Former Vice President Mike Pence Travels to Tennessee to Meet with Governor Bill Lee and House Speaker Cameron Sexton

On Wednesday, former Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, traveled to Tennessee to meet with Governor Bill Lee and Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton. During the former Vice President’s visit, he complimented the state for having a “fiscally conservative approach” and its commitment to automotive manufacturing, according to House Speaker Sexton.

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John Kerry Invested $1 Million in Chinese Fund Supporting Company Blacklisted for Human Rights Abuses

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and his wife hold at least $1 million in a Chinese investment fund that owns a significant stake in a Chinese technology company that aided China’s human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims, records show.

Kerry reported holding an “over $1,000,000” stake in the investment fund, Hillhouse China Value Fund L.P., in his financial disclosure submitted in February. The fund is a part of the Hillhouse Capital Group, a private equity firm operated by Chinese billionaire Zhang Lei and known for its early investments in some of China’s top technology companies.

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GOP Senators Pan McConnell Cave on Debt Ceiling as Gloating Schumer Adds Insult to Injury

Republican senators are panning Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s surrender to Democrats on the short-term debt ceiling increase following a gloating floor speech by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that added insult to GOP injury.

The debt ceiling increase of about $500 billion through Dec. 3 passed the Senate last week and the House on Tuesday.

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Over 94,000 Migrants in Southern Texas Released into the U.S. with Notices to Report, Leaked Docs Show

Just over 94,500 migrants who entered the U.S. illegally were encountered by border officials in southern Texas and released into the country with notices to report, according to data obtained by Fox News on Wednesday.

The migrants were encountered in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley and Del Rio sectors since March 20, according to Fox News. Notices to report (NTR) direct migrants to check in with an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office within 60 days and are different from notices to appear (NTA), which require migrants to show up at an immigration court, according to the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project.

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Senators to Introduce Bipartisan Antitrust Bill Taking Aim at Tech Platforms Prioritizing Their Own Services

A bipartisan group of senators will introduce legislation Thursday designed to prevent large technology platforms like Amazon and Google from giving their own services preferential treatment.

The bill, titled the American Choice and Innovation Online Act, accompanies legislation of the same name advanced through the House Judiciary Committee in June, and it seeks to prevent “discriminatory” conduct by major online platforms, according to multiple reports. The bill is sponsored by Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who chairs the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust issues, and Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who serves as Ranking Member on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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Weekly Jobless Claims Dip Below 300,000 for First Time Since March 2020

Photo “Unemployment Insurance Claims Office” by Bytemarks. CC BY 2.0.

The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims decreased to 293,000 last week as companies are holding onto workers amid high demand for labor.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics figure released Thursday shows a 36,000 claim decrease in the number of new jobless claims compared to the week ending Oct. 2, when 326,000 jobless claims were reported.

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Watchdog Group Seeks Records from Agencies on Funding of Nonprofit Involved in Wuhan-Based ‘Gain-of-Function’ Research

A watchdog organization has filed requests via the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) this week to obtain information about the U.S. government’s funding of China-based gain-of-function studies that many believe have played a role in the origin of COVID-19.

Gain-of-function (GOF) research is experimentation that enhances the severity or transmissibility of a virus or other biological agent. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have said such work “poses biosafety and biosecurity risks [which] must be carefully managed,” though the NIH have justified funding GOF research “to help us understand the fundamental nature of human-pathogen interactions, assess the pandemic potential of emerging infectious agents and inform public health and preparedness efforts.”

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Biden Administration Plans to Build Wind Farms to Power 10 Million Homes

The Biden administration laid out an ambitious plan Wednesday for government-funded wind farms along the east coast, which it said would sustain millions of Americans’ energy needs.

Multiple federal agencies are planning to collaborate on the project, which will be completed by 2030, Interior Department Secretary Deb Haaland said during a renewable energy conference in Boston on Wednesday. Overall, at least 30 gigawatts will be produced by offshore wind farms by decade’s end.

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Majority of Americans Think Government Is Doing Too Much, Poll Shows

Washington DC

Most Americans believe that the federal government is now doing too much, a new poll shows.

More than 50% of respondents in the Gallup survey, released Thursday, said that the government was too involved in things that should be left to individuals or private businesses, while 43% said that the government should involve itself more in trying to fix the country’s problems.

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Commentary: I’m Leaving My California Teachers’ Union

I have been a middle school special education teacher for 18 years. Every day I spend in the classroom is a joy – the work is hard, but so rewarding – and with almost two decades of experience, I know how my students learn best.

Imagine my surprise when the California Teachers Association – which spends zero days per year with students – tries to tell teachers how to run their classrooms.

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Federal Judge Finds DC Jail Officials in Contempt, Demands Civil Rights Inquiry

In a major rebuke of the Justice Department and D.C. Department of Corrections, District Court Judge Royce Lamberth today found the jail’s warden and director of the Department of Corrections in contempt of court for refusing to turn over records related to the care of Christopher Worrell, a January 6 detainee who suffers from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and a broken hand. He has been incarcerated under a pre-trial detention order sought by Joe Biden’s Justice Department and approved by the court’s chief judge since his arrest in March; Worrell has been in the D.C. jail used specifically to house January 6 defendants since April.

Lamberth scheduled the hearing on Tuesday after D.C. Jail Warden Wanda Patten and DOC Director Quincy Booth failed to comply with his October 8 order to submit the evaluation by an orthopedic surgeon, who determined in June that Worrell needed surgery for a broken hand he suffered in May, and also to submit Worrell’s medical requests related to needed cancer treatments. Jail officials and attorneys representing the department claimed the screw-up was a miscommunication but Lamberth rejected their argument. “I don’t accept that explanation,” Lamberth said. “No one noticed in jail that he’s sitting there in pain all the time? Does no one care?”

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All Star Panelist Clint Brewer Weighs in on the Poor Public Relations Strategy for Both Southwest Airlines and the White House

Thursday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Clint Brewer in studio to discuss the White House’s inability to manage expectations during the COVID pandemic.

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NBC Host Katie Couric Says She ‘Protected’ Justice Ginsburg by Cutting Disparaging Remarks on Anthem Kneelers

In her new memoir “Going There,” former NBC “Today Show” host Katie Couric acknowledges “protecting” the late-Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for her criticism about Americans who kneel during the national anthem that the TV journalist thought would spark public backlash.

Couric writes that she cut from a 2016 interview with the justice part of the conversation in which Ginsburg said those who kneel during the anthem show “contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life.”

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Steve Wariner Releases ‘Feels Like Christmas’ Today

Nashville, Tennessee – Multi-Grammy®, CMA, and ACM Award-winning performer Steve Wariner has released a new Christmas album, Feels Like Christmas Time, today, October 15. The album features newly imagined arrangements of Christmas classics including “Silent Night,” “The First Noel” and “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” as well as six original holiday tunes, all written by Wariner.

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Border Patrol Agents Confiscate Counterfeit Vaccine Cards at Checkpoints Across U.S.

While much attention has been focused on the fallout of increased illegal immigration and crime at the southern border, Customs and Border Patrol agents also say they are routinely finding packages shipped from China containing fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.

CBP says its agents have seized more than 6,000 counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards in Chicago, Memphis, Anchorage and Pittsburgh in the past few months.

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State Senator Kerry Roberts to Make 100 Mile Bike Ride to Waverly to Help Raise Donations for Flood Victims

Thursday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Tennessee State Senator Kerry Roberts to the newsmakers line to talk about his upcoming 100-mile ride to help raise money for Waverly flood victims.

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Direct Marketing Guru Craig Huey Profiles Candidates for Franklin’s City Council and Board of Mayor and Alderman October Elections

Thursday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Direct Marketing Guru Craig Huey in studio to outline the profiles of candidates running in Franklin, Tennessee’s October election for City Council and Board of Mayor and Alderman seats.

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Three Michigan Residents Charged with Absentee Ballot Voter Fraud, Following Concerning Trend

Three Michigan residents have been charged with voter fraud involving absentee ballots by state officials, which follows a concerning trend over the past decade.

State Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) alleges Trenae Myesha Rainey submitted two dozen absentee voter applications on behalf of an unknowing Father Murray Nursing Home resident in Macomb County. According to prosecutors, the Centerline clerk “noticed the application signatures didn’t match those in the Qualified Voter File,” WWMT reported.

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Buckhead City’s Fundraising Surpasses $1 Million in Georgia

Buckhead, Georgia residents and businesses have contributed $1 million to support the initiative to create Buckhead City, members of the Buckhead City Committee said in an emailed press release Thursday.“The Buckhead City Committee expects to raise another million dollars before the end of this upcoming legislative session (April) to further advance Buckhead’s path to cityhood,” according to the press release.

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Ohio Board of Education Drops Critical Race Theory Resolution

The Ohio Board of Education (BOE) this week dropped its Critical Race Theory (CRT) resolution that activists described as “anti-racist,” and critics described as “divisive.”

According to The Columbus Dispatch, it has been replaced with a new resolution that condemns any curricula that “seeks to divide.”  

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Moving on to Congressional Maps, Virginia Redistricting Commission Still Haunted by Questions About Fairness

The Virginia Redistricting Commission has moved on to full consideration of the congressional map without making any decisions about the General Assembly maps and using a two-week extension period. In advance of a meeting Thursday, the co-chairs had asked the Republican map-drawing team to draft a proposal for the Republican-voting southwest region of Virginia, and the Democratic team to draw a proposal for Democratic-voting northern Virginia, while both map drawers roughly followed the existing court-drawn districts three and four. Those districts have the most significant minority voter populations, which require extra protection by law.

Debate over the preliminary proposals again focused how to protect minority voters, but by the end of the meeting, there seemed to be a shaky consensus to leave district three and four mostly intact, with support from both Democratic and Republican legal teams. The commission returned to the question of what fair maps are: do they reflect Virginia’s blue-leaning voter base, or do they give an even split to each party? How important is compactness versus regional identity?

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Minnesota Republican Lawmakers Critique Biden for Inflation Problems

Several Republican lawmakers from Minnesota critiqued the recent inflation, blaming the Biden Administration. Minnesota Representatives Tom Emmer (R-MN-06), Jim Hagedorn (R-MN-01), and Pete Stauber (R-MN-08) called out the Biden Administration for their part in driving prices higher.

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Florida Commission on Ethics Seeks More Staff

The Florida Commission on Ethics (FCE) will be asking the Florida Legislature for more funding for staffing shortages as the backlog of cases continues to pile on. Commissioner Don Gaetz requested the current funding remain the same but felt the commission might need to ask for more.

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Congressional Redistricting in Ohio Stalls as Committee Risks Clock Running Out Again

The Ohio Redistricting Commission faces yet another deadline regarding the redrawing new congressional districts as members wait on Ohio House Speaker Robert Cupp bides his time on moving forward on a process that could have ended Sept. 30.

The commission has not met since the Ohio General Assembly failed to consider, let along pass, options for redistricas the state prepares to lose one congressional district following the reapportionment of congressional representation among the states sparked by the 2020 U.S. census.

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Ohio House Bill 435 Does Not Go Far Enough to Protect Against COVID Mandates, Argues GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Jim Renacci

Former congressman and GOP gubernatorial candidate Jim Renacci on Thursday argued that Ohio House Bill 435 does not go far enough to protect individuals from COVID-19 mandates.

The legislation, which stalled in the House on Wednesday, would allow workers to receive religious, medical, or natural immunity exemptions for coronavirus vaccine mandates.

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U.S. Senate Candidate JD Vance Hauls in $1.75 Million in First Fundraising Quarter, Notes Key Grassroots Support

U.S. Senate candidate JD Vance announced on Thursday that his campaign hauled in approximately $1.75 million in the first fundraising quarter as a declared contender.

Of the donations, Vance’s campaign celebrated “grassroots” support, with more than half of donors contributing $50 or less.

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Hundreds of Doctors Criticize Florida’s Surgeon General, Call for Close Monitoring

Over 350 doctors from across Florida signed on to a letter asking the Florida Senate to scrutinize Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo. The doctors took part in the effort alongside the Committee to Protect Health Care (CPHC), as they outlined numerous questions regarding Ladapo’s positions.

Ladapo, upon announcing his appointment to the position, said Florida is “done with fear” and began a process of pushing back against universal mask mandates and vaccine mandates. He was appointed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and some DeSantis opponents called Ladapo “an anti-masker and a vaccine skeptic.”

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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Continues Acting as Betsy DeVos’s Victim in Latest Campaign Email

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) kept up the victim routine in her latest campaign fundraising email, claiming Betsy DeVos has it out for her.

This summer, Whitmer made false claims in another email, asserting DeVos was planning a run against her, forcing DeVos to deny such a plan.

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Val Demings Raises More Than Marco Rubio in Q3 with $8.4 Million

After announcing her Senate campaign in early June, U.S. Representative Val Demings (D-FL-10) reported $8.4 million in campaign fundraising during the months of July, August, and September, or quarter three (Q3) of 2021.

The funds raised in Q3 almost doubles the amount she raised in quarter two (Q2) of 2021 which totaled $4.6 million.

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Michigan Group Pitches Plan to Spend $6 Billion of State’s Federal Aid Money

Michigan State Capitol

A statewide coalition is backing a spending schedule of $6 billion of federal government money from the American Rescue Plan (ARP).

The Coalition for a Strong and Prosperous Michigan represents businesses, government organizations, local elected leaders, and statewide associations. They aim to detail strategic ways to invest Michigan’s ARP funding for future growth and prosperity.

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Prominent Virginia Dems Silent on Alleged Loudoun County Rape Coverup

Virginia’s most prominent Democrat Party leaders aren’t talking after the nationwide scandal involving the Loudoun County School District exploded earlier this week.

The Daily Wire reported earlier this week that Scott Smith, the man who was arrested for protesting transgender bathroom policies at a June 22 Loudoun County School Board (LCSB) meeting, has a ninth-grade daughter who was allegedly raped in school bathroom less than one month prior. The girl was allegedly raped by a transgender girl – a biological male – in a school bathroom at Stone Bridge High School.

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Arizona Border Patrol Seizes 50 Pounds of Fentanyl

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) from the Tucson Sector Wednesday announced that it had seized a massive quantity of the extremely lethal drug fentanyl. 

“U.S. Border Patrol agents working the Interstate 19 Immigration Checkpoint near Amado, Arizona, seized over 50 pounds of suspected fentanyl and arrested the driver of the vehicle Monday morning,” a CBP press release said. 

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Virginia House District 66 Profile: With No Incumbent, Mike Cherry Must Keep Katie Sponsler from Flipping the District

Virginia Republicans only need to flip six seats to retake the majority in the House of Delegates, but to do that, they must protect a handful of vulnerable Republican districts like House District 66. Former Speaker of the House Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) is retiring after assuming office in 199o, and the urban, suburban, and rural district leans Democratic. It’s one of a handful of seats that survived Trump-era Democratic waves in greater Richmond in 2017 and 2019. GOP candidate Mike Cherry is running against Democrat Katie Sponsler in a battle of turnout and name recognition.

“This is an open seat so for the first time in decades, voters have the opportunity to learn about and choose between two new candidates, without the weight of incumbency skewing the election,” Chesterfield County Democratic Committee Chair Sara Gaborik told The Virginia Star.

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Tennessee U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty Urge Joe Biden to Fire Kamala Harris as Border Czar

U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) and U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) have joined nine other U.S. senators and formally asked that U.S. President Joe Biden replace Vice President Kamala Harris with a new border czar. This, considering Harris’s failure to stem the flow of illegal migrants to the United States and her failure to work with our neighbors to secure the border, Hagerty said in an emailed press release Thursday.

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