U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis Asks Joe Biden to Review Gas Pipeline Permits Nationwide

U.S. Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) this week said he wants more federal oversight of the oil industry and asked that U.S. President Joe Biden review the use of gas pipeline permits nationwide. Cohen announced the news via email to his constituents this week. He said Memphis residents who recently stopped the construction of the Byhalia Pipeline through southwest Memphis have forced people to think more about environmental justice issues.

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Tennessee Valley Authority and United States Wildlife Service Continue Trout Stocking Program

Trout swimming in water

In Bristol, Tennessee, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the United States Wildlife Services have agreed to continue the popular trout stocking program. The program focuses on funding for three federal fish hatcheries that have been providing both the state of Georgia and Tennessee with millions of trout. 

The programs funding for the hatcheries began in 2013, witch have been managed by “the Service,” consisting of Dale Hollow and Erwin in Tennessee, and Chattahoochee Forest in Georgia. After the Service, the fish are then put into these main rivers and reservoirs: Apalachia (Hiwassee River), Blue Ridge, Boone, Cherokee, Fort Patrick Henry, Normandy, Norris, South Holston, Tims Ford and Wilbur. Trout-stocked reservoirs in the plan include Fort Patrick Henry, South Holston, Parksville, Watauga and Wilbur reservoirs.

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Mollie Hemingway Commentary: Taking on the Establishment

Before the 2018 midterm elections, Trump’s political advisors were thinking about the president’s re-election bid and noticed a curious commonality among incumbent presidents who didn’t get re-elected: they all faced challengers from within their own party.

Five U.S. presidents since 1900 have lost their bids for a second term. William Taft lost to Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover lost to Franklin Roosevelt, Gerald Ford lost to Jimmy Carter, Jimmy Carter lost to Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush lost to Bill Clinton. While each election is determined by unique factors, all five of these failed incumbents dealt with internal party fights or serious primary challenges.

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Manchin Reportedly Outlines Demands for Democrats’ Climate Change, Child Tax Credit Plan

Senator Joe Manchin III

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia reportedly opposed two pieces of his party’s spending package as negotiations over its price tag and reach continue to stall.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia’s opposition reportedly relates to the Democrats’ climate change and child tax credit provisions of the budget proposal. While the majority of his party lauded both programs, the 50-50 Senate means that any one Democratic senator could tank the bill, giving Manchin veto-like power while representing a rural, coal-producing state that voted for former President Donald Trump by almost 40 points in 2020.

Multiple reports surfaced Friday suggesting that the Clean Electricity Payment Program would likely be scrapped from the bill due to Manchin’s objections, part of Democrats’ attempt to fight climate change. Those backing the program, which would provide incentives for clean energy use while implementing fines and penalties for organizations continuing to rely on fossil fuels, see it as a fundamental piece of the Democrats’ agenda and key to reaching President Joe Biden’s goal of reducing U.S. emissions by 50% of what they were in 2005 by 2030.

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Commentary: Vaccination Rates Not Linked to Lower COVID Rates, Epidemiology Paper Finds

On Friday, the San Francisco Chronicle published an article noting that California has some of the lowest COVID-19 case rates in the US, even though the Golden State’s vaccination rate lags many states that are currently struggling with the delta variant.

“One clear example is the New England states of Vermont and Maine,” the Chronicle reported. “Relatively shielded from the worst of the nation’s previous surges, they have struggled against the delta variant, which has sent their case rates soaring.”

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Harvard’s Endowment Ballooned by $11 Billion As It Fought off Student Class-Action Lawsuit over Tuition Costs

Outside of Harvard Law School

Harvard University announced Thursday that its endowment grew by $11.3 billion to a record $53.2 billion during the fiscal year ending in June, a year-over-year increase of 33.6%.

The announcement comes after Harvard, which runs the nation’s largest private university endowment, defeated a lawsuit from students who took umbrage with the school’s decision to not offer partial tuition refunds when it moved to online-only classes during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Fiscal year 2021 was an extraordinary year. Public and private markets both continued their strong performance, which allowed the endowment to not only increase its distribution to the University, but also continue to grow during this critical time when pandemic-related financial pressures challenge all of higher education,” Harvard Management Company Chief Executive N.P. Narvekar said in a report Thursday.

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‘Let’s Go Brandon’: Mischievous Meme Mocks Fake News and a Failing Presidency

It all started with a profanity that can’t be repeated here.

NBC Sports reporter Kelli Stavast was questioning NASCAR driver Brandon Brown about winning the Xfinity series at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 9. Crowd members began chanting, “F*** Joe Biden,” a phrase that had been popping up at sporting events across the country in recent weeks.

Stavast, either misinterpreting the chant or trying to clean up the phrase for broadcast standards, told NBC viewers the crowd was chanting, “Let’s Go Brandon” in Brown’s honor.

A meme was born.

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Lawmakers Say Amazon ‘Misled’ and ‘May Have Lied’ to Congress

Top members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Amazon chief executive Andy Jassy on Monday questioning whether the tech company’s executives lied under oath to Congress.

The letter, sent by a bipartisan group of lawmakers including House Judiciary Committee Chair Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York and House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee Ranking Member Republican Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, referred to Wednesday reporting from Reuters stating that Amazon used its online marketplace to collect data on competitors and manufacture imitations of their products, prioritizing its imitations over competitors’ products in search results. The lawmakers also cited a Thursday investigation by The Markup which found that Amazon provided its “brands” better search result locations than those awarded to competitors with better ratings and reviews.

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Commentary: Biden’s Possible Abandonment of Taiwan

Joe Biden

“Goodbye, great power competition and hello, strategic competition,” this is what the Biden Administration’s Pentagon spokesperson recently told Daniel Lipmann of Politico. According to analysts, these comments signal a shift toward a more cooperative, even conciliatory, American posture toward the Chinese Communist Party. Further, President Joe Biden told the media on October 6 that he had “spoken with [Chinese President Xi Jinping] about Taiwan. We agree that we will abide by the Taiwan Agreement.” 

The agreement that Mr. Biden was referring to was the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, an ambiguous agreement forged between China and the United States in which Taiwan would be treated by the United States as a foreign country without being formally recognized as such. While the 1979 agreement does allow for the provision of American military aid to Taiwan such that Taiwan can “maintain a sufficient self-defense capability,” the terms of this agreement allow for the Americans to shirk away from Taiwan whenever it is convenient for Washington do so.  

The Biden-Xi call came on the heels of China’s brazen violation of Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) during the week of October 1. At that time, China deployed more than 50 warplanes to violate Taiwan’s ADIZ, testing Taiwan’s overworked air defense network and pushing the island’s military to the point of exasperation. At some point, a grave miscalculation will occur between China and Taiwan—a mistake that could spark another world war that Washington is not prepared or willing to fight.

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Commentary: Colin Powell Was an American Patriot

It was an enormous shock to learn that Colin Powell died at 84 of complications from COVID-19.

His devotion to duty, commitment to America, and innate sense of dignity and decency, made him seem ageless and timeless.

We live near the Powells in McLean, Virginia.  Our pictures hang side-by-side at Simon’s Shoe and Luggage Repair. As a four-star general, Secretary of State, and National Security Adviser, Powell wandered around town as a normal citizen. He greeted one and all with courtesy and kindness.

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NYC’s Likely Next Mayor Says He’ll Expand Gifted Student Program, Not End It

Eric Adams of New York

Eric Adams, the likely next mayor of New York City, said Friday he would keep and expand the city’s gifted program which current Democratic Mayor Bill De Blasio planned to eliminate.

“[De Blasio] can’t get rid of it until next year. There’s nothing to put back in place,” Adams told a CNN host when asked if he would reinstate the city’s gifted program.

Adams said New York needs to expand accelerated learning by testing children throughout their educational experience. Under the current system, children are tested for the gifted program at four years old, before they have entered the school system.

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DHS Insider Blows Whistle on Biden Policies that Allow Sex and Drug Traffickers to Operate in U.S.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employee has gone public to expose U.S. immigration policies that help sex traffickers and drug cartels operate in the United States.

Aaron Stevenson, an intelligence research specialist for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), told Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe that he came forward because the Biden administration is dangerously overhauling America’s immigration policies with zero oversight.

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New Capitol Video Contradicts Justice Department, Media Narrative on January 6

Over the objection of Joe Biden’s Justice Department, a lengthy video clip showing U.S. Capitol Police allowing hundreds of people into the building on the afternoon of January 6 has been released to the public.

In July, Ethan Nordean, an alleged Proud Boy member charged for various crimes now held in a Seattle jail awaiting trial, petitioned the court to remove the “highly sensitive” designation on surveillance video that recorded Nordean entering the building with permission by U.S. Capitol Police. A group called the Press Coalition, representing news organizations including CNN, the New York Times, and the three major broadcast news networks, filed a motion in September to intervene in Nordean’s case and make the video footage public.

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Commentary: The Steady Decline of Our Once-Beloved Military

The highest echelon of the U.S. military is becoming dysfunctional. 

There are too many admirals and generals for the size of the current U.S. military. It now boasts three times the number of four-star admirals and generals than we had during World War II—when the country was in an existential war for survival and when, by 1945, our active military personnel was almost nine times larger than the current armed forces. 

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Biden Administration Has Lost Track of 45,000 Unaccompanied Minors Who Entered Illegally

The Biden-Harris administration has lost track of at least 45,000 unaccompanied minors who were brought across the southern border illegally — and President Joe Biden has yet to issue a statement about it.

So far this year, unaccompanied minors arriving at the border have hit record numbers. In June, there were 15,234 encounters with unaccompanied children, in July, 18,958 encounters, and in August, there were 18,847 encounters, according to Customs and Border Patrol data.

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‘Just Unconscionable’: Parents Protest Outside the Justice Department Against ‘Domestic Terrorist’ Label

Parents protesting

Frustration at school boards boiled over for some parents and activists who protested outside of the Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C. Sunday.

A small crowd gathered for the “Parents Are Not ‘Domestic Terrorists’ Rally,” a reference to Merrick Garland’s Oct. 4 memorandum that called on the FBI to “use its authority” in response to the “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”

Garland’s statement followed a letter from the National School Board Association (NSBA) that asked the federal government to get involved in the alleged “immediate threat” of violence from parents against American public schools and education officials. The letter encouraged President Joe Biden’s administration to use statutes such as the USA PATRIOT Act to address actions that could be “equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”

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Crom Carmichael Discusses the Experience of Inflation and the Dishonesty of the Biden Administration

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael in studio to discuss the dishonesty of the Biden administration and experiencing the effects.

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Host Michael Patrick Leahy and All-Star Panelist Crom Carmichael on Pros and Cons of New Ford Motor Site

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Crom Carmichael in studio to weigh in on the Ford Motor Company’s new Mega Site location outside of Memphis.

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Fox Nation Host Tomi Lahren Weighs in on Colin Powell, ‘Let’s Go Brandon.’ and the Border

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Fox Nation Host of No Interruption, Tomi Lahren to the newsmakers line to weigh in on Colin Powell’s passing, “Let’s Go Brandon,” and the border crisis.

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University of Connecticut Grants Student-Led Demand to Declare Racism a ‘Public Health Crisis’

After pressure from student activists, the University of Connecticut has declared racism a “public health crisis.”

The university’s interim president, Andrew Agwunobi, released a statement September 22 that lauded UConn’s Undergraduate Student Government for asking that the school “follow the state [of Connecticut] in declaring racism a public health crisis.”

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Department of Justice Issues Stinging Rebuke of Biden’s Hope of Capitol Riot Prosecutions

The U.S. Department of Justice this week issued a rare and pointed clapback against President Joe Biden after the latter expressed a desire to see prosecutions in connection with the Jan. 6 congressional investigation.

Asked on Friday what should happen to individuals who defy the subpoenas of the Jan. 6 commission, Biden said, “I hope that the committee goes after them and holds them accountable criminally.”

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Expect Inflation, Supply Shortages to Last Well into 2022, Economists Say

High inflation will last well into 2022, economists say, indicating that supply chain bottlenecks will keep increasing prices and curbing production.

Experts expect to see average inflation of 5.25% in December, slightly down from the current maximum predicted 5.4% figure, according to The Wall Street Journal. If inflation stays around its current level, Americans will experience the longest period during which inflation has stayed above 5% since 1991.

“It’s a perfect storm: supply-chain bottlenecks, tight labor markets, ultra-easy monetary and fiscal policies,” Michael Moran, Daiwa Capital Markets America’s chief economist, told the WSJ.

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Music Spotlight: A Tale of Two

If Bonnie and Clyde had been musicians instead of bank robbers, they would have been the vocal duo, A Tale Of Two. Combining the best of Americana and Blues melodies with timeless “Southern Gothic” storytelling, Nashville-based A Tale Of Two is an undeniable rising duo in today’s Roots Music scene. Meeting in the local Nashville Jazz venues, Award-Winning vocalist Stephanie Adlington and guitarist Aaron Lessard began performing and writing together, recognizing their artistic chemistry.

A Tale of Two’s inspiration comes from an earlier time and place. In the 1930s, Adlington affirms that “the culture of the time was a lot more interesting than it is now. But of course, we romanticize it. We weren’t there.”

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Roughly 40 Percent of Americans Say They Recently Suffered Financial Difficulties, Study Shows

Soldiers assigned the Ohio National Guard’s HHC 1-148th Infantry Regiment – 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and the Ohio Military Reserve, give the thumbs-up for troopers assigned to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, to send more vehicles through the line at a drive through food distribution event at the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank, May 9, 2020. The food bank teamed up with the Ohio National Guard and the Highway Patrol to conduct the first-ever drive through event at the food bank. More than 700 Ohio National Guard and Ohio Military Reserve members were activated to provide humanitarian missions in support of Operation Steady Resolve COVID-19 relief efforts, continuing The Ohio National Guard’s long history of supporting humanitarian efforts throughout Ohio and the nation. To date, the Ohio National Guard has assisted in the distribution of more than 9.9 million pounds of food and pantry items to Ohioans in need. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Beth Holliker)

Over 40% of U.S. households said they experienced severe financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic, citing difficulties paying bills, credit cards and draining their savings, according to a Harvard University report.

The survey conducted by the Harvard T.H.Chan School of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the National Public Radio asked roughly 3,600 participants between July and August about problems they faced during the pandemic and how it affected their lives in recent months. Respondents were asked about financial, healthcare, education and personal safety concerns.

Roughly 30% of adults interviewed said they used up all or most of their savings during the pandemic, while 10% reported they had no savings before the pandemic began, according to the report.  About one in five households had difficulties paying credit cards, loans, and other debts as well as utilities.

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Gang Blamed for Kidnapping 17 American Missionaries in Haiti

Missionaries of Charity in Haiti

A gang known for previous abductions has been blamed for the kidnapping of 17 American missionaries in Haiti on Saturday, NBC News reported.

The Christian Aid Ministries missionaries were kidnapped on their way from the construction of an orphanage, according to a message from Ohio-based ministry, NBC reported.

“This is a special prayer alert,” the ministry’s one-minute message said. “Pray that the gang members would come to repentance.”

The U.S. Embassy is working with the field director of the mission, whose family stayed at the ministry’s base with an unidentified man while the abduction took place, the message said.

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Mike Doyle the Latest Democratic Congressman to Retire Ahead of Midterms

Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania announced his retirement Monday after 14 terms in the House, becoming the latest Democrat to retire just over a year from the midterms.

Doyle represents Pittsburgh and is the dean of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation. His decision comes as Democrats seek to defend their 220-212 House majority and they struggle to pass President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda despite their control of both chambers.

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Gretchen Whitmer May Be Forced to Return Millions in Illegal Campaign Contributions

Gretchen Whitmer

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) may be forced to return millions in campaign contributions that exceeded individual donation limits, a court filing hinted this week.

Whitmer recently collected some donations as high as $250,000 — blowing past the $7,150 individual limit — by claiming she was under threat of recall. No real recall threat ever materialized. In fact, the chief proponent, Chad Baase, recently revealed that he moved to California.

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AAA Says Gas Prices in Florida Will Continue to Rise Through Winter Months

Gas up the car

In a recent report from AAA auto club, it suggests that gas prices in Florida will continue to increase into the winter months as a result of global supply concerns over crude-oil and gasoline.

According to AAA, as of Monday, the average price per gallon of unleaded gas in Florida is $3.18 and is expected to increase to $3.20 before they expect for it to go back down. The national average gas price is $3.33.

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Georgia’s Soaring Crime Rates Possibly Due to Nathan Deal’s Criminal Justice Reforms, Experts Say

Two separate things have likely enabled Georgia’s repeat violent offenders to go on breaking additional laws while, at the same time, forcing Atlanta’s crime rates to soar. Unelected judges in Georgia are the first cause. Former governor Nathan Deal’s criminal justice reforms are the second.

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Florida State Sen. Annette Taddeo Announces Bid for Governor

Florida State Sen. Annette Taddeo (D-FL-40) announced her bid for governor yesterday, totaling the number of Democrats in the gubernatorial race to three. Taddeo is joining her former gubernatorial running mate from 2014, Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL-13), and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried in the Democratic primary race.

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Ramsey County Sheriff Opposes County Attorney’s Move to Not Prosecute Juveniles

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher wrote a letter to Ramsey County Attorney John Choi opposing his Collaborative Review Team (CRT), saying that it returns dangerous juveniles to society. In his letter, Fletcher asks Choi to pause the program until certain issues are resolved.

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Rep. Sanfelippo: Governor Evers’ Violence Prevention Efforts Ignore Police

One state Republican lawmaker says Gov. Tony Evers’ violence prevention efforts ignore the police.

Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, R-New Berlin, on Monday said the governor has failed to support law enforcement.

“We have seen what Bash the Blue solutions have done to help combat the spread of crime – absolutely nothing. In fact, it has only made things worse. Homicides are up. Aggravated assaults are up. Motor vehicle thefts are up. Arson is up,” Sanfelippo said.

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Arizona Department of Economic Security Launching Program to Subsidize Utility Bills for Some Customers

Doug Ducey

The Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) and Governor Doug Ducey announced on Friday that the state will launch a program to help subsidize utility bills for certain customers.

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) will allow the state to enter a partnership with multiple private companies in order to ease the payment burden on residents of the state.

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Despite Soft-on-Crime Approach, Progressive Prosecutor Wanted to Throw Loudoun County Dad in Jail for Disorderly Conduct

A Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney, known for her soft-on-crime approach to prosecuting, reportedly want to throw Scott Smith in jail for two misdemeanors after he was arrested at a June 22 Loudoun County School Board (LCSB) meeting. 

Smith, who was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, was protesting anti-transgender bathroom policies in the Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS).

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Citing Precincts with Ballot Return Rate Greater Than 100 Percent, Donald Trump Calls to Decertify Pima County’s 2020 Election or Hold a New One

Former President Donald Trump issued a statement on October 15 denouncing the results of an investigation of mail-in ballots in Pima County’s 2020 election, calling for either the results for president to be decertified with Trump declared the winner or hold a new election. He said the election was “Rigged and Stolen,” citing “staggering anomalies and fictitious votes” that “stuffed the ballot box” with more ballots than were sent out in some precincts. Arizona Rep. Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley), who is running for Arizona Secretary of State, echoed Trump’s claims, saying there are “34,000 or 35,000 fictitious voters” in Pima County.

Trump said the analysis was done from publicly available election data, and showed that mail-in ballots returned in Pima County during the election initially showed him up 3 points over other Republicans, with Joe Biden underperforming other Democrats by 3 points. Then the mail-in ballots started returning at an abnormally high rate, over 87%, and Trump suddenly started performing worse and Biden better. However, “they overplayed their hand, and got caught. Two precincts in Pima had over 100 percent turnout for mail-in ballots — which is impossible — and 40 precincts had over 97% returned.”

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Arizona City to Consider Renaming Some Parks, Streets to Address Historic Ties to KKK

Officials with the city of Tempe will consider changing the name of several city parks and streets named for individuals associated with the Ku Klux Klan.

According to research from Tempe History Museum staff and records from the Arizona Historical Society and Phoenix Public Library, multiple locations in the city are named after members who belonged to the hate group. 

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Illinois Democrats Seek to Maximize Their Party’s Seats, Axe Republicans in New Proposed Congressional Map

Rep. Kinzinger

Democrats in Illinois’ state legislature Friday released a new map that would shore up all of their party’s incumbents in Congress and likely eliminate two of the state’s five Republicans.

The proposal would give Democrats a 14-3 advantage in the state, compared to the current 13-5 map. Illinois is one of several states losing a congressional seat this upcoming decade, and the new map, if adopted, would shore up Democrats in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs and create a winding Democratic seat that stretches from East St. Louis up through the middle of the state.

That district includes much of what is now held by Republican Rep. Rodney Davis, and includes Springfield, the state’s capital, Decatur and Champaign, home to the University of Illinois. The new map also shores up Rep. Cheri Bustos’ northern Illinois seat by having it encompass Bloomington, home to Illinois State University.

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Majority of Michigan Republican Legislators Oppose National Popular Vote Proposal

Rep. Matt Hall and Senator Aric Nesbitt

A proposal to force Michigan’s presidential electors to cast ballots for the national popular vote winner — regardless of the results in the state — is meeting opposition from a majority of Republican legislators.

State Sen. Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton) and state Rep. Matt Hall (R-Marshall) spearheaded the effort to collect 57 signatures from legislators opposed to the idea. According to the Detroit News, 17 of the 20 Republican senators and 40 of the 57 Republican representatives signed on in opposition.

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Virginia Gubernatorial Race Still Close with Two Weeks Left

Former President Obama is coming to Virginia to campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, one of several Democratic heavyweights to stump for the once and would-be future governor. However, the de-facto leader of the Republican Party, former President Donald Trump, hasn’t made a stop in Virginia to support GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin. Since the nominating convention, Youngkin has pivoted away from Trump and hard-line Republicans and successfully pulled some independents away from McAuliffe, who is turning to souls-to-the-polls events and big names like Obama, first Lady Jill Biden, Stacey Abrams, and Vice President Kamala Harris to boost turnout among the Democratic faithful.

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‘Citywide Intergenerational Peace March’ Held in Milwaukee

A “Citywide Intergenerational Peace March” was held in Milwaukee on Saturday by community members in response to the rising levels of violence. WISN 12 reported that this year, Milwaukee has had 152 homicides, and 710 non-fatal shootings to date, which is more than double the number of shootings from 2019.

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Day Cares Experience a Rush of Inquiries as Workforce Rebounds in Arizona

A combination of the COVID-19 pandemic separating employees from their day care outlets and new workers moving in has parents in Arizona facing a shortage of places to keep their young children while they work. 

Day cares around the country saw their clientele vanish when the pandemic laid off millions of parents who paid handsomely for their children to learn while they worked.

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Gov. Whitmer Signs Bill Guaranteeing Vaccine Exemptions for College Students

The state of Michigan’s most recent budget includes robust protections for college students seeking exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccine.

House Bill 4400 — signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) on September 29 — requires that all universities receiving a state appropriation must ensure that students can receive religious and medical exemptions from the vaccine, provided that they obtain a letter from a physician or draft a statement articulating their religious beliefs.

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Walz Snaps When Asked About Minnesota Republicans’ Priorities: ‘None of Those Things are Real’

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz snapped at reporters Friday when he was asked about Republican priorities for a special session that has been in the works for months.

“They wanted an absolute ban on vaccine passports, which we don’t have a damn vaccine passport so quit pretending on the politics. My patience level is gone,” Walz said Friday during a visit to North Memorial Hospital.

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Virginia Tech Replaces Professor Who Apologized for Being White on Syllabus

Virginia Tech University Department of Human Development and Family Science just removed Crystal Duncan Lane from teaching a course after she apologized for her Whiteness in the course syllabus.  

April Few-Demo, the head of the Department of Human Development and Family Science, sent a message to students in Human Development 1134 to announce that Duncan Lane had to be removed from the course due to “a special circumstance.” 

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Virginia’s Gubernatorial Hopeful Youngkin Campaign Responds to Stacey Abrams Campaigning for McAuliffe

The campaign for Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin blasted its Democrat opponent Terry McAuliffe for campaigning with failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. 

“Terry McAuliffe said he was proud to be endorsed by radical ‘defund the police’ groups, and now he’s campaigning with the radical Stacey Abrams, who said the election was stolen from her, compared law enforcement officers to terrorists, opposed enforcing our immigration laws, and supported defunding the police,” Youngkin spokesperson Macauley Porter told The Virginia Star. “Virginians are seeing that Terry McAuliffe is too extreme for Virginia and will reject his anti-police, liberal agenda at the polls.”

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With a Week Left, Virginia Redistricting Commission Far from Consensus on Congressional District Maps

With no quorum, the Virginia Redistricting Commission couldn’t take any votes in its Monday meeting, but the commissioners heard legal discussion of the definition of fairness, and heard public comment on a recent draft map of congressional district that combined Republican proposal for southwest Virginia with the Democratic proposal for northern Virginia. One of the commenters was Sam Shirazi — a member of the public who highlighted links between parts of the draft and maps submitted through public comment by former Virginia Congressman Tom Davis (R-VA-11).

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Ohio Democrats Revive Plan for Universal Health Care

Ohio Democrats again have introduced legislation that would give universal health care to Ohioans, despite failing with the effort over the past decade.

Sen. Teresa Fedor, D-Toledo, said Senate Bill 253, the Ohio Health Care Plan, would provide universal, single-payer access to health care, dental care and vision care for all Ohioans.

Similar legislation has been introduced in each two-year-session over the past 10 years. Each has had little movement. Lawmakers have not yet said how much the proposal would cost the state.

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Virginia Receives $5 Million Grant to Train Shipbuilding Workers

Virginia received a $5 million federal grant to fund a K-12 to university training pipeline intended to produce shipbuilding workers for the Navy, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday.

The money, which the Department of Defense awarded to the Virginia Defense Manufacturing Community, will be used to teach skills to students in the Danville and Norfolk areas that would prepare them to work for defense manufacturing industries. It is designed to boost the local workforce in those industries with local people.

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Text Messages Reveal DeWine and Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Nan Whaley Routinely Compliment Job Performance

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R) and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D), who are both running for governor in 2022, routinely have complimented each other’s job performance, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a report from the Cincinnati Enquirer, DeWine and Whaley exchanged numerous text messages over the past years where they praised each other, while publicly disagreeing.

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Vacation Rental Battle Lined Up for Florida Legislature

Regulation over the vacation rental industry is teed up, once again for the upcoming Florida Legislative session. Sen. Jason Fischer (R-FL-4) filed legislation to grant the regulation of vacation-rental platforms, like Airbnb or Vrbo, to the state. The bill, HB 325, would remove the regulatory power away from local municipalities.

City and county governments have fought similar legislation, saying they should be able to regulate their properties on a local level.

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