Shelby County Sues Gov. Bill Lee over Mask Executive Order

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee

Shelby County has announced a lawsuit against Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (R) over his executive order allowing parents to opt their children out of mask mandates. The county says that the order puts children at risk of contracting COVID and even dying.

The complaint, filed Tuesday, says that “Governor Lee’s executive order makes the maintenance and support of a system of free public schools impossible.” The lawsuit opens by stating that Shelby County is in the middle of a “global pandemic, the likes of which the world has not seen in over a century.”

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Commentary: Biden Gave Up More Than Bagram

Joe Biden

Earlier this week, as covered in a previous column in the American Spectator, the Democrat National Committee bragged about the “achievement” of this alleged president in his “best-run evacuation” of Kabul. Chief among the DNC’s arguments for such ludicrous praise was the lack of American casualties.

The press flacks at the DNC, every one of whom would be fired if that organization had the slightest honor (its chairman, the failed U.S. Senate candidate Jaime Harrison, should similarly resign in disgrace before the weekend), were merely parroting statements the alleged president made about the absence of dead Americans at the time.

Every single credible person with either operational military experience or a knowledge of Afghanistan was warning that casualties were already inevitable by that point. Even the alleged president, in a fit of congratulatory onanism, qualified the alleged safety of the “best-run evacuation” with the proverbial knock on wood.

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Apple to Overhaul Its App Store in $100 Million Class Action Settlement

Apple proposed a settlement with app developers Thursday, requiring the tech company to restructure its app store and change some of its more controversial practices.

The agreement, still pending court approval, would settle a class action antitrust lawsuit filed by app developers against Apple for alleged anticompetitive practices in its app store.

The company will now permit app developers to use information obtained in their apps to directly communicate with consumers about payment options outside the app store, Apple announced in court filings Thursday. This helps developers avoid paying Apple a commission on app purchases, and grants developers greater control over their apps.

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Inflation Measure Surges Again, Hits New Three-Decade High

People on an escalator in an indoor shopping mall

An index measuring inflation surged at an annual rate of 4.2% last month, reaching its highest level since 1991, according to the Department of Commerce.

The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) index, which measures prices, increased 4.2% in the 12-month period between August 2020 and July 2021, according to a Department of Commerce report published Friday. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, the index spiked 3.6%, the report showed.

The last time consumer prices increased this much in one year was more than three decades ago in January 1991, CNBC reported. The figure reported Friday is in line with what economists expected.

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Tenants Nationwide Behind on Rent Despite Billions of Unspent Federal Aid

Low-income tenants across the country are behind on rent payments because of the pandemic, even as billions of dollars appropriated by Congress to assist renters remain untouched.

About $5.2 billion of the $46.6 billion — roughly 11% — set aside for the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program has been distributed to low-income tenants, according to the most recent data released by the Department of the Treasury on Wednesday. House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Patrick McHenry characterized the Biden administration’s handling of the ERA program as “gross mismanagement.”

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National Security Correspondent for The Washington Times, Bill Gertz Outlines Dangerous Ramifications of Afghanistan Withdrawal

Bill Gertz

Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed The Washington Times National Security Correspondent since 1985, Bill Gertz on the newsmakers line to outline the consequences of US military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

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Supreme Court Strikes Down Biden’s New Eviction Moratorium

Supreme Court with a cherry blossom in the foreground

The Supreme Court ordered the Biden administration on Thursday to stop enforcing the federal eviction moratorium recently extended to October.

In a 6-3 decision along ideological lines, the high court ruled that the moratorium, which has prohibited landlords from evicting low-income tenants since its implementation in March 2020, would need congressional authorization to be continued. The decision potentially exposes about 12 million Americans, who reported having little to no confidence in being able to make their next rental payment, to imminent eviction.

“It would be one thing if Congress had specifically authorized the action that the CDC has taken,” the Supreme Court ruling said. “But that has not happened. Instead, the CDC has imposed a nationwide moratorium on evictions in reliance on a decades-old statute that authorizes it to implement measures like fumigation and pest extermination.”

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Tennessee Attorney General Demands Biden Administration Enforce Illegal Reentry Laws

Tennessee’s Attorney General is joining several of his peers nationwide in demanding that the Biden Administration enforce illegal reentry laws, which make it a crime to attempt to cross back into the United States after deportation. 

“We, the undersigned attorneys general, write as chief legal officers of our States to inquire about your intent to appeal the decision in United States v. Carrillo-Lopez…” a letter signed by Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III and addressed to United States Attorney General Merrick Garland says.

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Robert F. Kennedy’s Assassin Recommended for Parole with Support from Two of Kennedy’s Sons

Sirhan Sirhan, Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin, was recommended for parole on his 16th attempt Friday, with the support of two of Kennedy’s sons.

Prosecutors declined to appear before the parole board to argue that Sirhan, who is 77 years old, should remain in prison, the Associated Press reported.

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Current New York Governor Kathy Hochul Discloses 12,000 Additional COVID Deaths Previously Obscured by Cuomo Administration

Kathy Hotchu

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul disclosed on her first day in office nearly 12,000 COVID-19 deaths that were previously unreported in the state’s data tracker during former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration.

The New York State Department of Health’s COVID-19 data tracker reported Wednesday nearly 55,395 virus deaths in the state reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since the start of the pandemic, just under 12,000 more than the roughly 43,400 COVID-19 deaths disclosed in the state-managed tracker on Cuomo’s last day in office.

The discrepancy results from the Cuomo administration’s decision to report only laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases in which patients died at hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities. The Cuomo administration’s tally deliberately excluded New Yorkers who died from COVID-19 at their homes, hospices, state prisons or state-run homes for those with disabilities.

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TIME’S UP CEO Resigns over Ties to Cuomo Investigation

Tina Tchen

The second TIME’S UP co-founder has resigned from her position following backlash over reports that she worked against Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s accusers.

“Now is the time for Time’s Up to evolve and move forward as there is so much more work to do for women,” TIME’S UP co-founder Tina Tchen said in a statement, according to The Washington Post. “It is clear that I am not the leader who can accomplish that in this moment.”

“I am especially aware that my position at the helm of Time’s Up has become a painful and divisive focal point, where those very women and other activists who should be working together to fight for change are instead battling each other in harmful ways,” she added.

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American Families Stranded in Kabul Confirm Evacuation Process Remains Chaotic

aerial view of Kabul

Despite the Biden Administration’s claims that the process of evacuating American citizens from the collapsing nation of Afghanistan has gotten back on track, numerous families still trapped behind enemy lines have confirmed through their congressman that the situation on the ground is still in chaos, the Washington Free Beacon reports.

The office of Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) reports that several Americans stranded in Afghanistan are residents of his San Diego-based district, and that he has been actively working to expedite their evacuations from the country.

Issa spokesman Jonathan Wilcox said that the families “are scared, stranded, and trapped in the Kabul area. So far, they’ve been unable to reach the airport,” in reference to the Hamid Karzai International Airport, which has since fallen to Taliban control.

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Commentary: Moving Space Command

This August, thousands of space professionals from across government, industry, and academia will descend on Colorado Springs for the space industry’s big annual conference: the 36th Space Symposium. Colorado Springs has played host to the symposium since its launch in 1985. The Symposium is held there (and its sponsoring organization, the Space Foundation, is headquartered there) because Colorado Springs is a center of gravity for space activity in government and industry. All of which makes the early 2021 decision of the previous administration to move the headquarters of U.S. Space Command from Colorado to Alabama a bit puzzling.

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Biden Officials Gave the Names of Americans and Afghan Allies Trying to Evacuate to the Taliban

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken meets with President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Vice President Kamala D. Harris, National Security Advisor to the President Jake Sullivan, and National Security Advisor to the Vice President Nancy McEldowney at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on February 4, 2021. [State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha/ Public Domain]

U.S. officials in Kabul have given the Taliban “a list of names of American citizens, green card holders and Afghan allies” who should be granted entry through Taliban checkpoints outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA), Politico reported Thursday. This decision to trust the Taliban with this information has reportedly “prompted outrage behind the scenes from lawmakers and military officials.”

The U.S. military has been sharing “information with the Taliban” since Aug. 14 ostensibly to prevent attacks, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. confirmed during a Pentagon briefing Thursday.

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Creator of Jihad Watch, Robert Spencer Questions Who’s Really Running Joe Biden

Robert Spencer

Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Jihad Watch’s Robert Spencer to the newsmakers line to discuss the incompetence of the Biden administration and suspected Barack Obama’s involvement.

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Florida Has Recovered 950,000 Jobs Lost Due to the Pandemic

The state of Florida has restored more than 950,000 jobs that were lost due to the pandemic, according to Chief Economist and Director of Research for the Florida Chamber of Commerce (FCC), Dr. Jerry Parrish.

In an online presentation titled Florida By the Numbers published by the FCC, Parrish notes that the pandemic resulted in the loss of approximately 1.3 million jobs since April 2020, and that there are still 315,800 jobs to be restored in order to get back to “pre-COVID levels.”

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Minnesota Launches Program to Help Students Struggling to Meet Educational Standards

Two girls in a classroom, working

Minnesota is launching a program to help students struggling to meet educational standards after a year of “education disruption” due to COVID. The program is called Collaborative Minnesota Partnerships to Advance Student Success (COMPASS) and will be providing students individualized support in struggle areas.

The press release from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) reads that the program will “accelerate learning by meeting students’ academic, social-emotional and mental health needs as Minnesota school communities continue to navigate the pandemic.”

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Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel Makes Joke About Flint Water Case

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D), the official tasked with investigating the Flint water crisis, made a joke about porta potty toilets when challenged on her prosecution case of the Flint water scandal.

The joke, which seemingly downplays the significance of the case, was considered by many to be insensitive and highly inappropriate

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Pennsylvania Vote Count Contains 40K-Plus Discrepancies; ‘We Need to Get to the Bottom of Why That Is the Case’

As part of a state-by-state review of the 2020 General Election results, the non-profit Voter Reference Foundation (VRF) has discovered 41,503 discrepancies between the Pennsylvania voters officially recorded as having cast ballots and the total ballots certified per the state’s official canvass.

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Former Virginia Democratic Chairman Says McAuliffe’s Missed Signature Gave Him Unfair Primary Advantage

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe failed to sign paperwork to declare his candidacy; the GOP is using the issue to try to disqualify McAuliffe. That outcome is possible but unlikely, according to former Virginia Democratic Chairman Paul Goldman. Goldman is focused on the date the paperwork was filed — March 8. That day, at noon, was the first day candidates could file for the Democratic primary, and the first candidate to file gets to be listed first on the ballot.

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Ohio Nurse Goes Viral for Refusing COVID-19 Vaccine

Melissa Rexroth

A lengthy Facebook post from an Ohio nurse who is set to be fired for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine has nearly half a million shares, and more than 220,000 comments.

“I’m an RN of 10 years and I am being fired December 1. I’m not political. I don’t watch the news. I do my job and I go home to my family. I love caring for others from every single walk of life and I take that responsibility seriously,” Melissa Rexroth said in a Facebook post written in the early morning last Saturday.

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Minnesota State Fair Asks Conservative Booth to Remove ‘Disrespectful’ Image of Gov. Walz

The Minnesota State Fair has asked a conservative group to remove a “disrespectful” caricature of Gov. Tim Walz from its booth.

Action 4 Liberty President Jake Duesenberg told Alpha News that he was asked to remove the display by the end of the day Friday.

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Ohio Politicians Pay Their Respects to Navy Medic Maxton William Soviak Who Died in Kabul Terrorist Attack

U.S. Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, OH-9, have reacted with grief and tributes to the Sandusky area Navy hospital corpsman killed on Aug. 26 at the Kabul international airport as the American military continues to withdraw troops and civilians from Afghanistan.

The military named sailor Maxton William Soviak as one of 13 American military personnel killed in two terrorist attacks at a hotel and nearby gate of the Kabul airport where American forces and civilians are getting airlifted out in the wake of the Taliban takeover of the southwestern Asian country.

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer Plans to Give Businesses Hundreds of Millions in Subsidies, But Similar Programs’ Track Record Has Been Questioned

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

This week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) announced plans to expand her $300-million Michigan Mainstreet Initiative, outlining further business subsidization with taxpayer money from federal COVID-relief legislation.

Originally unveiled in June, Whitmer’s initiative targeted $100 million toward restaurants and other place-based establishments, $125 million for other businesses that could not get federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds and $75 million in grants to startups.

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Arizona Attorney General Brnovich Threatens Maricopa County Supervisors with Loss of Funding If They Refuse to Comply with Election Subpoena

Following an investigation of the Maricopa County Supervisors refusing to comply with an election audit from the Arizona Senate, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich determined that the supervisors violated the law and intends to tell the Arizona Treasurer to withhold their state-shared funds if they don’t comply. Senate Republicans are winding down an independent audit they ordered into the 2020 election investigating the results of Joe Biden defeating Donald Trump in the presidential race and Mark Kelly defeating Martha McSally in the U.S. Senate race. The supervisors have fought the audit for months.

“We are notifying the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors that it must fully comply with the Senate’s subpoena as required by the law,” said Brnovich. “Our courts have spoken. The rule of law must be followed.” Brnovich said the supervisors’ “only response was that the Arizona Senate is not currently in session, so MCBOS could not be held in contempt.” The county could lose more than $700 million a year, over a quarter of its $2.7 million budget. 

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Demonstrators Build Teepee, Have Ceremonial Fire During Line 3 Protest at Minnesota Capitol

Line 3 Protest

Demonstrators at the Minnesota capitol erected teepees and reportedly burned a ceremonial fire during a Stop Line 3 protest. Protesters had been occupying capitol grounds until Friday evening, despite their event permit being up Thursday evening at 10:00 p.m.

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Florida Judge Strikes Down DeSantis’ Mask Mandate Ban

Leon County Circuit Judge, John C. Cooper, has ruled Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis executive order banning mask mandates is unlawful and cannot be enforced, saying it does not “pass constitutional muster.”

Cooper sided with the parents challenging the legality of DeSantis’ order, and cited two previous Florida Supreme Court cases which indicated rights can be limited in the event others’ rights could be impacted. He specifically noted the prohibition of yelling “fire” in a crowded theater.

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Georgia Congressional Delegation Responds to Afghanistan Horror, Some Call Out Joe Biden

Several members of Georgia’s congressional delegation have  commented on this week’s terror in Afghanistan, and many of them criticized U.S. President Joe Biden for what they described as a weak response. Twelve U.S. Marines died in explosions in Afghanistan, while the lives of thousands of Americans and allies within the country remained imperiled.

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Delta Airlines, Which Opposed Georgia’s Voter ID Law, Now Forces Unvaccinated Employees to Test for COVID-19

Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian this week announced the Atlanta-based company will force employees who remain unvaccinated against COVID-19 to wear masks, to test for the virus, and to possibly sacrifice part of their compensation packages. But how will Delta officials distinguish between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated?

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Half of American Military Bases Processing Afghan Refugees Are in Virginia

Afghan people

After the Department of Defense granted approval for two more Virginia military facilities to process Afghan refugees, half of the total number of refugee resettlement facilities in the United States will be located in the Commonwealth. 

“The Department of Defense has authorized two additional military installations in Virginia to house Afghan refugees — Marine Corps Base Quantico and Fort Pickett, a National Guard training center an hour southwest of Richmond,” according to Military.com. 

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Virginia Schools 2020-2021 Standard of Learning Tests Results Unsurprisingly Low

Virginia’s 2020-2021 standards of learning (SOL) pass rates are low: 69.34 percent for reading, 54.18 percent for mathematics, and 59.45 percent for science, according to Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) data released Thursday. The VDOE emphasizes that those results are due to COVID-19 and related factors, and followed national trends.

“Pass rates reflect disruptions to instruction caused by the pandemic, decreased participation in state assessment programs, pandemic-related declines in enrollment, fewer retakes, and more flexible ‘opt-out’ provisions for parents concerned about community spread of COVID-19,” the VDOE said.

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Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees Leaving Florida Department of Health

Scott A Rivkees

Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees is leaving his post at the Florida Department of Health (FDOH). Rivkees has been with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration since 2019 and led the FDOH since the COVID pandemic began in Florida in March 2020.

“We thank Dr. Rivkees for his meaningful work during the most challenging pandemic of our lifetime. We appreciate his service to the people of Florida and wish him the best in his future endeavors,” said DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw to Florida Politics.

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Tennessee Soldier Among 13 American Servicemen Killed by Terrorist Attack in Afghanistan

Ryan Knauss, an East Tennessean and graduate of Gibbs High School, was one of the 13 American service members that were killed in a deadly terrorist attack in Kabul, Afghanistan.

According to the stepmother of Knauss, he enrolled in the military shortly after graduation, finished Psychological Operations training, and was hoping to serve in Washington, D.C.

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