While Pennsylvania Strikes Down School Mask Mandate, Federal Judge Says Opposite in Tennessee

While children in Pennsylvania will soon be allowed to return to school without masks, children in Tennessee will not. 

Over a 24-hour period, Pennsylvania’s highest court and a federal judge in Tennessee came to opposite conclusions about whether mask mandates should be legal. 

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Commentary: ‘It’s Time to Stand Up for Ourselves and Our Country’

Close up of Capitol with Trump and America flag in the wind

The first thing Victoria White noticed after emerging from the tunnel where she was severely beaten by two D.C. Metropolitan police officers on January 6 was the floor of the U.S. Capitol. Dressed in jeans and a light red turtleneck, shoeless, White was soaked with whatever toxic chemical gas the police sprayed on protesters.

“I noticed that this beautiful flooring was all wet, soaking wet, like a pipe burst,” she told me this week in one of three lengthy interviews about her harrowing experience at the Capitol protest. Water, however, was not the culprit; the floor probably was drenched because law enforcement had doused Americans with chemical spray for hours inside the U.S. Capitol building.

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Commentary: The U.S. Might Lose the Tech War in Its Own Hemisphere

South America has sat within the U.S. sphere of interest since the Monroe Doctrine was enunciated in 1823. Now that may be changing, thanks to the inroads that Chinese telecom companies such as Huawei are making in the region’s economies. The advent of 5G networks is showcasing Beijing’s growing ability to rival Washington in South America.

That rivalry isn’t discussed too much in the region itself. Governments in Latin America mostly take a pragmatic approach, waiting for the lowest bidder while trying to remain as friendly as possible with each side. These tendencies hold true for most facets of U.S.-China competition in Latin America, but especially in South America, which is home to several major economies that are more politically and economically independent from the United States than closer neighbors such as Mexico.

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Pro-Life Leaders React to High Court’s Procedural Ruling on Texas’ Heartbeat Law

Pro-life leaders anxiously awaiting decisions in major abortion cases reacted Friday to news that the Supreme Court had dismissed one challenge to Texas’ ban on abortions after an unborn baby has a heartbeat. 

“Today, the Supreme Court refused to strike down the lifesaving and democratically popular Texas heartbeat law,” said Live Action founder and President Lila Rose. “While the court did give a road map for lower courts to put the law on hold, the opinion of the court was crystal clear that this case was not commenting on the constitutionality of the abortion restriction itself.”

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Texas Racial Equity Committee Co-Chair Resigns After Doxxing Parents and Leaving Profane Voicemail

Fort Worth Independent School District

The co-chair of a racial equity committee at a Texas school district resigned Wednesday after admitting she had doxxed parents who opposed her policies and left one a profane voicemail, Fox News reported.

While Norma Garcia-Lopez was co-chair of the Fort Worth Independent School District’s (FWISD) school board Racial Equity Committee, she shared parent information and encouraged others to call parents out for opposing mask mandates, Fox News reported. Garcia-Lopez shared the phone number and home address of one parent, Jennifer Treger, in addition to the employer, work email address and phone number of another parent, Kerri Rehmeyer.

“It’s astounding what the ‘White Privilege’ power from Tanglewood has vs a whole diverse community that cares for the well being of others,” Garcia-Lopez wrote publicly, according to Fox News. “These are their names: Jennifer Treger, Todd Daniel, Kerri Rehmeyer and a coward Jane Doe. Internet do your thang,” Garcia-Lopez wrote.

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U.S. Wins Appeal in Case to Extradite Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange

The U.S. won an appeal in its case to extradite Wikileaks founder Julian Assange from the United Kingdom.

The U.K.’s High Court ruled Friday that Assange could be returned to the U.S. where he will face multiple charges related to espionage and hacking, reversing a lower court’s decision blocking his extradition.

Assange’s fiancee Stella Morris said she plans to appeal the decision as soon as possible, calling the decision a “grave miscarriage of justice,” CNBC reported.

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TikTok Removes Video by Libertarian Organization Defending Kyle Rittenhouse

Libertarian organization Young Americans for Liberty says it recently posted a video in support of Kyle Rittenhouse that was subsequently censored by TikTok

In early December, the group posted a video in response to reports that members of the Arizona State University student body were protesting Rittenhouse’s online attendance at their university. The protestors called the acquitted teenager a “murderer,” and claimed he posed a threat to the student body.

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FBI Director Chris Wray Says Antifa Is an ‘Ideology’ Not an ‘Organization’

FBI Director Christopher Wray’s assessment that the far-left antifa network is an ideology, not a group or an organization, is coming under fire this week after prosecutors in San Diego charged several self-described anti-fascists in connection with eight alleged assaults.

Antifa is “not a group or an organization,” Wray testified before the House Homeland Security Committee last year. “It’s a movement or an ideology.”

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House Minority Leader McCarthy Faces Critical Legal Decision in Proxy Voting Lawsuit

The Supreme Court could decide as soon as Friday whether to take up a lawsuit brought by House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy to address the practice of proxy voting in the lower chamber.

House members from both parties have cited the pandemic as the reason they have failed to recently vote in person, though many of them vote in absentia for reasons that seemingly have nothing to do with the virus. Campaigning with high-profile candidates has often taken precedence over appearing in person to vote for certain members. For others, taking care of sick family members or attending to newborn babies have been reasons to vote by proxy.

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Top Ukrainian Military Official Considers Arming Citizens If Russia Gets Too Close

A senior Ukrainian military adviser floated the idea of handing over the country’s own weapons to its citizens in the event of a Russian invasion, The New York Times reported.

The official told the NYT that the government might have to open its weapons depots to its population so that people could defend their families if the Ukrainian military were to be defeated.

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COVID Inpatient Beds Hit Record High in Michigan

Health care leaders and doctors say hospitals are “just keeping our heads above water” as 21.5% of inpatient beds are COVID-19 patients – an all-time high since the beginning of the pandemic.

In a virtual press conference Friday, State Health Director Elizabeth Hertel and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian urged residents to get vaccinated, including booster shots, and wear masks.

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Commentary: Pennsylvania Democrats Have a Union Problem

When Joe Biden kicked off his presidential campaign in April 2019 at the Teamsters Local 249 union hall in Pittsburgh, he declared himself a “union man,” sounding a theme that he repeated during his more than 25 campaign visits to the state. When Election Day came, however, Biden lost the union vote in Pennsylvania, winning instead with the support of moderate, suburban voters – especially women – who bristled at Donald Trump’s penchant for pandemonium. 

Now, after nearly a year of Biden’s presidency, Democrats’ long-standing, intimate relationship with unions has reached a crossroads in the Keystone State and elsewhere. Recent scandals, moreover, are earning the party a reputation for instability and even untrustworthiness – potentially relieving the GOP of its “chaotic” label.

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Report: Minnesota Teacher Tells Students About Her Threesomes, ‘Furry’ Fetish and More

A teacher in Minnesota’s Alden-Conger Public School District reportedly identifies as a “furry,” brags to her class about having threesomes with her husband and another woman, speaks positively about incest and assigns pornographic material as coursework.

A furry is a person who derives pleasure from dressing up as an anthropomorphic animal. Furries often have sex with one another, dressed as their animal personas. The teacher in the Alden-Conger Public School District who reportedly discusses her furry identity in class has also shared the “details of her sexual life … her 3-way sexual relationship with her husband and a lesbian companion” and discussed “incest in an approving way” with her students whose ages range from 14-16.

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Strikes Down State’s School Mask Mandate

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Friday ruled to strike down Governor Tom Wolf’s statewide mask mandate for schools.

The challengers of the mandate, including Pennsylvania Senate President pro tempore Jake Corman (R-Centre) and State Representative Jesse Topper (R-Bedford), argued that the decision of masking should be left to local school boards or parents, not the state government.

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Florida Department of Health to Accept Applications from African American Farmers for Medical Marijuana Licenses

Almost six months after the Florida Supreme Court upheld a law that designated a single medical marijuana treatment center (MMTC) license for an African American farmer with business ties in the state, the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) issued rules for the licensing process on Thursday.

Eligible applicants for $50 million MMTC license are African American farmers who were litigants in the Pigford vs. Glickman lawsuit from 1999 that successfully ruled the U.S. Department of Agriculture of discriminating against African American farmers when allocating farm loans and other financial assistance from 1981-1996.

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Arizona Lawmakers Demand Gov. Ducey Call a Special Session so They Can Stop COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for City of Phoenix Employees

The City of Phoenix instituted a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees, and numerous Republican lawmakers want to stop it. Several legislators sent a letter to Gov. Doug Ducey demanding that he call a special session of the Arizona Legislature so they can pass legislation halting that mandate and any others in Arizona. 

Sen. Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix), Rep. Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix), and Rep. Justin Wilmeth (R-Phoenix) wrote, “We urge you to immediately call us into a special session to pass legislation prohibiting any government entity from mandating the COVID-19 vaccine. Since the Arizona Supreme Court struck down policy provisions added to the budget passed earlier this year as a violation of our state Constitution’s single subject clause, it is imperative we address medical freedom issues taking place in our K-12 public schools, public colleges and universities, and any city, county or town from imposing a vaccine passport or mandate on any person or business.” 

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Northam Announces Release of Plan Highlighting Virginia Coastal Flooding Risks, Youngkin Says He’ll Formulate Plan to Improve Coastal Resiliency

Governor Ralph Northam announced the Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan on Tuesday, which outlines increasing threats to coastal structures and landscapes while also highlighting potential mitigation projects. Northam is set to leave office at the beginning of 2022, but Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin has also expressed support for coastal resilience work.

“We must acknowledge that climate change is permanently altering the physical limits of our coastal lands,” Northam said in a press release. “The only way we can adapt and maintain our thriving communities is with thoughtful planning, reliance on science, and a willingness to make tough decisions. This Master Plan will guide decisions by the Commonwealth and our local government partners.”

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January 6 Commission Subpoenas Ohio Congressional Candidate

An Ohio congressional candidate responded Friday evening after being subpoenaed by the congressional Jan. 6 Committee, which is investigating the mostly-peaceful protest at the Capitol early this year. 

“Upon taking office, I will make sure one of my first votes is to disband this partisan committee that has weaponized its powers against innocent Americans. Ohioans are tired of watching D.C.’s witch hunts and political theater while the country burns,” Miller said in response to the subpoena. 

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Florida Department of Education Begins Website Review Based on Florida Capital Star Report

Based on a report by the Florida Capital Star, the Florida Department of Education (DOE) has initiated a review of all links on the FDOE website “to make sure information is relevant, current, and appropriate.”

A report by the Florida Capital Star found that there were external links on the FDOE webpage related to bullying that redirected users to left-wing advocacy groups promoting controversial gender policies. After the report, FDOE officials took down the webpage.

Agriculture Commissioner and gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried criticized the DeSantis administration for FDOE taking down the webpage. Fried said the move was dangerous for students.

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Minnesota Gov. Walz Prepares National Guard for Potter Trial

Gov. Tim Walz announced he’s preparing the Minnesota National Guard to provide public-safety assistance if necessary during the trial of former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter.

The mobilization to readiness follows a request made by the Brooklyn Center and Hennepin County.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we are prepared to ask members of the Minnesota National Guard to be available to support local law enforcement with the mission of allowing for peaceful demonstrations, keeping the peace, and ensuring public safety,” Walz said in a statement.

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Zero Percent of Tennessee School Leaders Want to Keep Current Funding Formula, New Poll Says

The local officials who lead public schools throughout Tennessee said in a new poll that they want state officials to overhaul the state’s current school funding framework. This, according to a poll that the Nashville-based TennesseeCAN released this week. Members of TennesseeCAN, according to the group’s website, prioritize “K-12 education policies that put children first.”

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