Twitter Admits ‘Error’ in Suspending Just the News Founder John Solomon’s Account over COVID Facts

Twitter late Thursday acknowledged that Just the News founder and Editor-in-Chief John Solomon’s account was “suspended in error” this week over a post about a COVID-19 vaccine.

The respond follows an appeal earlier in the day by Solomon after his account was suspended Tuesday for his tweet linking to the article “Pfizer to continue distributing version of COVID-19 vaccine not fully approved by FDA.”

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Senator Hagerty Celebrates Constituent Assistance During First Year in Position

Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) on Thursday celebrated constituent service victories completed by his staff throughout the first year of his term.

In a statement sent exclusively to The Tennessee Star, the state’s junior senator pledged to continue to make the concerns of Tennesseans his top priority.

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Congressman Mark Green Calls Out Biden’s ‘Counterproductive’ Vaccine Mandates

U.S Representative Mark Green (R-TN-07) on Tuesday called out President Joe Biden for his “counterproductive” vaccine mandates.

Green, like many other Republican officials, argued Biden’s mandates are hypocritical, as the commander-in-chief admitted “there is no federal solution” to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Commentary: The Top 10 Websites for Science in 2021

Man on sight with microscope

Science communicators once again had their hands full in 2021. Between two and three million research articles were published this year, announcing discoveries from the microscopic to the cosmic and from the (relatively) mundane to the controversial. The gigantic elephant in the room – COVID-19 – also continued to hang around, killing millions while dishonest actors manufactured misinformation galore.

Separating science from pseudoscience, hype from reality, and truth from fiction, all while reporting honestly and coherently, can be a struggle. But each year, writers at a range of websites prove they are up to the task. At RealClearScience, we honor them in our annual listing of the top websites for science.

Honorable Mentions:

ScienceNews has provided dependable science journalism since 1921.

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As Gas Costs Soared in 2021, Prices Remained Among Lowest in Oklahoma, Texas

While gas prices have soared nationwide this year, average prices at the pump have remained among the lowest in Oklahoma and Texas, in part because they are significant oil and gas hubs for the nation.

The lowest current average regular gas prices per gallon are $2.822 in Oklahoma and $2.825 in Texas. Oklahomans have had the lowest prices nationwide throughout the surge of gas prices this fall, AAA reports. In the spring, Oklahoma’s average gas prices were the sixth-lowest in the nation.

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Commentary: Great Americans Gone in 2021

Angelo Codevilla and Rush Limbaugh

The February 17 departure of Rush Limbaugh got the most attention, and deservedly so. To instruct and entertain simultaneously is a tough task, and Limbaugh performed in fine style. There may never be another. 

That description also applies to Angelo Codevilla, who died at 78 on September 21. His “remarkable intellect and insights,” were on full display over a long and productive career. For his many readers, and those who didn’t know him at all, the brilliant scholar might have saved the best for last. 

Born on May 25, 1943, in Voghera, Italy, Angelo Codevilla came to the United States in 1955 and became a U.S. citizen in 1962. The eager immigrant earned degrees at Rutgers, Notre Dame, and Claremont Graduate School and taught at Georgetown, Stanford, and Boston University. Along the way, Codevilla served in the U.S. Navy, as a foreign service officer, and a staffer on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

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Senators Demand Answers on Afghan Evacuee Vetting, Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants

Republican U.S. senators are keeping the pressure on the Biden administration over its immigration policies, demanding answers from Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on the number of Afghan evacuees in the U.S. and their vetting process, as well as information about foreign nationals in the country who have overstayed their visas.

They raise concerns about Mayorkas not providing information to Congress, suggesting his reason for not doing so is political and related to the Democrats’ plan to give amnesty to roughly 6.5 million illegal immigrants as the ongoing border crisis continues.

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Commentary: The Pandemic Has Increased the Need for Student Tutoring

Two people writing on a dry-erase board

The first time I caught a plagiarized essay was at the beginning of my career as an English professor over 20 years ago. Two of my students had turned in papers with more than a few suspiciously similar phrases, and a quick Google search revealed that they had lifted whole paragraphs directly from an academic website about American poetry that was, as far as I could tell, honestly trying to help students understand the subject.

The culture of student cheating on the Internet has come a long way since then, and the COVID-19 pandemic has brought it into even sharper focus. One thing that has changed dramatically in the past two decades is that students aren’t turning to crude HTML sites put together by well-intentioned poetry scholars to cheat on their assignments, but to sophisticated “homework help” sites like Chegg.com that grew by almost 70 percent during the pandemic, reaching a current market cap of $8.5 billion.

Chegg is trying to encourage university faculty to partner with it, claiming (accurately) that “90% of college students say they need more help with their studies.” But the solution to helping students with their homework isn’t to move them onto online platforms that could easily be exploited for student cheating. Rather, students need to work with peer tutors on their own campuses.

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Many U.S. Shoppers Racked Up Debt This Holiday Season

Many U.S. consumers racked up debt this holiday season, and most of them won’t be able to pay it off immediately, according to a report published Wednesday.

Around 36% of consumers went into debt, spending on presents, plane tickets and decorations, owing an average of $1,249, up from 31% in 2020, according to a report by LendingTree. Despite the percentage of holiday borrowers increasing in 2021, the average amount of spending dropped by 10% from 2020.

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Researchers Find Silver Lining in Rise of Omicron Variant

The rapid spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 worldwide “may have positive implications in terms of decreasing the Covid-19 burden of severe disease,” according to a new study funded by the Gates Foundation and South African, U.S. and U.K. government agencies.

Led by researchers in South Africa, where the variant was first identified, it’s the latest study to suggest the pandemic is approaching endemic status, calling into question the benefits of strict mitigation policies beyond high-risk groups.

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Commentary: American Citizenship Is Caught Between Creed and Clan

Our politics is currently overwhelmed with identity. Rights, votes, participation, all understanding of one’s place in the country is said to be based on one’s “identity.” The one identity that people shy away from is that of the American citizen. Who precisely is this person?

The American Constitution speaks in the voice of “We the People,” but never defines who that people might be, even if they already existed in 1787, even before the establishment of a “more perfect Union.” Who are these Americans? Who, as an individual, is an American? On the one hand, this is a simple question to answer. There is a legal definition of citizenship based on birth or naturalization, and some people simply are Americans and others are not. It is a matter of paperwork.

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer, Top Lawmakers Sign NDA Regarding $1 Billion Economic Initiative

Often at the center of controversy, Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is facing transparency questions, along with leading state Republican lawmakers, after they signed nondisclosure agreements preventing them from informing taxpayers about a pricey new economic development initiative.

Whitmer, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, and House Speaker Jason Wentworth all signed the NDA with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation regarding a $1 billion business incentive program that became law last week, The Detroit News reported.

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Commentary: Pramila Jayapal, the Loser of the Year

For three months, as the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Pramila Jayapal was firm in her threat: “We will agree to the bipartisan [infrastructure] bill if, and only if, we also pass the reconciliation bill first.” She was the driving force and the public face behind progressives’ mission to use the infrastructure bill as a cudgel to force Sen. Joe Manchin, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, and other centrist Democrats into passing Build Back Better. She repeatedly appeared on “The Rachel Maddow Show” to give attention to her strongarm tactics.

Time and time again in August, September, and October, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was forced to back down from votes on infrastructure because of Jayapal. When a reporter told Jayapal that some people believed she was “bluffing,” Jayapal, who has nearly 100 members in her caucus, said, “Try us.”

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DeWine’s Office Declines to Comment on COVID Plan as Cases Surge

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine’s office told The Ohio Star Thursday that it will not address concerns about whether the current protocols in place to end the COVID-19 are actually working. 

The Star asked DeWine’s office if, amid the surge of Omicron variant COVID-19 cases, the governor’s office had any plan to implement new measures other than mandating mandates and encouraging vaccines that might help control the pandemic. 

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Three Wisconsin Urgent Care Locations Close Due to Staffing Shortages

Three Wisconsin urgent care clinics within the Advocate Aurora Health network were closed down temporarily due to staffing shortages. A spokesperson for the clinics told The Minnesota Sun that the closures are due to “managing the COVID surge combined with staffing shortages.”

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Arizona Gov. Ducey and Gubernatorial Candidate Kari Lake Differ on Putting Cameras in Classrooms

Leading Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake voiced support for putting cameras in schools in order to allow parents to monitor what educators are teaching their children, and Gov. Doug Ducey responded by criticizing the idea. 

Ducey said during a press conference that it could lead to “predators” monitoring children, the Arizona Capitol Times reported. “We’ve got young kids in these classrooms,” he said. “We want to protect them from predators, of course.” 

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Virginia in New Wave of COVID-19 with Record-Setting Case Numbers, but Hospitalizations Down from Peak of January 2021 Wave

Sick person talking to CDC employee

Virginia is experiencing another wave of COVID-19 cases. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reported 13,500 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, up from 12,112 reported on Wednesday, breaking the previous daily record from January 17, 2021 of 9,914 new cases. However, hospitalizations are down from the highs of January 2021. On Thursday, the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA) reported 2,101 confirmed and test-pending COVID patients, less than a January 13 high of 3,201 hospitalizations.

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Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association Decry ‘Troubling Trend’ as ‘Prosecutorial Policies are Failing to Hold Criminals Accountable’

The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association wrote a letter to the Hennepin and Ramsey County attorneys addressing their failure to prosecute some felony crimes. They wrote that they are “especially concerned” that “prosecutorial policies are failing to hold criminals accountable for their actions.”

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Richmond City Health Department Contradicts Northam Claim That COVID Tests are ‘Widely Available’

The Richmond City Health Department on Thursday seemingly contradicted a claim made by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam that coronavirus tests are widely available throughout the state.

In a statement addressing the statewide rise in positive COVID-19 cases, Northam contended that individuals would be able to easily obtain a PCR test. 

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Florida Power and Light Rate Increase Appealed by ‘Floridians Against Increasing Rates’

An appeal to a settlement approved by the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) – that would allow Florida Power and Light (FPL) to increase its utility rates in January 2022 and 2023 – was filed Monday to the Florida Supreme Court by a non-profit advocacy group known as Floridians Against Increasing Rates, or FAIR.

The rate increases are part of a four-year plan that would raise the base rates by $692 million in 2022, $560 million in 2023, and a Solar Base Rate Adjustment (SoBRA) allocated to pay for, install, and operate solar energy fields in 2024 and 2025.

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Proposal to Double Athens-Clarke County Commissioners’ Salaries Could Backfire on Community, Commissioner Says

A proposal to more than double Athens-Clarke County commissioners’ salaries from $15,000 per year to $31,000 could discourage good candidates — especially those who are not wealthy — from seeking that office. This, according to County Commissioner Allison Wright.

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Commentary: Adam Mill’s Predictions for 2022 Midterms

I have a pretty good track record on predictions. In March of 2020, I wrote, “Don’t write off Joe [Biden] . . . it’s clear he will run a close contest against President Trump.” Approximately two weeks into the pandemic, I wrote “If we wait until [there is] no death before we demand a return of our liberty, we will have lost everything to this pandemic.” Also in March of 2020, I wrote that, “The supply interruption of even a couple of months will cause shortages or price increases in items that have a significant effect on the formula for calculating inflation.” In June of 2019, a month before Trump’s Ukraine phone call, I suggested that the Justice Department would use criminal prosecutions to protect Joe Biden from fallout for his son’s shady dealings in Ukraine. I wrote, “If that candidate has the best chance to defeat Trump, should the DOJ deploy its awesome criminal prosecution powers to prevent that information from reaching the eyes and ears of the American electorate?” I was close on that one, the cover came from Congress.

So as we head into 2022, hubris compels me to offer a few—not exactly predictions, but scenarios—that could easily come to pass based upon historical precedent. 

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University of Pittsburgh Orders ‘Shelter-in-Place’ over COVID

The University of Pittsburgh will require all of its students to “shelter-in-place” upon their return for the school’s spring semester as the United States continues to break records for COVID-19 cases. 

“A University-wide shelter-in-place period will begin on Saturday, Jan. 8 on all campuses for students in University housing,” the school said in a memo to students. “During the shelter-in-place period, students should only leave their rooms or apartments to attend classes, labs or clinicals in person (if in-person classes were approved by the dean of your school); pick up food; exercise safely; study in the library; work when necessary; and shop for essentials and medical needs.”

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New Report Shows Michigan Unemployment Agency Paid Out Billions to Fraudulent Claims

Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance agency paid out more than $8 billion in fraudulent claims from March 2020 to September 2021, according to a new report from Deloitte.

According to the consulting agency, an estimated 10.16 percent of the funds were paid out to individuals “involving likely imposter fraud.” Furthermore, an additional 20.21 percent to people “involving likely intentional misrepresentation fraud.”

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Florida Legislative Proposal Could Lead to Cameras in Public School Classrooms

Florida State Rep. Bob Rommel (R-FL-106) is sponsoring legislation that would require public school teachers to wear microphones and be video recorded in classrooms. The live stream of the classroom would also become available for public viewing.

The text of the bill also provides stipulations for if there is an interruption in the video feed.

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Pennsylvania House Republicans to Hold Field Hearings on What They Deem Gerrymandered Districts

Pennsylvania House GOP leaders announced this week that their caucus will hold field hearings on the proposed new legislative-district plan which stands to make House districts more winnable for Democrats. 

The first House GOP Policy Committee hearing on the commission’s plan will take place on Tues., Jan. 4 at 4 p.m. at McCandless Town Hall at 9955 Grubbs Road in Wexford. The second will occur on Tues., Jan. 11 at 4 p.m. at the Upper Allen Township Building at 100 Gettysburg Pike in Mechanicsburg.

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Lee Monument and Other Richmond Confederate Statues to be Given to Virginia Museum

The Lee Monument and the other Confederate statues from Richmond’s Monument Avenue will be given to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, which will partner with The Valentine and other Richmond organizations to determine the future of the objects. The Thursday announcement is the latest move from Governor Ralph Northam, who has been working to conclude removal of the controversial Lee Monument and remove state control of the monument and the land.

“Symbols matter and for too long, Virginia’s most prominent symbols celebrated our country’s tragic division and the side that fought to keep alive the institution of slavery by any means possible,” Northam said in a Thursday press release shared by NBC12 reporter Henry Graff.

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee Remains Silent on Forced COVID-19 National Guard Vaccinations, But Certain Legislators Are Speaking Out

Staff for Tennessee Governor Bill Lee won’t comment on the matter, but State Senator Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) said Thursday that members of the Tennessee National Guard should decide on their own whether to vaccinate against COVID-19. Tennessee National Guard officials said in November that their troops must take the COVID-19 shot or face discharge. This, per a mandate from the U.S. Department of Defense and President Joe Biden.

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Metro Nashville Public Schools Selected for Grant to Curb School Violence

The Department of Justice (DOJ) selected Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) as a recipient of a grant from the STOP School Violence Program.

The funds, totaling $990,927, are aimed to advance school safety by instituting safety measures in and around primary and secondary schools across the country.

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Two Separate Georgia Murder Suspects Arrested in Tennessee This Week

Two suspects in separate murders in Georgia were arrested in Tennessee Monday, according to reports. 

“The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said 29-year-old Alyssa Danielle Wild of East Dublin, Georgia was pulled over in Franklin,” according to WTVC. “Wild is charged with murder in the death of 38-year-old Charles Stephen Holmberg of Cuthbert, Georgia. Holmberg was found shot dead Saturday in a vehicle parked at a motel in Dublin.”

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Visit Music City Announces COVID Regulations for New Years Eve Celebrations

Visit Music City announced its New Year’s Eve celebration, along with its COVID regulations. The event will be sponsored by Jack Daniels and broadcast live on CBS Television Network, and available to stream on-demand on Paramount+.

The New Year’s Eve event is called the Jack Daniel’s New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash! is one of the many events offered in Nashville for the holiday, and is free to anyone to attend. A special New Years’ Eve package is also available, with tickets priced at $50 along with a required one-night stay at a participating hotel.

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District Attorney Announces Seven Arrests for Fentanyl Distribution Ring in Tennessee

Bag that says "DANGER contains Fentanyl"

District Attorney Brent Cooper announced that a year and a half long task force investigation in conjunction with the DEA Nashville office, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and the Columbia Police Department resulted in the disruption of a fentanyl drug ring the the arrest of seven suspects.

The team focused on a counterfeit oxycodone pills drug trafficking organization, which they later discovered was selling fentanyl-laced pills. Over the duration of the investigation, members of the team made undercover purchases in order to “[identify] the sources of the pills recovered during the sales leading to the execution of six residential search warrants.”

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Commentary: The Everlasting COVID Crisis

In 1972, three black men, Melvin Cale, Louis Moore, and Henry D. Jackson, Jr., hijacked Southern Airways Flight 49, demanding $10 million and safe passage to Cuba. The hijacking lasted nearly 30 hours and involved multiple stops throughout the United States, Canada, and eventually, Cuba. In the process of negotiating with the FBI, the hijackers threatened to ram their aircraft, a Douglas DC-9, into the High Flux Isotope Reactor in Oak Ridge, Tennessee if their demands weren’t met.

Until that point, American airlines had resisted installing metal detectors in airports, worried that treating Americans like common criminals to board a plane would wreck their burgeoning industry. But that threat of nuclear attack, and the 130 other hijackings between 1968 and 1972, convinced the government to take a stand at last. In 1973, the FAA used its bureaucratic and administrative powers to make passenger screening mandatory. In 1974, Congress validated the requirement, ignoring passenger rights’ groups that protested the intrusive screening of luggage and persons in order to board aircraft. 

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Over Half of U.S. States Will Increase Their Minimum Wage in 2022

Over half of the states in the U.S. will institute a minimum wage increase in 2022, according to a report.

A total of 26 states will raise the minimum wage in 2022, with 22 of the states starting the pay hikes on Jan. 1, accordingto payroll experts at Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S.

“These minimum wage increases indicate moves toward ensuring a living wage for people across the country,” Deirdre Kennedy, senior payroll analyst at Wolters Kluwer, said in the report. “In addition to previously approved incremental increases, the change in presidential administration earlier this year and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic have also contributed to these changes.”

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Gas Prices Set to Surge Again, Industry Analysis Shows

The price of gasoline is set to increase to $4 per gallon or more within five months, according to an industry analysis released Tuesday.

The gas price surge is forecasted to take place by Memorial Day in late May, according to the report from GasBuddy, an app that tracks pump prices, and shared with CNN. But the analysis said the average cost of gasoline at pumps nationwide would then fall throughout the summer and fall of 2022, declining below current prices.

“We could see a national average that flirts with, or in a worst-case scenario, potentially exceeds $4 a gallon,” Patrick De Haan, the director of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, told CNN.

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Homeless Encampments Begin Forming Near Schools in Los Angeles

Homeless encampments have begun cropping up near schools throughout the city of Los Angeles, even despite a citywide ban on any such encampments near public areas, as reported by the Epoch Times.

The Los Angeles City Council had previously passed a new resolution, Ordinance 41.18, which was signed into law by Mayor Eric Garcetti (D-Calif.), forbidding any such homeless camps from being set up within 500 feet of “sensitive-use” areas, including schools, daycares, libraries, and parks. The ordinance also banned such camps from forming near freeway overpasses and underpasses, ramps, tunnels, and bridges.

But in order for the ordinance to be enforced, each individual district’s councilmember must introduce a motion to do so, which then must be approved by the council. As such, homeless encampments have begun sprouting up near schools in the Venice Beach neighborhood, which falls under District 11; that district is represented by Councilman Mike Bonin (D-Calif.), who has a history of refusing to enforce anti-homeless measures for other districts, and has not yet introduced any such measures to protect his own district.

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University President Calls out Chinese Students He Says ‘Harassed’ Their Dissident Peer

After a Chinese student at Purdue University spoke out against the Chinese Communist Party, fellow Chinese students at the American school allegedly threatened to report him to China for espionage. 

Zhihao Kong told ProPublica that after he posted a letter condemning the Tiananmen Square Massacre, China’s Ministry of State Security began threatening him and his family. 

“His family back home, in this case China, was visited and threatened by agents of that nation’s secret police,” President Mitch Daniels said in an email published by the Purdue Exponent. 

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Iowa Health Department Progressing on Filling State Medical Director Role

Iowa Department of Public Health is conducting interviews for the state medical director and epidemiologist position vacated last October by Dr. Caitlin Pedati.

DPH Public Information Officer Sarah Ekstrand told The Center Square in an emailed statement Oct. 25 that the department was in the process of filling the position and would provide an update when the details were finalized.

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Commentary: The Biggest Junk Science of 2021

Doctor with protective gloves handling vaccine

Just as it did last year, the most dangerous pandemic in a century spawned all sorts of junk science in 2021, running the gamut from pure quackery to ideology-fueled misinformation. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to spot junk science, especially when it’s disguised in techno-babble or parroted by governments, doctors, or other traditionally trusted sources. This sneakiness, combined with the unprecedented stress of a novel, highly-infectious disease, makes almost anyone prone to falling for BS.

To help identify junk science in the future, it’s useful to showcase junk science from the present and past. Here are six of the worst examples from this year:

6. Star NFL Quarterback Aaron Rodgers Was ‘Immunized’ Against COVID-19 With Homeopathy. Through much of the NFL season, Green Bay Packers starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers led reporters and fans to believe that he had been vaccinated against COVID-19. But when Rodgers was diagnosed with the illness in early November, it was revealed that he had not in fact been vaccinated, but rather had been ‘immunized’ with a homeopathic remedy. Homeopathy is a ridiculous, utterly disproven pseudoscience based on the magical notions that “like cures like” and that water can ‘remember’ the essence of a substance. Furthermore, according to practitioners, diluting a substance down to infinitesimal, often nonexistent amounts actually makes the homeopathic remedy stronger. In keeping with this fairytale logic, Rodgers likely imbibed a homeopathic potion (essentially just water) that before dilution may have had some sort of virus in it, and claimed that it raised his antibody levels, rendering him ‘immunized’. It’s utter nonsense.

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Commentary: The Year in Unhinged Liberal Celebrities’ Freakouts

Despite the triumph of President Joe Biden’s inauguration, liberal celebrities didn’t get much happier in 2021.

It began with Donald Trump refusing to concede that he lost the presidential election. A year ago, one actor engaged in violent fantasies over this stubborn resistance to the facts. “Who arrests Trump if he refuses to concede? Who drags him out? Pepper spray? Cuffs?” That sounds like an action movie.

But then it turned threatening: “A knee on his neck, cutting off his oxygen? Does he wheeze ‘I can’t breathe'(?) Just whale away on him like a pinata? Rodney King style? The thug who has destroyed the country. What does he deserve?”

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Dr. Robert Malone Banned from Twitter Day Before Filming Joe Rogan Episode

A prominent doctor who has often challenged government and media narratives about the COVID-19 vaccines has been permanently banned from Twitter. 

Dr. Robert Malone played a key role in the invention of the mRNA vaccine, the type of vaccine that is being administered to many Americans in an effort to stave off COVID-19. Malone has often been critical of the use of the vaccines, as well those in media and government who support them. 

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French Officials Close Mosque After Sermons ‘Targeting Christians, Homosexuals and Jews’

French officials have closed a mosque following an imam’s sermons “targeting Christians, homosexuals and Jews.”

France Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said two weeks ago that he was starting the process of closing the Great Mosque of Beauvais, in the northern French region of Oise, and gave it two weeks to respond, according to the British Broadcasting Corp.

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Commentary: France’s Version of Wokeism

La Justice Pour George at Coucou, French language school, in Minneapolis, Minnesota

PARIS — Rachel Khan is a 45-year-old writer and actress, half Gambian, half Polish Jew born and educated in France, who was appointed by the mayor of Paris to be co-director of a cultural center called La Place, or The Place, dedicated to hip-hop music in France.  Then she became a target of the wrath of “le wokisme,” French version.

Khan, who was already well-known as a dissenter from the identity-politics orthodoxy on race and victimization, published a slim volume titled “Racée” — meaning racy, daring, but also a play on words — in which she lampooned the politically correct idea that to be authentically black meant that she had to incarnate a “woke” ideology.

“It’s supposedly anti-racism, but in fact it’s dogma,” she told me in Paris in November. “A black actress is supposed to be anti-colonialist. But just as I’m not obliged as a black actress to play a cleaning lady or a prostitute, I’m also not obliged as a black person to be ‘anti-colonial.’”

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Dole Announces Recall Due to Listeria Contamination

The Dole Company announced a recall last week on specific products due to possible listeria contamination. Many variations of Dole’s bagged salads that had been processed in Bessemer City, NC, and Yuma, AZ were found to have been contaminated with listeria.

In the statement from Dole, “all Dole-branded and private label packaged salads” that were processed at both locations were possibly contaminated. It added that both locations would temporarily suspend operations and undergo an extensive cleaning and sanitizing protocol. 

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Commentary: Americans Believe Damaging Sleep Myths

Woman sleeping

A new survey suggests that at least half of Americans fall for a number of sleep myths, some of them quite damaging for sleep health.

Assistant Teaching Professor Elizabeth Pantesco and Associate Professor Irene Kan, both in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences at Villanova University, spearheaded the research, which was recently published to the journal Sleep Health.

The duo surveyed 1,120 adults residing in the United States via CloudResearch’s Prime Panels. Participants were queried about their demographics, then asked whether they agreed or disagreed with twenty statements about sleep, for example, “Watching television in bed is a good way to relax before sleep” and “For sleeping, it is better to have a warmer bedroom than a cooler bedroom.” Unbeknownst to them, the statements were all widely recognized as myths by sleep experts.

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Commentary: We Need a Nonpartisan COVID Commission Now

Congress currently is considering eight proposals to establish a national COVID Commission. Such commissions routinely follow massively disruptive events in our nation’s life. Unfortunately, such congressionally chartered efforts seldom make much of an imprint on the future, which is their common mandate. This time perhaps that could change, if whichever bill wins out includes a roadmap for meaningful reform of our public health enterprise that, in so many ways, failed as COVID engulfed us.

Consider how federal, state and local health departments were unprepared for a threat that an expert government panel warned, in 2019, was inevitable. Despite its enormous $11 billion budget, the 800-pound gorilla of public health, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, had no model for how a COVID-like virus would spread, nor how to target preventive measures. Worse, it had not developed a protocol for testing to determine if individuals were infected with a disease, and no plans existed to work with private laboratories to produce test kits for widespread distribution, which, during the onset of COVID, it resisted. These delays cost tens of thousands of lives.

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