non-athletes.

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CDC Awarded Davidson and Shelby Counties Nearly $12 Million to Address COVID Health Disparities for Minorities

CDC

The CDC awarded nearly $12 million collectively to Davidson and Shelby counties to address COVID-related health disparities in racial and ethnic minorities. Overall, the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) was awarded nearly $39 million in total this past week, with a rural carveout totaling over $8.3 million. The CDC says this funding to a total of 107 recipients is part of a larger goal to “advance health equity.”

The Metro Public Health Department of Nashville and Davidson County received over $4.9 million in these funds, while Shelby County Health Department received nearly $6.6 million. The Tennessee Star inquired with the CDC how the funds can be used specifically to address COVID-related health disparities among racial or ethnic minorities, and what metrics they would use to measure progress within the awarded states and localities. The CDC didn’t respond by press time.

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