Team Tennessee Wins at the National Constitution Bee

At the fifth National Constitution Bee, held at the SpringHill Suites Marriott on Saturday, Team Tennessee ran away with the National Constitution Bee teams competition’s top prize.

This year, the National Constitution Bee had a total of twenty-two students competing for the Grand Championship that included a $10,000 education scholarship.

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Tennessee Readies to Approve $22.7M in Business Incentives

Thermo Fisher building

Tennessee’s State Funding Board is scheduled to approve $22.7 million in FastTrack economic incentive grants at its Monday meeting.

The grants include $10.5 million to Life Technologies Corporation’s Thermo Fisher Scientific for its technology assembly facility in Lebanon, which the company has invested more than $100 million in and is expected to employ 1,400 people.

The Smith & Wesson Company is set to receive a $9 million FastTrack grant as it prepares to move its operations and corporate office to Maryville in Blount County.

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Commentary: Migration Crisis Is a Battle of Americanists Against Transformationists

The ongoing mass illegal migration crisis is best understood as an existential conflict between two forces: Americanists vs. Transformationists. These forces, in turn, represent two competing regimes or ways of life. But first, let us review what has been going on at the U.S.-Mexico border since Joe Biden’s inauguration.

The September surge of thousands of illegal Haitian border crossers from Chile and Brazil camped under an international bridge in Del Rio, Texas is simply the latest debacle in the never-ending migration crisis. Month after month, day after day, the border between the United States and Mexico becomes more porous, more chaotic, more lawless, and more violent. Nine months after January 20 there is no end in sight as record numbers of illegal migrants pour into the United States. In early October both NBC News and the Daily Mail reported that, according to the Department of Homeland Security, up to 400,000 illegal migrants could cross the border this month, doubling the 21-year record set in July. 

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Previously Convicted Cocaine Felon in Nashville Could Face Federal Charges for Allegedly Shooting Girlfriend

A person whom the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) describe as a “convicted cocaine felon” could face federal prosecution after authorities arrested him for allegedly shooting his girlfriend last week. MNPD officials this week announced the arrest of that man, Demarco Watson, 25.

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Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Hosts Event That Educates People on How to Be Aware of Financial Fraud Schemes

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) held a FaceBook Live where they discussed how to be aware of financial fraud schemes. The group, hosted by PBS Book’s Fred Nahhat, discussed how to spot scammers, 

From 2020, Donna Lowry said that “the federal trade commission recorded more than 3.3 billon dollars lost to financial fraud schemes. It was up almost double from the year before.”

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Fiscal Year 2021 Becomes Third-Highest Year on Record in Border Encounters, Reaching 1.7 Million

Border officials encountered the third-highest number of migrants at the southern border on record, reaching more than 1.7 million apprehensions, according to Customs and Border Protection data.

Border officials reported 192,000 encounters with migrants attempting to illegally enter the U.S. through the southwest border in September, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data. A record high of more than 213,500 migrants were apprehended in July and another 209,800 were encountered in August.

“CBP encounters along the Southwest border declined in September from the prior month, and a majority of noncitizens encountered were expelled under Title 42,” Acting CBP Commissioner Troy Miller said in a statement. “The men and women of CBP continued to rise admirably to the challenge, despite the strain associated with operating during a global pandemic that has claimed far too many lives among our frontline personnel.”

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White House Report Proposes Granting Refugee Status for ‘Climate Change Activism’

A Thursday White House report on climate change and national security proposed granting refugee status for individuals identified as “climate change activists” or “environmental defenders.”

“Climate activists, or environmental defenders, persecuted for speaking out on government inaction on climate change may also have a plausible claim to refugee status,” the report said. It notes that if a government “withholds or denies relief from the impacts of climate change” to people who “share a protected characteristic in a manner and to a degree amounting to persecution,” then these individuals could also be “eligible for refugee status.”

The report goes on to discuss actions for the U.S. government to consider in addressing the relationship between climate change and migration, including considering claims based on “climate change activism” and situations where individuals may not be granted governmental relief from climate change’s impact.

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Commentary: Three Environmental Doomsday Myths, Debunked

For many, thinking about the future of our planet is terrifying. According to a global survey reported by the BBC, 56 percent of young people believe that humanity is doomed because of climate change and 45 percent say that their anxiety about the climate affects their daily lives. Here in the US, the story is much the same; three-quarters of Americans believe that climate change will result in the extinction of man, and one in five millennials believe that that extinction will occur within their lifetime.

A college student recently wrote the following in a campus newspaper about her climate anxiety:

I stay up into the early hours of the morning, Googling some variation of “Is there hope for climate change,” and “Biden climate change plan good?” (…) I fret over every piece of waste I encounter, wondering whether I should trash it or wash it and hope it qualifies for the recycling bin. What if I wash the aluminum foil I heated leftover lasagna on, does it become recyclable then? The anxiety is crippling.

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An Afghan Refugee Who Didn’t Have Special Immigrant Visa Status Allegedly Raped a Girl in Montana

An Afghan refugee was arrested last weekend for allegedly raping a girl he met at a bar in Missoula, Montana.

Zabihullah Mohmand, who is 19 years old, is in Montana as part of the Afghan Placement and Assistance Program, according to NBC Montana. This program is part of the federal government’s refugee resettlement program.

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Texas, Missouri Attorney Generals Sue Biden Administration over Border Wall

Eric Schmitt and Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a second joint lawsuit against the Biden administration on Thursday over the ongoing border crisis.

Meeting on the banks of the Rio Grande River south of El Paso, Texas, the two Republican attorneys general said they are demanding that the federal government continue to build the border wall using funds Congress appropriated for its use. One of Biden’s first acts in office was to halt construction of the border wall, which they argue violates federal law.

Additionally, it currently costs taxpayers $3 million a day to not build the wall due to contractual obligations with the construction firm tasked with building it.

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Lyft’s Safety Report Shows Thousands of Sexual Assaults over Three Years

Man driving a car with GPS set up on dashboard

Lyft reported 1,807 sexual assaults in 2019 in its first-ever safety report, released Thursday. The release mentioned that in 2019 the company received 156 reports of rape and 114 reports of attempted rape.

The rideshare company’s release listed categories of sexual assault ranging from “non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part” to “non-consensual sexual penetration.” Reports of all five categories of sexual assault included in the release increased from 2018 to 2019.

From 2017 to 2019, rape was reported in about one in 5 million Lyft rides, according to the release. There were 4,158 total reports of sexual assault in Lyft rides during those years.

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Poll: Vast Majority of Americans Want to See Political Change

Woman holding sign that says "Our future's on the line"

A significant majority of Americans see the need for changes to their political system, a Thursday Pew Research Center poll found.

At least 85% of Americans polled stated that their political system “needs to be completely reformed” or “needs major changes,” according to the poll. Meanwhile, 66% of Americans saw the need for change or reform in the U.S. economic system and 76% saw the need for transformation in the healthcare system, the poll found.

Less than half of respondents expressed satisfaction with U.S. democracy, while 58% said they were “not satisfied,” according to the poll. Pew Research Center noted that “Dissatisfaction with functioning of democracy is linked to concerns about the economy, the pandemic and social divisions.”

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Commentary: Biden’s Unlawful Plan to Federalize Elections

Person voting in poll booth

The White House recently issued a statement regarding new actions dozens of federal agencies are taking related to voter registration. These actions come in response to an order President Joe Biden issued back in March.

The order commanded the heads of every federal agency to submit a plan outlining their strategy to engage in voter registration and mobilization efforts to the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, Susan Rice. This is an unlawful effort by the Biden administration to federalize elections and keep the president and his political party in power.

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Top House Antitrust Lawmakers Held Meeting with Facebook Whistleblower

David Cicilline and Ken Buck

Top lawmakers in the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee met with Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen on Thursday, a person familiar with the matter confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, who chairs the subcommittee, and Republican Rep. Ken Buck, who serves as ranking member, held a meeting with Haugen to discuss Facebook and issues related to social media competition, Politico first reported, citing two sources. A person familiar with the matter confirmed the meeting to the DCNF, and said the lawmakers also discussed potential antitrust reforms, as well as matters related to privacy and social media algorithms.

Buck and Cicilline worked together to advance a series of antitrust bills targeting major tech companies out of the House Judiciary Committee in June, and have both advocated for breaking up Facebook and other large platforms. The antitrust bills are currently set to reach the House floor in November.

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Cargo Companies Warn That Vaccine Mandates Could Worsen Supply Chain Crisis

Several cargo boxes on a ship in the ocean

A trade association representing all of the major cargo companies in the United States is warning that if Joe Biden actively purses more vaccine mandates, it could further disrupt an already-weakened supply chain, according to Politico.

Stephen Alterman, president of the Cargo Airline Association (CAA) sent a letter to the Biden Administration expressing concern over an upcoming December 8th deadline.

“We have significant concerns with the employer mandates announced on September 9th, 2021,” Alterman said, “and the ability of industry members to implement the required employee vaccinations by December 8th, 2021.”

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Georgia Rep. Barry Loudermilk Tells Maxine Waters That Government Meddling Caused Rotten Economy

Representative Barry Loudermilk (R-GA-11) said during a House Financial Services hearing this week that the government’s meddling in the economy and its out-of-control-spending cause the current economic disaster, but Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA-43) evidently disagreed. “Let’s stop pushing the policies that are causing the problems. Out-of-control spending is causing consumer prices to skyrocket. The massive expansion of entitlements has caused millions of people to stay at home and not go to work. Hence, the supply chain catastrophe that we are currently in. There is an all-time-record of unfilled jobs, and, by the way, an economist just came out and said the reconciliation bill will cost 8 million jobs,” Loudermilk said.

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Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry Forecasts Political Future

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry is term limited in his current post, but he has already begun teasing his future political plans.

“I’m looking forward to the upcoming political season. 2022 & 2023 are coming at us fast,” Curry tweeted. “I’m as rested, rejuvenated & ready to roll as ever. & I’ve been in the middle of some tough campaigns. Elections matter. I am older, wiser, more experienced and have more energy & stamina now than any campaign I’ve been in or apart of. Got into this with purpose many years ago and will see it through.”

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Arizona Teacher Shortages Continue for Sixth Year

Public Schools Racist

About a quarter of teacher vacancies across the state remain unfilled in 2021, with 55.4% of the vacancies are filled by teachers who do not meet the state’s standard certification requirements, according to a Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association survey of 145 school districts and charter schools. 

This marks the sixth consecutive year of teacher shortages in Arizona. Approximately a quarter of teacher vacancies have remained unfilled a month into each school year since 2016, ASPAA’s press release said. 

Twenty-six percent of teaching positions were open a few weeks into the school year, a 6% increase from the 21% vacancy rate in 2019, even though there were 400 less positions to fill this year than in 2019. As of Sept. 10, 2021, ASPAA counted 1,698.67 vacancies in its Oct. 12 report. 

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Gov. Northam: Virginia Should Reach Universal Broadband by 2024

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam

Virginia is on pace to have universal broadband access throughout the commonwealth by 2024 following a record number of local and private sector applications to match state investments, Gov. Ralph Northam announced.

After the most recent application window closed, the state received 57 applications from 84 localities for about $943 million worth of state funding, which leverages about $1.15 billion worth of private and local matching funds. In total, this amounts to an investment larger than $2 billion, which the governor’s office estimates will connect more than 250,000 homes to broadband internet.

“Broadband is as critical today as electricity was in the last century,” Northam said in a statement. “Making sure more Virginians can get access to it has been a priority since I took office, and the pandemic pushed us all to move even faster. Virginia is now on track to achieve universal broadband by 2024, which means more connections, more investments, easier online learning, and expanded telehealth options, especially in rural Virginia.”

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Arizona Attorney General Brnovich Files Request for Temporary Restraining Order Against Biden’s Vaccine Mandate

After filing the first lawsuit in the country to stop President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for businesses with over 100 employees, federal employees and federal contractors, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is now amending it to request a temporary restraining order and nationwide preliminary injunction. He cites a lengthy list of problems with the mandate, beginning the 54-page brief by saying, “This case presents circumstances that would have been unthinkable to our Founding Fathers.” 

In a statement, Brnovich declared, “Once a vaccine has been administered, it can never be undone. The COVID-19 vaccine mandate is one of the greatest infringements upon individual liberty, federalism, and the separation of powers by any administration in our country’s history.”

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City of Tallahassee Backs Abortion Resolution, Critical of ‘Anti-Abortion Pregnancy Centers’

An abortion resolution is on the October 28th Tallahassee City Commission agenda after being pulled from the agenda of a previous meeting. The resolution supports abortion rights and is critical of abortion restrictions and pregnancy centers.

The text of the resolution is provided below.

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Former President Barack Obama Stumps for Gubernatorial Hopeful Terry McAuliffe in Richmond

Former President Barack Obama joined Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe in Virginia’s capital on Saturday. From the steps of a library in the center of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), McAuliffe, Obama, and other top Virginia Democrats reminded the young crowd of key Democratic victories, including expanded abortion access, felon voting rights restoration, Medicaid expansion, and legalizing gay marriage. Threatening that progress, they said, is GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin.

McAuliffe said he would work for Virginians in a bipartisan way.

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Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy Director Says Benton Harbor Water Unsafe to Drink, Situation ‘Inexcusable’

Main Street Downtown Benton Harbor

When Liesl Clark, director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), was asked five times in a row whether Benton Harbor’s water was safe to drink, she repeatedly said, “the state of Michigan wants citizens to be drinking bottled water.”

“Come on, let’s talk like normal people here,” Rep. Steve Johnson, R-Wayland, responded. “It’s a normal question: Is the water in Benton Harbor safe to drink or not?”

Clark eventually answered “no,” and recommended residents drink bottled water.

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University of Tennessee Expands UT Promise Scholarship Eligibility

Girl with brunette hair reading in a library

On Thursday in a press release, the University of Tennessee System announced plans to extend the household income level for UT Promise scholarship recipients. UT Promise is a last-dollar scholarship program that guarantees free tuition and fees after other financial aid is received for undergraduate, Tennessee residents with a family household income under $60,000 enrolling at University of Tennessee campuses located in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Martin, Memphis and Pulaski.

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Wisconsin Mom: School Board Recall Effort About Parents Getting Involved, Not Just Masks

What started out as frustration over coronavirus rules and face masks has now grown into an effort across Wisconsin to recall dozens of local school board members.

Voters in the Mequon-Thiensville school district will decide on Nov 2 if four members of the local school board should keep their seats. Mequon-Thiensville is just the latest of Wisconsin’s school board recalls.

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General Assembly Keeps Foreign Languages, Home Economics in Ohio Schools

Cleveland Metropolitan School District 8th grade students read with their kindergarten buddies and help the young learners discover the joy of reading.

Foreign languages, business education and home economics still will be a required part of curriculum in Ohio schools after the Ohio Senate voted unanimously to stop a proposal from the Ohio Department of Education that would have allowed them to be eliminated.

The Senate concurred with House Concurrent Resolution 35 to stop a plan that would have changed the state’s administrative code to eliminate those required courses of study, a change put forth by the State Board of Education. The House passed the resolution, 95-0.

Wednesday’s vote marked the first time in 25 years the General Assembly stopped a rule from going into effect, according to Sen. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, who serves on the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review.

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Ohio Senate Secures Gun-Ownership Rights During Emergencies

Tom Schaffer

The Ohio Senate has solidified gun rights, limited government power in an emergency and clarified knives are included in the right to bear arms.

Senate Bill 185, which passed 23-7, stops the state or local governments from confiscating any lawfully owned gun during a declared emergency. Sen. Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, said it protects Ohioans’ right to protect themselves and does not add any new gun rights.

“This legislation will protect the rights of Ohioans to their firearms recognizing their natural right to self-defense, as well as to feed their families during times of declared emergencies,” Schaffer said.

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Minneapolis Rideshare Drivers Experiencing Spike in Robberies and Carjackings

Uber and Lyft drivers in Minneapolis are facing a slew of robberies and carjackings, Crime Watch Minneapolis reported this week.

In an article published Thursday, Crime Watch Minneapolis recounted the various incidents against rideshare drivers heard on Minneapolis police scanners since Oct. 1. The crime watchdog noted that “many of those reports have included assaults on the drivers and the use of guns in the robberies.”

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Braeden Farley of Spring Hill, Tennessee Named National Constitution Bee Grand Champion for 2021

Braeden Farley, a home schooled senior from Spring Hill, Tennessee, won the 2021 National Constitution Bee held Saturday at the Spring Hill Suites by Marriott in Brentwood.

Senior Braeden Farley of Spring Hill, Tennessee took home the Grand Champion prize of a $10,000 education scholarship. Braeden is the second in his family to bring home the Grand Champion prize. In 2017, Braeden’s older brother Noah Farley won the Grand Championship at The Tennessee Star Constitution Bee.

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