Tennessee U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen Demands Equity Programs in All State Departments of Education

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) this week introduced a bill that he said will increase diversity in Advanced Placement (AP) and Gifted and Talented Elementary (GT) classes. In a press release, Cohen also said his bill would use Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) funding to create equity offices in state departments of education to increase diversity in AP and GT programs.

Read More

Commentary: The National Security Agency and Tucker Carlson Controversy

Tucker Carlson vs. NSA

Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s charge that the National Security Agency illegally spied on him and leaked his emails is enraging prominent liberals. Carlson sought “to sow distrust [of the NSA], which is so anti-American,” declared MSNBC analyst Andrew Weissman, formerly the chief prosecutor for Special Counsel Robert Mueller. CNN senior correspondent Oliver Darcy ridiculed Carlson for effectively claiming that “I’m not a crazy person overstating a case!”

When did the NSA become as pure as Snow White? Do pundits presume that there is a 24-hour statute of limitation for recalling any previously-disclosed NSA crimes and abuses?

The Carlson controversy cannot be understood outside the context of perennial NSA abuses. The NSA possesses a “repository capable of taking in 20 billion ‘record events’ daily and making them available to NSA analysts within 60 minutes,” the New York Times reported. The NSA is able to snare and stockpile many orders of magnitude times more information than did East Germany’s Stasi secret police, one of the most odious agencies of the post-war era.

Read More

George Washington University’s Francis Scott Key Hall May Face Name Change

University Yard, George Washington University

Among a list of building names George Washington University has collected for study and review is Francis Scott Key Hall.

Key is the author of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

But the private, Washington D.C.-based university has received a request to rename Francis Scott Key Hall and it will consider whether to scrap the moniker at some point in the future, according to its Name Change Request Registry.

University officials did not respond to repeated requests from The College Fix over the last week asking about the nature of the complaint or complaints against Francis Scott Key Hall and whether students or faculty asked for it to be reviewed.

Read More

Former Memphis Day Care Director Sentenced for Falsifying Food Program Documents

Lowndes County School Buses

A former Memphis day care director was sentenced to one year and a day in federal prison for submitting false documents to the Tennessee Department of Human Services.

Fifty-five-year-old Ollie Stephenson of Germantown pleaded guilty to a criminal information charge after being accused of submitting a false Regions Bank statement and food invoice to the department in an audit during April and May 2020. Stephenson also was ordered to pay $375,158.80 in restitution.

Stephenson was the director of Louise’s Learning Tree Daycare Center in Memphis. It was part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Child and Adult Care Feeding Program.

Read More

Treasury Secretary Warns of ‘Rapid’ Inflation This Year

Janet Yellen

As more federal data show a major spike in inflation, another top federal official said the U.S. is in for more aggressive inflation for the rest of 2021.

Federal officials have been pressed to speak on rising inflation after \data released earlier this week showed that the all items index increased 5.4% over the last 12 months, the biggest spike since the 2008 financial crisis.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen commented on the rise in inflation, saying it would grow worse this year.

Read More

Obama Health and Human Services Secretary: Unvaxxed Should Not Be Able to Work, Access Children, Roam Freely

Kathleen Sebelius

Former Obama Administration’s Secretary for Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, announced on CNN’s “Out Front” that people who have chosen not get vaccinated should be limited in their movements, not be allowed to work and have limited or no access to children.
Sebelius said, “We’re in a situation where we have a wildly effective vaccine, multiple choices, lots available, free of charge, and we have folks who are just saying I won’t do it. I think that it’s time to say to those folks, it’s fine if you don’t choose to get vaccinated. You may not come to work. You may not have access to a situation where you’re going to put my grandchildren in jeopardy. Where you might kill them, or you might put them in a situation where they’re going to carry the virus to someone in a high-risk position.”

She continued, “That’s, I think the point where we are, is freedom is one thing, but freedom when you harm others like secondhand smoke and issues that we’ve dealt with very clearly in the past you can’t drive drunk. You can drink, but you can’t drive drunk because you can injure other people. You can’t smoke inside of a public place where you can give cancer to someone else in spite of their never having been a smoker.”

Read More

Biden’s Office for Civil Rights Pick Questioned on Her Position on Campus Due Process

Catherine Lhamon’s (right) work in President Barack Obama’s administration on Title IX issues may have won her praise from liberal groups and organizations representing alleged and confirmed victims of sexual assault, but it drew criticism from the ranking member of the Senate’s education committee.

President Joe Biden has nominated Lhamon to lead the federal Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Education, the same position she held under Obama. But Senate Republicans and due-process advocates have questioned her position on the rights of accused students.

Republican Senator Richard Burr said he is concerned that Lhamon “will charge ahead unraveling significant pieces of the previous administration’s Title IX rules.” He made the comments during a July 13 Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee meeting.

Read More

Commentary: One State Can Make a Difference

Farmer on a tractor, tilling field

Late last month, Montana ended its participation in the extended federal unemployment benefits program. No surprise this event was little noted in the national press, since Montana’s decision to exit the program had a direct effect on fewer than 20,000 people (the total unemployed population of Montana). Yet Montana’s decision had an enormous effect on the country as a whole.

Particularly for those inside the Beltway, it is easy to focus on Washington, D.C. as the only place where policymaking matters. And with an administration desperate to centralize power as it prints ever-growing piles of money with which it hopes to bribe or threaten states and localities, such an attitude is understandable. Recent developments in states like Montana far outside the beltway, however, show how national political innovations can be driven by states with smaller populations far from the beltway swamp and present conservatives with a path for political success. 

While elections in Montana often are driven by local and idiosyncratic issues as well as personal relationships (understandable in a state with some of America’s least populated state house and senate districts), Montana is and has long been a very red state. The only Democratic presidential candidate since 1948 to win a majority here was Lyndon B. Johnson in his 1964 landslide win over Barry Goldwater. It is much easier to convince and move 1 million people in Montana than 332 million Americans. And yet by moving 1 million Montanans (or 800,000 South Dakotans) or 1.8 million Idahoans, the Right can often exercise an outsized influence on the national debate. 

Read More

Small Business Owners Struggling to Find Workers

Small Business Struggle

Small business owners are continuing to have problems attracting new workers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and are trying to entice them with new incentives, a new report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce shows.

“Small businesses are bearing the brunt of the current worker shortage,” said Tom Sullivan, vice president of small business policy at the Chamber. “Many have given up on actively recruiting new workers as it is too hard to find skilled and experienced workers for their open positions.”

Read More

Rep. Nunes Expects John Durham to Deliver Damaging Report: ‘People Are Going to Jail’

Devin Nunes John Durham

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said he still expects Justice Department Special Counsel John Durham to release a damaging report on the FBI’s corrupt Russia investigation, and while it “may not be as broad as we want it to be,” it will lead to prison sentences for some former senior Obama officials.

Nunes, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, told reporter Sara Carter during her podcast Thursday that he still believes justice will be served. According to Carter, the congressman said that Durham’s report could come “as early as next week.”

Read More

Fulton County Fails to Meet Their Own Extended Response Date for Providing Absentee Ballot Chain of Custody Documents from the November 2020 Election

Fulton County Response

Fulton County officials have failed to meet the extended response date they set for providing The Georgia Star News with complete chain of custody documents for absentee ballots deposited into drop boxes during the November 3, 2020, general election.

More than seven months and five follow-up requests after The Star News filed an initial open records request on December 1, 2020, Fulton County Legal Assistant Shana Eatmon said they needed until July 15, to provide the requested documents.

Read More

Fulton County Commission Chair Says All Georgia Counties Should be Investigated for Potential Fraud

Robb Pitts Fulton County

Robb Pitts, chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, sent a letter to Georgia House of Representative Speaker David Ralston claiming that all counties within the state should be investigated for potential fraud.

“If you are requesting that Fulton County be the subject of such an investigation, then I believe it would only be fair that all counties with issues be subject to investigation,” Pitts wrote in his letter to Speaker Ralston.

Read More

Ohio Public Schools, Colleges Cannot Require COVID-19 Vaccine

Young girl wearing a mask and reading a book in school

Ohio public schools, colleges and universities cannot require COVID-19 vaccines after Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill that originally was introduced to help military families.

The Ohio Senate amended House Bill 244, which passed in late June along party lines, to prohibit public schools from requiring any vaccine not fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and from discriminating against unvaccinated individuals. The FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines on an emergency basis.

The bill also allows military families moving into Ohio to enroll their children in school virtually or through advanced enrollments before they move into the state.

Read More

Georgians ‘Overwhelming Support Key Provisions’ in Highly Politicized Election Law Changes

"VOTE ONE MORE TIME" sign on an electric pole in Atlanta, Georgia

The results of a poll of likely Georgia voters indicates overwhelming support for requiring absentee voters in the state to provide photo identification – including from minorities and independents.

The poll, conducted July 12-14 by ARW Strategies of Illinois, puts overall support for the absentee “voter ID” measure – part of a new election reform law signed by Republican Governor Brian Kemp in March –  at 67 percent (2-1) of those likely to vote.

Read More

President Biden Schedules Early Campaign Stop for Former Governor McAuliffe

McAuliffe & Biden

Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has announced that the 46th President will take a hop across the Potomac this upcoming Friday. According to an event page released by Governor McAuliffe’s campaign, President Joe Biden will be coming to Arlington, Virginia on Friday, July 23rd to campaign for Governor McAuliffe. The former Governor is locked in a tight race between himself and former Carlyle Group Executive CEO and the Republican nominee for Governor, Glenn Youngkin.

Read More

Florida Department of Health Reports Spike in Covid Cases

Staff if Florida Health Department

The Florida Department of Health (FDOE) reported a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases for the week that ended July 15th, making it the second week in a row that the number of cases increased. 

The FDOE reported 45,604 new cases from July 9th to July 15th which increased the COVID-19 positivity rate from 7.8% to 11.5%. The number of COVID-19 deaths during that week was 59. 

Read More

Minneapolis Police Open Investigation About Destroyed Records

After the Star Tribune did a report regarding some destroyed records from the Minneapolis Police Department’s 2nd precinct, an investigation was opened regarding the circumstances surrounding the destruction. The officers involved got rid of files while the 3rd precinct was burning after being looted just blocks away. The report reads investigators disposed of “inactive case files, search warrants and records of confidential informants.”

Read More

Circuit Court Dismisses Alliance Defending Freedom Lawsuit over Virginia Values Act

Shot of a brick church with blue sky

Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge James Plowman dismissed a challenge to the Virginia Values Act (VVA) Friday. A group including churches and schools sued the State Corporation Commission (SCC), Attorney General Mark Herring, and Virginia Division of Human Rights and Fair Housing Director Thomas Payne, II in October 2020. They argue that the VVA and a related insurance law violate the organizations’ freedom of religion and speech.

Read More

Minneapolis Has Experienced One of the Largest Homicide Increases in the Nation, Study Finds

A new study found that Minneapolis experienced the fifth-highest increase in homicides in the nation between 2019 to 2021.

The overall rankings were based on both a city’s current homicide rate and the change in its number of homicides across the last two years. Minneapolis landed in the 11th position overall, behind cities like New Orleans, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Detroit, according to the WalletHub survey.

From the second quarter of 2019 to the second quarter of 2021, the city of lakes saw the fifth-highest increase in per capita homicides in the nation. In this time, Minneapolis endured the death of George Floyd, unprecedented levels of rioting, mass unemployment caused by COVID-19 lockdowns, and a political assault on its police department.

Read More

Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump Takes on White Teen’s Case

American Attorney Benjamin Crump

Attorney Ben Crump, based out of Tallahassee, Fla., and Rev. Al Sharpton announced they are taking up the case of Hunter Brittain, a white teenager killed by police last month in Arkansas.

Crump, “Black America’s Attorney General,” and Sharpton were invited to Brittain’s memorial service, where Sharpton gave the eulogy.

Read More

The Dismantling of Lawton Chiles Endowment Fund Begins

Ron DeSantis

An endowment fund for health programs and education in Florida started being dismantled after HB 5011 was signed by DeSantis in June, and taken into effect on July 1st. 

HB 5011 issued the termination of the Lawton Chiles Endowment Fund (LCEF) and directed the State Board of Administration to liquidate and transfer the funds into the Budget Stabilization Fund by June 30th, 2022. 

Read More

Effectiveness of Michigan’s COVID-19 Lottery Unclear

Gov. Whitmer Vaccine

When Gov. Gretchen Whitmer budgeted $5 million of taxpayer money for the state’s vaccine lottery, she aimed to incentivize a nine percentage point rise in first COVID-19 injections.

It doesn’t seem to be working.

Read More

Tennessee Spends Nearly $4M Annually to Educate Unaccompanied Minors

Tennessee has spent nearly $60 million over 15 years educating children who entered the state as unaccompanied minors, according to the state’s Fiscal Review Committee estimates.

Krista Lee Carsner, executive director of the Tennessee General Assembly’s Fiscal Review Committee, presented her cost estimate research to the state’s Study Committee on Refugee Issues, saying 8,800 unaccompanied minors have come to live in the state since fiscal year 2015.

Carsner estimated Tennessee spent an average of $3.9 million annually on education for those minors and the highest estimated year was a cost of $13.9 million. The state also spent nearly $85,000 annually on TennCare health care costs for those minors, Carsner said.

Read More

Americans for Prosperity-Georgia to Host Rally Against Joe Biden’s Reckless Spending

Members of Americans for Prosperity – Georgia (AFP-GA) are scheduled to host an event opposing what they said was U.S. President Joe Biden’s proposed $4 trillion infrastructure plan. AFP-GA has scheduled the event for 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Friday July 23 at Tom Triplett Community Park, Pavilion No. 1 in Pooler, Georgia.

Read More

Ducey Invests Millions of Federal Dollars to Start Visit Arizona Initiative

Three people on bikes in Arizona during sundown

Gov. Doug Ducey is investing $101.1 million from the federal American Rescue Plan funding to launch the Visit Arizona Initiative to increase tourism spending in Arizona and expedite its economic recovery. 

“Tourism is essential for Arizona’s booming economy and job growth,” Ducey said in a release. 

He said that when tourists stay at Arizona hotels, eat at restaurants, buy Arizona products, and partake in the state’s recreational activities, Arizona’s economy booms.

Read More

Florida Medicaid Enrollment Tops 4.8 Million, Surpassing Forecasted Growth

Florida State Capitol

Florida’s Medicaid enrollment increased by 1% in June with 48,468 low-income residents qualifying for subsidized health care, according to the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA).

As of June 30, there were 4,846,412 low-income, elderly and disabled Floridians enrolled in Medicaid, an increase of more than 730,000 since June 2020, AHCA documents in its June enrollment report.

Read More

Governor Bill Lee’s Re-Election Campaign Hauls in Almost $685,000 During First Half of 2021

Gov. Bill Lee

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee hauled in approximately $685,000 in the first half of 2021, as the incumbent governor seeks to build his arsenal heading into 2022.

Lee’s campaign has a total of $2.4 million on hand to spend — after using $357,000 during the course of this financial filing period.

Read More